The Pitfalls and Pratfalls of Writing a Humorous Cozy Series — guest Vickie Fee

Today we welcome guest Vickie Fee the author of the Liv and Di in Dixie mystery series. I think the Liv and Di in Dixie idea is so clever and fun! Thanks for stopping by Vickie! Vickie is giving a way a mug (pictured front and back) a bag of coffee and a copy of her latest novel It’s Your Party Die If You Want To. Leave a comment below for a chance to win!

cozyintofallpromobk2Here’s a little bit about the book: Between a riverboat gambler-themed engagement party and a murder mystery dinner for charity, Dixie, Tennessee party planner Liv McKay is far too frenzied to feel festive. Add to the mix her duties at the annual businesswomen’s retreat and the antics of a celebrity ghost-hunting diva, and Liv’s schedule is turning out to be the scariest thing about this Halloween—until the ladies stumble across a dead body in a cemetery…

Morgan Robison was a party girl with a penchant for married men and stirring up a cauldron of drama. Any number of scorned wives or frightened philanderers could be behind her death. As Liv and her best friend, Di, set out to dig up the truth, they’ll face the unexpected and find their efforts hampered by a killer with one seriously haunting vendetta…

If you’ve read the first or second novel in my Liv and Di in Dixie mystery series, you may think they’re humorous – or not. But if you scan through some of the reviews on Amazon, you’ll see a number of readers describe them as funny, fun, humorous. A few reviews have even dubbed them laugh-out-loud funny. Of course, a recent GoodReads review commented there was a bit of humor, but she wished there’d been more.

One of the risks of writing humor is that what’s funny to one person isn’t necessarily funny to another.

its-your-party-die-if-you-want-to-qWhen I’m writing, I’m aware some people will find the books humorous and some not so much. But there are other elements in the stories — Southern charm, sass, colorful characters, family ties, some parties, since my protagonist is a party planner — and even a few dead bodies and a little mystery. So when I complete a manuscript I’m optimistic that I’ve thrown a little something in the pot for everyone.

Since becoming a published author, I’ve encountered a less obvious peril of writing a humorous series: People who think the books are funny for some reason assume the author is also funny. It was initially terrifying for me at in-person events when I realized people expected me to be funny.

I can be mildly amusing at dinner parties with a small group of friends who know me well and have managed expectations, depending on how much we’ve had to drink.
But a stand-up comic, I’m not. With strangers the best I can usually manage is funny in a socially awkward, hopefully endearing in a nerdy, but not pathetic way. And that’s my best trick.

With the recent release of my second book, I have several in-person events lined up in the next month or so. Just thinking about it gives me sweaty palms. My husband, who knows me well, has told me many times this year since the release of the first book how proud he is that I’ve pushed myself so far outside my comfort zone to promote the books. There’s a reason for that. It’s called fear. My fear of not selling any books is greater than my fear of embarrassing social situations.

So I’ve developed a couple of strategies to help me through personal appearances.
(BTW, envisioning the audience naked does nothing to allay my fears. If anything it makes me feel even more uncomfortable).

Any time I possibly can, I love doing events with other authors. Being part of a flock or gaggle, or even a pair, is far less intimidating for nerds in the wild than flying solo.
This provides the added advantage of hawking each other’s books. I can gush about another author’s book in a way that would seem egomaniacal if I said such things about my own book.

In addition to safety in numbers, I keep one card up my sleeve. I rehearse one   funny answer to a fairly common question. If no one actually asks me that question during the Q & A, I play like a politician and work their question around to my prepared answer. Not vickiefeemug1being a stand-up comic, I’m still working on my delivery. But the audience generally cuts me some slack for being such an obviously socially awkward book nerd — which actually gives me some street cred as an author.

Vickie Fee is the author of the Liv and Di in Dixie mystery series from Kensington. She blesses hearts and makes Jack Daniels whiskey balls that’ll scorch your tonsils. Her latest book, It’s Your Party, Die If you Want To, came out last week. Book Three in the series, One Fete in the Grave, will be released in May 2017. Find Vickie at

Readers: What about the rest of you, do you have any tips for handling nerves, speaking in public, embracing your inner nerd, or overcoming social awkwardness?

116 Thoughts

  1. Interesting names liv and di, wondering if that was a play on live and die, but found it funny either way; not sure if I’ve come across your books, will have to pop over to amazon and check your books out either way.

  2. Practice makes perfect! That’s what they say. I’m not comfortable in front of people. It would have to be cozy and gathered around me. Good luck!

    1. Thanks, Donamae! I’ve got books to promote so I’ll definitely keep at it! Good luck with the drawing!

  3. Being a southern, I love mysteries set in the south. This title sounds right up my alley and I can’t wait to read it. Thank you for the chance to win the fun looking prize package!!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Johnna — always nice to hear from another Southern gal!

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