Sunday, August 24, 2014

Murder at the Crime Writing Awards

Mistress of Comedy Hails from Oakville, Ontario

When I first read Melodie Campbell's humor I laughed so loud the Mayor of New York yelled over from the Mansion on Gracie Square to pipe down! I love people who can write " Funny." They rank a seat on Mt. Olympus! I can't write "Funny" too good, so I really bow to this gift!

The top Exec Director of Crime Writers of Canada and winner of the 2014 Derringer for Best Crime Novella, she has been called "The Queen of Comedy" by the Toronto Sun.

Her 7th novel,
The Artful Goddaughter, comes out this fall.

 Her words poke you in the jaw: Here are a few samples:

"Comedy is not languorous. It does not usually come from elegiac sentences and glistening prose… it hits and jabs and takes you by surprise."

"The purpose of crime fiction should be to Entertain, and nothing should come before that… Put me in the mind of a serial killer for a few hours. Let me know what it feels like to experience the overwhelming greed of a con artist. Dress me up as a torch singer, with a black heart and a gun in her stocking."

"Let me discover something about how other people think, if only for a little while. But above all else, entertain me."

"Just tell me a damn good story, thank you. Take me out of the real world for a few hours."

"An early mentor, a guy, once called me a Literary Slut, when referring to my tendency to write in several genres—and sometimes several genres at once!"

"It could be that men and women read the same novels for different things. Or maybe… we just all need escape… Reality TV doesn't do it for many of us. Who the heck needs more reality?"

"Bring on the fantasy, I say! Make my suspense sizzle!"

Please welcome Melodie Campbell!

Thelma Jacqueline Straw (who would love to write like Melodie when she grows up!)

Murder at the Crime Writing Awards. Okay, I haven’t done it yet. But I may soon.

I’m the Executive Director of a well-known crime writing association. This means I am also responsible for the Arthur Ellis Awards, Canada’s annual crime writing awards night, and the resulting banquet.

I’ve planned hundreds of special events in my career as a marketing professional. I’ve managed conferences with 1000 people attending, scarfing down three meals a day. Usually, we offer a few choices, and people choose what they want. They’re pretty good about that. People sit where they want. Simple.

Granted, most of my events have been with lab techs, doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals.

It is not the same with authors. Nothing is simple with authors.


A can’t sit with B, because A is in competition with B for Best Novel. C can’t sit with D because C is currently outselling D. E can’t sit with F because they had an affair (which nobody knows about. Except they do. At least, the seven people who contacted me to warn me about this knew.) G can’t sit with H because G’s former agent is at that table and they might kill each other. And everyone wants to sit with J.


The damned meal is chicken. This is because we are allowed two choices and we have to provide for the vegetarians. We can’t have the specialty of the house, lamb, because not everyone eats lamb. We can’t have salmon as the vegetarian choice, because some vegetarians won’t eat fish.

So we’re stuck with bloody chicken again.

P writes that her daughter is lactose intolerant. Can she have a different dessert?

K writes that she is vegetarian, but can’t eat peppers. Every damned vegetarian choice has green or red pepper in it.

L writes that she wants the chicken, but is allergic to onion and garlic. Can we make hers without?

M writes that her daughter is a vegan, so no egg or cheese, thanks. Not a single vegetarian choice comes that way.

I am quickly moving to the “you’re getting chicken if I have to shove it down your freaking throat” phase.

Chef is currently threatening the catering manager with a butcher’s knife. I am already slugging back the cooking wine. And by the time people get here, this may be a Murder Mystery dinner.


Nobody got murdered, but a few got hammered.

Melodie Campbell

Billed as Canada’s “Queen of Comedy" by the Toronto Sun (Jan. 5, 2014,) some folks would say Melodie has had a decidedly checkered past. Don’t dig too deep. You might find cement shoes.

Her crime series,
The Goddaughter, is about a wacky mob family in Hamilton aka The Hammer. This has no resemblance whatsoever to the wacky Sicilian family she grew up in. Okay, that’s a lie. She had to wait for certain members of the family to die before writing The Goddaughter.

Her other series is racy rollicking time travel, totally scandalous, hardly mentionable in mixed company. But we'll mention it anyway.
Rowena Through the Wall. Hold on to your knickers. Or don’t, and have more fun.

The Goddaughter’s Revenge won the 2014 Derringer (US) and the 2014 Arthur Ellis Award (Canada) for Best Crime Novella. Melodie got her start writing comedy and seems to be firmly glued there, after 200 publications. But others know her as the Executive Director of Crime Writers of Canada.

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