Wednesday 31 July 2013

More Completely Useless Advice from Morticia (With apologies to sane folk everywhere)

Read the National Expirer
…for the best in Graveyard Journalism

Dear Morticia,
I just got an invitation to a ritzy wedding, and wouldn’t you know, I’m supposed to bring an escort.  What should I do?  I’m between men right now.
Signed, Forlorn

Dear For,
Bring both.  (I never mind being between men, honey.)

Dear Morticia,
Help!  All these chores need to be done and I’m exhausted.  What can I do?  The baby was sick again and kept me up all night.
Signed Tired

Dear Ti,
Sorry honey, but you married him.

Dear Morticia,
I’ve just found out that the guy I’ve been dating is a real snake.  What should I do?
Signed, Livid

Dear Liv,
Belt him.  (Act fast: this relationship is bound to be constricting.)

Dear Morticia
I am a born again Christian and now have a totally different perception of the afterlife.  I urge you to give up your misguided ways and find the true meaning of life.
Signed, Second Chance

Dear Second,
No thanks.  I wanted to be born again, but Mom said No.

Confidential to Offended in Oakville: You are absolutely right, and a girl has a right to pick and choose.  I would never agree to try that position with a man I wasn’t married to.  I mean, what would your husband say? 

Friday 19 July 2013

“Is that a salami in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?” HOW TO TELL IF YOU'RE ITALIAN

I write mob comedies.  Yes, I’m Italian.  Yes, I’ve been a Goddaughter, like the heroine of THE GODDAUGHTER.  Okay, maybe not exactly like.  But close enough that I can easily imagine what it would like to be a mob goddaughter.  The Christmas presents would be pretty decent, for one thing.

Besides, I can get my salami and mortadella wholesale in any deli in the Hammer (Hamilton.)  Did someone say working class?

Melodie’s rules:  How to tell if you’re really Italian:
 I1.  If  you absolutely cannot talk with your hands held down. Okay, not true. You can scream if they try to hold down your hands. And kick.
2 2.  If you have at least 2 cousins named Tony.  And one uncle.
3 3.  If you consider Pasta a vegetable. (It’s good for you!  Really.  Ask any Italian grandmother.)
4 4.  If you can listen to five conversations at once, in at least two languages, and answer back.
5 5.  If you have four first names (Melodie Lynn Theresa Anne…)

Okay, it gets a little tougher now….
6 6.  If you regularly faked a long penance after confession just so the boys would think you were way hot.
7 7.  If your family does not consider a ‘heater’ something you turn on in winter.

And how to fake it…

8 8. Cry when Pavorotti sings the FIFA soccer anthem.
9 9. Ask for Brio and Orangina in restaurants.  Gasp loudly if they don’t have it.
1 10. Kiss everybody.  All the time.  Left cheek, Right cheek. (THEIR left cheek, right cheek.)
1 11. ALWAYS wear designer shoes.  Especially when shopping for shoes.  If you don’t have a special wardrobe just for shopping, you are not Italian.
1 12. Long hair, ladies.  At least until sixty.
1 13 Wine is a vegetable.  It’s good for you.

I hate to end a list at 13.  We Sicilians are superstitious.  So here’s one last way you can tell you’re Italian:
Jewelry. Lots of it.  The plane nearly came down with the weight of gold those expats wore coming back from Roma last trip.  Heard in all lines at Customs: “What, this old thing?”

THE GODDAUGHTER'S REVENGE, coming Oct 1! Available for preorder now at Chapters/Indigo and Amazon. Check the dedicated page (in the menu above) for buy links.

Wednesday 10 July 2013

Bad Girl Comedy - More from Morticia's Massage Parlour and Advice Academy (reprinted with permission)

More from Morticia's Massage Parlour and Advice Academy

Many thanks to those demented people who asked for more of Morticia.  (reprinted with Permission)

Brought to you by:  MORTICIA & CO., Distributors of Aftermarket Body Parts.

Dear Morticia;
My husband was married once before.  When he passes on, would it be appropriate to bury him beside his first wife?
Signed Planning Ahead

Dear Head;
Only if she's dead first.

Dear Morticia;
I keep asking my boss for a raise, but he keeps saying no.  As a last resort, I'm thinking of offering him my body.  Think it will work?
Signed Blondie in Bowmanville

Dear Blondie;
Gee, I don't know.  Chances are he has a perfectly good body of his own.

Dear Morticia;
My boyfriend and I won five hundred thousand dollars in a lottery.  I want to buy a house and he wants to buy a 427 AC Cobra four speed.  What should we do?
Signed Homeless

Dear Less;
Recent reports suggest that it is very difficult if not impossible to prepare a proper meal on a 427 engine block.  On the other hand, most houses built today can't travel at more than 2 miles per hours.  Tell you what.  Forward the winnings to my address and I'll do a test run for ya.

Dear Morticia;
What is the quickest way to a woman's heart?
No Don Juan

Dear No Don;
Zippered sweaters, although wrap-around blouses run a close second.

Saturday 6 July 2013

Funny Girl Mel and Me

It is with great pleasure (and trepidation) that I welcome author Catherine Astolfo to these pages.  Pleasure, because she is a great writer, one of the good gals, and I adore her.  Trepidation, because of the title of her post, coming up below.  The books she writes may not be comedies, but she herself is a delightful wit.    

Melodie Campbell and I first met in a downtown Toronto dungeon. You know what dungeons are like. Dank, creaky, dusty, moldy; slanted stairs; iron-gated elevators that screech past each floor with excruciating sluggishness.
Picture emaciated people behind those bars. Dirty bearded faces with no teeth. Enormous spiders crawl up the filthy walls and down my arm…
All right. Most of that I made up. After all, I am a writer.
But it is true that Mel and I met in an old building that housed a boatload of Crime Writers of Canada paraphernalia. Budget cutbacks are everywhere and they even affected our storage unit. So off I went with this stranger to work hip-to-hip relocating all the stuff.
An old building it certainly was. The aforementioned creakiness was real and the elevator truly was antique. There were two elderly gentlemen in the office who might have been the original owners of the place. They looked a little askance that we were moving out, but gave us the key anyway and wished us luck.
Mel and I traversed the dimly lit hallways and slanted floors as only crime writers can do. We laughed all the way. I was overjoyed that this woman had a big laugh, not a teeny ladylike titter but a full guffaw. Just like me. She too had an inner skinny, muscular woman inside her covered up by clothes that were far too big. We were the perfect match for this task.
Here it is nearly four years later. We’ve not only cleaned up dungeons, but we’ve also been through health wars, writing angst, setting ships on course (I suppose it goes without saying that that’s a metaphor), awards, publishing, and traversing the mazes of social media.
Recently Mel was one of my beta readers for my latest novel, Sweet Karoline, and I did the same for her current release, Rowena and the Dark Lord. It’s wonderful when you not only like the person but you also enjoy their writing. Doesn’t happen that often, but it’s magic when it does. I even included a “y” version of Melodie’s name in my novel.
Our books are very different; Mel’s are mostly laugh-out-loud hilarious and mine are mostly serious. In some other life, when we have more time, maybe we’ll write a television script together. I’ve got some great characters who need funny lines. Naturally the series would be a smashing success.
I look forward to more collaboration with the Funny Girl. We can yap about the serious side of life, then make fun of everything around us. It makes for great girl talk. Plus, if only someone would make us queens of the world, we could solve every problem in the universe. I’m sure you and your friends could do the same.

Catherine Astolfo’s newest novel, Sweet Karoline, arrives July 14, 2013. Come visit her and find all the links you need at

Tuesday 2 July 2013

BLAME IT ON AGATHA! The tantalizing chess game of the classic Whodunit

Okay, I admit it.  Along with coffee, dark chocolate, and foreign men named Raoul, I have an addiction.

I’m a sucker for the “You won’t guess the ending” Whodunit.

I blame Agatha Christie for this addiction.  She is also to blame for a lot of eleven-year-old sleepless nights, as well as my father’s near heart attack in 1970 when I announced at the dinner table “I know thirteen ways to poison people and not get caught.”

Christie was indeed the Queen of Plot.  After an appetizer of Nancy Drew, I whipped through Poirot, Marple, and Tommy and Tuppence in less than two years. Then I moved on to Sayers, Allingham, Marsh and any traditional mysteries I could get my hands on.

Why?  It’s the chess game.  The sheer bliss of pitting my mind against the author’s to see if I can guess the killer before the story’s detective.

To this day, I relish a book that plays fair, leaves me the clues, and stumps me at the end.

So it’s no surprise that my second published book, co-written with good friend Cynthia St-Pierre, is a traditional whodunit.

Happy Birthday, A PURSE TO DIE FOR! 
Yes, it’s been one year since our publisher launched this fun whodunit, and that little book has travelled through the Amazon best-seller lists faster and higher than we dared anticipate. 

It appears we are not alone in loving that killer surprise ending.

My favorite line from the 61 reviews posted thus far?

“You’ll be certain you know the killer. Twice. But you’ll be wrong.”

THAT is what we set out to do.  THAT is the kind of book that makes me smile and gives me chills.

Like a classic “You won’t guess the ending” whodunit?  See if you can guess the killer in A PURSE TO DIE FOR.

In the UK
In Germany

In the US

Melodie Campbell is an award-winning author of 40 short stories and 5 novels, including A Purse to Die For, co-written with Cynthia St-Pierre.  Melodie has won 6 awards for fiction, and is the Executive Director of Crime Writers of Canada.