No, no one has lost a life or limb by unnatural means. Well, okay, occasionally, every town has a “stranger than fiction” occurrence. That’s the fodder for writing, but mostly, I think of myself as living a cozy mystery, because of the setting.
I live in a strange little community where the make up of neighbors runs the gamut, from what some would call “filthy rich” to “church mouse” socio-economic status. There are the salt-of-the-earth characters, the gossips, the high-rollers, the social climbers, the mean girls, the church-goers, a wiccan or two, diversity in race, gender, orientation…
In the same neighborhood, there is an old mill for atmosphere, pastures of horses, cows, sheep, quaint and elegant churches, mountains, a country club behind gates, vineyards and a cidery…
I can always drive just a few miles for inspiration… or look out my own window. Heck, sometimes, I don’t even have to look outside the window very far, like the time my son found a buried treasure in the form of those little porcelain animals that used to come in boxes of tea, a miniature two-inch soda bottle… filled with soda! Remnants of a dog kennel behind an old shed where it was purported someone died, a death in our own house that occurred before our habitation, an old moonshine still….
Last weekend, I was inspired by the environs on the Mattaponi River, so much so, I’ll be heading back this weekend. There is a main street community, multiple churches within the township, water, wildlife, and in my next cozy series, there’s even a made up building or two, inspired by long-gone historical features.
I hope you will join me for the introduction of this new series and “family” of outcasts who make friends and enemies by shining light on murder and mischief. I keep pushing back the release date, but let’s say, before the end of the year.
In the meantime, here’s one of those made-up buildings that figures prominently in the first book in the series.
How can a cozy be based on both fact and fiction? Well, here’s a long-form blurb from the first book with explanations in parentheses: “Rocky Smith loves his hometown of Poropotank. (Poh-rope-oh-tank – it means muddy river in a native dialect. The town does not actually exist, but it is based on the peninsular town of West Point, VA.) So much so, he finds himself still lurking around after his death. Searching for his raison d’etre in this limbo, he takes up residence in the condemned Gray’s Hotel. (Again, it no longer exists in the real town. That’s the beauty of fiction.) From his perch in the attic of the condemned building, Rocky can easily see the comings and goings of the town’s characters, but slowly, as clues are exposed by the dear ladies with whom he shared his life, Rocky begins to remember how he died… and at whose hands.”
Or something to that effect. I hate writing blurbs. Love writing stories. I never know how much to give up, how much to hold back. I’m like that with gift-giving too. I’m a terrible secret keeper. In my tradition of reading, writing, and making art, I hope you will come back as the release date approaches. I’ll be launching in slow dribbles and drabs, the animated video of the book trailer in serial form. Woo hoo!