A Whole New Thing (The Post-Apocalyptic Cozy)

So it started at the Bellevue Writers Lunch (which is no longer held in Bellevue, but work with me here). There is a meme going around the interwebs that we can sum up in our verbal shorthand as “bi-sexual death commandos of the apocalypse.” (I’ll explain in a later post, or you can search social media for the term and giggle).

How this came about: We’re discussing oddball mashups of genre that go well beyond simple slipstream and wander down into really strange. There are already a bunch of them: Paranormal romance; Sci-fi/Westerns; “whatever the hell urban fantasy has turned into in the last 10-15 years”; etc.

What else can we come up with? (For example: I’m writing post-apocalyptic, dystopian, cowboy stories.)

One of the lunatics at the table, Sabrina Chase, threw out some very cool and utterly bizarre ideas, most of which probably won’t work.

And then, inspiration bit her.

Her suggestion was the “Post-apocalyptic cozy mystery.” For those of you not in the know, cozy mysteries are the ones with no violence, no sex, no adult language, etc. As G-rated as you can get, while solving a crime. Many crime-solving grandmothers fall into this category, and it is huge with readers. Light, airy, intellectual, and usually fun reads.

Pair that with post-apocalyptic, which USUALLY suggests very gritty, dark, frequently violent and messy. Think Road Warrior et al, for a good vision of the sorts of things the genre originally grew up out of.

There were other ideas. Many silly. Many strange. Possibly even a few that are doable. It was a fun lunch.

The next month, she announced that not only does it work, but that her sister Juliet is working on writing one, as we speak. Yes, post-apocalyptic cozy mystery.

Last night, we got the word. The book is live and ready for you to order. I haven’t read yet, because I barely have enough time as is, but at $0.99US, you should absolutely go buy a copy, just so you can say that you were there at the very beginning. I have.

Toxic to Touch: A Post-Apocalyptic Cozy Mystery

Just don’t say I didn’t warn you that you have entered the future.

There are no more rules. There is no publisher sitting in his corner office, dictating what your career is going to look like, or where to find your books.

Mental exercise, just to prove that you are on rails with books: Walk into your favorite bookstore, even just in your mind. What section do you walk to immediately? What (if any) other sections of the bookstore do you stop to look in? Ever?

What happens to you if some exotic new book gets filed on the “wrong” shelf because there is no shelf for it? Do you find paranormal romance in the Romance section or the fantasy? Do you miss the Sci-Fi/Western because they put it with the cowboy books?

Juliet could write something totally out of left field, because she can file it under both Amateur Sleuths/Cozy, AND Post-Apocalyptic. Any reader wandering along has the chance to see it from either direction they come, simply because they can look on both shelves, and not just one.

THAT is the promise of the modern revolution in publishing. You can find strange books, just by starting out in your normal places, and then letting your attention wander.

You might even find something cool you never imagined you would need to buy and read, ya know?


shade and sweet water


West of the Mountains, WA


One thought on “A Whole New Thing (The Post-Apocalyptic Cozy)

  1. Joyce O'Keefe

    “Post-apocalyptic cozy mystery” — a really interesting idea! I’m pressed for time now so won’t be able to read the book in the near term, but applaud this writer’s creativity. It is, indeed, a new world of writing.

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