Category: Performance

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 . . .


Roadswell Editions has THE MERCURY WALTZ: ebook, trade hardcover, and bespoke hardcover, all available now and here!


Early reviews are in …

If Dickens had a penchant for opium and sodomy he might have given us a world as rich as The Mercury Waltz, but only Kathe Koja could wholly deliver these goods. This beguiling,  complex, urban tale of rueful economies, of how the puppet strings of love and lust are forever  entangled, is simply inimitable.”
          – Tom Cardamone, author of Green Thumb and The Lost Library: Gay Fiction Rediscovered

“Kathe Koja’s creations are unlike those of any living writer.  Her peers are Ovid and Petronius, Rimbaud and Wilde.  Having sipped of the same ancient nectar as the children of Apollo, Koja deftly crafts a lusty, transcendent prose which impishly re-imagines the traditional antitheses of pleasure and pain, virtue and vice, spectacle and reality.”   – Adam Burgess, Roof Beam Reader

The Mercury Waltz returns us to the grimy, decadent, fin-de-siècle world of Under the Poppy, cranking the resolution to reveal every brilliantly imagined nook of one corner of this world, in prose that is exquisite, sensual, evocative, romantic, and luxurious.  There is no one left to compare Koja to–I don’t know another writer with her fearlessness, erudition, and perfect pitch.  The effect is dazzling.”
          – Lewis Shiner, author of Slam and Deserted Cities of the Heart



The wheel turns, the years revolve

Cry the Mercury!

. . . Good news in a city that needs good news, as it needs a storm to dispel the hot miasmas and send the rain like lovers’ tears, wash the wax from its Bridge and the grit from its gutters, and turn the fortune wheel of the year from thick summer to the darker precincts of autumn, the season of endings and departures, of fog and frost and luminosity as false and lovely as any footlights on any stage. The city needs a new show, and it shall have one, the spinning silver waltz of the feast of fools.

A quote from THE MERCURY WALTZ to wish that the wheel may spin pleasure and knowledge for us all, as it turns from one year to the newest and next. Watch for the wink of the gods, listen for the rustle of dance slippers (or winged feet?), keep your wits about you, and the show will go on and take you along with it. Here’s to glad departures, here’s to the New Year!

Let the fête begin


Writing a piece on the writing of THE MERCURY WALTZ, when I’d thought the story ended in the POPPY, brought me back to the surprise of that beginning, or re-beginning: the doubt and the challenge, and the exhilaration that the show, yes, must go on, with new players aside the veterans, and new puppets to jig, sport, break hearts and tell the truth no matter how inconvenient.

A work must first be a gift to the writer before s/he can give it to its readers. I’ll hope that you’ll accept this mercurial gift, that it be as surprising and pleasing and bracing as a cold Champagne cocktail served stageside by a beauty in a mask, while drums, or is it thunder, or is it soldiers? thrum outside in the greater dark.



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