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Chance spins the Wheel of the world

Fortune's Wheel


Without the nudging hand of Chance, the Wheel – of our fortunes; of the world itself – could not spin at all . . . and how dull then would our living be!

These gorgeous designs were created by Tarot artist Megan Weber for THE MERCURY WALTZ, and featured in the book’s trailer:

The Mercury Waltz Trailer from Under the Poppy on Vimeo.

Take this chance to meet Megan at our Mercury Waltz celebration on March 1, at the Boston Tea Room.

In the words, in the cards


Two weeks until the MERCURY WALTZ event … “Giving a reading” is an interesting turn of phrase – and entirely true and appropriate, especially in this particular setting. A writer reading her words aloud is giving the story to those who hear; a skilled Tarot reader gives the story of the cards to the querent, the one who asks.  And in both, the energy is tangible.

Very much looking forward to that atmosphere in the Boston Tea Room, where so many tales have already been told!

The rascal lord


Across town, at the city’s railway terminus, trains depart for Paris and for elsewhere as others arrive, disgorging in steam and soot a moving frieze of passengers, all greeted or dispatched by a marble statue of Mercury, grime on his white helmet, winged feet adroitly poised between Olympus and the bootblacks …. that railway god whom the Greeks called Hermes, that rascal lord of thresholds and of journeys, of thievery and hard commerce, of ecstasy and lies.


This godly gentleman – created by Rick Lieder – stood beside my desk all throughout the writing of the novel, demonstrating with great panache how lightly we ought to take ourselves whenever we mean to make trouble, love, or art. Cry the Mercury!

Cry the Mercury with Tarot and champagne

Bostn Tea Room

Please save the date: MARCH 1, 7-9PM, at the Boston Tea Room in fabulous Ferndale, for an evening of THE MERCURY WALTZ! Tarot, champagne, book sales, a dramatic reading – and thou. Victorian/Edwardian or silver attire is strongly encouraged!

And we’ll be joined by several very special guests: artist Megan Weber, who created the MERCURY WALTZ Tarot; and members of the performance ensemble nerve.

Come take part in a magical event!

Hares and crowns, doves and flowers, a year’s panoply distilled into flight and battle: see the lords and knaves embracing, the queens presiding, those knaves and queens so like the puppets in their obliquity, their ferocity, their capacity for showing the truth … from THE MERCURY WALTZ


THE MERCURY WALTZ began its slow striptease . . .

ZG bespoke 1

ZG bespoke 3

ZG bespoke 4

Zita Gillis shared these photos of her bespoke copy of THE MERCURY WALTZ, and explains the process thusly:

“My bespoke copy arrived today. It’s so beautifully packaged! Dare I open it?

The Mercury Waltz began its slow striptease…

The Puppet appeared from within the folds of rich satin…

And The Mercury Waltz lays before me, waiting to be embraced and devoured in my bed tonight.”

Which is exactly the kind of passionate reaction that led to the creation of the bespoke edition!

And it’s also why there are trade hardcover and ebook editions available, too. Sometimes the words are everything you want, and you want to take them everywhere with ease. Sometimes you want those words in a book. And sometimes you want everything a physical object can offer, the surprise and fun of the package’s arrival, the tactile pleasures offered in its unwrapping, the wink of the puppet with his little walking stick, the elegant bookmark, and – in the very back – a quote from one of the research texts that were important in the writing of the story.

And in each edition, the words are there, the story is there. It’s all in how you choose to experience the dimensions, and we’re delighted to be able to offer you that choice. Because reading is meant to be passionate fun.

Choose your MERCURY here …

Making the bespokes

[Photo of KK shipping a bespoke by Rick Lieder.]

Yes, it’s a love story

Mercury-God-1Though when people ask, as some have, “Did you write another gay love story?” my answer is yes but mostly no.

Persimmon Frost understands this as the heart of the MERCURY and POPPY tales:

“Rupert and Istvan are older, but not necessarily wiser, at least about their relationship with each other, and yet their love for one another is the single enduring thing about their world.”

As does The Next Best Book Club:

“I loved slipping back into that familiar tension as Istvan and Rupert continue to pull and push at each other …”

Because who we love, and the way we love, is particular to ourselves, but in tune and tandem with every other lover, in any and every time, everywhere. As Leonard Cohen once observed, “Your most particular answer will be your most universal one.” Because love is love.

Assembling the bespoke edition!

MW bespoke 1

And having fun in the doing … No two alike! Feathers and twine, the puppet and his jolly walking stick, the bookmarks, the opulent wrapping, signature and notation … And at the heart of it all, the story.

“A dark world of eros, war, and puppetry”

boingboing logoCory Doctorow gives a lovely shout-out to THE MERCURY WALTZ via BoingBoing:

“It’s been nearly four years since Kathe Koja’s amazing novel “Under the Poppy” was published, plunging readers into a dark world of eros, war, and puppetry (seriously). Koja is a chameleon of a writer, whose career began with grotesque, lascivious, splatterpunk horror novels like The Cipher, then transitioned into spare, quietly brilliant YA novels like Buddha Boy, and then emerged in the entirely indescribable territory of Under the Poppy, to which she has now returned with a new novel called The Mercury Waltz.”

Cory, it goes without saying, is welcome at the Mercury, the Poppy, and by all the mecs, anytime he chooses to hang his hat . . .

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