Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Maddie's Third Adventure Already!

It seems like barely yesterday I was dressing up in my black-and-purple Steampunk outfit for the launch of  MADDIE HATTER AND THE DEADLY DIAMOND, and wondering privately whether anyone besides family and Tyche Books staffers would show up to find out about this debut novel from a relative unknown.
Yet it was two years ago last week. 
How time... or in this case, taffeta... flies!

It hasn't happened in isolation. Although I write the stories, their production is truly a team effort. My heartfelt thanks go out to the following stalwart supporters of Maddie's adventures:  Steampunks of SASS and The Airship's Mess Deck; fellow writers from Sisters In Crime and Calgary Crime Writers; the dedicated production team at Tyche Books who keep on the hop getting everything together in time for launch day; Super-Fans Lex Robertson, Cindy Bedford, and Karen M. Owen; my agent and cheerleader Olga Filina of The Rights Agency; and of course Kevin, who handles a lot of daily life for months on end while I live in Maddie's world with Tweetle-D and the other talking clockworks.

From the Book Jacket: 

Maddie Hatter’s third Adventure finds her in Venice on an all-expenses-paid assignment: report on the season’s most extravagant Carnevale costumes. Determined to land an inside scoop, she enlists the help of her half-Venetian friend, Lady Serephene, to penetrate Madame Frangetti’s Costume Atelier in disguise.

Serephene is pursuing plots of her own: training in secret for a career that’s forbidden by her family, and flirting madly with a low-born Scottish inventor in his airship laboratory.  When the inventor’s fabulous new fabric is targeted by industrial spies, Serephene risks not only her family’s displeasure but her own safety to protect him and his work.

Pursued through the floating city’s legendary canals and squares, Maddie must draw on all her hard-won survival skills to keep herself and Serephene out of the spies’ clutches. With the help of unexpected allies among Venice’s underdogs, the daring young ladies just might reach Carnevale’s grand finale alive.

If you're in the Calgary area, you're very welcome to attend our LAUNCH PARTY on October 23rd at 7 p.m. at Owls Nest Books in Britannia Plaza (149th St & Elbow Drive SW). Costumes welcome but not mandatory. There will be prizes! Check out the details on Facebook.

Pre-orders of MADDIE HATTER AND THE TIMELY TAFFETA are now available at:

Barnes & Noble (Nook) https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/maddie-hatter-and-the-timely-taffeta-jayne-barnard/1127175003?ean=2940154941607

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Rolling Through ThunderCon 2017

Thundercon 2017, in Thunder Bay, Ontario, was a whole lotta Star Trek fun for this speculative mystery writer. 

As a guest, I got to hang with other guests before and after: the amazing game-designer/narrator Ann Lemay, voice-of-Spock (and many other characters) Chuck Huber, Kevin Porter - YouTube's Batman and one of the kindest men alive - and more. 

I started the weekend with Robert Picardo of Star Trek Voyager (and latterly the Stargate franchise) fame and ended it watching Star Trek Discovery with a bunch of Klingons in party hats. 

Don't believe me? Check out the photos below.

 Okay, before the fandoms collide, I know this is not Star Trek right here. But R2D2 was cruising the con as much as I was. I challenged him to a drag race down the hallway, but he had already committed to break-dancing in the lobby.
 Neither are these Star Trek, but the one on the left is the ultra-competent captain of the Thundercon ship, chairwoman Heather Dickson (aka the fantasy author H. Leighton Dickson), and the other is not only Wonderwoman but Heather's daughter and right-hand woman, Brynne.

 Here we are: your first Klingon. Not the one in the party hat (yet). 

I asked for the photograph because our outfits' colour palettes matched so well. Hey - I write a fearless young fashion reporter; how could I not? 

Hi, Christina from Timmins! 

Someone out there has better photos of us but I didn't get his name and can't find his business card among the piles in my suitcase, and I wouldn't recognize him if I saw him without his Klingon face on.

Speaking of fashion, there were sufficient fabulous hats there to keep Maddie Hatter scribbling for a week!

In random order, feast your eyes....


The girl with the fascinator may have been holding the book - Brave New Girls: Stories of Girls Who Science and Scheme - but they were all bravely strutting their cosplay creations. 

 And one last hat: 

You can't say I didn't warn you.

Anyway, Thundercon was a blast and Maddie made some new fans. I'd go back in a heartbeat.

It's bookstores and libraries for this writer in the next couple of weeks, followed by Bouchercon 2017 - Passport to Murder (Toronto, October 12-15).

Whether you're home or away, be brave, be smart, and be responsible for your own safety. 

Follow us on Facebook @MaddieHatterAdventures and Twitter

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A Post-Festival Post

Photo credit to AJ Proc

What a wild and wonderful weekend! 

From finally shaking hands with Sam Hiyate of The Rights Factory (my agent Olga's boss) at his seminar on Thursday through to a last meal with friends from far away at Sunday suppertime, it was one ever-flowing meet-and-greet with eager readers and other writers. all  passionate about their work and their genres. 

There were many more panels and presentations than I had a hope of getting to, and many great authors I either didn't get to meet or only nodded to as we rushed past each other in the hallways. This really is an amazing festival-slash-conference-slash-freewheeling party; one person can never see, let alone participate in, everything. 

My fun with panels began with a hilarious set of mysteries plotted from audience suggestion at "Who Killed this Character" ably moderated by Mahrie G. Reid of Calgary Crime Writers. Tying together parakeets, goats, blackmail and an air traffic controller with a victim and a murderer in under 15 minutes was no easy feat!
Photo credit to AJ Proc

Presenting this season's books with other Tyche Books authors was a blast. Time travel and kidnapping, ghosts and baseball, deep-dark Noir to light-bright Steampunk, Tyche has reading for every taste and age. Check out Axel Howerton's FURR, EC Bell's DYING ON SECOND, Simon Rose's TWISTED FATEPat Flewwelling's upcoming HELIX: SCOURGE OF BONES   and of course MADDIE HATTER AND THE GILDED GAUGE.
Pat Flewwelling setting up her reading from her second HELIX book.
Later Saturday afternoon I had a howling good time debating all aspects of writing paranormal mystery with fellow panelists EC Bell, Erin Lindsey, and SG Wong: Ghosts and Fae, mythical and mystical dangers, magical systems and their limitations, and how to throw a challenging obstacle in the path of a character who can throw a fireball back. The audience of mainly mystery writers asked great questions and kept us on our toes. Panelists' personal ghost stories had us on the edge of our seats and shivering with the chill of the unknown.
SG Wong's latest!

Sunday's Elements of Suspense panel - featuring members of Sisters In Crime Canada West - was a real thinker. Old WWC hands SG Wong and Eileen Bell and me, along with newcomer Merrilee Robson, wrestled with the differences between suspense and tension and how to express them through our characters, plots, and settings. 
EC Bell, hiding her wicked wit behind a pale, cool facade

We all threw out examples of writers who do it well, and how we think they manage it. And we gave a collective whoop of delight at learning that the inimitable Deanna Raybourn will be coming to When Words Collide in 2018. #fangirling 

Photo credit to Constantine K
At the end of the day, Sisters in Crime Canada West presented Women of Mystery, moderated by the sparkling SG Wong (our chapter's president). We fabulous four presented our new books, told jokes, threw candy and gave away prizes. 

Look for SG Wong's  DEVIL TAKE THE HINDMOST and Merrilee's MURDER IS UNCOOPERATIVE as well as my second Maddie Adventure and Eileen's Marie Jenner mystery series (4th one, DYING ON SECOND, is coming out in September). 

The Maddie Hatter Adventures and I would also like to thank all the people who threw their coins and bills into my collection box for Girls Not Brides. The weekend total came to nearly $200 over just 4 panels, adding to the money raised at my Calgary and Edmonton book launches.
 Girls Not Brides empowers young women everywhere

Since Maddie herself was a runaway to avoid being pressured into marriage, it seemed fitting to collect for this very reputable organization that helps girls all over the world stay out of early/forced marriage and in school, learning whatever skills they need to become healthy, productive, independent citizens. I am thrilled that so many wonderful attendees at When Words Collide supported the cause, and wish to shout out to fellow crime writers SG Wong, Eileen Bell, and Erin Lindsey, who amplified my meager effort in word and in deed.

All in all, it was a marvelous weekend, one I'd happily repeat a lot sooner than this time next year. For now, farewell and happy reading/writing/listening to stories of your choosing.

For up-to-the hour news on Maddie's Adventures and my own, follow us onnFacebook or Twitter

Saturday, August 5, 2017

When Words Collide 2017 - August 10-13 in Calgary

It's August again, and you know what that means: it's time for When Words Collide, Calgary's wildest wrangling of genre-crossing literature, a Festival for Readers and Writers.

The convention has been sold out since June but there are a few areas open to the public. Check the website at When Words Collide to learn what events you can access from outside.

I'll be appearing on several panels to discuss the amazing alternate-Victorian world of Maddie Hatter, how to plot the perfect crime, who my favourite paranormal authors are, and other topics of interest to readers and to writers of crime and/or speculative fiction.

My Schedule:

Friday, August 11th 

* at 7 p.m. in the Canmore Room (Atrium Building): When, Where, Why and How Would You Kill This Character?  Audience participation as writers brainstorm. With only a setting, character, and motive, how will each panelist kill the character and hide the body?

* at 9 p.m. (room TBA)  Tyche Books Ltd and Steampunk Arts & Sciences Society (SASS) present their annual  absinthe and Scotch tastings. Learn about malts from true aficionados  and watch a perfect absinthe drink created from the fountain manipulated by the Commander's experienced hands.

Saturday, August 12th
(all in Tower Building from here on unless specified)

* 12 noon in the Fireside Room:   Tyche Books Presents their annual book social with editors and authors presenting the 2017 collection. Panel discussion and Q & A. 

* 2 p.m. in Bonavista Room: Paranormal Mysteries by subtype and style. How much woo-woo is too much? What authors do it well?

* 8 p.m. in the Parkland Room: Mass autograph session, where I'll be signing my two Maddie Hatter Adventures, two Enigma Front anthologies, and whatever other anthologies or old magazine stories of mine readers bring along.

* 10 p.m. in a semi-secret location: Bundoran Press's combined party and triple book launch. I'm just going as a spectator and cheerer-on of the authors.

Sunday, August 13th

* 2 p.m. in the Parkland Room: Elements of Suspense (a Sisters-in-Crime panel), in which we discuss what keeps readers turning the page and sleeping with the lights on.

* 4 p.m. in the Fireside Room: Women of Mystery (a Sisters-in-Crime panel), in which 4 long-time mystery writer/readers discuss their favourite new and established female crime writers, and reveal a few secrets of our own.

Looking forward to seeing lots of friends old and new!

 Find me on Facebook or Twitter

Sunday, May 21, 2017


It was May 10th, 2017, and dusk was creeping over Calgary when MADDIE HATTER AND THE GILDED GAUGE leapt from the printed page to party and parasol duel at Owls Nest Books.

 And from there to the #1 slot on the Calgary Herald Bestseller List for Fiction! 


Yay, Maddie! 

Friends and family in the packed store ate, drank, and made merry to the lively tunes of Calgary folk duo Hazel Gray. Their song, PAPER-THIN KINGDOMS, is a book-lover's classic!.

 We raised $100 for charity, to be split between CALGARY READS and GIRLS NOT BRIDES.

 Some characters from the book showed up:
Countess Olga, wearing the Dragon Draper Necklace which is our prize for the entire summer's charity fundraising.
Emmy Gat Ain't No Flat!
Cat Cheshire - Look at that GRIN!

Muffet, the littlest Urchin, and one smart cookie!
Tyche Books represented by Editor-in-Chief Margaret Curelas and substantive editor Adria Laycraft.

Fabulous food and wine was provided by Tyche Books and Owls Nest Books.
Some lucky folks took home a Steampunk Statue of Liberty Chocolate Bar.

The Urchins were never far from the food!

The March Pair (Rabbit and Hare) with Muffet and the snacks

These kids go nowhere without their crazy scooter.

In the white and black, the first World Parasol Dueling Champion, mentally preparing to face down Countess Olga, the World Street Dueling Champ!

Amanda and her daughter drove 5 hours to be there on the night.
 I told a tall tale or two of parasol duels by daylight and darkness.
Add caption
Emmy Gat and Cat Cheshire set to duel. Those far at the back of the store couldn't see the duelists well, but they were closer to the refreshments.


With great support from Steampunks of SASS and Madame Saffron Hemlock's Parasol Dueling League, and the warmest of welcomes from Owls Nest's Mike Hare, Judith Duthie and Sarah Johnson, MADDIE HATTER AND THE GILDED GAUGE got off to a great start!  Thanks, all of you!

Available at Owls Nest Books in Calgary or through any of the links below:  Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XJ9YT31 
Amazon.CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B06XJ9YT31 
Amazon.UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XJ9YT31 
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/maddie-hatter-and-the-gilded-gauge 
Nook & iBooks: https://www.books2read.com/u/bxgDJv
For up-to-the-minute news about Maddie and my other writings, find me on Facebook or Twitter 

Friday, May 12, 2017

It's Time to Find The Gilded Gauge!

Book trailer by Kevin Jepson of 4k Consulting, with his photos and stock photos. Music by Two Steps From Hell (Toys Come Alive). 

May 2017 from Tyche Books 

Amazon.com   Amazon.ca   Amazon.uk  Kobo  Other formats
A mysterious message from a midnight duelist sends fashion reporter and aspiring investigator Maddie Hatter to New York City's finest parasol dueling academy, where she foils a daring daylight kidnapping, saves the girl, and embarks on her most perilous adventure yet!

From the Back Cover:
"A mysterious message from a midnight duelist sends fashion reporter Maddie Hatter to New York’s finest parasol dueling academy, where she foils a daring daylight kidnapping.
The grateful rescuee, only daughter of an American Steamlord, offers Maddie a job as her bodyguard. Soon both young ladies are up to their lace gloves in industrial intrigue and irrepressible street urchins. Maddie’s clockwork bird faces danger too: hungry owls, curious inventors, even a clockwork foe that hides sneaky tricks behind its jewel-green eyes.
From the mansions of Park Avenue to the Statue of Liberty, Maddie hunts a fearless spy and confronts an unexpected power from her past."

 Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XJ9YT31 
Amazon.CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B06XJ9YT31 
Amazon.UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XJ9YT31 
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/maddie-hatter-and-the-gilded-gauge 
Nook & iBooks: https://www.books2read.com/u/bxgDJv

For up-to-the-minute news about Maddie and my other writings, find me on Facebook or Twitter 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Bonnie Ferrante's 3-Random Questions Interview with me

It's an odd thing to be interviewed about a book and have the interview appear months later, when the next book is almost out. Here's some background on 'Maddie Hatter and the Deadly Diamond', the first in the Maddie Hatter Steampunk Adventures, when her second adventure is barely six weeks from release.

See the prior interview here:

And see more about Maddie's second adventure over here: