Saturday 30 July 2016

Tales from North of Fifty by Bad Girl

We tried to have a dinner party a while back.  Years ago, this wouldn’t have been a big thing.  I love cooking. (I love eating even more, which should be obvious.)  We have a decent size dining room with enough chairs.  And we actually like the people we were going to invite (itself, a great

So we went ahead and invited the people (step 1.)  Next we had to come up with a menu (step 2.)  And that’s when the trouble started.

If you are not over 50, perhaps you haven’t experienced this yet (she chortled fiendishly.)

“We have a few culinary restrictions from our guests,” I said to DH.  “I hope we can serve more than water and a toothpick.”

“What requests?” said DH.

I looked down at the list. “Nothing with gluten or beans.”


“Cathy requested that.  Because of Phil and his proximity to the other guests.”

“Gotcha.” DH shivered.

“No cilantro, peppers or fresh garlic.  Nancy is sensitive,” I said.

“How about your famous lasagne?” said DH, with hunger in his eyes.

“No good.  Both Lainy and Bob are lactose intolerant.”

“Rib eye steaks?” he said.  “I can do them on the barbie.”

“Tim has to watch his cholesterol.  So do you,” I reminded.

“BBQ chicken then.  With a nice bourbon sauce.”

“Tiffany is a vegetarian,” I reminded.

“We can throw some shrimp on the barbie for her,” said DH, in a generous mood.

“Vern is allergic to seafood.  It couldn’t be the same barbeque.”

 “Running out of ideas, Babe,” said DH. 

A pause.  “Peanut butter?”

I shook my head.  “Marilyn.  Allergic.”

“Oatmeal!  We could have Haggis.”

“Not in my lifetime.”

Silence.  We stared at each other.

“Pea soup?” he said, in desperation.

The phone rang.  I ran to get it.

I came back to the kitchen.  “Barb just phoned.  Phil has a colonoscopy scheduled for Monday, so he can only have clear liquids.”

“Back to water and a toothpick,” I said.

“That’s pretty cheap,” said my Scottish husband, gleefully.

Monday 25 July 2016

Welcome to a card-carrying Bad Girl - Liza O'Connor!

Wanna meet another Bad Girl?  If ever there was a writer who deserved to be on the Bad Girl blog, it's Liza O'Connor.  You could almost say it was 'meant to be.' (grin - You'll see!)


I first ran into her name when both our trailers were featured the same day on USA today.  (Mine was for Rowena Through the Wall.  Hers was Worst Week Ever.)


Three years later,  here she is.  Yup, meet the gal who ALSO writes about the mob!  (Okay, not from the inside, like I do.  But I've just started reading A Fortune to Die For, and I can tell you already that I can't wait to get back to it.)  Humour, suspense, and a heroine with brains and a heart of gold.  My kind of gal.


Ever wondered what it would be like to win really big in a lottery?  Welcome to Hellsville with humour. 


Mafia in Iowa?
As Chicago became overrun with mobsters, their tentacles reached to nearby states. The most infamous mobster in Iowa was Louie Fratto. He was the original Teflon Don, never convicted of a crime. He also went by the names Lewis Ferrell and Cock-eyed. He had a brother, Frank, who was an assassin for the mob and went by the nickname One Ear. (Probably not a good idea to make fun of his missing ear.)

Everyone needed a legitimate business to launder their money. Frank had an aluminum siding and storm windows business. Another brother, Rudolph, had a garbage disposal business. Once prohibition was over, Lou Fratto’s ‘legit’ business was beer distribution.
In 1932, Fratto was connected to the Fiore mob in Chicago. The Fiore mob would muscle in on Speak Easies and cabarets, demanding 50% of the profits while doing 0% of the work. The owners who illegally ran these establishments had no choice but to comply.
In 1933 Fratto was listed as the Secretary and Treasurer of the Wardrobe Check, Washroom Attendant and Doorman Union. Sounds like such a boring job.
In 1934 Fratto was sent to Milwaukee Wisconsin, another suburb of Chicago. Unfortunately, he was soon arrested for gambling. To escape the charges, Lou was sent to Des Moines Iowa, where he worked for his good childhood friend and fellow Mafioso, Cherry Nose Gioe. By 1936 Lou Fratto took over running Iowa while Gioe was sent back to Chicago. (Later when Gioe tries to take control of Iowa back from Fratto, he has unfortunate accident.)
So much for ‘good friends’.
Fratto’s business front was the Iowa distributor for Canadian Ace beer. He had tentacles in the police, the prosecutor’s office, the local courts, and local state politicians. So he was sitting pretty. No one could touch him.
In 1958 he was subpoenaed by a congressional committee to bring all his financial data for their perusal. He arrives with a briefcase, only it’s locked, and because they had not subpoenaed the key, the briefcase remained locked. He took the fifth on a great deal of questions that day. At one point, Fratto got annoyed with their questions and asked the congressmen if they were getting their information from imaginative spacemen. (Generally speaking, you don’t get sassy with congressmen unless you know you are untouchable.)
In 1967, Fratto was still considered Iowa’s #1 boss. However, to be called #1 implies there were other bosses in Iowa as well. Keep that in mind as Fratto’s story turns south.
Some fellow said disrespectful things about Fratto and later ended up with a chest full of bullets. Fratto was charged with the murder, and this time he was going down. But before he could be brought to trial, he died of cancer, thus remaining the Teflon Don to his death, never convicted of a crime.
So what happened next? Did all the mafia in Iowa disappear in a puff of smoke?
I seriously doubt it. I believe over time, they simply found it more economical to go partially legit.
Are annoying people still being wacked?
In fear of being wacked, I’m not answering that.

Megan Clarke had a good life until she wins the Mega Times Lottery and discovers the prize comes with a curse. Worse than the many money-hungry suitors, a serial killer has her in his sight. She changes her name and moves to Iowa with plans to buy their last major forest of white oaks and turn it into a State Park. Unfortunately, the Lottery Curse doesn't stop at state lines and someone there wants her dead, as well. Good thing a disturbingly handsome law officer is just as determined to keep her alive.

Megan realized it was going to be a while before Steve would refocus on the package. “Can I get you something to drink? Green Tea with lemon grass?” He looked health conscious. Actually, he looked like a movie star with a crew cut.
He glanced up. “Sounds good.” He then glanced around. “Any place I can sit and read these?”
“Seriously? There’s got to be over two hundred letters in there.”
“I know. Which is why I’d prefer to do this sitting down.”
“Okay, but if this package blows up on a timer, I’m going to be grumpy when I reach the afterlife.”
He chuckled at her warning, set down the letter he was reading, and picked up the package. “If I open this in the next room, will you be safe from blasts?”
“The room is steel-lined, so I think so. But wouldn’t you rather have some sort of robot handle the matter?”
His adorable grin returned. “Oddly, we don’t have one of those.”
“I could buy you one… You could just take the package somewhere safe and leave it unopened until the robot arrives. I have no problem donating the money to get you guys a bomb robot, given this probably won’t be the last time I need one.”
He studied her a long moment before replying. “You know how I got to be a detective so early in life?”
She almost replied that good-looking people lived a charmed life and received promotions more often than less attractive people, but realized he wouldn’t appreciate her observation. So she behaved and answered, “No.”
“I’ve very good instincts. For example, before you replied, you were thinking something…something I wouldn’t like, so you wisely kept it to yourself.”
Her face burned. Busted! “And your instincts tell you the package is safe?”
“Yes, ma’am.”
“Then take it in the other room and open it.”
Despite his confidence in his instincts, Megan remained on pins and needles for the excruciatingly long half-hour that crawled by as she waited for Detective Williams to return.
Or blow up.

A Fortune to Die For

Free with Kindle Unlimited
About Liza
Liza O’Connor was raised badly by feral cats, left the South/Midwest and wandered off to find nicer people on the east coast. There she worked for the meanest man on Wall Street, while her psychotic husband tried to kill her three times. (So much for finding nicer people.) Then one day she declared enough, got a better job, divorced her husband, and fell in love with her new life where people behaved nicely. But all those bad behaviors has given her lots of fodder for her humorous books. Please buy these books, because otherwise, she’ll become grumpy and write troubled novels instead. They will likely traumatize you.
You have been warned.
Mostly humorous books by Liza:
Ghost LoverTwo British brothers fall in love with the same young woman. Ancestral ghost is called in to fix the situation. And there’s a ghost cat that roams about the book as well. (Humorous Contemporary Romance)
Saving Casey— Cass wakes up in the body of a troubled teen who has burned every bridge imaginable. Her only choice is to turn this life around, but that’s much harder than she ever imagined.
Untamed & UnabashedThe youngest of the Bennet sisters, Lydia, tells her story. A faithful spinoff from Pride & Prejudice.
A Long Road to Love Series: (Humorous Contemporary odd Romance)
Worst Week Ever — Laugh out loud week of disasters of Epic proportions.
Oh Stupid Heart — The heart wants what it wants, even if it’s impossible.
Coming to Reason — There is a breaking point when even a saint comes to reason.
Climbing out of Hell — The reconstruction of a terrible man into a great one.
The Hardest Love Is to love oneself. Sam’s story.
The Adventures of Xavier & Vic Sleuth series: (Late Victorian/Mystery/Romance)
The Troublesome Apprentice — The greatest sleuth in Victorian England hires a young man who turns out to be a young woman.
The Missing Partner — Opps! The greatest sleuth in Victorian England goes missing, leaving Vic to rescue him, a suffragette, and about 100 servants. Not to mention an eviscerating cat. Yes, let’s not mention the cat.
A Right to Love — A romantic detour for Jacko. Want to see how amply rewarded Jacko was when he & Vic save an old woman from Bedlam?
The Mesmerist The Mesmerist can control people from afar and make them murder for her. Worse yet, Xavier Thorn has fallen under her spell.
Well Kept Secrets — The problems with secrets is that they always come to light, no matter how you wish to silence them.
Pack of Trouble — Changes are a part of life, but these changes almost kill Vic.
The Darkest Days — Muddled cases make Vic very grumpy.

Investigate these sites:

Thursday 21 July 2016

WHAT NOT TO SAY, 2 – Worst Ever Pickup Lines

Okay, I did another poll.  So shoot me.  (Before I shoot myself, after reading the results.)

It all started with the “What Not to Say” post I did some months ago, educating men re what NOT to say when a woman asks how she looks.  That post went viral.  Men were baffled.  (This is not a bad thing.  We like you in that state.)  Women wanted more.  More “What Not to Say” for different circumstances.  (Personally, I just think they appreciate a good belly laugh.)

Hence this post:  What Not to Say to a Woman in a Bar

Gals have been telling me for years that men in bars are useless – USELESS – at pickup lines.  So I asked women in my listserves to send me bad pickup lines for which they had been on the receiving end. 

Let me say that this was the most enthusiastic poll I have ever conducted.  Contributions came in at the speed of light.

First, let me explain the assumptions of this experiment:  that is, we pollsters have assumed that men in bars actually WANT to attract women, and have delivered the following pickup lines with the express purpose of enticing the female in question.  (And not to have them run screaming away.  Which could be a weird bar game that we are currently unaware of, but might better explain the results of the poll.)

So, in the interest of continued procreation of the species, I present the following No-Nos.  Lads, you have something to learn when it comes to attracting the female of the species.  Here’s the list.  Okay, I culled a few.  But it’s pretty stark. 

The Sweet but Infantile pickup lines:

 “If I follow you home, will you keep me?”

(Sorry, fella.  I don’t need another dependent to look after.)

“You're so sweet, you put Hersheys outta business.”

(I’m a Godiva chick, sweetie.  That should be obvious.)

“Were your parents Greek gods? Because it takes two gods to make a goddess.”

(Check your gender in that last sentence, smart guy.  Two gods would be two guys.)

The “Man, I am clever” Pickup line:

       "I'm not drunk, I'm just intoxicated by you." 

(I hope you’re not at the throwing-up stage.  These are new shoes.)

The Nerd Pickup line:

       "You make my software turn to hardware." 

Okay, I know some really great nerds who make terrific husbands.  They tend to do well in the salary department too.  But computer geeks, you need help in attracting females.  It’s not just the clothes.  Believe me.

The “What were you thinking??” Pickup lines  (Content Warning):

Why?  Why is it that some men think being crude is going to get women all romantic-like?  Are these the same guys who post photos of their ever-lovin' wee-wees?  The following are lines that women emailed me, as part of the poll.  Yes, they are ACTUAL LINES proffered to real women:

“Hey baby, wanna sit on my lap and we'll talk about the first thing that pops up?”   

“That shirt looks very becoming on you....of course if I were on you I'd be coming too.” 

“My face is leaving in 10 minutes... are you gonna be on it or not?”

Milder, but still asinine:

 “Hi, my name is 'Milk.' I'll do your body good.”
         “Hey I'm looking for treasure. Can I look around your chest?"

So men: the girl of your dreams is in the bar.  She’s just been gob-smacked by clueless guys delivering pickup lines. What should you say?  That’s easy. 

       "Can I buy you a drink?  Looks like you need one."

Tuesday 19 July 2016

Sparkling review for The Goddaughter Caper! Check out Liza O'Connor's web-home

I'm parked on Liza O'Connor's blog this week
 (and it's a zany place - check it out!)

But once in a while, you can't keep a review to yourself.  Liza was kind enough to review The Goddaughter Caper, book 4 in the infamous series. I'm thinking her take is the best yet.  Not only that, but Liza's own riotous humour sparkles in this review.

Consider Melodie Campbell’s latest humorous Mafia tale a must read.  (I know, you didn’t believe humorous mafia stories existed, but they do.) I just finished the Goddaughters Kaper, aka Nancy Drew tries to make sense out of the 3 stooges of Canadian Mafia.
Here’s one of my favorite lines from the book
Nico, I could kill you!”
“Don’t be silly. There’s no more room in the trunk.”
This tells you how the mafia, with their excessive need to clean up, can be so funny. Simply focus on the funny issues like the practicalities of growing a business using geriatrics and morons. Ignore the dead bodies needing buried.
Gina Gallo is about to marry non-mafia Pete, a hunky news-reporter. She’s determined to stay out of her massive family’s not so legal enterprises for good. Sadly, a week into her good intentions, she’s knee deep in dead bodies. And somehow her inheritance that's locked in a trunk gets waylaid by the incompetent help as well.
No good deed will go unpunished in this book, trust me.

This is a short novel, but it delights from beginning to end. Highly recommend it!
5 Stars
that look like coffins
with dead bodies inside.


Saturday 9 July 2016

Yoga-Pants-Wife and hold the Blue Bins… (more comedy from Bad Girl)

By Melodie Campbell

I was watering the lawn the other day when I made this profound observation: names are completely irrelevant when you live in the suburbs.  Here’s a typical weekend conversation around our house:

DH (translates to Dear Husband, or – ahem - Dumb Husband, whichever fits the mood):  “I was just talking to Riley’s parents.  Did you know that Ollie’s family has moved away?”

Me:  “Riley the Sheepdog, or Riley the Beagle?”

DH:  “Sheepdog. The people who live beside the guy with the three blue bins.”

Me:  “I hate what their neighbours have done to their backyard.”

DH:  “The couple with the two hot tubs?”

Me:  “No.  On the other side.”

DH:  “The blue garage door people.”

Me:  “Right.  Eddie says they bought a huge trampoline.”

DH:  “Who’s Eddie?”

Me:  “Married to yoga-pants-wife who drives the red Porsche.”

DH:  “Oh. That jerk. The guy who waters his lawn on banned days.”

Me:  “No, that’s the jerk next door to him. The house with all the windows.

DH:  “Huh?”

Me:  “Across from the people with the cats.”

DH:  “Oh. I know who you mean. Beside the garage sale people.”

Me:  “That’s right.  They’re always having garage sales.” 

DH:  “That’s where Ollie used to live.  Wonder how much they got for that place?”

Me:  “Ollie the black Lab or Ollie the Pomeranian?”

Which begs the questions…I wonder what they call us?)

Saturday 2 July 2016


Today's Feature:  A PURSE TO DIE FOR (check out feature below)
  Check out these prices! Sale Ends July 7

Sale prices are in US funds

Go to Sale Page



Author Confession:  Why I love this book

If, like me, you cut your mystery teeth on Agatha Christie, then you should like A PURSE TO DIE FOR.  I LOVE a mystery where the plot is amazing, and by that I mean, you can't guess the killer until the very end.  Here's what people have said about A PURSE TO DIE FOR:

“You'll be certain you know the killer. Twice. But you'll be wrong"
"If Christie wore Armani and Louboutins..."
If you like amateur detective mysteries, now is the time to pick up the bestseller,
A PURSE TO DIE FOR, today, at .99!


Author Confession:  Why I love this book:

Sale still continuing on...

Author Confession:  Why I love this book
So many people have called this series "Game of Thrones Lite"
Yes, I write comedies.  But for the third book in the Land's End series, I wanted to give readers an unexpected 'Game of Thrones' ending.  Don't worry - your favourite characters won't disappear.  And guess what: there may be a 4th book of the trilogy!  The last page hints to it...

He was her enemy and her lover…
When Rowena cast a spell to move time, not even she could imagine the true cost.  Now, that price must be paid.  War has come to Land’s End, and even Rowena can’t avoid it. With it, rides the one man who threatens to conquer everything in Huel, including her own heart.  Now she has to make the biggest decision of her life: will she return through the time portal to safety in Arizona?  Or will she stay in Land’s End for good, and fight to save her people from The Viking Warlord?

Meet Rowena Revel!

“I am the last hereditary witch of Land’s End.  Unfortunately, I’m not a very good one.”
I gazed down at the words on the page and chanted.
A rabbit popped up on the floor on the other side of the altar. A sweet little grey thing with a white tail.
“Now see if you can send it back,” said Cedric. “Do you know the reversal chant?”
I nodded.  I chanted the sounds that Val had taught me. Except…I must have gotten something a teeny bit wrong.
“Oh crap.” The room was suddenly filled with rabbits.
There were bunnies on the floor. Bunnies on the altar. Bunnies hopping all around the room.
Grey bunnies. Brown bunnies. White arctic bunnies. Bunnies with long, droopy ears and those with shorter pointy ones.
Male bunnies and female bunnies, wasting no time doing what rabbits do best.
“Now stop that!” I scooted forward, waving my hands to scare the male bunnies off, but they paid no attention.
Cedric was howling.