{photo by Elkman, M. Lackey signing autographs at Convergence in Minneapolis, July 2008}

Mercedes Lackey is one of the most popular, prolific Speculative Fiction writers of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Although she is best known for her fantasy, she also writes science fiction. The Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) named Ms. Lackey the 38th SFWA Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master in May 2022.

Mercedes Lackey was born in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois June 24, 1950, making Friday, June 24, 2022 her 72nd birthday. A very happy birthday to you, ma’am! Many happy returns of the day.

She attended Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, and graduated in 1972. She wed Tony Lackey in 1972: they divorced in 1990. She married Larry Dixon in 1990. The two of them currently reside in Oklahoma, near Tulsa, which has been a setting for several of her books: Jinx High, Sacred Ground, and other books.

Before she published her first novel, Arrows of the Queen, she was well-known in the Filk Music community as a composer. She won the Pegasus Award in 1988 and again in 1989. We have played her music here at SciFi.Radio. Our DJs are happy to take requests, if you ask politely. She has sometimes used her songs as rough drafts for her fiction. The song “Threes” worked its way into the Valdemar series in a slightly altered form.

{image via Gary Skidmore, Phoenix ComicCon, Phoenix, Arizona, 2018}

Like Joan Vinge, Atanielle Annyn Noël, and Marion Zimmer Bradley, Ms. Lackey uses her married name from her first husband as a pen name. Publishers prefer this as it keeps early books and later books on the same shelves in libraries and bookstores, instead of some under L and the rest under D.

Her Many Books

Mercedes Lackey has written multiple series, some of which are related. The Valdemar books stretch over centuries, focusing on events in Valdemar and other nations in the world of Velgarth. Supporting characters in one book, or historical figures mentioned in passing, may be the protagonists of other books. Characters in one book may be the ancestors of characters in later books.

Heralds of Valdemar

  • The Heralds of Valdemar Trilogy
    • Arrows of the Queen (1987) Arrow’s Flight (1987) Arrow’s Fall 91988)
  • The Last Herald-Mage Trilogy
    • Magic’s Pawn 1989) Magic’s Promise (1990) Magic’s Price (1990)
  • The Mage Storms Trilogy
    • Storm Warning (1994) Storm Rising (1995) Storm Breaking (1996)
  • The Mage Wars Trilogy (written with husband and illustrator Larry Dixon)
    • The Black Gryphon (1994) The White Gryphon (1995) The Silver Gryphon (1996)
  • The Mage Winds Trilogy
    • Winds of Fate (1991) Winds of Change (1992) Winds of Fury (1993)
  • The Owl Mage Trilogy (written with husband and illustrator Larry Dixon)
    • Owlflight (1997) Owlsight (1998) Owlknight (1999)
  • The Collegium Quintet
    • Foundation (2008) Intrigues (2010) Changes (2011) Redoubt (2012) Bastion (2013)
  • Vows and Honor Series
    • The Oathbound (1998) The Oathbreakers (1989) Oathblood (1998) By the Sword (1991)
  • Independent books in the Heralds of Valdemar Universe
    • Burning Brightly (2000) Take a Thief (2001)
  • The Herald Spy Trilogy (A sequel to the Collegium Quntet and the predecessor to Family Spies Trilogy)
    • Closer to Home (2014) Closer to the Heart (2015) Closer to the Chest (2016)
  • Family Spies Trilogy (this trilogy is a sequel to the Collegium quintet)
    • The Hills Have Eyes (2018) Eye Spy (2019) Spy, Spy Again (2020)
  • Alberich’s Duology
    • Exile’s Honor (2002) Exile’s Valor (2003)

If that’s too many trilogies, don’t blame Professor Tolkien, blame C. J. Cherryh, who advised Lackey to “commit trilogy.”

The Elemental Masters Series

The books of theElemental Masters series are historical fiction, ranging from Victorian to Edwardian times, mostly set in England, but some in Continental Europe and one in San Francisco, CA. Each novel is loosely based on a traditional fairy tale.

  • The Fire Rose (1995)
  • The Serpent’s Shadow (2001)
  • The Gates of Sleep (2002)
  • Phoenix and Ahes (2004)
  • The Wizard of London (2005) The fifth to be published, but the first chronologically
  • Reserved for the Cat (2007)
  • Unnatural Issue (2011)
  • Home from the Sea (2012)
  • Elemental Magic (2012) anthology, edited by Lackey, containing stories by her and other authors
  • Steadfast (2013)
  • Elementary (2013) anthology, edited by Lackey, containing stories by her and other authors.
  • Red as Blood (2014)
  • From a High Tower (2015)
  • Study in Sable (2016)
  • A Scandal in Battersea (2017)
  • The Bartered Brides (2018)
  • The Case of the Spellbound Child (2019)
  • Jolene (2020)

The Five Hundred Kingdoms series

These are adult Fantasy stories set in Fairy Tale Land

  • The Fairy Godmother (2004)
  • The Good Knight (2006)
  • Fortune’s Fool (2007)
  • The Snow Queen (2008)
  • The Sleeping Beauty (2010)
  • Beauty and the Werewolf (2011)

ELVES: M. Lackey likes Elves and She Writes About Them A LOT

Serrated Edge, aka Elves on the Road is a series of related tales about elves coping in our modern world. You remember all the old folk tales of elves stealing away children? In this series, that’s true, only they’re rescuing abused and neglected children. Elves design and build race cars, and race them against human drivers.

The Doubled Edge is a prequel series to SERRAted Edge, set in Tudor England

The Diana Tregarde books also tie into the Elves on the Road books.

  • Burning Water (1989)
  • Children of the Night (1990)
  • Jinx High (1991)
  • Arcanum 101 (2012) with Rosemary Edghill

The Halfblood Chronicles co-written with the late Andre Norton, are about elves, elf-human halfbloods, and dragons. Completely unrelated to her other series.

  • Elvenbane (1991)
  • Elvenblood (1995)
  • Elvenborn (2002)

Also featuring elves and unrelated to her other books are the Bardic Voices & Bardic Choices books.

  • The Lark and the Wren (1992)
  • The Robin and the Kestral (1994)
  • The Eagle and the Nightengale (1996)
  • Four and Twenty Blackbirds (1997)
  • A Cast of Corbies (1994)

The Obsidion Mountain Books feature very different elves and are co-written with James Mallory.

  • The Outstretched Shadow (2003)
  • To Light a Candle (2004)
  • When Darkness Falls (2006)

The Enduring Flame Trilogy, also co-written with James Mallory, is a sequel trilogy to the Obsidion Mountain books.

Falconer and Bird Lover

When Mercedes Lackey isn’t writing, she is taking care of birds. In addition to pet parrots,she raises fancy chickens and is a wildlife rehabilitator, specializing in treating and training injured raptors before returning them to the wild.

Mercedes Lackey does fancy beadwork, just like Elizabeth Ann Scarborough and Andre Norton.

Mercedes Lackey has published over one hundred forty books. She is such a prolific author that it is expensive for a fan to try to keep up with her. Go to the public library. They won’t have all her books, but they’ll have some. Besides most libraries have summer reading programs for adults as well as children. And most libraries are air conditioned.

To Mercedes Lackey, Happy Birthday, and may your muse be ever with you.


Susan Macdonald
Susan Macdonald

Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as 26 short stories, mostly fantasy in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, Swords &Sorceries Vols. 1, 2, & 5, “Cat Tails” “Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions,  Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.