Guest Blogger ~ Melissa Yi

War and Drink by Melissa Yi

“I could make Hope a custom gin.” —Nathalie Gamache, artisan distiller and board-certified gynecologist

Nathalie’s offer to create a gin for my main character, Dr. Hope Sze, delighted me. I’m an emergency doctor myself, and when we met online through a physician group, I felt that Nathalie understands Hope’s courage and fears as a resident doctor who solves crimes.

In honour of a custom gin, though, I’d have to focus on alcohol in my next medical thriller. And I hardly drink!

However, I was soon fascinated by the history of booze and crime. I began reading Frenchie, the story of a Quebec man who joined Al Capone’s gang in Chicago for 8 years.

I discovered that Montreal, the main site of my Hope Sze series, was a vacation magnet during Prohibition, as Americans flowed north for “giggle water” (liquor), jazz, and “pro skirts” (prostitutes in 1920’s slang). Unfortunately, buildings from the era were destroyed to make way for new construction.

Luckily, la Maison de Bootlegger is still standing in Charlevoix, Quebec. This building was a speakeasy, a place where they illegally sold alcohol, so you had to “speak easy,” or softly, about its location. Now it’s a restaurant with a nightly rock and roll show. Make your dinner reservations early so you can get the tour. I enjoyed tiptoeing into hidden rooms, observing hidden booze shelves, and creeping through a secret passageway in Elvis Presley’s footsteps.

Seriously, Elvis was here. He even left his signature!

Much further east, at the Age of Sail Museum in Nova Scotia, I noted the Family Temperance Pledge in their Bible and realized that of course the Maritime provinces, right on the sea, would sail liquor to the U.S. I read later that the income was a boon to Nova Scotia fishermen, suffering from a regional recession in the 1920’s. But as the Temperance movement pointed out, that money came at a social cost: alcoholics beat their families and spent their money on drink instead of food.

So there was no shortage of writing inspiration for me, both in terms of liquor and of crime. But how could I weave it all together in my novel, White Lightning? Especially when I took a side journey researching 19th century England, how could I draw it all together into a thriller featuring my thoroughly 21st century heroine, Hope Sze?

The solution: more research.

Hope visits the Rumrunner’s Rest, a Prohibition inn inspired by la Maison de Bootlegger, but in Windsor, where 75 percent of alcohol flowed across the Detroit River onto U.S. soil. To maximize the chaos, Hope also has to navigate a con filled with people dressed up like fictional villains from the The Wicked Witch of the West to Children of the Corn.

I literally played with the historical elements: I wrote the 19th Century portion first as a play called “The Climbing Boy” in a playwriting class at George Brown College, which was turned into a Lego stop action movie at the digital Winnipeg Fringe. I folded “The Climbing Boy” into White Lightning thanks to some inspiration from author Simone St. James.

In other words, in White Lightning, I tried to capture the glamour as well as the murder and treachery of Prohibition.

As William Faulkner pointed out, “War and drink are the two things man is never too poor to buy.”

So let’s raise a glass and grab a book as we turn the page on a new year!

White Lightning

Hope Sze Medical Mystery Book 9

Prohibition and Predators. 

Hope Sze escapes for a romantic weekend away at the Rumrunner’s Rest, a Roaring Twenties inn once celebrated both for Prohibition’s best alcohol and the smoothest jazz bands north of the Detroit River.

Then a convention of fictional villains overrun the tavern, her friend glimpses a ghost, and Hope uncovers a grisly surprise in the fireplace that may be related to Al Capone.

Tonight, unless Hope unravels a century’s worth of clues, death will collect several more lives. Including the one she holds most dear.

Buy links: https://windtreepress.com/portfolio/white-lightning/

Direct links: https://books2read.com/whitelightningyi

amazon.com short https://amzn.to/3n5kuIl

Melissa Yi, also known as Dr. Melissa Yuan-Innes, studied emergency medicine at McGill University in Montreal. She was so shocked by the patients crammed into the waiting area, and the examining rooms without running water, that she began to contemplate murder. And so she created Dr. Hope Sze, the resident who could save lives and fight crime.  Her most recent crime novel, White Lightning, is already up for many awards. She appeared on CBC Radio’s Ontario Morning and recently had so many print interviews that an addiction services counsellor said, “I see you in the newspaper more often than I see you in the emergency room.”

Dr. Melissa Yuan-Innes applied to medical school mostly because she wanted to save lives, but also because she’s nosy. Medicine is a fascinating and frustrating window into other people’s lives. She shares her sometimes painful, occasionally hilarious stories in The Medical Post, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and in her essay collections The Most Unfeeling Doctor in the World, FIfty Shades of Grey’s Anatomy, and Broken Bones.

Website: http://www.melissayuaninnes.com/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/dr_sassy

Facebook: 

https://www.facebook.com/MelissaYiYuanInnes/

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/melissa-yi

Goodreads: goodreads.com/author/show/4600856.Melissa_Yuan_Innes

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/MelissaYuanInnes

Instagram: https://instagram.com/melissa.yuaninnes

Author central: amazon.com/author/myi

Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/melissayi_

TikTok: @myi_books

New Member

To fill in the fifth Monday of the month, I’ll introduce you to our new member.

We were sorry to see Sally Carpenter leave the Ladies of Mystery, but I’m excited to say I found some to take over her day.

Lisa Leoni is a writer I’ve known for many years. I met her when we were both members of the Salem, Oregon chapter of Romance Writers of America. We roomed together at a conference and spent time together being officers of the chapter.

I moved on from RWA and began working on writing mysteries, not realizing Lisa was too. When I discovered she is writing mystery books, and then Sally said she’d like to step down from the blog, I immediately thought Lisa would make a good addition.

Lisa will have her first post on this blog next Monday, the first Monday of every month. I look forward to hearing what she’ll have to add to the blog.

Here is her bio: Lisa has found a way to combine her lifelong love for happily ever afters and her (un?)healthy fascination with crime by writing cozy mysteries. She writes cozies set in her own backyard of the Willamette Valley of Oregon and writes contemporary romances set in Scotland. When she’s not plotting ways to murder people, she’s being herded by her ginger cats and juggles a dozen craft projects.

Welcome, Lisa!

New Year- New Insights

Several of the Ladies of Mystery have some info about how they begin a new year or resolutions they make.


Amber in tree final

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. When I discover the need for change, I do it, no matter what time of year. I recently caught myself reading too much when I should have been writing—not exactly a vice for a writer, but still, it was taking me away from my work in progress. I now start the day writing. I limit myself to reading one book at a time, and have cut back on magazines and news articles. Not so much as to slip into ignorance, just reading in moderation. Writing before I do anything else is energizing and keeps the ideas percolating as I do other things before I resume writing at night. I’ve always written daily, but the morning writing is new.

My goal for the year is to complete the seventh Mae Martin mystery.  I’m entering such major revisions on it, the process will be quite an adventure. ~ Amber Fox

Website  | Facebook | Twitter Goodreads | Amazon


Me at Caruthers Library 2I never write New Year’s Resolutions, but my plan—and you know what happens to plans—is to be more regular about my writing if possible. I’ve actually gotten rid of a couple of jobs so I should have more time, right? In any case, what I really want is to enjoy my writing. ~Marilyn Meredith

Website  | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon


2017 headshot newI don’t make resolutions, I make goals. My goal for the coming year is to put out a product (box set, book, novella, audio book) a month. I like to have something to tell my newsletter readers about.  And I  like to keep pushing out new material. My brain is so full of ideas for the series I have started and some I don’t that I have to keep pushing out the words and stories to make more room in my head.  ~Paty Jager

Website  | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

 

What we are Thankful for.

Several of the Ladies of Mystery authors sent paragraphs about what they are thankful for to be put on this 5th Thursday of the month post.

~Marilyn Meredith~

Me at Caruthers Library 2

My family is at the top of the list. I have so many grands, great-grands and after Christmas, it’ll be 4 great-great grands, that I’ve quit trying to count them all.

They truly give me great joy—those I don’t get to see all the time keep in touch by email or Facebook. Three live in our home with us. They make us smile and laugh a lot.

Of course I’m thankful for having a comfortable home and living in America. And I’m thankful for the pleasure that being an author has given me.

Marilyn Meredith aka F.M. Meredith

Latest books:

A Cold Death, a Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery

Tangled Webs, a Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery

Visit me at http://fictionforyou.com/

Blog: https://marilynmeredith.blogspot.com/

~Amber Foxx~

standing twist better

I am grateful for New Mexico, for its open spaces and unique culture. There’s nowhere else I’d rather be. I have good friends in a community that thrives on art, eccentricity, diversity, and creativity. I’m in excellent health, for which I am more and more grateful as I get older. My network of supportive fellow writers and my readers who appreciate my unusual take on the mystery genre are reasons to give thanks. Also, I’m grateful to the authors of every book I’ve ever enjoyed, but especially Born to Run, which changed my running life dramatically for the better as well as being a true story well told. And I’m grateful to the teachers who taught me how to teach yoga and who still teach and inspire me, and to the students who honor me by taking my classes. The more I list, the longer the list wants to become. I’m grateful for my fingers as they type and for the invention of word-processing software. Grateful for this moment. For this breath. For you, the person reading this. Namaste.

Latest book: Mae Martin Mysteries Box Set Books 1-3 

Visit me at: https://amberfoxxmysteries.com

~Paty Jager~

20170514_145537

I am thankful for a husband who early in our marriage understood my need to write. Children and family who also take my writing as seriously as I do. I am also grateful to be able to live in a rural area and still be connected to my writer friends and readers through social media even though it gives me fits quite often.  I enjoy our simple life, writing, reading, being with family and friends and sharing my imagination with others.

Latest book: Dangerous Dance: A Shandra Higheagle Mystery

Visit me at: http://www.patyjager.net

Blog: http://www.patyjager. blogspot.com