Thursday, April 26, 2007

What would you do ? Part lll

Hi All;
I'm back again with another 'cliff-hanger' situation where you the author, have got to figure out the most plausible way to get the hero's out of thier latest peril where 'death' has decided to have another go at them.
In the box for this installment are my two favorite characters from my McCarthy Family Mystery Series, Mick McCarthy and his girlfriend Bridget Connolly.
This is a scene I'm working on for the next McCarthy Family Mystery, the Scrimshaw, due out in the Fall of 2008.
Our protagonists have been tracking down the killer or killers, whose actions are linked to a 110 year-old mystery. They've just gotten through searching an old country inn and have turned up a few seemingly random and unrelated objects. Unable to make sense of them or determine how they fit into the mystery, they have decided to give up and go back to their apartment in Cambridge, MA.
What they don't know, is that they are much closer to the truth than they realize. In fact too close for the comfort of some very ruthless people. And they are about to find this out in the deadliest of terms.

Your mission, mystery solvers - should you choose to accept it - is to come up with a plausible way for Mick and Bridget to save their hides working with only the information provided in the following scene. Anything goes except having them bop him over the head and run away (I mean we've got to make it interesting!) Oh, and no... they can not be rescued by space aliens. (This is not the X-Files!)

Other then that ... unleash your intellect and have at it.
One more thing. The scene is actually in three parts, so you can plot out a set-up to save them, but it doesn't actually have to produce results in this go around. I'll be back in a week or so with the next part of the plan they come up with and you can match yours against it towards the final conclusion.

As Holmes would say, "the game is afoot".

The first scene - An old barn outside a country inn

Mick and Bridget smiled at one another and Mick said, " c'mon babe. We better get a move on if we wanna’ get back to Cambridge and pick up couple of Vitto's great meatball subs, before he closes."
They walked across the street to where thier BSA 650 motorcycle rested against the barn.
Mick pulled the ignition key out of the watch pocket of his jeans, but it slipped through his fingers and landed in the soft dirt.
Without thinking, Bridget bent down to pick it up and as she did something struck the side of the barn, exactly where her head had been a second before.
She'd started straightened up with a puzzled look on her face when Mick jumped off the bike and threw himself on top of her just as a second thud threw a small shower of splinters out from the side of the old barn.
" Mickey . . . what -? "
" Sniper! " Mick hissed swiveling his head around frantically. " He's using a silencer and probably got a scope too. "
A third shot kicked up dirt just inches from the toe of Mick's right boot.
He wasn’t waiting for more. He got up in a crouch and pulled Bridget towards the half open barn door. " Quick - inside! "
He looked around. Whoever had the sniper's rifle was a pro. And he wouldn't just give up and go away. He'd be coming for them.
Mick pulled Bridget towards the back of the barn. A solid wall. They were trapped. No way out and the .38 Police Special that Pop had given him, still rested out of reach in the bike's saddlebags. A definite bullet through the brain if he made a try for that. Sh*t!

He looked around again. " C'mon Bridge, " he whispered, " the loft. "
He pushed her ahead of him up the rickety ladder and into the far corner where several old hay bales were stacked amid disarranged piles of rusty farm tools and rotting leather harnesses. They burrowed under a pile of old burlap sacks behind the hay bales, watching the thin slit of light from the partially open barn door.
Then they waited - but not for long.

Mick gripped Bridget's hand and she unconsciously held her breath as they heard the barn door being slowly rolled open and then closed all the way. The dim sliver of fading sunlight disappeared.

In the semidarkness they heard the sound of footsteps approaching and the unmistakable sound of heavy bolt being drawn back on a sniper rifle.

The footsteps reached the foot of the ladder to the loft and then stopped.
It was silent for a moment and then the sound of heavy breathing and the faint tap of shoes on wooden rungs as someone began to climb.


Ric Wasley
Shadow of Innocence
Kunati - April 2007
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

Friday, April 20, 2007

Borrowing on personal experience

Though my novel The Defilers is not autobiographical, I borrow on personal experience when I write about my main character's journey back to the Christian faith and her battle with demonic forces.

Yesterday, The National Post published the story of my personal faith journey. The novel also borrows on my experience as a journalist, sitting in courtrooms, writing about third world housing conditions in pockets of Nova Scotia, and reading voraciously.

Though there is a faith component, The Defilers is a suspense novel with more than a hint of the paranormal. I know some will write off my personal faith turning point as a bad drug experience. But when we look at the shooting earlier this week in Virginia, we find it hard sometimes to find the right description for the shooter. Was he sick? Or evil? While the demonic might end up being only a metaphor, it sure is a helpful metaphor at times like this, no?

What's interesting to me is that over the years I've met people who find it easier to believe in supernatural evil than a good God. I used to work with an atheist TV producer who believed wholeheartedly in demonic possession. How about you?

The photo is by Chris Humphrey Photography---

Though he lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he often travels to Toronto and Ottawa. He spent an afternoon with me and took a whole bunch of great photos. I have posted more at my blog.
His rates are exceptionally reasonable and he's a great guy.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Would you let a monster take your child?

Can I tell you a secret? Shhh...promise not to tell. Ok, I do realize that once I mention it here it won't be a secret anymore, but I will share with you that I have completed a new suspense thriller. It is called Children of the Fog, and it explores how far a mother is willing to go for her child.

Here is my mock-up of the back cover 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...

Children of the Fog is with my new publisher, Kunati Books, and so now I must sit patiently and wait. Ok, can someone please tell me how to do that?

Well, I have a plan...I am now working on the long overdue Divine Justice!

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif, author of the bestselling novel Whale Song

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Mystery School

Spent this week in my daughter's grade four class helping them with mystery writing. What a treat that was. We started off with playing one of Masterpiece Mysterys Gumshoe Games as the 'hook' and then went on to discuss the elements of a mystery and how a mystery doesn't have to be a crime and how to plant clues, or in the case of an elementary project, a clue.

I was working as part of the Language Arts program but am thinking that mystery writing and solving would be better suited to a logics class or perhaps as a way to integrate information from a social or science unit. Probably grade seven would be the best age to take advantage of this process and I would love to work with a grade seven teacher to develop cirriculum units. Could be really exciting. I know ancient Egypt is part of the study program and the possibilities are unlimited.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Whale Song Book Launch Sells Out!

Well, I am still tired from an exciting and busy weekend, but I have to let everyone know that the launch for my latest novel Whale Song was a complete success. In fact South Point Chapters in Edmonton SOLD OUT of their stock. It's a good thing I had a few copies on me!! :)

The food was fantastic, thanks to Victor Guan Catering.

Jessy Tardif (my daughter) and singer-songwriter Alexia Melnychuk had fabulous performances and the audience just loved them. This was my daughter's first singing performance. She did an acoustic performance at my launch in 2005 for The River. Thank you everyone for being so supportive and complimentary. She was very nervous. As for Alexia, she's a seasoned pro on her way to the top. I was happy to see she sold some of her CD's and I recommend Flying Machine to everyone! I enjoy writing to it.

Check out Alexia at

Rachel, the manager of South Point Chapters in Edmonton, AB, gave me such a glowing introduction I was stunned. (And that doesn't happen a lot. :) I hope I made her proud. Her store is one of my favorite places to do signings because I am always treated like gold. She always has a smile and her staff is wonderful.

Although we sold out, more copies of Whale Song will be coming in soon...and I did leave her 6 copies.

The door prizes were a huge hit...I had so many that almost everyone went home with something.

But best of all for me was seeing my fans--some old, some new...and seeing people who have supported my work since the beginning. To all of you, I thank you for taking time out of your Easter holiday to come down and support me. I so appreciate it and I really hope you all enjoy Whale Song...and the mystery gift that many of you received for buying 2+ copies. I had lovely mugs made with the cover of Whale Song on the side and my websites listed on the other side.

Enjoy and THANK YOU ALL for making the Whale Song Book Launch Edmonton's BIGGEST and BEST BOOK LAUNCH EVER! :)

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

Thursday, April 05, 2007

How Whale Song has inspired me...

Usually people ask me what inspired me to write each novel. Where did I get the idea, the characters, the plot, the setting? How did it all come together? Well, with Whale Song, I can easily answer those questions. And I will. But I must also confess that Whale Song has also inspired ME.

The idea for Whale Song came to me years ago now, from flashes of childhood memories--some good, some bad. Having lived on the Queen Charlotte Islands, north of Vancouver Island, BC, as a child for a number of years, I was surrounded by nature, animals, sea creatures and native folklore that set a young writer's mind spinning. Even now, the sound of native drums haunts me and ties me to the land beneath my feet far more than gravity ever will. The Charlottes have a mystery about them.

I heard as a child that if a killer whale came close to shore that it was a reincarnated soul coming to say hello (or goodbye) to his/her family. That legend stayed with me. I used to go to the Vancouver Aquarium and watch Skana, probably Canada's most famous killer whale, and wait anxiously for the magnificent mammal to splash me. A part of me wanted to dive right in with her, swim with her, ride her...and that was way before I'd heard of Whale Rider, the book and movie. Years later, the Free Willy movies caught my eye and engaged my attention.

Years later, I had glimmers of a story, flashes of light that began to develop, flowing from one thought to the next. Scenes of killer whales cresting the ocean, swimming close to shore...and a young girl emerged as the protagonist Sarah. So many people have asked if Sarah is me. I have to say 'No'; I write fiction. But then, in all honesty, there IS a lot of me in Sarah.

Whale Song opens with an adult Sarah reflecting on her life. Then she flashes back to a time where everything changed. She had to move because of her father's job. I had to move because my father was in the Canadian Armed Forces. Sarah moved to an isolated island where racism was ripe. I lived in Masset on the Charlottes, where being white was bad enough; being military was even worse. Sarah was bullied, yet had a best friend. I too was bullied, yet still maintained friendships with the locals and the other 'army brats'. But that is pretty much where the similarities end.

Sarah faces a terrible tragedy in her young life, one that affects her many years later. Her mother, who is suffering from primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH), is nearing death and assisted suicide is the one thing she wants. Sarah's father must make an agonizing decision.
It is this decision to end a life that haunted me and had me thinking. And I pose the question I asked myself many times to you: If someone you loved was nearing death and begged you to release them, to assist in their death, could you do it? Would you do it? It is a question that no one wants to ask...and no one wants to answer.

And THAT is why I wrote Whale Song.

Since writing this novel, Whale Song has inspired me to dig deep as a writer, to find my characters' emotions and bare them to the world. With a percentage of my royalties now going to help 3 Edmonton charities, Whale Song has become a meaningful and important piece of work.

To me, Whale Song is a beautiful, haunting, lyrical novel that takes you back to innocence and wonder, back to youthful oblivion, until LIFE pulls you back to reality. I invite you to take that journey with Sarah, to cry with her, to swim with the killer whales and to hear the most haunting of all melodies...a Whale Song.

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif



Being a fan of mystery trivia, and hard work, when I feel like it , I offer this quote , which I can easily identify with.

“I usually wake up and cut the grass. Sometime around mid-morning when I get the feeling it’s about time I wrote something, I write for two or three hours. I have no discipline whatsoever. That’s about as much as I can do.” Colin Dexter Houston Chronicle