Wednesday 29 April 2015

BATHING SUIT HELL or My War with the Madonna Suit (reprinted from the places that pay me...)

By Bad Girl (Melodie Campbell)

Last week I had to do something that engenders the kind of enthusiasm that might be associated with a mass accident on the Gardiner Expressway.

I went shopping for a bathing suit.

Let me make this absolutely clear.  I have been a bank manager in a low rent district where the con artists are trained at birth.  I’ve taught rowdy all-male classes of engineers.  I’ve taken two kids to Wonderland and positively laughed at the lineups.  So I’m pretty hard to intimidate.

Except in a swimsuit shop.

“Do you have anything with winches?”  I say to sweet little Clerkette.

“Is that a brand name?”  She squeaks back.

It is obvious from the start this isn’t going to work.  Clerkette looks all of sixteen.  She comes back with a two piece that might possibly fit a Barbie Doll.  A real one, not life-size.

“Let me make this clearer,” I say patiently.  “Things have happened to my body in the last twenty years.  I may be a little hard to fit.”

“No problem,” she says cheerfully.  “We have just the thing.”

I look around the store.  Walls of colorful bathing suits on racks, all looking about size 2.  The price tags, however, are size 20.  Why is it that the smaller the article, the greater the cost?

Clerkette comes back with a couple of fuchsia ribbons hanging from her fingers.  “Try this,” she says.  “It’s a Tanga.  They fit everyone.”

I squint at the ribbons.  “Where is it?” I say.

Men don’t have to deal with this.  No, indeed. Here’s what happens when a man goes into a store:

Man:  “I need a bathing suit.”

Clerk: “Do you want blue or red?”

Man:  “Blue is good.  How much?”

But back to Clerkette.  I try again. 

“Do you have something that is a little more structured, if you know what I mean.  Something that ‘lifts and redistributes’.”

“Ah!” says Clerkette, finally coming to life.  “You want our ‘Madonna’ model.”

She hands me a steely black suit with hard cups that looks something like a medieval torture device.

“Perfect!” I say.  I go into the wee change room to try it on.

What ensues is a monumental battle between me and the suit that lasts about fifteen minutes.  (Shoppers: 0, Fiendish Designers: 1)  Finally, various bits of me have been forced into the chambers allotted to them.  Breathing is possible, barely.  I look in the mirror. 

The result is not bad, if I want to be taken as an escapee from a Wagnerian opera, or an extra from an 80s music video, (minus the hair.) Take your pick.

 Like I said, not bad.

Which is a good thing, because there’s not a chance in hell I’ll ever get out of it.
I hope I don't rust.

Thursday 23 April 2015

Margaret Atwood and Melodie Campbell shortlisted for the same award!

I thought it was a thrill when my photo was next to Stephen King's in Mystery Scene Magazine. 
Well, it's pretty darn thrilling to see your name on a shortlist under Margaret Atwood's.

Here is the full lineup.  Note the classy people under short story:

Announcing the 2015 Arthur Ellis Awards
Shortlists for Crime Writing

Best Novel
Brenda Chapman, Cold Mourning, Dundurn Press
Barbara Fradkin, None so Blind, Dundurn Press
C.C. Humphreys, Plague, Doubleday Canada
Maureen Jennings, No Known Grave, McClelland & Stewart
Alen Mattich, Killing Pilgrim, House of Anansi

Best First Novel
Janet Brons, A Quiet Kill, Touchwood Editions
Steve Burrows, Siege of Bitterns, Dundurn Press
M.H. Callway, Windigo Fire, Seraphim Editions
Eve McBride, No Worst, There Is None, Dundurn Press
Sam Wiebe, Last of the Independents, Dundurn Press

Best Novella *
Rick Blechta, The Boom Room, Orca Book Publishers
Vicki Delany, Juba Good, Orca Book Publishers
Ian Hamilton, The Dragon Head of Hong Kong, House of Anansi
Jas. R. Petrin, A Knock on the Door, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine

Best Short Story 
Margaret Atwood, Stone Mattress, McClelland & Stewart
Melodie Campbell, Hook, Line and Sinker, YYM/Northword Literary Journal
Peter Clement, Therapy, Belgrave House
Madona Skaff, First Impressions, The Whole She-Bang 2, Sisters in Crime
Kevin P. Thornton, Writers Block, World Enough and Crime, Carrick Publishing

Best Book in French
Hervé Gagnon, Jack: Une enquête de Joseph Laflamme, Expression noir / Groupe librex
Andrée Michaud, Bondrée, Editions Québec Amérique
Maryse Rouy, Meurtre à l’hôtel Despréaux, Édition Druide
Richard Ste Marie, Repentirs, Alire

Best Juvenile/YA Book
Michael Betcherman, Face-Off, Penguin Canada
Sigmund Brouwer, Dead Man's Switch, Harvest House
S.J. Laidlaw, The Voice Inside My Head, Tundra Books
Norah McClintock, About That Night, Orca Book Publishers
Jeyn Roberts, The Bodies We Wear, Knopf Books for Young Readers

Best Nonfiction Book
Bob Deasy (with Mark Ebner), Being Uncle Charlie, Penguin Random House
Charlotte Gray, The Massey Murder, HarperCollins
Joan McEwen, Innocence on Trial: The Framing of Ivan Henry, Heritage House
Bill Reynolds, Life Real Loud: John Lefebvre, Neteller and the Revolution in Online Gambling, ECW Press
Paula Todd, Extreme Mean, McClelland & Stewart

Unhanged Arthur for Best Unpublished First Crime Novel
Rum Luck by Ryan Aldred
Full Curl by Dave Butler
Crisis Point by Dwayne Clayden
Afghan Redemption by Bill Prentice
Strange Things Done by Elle Wild

The Winners will be announced at the Arthur Ellis Gala at the Arts and Letters Club in Toronto on May 28.
See the Crime Writers of Canada Website for details (

Saturday 18 April 2015

Lecture 27: "When I was Young..." (reprinted from the places that pay me)

by Bad Girl

3:30 at the local school and it’s raining like winter in Vancouver.  In front of me, two hundred Audis and no parking.  I pull my trusty Chevy in behind them and prepare to match up with my offspring.

It’s a funny thing about kids.  They can do gymnastics three times a week, soccer on Saturday morning and cruise the mall for hours.  But don’t ever ask them to walk home from school.  Some can’t even make it as far as the car.

“What took you so long?”  Daughter number one waits until the car pulls directly in front of the entrance before venturing a foot out from the overhang.

“Precious.  It is pouring rain.  I have been doing the complete Dallas Cowboys Cheerleading routine at the side of the road trying to get your attention.  I think the least you could do is walk the distance to the car."

“You want me to WALK?  In THESE shoes?  You’ve got to be kidding.  I might get them wet.”  The door slams shut and we start to inch along the circular drive.  “Besides, I’m tired.  I’ve been in school all day, ya know.”

“How come you can cruise the whole of Oakville Town Centre with your friends, but can’t make it twenty feet to the car?”

I can’t help it.  Maybe the drenching has made my brain soggy.  Lecture 27 spews forth of its own accord.

“When *I* was young, we walked to school.  Yup, two miles, in the freezing cold, through four foot snow drifts-“

“Uphill both ways.”  She interjects.

“-uphill both ways,” I finish.  I think she’s heard this one before.  “AND another thing.”  It gets worse.  “About those shoes…when I was young, we didn’t have fancy shoes like that.  No sir, we made do with sneakers, and – by golly – we were grateful.  We even wore them until they had holes in them.”

“You want me to wear shoes with holes in them?” she asks, excited.

“Don’t change the subject.”

“What IS the subject?”

“Genetics.  Natural selection as it relates to the modern world.  How kids today should have been born with wheels instead of feet.”

“MOM!”  She is jubilant.  “You bought me roller-blades?”

Wednesday 15 April 2015

Prophecy’s Language and Bloopers - a guest post by delightful author Brenda Dyer

It is my pleasure today to welcome friend and fellow Canadian author Brenda Dyer to this blog.  Brenda writes sexy Paranormal Romance (if you like my Rowena series, check out Brenda's books!)  Today, she talks about the bloopers that haunt poor unsuspecting writers.

 Hello. My name is Brenda, and I’m so excited to be here. Thank you, Melodie for having me on your wonderful site.
Today I’ll be talking about the bloopers—I like bloopers better than mistakes—that were found during the critique stage. One in particular made me laugh, but only after I stopped kicking my arse all over the house. This particular mistake I caught myself during yet another read through, but only after I sent out two beta/ARC copies.
So, in this scene, Sin—the hero—was handcuffed. The Enforcer pulled Sin’s arms behind his back and cuffed him tight. Okay, that’s all cool and fine. Now as the scene moves on, I’m writing a bunch of emotional stuff, like how the heroine is taking up residency in the hero’s heart, and how he feels about it, etc, etc.
We come to a door that can only be unlocked with a code. Okay, all's good. But what do I do? I get Sin—the hero, who is handcuffed—to open the door. I completely spaced out. And this silly mistake, when noticed, embarrassed the heck out of me. I was calling myself all sorts of nasty names.
Now onto big mistake number two. This mistake wasn’t caught by me, but from a beta reader—bless her heart. In this particular scene, Sin—hero—and Eleanor—heroine—are getting ready to get down and dirty—do the beast with two backs—make whoopee—well, you get the picture. The scene takes place in the bedroom. At first Eleanor is sitting on the bed, then BAM, all of a sudden she’s on the couch for a sentence, than miraculously back on the bed.
Guess Sin’s love making is so damn good she teleported into the living room for a quick sec.
The next mistake, was caught by another beta reader, along with typical spelling issues and the odd missing word.
She sent me a list, and most of the mistakes were just duh brain-fart moments, but one really stuck out. In the scene I’m referring to, the H and H are walking down a hallway and I mention the light sconces on the wall. Except I didn’t write sconces, I wrote SCONES!
Wonder if the scones were raisin and cinnamon? Should’ve had the hero and heroine take a bite and see.
If I ever buy a wall sconce, I’m going to ask for a scone—a cinnamon scone, of course.

Thank you for stopping by and spending time with me.

I’m giving away an e-copy of Love’s Prophecy, book #1 in the Prophecy Series, and Prophecy’s Child, book #2, to one commenter.

Check out Prophecy's Language!

She’ll need persistence to break through to his heart

Author Eleanor Donavon’s life is finally going her way. She kicked her mentally abusive ex-husband to the curb, and her writing career is taking off. But her contented world changes when a stranger, who’s the spitting image of one of her fictional vampire warriors, appears in her home on the pretense of whisking her away on a vacation. Believing him to be a cover model sent by her agent, Eleanor takes him up on his offer in hopes of getting to know him better. When she learns the truth about who he is, and the reason behind her imprisonment, her existence is rocked to the core. Now caught in the brutal politics surrounding the vampires, her only hope of surviving is to trust Sin. To complicate matters, she’s spellbound by the fierce warrior and falling for him hard. With her heart at stake, she must somehow break through his icy defenses to the man inside or forever lose him to his haunted past.

Her love gives him the faith to live again

Sin lives by his own code: don’t care for anyone and you won’t let them down. His past actions taught him that valuable lesson. When he receives the mission to abduct Eleanor, a beautiful author writing about the Vampire Prophecy, his heart jolts awake. For the first time in years he yearns to go against his principles and make her his forever, but fear won’t allow it. When she becomes a target of the Sacred Order, Sin risks his career to save her, but the real danger lurks when he realizes he can’t stop his head-on collision with love. 

Teaser—The Handcuff Scene

A foreign feeling invaded Sin’s heart and head. He felt happy and light, which in itself was crazy since their current situation was anything but. If he didn’t play his cards exactly right, Eleanor would be locked up in the Sacred Order’s holding in Hungary for the rest of her life. She’d be lost to him forever.
The thought of never seeing her again caused an ache to bloom in his chest and spread seeds of pain throughout his body. She’d somehow brought the feeling part of him back to life—the part he’d fought to kill since the death of his best friend.
As they headed down the stairs, Sin pondered this new internal growth, realizing he couldn’t ignore it—couldn’t ignore the feelings he had for his little princess. When they stopped at the wooden double doors, he shelved the issue. He had a rescue to plan.
He looked around the empty foyer, glad none of the other slayers were around to observe his latest degradation.
Enforcer Colins opened the door and stepped onto the veranda. He waited for Eleanor, but she stayed next to Sin.
Sin peeked at Eleanor. She gazed back, still shaking like a leaf caught in a hurricane.
He decided to put his plan in action now instead of waiting until they locked his sorry ass up. Once outside, he’d incapacitate the Enforcers. Then he and Eleanor would split the scene. Being on the run wasn’t ideal, but the thought of Eleanor locked up as the Sacred Order’s hostage, her freedom stolen, seemed a worse fate.
“After you, Princess.” Sin gestured with his head for her to follow the Enforcer. Reluctantly, she walked ahead.
Tarrel shoved Sin from behind. “Move it, asshole.”
Sin tripped over the threshold. Eleanor grabbed his arm, breaking his fall. “Thanks, Princess.”
She glowered at Tarrel. “You don’t have to be so mean.”