Sunday, December 18, 2011

Santa Claus

You better watch out
You better not cry
Better not pout
I'm telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town

Welcome everyone to the last Nighthawk Talks for 2011. We've managed to nab the big red elf himself for a quick interview.

Tell us a bit about the real Santa Claus.
<Ho-ho-ho> The average person over the age of ten would say there’s no such person. But here I am.

You certainly are, red suit and all. But this is a relatively new look for you, isn’t it? You’ve worn white furs, red velvet, coloured robes... Not to mention different names: Father Christmas, Saint Nick, Kris Kringle...
Don’t forget Pere Noel, Sinnterklaus, and Basil.

Greek tradition. I answer to many names. Festo Spiritu is another one.

Holiday Spirit?
You know your Latin. I predate Christianity and transcend religious differences - or should. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind that they designated my season as the birthday of Jesus. It’s not historically accurate, but I don’t believe letting the facts get in the way of a good story.

You don’t mind that it get’s called Christmas and that you’re called Father Christmas?
<Ho-ho-ho> Call it a gift. That’s what it’s all about, you know. There’s a reason my day falls in the dead of winter and that the earliest gifts I gave were food-related. Winter can be harsh, food scarce. The spirit of the holiday is all about generosity.

And the toys?
Hey, winter is long where I come from. Books and toys make the time pass. Time to play games, visit family and friends. Once the spring came, with the planting, lambing, calving, shearing and so on, things got busy. They'd stay pretty busy too – until the after harvest.

Do you really have a workshop run by elves?
<wink> If I told you...

You’d have to kill me?
<Ho-ho-ho> Not my style. I don't get much harsher than an occasional piece of coal. There's one line of that song you were singing that I really like: "You better be good for goodness sake." I believe doing good is its own reward.

That doesn't answer my question. Santa? Santa?
Oh well, folks - see you next year.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

From Whistler's Murder

With Joan Donaldson-Yarmey’s Travelling Detective Series, the trick is to pin down a character long enough to interview them. Elizabeth Oliver proved challenging, until she got waylaid by murder.

Welcome to the show, Elizabeth. You’re a part-time travel writer, what’s your day job?

I work at a long term care facility in Edmonton. While I like my job, my real passion is to travel and write about the places I visit.

And still you find time to get involved with murders.

I was trying to write an article on the resort town of Whistler.

Are the victims anyone you know?

Two people died before I got there and the third victim I only knew briefly.

How did you get involved?

I really don’t know. I came to Whistler with my friend Sally who was attending a Science Fiction retreat. But seems that every time I begin my research I get drawn into a mystery. Like when I travelled to the Crowsnest Highway in Southern Alberta, I hadn’t even made it to my destination when I met a man who had discovered a body in a septic tank. There was another death before the mystery of who the body belonged to was solved. Last year, though, my boyfriend, Jared, asked me to find out if his mother had actually committed suicide when he was four years old or if she was murdered. That was really tough on him because he found out a lot of secrets about his childhood.

Yikes! That would be tough.

Finding out what really happened to Jared’s mother took a toll on our relationship for a while.

I can imagine. But tell us about Whistler. When did things start to go wrong?

As soon as I arrived at the Bed & Breakfast and saw the house next door being demolished. The owner of the B&B told me that there was a rumour that a body had been hidden in the house years ago.

That might distract you from writing.

Actually, solving mysteries has made me decide to branch out into true crime writing. I don’t know if I’m a better person for my experiences, but hopefully I’m a better writer, since I sold an article to a true crime magazine.

Where do you see yourself in the future?
I want to travel across Canada and write about the places I see. I would like to write a travel book and also a true crime book about the mysteries I have been involved with. I can even see myself writing a mystery novel.

Let us know when you do. Meanwhile, anyone out there wanting to learn more about Elizabeth Oliver’s adventures - or should I say misadventures - should check out Whistler’s Murder, published by Books We Love, available in eBook and trade paperback.

Next week, you better watch out, you better not cry... you know who is coming to Nighthawk.

Monday, December 5, 2011

From Safe Harbour

Why is the wife the last to know? We ask Pat Tierney, whose story has been told by Rosemary McCracken in Safe Harbour. Tell us a bit about yourself, Pat.

I'm a 47-year-old financial advisor. I'm also a mother, and I was a wife for nearly 20 years when Michael had his fatal heart attack. I'm a smart cookie in some ways, but pretty darn clueless in others. When Safe Harbor opened, I was the epitome of clueless – a woman too stupid to realize that her late husband had been sleeping around.

Did you know the Other Woman?

I met Jude Seaton only once, on the day before her death. She barged into my Toronto office and asked me to look after her son for a few days. I was gobsmacked. "I'm a financial planner, not a daycare worker," I said.
"I didn't think you'd turn Tommy down."
"Whatever made you think that?"
And then she told me that Tommy was my late husband's son.

Gobsmacked. That’s a great word. Still, you must have had some idea your husband wasn’t faithful?

As I said, I can be pretty clueless. I had no idea what Michael was up to that summer when I took the girls to England for a month. He was supposed to join us for the last week of the holiday, but he called to say he was too busy at the office looking after my clients as well as his. And I felt guilty that I was on vacation and he had all that work to do. Bastard!

How did you get yourself involved in a murder investigation?

When I refused to take her kid, Jude told me that someone had threatened Tommy and that he was in danger. I didn't believe her. I thought she was stringing me a line, and I stuck to my guns: I wasn't taking Tommy.

So she simply walked out of my office. Left me with a seven-year-old boy, a backpack filled with his clothes and his booster car seat  - at seven, Tommy was small for his age.

And you just let her go?

I went over to her home, and she wasn't there. I tried calling her all evening, but she didn't answer her phone. The next day, the police contacted me – they'd found my business card beside her phone and my voice mail messages on her line – and told me she'd been murdered. In her own living room.
Tommy stayed with me for the next few days because the police thought it would be risky for him to be with Jude's relatives. They said the killer might want him out of the way too.

That’s taking a lot on.

Tommy is a special little guy, and it didn't take him long to find a place in my heart. In spite of who his father was, or maybe even because of it. And he was in danger. Well, I couldn't let anything bad happen to him, could I?

How do you feel about Jude now?

It's pretty difficult to hold a grudge against somebody who's dead. And somebody who died so horribly...and long before her time. At some point it hit me that Jude had really been terrified that her son was in danger or else she never would have approached me. She didn't want to leave Tommy with family or friends because that was the first place anyone would look. So she came to me.

I'm a mother, too. I know how it feels to be willing to give up your own life in a heartbeat to save that precious little life. And when I started seeing Jude as another mother, a mother who was trying to save her child...well, I couldn't hate her anymore.

And, as they say, it takes two to tango. Michael had a big part to play in their affair. But he's dead too. I can only feel sorry that he never knew his son.

So now you have a young child again. That can’t make it easy to get on with your life - especially your love life.

The whole thing has actually helped my love life. Michael had been gone for four years when Jude came into my office, but he was still very much top of mind. No one could hold a candle to him. I'd met my current guy, Devon, the summer before but I wasn't sure about him. He lives in the United States, and we hadn't seen each other for months but, as it happened, he was flying in to see me the day after Jude's visit. I was nervous, didn't know what I wanted from him, didn't know what he expected. And then Jude dropped her bombshell. I was so angry at Michael that I turned to the only available man around. For comfort, for revenge, for sex.

And I'm glad I did. I don't know if Devon is Mr. Right, but he's Mr. Right Now, and that's good enough for me at the moment.

How about your career?

What I’ve been through has reinforced my commitment to my clients, even difficult ones like Luella Cruickshank. In situations where an adult child is preying upon an elderly parent, the client may be blinded by loyalty to the child. But it is my duty to work 100% in the client's interests. I have zero tolerance for anyone in my industry who fails to do so.

Do you think the crisis has made you’re a better person?

I don't think I'm a better person than I was before Jude's visit. But I've had my capacity for love and acceptance tested, and I think I passed the test. I didn't turn my back on Tommy, and that may have saved his life. And now he's a big part of my life.

I've learned that when a life crisis occurs you have to pick up the pieces and carry on. I could have turned my back on Tommy and wallowed in my misery, but I didn't. I let Tommy and Devon into my life, and I said goodbye to Michael. Life is for the living.

Where do you see yourself in the future?

Right now, I'm living out in the country, about a two-hour drive north of Toronto. I'm supervising the opening of a branch of our brokerage firm up here, and I'm trying to get to the bottom of another murder: An old man died when he drove into his garage and it burst into flames. And some nasty bikers are hanging around here and they think I'm involved in the local grow-op.

Sounds like you need to move back to the City.

On the whole, I like it up here. Haversham County is a beautiful part of the world and the people are just great. I don't think I want to go back to Toronto. So there may be a move in my future.
But first, we need to find out who murdered that old man. And get those bikers to go away.

Any last words of advice for others gobsmacked as you were?

Err on the side of generosity. My daughters call me a pushover, and they're probably right. But you have to be able to live with yourself, and I wouldn't be able to do that if I'd turned my back on Tommy.

Look for more about Pat Tierny in Safe Harbour, being released by Imajin Books in Spring 2012. Visit Rosemary McCracken's website at and her blog at Follow Rosemary on Twitter @RCMcCracken and at

Sunday, November 27, 2011

From Asenath

Once again we’ve fired up the Time And Relative Dimension In Space Machine and directed it at ancient Egypt. Out of the sands of time and the pages of Asenath, we've managed to nab Khasekh.

Tell us a bit about yourself, Khasekh.

I am a novice magician in the Temple of Amun. I am originally from an inconspicuous fishing village along the far-flung shores of the Nile river. After a group of invaders ransacked my home and killed my family, I and some other orphans were rescued and brought to the temple at Heliopolis. It was there where I discovered my passion for magic arts, and thus decided that I wanted to become a magician.

How do you know Asenath?

I am her best friend since childhood. Together, we survived our captivity and our adjustment to life in Heliopolis.

How do you feel about life in the big city? Must be quite a change from a fishing village.

I love it. It did take a bit of an adjustment, of course, but I soon learned to love it. There are just so many exciting opportunities here. In the fishing village, life is so stagnant. That is not to say that I am no longer grieving over the loss of my family – of course I am, and will never stop doing so. But I don’t think they would want me to be mourning forever. I am sure if the gods told them where I am now, they would be happy and find peace in the Field of Reeds.

We can hope... I think. How have these events affected your relationship with Asenath?
Well, I love knowing that me and my best friend have gone through so much together, not to mention that we have both morphed from ignorant, illiterate peasants into sophisticated city folk. This was a grand opportunity given by the gods, and it was even grander shared with my best friend. Asenath, alas, seems a bit lost though. I hope that in time, she too will learn to love her new life.

On the whole, things are better for you.

Definitely. I am no longer the naïve provincial boy I was when I first arrived in Heliopolis. Sure it was tragic at first. And as I said, sure I will never stop missing the family I lost. But I was able to overcome all that and I am now a magician. Everything led to the illustrious position I now hold. The gods willing, one day, I will be one of those who personally serve Pharaoh (may he live forever).

Yes... um... Could you be a bit more careful with that staff? Thanks. 

Where do you see yourself in the future?
In the service of His Majesty, the Living Horus. If not that, well then… perhaps one of the senior magicians in Amun’s temple. I have always been excellent at what I do, so I see a bright future ahead of me.


Gah! <cough> I’m not sure if that was magic or a short in the time machine, but Khasekh has left the building.
If you want to find out more about Khasekh and Asenath, you’ll have to read Asenath, by Anna Patricio, Imajin Books. Available in eBook and trade paperback.

<cough> Is there a Doctor in the house?

Monday, November 21, 2011

From Rowena Through the Wall

We've had a couple of the men from Rowena Through the Wall in the studio, tonight we welcome the ravishing Rowena Revel.

When Rowena falls through her classroom wall into a medieval world, she is kidnapped twice, married – sorry I’ve lost count how many times – and has enough sexy men after her to fill a Chippendale calendar.

That’s me: Rowena Revel, twenty-something, long auburn hair, medium height, medium weight, really bad luck with men. Degree in Veterinary Science, terrific on a horse. Oh, and I can talk to animals.

Like Doctor Doolittle?

Doolittle? Isn't that the guy with the reality show on the Animal Network? Some young chicks told me he didn't understand a chirp! Believe me, it's all cheep tricks with that charlatan.

How does it feel to be the object of so much attention?
Did I mention having bad luck with men? First Steve back home; great looking financial trader with the empathy of a weasel. Then Sargon, the king beyond the wall who just takes what he wants, and finally Cedric, the sexy sociopath – yikes! And there’s more…

More? Yikes! How did you get yourself into this predicament?

I walked through a wall. No, really – a portal opened up in my classroom wall, and I found another world on the other side of it.

Now I ask you – who wouldn’t be curious enough to walk through that wall?

Hey, I’ll be looking for my own wall after we wrap. Still, this must have put a crimp in your career.

My career? There is lots of work for an animal doctor in a land where horses are the main mode of transportation. Indeed, I use my gift for reading the thoughts of animals all the time in Land’s End.

And your love life is active...

In Land’s End, I actually have one! Things were pretty boring before, and – to be honest – I’m the sort of female who likes a lot of loving. So…I’m not complaining. It’s been one wonderful adventure.

What else is better in Lands End?

I would say I am a more generous person now – less quick to judge others. In truth, I had to do things to survive that sometimes conflicted with my own morals. It made me realize that civilization is a veneer, and our feeling of moral superiority is due to the times we have been fortunate enough to live in.

What’s worse?

Women from medieval times had an incredibly tough life. I have so much more appreciation for simple things, such as flush toilets, sanitary items – you get the picture. But truly, the thing that smarts the most is how little control a female had over her own destiny.

Also – I would have thought a world short of women would value women more. Instead, I found females have less power, and less control over their own lives. It makes me worry for places in our time where gender selection before birth has resulted in a shortage of female babies.

What’s next for you?

Now there is the million dollar question! Even I don’t know yet. My friend and author Melodie Campbell tells me the next book will answer this. As you can imagine, I am anxious to know…

Any advice for people seeking their own walls to walk through – assuming they get more than a bruised nose.

Everything comes down to survival. What do you need to do to survive in a different world? Sometimes it means accepting that different times demand different behaviour, and if you insist on maintaining 21st century morals, you may not live long in a more primitive world.

Any final words?

Just my favourite line - even though it was my student who said it: “Is that a broadsword on your belt, or are you just glad to see me?”

Rowena Through the Wall, published by Imajin Books, is available through, and Smashwords
Warning: This book is not a sweet romance. It is a sexy, funny, rollicking adventure with a spunky heroine and the medieval men of her dreams! Continues in Book 2.

Find out more about Rowena and her author, Melodie Campbell at: and

Sunday, November 13, 2011

From Cheat the Hangman

Tonight we welcome Leander, Lyris Pembroke's spirit guide.

Lyris Pembrooke’s life is forever changed when she inherits her late uncle’s antique-filled Georgian mansion and discovers a small corpse hidden in the tower room, a 68-year old mystery that becomes her obsession and forces her to acknowledge that she will find the answers she seeks only through the intervention of Leander, her spirit guide, and her own budding psychic talents - if she dares to cross that threshold .

So, Leander, can you tell us a bit about yourself? You know, where you live when you aren't communing with Lyris Pembrooke, how many mortal lives you spent here on earth, that kind of thing?



That's classified information. Against the rules to talk about it.

Well, can you at least tell us what you did when you were last here? Maybe your profession?


Okay. Would something cataclysmic happen? If you gave us some personal information does the space-time continuum collapse? What?


Then why can't you tell us?

This is my first gig as a spirit guide and I don't want to screw it up. Believe me, I spent enough lifetimes on earth and once or twice on other worlds, so I've done my time. As soon as Lyris joins us in this dimension, I hope to get a job with someone a little more enthusiastic about the gift of psychic ability. Actually, I hope next time its someone of the male gender. Lyris goes hormonal sometimes and takes up a lot of my time.

But, isn't that what you do? Watch out for your human subject and try and keep them out of trouble.

You're confusing spirit guides with guardian angels. Lyris has three of those and, believe me, they don't have a minute to themselves. My job is to help her develop her abilities, to raise her spiritual awareness so she can accomplish her soul's objectives.

How is she doing?

I guess not too badly. She finally accepted her gift, but only after I spent years poking her in the back, trying to get her attention. Finally I had to pop in without an invitation. That's not recommended but it was an emergency and I knew she would never invite me in voluntarily. Now she's getting used to me but, on the down side, sometimes she calls me just to talk.

What's wrong with that? It sounds like your relationship is progressing well.

She's supposed to contact me when she needs advice. I have a lot of other things on the go and don't appreciate being called away to talk about her cousin, the Family Trollop, or some other member of her fruitcake family.

Okay then. Speaking of your other activities. Lyris tells us you attend rock concerts. Who are the headliners – John Lennon, Rick Nelson, Jim Morrison ?

Pay no attention to Lyris. She keeps trying to find out who I hang out with but it's classified information.

So you said. Apparently, Lyris thinks you were once Winston Churchill because you quote him on occasion.

I also quote the Mad Hatter on occasion. Lyris will do that to you.

I understand that you and Lyris are, um, paired for life.

Her life. Yeah, we were matched by the Divine Source, so there's no getting away from her. Request denied.

Well, Leander, we appreciate you taking the time . . .

Time's nothing to me. But I gotta go, dude. I'm late for racquetball with... Oops, almost spilled it there.

And he's gone, folks. 

That's concludes our first ever interview with a spirit guide. I'm not sure Fred counts and he's no Guide -- maybe a Scout. Next time we'll see if we can get a spirit that's more forthcoming. Fortunately, we can always read Cheat the Hangman by Gloria Ferris and find out more for ourselves.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Clive from the Chasing Clovers

Nighthawk here, taking a walk on the west side. Stepping out of the pages of Chasing Clovers, we have the T Bar Ranch foreman. Tell us a bit about yourself, Clive.

I've known John Taylor all my life. We grew up together in Calgary. Hell, he's my best friend.

I moved away from Calgary when I was 18, but my own circumstances made me come back to my hometown and the friends I knew there. I needed a job and John owns one of the largest ranches this side of the rockies, so I knocked on his door and asked for a job.

And he took you in.

Better than that, I'm foreman on a prospering ranch, and my best friend is my boss. I'm not sure how long I'll stick around. Every now and then I feel the itch to move on, and lately it's pesterin' me somthin' awful.

Tell us about Livy Green.

Well, now Livy is stubborn, ornery, strong, and sweet all rolled into one. She keeps John
in line and looks after his children.

But things didn’t start off that well, did they?

About the time Miss Green showed up, all hell broke loose on the T bar. John and I didn't know where to begin. Accidents started happenin’ and no, things weren’t goin’ well.

Without giving too much away, how did things turn out?

I saw that it’s possible for people to change. I've also seen my best friend learn to love
again, and that's somthin' I didn't think would happen.

Tragedy's happen. People die. But there is always hope. There is always someone there
to hold your hand during those bad times. Allow yourself to be comforted. Don't hold it
in. I've watched two people who were ravaged with guilt, anger, and despair find
happiness. So I guess what I'm sayin' is if John and Livy can do it anyone can.

What about you?

Ah, hell I don't know. Anyone ever tell you, you're nosy? I reckon I'll stay on the T bar
for a while.

What about romance?

Nighthawk, my love life is none of your damn business!

What can I say? Inquiring minds want to know.

To find out more, pick up Chasing Clovers by Kat Flannery, published by Imajin Books. Available in eBook and soon coming out in trade paperback.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Where Horror Characters Reside

And now for something completely different... Jeani Rector publishes Horror Zine, a place where great horror and suspense characters reside.

Tell us a bit about Horror Zine and how you got involved in it.

I am also a writer, and I used to submit stories to online magazines quite a bit. Suddenly the "Great Recession" hit and online magazines started folding, one right after the other. When even The Harrow went on hiatus, I realized someone needed to step up and fill in the gaps. Why not me? So in July 2009, the very first issue of The Horror Zine went up.

The funny thing is, I chose the name The Horror Zine simply as words someone would accidentally stumble across while doing Google searches. I had no idea that I could have named the magazine anything I wanted and it would be successful enough that people would search it out. They don't find it by accident; they know all about it!

Are all horror stories paranormal?

Well, actually horror falls into sub-genres. There is the ghost sub-genre, the psychological suspense sub-genre, the "Twilight-Zone" sub-genre, the moster sub-genre, vampires, zombies, get the idea.

There are also sub-genres that I do not accept, such as slasher, gore-for-gore's sake, and I don't want anything that harms women or children. No torture, either.

What kind of stories scare you the most?

Now that's a good question. Probably what scares me most are the stories where ordinary people wind up in extraordinary situations. The ones that could really happen in real life, to me and even you.

Vampire or werewolf? Which would you rather be bitten by?

I would prefer to be bitten by a very sexy human man. LOL. But I gravitate towards werewolves because vampires are a bit over-done right now. You would need a brand new twist to make a vampire story stand out from the pack. Or are packs referring to wolves? You know what I mean!

Find Horror Zine here:
Follow Jeani on Twitter: 

Survey says...
Twilight and Zombie Apocalypse notwithstanding, the creatures of the night that most readers want to hang out with are ghosts and demons.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Every Parent's Nightmare from Children of the Fog

Let A Kidnapper Take Your Child, Or Watch Your Son Die.

That's the decision Sadie O'Connell, bestselling author and a proud mother, had to make. Fear, grief and guilt rip her apart.

Hi Sadie, tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Sadie O'Connell and I'm a published author of romance, though my most recent work is children's fiction. I wrote it especially for the love of my life—my son Sam.

Having a child didn't come easy to me. When Sam was born, I was ecstatic and I dedicated my life to being a great mother, a good wife and a caring friend. But life hasn't been easy. Sam hears perfectly but is mute, and I don't know why. And Philip isn't exactly the most faithful husband. As for my best friend Leah—well, you'll have to read the book.

And I guess I should also tell you, I'm an alcoholic.

Clean and sober?

For a couple of weeks now – longer before The Fog took my son.

Tell us about The Fog.

He's a serial kidnapper and just his name alone strikes fear into the very core of every parent's heart. I first heard about him in the news, when a boy and girl went missing. Every year, he'd take two more. When Leah and I went for coffee a few days before Sam's sixth birthday, we read about another girl.

I never thought for one moment that my beautiful boy Sam would be next.

What happened?

Everything started with Sam's birthday party. Later, I thought I heard Philip returning home from another "late night at the office." But it wasn't Philip. I knew instinctively that something was wrong—a mother's intuition. So I went to check on Sam. And found The Fog.

You must really hate him for what he did to you and your son.

After everything that has gone down, I have very mixed feeling about The Fog. He was clearly insane, but now that I know his story, I have to say I feel for the man. He was left behind in the system and how can I really judge him? I was lost too for a while. I turned to my old habit—alcohol—and it nearly killed me.

You were given a choice—to let The Fog take Sam or watch him kill Sam. How difficult was that choice?

It was the most difficult, mind-numbing decision I have ever had to make. My first instinct was to fight for my son. It was horrifying to think of The Fog walking away with Sam. I couldn't even fathom what atrocities my son would endure. So I tried to fight. But I'm not a physically strong woman. And this was a man who knew how to fight—and how to kill. Though I tried, he beat me until I could no longer fight. When he held a gun to Sam's head, I couldn't breathe. So I made my choice. I let The Fog take Sam.

I know some people may not understand my decision. All I could think of was that Sam would be alive, at least for a while, and maybe he could be rescued. The only other choice was to have him shot in front of me. What would YOU do?

How has all this affected you?

I am still a writer. I'm writing more children's books than romance though. I'm not sure I believe in romance any more. I do have some new men in my life, but they are friends. Well, there's one...who knows?

As for Philip, he has a new home. He'll always be Sam's father. I loved Philip once. I am working at forgiving him for everything he did.

Leah and I are working on establishing trust in our relationship. Some days it's hard. We'll never have the same relationship we once had.

Is there anything positive you've gained from your experience - aside from the return of your son? Do you think these events have made you a better person?

I'm not sure if I'm a better person. I have faced my own demons, though there are nights when things come rushing back and leave me running to Sam's bedroom to make sure he's still there.

I think I'm not quite as weak as I once was. I've learned to open my eyes, see things for what they are and fight for what I want. I've learned to not take anything for granted, especially my son. And I've learned that swearing is very therapeutic. Does this make me a better person? I don't know, but I'm working on the new me daily.

I've learned that a child—even a mute child—is the most blessed gift a person could ever receive and to treasure that gift for an infinity.

Where do you see yourself in the future?

I see myself watching my son's children and being thankful every day for the gift of life. And I see myself always honoring those who came to save me when I was so far down a tunnel of grief that I couldn't see a way out.

Having gone through this experience, what would you tell someone in a similar situation?

I hope and pray that no one is ever forced to make the decision I was. But if it happens, I pray they find a way to make peace with their choice, no matter how it turns out.

Parents, love your children and treat them as the wonderful gifts they are. Some gifts aren't here forever.

Find The Fog and other great titles at
Find the author at:
Follow Cheryl on Twitter: @cherylktardif

Monday, October 17, 2011

Alison's Unnamed Fear

"Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is an anxiety disorder that is characterized by excessive, uncontrollable and often irrational worry about everyday things that is disproportionate to the actual source of worry."

aka free floating anxiety or

Unnamed Fear

Today we welcome as our guest, Alison Bruce's Unnamed Fear.

I ain't unnamed. She gave me a name years ago. I'm Fred.

She named her Unnamed Fear Fred?



She said that if she named me I wouldn't be so scary.

Did it work?

Seems to. For a while I became more like a guardian angel than a free floating anxiety. Kinda tied me down. She's a nice lady. I don't mind so much.

Has she always pictured you shirtless with a cowboy hat?

Sometime's I'm in biker leathers and a cowboy hat. Sometimes it's a oilskin coat and cowboy hat. I'm guessing she has a thing for cowboys 'cause she rarely pictures me without the hat.

How do you really look?

When I was an Unnamed Fear, I looked like whatever scared her the most. First time I showed up, I was a gunman in a black stetson and a riding coat. I showed up in a recurring nighmare at high moon and gunned her down. Don't know where that fear came from cause she was just a little bit at the time -- no more than five or six years old. Now I'm a white hat.

Does everyone have an Unnamed Fear?

Damned if I know. It's not like we hold conventions you know. I'm not sure there's many that get a name, that's for sure. Takes a certain kind of imagination to put a name and a face to your anxiety.

Same kind of person who give a nighthawk the job of hosting a blog?

Finest kind.

Note from Alison: GAD is real and can be debilitating. I have experienced it. I really did create Fred as a coping mechanism. Then life got to the point I was too busy worrying about real things to worry about the imagined. Still, I'll always be grateful for Fred for being there when I needed him.

Next week: Sadie from Cheryl Kaye Tardif's Children of the Fog

Monday, September 26, 2011

Angus MacPherson from View to a Kilt

A View to a Kilt by Chris Redding,
from Echelon Press.
Available in eBook and trade paperback
Waking up next to a dead guy can ruin your whole day.
When a wise-cracking interior decorator wants to put her
past behind her, the dead body of the mayor’s son
makes it pretty clear that won’t happen too easily.

Tonight we welcome FBI Agent Angus MacPherson.
Retired FBI.

You’re a little young to retire, aren’t you?
Once my wife Charlotte was killed I lost my zest for law enforcement. I run a private security firm and do everything from body guards to internet and computer security.

Tell us how you met interior decorator Miriam?
Well, I saw her as someone who could help me figure out if Charlotte was murdered and by whom. I never had any idea I’d fall in love with her.

Investigating the death of your wife and you fall in love – how did you manage that?
Thinking with the wrong head? Oh, wait, I guess you could say I didn’t realize how captivating Miriam would be. My wife died two years ago. I didn’t realize just how ready I was to fall in love again.

And Miriam Stokes is The One?
I’m nuts about her. I never thought I’d feel this way again.

So, what went wrong?
I lied to her, or at least didn’t tell the truth. I was hired to protect her, but I couldn’t tell her. My client asked for the utmost discretion.
Now I can’t sleep and I certainly can’t go back to the Bureau if I’m dating someone who is a witness for them. The whole relationship closed some doors for me. But I learned how to put the past in the past and that no job is worth lying to the one you love.

Find out more by checking out...,,

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Fang and Claw

The night is my world...

Mostly I spend my time in the twilight world where perfectly respectable characters become real... well mostly respectable characters. As the days shorten and the calendar marches on towards October 31, I can't help thinking about the darker things that inhabit the night.

Hallowe'en is over a month away, you say. Tell that to the kids who are already planning their costumes. Besides, the ghoulies and ghosties, and long-leggedy beasties, and things that go bump in the night, aren't limited to one night a year. They are always with us - if only on our bookshelves.

Speaking of Twilight worlds, do real vampires sparkle? Do werewolves bond for life? Inquiring minds want to know. And who would really win the battle (or popularity contest) Fang or Claw or some other classic monster?

Having a set of claws myself, I might be prejudiced. So I am asking you to weigh in. (See the poll on the side.) The results will help determine who will be interviewed Hallowe'en night. Then we shall go "Deep into that darkness peering..."

But I'm a hawk, not a raven, so don't quoth me.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Back-to-School with Miss Gumm

In honour of  the first day of school, I've invited Miss Adele Gumm, from Cherryville Kansas, 1873. 

Miss Gumm, better known to readers as Marly Landers' Aunt Adele, is oft referred to but never appears in Under A Texas Star.

Welcome, Miss Gumm.

Humph! That ungrateful girl has put you up to this, hasn't she? I rescue her from a renegade reb. I put a roof over her head and food in her belly. I teach her to read and write and do sums - I even let her learn history and bookkeeping with the boys - since she had no aptitude for needlework.

Boys and girls have a different curriculum in your school?

In every school! When I started teaching, girls and boys were in different classrooms - if not different schools. That was in the city of course. In a one-room country school, the best I can do is have the girls on one side and the boys on the other. Both learn reading, writing and sums, but the boys learn skills that will help them take care of their accounts or go into business - maybe go to college if their folks can afford it. Girls learn what they need to take care of a home and children.

Whatever her faults, Marly was a quick learner. Except for the needlework, she could handle all the lessons I gave. She was good with the younger children too. I was training her up to take over for me as teacher. No fear of that happening now.

Do you miss Marly?

Humph! She was useful enough when I could get her to work, I suppose. Give her the chance and she'd disappear. Took to hanging about the Sheriff's office when she was younger. Sweeping floors, sorting wanted posters when she should be sweeping the schoolroom floor and cleaning the slates for me. Though, fair is fair, she took her turn at those chores too.

It wasn't seemly, a young girl hanging about a bachelor like Langtree. Not saying he would have taken advantage but I know from experience how easy it is to have your head turned by an experienced man.

What experience is that, Miss Gumm?

None of your beeswax! You keep your prying beak to yourself.

The rules that a teacher has to follow are pretty strict, aren't they? You can't marry or keep company with men. You can't dress in bright colours...

That all depends on your school board, doesn't it? And whether you're a man or woman.

Men are expected to court, so long as the girl is respectable, because a man is considered more respectable if he's married. A woman is expected to leave her profession if she marries so she can get down to making babies and the like.

The school I started in did its best to fill their female teacher's time with chores and Bible study. They didn't want to lose us to marriage. One whiff of impropriety and you were out.

Here, they're just glad to have a teacher. There are plenty of rules, of course, but no one is going to check up and see if I'm in bed by sundown or chide me if I smoke a pipe now and then. As for bright colours... those days are past me now.

Are you smarter than an 8th Grader circa 1900? Find out here.

Monday, August 22, 2011

From Under A Texas Star - Marly Landers

Tonight on Nighthawk Talk, we welcome back Marly Landers from El Paso.

I'm not from El Paso, I'm headed for El Paso. I notice that nice Cherie girl isn’t here. Does that mean I won’t be asked about my glutes and abs? I never did find out what she meant.

We won’t talk beauty tips this time.* Instead, perhaps you could tell us about your journey so far.

That's a long story. Aunt Adele was sending me to a convent school. I’d rather not go into the reasons. Let’s just say, I had other plans. So, I purposely took the wrong train out of Kansas City. Then I had steal boys clothes and muddy my trail so my aunt wouldn't figure out where I was going. Not that she would care too much but I bet she made Sheriff Langtree look for me when I didn't turn up...

How about starting when you met Ranger Strachan?

I guess I first noticed him in Abilene but we met in Dogflats. By that time I was having to walk or hitch rides to get from town to town. He'd been following me for a couple of days – though he said I was following him. He bought me a steak dinner after I gave my supper away to Mr Hayes. He lost his son in the war and he really wanted to blame someone but mostly he was just sad and drunk and whatever Jase might think, I don't think he really would have hurt me.

Excuse me?

He only left a little bruise. I got much worse falling of Trouble.

Your horse?

Jase's horse really. I was borrowing it. Except.... well... I really did feel like he was mine. That's what made it so sad when...


You know, this is really something the way I can talk to you and people all over can hear me. Is it like the telegraph? Does my voice carry over wires?

Sort of. What about Trouble?

He was a good horse, even if he deserved his name. Jase said you were going to ask me about being a detective - though I'm hardly that. I just helped out some with the murder investigation. I mean I did figure out who killed Marshal Strothers, but Jase was the one that proved the case and even if I did break up a few bar fights, I think he only made me deputy to keep me safe.

Marly, do you ever run out of breath when you talk?

<chuckle> Sometimes.

You can find out more about Marly Landers in Under A Texas Star, by Alison Bruce
* And in her previous Nighthawk Interview.

Under A Texas Star is available in paperback at, and Barnes and Noble on sale in eBook format at , and Smashwords.

Monday, August 15, 2011

From Under A Texas Star

Welcome back to Nighthawk Talk. Tonight we have a blast from the past, Texas Ranger Jason Strachan. Howdy, Ranger.

Good evenin'.

The Texas Rangers are legendary. Their history goes back to the early years of the American colonization of Texas when Stephen F. Austin hired ten experienced frontiersmen as rangers for a punitive expedition against a band of Native Americans. In 1835, the Texas Rangers were formally created as a law enforcement and defensive organization.

Sounds about right.

What made you join the Rangers?

Somethin' t' do.


It was the Civil War. My father joined the Confederate Army out of a sense of duty or maybe because it was the thing to do at the time. I was to stay home and take care of my mother and sister.

 You didn't.

I did for awhile, but I was young, foolish and in love with the idea of adventure. Still, I joined the Rangers because I saw it as a way I could protect my family. We mustered to guard our home state from Comanches and banditos - not other Americans. As it happened, when things were getting desperate, we were sent east to fight.

 That's when you met Miss Jezebel.

Eventually. She and Fred rescued me when I was injured and helped get me back home. I will always be beholden to her for that.

You were lovers?

I'm gonna pretend I didn't hear that last question, else I'd have to assume you were casting aspersions on my honor as a gentleman.

You were close friends?

I will always consider Jez my good friend. She was there when I needed her and I will always try to be there when she needs me.

 Which is what brought you to Fortuna when she asked for your help.

<chuckle> That was plain old good luck. Her message caught up with me a couple of days after we arrived in Fortuna.

By we you mean you and Marly Landers.

Yep. But before you ask the question I know you're dying to ask, think about how much you like your nose unbroken.

Uh - I was only going to ask how Landers worked out as your deputy.

Fine. Landers is a natural born detective - observant and nosy.

 Will you work together again?

Maybe you best ask Landers that question.

Maybe I will. Marly Lander was a guest on Nighthawk just before our change in venue. If you'd like to read the transcript of her earlier interview, click here.

Under A Texas Star is available in paperback at, and Barnes and Noble on sale in eBook format at , and Smashwords.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

From Storyteller

Welcome listeners to another edition of Nighthawk Talk.  I've had my eagle-eye on Abby for a while. For one thing, if I don't watch out, she might rob me blind.

Abby, what brought you to Paris?

One summer we drove to a farm outside a small town in Manitoba to visit my great aunt Abigail and celebrate her birthday, August eight, the same day as mine.

She was one hundred. Nineteen years and a dozen lifetimes later and I still can't imagine being so old. Her face wrinkled like tissue paper when she smiled, but her hair was so incredibly long. She let me help her comb it before she rolled it up with what must have been a million bobby pins. Her white hair flowed past her ass and nearly touched the floor.

Sorry. Can I say ass?

Anyway, she was so glamourous, you know, even with the wrinkles and the teeth she kept in a jar. She gave me a few beauty tips I've never forgotten. Always use moisturizer. Always go to bed thankful. Always laugh.

When we piled into the car to drive home, she reached into the back seat where I was squished between my sisters and gave me a little blue bottle of perfume. Evening in Paris. I was the only one she gave a present to, but then, it was my birthday, too. I refused to use the perfume. Instead I would sit at the window for hours, twisting the bottle this way and that, and watch as sunlight reflected through the blue glass to dance on my walls, my floor, the fair skin on my forearms. I would daydream about evenings in Paris, far away from the noise and chaos of my family. Far away from where I was teased for being the youngest and the smallest. I hated being teased, and I knew no one in Paris would tease me.

Years went by and the perfume evaporated. Such a waste. I still have the bottle, a reminder to cherish everything I'm given.

Wow. I never told anyone that story before. What did you put in my drink?

Tell us a bit about your Paris. What areas do you "work"? What place do you retreat to when you need time away from your "job".

For practical reasons, I like to stay close to the metro. It's a fast and easy way to get to work, fits my budget, and the ridership provides camouflage if anyone notices too quickly that their watch, their pocketbook or their jewellery is missing. There is safety in numbers: safety from identification. I can dissolve into the crowd any time I choose, like a ghost, or the disappearing vapour of Evening in Paris.

Plenty of ripe marks spill out of the metro in droves, ready to be plucked, a stream as steady and reliable as the Metro's schedule. Over four million passengers a day. Can you imagine?

My favourite station is Gare de Chatelet-Les Halles. It is a great hub of connecting trains--and passengers, of course. The station is below the Forum des Halles, an underground shopping district. Tempting as it is, with everyone crushed together like the sardines in the fish markets of Rue Montorgueil, I never conduct business on the trains. For one thing, I am trapped. For another, too many cameras.

And I adore strolling down Rue Montorgueil. To me, it is the essence of Paris. You can have your Eiffel Tower and your Champs-Elysees, your Louvre. I'll take la Rue M. Cheese shops, wine shops, flower shops. Quaint cafes. The people that frequent my road come with good taste and rolls of cash. I take their money, indulge my tastes. It's a win-win. For me.

But do you have a place where you leave business behind and just be yourself - no role playing, no manipulation?

Seriously?You're playing me, right? Here is my philosophy, so listen up: Life is a role. Life is a game. I'm a little better at it than everyone else. And I'm always working, always onstage. But if you mean my downtime, where I like to go when I need to be alone, I have a room--not an apartment but a room, and no, I can't tell you where--but it's big and boxy, like a warehouse. I have a purple velvet chair in a corner, tucked under a corner window so there is light coming in from two sides. The chair is round and big enough for me to curl up in. I look out the window and daydream, I paint my toenails, I read books. Lots of books. Its a great place to watch people, watch the sky, watch the rain. It's a good place to write down ideas, or letters I'll never send.

It's also a good place to nap.

Oh, and any sidewalk cafe, or in winter, a cafe with a window seat. I could live off cappuccino. Light sprinkle of cinnamon on top. Yum.

Do you see yourself retiring from you current employment, or leaving Paris? If so, what next?

Hm. That is a very good question, Nighthawk, and I'm so glad you asked. I can't do this forever. Can I?

There is more to my story. I have commissioned the author to expand to novel length but her schedule is tight so I can't be sure when, or if, it will ever get to print. There is rumour of a romance, romance with a man whose wit and passion and desire could match or surpass my own. As if. Imagine me, tamed and tempered by love? Jamais! Never!

Whoever my lover is, I do hope he will always bring me flowers.

Flowers? Now there is an idea. Perhaps I could wear a little white apron, carry trimming shears in my pocket, and buy one of those little flower shops I love so much. And if a couple happens by my little shop, the woman smells the bouquets but her escort does not buy the lilies or roses she so desires, who am I not to relieve the cheapskate of his wallet?

If he bought the flowers, he'd have the flowers, the girl, and his money. C'est la vie.

Thank you, Abby. Let's finish off with a plug for your author, Sherry Isaac in hopes that people drop by her website, by the book with your story, and nag her to continue your tale.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

From Rowena Through the Wall

Good evening. Joining us tonight are Gareth and Cedric, natural enemies here under a truce to speak you, faithful listeners.

Gentlemen, your story can be read in Rowena Through the Wall, but it's told from the lady's point of view. We'd like to get your perspective on events. For instance, what was you first impression of Rowena?

A goddess from the other-worlds – that is what I thought when I walked through the wall to gaze upon her for the first time.  She had been in my dreams for weeks…planted there by the Dreamweaver wizard.  I traveled through time to find her.  I would walk through hell to keep her.

Cedric (laughing harshly):
I saw her too late!  In the chapel, where my worthless brother wed her, not minutes before.  She should have been mine!  I was the eldest.  No matter – she is mine, in all ways now.  A bonny wench, but oh, so much more.  My Valkyrie!  Riding like a man across the fields, facing down the brigands in the glen…a fitting bride for this disciple of Lucifer.

So, you see her as your bride, though she's married to your brother.  Gareth, are your intentions, pardon the cliché, honorable?

She is my love and my dear wife.  I need to protect her by bringing her north with me, to the rugged lands where I am Lord and have firm allies.  She is everything to me, my lady, my love, my wife.

So Rowena has three husbands?
Rowena is my mate before my Lord Lucifer, and she carries my unborn child. Hear me well! I will kill any man who comes between us.  Know it to be true; I’ve killed two already, with my own hands: my worthless brother, and the King himself.  More trash is nothing to me.  Lucifer feeds my black power, and it grows daily.  Stay well away, and leave me with my mate.

(Sound of steel being drawn)

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