Thursday, July 16, 2009

Guest Post: Eileen Schuh, author and former psychiatric nurse, talks about meeting a psychopath face to face

My special guest today is Eileen Schuh, a writer in St. Paul, Alberta, and a former psychiatric nurse. Today, Eileen shares her first bone-chilling experience coming face to face with a psychopath. Enjoy. ~Cheryl Kaye Tardif

I met a man with empty eyes. . .

It wasn’t that his eyes were dull. Oh, no! They sparkled. That shine, however, was not emanating from his soul, but was merely reflecting the world he was seeing.

I was a young girl, eighteen, straight off the farm. He was tall. Good looking with his dark wavy hair and tanned smooth face. Broad shoulders strained at his T-shirt. His IQ was slightly above 140. He was a genius. He was a psychopath. A sociopath.

He was a dangerous man.

I knew all this because I’d read his case file. I was meeting with him so I could get the little box beside “forensic patient” on “First Year Psychiatric Nursing Required Learning Experiences” record checked off. It was only my second month of hands-on training, so there were pages of little boxes left to go. Other than the ones beside ‘attending an autopsy’ and ‘making a bed’, ‘forensic patient’ is the only one I remember.

The ‘forensic patient’ was obviously enthralled by my presence. Life on the locked ward of a Psychiatric Hospital offers few thrills to those incarcerated there. I could tell by the way his empty eyes rested on the space between my white nyloned knees and the hem of my uniform, that I’d made his day. He didn’t rest his eyes there long, however. Just a quick glance, and then he was cocking his head, raising an eyebrow, and staring deeply into my eyes. A gentle smile lifted his lips and a dimple appeared on his chin.

I knew instantly, that like Dr. Hannibal Lecter when he met Jodi Foster in the movie “Silence of the Lambs”, this man was reading my soul. . . .

To read the rest of this intriguing and candid true story, please visit:
I met a man with empty eyes. . .

To learn more about author Eileen Schuh, check out her website:

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Writing Quote - Lady in the Lake

"Besides, you see, people who write usually don't know the facts and people who know the facts, usually can't write. authenticity has very little to do with it. If people who read our magazine knew the facts of life, Mr. Marlowe, they wouldn't be reading our magazine." - Raymond Chandler / Steve Fisher

Saturday, July 11, 2009

My worst enemy...

Okay, so it's true. All of it. I have an enemy that confounds me at every step, forces me to do things I'd rather not and sometimes sends me into fits of morose despondence or bestial anger and frustration. Why do I let this be? How did I lead myself to this moment? Only to escape but then return to it again and again as if it were some pernicious drug that I am addicted to? Because that's precisely what it is. A drug. A balm. An enemy to be vanquished when I finally get over my moments of weakness and indecision and decide to deal with this enemy head-on. Perhaps I'll take the easy and most sensible way out and make friends? Maybe I'll smile and make googly eyes at this creature in the hope that I can sneak up on it and take it by surprise? Either way I'm afraid I must face it... time after time, over and over again... because I must. And face it I will, until once again I conquer it and send it scurrying back into the shadows from whence it came, knowing that I am again its victor. This craven enemy... this haughty tormentor... this blank page.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

10 Quotes On The Writing Life

from Karen Harrington
author, Janeology


At different times in my writing life, each of these quotes was on a Sticky-Note somewhere on my desk, reminding me of a fundamental truth about writing.

1. "One of the first things you learn as a writer is that you write what you can, not what you want." - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

2. "To write well, express yourself like the common people, but think like a wise man." Aristotle

3. "The function of a writer is to raise questions not to find answers." Doris Lessing

4. "A good novelist does not have to describe everything about the sea as long as he knows it." - Ernest Hemingway

5. "If I had listened to what people said I would never have been a writer." - John Wain6. "Last week I spent five days writing one page..." - Gustave Flaubert

7. "Writers need solitude as others need sleep." - Source Unknown

8. "It's only after you've written a book that you find out what it's about because everyone tells you." Helen Fielding

9. "The best research is talking to people." Jeffrey Archer

10. "You can. You know you can conquer your fears. That's what a writer is -- a conqueror of fears." - Erica Jong


Pop over to my blog by Saturday, July 11th and leave your comment for a chance to win one of 2 copies of my novel, Janeology.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Hazardous to Your Health

A short time ago I had the great luck to obtain a rare book published in 1899 – The Domestic Cyclopedia: An Instructor on Nursing, Housekeeping and Home Adornments.

That’s quite the combination of topics and it is a fascinating research tool, filled with information otherwise lost to posterity. At that time it was found that cigarettes often contained opium “physicians and chemists were surprised to find how much” or “Havana flavoring … made from the tonka bean, which contains a deadly poison” and that the appropriate wrapping of rice paper was commonly found to be “filthy scrapings of ragpickers bleached white with arsenic”.

Whhhooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaa. Things have ‘come a long way, baby.’