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Character Interview: Cedric, the Dark Lord, from Melodie Campbell’s Rowena and the Dark Lord

character interviews logoWe’re thrilled to have here today Cedric, the Dark Lord, from Melodie Campbell’s new fantasy novel, Rowena and the Dark Lord, book 2 in the Land’s End series.  Cedric is a 35 year old Earl, master mage, and ruler of Huel in Land’s End.

It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Cedric.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers? 

Damn right, I want to set things straight. They have me portrayed as the villain, the Dark Lord. That is utter nonsense.

Rowena_and_the_Dark_Lord_Front_Cover (1)I am the Earl of Huel. And yes, I am a powerful mage. Rowena is my wife. Everything I do is to protect her and our unborn child. How can that be villainous?

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently? 

I should be the hero in this book! Twice, I have rescued Rowena from certain death, and have killed the villains who dared to kidnap her. Yes, one was my worthless brother, a fool who would have risked her life among depraved men. The other was the King, an abusive tyrant who struck Rowena in front of the whole court. Of course I had to kill him. So why I am considered the villain?

What do you believe is your strongest trait? 

I never give up. It’s to the death. And I have never lost a battle yet.

Worse trait?

My weakness for Rowena. We are destined to be together, whether she believes it or not. She is my heaven, and without her I am in hell.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be? 

That fellow who plays Eric in True Blood…Alexander Skarsgard. He is strong. He looks like me.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Rowena, of course. Our telepathic bond becomes stronger with each passing day. Soon, we will not be separated.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out? 

When I had to leave my body and take on another. It was the first time I had done that. Luckily, I chose well. Ha! Wait until you read the sex scene that results from my invading another body. Rowena will feel the lust of two men for her…

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why? 

Why would I want to be anyone else? There is no need. I cannot be killed. Yes, you heard me right. I cannot be killed.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away? 

Pah! This is not the ending that should be. I will be back in book three to make it right.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if she decided to write another book with you in it?

She has no choice. She must write another book. My power will influence her. I am a powerful mage, you see.

Thank you for this interview, Cedric of Huel.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

Look for me in Rowena and the Viking Warlord, book 3 in the Land’s Ends series, coming in fall 2013.  The battle begins…

about the book

Dark magic…dark passions….

When Rowena is abducted from Arizona and taken back to medieval Land’s End, one thing is clear: she must learn to control her powers of magic. It isn’t easy being a modern girl in an archaic land, and when Rowena accidently conjures up a Roman Legion in mid-battle, Land’s End is on the brink of a war that could jeopardize everything and everyone she loves.

The stakes are raised when the Dark Lord reappears and traps Rowena in a cyclone of lust and passion. Once again, she is torn between the man she loves and the mage who fires her desire.

Purchase the book on Amazon.

Currently #2 Timetravel in Canada!  Top 100 in US!

about the author

Campbell-author-400Melodie Campbell achieved a personal best this year when Library Digest compared her to Janet Evanovich.

Melodie got her start writing comedy (stand-up and columns.)  In1999, she opened the Canadian Humour Conference.  She has over 200 publications including 100 comedy credits, 40 short stories and 4 novels. Her fifth novel, a mob caper entitled The Goddaughter’s Revenge (Orca Books) will be released Oct. 1. She has won 6 awards for fiction, and was a finalist for both the 2012 Derringer and Arthur Ellis Awards.

Melodie is the Executive Director of Crime Writers of Canada. Her humour column ‘Bad Girl’ appears inThe Sage.

Find Melodie on the web:

Facebook: MelodieCampbellAuthor

Twitter: @MelodieCampbell

An Interview with Paranormal Romantic Suspense Author Maureen Fisher

The skirl of bagpipes still brings a tear to Maureen’s eye. An only child torn from her beloved Scotland by well-meaning parents at age seven, she sailed to Canada where she immersed herself in the imaginary world of books for ten years, surfacing only to eat and attend school. Unfurling her wings at the University of Toronto, she studied Fine Art between social engagements. Shortly after graduation, her first marriage precipitated a move to Ottawa where she succeeded in convincing the federal government to hire a Fine Arts specialist as a computer programmer. After a rocky start in the world of bits and bytes, she discovered bridge, downhill skiing, and women’s canoe trips.

Three years later, Maureen graduated again, this time to full-time homemaker and mom, raising two wonderful sons, orchestrating countless dinner parties, playing bridge, and reading romance novels. Eight years later, she plunged back into the business world to start a thriving management consulting business in partnership with her second husband. This marriage survived because she and her husband pledged never to work on the same project again. Ever.

After a century in the consulting world, Maureen grew weary of wearing snappy power suits, squeezing into panty hose, and fighting rush hour traffic. She still didn’t know what she wanted to be when she grew up, but was certain it wasn’t a consultant. An avid fan of romantic suspense, she announced to her husband, “I’m going to write a book.” After a five-day course, she quit her day job, rolled up her sleeves, and started to write. Fifteen rejections, six tons of chocolate, and ninety-five re-writes later, Lachesis Publishing acquired her prizewinning paranormal romantic suspense and first book, The Jaguar Legacy.

Between trips, Maureen and her husband live in Ottawa where she volunteers for an addiction family program, plays bridge, and slaves several hours a day over her computer to improve her writing skills.

You can visit her website at

Welcome to Beyond the Books, Maureen! Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

Thanks. It’s great to be here. I am a first-time author.

What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?

My first-born literary baby is called The Jaguar Legacy. I am delighted to announce it is also my first published book.

For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

I stopped counting, but I would guess around fifteen to twenty. That’s not counting the editors and agents who did not respond.

How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

Initially, even though I knew better and vowed that this time I would act in a mature and sane manner, I felt terrible, lousy, like I had absorbed a body blow. Mainly, I ate chocolate. My writers’ group consoled me that a rejection did not necessarily mean that the editor thought my manuscript was trash. Theoretically, I understood what my friends were trying to tell me. In reality, each rejection felt like someone had told me my baby was ugly.

I soon discovered that the only way to survive the ego-crushing rejection process was to treat the entire process as an academic exercise—an advanced degree in novel writing, so to speak. Having said that, every time the long-awaited response arrived and I opened my rejection letter or scanned the standard rejection postcard, my first priority was to consume my entire body weight in chocolate. Sometimes I cried. My husband can testify to that.

After two days (all I permitted myself) of moaning, whining, wallowing, and generally driving anyone within earshot nuts, I shoved my ego out of the way, analyzed the editor or agent’s comments (if I was lucky enough to receive any), and absorbed the critique. After all, I had asked for this punishment and I wanted to improve my craft.

When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?

Lachesis Publishing published The Jaguar Legacy in March 2007.

I first caught wind of Carole Spencer from a friend. A local Ottawa editor who worked for a British publishing house, Carole also conducted in-depth critiques as a secondary business line. My decision took less than a second. I hired Carole to critique my three first chapters, and soon met her at a writers’ brunch, where we hit it off. Fast-forward two years. Jungle drums thumped in Ottawa. Rumblings reached my ears about a new publishing house called Lachesis Publishing, headed by, you guessed it, Carole Spencer. Long story short, I sent in the standard query letter, she remembered my manuscript (favorably as it turned out), and turned the final decision over to her Chief Editor, Giovanna Lagana. The rest, as they say, is history.

How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

Selling my book was one of the most monumental accomplishments of my life. It’s hard to describe the emotions I felt — a combination of elation, excitement, vindication, closure, anticipation, and more than a touch of fear. Fear of what lay ahead, fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of success, you name it.

That night, my husband and I celebrated by ordering in a ginormous Hawaiian pizza with hot banana peppers and olives (no way, was this published author preparing dinner). We polished off the whole thing along with a couple of bottles of wine while sitting on our deck watching the sunset.

What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

I had some great, professional-looking business cards made up — a pair of jaguar eyes against a black background — and paid a web guru to design and build a website. Also, I hired a publicist, LeeAnn Lessard, who has provided invaluable advice and suggestions.

If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

I have never been a person who argued with success. My experience with Lachesis Publishing has been positive, and they took a chance on this first-time author.

Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

I have not been published again — yet. I’m working on my second book, Fur Ball Fever, a romantic suspense with comic elements. I describe it as: Best in Show (with hot sex) meets The Stephanie Plum Series.

After a summer break, I recently re-read what I had written, and realized how much I have grown as an author since my first draft of The Jaguar Legacy. Turns out I had made every beginner’s mistake in the book. Over the course of the next ten to fifteen versions, I removed all head-hopping; I chopped the dreaded back story from the first five chapters; I ridded my book of pesky adverbs by making each verb as punchy as possible; I switched from passive to active tense; I threw away my first three chapters and started the story at what I thought was the beginning of the action, then repeated the exercise; I trashed some of my favorite scenes because they didn’t move the plot ahead; I addressed all five senses; I anchored all conversations to specific actions so there were no ‘talking heads’; I made sure I described the location of each scene; I switched to deep third person point of view. I nipped, I tucked, I tightened, and I never stopped learning my craft. I’m happy to say, my first draft of Fur Ball Fever reflects my growth as a writer.

On the business side, I have submitted a proposal for a workshop entitled Beginners’ Mistakes: Things Books Tell You and Many Things They Don’t.

Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

I gave this question considerable thought before answering, and came to the happy conclusion that I wouldn’t change anything. Nada. Not one painful, gut-wrenching moment of despair; not one beginner’s mistake (and I made every one of them in the book and then some, but oh, how I learned and grew!), and not one glorious, miraculous moment of triumph. I must admit, though, that looking back at the bright and sunny June morning in 2002 when I made the fateful decision to hang up my hat as a management consultant to write romance, I had no concept of what lay ahead.

What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

I returned yesterday from the Surrey International Writers Conference in B. C. and am so proud of myself. An introvert at heart, I stepped outside of my comfort zone in so many ways and it feels great.

The first stomach churning step I took was to pitch my second book, Fur Ball Fever, to an agent who was very interested and asked if the manuscript was finished. When I explained somewhat sheepishly that I was only a third of the way through my first draft, she told me, no problem. Simply email her when it’s completed. Now, all I have to do is sit down, write the sucker, and hope she still likes my pitch in a year or so.

But that’s only the beginning. The following morning, Diana Gabaldon, one of my all-time favourite authors and creator of The Outlander series, was mine, all mine, for a double Blue Pencil session. The person preceding me was a no-show, so I got twenty-five minutes of Diana’s undivided attention. She read my entire first chapter, laughed in all the right places, said I had a knack for writing humor, and made several very helpful suggestions to improve my work and tighten the suspense. Wow!

Next, I pitched my first book to a Vancouver film producer who was searching for Canadian material with international appeal. She said she was intrigued by The Jaguar Legacy, and walked away with my media kit and a copy of the book, promising to have someone read it to assess whether or not it was movie material.

There’s more. I forced myself to do more networking. I mean, I really pushed myself to socialize with STRANGERS. You extroverts out there probably won’t relate, but I find networking one of the hardest things to do at a conference. Not only did I meet some delightful people, six of them actually purchased a copy of my book at the Book Fair.

If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

Long, long ago, I did choose another profession — management consulting in the Information Technology sector, but that’s not what you meant. The only other profession I considered was that of psychologist, but decided against the switch because I wasn’t sure I could maintain the necessary detachment in the face of all those issues, traumas, and anxt. I have enough of my own.

Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

Here’s the thing. I’m a psychologist wannabe, a voyeur of the human psyche, an emotional junkie. I suck up internal conflicts like a Hoover sucks up dust –emotions, feelings, and emotional baggage that characters drag around, providing their motives and affecting their actions. Writing a romance novel is a psychological jigsaw puzzle that feeds my craving for an emotional fix. I feel that I am living the best of both worlds, only without the responsibility of curing a patient or the guilt if I failed.

How do you see yourself in ten years?

Career-wise, I see myself as a New York Times best-selling author with several successful books under my belt, merrily belting out riveting workshops and memorable keynote speeches in front of worshipful audiences — as long as nobody objects to a presenter whose memory for author names and book titles is woefully foggy, and who forgets the details of a plot as soon as she puts the book down.

Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

· Join a critique group.

· Don’t give up because of rejections or stinging critiques. Keep on writing.

· Mistakes are inevitable. Every writer makes them. Learn from your mistakes and keep on writing.

· Send that manuscript out. I was amazed at the number of authors who won’t submit their manuscript to an agent, editor, or contest because they fear criticism. And keep on writing.

· Pitch your book at every opportunity. Practice first on a fellow writer.

· Keep learning. Hone your craft. Attend workshops, take classes (there are lots of great online courses), read how-to books.

· Eat chocolate.

· Persistence, persistence, persistence. Did I mention keep on writing?

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