Tuesday, 27 June 2017

WHAT NOT TO SAY, 2 – Guys, what Not to Say to a Woman in a Bar (content warning)



by Melodie Campbell (bad girl)
 
Okay, I did another poll.  So shoot me.  (Before I shoot myself, after reading the results.)

It all started with the “What Not to Say” post I did some months ago, educating men re what NOT to say when a woman asks how she looks.  That post went viral.  Men were baffled.  (This is not a bad thing.  We like you in that state.)  Women wanted more.  More “What Not to Say” for different circumstances.  (Personally, I just think they appreciate a good belly laugh.)

Hence this post:  What Not to Say to a Woman in a Bar

Gals have been telling me for years that men in bars are useless – USELESS – at pickup lines.  So I asked women in my listserves to send me bad pickup lines they had been on the receiving end of. 

Let me say that this was the most enthusiastic poll I have ever conducted.  Contributions came in at the speed of light.

First, let me explain the assumptions of this experiment:  that is, we pollsters have assumed that men in bars actually WANT to attract women, and have delivered the following pickup lines with the express purpose of enticing the female in question.  (And not to have them run screaming away.   
Which could be a weird bar game that we are currently unaware of, but might better explain the results of the poll.)

So, in the interest of continued procreation of the species, I present the following No-Nos.  Men, you have something to learn when it comes to attracting the female of the species.  Here’s the list.  Okay, I culled a few.  But it’s pretty stark. 

The Sweet but Infantile pickup lines:
 “If I follow you home, will you keep me?”
(Dependency alert!)

“You're so sweet, you put Hersheys outta business.”
(I’m a Godiva chick.  That should be obvious.)

“Were your parents Greek gods? Because it takes two gods to make a goddess.”
(Check your gender in that last sentence, smart guy.  Two gods would be two guys.)

The “Man, I am clever” Pickup line
 “I'm not drunk, I'm just intoxicated by you.”
(I hope you’re not at the throw-up stage.  These are new shoes.)

The Nerd Pickup line

 You make my software turn to hardware.”

Okay, I know some really great nerds who make terrific husbands.  They tend to do well in the salary department too.  But men, you need help in attracting females.  It’s not just the clothes.  Believe me.

The “What were you thinking??” Pickup lines  (Content Warning)

Why?  Why is it that some men think being crude is going to get women all romantic-like?  Are these the same guys who post photos of their wee-wees?  The following are lines that women emailed me, as part of the poll.  Yes, they are ACTUAL LINES proffered to real women:

“Hey baby, wanna sit on my lap and we'll talk about the first thing that pops up?”
“That shirt looks very becoming on you....of course if I were on you I'd be coming too.”
“My face is leaving in 10 minutes... are you gonna be on it or not?”

Milder, but still asinine:

 “Hi, my name is "Milk." I'll do your body good.”
         “Hey I'm looking for treasure, Can I look around your chest? “

So men: the girl of your dreams is in the bar.  She’s just been gob-smacked by clueless guys delivering pickup lines. What should you say?  That’s easy. 

“Can I buy you a drink?  Looks like you need one.”


Saturday, 17 June 2017

Why Being a Writer is the Best Excuse Ever (more silly stuff from Bad Girl)



There are all sorts of reasons for being a writer.  (Money isn’t one of them, in case you were wondering.  Unless, of course, you are a masochist.  Then again, many writers are.  We’d have to be, to put up with this biz.  But I digress.)


Many of us write because we can’t help it.  All sorts of demented characters have taken over our loopy minds.  If we don’t let them out to live their own lives on paper, all sorts of bad things will happen.  For instance, they may induce us writers to perform their fantasies in reality, on behalf of their little selves.  This might be fun if you are writing erotica.  Not so great, if you’re a crime writer, like me.

That aside, there are many reasons that being a writer can be great fun.  You get to kill people on paper.  (Okay, I’m just now realizing how twisted that sounds.) 

Moving on, being a writer gives you all sorts of excuses for bizarre and socially-inept behavior.  In social situations, friends can look over at you, shake their heads, and say confidentially to others, “It’s okay, really.  She’s a writer.”  Sort of how being an Australian explains things.

Here are some things that can really work to your advantage (reword: you can work to your advantage.)

The Research:  writing a book gives one all sorts of excuses to do research.  This can be as innocent as merely looking up things on the internet (exactly what is the distinction between hot romance and porn? Checking Yutube…hey, every writer knows Show Not Tell is best.)

The Bar:  all writers meet in bars, right?  Certainly all agents and editors do.  Especially those from out of town who don’t have offices in the vicinity.  “I have to meet my editor at The Drake,” you call out to all concerned.  And then you gather up your laptop, notebooks and cell phone.  The hard part is, you must remember to bring all those things back from the bar after your ‘meeting’. 

The Deadline:  your major excuse for getting out of any dull social obligations, including ant-infested picnics and relative-infested gatherings.  “I’m on deadline!” you cry frantically, even if your deadline is nine months from now.  (Nine months…nice metaphor.  Probably, I came up with it while in The Zone.  See below.)

In case you are still not convinced that being a writer is the best excuse ever, let me introduce you to The Zone.  This is the place your writer-mind travels to when it really doesn’t want to be where your body is. You can zone out at any time, in any social situation. 

Enjoy this.  Milk this.  Smile and look distracted .  Your boss, inlaws or editor will nod knowingly, as if they are a party to a big secret.  They will look upon you sympathetically and say to each other, “Oh.  He’s planning his next book.” 

Which can be really useful if what you are really planning is how to do away with your boss, inlaws, or editor.


Sunday, 11 June 2017

The BEST thing about being an Author



By Melodie Campbell (bad girl)

(This was the second half of my MC - Mattress of Ceremonies - address at the Bloody Words Mystery Conference Gala in Toronto.  Which was a blast and a half.  I even have a photo of me giving this address.  It actually looks like me, which will be explained below.)


We all know the highs.  Those delirious times when you win awards and/or get a royalty cheque that takes you and your family to Europe rather than McDonalds.

I’ve had a few highs, winning the Derringer and the Arthur.  And I’m exceedingly grateful for them.

Because - thing is - authors get a lot of lows.  For some reason, most of my lows seem to cluster around that scariest of all activities:  the book signing.

Some people think the worst thing that can happen is nobody shows up.  Or when you’re on a panel of 4 authors, and only three people show up.

But that’s not the worst.

1.   Worse is when five people show up for your reading.  And they’re all pushing walkers.

And half way through, when you’re right in the middle of reading a compelling scene, one of them pipes up, “When does the movie start?”

2.  Sometimes, even large crowds don’t help.
  
I did an event this year with two hundred people in the audience.  I was doing some of my standup schtick, and it went over really well.  Lots of applause, and I was really pumped.  I mean, two hundred people were applauding me and my books!  A bunch of hands shot up for questions.  I picked the first one and a sweet young thing popped up from her seat and asked in a voice filled with awe, “Do you actually know Linwood Barclay?”

3.  Another ego-crusher:  I was reading in front of another large crowd last year.  Same great attention, lots of applause.  I was revved.  Only one hand up this time, and she said, in a clearly disappointed voice:

“You don’t look anything like your protagonist.”

So I said, “Sweetheart, not only that, I don’t look anything like my author photo.”

4.  The Best thing about being a writer?  Near the top, has to be getting together with other writers to whine about the industry.  I was at The Drake in Toronto with a bunch of other Canadian author friends, Howard Shrier, Robbie Rotenberg, Dorothy McIntosh, Rob Brunet, Pam Blance…who am I missing?

We were whooping it up in the bar, moaning about the book trade.  Someone bought a round.  And another.  And then I bought a round.  And soon, it became necessary to offload some of the product, so I went looking for a place to piddle.  You have to go upstairs in the Drake to find washrooms, so I gamely toddled up the stairs, realizing that I couldn’t actually see the steps.  I was probably not at my best. 

I made it to the landing at the top and scanned a door in front of me.  It had a big “W” on it. That seemed sort of familiar, but fuzzy, you know?  Then I saw the door to my left.  It had an “M” on it.  So I thought, ‘M for Melodie!’ and walked right in.

Howard, I think you had probably gone by then, but the guy at the urinal asked for my number.



Monday, 29 May 2017

MURDER AT THE CRIME WRITING AWARDS



In honour of the Arthur Ellis Awards for Excellence in Crime Writing, held last Thursday:  This post, from a few years ago.

By Melodie Campbell


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. 

THE SEATING ARRANGEMENT

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 MENU

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.

Postscript:
Nobody got murdered, but a few got hammered.