Wednesday, 23 July 2014

ROWENA AND THE VIKING WARLORD "a startling climax that gives a sharp new edge to fantasy writing"

Rowena and the Viking Warlord.
by. Melodie Campbell.
Imajin books.

Rowena and the Viking Warlord is a collective of sorts; fantasy, thriller, adventure and mystery, laced (pun intended) with historical accuracy, the electrically charged dynamics between the sexes and a startling climax that gives a sharp new edge to fantasy writing. (and the sex ain’t bad either.)

The writing is the polished style of an award winning writer. Campbell’s off-the-wall humour has an added feature…she builds the wall first with the zesty timing of a great one liner. The fantasy is seamlessly integrated with the fiery pace of ‘to the death battle’ that’s tinged with the regret that lost life is a given in war.

This reviewer doesn’t pretend to be a fantasy aficionado, but is a reader of well written, enticing story telling. And Rowena and the Viking Warlord is an intriguing story told with the passion of a fine writer.

Don Graves.  Canadian Mystery reviews.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

MURDER AT THE CRIME WRITING AWARDS

For those who missed it on Sleuthsayers (where I have a regular gig) here it is:

MURDER AT THE CRIME WRITING AWARDS

By Melodie Campbell

Okay, I haven’t done it yet.  But I may soon.

I’m the Executive Director of a well-known crime writing association.  This means I am also responsible for the Arthur Ellis Awards, Canada’s annual crime writing awards night, and the resulting banquet.

I’ve planned hundreds of special events in my career as a marketing professional.  I’ve managed conferences with 1000 people attending, scarfing down three meals a day.  Usually, we offer a few choices, and people choose what they want.  They’re pretty good about that.  People sit where they want.  Simple.

Granted, most of my events have been with lab techs, doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals.

It is not the same with authors.  Nothing is simple with authors.

THE SEATING ARRANGEMENT

A can’t sit with B, because A is in competition with B for Best Novel.  C can’t sit with D because C is currently outselling D.  E can’t sit with F because they had an affair (which nobody knows about.  Except they do.  At least, the seven people who contacted me to warn me about this knew.) G can’t sit with H because G’s former agent is at that table and they might kill each other.  And everyone wants to sit with J.

THE MENU

The damned meal is chicken.  This is because we are allowed two choices and we have to provide for the vegetarians.  We can’t have the specialty of the house, lamb, because not everyone eats lamb.  We can’t have salmon as the vegetarian choice, because some vegetarians won’t eat fish.

So we’re stuck with bloody chicken again.

P writes that her daughter is lactose intolerant.  Can she have a different dessert?

K writes that she is vegetarian, but can’t eat peppers.  Every damned vegetarian choice has green or red pepper in it.

L writes that she wants the chicken, but is allergic to onion and garlic.  Can we make hers without?

M writes that her daughter is a vegan, so no egg or cheese, thanks.  Not a single vegetarian choice comes that way.

I am quickly moving to the “you’re getting chicken if I have to shove it down your freaking throat” phase.

Chef is currently threatening the catering manager with a butcher’s knife.  I am already slugging back the cooking wine.  And by the time people get here, this may be a Murder Mystery dinner.

Postscript:

Nobody got murdered, but a few got hammered.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Stop All the Clocks - for my dear friend Lou Allin

I cannot smile today.  My dear friend has died, and all I can think of is this poem by W. H. Auden, meant for a lover, but equally appropriate for a friend.

For Lou: the best example of "Show Not Tell" I can think of:

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

Postscript:  Five weeks ago, Lou Allin flew from Sooke BC to Toronto to present me with the Arthur Ellis Award, the very award that she herself had won the year before.  She was not well at the time.  You don't forget friends like that, ever.


Wednesday, 9 July 2014

ROWENA AND THE VIKING WARLORD Rocks the Dark Ages!

Why Fantasy?  Why Funny?  It’s all in the aide of a good story.

I write humorous early medieval time travel stories.  Okay, what does that mean exactly?

First, I write to entertain.  You’ll get a rollicking adventure story, akin to The Princess Bride, only this time with a woman at the helm, when you read the Rowena books.  You’ll get some laughs, because I’m a former comedy writer (stand-up) and can’t restrain that part of me.  You’ll also get some historical accuracy, in the form of how people lived in the dark ages, what weapons they had and what their armor was like.

But the exact history of early Great Britain doesn’t lend itself well to my wacky time travel stories; it is perhaps too well known and too grim.  So what you get with the Land’s End series is a bastardized version.  An ‘alternative’ history that lends itself to a funny, rollicking adventure.

WHAT IF…is the basis of most fiction, and definitely fantasy fiction.  I love to play with those two words.

WHAT IF… a prolonged war in medieval times wiped out almost all women?  What would the land be like after several years?  And what would happen when one modern young female from the 21st century falls through a time portal into that world?

Yes, it’s the ‘Stranger in a strange land’ plot, written by a comic.  I take “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” and go wild with it! 

“Is that a broadsword on your belt, or are you just glad to see me?”

But I don’t neglect history entirely.  In ROWENA AND THE VIKING WARLORD, the third book of the trilogy, there is a Viking invasion of Land’s End.  Yes, a Viking invasion of Saxon land.  Sounds familiar…in fact, an awful lot like what really happened.

And why my hair is red.


Sunday, 6 July 2014