HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Dear Readers,

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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! 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! 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…

 

THE RIDDLE OF JULIAN SANDS – Part 2 / Eat This Book: The Cold Vanish

On January 13th, acclaimed British actor, Julian Sands, disappeared while hiking alone near Mt. Baldy, California  The search for him resumed after the winter snows melted though deep patches still linger.  Last week hikers stumbled across a set of human remains in the area where Sands’ cell phone last pinged, remains now confirmed to be his.

In Part One, I introduced Dr. Robert Koester, an expert on the behavior of people who get lost in the wilderness. Now, in Part 2, I’m recommending an excellent book about searching for missing people in the wild, The Cold Vanish, by Jon Billman.

Eat This Book!

Jon Billman, an athlete, creative writing teacher and contributor to famed Outside Magazine, uses his decades of personal experience in search and rescue to create a compelling and thought-provoking narrative on how and why people go missing in the wilds.

Billman shares representative cases of missing persons, from a runner murdered by a serial killer to deaths by falls, exposure and other misadventures to the miraculous rescue of a yoga teacher in the remote forests of Hawaii. And yes, she’d wandered off the beaten path and yes, she’d ended up many miles in the opposite direction from where logic dictated she’d be. She was spotted by mere chance by a search plane which, ironically, had also flown off course.

The overarching story that ties Billman’s book together is the case of Jacob Gray, a young man on a solo journey of self-discovery. Jacob was reported missing after his bicycle was discovered abandoned in Olympic National Park. Billman became close friends with Jacob’s father, Randy Gray, who spent years searching tirelessly for his son. Initially searchers feared that Jacob had fallen into a nearby fast-flowing river, but when divers came up empty, Randy and Billman together explored a gamut of wild possibilities, including Jacob’s joining a cult. In the end, Jacob is found, but no spoilers. Eat the book!

Missing people are located largely due to the efforts of volunteers. Billman introduces colorful characters who have made finding lost people their life mission: Duff, the blood hound handler; Michael Neiger, bushman and self-taught expert; and David Paulides, ex-cop and dedicated Bigfoot researcher.

Sadly many times the outcome is tragic. The classic scenario is that hikers or hunters stumble over the missing person’s skeletal remains, exactly the way Julian Sands was eventually found. Often it’s in a spot far from where the person initially disappeared.

The takeaways from Billman’s book reinforce Dr. Koester’s warnings: don’t stray off the main path, tell people where you are going and if you get lost, stay put!  Best advice of all, don’t go out into the wilderness unprepared and alone.

MY NEW BOOK! Snake Oil and Other Tales

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Cover reveal soon!

I’m excited to announce that Carrick Publishing will be bringing out my new book, Snake Oil and Other Tales. Launch date is slated for October in keeping with the tradition of the Mesdames of Mayhem anthologies.

Snake Oil brings together ten of my stories and novellas published since the release of my first collection, Glow Grass and Other Tales, Carrick Publishing, 2016. Many of the stories were finalists for the Crime Writers of Canada Awards of Excellence.

Stand by for the cover reveal by talented artist, Sara Carrick. I’m especially delighted by this one!

 

NEWS! NEWS! NEWS! TWO CWC NOMINATIONS!

Greetings, Readers!

I was early for my morning walk with friend, TO Poet, so I checked my email and could not believe my eyes. TWO nominations for the Crime Writers of Canada Awards PLUS nominations for many dear author friends. Wow!

My black comedy story, “Must Love Dogs – or You’re Gone”, was my first British publication. It was published in Gone, An Anthology of Crime Storiesedited by Stephen J. Golds for Red Dog Press. My inspiration was an anecdote my dog-owner friend told me about a dog who ate anything, including an electronic car key. And I worked in that most Canadian of settings, Niagara Falls and set the stage in winter. Much fun writing – and rewriting – this one.

Erik De Souza will be interviewing all the finalists for the CWC podcast, including me! Erik believes it’s unusual for an author to be nominated in two categories, so I am doubly honored that my novella, Amdur’s Ghost, is also a finalist. It is part of the Mesdames of Mayhem’s fifth anthology, In the Spirit of 13 where “spirit” can mean ghost, demon or even alcohol!

Amdur’s Ghost is my second story about beleaguered civil servant, Dr. Benjamin Amdur. To fight the right-wing politicians bent on destroying Ontario’s public health care system, Amdur taken on the job of Medical Officer of Health at the province’s most obscure public health department. The new Minister of Health pressures him into finding her missing ex-husband, Nigel Brown, who coincidentally was Amdur’s predecessor.  Brown has vanished without a clue to his whereabouts, but then Amdur gets a note from the local spiritualist medium…

The winners of the CWC Awards will be announced on May 25th at 12 noon. Fingers crossed!

NEWS! NEWS! NEWS!

Really looking forward to the Zoom launch of In the Spirit of 13, the Mesdames and Messieurs of Mayhem’s 5th anthology in celebration of our 10th anniversary. Entry is free but guests must pre-register with the publisher   carrickpublishing@rogers.com

 

NEWS! NEWS! NEWS! My story is the cover story on Mystery Magazine

Greetings Readers!

Sometimes wonderful events cluster. The Mesdames of Mayhem had a full page article in the Toronto Star by Briony James. A huge thank you to my friend, Sylvia Warsh, who landed us this terrific publicity. Here’s the link:

Still from the wonderful Cat Mills documentary, The Mesdames of Mayhem

 

On Sunday, October 30th we launched In the Spirit of 13, our fifth anthology in celebration of our 10th anniversary at our favorite bookstore, Sleuth of Baker Street. It was a smash success! Despite worries about resurging COVID, Sleuth was packed with our fans, friends and family.

And then I woke up this morning to the amazing news that my story, Last Island, is the cover story on Mystery Magazine this month! Wow!

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