The World of the Merculians in Book Covers

These are out of order, but alas I cannot fix it!

All these covers are done by Istvan Kadar and I love them!


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And the winner of the Bony Blithe 2021 is…

Congratulations!

Thanks for all the wonderful light mysteries we have been celebrating for 10 years! It’s been fun but all good things must come to an end.




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Incarceration! and the fallout therefrom…

I rarely leave the house these days except for appointments connected to eyes or other health things. Weekends no longer mean anything to me. There is no opera or ballet to look forward to, no friends to meet for lunch where we while away a whole afternoon over wine and good food. No hair salon where one can be ministered to and renewed. I miss this all, as do others, I know.

            And yet…

            While various writers have stated they are not able to write, my muse seems to be thriving in this odd artificial atmosphere.  I readily admit that I am not producing deathless pross for the ages, but then did I ever? Except for a few months when I accomplished a serious rewrite of a manuscript that had never been finished to my satisfaction before and sending this in, what I am working on is not in any way serious work. I have looked into my notebooks filled with novel ideas of one sort or another, with character sketches and possible scenarios and plots. But then I close them again. I am not quite ready for that, apparently.  Instead I pick out a new (and appropriately fancy) notebook and begin to make notes on…yes…another Merculian novel. Just what the world needs! Well, maybe the world doesn’t need it, but I do! 

            So now, although not quite finished with book #6, The River District, I have begun what I sincerely hope will be the last! I have noticed, though, that things are getting a bit darker on Merculian. The crime rate is rising, the baddies are getting worse and poor Marlo is snacking more than ever in an effort to get through it all. And now, in The Visitors––well, I guess we will have to wait to find out what happens this time. I assure you there are still many chuckles and some downright guffaws along the way! And that’s why I stay in this world!

            By the way, the next book–The Colony Dancers– will be out soon! Hope you enjoy it.

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What I am Reading

The Rage Room by Lisa de Nikolits

A dystopian satire using time travel and humour, not to mention whimsy, The Rage Room refuses to be hemmed in by category. Energized by rage and frustration, our main man Sharps lurches from one disaster to another in an effort to correct one big mistake. But there is a lot more than that going on in this unique novel. Read it for fun or read it for the thoughtful roman à thèse at its core. Just read it! It will pull you along on a ride like no other!

Brother, the second award-winning novel by David Chariandy is a paean of love to his older brother Francis. Set in the east end of Scarborough north, it is the kind of book that opens one’s eyes to what is underneath the surface of what we think we know. The writing is simple yet sparkles with unexpected ways of looking at ordinary things, finding beauty in surprising places. He shows how easy it is to slip into bad company, the boys one goes to school with, the ones who live all around you in the yellowing high rises. It is a beautiful book and one I highly recommend.

This book is truly spell-binding, drawing in the reader and then, drip by drip, revealing what really happened out in the cold parking lot out by the frozen lake. The story studies in detail how loss and abuse scars the soul. The writing is beautiful, making us hear and smell and feel the biting cold, the crunch of snow, the freezing wind. As you read on, you gradually come to understand how apt the title is. This novel is a work of art!

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THE RAMBLING WRITER 2

Here is the second volume of

The Rambling Writer you’ve all been waiting for! It’s short. Enjoy!

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MARLO’S DANCE

The first mystery set on Merculian now available everywhere on-line. Here’s what Vicki Delany thinks about Marlo:

“Great fun. Marlo’s Dance combines intricate, fascinating, complex world-building with a practical police procedural. I loved getting to know the charming, chubby Marlo Dasha Bogardini, Merculian detective, and his colourful, artistic, sensual world. Marlo’s Dance is the perfect read for both sci-fi fans and crime fiction aficionados.”

— Vicki Delany, national bestselling author of the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Year Round Christmas mysteries.  

Here’s the video:

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The Roaring Twenties

Me-13 launchThis was supposed to be my year! The good stuff started off early even before the new year with the Mesdames of Mayhem book launch for their music themed anthology In the Key of Thirteen, where I had my story “The Moonlight Sonata”. This is the first of their anthos that I have been in so I was very happy to be included. The good times kept rolling right along with my trip back to Costa Rica in February, a place I love, where I lazed about and read and thought about writing as I swung in my hammock on the beach. And then we came home. A week later, the dreaded plague struck and we were all in lockdown.

Nevertheless, the writing went on and so did the good stuff, although adjusted to this new way of living. The staying inside part was nothing new, since I live this way anyway, hunkering down as I write, but watching all the highlights that give me such joy disappear one by one, that has been hard.  First the opera cancelled the rest of the season. Then the ballet. Then one by one all the appearances I was to make at panels and readings and other events–gone.

Worst of all–– I have two new books coming out. I was looking forward to launch parties, which I haven’t had for a while for one reason or another. Marlo’s Dance is a new
adventure for me. Although it is set in my world of the Merculians, it 

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introduces a new character and a new kind of story–– a police procedural kind of mystery. Marlo Dasha Bogardini is an investigator and is involved right away with finding the dead body of a young dancer. It’s available for pre-order now but I will talk much more about it later.

My second book will be coming out on September 15. The title is IMG_0758Dancing With Chairs in the Music House,  from Inana Publications. This, too, involves murder. Set in Toronto in 1949, it’s the story of a 10 year old girl, living in two rooms with her eccentric family in an old rooming house on Jarvis street. She spends her time wandering around, listening at doors, watching through windows and trying to make sense of what she sees and hears. Eventually she sees something not meant to be seen which changes her world.

But really why am I complaining? Isn’t most of this good news? Yes! It really is. And more good news is that I am writing, working on the last Merculian novel and making notes on another possible novel that will be completely different.

So although the twenties may not have begun to roar in the best of ways, it has plenty of time to change its tune to a more cheerful mode. And we can help by just keeping on keeping on. Write on! And most importantly, read on!

 

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MyÜber Life

7C8C4625-D925-41F5-BA21-7D73D4CB533CWhen I found I could no longer drive, I was strangely relieved. Yes, I realized this would make some things a little harder, but really it was only the short trips that seemed a problem; those quick runs to the store which is just a little too far to walk to now. The bank I do nearly entirely online, and my ever faithful chauffeur is usually on hand, or eager to run the errand himself, so problem solved. I also admit that at first as we Übered alng, I was forever checking side mirrors and turning to see if a cyclist might be coming. My right leg would stiffen, knowing the brakes should be applied. Now!

But little by little I am relaxing as I discover I no longer need to watch the road. Instead I check email, text , look at FaceBook, or even read, though That onlyv happens if I bring bmy Kindle. Yesterday I made notes with my trusty botebook from Lisbon and my little pink pen. Story ideas, naturally.

So yes, I am now living the Über life and enjoying it. Tomorrow  I am going to the opera and don’t have to worry one bit about which route to take to avoid the marathon or roadwork or anything else. I will be relaxing in my chauffeured car, checking up on the story of Rusalka in the back seat. And all for little more than the opera parking!

 

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The Downside of Writing

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Usually during the summer I read, and read, and read. When I go to the cottage the first thing I pack is a milk crate jammed full of books. And in case I run out, I gave a Kindle, also fully loaded. I look forward to these long hours when I have nothing more to do than read. But this year nothing like this is happening. Why? Because my poor brain is on a full boil, completely focused, blinkered to the life around me. In other words, I am living on Merculian.

This has happened before but never to this extent. Usually when I write I can take a break from time to time and read a book. Now, when I try, (and believe me, I have tried!) I feel antsy, anxious and frustrated. I can’t concentrate on what is going on with the plot. And these are good books! It’s not that. It’s just that someone else’s world cannot hold my attention because I want to go back to my world. The one in my head.

You might get the idea from this that I am pounding on the old laptop from morning to night but nothing could be further from the truth. I can barely eek out one scene a day. But in my head, the story lurches on, unrolling in my mind every night when I go to bed. I actually look forward to these times the way some sane people might look forward to a favourite TV show. And every morning I make some notes and write another scene. Or part of a scene, or I go back to add some witty dialogue that came sauntering through my head as I was falling asleep. The wonder of all this is that I do remember it. Most of the time I can barely remember what I came downstairs for!

The writing life is odd. We all work in different ways. But underneath the differences is that same urge, like an underground river, forcing its way into the light. We wouldn’t have it any other way!

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Living in Your Head

D5A25378-A5BA-4685-A28C-CED477EE3BAFI  suppose all authors live in their heads as they write the current novel. We fall in love with our characters and sometimes have a hard time making bad things happen to them, feeling rather apologetic as we put them in danger and anguish and occasionally have to kill them off.  When I wrote my first Merculian novel many years ago I fell in love with a whole world! It was, I thought, a Star Trek novel. Alas, Paramount did not agree and I have their kind rejection letter framed on my wall. Looking back I am really glad! But my Merculian characters lived on quietly in my head, biding their time.

Meanwhile I wrote more novels, which were published, finally, where I explored other genres and their worlds; mystery and erotica , literary short stories and a coming of age novel. But from time to time I remembered my Merculians and at last it was time to revisit their world. I wrote first one book, then two, then three. I took another break and then along came a Merculian mystery, and finally, my work in progress, The Colony Dancers, which is, in a way, a study of what family means.

So far only The Danger Dance and The Abulon Dance are in print, but The Memory Dance just came out in ebook, and the print edition will follow soon. Each of these books is complete in itself, but many of the same characters appear in all of them.

Who are these characters I love so much? They come from a world where the arts reign supreme. They are emotional and pleasure-loving and very sensual. They are small-ish and hate the dark. They are funny…well, some of them are…and thir impetuous natures lead them into a lot of trouble. And they are loyal to a fault…well… most  of them.

Will you love them too? Maybe. Maybe not. But their adventures are complex and  intriguing and many of the questions tackled in these pages are those asked by many of us. Take a look. Step into the world in my head! You might really like it there! And if you do, there are five books to explore! So far….



 

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