Category Archives: Uncategorized

Just that kind of summer…

36fa0fcd251e8234e645b8f252fbf615I’m sitting here in the kind of heat that reduces me to tears anyway, but what IS is about this summer? It’s hot, even for the climate change deny-ers. It’s stormy. Animals are being fried in closed up cars again, and I have no doubt babies are as well. People are shooting people. People are yelling. The terrifying RNC. Soon to be followed by the DNC.

People are driving cranky, swerving in the heat, blasting music out of their windows to protest their lack of air conditioning. Motorcycle drivers are angrier in their leather suits. Can’t say I blame them. Horns. Sirens.

The only cheerful people are the road workers, who have adapted to the heat.

And in amongst this are the losses. My dear Aunt Colleen, one of the kindest women I know, passed away suddenly. A dear friend of mine watched her long time companion ease into death. So many are not doing well, so many are taking those final steps. Perhaps my younger brother is right and these are the end days and all the nice people are being checked out ahead of the disasters. All I can say is, “Hello? I’m still here!!!”

Mind you, so is he.

It’s the kind of summer where you want to sit with your feet in the water somewhere, listening to the waves and bird call, and sipping a series of tangy beers that are light on the tongue. Turn off your phone. Shut down Pokemon Go! Move occasionally to flap away an errant bug. Read. In the SHADE. Read light things like the crazy fun cozies by MaryJane MaffiniVictoria Abbot Melodie Campbell, and  Judy Penz Sheluk. Scary stories like those by the admirable Rick Mofina. Thrillers like those by my newly found fave Alex Marwood.

maxresdefaultNo romances. It’s too hot for romance. Even thinking about a hug is enough to set a sweat cycle off again and trust me, it ain’t pretty. If women glow, I am a firefly these days. And my hair….well, it’s best not spoken about. It’s broken.

No one smells nice.

Mind you, the pheromones are flying about…

Hang tough, world. It doesn’t have to be the end times. Just treat people nice, even if you are a sordid little puddle of malodorous sweat. Be kind. Stop shouting. Have a cool drink or a sip of soothing tea.And pray or dance or hop for all you are worth to whatever deity you may or may not believe in that this fall will turn out all right.

Special hugs to my cousins, who have lost another of the remarkable family we were all lucky enough to grow up in. Love to you all.

And thanks to Philip Hill, who sent me this perfect photo. (Photo by Patrick Joust)


RUN TO GROUND Up For Ben Franklin Award

Fantastic news – Congrats to D.P. Lyle!

The Crime Fiction Writer's Blog

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I just learned that RUN TO GROUND is one of 3 finalist for the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award, Mystery/Suspense Category. I’m thrilled and honored.

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Why A Duck?

I have a lovely daughter/son in transition between the girl she never was and the man she is becoming. It’s hard to find good resources, comments and such about this phase of development. While I support him unconditionally, she/he does not return the favour, and hasn’t spoken to me in over 5 years. I have no idea why not.
I wish I could speak with him about this change, about other things, too. This blog is full of wisdom and I understand it. Maybe one day my newly minted son and I can share it. For now, just sending the message through the ether to let him know I understand. And wish him well.
Wish he’d feel the same way towards me.

A Boy and Her Dog

I am viewing the last two years more like a clarification than a transition. I started out butch, I incorporated trans*, I am still muddling through. Either I will figure it out or I will just keep reading and thinking.

What does it mean to me (this week) to say that I am trans* but I am not transitioning? I’ve been reading the classic text, Harry Benjamin‘s “The Transsexual Phenomenon”.  It is out of print (and very dated since it was written in 1966 post Jorgensen but pre Stonewall); you can download it  from (I would provide the link but I got bounced out of the WordPress Reader last week for linking to something that annoyed the system and I am not taking any chances this week). The is the link to last week’s post.

The simplest description of transgender is that what is “between the ears” doesn’t…

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My poor parrotlet, Dora, looks like the wrath of god. She’s been tearing her feathers out. Now, before you give me a lecture – I’ve taken her to the vet, she eats better stuff than I do, I play with her and she shares her cage with a pretty boy.
What’s not to be happy about?
Nevertheless, she seems stressed. Maybe it’s the almost spring. I’m finding it hard to even think positively as winter keeps up its death throes outside my window.
This year reminds me of the year we had out on the prairies, when it snowed for my youngest son’s birthday – may 3rd – and it was summer for my oldest’s -May 13. I suspect spring will skip by in a moment, leaving us gasping in her wake. And sweating.
I think we’re all, here above the parallel, struggling to get started. Waiting for…waiting for some opening in the greyness.
And around us families and friends are swamped with greyness, too, so we “lean in” to use a suddenly trendy expression, and take on their lives, too, whether they give them to us or not. We care, and so a bit of the life they are leading slips in around the edges.
And so we pluck our feathers, we chew at ourselves. Like Dora, we can self-destroy this way.
Or maybe we can use this time, as she does, to ask for some extra cuddling, some treats, a little tolerance til our feathers grow in again.

Welcome Readers!

Another group of wonderful writers, banding together in the interests of Mayhem! Huzzah!

Mesdames of Mayhem

MadeleineThis is the inaugural blog of the merry Mesdames of Mayhem! Since the Mesdames have named me, M. H. Callway, as the erstwhile founder of our autonomous collective, it is my honour and privilege to pen this our first entry.

And just in case, here is the definition of an autonomous collective via Monty Python:

We are a group of fourteen crime fiction authors. One of us is the winner of the prestigious Edgar, awarded by the Mystery Writers of America. Several of us are winners and finalists of the Arthur Ellis awards, Canada’s national prizes in the field of crime fiction.

Some of us are winners and finalists of the Bony Pete, sponsored by Bloody Words, Canada’s national conference for crime writing. And finalists for the famous Debut Dagger.

For details on our awards and publications, do check out our bios!

We writers are living through a revolution in…

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Guilt by Association: Crime Writers of Canada

Guilt by Association: Crime Writers of Canada.

Another wonderfully interesting blog about killing devices….

The Crime Fiction Writer's Blog

Q: I am currently doing research for a historical novel, one of my main characters, a prosperous middle aged male, was an arsenic-eater who used this drug regularly for some time, at least two years probably longer, he became addicted to it and took increasingly large doses. He eventually died from an overdose of arsenic, possibly intentionally (as in suicide). Could you give me some information about what type of physical as well as psychological symptoms he may have had both as a habitual user as well as dying from n overdose of this drug?

Brandy Purdy, author of The Boleyn Wife, The Tudor Throne, and The Queen’s Pleasure

A: Arsenic (AS) can cause both chronic and acute poisoning and it was indeed used in the past by many people as a folk remedy for almost anything. So was strychnine. Though chronic users can tolerate increasing…

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The Crime Fiction Writer's Blog


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Admit it. Somewhere in your family there’s some young person who is still riding that CSI craze toward a career. They see themselves wearing lab coats and pipetting mysterious liquids under cool blue lighting to the tune of a rock music montage. Or they imagine striding inside the yellow tape, pulling on latex gloves and snapping a sharp “What’ve we got?” at the hot homicide detective. Or they imagine running down a dark alley, dodging behind the dumpster to squeeze off a shot at the serial killer they just figured out is the serial killer by the aftershave he wears, the unique scent of kumji berries blended specially for a boutique in Greenwich Village where the first victim had a temp job.

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Okay, first off—if it’s that last one, tell them to become a cop. CSIs don’t chase suspects. Most of us don’t even carry guns; that’s…

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This site brings me great joy. I particularly like the cream for stigmata.


Children and hallucinogens

From Scarfolk Council, one of the finest sites I’ve seen in sometime. Their self-description:

Scarfolk is a town in North West England that did not progress beyond 1979. Instead, the entire decade of the 1970s loops ad infinitum. Here in Scarfolk, pagan rituals blend seamlessly with science; hauntology is a compulsory subject at school, and everyone must be in bed by 8pm because they are perpetually running a slight fever. “Visit Scarfolk today. Our number one priority is keeping rabies at bay.” For more information please reread.

The site’s got this wonderfully weird Wickerman / Ballard / Prisoner vibe to it. Very cool stuff.


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Great review of the do’s and don’ts – definitely worth a read.


You used photos, videos, drawings — visuals!

I’m amazed, and dismayed, by how few bloggers consistently add visual content to their posts. A sea of words is daunting and dull. Magazines and newspapers know they must seduce readers into their material, not simply subject them to an unbroken and wearying sea of type.

You thought more like an editor

When you write for an editor, your ideas, and how you plan to express them, have to pass muster with someone else, often several. They usually ask you to explain, a little or a lot, why you think this story is worth doing now. Blogging offers writers tremendous freedom of expression — please don’t abuse it.

You remembered that your readers are busy, easily bored and quickly distracted

Journalists are taught to use the “inverted pyramid”, in which the most essential information in any story is at the very top, usually…

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