Thursday, May 31, 2007
June 1st - 11:10 AM (ET) - "Toronto Weekend” at AM640 RADIO in Toronto - (by phone) to discuss Whale Song, assisted suicide and Dr. Jack Kevorkian's parole release.
June 1st - 2:00 PM (MT) - CHQR RADIO in Calgary - (interviewed by phone) to discuss Whale Song and The River and movie interest, especially Hollywood. Will air Sunday, June 3rd from 6-7 AM (MT).
June TBA - "Urban Rush" at Shaw TV in Vancouver - (in person) to discuss Whale Song and The River and movie interest, especially Hollywood. She'll be giving away 1 copy of Whale Song and 1 copy of The River.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Ok, for someone with a rotten flu and a fever of 104 on Tylenol 2's and decongestants, I guess it could be worse.
The article is short and sweet on page 5, but I have to say I've seen myself everywhere this morning when I went out. The 24 boxes are on every corner about every 3 blocks, serving over 1 million people.
Let's hope all the big stars and producers who are in town shooting Christmas in Wonderland see the cover!! Leslie Nielsen and Patrick Swayze are among a few big names who are in presently in Edmonton, shooting at West Edmonton Mall. All it takes is the right connection...Leslie, Patrick...call me! :)
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
It was the year 2000 when I went on a 4-city, eight day book tour to Regina, Saskatoon, Calgary and Edmonton. The first city was Regina. At 10:00 a.m. I spoke at Campbell Collegiate to grades 10 and 11 on my book and writing. As soon as the bell rang, I was ushered into a car for lunch with the principal and some teachers. Before I had my dessert, my lift took me to CKCK-TV for a live interview. No sooner finished, I was returned at 1:15 p.m. to Campbell Collegiate to speak to two combined classes.
All this would have been a piece of cake, except I’m 63. I was wearing a new pair of shoes, not my sneakers, and my voice and brain seemed to be going on different tracks at this point in the day. This was my second day on the tour, sleeping in a strange bed – alone, jet lag and two speaking engagements behind me. I was running out of gas.
The principal met me outside the lecture hall. There were about 300 students, I believe in the room and she wanted me to be aware that these students might not be focused on writing as the other two classes. She said to expect some interruptions such as restlessness and comings and leaving, although it had been discouraged. I entered the lion’s den, looked at my charges with tired eyes and a voice that needed liquid rejuvenation and went into my spiel.
I tell stories about children who survived the Holocaust, experienced a mystery that is hard to define and went on to make an impact in Canada. There was no sound or movement. About a third way through my presentation, a rather older boy slowly placed his head on the long desk, resting it on his cradled arm. I tensed but continued. Soon after two other boys next to this boy followed. There I stood trying to tell my stories, while glancing at the three apparently in a mode that imitated sleep. I looked to the principal and saw she too was focused on the three. I finished my presentation just as the bell rang and within seconds the room was empty except me.
While pondering what had just happened, my next appointment showed up – Cable TV. For the next hour I was interviewed. Alone at last, voice squeaking, and my eyes wanting to close, I made my way to the principal’s office to collect my coat. Outside my lift was waiting to take me to my room, to get ready for the evenings engagement. The principal asked me to sit down. “I guess you noticed the three boys with their heads on the desk,” she said. “Yes, but they weren’t disruptive.” “I followed them out into the corridor,” she said and stopped them. I asked the ringleader, “Are you tired?” “No,” he answered. “You laid your head on the desk, you and your friends,” “Yes,” he answered, “but I never took my eyes off him. He was awesome.” At which she broke out in laughter and so did I.
“Awesome” – there were times I’ve been called awful, but never awesome. I left the school feeling like I was 36.
First of all, unless your John Grisham or JK Rowling, even the largest publisher is going to expect you to carry your own torch. And it can't be done halfheartedly either - plodding through it while thinking all the while, "I'd rather be writing."
For many years before I started writing novels, I was involved in advertising sales and marketing. I wrote and delivered presentations and complex marketing proposals, all the while thinking "what a boring waste of time." But it wasn't.
I didn't really realize it until I started my book tour and found myself using many of the same skills developed in my previous incarnation. Gradually I came to understand that we all sell - whether it's in the workplace or personal relationships. We're all in the business of presenting, persuading and - selling
A very talented and respected colleague of mine, Cheryl Kaye Tardif, is not only an excellent writer, but one of the most outstanding marketers I've ever met (and I've spent 40 years in the business !). Her passion and excitement for her works, publisher and fellow authors are infectious - and they sell books!
The one thing that I've noticed is that wherever she goes and whichever group she's talking to, she seems to be having fun. And I think that's the key - Have fun!
So with that in mind, the following is a 'tongue -in-cheek' (but not very far in cheek) recounting of an incident last week that made me smile. I hope it will do the same for you.
Friends/colleagues - Stop me before I sell again !
Hi, my name is Ric and I'm a - a ... sales pitch addict !
There, I said it. It's finally out in the open and maybe now I can start on the road to recovery
Let me explain:
Earlier this week I happened to find myself passing by one of the B&N where I'd recently had a signing.
I knew that I shouldn't do it but I just couldn't help it ... I just had to go in and see how my book was selling.
I made my way back to the Mystery isle and was gratified to see that out of two dozen signed copies of Shadow that I'd left with the B&N CRM, there was only one signed copy left out the 6 or 7 books on the shelf.
I was just about to leave when it happened.
I turned around and saw a woman standing next to me intensely perusing the books on the New Mysteries shelf and before I could stop myself I blurted out; "So, are you looking for a good mystery?"
Yes friends ... the old demon, SSP (shameless self promotion) had me by the tail again.
I won't go into the sordid details but after 5 minuets of friendly chit-chat I was signing a copy of Shadow of Innocence to her.
But that's not the worst.
After signing the copy to the nice lady, could I just leave well enough alone? No! Just like a drunk reaching for the next bottle, I pointed my shaking finger towards another book on the New Mystery shelf by one of our Spring List authors and said, "you know here's another mystery that I know you'll like." In another 5 minutes she also had a copy of The Game tucked under her arm.
Clutching the two books she thanked me for my advice and started to leave. That's when she made the mistake of saying, "You know these will be great for my book club."
Book Club ?! .... Cha-Ching !!! My eyes lit up.
"Madam, I said. "putting on my best carnival barkers voice and whipping out a catalog for my publishers Spring List , " I have here the genuine, fool-proof guarantee to true literary happiness that will elevate you to the undisputed queen bee of your Book Club!"
And yes, before I could stop myself, I'd given her an 'elevator pitch' for all the books in the catalog. She eventually left the store mumbling descriptions and long strings of ISBN #'s, promising to present the books at their next meeting.
A sordid tale I know, and I'm not proud, but what can I do?
Friends... get me into a 12 step program. Help me shake the need to pitch our publications to every stranger I see.
And please, please - help me before I sell again !
Ric Wasley - Author
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.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
I am not apolitical. In my 71 years I have voted for both the Conservative and Liberal Party. I prefer to invest my loyalty in the man rather than the party. This rant is not intended to demean or belittle you but to make you aware that you are losing me as a supporter.
I am grateful as a Jew that you have opted to stand and be counted when Israel is concerned. But as much as that has warmed me to Conservative Party policy it is not enough to make me vote for you. I am a Canadian and, as a Canadian, I am aware of what the Conservative policy regarding support for Arts is doing to Canada.
I am a writer. I have never asked for a grant. I have never been funded. I write because to me writing is a passion and financial compensation is not as important for me as for those who are much younger than I am. I chose to establish my business first and to set my desire to write on the back burner. Today I have the financial resources to do what I please without looking for assistance. But I am not the norm.
Canadians are different.
What sets us apart from our good neighbours to the south is our attitude. We feel and see things differently. Our history has been different and our outlook on life has a different spin. These differences do not show up in our speech or our clothes but in our Arts, specifically in our writings. Our writers set us apart.
What drives this great country of ours is diversity. One of the ways we celebrate that diversity is through our writings. The colour of our skin, the traditions of our heritage and our own or our parent’s birthplace, the memories of times long past: all are depicted in our writing.
It is pure Canadian.
Writing is not and has never been a lucrative source of revenue for those who are devoted to putting pen to paper. Ten percent of our writers earn ninety percent of all money earned from writing. Help is needed. Actually, financial help is necessary so that those who scrimp by on an average of $10,000 a year income can continue to practice their craft.
You are making an investment.
Not everything has a quick return. Not everyone is fortunate enough to be a Margaret Attwood. By denying the resources to assist those in need to perpetuate all that is Canada is to send out the wrong message. It is not frugal. It is not good business. It is a waste of human resources. And, Mr. Harper, it is a crime that history will never forgive you for committing.
Monday, May 21, 2007
"Whale Song is deep and true, a compelling story of love and family and the mysteries of the human heart. Cheryl Kaye Tardif has written a beautiful, haunting novel."
-- NY Times Bestselling novelist Luanne Rice, author of Beach Girls and What Matters Most
Friday, May 18, 2007
The Secret Ever Keeps
Great story! Loved the flashbacks sequences!
Art Tirrell’s The Secret Ever Keeps is a modern Cinderella story, with a rum-running, sunken treasure twist. On the shores of Lake Ontario, Laurel Kingsford discovers that there is more to her family’s past. There is a secret that has laid buried, one that is yearning to be revealed.
While searching for a treasure buried far beneath the sea, she uncovers a conspiracy, a passionate new love, a jealous and formidable rival, more family than she wants, and riches beyond her dreams. But of course, something—or someone—wants to spoil her plans at happiness and they will go to any length to take her breath away—permanently.
The Secret Ever Keeps is a tantalizing read. Fast-paced, sexy and sensationally plotted, it will keep you guessing and cheering on the heroine until the explosive and satisfying ending.
I have given this novel 5 stars because it deserves it! The story is awesome and it is believable and well-researched. Great work! I look forward to Art’s next novel.
~ Cheryl Kaye Tardif is a freelance journalist, book reviewer and editor. She is also the author of three mystery novels set in Canada, including the bestselling ‘assisted suicide novel’ Whale Song, which was released April1st, 2007, by provocative publisher Kunati Books.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
There is some controversy as to what constitutes an author. The suggestion is that an author is a person published by a traditional publisher.
What is it about a traditional publisher that places them in a category above anyone else in the industry? Is not an author someone with the ability to create prose of merit with the quality of a craftsman?
What is it that suggests that a traditional publisher has better judgement in determining who is an author or not. Am I to understand that everything that a traditional publisher publishes is worthy of being put into print?
I doubt that.
Lately, the products produced by traditional publishers have made self-publishing a respectable alternative. Authors with international reputations of quality have at some time in their young careers taken a walk in the shady side of publishing and produced stories on their own after being rejected. Am I to understand that because these stories had not been published by traditional publishers they were unworthy of being in print?
I doubt that.
I believe it is necessary to define what constitutes an author on its own merit. Being a published or self-published author does not make an author. To join the two as one is relegating the efforts of good authors to a category of second class writers instead of rejected authors. And what is being rejected by a traditional publisher represent? The content of a story is subjective. One publisher’s rejection is another’s cash cow.
I was initially published by a traditional publisher. I found the experience demeaning and unprofitable. Publishing is strictly a business. Writing is a desire first, than an income. The two individual principals should never be joined as one.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Finding Your Spiritual Muse
May 26th and June 2nd
10 am - 4pm
MacEwan Writing Works
Grant MacEwan College, City Centre Campus,
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Looking for inspiration from a source greater than you? Learn how different writing styles and formats have been used by people for thousands of years to connect to their spiritual source. Learn how sound, meditation, poetry, personal stories and inspirational writings can stir your creativity. You will discover ways to find inspiration within yourself through a powerful creative source – your spiritual muse.
Instructor Catherine Kuehne has lived in a Shinto shrine in Japan, followed pilgrimage paths to churches and shrines in Europe and met many people of different faiths through her travels. She has taught courses, workshops and made presentations at local and national events and conferences. Catherine's writing has appeared in numerous periodicals including Synchronicity, The Mennonite, Lifestyle 55+, Edmonton Journal, BC Parent and Complete Canadian Gardener and in the antholology Edmonton on Location: River City Chronicles.
Visit Finding Your Spiritual Muse for more information
Submitted with Catherine's permission.
~Cheryl Kaye Tardif, author of Whale Song, The River and Divine Intervention
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
For any of you who have read The Secret or attended a T. Harv Eker seminar, or one of the many other motivational, inspirational gurus out there, you'll find a common thread. They generally believe that if you think positively, visualize what you want, go after it and open yourself to becoming successful, that all things are possible.
I have to agree. The more conscious I am of being a "magnet", the more success and opportunities are drawn to me. Some even 'fall in my lap', seemingly from out of nowhere. Synchronicity and Serendipity are my 'sisters'.
Last night, for instance, I received an email from out of the blue from someone who wants to review Whale Song and talk about my emotional novel on a Toronto Italian radio station with over 500,000 listeners. How exciting! Now all I need is a translator! :)
Then this morning, I received an email from a gal who had bought a copy of Whale Song at a recent signing. Now she wants another copy of Whale Song and 2 each of my other novels (The River and Divine Intervention). I am very honored to have made a new fan. My fans are blessings!
Later today, I received an invitation to be a guest blogger on another site, to talk about Whale Song and how the inspiration came to me. I'll send out the link to that once it's up.
But the highlight of my day was chatting with various film producers, people in the film industry and learning a bit about the contract side of how a film is made. Then I started negotiating the film contract for The River, a fast-paced thriller set in the Nahanni River area. I feel very positive that we will come to an agreement. And I received an email from a lovely native singer-songwriter who is interested in getting involved with the film. I love her music and I just heard her in a movie sound track. What an awesome contact to have!
I invite anyone who has read The River to comment here. Please give me your thoughts on a movie version of my novel. Would you go see it? Why would The River make a great movie? What Canadian actors do you see playing the 2 lead roles--Del and Jake? What American actors do you see? Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
If you want to see success in your life, I suggest you do what I do:
BE the magnet!
Envision yourself as one magnetizing power source that all great things are drawn to. Keep focused on your goals. Visualize them, their fulfillment. What will it be like when you reach your goal? What can you see, hear, feel, taste, smell? When you can see this in your mind as clear as a memory, you can bring it into reality--magnetize it.
For me, I see a huge theatre, the screen framed by plush red velvet curtains. The River is playing and we're at the chase scene. I can hear suspenseful music--tribal drums--beating faster as Del runs. I hear her screams, feel her terror. I can feel the sweaty, slippery cup of ice tea in my hand and I smell the popcorn in the bag on my lap. Crunch! Yum, extra butter!
Now the movie is over and people are talking.
"That was awesome!" someone says.
It will be.
Sunday, May 06, 2007
But what I want most is for her to read Whale Song, so I can share my message with her.
I was told early on that Canadians couldn’t get published, that it was ‘impossible’, that I should do something else. I was a hairstylist, a childcare provider, a motivational speaker, a telemarketing manager, a Pampered Chef consultant. In every profession, I wrote!
In 2003 I told a friend about a novel idea. It haunted me for 2 years. It was based on a legend about killer whales close to shore―reincarnated souls saying goodbye. My friend said, “Don’t worry if it gets published. Write it for yourself! Write it because you HAVE to!”
I self-published Whale Song in 2003. In 2004, I self-published Divine Intervention. But I was shot down. One person told me, “You never should’ve self-published. That was a big mistake. No one will take you seriously.” One bookstore manager actually told me, “We’ll consign your books but we won’t let you have a signing.” When I asked why, she said “You’re a nobody.” She lectured me on why my books would “never sell”.
Determined, I self-published The River in 2005. I was interviewed on TV, radio, newspapers, magazines across Canada and the US. I created websites for authors to promote their books, organized multi-author events, spoke about self-publishing and I kept hold of my big dream.
In spring 2006, Whale Song was picked up by Kunati Books. It released in April 2007, dedicated to my brother who was murdered in 2006. I found a beat up copy of the original Whale Song in his room―the only book of mine he’d read. Whale Song has already made Amazon.ca’s bestsellers list, has almost sold out and has a dozen film companies reading it―half from Hollywood. And I’m negotiating a movie contract for The River.
I’m now the Canadian Author Liaison for Infinity Publishing, paying it forward.
I’ve never read The Secret; I LIVE The Secret.'
Thursday, May 03, 2007
This story appeared in April 2007 ARS MEDICA: A Journal of Medicine, the Arts, and Humanities - Department of Psychiatry, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto
I was asked in 1994 to speak to an audience of about four hundred donors at Baycrest Home for the aged in Toronto about how my mother came to be there. I told a variation of this story, leading to the fact that love was not a word spoken in our home, and with my mother in the final stages of Alzheimer's I regretted not telling her how I felt about her face-to-face. I would say the words to myself often but not have the courage to tell her. After I finished my story, I turned to my mother in the room, strapped to a wheelchair, body slumped forward, head down, and I finished by saying, "I love you, mother."
To everyone's surprise, my mother raised her head and tried to stand. A photographer ran over and began shooting photographs. My wife undid the belt and helped my mother to her feet. She bowed to the people, smiled, and fell back onto my wife's arms. She was placed in her chair and strapped. The people and I were stunned, to say the least. My mother had not voluntarily moved in over a year. A few weeks later she passed away in her sleep at the age of ninety-two.
I HAD HOPED that when I met with the doctor, the news I would hear would at least offer me some hope. But what I heard was as bad as it could be. “Is there any kind of medicine that might make a difference?” I whispered.
“No, I’m sorry, there isn’t. If there were I would have recommended it.”
“It varies. There’ll be a steady decline in health. You’ve already seen some of it. It will become more obvious in time.”
“And now . . . what do I do now?”
“Your mother can’t live alone anymore. She needs twenty-four-hour care. You knew this day would come.”
“I’d hoped it wouldn’t.”
“What she has is a progressive illness without any known cure. At least not as of this moment.”
My voice trembled. “I’m not ready.”
“I don’t think anyone ever is.”
“There are words that I wish I had said to her, but if I say them now . . . she can’t hear them.”
“Maybe she can,” the doctor said. “No one knows.”
I rose. “Do you think so?”
He shrugged and gave me a tired smile.
I SAT IN my car outside my mother’s apartment building, unwilling to enter, knowing what awaited me in her apartment. I knew, no matter how long I sat there, nothing would change. The inevitable awaited for me. I had made excuses for months for what I was seeing. I refused to accept the truth, but the truth refused to go away. In my eyes, my mother appeared ageless. European-born, with simple old country logic, she was my friend and protector as I grew up in a trouble home.
Public school was fraught with mediocre marks due to my lack of interest and my short attention span. I was disciplined by the principal often. I had few friends. At home I would go into my room, close the door and bury myself in a book – it became my universe. My mother sensed it was where I hid. One day she came in and asked, “What happens to you when you go to school? I know you’re not a bad boy, so something must happen that I don’t know about. Do you want to tell me?”
I struggled with the words. “I dream,” I said. “I make-believe I’m one of the people in the book I’m reading. There’s adventure. I’m their hero and there’s no pain. The teacher’s voice disappears and I can see everything in my mind. Then the teacher catches me and makes fun of me when I tell her I was dreaming. Everyone in the class laughs and she would send me to the principal’s office.”
“Do you know that dreaming is not real?” my mother asked.
“Yes, I know, but for a little while, it’s real to me. Is that wrong?”
She smiled. “No, it’s not wrong,” she said. “Just as long as you know it’s not real. It’s a gift not everyone has and those who don’t, won’t understand. To be in one place while you’re somewhere else in your mind is like magic. But you must share this gift with the present, and maybe some day you’ll be able to use your gift so that others can enjoy what you see in your mind.”
Life was hard. When I was eighteen, my father died from a heart attack. He had been my mother’s big love. She was a good mother, but she never spoke the word, ‘love’ and yet I never felt unloved.
I SIGHED. I had to go into the building. I left my car, went in the front door and rode the elevator to her floor. I loved being with my mother. There were times when I would invent reasons to come to her building, just to inhale the aroma of her cooking, to have a no-nonsense conversation with someone I admired and respected. Then I saw the changes in her. I made excuses. Her apartment took on a look of neglect and her clothes were often unwashed. Her conversation was increasingly stinted and broken.
The elevator stopped and I reluctantly walked towards her apartment. Beside her door was a mezuzah to bless those who entered, but I did not feel blessed by what would confront me. Her home always rang with laughter and all around the walls hung souvenirs of her sons childhood. To visit my mother’s apartment as an adult was to feel young again. Her home was always filled with good memories. But now I hesitated at the door. I did not want to enter.
I knocked, even though I had a key, praying she would greet me with that familiar twinkle in her eyes, but all was silent. I hesitantly placed the key in the lock and opened the door. She was sitting on the edge of the couch wearing her nightgown and housecoat, hands clasped in front of her, her head bowed. I prayed she would turn her eyes towards me, but she appeared unaware of my presence. I was late tonight and the woman I hired to be with her had gone home. “Hello, Mom, how are you?”
She did not answer.
I turned on the lamp. Still no sign that she was aware of my presence. She sat in a room surrounded by her past, a past she no longer remembered. I sat beside her and began the ritual of my visit by telling her about my day’s activities. I told her she would soon be a grand bubbi. Her other two sons would be coming tomorrow. She blinked and a tear formed in the corner of her eye. I couldn’t find the words to tell her what the doctor had said.
She looked at me and smiled. “Where’s my mother?” she asked.
She asked the same question every day. “She’s gone out for a little while,” I answered. “She’ll be back soon. Don’t worry.”
I felt the pressure of her fingers on my hands; her skin tough as leather, creased and marked by the many hours she had worked with a sewing machine. The look on her face did not change. I waited for the next question.
“Do you know my mother?” she asked.
“No, but I know a lot about her. She’s a nice person, just like you.”
Her head bobbed ever so slightly in agreement. She had not looked at me when I spoke and I wondered if she knew what I had just said.
“Who are you?”
“I’m your son.”
She stared at me. “Do we know each other?”
“Yes, very well.”
Her head slowly dropped, her eyes to the floor. The smile slipped from her face. I knew I had lost her again. I led her to her bed and removed her housecoat and covered her with the comforter. I leaned over to kiss her good night and headed for the door, but I stopped to look back at her. She lay still, lifeless. She looked so fragile. Time no longer existed for her. At least not the time I knew.
I turned off the lights and left, locking the door behind me. In the morning, the woman from the agency would come. What had just taken place would not be remembered by anyone but me. Alzheimer’s is painless for those who have the illness, but not for those who remember how things used to be.
I returned to my car and stared up at her window.
If only . . . she knew how I felt.
If only . . . I had said the words when she could have understood.
“I love you, Mother,” I said aloud. “Can you hear me?”