Would you like me to Read you a Story?

When our children were young, they loved their dad to read to them and I loved to listen in because he had a great way of making the written words come alive. When they were older, the fact they could read for themselves didn’t mar their enjoyment.  I took the  time and opportunity to study what it was about his reading that was so special, and I think it was to do with the fact that, while he respected the written word, he also knew when to take liberties with it in order to entertain.

Maybe you’ll permit me to entertain you for a few minutes as I read the first section of my latest novel. I don’t claim to have my husband’s skill in this matter, but I’ll do my best.

For What it’s Worth is contemporary women’s fiction.
It is not part of The Reluctant Detective Series by the same author, but it is a spin off where Mirabelle has a part to play but in a supporting role rather than the main character.
This is a stand-alone novel and while readers who enjoyed the earlier series might be keen to find out what Mirabelle has been up to, the main storyline concentrates on Yvonne and her husband Hugh and explores themes familiar to many young thirty-something couples when they decide it’s time to expand their family.

For What it’s Worth can be bought on Amazon as a paperback or ebook as can other novels by the same author.



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 …


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.


What genre is Searching for Summer?

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


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.


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


Don’t forget, Searching for Summer is FREE for

One Night Day Only!

Click here to download your copy now.


Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT TRACES OF RED by Christine Campbell @Campbama #SundayBlogShare

A great review from LizanneLloyd, featured on Rosie Amber’s blog.

Rosie Amber

Today’s team review is from Liz, she blogs at https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Liz had been reading Traces Of Red by Christine Campbell


Traces of Red is the second book in The Reluctant Detective Series by Christine Campbell.  Once again, the irrepressible Mirabelle helps her soulmate, DI Sam Burns, solve a complicated case but there is no need for you to have read Searching for Summer, the first book in the series, since the back story is gradually revealed during this novel.

Mirabelle has given up her work as a social worker and has turned her small Edinburgh flat into a Missing Person’s Bureau.  Usually these are young women, so she is surprised when Kay, a quiet middle class woman, seeks help finding her missing husband.  It is soon evident that all has not been right in this marriage and Kay is keen to help Mirabelle by organising her files and…

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Traces of Red

It’s here! It’s here!

Traces of Red

Book Two in The Reluctant Detective Series

Traces of Red

Traces of Red is the sum of several interwoven stories.
While searching for her daughter, Mirabelle finds herself running an unofficial Missing Person’s Bureau from her flat in Edinburgh, where Kay comes to ask for help to find her missing husband.
Meanwhile, an abandoned baby is found in an Edinburgh pub and DI Sam Burns is happy to use Mirabelle’s expertise to trace the mother and the young woman who went missing with her.
Somehow their stories interlink and, when they find a body in the burn, they can’t help but wonder how many of them they’ll find alive.

Once again, much of Traces of Red is set in Edinburgh, but in this book, some of the action takes place further North in Scotland. If you’ve ever driven up the A9 towards Inverness and looked out at the hills, you may have wondered what it would be like to walk there, to climb some of these beautiful hills. But how would you feel about being lost in them?


Contemporary Fiction, A Cozy Mystery with a Woman Sleuth,

Traces of Red is available to download now on Amazon Kindle

or if you prefer the paperback, it can soon be ordered on


Barnes & Noble

and all good bookshops.


It can already be bought




I know, I know.

I should have waited until the paperback is ready in all the other outlets too, but so many of you, having read Searching for Summer, have been asking when Book Two of the series, Traces of Red, would be ready. I got overexcited and had to share it with you straight away as soon as the ebook was up and running.

The paperback shouldn’t be long before it’s showing on the other sites too, if that’s your preference, but it can be bought now, hot off the publisher’s press at FeedaRead.com 


Book One of The Reluctant Detective Series, Searching for Summer, is still available at the discounted price of 99p/99c if you haven’t read it yet, and it is available now from:





and can be ordered from all good bookstores.


Happy Reading!


Searching for Summer Book Trailer

If you know me at all, you’ll know I love to chat. Today it’s not about me chatting, it’s about the beautiful trailer for my latest novel, Searching for Summer.

I’ll let it speak for itself.

I hope you enjoy it.

Searching for Summer by Christine Campbell

Searching for Summer


A Team Pow Production


Wild Mountain Thyme – Aimee and Tim Pow

Searching for Summer

Yes, I know! I’m a bit early. We’re still waiting for spring, here in Scotland.

That’s if I was searching for summer, all lower case. But I’m not.

I’m Searching for Summer, or, at least, the main character in my brand new novel is.

Searching for Summer

The first book in the The reluctant Detective Series.

Searching for Summer Final

And, before I tell you anything about the book itself, I have to tell you how delighted I am with the cover! The artwork is by Michelle Campbell, and I am delighted to have the original 27x36cm, signed, framed painting on my wall. It is beautiful.

There is more of Michelle’s paintings on her Instagram page, SHELLSBELLSART, and she can be contacted on fragglecamp (at) gmail (dot) com if you are interested in commissioning her for your book cover.

Tim Pow converted the painting into the book cover, another great job, and Tim can be contacted via his website http://www.timpowfilms.net

He made a fantastic job of the back cover too:

Back Cover with blurb. PNG


 So what is Searching for Summer about?

The first novel in The Reluctant Detective Series.

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.


Set in Edinburgh, Searching for Summer could be called Kaleidoscope Fiction: Contemporary Women’s Fiction, a relationship novel with a hint of romance, a soupçon of crime, and more than a dollop of mystery.

If you don’t know Edinburgh, you will get to know it as Mirabelle wanders its streets and wynds.

Mirabelle loved living in Edinburgh: loved the atmosphere created by a city whose main shopping street looked across the road to a castle, Edinburgh Castle standing guard over Princes Street, its severe façade softened by the gardens skirting it, the gardens themselves cocooned from the bustle and noise, folded into their own tree-lined valley, with paths dipping into and out of its depths.

She knew the adage, Edinburgh was ‘all fur coat and nae knickers.’ She was well acquainted with its underbelly, its darker side, saw its dirty linen, but loved it anyway.

A novel to take you through a multitude of emotions as Mirabelle searches for Summer.

Trouble is, she keeps finding other people.


Searching for Summer

Available NOW

On Amazon


or to order in bookstores


2014 NaNoWriMo Winner


It’s December and the weather has turned wintry and cold here in Scotland, but I have that warm and fuzzy feeling inside left over from November’s marathon writing sprint. Now, I know the marathon and the sprint are two different races, so it may seem as though I am mixing my metaphors, but it’s what NaNoWriMo is for me. It’s a marathon in that it continues right through the month, but it’s also a sprint in that at the end of that month I have a first draft and that used to take me months, if not years, to accomplish before I cottoned on to NaNo.
NaNO has not changed how much hard work I put into writing a novel, but it has revolutionised how long it takes me to do that work.
Declaring a daily word-count is such a strong impetus to keep me writing every day. And, yes, I have tried just setting myself a daily target. It doesn’t do it for me. NaNoWriMo does: it just works for me. I know it wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but it certainly is mine. I have completed three NaNos, coming out of each with that precious first draft, that invaluable something to get my editing teeth into.


My first NaNo novel was Here At The Gatea Contemporary Women’s Novel. If you haven’t read it, you can get your copy right now by clicking on the title, which will take you straight to Amazon, if I’ve managed the link correctly.

Here is a brief synopsis of Here At The Gate

Mhairi had worked hard to build herself a normal, stable life, but there had always been a dark fear inside her. No matter how happy she was, it was always there.

It followed her about like a black bat, haunting her nights, hiding in a corner during her days, flapping out at odd moments, scaring the wits out of her.

It was as though she was standing outside a high-walled garden, barred from the secret of her past by the wrought-iron gate. She could see all the bushes and trees, the rhododendron and hydrangea. She could even smell the roses and the honeysuckle, but then the gate would swing shut and she was outside and it was dark.

Now her happy, settled life was being threatened by her own daughter and she knew she had to force through the darkness. She needed to remember what she had spent a lifetime forgetting.


My July Camp NaNoWriMo 2014 novel and my November NaNoWriMo novel? Well they are both in the editing phase and are due to be released very soon, as parts one and two of a series about Mirabelle, who becomes a very reluctant detective when her daughter goes missing.


Book Review: Here At The Gate

A delightful new review of Here at the Gate.

It’s always good to get a fair review of your book, better to get a good one, even better to get a really good one, which I think this one is.

Zenobia Southcombe has found the essence of the story and felt it, as I did as I wrote it.

Here at the Gate is available on Amazon, both in eBook and paperback format.

Zee Southcombe

Here at the Gate, by Christine Campbell, is a brilliant book. It follows the journey of self-discovery for the protagonist, Mhairi, but what it really does is take you on an adventure all of your own.

The blurb:

Mhairi had worked hard to build herself a normal, stable life, but there had always been a dark fear inside her. No matter how happy she was, it was always there… It was as though she was standing outside a high-walled garden, barred from the secret of her past by the wrought-iron gate. She could see all the bushes and trees, the rhododendron and hydrangea. She could even smell the roses and the honeysuckle, but then the gate would swing shut and she was outside and it was dark…

She needed to remember what she had spent a lifetime forgetting.

Here at the Gate

I was curious to read a book from Christine from what she…

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#6 — Food in Fiction

To Cook or not to Cook


Some people love to cook, others have no interest in the workings of the kitchen, and there can be many reasons for this. For instance, the overbearing mother who never allows her child near the stove or the mixing bowl for fear they might make a mess, and knowing she can do it better herself, is unlikely to rear a happy chef. By contrast, the mum who bakes fairy cakes with her three year old, with flour clouding around her elbows and pink icing in her hair, may well produce the next Nigella Lawson or Jamie Oliver.
There are exceptions to every rule, of course, and from time to time there will be someone determined to strive against discouragement to become a master at the craft.

Another reason many people don’t cook is lack of time. There are many frustrated gourmet chefs sitting in stuffy offices dreaming of steamy kitchens, planning the dinner party they would throw if they only had the time or funds.

Some learn their craft at their mother’s side, others in a school of Haute Cuisine.

The popular film, Julie & Julia, contrasts the life of chef Julia Child in the early years of her culinary career with the life of Julie Powell, a young woman in New York who sets out to cook her way through the 524 recipes in Julia Child’s cookbook. She aims to do it in one year. That’s 365 days for 524 recipes. She describes her efforts on her regular blog.
The screenplay, by Nora Ephron, is adapted from two books, an autobiography by Julia Child with Alex Prud’homme, called My Life in France, and a memoir by Julie Powell, Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen documenting her daily experiences cooking each of the 524 recipes in Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
In Julia Child’s book, My Life in France, she describes how she signs up for cooking classes at the École du Cordon Bleu where she learns the art of French cooking.

While the books and the film, Julie and Julia, are not completely fictional, I think the film, in particular, made a very interesting drama and could be used as inspiration for writing food into your fiction.

If you don’t know what to write about, here is a suggestion for you:

Perhaps you could write a short story about attending a cookery class. It could be a class in the local village hall or in a College kitchen. Ask yourself, why does this character want to learn to cook? Perhaps they can already cook, but want to improve. Perhaps it’s to pass a rainy Thursday night in good company.

Or a story about someone’s first attempts at following a recipe.
There’s a lot of potential for humour: mishaps and disasters are common in a kitchen setting, particularly with inexperienced cooks, and can sometimes be very amusing.

I hope you find this next excerpt, from an as-yet-unpublished novel I have written, falls into that category. I always think it’s dangerous to claim you’ve written something funny. Humour is such an individual thing. But I hope it at least makes you smile.


Sauce for the Goose
Christine Campbell

By the time she turned into the communal stair of the flats, Sandra had built up a fair head of steam in her boiler, fuelled by the indignity she suffered at work set against the memory of Hugh lying warm and sleepy in their bed when she left him this morning and sitting with his feet on the coffee table all day watching day-time trash on the unlicensed box, as she imagined he had most of her long, torturous day. ‘Sauce for the goose…’ Colleen’s remark flared in her memory. ‘Equal opportunity…’ She was ready to blow.
A blanket of fresh, enticing, foodie smells doused her anger as she opened the door.
“Don’t…em, don’t come in the kitchen!” Hugh yelled. “Surprise! It’s… it’s a surprise.”
Sandra still had her key in the lock, the door still standing open, the sudden cooling of her anger leaving her frozen in disbelief.
“You’re cooking!”
“Guessed it must be about my turn,” Hugh planted a kiss on her cheek as he busied past her with candles for the table.
“But you never cook. You hate cooking.”
“I didn’t say that, or not exactly. It’s just that…” he ran his hands through his floppy hair, pushing his swimming goggles onto his forehead. “It’s just that you do it so much better. Onions,” he added in answer to her unspoken enquiry about the goggles.
“Yes, I see. But the candles, wine?” She closed the door and followed him through to the living room.
“A sudden pang of conscience. You out there every day working for us. Me in here watching tele.”
A weary snort of recognition escaped from Sandra.
“One of these interminable talk shows. ‘Is your man a loser?’ Suddenly saw that, yes, your man, me, was… am… a bit of a loser Wouldn’t be watching that dreadful program otherwise. Decided to do something about it.”
“A job would be nice.”
“Yes. Yes, I suppose that would be nice. The ideal really, I imagine.” Hugh stood with his hands on his hips, his hips girded with a tea towel, nodding his agreement.
“I did… I er… did go… to the job centre again.”
Sandra looked up expectantly.
Hugh spread his hands. “Nothing.”
“Suitable, I mean. Nothing suitable.”
“If it pays money, it’s suitable,” Sandra muttered.
“Mustn’t lose sight of the big picture, as it were. You know, the right job, best career move.”
Sandra sat down wearily. “Oh, Hugh. What are we going to do? I know you want a career, but, right now, it’s a job you need, just a job. One that pays money. One that pays off the overdraft.”
“Mmm, know what you mean.”
“Do you, Hugh? ‘Cos I wonder sometimes. You’ve had this great Public School Education. The Stiff Upper Lip, English Gentleman, Posh University kind of stuff, but, really, has it prepared you for living in the real world? Has it taught you how to put meat on the table? Has it dickie-bird!”
“Meat on the table, yes, see what you mean.” He sniffed the air, “Sorry, back in a mo. The meat. Need to do some stirring.” And disappeared into the kitchen.
“Smells nice.” She sat up, alarmed by sudden realisation. “How? where did you get the money for meat? We can’t afford…”
“Sold the picture.” Hugh shouted.
Her eyes flew to the empty place on the wall.
“My grandmother’s painting! You sold my grandmother’s painting.” She was on her feet, her anger reignited.
“Don’t come in,” he yelled as she started to push open the kitchen door.
“You sold my grandmother’s painting!” She shouted, her forehead against the door, her fist banging it in frustration. “You had no right.”
“Hunger!” he shouted back. “Hunger gave me the right.”
“It was mine.”
“It was ugly,” he asserted as he squeezed through the door, barring her entry to the kitchen.
“It was mine.”
He looked helplessly at her. “We needed food.”
“I was bringing food.” She held up the carrier bag. “Bread, cheese, pasta.”
“Macaroni cheese?”
She nodded.
“Yes. Yes, I see. The thing is, actually… well, I’m… well, I’m sort of fed up with macaroni cheese, as it happens.”
Hugh took off the goggles and ran his fingers through his untidy hair again, reinforcing his air of perpetual bewilderment. “And I was… I was sort of… I was fed up with that hideous picture staring down at me all day.” He tossed a petulant glance in the direction of the offending, now absent, painting.
“It could only stare down at you all day, if you were here all day.”
“Yes, of course. Yes. Well. It seemed the ideal solution, killing two birds with one stone, so to speak. Instead of Capercaillie on the wall, we’ve er… we’ve sort of… sort of got chicken in the… in the er, wok, so to speak.” his voice trailed off the way it often did, though he smiled shyly at his own wit. “You’ve got to admit it was a particularly ugly painting,” he added bravely.
“It was my painting.”
“Chicken stir-fry. Lots of peppers and mushrooms. Garlic,” he cajoled, waving a hand in the general direction of the smell of cooking.
“Painted for me by my grandmother.”
“Spring onions, ginger. Oh, hell! Something’s burning!” He dashed out to the kitchen again. “Don’t be cross about it, darling,” he called back through. “Think of it as, well, as sensible use of resources, so to speak.”
“Why couldn’t you have sensibly used some of your own resources? Oh good grief, what on earth is all this for?”
“I told you not to come through.”
“How many are you expecting for dinner?”
“Just…eh… just us.”
“But there’s so much. All these peppers.”
“I thought it seemed a lot,” he frowned. “But that’s what the recipe said.”
“Which recipe? Let me see.”
He lifted the book to show her.
“Feeds six,” she read out.
“Oops, indeed. But, even for six, it’s an awful lot.”
He took the recipe back and pointed to the ingredients list. “Look, six chicken breasts, fourteen oz of potatoes. Oz, I knew that was ounces,” he informed her with some pride. “And I knew sixteen ounces equals one pound, so I weighed out nearly a pound, then half as much of peppers, same of mushrooms.”
“But I don’t have ounces on my scales.”
“Yes, you do. ‘Course you do.” He drew them over. “See?”
“Grams and Kilos,” she showed him. “It measures in grams and kilos. You’ve cooked a kilo of potatoes, four chicken breasts and there are several kilos of vegetables chopped up here.” The sweep of her hand indicated the heaps of vegetables covering every available work surface in their little kitchen. “For two of us.”
He scratched his head. “I wondered how it was all going to fit in the wok.”
“Well, it’s not, is it?” she said, weariness giving an edge to her voice.
“No, I suppose it’s not. Sorry.” He shrugged his apology like a child caught in some minor misdemeanour. “What… er… what do you… er… should I…”
Sandra sighed. “Let me get my coat off.”
“Sorry,” he said again, his large brown eyes begging her forgiveness.
How could she be angry with this gentle, schoolboy of a man? “Oh Hugh,” she said, drawing him into her arms. “What are we going to do?”
“I thought, perhaps, eating might be a good idea?”

And, in the end, the meal was delicious. That evening, the next evening and, in various forms, the next three evenings after that: stir-fried; curried; roasted; the vegetables liquidised as soup, and finally as sauce.


So how about you having a go at writing a story in which food plays a leading role. It might be fun. Let me know how you get on.



They say it’s the thief of time.

Whoever ‘they’ are.

Hmmm! Think I’ll look that one up.

Edward Young (1683 – 1765) an English poet, seems to have coined the phrase: “Procrastination is the thief of time.” 

Charles Dickens (1812 – 1870) an English author, used it and added an injunction: “Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.”

Don Marquis (1878 – 1937) a New York newspaper columnist and humorist said: “Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday.”

I believe them all.


But they also say, “Procrastination is the mother of invention.”

Whoever ‘they’ are.

Hmmm! Think I’ll look that one up …

Oops! Yes. I am unashamedly procrastinating. Even in writing this blogpost. I sat here at my computer for one purpose and for one purpose only: to edit my WIP, my next novel, Traces of Red, the second in my Reluctant Detective Series.

So what’s the problem? I want to finish it. I’ve got two more in first draft form. The clock ticks away. Why can’t I get my head round this?

Truth be told, I know exactly what the problem is. Just not so sure how to fix it.

When I first wrote this novel, it was not called Traces of Red, it was called Have You Seen My Daughter? and, having edited and edited, polished and refined it, I sent it off to a few agents and publishers (Not all at once, of course. That would be naughty!)

They all came back to me with the same advice. In short: this is not one book, this is a series. What they, without exception, wanted me to do is break one novel up and spin it out over a few books. Sounds easy? Think again.

I’ve struggled with deciding what belongs to which book, taken chunks out, then put them back in, lost the plot, found it again, thrown the whole lot in the trash folder, retrieved it again, and written and rewritten it.

There is so much good about it, too much, I think. If there were passages I felt were rubbish, they’d be easy to discard. If there were scenes that didn’t further the story, I’d take them out. I want to keep them all, but know, in the interests of keeping your attention, I need to slash and burn again.

But, just before I do, I wonder if you know who said, “Procrastination makes easy things hard, hard things harder.”

I just looked it up, so I can give you a clue, if you like.

There’s this other  proverb I’ve heard….


#procrastination #the thief of time #editing

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