Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Alphabet now Ends at Y
"If high heels were so wonderful, men would be wearing them."
Kinsey Millhone

I was introduced to Sue Grafton and Kinsey Millhone when my mother started reading the series. At the time I was reading more science fiction than anything else, but I appreciated the series from the start. It was easy to tell what my mother did and did not have when it came to present giving. I might have a poor memory for titles, but I knew my alphabet.

The last birthday gift I gave her was N is for Noose. She was recovering from chemotherapy at the time.

I started reading the series after my mother died. Since my father wasn't a mystery reader, it was easy to convince him to let me nab the whole series. There were a few holes in the alphabet, mostly in the early books. It took me years to find A is for Alibi.

T is for Trespass put me off for a few years. At the time it was released, I was taking care of my father, the mail-order addict. He was sure that the more he ordered from Readers Digest and Publishers Clearinghouse, the more likely he'd win the big prize. He bought Australian lottery tickets from sellers in Hong Kong and once tried to send cash to a Nigerian Prince. T for Trespass was just too close to home for me.

"Ideas are easy. It's the execution of ideas that really separates the sheep from the goats."
Sue Grafton

I started back at the beginning of the alphabet. I still haven't found H is for Homicide, but I caught up to J is for Judgement, which was the beginning of my mother's solid run. By this time, after many rejections and long periods of just writing for myself, I was a published mystery author. Now I started to appreciate Sue Grafton's work for fellow authors and would-be writers.

I always said I'd finish the alphabet when the alphabet was finished. That suits by binge style of reading. Since the planned "Z is for Zero" was never started, the time to finish is now.

"Her daughter said Grafton would never allow a ghostwriter to write in her name and "as far as we in the family are concerned, the alphabet now ends at Y.""

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Guest Post - Debra Purdy Kong

Debra Purdy is a fellow Imajin Author and member of Crime Writers of Canada.We also share similar views on covers and crafty killers.
Knitting Needles Instead of Guns? Only in Canada
As you probably know, book covers are really important to authors, publishers, and readers. This fall, I learned that writing a mystery about seniors who’ve developed a nasty rivalry over their knitted products presented a challenge for my publisher’s cover designer. After going back and forth with ideas, I’m very happy with the image, especially since a ball of wool and bloodied knitting needles is not your typical mystery novel cover!

In A Toxic Craft, no one uses a gun. After all, this is a cozy mystery set in Canada, where most citizens don’t own firearms. Security guards like my protagonist Evan Dunstan aren’t permitted to carry them. When I worked in campus security, I remember my supervisor saying that the day guards are allowed to carry guns is the day she’ll quit.

Most murders in Canada—that aren’t gang related—seem to involve knives. Although, before I became a security guard, a young woman was killed with a crossbow at the post-secondary site where I wound up working. The only violence I experienced, however, was a chair thrown at an employee by a frustrated student.

In this book, the hostility ramps up for Evan. Several attempts are made to get rid of nasty knitter Cora Riddell in a variety of ways. The inspiration for my cover comes from a threat near the beginning of the book, when a knitter named Flo threatens to stab Cora with a knitting needle. Does it actually happen? Well, that’s part of the mystery, isn’t it?

To order A Toxic Craft, go to:

Debra Purdy Kong’s volunteer experiences, criminology diploma, and various jobs, inspired her to write mysteries set in BC’s Lower Mainland. Her employment as a campus security patrol and communications officer provide the background for her Evan Dunstan mysteries, as well as her Casey Holland transit security novels.

Debra has published short stories in a variety of genres as well as personal essays, and articles for publications such as Chicken Soup for the Bride’s Soul, B.C. Parent Magazine, and The Vancouver Sun. She assists as a facilitator for the Creative Writing Program through Port Moody Recreation, and has presented workshops and talks for organizations that include Mensa and Beta Sigma Phi. She is a long-time member of Crime Writers of Canada.

Look for her blog at More information about Debra and her books is at You can also find her on Twitter: & Facebook:

Be the first to know when Debra Purdy Kong’s next book is available! Follow Debra at to receive new release and discount alerts.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Colour Comentary

Jacques: This is Jacques Seaudeau and Gillian Hill from CKOI Radio reporting on this year's Santa Claus Parade. Gillian, what's the weather forecast for the day.

Gillian: Sunny and cold, Jacques. Perfect parade weather. The hot chocolate vendors will be doing well today. Fortunately the street is ice free now. Unfortunately, that was not the case earlier when the Pipe and Drum band were forming up. Due to a slip on the ice, they are down one drummer.

Jacques: That's not the only weather-related incident today. New Harlem Globe Trotters were booked to do an exhibition performance at the Sports Centre. They also agreed to march in the parade.

Gillian: I take it Globe Trotter performance is cancelled.

Jacque: Yes, but the boys and girls basketball teams from Our Lady of Lourdes will be taking their place in the parade. We've been assured they will do their best to mimic the jumps and passes that make the Globe Trotters famous.

Gillian: Hold on, Jacques. I have correction to make. It turns out the hot chocolate is free. They've got eight locations all along the parade route and one at the end. They're charging for cups but if you have a travel mug, they'll fill it up from their cauldron for free using oversized spoons crafted by Santa's elves.

Jacques: Are they in place now? I could use something warm about now.

Gillian: They're ready and waiting.

Jacques: Apropos of hot chocolate, the Dairy Breeders Associaton is marching with examples of the top eight breeds of milk cows dressed up as reindeer.

Gillian: I hope they have diapers. Next up is the the Let's Dance Studio. They usually gives us a jazzy version of Nutcracker Suite. This year they've opted for Swan Lake.

Jacques: Now a word from our sponsors. Why store and maintain equipment you'll only use for part of the year? Rent from Snow King. With their loyalty program, your sixth rental gives you store credit.

Gillian: That's a great deal and here's another one. City Jewellers is offering five gold bangles to the person who calls into CKOI with the gift given on the third day of Christmas.

Jacques: Listen! Can you hear the sirens. That will be the Fire Department leading the parade. You can see the areal floats. The kids are going to get a kick out of seeing their favourite cartoon characters drifting above them.

Gillian: Um, Jacques. What's that floating toward the river?

Jacques: I think they've lost two of the Teenage Ninja Turtle balloons.

Gillian: So, to summarize,we've got:
12 drummers drumming
11  pipers piping
10 Lourdes a leaping
9 Ladles waiting
8 Breeds for milking
7 Swans a swinging

Jacque: And don't forget the 6th lease is paying. Also, the 5 golden rings go to the 4th caller in for 3 French Hens

Gillian: 2 turtles above

Jacques: And that's it from Partridge City

Monday, November 27, 2017

Ghost Writer Review by Gloria Ferris

During the Cold War, a US Navy Arctic Station sank in Canadian waters under mysterious circumstances, killing all aboard. Now, a group of surviving family members want the truth. Along with a documentary crew, they hire an expedition ship and vow to raise the Station.

Jen Kirby signs on as the onsite writer and interviewer, battling seasickness and missing her son who is away at summer cadet camp. While Jen has seen a few ghosts in her life, she is faced with the entire spectral crew of the Arctic Station, some protective, a few menacing, all determined to help her discover the truth. When “accidents” begin to happen to Jen, it’s clear someone very much alive doesn’t want her to find the answers. With the crews of the expedition ship, Canadian and US navy ships, and the documentary staff, there are plenty of suspects.

The scenes of life aboard three sea-going vessels, the conditions inside the sunken Arctic Station, and Jen attempts to gather diving expertise, are vividly crafted. The depiction of international politics is bang on. The story is rich with well-developed characters.

Okay, now, let’s get to the men. Readers may find themselves wanting all three (or is it five?) men who tempt Jen. All hot, available, and honourable. Her choice will not disappoint, nor will the ending.

When Jen pieces together and serves up the facts of the last days of the Arctic Station, the ghostly crew is satisfied, and departs to wherever specters go when their earthly business is complete. Jen faces one last attempt on her life from a corporeal being, and that’s all I’m going to say to avoid a spoiler. Except that I did not see that culprit coming.

I think any reader who enjoys paranormal suspense, with a twist of mystery, and a dusting of romance to ice the cake, will enjoy this story. Five stars for Ghost Writer.

Canadian award-winning author, Gloria Ferris, began her writing career by writing and editing operating procedures for a nuclear power development. It was an exciting job, but opportunities for plot and character development were limited. So she turned to crime fiction and found it to be a lot more fun. Gloria returned to her native Guelph, Ontario after spending twenty-five years in Kincardine and Port Elgin, small lakeshore towns which inspire her mysteries. 

Gloria is the author of the Cornwall & Redfern mysteries
(Corpse Flower; Shroud of Roses; Skull Garden)

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Interview with a Comedy Queen

Sometimes you have to kiss a lot of frogs…

Jennie has been a widow for two years.  Her twelve year old son thinks it’s about time she started dating, and so does her friend Angela. So Jennie signs up for an online dating site. Within hours, she has several first dates lined up for the week. Surely they’ll be one Prince Charming in the bunch.  And if not, it’s only one date, right?  How bad could it be? WORST DATE EVER!

Today I'm interviewing one of my favourite authors, Melodie Campbell.

Melodie, you are an award-winning comedy and crime writer. I think it's safe to say that romance is not your usual genre. What inspired you to write one now?

My publisher!  Here's a big hint about the way the publishing business works:

Publisher:  "We'd like to experiment with a non-crime book for the Rapid Reads line.  Something like a romantic comedy."
Me (aghast):  "But I'm a crime writer."
Publisher (in case I didn't hear):  "We need a romantic comedy."
Me:  "Gotcha. A romantic comedy, it is."

And that's what inspired me.  Okay, that's not the whole story.  I was sitting with a bunch of readers at a literary AGM, and I asked them what they liked about my Goddaughter mob caper series.  They said they loved the humour, and the fact that the books had a female protagonist.  Also, that they weren't violent.  So I went back to the publisher and said, "readers are telling me they want funny stories about female protagonists, that aren't violent."  This is when I learned that you never suggest something you aren't prepared to write.

The Worst Date is a lovely romance, but not a typical one. Who are your favourite romance authors and who comes closest to your style?

Closest to my style?  Probably Janet Evanovich, for both my series.  Worst Date Ever has similar humour to Evanovich's early romances.  The Goddaughter series has been compared to Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series.  My own favourites are a little more down the suspense line.  I adored Mary Stewart.  But truly, my favourite escapes would be the loopy madcap romantic comedies of the 1940s and 50s.  That's the sort of thing I've always wanted to write.  And I wish more people would write them so I could read them.

What was your worst date? And what character would be your dream date?

My worst date was the last one in the book. (Read it and pity me!)  Luckily I met Dave, my husband, about three weeks after that. 

My dream date?  Hmmm...there seems to be a theme here.  I absolutely adored David Niven in The Pink Panther.  He played the title role of the Pink Panther burglar.  Something about the twinkle in his eye, the dry wit, and the daring.  The next who comes to mind is George Peppard from The A-Team.  Again, the cleverness, that devilish wit, the daring..."I love it when a plan comes together."  My next book - The B-Team - is a tribute to him.  It comes out in February.  Looking at these two, it seems to me that writing capers was a predictable outcome for me.  I have no idea what that says about my character.  Probably, we shouldn't go there.

Melodie Campbell

The Toronto Sun called her Canada's "Queen of Comedy."  Library Journal compared her to Janet Evanovich.  Melodie Campbell has shared a literary shortlist with Margaret Atwood, and was seen lurking on the Amazon Top 50 Bestseller list between Tom Clancy and Nora Roberts. She has won the Derringer, the Arthur Ellis, and eight more awards for crime fiction.  WORST DATE EVER is her 12th book.

Read Melodie's humour articles on her Funny Girl Melodie blog.
Friend her on Facebook: 
Follow her on Twitter: @MelodieCampbell
Find her on Amazon:

Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Stuff of Nightmares

O hear us when we cry to Thee 
For those in Peril on the sea

I often dream in stories. Most of them make no sense whatsoever when I wake up. And then there’s the ones I forget. They’re like the fish that got away, best selling material... if only I could remember what happened.

Nightmares are so much more memorable. I could recount, in detail, the recurring nightmare I had as a child, but it isn’t that interesting. I had so many nightmares, I taught myself to lucid dream long before I had ever heard of the term. Lucid dreaming is what turned a nightmare about being trapped under water and running out of air, into the story that would become Ghost Writer.

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.
My cousins never did anything to make me swear off small boats except take me out in them. It wasn’t their fault that I had an irrational fear of capsizing, getting trapped and drowning. It was only recently, when I was diagnosed with vertigo that I made the connection. My neurologist said it was a miracle I hadn’t suffered earlier in life. After all, I’ve been completely deaf in one ear, since age nine, because of an inner ear problem. Maybe my fear was all in my head, not in my mind.

 I’m not sure how my nightmare started, but when I took control of it, I was being rescued. It wasn’t immediate. My mind threw up a few nonsensical barriers between me and my rescuer but finally I was on the deck of the recovery ship. My rescuer removed his mask and I saw that it was Tommy Lee Jones. Not the young handsome Tommy Lee Jones. This was the old, craggy, grumpy looking one.

It didn’t matter. It didn’t even matter that he seemed to be getting older and craggier by the minute. Captain Jones was my rescuer and I was in love. Now I just had to figure out, for the sake of apres dream storytelling, what I was doing there in the first place. By the time I had that worked out, Jen Kirby was born and it became her tale to tell.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Ghost Writer Preview

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?

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.

Author: Alison Bruce
Female sleuth, paranormal suspense, crime fiction, romance, military suspense
Publisher: Imajin Books
Publication Date: 24 November 2017
Pages: 234
Adult Fiction
Kindle edition: $6.91USD/$8.71CD