Full disclosure: I have long felt uncomfortable about my Ricki Rydell mystery series. I wanted to get into writing a mystery series but didn’t fully embrace hard-boiled, procedural mysteries, yet cozy mysteries weren’t really my thing either. So I settled on what I thought was cozy. But not really?
Cozy mysteries have certain genre tropes that are beloved by readers of the genre. TV Tropes has a good explanation of what those are. I have a few of those tropes: female, amateur sleuth, her dog, small town, with a light mystery, but I also know I’m not hitting all the tropes and have a desire to move away from the constraints of the sub-genre. For one, Ricki is still young (30) and single (recovering from a broken heart), she’s a self-deprecating introvert who really can’t be bothered with other humans, a burnt-out romance writer, Becca, her best friend and sidekick, is a metal head, and although she has a dog, Rumpus doesn’t help her solve mysteries. The small town has a very definite seedy side. I write about infidelity, scandal, abuse, revenge, and although the mysteries are light, I really want to move into darker territory. There’s also a lot of humor. Not that cozies don’t have these elements, but most of them don’t (at least the ones I’ve read). I also feel, personal writing thing here, that my author voice is a little on the younger / juvenile side which could be because I started out writing for kids. To be honest, I can see, and would like to see, young adults reading those books.
That said, I went searching for “edgy cozy mystery book covers” to see if that was a thing. It turns out, it is, and it’s something called Brozy Mysteries. Now, Brozy sounds like a dude-bro name, but it is not. At all. Brozy simply means broader cozy, meaning it expands on the genre (setting, occupation, etc) while still delivering a clean, light mystery. No fluff. Which is how I view my Ricki books. They’re light and clean, sure, but there’s nothing fluffy or genteel about Ricki and her family, her friend Becca, or her hometown. Even Rumpus licks his balls out in the open. No shame. You can read about Brozy Mysteries here.
I’m about to release a young adult psychological thriller (announcement of release date coming soon) which has me thinking about the direction I’m going in professionally. Although this is a long post for another day, I’ll simply say that I’ve been on this roller coaster ride called self-publishing long enough to know that I want off and will be doing what I think is right for my future. If I want to keep on writing more Ricki Rydell mysteries, I need to follow my heart, and my heart says Brozy. I’ll be rebranding the covers and categories to reflect those changes and the target audience for who those books are appropriate. I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m bashing the cozy mystery genre because I’m not. Cozies are fun to read and to write. Truth is, I failed at hitting the genre tropes that readers love, and it’s too late to change that. Why not ride with it, then?