Dead to Writes – S1, E6: Spring’s Last Skate

In this episode:

  • Our #ReadersOnTheRun segment features “Spring’s Last Skate”, a haunting mystery by Donna Carrick involving two young girls on a brilliantly beautiful late winter day that ends in horror. Story first appeared in Sept-Iles and other places, Carrick Publishing, 2011
  • Donna interviews #DeadlyFriend freelance journalist and True Crime author Nate Hendley about his work and what factors drove him to the True Crime genre
  • Nate and Donna offer tips for writers
  • Our contest prizes include an Amazon or Smashwords Gift Certificate (winner can choose either) and a copy of North on the Yellowhead and other crime stories by Donna Carrick, (Carrick Publishing 2016) “Like” our Dead to Writes Facebook page and answer contest questions in the comments section to Qualify

Are you a published author? Would you like to be featured on our podcast? Email Donna at – subject line: Schedule an Interview on Dead to Writes.


All music featured on Dead to Writes is brought to you courtesy of songwriter, composer and performer Ted Carrick. Keep up with all of his new music at his YouTube Channel.

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1 thought on “Dead to Writes – S1, E6: Spring’s Last Skate”

  1. Hello Donna
    I listened to your podcast with Nate Hendley and heard that you are a big fan of the Donnelly story. I have a little story for you about ‘The Black Donnelly’ novel.
    Following the release of ‘The Black Donnellys’ in 1954 by Thomas P. Kelley, an interest was sparked in a case that had gone cold for more than 60 years. Gathering and using material from old newspapers, police and court records, as well as taking creative license with details and plot elements where the truth about certain aspects or events were not known, Mr. Kelley’s sensationalized account of the Donnelly tragedy was soon under the microscope. Although being the most popular and the most famous book ever written about the Donnelly massacre, it was heavily scrutinized and criticized for not being historically accurate.
    An example of Mr. Kelley’s work, is the scene where James Donnelly and three of his sons get their fortunes read by Grandma Bell, with the predictions of their violent deaths. In the books ‘The Black Donnellys’ ‘The True Story of Canada’s Most Barbaric Feud’ by Thomas P. Kelley and ‘The Black Donnellys’ ‘The Outrageous Tale of Canada’s Deadliest Feud’ by Nate Hendley, both describe this encounter with Grandma Bell, however the encounter first appeared in Kelley’s book in 1954. This account according to both authors happened in November, 1879 and is described very much in the same way in about two and one half pages, right down to the tossing of the coin/coins onto Grandma Bell’s table for payment of the reading. According to historical records, Grandma Bell died in 1878. This scene invented by Kelley never happened at all, but Kelley’s writing of it puts him at his pulp fiction best.
    Mr. Hendley is a non-fiction, true crime/biography author, and wrote for Altitude Publishing that specialized in short punchy Canadian non-fiction, primarily of a historical nature.
    Mr. Hendley’s book released in 2004, and surprisingly also titled ‘The Black Donnellys’, (the title coined by Mr. Kelley in 1954 and continuously borrowed because of it’s notoriety) contains many of the elements from Kelley’s book where Kelley took creative license with details and plot elements using fiction, invention and imagination where the truth about certain aspects or events were not known. Intentionally or not, using inaccuracies by not researching all of the elements believed to be factual from Kelley’s book affects the truthfulness of Hendley’s biography. Research is key, all sources must be verified.
    I also find that Mr. Hendley’s true crime/biography has us guessing what is fact and what is fiction because there is no delineation between his sometimes colorful and melodramatic writing and the material he is presenting as a result of his research, which I believe to be non existent!
    Because of the amount of fiction, invention and imagination appropriated from Mr. Kelley’s book, it is my opinion that Mr. Hendley’s, ‘The Black Donnellys’ is not a work of non-fiction, and is a flawed representation of the true crime/biography genre. It would also be logical to assume that if Mr. Kelley’s book can be criticized for not being historically accurate, so can Mr Hendley’s.
    There is a very informative podcast titled Get Published Episode 52-Nate Hendley-journalist, author, editor.
    The interview is much like his book ‘Motivate to Create’ with a few more very wise tips about writing. Mr. Hendley talks about the importance of researching, fact checking and editing the vast amount of material necessary to write an accurate book.
    Mr. Hendley also talks about the tons of books he read when he was doing research for his book ‘American Gangsters’. He explained that, and I quote; ” while reading many of the books I used for research, I started to notice that some of the authors hadn’t really done a lot of original research, and it was pretty obvious that they read somebody else’s account of something and then paraphrased it a bit and put their own version down, with no direct quotes to back it up, or newspaper accounts or anything, Tsk,Tsk”
    Hmm, I seem to recall reading your version of fiction,invention and imagination of another author’s account from a previously published famous book.
    Publisher of the original ‘The Black Donnellys’ by Thomas P. Kelley.

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