Thursday, January 22, 2015

"you can’t put it down"


A BODY GUARD TO REMEMBER. (Book 1, Men in Uniform)
By: Alison Bruce.
Lachesis Publishing.  2015  $4.99

Nothing like a great opening line to set the hook: “It started with a dead body on my living room floor.” And from there A Body Guard to Remember is a catch worth reading with a lively mix of colourful characters, murder, indeed on a living room floor, cops, protectors in various good looking postures, a plot with a neat climax twist and budding romance…right here in Canada’s capital.

Bruce’s grasp of partnering two genres into one well-paced novel is well known and is as sharp as never in A Body Guard to Remember. Action, quick and forceful, action, gentle and affirming, add a plot worthy of a seasoned crime writer and a supporting cast with struggles and dreams galore makes for a, I’ll just read a bit more,” and you’ll find as I did, you can’t put it down.

If A Body Guard to Remember is book one, Men in Uniform, I can’t wait to read book 2.

            don graves.  Canadian Mystery Reviews.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Not Just Men in Uniform

"This book is gratefully dedicated to my Aunty Yang (Eileen George), whose stories about her service in World War II inspired my undergraduate history thesis and a lifelong interest in women and men in uniform."

I grew up on stories about my family's experiences during the war. Since politics and religion was banned at the dining room table, family history was one of the go-to topics.

My mother's stories tended to take a humorous turn -- like when her skirt flipped up when she was practice rescuing a downed fighter pilot. Why The Observer Corps felt that skirts were a good idea for the women who volunteered is beyond me. My mother, and many of her compatriots, made the matter worse by altering the knee-hiding A-line into a knee-showing pencil skirt.

Nana's stories were more about rationing and how she got around it (at least with butter). She did work as a telephone operator, but she didn't say much about that. She also skimmed over stories involving her sisters and their families staying with them. Those tales I heard from Mum and Aunty Yang.

Aunty Yang NOT in uniform.
When I was older, Aunty Yang also told me about her service in the ATS (Auxiliary Territorial Service). I suppose I heard about the rats in the barn they were billeted in as a child, but the experiences she had as an ambulance driver were not suitable for children.

Later, when I was in university, Aunty Yang helped me connect with some of her old ATS friends, so I could interview them for my undergraduate thesis. I also interviewed former member of CWAC (Canadian Women's Army), RCWNS (Royal Canadian Women's Naval Service) and RCAF Women's Division. I even did a mail in interview with an American WAC. No one's story was as visceral as my aunt's.

Aside from the obvious attraction of a man in uniform, my real interest in military history and culture stems from those stories told at the dining room table.

Now lawmen are another story altogether.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Melodie Campbell is at Land's End

Melodie Campbell’s Land’s End Trilogy is currently in the Top 50 ALL Books on Amazon! Here’s why she writes that series:

Confessions of a Literary Slut

(“Outlander meets Sex and the City” 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 mean 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 being a literary slut.

Melodie's bestselling Land's End Trilogy ("OUTLANDER meets SEX AND THE CITY" Vine review) is on sale for a ridiculous 99cents this week! If you were ever curious about her 'other life'...'nuf said.

"I love this trilogy and am excited to have all three books together. Rowena is an independent woman with a LOAD of curiosity. I really enjoy reading about the adventures she partakes and the characters she meets along the way. So worth the read and for just $.99? A steal!"
Amazon Review

I laughed at Rowena's escapades, her magic induced lack of control, and the fight that kept her alive. Adventure, romance, magic, and humor. Melodie Campbell's exceptionally original writing packs a walloping punch on every page!
Amazon Review

Saturday, January 10, 2015

New Year - New Release

2015 Starts with a Bang... so does A Bodyguard to Remember

One Sunday, January 4, I asked my editor about my book cover. She thought I'd been sent it already.

On Tuesday I asked if she could send it so I didn't have to wait for my busy publisher to be less busy. No.

On Wednesday night I got an email: "Sorry, the email didn't go through yesterday. A Body Guard to Remember was released today." Because I wasn't feeling well after dinner, I didn't get the email until late evening.

I had been a bit groggy from my nap. Not any more. WOWZA! There is was on the Lachesis website. Nice cover!

Prudence Hartley has the usual single mom problems: getting her kids to school on time; juggling a gazillion errands while trying to get a full day’s work done; oh, and don’t forget about dinner.

But Pru’s problems become a tad more complicated and a lot more dangerous when she finds a dead man in her house. Or a dead spy to be exact. Suddenly, a federal agent named David Merrick shows up and whisks her and her kids into protective custody. Pru has so many questions spinning through her brain she doesn’t know where to begin. How is she going to keep her kids safe? What was the dead spy looking for in her house? Why are the spies after her? Oh, and there’s one more question . . . just a pesky, minor thing. Why does Merrick have to be so damn sexy and protective?

Available in eBook format at:
Paperback release TBA

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Resolutions by the Numbers

Top 10 New Year’s resolutions
  1. Lose Weight
  2. Stop smoking
  3. Stick to a budget
  4. Save more money
  5. Find a better job
  6. Become more organized
  7. Exercise More
  8. Be more patient at work/with others
  9. Eat Better
  10. Become a better person
-Compiled by the Toronto Star Library

Top 5 reasons people fail to keep their resolutions
  1. Go big or go home syndrome. eg: "I'm going to lose thirty pounds so I can wear a bikini on holiday next month." "I'm going to work out 20 hours every week." "I'm going to save enough money to buy that Lamborghini I want and still send my kids to Harvard." (Also see #3)
  2.  Fuzzy-wuzzy goals. Take any of the top ten resolutions as example. There's no how, when or where and the what is so vague as to be meaningless.
  3. Reality check needed. Sure, anyone can try to do anything, but the people who do well learn about the task first. For instance, if being more organized came naturally to you, you wouldn't have to make a resolution about it. But there's lots of information out there about reducing clutter, organizing time and materiel and how to do it in stages so it doesn't overwhelm the naturally disorganized person.
  4. Other people. There are a few ways other people can undermine your resolutions and only one of them is their fault. If you decide that it isn't just you that needs to work out, your spouse needs to exercise too, don't expect them to go along with your plans. If your friends order doubles at the bar and you make do with soda and lime, it's not their problem (but get their keys). On the other hand, if your buddy keeps offering you cigarettes (or alcohol or cream puffs or whatever) and tells you it's too late to worry about your health, drop them like a burning coal. Now. I mean it.
  5. Resolution - or lack thereof. This isn't about willpower or never stumbling. We all stumble. We all have setbacks. For most of us, this results in the temptation to wallow in self-pity and to quit. Okay, I ate too much chocolate* today and I'm suffering for it. Tomorrow I'll do better. In fact, I'll start doing better right now because frankly, my stomach is too upset to face anything but water and an antacid. 
- Compiled by me using course work, a bunch of boring references and common sense.

(*Note: See Pop Culture Divas for my chocolate resolution.)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Romance Before Christmas

Countdown Sale on and

Twas the night before Christmas 
And eReaders were stocked

With the following romance
Novels that rocked

Near Lake Athabaska
A waitress named Sadie
Was sipping hot chocolate

In Bridgeport, Connecticut
An ER physician
Was taking a break

On a top secret base
Watching spy drone flyovers
An agent surreptitiously

In a nursing home in Florida
In a room down the hall
I'm sure someone is reading

A file clerk in Moncton
Who's never travelled far
Has gone back in time

And at Pierson Airport
In a long ticket line
A homeward bound student

And each of these readers
Though not obvious at first glance
Has all of these books in

1. LANCELOT’S LADY by Cherish D'Angelo/Cheryl Kaye Tardif – A Bahamas holiday from dying billionaire JT Lance, a man with a dark secret, leads palliative nurse Rhianna McLeod to Jonathan, a man with his own troubled past, and Rhianna finds herself drawn to the handsome recluse, while unbeknownst to her, someone with a horrific plan is hunting her down.

2. BLONDE DEMOLITION by Chris Redding – Mallory Sage lives in a small, idyllic town where no one, not even her fellow volunteer firefighters, knows about her past life as an agent for Homeland Security. But a twisted serial killer has found her, as well as her former partner and lover, Trey McCrane. Now Mallory and Trey are on the run, and time is running out.

3. CHASING CLOVERS by Kat Flannery – Mail-order bride, Livy Green, is desperate to escape the memories of her past. John Taylor will never love another woman again, but his children need a mother. As Livy's past catches up with her and suspicious accidents begin to happen on the ranch, she is tempted to tell John the truth. But will he send her back if she does?

4. ROWENA THROUGH THE WALL by Melodie Campbell – When Rowena falls through her classroom wall and lands in an alternate world, she doesn't count on being kidnapped―not once, but twice―and the stakes get higher as the men get hotter. Unwanted husbands keep piling up, but that doesn't stop her from falling for the wrong brother. Good thing she can go back through the wall. Or can she?

5. UNDER A TEXAS STAR by Alison Bruce – When Marly Landers is fooled by con man Charlie Meese, she's determined to bring him to justice―even if it means dressing up as a boy and setting off across the plains to find him. Texas Ranger Jase Strachan is also after Meese. Under the Texas stars, Marly and Jase are drawn together, yet fate plots to tear them apart.

6. SWEET KAROLINE by Catherine Astolfo – Anne Williams says she killed her best friend, Karoline. But did she? Or is there more to Karoline's mysterious death than meets the eye? Anne embarks on a compelling journey to discover her past and exposes an unusual history, horrific crimes and appalling betrayals.

 Available around the world...
But on sale in the US and UK

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Deadly Dozen Redux

Have you ever looked at a book title and imagined what it might be about without looking at the blurb and finding out? Fifty Shades of Grey, for instance, might be a how-to book about decorating executive offices.

How about looking at twelve titles and making them into one story?

Bob The Bridgeman sat in his booth taking tolls all day. Between cars, he worked on his Sociology essay on the Deadly Legacy of imperialism on third world economies.

He was just composing a brilliant closing line to his introduction when he was interrupted by a text message from his sister. She had just found A Purse to Die for and could he lend her a hundred bucks.

Train of thought derailed, Bob turned his attention to Cheat the Hangman, a role playing game he was developing with his college roommate. They had their steam punk world all worked out, but were having problems with A Human Element, their main non-player character: Lakota Honor.

Suddenly a pickup truck ran the toll gate. Bob speed dialed the OPP and took note of what details he could see. It was a late model, white Chevy Silverado with a Pelican Bay logo painted on the side. That was the resort down the road on Safe Harbor.

A moment later, a black Ford Explorer came through, lights flashing. When he got through to the dispatcher, he was able to tell her that a police vehicle was already in pursuit.

"What is it about that bridge that attracts so much trouble?" Bob asked. "I'm beginning to think you arrange for these incidents to happen when I'm on shift so you can talk to me."

The dispatcher huffed. "That's a fine thing to say on a call that's being recorded. You're going to get me fired or worse. I'll be here today and just Soul and Shadow tomorrow."

"I was just joking. Joking is one of the Innocent Little Crimes."

"Say that when you joke your way into the Room of Tears."

"Does this mean you won't go out with me Saturday night?"

"Only with Divine Intervention."

Reviews for the books in Deadly Dozen:

"You won't catch your breath until the last page [of The Bridgeman] turns."--Lou Allin, author of She Felt No Pain

"Deadly Legacy grips your attention from the first page...a treat for the senses." --Garry Ryan, award-winning author of Malabarista

"[A Purse to Die For has a] page-turning pace, fascinating characters, sly wit, and a plot that will keep you guessing." --Janet Bolin, Agatha-nominated author of Dire Threads

"Cheat the Hangman is a refreshing and chilling paranormal mystery you won't want to miss." ―Jeff Bennington, author of Reunion

"A Human Element is an elegant and haunting first novel. Unrelenting, devious but full of heart. Highly recommended." --Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of Code Zero

"Transport back to the old west with this paranormal historical [Lakota Honor], and its alpha hero, and a heroine hiding her secret talents." --Shannon Donnelly, author of the Mackenzie Solomon Urban Fantasy series

"Christiansen offers a tale sure to entrance readers--a story of love and wisdom and the mystery of a forgotten graveyard under the waters of Pelican Bay." --Man Martin, author of Paradise Dogs

"[Safe Harbor] offers a coherent structure, an exact feel for the Toronto locales, and, in Pat, a hugely attractive sleuth figure." --Toronto Star
"Soul and Shadow is a deep and complex tale of deceit, danger and love. Well plotted and extremely engrossing that I couldn't put it down." --Romance Junkies

"Revenge is indeed a dish best served cold in this fast-paced, thrilling story...[Innocent Little Crimes is] a page-turning thrill-ride that will have readers holding their breath the whole way through." --Publishers Weekly

"[Room of Tears is] a beautiful and gut wrenching story...Miss Merlino weaves a flawless tale that will have you sobbing by the end of the book." --#1 New York Times Bestselling Author Rachel Van Dyken, author of The Bet

"Great imagination, fabulous imagery...This chilling page-turner [Divine Intervention] is a genuine Canadian crime novel...Tardif gives her readers plenty of twists and turns before reaching a satisfying ending." --Midwest Book Review