HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Dear Readers,

black and white abstract painting

Thank you so much for your support during 2023, a challenging year with many peaks and valleys, but we got through it!

Authors would not be here without you. Wishing you all good things in 2024 and hope to meet you in the Real World.

Big Holiday Hugs,

Madeleine

NEWS! NEWS! NEWS! Launch of Snake Oil and Other Tales, Nov 4th, 2 pm, Sleuth of Baker Street

Greetings Readers!

The launch of Snake Oil and Other Tales, my second collection of crime stories is this coming Saturday, November 4th at Sleuth of Baker Street Bookstore, 907 Millwood Road, Toronto.

The paperback edition of Snake Oil will be available for sale. Sleuth’s will always be happy to take your order, too.

I’d love to meet and chat with you in person. And do take the opportunity to browse Sleuth’s unrivaled collection of vintage mysteries and buy that book you’ve always been looking for.

With huge bears hug and thank you’s to my publisher and editor, Donna Carrick at Carrick Publishing; to Sara Carrick for her fabulous cover and to Marian Misters and J. D. Singh of Sleuth’s for hosting!

NEWS! NEWS! NEWS! Interview Friday!

Greetings Readers!

Today I’m both delighted and honored to be interviewed by two great supporters of their fellow authors.

Joanne Guidoccio

I’m visiting Joanne Guidoccio’s Friday page to share 10 tips on short crime fiction writing: the hills, valleys and rewards of pursuing this literary form. Here’s the link.

Do subscribe to Joanne’s blog. It’s a great way to discover new authors. And her interesting blogs range from humour to confidence-building to life observations.

 

Rosemary McCracken

And I’m also a guest on my dear friend and leading crime writer, Rosemary McCracken’s  blog, Moving Target,  talking about writing on the dark side. Here’s the link.

Subscribing to Moving Target is another excellent way to discover new crime fiction authors. Rosemary is the author of the popular Pat Tierney financial mystery series and a widely published short story writer.

NEWS! NEWS! NEWS! Snake Oil and Other Tales Now Available!

Greetings Readers!

My second collection of crime stories is now LIVE on Amazon. It’s available in Kindle ebook, paper back and hard cover format.

Here’s the link

With a huge bear hug and big thank you to my publisher and editor, Donna Carrick at Carrick Publishing and to Sara Carrick for her fabulous cover!!

NEWS! NEWS! NEWS! My Interview with Melissa Yi!

Greetings Readers!

Delighted to be interviewed by my friend and fab author, Dr. Melissa Yi, about my upcoming book, Snake Oil and Other Tales.

I’m excited to be part of Melissa’s kick-starter for her new Dr. Hope Sze mystery, Sugar and Vice, Book 3 of the Seven Deadly Sins series. Hope attends a festival that celebrates dragon boat racing and food, an unusual pairing made sinister by a warning that someone is about to die.

Read our interview here and do check out Melissa’s kick- starter here.

 

NEWS! NEWS! NEWS! Snake Oil and Other Tales Available for Pre-Order!

Greetings Readers!

I’m delighted to tell you that my second collection of crime stories is now available for pre-order on Amazon. It’s in Kindle, paper back and hard cover.

Here’s the link

With a huge thank you, as always, to my publisher and editor, Donna Carrick at Carrick Publishing!

THE TITANIC and ME

On April 15, 1912, the Titanic sank on her maiden voyage 430 miles off the Newfoundland coast after colliding with an iceberg. Of the 2224 passengers and crew on board, more than 1500 died. To this day, it remains the deadliest sinking of an ocean liner or cruise ship. 

I grew up hearing a lot about the Titanic disaster from my father, who claimed that he’d been taught dinghy sailing by the surviving First Mate.  That might have been Charles Herbert Lightoller, who was actually the Titanic’s second officer

Now my dad notoriously got facts wrong, so I can’t guarantee that his claim wasn’t pure wish-fantasy. But if Dad was indeed shown the ropes (literally) by Lightoller, he had reason to be proud, because Lightoller was a hero. He made sure that women and children got in the lifeboats first and managed to save his life and the lives of fellow crewmen by climbing on top of a capsized life boat and getting everyone to balance it.  He went on to serve in the Royal Navy in WWI (twice decorated) and in WWII, while in his sixties, he sailed his personal yacht to rescue servicemen from Dunkirk!

The Titanic remained lost beneath the waves while I grew up. Excitingly, on September 1, 1985, a few days before my daughter was born, Admiral Robert Ballard and his team located the wreck, 12,000 feet down. They’d previously searched for two lost nuclear submarines and discovered that they had both imploded from the immense pressure of the water.  Ballard located the submarines by their debris fields and this is how the Titanic, too, was located. (See map below.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rediscovered, the Titanic looked incredibly creepy. It had broken in half, as reported by many eye witnesses – and it had hit the ocean floor with immense force. We can related to objects falling through air; it’s a stretch to imagine an object as large as the Titanic falling through water with the consequent damage. Mercifully all biological materials, including human remains, had vanished. The iron hull, too, was dissolving due to deep-sea micro-organisms, resulting in eerie, melting rusticles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think it’s prophetic that my daughter, Claire, was born so close to the Titanic’s discovery. We share the same fascination with its story. Watching the documentary, Titanica, together at the Ontario Place Cinesphere is one of my cherished memories.

Titanica was a joint Russian-American expedition. (Remember those sunny days when shared economic prosperity promised to save the world?) We learned more about the immense pressures at depth and the perils of submersibles, including the hyper-oxygen atmosphere. Even more importantly we learned about technology-induced hubris.  No one believed that the Titanic could sink: the number of lifeboats was reduced so as not to spoil its sleek look. The passenger list was crowded with names of the rich and famous. Sound familiar? 

So what destroyed the Titanic? The ice berg did not rip a huge, entrail-spilling gash in its side. Rather it bumped the side of the ship, popping out the rivets to create a modest looking bulge that let in water.  The design of the ship’s interior worked like an ice cube tray, allowing water to flow from one interior compartment to another, dragging it down.  

Which brings me to the most recent Titanic disaster. On June 18. 2023, Oceangate’s Titan submersible was bringing  billionaire, Shahzada Dawood and his son, Titanic expert Paul-Henri Nargeolet and adventurer, Hamish Harding, down to view the wreck. It imploded on descent, killing everyone on board in milliseconds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Titan was being piloted by OceanGate CEO, Stockton Rush, who had a history of flouting conventional designs and safety rules. The body of the submersible was carbon fibre, which, as any cyclist can tell you, is extremely light, strong…and brittle. One hairline crack would have been enough to cause the implosion. Also Rush did not equip the Titan with an emergency locator beacon and used an Atari (?) game controller to steer the vessel. (Really??) Criticisms of his design were dismissed as a “serious personal insult”.

When I studied industrial health and safety, I learned a concept called the Heinz Rule: how many close calls do you have before you get into a serious or fatal accident? The answer is surprising. Intuition says 3 or 4 times, but in fact, it’s more like 200 to 300 times. Small wonder Rush felt he was invulnerable and above mere mortals. 

We all know how that worked out…

 

NEWS! NEWS! NEWS! My new book, Snake Oil and Other Tales, Cover Reveal!

Delighted to reveal the cover for my upcoming book, Snake Oil and Other Tales) Carrick Publishing. Here it is!

A huge thank you to cover artist extraordinaire, Sara Carrick!

Planned release date,  September, 2023. Will be available in digital and hard copy.

EAT MORE BOOKS!! Back to the Dark Side – New Works by S. A. Crosby and and Sam Wiebe!

I finally bagged a copy of Sam Wiebe’s new thriller, Sunset and Jericho, the fourth book in the Dave Wakeland PI series. Thank you Sleuth of Baker Street bookstore! 

Sam is a personal friend. We were both up for the CWC Best Unpublished Manuscript Award (Sam won) and later both of us were nominated for Best First Novel. We lost to Steve Burrows and his bird-watching detective, Jejeune. Sigh. We finally met in person at Portland Left Coast Crime and bonded over our love of Noir.

Sam is passionate about his home city, Vancouver and in each of the Wakeland novels, he explores a serious social issue impacting the lives of its citizens. In Sunset and Jericho, he takes on the housing affordability crisis and the increasing socio-economic wealth gap.

 Wakeland’s life is ruled by violence, both perpetrated by and inflicted on him. He survives an amazing number of near-death beatings and is finally told by his doctors to quit his PI job or die. There’s no resolution to the social ills depicted in this book – just like real life. A master stylist of the PI genre, Sam keeps you reading through to the devastating twist at the end.

Sam’s next book is a standalone and he’s hinted that Sunset and Jericho may be the last is the Wakeland series. Hopefully not. I’m eager to read more of Wakeland’s adventures.

 

Sean Cosby is the author of four stand-alone thrillers and the winner and finalist of numerous leading awards, including the Anthony and ITW Thriller award. In each book, he explores the social ills affecting our society from an African-American perspective.

A master of style and substance, All the Sinners Bleed, is possibly Sean’s best book to date. (Stephen King gave it a rave review in the New York Times.) The book is a police procedural set in the Southern USA. It transcends the genre in the masterful first two pages about the blood-soaked, evil history of Charon County.

On the surface, the story is about the pursuit of a serial killer by Titus Crown, the first black sheriff elected in Charon. Titus, a former FBI agent, allegedly moved back home to look after his elderly father, but he left the FBI under a cloud for taking justice into his own hands. Cosby takes on financial corruption, political weaseling, cult religions and socio-economic inequity while creating a tense thriller that’s impossible to put down.  It’s a tough book, violent and unsparing in its depiction of crime and social evils rooted in America’s undying racism. One of the best crime fiction books of 2023.

I love dark reads, me!

Eat these books! Highly recommended. Both 5 stars.

 

 

 

EAT THESE COZY BOOKS!! New works by Melodie Campbell and Rob Osler!

Cozies, yum!

I read mostly thrillers and noir so cozies aren’t really my go-to read, BUT every once in while it’s great to switch up, which is why I’m recommending two engaging and thoroughly entertaining reads: The Merry Widow Murders (Cormorant Press) by Melodie Campbell and The Devil’s Chew Toy by Rob Osler.

 

 

BOOK ONE: THE MERRY WIDOW MURDERS

Melodie and I are longstanding author friends and I’m big fan of her Derringer-winning Goddaughter novella series. Melodie, AKA The Mesdames of Mayhem’s Queen of Comedy, got her training in stand-up, so she’s always written short. Do take a look at her featured story, “The Kindred Spirits Detective Agency” on the Mesdames’ website and see how she creates a world in under 2000 words. That takes skill!

Melodie confided to me that writing “long” for a standard novel posed a challenge. And it’s a challenge she’s overcome beautifully in The Merry Widow Murders. Her mystery is set in 1928 aboard a luxury ocean liner. Lady Lucy Revelstoke, the wealthy young widow of an English lord, is travelling back to England when someone dumps a dead stranger in her cabin. Was this planned or an unhappy accident? Lucy and her two sidekicks, Lord Tony and her maid, Elf, don’t wait to find out. They try to dispose of the body discretely, but things don’t go as planned.

Lucy has a shady past, which would ruin her in the conventional society of the day. To safeguard her reputation, Lucy must solve the stranger’s murder. The mystery has many twists and turns and a satisfying ending. I especially enjoyed the descriptions of ocean-going life, the food and art deco decor. Melodie skillfully weaves in social comment about the position of women in 1928 and the strictures of social convention.

BOOK TWO: DEVIL’S CHEW TOY

I had the pleasure of meeting Rob Osler in person at Left Coast Crime in Tucson this year. Fellow author, Stephen Buehler, who’s also a professional magician, invited me to LCC’s Author Speed Dating – not as an author pitching a book but as a reader. This proved to be terrific training for how to pitch to readers and a most enjoyable way to discover new authors and books.

Rob’s book stood out, not only because it was nominated for a Lefty Award, but because of his humorous pitch. His bookmarks were dog bone-shaped and he promoted The Devil’s Chew Toy with a funny poem – doggerel, get it?

The premise is hilarious. Hayden McCall is a shy high school teacher, who because of his height, is constantly mistaken for one of his students. His love life isn’t great nor is his luck. Venturing out to the local gay bar, he is accidentally punched in the face by Camillo, the hot disco dancer. Feeling bad for him, Camilo takes him back to his place. The morning after Hayden wakes up to the police banging on the door. Camilo has disappeared – and Hayden is not only a suspect, he’s saddled with Camilo’s pit bull terrier.

Aided by Camilo’s feisty lesbian friends, Hayden tries to find him through a series of mishaps and misadventures. Camilo’s disappearance is tied to a shady pet store, appropriately named Barkingham Palace.  Hayden solves the mystery and – surprise – for once there are NO murders in the book!

Both books 5-star reads and highly recommended!

 

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