Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Murder, Mayhem, and... Romance???

Romance in Mysteries

By Liz Lipperman

Since this is my first post, I'll introduce myself to those who don't yet know me. I am a retired nurse, married to my high school sweetheart with two grown children and 4 absolutely adorable grandchildren who are the love of my life. I've been writing seriously since 2002 when my Chinese fortune cookie read, "You will be an accomplished writer." I knew right then and there I had no other choice since I had started and stopped writing so many times before. (I still have that one!)

I lost a lot of good years thinking I was a romance writer until finally one day my agent bluntly told me I was a mystery writer. Talk about a rude awakening. In retrospect, I should have known, since all my stories had dead bodies, explosions, and gruesome murders. After I started writing what I should have been writing all along, I sold a cozy series to Berkley. Not the stories I had already penned, mind you. I sold on proposal after the editor read the first book of my ghost mystery series and loved it but couldn't use it. She asked if I could write a cozy series. Now, here's where it gets good. That same story is the one that Terri bought because she loved all the sassy, bad words!! Is anyone out there surprised?  Right after the sale, I blogged that she would probably have to tone it down to which she responded that she had no intentions of doing that. I love her!!

Anyway, I'm so glad to be a part of your incredibly friendly group and hope I can contribute an occasional thoughtful blog. I have my own blog, and I am part of two others as well, so I can't be here as often as I would like to, but I will contribute. I promise.

The blog below is one that first appeared on my own blog after I was on a library panel not too long ago. Since my background includes being a "romance" author, most of my stories still contain a lot of sexual tension and romance. Anyway, when I researched the subject, I found this article and thought it was worth sharing here. Hope you think so, too.



      On Friday I was on a panel with five other authors at the Mansfield Texas library. The event was sponsored by the Friends of the Library and was billed as Mansfield Writes. My friend, Diane Kelly, who writes the humorous Tara Holloway mysteries, organized the event, and each of us did a presentation on some aspect of publishing/writing. I chose the topic romance in mysteries, a subject that is near and dear to my heart since I write what I call romantic mysteries.
I read an interesting article about this on Mystery.Net.com. Did you know that romance with mysteries started way back when Gothic novels were popular? Think Kathleen Woodiwiss and Rosemary Rogers. In those days a young, na├»ve woman found herself in the middle of a horrible storm, usually alone, with screams coming from the attic or some similar scenario. Our young heroine would rush up to see what was going on, only to be rescued by a dashing, brooding, handsome man. Today we call that heroine TSTL – – too stupid to live.
Fortunately, as women’s lib cranked up, so did writers. Modern-day heroines no longer went up to the attic alone after hearing screams unless there was a very compelling reason, and even then, they didn't go without a flashlight, a cell phone, and sometimes a Glock.
In 1943 Phyllis Whitney penned mysteries aimed at a modern female audience. Mary Stuart followed, and from the late 1950s to the early 1970s, we saw an emergence of suspense novels with pronounced romantic elements. Finally, in the 1970s, Mary Higgins Clark introduced us to a new version of romantic suspense with her women in jeopardy novels. This has always been my favorite genre to both read and write, although I get confused sometimes as to what exactly I do write. My heroines always find themselves in jeopardy, but there's a fine line. Romance can be found in all my books (romantic suspense), but you never know who the killer is until the very end (mystery.) Born a rebel, I love breaking the genre rules.
I can only hope the readers who have been kind enough to take a chance on me – – even some who like me – – aren't aware of these rules. They only know what they enjoy reading, and hopefully, I'm included on the list.
I ended my presentation with this little tidbit. After a particularly exhausting sexy encounter with her mate, the female praying mantis bites off his head and eats it.
Moral of this story – – even Mother Nature sees the importance of combining murder with good sex.

What about you? Do you like a little romance with your mysteries? One lucky commenter will win a signed copy of the first book in A Dead Sister Talking Mystery, titled HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE, when it releases in May. I'll post the winner at the end of the day after random.org chooses one.

25 comments:

Shannon Baker said...

Welcome, Liz. A little romance, or sex, goes good with just about anything, especially dark chocolate and wine.

Liz Lipperman said...

Thanks, Shannon. I'm looking forward to meeting you in person. For me, it's milk chocolate and margaritas with my sexy novels!!

Barbie Jo Mahoney said...

Hi Liz!! I can't wait for this book to come out. I really enjoy your cozies, but have a feeling this new line of books are going to really showcase your voice!

Although the praying mantis reference kind of scares me....LOL.

Nancy said...

I do like a bit of romance/sex in a Cozy.

Kari Lee Townsend said...

Love your cozies, Liz! I can't wait to read these, though. Sounds like they are a hoot just like you :-)

Liz Lipperman said...

Ah, Barbie, what happened to the "dark" side Barbie?? Thanks for the nice words. Hope to see you here soon.

Liz Lipperman said...

Hey, Nancy, I also like a bit of romance in cozies, but this new series is not a cozy series. It has multiple subplots, multiple points of view, and is not G rated. I hope that didn't scare you away!!

Liz Lipperman said...

Thanks, Kari. I can't wait for you to read this new one. You're gonna love my sisters, especially the ghost.

VICKI BATMAN, said...

Hi, Liz! You know I do love my romance and mysteries. I read Kathleen Woodiwiss, Phyllis Whitney, but the books I'd save in a fire are Dick Francis, Emilie Loring, and Mary Stewart.

Reading Beef Stolen-off now!

Laura Morrigan said...

Liz! You're hilarious! Who else would talk about praying mantises and link them to romance and murder?
Perfect!
I love your sense of humor and can't wait for the book!!

Anita Clenney said...

Hi Liz, I love a little romance with my murders. Your stories are great and I'm sure these will be too. I can't wait to read them.

Tiffinie Helmer said...

Sex and murder? Oh yeah, you are talking my language! Can't wait to read them, Liz.

Wolfgang A. Mozart said...

Provocative post, Ms. Liz. I believe that mystery and romance are essential ingredients to a compelling story. They go together like, well, words and music!

Liz Lipperman said...

Vicki, I forgot about your love for Dick Francis. Let me know how you liked Beef Stolen-Off. I'm going to read Twinkle Lights this weekend.

Liz Lipperman said...

Good to see you here, Laura. Isn't it about time for your book to debut? Be sure and let us know.

And you have to admit, the praying mantis did get the point across!!

Liz Lipperman said...

Thanks, Anita. You and I have always shared that love of sex and murder.

Liz Lipperman said...

LOL, Tiff. This new series with Midnight Ink has a lot of both of those things, not like my "clean" cozies!!

Liz Lipperman said...

Ah, Wolfgang, it's good to see you here. And your comparison was right on.

Tell your mistress to batten the hatches for yet another beating in NY. Stay safe.

Liz Lipperman said...

And the winner of the free copy of HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE is Laura, picked by random.org.

Please send your snail mail to me, Laura, and I'll make sure you get the book in May.

Thanks for playing, y'all.

petemorin said...

Sure, romance goes with anything, including public transportation during rush hour, or so they claim in Japan.

My question is: is there any canned foie gras?

Lois Winston said...

Coming in a little late to welcome you, Liz. Blame it Hurricane Sandy!

Beth Groundwater said...

Welcome to Inkspot, Liz, and yes, I like a little romance in my mysteries, both those I read and write, though I like to leave the "plumbing details" behind closed doors.

Liz Lipperman said...

Pete, you crack me up. You know that's been banned in California, right? I miss you.

Liz Lipperman said...

Lois, you have a darn good excuse, but I'll take your welcome anyway. I'm really looking forward to getting to know all of you better.

Liz Lipperman said...

Beth, since I started off thinking I was a romance writer, I had to learn how to write a sex scene. I remember how I tried everything--candlelight dinners, wine, lingerie--and nothing. It was only one hot August morning in Texas as I was sitting in my hot car waiting for my daughter to come out of an orthodontist appointment that was only supposed to be a 5 minute one that the words flowed. So, I don't mind reading or writing them. When I do write them, I usually go for what's in their heads and a little humor as I tell the physical part. I'm intrigued by the erotica writers who can describe the actual act in so many different ways. Not my thing but obviously selling big. I did read the first book of Fifty Shades and wondered what all the hype was about. Other than being poorly written with a lot of repeats, I got nothing!!