Okay – I’ve been hinting at this book for a while on the blog, and if you’re not familiar with my Facebook posts this might be news.
This is the cover for the new book I’ve written as K.C. McRae. I absolutely love it. Many thanks to Lisa Novak, cover designer extraordinaire at Midnight Ink. She caught the flavor of so many elements important to the book – western landscape, threats from nature as well as people, and a sense of freedom despite hardship. Oh, and mystery, of course. And murder. All of it.
Why another name? After all, I’m already writing the Magical Bakery Mysteries as Bailey Cates. Well, it’s only slightly different from Cricket McRae and I wanted to be clear that Shotgun Moon is a different kind of book than the Home Crafting Mysteries, which are cozies.
A cozy, or traditional mystery, is a rather gentle animal. It features an amateur sleuth, usually is set in a small town, and doesn’t feature sex, graphic violence or swearing. They are by definition light and entertaining.
True, I don’t exactly cling to those rules in the Home Crafting Mysteries – there’s definitely some language and a bit of violence (I’ve been asked to tone down a couple of scenes by editors), and I tread into some issues that some cozy writers carefully avoid. One author I approached for a blub said she couldn’t be associated with a book that had THAT in it! It doesn’t matter what THAT was, really. And thank heavens Midnight Ink is more interested in a good story than a bunch of rules.
But: Shotgun Moon is not a cozy. It’s a contemporary western mystery set in Montana … well, I’ll just share the nice endorsement Craig Johnson, author of the Walt Longmire Mysteries which are the basis for the hit A&E series Longmire gave the book. I’m grateful both for his endorsement and for the fact that he tends to call me kiddo. Funny how weirdly endearing that sounds now that I’m pushing fifty.
“Merry’s got a problem. Fresh from a Texas penitentiary, she returns to Montana to discover that her cousin is suspected of killing a man, trouble the spitfire McCoy knows something about – but you won’t have a problem with K.C. McRae’s western mystery. Shotgun Moon is easy on the ear and the eye – definitely an author and a character to watch out for.”
As it happens, Merry was in prison for killing her rapist. There’s sex and violence in this one, folks. Not a ton, but more than you’d ever find in a cozy.
So: Not so light. And “K.C.” is because I don’t want readers to pick the book up and expect it to be like other books of mine that they’ve read. Simple as that.