Saturday, February 28, 2009

Point of View


8:00 am - Dog food! My favorite thing!
9:30 am - A car ride! My favorite thing!
9:40 am - A walk in the park! My favorite thing!
10:30 am - Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!
12:00 pm - Lunch! My favorite thing!
1:00 pm - Played in the yard! My favorite thing!
3:00 pm - Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!
5:00 pm - Milk bones! My favorite thing!
7:00 pm - Got to play ball! My favorite thing!
8:00 pm - Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!
11:00 pm - Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!

Day 983 of my captivity. My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects.

They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength. The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape. In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet.

Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a "good little hunter" I am. B@stards!

There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of "allergies." I must learn what this means, and how to use it to my advantage.

Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow -- but at the top of the stairs.

I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches.
The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released - and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded.

The bird has got to be an informant. I observe him communicate with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe. For now...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

... tells a story

Some rare sentences are like photographs; revealing a thousand word story in an amazingly brief format. Although I am no where near that accomplished yet, many writers are and I am captured by their skill like an elite addict is captured by an exquisite wine; tasting the flavour over and over; reluctant to move on because this heavenly morsel demands all of my attention.

Just yesterday my husband and I discussed his perceived conception that the difference between literary works and genre works, mysteries for example, is that literary works take longer to get through because one keeps rereading the juicy bits. Well, many mystery novels are literary works then because some sentences just won’t let me go. If the plot wasn’t so compelling I would still be on page one hundred and twenty-nine, following the next victim down the wind swept autumn street, crisp leaves underfoot and old ladies peering through lace curtains.

Wendy Eggleton moves on to a new direction in her life

I always hate saying goodbye to people I've worked with, and today Wendy Eggleton (aka WG Eggleton), one of the Criminal Minds at Work authors is about to change directions in her life--all positive, she assures me.

Wendy, we have so enjoyed reading your blog posts here, and I hope you'll drop by later as a guest blogger and share with us what you're doing. :)

All the best in success always!

Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Mystery of a Great Manuscript

At the Love is Murder mystery writers conference last weekend I talked to a lot of self published and Print-On-Demand authors about what they can do to make their books a success. There are a lot of options, from cover selection to interior design to writing a series character versus a stand alone. But you have to start with a good manuscript, and much of what goes into one is not optional. I was reminded of that because during a chat about the various steps leading to publication one author told me that he planned to pay a publicist thousands to market his book but he couldn’t afford a professional editor and so would skip that step.

I had to tell him that, in this writer’s opinion. That is not an option. You might just as well decide not to have a picture on the cover. In other words, if you can’t afford to get a professional editor to work your manuscript, well, you can’t afford to publish your book.

No matter how good a writer you think you are, EVERYONE needs an editor. If you have any hopes of selling copies of your book it needs to be as close to flawless as possible. And if you want an agent to show your work to a publisher, it has to be polished.

Remember, the big publishers wouldn’t let your book go out without being professionally edited, and neither should you.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Author Tech Support Hotline Outsourced to India

Today I invited the very talented Marshall Karp to be a guest blogger on Criminal Minds at Work. Marshall, as you're about to find out, has a great sense of humor, and if you're a writer you're going to be able to relate to this post. ~CKT

The Author Tech Support Hotline has now been outsourced to India

For those of you who are not published authors, let me tell you one of the great perks that comes with the territory. A 24/7 hotline you can call whenever you run into a writing problem.

Now I’m not talking about “Writer’s Block.” That’s a term invented by the media, and it is totally fictitious like The Abominable Snowman, Erectile Dysfunction, or Dick Cheney’s so called “heart.”

Author Tech Support is for writers who just get a little stuck. It has always been staffed by English majors at universities in New York, Chicago, and Boston. But the economic apocalypse has forced Author Hotline to outsource its help desk to India. My recent phone call was a disaster.

RECORDING: You’ve reached the Author Hotline. Press 1 for Chick Lit, Press 2 for Science Fiction, Press 3 for Crime and Mystery…

I press 3 and a man with a thick Indian accent comes on.

AUTHOR HOTLINE: Hello, this is Gary. What is your name please?

MARSHALL KARP: Hi Gary. My name is Chandrashekhar.

AH: Ohh, my father’s name is Chandrashekhar. How can I help you?

MK: I killed a woman in Chapter 5, and I thought I knew who the murderer was, but it just doesn’t work. Now I’m on Chapter 47, and I need some help figuring out who the real murder is.

AH: Oh yes, figuring out who the real murderer is. OJ Syndrome. Are you sure this woman is really dead?

MK: I don’t understand.

AH: A lot of authors call Tech Support, but they don’t check to see if the character is really dead. She could be working late at the office. Can you please take another good look at Chapter 5 to see if she’s really dead?

MK: She’s dead. I checked before I called. I need a murderer.

AH: What are my options?

MK: Her husband.

AH: The husband? That’s Crime 1.0. You’re working in 4.0.

MK: Well, how about the local butcher? She was stabbed with a knife…

AH: Describe this butcher.

MK: Mid sixties, white hair, big happy smile. Nobody would ever suspect him.

AH: Too lovable. Women readers will hate you. Try using a jealous co-worker.

MK: I don’t have a jealous co-worker.

AH: There was one in the box with the original software.

MK: I didn’t save the box. I figured if I had a problem, you would help me.

AH: Sir, I’m trying to help. Why don’t you try rebooting your PC?

MK: Actually it’s a Mac.

AH: A Mac? I’m only qualified for PCs. I’ll have to transfer you.

MK: No! I don’t want to start over again. Don’t transf…

RECORDING: You’ve reached the Author Hotline. Press 1 for Chick Lit, Press 2 for Science Fiction, Press 3 for Crime and Mystery…

Marshall Karp is the author of The Rabbit Factory, Bloodthirsty, Flipping Out, and some mildly amusing blogs like the one above, which reside at