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: - 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!