Monday, May 12, 2014

Got Shtick?

Wikipedia calls shtick a comic theme or gimmick. 

About a quarter through the cozy, A Good Man Gone by A.W. Hartoin, I must confess to enjoying the comical aspects of depicting the main character as a Marilyn Monroe double, who puts that likeness to good use while trying to solve a mystery. The Kindle edition, by the way, is still free today (Monday) at
(I'm not sure how long the freebie will last.)

In A Perfect Angel, my current romantic comedy work in progress, the shtick is my character's penchant for perfection, and her struggles to break ingrained habits.

Other gimmicks can be found in Joanna Slan's cozy series featuring Kiki Lowenstein, a scrapbooker, as well as Lois Winston's cozy series with Anastasia Pollack, a magazine crafts editor.

Outside the mystery genre are Celia Yeary, Cheryl Pierson, Caroline Clemmons, and other authors at the Sweethearts of the West blog. Their shtick is using the West as a setting for their romances.

Can you think of other examples from your own novels or someone else's? 

Find Morgan Mandel's mysteries and romances at

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Twitter: @MorganMandel


Joanna Slan said...

Thanks so much for mentioning Kiki!

Joanna Slan said...

By the way--Ink, Red, Dead--the third book in the series is currently on sale for just 99 cents. Readers can go to

Cheryl Pierson said...

Hi Morgan! I have another schtick I use a lot too--my wounded heroes. I'm writing a short story right now, coming up on the end of it, and still haven't wounded my hero. I'm getting nervous! LOL Thanks for mentioning me today in your blog. You have such a great site here!

Lois Winston said...

Hi Morgan! Thanks so much for mentioning my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series! Much appreciated.

Morgan Mandel said...

All of you have great shticks!
And wounded heroes sounds like a good new one for you, Cheryl !

Nik said...

Please don't give me any stick, but I thought she was going to be a female Saint, Simone Templar!

marja said...

Carolyn J. Rose comes to mind. Her shtick has to do with a substitute teacher. I've laughed out loud at some of her antics. And now you've given me more books to try by your comments. : )
Marja McGraw

Celia Yeary said...

Gosh, Morgan, you've stumped me. I'm not sure what my shtick is--I don't know the meaning of this word! But after reading the comments, I have a vague idea.
One might be that I must redeem some major character--usually, it's the hero, because don't men ordinarily need more redeeming than women???
Another is that I like the heroine to save herself--and sometimes her man, too. Shoot, any story could have the hero riding to the rescue--why not have the heroine in that role?
Thanks so much for mentioning me and that I write Western Romance.

Morgan Mandel said...

Celia, your shtick is Western romance. It's a gimmick to attract
readers. In your case, it's also called a niche in writers' circles.
That doesn't apply in all cases, though. It's just some special something which will set a novel apart from others.