Wednesday 24 December 2014

Have a Confusing Christmas! (as seen on Sleuthsayers and The Sage)

By Melodie Campbell

The following story is true.  And it may explain the slightly manic sense of humour I have been displaying on these pages over the past six months.

Most of my life, I have been confused about Christmas.

This is because I am the quintessential Canadian mutt.  Four parts Italian, one part Irish, one part English, one part Chippewa, and the final bit was a surprise.  It overlaps with the English part (wait for it.)

The Italian part is easy to explain.  Every year, my Sicilian grandmother put the plastic lighted crucifixes (made in Japan) in glaring rainbow colours, on the Christmas tree.  I was a bit confused by that, not only because it was gawd-awful tacky and fought with my budding interior designer.  But the part in the 10 Commandments about ‘no graven images’ seemed to be at risk here.

Nevertheless, we all looked forward to the blazing orange, green and red crucifixes, unaware that it was a sort of macabre thing to do to a Christmas tree.  Did I mention Halloween is my favorite holiday?

The Chippewa part was a tad more elusive.  I first got a hint that there might have been First Nations blood in our family when someone asked why we put ground venison in our traditional Christmas Eve spaghetti sauce.  True, we had a freezer full of deer, moose, salmon, and not much else.  Later, it occurred to me that I actually hadn’t tasted beef until I was ten, when for my birthday, Dad took us to the A&W for a real treat.  “This tastes weird,” I said, wrinkling my nose.  “It’s made from cow,” Dad said.

Of course, if I had been more on the ball, there were other clues.  But at the age of six, you don’t necessarily see things as out of the norm.  That summer in Toronto, I loved day camp.  They split us kids into groups named for First Nations tribes.  By happy coincidence, I got placed in the Chippewa tribe.  When I got home and announced this, the reaction was: “Thank God it wasn’t Mohawk.” 

The camp leaders were really impressed with my almost-authentic costume.  (Everyone else was wearing painted pillow cases.)

But the real confusion about Christmas and my provenance came many years later.

I spent most of my life not knowing we were part Jewish.  I was about forty, when the designer shoe (a bargain on sale at David’s) finally dropped.  Dad and I were eating pastrami on rye at Shopsy’s Deli one day (which we did on a regular basis, once a month – a reasonably intelligent person might have considered this the first clue) when Dad wiped a drip of mustard off his face and said:

Dad: “I haven’t heard from my cousin Moishe Goldman in a long while.”

Me:  “We have a cousin named MOISHE GOLDMAN??”

Of course, if I had been thinking, all this made sense.  We had lived in a Jewish neighbourhood.  Our last name is Hebrew for antelope.  And I was only the only kid in school who got Halvah in their Christmas stocking every year.  (Damn straight.  I really did.  I still do.)

So I’m hoping this may explain why we have a five foot lighted Christmas peacock on our front porch this year, and a lighted Christmas palm tree in our back yard.  “A Peacock in a Palm Tree” may be confusing to you folk who know the song and are expecting a partridge with pears, but to those of us who have been confused about Christmas all our lives, it is mere icing on the proverbial Kugal.

Melodie Campbell writes funny books. You can buy them at Chapters/Indigo, Barnes&Noble, Amazon, etc.  Sometimes even at the discount table at Zehrs and Walmart.)

The Peacock.  You thought I was kidding.

Tuesday 23 December 2014

Six Sexy and Sweet Romance Novels for 99c! All Bestsellers

SWEET & SENSUAL is #897 on's Top 100 Paid!!! **** $0.99
A terrific deal for 6 compelling romance novels ranging from HOT (mine) to very romantic.

Wednesday 17 December 2014


HOT Damn! (and I do mean Hot!)

The Rowena Books are now a Trilogy bundle, terrifically priced at 5.99!
Love the quickie descriptions of each book (good work, Imajin team!)
And as always, Ryan Thomas Doan knocked it out of the park with this cover.

Monday 15 December 2014

"Laugh-a-minute with some truly side splitting humour" - Brit reviewer Helen Beaufort on THE GODDAUGHTER!

Occasionally, one gets a review that just Rocks!
Helen Beaufort lives in London, England, and I have no idea how she found me.  But she did, and I am delighted.

My Crafting a Novel students at Sheridan College will be studying this as an example of 'how to do it.'  Thorough, and thoroughly entertaining.  There are clips in here so catchy, they are going in my promotion file.

Thank you, Helen. YOU Rock!

A Review of The Goddaughter: Gina Gallo #1
by Helen Beaufort
Part one of The Goddaughter series (Gina Gallo: #1) seems to have readers talking for all of the right reasons. Combining clever comedy, thrilling suspense and fast paced narrative in this tale of the misadventures of the title character, Melodie Campbell really has crafted a novel which can be enjoyed in it's own right as well as setting up the coming novels in the series beautifully. Marketed as a 'rapid read' at a fleeting 136 pages, this laugh-a-minute book is a great way to spend an afternoon and could make a perfect Christmas gift for the bookworm in your life this year. Here are my thoughts.

The story
You can choose your friends but not your family, right? Gina Gallo knows this only too well. Gina has tried to distance herself from her mob family in Hamilton and concentrate on her career as a gemmologist but when you are the 'Goddaughter' trouble seems to track you down and saying no to your Godfather Uncle is no easy task. Gina finds this out for herself when her cousin is whacked and she finds herself drafted in to transport some priceless gems in her killer heels (?!) with her unsuspecting love interest Pete in tow – some way to spend a first date! But when the gems are stolen the unwitting pair find themselves embroiled in an epic road trip across the country to steal the stolen stones back before Uncle Vince finds out and dishes out some mob style retribution. Expect comedy and calamity from this modern day Bonnie and Clyde as they deal with debauched politicians, armed robbery, angry mobsters, dead bodies and shoe fetishists...and that's just for starters.

The characters
In short stories and novellas it can be hard to form attachments to the characters and sometimes it can feel like the story is just too short for character any real development to build successfully. In The Goddaughter this wasn't the case. There is enough detail for the reader to learn about the characters without becoming to bogged down by their respective 'baggage' but still come to care about them and become enthralled in their journey. It's hard not to like Gina who is clearly moral and hardworking yet still loyal to her family and willing to break the rules if necessary. Pete is a genuinely good guy who knows about Gina's background and still wants to help her and has great sex appeal to boot. Best of all, both characters are witty and fun. Some of my favorite scenes include those where Gina's family are quizzing (aka threatening) poor Pete in the humorous, if slightly clichéd, way that you'd expect a mob family to react to a daughter's new date.

The writing
Melodie Campbell's writing style really is outstanding. With her unique brand of wit and humor she has crafted an incredibly well written novel that is fast paced, packed full of action with a touch of romance and plenty of suspense. Add a hefty dollop of hilarity into the mix and you're onto a winner – to cram all of this into a mere 136 pages in a massive achievement for this Canadian writer. Her writing style is short, snappy and straight to the point. The plot is very tight and the action never lets up. But best of all her humor encompasses everything from the subtle to the absurd and then back to knowing, familiar humor that will have readers resonating and nodding their heads in recognition. She even manages to cleverly draw in characters from her other books while elusively trying to persuage the reader to buy more of her work. From some authors this could appear arrogant but Campbell has a knack of writing in a humble, almost self deprecating tone which is as endearing as it is entertaining.

In conclusion
I really enjoyed this novella. It doesn't take itself too seriously but is entertaining from start to finish. It literally was laugh-a-minute with some truly side splitting humor that I wasn't expecting from a jewel heist novel. I can imagine that many readers will plough through this novella in one sitting because the action is constant and the narrative fast paced so there never seems like a good moment to put it down and as a rapid read, why would you need to? A really great read and I'm excited to see what's to come in part 2 of the series.  

The Goddaughter is available in Chapters, Indigo, Barnes & Noble, Walmart, Zehrs, and online retailers.
On Amazon
(Sale price of 2.59!)

Friday 12 December 2014

Put a Comedy in your Stocking! Anne R. Allen's NO PLACE LIKE HOME

Recommended Reading:

Like my Goddaughter series?  Check out author Anne R. Allen!

One of the pleasures I’ve had this year is discovering a few writers who also specialize in humorous crime.  In No Place Like Home, Anne R. Allen hits my quirky funnybone to a T, with lines like:

Doria figured she’d better get her snooping done fast.
Fast being a relative term when you’re doped up and recovering from a tummy tuck gone bad…

Doria is the most original and hilarious character I’ve read all year.  Okay, in a few years.  Damn, I wish I’d invented her.  And as all writers know, that is damn fine praise from a fellow author.

Here’s the book blurb, to give you a better pix:

The uber-rich editor of Home decorating magazine loses everything, including her Ponzi-schemer husband, when their own luxury home mysteriously goes up in flames. But that's just the beginning of Doria's problems.
Homeless, destitute, presumed dead and branded a criminal the once proud Doria has a crash course in how the other half live.
Meanwhile reluctant sleuth Camilla Randall is facing homeless and destitution too, as Doria's husband's schemes unravel and take down innocent bystanders along the way.
When the mysterious Mr X. turns up at Camilla's bookstore expressing concern for the local homeless Camilla is smitten. By now one might think once smitten, twice shy, but for Camilla the search for love is a constant triumph of hope over experience.
As ever Anne. R. Allen weaves a unique blend of crazy characters [Mistress Nightshade, anybody?], crazy situations [would you believe a Colombian drugs cartel?] and laugh-out-loud one-liners that all somehow comes together and makes perfect sense at the end.
Oh, and did we mention the Wizard of Oz?
No Place Like Home is the fourth of the Camilla Randall Mysteries, but can be read as a stand-alone novel.

Want to start at the beginning?  Here is the boxed set of the first three:

Definitely check out Anne Allen’s popular blog on writing, at

Sunday 7 December 2014

DEADLY DOZEN on sale for $1.99!

12 Books for $1.99...WHAT??

My publisher, Imajin Books has decided to give away 12 full length 
novels for one low price of $1.99!!! 

It cannot get any better than this!

(From the Imajin Books website)
The DEADLY DOZEN Book Bundle contains 12 complete mystery/thriller novels by award-winning and international bestselling authors: Cheryl Kaye Tardif, Catherine Astolfo, Alison Bruce, Melodie Campbell/Cynthia St-Pierre, Gloria Ferris, Donna Galanti, Kat Flannery, Jesse Giles Christiansen, Rosemary McCracken, Susan J. McLeod, C. S. Lakin and Linda Merlino.
  1. THE BRIDGEMAN by Catherine Astolfo
  2. DEADLY LEGACY by Alison Bruce
  3. A PURSE TO DIE FOR by Melodie Campbell & Cynthia St-Pierre
  4. CHEAT THE HANGMAN by Gloria Ferris
  5. A HUMAN ELEMENT by Donna Galanti
  6. LAKOTA HONOR by Kat Flannery
  7. PELICAN BAY by Jesse Giles Christiansen
  8. SAFE HARBOR by Rosemary McCracken
  9. SOUL AND SHADOW by Susan J. McLeod
  11. ROOM OF TEARS by Linda Merlino
  12. DIVINE INTERVENTION by Cheryl Kaye Tardif
With an individual list price total of more than $45.00 and over 640+ reviews collectively on, the DEADLY DOZEN Book Bundle is a value-packed, rollercoaster thrill ride that takes you from amateur sleuth to detective to paranormal to ancient mysteries set in intriguing worlds and so much more.
Book Details:
ISBN: 978-1-77223-000-0 (Kindle ebook); $7.99 US; September 14, 2014
Language: English
Editorial Reviews:
"You won't catch your breath until the last page [of The Bridgeman] turns."—Lou Allin, author of She Felt No Pain
"Deadly Legacy grips your attention from the first page...a treat for the senses." —Garry Ryan, award-winning author of Malabarista
"[A Purse to Die For has a] page-turning pace, fascinating characters, sly wit, and a plot that will keep you guessing." —Janet Bolin, Agatha-nominated author of Dire Threads
"Cheat the Hangman is a refreshing and chilling paranormal mystery you won't want to miss." ―Jeff Bennington, author of Reunion
"A Human Element is an elegant and haunting first novel. Unrelenting, devious but full of heart.  Highly recommended." —Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of Code Zero
"Transport back to the old west with this paranormal historical [Lakota Honor], and its alpha hero, and a heroine hiding her secret talents." —Shannon Donnelly, author of the Mackenzie Solomon Urban Fantasy series
"Christiansen offers a tale sure to entrance readers—a story of love and wisdom and the mystery of a forgotten graveyard under the waters of Pelican Bay." —Man Martin, author of Paradise Dogs 
"[Safe Harbor] offers a coherent structure, an exact feel for the Toronto locales, and, in Pat, a hugely attractive sleuth figure." —Toronto Star 
"Soul and Shadow is a deep and complex tale of deceit, danger and love. Well plotted and extremely engrossing that I couldn't put it down." —Romance Junkies 
"Revenge is indeed a dish best served cold in this fast-paced, thrilling story...[Innocent Little Crimes is] a page-turning thrill-ride that will have readers holding their breath the whole way through." —Publishers Weekly
"[Room of Tears is] a beautiful and gut wrenching story...Miss Merlino weaves a flawless tale that will have you sobbing by the end of the book." —#1 New York Times Bestselling Author Rachel Van Dyken, author of The Bet 
"Great imagination, fabulous imagery...This chilling page-turner [Divine Intervention] is a genuine Canadian crime novel...Tardif gives her readers plenty of twists and turns before reaching a satisfying ending." —Midwest Book Review

Click Below and Get 12 Awesome Books 
for $1.99!

Christmas with Morticia! (Morticia's Massage Parlour and Vice Academy - Santa Issue)

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.)

Private to Shocked and Appalled:  Yes, I actually got paid to write this advice column, back in my early Bad Girl days.  What can I say?  Even when I was a naughty girl, Santa came.

Sunday 30 November 2014

Pay Now - Die Later! (or liposuction for the coffin class)

(Warning...they let me off my leash again...)

I’ve been getting an awful lot of sales calls from funeral parlors lately, and frankly, it’s starting to worry me.  Granted I’ve been missing a little sleep, but do I really look like I’m ready for the harp and wings?  (Okay, fire and pokers.)

What’s happening out there in the Underworld these days?  Who came up with this PAY NOW-DIE LATER thing?

I’m quite familiar with payment plans.  In fact, you could call me hell on wheels with a credit card.  I have perfected the fast draw.  And years of experience have taught me that you can buy a perfectly good dress now, and not have to pay for it until it is out of style.

But I have to question this whole prepaid funeral thing.  Just why the heck should I pay in advance for something I don’t even want?

All I know is, someone has done a killer <sic> marketing job.  And it’s only the beginning.  Next thing you know, they’ll be doing your colours beforehand.  Or – wait for it – for those who want to look their best on the way out – liposuction! “Let yourself go a bit over the years?  Pre-purchase our after-market body-shaping plan, and let us take a little off the sides…or maybe add a little here and here…”

The fashion industry won’t be far behind.  I can see a side-business dealing in up to the minute stylish clothes that make you look good lying down.

In fact, they could have a phone-in service for people who want to switch their final fashion choice with the season.  Perhaps little tear-off strips attached to your license where you can pencil in your latest choice:  “Please bury me in the royal blue strapless, first drawer on the left…”

And it doesn’t end there.  One telephone salesperson wanted to know if I preferred a forest or lake view, sunny or shady final resting spot.  I can see it now:
“The Sun Lover’s Plan – Finally, all the sun you want with no fear of UV”

For those men who want their wives to visit often, they’ll come up with special burial sites next door to major shopping malls.  And certain women I know may elect to be ‘located’ around the seventeenth tee.

There’s a lot of potential still left in this industry, and I’ve come up my own sales gimmick.  You only pay a small deposit for your ‘deposit,’ and you don’t claim it until you need it.  It’s called the “Layaway” plan.

Melodie Campbell writes funny books including the award-winning The Goddaughter's Revenge, available at most stores and online retailers.  They come with a 'pee before you read this' warning.

Friday 21 November 2014

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

Back from Bouchercon, with a Derringer in my Pocket!  (Okay, a Derringer Award...close enough.)
Here's some more Morticia, to tide this website over until the jet lag clears...

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 Tired,
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 Livid,
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?

Sunday 9 November 2014

The Worst of 'Morticia's Massage Parlour and Advice Academy'

You asked for it - now live with it!  More from Morticia (reprinted with permission)

Get in shape with BODIES BY MORTICIA

...Select yours today!

Dear Morticia;
My wife can't go a day without playing bingo.  What's your impression of a woman like that?
Signed Fed Up

Dear Fed;
Sorry, I don't do impressions.  This is an advice column.

Dear Morticia;
My husband works shifts and comes home so tired he can barely carry on a conversation.  How can I keep him from falling asleep on me?
Signed, Frustrated

Dear Frust;
Push him off.  Next...

Dear Morticia;
Are you busy this weekend?  Party at my house - I finally got rid of my parents!
Signed, Home Alone

Dear Al;
That's nice.  Did you manage to make it look like an accident?

Dear Morticia;
My mother and I read your advice column every month and we are appalled by the ridiculous advice you give.  In fact, we can't believe you actually get paid to produce this kind of trashy garbage on a regular basis.
Signed Disgusted in Durham

Dear Gus;
Wait a mean they're supposed to pay ME?

Morticia will return to these pages if somebody doesn't kill her off first.

Melodie Campbell writes funny books. You can buy them at Chapters, Amazon and the usual suspects. The Artful Goddaughter now available.

Tuesday 4 November 2014

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.

(Postscript from author:  in case you are wondering, question 3 today is the author's personal favorite of the many dozen Q&As created for this column over the years. We never claimed to be sane.) 

Friday 31 October 2014

Morticia's Massage Parlour and Free Advice Academy

Back in the bad ole days, I had a gig writing a wacky advice column for a resto/bar trade mag.  On the urging of a few friends who have absolutely no taste, I am bringing Morticia back to life <sic> on these pages.  Reprinted with permission...

Dear Morticia:
This guy I really like has finally asked me out.  Thing is, I met him at a beach and he doesn't know I wear glasses.  Should I wear them on our first date?
Signed:  Short sighted

Dear Short:
That depends.  What does he look like?

Dear Morticia:
I've been sleeping with a piece of wedding cake under my pillow since last April and it isn't doing a thing.  What do you suggest?
Signed:  Always a Bridesmaid

Dear Always:
Personally, I've never seen the point of sharing your pillow with wedding cake.  Why don't your try a man instead?  Lots more fun and not near as messy.

Dear Morticia:
All I want is a man who doesn't play golf all weekend long.  Is that too much to ask?
Signed Weekend Widow

Dear Weak:
Really?  That's ALL you want from a man?  Must get pretty boring at night....

Dear Morticia:
I like your style.  How about a date, Sugar?
Signed: Swinger

Dear Swing:
Sure!  January 27th?  August 18th?  11/04/21?  MCXXII?

To be continued....