Whatcha Doin’, Papa?

I wonder, do you have a brother or sister, a niece or nephew, or even a son or a daughter, who you love dearly, but they also frustrate you? They’re mischievous and naughty, but endearing too. They’ve found your buttons and know how to press them.

That’s how my relationship with my father-in-law was. He was like a naughty child right into his nineties. I loved him dearly and have a lot of warm, happy memories of him but, there’s no getting away from it, he was a frustrating old rascal sometimes.

Like the time he fixed our roof.

It was forty years ago and he was in his sixties, too old to be climbing onto the roof, too young to resist it.

The house we lived in at that time had been extended by a previous owner, making a large kitchen and eating area. The extension boasted a flat roof.

In Scotland.

Where rain is not a stranger.

A flat roof with poor drainage.

(The correct way to deal with this information is to sigh and shake your head, or even to tut! and question the previous owner’s sanity.)

Above the eating area of this large kitchen, there was a pitched glass roof, surrounded by a moat. I call it a moat with good reason. It was often filled with water and, from time to time, it leaked. It leaked onto the table below and the diners around it.

So, forty years ago, when we were moving house and had insufficient funds to repair the roof, we decided – honesty being the best policy – we would tell any prospective buyers about the problem and leave it to them to decide if they had the funds to fix it.

Enter my dear father-in-law.

He was a very gregarious man and I’m certain he knew everybody in our village – and their business – despite the fact that he lived at some distance and visited infrequently.

Dissatisfied with how we intended to handle the matter of the roof, that dear, kind, lovely man decided to take matters into his own hands.

We were unaware of the road works going on in our village, but Papa, as the children called my dear father-in-law, was not only aware of such, but already on excellent terms with the workmen. 

He returned from the ‘stroll’ he informed us he was taking, carrying a bucket. Before we even knew where he’d procured it and what it contained, he’d carried it through the house and climbed out of our sons’ bedroom window onto the flat roof, where he proceeded to pour the bucket’s contents all around the moat. 

“Whatcha doin’, Papa?” my eldest son asked as he watched the black, treacly stuff being dispensed.

“What are you doing, Dad?” I asked, seeing the steam and hearing the fizz as the hot, gluey liquid hit the cold, wet surface of the moat. 

“Neil! You have no business up there whatever you’re doing,” said his wife, my mother-in-law.

Someone, possibly me, possibly my husband, took a photograph to record what we could hardly believe with our eyes.

“What I’m doing,” Papa said. “Is fixing the roof.”

I think he hoped for thanks.

Just as he traipsed back through the house with his messy bucket, the rain started hammering on the glass roof, and there was a knock on the front door.

A couple of prospective buyers come to view the house.

When we reached the threshold of the kitchen and I was telling these viewers to mind the step down, and they were ooh-ing and aah-ing at how lovely and big and bright the kitchen was, I did wonder what the plopping noise might be.

Plop! Plop! Pl-l-l-op! A slow glutinous plopping sound.

The sound of hot, runny, black-as-black, icky-sticky tar.

You know the stuff. They use it in road-mending.

Tar, which far from ‘fixing’ the leaky roof, was itself leaking through the roof, raining down on the idyllic scene of our children abandoning their snacks on the table and making a run for safety.

The prospective buyers also made a run for it, straight out the front door, followed very closely by Papa’s car disappearing down the driveway from the back door.

He did toot his goodbye as he passed the kitchen window, and indicated he’d left us to return the disgustingly sticky bucket.

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You can find all of Christine Campbell’s novels on Amazon Kindle or in Paperback here.

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5 Facts You may not have Known…

…about Family Matters, the first book I ever published.

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  1. Its inspiration
  2. What it’s about
  3. How long it took to write
  4. Its reviews
  5. Its revamp

1. The inspiration for this book came from a ‘what if …’ chain of thought. What if you had been abandoned and wanted to find the person who had walked out of your life. Where would you start? How would you go about it?
When I wrote the first draft, I had fresh in my mind how I had traced my birth father – and that had started my fascination with searching for those who are lost to us for whatever reason.

2. This is the blurb on the back of the book,

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but let me tell you more about Family Matters:

David, the main character’s son, searched for his father as I had searched for mine. Unlike me, he had memories of his father and missed him. Sarah, the main character didn’t particularly want to find her missing husband, but she wanted to know where he’d been for eleven years, why he’d gone, and what he’d been doing. Well, wouldn’t you?

Family Matters and all of my other published books are called ‘clean reads’ because they have no sex scenes, no swearing and no gratuitous violence.

3. It took me years to write this novel, not because it was difficult to write, but because I still had my family at home to care for and allowed getting on with life to put my writing into a position of low priority. I suspect that’s what many writer-mums do.

Once I had written, edited, had it beta read, edited, had it proofread and polished, it still took me a while to pluck up the courage to publish, first as a paperback in 2008, then on Amazon Kindle in 2013. It took me those years to believe that digital books would really catch on 🙂 To be honest, it still freaks me out that some of my readers read my books on their phones while they commute to work. Amazing how far technology has advanced in the last few decades.

4. Happily, once I was brave enough to publish Family Matters, it was well received. I don’t think I breathed properly until the first few letters, emails, cards and reviews started to come in. I have a box where I keep the treasure that is the cards and letters I have received about my books over the years, mostly from people I’ve never met. Heartwarming is the word that describes the feeling every time a new one comes in. And what of the Amazon reviews? Again, heartwarming, thrilling, exciting!

“Strong, sensitive, well observed and tender – I had to read this cover to cover as I couldn’t put it down.”

“With it’s many twists , the story touches your heart as it takes you through a mother’s guilt and pain of losing her child. It has many happy scenes about family life that brought back memories of my own childhood. Family Matters is a book that teaches you how much family matters!”

“It felt like a breath of fresh air to read a story set before it was possible to locate someone at the click of a mouse. Sarah turns detective to try and find out what happened to David, and, as David did before her, uses the good old-fashioned telephone directory and records kept on microfiche. Her research leads her to locate long-lost family members, and she uncovers far more than she’d bargained for.”

#missingpersons #familymatters #amazonkindle #mustread #novels #paperback #familyrelationships 

5. Lastly, let me tell you about the revamp of Family Matters. I decided to update the cover to the one at the top of the post, and correct the few typos etc. that had been discovered since the book was first published. Thinking I might want to make a few changes in the story, I set out to edit my way through the whole book again. I did make a few small changes, but, much to my surprise and delight, I found I still enjoyed the story I had written. 🙂 I hope you do too.

Are you like me? When I consider buying a book I like to examine the cover, read the blurb on the back and the first page. So here it is for you, the first page of Family Matters:

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I hope that has whetted your appetite. Family Matters can be purchased as a paperback or a digital book.

Amazon, Waterstones, Barnes & Noble, and other similar outlets.

It can also be ordered in any bookstore or from FeedaRead.com

Enjoy!

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One Day Only

One Day Only

You’ve got one night day only, one night day only
That’s all you have to spare
One night day only
One night day only … as the song almost goes …

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For today, the 16th of March only, you can download the first book in The Reluctant Detective series, Searching for Summer, FREE on Amazon Kindle.

As a special ‘Thank You’ for bearing with me while I have been ‘missing in action’ and not posting much here lately, I thought I’d give you this special opportunity to pick up one of my novels as a gift from me to you.

So here it is, but you’ll have to be quick. It’s only FREE today, 16th March.

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What genre is Searching for Summer?

Contemporary Women’s Fiction, a #CleanIndieRead, with no swearing, sex or violence.

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What’s it about?

Mirabelle’s daughter, Summer, disappears one Friday night, and Mirabelle would dearly love to rewind that day and live it differently. Instead, she is left not knowing if Summer is alive or dead, went of her own accord or was taken against her will. Casting all other concerns aside – food, sleep, work, relationships – in her desperate need to find the answers, she takes to the streets of Edinburgh in search of Summer. Searching along wynds snaking behind old buildings, through ancient doors and tiny spiral stairways, showing Summer’s photograph to everyone she meets in shops, museums and nightclubs, Mirabelle becomes a reluctant detective, gathering clues, trying to make sense of them in order to find her missing daughter.

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What do other’s think about it?

“It is unfair, in a review, to spoil the story for the reader by telling the outcome. So, you won’t find the answer to whether Mirabelle finds Summer from here. What you will find is an enthusiastic encouragement to read “Seaching For Summer”. This is so much more than a mystery to be solved. It is an endorsement of life lived with determination and, most importantly, hope.” ~~~Barbara A. Martin

“Searching for Summer confounded all my pre-conceived ideas of what a book about a missing teenager would be like. Of course there is despair and self-blame, but Summer’s mother Mirabelle is such a large, intense personality that I was instantly involved with her search around the streets of Edinburgh…” ~~~ Lizanne Lloyd

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Don’t forget, Searching for Summer is FREE for

One Night Day Only!

Click here to download your copy now.

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Launch Day

Three … Two … One … We have lift off!!

Released today!

Rusty Gold small

The third novel in The Reluctant Detective Series.

‘Find her,’ Agnes Donald begged. ‘Find my daughter.’
The words of a dying woman force Mirabelle to take on another case for the unofficial Missing Persons Bureau she runs from her Edinburgh flat.
Along with her assistant, Kay, she heads for the island of Skye where Esme Donald was last known to be. But is someone else looking for Esme too? And could Mirabelle’s own daughter, Summer, be in danger?

Rusty Gold is available as a paperback and an eBook on FeedARead,  Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Waterstones and can be ordered through most bookshops.

Get your copy today.

Enjoy!

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New to The Reluctant Detective Series?

Here’s a bit of a catch-up.

Mirabelle had thought she and Summer were happy. Being a single parent may not be ideal, but they coped well with their situation. Sure, bringing up a teenaged girl on her own was hard work, and they had their ups and downs, but they were pals as well as mother and daughter. She might not have planned her, but she was certainly glad she had Summer, and would not have liked to be without her. They’d built a life together, sorted out some kind of routine, and were happy. On a day to day basis, Mirabelle reckoned that’s all you could ask for.

 Then Summer disappears one Friday night and Mirabelle is left searching for her daughter, not knowing if Summer is alive or dead, went of her own accord or was taken against her will. Casting all other concerns aside – food, sleep, work, relationships – in her desperate need to find the answers, she takes to the streets of Edinburgh in search of Summer. Searching along wynds snaking behind old buildings, through ancient doors and tiny spiral stairways, showing Summer’s photograph to everyone she meets in shops, museums and nightclubs, Mirabelle becomes a reluctant detective, gathering clues, trying to make sense of them in order to find her missing daughter.

Meanwhile, Mirabelle gains a reputation for finding missing people and reuniting them with their loved ones. As people turn up on her doorstep asking for help, her kitchen becomes the hub of an unofficial missing persons agency.

Traces of Red, the second in the off-beat Reluctant Detective Series about Mirabelle and missing people, is the sum of several interwoven stories about an abandoned baby, two missing young women, a missing husband … and a dead body. Why did one of them abandoned a baby in an Edinburgh pub? Which one of them lies face-down in the river? Mirabelle finds herself running an unofficial Missing Person’s Bureau from her flat in Edinburgh, and DI Sam Burns seems happy to use her expertise to help him find these people, and learn how their stories interlink.

In Book One of this series, Mirabelle’s search was centred in Edinburgh, widening out to include the Scottish countryside further North in Book Two. Now, in Book Three, Mirabelle is off to the Island of Skye.

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