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Cosy Crime is Blooming Murder

July 30th, 2021

So, after a couple of near misses (it got as far as two acquisitions meetings at two different publishers), I’ve just self-published my cosy crime novel, Blooming Murder.

But what exactly is cosy crime? How can crime be cosy?

The Oxford English Dictionary defines cosy as:

“giving a feeling of comfort, warmth, and relaxation.”

How can murder (in fiction) be comforting, warm and relaxing?

Well, it’s not the fact that people die in these books that is cosy, but how the story is told and the mystery solved.

No blood or gory details

First, the victims in a cosy crime may meet a horrific ending, but we spare the reader all the gory details. There are no detailed descriptions of the murder scene, or of the dead body. Note the word detailed. Victims are still shot, stabbed, poisoned or suffocated, etc, but readers don’t want to know about all the blood and messy bits. Read the rest of this entry »




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Are You Considering Self-publishing?

February 28th, 2020

First, thanks to Esther for last week’s blog. I enjoy reading both ‘proper’ books and e-books.  As I’m sure I’ve said before, for me it’s all about the most cost-effective way of getting my hands on what I want to read, whether it’s physically visiting my local library, using their library app, browsing in a good bookshop or downloading a book from Amazon. But I do tend to have a preference for my Kindle when I’m reading in bed. As Esther said – less strain on the arms!

I know that even young children are now savvy when it comes to tablets and phones and there are so many channels on the TV fighting for their attention. But I still get a buzz out of the fact that my 14-month-old grandson loves his books. He likes nothing better than making his choice and then staggering over with his favourite picture book so that we can sit down and enjoy it together. Let’s hope it lasts. Read the rest of this entry »




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First Pages

August 17th, 2018

Before I approached agents, I worked on my first page until my eyes were bleeding; until the mere sight of it made me want to puke. I read hundreds of first pages and analysed them, trying to work out what made them good or bad – what made me either desperate to turn the page or happy to put the book aside. I must have re-written the first page of my book about a hundred times, and yet still when I read it now, I think it could be better.

So I thought readers might be interested in a distillation of my conclusions about what makes a good first page. I’ve also discussed these with my brilliant agent, Diana Beaumont, and she agrees. Get these things right and an agent will probably at least make it to page 2 of your manuscript! Read the rest of this entry »




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Lessons from the Past for Fiction Writers

November 22nd, 2016

colin's-book-blogLittle read today, Somerset Maugham was one of the most popular and bestselling authors of novels and short stories in the 20th century. He once challenged himself to write a short story about a totally good man. It is probably his least successful story.

There is a good reason for this. While most people are not villainous, neither are they perfect – or totally good. And characters in fiction are more interesting if they have weaknesses and, occasionally, are very bad. They don’t come much nastier than Hannibal Lector in Thomas Harrison’s The Silence of the Lambs, yet the character and the novel have been immensely popular. Regrettably, perhaps, goodness can be boring. Read the rest of this entry »




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Literary Summer Breaks

July 7th, 2016

buxton-blogMost people are familiar with the Costa Book Awards but since 2012 they’ve also been doing a Short Story Award.

In order to choose the winner, the public votes for six shortlisted stories that have been chosen by the five judges. You can download and listen to, or read, all the shortlisted stories at the appropriate time. I’m quite looking forward to this stage, as the shortlisted entries are invariably of a high standard and you can learn a lot from the way they are crafted. It also gives you a clue as to what the public enjoys and you might want to take this into account when you’re putting together your own entries for future competitions. Read the rest of this entry »




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