Wednesday, 8 July 2020

THE ITALIAN CURE a Dewey Diva Pick!


A Dewey Diva Pick signifies a "hidden gem on a publisher's list"

Thank you, Dewey Diva librarians!


Tuesday, 2 June 2020

My Most Popular Humour Post: (with apologies to sane people everywhere)


I was recently asked to re-post this.  Obviously, we need a zany alternative to the news.  So here goes, with apologies to sane people everywhere.

Books I will Never Write: Dino Porn

By Melodie Campbell (Bad Girl, who wishes this could have been posted on April 1, even though it's largely true)

Apparently, I have been sounding too normal these days.  There have been complaints.  The following is an attempt to rectify that.  

People pay money for the weirdest reads.  Don’t believe me?

Dinosaur Porn

Yes, you heard that right.  This is a ‘thing.’  No, I don’t mean porn that randy male dinosaurs might read, involving somewhat sassy females of the same species who like a good time.  Last I checked, dinosaurs couldn’t read.  Not even the urban ones.

But I’m not here to talk about that.  I’m not even going to talk about the weirdness of someone wanting to write about sexual relations between a human of today and a creature that might possibly have become extinct during an ice storm back in the good old days.  All writers are weird.  Some are more weird than others (thank you, George Orwell.)

Nope.  I want to talk about the blatant inequity in the dinosaur porn field.  Not only that, in ALL areas of human/not-even-remotely-human erotica.

Don’t believe me?  Have you noticed that all these erotic books that star humans and some other race like Vampires or Werewolves or Aliens or Ducks (hey! Has it been done?) always feature a girl with the Vampire or Werewolf?  Or, in our case, a girl with the T-Rex?

Why is it always that way around?  Never do you see a young man being pursued by, say, a randy female dino.  I have to assume female dinos are more discriminating.   

Still, in the interests of fair play, I offer my version of Dino porn:
It might go like this:

“La, la, lalalala, la, lala, la, la…” <innocent young female stegosaurus frolics among the Precambrian (whatever) wild-flowers, unaware that she is about to be approached from behind>

“Hey hey,” says healthy male homo sapien, who obviously time-traveled here from another era.  “You on Tinder, babe?”

“Tinder?” says Steggy-gal, unfamiliar with the vernacular.  “Isn’t this a grassland?”

“How about I just show you my equipment?” says creepy guy, who might possibly be blind.  “I’ll just take it out here…oops, no. That’s my phone.”

“Oh!  There’s a butterfly!” says Steggy-gal, easily distracted.

“HA,” says creep, lining up to do the dirty. “Bet ya never had it like THIS before!”

“Gee, these flies are a nuisance,” says Steggy, batting the annoyance away with her spiked tale. "Why do they always hang around THAT end…”

“YEOOOOOOOW”

Okay, enough pastiche-ing around.  It’s discrimination, pure and simple.  Okay, maybe not pure.  And possibly more complicated than simple.  All those apendages… which reminds me. Girl with a Squid comes out in 2021.

Melodie Campbell writes some pretty wild comedy.  She even gets paid to do it, by poor unsuspecting publishers.  Check out her many series at Books in the menu above.




Friday, 1 May 2020

"a lovely feel-good pick-me-up" - THE ITALIAN CURE!


So delightful to wake up to this! Check out the entire review and more with the link below:
THE ITALIAN CURE: My Review:

"Travelling isn’t possible right now but take a trip to Rome with The Italian Cure, a lovely feel-good pick-me-up that you’ll enjoy as much as the delicious nougat and other treats described in this wonderful romcom."
theminervareader.com



Click here for the whole thing:  https://theminervareader.com/

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

IN Great Company!

The Arthur Ellis Awards Gala will be virtual this year, alas.
Otherwise I would be sitting with Marissa Stapley, Samantha Haywood, Kevin Donovan and Brenna English-Loeb at the dinner, sharing a bottle of bubbly!  Great company to be in.



Saturday, 25 April 2020

How Mary Stewart Rocked the Literary World and the Lives of Women like Me

On Sleuthsayers today with the following post, repeated here for my regular followers...

How Mary Stewart rocked the Literary World and the Lives of Women like Me


When I say rocked, I don't mean 'rock on'!  Nope, I mean rocked to the core.

Since mid-March, we've been in close to lockdown here in the True North.  That has given me time to revisit old favourties and be utterly shocked by the revelations therein.

When I was a young girl in the seventies, I graduated from Nancy Drew, to Agatha Christie, and then to the masters of romantic suspense, Victoria Holt, Daphne DuMaurier and my particular favourite, Mary Stewart.

Of course I did.  The hormones were running high, and the choice of males in my classroom left a lot to be desired.  I yearned for big romance.  But I wasn't happy with romance genre books and found them boring.  This gal wanted high adventure rather than sweet attraction.  So suspense, it was.

At that young age, I didn't even know what type of man I would want in my life.  Surely not Heathcliff.  Not Mr. Darcy.  Those heroes did not reach me.  Far too brooding and sulky.

Then I read My Brother Michael.  Holy Heartbeat, Batman!  There, I found the man of my dreams and the heroine I wished to become.

Most men of my age know Mary Stewart from her brilliant King Arthur and Merlin novels, The Crystal Cave and The Hollow Hills.  Wonderful books.  But I'm speaking of her romantic suspense novels in this column today.

Simply put, they were revolutionary.

Readers, did you know this?  A quiet revolution was happening in fiction, and Mary Stewart was at the epicentre of it.

In the 70s, I couldn't have put my finger on it.  Now, with decades and experience later, it's absolutely clear to me why she was my favourite.

Why?  Her heroines.  These women were educated and had careers.  They were veterinarians, Latin teachers, Shakespearean actors.  They traveled solo to foreign places!

But with adventure comes mishap.  For years, I had read books and seen movies where women waited to be rescued.  Even The Princess Bride, a movie loved by so many, had a princess who relied on others to rescue her.

I wanted a princess who would pick up the sword herself.  (Even more, ditch the princess.  I wanted her to be Queen.)

Mary Stewart's protagonists had courage and resourcefulness.  They fought back when threatened.  They risked their lives rescuing large animals (This Rough Magic) and even men (The Moonspinners.)  This was not only unusual for the time - it was absolutely groundbreaking.

Second reason I fell in love with the stories of Mary Stewart:  her heroes.

These were the men I wanted in my life.  Some may find this hard to believe (stop laughing) but I have been told I am a strong woman.  I was the sort of gal who was told by profs at university that I "didn't know my place."

In Stewart's books, I found the ideal man for a strong woman.  Her heroes were my kinda guys.  Well-educated, but when things go bad, they don't walk away from a fight.  There was a primitive edge there, a peel back of civilization when the chips are down.

In Airs Above the Ground, the male lead forces the hand of the villain down on a red hot stove burner while saying, "It was this hand, I believe?"  (The hand that had previously hit the hero's wife.)

I cannot begin to tell you how sexy that is.

In My Brother Michael, the heroine is fighting hard but losing.  Her lover arrives just in time to kill a
powerful Greek criminal with his own hands in a to-the-death fight; he breaks the fiend's neck.  Of course, said male lead also happens to be a classics scholar...but hey, in the UK, classics scholars can have commando training.  An unbeatable combination of brains and brawn.


Stewart was magic for a young miss trying to be more than society expected her to.  She was magic to an aspiring writer yearning for adventures.  But more than that, she was revolutionary.

My good friend Jeannette Harrison said it best:

"I think all female crime-fighters of today owe a huge debt to Stewart.  She was one of the first writers of popular fiction to portray women who were not helpless and hysterical in a crisis."

Think about that, you superhero and comic book heroines who kick butt!  All you female private investigators in fiction today!  And give a bow to Mary Stewart, who bravely gave us those role models over fifty years ago.

Vos saluto.

How about you?  Any other authors you would also salute?

Melodie Campbell was hardly ever a mob goddaughter, at least not recently, but she writes about one.  THE GODDAUGHTER DOES VEGAS has been shortlisted for the 2020 Arthur Ellis Award 

for Excellence in Crime Writing (Crime Writers of Canada.)  You can find The Goddaughter series at all the usual suspects.

Melodie Campbell
Winner of the Derringer and Arthur Ellis Awards
"Impossible not to laugh." Library Journal review of THE GODDAUGHTER

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

THE GODDAUGHTER DOES VEGAS shortlisted for THE ARTHUR! Crime Writers of Canada


Thrilled that Gina and Nico are shortlisted for the 2020 Arthur Ellis Award!  Thanks, Alison, for the heads up!


Saturday, 28 March 2020

Interview with the Tenured and Talented Melodie Campbell! (okay, at least part of that is true...)

My honour to be on Lisa de Nikolits' Blog today! As expected, Lisa asks the teaser questions that one can't hide from (says the gal who was hardly ever a mob goddaughter, at least not recently)

https://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/19637850-interview-with-an-author-featuring-the-tenured-and-talented-melodie-camp?fbclid=IwAR3YDz5YjLtGy04Phm-Z-6SvKGmoEOEWfSRcoqqdbRTuJlcekeU-O8EeKjY

Here's a teaser from it:
Tell us something really interesting that's happened to you!
In 1993, I had a wacky comedy play produced in Toronto. A producer was in the audience, and he said to me after, “You are completely nuts. How would you like to come to LA and write pilots for us?” I sadly said no, because I had two pre-schoolers and a husband – how could I move them to the US. Besides…it was 1993. Who had ever heard of this outfit called HBO??

This has to be the worst mistake ever made by someone not legally insane.

Friday, 27 March 2020

Bye Bye Piano! (snif)

Sometimes you have to say goodbye to beloved things in a move.  My piano has a new home with some lovely people.  It also has a history that might interest people popping on here:

 History of the Vose Piano


In 1980, I was a singer with the Toronto Gaelic Singers, and our conductor was with the Canadian Opera Company.  She and I were good friends, and she heard of a sale of used grand pianos that was open to members of the professional music community in Toronto.

There had been a recession in the US, particularly in the auto industry states.  An enterprising man with connections to the opera company had gone down to Detroit with a transport, and brought back seventeen pianos. 

I had only been married two years, but I longed for a piano.  I was not only a singer; I had done twelve years of piano lessons and also played the violin.  As it turned out, I had a bit of extra money because I worked for Bell Canada, and the operators had been on strike.  As management, I had to do massive overtime on the ‘boards’ as we called it.  My job was the night shift, now 911.  My husband (who died in 2019) was a wonderful man who agreed that I should take the overtime money and buy a piano.

My friend got me in the sale, and we had a piano technician with us.  There were seventeen pianos in the old Toronto house where they were being stored.  The technician checked every one, and then told me to buy this one.  I had fallen in love with a pretty white painted one, and he shook his head firmly and said this piano was by far the best one in the place.  “Did I want a pretty piano, or a great piano?” I remember him saying.  I felt duly scolded.

He told me this was a Vose, from Boston – a well-known company that produced excellent instruments.  This particular piano had come from a hotel in Detroit that had gone bankrupt.  It had been used in a bar, by a singer accompanied by a pianist.  Before the piano was refinished (in 1985) you could see drink rings on the lid.

I paid $2100 for the piano, which was a lot of money at the time.  (It was the most expensive piano in the shipment.)  Our research since then told us that the piano was manufactured around 1923.  If you look at the legs, you will see it is definitely in the style of Art Deco. 

I played it for years, and my two daughters took lessons.  Ten years ago, I developed arthritis, so haven’t been able to play it much.

It’s been well-loved for nearly 100 years, and I’m delighted to have it go to its next good home.

Melodie Campbell  (Now with the Welsh Ladies Chorus)

Thursday, 20 February 2020

Hey! A photo that doesn't make me want to kill myself...

I READ CANADIAN DAY!  Joan O'Callaghan and that sketchy broad from the Deadly Dames, at the Toronto Public Library in front of an audience of 60+. 
(Hey! a photo that looks like me, and doesn't make me want to kill myself.  Bonus.)

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

I READ CANADIAN! - Crime Writing Panel Tonight

Catch me at Armour Heights branch of the 
TORONTO PUBLIC LIBRARY, in celebration of 
I READ CANADIAN day! 
 I hear registration is full house, which just goes to show how many people are interested in Crime (okay, crime writing!) 

Worst Date Ever, featured in this poster for I READ CANADIAN!



Friday, 14 February 2020

My New Home! Classy people at Transatlantic - Happy to be represented out of New York again!


You can catch the rest here:
https://www.transatlanticagency.com/2020/02/13/welcoming-melodie-campbell-to-transatlantic/?fbclid=IwAR3gU-KfuKXD1NWQHbu7nRyeGefaXz6v5Bj3vQ6WZEVzmplo1iUkBqdCKls

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

How I became an overnight success in 26 years (That was one long night..)



By Melodie Campbell  (Bad Girl)
(Reprinted with Permission)

Three years ago, I wrote a crazy little book that won two crime writing awards.  (Okay, not three years ago.  It won the Derringer and Arthur Ellis three years ago, which means I wrote it two years before that.  Trad publishing takes time…but I digress.)

That year, I also won a national short story contest, with prize money of $3000.  The year after, I was shortlisted along with Margaret Atwood, for another fiction award.  (That was the year pigs learned to fly in Canada.)

The Toronto Sun called to interview me.  They titled the article, “Queen of Comedy.”

“You’re famous!” said an interviewer.  “How does it feel to become an overnight success?”

“That was one long night,” I said.  “It lasted 26 years.”

This blog post was inspired by Anne R. Allen

Not long ago, Anne had a post on her Top 100 blog:  10 Reason Why You Shouldn’t Publish that 1st Novel

(It’s terrific.  Click on the link, to see why.)

But that got me thinking about my own “overnight success.”

Here’s the thing.  I started writing fiction for money in 1987. (Nineteen Eighty-Seven!!  Big shoulders and big hair.  Wasn’t that two years before the Berlin Wall came down?)

I won my first award (Canadian Living Magazine) in 1989.  By the time my first novel hit bookshelves, I already had 24 short stories published, and had won six awards.

Plus The Goddaughter’s Revenge – the book that won the Derringer and Arthur – wasn’t my first novel published.  It was my fifth.

My Point:

I’ll drill down even more.  It wasn’t even my fifth novel written.  It was my seventh.  The first two will never see the light of day.  One has gone on to floppy disk heaven.  Although if God reads it up there, he may send it to hell.

I would never want ANYONE to read my first two novels.  Writing them taught me how to write.  I got rid of bad habits with those books.  I learned about the necessity of motivation.  The annoyance of head-hopping.  And the importance of having a protagonist that people can like and care about.

Yes, my first novel had a TSTL heroine who was naive, demanding, and constantly had to be rescued.  (For those who don’t know, TSTL stands for Too Stupid To Live.  Which can occur when the author is too stupid to write.)  Even I got sick of her.  Why would anyone else want to make her acquaintance?

In my first two novels, I learned about plot bunnies.  Plot bunnies are those extraneous side trips your book takes away from the main plot.  Each book should have an overall plot goal, and ALL subplots should meander back to support that one plot goal in the end.  My first book had everything but aliens in it.  All sorts of bunnies that needed to be corralled and removed.

Speaking of bunnies, I’m wandering.  So back to the point:

IN 2015, some people saw me as an overnight success.  I was getting international recognition and bestseller status.  One of my books hit the Amazon Top 100 (all books) at number 47, between Tom Clancy and Nora Roberts.*

But that overnight success took 26 years.  I had one long apprenticeship.

I tell my students to keep in mind that being an author is a journey.  No one is born knowing how to write a great novel.  You get better as you write more.  You get better as you read more.  You get better as you learn from others.

Being an author is a commitment.  You aren’t just writing ‘one book.’  You are going to be a writer for the rest of your life. Commit to it.  Find the genre you love.  Write lots.

And you too can be an overnight success in 26 years.

(The Goddaughter.  A much more likeable protagonist, even if she is a bit naughty.)




Sunday, 2 February 2020

Four years and Four Books Later....

At the Ontario Library Association Conference, signing in the Orca Booth and later presenting at the Crime Writers of Canada Event...

4 years and 4 books later...not sure I like the black glasses.