"The cosiest fun you can have with a blowtorch and a pair of pliers..."


Because we don’t have enough subgenres already…

A Cozy, by definition is a story that’s light, fun, an easy read you’ll fly right through, usually involving cats, knitting, tea and not much blood or gore.

With no explicit sex, swearing or violence, according to Mystery Guide.com

Conversely, noir is dark, gloomy, gritty. Violence, sex, swearing – all part of the package.

So what do we mean by cozy noir? We ran a pre-contest contest to come up with a tag line or definition. The winner?

Cozy Noir is like a Glock in bunny slippers.

And here was the close second:

Cozy Noir: brooding, blanket-knitting Grandmas with .45s and a hankering to solve a crime. "Pass me the orange pekoe and the hollow-points, honey."
Coming to a theatre near you. Rated R for dark themes, heady violence, and resplendent knitting.

Here’s another way to put it. Noir stories with an unlikely protagonist. Grandma taking down the bad guys with a tazer, for example.

Theoretically, it could also mean a cozy story with an unlikely protagonist, too. A gang member deduces who stole the cookies while knitting and talking to Fluffy the cat. Of course, Fluffy assists in the investigation and in the end, all is forgiven and the cookies are shared over a nice cup of tea.

The main idea is to have some fun with this. Break out of the subgenre mold, surprise us, and write a great story.

In order to kick off the contest, we’ve included a few stories in this issue that we hope will inspire you: A Fistful of Cozy by JA Konrath, Favourite Things by K. Robert Einarson, Unstuffed by Bill Blume and A Child’s Prayer by Sandra Ruttan. We selected these stories so that we could cover a wide range of what we felt qualified as cozy noir, from the humourous to the disturbing. Our usual length guidelines do not apply to these sample stories because they have been offered for the purpose of launching the contest. Length requirements do apply to contest entries.


First prize: Publication in our Winter Issue, publication in our next anthology, a signed copy of Duane Swierczynski’s book, The Wheelman and a signed ARC of Duane’s new book (due out in November), titled The Blonde.

Other selected entries will be published in our Winter Issue. The authors will receive payment for their story publication and an autographed copy of a book by one of the following: Mark Billingham, Anne Frasier, Simon Kernick, JA Konrath, Stuart MacBride, Ian Rankin, Cornelia Read, JD Rhoades and David Skibbons.* Sorry, winners do not receive a copy of a book by each author, just one.)

Entries selected for publication in our Winter Issue will receive the standard payment for publication of their story.

Contest entries should be sent to: submissions@spinetinglermag.com

Please read our submission guidelines, which are posted on our website, and follow them.

There is no entry fee for this contest. Each person may submit no more than three entries.

Regular Spinetingler editors are not eligible to enter.

Submission dates

Entries may be submitted between June 21, 2006 and September 5, 2006.

Entries submitted before June 21 or after September 5 will not be considered.

We are restricting this contest to the first 100 entries only, in order to preserve what little is left of the sanity of our editorial staff.

Please bear in mind that contest entries will not be edited. This is why entries will not be accepted until June 21. Take your time. Polish your work. Make sure it’s ready when you send it.

Entries that do not follow the submission guidelines may be disqualified without notification. Entries that are not sent to the correct email address may be disqualified without notification.

Winners will be notified in October and receive their prizes then. Their stories will be published in the winter issue.

All entries should include a thirty-word author bio and the following release, with the correct information inserted. Entries that do not contain a release may be disqualified without notification.

I, INSERT AUTHOR NAME, certify that I am the writer/artist of the work being submitted to Spinetingler Magazine. This story, INSERT STORY NAME, has not been published previously online or in print and has never been printed in whole or in part on a blog, website or forum or any other medium. I also agree that Spinetingler Magazine may archive work after initial publication. I further agree that Spinetingler may consider my work for print/electronic publication in a best of" anthology at some point. I retain copyright and all rights to my work except First WORLDWIDE Rights. My work may not appear in another publication for 15 months following its release in Spinetingler Magazine without written consent from the editor in order for it to be considered for the anthology. If my work should appear in another publication after that time has elapsed, it will be noted that it first appeared in Spinetingler Magazine, at www.spinetinglermag.com

Spinetingler would like to thank:

Mark Billingham, Anne Frasier, Simon Kernick, JA Konrath, Stuart MacBride, Cornelia Read, David Skibbons and Duane Swierczynski for supporting this contest.

Return to Summer 2006 Table of Contents

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