Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Review: Rowena and the Viking Warlord by Melodie Campbell August 20, 2014 Miriam Smith

Review: Rowena and the Viking Warlord by Melodie Campbell

What an incredible story! Battles, strategy, weapons, and a dragon. Yes, a little dragon named Cinders! Cute and awesome! Incantations with hilarious results, demons bent on destruction, and a claiming. (Don’t know what that is? Read this story and find out!)

Two things really stuck with me as I read this story. The first was the depth of Lars’ feelings for Rowena. His love for her came through with amazing clarity, and not just when they were in bed. I could feel it in the way he looked at her, how he talked to her, how he acted toward her, how he considered her when she spoke. He was always attentive when it came to Rowena, in a time when women were seldom valued so highly.

The second is the detail. Ms. Campbell’s attention to minute detail is spot on. There was never a moment where I felt like I was a spectator watching this story happen, because I always felt like I was actually there. Sounds, smells, environments. Wonderful job, Ms. Campbell. You pulled me right in and kept me there until the end.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014


...or something of the sort <grin>
Announcing a First!  On Kobo, last night:

Viking Warlord #1 in Romance, Science Fiction & Fantasy!

Cool to make the Romance charts, when you really don't write Romance :)

"OUTLANDER meets SEX AND THE CITY"  (Vine review)

Saturday, 16 August 2014

MEN AND GRASS: The Final Frontier - more humour from BAD GIRL

(Reprinted with Permission)

By Melodie Campbell

What is it, about men and their grass?  And I’m not talking about funny weed here.  I’m talking about the green stuff that becomes the object of mower wars every year once Jack Frost leaves for Florida.

Take one A-type guy.  Present him with a front lawn, much like the other front lawns owned by guys all down the street.  And watch him turn into a teeth-gritting supercharged competitive mess.

“Dear,” I say.  “Mable and I don’t lie in wait with the express purpose of determining whose house is cleaner at this very moment.  Neither do we examine bed sheets to see whose laundry is whitest.”

“Your point?” says the weed demon, currently glowering at a patch of clover-like substance.

“Why waste time doing the one-upmanship thing when we could be shopping?” I reply.

He grunts.

But I’m not finished.  “Why do guys care so much about whose lawn is the greenest?  It’s grass.  It grows.”

“Len was using Roundup last Friday,” he muttered.  “I know it.  And Charlie is using his sprinkler system at night on red days.”

“Red days?”  I question.

“When there’s a ban on watering!  I know he’s doing it.  I’m going to catch him in the act.”  He grins like a maniac and prepares to spend all night sleeping on the front porch.

And so I propose it. 

Admit it.  You knew it was coming.

The newest reality TV show – LAWN WARS!

8 am. Saturday.  A street in a town/city/burg somewhere in the northern hemisphere.  Joe creeps out of his house with coffee.  Surreptitiously wanders over to his neighbour’s yard.  Looks suspiciously down at the ground to see if Ralph’s grass is greener than his.  Meanwhile, Ed, two doors down, is doing the same reconnaissance work as Joe, but this time on Joe’s lot. 

War is declared.

Five minutes later, the lawn mowers come out on all adjacent properties.  Blades are set to golf course smooth.  Micrometers are used to measure each grass length. Weed and feed is executed with diabolical fanaticism. 

It’s Whippersnippers at thirty paces.

Meanwhile Mable and I are discussing laundry.

“Laundry sucks,” says Mable.  “All Len’s clothes are dirty. I think I’ll just throw them out.”

“Go for it.”  I say.  And then we go shopping.

Melodie Campbell writes funny books, like The Goddaughter’s Revenge, winner of the 2014 Derringer and Arthur Ellis Awards.  You can buy them at Chapters and at online retailers everywhere.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

5 Stars for ROWENA AND THE DARK LORD - Many thanks to reviewers everywhere!

Reviewers:  if you ever wonder about not being appreciated, hear me now: there are times when the Black Dog hits authors.  Reviews like this keep us writing.  Yes, *reviewers* keep us writing, not sales cheques or publishers.  God bless you.
Customer Review

5.0 out of 5 stars Oh Row .. what else could happen to you!!!!, August 13, 2014
This review is from: Rowena and the Dark Lord (Land's End Book 2) (Kindle Edition)
Book 2 of the Rowena Series, was just as good as the 1st. I was so drawn into the the book I was about to read it in one day! it was amazing.

This book starts off a few weeks after Row, Thane, Kendra and Richard all go back through the portal. Thane is depressed at the way he left his men on the battlefield and Row is so sad that she made him choose between her and his honor.

Row is kidnapped again by Gareth and brought back to Land's End once again, but this time she is completely alone. But it works out for her, she discovers some new friends and even a family member she didn't know still existed in Land's End.

So much happens in this book it's hard not to give anything away so I'm going to say if you liked the 1st one you will love the 2nd one. The story flows with such ease it's like Lands End is right in front of you. You can feel the sun on your skin and the green grass under your feet. Just amazing writing from an amazing author, thank you!

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

“THE PRINCESS BRIDE with SEX” or WHY I WRITE WACKY TIME TRAVEL (in addition to respectable crime)

By Melodie Campbell

I am best known as a writer of comic crime capers, and in particular The Goddaughter series (Orca Books). 

However, I also have a second life as an author of racy fantasy…the sort of thing that has been called “The Princess Bride with Sex.”

Why?  Why would a moderately respectable crime author swap genres and write a wacky time travel series, set in Arizona and Alternate-world Great Britain?

1.  I like Arizona.  Especially in winter.  You can fly nonstop there from Toronto.
Whoops – delete, delete.  Of course, the real reason for using Arizona is I believe in accuracy of setting and doing research, which I take great pains to do once each year in February. 

2.  I like Great Britain.  And I like to be accurate.  But you can’t travel to medieval Great Britain right now, at least not on WestJet. (WHY doesn’t someone invent a cheap time travel airline?)  So I can’t be accurate, which bugs me a lot.  But I can be silly, which is almost as good.  Hence, Alt-world.

3.  My cousin Tony’s family, the Clegg-Hills, used to own a Norman castle in Shropshire.  Unfortunately it burned down in 1556.  Damned careless of them.  I had to make up what it would look like from family stories, which are probably dubious at best, and vaguely criminal, on reflection.  Also, I hate being sued. Hence, Alt-world.

4.  Fessing up, here.  I actually didn’t plan to write funny time travel.  I meant to write a serious whodunit that would get the respect of the Can-Lit crowd, and the more erudite members of Crime Writers of Canada.  This ‘veering from plan’ is becoming a nuisance.  Next book, for sure, will be a serious whodunit.  Okay, maybe a whodunit.  Okay, maybe a book.

5.  Okay, I lied.  The serious whodunit turned into a wacky mob comedy series that has won a Derringer and an Arthur.  Still no respect from the Can-Lit crowd.  So I might as well go back to writing wacky time travel.

Why?  ‘Cause it’s a hell of a lot of fun.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

ROWENA and her VIKING WARLORD GO ON TOUR! Catch the fun at these sites across North America

Catch me in person at WHEN WORDS COLLIDE! Calgary, Aug.8-10

Friday 6 PM Writing Hot [panel] 
Friday 9 PM Laughing at Love [panel]  (podcast)
Saturday 2 PM Why Paranormal/Urban Fantasy Is So Popular [panel] 
Saturday 4 PM Get It Written! The Craft of Plotting your Novel [presentation
Saturday 8 PM Autographs  
Sunday 12 PM Murder Most Fair [panel]  (podcast)
Sunday 4 PM Death Throes [panel]  (podcast)

Also join CWC RVP Susan Calder and I at the CWC Crime party on Saturday night!  All welcome.

THEN: Join me as I touch down on these blogsites across the US:

Monday, August 4
First Chapter Reveal at The Literary Nook
Tuesday, August 5
Book Review at Emeraldfire’s Bookmark
Wednesday, August 6
Thursday, August 7
Monday, August 11
Guest Blogging at ARe Cafe
Tuesday, August 12
Book Featured at Bound 2 Escape
Wednesday, August 13
 Interview at Examiner
Thursday, August 14
Interview at As the Page Turns
Monday, August 18
First Chapter Reveal at Read My First Chapter
Tuesday, August 19
Interview at Deal Sharing Aunt
Wednesday, August 20
Book Review at Written Love
Thursday, August 21
Interview at The Writer’s Life
Monday, August 25
Interview at Beyond the Books
Tuesday, August 26
Guest Blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner
Wednesday, August 27
Interview at I’m Shelf-ish
Thursday, August 28
Interview at Review From Here
Friday, August 29

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

A White Sport Coat, A Pink Crustacean and A Book With No Name.

It is my pleasure to welcome good friend and fellow Mesdame of Mayhem Lisa de Nikolits to BAD GIRL.  Her book, THE WITCHDOCTOR'S BONES is on my 2014 Top Ten list.

It was a beautiful day. Road trip, upstate New York, my husband at the wheel, blue skies above, scenery pretty as a picture.
“The Killing Sands?”
Husband shakes his head.
Silence fills the car. Well, not exactly silence, Jimmy Buffett is blaring merrily and my husband is humming along.
How can he be so happy when I am in the throes of such torment?
I take off my shoes, put one foot up on the dashboard and consult my notepad.
“What Lies Beyond?”
“Behind the Shadow of The Sun?”
Firm shake of head; no.
I start thumbing through my dictionary, yes, a real printed book version of the thing.
Sun, sun, sun….
Shadows Under the Sun?”
“No. No shadows or sun.” My husband has moved on and is blithely singing along and grinning at me. Such joy.
I glare at him.
“A Travesty of Innocence?”
He nearly swerves off the road. “No! Sounds like a courtroom drama.” He carries on singing and I want to swat him with the dictionary but hold myself in check.
“You,” I say with gritted teeth, “are proving very hard to please.”
He has already rejected these gems: Turn From The Sun, Black Against The Sun, A Feast of Sand and Poison, A Feast of Thorns, Bad Magic and Banquet of Poison.
“What about something that’s in the book,” he offers helpfully. “Like a chapter name or something?”
“The chapter names are all too complicated,” I say, “like who would read something called Murder at Sossusvlei?”
“Well then, not a chapter name but there must be something in the book… wow, look at that old Chevy…” He segues into a long ramble about classic cars, which, under other circumstances, I would actually find interesting. But since he isn’t talking about The Book, his utterances are no more than white noise.
The CD, A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean, comes to an end.
“What do you want to listen to?” He asks.
I shake my head. “I don’t care.” I am mournful. “I’m never going to find the right title. This has been going on for months.” I hang my head.
“You’ll find it, you always do.” My husband’s confidence is very annoying.
“Easy for you to say,” I snark back. Yep. I’ll be honest, I’m the one being annoying and why he doesn’t ditch me at the side of the road and drive off with Living and Dying in ¾ Time blaring loudly, is beyond me.
“I know!” I sit up. “How about The Glass Circus Safari?”
“Nope. Too difficult to say and it doesn’t tell you anything about the book – so, no.”
“But it’s from a poem in the book, the one that Eva writes.”
“I remember the poem. But no, still no.”
I give a deep sigh. “This book. This book. Six years of my life, has this book taken from me…”
“Six years of our life…”
“Yes, six years of our life, and it’s cost me a damaged optical nerve and more sleepless nights than we can count. And now, it’s all revised, it’s good to go, but the name, the name. This book means to much to me, it’s my African baby, it explores the dark corners of Africa where others might fear to tread…”
My husband, having heard this more than once, tunes me out but I’m talking more to myself than him anyway.
“…not that treading into dark corners is in any way a new thing for me to do. When I was a teenager, I was always going into stores in Africa that most White people wouldn’t ever go into and that’s where I got my bones, my witchdoctor’s bones.”
My husband’s interest in the conversation is reawakened at this.
“What bones?”
“Witchdoctor’s bones. You get this little bag of bones and then a booklet with instructions and the bones, when thrown, will tell you about the future or where a lost relative is, or a lost possession. Sangomas or witchdoctors are usually the ones to throw the bones, that’s what they call it, throwing the bones, but I got a little bag and I tell you, bad stuff happened. That’s where I got the part for Marika, in the book. You know where she says how she threw the bones and then her goldfish died and pictures started falling off the walls and then she had to bury the bones in the veldt? Well, that was based on me, my fish died and I had to bury the bones.”
And then, EPIPHANY!
The Witchdoctor’s Bones!” I yell. “That’s it! That’s the name!”
My husband grins. “It’s a good name,” he concedes.
“I hope Luciana likes it,” I say. (Luciana Ricciutelli is my publisher). “It does fit the book,” I say, “it’s already in there and the whole book is about the consequences that befall a bunch of foolhardy people who mess with Africa without respect or fear of what might unfold.”
I think for a moment. “The Witchdoctor’s Curse?”
My husband shook his head. “Bones are better,” he says.
The Witchdoctor’s Bones,” I say and I settle back into my seat and look around. “So where are we, anyway? And how long have we been on the road? And never mind all that, let’s stop for lunch! We’ve got a title, I’m ready to rejoin the world!”


Readings on YouTube:
       Helen’s Revenge:
       Dumi, An Exerpt from The Witchdoctor’s Bones:
Pinterest Moodboard:
Twitter: @lisadenikolits
Book trailer:

* books can be ordered (or pre-ordered) at or from and can also be found in select bookstores. If you have any trouble ordering a book, please contact the author, Lisa de Nikolits, at

Catch me (Melodie) at WHEN WORDS COLLIDE! Calgary, Aug.8-10

Friday 6 PM Writing Hot [panel] 
Friday 9 PM Laughing at Love [panel]  (podcast)
Saturday 2 PM Why Paranormal/Urban Fantasy Is So Popular [panel] 
Saturday 4 PM Get It Written! The Craft of Plotting your Novel [presentation
Saturday 8 PM Autographs  
Sunday 12 PM Murder Most Fair [panel]  (podcast)
Sunday 4 PM Death Throes [panel]  (podcast)

Particularly note Get it Written! - this presentation with full AV covers material from the first two classes of my Sheridan College course, Crafting a Novel 1.
Also join CWC RVP Susan Calder and I at the CWC Crime party on Saturday night!  All welcome.