Saturday 30 December 2017

GHOSTWRITER! What if you were a writer who could see ghosts?

Ghostwriter has its own meaning in the book-writing lexicon.  But what if you were a ghostwriter who also saw ghosts?  Alison Bruce's new book takes that clever title and spins a compelling tale that takes us to the chilling waters of the Arctic Ocean.   I couldn't resist asking her three questions that have nothing to do with the Arctic, and everything to do with how Alison sees the world.

1.     This is a comedy blog, so of course I’m going to ask about humour.  I hark from the “Comedy has its roots in tragedy” school.  So tell us about your thoughts on humour in fiction.

I'm an adherent to the Shakespearean school of writing. All tragedy must have comic relief. All comedy must have tragic relief. And stealing from history and classical sources doesn't count as plagiarism.

2.   I’ve been called a “literary slut” in my time, due to my tendency to wander from genre to genre.  I think you might be a kindred spirit.  Why can’t you settle down, girl?

 Can I count you as a classical source? Because I've stolen your term "literary slut" when describing my work too. I am faithful to three things, strong women, mystery, and romantic adventure... four things if you count coffee. With genres I tend to play the field. I suppose you could also say I have a thing for men in uniform, or at least those toting badges. In that way we are not at all kindred spirits since you tend to gravitate toward the criminal element.

3.  What character in fiction would you like to be?  (Ha! You thought I was going to say, which do you wish you’d written?  But nope.  Let’s hear about your secret imaginary life.)

The first character that popped into my head is Wolverine of the X-men. No, I don't generally identify as male, but I can get into his head. Back when I was writing fan fiction, I switched the genders of all the X-men and got into the female Wolverine's head too. (I could never identify with Professor Xavier, however, whether it was Charles or Charlotte.) My next thought was Jen Kirby. I know it's kinda cheesy picking one of my own characters, but if I had her career as a ghostwriter, imagine the material I'd have to write novels when I retired.


She has to deal with two kinds of spooks: spies and ghosts.

But which one is trying to kill her?

Jen Kirby has seen ghosts since she was a teen, but she can’t talk to them or help them cross over. And, after a violent death in the family, she doesn’t want to see them anymore.

In her role as ghostwriter, Jen joins a Canadian Arctic expedition to document and help solve a forty-year-old mystery involving an American submarine station lost during the Cold War. The trouble is, there are people—living and dead—who don't want the story told, and they’ll do anything to stop her.

Now Jen is haunted by ghosts she can’t avoid or handle alone. That means confiding in the one man she doesn’t want to dismiss her as “crazy.” But can he help? Or is he part of the problem?

A compelling mystery with a unique setting and skillfully handled supernatural twist.
Kelley Armstrong, #1 New York Times Bestselling  Author

A maritime mystery full of twists and turns, heart-pounding suspense, and ghosts!
Ghost Writer plunges you into the icy depths of the Arctic Ocean with breath-stealing twists and turns, maritime adventures, page-turning suspense … and ghosts. A great read!
Ann Charles, USA Today Bestselling Author of the Deadwood Mystery Series

EXCERPT from Chapter 1

My name is Jen Kirby. I have several things going for me including great hair, nice eyes and an ability to turn experts' research into readable prose.

I have a few weaknesses. I enjoy chocolate too much. I hate enclosed spaces. And I prefer to experience open bodies of water from a distance. One sailing trip with my cousins made me swear off boats for life. So, you'll understand how much I wanted the job when I said I'd go to the Arctic Ocean to look for a sunken underwater base.

The offer came from Dr. Dora Leland, a forensic psychiatrist and my good friend. Dora is a professor at the University of Toronto, a consultant to various law enforcement agencies and author of seven books which I have ghostwritten with her. Her idea of a vacation is volunteering her skills to researchers who would never have thought they needed a forensic psychiatrist on their team, let alone afford one.

Her latest project was helping out a team who were bent on raising US Navy's Arctic Station Alpha and finding out what happened to its crew. AFFA, which stood for “Answers For Families of Alpha” not the Hell’s Angels motto “Angels Forever, Forever Angels,” included now grown children of the crew. Other family members contributed funds or in kind services. But it was Dora and her agents that made the expedition possible.

As the only team member who wasn't paired off, Dora anticipated needing a buddy to play cards with of an evening. She sold the deal by offering me co-author credit on the book we were going to write.
It was an offer I couldn’t refuse.

Short bio
Alison Bruce writes history, mystery and suspense.  Her books combine “clever mysteries”, well-researched backgrounds and a touch of romance. Her protagonists are marked by their strength of character, sense of humor and the ability to adapt to new situations. Four of her novels have been finalists for genre awards.

Links & Stuff

Twitter: @alisonebruce


Amazon Author Page:

Monday 18 December 2017

SALE! Rowena Through the Wall and other bestselling books 99 cents!

Imajin Books is having a HOLIDAY SALE!

The first book in every series is 99 cents, INCLUDING

CLICK HERE for these books on Amazon

Get more in each series for 1.99!!  Including:
 Fill your Kindle for the price of a latte!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours from 
Bad Girl and Frankenpoodle


Wednesday 13 December 2017

Why Writing a Cozy Murder May Kill Me

For most of my author life, I have written mob capers.  (Okay, there was that trilogy of ribald sexy fantasy that started my career, but surely that’s in my past. At least, that’s what I tell the priest.)

There have been seven of them. (Not priests.  Mob capers.)  An eighth will be coming, but in the meantime, my publisher wants me to write a cozy.  “You’re already writing comedy,” she said.  “This is merely a different sub-genre.  And cozies have a HUGE audience in the States.”

More than capers, she not so subtly pointed out. 

Thing is, if I was going to write cozies, I was going to have to clean up my language.  It may come as a surprise, but mob caper characters don’t actually say, “Golly” and “Goodness me” when they get hit with a chunk of lead.

So as I embarked upon project clean-up, I pulled from my past, aka my dad’s side, which is firmly British.  Most cursing in our house was Brit.  I grew up on a steady diet of colourful West Country language.

However, this was a cozy, so I played it light.  Even that didn’t work with my publisher.

The first word to go was Pits.  “Pits!” Penelope yelled. 

Publisher:  “What is Pits?  Nobody in the States will know what you mean.  Use Rats.”

“Rats,” Penelope yelled, while closing the car bonnet.

That didn’t work.  I tried again.  It got worst.

Soon, 'bloody' and ‘bugger’ were off the table.

Me: “Really?”

Publisher:  “You need to kill all the Britishisms.”

Me:  “I’m Canadian.”

“But they don’t know that,” she said, as if that were some sort of naughty secret we had to keep.

I retreated to Rats and Holy Cannoli.

But problems resurfaced quickly. “You’re a cow!” said Peter.

Publisher:  “You can’t use cow.  It sounds…”

Me: “Too trashy?” 

Publisher:  “Bestial.  And with respect to the current scandals in Hollywood and DC…“

Me:  “Gotcha.  Not suitable for a cozy.”

It didn’t end there.  Other phrases came under the knife.  My whole vocabulary was at stake. Thing is, every non-naughty British expression seems to be…well…so much more expressive than the American equivalent.

“You filthy swine!” is much cooler than “You dirty pig!”
“Damn and blast!”  Rocks it. “Darn and boom!” eh...not so much.

It’s taken a long time and a lot of soul searching, but I may have come up with a solution to this whole cozy language problem.  Something my publisher should be happy with, that isn’t a four letter word, and that shouldn’t offend the clergy.  Not only that, it pretty well tells the tale.

“Curses!” said Penelope.

Melodie Campbell does her cursing south of Toronto.  She wasn’t really ever a mob goddaughter, but close enough.  You can buy The Goddaughter and the rest of the series on and all the usual suspects.

Wednesday 6 December 2017

Worst Typos EVER – Take 2! (For Marilyn, and everyone who contributed plot lines)

It happened again, and this time it was my fault. 

You know how it happens. Spellchecker has an evil twin that changes your word by one letter, and you don’t notice it until it goes to print. Public becomes Pubic. Corporate Assets becomes Corporate Asses. The Provincial Health Minister becomes Provincial Health Monster. We’ve all been there. (At least I have.  These were real typos from my department when I was a corporate PR director. Which is why I write comedy now.)

What kills me is, you make one teeny mistake (okay, it was a whopper) and the world chimes in. THAT’s when you get noticed. 

Readers may recall that last year, I wasn’t too happy when the virtual blog tour company hired by my publisher changed the title Rowena and the Dark Lord to Rowena and the Dark Lard. Sales were NOT stellar. However, the hilarity that ensued was probably worth the typo. Seems there were all sorts of people willing to suggest alternative plot lines for a book about Dark Lard. Many were a mite more entertaining than the original (she said ruefully.) 

Here’s a small sample: 
Protagonist moves back to Land’s End and opens up a bakery. Protagonist and love interest return to Land’s End and become pig farmers. 
Protagonist messes up another spell that causes all who look at her to turn into donuts. 

It’s enough to make a grown writer cry. Well, this time I did it myself. REALLY not cool to request a review for a book and misspell the title. No matter how it reads, "Cod Name: Gypsy Moth" is not a tale about an undercover fish running a bar off the coast of Newfoundland... 

That wasn’t enough.  People were quick to respond with suggested plot lines on Facebook.  Other authors (22 in fact) had to wade in <sic>.

he'd have to scale back his expectations - a bar like that would be underwater in no time.

and here's me waiting with 'baited' breath

Readers will dive right into that

That's a whale of a tale

that book will really "hook" a reader

Smells pretty fishy to me

definitely the wrong plaice at the wrong time.

We're really floundering here; no trout about it.

Okay!  In the interest of sane people everywhere, I’ll stop on that last one. 

You know how authors usually have a personal favourite?  This is mine.  The real name of the book? CODE NAME: GYPSY MOTH.

It isn't easy being a female barkeep in the final frontier...especially when you’re also a spy!
Nell Romana loves two things: the Blue Angel Bar, and Dalamar, a notorious modern-day knight for hire.  Too bad he doesn't know she is actually an undercover agent. 

The bar is a magnet for all sorts of thirsty frontier types, and some of them don’t have civilized manners. That’s no problem for Dalamar, who is built like a warlord and keeps everyone in line. But when Dal is called away on a routine job, Nell uncovers a rebel plot to overthrow the Federation.  She has to act fast and alone.

Then the worst happens.  Her cover is blown …

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