Terminally Ill Onstage and Sugar and Vice in the World

Terminally Ill cast: undercurrents 2024

Hope Sze: Stefanie Velichkin-Hitgano

Elvis: Corinne Viau

Archer: Brandon Nguyen

Kameron: Malia Rogers

Ryan: Song Wang

Mme. Bérubé/Tori: Melissa Yi

Director: Micah Jondel DeShazer

Playwright/Producer: Melissa Yi

Stage manager: Tamara Laplante

Writing is lonely. We want to connect with readers, but even bestseller Lee Goldberg says he may never see people reading his books in public with the advent of ereaders.
Solution: TURN YOUR BOOK INTO A PLAY. That’s what I did! The header photo is our final cast for the undercurrents festival.

Photo above of Stefanie Hitgano as Hope Sze resuscitating Melissa Landry as Elvis (photos by Jen Derbach from the TACTICS workshop).

And here you see Kameron (Eponine Lee) stepping forward. She played Juliet in R+J at Stratford. Shakespeare, Melissa Yi, same, same. 😊 Tucker was Dora-Award winning theatre maker Richard Lee, sitting with Hope, and Micah Jondel DeShazer, our director, sits above them.

Well, now it’s time for Terminally Ill to debut at the undercurrents festival in Ottawa Feb 8-10, 2024!

February 8: 8:30pm

February 9: 7:00pm

February 10: 3:30pm

Buy your tickets here: https://ottawafringe.com/show/terminally-ill/

Strictly optional: would you like to cosplay?

The audience can be part of the show if you want. Some ideas:

  • A medical outfit like scrubs or a white coat, in honour of Dr. Hope Sze
  • Elvis gear because our escape artist is also an Elvis Presley tribute artist
  • Protestor wear. A group called Nelvis wants to ban Elvis!

Have fun!

I’ll have a merch table, which means you can also buy the book Terminally Ill if you like.

I’ll also have copies of the brand new Hope Sze thriller: Sugar and Vice! In case you hadn’t figured it out from our “sweet” photo at the top.

Yahoo! Massive thanks to our donors for supporting the arts!

Why should I go to a mystery convention? To prostitute myself, of course. Bloody Words, Part I.

I was very worried about losing money at Bloody Words 2014.

Kris Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith had beaten into me that the surest path to success in writing is simply production. Sit in your garret and write, day and night, month after month, year after year. Your craft will improve, and once you have hundreds or thousands of items for sale, someone will take notice. You don’t need to go to cons and promote if you don’t want to.

But then I got this Facebook message from Steve Steinbock:

Melissa, I decided to come to Bloody Words this year. Here are seven (or so) reasons why you should come: (1) To push Terminally Ill, (2) to join me, Howard Shrier, and Ken Wishnia in a Yiddish cussing contest, (3) celebrate the publication of your short story in Ellery Queen (whenever it comes out), (4) administer first aid when I fall off the dais, (5) sign my copy of Terminally Ill, (6) buy a drink for the reviewer who plugged your book in Ellery Queen, and (7) be the final name on the attendees roster (beating out S.G. Wong).

How could I say no? I plunked down $190 for the conference fee. I’d already booked that weekend off for Yocomo, the Montreal yoga conference. But I’d go to Bloody Words instead. Maybe I’d sell a few copies of my book.

Then it started to haunt me. What if nobody bought my book? What if I spent $199 per night at the Hyatt Regency and just went into debt? I started calling my friends to angst about it. My friends Bob Jeschonek and Richard Quarry told me not to think about it like a return on investment, just go and network.

My friend Kandy said to have fun. “You get to go to Toronto. You’re getting away from your kids. You don’t have to cook or do dishes. What are you complaining about?”

“OH MY GOD,” said her husband, Vince. “You’re going to a con? GO AND PROSTITUTE YOURSELF, LIKE ANY AUTHOR.”

So I did.

prostitution-225406_150

This is me. On Pixabay. Obviously.

I drove myself to downtown Toronto and hurried to Scene of the Crime Books, the book dealer who would sell my books during the con. Right afterward, I realized that I had lost my phone. With cash in the case.

Aaaaagh! After worrying about losing money, I’d just lost an smart phone plus cold, hard cash.

I’ll save you the suspense. Someone had already turned it in. THANK YOU.

I don’t know what I would have done with myself next, since everyone else was saying “Hiiiiiiii! It’s so good to see you!!!!!!” and I was more like this tree:

IMG_2382

Fortunately, I already had plans. I headed out to dinner at Aroma Fine Indian with my Medical Post editor, Carol Hilton. I tried the fiery Goan prawns, in honour of my most recently completed book, The Goa Yoga School of Slayers, sequel to The Italian School for Assassins. We talked about everything from medical politics to technology to travel. Kind of like the Medical Post, actually. Thanks, Carol!

Did you know that Carol has a degree in marine biology? Pretty nifty, eh?

Did you know that Carol (on the left) has a degree in marine biology? Pretty nifty, eh? And did you know that it’s hard to take a selfie in front of a window?

I hurried back to Bloody Words for Steve’s cool panel called The Sage, the Saint, and the Sleuth (religion, philosophy, and the “modern” sleuth). I didn’t want to rush up and mob him at the end, and it was possible he might not recognize me from my teeny Facebook photo, but he walked up to me, hugged me, and said, “It’s my newest best friend.”

Aww.

Steve Steinbock & me, "Melissa Yi." The bag is medical swag because Mrs. Steinbock is a radiation oncologist who helped take care of Stephen King. And Steve interviewed Stephen King for Ellery Queen. I move among royalty now, people. Kings and Queens.

Steve Steinbock & me, Melissa Yi. The bag is medical swag because his wife is a radiation oncologist. Another fun fact: Steve interviewed Stephen King for Ellery Queen. I move among royalty now, people. Kings and Queens.

We ended up having dinner and drinks with Tanis Mallow, a Noir writer, co-host of Noir @ the Bar in Toronto, and a warm and funny person; John McFetridge and his wife Laurie, who would whip out appropriate props like his latest book, Black Rock, and the newest issue of Quill & Quire with John on the cover. (Wow!) I’d already Tweeted Rob Brunet, because he’s a fellow Canadian who had a story accepted to Ellery Queen, as well as many other markets—he tries to have a new story published every month, and his novel, Stinking Rich, will debut in September. Ken Wishnia did show up to offer some Yiddish swear words, but it turned out that his writing has also been nominated for the Edgar, the Anthony, and the Macavity Awards. Uh huh.

IMG_2409

Rob Brunet & Steve Steinbock

Steve said these mystery conferences are like Brigadoon, a town springing out of nowhere. What I saw was a tribe of intelligent, crime-loving writers and super readers who enjoyed meeting like-minded people. One thing I find really sad about general North American society is that intelligence is undervalued. “You’re smart, aren’t you” isn’t always a compliment. Neither are the terms “intellectual” or “perpetual student.” Asian and Jewish cultures value scholars, but outside of universities, you’re a bit isolated. But here, you’ve got a bunch of people who like the same things you do! What a miracle!

I have to give a special shout-out to Steve Steinbock, though, and not just because of this, which I already blogged about here:

By a stroke of luck, all Bloody Words participants received this copy of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. The one where Steve pronounces Hope Sze an "utterly likeable character." I'll just keep repeating that. When I'm on my deathbed, I'll be like, "utterly likeable character," and my great-grandkids will be like, Wot?

Steve signed this and wrote, “Thanks for sending me Hope!” Words cannot express the goodness of this man. By a stroke of luck, all Bloody Words participants received the July 2014 copy of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. The one where Steve pronounces Hope Sze an “utterly likeable character.” I’ll just keep repeating that. When I’m on my deathbed, I’ll be like, “utterly likeable character,” and my great-grandkids will be like, Wot?

Steve is a walking encyclopedia, certainly of the mystery genre, but of Jewish mysticism and, I’m sure, other topics. He was embarrassed that I called him a scholar, but it’s rare enough to meet people who genuinely love learning. Not for a degree, not because of publications or prestige or money, but just to discover. Perhaps more importantly, he’s kind and caring. Rob Brunet said that Steve had taken him under his wing a few years ago, and Steve’s obviously doing the same for me. Most people have their group of friends and figure they’re busy enough, but Steve will recruit newbies and make sure they’re not just standing in the corner, looking agonized.

I did buy Steve a drink (he said I didn’t have to, but I spoke to the waiter), and ended up paying for his salad too, which embarrassed him again, and Steve and Tanis and Rob walked me back to my apartment, since I stayed at a lovely airbnb instead of the Hyatt.

Henry David Thoreau wrote, ‘Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.’

I have two things two say about this. Nowadays, most people lead lives of unseen desperation. They’re not necessarily quiet. They may be loud. Buy my book! I have a new car! Check out my abs! I am so smart! My cat is cute!

The problem is, it seems like no one else cares. For example, you may write a book, but no one reads it. Or they read it and tell you it’s terrible.

Steve read Terminally Ill. And when I asked him if he understood how the plot twists incorporated the idea of magic and illusion (one of the book’s themes is magic, and Steve is a magician as well), not only had he understood it, he told me the magical term for it: misdirection. He said that in the past, mysteries used to rely on plot twists more than an escalating body count, and he respected that. He told me that my greatest strengths were my character, the fascinating setting, and the plot. When I said, okay, so what are my weaknesses, he looked at me and said, “No weaknesses. Just keep working on your strengths.”

You can tell that, between medicine and writing, I’m always waiting for the left hook.

I respect Steve even more because, I, personally, would find it hard to listen to desperate writers blather on and on about their work. It would be easier to turn away and say, “Don’t worry. Have a drink.” And I’ve heard that many critics grow bitter, forced to read and review books they don’t like. So imagine Steve going to a con on his free time and surrounding himself with writers instead!

Steve Steinbock & Melissa Yi, without the medical swag. Why am I repeating our names? I heard it's good for SEO optimization. But I know it's annoying. Sorry.

Steve Steinbock surrounded by writer Melissa Yi, without the medical swag. Why am I repeating our names? I heard it’s good for SEO optimization. I know it’s annoying. Sorry.

To get back to the Thoreau quote, I’m generally cheery. My friend Yasmin once told me I was one of the happiest person she knows. But between medicine, writing, and life in general, I have tasted despair.

With Steve and the rest of my new friends, though, happiness wins.

And I loved how the people at Bloody Words were singing their song, loudly and clearly. The rest of the world may not understand or appreciate their writing or their weirdness, but they kept on singing.

I finally realized that Bloody Words was not about making or losing money. It was about friendship.

Also creativity and craziness. Like this.

What are these shenanigans?

Oy oy oy oy oy. Oy.

Why am I wearing a sign with my book cover? What am I doing to Ken Wishnia? Did I sell any books? How can a con inspire creativity? Tune in to my next blog post, Bloody Words Part II, for the answers.

Free Kobo eBook promo code for Terminally Ill: I messed up

They say that doctors usually get sued not for medical errors, but for communication problems (i.e., for being a jerkoff).

Well, I was a jerk to my potential readers from the CBC, and I apologize profusely.

Here I was, cheerfully watching the hits accumulate on my website (over 600 in two days), not realizing that the Kobo link to Terminally Ill was BROKEN.

CBC Radio’s Ontario Morning had posted the free code, as a service to their listeners, and then readers came over here and got a 404.

So I was thinking, “Oh, look! Readers! I love you!” and they were thinking that I was pulling a bait and switch. Some of them were contacting the CBC to tell them the code was broken.

Business note to self: 1. Don’t anger readers, and 2. Don’t make trouble for the people who help put you in the Kobo Top 50. I managed to break both of those rules, inadvertently and repeatedly, for the past three days.

I’m really sorry. So, for the next 24 hours I will post the code for everyone, and then delete it. Newsletter subscribers will get the code sent right to their inbox.

Edit: The deadline has passed. The promo code has been deleted. However, if you are a CBC listener or a subscriber who missed the e-mail, contact me through olobooks [at] gmail [dot] com, and I will send you a code.

Yup, it’s that simple. Now go to the Kobo site directly here:

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/terminally-ill

If that link breaks, for any reason, just search for “Terminally Ill” or “Melissa Yi” on Kobo.com.

Once you get the code itself, some of you are having trouble entering it and getting it for free. You basically need to click “buy now” in standard checkout (or by clicking the cart icon) and enter the promo code.

terminally ill promo code Screen Shot 2014-03-27 at 10.57.46 AM

This link from Kobo may help.

I also found a tutorial on the web.

On the upside, Mark Leslie Lefebvre from Kobo (did I mention that he and his company are fantastical?), wrote this:

“Users have the option of clicking the Paypal option and getting to the PROMO CODE entry screen without ever having to enter a credit card or Paypal info.

If you need more help, please contact help@kobo.com any time.”

Or you can check out this link http://kobo.frontlinesvc.com/app/ask_NA

and call, chat or email the Kobo reps. (Edit: Please note, I’ve removed the previous contact, who received too many messages. If you’re having trouble using the code, don’t give up! You’re in good company. I’ve asked Kobo if it’s possible to make it easier to use promo codes, but in the meantime,  help@kobo.com is your friend.)

Note from me: If you absolutely can’t stand it any more, contact me at olobooks [at] gmail [dot] com and tell me what kind of file you need, and I’ll send you a file directly. Please note that I’m working heavily early- to mid-April and will be slower to respond at that time. It’s really better if you get a clean file from Kobo right away, if you can manage it.

So I messed up, but at least I’ve got a phenomenal team behind me. I hope readers and the CBC will forgive me.

And not sue me.

From Elvis to CBC Radio’s Ontario Morning

1978426_272096806291286_1710707625_o

On Saturday, “Hope Sze” successfully resuscitated “Elvis,” to great acclaim. Photo by Margaret Caldbick.

Wei Chen will interview me on CBC Radio’s Ontario Morning program tomorrow at about 8:22 a.m. So please tune in (there’s a live stream online here, on the right side bar) and/or Tweet @CBCOntmorning. I’ll reveal a secret code for a free Kobo copy of the e-book!

For anyone who’s wondering about the back story, and isn’t sick of my spam (I was going to give it a rest, but I do want you guys to listen to me on the CBC, Tweet, and pretend I’m popular. Because that would make up for, say, when I was thirteen years old and my classmates would call me bag lady):

On Saturday, the escape artist, Elvis Serratore (Mark Leslie Lefebvre) was chained and nailed in a coffin and dropped in the St. Lawrence River, but Dr. Hope Sze (moi) brought him back. In other words, we acted out the opening scene of Terminally Ill for two appreciative audiences who fought through a blizzard to get there.

Today, I struggled to write. Anastasia’s latest game is that I’m the baby and she’s the mommy, so I’m mostly supposed to lie down, cry, pretend to drink milk, and play with the toys she brings me. A little difficult to juggle my laptop at the same time.

When I did get a break, I should’ve doubled down to work on The Goa Yoga School of Slayers, but saw that I’d gotten this on Twitter:

cbc radio sandy marlowScreen Shot 2014-03-24 at 6.59.43 PM

When I called Sandy Mowat, he said, “I thought you sounded like someone with a dual career who might enjoy talking on the radio.”

“You would be right!” I exclaimed. I asked how he’d found me.

“We go through all the newspapers, and I found the article in the Standard Freeholder.”

standard freeholder todd bigger Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 9.57.46 PM

So, as part of this book launch, I’ve had one previous article in the Standard Freeholder, one in The Seaway Valley News, one in The Seeker, and fingers crossed that I’ll get a mention in the Glengarry News (their reporter, Margaret Caldbick, took the amazing photo above at the Alexandria book launch). But it took Todd Hambleton’s latest article to get the attention of the CBC. Just like in the publishing business, you’ve got to reach critical mass before you might catch someone’s eye.

Or ear, as the case may be tomorrow, on CBC Radio’s Ontario Morning. Check us out!

Anatomy of a Book Launch: 1. Just Do It

“Do it badly; do it slowly; do it fearfully; do it any way you have to, but do it.”

― Steve Chandler

blog do it badly

I really didn’t want to do a book launch for Terminally Ill. I thought nobody cared about my writing, really (except my Unfeeling Doctor series, a little). I thought, Why bother people. I’ll just crawl in my hole and write more books.

But a librarian changed my mind.

The Cornwall Public Library hosts a Christmas party for its volunteers. I didn’t make it the year before, but this past Christmas, I realized, library volunteers=book readers. My kind of people. I HAVE to go.

Dawn Kiddell, the CEO/Chief Librarian, was taking people’s coats when I arrived. I’m sorry, how many CEOs do the coat check? Amazing. If they did, I bet we’d have fewer Wall Street buyouts.

Of course, I didn’t know anyone. But the food, catered by Dish, was excellent. So I ate and chatted a little with Dawn when she got off coat duty.

“I don’t know about a book launch,” I said. My pre-orders for Terminally Ill were lacklustre. As in, zero online. Five people in the Cornwall emerg had signed up for a paper copy. Woo.

Dawn smiled. “Oh, I don’t know. I think it’s kind of fun. We provide a room upstairs. We don’t charge authors. You try to bring in your people, and we try to bring in our people, and we see how it goes.”

I realized that part of the reason I was shying away from a book launch was not just because I’m busy and need to write more books, but because I was scared. Scared that no one would show up. Scared that no one would buy my books. Scared that I’d fall flat on my face.

That goes against my motto, ever since I was 16 years old and read Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Do what you are afraid to do.”

Okay. I’d have a book launch.

 

Photo by Emily Cole

 

Look at that gorgeous photo by Emily Cole. And reflect on this: you wrote a book. Now it’s time to party.

If we had to say what writing is, we would have to define it essentially as an act of courage.—Cynthia Ozick

“Things won are done, joy’s soul lies in the doing.” ―William Shakespeare

Spoiler alert: the book launch succeeded! In fact, it was the best book launch of my life. Not as glitzy as Writers of the Future, of course, but satisfying nonetheless. So I’m starting this Anatomy of a Book Launch series to pass on tips that I learned. If you want to support this series, please consider buying Terminally Ill in a format of your choice.

terminallyill_eBook_final with bleed and curlies

Or, for a limited time only, sign up for my blog & newsletter in the box at the bottom of the screen, and you’ll receive a free coupon code for Terminally Ill as a Kobo e-book!

Launch time! Terminally Ill in Alexandria & Cornwall

D Day.

Join Melissa Yi, also known as Dr. Melissa Yuan-Innes, for her book launch party for Terminally Ill on March 22nd, 2014, at 10:30 a.m. at the Alexandria Public Library and at 2 p.m. at the Cornwall Public Library.

You’ll also learn cutting edge publishing tips from author, publisher, and Kobo director Mark Leslie Lefebvre, and enjoy a reading by Williamstown author L.K. Below. Full details at the event page.

We made the front page of the local news for the Standard Freeholder:

Standard Freeholder close up Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 8.01.59 AM

Standard Freeholder local page Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 8.01.08 AM

 

Lots of love for the Seaway News:

Seaway Valley scalpels & pens Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 7.59.03 AM

And The Seeker was the first one to report up:

Seeker Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 7.58.42 AM

So come on down! We’ve got free gifts, books, and Elvis!

Or, if you’re scared of the snow, just buy it here in the format of your choice.

melissayi_terminallyill_eBook_final daisho

Gotta love #6 for hardboiled mysteries on the Kobo.

Kobo #6 cropped Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 12.37.56 PM

Warning: Contains Me. In the Flesh.

Saturday, March 22nd, at 10:30 a.m. at the Alexandria Public Library

2 p.m. at the Cornwall Public Library

Jump to event page

terminally ill book launch poster with SDG & cornwall logos & kobo

I wasn’t going to do a book launch. It just seems to invite humiliation. I’m asking people to give up their precious time (on a Saturday!) to move their physical bodies (not just press Like!) to come see me, because I’ve done this archaic thing: write a book.

Brené Brown has written a lot about vulnerability, and I never understood why people got so excited about it, although this Zen Pencils cartoon kicks flying donkey eggs. I mean that as a compliment. Pow!

Then I realized that every time I write a book and publish it, every time I submit a story for publication, heck, every time I sit down at the computer to write, I risk failure and mortification. But I’m used to it. Each time I pick up a patient’s chart in the ER, I might screw the pooch.

I basically never wear white coats, except for author photos. And for this book launch!

I basically never wear white coats, except for author photos. And for this book launch! Photo by Jordan Matter

Raising kids? Ample opportunity for failure. (Side note: Anastasia broke our upstairs toilet by falling off of it while I was on the phone with the auto insurance agent. A. tells this story quite proudly. “I wanted to. I want to break the toilet!”)

melissayi_terminallyill_eBook_final with bleed and curlies

So if we’re “actually in the arena,…face…marred by dust and sweat and blood,” celebrating Terminally Ill, we are doing it balls out. Ovaries proudly on display. (That expression doesn’t work so well. But “ovaries lovingly nestled in our abdominal cavities” just doesn’t have the same ring to it. And this is more than any ol’ book launch.)

Mark Leslie Lefebvre will rock the casbah. Not only is he an author who has outsold Stephen King, the editor of Tesseracts 16, and the Director Self-Publishing & Author Relations at Kobo Inc., but he is a hilarious speaker and a genuinely nice guy driving all the way from Hamilton to attend. Mark flies around the world to speak and was just a guest instructor at the Superstars Writing Seminar, which costs up to $1499 in tuition. So if you have a novel tucked into your hard drive—or just in your brain, or your heart—please, please come and learn for free. I know that if no one shows up, I’m going to pick Mark’s brain mercilessly. So come on down and save his neurons.

If you just want to discover fresh new writing (readers! We love you!), Williamstown writer L.K. Below will read from one of her latest books. Lindsay writes everything from YA to romance and beyond. I once heard her sing a song she’d written for a musical about the Sirens. So I can’t wait to see what she’s up to.

Plus: door prizes! And music!

Even I’m getting excited!

One more exclamation mark: Publishers Weekly calls Terminally Ill “entertaining and insightful”! (http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-927341-23-0)

Montreal physician Hope Sze is looking for simple entertainment when she attends escape artist Elvis Serratore’s show, but when Elvis nearly dies in mid-act, Hope’s medical skills are available to save his life. She is less enthusiastic about his plea for her to use her detective skills to find out who tried to kill him by sabotaging his equipment. The subject of unwanted fame as a sleuth, Hope struggles with a too-complex love life, is faced with an ominous death at the hospital at which she works and becomes concerned about a young patient whose requests have deeply disturbing implications. She soon learns that if she does not seek out mysteries, the mysteries will seek her. The most recent installment in a series comprised thus far of three novels and a radio play, this novel demonstrates familiarity with the conventions of mysteries without being constrained by them and with the realities of Canada’s medical world. Although the tone is light, the author is not afraid to introduce darker themes. The three intertwining mysteries and Hope herself provide a narrative by turns entertaining and insightful. (Feb.)

 

    Goodreads Book Giveaway

        Terminally Ill by Melissa Yi

          Terminally Ill

          by Melissa Yi

            Giveaway ends March 06, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win


For anyone who can’t make it to our launch in the flesh (what, you don’t want to drive for six hours each way, like Mark? What’s wrong with you?), the Terminally Ill Goodreads Giveaway ends March 6th. Free, free, free!

 

I’ll give the last words to Elizabeth Gilbert, who speaks out on vulnerability:

“I live a creative life, and you can’t be creative without being vulnerable.  I believe that Creativity and Fear are basically conjoined twins; they share all the same major organs, and cannot be separated, one from the other, without killing them both. And you don’t want to murder Creativity just to destroy Fear!  You must accept that Creativity cannot walk even one step forward except by marching side-by-side with its attached sibling of Fear.

So here’s my magical thinking — I decide every day that I love Creativity enough to accept that Fear will always come with it. And I talk to Fear all the time, speaking to it with love and respect, saying to it: “I know that you are Fear, and that your job is to be afraid. And you do your job really well! I will never ask you to leave me alone or to be silent, because you have a right to speak your own voice, and I know that you will never leave me alone or be silent, anyhow.  But I need you to understand that I will always choose Creativity over you.”

Terminally Ill Robots. Squee!

I spent yesterday at the Ottawa CEMO High-Fidelity Resuscitation Skills day, which meant that I spent the morning doing mock codes with mannequins that groan and blink and try to die on you (“Those aren’t mannequins. Those are robots!” said my mother, when I described them) and the afternoon carving airways into pig cricothyroid membranes and the like. It cost me $900, but was the best CME I can remember.

Photo copyright jagged-eye. http://jagged-eye.deviantart.com/art/Laure-Robot-1a-210064518

A healthy robot named Laure. Photo copyright jagged-eye. http://bit.ly/Nd1nJO

Then I crashed at my brother’s family home, stuffing myself on delicious Indian food from Indian Punjabi Clay Oven.

In the meantime, Jodi White sent me a Kobo link that looked like this:

Me, attempting world domination.

Me, attempting world domination.

OMG. Squee!

Just a reminder that everyone who buys a print book of Terminally Ill will receive a free Kobo e-book. Contact me for details. Thanks!

Terminally Ill

Terminally Ill

$17.99$3.99
Authors: ,
Series: Hope Sze medical mystery, Book 3
Genres: Hope Sze, Medical mystery, Mystery
Tags: Hope Sze, medical mystery
Publisher: Olo Books
ASIN: B00I5RVPFO
ISBN: 9781927341254

An escape artist plunges into the icy waters of Montreal’s St. Lawrence River, chained and nailed into a coffin—and never breaks free.
After they dredge him from the waves, Dr. Hope Sze resuscitates him, saving his life. When he regains consciousness, but not his memory of the event, he hires Hope to deduce who sabotaged his act. Even as she probes the case, and the strange world of magic and illusion, she must confront her own fears of death on the palliative care ward—and tackle the two toothsome men who can’t wait for her to choose between them.

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About the Book

Available in trade paperback on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.uk, internationally, and at your friendly neighbourhood bookstore.

“Entertaining and insightful.”Publishers Weekly

Also available directly from Windtree Press and Gumroad.

“Narrating in a sprightly style while sharing some of the nitty-gritty of a resident’s job, Hope Sze is an utterly likeable character.”–Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine

TOP 50 EBOOK ON KOBO

Top 50 on Kobo

Top 50 on Kobo March 25, 2014

Listen to CBC Radio’s Ontario Morning podcast of Dr. Melissa Yi’s interview with Wei Chen.

Watch Youtube video with audio excerpts

If you have trouble redeeming a free Kobo code, try this link, then contact Kobo: help@kobo.com

or click http://kobo.frontlinesvc.com/app/ask_NA to call, chat or email the Kobo reps.

Full Publishers Weekly review:

Montreal physician Hope Sze is looking for simple entertainment when she attends escape artist Elvis Serratore’s show, but when Elvis nearly dies in mid-act, Hope’s medical skills are available to save his life. She is less enthusiastic about his plea for her to use her detective skills to find out who tried to kill him by sabotaging his equipment.

The subject of unwanted fame as a sleuth, Hope struggles with a too-complex love life, is faced with an ominous death at the hospital at which she works and becomes concerned about a young patient whose requests have deeply disturbing implications. She soon learns that if she does not seek out mysteries, the mysteries will seek her.

The most recent installment in a series comprised thus far of three novels and a radio play, this novel demonstrates familiarity with the conventions of mysteries without being constrained by them and with the realities of Canada’s medical world. Although the tone is light, the author is not afraid to introduce darker themes. The three intertwining mysteries and Hope herself provide a narrative by turns entertaining and insightful.

Full Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine review (link will expire):

Publicity-seeking magician Elvis Serratore, in tribute to Houdini’s visit to Montreal nearly ninety years earlier, allows himself to be chained inside a coffin and dropped into the St. Lawrence River. When the escape fails, Montreal medical resident Hope Sze is able to resuscitate him. Against physicians’ recommendations, the magician prepares for an encore, but wants Dr. Sze, with her reputation for solving crimes, to find out if someone wants him dead. Narrating in a sprightly style while sharing some of the nitty-gritty of a resident’s job, Hope Sze is an utterly likeable character.

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Top 5 in all categories on Kobo on March 25, 2014

 

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Seaway Valley News

Seaway Valley News, March 7

The Seeker, Feb. 27

The Seeker, Feb. 27

 

Hey! I beat out dozens of gardeners on Google News!

Hey! I beat out dozens of gardeners on Google News!

Book Club Resources
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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the page above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Terminally Ill Tomorrow

Terminally Ill gets its world premiere tomorrow. And I’ll be…working in the ER with my posse. You think we’ll get any Elvis impersonators drowning while chained and nailed into a coffin?

Does that sound too bizarre? Actually, it’s based on real life. Here’s a clip of Dean Gunnarson, the man who inspired the book:

Yup, Sook-Yin Lee’s CBC Radio interview with Dean on DNTO really got my motor running.

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You won’t catch me chaining myself to a roller coaster track, but as the great Harry Houdini said, “Nobody wants to see a man die, but everyone wants to be there when it happens.”

You will catch me at the book launch Saturday, March 22nd, at 10:30 a.m. at the Alexandria Public Library and at 2 p.m. at the Cornwall Public Library. All paper copies will be only $15. Cornwall will also host a book draw, so you could win a copy of Terminally Ill absolutely free. And if you have any publishing questions, you can ask Kobo operations manager Jodi White, who will be travelling all the way from Toronto to attend.

Pre-order the e-book now for just $5.99 at Kobo and Smashwords. The trade paperback retails for $17.99 U.S. ($19.99 Canadian), and you can order it at your local bookstore. Plus, through our partnership with Kobo, if you buy a print copy, contact me for a coupon for a free e-book.

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PROLOGUE

 

His breath whistled inside the coffin.

He heard the crowd cheering, although the plywood walls surrounding him dampened their yells. He could hear and feel the rumble of the crane lifting him and the coffin into the air.

He started to undo the chains on his wrists. Usually, those were the easiest.

He slid his wrists inward to gain a little slack, then twisted them to pop his wrists free.

The chains tightened on his wrists instead.

Meanwhile, the crane lowered his coffin into the St. Lawrence River.

Water splashed, and then he could hear the abnormal silence of the water surrounding the coffin.

He bent his wrists again.

The chains tightened once more.

Step two. He reached for the lock pick pinned on his left sleeve to jimmy the padlock on the chains. He always placed the pick on the inside cuff, where it would blend into his costume and he’d be able to reach for it blindly.

The pick was missing.

He reached for the pin secured to his right shirt sleeve, groping the fabric of his wetsuit to make sure he would not mistake the metal lock pick for a seam.

Nothing.

His heart hammered faster than usual, and his hard, hot breath seemed to fill the coffin. The wood underneath his body felt cold and damp, like water was already seeping inside.

He refused to panic. He could escape the chains. He always had and always would. They had built fail-safes into his act, including a fake chain with a middle cuff that made it easier to undo.

Using his fingertips, he skimmed blindly along the chain on his chest, only to realize that someone had removed the trick middle link.

He was handcuffed, chained, and nailed inside a coffin. In a river.

With no escape.

On Hallowe’en.

 

Terminally Ill…with Kobo’s Mark (Leslie) Lefebvre and Scarlett Rugers

Hope Sze’s third medical mystery adventure, Terminally Ill, will hit the stands on February first, 2014, with a kicking cover by Scarlett Rugers, commissioned by Kobo:

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And a mini picture of the upcoming print book:

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As I mentioned in the Kobo interview, I was very excited to win this cover, since the last thing I remembered winning was a very nice set of bath soaps. More details here: http://kobowritinglife.com/2013/08/20/meet-the-winner-of-kobos-win-an-ebook-cover-contest-melissa-yi/

And here’s the blurb:

Magic? Dr. Hope Sze steers clear of magic.
But when “Elvis the Escape King” chains and nails himself inside a coffin and lowers himself into Montreal’s St. Lawrence River, he can’t break free.
So Hope restarts his heart and saves his life. But now Elvis demands to know who sabotaged his stunt.
Hope hung up her amateur detective badge two months ago, in order to tend to cancer patients on palliative care. The only cases she solves right now are case studies on pain and over-stuffed emergency rooms.
Which gets just the tiniest bit boring.
Hope could escape Montreal any day now. She could transfer to Ottawa to join her beloved ex-boyfriend, Ryan. No more unspeakable Montreal drivers and stymied medical care. No more working with the charming yet infuriating Dr. Tucker.
Hope the Escape Artist can afford to act generous. As parting gift to Montreal, city of festivals (and murderers), she could help Elvis out. Just asking a few questions won’t hurt anyone.
Right? 
And so Hope plunges into her most unconventional and, possibly, her most terminal adventure yet. Where the magical art of escape and the dastardly art of crime vie for centre stage, and the better man may lose. Forever.

—–

I got to meet Mark Lefebvre, Kobo‘s director of author relations, at the Advanced Master Class in Oregon in July. I hadn’t realized that he was also Mark Leslie, the editor of Tesseracts 16, who’d recently published my short story, “Burning Beauty,” which just meant I liked him even more.

I could fawn all over Mark, who’s one of those guys that you just meet and you’re like, yup, I like you. I could give a shout out to Kobo, with it’s beautiful and simple interface, writer-friendly approach, and Canadian roots, but that sounds totally self-serving now, right? So you can read J. Steven York’s much more informative Kobo post here, and I’ll just show you some pictures of me and Mark L, hanging out on the Oregon Coast.

First, we did the traditional standing side-by-side thing. You can see that a) he is much taller than me, b) Kris Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith own a lot of books, and c) I am fake-smiling.IMG_0812

So then I suggested that we do more crazy pictures. Those are more fun. Mark immediately decided to pick me up, which is great. I love wacky people. Also, you can now see my surf shoes. Unfortunately, Kobo chose to run the picking up picture of me where I seem to have giant hips, but what can you do? (This one is a little better.)

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We brought out a chair next. Props are always fun, and we reprised a classic pose. Clearly, he was saying something fascinating, like “Rutabagas, rutabagas.”

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Then we realized we had much better props–books! And what if we looked fascinated, reading each other’s books? Fortunately, Chris York happened to have a copy of her latest Christy Fifield book. And who wouldn’t jump on Mark’s books, like Haunted Hamilton?

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Which was cool, except I was like, Are we supposed to pretend to read while surreptitiously displaying the covers, or what? (I just think that Sean Young, the photographer, captured a pretty funny expression, so I included it.)

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And then we said, forget reading, we’ll just strike a pose.

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Back to the classic stance again. Everything comes full circle. Except see, now I’m the taller one. I think Max’s Magic Hat did the trick.

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