Tuesday 28 July 2015

The One That Got Away (reprinted with permission from the places that pay me)

By Melodie Campbell (Bad Girl)

What is it about men, and the lure of “The One That Got Away?”

All sportsmen seem to have a full repertoire of standard tales about “The Game They Didn’t Win” or “The Fish They Didn’t Catch.”  Men will wiggle and squirm when reminded of their victories in a public setting. <Shrug. ‘It was nothing.’>  But bring up a personal Dunkirk, and watch the enthusiasm (and the story) grow to mythical proportions.

Fishermen are the worst.  I never met a fisherman who didn’t know a bigger fish.  Now I admit that sitting for hours in a tin boat in the hot sun with a bunch of decaying worms for company, waiting for Moby Dick to swim by, is not my idea of a banner way to spend a summer afternoon.  I mean, what are you going to DO with Moby, if you ever catch him?  The poor thing has been swilling acid rain for YEARS.  More likely, he’ll be thrown back into the fetid muck, knowing he has been personally rejected.  What a label to hang on a fish.

There must be a special lure about a prize not won, because I’ve heard men talk this way about women.

Bill (dreaming): I knew this girl in 1986…she was perfect. Beautiful, smart, understanding, good cook, played a great round of golf – everything I dreamed of.”

Ted (drooling): So what happened?”

Bill (sniveling into his beer): Some guy MARRIED her.”

Women don’t talk like this.  You never hear women boast about ‘the dress the got away in 1992’.

Betty (reminiscing):  Remember that terrific sale at the Buffalo outlet mall?  And you almost had that genuine copy of a fake Ralph Lauren for ten bucks, but that fat woman in purple snatched it out of your hands?

Marge (sighing):  It might even have fit me. 

Nobody, however, can come close to the story telling ability and sheer heart-stopping drama of seasoned golfers.  By Seasoned, I don’t mean spiced.  I mean the ability to stand frowning into space on the 14th tee for hours, contemplating a shot, as if it might actually make a difference.  I can only conclude that years of wearing polyester pants in tootie-fruitie colours does something to a person. 

For one thing, they can no longer talk in a normal tone of voice.  Ever hear two of them drone on about how they almost bogeyed their golf cart on the sixteenth?

Bill (in Official Pro Golf Tournament whisper):  Remember that par five in Toledo back in ’81 when I would have birdied with the eight iron on the 4th, but that seventeen mile an hour wind came out of the south-east and I sliced it just a bit to the left?

Ted (equally hushed):  Sure do, Bill.  (frowning into the hot sun, and eventually keeling over from boredom.)

I tell only one story about the one who got away.  He was six feet tall and Irish, and he took me golfing.  Every time I took a swing at the ball and missed, he convulsed into a snickering heap.  Whenever I swung and made contact, he dissolved into a howling mass and writhed about on the grass.

I would have smashed him over the head with my golf club, but he got away.

Melodie Campbell writes funny books, like The Goddaughter’s Revenge, winner of the 2014 Derringer and Arthur Ellis Awards.  Check them out online at Chapters and Amazon.

Sunday 19 July 2015

The Postman Always Rings for Money

by Melodie Campbell (Bad Girl)

Recently the Canadian Post Office did a stunner, and almost doubled the cost of sending a postcard across the country.  Enraged citizens are now claiming that it will soon be cheaper to FLY to Saskabush, than to send a birthday card there.  (It’s frightening.  Imagine actually having to GO to Saskabush…)

The bottom line is, our mail will soon be too expensive to mail.  Frankly, I’m not too concerned, as I hate receiving any.  Primarily, because my mail consists of bills and that which is generally classified as ‘junk’.  To illustrate, here’s the latest sampling from my mail box (er ‘Super’ box.)

Dear Concerned Citizen:  Every day in countries far away from here, numerous Nigerian Princes need your help.  Unless you are the sort of mindless jerk who drinks imported beer and watches championship polo on television, we know you will want to do something about this.  For a mere FIFTY DOLLARS a minute… 

Dear Fellow Voter:  Here I am, your representative in Ottawa, giving a VERY IMPORTANT FOREIGN DIGNITARY a merry smile.  Notice how he is smiling back.  This is because, as YOUR representative, I have just presented him with a cheque for a billion dollars of YOUR money, for agricultural research and development of the guava bean.  I am indeed proud to be representing YOU on this 45 day world tour, stopping in such major centres as Paris, London, Rome, Sydney, Tokyo, New York, and everywhere else they agree to ply me with premium scotch…

Dear MELODIE CAMPBELL:  Congratulations, MELODIE CAMPBELL!  You have been especially chosen by our computers as the winner of AN ALL EXPENSES PAID TRIP TO HAWAII!  Yes, MELODIE CAMPBELL, you have already qualified to win the above prize, or TEN TRILLION DOLLARS, or your own PERSONAL JET…what the heck, why don’t we just throw in all THREE?  And all you have to do, MELODIE CAMPBELL is simply call this number and sign up for seventy-two membership years in the all-new Fun and Fitness club…

As a concerned citizen, I am aware that outright banning of junk mail has serious implications for the paper industry.  Worse, it could put several million Environmental Activists out of work.  So I suggest the following:

Continue to stuff those envelopes and stick on the subsidy-for-MP’s-pension stamps.  But instead of sending our mail, let’s burn it.  Think of the fuel costs we could save, burning all those bills instead of paying them.  The environmentalists would be kept occupied fighting the increase in air pollution, and we could hire all those newly unemployed mailpersons to tend the bonfires.  And while we’re at it we could throw on a few of those expensive windbag politicians…

Sunday 12 July 2015

Why did I become a Mystery Writer?

 It’s the Maze.

A horrible crime occurs.  Murder most foul.  The police are stumped, and it looks like the criminal will get away with it.  Then along comes an amateur detective who follows a set of clues, and with supreme logic, solves the mystery.  Justice is served.

I want to say I write mysteries and suspense because of a deep-seeded need to see justice done in the world.  I really want to say that.  But it’s not true.

I love to read and write mysteries because they are clever.  They invite me to use my brain.  Who is the killer?  Can I come to the same conclusion as the detective, at the same time, following the same trail of clues?

Traditional mystery novels are like a chess game.  In writing the novel A Purse to Die For, I discovered that mysteries must be plotted carefully, strategically.  It is a convention of mystery writing that the reader receives the information at the same time as the detective.  Anything else is considered cheating. Clues must lead to the solving of the crime.  The reader must be able to go back and see the trail, once he/she has finished reading the ending.  But the ending can’t be too obvious – that’s no fun.  So it’s the clever mix of laying several trails like those of a maze that intrigues me as both a writer and reader.  The trick: only one leads to the fateful conclusion.

A good mystery with a bang-up ending – logical, but original – gives me a kick like no other book.  I marvel at the cleverness of the author.  In short mystery fiction, I devour that twist at the end.  In my own fiction, you can count on an unexpected ending.  

I love the wonderful delight that comes from stumping the reader…in making them say “Ah! Didn’t see that coming.”  I’ve given them a challenge, and hopefully at the end, a smile.  There is no greater high.

Melodie Campbell is the author of 40 short stories and eight novels, including the classic Agatha Christie-style mystery A Purse to Die For, co-authored with Cynthia St-Pierre.  She has won 9 awards for short fiction, including the 2014 Derringer and the Arthur Ellis Awards.

A PURSE TO DIE FOR  Now on sale for 99c!!

The victim wore haute couture…
When fashionista and television celeb Gina Monroe goes home to attend the funeral of her late grandmother, the last thing she expects to encounter is murder.  Who is the dead woman in the woods behind the family home?  And why is she dressed in Milano designer clothes?

“Fast, funny, furious. A great read and proof once again that Canadian crimewriters are among the best in the world.”  Janet Kellough, author of Sowing Poison
Ebook and paperback available on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.uk and European Amazon sites.


Monday 6 July 2015

BOOK SALE! All Imajin Books on Half Price or Less!

2.99 on Amazon  click here 
Rowena Through the Wall - .99!  click here

Rowena and the Dark Lord - .99!  click here

Rowena and the Viking Warlord - 1.99!  click here

Code Name: Gypsy Moth - .99!  click here

A Purse to Die For - .99!  click here


Thursday 2 July 2015

2015 Summer Sizzles with Imajin Books!


*1 - 'Share the Imajin Books Buzz' contest: Share our events on Twitter and Facebook, and share pics of our books on ereaders or you holding one, and receive entries into our Summer Sizzles Giveaway! Grand prize winner: 12 free ebooks (winner’s choice). Plus 10 winners of single ebooks. Open to anyone 18+. Void where prohibited. Draw will take place the first week of August. Rafflecopter form for contest entries will be at https://www.facebook.com/imajinbooks/app_228910107186452 from July 1-31, 2015. Be sure to share it with your friends.

*2 - Summer Sizzles eBook Sale – www.imajinbooks.com/sale (live link on July 6): Most of our ebooks will be priced at $0.99 or $1.99 from July 6-12, on Amazon & Smashwords (coupon codes for latter). Bundles are also discounted.

3 - Summer Sizzles Facebook Party: For one evening only, Sunday, July 12th, we'll be holding a Facebook Party online and giving away prizes (ebooks and gift cards from Amazon). The party begins at 4:00 PM PDT (Pacific!) and goes until 8:00 PM PDT on July 12. Join us at: https://www.facebook.com/events/484341911728130. Be sure to invite all your friends!

From everyone at Imajin Books, we hope this year your summer really SIZZLES! Happy reading! :-)

Wednesday 1 July 2015

IWSG day! Why Book Tours are Expensive (More Comedy on the Road)

IWSG Badge

Welcome, IWSGers!  I write comedies, so most of the posts here are somewhat silly.  And yes, I am insecure about book tours. 

You'll see why...
Every word below is part of a true account.

By Melodie Campbell

I’ve recently been on a book tour for my latest crime comedy, The Artful Goddaughter.

Book tours are expensive.  You travel around to independent book stores and you sell some books and sign them.  It’s fun.  You meet a lot of great people.  But it’s expensive.  And I’m not talking about the hotel bill and the bar tab.

I should have just stayed in the bar.  It was leaving the bar that become expensive.

Nice night.  We decided to go for a walk.  It was dark, but I had on my brand new expensive progressive eye-glasses, so not a problem, right?

One second I was walking and talking.  The next, I was flying through the air.

Someone screamed. 

WHOMP.  (That was me, doing a face plant.)

“OHMYGOD! Are you okay?”  said my colleague.

I was clearly not okay.  In fact, I was splat on the sidewalk and could not move. 

“Fine!” I yelled into the flagstone.  “I’m Fine!”

I tried to lift my head.  Ouch.

“That must have hurt,” said someone helpfully.

I write about a mob Goddaughter. So I know a bit about mob take-outs.  It may come in handy.

A crowd had gathered.  Not the sort of crowd that gently lifts you off the ground.  More the sort of crowd that gawks.

“Couldn’t figure out why you were running ahead of us.” My colleague shook his head.

I wasn’t running.  I was tripping and falling.

“That sidewalk is uneven.  Your foot must have caught on it.”

No shit, Sherlock.

By now I had tested various body parts.  Knees were numb.  Hands, scraped.  Chin, a little sore. 

But here’s the thing.  I hit in this order: knees, tummy, boobs, palms.  My tummy and boobs cushioned the fall and saved my face.  

Yes, this was going through my mind as I pushed back with my tender palms to balance on my bloody knees.

“Ouch!”  I said.  No, that’s a lie.  I said something else.

I stood up.  Surveyed the damage.  My knees were a bloody mess, but the dress survived without a scratch.  It was made in China, of course.  Of plastic.

The crowd was dispersing.  But the pain wasn’t over.

Next day, I hobbled to the clinic.  The doctor, who probably isn’t old enough to drive a car, shook his head.  “Progressive glasses are the number one reason seniors fall.  They are looking through the reading part of their glasses when they walk, and can’t see the ground properly.”

Seniors?  I’ve still got my baby fat.

“Get some distance-only glasses,” he advised.

So I did.  Another 350 bucks later, I have a third pair of glasses to carry around in my purse.

Which means my purse isn’t big enough.

So I need to buy a new purse.

And that’s why book tours are so expensive.

Melodie Campbell got her start writing standup, and now writes comedies. (No shit, Sherlock.)  You can find them at all the usual book places.

Be sure to check out other great blogs on the IWSG Day Tour here: