Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Bits and Pieces of the human Diaspora...

Sometimes I forget not to stare. In the subway, on the street, at work... I try to look at my fellow humans surreptitiously... did I say "look"? I meant observe. As writers we become observers, or perhaps more correctly, collectors. We collect people and behavior the way some people collect figurines or bits of colorful string. We see a particularly interesting specimen and we observe it, and then lock away the information for future inclusion in a story, poem or novel.
Sometimes while I'm collecting, I forget not to stare. Staring is a high-risk act in New York City, where unfortunate persons have been known to have been beaten, stabbed or shot just for locking eyes with a stranger. But I can't help myself. I'm a writer. A collector of the bits and pieces that make up the greater human Diaspora. A person's dress, a hair-do, a swagger, a mannerism, an inflection of voice, a particular phrase... there are so many things that can and do add color to our writing! Can I be forgiven if I give someone the once-over because I find something about that person so interesting that I must have it? I hope so. On the bus, about 6-months ago, I noticed a young lady's unusual mode of dress... flips and flounces, trips and trounces... all interspersed with the leather and spikes of a goth. One eye heavily done in black make-up while the other sported a soft pastel color and an outlandishly long fake eyelash. The overall effect was of an innocent waif possessed by some sort of evil, vampiric tart... well, I was brought back to earth by a young man that I supposed was accompanying the young lady asking me if I knew her... ulp, I did not. Thankfully the incident did not escalate, but I must remind myself in the future, or maybe I'll just wear a sign, "Staring not deliberate, writer at work."

Friday, June 26, 2009

Guest Post: The Most Notorious Criminals to Base Characters On

Today's guest post comes from Megan Jones, a writer who contacted me recently because she was interested in having some of her work displayed as part of her new freelancing career. I couldn't say no because 1) I love helping writers when I can, and 2) her articles are excellently written and well researched. Enjoy! ~Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Let’s face it, we all draw examples from real life into our writing life, and what better way to do this than by exploiting the inane acts that some criminals have committed over the past century? Some of these criminals have participated in many atrocious acts of violence over the past years that I could never even dream of conceiving, and have even paved the way for famous cinematic serial killers such as Leatherface and Hannibal Lector. While most of these villains were not directly based on specific killers, they had attributes of many different criminals of the time. Some of the criminals and serial killers from up to a century ago continue to infiltrate society in a number of ways, mostly through film, but have also been known to appear in many crime books.

Bonnie & Clyde

How many movies have been based on this unlikely duo? Outlaws and bank-robbers, Bonnie and Clyde served to almost romanticize the notion of criminals during the Great Depression and many movies have been made regaling audiences with their string of terror during the height of their crime spree. While they were part of a mass shoot out by police forces in the end (they were shot over 50 times), the duo came to represent a Robin Hood of sorts during a time period where many throughout the country had lost everything they owned. While they left terror and destruction in their path, Bonnie and Clyde represented a new shift in criminal activity in the early twentieth century.

Ted Bundy

Ted Bundy has become one of the most iconic serial killers in history, mostly because he lured all his victims away in pure daylight due to the charm he emitted onto many. The exact number of women he killed is still unknown, though it is estimated to range between 35 and 100. While Bundy exhibited some traits that made him similar to Silence of the Lamb’s Hannibal Lector, in his high intelligence (law school) and his willingness to help police with other cases regarding killers, there has been no direct parallels between Bundy and any film serial killer. However, there have been a number of films made about the killer, as he brought about a reign of terror on the Pacific Northwest for a number of years, continuing on to Florida in the end.

Amy Fisher

Everyone knows the story of this young girl from Long Island (the “Long Island Lolita”) who shot her married lover’s wife and thereafter became the subject of many made-for-TV movies and documentaries. Mary Jo Buttafuoco answered the door on May 19, 1992 to find Amy Fisher at the steps telling her that her husband was having an affair with her sister. When Mary told Amy to leave, she shot her in the temple. While she survived the attack, Amy served 7 years in prison for first-degree aggravated assault.

Jack the Ripper

This killer existed before the time of DNA evidence or even any modern form of technology and terrorized England during the late nineteenth century. This killer has fascinated crime buffs for years due to the fact that no one was ever arrested or tried for the murders. There is still some dispute over how many victims were killed during this time, ranging from 5 to 9, but Jack the Ripper continues to captivate audiences around the world, as many movies and books have been released about the killer.

This post was contributed by Megan Jones, who writes about the bachelor degree online. She welcomes your feedback at Meg.Jones0310 at gmail.com

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Is Incompetence A Crime?

When there is nothing you can do about a situation and your only option is to laugh or cry, I'll choose laughing every time.

The old mystery adage of learning about someone by examining their garbage, where the rumpled detective picks through a soggy bag of coffee grounds and credit card receipts, still holds true. It's been upgraded to keep with our technological times but e-waste spills its secrets just as certainly as a broken bottle of cyanide.

Very recently a group of journalism students from the University of British Columbia, was visiting Africa to make a documentary on digital dumping. They purchased some garbage hard drives very cheaply and discovered that US defense data popped up on the screen when they plugged it in.


Someone's not paying attention. They won't be laughing when the powers that be find out who didn't wipe the hard drive, but me ... well really ... what choice is there?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Cheryl's deadly 'Create a Corpse Contest'

This contest is now open!

From now until July 30th, 2009, you can submit a name (first & last) of someone you know (boss, husband, school bully, ex-friend or yourself), or a fictitious name.

I am looking for a male name, suitable for a 50-ish cigar-smoking man.

On August 1st, 2009, I will select one winner from all the entries and use that name, fictitiously of course, in Lancelot's Lady, my novel-in-progress and an entry in the Textnovel/Dorchester "America's Next Best Celler" contest.

The winner will receive an autographed copy as soon as this novel is published. And the winner's initials will be credited on my acknowledgement page in the book, if they choose.

Keep in mind that the ‘corpse’ character will not intentionally look like or act like the person he or she is named after, nor will the character survive. After all, 'I kill people off for a living'.


  1. You must sign up as a member of Textnovel.com (free).
  2. You must vote for Lancelot's Lady by clicking on the thumbs up icon at the top of my novel's page: http://www.textnovel.com/stories_list_detail.php?story_id=928
  3. You must subscribe to receive future chapters by clicking on the cell phone icon at top
  4. Then leave your suggested 'corpse' name on my website (not this blog) in a comment.
  5. Contest ends at midnight (MT) on July 30th, 2009.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


We have the website ready for ALMANAC OF THE INFAMOUS, THE INCREDIBLE AND THE IGNORED! Please check it out. www.incrediblealmanac.com

Sunday, June 07, 2009


Agatha Christie does it again! The intrepid researcher, John Curran, has been delving through her stored notebooks and personal papers and discovered two unpublished short stories. The Mystery of the Dog's Ball and The Capture of Cerberus are both precursors to two novels. It will be interesting to read the mini-versions and then the novels and see what Agatha's process looks like. For the entire story go to

Monday, June 01, 2009

It’s Here! It’s Here!

I can’t restrain myself any longer. My new mystery thriller, Russian Roulette is finally available. It won’t be in any bookstores until June 13th, but you can order it at Amazon.com today. If you’re part of the Kindle nation, you can download it and read it today!

Russian Roulette is the fifth novel in my mystery series about Hannibal Jones, the African American private detective working in Washington DC. In this book, Hannibal is forced to take a case for a Russian assassin. He must investigate Gana, the wealthy Algerian who has stolen Viktoriya, the woman his new client loves. Evidence connects Gana to Russian mob money and the apparent suicide of Viktoriya’s father. More deaths follow, each one closer to Viktoriya. To save the Russian beauty, Hannibal must unravel a complex tangle of clues and survive a dramatic shootout on Roosevelt Island, side-by-side with his murderous client.

Friends and reviewers have been very kind with advance comments:

“Russian Roulette delivers a whipsaw of a plot with more layers than a Vidalia onion.... Solid storytelling and compelling characters. Don't miss it!”
Libby Fischer Hellmann, Author of the Ellie Foreman mystery/suspense series.

“Troubleshooter Hannibal Jones is the most engaging character to come upon the mystery scene since Patterson's Alex Cross.”
JoAnn Ross, NY Times Bestselling Author of the High Risk Series.

“Hannibal Jones is no John Shaft wannabe. He stands on his own as a welcome addition to the ranks of the fictional private eye.”
Robert J. Randisi, Founder of the Private Eye Writers of America.

“Russian Roulette has everything: a terrific story with great characters in vivid settings. Clear time on your calendar for this one."
John Gilstrap, author of No Mercy

“Russian Roulette starts with a revving engine and picks up speed till racing across the finish line. If I was in trouble I’d want Hannibal Jones on my speed dial.”
Jon Jordan, Editor, Crimespree Magazine

“Camacho employs his usual rich layers of plot; fascinating characters; and plenty of action to keep the reader mesmerized in his latest Hannibal Jones installment.”
Shelley Glodowski, Midwest Book Review

“Austin is one helluva writer. What Austin shows off in his novel is not just the ability to forge a sentence or a paragraph, but how to create an interesting story with a steady pace that keeps you hooked for hours at a time.”
Hugh Howey, CrimeCritics.com

“I may have to add Austin S. Camacho to my list of authors to follow and catch up on after reading his latest novel, Russian Roulette. I received the book for review before I left on vacation, and I would have been perfectly happy to have all of the Hannibal Jones series with me to read.”
Thomas Duff, an Amazon.com Top 25 Reviewer

And I hope you can share my good news with me in person.

IN VIRGINIA – You’re invited to a gala book release party on June 6th! I’ll share hors d' oeuvres and wine with you from 2 pm to 6 pm at the historic Farr House, 10172 Main St, Fairfax, Va. Just go to http://anyvite.com/events/home/4wp4ib00ku to RSVP, so we can be sure to have enough food and drink for all.

IN MARYLAND - Borders Waldorf will host a book release event for Russian Roulette on Saturday, June 13th. I’ll sign copies of my new novel starting at 1 pm in the store at 3304-A Crain Highway, Waldorf, Md. They’ll also have my previous Hannibal Jones novels - The Troubleshooter, Collateral Damage, Damaged Goods and Blood and Bone – available for me to sign.

Even if I can't meet you in person, thank you for sharing my happy news!