I am pleased to have Melissa Bourbon here today, as she kicks off a tour today with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, for her new book “A Killing Notion”. Melissa, who sometimes answers to her Latina-by-marriage name Misa Ramirez, gave up teaching middle and high school kids in Northern California to write full-time amidst horses and Longhorns in North Texas. She fantasizes about spending summers writing in quaint, cozy locales, has a love/hate relationship with yoga and chocolate, is devoted to her family, and can’t believe she’s lucky enough to be living the life of her dreams. She is the Marketing Director with Entangled Publishing, is the author of the Lola Cruz Mystery series with St. Martin’s Minotaur and Entangled Publishing, and A Magical Dressmaking Mystery series with NAL. She also has written two romantic suspense novels, a light paranormal romance, and is the co-author of The Tricked-out Toolbox, a practical marketing guide for authors. Melissa has some incredible prizes to give away on her tour. FIRST, leave a comment below to be eligible to win either an ebook copy of of book one in this series, Pleating for Mercy, or book one in the Lola Cruz mystery series, Living the Vida Lola, winner’s choice. THEN for a chance to win either a Nook or a Kindle or a great sewing basket, just go HERE to enter. Now Melissa is going to tell us why she thinks men don’t read books written by women.
I write cozy mysteries, but I read books in many different genres, books written by both men and women. When I began writing mysteries for women, I wondered… do men read cozy mysteries, or are they too soft? Do women read hardcore sci fi? I imagine some do (on both counts), but in general, probably not. Men, in fact, don’t read a lot of books written by women (the very reason JK Rowling went by her initials instead of by her name).
When I came across a list of top books to be read, it sparked a lot of thought in my stress-addled mind so I came up with this list. Here are the Top Ten reasons why men don’t read books written by women.
10. First, let me just speculate: “Maybe they do, at least occasionally, but just don’t admit it.”
Okay, now that that’s out of the way, here’s what I think may be reasons why men don’t read books by women:
9. Women acknowledge that fiction can give guidance or solace where men…not so much. They keep emotion bottle up inside, right? Every man. Everywhere.
8. Books written by women tend to have more emotion built in and for a man to read such a book would, by association, mean he has those emotions, too, and he just doesn’t, right?
7. Men like novels that focus with an intellectual struggle. So books authored by women are less intellectual.
Oh, I”m getting a little riled up.
6. Men read angst-ridden books in which the struggle to overcome some catastrophic circumstance is at the core of the plot. Again, don’t women write this type of novel? Sure, as long as there’s emotional growth woven in. Ah, emotion, there’s that word again.
5. Rites of passage are, quite literally, part of a man’s experience. Books written by women are less about those rites of passage and more about the choices we make based on circumstances, which is also true in cultures with rites of passage. The boys go out, kill a dear, and become men. The girls, becoming women, are relegated to The Red Tent. Isn’t that still true today? Aren’t all our books about secret women things to which men just can’t relate?
4. Men show a huge lack of interest about personal introspection, family, and/or domestic elements in their book choices. We’re still ingrained with the age old gender differences, and reading choices reflect that. Who’s more introspective, family, and domestically inclined in your household? Man. Breadwinner. Woman. Not. They must think that all books by women have those themes!
3. Raise your hand if you know the gender of Harper Lee. Uh-huh. It’s a top recognized book among men and women, but how many men think Harper’s a man? Okay, this isn’t really a reason, but I’m just sayin’.
2. Men only like adventure and triumphing over adversity like women only like romance and love. God, it’s great to be a stereotype, isn’t it?!
1. Several years ago, Esquire Magazine created a list of 75 books every man should read, and not one is written by a woman, what does that tell you? http://www.esquire.com/the-side/feature/75-books
On a similar list of books every woman should read, there are plenty of women represented. http://jezebel.com/5053732/75-books-every-woman-should-read-the-complete-list
So really it’s the media’s fault for telling us what we should and shouldn’t read and respond to.
And there you have it. We all live in gender boxes. Where do cozy mysteries fit in? Do men read them? What is it about them that make women respond? I have my own theories, but what do you think?
A Killing Notion: A Magical Dressmaking Mystery (Magical Dressmaking Mysteries)
Harlow Jane Cassidy is swamped with homecoming couture requests. If only she didn’t have to help solve a murder, she might get the gowns off the dress forms….
Harlow is doing everything she can to expand her dressmaking business, Buttons & Bows—without letting clients know about her secret charm. When she has a chance to create homecoming dresses with a local charity and handmade mums for several high school girls—including Gracie, whose father, Will, has mended Harlow’s heart—she is ready to use her magical talents for a great cause.
But when Gracie’s date for the dance is accused of murder, Harlow knows things won’t be back on course until she helps Gracie clear the football player’s name. If Harlow can’t patch up this mess before the big game, her business and her love life might be permanently benched.
INCLUDES SEWING TIPS!!
This is not a new series but it was new to me. Which once again means I am going to have to go back and start a series from the beginning because I really enjoyed this. I loved the characters. While the ‘theme’ of this cozy is sewing, and there are sewing tips at the end of the book, you will not be burdened with too much sewing talk during the story although I did read one beautifully worded description of a dress that struck me – I could see the dress. And I learned something – I love when my cozies start me off researching a topic. In this case it was mums. Not the live flower – the ones that they wear at prom time. (Not in New England where I am living, mostly Texas from what I found.) Now in the book they weren’t into X-treme mums and wore them for the pre-dance events but my goodness, some of these mums are HUGE and have backpack type straps to wear them and frankly, I don’t get it as they cover the dress. If I spent hundreds on my daughter’s prom dress and she covered it with one of those things there WOULD be a murder – no mystery – to solve LOL but I digress. I am in love with Earl Grey, the teacup pig. And I loved how within all he cozy elements of the story, the author managed to hide a real thriller of a mystery. Well done. ♥♥♥♥♥
Amazon B&N Book Depository
April 1 – rantin’ ravin’ and reading – Review, Guest Post, Giveaway
April 2 – Escape With Dollycas – Cozy Wednesday – Booked by Author
April 3 – Books-n-Kisses – Review, Interview, Giveaway
April 4 – readalot blog – Review, Giveaway
April 5 – Griperang’s Bookmarks – Review, Giveaway
April 6 – Melina’s Book Blog – Review, Interview, Giveaway
April 7 –Shelley’s Book Case – Review, Giveaway
April 8 – Back Porchervations – Review
April 9 – Queen of All She Reads – Review, Guest Post, Giveaway
April 10 – A Chick Who Reads -Review
April 11 – Brooke Blogs – Review
April 12 – dru’s book musing – Guest Post, Giveaway
April 13 – StoreyBook Reviews – Review, Giveaway
April 14 – Books and Bindings – Review, Guest Post
April 14 – Kaisy Daisy’s Corner – Review
April 15 – Mystery Playground – Interview, Giveaway
April 16 – A Year of Jubilee Reviews – Review, Giveaway
April 18 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Interview
April 19 – Community Bookstop – Review
April 20 – Easter
April 21 – Traci Andrighetti’s Blog – Review
April 22 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – Review, Giveaway
April 24 – A Blue Million Books – Interview
34 thoughts on “A KILLING NOTION (and some amazing giveaways!)”
I love this series. (Both of them) I have a t-shirt that says “Real Men Read Women”
Kaye, I love that shirt slogan! I want one 🙂
Very interesting reasons, and it seem that you maybe very right.
Well, it’s a rant and one opinion. Lots of other great insight here today! I agree, Carolyn, that it’s an interesting subject.
Anything about needles and threads in a cozy mystery sounds good to me!!
I hope you give it a try, Ronna!
Sounds captivating and ilntriguing.
Thank you, Anne 🙂
Visual artists have the same problem. Our society is misogynistic, Women are fine, as long as they are content to remain objects of desire, pursuit, or ridicule. (The operative word here is “objects.”) In the world of fiction, however (as well as in many consumer-driven fields) women have an unappreciated advantage. We are, overwhelmingly, the largest demographic for fiction. We read. Men look at pictures. Really. Ever checked out the men’s magazines? There are two possible solutions. 1. Boycott books by men. (sauce for the goose and all that) 2. Use your initials. It worked for J.K. (and many others)
3. Raise better sons.
I’ve read a Bowker study that does say women are the largest book buying demographic, even though much of what they buy is for other people, including men. Interesting to see the buying demographics for different genres. YA, for example, is still predominantly bought by women because they’re buying for their kids.
Thanks for reading and responding!
With all due respect, I read all kinds of stories, tales and books and it makes no difference to me if the person who wrote them is a man or a woman. I have always had the utmost respect for each person I met and honestly not thought much about equality, because each person’s innate intellect, generosity, caring and skills spoke for themselves. I count easily as many amazing women authors as men in the sixty some odd years I’ve been reading. I humbly submit that many men feel the same way.
George, thank you for responding. I’m so glad to hear you say this! I get disheartened when it seems that there are still such clear gender lines and that cozy mysteries are very predominantly written by women and for women. To hear you say that you don’t consider gender at all when reading a book fills me with joy! Thank you for taking the time to read my post and to comment.
Thank you for your response. It is greatly appreciated. I truly hope you find more and more men who could care less whether a man or woman wrote a story. The story’s the thing. A good tale is a good tale, and always will be. Good luck…and may the dragons watch over you…
George, thank you so much for taking the time to reply. I’m so glad to hear that gender isn’t a factor when you read. I hate that so many elements of our society are still so genderized, and when JK Rowling first published with her initials rather than name so as not to discourage male readers, I was shocked. That was the first I’d ever really thought about gender roles playing a part in publishing and books. I’m very happy to be wrong!
Again, thank you for your thoughtful response.
I’ve given this careful thought before replying. A good host tries not to disagree with guests. But even as a former bra burning, sign carrying feminist, I’m afraid I must in this case. Esquire list aside, and in fairness they are a men’s magazine, I think #10 may be the truest statement. Maybe they don’t like to admit it, maybe they are insecure. The reason I say that is three men emailed me, a bit surprised I put this on the blog. George was the only male, it seems, secure enough to disagree publicly. As to the visual arts, I have belonged to two working studios, one in Ireland and one in Florida. Both were a pretty even male vs female split in the member artists and in the patrons. The women bought more but in Florida they did it with their husband’s credit cards. As to writing, I have no way of knowing who my readers are or their gender, but I do know about my circle of friends. All the men bought the book – in paperback, not Kindle. The women? Let’s see… there was… no… um, none. Zero. Zilch. They all wanted a copy though – free. So I have to say the men were more supportive. And they did read it. Because they discussed it with me. If this has been your experience, I am sorry. As the mother of a son who is madly in love with a scientist and not at all threatened by her brains, I hate seeing these generalizations about men as much as I hate seeing them about women and I would hate even more to think they are commonly true.
Kate, first, thank you for having me! I didn’t intend to stir up any controversy, but was just responding with my first reactions to this list. I’m heartened by George’s and your responses. It’s so easy to believe just one report on a subject (we do it all the time), so it’s incredibly important to get other viewpoints and perspectives. And very important to consider the source (I’m sure a women’s magazine’s list would look very different).
Any dialogue on this subject is great, and I’m happy to be corrected. I have 4 sons and 1 daughter and have, I think and hope, raised them to respect all people equally. My greatest hope is that gender roles (and race) continue to be broken down, allowing more and more equality in all manners of life.
Thank you again for having me and for allowing this great discussion!
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And also, I’m so glad you enjoyed the book!
I probably carry on the gender stereotyping when I give husband books to read. All are male authors that I enjoy, but I don’t share my female cozy authors’ books with him.
Well give him one. He may surprise you and enjoy it.
LOL My husband likes sci fi and grittier stuff, so I never give him cozies, either.
That might be true today because a lot of “cozies” seem to have the hunky detective (which I’m tiring of reading about myself 😛 ) but the classic cozies, I think men have long read them…for example Agatha Christie. Perhaps, it’s because the mystery part isn’t what is typically focused on by many recent cozies which really was what a cozy was about traditionally…the mystery.
I think there is way too much generalization about men, but then I’m married to a man and have a son that I think are pretty sensitive human beings in general. I grew up with a lot of male cousins and I’ve always looked at males and females as people first and foremost.
I’ve had an online mystery forum for 12 years and I find men do read cozies for the same reasons a lot of of us do…a well written mystery. I’m thinking some things called cozy mysteries today really aren’t. If one wants a broader audience than one can’t leave out the interest of half of the potential audience. JMO.
If anyone has the right to an opinion, it is you, Jenny. At least for the last twelve years, you have seen the path the genre of cozy has taken, better than most. And in the forum, the men certainly have plenty to say – favorably – about all the cozies they read.
Jenny, thanks for commenting. I think the definition of cozy has changed over the years. Now it seems a cozy must have the crafty or hobby hook and I think that element skews the readership more toward women in a lot of instances. I find many of today’s cozies have almost equal amounts of ‘hobby’ to ‘mystery’. I think they are more relationship based, which I think also appeals a bit more to women, but it could well be that men read them in equal measure.
I love your perspective on humans… you look at them as people first and foremost. I agree and respect that so much!
Melissa, hi, good to see your comment. I’m not sure who is changing the definition of cozy. A cozy had a pretty defined definition and it came first. I still contend that many books defined as cozy mysteries today are not of the real tradition of them. Maybe I’m a purist and just long for really well written cozy mysteries 🙂
Looks like a good one.
Thank you, Charline!
With all this discussion about men, let us not forget: This is a really good book!
I think we relate to a cozy mystery because many women (not all anymore!) cook and sew and garden, etc. Men figure in our lives but are normally not active in those pursuits (more are active in them now than before!) Thanks for the giveaway!
I love the cover and I will be looking at reading it. 🙂
I love this series and just finished reading A Killing Notion (in one day). I didn’t know who the killer was until near the end and it was a bit of a shock! This book was great!
would so love to read this!!!
thank you for the giveaway!!!
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