Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Why Book Tours are Expensive (one of Bad Girl's fave columns - true, too)



An example of the sort of monologue I used to do with a mic in front of audience-
 
By Bad Girl (cleverly disguised as Melodie Campbell)

I’ve recently been on a book tour for my crime comedy, The Goddaughter’s Revenge (winner of the 2014 Derringer. There. I got it in.  I can relax now.)

Book tours are expensive.  You travel around to independent book stores and you sell some books and sign them.  It’s fun.  You meet a lot of great people.  But it’s expensive.  And I’m not talking about the hotel bill and the bar tab.

I should have just stayed in the bar.  It was leaving the bar that become expensive.

Nice night.  We decided to go for a walk.  It was dark, but I had on my brand new expensive progressive eye-glasses, so not a problem, right?

One second I was walking and talking.  The next, I was flying through the air.

Someone screamed. 

WHOMP.  (That was me, doing a face plant.)

“OHMYGOD! Are you okay?”  said my colleague.

I was clearly not okay.  In fact, I was splat on the sidewalk and could not move. 

“Fine!” I yelled into the flagstone.  “I’m Fine!”

I tried to lift my head.  Ouch.

“That must have hurt,” said someone helpfully.

I write about a mob Goddaughter. So I know a bit about mob assassins.  It may come in handy.

A crowd had gathered.  Not the sort of crowd that gently lifts you off the ground.  More the sort of crowd that gawks.

“Couldn’t figure out why you were running ahead of us.” My colleague shook his head.

I wasn’t running.  I was tripping and falling.

“That sidewalk is uneven.  Your foot must have caught on it.”

No shit, Sherlock.

By now I had tested various body parts.  Knees were numb.  Hands, scraped.  Chin, a little sore. 
But here’s the thing.  I hit in this order: knees, tummy, boobs, palms.  My tummy and boobs cushioned the fall and saved my face.  

Yes, this was going through my mind as I pushed back with my tender palms to balance on my bloody knees.

“Ouch!”  I said.  No, that’s a lie.  I said something else.

I stood up.  Surveyed the damage.  My knees were a bloody mess, but the dress survived without a scratch.  It was made in China, of course.  Of plastic.

The crowd was dispersing.  But the pain wasn’t over.

Next day, I hobbled to the clinic.  The doctor, who probably isn’t old enough to drive a car, shook his head.  “Progressive glasses are the number one reason seniors fall.  They are looking through the reading part of their glasses when they walk, and can’t see the ground properly.”

Seniors?  I’ve still got my baby fat.

“Get some distance-only glasses,” he advised.

So I did.  Another 350 bucks later, I have a third pair of glasses to carry around in my purse.

Which means my purse isn’t big enough.

So I need to buy a new purse.

And that’s why book tours are so expensive.

Friday, 6 January 2017

SELLING OUT TO HOLLYWOOD (One of Bad Girl's fave columns)



It's a funny thing about writing comedy <love that line>.

Some columns roll off the keyboard with a life of their own. 
Others meander around in the mind for almost a year, the lazy little things.  And some are downright ornery, refusing to conform to the 650 words required by my publishers.

But always, I am asked: which are my favourite columns?  That doesn't mean the ones that were easiest to come.  It means the ones that I come back to, time and again, to reread.

Over the next month, I'll be posting some of my favourites.  Hope you enjoy them too.

SELLING OUT TO HOLLYWOOD
by Bad Girl


I read one of those self-help books the other day, and I’m beginning to realize why I’m not getting very rich.  (For one thing, I’m not writing self-help books.)  It is patently obvious that nobody is going to get wealthy writing humorous novels unless they whack somebody over the head with them during the course of a bank robbery.


So I’ve decided to switch media here and become a screenwriter.  I’m a natural.  I can sit in those funny collapsible canvas chairs just as well as the next guy, and besides, I know hundreds of unbelievable plots: I follow US politics.


So here goes: for my first screamplay <sic> I’m going to do something made for TV; specifically one of those romance-suspense-action-thriller-northern-southern-civil war epic-type things, maybe a miniseries.  It would have everything – sex, violence, sex, betrayal, sex, revenge, sex - and maybe even some dialogue.  It would star a ravishing but thoroughly spoiled female lead, maybe called Sapphire.  Here’s a preview:


Sapphire flings herself up the sweeping staircase, catching bottom of skirt on knob of banister.


Sapphire (yanking at fabric):  Go away, Rot!  Just go away!


Rot:  I’m going, I’m going.  But one last thing, Sapphire honey, I’ve got to know.  How do you manage to go to the bathroom with that bloody hoola- hoop attached to your skirt?


Sapphire (rolling downstairs on her side):  Don’t go, Rot!  Please don’t go.


Rot (doffing hat):  Frankly Sapphire, I don’t give a hoot.

(From outside, several barn owls hoot.)


I predict a blockbuster.  But just in case, I have a second one planned.  It’s a 1960s historical spy flick, based on the true-to-life adventures of very bad people who might possibly be Russian.


First Spy (possibly named Boris):  Gee comrade, do you theenk perhaps we are raising peeples suspicions speeeking English with Russian accent?


Second Spy (also named Boris):  Especially seence it is very BAD Russian accent, comrade?


Okay, so it needs a bit of work, and maybe some more sex.  I’m thinking of calling it Czech-mate. And if we bring it forward to modern times, the possibilities are endless.  What about a ‘Spy of the Month’ reality series?  Boris could live in an LA frat house with nine other comrades named Boris, and the survivor…

Or I could go back to writing silly novels.



You can reach Melodie through her website right here.  Or better still, buy her comedy novels in Chapters, Barnes&Noble, Walmart or Amazon.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

"Campbell's writing is always funny" - review of The Goddaughter Caper in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine!

It isn't every day your book gets reviewed in the foremost mystery magazine in the world.


Many thanks to Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, The Jury Box, for this wonderful review in the Dec. issue!



Melodie Campbell, The Goddaughter Caper, Raven Books, $9.95.
Gina Gallo tries to steer clear of her family's questionable business dealings. But when she discovers the body of a local Peeping Tom in the alley behind her shop, fate forces her hand. She and various cousins find themselves in a topsy-turvy mess of missing bodies, a surplus of coffins, and geriatric misbehavior. Campbell's writing is always funny. The Goddaughter series, of which this slender novella is the fourth volume, is part of Orca Books' Rapid Reads imprint, making it a fast, fun read.

  On AMAZON
Also available at bookstores in Canada and the US. 

Saturday, 24 December 2016

My Christmas Wish: Literacy for All

Last year, I had the honour of being guest speaker at the Hamilton Literacy Council AGM.  This wonderful organization provides one on one tutoring to adults in Hamilton who don't know how to read.  The teachers are marvelous.  They are mostly volunteers.

The theme for the AGM was all about wishes.  Dream Big.  And so the staff came up with a brilliant idea for centrepieces for the AGM.  Each table had a crystal globe in the centre of it, like a snow globe.  Each globe had a different note inserted into the middle.  And on the note was the dream of one of the students from the literacy council.

I picked up the globe on my table.  The note inside it read:

"I want to work in a store someday."

I felt my throat constrict.  My eyes started to tear.

Many of us worked in stores when we are in high school or college.  It was our 'starter job' - the one we can't wait to leave after graduation from school to get the better job for which we trained.  I remember working at a mega grocery store.  Eight hours on my feet, unrelenting noise, and lots of lifting.  I was so grateful to leave it.

I thought about our student who wrote that note.  What she wanted most in the world was to become literate so she could work in a store.

Because she couldn't work there now.  She couldn't read labels.  She couldn't read sales slips.  Most stores have computers.  She couldn't read the text on the computer screen.

She couldn't even fill in the application form to work there.

Literacy has always been a cause dear to my heart.  I write a series of crime books for adult literacy students who are reaching the advanced certificate stage.  I donate all the proceeds from my book launches to the literacy council.  But at the AGM, this student opened my eyes and reached my heart.

In our society, we expect everyone to be able to read.  Jobs today require it.

All my life, I have imagined how sad it would be to be unable to read a book.  Imagine how it would feel to be unable to fill out a job application.

My fervent wish this Christmas is the gift of literacy for everyone.  May everyone in my town, Hamilton, and my country, Canada, be able to read.  May everyone in the world have the chance to learn, and may teachers and tutors everywhere continue to make it happen.

Merry Christmas to all.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Christmas with Morticia - (reprinted with permission from the demented people who pay me)



Dear Morticia,
Do you get into the Spirit of Christmas?
Signed, Curious

Dear Cur,
I’m not interest in the Spirit of Christmas and I’ve told him that a hundred times!  (Honestly…it’s these office Christmas parties.  Everyone gets embalmed.)

Dear Morticia,
Can I interest you in custom-designed fruit baskets for your dearest friends.
Signed, The Custom Grocer

Dear Cus,
No thanks.  I gave a Christmas food basket to Thing last year and it bombed horribly.  He just didn’t have the stomach for it.

Dear Morticia,
I’m quitting smoking starting Jan. 1.  Are you making any New Years resolutions this year?
Signed Sincere

Dear Sin,
Yup.  As soon as the vulture dinner is over, I’m becoming a vegetarian.  (At least when you carve a pumpkin, it doesn’t try to eat you back.)

Dear Morticia,
I was a good girl all year, and all Santa brought me was a large frog.  Frankly, I feel cheated. 
Signed, Princess

Dear Princess
Honey, I don’t blame you, so be sure to follow my advice: Be very bad next year and Santa may bring you a Prince. (And if you don’t get the Prince, at least you will have had a smashing good time all year!)


 Melodie in disguise as a fairly normal person in a blue coat.  Merry Christmas.