I feel a rant coming on.

I recently read a snippet of a blog or facebook post that said something about the writer coming to terms with being a cozy mystery writer. Or maybe just a cozy mystery writer. I didn’t even read the whole blog, it might have been just the title of the piece. I don’t know. But those words stuck in my head.

Coming to terms with being a cozy writer.

I’m getting just a bit tired of the snobbery that inspires that kind of comment. Writing is damn hard work. I don’t care if you write thrillers, hard-boiled detective, romantic suspense or cozies. It takes time and effort, as well as a good deal of hair pulling. Hard work, dedication and willingness to put up with lousy reviews written by ungrateful slobs that couldn’t push out a synopsis to save their life. A novel? Fuggedaboutit.

Okay, that last thought was rude. I know it and I’m leaving it anyway. I’m damn tired of always being nice.

My point is this: book snobbery is only good for making one human being feel superior to another. Readers and writers. What does it matter if you only read “literary fiction?” Do you think that makes you better than someone who only reads romance or mystery. How about fantasy or science fiction? I’m telling you, saying that one genre is better than another is a bunch of bullcrap.

Sure, you may like fantasy better than any other genre. I certainly have my favorite genres. The stuff I like to read usually makes me laugh. That’s my criteria. But do I try to make my choice superior to those who like to read things that make them cry? No. Why in the world would I want to impose my taste in reading on someone else? To what purpose would I say comedic mystery/sci-fi/fantasy is better than tragedy? It is to me, sure. And here’s the rub – just because I like it better doesn’t make it intrinsically better. Saying the fiction I like is better than the fiction you like is tantamount to saying I am better than you. Which again, is a bunch of bull pucky.

Life is tough enough without creating false divides.

If you enjoy writing cozies, then go for it. Own it. Revel in it. Be fucking proud. (Sorry, potty mouth me.) If you read fantasy, mystery, thriller, sci-fi, romance, erotica, fan fiction, you name it, don’t let anyone tell you that those forms of fiction are any less than any other form. For gods sake, you can find poorly written drivel in ANY genre. You can find fantastic books in ANY genre.

Readers have different tastes, thank god. That gives us writers something to shoot for.

But for a cozy writer to have to “come to terms” with what she or he writes? That’s just a load of crap. Not that person’s feelings, you understand. But the fact that our current state of literary snobbery makes that person feel less than for what they write. That bloody steams me.

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Okay Scotland Travelers. Here is the new Itinerary:  Pricing to follow!

Kate George’s Scotland Research Trip
Tour Date: March 17-26, 2016
2016
Thu, Mar 17 UNITED STATES TO EDINBURGH
* Depart the US on an overnight flight to Edinburgh
Fri, Mar 18 EDINBURGH ARRIVAL & FREE TIME
* Arrival into Edinburgh Airport
* Transfer from Edinburgh Airport to hotel
*Afternoon at leisure
OVERNIGHT: PARLIAMENT HOUSE HOTEL, EDINBURGH
Sat, Mar 19 EDINBURGH TOUR, LINLITHGOW PALACE & BLACKNESS CASTLE
*Tour of Edinburgh with a local guide
* Visit Edinburgh Castle
* Travel west to visit Linlithgow Palace
* Motor a short distance to visit Blackness Castle
* Travel through the Borders, back to Edinburgh

OVERNIGHT: PARLIAMENT HOUSE HOTEL, EDINBURGH
Sun, Mar 20 REAL MARY KING’S CLOSE
* Guided tour and visit of Real Mary King’s Close
* Afternoon at leisure

OVERNIGHT: PARLIAMENT HOUSE HOTEL, EDINBURGH
Mon, Mar 21 BLAIR ATHOL DISTILLERY & CLAVA CAIRNS
* Travel northwest to Pitlochry to visit Blair Athol Distillery (Tour/Tasting)
* After your visit, travel north to visit the Clava Cairns
* Continue to Dingwall and check into your hotel
OVERNIGHT: TULLOCH CASTLE HOTEL, DINGWALL

Tue, Mar 22 LOCH NESS CRUISE & CULLODEN VISITOR CENTRE
*Drive south to take a scenic cruise on Loch Ness
* Then drive a short distance to visit Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre
* Continue on to visit Urquhart Castle
* Then stop to see Beauly Priory before returning to Dingwall
OVERNIGHT: TULLOCH CASTLE HOTEL, DINGWALL

Wed, Mar 23 EXCURSION TO THE ISLE OF SKYE
* Leaving Dingwall, drive southwest to visit Eilean Donan Castle
* Then travel via the Skye Bridge to the Isle of Skye
* Take a panoramic tour of the Isle of Skye
* Stop in Armadale to take a ferry to Mallaig
* From Mallaig, travel the Road of the Isles to Fort William
* Upon arrival check into your hotel for your overnight stay

OVERNIGHT: BEN NEVIS HOTEL, FORT WILLIAM

Thu, Mar 24 DOUNE CASTLE & GLASGOW
* Travel via Glencoe to Doune
* Stop to visit Doune Castle
* Continue to Glasgow to check into your hotel

OVERNIGHT: THISTLE HOTEL, GLASGOW

Fri, Mar 25 GLASGOW AT LEISURE
* Spend the entire day at leisure in Glasgow

OVERNIGHT: THISTLE HOTEL, GLASGOW

Sat, Mar 26 RETURN FROM EDINBURGH TO UNITED STATES
*Transfer from the hotel to Edinburgh Airport
*Enjoy your flight back to the United States

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So here’s the deal. I’m going on a research trip for a book I have in my head. It’s about a murder on a tour of Scotland. For that I need to go on a tour of Scotland.

I could just book myself on a standard tour and off we go. But wouldn’t it be more fun to do a custom tour with people who like my work, or like me, or just want to go stay in a castle in Scotland?

I’m looking for between 15 and 30 people who want to hang with me for ten days, have our own private tour bus and our own private tour guide and have a ton of fun. We fly out March 17, 2016 and return March 26.  If you want to go leave me a message in the comments and I’ll send you the cost etc…   It’s bound to be a ton of fun.

And for you Outlander fans there will be a couple of opportunities to see where it’s filmed.

ETA: Okay, I told the travel agency Highlander instead of Outlander. Oops. My bad. However, it is being fixed. And when I get the changes to the itinerary I will post them here.

Here’s the itinerary:

Thu, Mar 17
UNITED STATES TO EDINBURGH
? Depart the US on an overnight flight to Edinburgh
Fri, Mar 18
EDINBURGH ARRIVAL & FREE TIME
? Arrival into Edinburgh Airport
? Transfer to your hotel and check in
? Afternoon at leisure
OVERNIGHT: PARLIAMENT HOUSE HOTEL, EDINBURGH
Sat, Mar 19
EDINBURGH HIGHLIGHTS & LINLITHGOW CASTLE
? Tour of Edinburgh with a local guide
? Visit Edinburgh Castle
? Drive west to Linlithgow
? Visit Linlithgow Palace
? Enjoy panoramic views of the Borders
? Return to Edinburgh
OVERNIGHT: PARLIAMENT HOUSE HOTEL, EDINBURGH
Sun, Mar 20
REAL MARY KING’S CLOSE
? Guided tour of Real Mary King’s Close
? Afternoon at leisure
OVERNIGHT: PARLIAMENT HOUSE HOTEL, EDINBURGH
Mon, Mar 21
PITLOCHRY & DINGWALL
? Drive north to Pitlochry
? Visit Blair Athol Distillery (tour/tasting)
? Continue to Dingwall and check into your hotel
OVERNIGHT: TULLOCH CASTLE HOTEL, DINGWALL  (Yes a real castle!!) This will be the second time I’ve stayed in a castle.
Tue, Mar 22
INVERNESS
? Travel southwest to Inverness for a look around
? Drive a short distance for a scenic cruise on Loch Ness
? Then drive a short distance to visit Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre
? Return to Dingwall
OVERNIGHT: TULLOCH CASTLE HOTEL, DINGWALL
Wed, Mar 23
EXCURSION TO THE ISLE OF SKYE
? Depart Dinglwall and travel southwest to Dornie
? Visit Eilean Donan Castle – This is for those Highlander oops, Outlander, fans among us.
? Continue over Skye Bridge to Isle of Skye
? Upon arrival take a tour of the isle
? Stop in Armadale to take ferry to Mallaig
? From Mallaig, drive the Road of the Isles to Fort William
? Then check into your hotel
OVERNIGHT: BEN NEVIS HOTEL, FORT WILLIAM
Thu, Mar 24
GLENCOE & GLASGOW
? Leaving Fort William travel into the Glencoe region
? Stop to visit the Glencoe Visitor Centre
? Continue passed Loch Lomond to Glasgow
? Upon arrival take a panoramic tour of the city
? Check into your hotel for your overnight stay
OVERNIGHT: THISTLE HOTEL, GLASGOW
Fri, Mar 25
GLASGOW AT LEISURE
? Spend the entire day at leisure to explore the city
OVERNIGHT: THISTLE HOTEL, GLASGOW
Sat, Mar 26
RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES
? Transfer to Dublin Airport to check in for your flight
? Enjoy your flight back to the United States

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Driving from Vermont to Church Point, Nova Scotia and back in three days. Especially if you like your sleep. Oh and we threw a two and a half hour kayaking excursion in there too.

We missed hotel breakfast the next day.

Because, you know, it’s hard to get up and out before 10:30 am when you don’t crawl between the sheets until 3:00 am.

Also, if any of the people I’m ghost writing for are reading this – I’m running behind. Sorry. It’s harder to write in the car than I thought.

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I posted a possible first paragraph on Facebook yesterday.  Here is a possible first page. I broke all kinds of rules with the structure here and I’m not at all sure it’s going to fly but take a read anyway and tell me what you think.

I can take it.

Bree Four:

I was up to my neck in burdock and fast drying foam insulation, cursing myself for getting into this mess, when it occurred to me that I didn’t. It was Lock who’d put my butt in a sling this time around. Not for the first time either. Damn it. You’d think I’d learn. When I got out of this, if I got out of this, he and I were going to have a little discussion.

Like that would help.

My name is Bree MacGowan, I’m thirty-one years old, unattached and stunning in every way. Or not. It depends on who you ask. Mostly I’m average in a brown eyes and hair way.  My life of late has become mile long domino fall with a train wreck at the end. I pretty much tripped over three dead bodies in the last year, and the last one was credited to a very nasty female Mob boss named Margaret LeDonn. She wants me dead. Or at least I presume she wants me dead, I put her in prison and Richard Hambecker says she wants me dead. He’s usually right about these things, although you’ll never catch me telling him that.

Richard Hambecker alternates between being a gigantic pain in my brain and my buff and competent federal agent boyfriend/bodyguard. He once abducted me from my home and flew with me across the country, supposedly so he could keep me safe under his ‘watchful eye.’ He swears he would have defied orders and left me at home if he’d known how that was going to turn out. I’m not an easy keeper.

Burdocks. Burdocks are the ugliest prickly problem in my life. And a pain. Before my house burned down I’d have to mow them down on a regular basis otherwise my dogs would come back from a run in the fields covered with barbed seed balls that took hours to comb out of their coats. The seeds stick to everything, so if I wasn’t careful I’d brush them out of a dog only to find them stuck to my socks. And they grow everywhere, including between the bricks of the patio a former boyfriend built for me.

Burdocks got back on my radar after my younger brother, Lock – yes the brother who delights in getting me in trouble – called to tell me he and his longtime live-in girlfriend, Ella, were getting married.

“Congratulations,” I said. “Was Ella sober when she agreed?”

“Stop it, Bree,” Lock countered, “Or would you like to talk about your boyfriends?”

I wouldn’t.

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