I might have accidentally invented a new fiction genre–Cozy Horror.
According to Wikipedia:
- Cozy mysteries, also referred to as “cozies”, are a subgenre of crime fiction in which sex and violence are downplayed or treated humorously, and the crime and detection take place in a small, socially intimate community.
- Horror is a genre of speculative fiction which is intended to frighten, scare, disgust, or startle its readers by inducing feelings of horror and terror.
Sound incompatible, maybe even mutually exclusive? I thought so too, yet here I am, within a few words of finishing SOUL SIGN, and I’m pretty sure I’ve written a Cozy Horror book series.
This was not intentional. In my defense, I see it as a natural by-product of being an introvert. I had been left to my own devices, alone with my laptop, and this is what happened. As I’ve confessed previously, I am a pantser when it comes to writing. That means I write by the seat of my pants–I believe that if there are no surprises for the writer, there are no surprises for the reader. And boy, was I surprised.
The characters in SOUL SIGN and the first two books in the series perfectly fit the Cozy genre. They are an intimate group because they resolve hauntings. Convincing spirits to continue to the afterlife is not something you can openly discuss or put on your resume. And weird undertakings make for weird bedfellows, so it makes sense that these people find each other.
Also in keeping with Cozies, a mystery must be solved: the mystery of why a spirit is unable to move on. The answer is sometimes obvious, but the resolution is rarely straightforward, so these stories are ripe with plot twists. The characters must tease out truth from lies to understand the psychological underpinnings that keep a spirit earthbound. And the truth is not always pretty or palatable. This is where we get cross-pollination from the Horror genre.
Another strong element of the Cozy genre is humor. The humor in the Zackie stories is organically grown from the personalities of the characters, using no antibiotics, preservatives or artificial flavors.
While some of the spirits can also provide moments of comic relief, not all fit this mold. This is another aspect of the horror genre that suffuse these stories. Just like real life, it’s not always fun and fluff. Some things are deadly serious and the characters must up their game in order to survive, with no guarantee that they will succeed.
The scariest part of these stories is finding the readers for this mixed genre. True Cozy readers will recoil at the horror elements; readers seeking pure horror will roll their eyes at the humor. Both of them will leave me one star reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. Publishers Weekly and book bloggers have had nice things to say about the first two books in the series, so the right readers will not be disappointed in the story.
So, I’m adding Shaun of the Dead or something similar to my keywords, like a message in a bottle. If you have any other ideas on keywords or how to reach readers who would enjoy Cozy Horror, please leave me a message in the comments. Thanks in advance!
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Soul Search and Soul Scent, novels of supernatural suspense, have been described as Dean Koontz’s Odd Thomas meets Piers Anthony’s On a Pale Horse. Readers have praised these novels for the very human stories behind the hauntings that create unexpected plot twists, drama, and even moments of humor. The Zackie Stories are available for purchase on Amazon and are free on Kindle Unlimited.
If you enjoy the Zackie stories, please, please consider leaving a short review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. Your review makes a difference and is incredibly valuable, drawing in other readers and providing access to promotional opportunities that require a specific number of reviews to engage. I’ll be your best friend forever if you write a review.
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