July is my very favorite month. Thirty-one long, languid summer days filled with mystery and magic – days where it feels like anything and everything is possible. Fireflies flicker in the dusk; the heady scent of flowers lingers on the breeze; and the air always feels charged with moisture and electricity, like a thunderstorm just waiting to happen. The sky is blue and the sun is bright and gardens spring up practically overnight. Fireworks streak the night sky, and I get presents because it’s my birth month. (See? What did I tell you? Magic.)
So it only seems appropriate that The Qwillery has chosen July as the month in which to celebrate the paranormal cozy. For while the best traditional mysteries transport you, paranormal cozies do them one better by transporting you to a world where the Other is possible. And not just possible, but present. Where wishes are granted, guesthouses and bookstores are haunted, vampires eat alongside you in restaurants, and witches weave spells into your clothing and your baked goods. Where your building contractor can also rid your house of ghosts, and your lawyer may literally be heaven-sent. And where, yes, there are murders, but the villains and the criminals aren’t always quite what they seem, and it often takes more than diligent police work to send them packing.
Intrigued? You should be. Take a look at the stellar lineup The Qwillery has in store for you during this, the most magical month of July:
July 3: Ellery Adams, author of the Charmed Pie Shoppe Mysteries. The thoroughly enchanting series debut, Pies and Prejudice, comes out July 3.
July 5: Allison Kingsley, author of the Raven’s Nest Bookstore Mysteries. Book 2 in the series, A Sinister Sense, is also set for release on July 3.
July 6: Juliet Blackwell, author of the Witchcraft Mysteries (Book 4, In a Witch’s Wardrobe, will be available starting July 3) and Haunted Home Renovation Mysteries (Book 2, the utterly fabulous Dead Bolt, was published last December).
July 9: Sarah Zettel, author of the Vampire Chef Mysteries. Book 2, Let Them Eat Stake, was released this past April, and will totally knock your socks off.
July 12: Mary Stanton, author of the Beaufort & Company Mysteries. Book 5, the completely stellar Angel Condemned, came out last November.
July 14: Sophie Kelly, author of the Magical Cats Mysteries. Book 3, the witty and engaging Sleight of Paw, hit bookstores in May.
July 16: Melissa Bourbon, author of the Magical Dressmaking Mysteries. Book 2, the wonderfully charming A Fitting End, was published in February.
July 17: Kari Lee Townsend, author of the Fortune Teller Mysteries, Book 2, Corpse in the Crystal Ball, was released just last month.
July 18: Cleo Coyle (writing as Alice Kimberly), author of the Haunted Bookshop Mysteries. Book 5, The Ghost and the Haunted Mansion, came out in 2009.
July 19: Bailey Cates, author of the Magical Bakery Mysteries. The fun and whimsical series debut, Brownies and Broomsticks, was released this past May.
July 20: Rochelle Staab, author of the Mind for Murder Mysteries. Book 2, Bruja Brouhaha, is scheduled for release in August of this year.
July 24: Michelle Rowen, author of the new Sarah Dearly Mysteries. The series debut, Blood, Bath & Beyond, is due out this August.
July 25: E.J. Copperman, author of the Haunted Guesthouse Mysteries. Book 3, the wildly entertaining Old Haunts, came out last February.
July 27: the incomparable Nancy Atherton, author of the Aunt Dimity: Paranormal Detective Mysteries. If you ask me, there’s not a day in existence than can’t be improved by reading one of Nancy Atherton’s books. The first in the series, Aunt Dimity’s Death, is one of my favorite books of all time, and was named one of the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association’s 100 Favorite Mysteries of the 20th Century. It has the distinction of being the very first paranormal cozy I ever read, and to this day remains the best. I defy you read one of her books and not fall completely and totally under her spell. Book 17 (yes, you read that correctly!), Aunt Dimity and the Village Witch, was released this past April.
July 28: Casey Daniels, author of the Pepper Martin Mysteries. Book 5, Wild Wild Death, hit shelves in January (and I went nuts over over 2011’s A Hard Day’s Fright).
And finally, July 29: Sharon Pape, author of the Portrait of Crime Mysteries. Book 3, Sketch a Falling Star, came out in March.
If you’re looking for something new and different to read this summer – something to help you pass the time when it’s so hot you just can’t sleep, or to distract you from the fact that it’s eighty-bajillion degrees outside and there’s no rain in sight – do yourself a favor and pick up a paranormal cozy. You’ll be happier for it. And there ain’t nobody whose life wouldn’t benefit from the addition of a little more magic…
Katrina Niidas Holm loves mysteries. She lives in Maine with her husband, fabulously talented pulp writer Chris F. Holm, and a noisy, noisy cat. She writes reviews for The Season E-Zine and The Maine Suspect, blogs sporadically over at CriminalElement.com, and you can find her on Twitter.
You can keep up to date with all ParaCozyMysMo happenings at the PCMM page. There will be giveaways and an awesome Grand Prize that will include many books and goodies.