Monday, 2 August 2021

The Merry Widow Murders! Publishing news...

Pleased to report that we have received two publishing offers for The Merry Widow Murders...from Canada and Britain.  Many thanks to Brenna English-Loeb and the gang at TransAtlantic Agency!

More to follow this week... 


Monday, 24 May 2021

Money Laundering and other Taxing Services (Bad Girl Returns...)

As seen on Sleuthsayers this week!  Repeated here for my regular readers...

 Apparently, I have been too serious on here lately.  There have been complaints.  In an effort to address this, I present the following:  Money Laundering and Other Taxing Services.


So this really isn't a blog about money laundering in the classical sense (meaning Uncle Vince and those three restaurants in the east side of The Hammer...but I digress.)  However, I do somewhat come round to money and bathing, or perhaps authors being taken to the cleaners (sic) in the penultimate paragraph.

In fact, this post is more about the plight of poor authors doing their fiendish taxes, and how the banking industry has become a playground for disciples of Satan.  (Not Santa.  He remains a relatively good guy, although I've learned not to sit on his lap.)

I was doing my taxes the other day, and it made me think about how great things were in the good ole days.  Remember how simple life used to be?  Someone would mail you a little carbon slip to let you know how much money you made.  All you had to do - as a law-abiding citizen - was run your finger along a little line in the tax guide, and you'd know how much tax you had to pay.  You'd write a cheque for that amount, then go drink yourself blind or shoot yourself in the head, whichever was most expedient.  Things were simple back then.

 Now, figuring out your taxes is a profession in itself.  Actually, it's several professions; taxes now have their own accountants and lawyers, the lucky little things.  Soon they may have their own psychiatrists.

Which brings me to banking (and other taxing services.)  I remember when you'd take your paycheck and give it to the bank for a little while.  Then you'd go back a few weeks later to take out cash for certain life essentials like beer and pharmaceuticals.  All the money would still be there plus some extra cash you made on your money, called interest.  Things have changed radically since then.  Interest is passe.  Sort of like digital watches...

Now when you put your money in the bank (which of course you don't...you put it in a cute little automatic teller machine where it mixes with everyone else's little packets of money in terribly immoral ways) - (or even worse, you simply transfer it to whatever account you like with absolutely no regard whatsoever for its feelings and preferences or - Gawd help me - gender.  Which reminds me: did you see the New York University survey where they now give you a selection of 35 different gender choices?  I personally wanted to identify as a SA {smart ass} but was told PETA might get involved.)

Back to the point.  The point is, that when you go back to draw it out again, you find less than the amount you deposited.  Most of your money is there, but so is something else called a Service Charge.

I must admit I'm baffled by this need for a service charge.  I mean, exactly what services did these people feel it necessary to perform for my money?  Did they give it a bath and take it on field trips?  (ahem...note the reference to money 'laundering')

 Frankly, I'm getting fed up.  If they are going to take my money out on the town and show it a good time, the least they can do is teach it how to reproduce...

Melodie Campbell writes seriously silly stuff and even gets paid for it.  She writes about the mob in Hamilton, Ontario, just in case you thought Canadians were all nice guys.  (However, we are extremely polite before we kill you.)  Check out her books at all the usual suspects:

Thursday, 29 April 2021

OATLANDER - and you thought Rowena Through the Wall was a parody on Outlander...

Stand back.  People have been asking for zany.  In fact, they asked for a repeat of this particular post (which just shows you how desperate we all are...)

Yes, ROWENA THROUGH THE WALL (as featured on USA Today) has been called "Outlander meets Sex and the City" by professional critics.  But even they wouldn't be prepared for the plot that never quite made it to print...

 Hold on:

 OATLANDER – Why I can never write a book straight

It happened again.  One little letter got switched around, and those little writer demons in my head let loose.

It started with a quote from an industry reviewer, regarding my time travel series starting with Rowena Through the Wall.  I was trying to quote:  “OUTLANDER meets SEX AND THE CITY.”

Nice way to describe Rowena et al.  I’m very grateful to him.  But of course, I messed up the spelling of Outlander.

So here’s a sneak preview of my next book:

OATLANDER

Claire (okay, lets change that to Flaire) falls through time and lands in virtually the same country she did in that other book.  The country that thinks using animal bladders for instruments is a really neat idea.

“What the heck,” says Flaire, looking around at all the sheep.  “This isn’t Kansas.”

“Ach no,” says ruggedly handsome and unmarried oat farmer, who might possibly be named Jamie (okay, let’s change that to –heck, nothing rhymes.  Tamie?  Bamie?  Okay, Balmy.  “And why are you wearing just your slip, lass?”

Flaire (looking down): “Blast. So’s I am.  Well, fuck a duck.”

Balmy:  “Canna no dae that, lass. Only sheep here.”

<We travel further along in the story, to the battle of Culloden, where Balmy and the local rebels exchange words.>

Leader of Rebels:  “Today  will go down in history, lads!  Grab yer spikes and pitch forks!  We go to spill English blood!”

Balmy: “Not on me oat field, ye don’t.”

“SCOTLAND! SCOTLAND! SCOTLAND!”  Rebels charge.

Flaire, watching everyone trip over sheep.  “This isn’t going to end well.”

Balmy:  “Back to Kansas, Lass?”

Flaire:  “Sure.  No oats though. We’d have to call this…Cornlander.

Balmy <scratching chin>:  “But that would be-“

Flaire:  “Corny?” 


 Now in Audio - at all the usual suspects

 

Sunday, 21 March 2021

Sister in Crime Canada West! free podcast

 I had the privilege of appearing in the Sisters in Crime Canada West podcast, as some sort of an expert in crime writing - grin. (Which sort, they never say, which is clever of them.) If you ever wanted to know the industry breakdown of mystery vs thriller genres/subgenres, here's a fun podcast that also includes several terrific SinC crime writers who participated in a newly released anthology.

  Sisters in Crime - Canada West - the Crime Wave anthology by JCVArtStudio from The Dressing Room • A podcast on Anchor

 


 

Saturday, 27 February 2021

WRITING IS HARD

This post appears right now on Sleuthsayers, The Criminal Blog populated by Derringer award winners, among others.  Repeated here for my regular readers.


 A long time ago, back when video stores were kind of a cool new thing, I was whooping it up in the Toronto Press Club with some eminently more famous Toronto columnists and reporters.  One of them, Scottish he was, asked me this:  "Tell me, lass.  You have a syndicated humour column, you've written comedy, you've had over two dozen short stories published...so why aren't you writing a novel?"

After much deliberation, my exceedingly clever answer was:  

"Because they might want me to write
another one?"

That got a round of applause (actually make that a round of scotch) from the somewhat sozzled guys at the bar.

No really.  Even then, I knew that writing a novel would be a rat-poop load of work.  It wasn't that I was allergic to work.  I had honed the art of writing 650-800 words every week, and making them passably funny.  But writing 80,000 words for one project?

That was 1995, I think.  Since then, I've written 17 novels, and 50 more short stories.  And let me tell you.

Writing is WORK.   Holy hell, is it work.  It is a freaking black hole of work and time and bloodletting.  Time suck, soul suck, give your life over to the keyboard for MONTHS.

I've heard other authors say they can't wait to sit down to write the first page of a new novel.  That they get so excited when they start something new.

That isn't me.  After 17 books, I know what's coming.  Months of hunkering over the keyboard, doubting myself, loving, then hating my characters (Jesus Murphy, WHY is she such a whiny nincompoop?)  Finding the Black Moment.  BECOMING the black moment.

So to illustrate, my starts are more like this:

Me:  "Sob!" (hits head against desk)  "I don't want to.  Don't make me.  I can't do it again..."  (reaches for scotch with head still on desk)

Working-class Muse, possibly from Jersey, the wrong side:  "Listen sister.  Sit your fat bippie down and get a move-on.  These things don't write themselves."

Me:  "But it's so HARD."  (slurping puddle of scotch sideways through a straw.)

Muse:  "You think THIS is hard?  Remember before you were published?  Remember all those rejection letters from publishers?  We insulated the walls of the cottage with them."

Me (sniveling):  "Too bad the place caught fire."

Muse:  "Maybe if you hadn't written BURN IN HELL on all of them..."

At about this time in the ritual, W-C Muse says the magic motivation words:  "Sit up sister.  YOU GOT A CONTRACT."

Me:  "Oh right. Move over, and pass the scotch."

And so it goes.

I'm at that stage right now.  staring the page in the face, knowing I have to start book 2 in a new series, thinking I'd rather jump out this picture window into the lake below (even though I'm 4 stories up and about 50 feet from shore.  So it would be quite a leap.)

I started life as a columnist, so I know I should wrap up on positive note.

Writing is hard.  But it's my life, and I suspect it's yours too.


Melodie Campbell has won ten awards, including the Derringer, the Arthur Ellis, the Hamilton Reads Award, and a city of Toronto award for best children’s book in high school, which is probably as far away from The Goddaughter mob caper series as you can get.