The Verdant Gene

Falcon Ridge Publishing has recently reprinted my short story, The Verdant Gene. It was originally published in February 2014 by WMG Publishing in Moonscapes, part of their Fiction River anthology series. Verdant was also briefly available as an audio story, read by the wonderful Jane Kennedy, to promote the anthology.


Marcelle Dubé

Verdant Gene

We landed on Verdant one hundred and three years ago, in what turned out to be Year Three of the thirty-year Cycle.

In a stroke of cosmic bad luck, the probes that explored Verdant and mapped its solar system did so at apogee, when Castor and Pollux, the twin moons, were stable in the sky at the farthest they would be from Verdant, and each other. How were we to know that this stability would only last a year?

It took the original colonists a few years to realize that Verdant’s moons were slowly drawing closer to each other and to the planet. The attendant tides and wild weather soon made the colonists relocate the settlement to higher, more protected ground, but it was only at Year Fifteen of the Cycle, at perigee, that the colonists understood the full impact of the moons’ strange dance.

There have only been three Perigee Years since we landed on Verdant. With each one, we were better prepared to survive the physical onslaughts of storm and surge. But with each one, we lost more and more people to the Cycle madness.

* * *

To read the rest of the story: | | barnes and noble | kobo | apple | smashwords

How to help a writer

The fourth Mendenhall Mystery is now available! It’s called The Untethered Woman, and I think it’s pretty good.

Well, I would, wouldn’t I?

If you’ve been reading the series and would like to help promote it, here are a few suggestions:

Buy the book. Or one of the books. Each book in the series reads well on its own, but is richer for having read the ones that came before. Untethered is only $5.99 for the ebook. The more people buy the book in the first month, the better chance the book has at being “discovered.” The print book will be available by the end of the month.

Leave a review. Reviews are gold. They help increase discoverability and let potential readers know if they might like to read it, too. If you liked the story (any story, really), leave a review where you bought it, or on Goodreads.

Tell someone. If you liked the book, tell someone who might be interested in it, too. Word of mouth is still the very best way of discovering a new author.

Talk to me. If something bugged you, even a typo, let me know. If you liked the book, you can tell me that, too.  🙂 You can connect via the contact link (above) or at marcelle.dube [at]

Share. Using social media is a wonderful way to spread the word. Here’s a suggestion for Twitter or Facebook:

When the unthinkable happens… The Untethered Woman, 4th in Mendenhall Mystery series now available |

Those are a few ideas for helping spread the word. Just in case you wanted to know.

A Yukon Christmas

Anyone who knows me knows I’m not much of a romantic. I don’t read romances, can’t stand “alpha” males and have no use cowboys-and-babies or sheik stories. But. I do like a believable, solid romance as part of the greater story. Like Karen Abrahamson‘s romantic suspense stories, or Toni Anderson‘s. And every year at about this time, I find myself hankering to write a love story. So without further ado, here’s the cover of my third annual Christmas romance short story, A Yukon Christmas.


After her 20-year marriage collapses from inertia, Beatrice Talsma sets off on a year-long, cross-Canada journey to discover where she truly belongs. When she reaches the Yukon, however, her short pause turns into a decision to settle down in this strange new place.

In a complete break with the past, she rents out a cabin in the Yukon wilderness. It’s a wonderful spot, except that her closest neighbor, Henry Pekarik, also her landlord, seems determined to help Beatrice out, whether she wants it or not. It’s becoming harder and harder to resist the man but the real test comes when he invites her to Christmas dinner with his family.

Buy links: | | kobo | barnes and noble | smashwords

The Untethered Woman

The Untethered Woman, my fourth Mendenhall Mystery, is available for pre-order now! The ebook will be available on October 30, with the trade paperback to follow within a week or two. Here’s the trade cover:

The Untethered Woman

Here’s the cover blurb:

A phone call sends Kate Williams, chief of police of the tiny Manitoba town of Mendenhall, rushing home to Quebec to deal with the hit-and-run accident that put her mother in the hospital.

The more questions she asks, however, the more she suspects that the accident wasn’t really an accident. Investigating outside her own jurisdiction, Kate faces resistance from the local police force and her own family. Just as her determined pursuit of the truth finally starts to bear fruit, however, the unthinkable happens. Now, a terrible crime that may have been intended for her forces her to return to Mendenhall.

The fourth in the Mendenhall Mysteries series, The Untethered Woman returns readers to the wonderful characters of Mendenhall and to Kate Williams, the town’s stubborn chief of police. Other books in the series include The Shoeless Kid, The Tuxedoed Man, and The Weeping Woman.

Available from: | | kobo | barnes and noble |smashwords | apple


Fiction River: A subscription drive for a new era

It’s a Brave New World out there. In the old days, publishers would pepper us with requests to subscribe to their magazines, including email reminders, return address cards, etc.

WMG Publishing, the folks who publish the Fiction River Anthology Series among other wonderful books, have decided on another route for their subscription drive. Since they went with a Kickstarter campaign to fund the debut of the series, they’re going back to Kickstarter for their subscription drive. The incentives they’re offering are enticing–everything from a free e-copy of one of the first ten volumes to the right to choose the theme of an upcoming anthology and the opportunity to co-edit it with Dean Wesley Smith who, with Kristine Kathryn Rusch, is the series editor. In between those extremes is a wonderful array of workshops, subscriptions and books by almost all of the contributors to Fiction River anthologies.

As for the connection to moi, two of my print novels are being offered as incentives: Kirwan’s Son and Backli’s Ford, as well as one of my e-books.

Check it out here:

FR Moonscapes ebook cover webKirwan's Son front coverBackli cover-POD-Dube name-REV

Let them dig a wider hole

child at streamOn the wall above my writing desk, I have three foot-square cork tiles. On these tiles are pinned postcards, greeting cards, covers, cards that accompanied flowers, images, framed artwork—anything and everything that provides inspiration anytime I lift my gaze from the writing computer.

Prominent among this collage are a bunch of sayings. One of my favourites is “DARE TO BE BAD,” which is something Dean Wesley Smith and Nina Kiriki Hoffman would say to encourage each other to write and finish a story a week. Dean explains it better here.

That’s not why I put it up on my inspiration board, however. I read “DARE TO BE BAD” as permission to take risks rather than the safe route in my writing. So what if I risk writing something bad? It could also turn out to be wonderful and I wouldn’t know if I didn’t take the chance.

Another writer I admire, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, encourages writers to “WRITE LIKE A TWO-YEAR-OLD,” by which she means we should write as if we don’t care what polite society says. A two-year-old doesn’t care that society says you must go around clothed. She’ll take her clothes off if she feels like it. Or wear a tutu if she wants to. She doesn’t care about “appropriate.” A two-year-old doesn’t give two hoots about what adults want. She hasn’t figured out that she has to play nice in order to be liked. There’s no filter. All of that comes as she grows up. Writers have to be like that two-year-old and not even take into consideration what society wants. We have to write what’s in us to write and to hell with the rest. We have to be fearless.

One saying has been up on my wall for a while now, and I kept staring at it, wondering why I had put it up. It reads:


I know it meant something when I put it up there. I had a vague recollection that it had to do with graves and being overweight, but really, that wasn’t much of a clue. Finally, the other day, I googled it and found the article I’d read that inspired me to put it up in a prominent position.

In 2002, Jennifer Crusie wrote a column for Romance Writers Report entitled “A Writer without a Publisher is Like a Fish without a Bicycle: Writer’s Liberation and You.”

In the article (you should read it; it’s very good) she refers to a novel by… oh, what the heck, I’ll just quote directly from her article:

“This was beautifully illustrated in a Gail Parent novel from the seventies called Sheila Levine Is Dead and Living in New York. As Parent chronicles her heroine’s increasingly manic attempts to attract a husband, whiny Sheila becomes more and more unattractive to both men and the reader. Then something wonderful happens: Sheila decides to kill herself. In exactly one year, she vows, she’s going to commit suicide. In the meantime, she’s going to live life her way. She’s going to stop dressing uncomfortably and laughing inanely and just be herself. In fact, since she’s going to die anyway, she’s even going to stop dieting: the hell with it, Sheila says, “Let them dig a wider hole.” And ironically and inevitably, men flock to her. I can’t promise that publishers will flock to us if we stop trying to get published, but I can testify that making “Let them dig a wider hole” my mantra has paid off well for me.”

The point Crusie is making in her article is that writers should abandon writing for publication as a goal, and just write for themselves.

I love the line “let them dig a wider hole.” Don’t you? I can’t stop thinking about it. It encapsulates everything I wish for myself as a writer. I want to be bigger than the sum of my upbringing and my hang ups. I want to transcend my fears (oh, I can’t write that—what if my mother/boss/neighbours read it?) and dare to be bad. I want to let my inner two-year-old writer out.

So here’s to being fearless and getting out of our own way. May we become better writers for it.

Originally published on Not Your Usual Suspects, July 21, 2014.


Obeah now in print

Obeah-ebook cover-DEC 31I’m very pleased to announce that Obeah, my fantasy novel set in the Yukon, is now available as a trade paperback. Here’s the write-up:

On a near-future Earth decimated by plagues, two species of humanity survive—Homo sapiens and Homo gaians. When an insane gaians blames sapiens for the world’s problems, only Lauren Tom will stand between him and the destruction of the remaining sapiens.

Unless she decides he’s right.

* * *

Lauren Tom doesn’t need anyone, thank you very much. She survived the Troubles that killed her father, survived her mother’s disappearance ten years ago, and now she survives just fine in a cabin in the Yukon wilderness.

At 21, she’s the best trapper and fisher in the area. But while her neighbors appreciate her generosity, they don’t warm to her. They never have. She doesn’t belong. She’s too different, too odd, too restless. She makes people uneasy.

Then Cade, a strange, charismatic man who once lived in Whitehorse returns. He wants her to come with him to the fabled Ben-My-Chree, a place deep in the wilderness that calls to her like a siren’s song.

His return sets in motion a chain of disastrous events that will change Lauren’s life forever—and may result in the destruction of the world’s remaining humans.

Obeah is available everywhere books are sold, including Mac’s Fireweed in Whitehorse. | | barnes and noble |

Twelve of the writers from Not Your Usual Suspects have gotten together to offer one fabulous prize in honour of reaching 150,000 hits on our blog.

12 authors

Drop by Not Your Usual Suspects and comment and you’ll automatically be entered. The draw is July 14. Good luck!


The Writing Process — Blog Tour

Joanna Lilley, poet, non-fiction writer and all around wonderful woman, tagged me to participate in The Writing Process Blog Tour. The idea behind the tour is that the “tagged” writer answers four questions about her (or his) writing process and then tags one or two other writers to do the same. It seems like a lot of fun, doesn’t it? Here are the questions:

What am I working on?

Weeping Woman Right now I’m finishing the first draft of my fourth Mendenhall mystery, in which my poor heroine, Mendenhall Chief of Police Kate Williams, rushes home to Montreal after her mother is struck down by a hit-and-run driver. Then Kate learns that the accident may have been a deliberate attempt to get her away from Mendenhall.

Cover Tuxedoed ManUnlike many other writers I know, I only work on one thing at a time. If commitments force me to start something new before I’ve finished the piece I’m working on, I set the piece aside until I’ve met the obligation, then I go back to the original story and finish it. My head hurts at the thought of bopping between stories.

How does my work differ from others in the genre?

Backli cover-POD-Dube name-REVI never met a genre I didn’t want to cross. Is it mystery, or is it fantasy? Is it fantasy or science fiction? Or something in between? Pity the poor bookseller trying to figure out where to shelve my books! Even my mysteries cross sub-genres, for Pete’s sake. For instance, the Mendenhall Mysteries are technically police procedurals, but they feel like cozies.

While in some of my stories the fate of humanity teeters in the balance, all my stories start from a small incident and build from there, character by character, until I have a finished story that, miraculously, has a beginning, middle and end.

Why do I write what I do?

Really, it’s not like I have a choice. I write the stories that are in me to write. And there are many, many stories clamoring to be written. They jostle around inside my head, jockeying to be the first at the top of my mind when I finally turn my attention to the next project.

I have noticed a theme in most of my work (I never set out with a theme in mind—it just happens). Almost all my stories deal with someone who is caught between two cultures, two worlds, two stages in his life. Someone who doesn’t fit in the environment in which she finds herself. The stories almost always revolve around my characters finding out where they belong, how they fit. While having misadventures along the way, of course.

How does my writing process work?

I try to write every day after work. I aim for 1000 words a day, but often have to content myself with fewer. I’m a morning person—well, maybe a day person is more accurate. I refuse to get up any earlier than I already do for work. Weekends, of course, are best. Anything past 8 p.m. and really, I’m no good to anyone.

Shoeless Kid As for the actual writing… well. I wish I could say I always have a plan before I start writing and follow it until I have a brilliantly plotted story at the end. Ha. In reality, I almost always start with an incident. Something that catches my attention. For The Shoeless Kid, the first in the Mendenhall Mysteries, I saw a shoe abandoned in the middle of the road. And that got me to thinking about how that could have happened.

So I start writing to find out. It’s messy and convoluted and means going back to fix many, many things. It means a lot of swearing under the breath when I realize I have to trash whole scenes in favour of ones that actually fit.

This latest Mendenhall mystery, for instance. I can’t wait to finish it so I can figure out what the darned this is about.

There has to be a better way.

That’s it for me. It feels a little immodest to be discussing myself in detail. Blame Jo Lilley. Now I’m tagging Karen Abrahamson to join the The Writing Process Blog Tour. Go visit her and learn more about her and her writing. She’s a fabulous writer.