Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The 'Right' Thing

If we do the right thing for the wrong reason is it still the right thing? I say, yes, it's still doing the right thing which is what makes a difference after all. Recently I read a news story where the worker of a donut shop was being robbed. The young man behind the counter considered the security camera recording the event and decided to clobber the robber with a ceramic cup rather than run away because ...

"...but Hoffmann admits he was less worried about the stolen cash than how he might look on the video-sharing site YouTube.

“What was going through my mind at that point was that the security tape is either going to show me run away and hide in the office or whack this guy in the head, so I just grabbed the cup and clocked the guy pretty hard,” Hoffmann told The Record of Bergen County.

He did scare off the thief, which is pretty important, but I would prefer to hear of people doing the right thing because of inner character rather than peer adulation. Oh well ... whatever gets us there.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Suspense author is deadly in the kitchen

"Edmonton's own best selling author shares a Christmas story that mixes with her Strawberry Dumplings."

For the recipe, please go HERE!

*Please note: No fire extinguishers were harmed in the making of this film.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Can a limerick be an ode?

Ode to a Blog - it sounds so much more noble that way.

There once was a writer from BC
Who watched bears sweetly sleeping in a tree
She should have been writing
Instead she was fighting
Blogging blues - oh woe - is me.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Short story: Sweet Dreams

©2005 Cheryl Kaye Tardif

I always hated camping—the strange lurking noises in the woods, the bloodsucking mosquitoes that voraciously drilled for blood…the thin canvas of a tent that could be so easily slashed by a bear. Then there were the shadows, pervasive and malignant, hovering in every corner. Of course, peeing in the woods wasn’t my idea of a good time either.

When Justin, my husband, decided we were going on a camping trip with three other couples, I groaned and whined like an errant child. But I knew that I couldn’t escape fate. So reluctantly I packed up our tents, sleeping bags and Coleman coolers stoked with more beer than food. Then we headed for the mountains and Lac de Rëverie.

Justin told me that meant Lake of Dreaming.

During the monotonous drive our newest friends, Margie and Burton, were ensnared in a deadly lip-lock. After ten minutes I avoided glancing over my shoulder and decided that they just weren’t interested in the antique store we passed. Or the three elk grazing in the ditch. And Margie and Burton certainly didn’t give a hoot about the dead skunk lying in the middle of the road.

For a fraction of a second I thought about interrupting their spit-swapping contest.

Instead, I slept.

It was pitch black when we arrived at Lac de Rëverie...

Read the rest of the story HERE.
Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
bestselling author of Whale Song, The River and Divine Intervention

Thursday, November 22, 2007

'Create a Corpse' contest is still on!

Ever want to 'strangle' your husband, or 'clobber' your high school bully?

Well, now you can! Here is a surefire way to get away with murder!

Enter my "Create a Corpse" contest and submit the name of someone you want me to 'kill off', and I'll gladly oblige the winner--no questions asked and no payment necessary.

Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
bestselling author of Whale Song, The River and Divine Intervention http://www.cherylktardif.com/

Truth is Stranger...

This is a very condensed version of a tale of intrigue that really happened over 125 years ago. It's facinating all the twists and turns that one man's determination to see justice done, took him on:

In 1865, Idaho, three killers dangled from the gallows because the friend of a murdered man saw it - the gruesome axe slaying - happen in a dream. Hill Beachy, saw his friend, Lloyd Magruder, struck with an ax and the killer put his foot on Magruder’s body to wrench the axe out. He saw the killer’s face.

Magruder was a merchant who had just made a fortune selling his wares to the gold miners at Alder Gulch. He headed home in the company of some young miners and four men he had employed. Unbeknownst to him, those men were escaped convicts.

Six nights later, near the Bitter Root Mountains, Chris Lowry snuck up behind Magruder standing guard over his grazing herd and did him in with an axe. The miners were similarly dispatched. Bodies wrapped in blankets, the herd and other evidence were sent over the edge of a canyon. A hundred miles from anyone, the bandits made off with the gold and seven horses. It began to snow. They thought it was the perfect crime.

Leaving their horses at a nearby ranch, the gang checked in the Luna Hotel. Hill Beachy was at the desk and he recognized the killer from his dream. Patiently searching for proof he discovered the horses and Marauder’s saddle. Many adventures later he caught up with the guilty men to San Francisco where they were waiting to have the stolen gold dust minted into coins. Back in Lewiston, he tricked one of them into confessing by vigilante theatrics. The bodies were recovered and revealed that Magruder had been killed by an axe just like Hill Beachy saw in his dream, even to the bloody footprint on his thigh as the axe was pulled from his body.

Monday, November 19, 2007

More from the 'What would you do?' Files

Doesn't it make you want to scream, "Don't Do it!" Every time a hapless protagonist walks down that dark alley? Well try this one on for size.
And remember, love comes in many forms. Sometimes passionate, sometimes sweet - and sometimes it hurts.
In fact sometimes it can cut - like a knife.

Excerpt from Shadow of Innocence

Newport, Rhode Island Christie’s Wharf July 29, 1968 9:07 p.m.

Janet wondered if she had made another mistake, in a long line of stupid mistakes that seemed to be the story of her life. She’d gotten tired of driving her beat-up old VW around the waterfront bar area, looking for that elusive, and probably nonexistent, parking place.

So she’d said, “The hell with it,” and parked in the deserted boatyard lot halfway between the restaurant on Christie’s Wharf and the welcoming lights of the bar where she was supposed to meet Marcy and Paul and the rest of the group.
Even though it was the end of July, Janet shivered as a fog-cool wind blew in off the harbor. The dank salt wind carried the smell of low tide, old used-up fishing boats and rock-strung seaweed. Black-green seaweed. Just like the seaweed that had been covering up the beautiful, bone-white body of—Oh, God! The memory was sharp and jagged like broken glass in her stomach.
How could she have let… or gone along with…?
God, she thought, now shivering for real. I know she was a horrible bitch to me most of the time. But every once in a while, she would almost act like she liked me.
Oh, how Janet had lived for those brief, sweet moments when Blair’s cruel-cat persona would drop away, and she’d smile and put a beautiful perfumed arm around her chunky shoulders and laugh, “Oh Janet, my little pudge-bunny. I do love you so. You just crack me up.”
Then she’d kiss Janet on the cheek and giggle, “Incense and peppermints.”
And Janet’s heart would almost break with love as she whispered back, “Incense and peppermints, Blair.”

Janet stopped and leaned her forehead against the fog-slimy bricks of the alley wall that separated the boatyard parking lot from the street.
“Oh, Blair,” she murmured, the name catching in her throat, “I’m so sorry. I should have warned you. I could see it coming. I thought you knew. You always seemed to know everything and how to handle everyone. I should have said something. Oh, please believe me Blair. I never wanted… I, I just loved you.”
Almost blinded by hot, bitter tears, she stumbled down the alley toward the street. She moaned softly, “Blair, I’m sorry, so sorry. I just loved you. I’ll always love you.”
She looked up at the dim, crescent moon that poked in and out from behind wisps of fog.
“Can you hear me, Blair? Oh, Blair,” she moaned to the dank, sea-bottom wind that followed her down the alleyway. “I wish I could be with you!”
The half-prayer, half-curse froze on her lips as a hollow sounding voice answered out of the fog.

“I think that can be arranged.”


Ric Wasley - Author

· Shadow of Innocence - Kunati - April 2007
· Acid Test - 2004

And please check out my McCarthy Family Mysteries free sample chapters on Amazon and Google!
Boomer article series:

Ric Wasley has spent almost forty years wandering through corporate board rooms and honky-tonk bars. He now divides his time between writing mystery novels and observing the really ‘juicy parts’ of the human condition.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Win Whale Song, The River and Divine Intervention - TODAY ONLY!

November 15th only, enter to win a Cheryl Kaye Tardif triple pack, with copies of Whale Song, The River and Divine Intervention, plus signed bookplates and bookmarks.

Prize package valued at approx. $70.00 CDN.

For contest rules, go to the Love of Reading.com Online Book Fair.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Suspense author Cheryl Kaye Tardif proudly sponsors the Love of Reading.com Book Fair


The second annual fair celebrates and connects online book community with three days of non-stop events.

The second annual Love of Reading Online Book Fair will be held November 14-16 at:

http://www.loveofreading.com/ from the hours of 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST.

Drop by and check it out!

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif is the bestselling author of Whale Song, The River and Divine Intervention


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Mystery Inspiration

When I see headlines like this I start to wonder....

“Cow falls off cliff and crashes onto van on highway; motorists unhurt”

Lucky motorists. The article goes on to say that the happy couple in the minivan, were on a trip, celebrating their first wedding anniversary when a six hundred pound cow fell from the sky onto their vehicle. They were inches from death as the bovine fell from an overhead cliff two hundred feet above.

Now when I read something like that, I have to wonder … did the cow fall … or was he pushed? Is a cow viable as a murder weapon? The ‘old school’ of mystery writing praises ingenuity in the method of death. Definitely all trace of fingerprints would be wiped out and well as all the other evidence probably.

How strong would you have to be to push a cow over a cliff? It would be doable other wise there would never have evolved the questionable entertainment of cow tipping. Is that what happened? Two teenagers were too close to the edge and old Bessie dropped off? Was there a lookout with a cellphone watching for the van, rate of travel and cow trajectory carefully calculated on a Blackberry? Do Blackberries calculate? So much research to do… Was it a milk cow?

Oh yes … inspiration for writing whodunits are everywhere and this one seems pretty promising. The only thing is, after it’s all over, would the reader be echoing the words of the mini driver, shaking their collective heads: "I don't believe this. I don't believe this."

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Movie Review: Partition - some criminal acts arise from racism and lead to tragedy

1057partition---thumb.jpg 5/5 stars – MUST SEE

Release date: February 2007

A Romeo and Juliet plot set in India and Pakistan, with incredible visual effects and a love story that will move you to tears, Partition is a tapestry of music, imagery, emotion and conflict. In the 1940’s, the partition of India and Pakistan (pitting Muslims against Sikhs) cause a rift that leads to war and brutal massacres. Both sides are fueled by rage and hatred, yet amidst them, an innocent and sweet love blossoms, as do the nearby mustard fields. Director Vic Sarin has a flawless eye for detail and realism.

Partition is made even that much more spectacular by the stunning portrayal of Naseem, a young Muslim girl played by Canadian actress Kristin Kreuk (Smallville). Naseem is separated from her family during one of the massacres and is discovered in the woods by an older Sikh man. Terrified and fearing for her life, she must trust an enemy of her people.

Gian, the disillusioned Sikh who wants nothing more than to forget the war and its atrocities and live a simple life of peace, is played by Jimi Mistry (East is East). When he finds Naseem, his whole life changes. Torn by nightmares and the death of an army friend, he brings Naseem home and hides her. When she is discovered, Gian fights for her, pitting him against his family and friends. Gian and Naseem sacrifice everything for a forbidden love that slowly blooms, healing their pasts and their losses.

Their life together is perfect, yet Naseem still yearns to find her family. However, when she does, it brings the story together in a tragic conflict that leaves the viewer praying that good will conquer all, that love will prevail. Together, Kreuk and Mistry’s performances are amazing, their chemistry mesmerizing. They have truly become their characters, immersed themselves in their lives.

The addition of another Canadian actress, Neve Campbell in the role of Margaret, a British “Memsahib”, adds an element of sophistication to the film. Campbell is enchanting in her role as crusader and friend, her emotions tamped down one moment, then brimming to the surface in another.

Partition is a Leo award-winning movie of racial tension, tragedy and survival. It is also a beautifully rendered story that crosses boundaries and brings together two unlikely characters, proving that love knows no bounds, no race, no religion. This is a fascinating movie, a definite must-see! And it will stay with you long after the credits have rolled.


Note from Cheryl:

The inspiring film Partition is a movie that will wrench at your emotions from beginning to end, and leave you thinking about it for days later. Here is another example of how racism causes huge rifts and tragedy, yet can be overcome by love. Love knows no boundaries. CKT

* *

Cheryl Kaye Tardif is an Amazon bestselling author. Her recent release, Whale Song, has received rave reviews from Booklist, Midwest Book Reviews, Fresh Fiction and more, along with reviews from authors like New York Times bestselling author Luanne Rice. All of Cheryl’s novels have captured the interest of major film companies, and Whale Song is now in the hands of Hollywood producers and directors, as well as some highly acclaimed actors and singer-songwriters, including Kristin Kreuk.


Monday, October 29, 2007

A Rose by Any Other Name

I've been thinking about labels lately especially the labels we give stories. Crime writing for example could include so many different books or it could exclude many of my favorites.

Hickory Dickory Dock by Agatha Christie was my introduction to crime writing. I was ten and thought it had something to do with mice. Many though would say that Agatha Christie's novels are not crime writing. There is a crime for sure - usually murder - but yet it's so lightly done. Not really realistic, one could say. A cozy mystery I believe is the current label.

Then I moved onto Daphne Du Maurier's books. Now I can't quite say if there are actual criminal acts in her stories but they always feel like there is. All the way through Rebecca I was waiting for the crime to be revealed. Crime writing? Probably not, more likely it's labelled gothic or maybe historical romance.

Who came next? Dashiell Hammett. Now there can't be any dispute that he was a crime writer. In fact, one editorial review on Amazon states: Complete in one volume, the five books that created the modern American crime novel. Yet, he's also put in the box labelled hard-boiled.

And to my favorite living author, Dick Francis. There's always something unlawful in his stories. However, they're labelled mysteries or suspense not crime. And my novel Murder Makes Mischief even I don't call it crime writing. I describe it as airplane or vacation reading.

So what's this thing called Crime Writing? It's a label; it's a genre. Does it matter? Regardless of a book's label, the important thing is if you as a reader enjoy it or not. After all, a rose by any other name or a genre by any other name.....

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Writer's Block

Sitting in my car I watched a group of men go by carrying a coffin.

Twenty minutes later they walked in the other direction, still carrying the coffin....

Five minutes later they walked back again, still carrying the coffin.

Sat in my car, I thought to myself....

"They've lost the &"@K*!&# plot!"

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Cheryl Kaye Tardif's 'Create a Corpse' Contest

"I kill people off for a living." That’s what bestselling suspense author Cheryl Kaye Tardif likes to say when someone asks her what she does for a living. You don't want to miss reading the rest of this tongue-in-cheek post about mystery, murder, messages...and corpses.

Author Karen Harrington invited Cheryl to share a bit about her mystery/suspense novels and while visiting Karen's blog A Writer's Diary, Cheryl decided to hold an impromptu and ‘deadly’ little contest.

Check out Karen Harrington: A Writer's Diary.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

'Whale Song' by Cheryl Kaye Tardif helps 3 Non-Profit Organizations

The following article recently appeared on Grow Mercy, a wonderful blog by a wonderful and caring person--Stephen Thomas Berg. Stephen invited me to share how Whale Song, my recent novel about love, lies, sacrifice and transformation, is affecting people's lives.

Begging for Change

First, I’d like to pose a few questions. If you saw a beggar on the sidewalk, hand out for a bit of change, would you scowl, judge him and walk by? Or would you say ‘Sorry, I don’t have any change.” Or would you buy him a coffee and donut? Or would you hand him some money?

I know that these questions pose a moral dilemma for most. The first thing that seems to come to mind is that the beggar will only use the money for nefarious purposes--booze or drugs. And we have an aversion to helping anyone with those addiction problems. We also judge these people. Some of us think, “I worked hard for my money. Why should I give it to him when he can’t be bothered to get a job?” Some of us feel that we should ‘protect them’, buy them food or drink so they don’t spend it on a bottle of rye. Some of us give the money, thinking ‘it’s his choice’.

A while ago I heard two girls in a downtown Wendy’s discussing a man pushing a cart outside. They called him a “bum”, laughed at him, and said he “should get a job”. In their callous naiveté, they thought a job would solve everything for this man. They had no concept of the fact that a person with addictions is physically and mentally unable to keep a job, without a lot of support and therapy. Spurred on by a burst of anger, I stormed outside the Wendy’s with a nearly full container of fries and I asked the man if he wanted them. The light in his eyes was the only answer I needed. Everything he owned was in that shopping cart, with no money for the day’s meal. I talked to him for about 5 minutes, and that man had stories to tell. An avid reader and educated fellow, he once had a job, a family…everything. Then he lost them all. I gave him some money, let him make his own choice for his life.

The opinion of these girls is a common one, and I will admit that even I have had those thoughts, once, about two years ago. Until something happened to change the way I view other people, especially those begging for change. Something that made me want to face those girls and yell, “Don’t laugh at him! That could be your father! Your brother!” But I didn’t. Instead, I went outside and spoke with a man whose life was measured by the belongings in a rusty shopping cart. I’m glad I did. And I owe my actions to my brother Jason.

A number of years ago, I invited my younger brother to come stay with us in Edmonton, Alberta, to look for work and help him get a fresh start. He had been living on Salt Spring Island in BC, and like a typical young person, he’d been getting into some minor trouble. In his early 20s, he moved to Edmonton, and everyone thought his life was just beginning. We never suspected what would happen. Not really.

On January 23rd, 2006, my 28-year-old computer-genius brother with his crazy humor, copper hair and freckled face was brutally murdered. It happened early in the morning in a cold, dark alley not far from the Mustard Seed Church, with no witnesses. I try not to think of his last moments, but it is hard not to imagine him begging for help, or crying for my Mom. Even typing this now is difficult. It’s been over a year since Jason died, yet sometimes it feels like yesterday. I miss him. I miss his laughter, his practical jokes and his generous spirit.

My brother led the life of that man with the cart. He had been homeless for a time, had tried numerous jobs, but his alcohol addiction overwhelmed him. He was on medication, off and on, for depression, and refused to keep in touch with our family. In some ways, he was determined to break free from his lifestyle; in some ways, he wanted us to be separate from it. Even though he lived in the same city, I never knew where he was from one day to the next, and long months would go by with no contact. To be truthful, I was relieved. There is nothing worse than watching someone you love spiral out of control and know that there’s nothing you can do to stop it. His choice, his life.

The morning that the police found Jason was a day like any other for me. I didn’t see the news, and even if I had, they had not released a name. So I went to work, writing in my office like any other day. I was finishing a second version of Whale Song in hopes that it would get picked up by a bigger publisher. And then someone knocked on my door…or the doorbell rang. I don’t remember. When I saw the two men on my doorstep I immediately assumed they were politicians. It was election day. They asked if I was Cheryl Tardif. I said yes. Then they asked me if I had a brother named Jason Kaye. I said yes and let them inside, thinking my brother was in trouble with the law.

It’s funny, that day--funny in a weird dreamlike way. Everyone in my family, including me, had always said that we were expecting a call from the police to say Jason was dead. We had even imagined that he’d end up in an accident, or stagger into a ditch and peacefully fall asleep. We knew he was an alcoholic and we knew he suffered from mental illness. But still, as I sat at my kitchen table with the two detectives, I didn’t really see it coming. Not at first. Not murder.

But someone was watching over me. My brother had left me some ‘gifts’. My husband showed up a minute later. He’d finished work extremely early that day. (Thank you, Jason.) When the detectives told me my brother was dead, that he had been murdered, there was no screaming or crying, no sinking to the floor like I would have imagined. Just a quiet calm that settled over my heart, and a quiet voice in my head that said, “This is the day you knew would come. Jason’s gone.”

The police told me that they had some problems tracking down Jason’s next of kin. After all, my last name is Tardif. I use Kaye, my maiden name, for writing purposes only. They called some Kayes in the area but none of them are related to us. And here was another gift. Jason had told his friends that his sister Cheryl (no last name) was an author in Edmonton who had wrote a book about whales. That’s it. That’s what the police had to go on. They Googled my name--and there I was.

Another gift: three months later, Whale Song was picked up by a bigger publisher and was re-released as a special, revised and expanded edition in April 2007, with a special dedication to my brother Jason. Whale Song is his book now. And as a result, I decided early on that it would benefit others who are struggling with life, addictions and mental illness.

That is why every time you buy a copy of Whale Song, you are helping three organizations: Hope Mission, Mustard Seed Church and the Bissell Centre. 5% of my royalties will go to EACH of these, to help combat poverty, homelessness and addictions. I invite you to order today, spare that bit of change, because I’m begging for it now…on behalf of those in need.

Order Whale Song from Amazon.com

Order Whale Song from Chapters.ca

Thank you again for letting me share my brother Jason with your visitors. For more information on Jason Kaye, please visit his memorial site at http://www.jaysporchmonkeys.com/

I am also begging for change—not money, but change in how we look at others. The next time you see a beggar with his hand out, I hope each of you will think for a moment, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” Spare a little change in how you think, grow mercy…and gain a bit more soul.

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif, author of Whale Song, The River and Divine Intervention



Saturday, October 06, 2007

Neurotic Ramblings

It's very strange to find myself writing mysteries as creating harm and suffering of any kind will send me running under the covers or to the back of the closet faster than than lightning ... so why pick murder?
I am actually picking the cluetrail, but so far haven't found a better format to put it in. Heists seem to be more about planning and robberies in and of themselves, needing to be solved, don't seem to hold an audience without a couple of stiffs thrown in. Does anyone want to solve who did something good? Where's the motivation for that?
Maybe I'm a throwback, in as much as the artists in a culture, whether writers or painters, or others, are apparently representative of that cultures subconscious of their time. Maybe I long for a more innocent time - or has time ever been more innocent?
I believe in the basic goodness of people but attention seems to be turning towards the dark side. Perhaps this is so that a light can be cast on it; child abuse, spouse abuse, elderly abuse can only be stopped once it is acknowledged to be happening. Violence, whether by nations or individuals seems to be such a childish response to apparent conflict and unexamined misunderstandings that it could be very depressing wondering if we will grow up before we destroy ourselves. But if people acted as adults, and there were no kidnapping, rape, or murder, what would mystery writers write about? It's an insane world we live in and trying to find common sanity can be challenging.
Lastly, the picture doesn't really have much to do with the posting, but I believe that writing, like life, should be colourful and illustrated. Or maybe it's depicting that one should be able to get drunk on innocence.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

You have 10 seconds to make a life or death decision...

Let a madman take your child, or watch your son die.

This is the premise for bestselling author Cheryl Kaye Tardif's new UNPUBLISHED novel, Children of the Fog.

A mother's descent into alcoholism and madness leads to strange apparitions and a face-to-face encounter with the monster who abducted her son--a man known only as...
The Fog.

Read an excerpt from Children of the Fog

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

If I did It...Wouldn't I be Crazy to Tell You?

I am referring to the recent non-fiction title If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer by the Goldman Family, which made #2 on the New York Times bestselling list. This is the confession of all confessions--if it's true. Or a warped piece of creative fiction, if it isn't.

Eric Kampmann, publisher of what many seem to be calling "the O.J. book", spoke tonight at the Express Yourself...Authors' Conference held at the Sheraton Park Ridge Hotel in Valley Forge, PA. As a Canadian visiting Pennsylvania, but being familiar with the O.J. media blitz and news about this book, I found it interesting to observe the faces of the people in the room as Kampmann described his passionate belief that this book has its place. Many showed a hint of distaste--not necessarily because of the decision the publisher made to tackle such a sensitive issue, but perhaps more because O.J. Simpson's theoretical 'confession' was being told at all, and in such a shocking way. Kampmann's connection to the Goldman family and to seeing that a certain subtle justice was served by publishing If I Did It seemed apparent in some of his speech, and one could only admire that he saw the people and emotions behind the book and not just dollar signs. Certainly, this story/confession/non-fiction work would have been told eventually, and I can relate to the emotion surrounding the murder of a loved one and to wanting a sense of justice.

My youngest brother Jason Kaye was murdered in Edmonton in January 2006. Since around 2000, he had lived a troubled life of alcoholism and mental illness, making him an unstable and unreliable employee. Without a job, he quickly found himself out on the street. But Jason had a heart of gold and a wacky sense of humor. And this kid was amazingly brilliant with a computer! He was only 28 when he was beaten and left to die in a cold, dark alley. His murderer has not been identified or found; he will probably never be found.

I truly empathize with the Goldmans. No none wants to feel that a murderer has gotten away with the crime. Or even worse, bragged about it or profited in any way from it. The Ron Goldman Foundation for Justice was set up to "empower, inspire, motivate and assist those people that are victims of crime" and "positively impact the lives of these survivors who start each day with pain, grief, trauma and injustice". This book, O.J.'s alleged confession, was their way to ensure that any profit would benefit other victims. Good for them!

Believe me, murder affects people in different ways, even the strongest of people. People who know me would say I'm pretty levelheaded and strong--stubborn even--but I had an extremely hard time leaving my house after my brother's murder. I lived in the same city but far from the rough east end where Jason had died. Yet, I had problems facing people and constantly felt anxiety and panic because even my neighborhood, which was far removed from Jason's world, didn't feel safe anymore.

Although I didn't have the resources to set up a foundation, I found my own way to make some sense of a senseless death, which is what I believe the Goldmans are trying to do. My brother read one of my novels--and only one. Whale Song. I had given him a copy of the original 2003 version shortly after it was released. I found that copy in his room when I went to clean it out. The pages were stained and worn, the cover dull in places. But that book was the most wonderful, beautiful thing I saw in that dingy room. It meant that my brother, throughout all of his downs and being homeless and moving from shelter to street to shelter, had kept a fragile grasp on at least one possession that meant something to him.

Seeing that battered, bruised, worn copy of Whale Song was a gift. For me. And I value it. In response to Jason's murder and finding my book, I have dedicated the new, improved, expanded version of Whale Song to my brother Jason. You will read about him in one of the front pages, and I am permanently donating a percentage of my royalties to the 3 organizations that did their best to help him. Hope Mission, the Bissell Centre and the Mustard Seed Church are doing what they can to make a difference--to combat addictions, homelessness and poverty.

Doing this won't bring my brother back. Neither will the Goldmans' book bring back their son. But out of grief and despair can come the most defining moments of clarity and hope. And we all deserve to find that, and some smeblance of peace and acceptance.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

What would you do?

Chapter Excerpt from Shadow of Innocence

Here's another particularly creepy, helpless-feeling situation with a brief but shuddering nod to the horror genre both classic and contemporary.

So read and think about... what would YOU do?!!

Bridget strained against her bonds, every nerve fiber screaming to let her sink her fingernails into that fat, mocking face. The movement attracted the attention of the figure sitting in the half light at the head of the table. He stopped stroking the blond head of the girl by his side. He slowly got up and moved down the table until he stood next to Bridget.
She stopped struggling and looked up into the bottomless eyes. It was like looking into a deep black well.
Fear began to chip away at her rage. The memories of the night before came rushing back. She felt her stomach constrict as he reached out one of his scarred muscular hands and stroked her cheek, just above the gauze covered wound underneath her black turtleneck.
“You’re right, Cataldo. I did give her something to remember me by last night, but where is it? It should be right here.” His finger traced a line down her cheek. “Yes, it should be right here, but it’s not.” He took Bridget’s heart shaped face between his massive thumb and forefinger and looked into her frightened eyes.
“Didn’t you appreciate my gift? Whether you realize or not, it really was a gift you know. It would have saved you from becoming a soulless, heartless bitch, whose only purpose was to seduce men with those perfect eyes and lips and—face.” The steel-like fingers pressed into her jaw.
“But you rejected my gift. You’ve kept that beautiful face which can only cause you and everyone around you, pain and tears and regret.” His voice was getting louder.
“Where is your mark, little girl? I know I struck your skin. I heard you scream. I smelled burnt flesh. Where is it?”
Bridget pushed back into the moldering chair but his fingers rolled down her face, gripped the collar of the black turtleneck and pulled.
There was a sound of tearing fabric and a satisfied, “Ah, there.”
Tears of rage, pain and humiliation rolled down her cheeks and he caressed them with his fingertips. He put one tear wet finger between his lips and licked it.
“Do you know what it tastes like, little girl?” Bridget bit her lip beneath the gag to keep from crying but it was no use.
“I’m afraid that it still tastes like… beauty.” His eyes burned.
“I thought I had saved you last night and likewise saved everyone who would look at that beautiful face and be poisoned, imprisoned and emasculated. But somehow you avoided my healing brand or twisted away. I failed. I apologize.”
Bridget writhed and tried to pull away from his hands. He smiled. “But I promise you, I won’t fail again.”
He took a gold engraved cigarette lighter out of his pocket. “Shall we complete what we started?”
Bridget’s nostrils flared as she tried to scream underneath her gag.
“Oh, forgive me.” He reached down and ripped the taped gag from her mouth. “You’ll want to scream, won’t you?”
He flicked the wheel over the lighter’s flint and a bright blue flame sprang from its tip. He grabbed Bridget’s jaw in a vise-like grip.
“It was such a pretty face, wasn’t it? But now it going to be better. So much better for all concerned.”
He moved the lighter to her face. Bridget gritted her teeth as the uncontrollable tears ran down her cheeks. Don’t cry. Don’t scream. You are a Connolly girl! she screamed in her mind. Remember the beatings your father’s taken, your grandfather. You are a Connolly, damn you. Don’t cry! But the tears didn’t listen; they kept on dripping onto the stone floor.
He looked at her with something that far back in his dim past might have been a feeling close to compassion. He bent down and kissed her cheek. “This will be the last kiss that this beautiful face will ever receive.”
He pushed the red-hot lighter toward Bridget’s milk-white cheek.
She screamed.


Ric Wasley
Shadow of Innocence - Kunati - April 2007
Acid Test – Fall 2004



Ric Wasley has spent almost forty years wandering through corporate board - rooms and honky-tonk bars. He now divides his time between writing mystery novels – Shadow of Innocence & Acid Test - McCarthy Family Mysteries – and observing the really ‘juicy parts’ of the human condition

New from Kunati Publishing: SHADOW OF INNOCENCE - The Newport Folk Festival provides a groovy backdrop for this fun and exciting mystery set in the music and drug soaked sixties. The Baby Boomers and everyone else are sure to enjoy this appealing mystery featuring a pair of musician partners in love and danger. Don't miss Shadow of Innocence From Kunati Publishing. Available now on; Amazon ,Barnes & Noble and at bookstores everywhere.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Article: Authors Tour the World with Virtual Book Tours by Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Over the years, authors who wanted to promote their books directly to the public had one main option; you had to physically travel across the country conducting book signings and readings in various bookstores and praying that people would show up. This meant spending money on flights, hotels, transportation and meals. This traditional type of book tour is expensive and very few publishing companies are willing to pay for them. But now, authors have a new method of ‘touring the world’―the virtual book tour.

Virtual book tours (also known as virtual author tours, guest blogging, blog tours, or VBTs) are a simple concept. The author tours various blogs and sites that pertain to a theme in the book or to writing in general. This way, you can potentially reach thousands of avid readers each tour day from the privacy of your office or home.

The goal of marketing your book is to expose it to as many people as possible in an exciting, cost-effective and entertaining way. Guest blogging can achieve that goal. Most blogs are archived, so your post becomes permanent and often viral, spreading from site to site. That is leverage. You are in essence leveraging your internet presence and duplicating yourself with every VBT stop. Your blog tour is working for you even while you sleep. Try doing that at a bookstore signing!

Read Cheryl's article Authors Tour the World with Virtual Book Tours on John Kremer's Book Marketing site.

I See Dead People

An occupational hazard for mystery writers - at least this one - is seeing bodies everywhere.

Last weekend we were fortunate enough to go camping at Yoho National Park and the campground was full of stiffs. True, as the morning warmed up, some of them thawed and started making coffee, but some of them remained...last remains.

There were the dead people - starting up at me from the bottom of the outhouse; well, ok, the campground had flush toilets but if there had been an outhouse there would have been a body in the bottom of it: along with the one under the wood pile, slumped behind a stump, feet sticking out of the tent in the next site, stuck in the culvert and going over Takakkaw Falls, Canada's third largest waterfall, following closely by a kayak.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Eavesdropping at Denny's

Today I was writing at my new haunt--the Denny's on 50th St and 25th Ave. My usual writing place--the Cappuccino Affair--may be sold soon and the owner has kind of lost interest, which means that the menu has dwindled to next to nothing and sometimes he isn't even open. Since I like to write for 6+ hours, I need a place where I have a few things to choose from for lunch or supper.

A few weeks ago, I went into Denny's Restaurant and spoke with the owner. He was extremely accommodating, allowing me to come in and write any time and for as long as I want to--even if all I order is coffee. Well, he's got nothing to worry about there. I happen to like way too many things on their menu! And they're open 24-7!

I have two favorite tables already, and the staff is getting to know me and I, them. Some great young people work there! Sogand has greeted me every day that I show up as if I'm her favorite author, yet I know she hasn't read any of my books. So today I brought her a signed copy of Whale Song as a thank you because she had shown an interest in my work and she always made sure I got my table as soon as it was available. Today, however, my favorite tables were full, so I sat at a different one (there are only 4 with outlets for my laptop). Then I set to work on Divine Justice, book 2 in the Divine series.

I was well into my story and characters when 2 women and 2 young boys (not sure of their ages--maybe 5 and 8) sat down in the booth behind me. They were a bit boisterous and I was distracted, so I figured I'd take a break. I started up my Spider Solitaire and was settling into a game when I heard something that made my ears perk up. My name. Well, not my name exacly but "Aunty Cheryl", who was sitting behind me. The two boys were so excited that Aunty Cheryl was visiting that they couldn't contain themselves and soon their mother was reprimanding them for interrupting. I had to smile. How do you possibly contain two small bodies who obviously love their Aunty Cheryl? For a moment, I wished I was their Aunty Cheryl. :)

I tried to return to my game, but then they began talking about a subject that filled my ears. Books and reading. Okay, could you possibly dangle more carrots in front of me?! Apparently the other woman knew someone who had just found a love for reading and she was excited for him. I thought she was talking about one of the boys at first. She mentioned some book titles and authors' names, and then I made carrot cake out of all the carrots they were dangling and turned around.

"Excuse me," I said. "I'm sorry..." I saw the look on their faces. I think they thought I was going to complain about noise or something. "...I couldn't help but overhear your conversation. I'm an author."

Eyes lit up. I let out a breath, relieved that they weren't going to snarl at me for having large ears.

"What do you write?" they asked. To which I replied, "Suspense, mysteries and thrillers." I passed them two of my (ever ready) bookmarks. To Aunty Cheryl I said in a low voice, "I was asked recently what I do and I told them 'I kill people for a living.'" It's a good thing she got my joke! :)

I discovered that the new avid reader was actually the one woman's husband. So I mentioned that The River is my bestseller with men. After a brief chat, I turned back to my work. It's really hard to NOT listen when someone is talking about you literally behind your back. lol I heard the moment they discovered my name. "Her name's Cheryl too," someone said.

Before they left, I heard that one of the boys wanted to ask me a question. They tried to encourage him to come and ask me, but he was too shy. I set my glasses aside and waited. A second later, they all appeared at my side. The older of the two boys asked me his question: "Why did you call it Whale Song."

I smiled. And then I told him why.


Read Amazon reviews of Whale Song.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Mystery Factory

Oh so slowly the new website is moving along: www.mysteryfactory.com. - We Make Mysteries - I shouldn't even be mentioning it because it's not ready to go yet; bits and pieces here and there have been inserted but much remains undone.

Part of the project is very exciting. A few different libraries have had events based on the Gumshoe Detective Agency - which is complete and the feedback is fabulous. The kids love our stuff!!! Easy to use, exciting to play.

The scripts for profession troupes are getting tested now and that is promising as well.

The third area, which is just being researched, is house parties; Cluetrail Capers. My quest is to find out what people want in a mystery house party. The box games have been around for years; to mixed reviews - some fun, some boring. Pretty much depends on who's playing them probably. My challenge is to come up with something more guaranteed for a good time. Something failsafe in the script; but it won't actually be a script. More guidelines and set up and a secret surprise that I'm not talking about yet.

At the moment I'm wondering; do people like themes? Which ones? How much preparation are they interested in doing? Would they have a mystery party just to have fun or for someone's birthday or anniversary? If anyone would like to give input on any of these questions, I would love to hear it!

Friday, August 31, 2007

What would you do? – “Don’t go down into that dark cellar alone!”

Another in the "What would you do?" questions.

As the scene opens a young wife in Mid-Victorian New England has recieved a letter and a plea - coupled with a warning from her husband. He is on a desparate mission to recover an object of great and terrible power that has been stolen from his keeping. The thief has also murdered a companion and robbed the young man of all of the funds with which he had been entrusted to persue the criminal.
So now he is forced to ask his teenage wife to secure the remainder of the money and bring it to him.
But he also must give her a warning. There is something else besides the money in the dark cellar. Something that does not like being disturbed.

Excerpt from The Scrimshaw: Coming in the Fall of 2008

"This brings me to what I must ask of you my loyal wife. Were there some other way - but there is not. I am now bereft of all of my funds as the thief Tanner left me not a single coin. I have been forced to borrow the price of a train ticket to New Bedford from innkeeper Hows. I swore to him that I would repay him but he would have none of it. He said to just bring the thieving black dog back to Sudbury to stand trial for the murder of John Twin-Hawks. I promised to do all in my power to bring him to justice. And that is where I need your help my dear one. You must go into the room in the cellar where I keep the scrimshaws, which I know you despise, as please believe me - so do I! There, go to the northwest corner of the room and pull up the third floorboard from the right-hand wall. You will find a strong box containing a portion of the gold eagles. You must bring them to me in New Bedford so that I may continue my pursuit of Tanner.
Once you reach New Bedford, take a goodly room at the Bristol Hotel down by the harbor. It is there I will come to you.
One final instruction. Nay – a plea from one who loves you more than his own life. Leave today my love. Do not linger another hour in the house on Skaket creek.
Upon finishing the reading of this letter, go straight to the house. Pack your valise. Then while the sun still shines through the cellar window upon the scrimshaws, go to that room and retrieve the gold. But I implore you. Do not tarry! You must be out of that house and away before sunset. I fear that in his selfish and cruel greed, Tanner has set something in motion that only the hand of God with my poor help, can set right.
Come to me with all speed, my own dear wife.

Your devoted and loving husband

Fiona's hands trembled again. But this time she was afraid that no amount of willpower could stop them.
The pages fluttered from her fingers into the sand. She reached down absently and gathered them up. Then stuffing them into the damp pocket of her still wet dress, she started up the path to the house. She looked up at her home, but for the first time with fear. A dark cloud passed over the sun, plunging the house into wavering shadows. It looked somehow - sinister. As though there was a dark and brooding presence waiting there. Something evil. Waiting. Waiting for her.
She thought about the noises she'd been hearing at night recently. A shuffling and a creaking sound. But now they no longer seemed like the normal, friendly sounds of a new house settling on its foundation. They seemed dark and - evil.

Calling on the last remains of her Scotts/Irish courage, she walked quickly into the house. She threw clothes into her old carpetbag and hurriedly rushed down the stairs without even bothering to change her sea-stained dress. The worst part was entering the cellar room.
Clutching her tiny gold crucifix in one hand and reciting the Lord's prayer in a continuing litany, she quickly found and pulled up the floorboard. She grabbed the strongbox, tore it open and up-ended its contents of gold coins into her carpetbag walked to the door. She had just reached the threshold when a wind from nowhere blew it shut - right in her face. She reached out her hand, slippery with the sweat of cold fear and turned the handle. It wouldn't budge.
No. Oh no!
Once again a spiteful cloud passed over the sun and the room was thrown into shadows. The creaking noise began.
"Oh sweet merciful Mary - Mother of God," she prayed, "Please help me. Don't let me die here - in this awful place, I pray you. My husband needs me. I must go to him. He needs me. And you know sweet Mary, that I - I – am, and will be - needed. Oh please - help me!"
The tears poured down her face as the sounds of creaking timbers and rising wind became louder. "No! Please!" She gave one last desperate tug on the door handle it. And it turned.
Still blinded by tears and goaded by terror, she fled blindly up the stairs, out the back door of the house and into the carriage shed. She threw the carpetbag into the surrey, dragged their old mare into the harness traces and frantically urged the poor old horse into a trot.
"Come-on old Bess. Please girl. Run, yes run! That's a good old girl,” she sobbed gratefully as the horse picked up speed.
She didn't look back as the ocean wind blew the sandy dust away from the surreys tracks. But all the way down the dirt road, she could feel the stare of something evil. Watching her leave. And waiting.



Ric Wasley
Shadow of Innocence
Kunati - April 2007


Ric Wasley has spent almost forty years wandering through corporate board - rooms and honky-tonk bars. He now divides his time between writing mystery novels – Shadow of Innocence & Acid Test - McCarthy Family Mysteries – and observing the really ‘juicy parts’ of the human condition

New from Kunati Publishing: SHADOW OF INNOCENCE - The Newport Folk Festival provides a groovy backdrop for this fun and exciting mystery set in the music and drug soaked sixties. The Baby Boomers and everyone else are sure to enjoy this appealing mystery featuring a pair of musician partners in love and danger. Don't miss Shadow of Innocence From Kunati Publishing. Available now on; Amazon ,Barnes & Noble and at bookstores everywhere.

Last day of Cheryl Kaye Tardif's virtual book tour: read chapter 2 of Children of the Fog

Today marks the end of my month long virtual book tour, and I will confess, I am exhausted! It's been a long time since I've written these many articles and answered these many interviews. :) But I had so much fun visiting all of my hosts' wonderful sites, getting to know them and answering questions from visitors via email or comments.

Thank you! You have all made my 'Touring the World' virtual book tour a success! And I look forward to doing it again.

For today's stop, and because I had so many email requests, I have given you chapter 2 of my new unpublished novel, Children of the Fog.

You will notice a "book cover". This is something I designed to inspire me and it is not intended to be the actual cover. In fact, I'm hoping my publisher will come up with something even more eerie and creepy and foggy. :) On the back of my mock up cover is the following text:

Would you let a monster take your child?

A mother's descent into alcoholism and madness leads to strange apparitions and a face-to-face encounter with the monster who abducted her son--a man known only as...

The Fog.

Sadie O'Connell is a bestselling author and a proud mother. But her life is about to spiral out of control.

After her six-year-old son Sam is kidnapped by a serial abductor known as The Fog, she nearly goes insane. But it isn't just the fear and grief that is ripping her apart. It's the guilt.

She is the only person who knows what The Fog looks like. And she can't tell a soul. For if she does, her son will be sent back to her in "little bloody pieces".

When her unfaithful husband stumbles across a drawing of The Fog, he sets into play a series of horrific events that sends Sadie hurtling over the edge. Unable to deal with her pain, she drowns her sorrow the only way she knows.

"Tardif specializes in mile-a-minute pot-boiler mysteries." --Edmonton Sun

Read chapter 2 of Children of the Fog by Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Read the prologue and chapter 1 first!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Day 30 of Cheryl's VBT: contest reminder and racial acceptance interview

Two days to go on my 'Touring the World' virtual book tour. Today, I have to remind those of you who ordered Whale Song on August 12th as part of my 44 Prizes contest to remember to email me with your Amazon shipping confirmation. The first 44 emails I receive will WIN FREE BOOKS! For more info, please check my contests page.

And now...for today's stop. Today I am visiting Newspaper Rock, an interesting blog that discusses native topics and pop culture. I have read many of Rob Schmidt's posts and find them very thought-provoking. Today he interviews me in a 2-part post.

Part 1 deals with the native element in my novel Whale Song.

Part 2 deals with the theme of bullying and racism, particularly among our children.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Murder Mystery Event

If you live in the Invermere BC area and would enjoy a little murder and mayhem with your Moroccan meal - get yourself to the Pynelogs Cultural Centre on September 29. The Columbia Valley Arts Council is staging a murder mystery fundraising dinner 'CasaPynelogs' - loosely based on CasaBlanca of Bogey fame and mix-up with a little local history. For information and tickets call 250-342-4423.

Dress is forties style and there will be a variety of prizes for costume and other contests as well as solving the mystery.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Day 25 of virtual book tour: Picture Perfect by Cheryl Kaye Tardif

The following is a sinister Amazon Short

by Cheryl Kaye Tardif…

Picture Perfect

© 2006 Cheryl Kaye Tardif

When my sister, Belle, vanished back in 1956, I lost more than you could possibly imagine. And in the last fifty years, I've never told anyone what I saw. That summer day, I lost a part of my family, a piece of my heart…and I think I lost my soul as well.

In 1956, on the morning of the Calgary Summer Carnival, my baby sister and I were so giddy with excitement that our mother threatened to ground us for bad behavior. There's no worse punishment on the face of this earth than being left behind on Summer Carnival day.

Well, maybe there's one worse thing.

That morning, in the front seat of my father's pickup truck, we were crammed together like cattle at an auction. Some of the stuffing in the seat had escaped, but my father made a half-hearted attempt at fixing it by placing strips of black tape across its gaping wounds. Black tape, however, couldn't fix the broken windshield. It had rock chips in it the size of plum pits. A long spidery crack ran across the passenger side in front of me, cutting the trees and road in half. I had visions of the windshield breaking and driving sharp pieces of glass into us.

"Caroline, you have such an awful imagination," my mother scolded me when I told her my fear. "Why can't ya be more like Belle? She's not worryin'. Are ya, baby?"

Belle, in her new blue dress, patted my arm and then smiled up at our mother. "It's gonna be a perfect day."

I glared at my sister. Traitor!

Pouting all the way to town, I refused to even look at Belle. I plotted all the terrible things I would do to her―like make her eat candy until she puked. I'd make Belle pay. Somehow.

Upon reaching the Summer Carnival grounds, the truck lurched to a stop and dropped us in the middle of the parking lot. The scorching sun beamed down on us, and I swear we could have fried eggs and sausages on that road.

My father's heavy hand clamped down upon the top of my head. In his other hand, he held out three dollars.

"You watch your sister now," he said sternly. "Me an' your ma have to talk to somebody about some hay, so Belle's your responsibility. You hear me, girl?"

Belle’s always my responsibility, I wanted to say. But being only eleven years old, I didn't have the courage.

So I nodded and snatched the money before he changed his mind. And then I spent the entire morning following my sister around the carnival grounds. She picked the rides we went on and the treats we ate. Everything was about Belle, and by lunch, I was tired of it.

Midway through the afternoon, I had a strange feeling. It felt like hungry eyes were watching us―devouring us. Every now and then, I made Belle stop walking, just so I could peer into the crowd. Faces came and went, but I saw nothing out of the ordinary. No one was paying any attention to us.

Or so I thought.

By suppertime, the feeling that we were being watched was so intense that I was sure I'd be sick. I tried to ignore the strange uneasiness tugging at the pit of my stomach. But it was impossible. I could feel a storm brewing. Yet, when I looked up at the sky, there wasn't a cloud in sight.

Belle's easy laughter caught my attention and I turned to watch her while she rode the Spinning Tops. After the ride was over, I followed her to the candy store, unable to take my gaze off her sparkling eyes and cherry-pink smile.

I had always been envious of Belle―with her long, blond, sun-kissed hair and sky-blue eyes. At five years old, my sister was the apple of my father's eye. And according to my mother, you could have made a whole pie out of her. I, on the other hand, was a 'plain Jane’, as my father often reminded me. I was cursed with dirt-brown hair and my eyes were the color of ripe manure sizzling on the pavement. I'd never be the apple of anyone's eye.

When we reached the candy store, a woman behind the counter gave Belle a lollipop. I had to pay for mine, but my sister's was free.

"Because you're just so pretty and sweet," the woman told Belle. "An angel from Heaven, if I ever did see one."

She squinted at me, shook her head slowly and then looked back at Belle. I could almost hear the woman's thoughts. That poor, plain child. How could she possibly be related to this little beauty?

Barely concealing my jealousy, I pulled Belle out of the store. Outside, I plucked sticky cotton candy from her hair. Then I gave her an angry shove and watched her trip in the tall grass. When she picked herself off the ground, her brand-new dress was ripped and stained.

I almost laughed.

"Follow me," I said, heading down the wood-planked sidewalk.

I don't know why, but I felt such an irrepressible desire to hurry. Years later, I made myself believe that Destiny had called us. I told myself it was Fate―laughing and mocking me―that had thrown us like windblown corn seed into an old building at the end of the street.

Grandpa’s Tymeless Fotos.

Inside the wooden framed building, brass oil lanterns cast eerie shadows on the rough pine walls. Deep burgundy and sapphire-blue curtains hung heavily on two walls, while black and white pictures lined the third. Some of the pictures were charcoal drawings. But most were somber, yellowed photographs of another time―another era. In every photograph, the women all wore fancy dresses that dragged on the ground. In the foreground of each picture, a bearded black-eyed man leaned in the doorway or against a post outside the buildings. Not one person smiled.

"Picture…perfect," a gravely voice said behind us.

I whipped around, startled.

An old white-haired man stepped from behind the burgundy curtain. He wore clothes like the people in the photographs and looked like no Grandpa I'd ever seen. He patted my sister on the head, and before I could say a word, he handed her an Orange Twist―my favorite candy―and Belle greedily plopped it in her mouth.

"Belle!" I protested. "We're not supposed to take anything from strangers."

Holding my head high and proud, I scowled at the old man. "Mister, you shouldn't be givin' candy to children when you don't know 'em."

His black, beady eyes twisted my heart with their intensity and turned it into ice.

I nudged Belle. "Let's get out—"

"Caroline!" the old man interrupted. "Dontcha want yer picture taken?"

I wondered for a moment how he knew my name. I was going to ask him, but Belle slipped her gooey hand into mine.

"Please, Caroline?" she begged. "A perfect day, remember?"

Sighing with resignation, I realized that we weren't leaving until my sister had her picture taken. After all, what Belle wanted, Belle always got.

I snuck a peek at the old man.

He nodded. Then he smiled―if you could call it a smile…

Read the entire Amazon Short.

Please check my virtual book tour schedule at:


Please note: This tour is to promote my latest release Whale Song, an Amazon bestseller. A portion of my royalties for Whale Song is going to 3 nonprofit organizations to help combat poverty, homelessness and addictions. To order Whale Song, please order from Amazon.com, Chapters.ca or from your favorite bookstore or other online retailers.

And if you read Whale Song plus two other Kunati titles, you can qualify to enter Kunati’s Great Summer Reads Contest.

Which World?

Which world do I live in? There is my physical day-to-day life. What's normally called "real life". Then there's the second world that's a mix of reality and fiction. Always walking somewhat outside of my life, I'm constantly translating it for adaptation into a book. I live with these creations: events that never happen, people I never meet. The third and final world is totally fictional. It's the world of my current work in progress. It's that time and place and most particularly those people who call to me. They need me to live. Sitting here looking out to a gray rainy morning, I realize I need them as well. Which world does the mind of a criminal writer live in? Well, for me right now, I'm going to live in my characters world - 1956 in Toronto, Ontario. For a preview of my next novel, Memory of Murder go to WindyGale.ca

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Day 19: Chapter 3 of Cheryl Kaye Tardif's psychic crime suspense--Divine Intervention

Read Chapter 1 & 2 first

Divine Intervention

©2004 Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Chapter 3

~ Loon Lake near Kelowna , BC

The helicopter deployed Jasi and her PSI team one mile from the fire. A fog of gray smoke greeted them. It hung in the air over the crime scene like a smothering electric blanket set on high. The scorching sun smiled down upon them, adding to the heat.

Fire trucks were parked on the side of a grassy field surrounded by thick trees and weedy underbrush. An oversized khaki-colored army tent had been pitched in the center of the field while an exhausted group of firefighters slept nearby in the shade. A variety of police vehicles slanted across the gravel road, blocking off public access.

A tired, sooty police officer strolled toward them. "Hey, Ben."

Ben grinned and introduced the man. "This is Sgt. Eric Jefferson, Kelowna PD."

"How's it hangin', Ben?" Jefferson asked, after introductions were complete. "Are you supervising this case?"

"Actually, I am," Jasi said, only slightly offended.

Ben grimaced apologetically. "Eric and I trained at the VPA range together."

The Vancouver Police Academy was highly regarded worldwide for its superior training of police officers. The academy owned acres of land outside the city limits. The rough terrain had been converted to a firearm training facility used by CFBI agents and police officers.

There was also a separate area for the bomb squad.

"A van's coming to get you," Jefferson said. "And someone'll be here any minute with the supplies you requested."

"Where's the Chief of AI?" Jasi asked him.

"Over by the tents, I think."

Jefferson glanced over his shoulder at an approaching truck. "Your supplies are here."

A police officer in his mid-forties, dressed in a fresh uniform, jumped from the truck. When he spotted them standing by the edge of the road his eyes narrowed. A firefighter wearing fire gear, minus the hat and mask, climbed from the passenger side carrying a bright red equipment bag. He had a stocky build and blond hair that was cut in a surfer style, long on the sides.

The man reminded Jasi of an advertisement for steroids.

She caught his eye and he aimed a withering look in her direction. Uh oh, she thought. Steroid-man wasn't happy to see them.

"Detective Randall," Jefferson murmured, indicating the officer. "He's the lead on the Victoria case."

"He was the lead," Jasi corrected him.

She watched while Randall and the stocky firefighter lumbered closer. When the two men reached her, she held out a hand.

"Agent McLellan, CFBI."

The detective winced at her words. Then his hand crushed her fingers, challenging her to back down.

Jasi squeezed harder until Randall let go.

After introducing her team, she caught Randall fighting with Ben for alpha male status. Detective Randall lost. Tension sliced through the air, thick with male testosterone. She saw Ben wave Eric Jefferson aside.

Jasi stole a glance at the firefighter.

The man's head was turned slightly away. On the shoulder of his jacket, a blue firefighter's patch flapped loosely in the breeze. R. J. Scott, KFD, the patch read.

"Have you got the supplies?" she asked him, feeling a shudder of pain behind her eyes.

Scott dropped the red bag on the ground, crouched down and jerked the zipper open. "Right here."

Her head began to pound. The smoke was invading her pores. She reached into her black backpack and extracted the can of OxyBlast. For half a minute, she sucked on the mouthpiece, inhaling pure oxygen and clearing her lungs.

"The oxy-mask is in the bag," Scott muttered in a voice that was hoarse from breathing in too much smoke.

When he brushed the hair from his eyes, she sucked in a puff of air. The left side of the man's face was scarred―a motley web of spidery burns.

"Hazard of the job," he shrugged when he noticed her shocked expression.

Detective Randall joined them. "You done here, Scott?"

"Yeah," the firefighter grunted.

Randall stared at Jasi and laughed rudely. "I don't know why she needs the mask."

Scott scowled at her. "Yeah, it's as useless as tits on a bull―unless she's gonna go into a live fire."

The men grinned at each other, then caught her eye.

"Detective Randall," she said coldly. "There are many things that are useless on a bull."

She allowed her eyes to slowly drift down past Randall's waist, locking in on his groin area. The man's face grew pinched, and then he muttered something indistinctly.

She turned her back and reached into the bag, removing the familiar navy-blue mask. It had a built-in filtration system that eliminated air contamination, giving the wearer a clean source of oxygenated air. Small and lightweight, the oxy-mask fit securely over the nose and mouth.

She drew it snugly over her head and adjusted her ponytail. Fighting back a feeling of claustrophobia, she took a deep breath.

"I'm fine," she assured Natassia who was watching her intently. "The residue is bad out here."

The oxy-mask muffled her voice.

"It wasn't that big a fire," Scott huffed.

"Not this fire. The Kelowna fire."

The firefighter eyed her suspiciously.

"What? That fire was years ago." The scarred side of his face stretched tautly and barely moved when he spoke.

"Agent McLellan?" Ben called out, hurrying to her side with Sgt. Jefferson in tow. "Everything all right here?"

"Everything's fine," she assured him.

Her head swiveled and her eyes latched onto Detective Randall's. "Right?"

The man flashed her a dangerous smile. "We don't need your help. Victoria PD is more than capable of handling"

Jasi threw the man a frigid glare.

"This isn't a pissing contest, detective. The CFBI was called in and it's our case now. Both of them. And if you have a problem with that, then take it up with your supervisor."

Outraged, Randall tipped his head toward Scott, then stomped back to the truck and sped away in an angry cloud of dust. Scott watched him go. A second later, he rasped a quick goodbye and headed for the field. Joining a small group of firefighters, he pointed in Jasi's direction and circled one finger beside his head.


Cursing under her breath, she spun around and looked Eric Jefferson directly in the eye.

"What about you, Sgt. Jefferson? You have a problem with us being here?"

The police officer smiled. "Whatever gets the job done, Agent McLellan. That's my motto. With a serial arsonist on the loose we can use all the help we can get."

"Too bad those two don't feel the same way," Jasi growled, casting a shadowed look in Scott's direction.

Jefferson glanced toward the field. "Scott's just a rookie with a big mouth. Randall, on the other hand, he's a hotshot. He needs the collar." He nudged his head in Detective Randall's direction. "It's guys like him you need to worry about…and maybe Chief Walsh."

"I'll take care of the chief," she muttered. "As soon as I find the man."

Jefferson elbowed Ben. "If Scott or Randall get in your way, you let me know. I'm the CS Supervisor."

Jasi caught a brief nod then the man headed for a patrol car.

"Good luck with the chief," Jefferson called over his shoulder.

When the officer was gone, Ben removed two mini-cans of OxyBlast from the equipment bag and passed them to Natassia. Natassia tucked the cans into Jasi's backpack and pulled out a small protective nosepiece. She handed it to Jasi who carefully tucked it away in the top pocket of her black PSI jacket.

"Thanks," Jasi smiled beneath the oxy-mask.

She shoved her arms through the straps of her pack, shifting it slightly so the weight was balanced on her back.

Natassia nudged her. "Let's find the AI Chief. He's supposed to be here somewhere. Then we can get a ride to the scene. Man, I'm starved! I could go for lunch right about now―maybe a nice marinated steak."

Jasi grinned. "Yeah, with sautéed mushrooms."

"Excuse me for interrupting your culinary exchange," Ben nudged dryly. "I'm going to talk to the police. You gonna move or stand there swapping recipes all day?"

Laughing, Jasi adjusted her backpack while Natassia picked up the red bag. Then they headed toward a group of firefighters.

Jasi noted their smoke-covered faces and sooty yellow fire jackets. The men were in the middle of a serious discussion and no one noticed their approach.

"Excuse me, gentlemen," Natassia called out.

The men stopped talking.

Oh Jesus! They're gonna start drooling any minute.

Jasi rolled her eyes when she saw the firefighters focus in on Natassia like a swarm of bees. One of the firefighters stepped forward, grinning unabashedly. The man's eyes slowly perused Natassia's body, then his ice blue eyes turned and rested on hers. One eyebrow lifted when he registered the mask she wore.

She stiffened slightly, registering his obvious contempt.

"Well, well. What have we here?" the man drawled sarcastically. "Uh, ma'am? The fire is out now. There's no need for that mask."

The firefighter was over six feet tall―a lumbering, magnificent personification of man. He had eyelashes that most women would die for, and eyes that were such an unusual pale shade of blue that she wondered if he had visited a SEE office. A jagged scar intercepted his right brow, narrowly missing his eye. A slight cleft in his chin gave him an air of stubbornness. Dark wavy hair clung to his head and she couldn't help but wonder what it would feel like to run her fingers through those curls.

Jasi held his gaze while she examined him like a lab specimen in a jar. Built like a tank, she thought.

"I think maybe you're a bit lost, ma'am," he said, his lip curling disdainfully.

He turned toward the men, brushing her off like an annoying wasp at a barbecue.

She stared at the back of his head and then flipped her badge. "That's Agent McLellan, not ma'am. Where's the chief?" Her voice was cool, her eyes unwavering.

"Whoo-eee!" the man whistled when he caught sight of her ID. "An agent with an attitude. How rare!"

He shifted so that he was standing in front of her. Behind him, some of the men snickered loudly.

Jasi's smile was deadly sweet. "Listen, you arrogant asshole. When I find the chief and report you I'll have you on desk duty for a month. Now where is he?"

The man's eyes snared hers, turning her knees to mush.

Suddenly he reached for her arm, gripped it firmly and led her away from the laughing eyes of the firefighters. She felt the heat of his fingers through her jacket, branding her as his possession.

Natassia nudged her sharply. "Jas"

"Shh!" Jasi interrupted her, glaring up at the man whose tanned fingers still curled around her upper arm. "I could have you up on charg―"

"Check out his shoulder patch!" Natassia hissed.

Jasi glanced down. Then her eyes found the patch.

Walsh, Chief of Arson Investigations .

Her eyes traveled back to the man's face. His expression was dark and smug. For a second her composure flickered. There was something annoyingly attractive about the man.

But damned if she would let that cloud her judgement.

"Brandon Walsh, at your service," he said blandly, interrupting her thoughts. "AI Chief Walsh, that is."

Jasi ignored his outstretched hand and felt her temper rising when his eyes scoped Natassia's hip-hugging jeans and tight blouse. Men!

When he turned to issue a command to the firefighters, Jasi couldn't restrain the snicker that erupted from her throat. The back of the man's fire jacket was well worn. The lettering in some places was covered with black scorch marks.

Walsh, Chief of Ars In stig tions.

"Arse, all right," she muttered under her breath.

Abruptly, Walsh turned, piercing her with a frigid stare. Then he frowned and jerked his head.

"This way, Agent McLellan."

"Now isn't he a fabulous piece of work?" Natassia mumbled in her ear. "Check out the size of those hands."


Although Jasi had to admit, his hands were well shaped―like the rest of him.

Beside her, Natassia giggled beneath her breath. "You know what they say about large hands―"

"Shhh! Wouldn't want him to hear you. It might go to his head."

And that's big enough already!

She followed Walsh to a table standing beneath the shade of a tent.

He pulled out a chair beside his, offering it to her.

"You gonna tell me why you're wearing that mask?"

Jasi's eyes fastened on his and she took the chair across from him instead. "Allergies."

Walsh watched her for a long moment. "As the AI Chief, I've been informed of your…uh, special team. I wasn't given much info though."

"What have you got so far on the victim?"

"We've only received a few of the reports. Dr. Norman Washburn, age fifty-eight. He's the only victim . The fire originated in his livingroom where Washburn was tied to his recliner with IV tubing."

"Time of death?"

"Estimated TOD, one to two a.m. ," Walsh replied. "We believe he died from smoke inhalation. We'll know for sure when the autopsy's in."

"What about neighbors? Anyone see anything?"

Walsh shook his head. "The cabins are separated by trees and bushes. He had no immediate neighbors."

"Did you ask around?" she asked impatiently.

"Listen," he said glibly. "I'm well aware that we've been ordered by the CFBI to cooperate with your team, but personally, I think AI is capable of handling this ourselves. And I don't really buy into the whole psychic thing."

She detected a trace of bitterness in his voice.

Jasi bit back her reply, frustrated.

She was sick and tired of having to defend herself―and her team. This wasn't the first time that someone had questioned the PSI's value.

"Chief Walsh, we've got two fires, three murder victims and few leads to go on. We're here to aid this investigation, not hamper it. You're not too macho to take help wherever you can get it, are you?"

Walsh laughed. "Macho? Now there's an outdated term."

Jasi refitted her oxy-mask.

She desperately wished she could tear it off her face and rip into the man before her. His attitude grated on her and left her feeling uneasy.

Walsh pointed to a Qwazi laptop and touched the screen with a stylus .

"Here's the data from the X-Disc. Have a seat and read through it. And yes, we asked around. No one saw anything. I'll go check on the other agent. Where'd he go, anyway?"

"Agent Roberts is busy drafting up a rough profile and arranging for transport to the scene," Natassia spoke up for the first time.

"Upload the data, Natassia," Jasi ordered. "I'll go check on Ben."

She cast a warning look in the AI Chief's direction. "I'm counting on your support. Don't get in my way, Walsh."

The man raised a well-shaped eyebrow. "I have no intention of getting in your way. Just stay out of mine."

She clenched her teeth. "Trust me, I'd be happy to stay away from you."

"Jesus, thanks. I think. And here I thought I was irresistible."

Jasi huffed in exasperation.

The man was insufferable. The sooner she finished her job here, the sooner she could put Brandon Walsh out of her mind.

Walsh accompanied her outside, and slipped on a pair of dark sunglasses.

"Need anything else?" she asked tightly.

"Yeah. What's Agent Prushenko's role?"

"She's a Victim Empath."

The man stared blankly, his lip curling in disbelief.

"She picks up vibrations―pictures from the victims," she explained. "Usually she sees their final moments."

"Yeah, right," he scoffed.

Jasi gripped Walsh's arm, her eyes flashing angrily.

"Agent Prushenko has empathic abilities, whether you believe in them or not. She's been a PSI for eight years, traveled worldwide and is recognized as one of the best VE's in the CFBI."

She wanted to slug the man.

Walsh grinned. "What about you?"

"I've been with PSI for almost six years. That's all you need to know."

"What do you do?"

"She reads fires," Natassia interjected, poking her head from the tent.

Wordlessly, Jasi glared at her partner.

"He needs to know, Jasi. Otherwise he's useless."

Brandon Walsh―useless?

Jasi hid a sly grin. "I can usually tell you where and how a fire started. Sometimes I pick up the perp's last thoughts or the last thing he saw."

"She's a Pyro-Psychic," Natassia bragged. "Jasi is the best there is."

"Jasi?" Walsh smirked.

"That's Agent McLellan to you!" Jasi snapped.

She'd make Natassia pay for that slip-up.

Oops , Natassia mouthed silently, raising her open hands in the air.

"Time for you to leave, Walsh," Jasi said rudely. "I'm sure there's something out there for the Chief of AI to do. Just remember we're running the show here."

Walsh's breath blew warm against her ear. "We'll see about that."

Then he hurried from the tent. "See ya later…Jasi."

With her eyes glued to his back, Jasi cursed aloud.

"Not if I can help it!"

Brandon Walsh walked away from the tent, unsure about the PSI's role. He had heard of the Psychic Skills Investigators in his dealings with various police departments, but his cases rarely required CFBI intervention. Or interference, as he thought of it.

As the AI Chief, he was compelled to assist the CFBI in any investigation involving serial arsonists. And that didn't sit too well with him―not one bit.

He'd show Agent Jasi McLellan who was boss.

After all, wasn't he the one responsible for capturing the arsonist involved in the Okanagan Mountain forest fires of 2003? He had led the AI team that had tracked down the arsonist and the accelerant used to set the blaze.

The press had blamed an unattended campfire for the raging fires that consumed a massive portion of the BC forest. Then a week later, it was rumored that a single cigarette had ignited the blaze. That was before the public ban on smoking became official―before people were restricted to smoking in the privacy of their homes, in well-ventilated smoking rooms.

Brandon had never believed the fire had started from a cigarette. He personally sifted through acres of destroyed forest, searching for a clue. He had explored the land until he discovered an abandoned cabin deep in the mountains.

There, he found remnants of liquid methylyte and zymene , highly flammable chemicals used in the underground production of Z-Lyte. Z-Lyte, with its sweet musky scent, had become the hallucinogenic drug of the new generation.

Public homeowner records listed Edwin Bruchmann as the owner of the cabin. An hour later, Bruchmann was in custody. When the old man was escorted into an interview room by his caregiver, Brandon was disappointed to discover that Bruchmann suffered from Alzheimer's.

Brandon 's leads were slowly disintegrating―until his suspicions turned to the caregiver. Gregory Lawrence, thirty-nine, had been employed by Bruchmann for the past two years and had access to all of the old man's documents. But Lawrence denied knowing anything about a cabin.

"When was the last time Mr. Bruchmann visited his lakeside cabin?" Brandon had asked the caregiver.

Lawrence 's face had registered confusion.

Then, without thinking, he had blurted, "You idiots! Edwin Bruchmann's cabin is not by any lake. See? I told you, you have the wrong person. Mr. Bruchmann's cabin overlooks the valley."

Brandon had smiled then. "I thought you knew nothing about the cabin?"

"I, uh…" the man stuttered. "Well, I m-might have heard about it once. But that doesn't prove anything!"

A knock on the door halted the interrogation and a detective passed Brandon a toxicology report.

"Maybe not," Brandon had agreed. "But this sure does."

Earlier he had recognized the sweet-smelling body odor common with Z-Lyte users. Suspicious, he offered Lawrence a can of pop. When the man had finished it, Brandon dropped it into a plastic bag and handed it over to the lab for analysis.

It came back positive for Z-Lyte.

The case was immediately closed, Gregory Lawrence locked away, Bruchmann established in a care facility and Brandon promoted to AI Chief.

All accomplished without any outside help.

And Brandon certainly hadn't needed a PSI!

This new case was no different, he reasoned. What could Agent Jasi McLellan possibly offer?

Psychic mumbo-jumbo?

He laughed suddenly, adjusting his shades.

How could the woman expect him to believe she had the power to see into a killer's mind?

I'd have to see it to believe it.

©2007 Cheryl Kaye Tardif
Get the whole story. Order Divine Intervention now.

Note from Cheryl: This month I am giving away free books at some of my virtual book tour stops, so be sure to check my schedule and drop by. http://www.whalesongbook.com/virtual-tour-2007/

To order Whale Song, please order from Amazon.com this month. Also, if you read Whale Song plus two other Kunati titles, you can qualify to enter Kunati’s Great Summer Reads Contest.

Thank you!

~ Cheryl Kaye Tardif, author of Whale Song, The River and Divine Intervention