Thursday 29 January 2015

THE ULTIMATE WEAPON - Bad Guys Take Note (reprinted with permission from the places that pay me)

Recently, I’ve taken a lot of flack regarding the size and tonnage of my handbag.  Not surprisingly, most of the flack has come from the other sex – that one that can’t find the butter in the fridge and has yet to come to grips with the purpose of a dirty clothes hamper.
Personally, I adhere to the “Purse as Weapon” school of fashion, mace being illegal in this country.  Which is why I carry a large envelope shoulder bag. Very large.  Imagine the Roseanne Barr of purses.  One swing from the shoulder can knock a runaway truck back 30 paces.  In fact, I’ve been known to clear entire subway cars in rush hour.
But the most effective use of a purse I’ve ever seen is this story from back in my bank manager days…
One day, a young man with a gun tried to force his way to the front of our lineup to make his demands known to the teller.  Unfortunately, he chose to do this on the day the Old Age Pension cheques arrived in the mail, and worse, the person he chose to cut in front of was old Mrs. Pereira.  Now, Mrs. Pereira may have been only four and a half feet tall, and probably weighed only 90 pounds, but so did her purse.  And being somewhat shortsighted, she may have failed to see the gun, but she certainly did not miss the sudden appearance of a very rude long-haired youth stealing her place in the line.
Being old school, she did not call for help; instead, she commenced whapping him over the head with a particularly lethal black patent handbag with heavy brass corners, while kicking him smartly about the shins.  The hapless bank robber was last seen howling and limping from the branch, followed by a verbal stream of indignant Portuguese.
Which only goes to show that one should always walk softly and carry a big purse.

Wednesday 21 January 2015

They Call Me a Literary Slut (as seen on Sleuthsayers)

Melodie Campbell’s Land’s End Trilogy made the Amazon overall Top 50 Bestseller list this week! Here’s why she writes that series:

(“Outlander meets Sex and the City ” or Why I Write Wacky Time Travel in addition to respectable crime)

By Melodie Campbell

I am best known as a writer of comic crime capers, and in particular The Goddaughter series (Orca Books).  However, I also have a second life as an author of racy fantasy…the sort of thing that has been called “The Princess Bride with Sex.”

Why?  Why would a moderately respectable crime author swap genres and write a wacky time travel series, set in Arizona and Alternate-world Great Britain?

1.  I like Arizona.  Especially in winter.  You can fly nonstop there from Toronto.
(Whoops – delete, delete.  Of course, the real reason for using Arizona is I believe in accuracy of setting and doing research, which I take great pains to do once each year in February.) 

2.  I like Great Britain.  And I like to be accurate.  But you can’t travel to medieval Great Britain right now, at least not on WestJet. (WHY doesn’t someone invent a cheap time travel airline?)  So I can’t be accurate, which bugs me a lot.  But I can be silly, which is almost as good.  Hence, Alt-world.

3.  My cousin Tony’s family, the Clegg-Hills, used to own a Norman castle in Shropshire.  Unfortunately it burned down in 1556.  Damned careless of them.  I had to make up what it would look like from family stories, which are probably dubious at best, and vaguely criminal, on reflection.  Also, I hate being sued. Hence, Alt-world.

4.  Fessing up, here.  I actually didn’t mean to write funny time travel.  I meant to write a serious whodunit that would get the respect of the Can-Lit crowd, and the more erudite members of Crime Writers of Canada.  This ‘veering from plan’ is becoming a nuisance.  Next book, for sure, will be a serious whodunit.  Okay, maybe a whodunit.  Okay, maybe a book.

5.  Okay, I lied.  The serious whodunit turned into a wacky mob comedy series that has won a Derringer and an Arthur.  Still no respect from the Can-Lit crowd.  So I might as well go back to writing wacky time travel.

Why?  ‘Cause it’s a hell of a lot of fun being a literary slut.

Melodie's bestselling Land's End Trilogy ("OUTLANDER meets SEX AND THE CITY" Vine review) has rocked the charts this week!  If you were ever curious about her 'other life'...'nuf said.

Buylink:  On Amazon

Wednesday 14 January 2015

The #15 Book in Canada on Amazon!~ A Top 50 Book in the US!

Still the No. 1 Time Travel in Canada!
(Author is thrilled and sort of jumping up and down)

In Canada:


 In US:

 SALE continues for a few more days.

Now, back to our original post:

HOT Damn! (and I do mean Hot!)

My publisher has put the entire Land's End Trilogy, including all three Rowena Books, on sale for .99!  This sale is available World-wide on Amazon.

If you read the first book and found it fun, now is the time to purchase the rest, for ONLY .99!
If you haven't read any of the Rowena books, download this bundle now and see why Industry reviewers have called the series:

"JACK SPARROW meets Janet Evanovich's STEPHANIE PLUM"

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 12 January 2015

There’s something about Men in Uniform…

What is it about Men in Uniform?  Alison Bruce, the author of A Bodyguard to Remember, dishes the dirt on how this series got started!  If you like Romantic Suspense with humour, you will love this book.  I did.  Read my review at the end.

There's something about Men in Uniform...

by Alison Bruce

It was NaNoWriMo time (National Novel Writing Month) and I was determined to complete my 60,000 words this time. At the same time, I wanted an escape from the mundane adventures of being a single parent of two active kids and a father who kept forgetting he couldn’t be as active any more. I started with “There was a dead man in my living room” and ran with it for 30 days, 60,000 words and three love interests – all men in uniform. Then 
I stopped, took a deep breath, and started making sense of the story so far.

First, the research…
I’m a stickler for research. Because of that, I’ve given up most of my shyness in asking strangers questions. When I met a woman at a conference and found out her husband was a retired homicide detective, I had no compunction about enlisting her help getting an interview. At the same conference, I met a woman who was a Police Academy dropout. (She couldn’t shoot to kill.) I almost missed a workshop because I got caught up talking to her about police culture.

Fortunately, I had done a fair bit of research on the various levels of law enforcement for DEADLY LEGACY. I knew, for instance, that if I wanted to involve the RCMP in Ontario, I had to have a case involving national security. Why RCMP? Because I fondly remembered being a reference for a fellow Girl Guide when she applied. (Actually, she used my mother, our guide Captain, as her reference but she was out and the officers interviewed me instead.)

My motto: take advantage of ANY research opportunity…
A few months later I might have decided to make the investigators Ontario Provincial Police officers and made the dead man a drug dealer instead of a spy. That was after being in a car accident. 

Strapped to a backboard, unsure of whether I had whiplash or a broken neck, I asked the OPP officer taking my statement if knew anyone willing to talk to me about police life. He did and I later had a great interview with Constable Bob Cloes.

My son got a kick out of having a uniformed officer visiting our house. He wasn’t quite so happy when we were out together and I introduced myself to bicycle cop. And my children will never let my live down my military encounter when I took a wrong turn on the way to Owen Sound.

It wasn’t the wrong turn. It wasn’t my getting out, asking for directions. It was the time I took and the silly grin on my face when I got back into the van. Hey, how often does a forty-something single mother get to flirt with a tall, handsome artillery sergeant?

Real emotions make a work richer…
I trained with the army and drank with Special Forces. My father was in the navy. My grandfather was in the air force. And my aunt, to whom I dedicated A Bodyguard to Remember, was in the Auxiliary Territorial Service. I’ve been listening to their stories all my life and they speak, more or less, through my stories

During NaNoWriMo, a fellow entrant chatted with me from Afghanistan, where he was stationed. There was a lot I could not ask him, but I did ask about how it felt to leave home to serve overseas and how he felt about coming home. I drew on that when writing about Merrick’s son Nate. In fact, you might say that real soldier was as much a father to Nate as Merrick was.

The cutting room floor
I have to admit, I went a little overboard representing the various branches of law enforcement and military. I had enough uniforms to start a parade. In the editorial process, those secondary characters and their plots were trimmed. The love interests were pared down to a manageable number. As my editor pointed out, they could be featured in future novels. Still, it hurt a bit to cut them. In the journey from first draft to publication, they’d become old friends.

What can I say? There’s something about men – and women - in uniform.


Book 1 Men in Uniform

By Alison Bruce

Lachesis Publishing Inc

“Classic romantic suspense spiced with warmth and humour”

 “This is a fun read and Bruce is a talented storyteller”

Prudence Hartley has the same problems of every other single mom: getting her kids to school on time; juggling a gazillion errands while trying to get a full day's work done; oh, don't forget about dinner. But everything is about to change for Pru when she finds a dead man in her house. Or a dead spy to be exact.

Suddenly Pru's problems become a tad more complicated and a lot more dangerous. When a federal agent named David Merrick shows up and whisks her and her kids into protective custody, Pru has so many questions running through her brain she doesn't know where to begin.

How is she going to keep her kids safe? What was the dead spy looking for in her house? Why are they after her now? Oh and there's one more question . . . just a pesky, minor thing. Why does Merrick have to be so damn sexy and protective?

Available at:

·        Chapters/Indigo Online

Author Bio

Alison Bruce has had many careers and writing has always been one of them. Copywriter, editor and graphic designer since 1992, Alison has also been a comic book store manager, small press publisher, webmaster and arithmetically challenged bookkeeper. She is the author of mystery, suspense and historical western romance novels.

A Book to Remember!

Review by Melodie Campbell

A Bodyguard to Remember starts with a bang.  Dead body on the floor and a protagonist who is very much alive with humour and warmth. From the beginning, I was hooked on Pru.  Her sense of humour and good moral compass are a delight. But dead bodies bring the police, and there is a mystery to be solved.  Who killed the stranger?  And why leave the body in Pru's living room?  Not only is she a suspect, but her own life could be at stake.  I won't give away the plot, but what happens next is classic romantic suspense.

Let me state how refreshing it is to have a heroine who is into her thirties and who actually has children.  Bruce handles this deftly; the children provide believable motivation for a lot of Pru's actions.  We admire her even more because of how she manages to deal with the angst of protecting her children instead of just herself.

A Bodyguard to Remember is the best type of romance book; lots happens, more than just love is at stake, and you don't know who Pru will end up with until the very end.  This is a fun read, and Alison Bruce is a talented storyteller. My kind of book.  Five stars.

Melodie Campbell is the award winning author of The Goddaughter series.

Thursday 8 January 2015


By Melodie Campbell

Regardless of the fact that guys tend to regard the automobile as an extension of male ego, and gals regard the car as a sort of giant handbag with wheels… I think we can all get together to agree on the following.

1.     1.  People who regard the Maximum as the Maximum:

Let’s get this perfectly straight:  EVERYBODY knows the posted speed limit is not the REAL maximum.  We may not know what the real maximum is, but we sure know it’s not 100 km per hour, because if it was, then we’d all – the whole country – be in jail by now.  With complete meal and maid service provided by the crown.  Which is not a bad idea. (Would they put my kids in a different cell?)

So we’ve determined that the Maximum speed limit is not the real max, but merely a number picked at random by some harried civil servant at 4 pm on the eve of a long weekend.

Civil Secretary: “So what shall it be, Harold?”

Civil Servant (not to be confused with ‘servant’ as in ‘to serve’):  “Gawd, I’m late for the cottage.
My wife will kill me.  Let’s make it…” (looking at the bills in his wallet) “oh…a hundred.”

So the posted speed limit has been 100 km per hour for simply ages, and everyone has forgotten why.  Including Harold, who is now driving a Bentley in the Cayman Islands.

Which brings me to the point: what are we going to do with all these drivers who think they should only drive the posted maximum?  You know…the ones who amble onto the highway and then proceed to travel at exactly 100 km per hour, like their cruise control got stuck there and couldn’t get out?  These people are a menace to all us conscientious commuters who actually intend to get to work the same business day we started out.

No punishment is too great, I say.  Move ‘em all to Quebec.

      2.   People who regard the Maximum as the Minimum:
Okay, guys (and you know who you are.)  Will you PLEASE agree on which speed we should all be traveling at?  Post a speed over each lane.  We don’t care.  As long as you all AGREE.

It’s a fact: no two men can decide on how fast the traffic should go.  If one guy decides the left lane should go 130 km per hour, then the guy in the red mustang behind him is determined to drive 131.   

And the race is on to see which guy can jockey his car through several lanes of law-abiding soon-to-be-Quebecers, endangering all live bodies not to mention their poor unsuspecting cars.  Meanwhile, the male driver in front is only going 129, so everyone comes to a screeching halt, which gives all guys in the vicinity a chance to play with their horns and practice finger exercises.

I say, MAKE UP YOUR MINDS!  Guys of the world, get together and decide what speed the fast lane should travel at.  Then – just for you – us ladies will get together and construct a series of fast lanes all the way to the moon…one way, of course.

Melodie Campbell writes funny novels for which she has won awards. You can find them at Chapters, Barnes&Noble, Amazon, Walmart and even Zehrs.

Friday 2 January 2015

PAY NOW-DIE LATER! (reprinted with permission from the places that pay me)

by BAD GIRL (Melodie Campbell)

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.  You should buy them at Chapters, Amazon, Walmart or Zehrs.