Disasters and Cozies and a #giveaway

Please welcome F.O.W. (Friend of the Wickeds) author Kaye George to the blog. Into the Sweet Hereafter, the third book in Kaye’s Vintage Sweets series releases March 9th. We’re excited to host her her today.

Take it away, Kaye!


No, I’m not talking about losing files and computer malfunctions. Or even having shoulder or wrist surgery and deadlines looming. (Although those have all happened to me, and probably to you or someone you know.)

I’m talking about disasters, real ones, in the real world, interfering with the action I want to have taking place in my novel, Into the Sweet Hereafter, the third in the series.

Tally Holt, the main character in the Vintage Sweets series has a professional performing team for parents. They’ve been performers since she and her brother Colt were very young and got shoved onto the stage to act and sing, just because kids are always cute. Tally and Colt swore off performing as soon as they could. Well, it coincided with the parents, Bob and Nancy Holt, going international with their act and the kids living with the grandparents. The Holts are the complete package, sing, dance, act, and put on a great show. They have no trouble getting bookings around the world.

The problem I had was that things were happening in the world while I was writing. Bad things.

First, I put them in Hong Kong, a place I’ve always loved to read about and would, I thought, like to visit someday. Then things happened. China had been taking back ownership of the colony after allowing them democratic self-government since the lease to Great Britain in 1898. That lease ended in 1997. In those 100 years, Hong Kong established itself as a bustling service-based economy. It has suffered since then, partly from severe flu epidemics, but also from the lessening of their democratic form of government. At first, while I was writing, the college students were protesting recent crackdowns in the airport by standing silently, covered with sticky notes displaying their grievances. I thought it was the cutest protest ever. Then the flights stopped, so I decided to strand the Holts there for a bit. Quickly, however, things escalated and there was real violence. Not cute at all. So I pulled them out of there and decided they should go to Rome instead. That would be safer, right?

So I sent them to Gibraltar, another place I would love to visit. That should be safe, right? Yikes! After they performed, Thomas Cook Travel Agency has a crisis and all European flights were messed up and grounded. They were stranded there!

They finally got a flight to Rome to perform in the Circus Maximus. So naturally, Rome, and many other places in Italy, had historic flooding right then. Even in their venue, the ancient Circus Maximus. They couldn’t perform there at all!

They got to Australia well before the fires there, at least.

And this is a minor subplot!

I hope I made it work and that you’ll enjoy reading about their escapades. Their cozy escapades, right?

Readers: There have certainly been a lot of natural disasters recently and I’m not even counting the pandemic. Do you want the fiction you read to be realistic enough to take those things into account? Or would you rather the fictional worlds ignore the real one and carry on?

GIVEAWAY: If you’d like to win a copy of a book in this series, please leave a comment and I’ll pick one Monday night, the 22nd. Note: If you would like this latest book, I’ll send it when it comes out in March. I can send you a copy of the first or the second one ( Revenge is Sweet and Deadly Sweet Tooth) right away.

About Kaye

Kaye George is a national-bestselling, multiple-award-winning author of pre-history, traditional, and cozy mysteries (her latest is the Vintage Sweets series from Lyrical Press). Her short stories have appeared online, in anthologies, magazines, her own collection, her own anthology, Day of the Dark. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Smoking Guns chapter (Knoxville), Guppies chapter, Authors Guild of TN, Knoxville Writers Group, and Austin Mystery Writers. She lives and works in Knoxville, TN.

47 Thoughts

  1. If one ignores major events in the time period set as that of the book, one has moved to Alternate History and should so declare.

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  2. I have read excerpts from the first book in the series and very much enjoyed it. I have it on my wish list but haven’t ordered it yet. Would love the chance to get a copy. Thank you

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  3. This is awesome!! I’ve read excerpts from this series and was hoping to get them some day. Would love a chance to get the first of the series. Thank you

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  4. I’ve read some books that have happened after Hurricane Katrina. I don’t mind reading about natural disasters in my cozies. Hey I’m from Florida, we always have Hurricane or severe weather alerts. Thank you for this chance. pgenest57 at aol dot com

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  5. Natural disasters are just that: natural, and I’m fine reading about them. I would love to read your book about Italy and Gibraltar!

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  6. Congratulations on the upcoming release! I worked for a man who regularly left disaster in his wake. Two that come immediately to mind were the MGM Grand fire and the collapse of the walkways at the Kansas City Hyatt Regency. Both happened two days after my boss checked out. Sounds like the Holts are giving him a run for his money!

    If a book is set in a specific time period, then I think it’s important to be true to the time and at least make mention of the event. Not sure I’ll ever want to read about the pandemic though.

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  7. I really think it depends on the nature of the disaster. And how much time has passed. And your level of familiarity.

    Me personally, I would not have been comfortable writing about Hurricane Katrina in the immediate aftermath. It didn’t affect me personally (that is, I wasn’t there and I don’t have family who was), but I could mention it now. I also wouldn’t know how to describe it.

    Now a major snow storm? Been there, done that.

    But I’m with Kait. I don’t know that I’ll ever want to read or write about the pandemic.

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  8. Maybe a touch of actual events in a cozy is ok just to keep it real to the period the story it is written in. However, since most of the time I read to relax and to get away from the “real” world where the guilty walk among us (some calling themselves politicians and getting paid for it) and crooks are often not caught and punished, I’d rather it not be up front as in the main event of the book. I’d rather be at a berry festival, cooking contest or a small resort town as a tourist.

    However, the cozy escapades you describe the Holt’s situation makes perfect sense. It highlights how and why the story is taking the turns their path has taken them on without stressing the awful details of the tragic events. In that case, I think it would be fun to see how they adapt and overcome these situations.

    Thank you for the chance to win a copy of one of your books! Shared and hoping to be the fortunate one selected.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

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  9. I’d rather not read books about the pandemic. I read for fun and lockdowns and masks are not fun. I like how some of the TV shows handled it by mentioning it and then skipping to when it’s over. Thanks for the contest.

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  10. Whatever you do, don’t send them to LA! 🙂

    I prefer my cozies to ignore the real world if possible, although I know it isn’t always possible. However, I’ve seen real life be worked into cozies in a way that doesn’t shove me out of the book, aka remind me of reality. It sounds to me like you’ve found one of those ways, especially since it is a subplot.

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  11. Congrats in advance on the upcoming release, Kaye! I don’t mind a natural disaster in a story I’m reading. Like other folks, I’d prefer it not to too devastating. Though I do have a story idea in which a group gets snowed in at a rural retreat and mayhem ensues!

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  12. I would prefer skipping the natural disasters (or any other devastating event) except, perhaps, to set a time frame. I read about the disasters in the news. I read cozies to get away from them.

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  13. I, too, would rather escape the real world. There are enough disasters every day. I need some positive input! Although travel “disasters” don’t really count. I guess I differentiate between “disasters” and obstacles.

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  14. Hi, everyone! I see things are going on here without me. I just got back from a doctor’s appointment to find such great comments, even compliments! I think I’m with you about the pandemic. Unless I start writing horror, I’d love to leave that out from between my covers. Thanks for stopping by, everyone! I’ll check back in a bit.

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  15. I think that it depends on the disaster but I’d be OK reading a story set around one if it fit into the story. E.g. a flood exposing a skeleton.

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  16. Congratulations on the latest book, Kaye!

    I don’t mind reading about a natural disaster in a cozy (e.g. blizzard, hurricane, flood) if it makes sense/key to the story but I do not want to get all the horrific details/devastating descriptions of its effects. Those details would be ok to read in a thriller instead of a cozy.

    DON’T include me in the drawing. You were kind enough to send me a copy of your first book last year (as part of LCC 2020 San Diego’s author-reader connection). And I already have a digital ARC of Into the Sweet Hereafter from Netgalley to read,

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  17. Such a great topic! How much of the real world do cozy readers want to deal with? How best can we present it? (Don’t need to be in the drawing but wanted to shout out here).

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  18. Good grief, what else could go wrong? Scratch that. LOTS could go wrong in real life. The series sounds like fun, Kaye. I’m looking forward to reading it from the beginning.

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  19. Congratulations on your upcoming new release ! Your book sounds like a Great read > Have a great weekend and stay safe.

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  20. I’ve been hearing more than enough about the pandemic, I don’t think I want to read about it too. I also think it would be hard to write about, as not everyone is experiencing it the same. Some are off work, some aren’t. Some places have been hit hard, some barely or not at all. It’s difficult to capture an inclusive true-to-life story for this.
    Great series, I’ve really enjoyed the first two books!

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  21. Congratulations on the new book. I read to escape, but I don’t mind some mention of natural disasters as long as it doesn’t take over the whole story. I really have no desire to read anything about the pandemic.

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  22. I don’t want details but maybe references to the real world although really prefer no real world as well.

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  23. I can handle natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, snow storms, etc., but I’m not sure I want to read about a pandemic in a cozy. It just doesn’t seem to fit in a cozy storyline.

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  24. I would love a copy of your first book. I will see if I can locate it at the library. Before the pandemic my husband and I have been to Rome and Hong Kong (twice).

    Looking forward to reading your books. Have a nice day! Sherrie Wood

    ________________________________________

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  25. Thanks, Kaye, for introducing this question! I’ve been worrying about how to (or if I should) deal with the pandemic in my cozies. After reading all these thoughtful comments, I think my initial instinct was the right one: Don’t. People read (and write) cozy mysteries for entertainment and, yes, escape. And to find out whodunit 😉

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  26. I definitely read to escape. I have read books with natural disasters in them. Not my favorite. If the book is well written, I will read it.
    Would love to win a copy of your book. Thanks for the chance!

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  27. I wish I could put LIKE on all these comments, but I can’t because I don’t have a WordPress account. Just imagine they’re there, OK? Thanks for all the interest!

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  28. Travel is always fraught with uncertainty, but this year has been beyond that norm. The witty agent who arranged the storytelling cruises (like herding cats) told us if we couldn’t handle challenges, stay home and sort socks. She’d greet me, “Did you finally have an uneventful flight?” I always had some trauma along the way, but always had fun once with the group. Stay safe, more fun times are coming. ❤

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  29. This was great! I love being at the Wickeds. I’ve picked barboe1 with a random number generator. Since I wrote this blog, my publisher has made the third book available as an e-book for me to give away. BARBOE1, please contact me at kayegeorge at gmail dot com. You can tell me your preference and I’ll give you the details.

    Thanks again for having me here!

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  30. I read stories to escape the real world, but if I am reading a story that includes an actual disaster that happened then I would want it to be as real as possible.

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