Friday, May 5, 2017

Fiction Genres Explained--Part One: The Romantic Suspense and the Mystery Romance

The classic mystery novel may or may not contain romance.  If it does, the romance is usually a minor sideline and not an integral part of the story.  However, for mystery readers who enjoy a stronger romantic thread blended in with the mystery, there are two types of books that contain both romance and mystery.

Romantic Suspense

In a romantic suspense novel, about half of the story is devoted to romance and the other half to mystery.  The hero or heroine is often a suspect in a mystery or murder case. Gothic romances and other books where the heroine is being stalked or is jeopardy are good examples of the romantic suspense. 

The famous novel Rebecca could be considered a romantic suspense because the mystery centers around whether or not the hero is guilty of murdering his first wife...and is his second wife in danger?  A good part of the novel  revolves around the relationship between the hero and the heroine, and romance plays a strong, major role in the plot.

Mystery Romance

Just as a romantic suspense is heavy on the romance, a mystery romance is more of a mystery with a touch of romance. In this type of book, romance plays a stronger role than in a classic mystery, but is not as strong as a romantic suspense.  Less than half of the book is devoted to romance. The mystery is the strongest element in the story and it is never overshadowed by the romance. 

There really isn’t a lot of difference between the two.  In fact, on online lists the romantic suspense and mystery romance are almost interchangeable.  However, from a publishing perspective, the romantic suspense or books that are heavy on the romance angle are much more likely to be categorized as a romance than a mystery romance, which remains firmly in the mystery genre.

My sister and I enjoy reading and writing romantic suspense and mystery romance.  We started out writing gothics and romantic suspense before we moved on to mystery romance and writing a traditional mystery series.  Many of our first novels were published by Avalon Books.  Below are three of our mystery romance titles.  For a limited time read Path of the Jaguar for 99 cents.

                     Click on link to order Flames  of Deceit 

                        Click on link to order The Vanished Lady 

                  SPECIAL PRICE!  Click on link to order   Path of the Jaguar for only 99c.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

How Soon Should a Murder Occur in a Mystery Novel?

How soon a murder should take place in a mystery novel depends on the type of novel being written.  In some mysteries, the murder occurs on the very first page or chapter, in others not until chapter six, and in still others…not at all.

The Traditional Mystery

In a traditional or Agatha Christie type novel, the murder usually occurs very early. Sometimes the book opens with a murder on the first page.  Traditionally the murder should take place in the first chapter unless there is some strong reason why it must be delayed.   If there is going to be a murder in the book, as a rule of thumb, it should at least happen before chapter six.  This is because the crime must be introduced early enough to center the book around it.

 It is important that the murder occur early in this type of book, for this kind of novel centers around “whodunit”.  The victim is already dead and the detective must sort through suspects and clues to find out who killed the victim. 

The Suspense or Thriller

A suspense or thriller may start with a threat rather than a murder.  This may be a missing person, a kidnapping, or other threat of some kind.  The murder may occur much later in the book.

 In this type of book, the intended victim may not be the person who winds up getting killed.  Or in some instances the villain is thwarted before anyone gets killed.  But quite a bit of excitement is generated through chases and narrow misses.

The No-Murder Mystery

Some mysteries center around a crime other than murder.  These books may involve a theft instead, such as the stealing of a bag of diamonds or some other treasure.  The mystery revolves around who took the valuables, and not who committed murder.

Another instance of a mystery where no actual murder may occur is in the case of a kidnapped pet or some such crime that doesn’t involve a human victim.  The pet is usually returned safely, and the mystery is solved without undue violence.

There is no set answer as to when a murder should take place in a mystery.  The genres have blended so that a murder in the first chapter is not always the norm.  No matter what the sub-genre, a mystery must start with some kind of action to draw the reader in.  If not a murder, it is essential that an event such as a theft, missing person, or other exciting event must be introduced in the first chapter. 

For more writing tips, check out our nonfiction books on writing and writing mysteries.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Read an Ebook Month March 99c Sales!

Enjoy mysteries? This month we have  two new  99c sales going on!  One for now and one for later.  A  mystery/romance and a High Country Mystery.

Read our most popular mystery/romance The Vanished Lady for only 99c through March 16th.   This book is one of our standalone mystery romances set in Colorado.  

Dana Lawrence doesn’t imagine when she buys the quaint Victorian house in the remote mountains of Colorado that her life will soon be in danger. She has heard the legend of Lelia Glenn and how she vanished in the 1800’s, but no one told her about the more recent disappearance of Amy Walden two years ago.
On the night of her arrival, Dana spies someone digging on her land. The sheriff tells her that on the day Amy disappeared Glenndale’s jewelry store was robbed. Amy’s boyfriend, Donnie Thorpe, is still on the run, and his accomplice, Jed Hoyt, has just been released from prison. Bennett believes a third party masterminded the robbery--her handsome neighbor, Logan Rand.
While Dana tries to beat the thieves to the stolen goods, she uncovers a grave. Threats and attempts on her life follow in rapid succession. Dana must identify the killer before she becomes the next vanished lady.

The Executioner's Hood will be 99c from March 17 through the 24th.  This book is part of our Jeff McQuede High Country Mystery Series.  (each book is a complete story so you don't have to start with the first one unless you want to.)

The Executioner's Hood 99c March 17-24th

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