"A book is made from a tree. It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called "leaves") imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time--proof that humans can work magic."
― Carl Sagan
Lots of talk about AI tools like ChatGPT on social media these days. I don't know about you, but some of the answers these AI brains give to questions asked is more than a bit scary.
What's even more concerning to me is the fact these apps have now been embedded in just about every major search engine and productivity apps (Word, Excel, Google Docs etc). BTW, if your car consoles use Microsoft or Google apps, AI will now be embedded. The ramifications mean everything you write, say, search, analyze, drive to etc will now be learning fodder for the machine brain. It chills me to think about what will happen next...
So today, while there's still time, I thought I'd have some fun and think about what the future holds for major elements in my fav genre, cozy mystery.
I think it's important for human writers (and readers) to dictate content and evolve the direction of their fav genres, not an AI, while we have the chance. What are your thoughts--am I over-reacting?
Here's my speculation on what the future might hold for characters, settings, and plots/tropes in the cozy mystery world...
Characters: Will there be such a thing as an amateur sleuth in the world of tomorrow? I'm drawn to this type character, and I can only hope that human curiosity will continue to be a 'thang' in the future.
I expect to see characters evolve career wise. Will traditional roles of bakers, knitters, shop owners, caterers, B&B caretakers, and the privileged folks who live in stately country manors continue the hunt for those who commit heinous crimes?
Yes, but...I think readers will want to see new sleuthing careers/hobbyists featured to update the appeal of the genre to contemporary reader preferences such as...
Perhaps a climatologist studying global warming? (I can see many, dark storm clouds developing into lethal mysteries)
An adventure-holiday enthusiast who stumbles across deadly deeds as she (or he) takes travelers to the wilds and fresh air of the islands, jungles, mountains, etc to escape their urban environs?
A savvy scientist/inventor exploring the use of robotics for everyday tasks. Maids, cooks, gardeners--what happens when a machine laborer stumbles across a body?
And continuing along this line, what about a human sleuth investigating the misdeeds of AI scoundrels in our midst? Personally. I'd love to see my Nanny Figgy character make mince of an AI ne'er-do-well...
Settings: Closely tied to the characters and their careers, I predict people will be looking for an escape to out of the norm places in the future. With the changes in energy mandates and 15-minute city restrictions, owning a car to take a road trip may not be an option for much longer. Where would you go to get away from it all?
Will characters (and readers) want to escape to homey comforts that no longer exist (good news for the quintessential village and small-town sleuths who can offer a hometown experience--perhaps a cozy stay in a mock-up of St. Mary Mead or Cabot Cove?). Or for adventurers--will there be Under-the-Sea/Haunted Adventures/West Worlds/Dragon Nests/Space Planets that cater to your every whim? In either surround, there will always be the opportunity for murder most foul to occur...sleuths (proprietors or visitors) on holiday are going to be busy.
Even if I don't personally care for it--what about the meta world? Will there be an amateur sleuth meta-space where you solve crimes? Or, suppose you're in a gardening-verse and stumble upon a human skeleton piece as you dig holes for your virtual tulip bulbs? Your cooking-verse is whipping up a delicious 5-course, synthetic meal when one of the cooks starts choking and expires? How does an amateur investigate in a virtual setting? Was a 'real' crime committed? How do you gain access to virtual suspects? How do you create a cozy environment in a sterile, meta-world?
Tropes/Plots: Locked rooms; creepy inhabitants; memory loss (or erasure); those wrongly accused; savvy pets/AI sidekicks--I predict these cozy themes will continue to thrive in the years to come.
Security systems will fail, locking everyone in a closed environ. Escapist holidays to a faraway locale hold loads of deadly promise #DunDunDun as visitors are stranded and the inevitable bad thing happens.
Will robots or AI-trans humans go rogue, lurking around where they're not supposed to? Will what you thought you saw be magically erased by some technological wonder? Will a robo-dog or tech assistant (ie Alexa) who knows all/hears all/sees all become your faithful sleuthing sidekick?
I'm going to continue to document ideas for my cozy mystery genre from the depths (or shallows) of my cozy gray cells as long as I'm able. I'm still of the belief one's experiences and knowledge are the greatest resource for new ideas and mysteries. I'm putting my idea stake in the ground--it's important to me as a human writer and reader of this genre.
What does the future hold for your fav genre? I'd love to hear your ideas (human only, please)! The future is coming...shape it while you can. It's Wednesday, time for #DearDiary:
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Book Reviews are coming in for Murder on the Runway!
Huge thank you to the readers this week--I so appreciate the time you took to leave such lovely reviews! Here's a few words on what they had to say about my latest cozy tale:
Well, this installment delivered the fun in spades! There wasn't a chapter to be read that didn't include a nugget of something being revealed about one character or another. But when an old mystery and a not-so-accidental deadly accident happen, it becomes necessary to try and sort what's relevant and what's not. Leave it to Gemma to know what's what in another wonderful tale of mystery that's as elegant as it is intriguing.
Murder on the Runway : Fashion Week at Castlewood Manor by Veronica Cline Barton is everything a cozy mystery reader might want and more: An upscale setting in London, the buzz of fashion week with one person's designer dreams realized, five-star cuisine, great friends, (Max is my forever fave,) well-behaved cherubs and a fabulous husband to share it with.
Did I mention hijinks, murder, a twist and eyebrow arching mayhem? Seriously, so much fun and a fabulous escape from the bizarreness of 2023.
Once again, thank you so much for the book love--I truly appreciate it! 💖👑👠
A baffling mystery and an awakening on Earth this week from the writers of Twitter...
Author T.A.Williams, Murder in Chianti, 5 ⭐
When retired detective, Dan Armstrong is asked to help with a recent murder investigation, he finds plenty of suspects. The owner of the local golf club has been murdered, and had a personality and actions despised by family members, friends, and those who live around the course.
Motives are plentiful as Dan delves through the clues and learns more about the suspects and their feuds with the murdered man. A shocking admission takes the case down an unexpected path. Will the surprising twist cause the killer to strike again?
Author Williams weaves yet another thrilling whodunnit in this latest book. Family dramas and dark secrets will keep you guessing 'til the end. I've become a huge fan of the retired detective and his newfound life in the beautiful Italian countryside. An intriguing cozy mystery tale, highly recommended!
Author S.S. Bazinet, Use Caution It's Earth, 5 ⭐
When loner, Robbie's unplanned, good deed leads to the arrival of unexpected visitors, he soon comes to realize all in his life is not what it seems. His out of this world friends give him the mind-altering truth, making him question everything he's constructed his earthly livelihood around. With time running out, he pleads for a bit more--but will he come to regret his request?
His run in with a homeless man has changed everything. When two of the stranger's down and out acquaintances move in with Robbie and his out of this world friends, emotions and outbursts run rampant. They all are coming to grips with their diverse situations--will they run away and give up, or face the challenges they've been avoiding?
Author Bazinet weaves a fantastical, poignant, uplifting tale of emotional upheaval and newfound enlightenment. The characters offer many insights to ponder and questions that will make think about your own circumstances and those around you. A heartwarming, inspiring tale sure to make you smile...and wonder 'what if'...
Author Amy Reade's #NewRelease Coming March 3rd--Pre-order your copy now!
Well, Hello March!
The third month of the year blew in with a gusto for us here in southern California! It's been a wet and windy winter for us as February came to a close. The nice thing though is that the hills are alive with greenery thanks to the winter rain! We'll be switching out the red and pink lights for all things green in the next few days in time to celebrate St. Paddy's Day. Time to get your green on! 🍀☘🍀
Welcome to my world. Until next time, have a good one!
Crowns and Kisses,
P.S. With the arrival of March comes some new travels! We're heading south to lovely Asheville N.C. and will be staying at the stately Biltmore Estate to roam the grounds and gather inspiration for Book 9 in my cozy series. I can't wait to stand on the loggia overlooking the Smoky Mountains. Gemma and Rikkhe approve 💖👑