Tuesday, December 30, 2008

eBay in Blog

I am being sold on eBay. Well not me exactly, my book, Belly of the Whale is up on eBay. Google alerts keeps me informed of some of the most obscure happenings that pop up regarding my novel. This latest, in regard to eBay, made me chuckle. I felt like a throw away, a used me but more to the point a used book. I wondered if there was a battle in the final minutes, a joust of sorts to win my novel. If this doesn't make me feel strangely important I am not sure what can top it, that spot on Oprah perhaps or maybe a nod from the New York Times. Hmmmm...

For those keeping track, the moon is in Aquarius allowing Monday and Tuesday to be Good Days. This moon with all its quirks often brings surprises or some type of technical snafu. The unusual is the best route or mode of choice. Do not use traditional tactics. As the year winds down, this moon will take us into Wednesday, New Years Eve. Appropriately enough we get an afternoon to ponder. This has been a roller coaster ride of a year. Wednesday afternoon asks us to stay quiet, to lay back, to wait. The moon will be off the screen from about 1:30pm until 7:30pm. If you decide to celebrate keep in mind that a Pisces Moon is watery and should not be mixed with alcohol. There is a tendency to dismiss reality with this moon and drown in the buzz or the high of substances that fly us to the moon. Be mindful of those folk who will over indulge this year. Go out and celebrate but don't leave pieces of yourself floating around. New Years Day will be a Good Day, a good day to begin using kindness as the starting point. Pisces Moon takes care of everyone else first and self last. She can be a bit of a martyr but she means well. Remember, in the end, only kindness matters.

Thanks for blogging with me in 2008...have the best day everyday.


Monday, December 29, 2008

Writers: Learn about 'The Four Firsts and Chapter Hooks'

In fiction, suspense and foreshadowing create mood, tension and the desire for a reader to read more. You can do this, by using the Four Firsts rule and by using Chapter Hooks...

Read the article on The Four Firsts and Chapter Hooks.

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif, author of Whale Song, The River and Divine Intervention

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Black Swan Year

I love to collect interesting facts, anecdotes, and trivia. The other day, my husband, who devotes much of his professional and private life to the world of finance, said, “This is a black swan year.”

“Huh?” I asked, not being knowledgeable in matters of high finance.

It seems the term is used occasionally by stock market analysts to refer to an incredibly rare event that impacts a lot of people, but it doesn’t apply just to financial events. New York’s 9/11 and the tsunami of Dec. 26, 2004 are two good examples. The collapse, or near collapse, of financial institutions around the world also qualifies as a black swan event.

The term “black swan” comes from a common belief in the 17th century that all swans were white. In fact, your average North American didn’t believe a black swan could even exist. But then someone discovered black swans in Australia and so the world had to accept the new reality. Thus, the term's evolved to now mean that although a certain event could technically happen, the possibility is so remote that no one takes it seriously . . . until it happens.

Winning a Pulitizer or landing a seven figure book deal would definitely qualify as black swans in my world. I wonder if looking for those elusive birds would help.

Feel free to use my black swan story at your next party. And on that note, a very HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone!

To read excerpts of FATAL ENCYRPTION and TAXED TO DEATH, please visit www.debrapurdykong.com

Friday, December 26, 2008

Lost Blog

The case of the lost blog. Where the blazes does the last blog you just spent thirty minutes of your precious time writing go when you bleeping press the wrong key? What happens when you can hear the computer chewing your words, chomping sentences and licking its lips? Argh!!! No amount of back arrow clicking can recover the lost blog. It was breakfast for a hungry cyberspace monster; and so you have no choice but to begin again...start over...argh!!!

The possibility exists that what was written previously was dribble anyway, and no one cared a lick about what was said. Amen.

The truth is I've been remiss in my Good Days and No Days and for those unable to get out-of-bed because of my failure to advise - I apologize.

Once the Scorpio Moon went off into the deep bowels of the Cosmos she left behind about six hours of what-the-heck-is-happening-to-me-garbage. This was precisely between 12:30am-6:15am on Wednesday morning. Whatever occured during that time frame seemed important and serious, however, the Scorpio Moon is known for its bathroom humor and dirty tricks, so no worries,believe it or not, she was just kidding.

The Sagittarius Moon took over, thank you very much, and continues until 6:30pm, Friday evening. There is sure to be some over spending, over eating, over doing and over joying with this jolly moon. Hope your Christmas was all of that and more. The Capricorn New Moon joins us for the weekend beginning 7pm Friday night. New Moons are excellent for starting over.

So there, that's the answer...I had to begin again with this blog and this one makes so much more sense than the last one. But hey, if you are lost in cyberspace and find any MIA blogs please let me know...

Have the best darn day everyday.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Whale Song is going "out of print"

A few days ago I received a letter from my publisher Kunati Books informing me that they have decided to make Whale Song "out of print", even though it continues to be their top fiction seller on Amazon and elsewhere.

While I don't completely understand their decision, I know that things are changing everywhere in the book world and publishers are scrambling to make decisions on what to do next. Rumor is, Kunati is going nonfiction.

What does this mean for Whale Song?

Well, it means that if you want to read it, you'd better order it now. Whale Song could be out of print and unavailable to the public in a matter of a week, maybe a few more.

I'd like to know that everyone who has wanted to read it has had the opportunity. I encourage you to pick up a copy for your mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, best friend. I encourage YA readers to check it out. Whale Song is even being used in schools for Language Arts studies, so if you're a teacher, please be sure to get copies for your classroom now, while you can. And if you're a librarian, order copies of Whale Song for your collection.

Whale Song is a novel that has a huge emotional impact on its readers. People's lives have been changed and are changing as a result. This novel explores themes of racism, bullying, tragedy, forgiveness and redemption, and it'll change how you view life...and death.

Chances are your local bookstore won't have any in stock--unless you're in Edmonton, Alberta, in which case you can pick up Whale Song from the following locations: South Point Chapters, Southgate Shopping Centre Coles, and Mill Woods Town Centre Coles.

Or you can order Whale Song from Amazon.com, Amazon.ca or Chapters.ca.

Whale Song has had a good solid run since 2003 when the first edition came out and I am still working on the movie angle. Who knows? For now, I'd like to thank every single reader who has taken a chance on my "heart book".

Thank you for every single review you've written and every email that you have thoughtfully sent me. Thank you for telling me your life changing stories and for sharing parts of your souls with me. I am working fervently to complete some new works that I hope you'll find just as meaningful and entertaining. And don't forget, Divine Intervention and The River are still available and going strong. :)

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
bestselling author of Whale Song

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Writing in Scenes

Yesterday, my day-job assignment was to patrol only three buildings on campus, inside and out. It was an easy task. Classrooms are closed until the new year and staff don’t work on Saturdays. When I arrived at seven a.m., buildings were already locked down for the day and the area was blissfully quiet. It’s a strange feeling to know you’re the only one in an unfamiliar building. You’re more conscious of the sound of your footsteps and strange noises. It’s an odd balance between heightened senses and a relaxed state of mind. Outside, the temperature was minus 7 Celsius and brilliantly sunny. The snow had fallen three days earlier and icicles dangled off of eaves and plants. Pink salt crystals were sprinkled on sidewalks and stairs while parking lots remained deceptively treacherous.

As I tread cautiously among icy patches, I thought about capturing some of what I saw by writing scenes. Scenes that don’t have anything to do with current projects. It might seem strange to say this, but I rarely write random scenes. My stories, essays, and novels develop from outlines, so that even before I begin writing I know what each scene is supposed to do. It’s saved me a lot of missteps, but lately I’ve been thinking about trying something different.

I have an idea for a book. Not a mystery -- an urban fantasy. The idea came during a local RWA conference, where I learned about the many subgenres of romance writing. Boy, there's a genre that's blossomed over the years. Seven months later, the idea’s still with me and it’s beginning to grow ... not through a coherent outline but in separate, unrelated scenes.

One year, at the Surrey International Writers’ Conference, I listened to Diana Gabaldon discuss how she wrote her Outlander series by starting with random scenes. As some of you know, she creates 1,200 page stories that flow so smoothly it’s hard to imagine how she stitches all of those scenes together. Yet she does, and beautifully. Now I'm ready to try this method, one scene at a time.

To read excerpts of TAXED TO DEATH and FATAL ENCRYPTION please visit, www.debrapurdykong.com.

And to all of you Christmas worshippers out there, a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Blog the Longest Day

Saturday, December 20, 2008
I look out my window and the world is transformed. Everywhere, as far as my eyes can see, is white. The heaviness of an intense storm still hangs in the air. Almost like the boxer who has returned to his corner for a pep talk and water. The snow will come again and again. The reasons why you love and hate the North East of the United States is clear. You talk about leaving, about packing up and going South, but you don't. The serenity of moments like this morning are too precious to miss. They will stay with you until you start to shovel and then you will remember why you should have left last year.

The Winter Solstice is upon us. The longest day of the year when the sun is farthest from the Equator in the north causing the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. The effect is that the sun "stands still" in its apparent northward motion. This celestial event occurs with the sun in Capricorn, the beginning of winter, the Winter Solstice and after this time the days begin to grow longer again. Take note that the sign of Capricorn is very potent in the coming years. Talk of conservation directly relates to the sign of conserving. Capricorn seeks to be wise and at times frugal. This control gives Capricorn the ability to invest with wisdom, go-green and lead a comfortable existence. Although budget conscious, this sign likes the good things of this world and is the true material girl (boy).

Saturday, the 20th, the moon is in Libra bestowing on us a very Good Day. Libra asks us to work in tandem with others, to compromise, and to be diplomatic. If you find your self on the fence, or stuck in the middle, please make peace with your situation and you will find the solution. Libra remains until about noon on Sunday when she vacates for the remainder of the afternoon, returning in the sign of Scorpio after 6:30pm. Perhaps last minute stuff would best not be accomplished during that warp of time. Purchases may need to be returned or will not be used as intended. Better to have Santa leave a note in his or her stocking or hang a heart on the tree with beautiful words of love. Remember that Scorpio takes no prisoners. You can not get away with anything. The Scorpio Moon discloses the most secret of information. Keep yourself squeaky clean!!!

Have the best day everyday.


Sunday, December 14, 2008

What I Learned From the NHL

As hockey fans know, few organizations keeps better statistics on the game than the NHL. Listen to TV or radio play-by-plays and you’ll inevitably hear something like “and that was his 352nd goal, breaking an all-time goal-scoring team record which was previously achieved by so-and-so on the February 23, 2002 game against the Penguins, at 18:22 in the third period.” Commentators must have computer screens full of stats at their fingertips because they’re great a rattling off every player and team history going back fifty years.

Personally, I’m awestruck by the amount of time and energy spent accumulating stats on goals, assists, wins, losses, draws, injuries, shut-outs, hat tricks, and on and on. Thanks to years of watching the Canucks, I’ve learned to keep pretty detailed stats myself which are tucked away in a red binder, for my eyes only. The binder includes a year-by-year record of published work, the magazines that have accepted my work, money earned or complimentary copies received. I also keep a record of all submissions, acceptances and rejections. I keep a page for numbering newly completed projects, contest recognition, blogs and reviews written, book royalties paid, and so on.

Why go to all this trouble, you ask? Well, the answer is partly for practical reasons. Since I file a business statement every year and claim expenses, Revenue Canada Agency likes to know what I’ve been up to. Also, I need to remember what I’ve published or submitted when and where. I want to know who keeps rejecting me and who keeps buying my work. It’s just good business.

But my red binder also represents years of accomplishment and inspiration to see how much further I can go. Will I publish more next year than I did this one? Will I earn more? Have I submitted enough or have I slacked off? Can I do better next year? Sometimes, in order to understand and appreciate hard work and effort ... and especially in order move ahead, you need to know where you’ve been. Thanks for the lesson, NHL.

To read excerpts of Taxed to Death and Fatal Encryption visit www.debrapurdykong.com

Friday, December 12, 2008

My quest for blog-post domination has begun!

Today, I am in two places at once and you are just a click away from finding out where. First, head over to Serena's Savvy Verse & Wit for "Five Questions You Always Wanted To Ask A Writer." And then, got to Bermuda Onion's fancy pants blog where my post is called "Book Trailers: Helpful or Hurtful to the book-buying decision?"

If you aren't sick of me yet, you soon will be as I have more guest pimps, I mean, posts, coming up next week. See, I put up a little message on my blog, offering to guest post for the tired and weary masses in December. They have answered my call and now I will be ubiquitous. My apologies in advance.


K. Harrington
author, Janeology

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Part 2 of an interview with Betty Dravis, author of 1106 Grand Boulevard

Here is Part 2 of the interview with a lovely, great friend of mine, author Betty Dravis, who has interviewed such celebrities as Clint Eastwood and Jane Russell. Betty will be giving away one of her books, so be sure to read to the end of this interview to find out how you can enter. ~ Cheryl Kaye Tardif, author of Whale Song

If you haven't read Part 1 yet, go HERE.

7. Betty, who have been or are now your mentors? What have you learned from them?

My mentor during my journalism career was then-County Supervisor Rod Diridon who now heads the Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State University. He taught me governmental politics that helped me immensely since the paper I owned was the "Official Voice of Labor in Silicon Valley and Beyond" and was very politically involved. I learned the political "ins and outs" from him, from the late California Senator Al Alquist and from then-Congressman Norm Mineta who went on to become Secretary of Transportation under President George W. Bush.

My mentors in the literary field are authors Chris Platt, Christy Tillery French and Victoria Taylor Murray. Chris taught me the ins-and-outs of the publishing industry, while Christy and Vicki taught me P.R. skills. And I've learned a lot about marketing from you, also, Cheryl.

My personal heroes who championed all my causes are my late parents, my children and grandchildren, and my best friend Linda Bulger who helps with all aspects of my writing, from proofreading to building a better website. She's a true inspiration. Of the many public role models, I admire the late great Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of our beloved President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. She was a wise, caring, bright woman who inspired many women of my generation.

8. Can you tell us something that writers would be interested to know about you? What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

I think most writers would be interested to know that I managed to go from reporter to columnist to editor to publisher in my journalism career while raising six children alone, and that I never fulfilled my dream of being a published novelist until after my retirement. The advice I would give to an aspiring writer, whether in journalism or creative writing is this: If you enjoy writing, then write…even if it's a simple journal you write for yourself. Write! Write! Write! And when you have a complete manuscript, submit, submit, submit! Never give up! That's the same advice I would give to anyone attempting to accomplish any dream: Never give up!

9. I understand you're an honorary Kentucky Colonel. What is that exactly and how did that come about?

The highest honor awarded by the Commonwealth of Kentucky is that of Kentucky Colonel. Commissions for KC are given by the Governor and the Secretary of State to individuals in recognition of noteworthy accomplishments and outstanding service to a community, state or the nation. According to their website, a list of Kentucky Colonels is a Who's Who of outstanding men and women around the world.

Award of the title requires nomination from an existing colonel, and Colonel John Barger, my brother, nominated me. Originally in order to qualify, it was required for one parent of the nominee to have been born in Kentucky. In recent years, that has expanded to include noteworthy others.

10. What are the titles of your books, and tell us about each of them (who the audience is, brief plot outline and a review of each)?

MY THIRD BOOK (most recently published):
"1106 Grand Boulevard" is written for a general audience and I assumed women would be the main audience, but from reviews, I'm happy to say that men are enjoying it, also.

"Grand" is a highly dramatized version of the life of my beautiful older sister, Billie, her seven marriages and her search for true love and lasting happiness.

All her life, Billie Jean Sloane, a charismatic, exquisite, small-town beauty, has been desired and spoiled by men. At sixteen, following a tragedy involving her first husband--"the love of her life"--she is heartbroken. Unable to forgive or forget, her parents take drastic measures to keep them apart.…She is swept from her humble beginnings at 1106 Grand Boulevard in the Midwestern town of Hamilton, Ohio to a luxurious life-style…other fascinating locales... Then back to her hometown to search for her first husband.

"1106 Grand Boulevard" is the story of passions that last a lifetime; of family love and betrayal; of spousal abuse and sadistic child abuse; a story of Billie Jean's desperate search for happiness, self-worth, and maturity ... a story of people needing people and people using people.

"There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so." This pithy comment by Hamlet is perhaps the very essence of this engaging, thought-provoking novel about family dynamics and some of the dysfunction that, essentially, touches all of us to some degree. The resiliency of Dravis' heroine, Billie Jean, is indeed refreshing, wonderfully antithetical to the all too common saccharine, off-putting portrayal of many of fiction's leading ladies….Bravo to Dravis for being bold enough to break free from the creative intransigence that plagues so many writers….Like all great fiction, 1106 Grand Boulevard holds up a mirror in which all of our reflections are cast, leading to introspection, self-analysis, identification, self-analysis and ultimately healing. This is a winner." – Frank Nappi, author of "The Legend of Mickey Tussler" (screenplay just completed)

"The Toonies Invade Silicon Valley" is written for young adults, but geared for adults, also. I'm pleased that many adults are enjoying and reviewing it.

"Toonies" is a fantasy sci-fi adventure about cartoon characters who live inside a Silicon Valley boy's computer. The fun and adventure begins when they escape from the computer into the real world.

Beware, citizens of Silicon Valley--the bad Toonies are on their way. Led by the evil ape-bird, Dab, the Mischief Makers have escaped from Computer Cartoon Land. They are skulking in the shadows, ready to pounce. Dab will do anything to stay in the real world, so makes plans to take over Orange Computer, then Grape Computer, Banana ... and then the world.

Thanks to Uncle Wom (Wise Old Man and leader of Cartoon Land), the good Toonies aren't far behind. Uncle Wom and a cartoon teen, Doog, have come to help Jeremy Kern, a young newspaper cartoonist--the only human who can save Silicon Valley. Steve "The Woz" Wozniak, co-founder of Orange Computer, gets involved when the bad Toonies take over the supply building at Orange headquarters. This is a story of good versus bad ... Doog versus Dab.

"Between the unique description of the Mischief Makers, and the distinctive "good guys", it was reminiscent of some of Baum's magnificent creations in his classic Oz series…" – T. Burger, Top 100 Amazon Reviewer

"Already a cult classic!...Combining the elements and themes of a classic fantasy with freshly imagined characters in a thoroughly modern setting, the author has created an engaging children's story that will hopefully become a series. I have to believe that most children in this computer-driven age would really get into this "animated" book. Parents will appreciate the message and underlying values. (I'd love to take my grandchildren to see the Toonies movie!)" – Linda Collison, author of "Star-Crossed"

"Millennium Babe: The Prophecy" is written for a general audience and I'm delighted with the broad section of society represented by the people reviewing it.

"Babe" is a mystery adventure with supernatural touches. It starts with a startling prophecy about the first baby to be born in the new millennium.

World chaos erupts when David Wetterman--a popular Silicon Valley weatherman--makes a startling prophecy about the first baby to be born on January 1, 2001: Countries fight over "The Millennium Babe"; expectant mothers are terrified; abortion rates accelerate. "The Prophet" becomes an international celebrity, forced into hiding when some VIPs threaten his life. With his remarkable TV director, Bitsy Blodgett, by his side, the apocalyptic countdown to the third millennium begins.

"...a kind of innocence reminiscent of Vonnegut, though not as acerbic....Ms Dravis grabs you with the skill of a surgeon who doesn't want you to know you're being operated on." - Chaz Thompson, author of "No One Ever Gets Sick in Springfield"

11. Where can people go to buy your books?



MILLENNIUM BABE: THE PROPHECY, December 2000, Xlibris:

"Amazon Shorts" Best-selling short stories:

12. Please include URLs to your website, blog, MySpace page, Facebook page, etc.







YA Y NOT (the official network for TeensReadToo.com):

Enter to WIN a copy of Betty Dravis's 1106 GRAND BOULEVARD

To enter:
Please leave a comment on either Part 1 or Part 2 of Betty's interview. Be sure to include your email address so Betty can reach you if you're selected as the winner.

The winner will be selected at random by Betty from all comments posted on or before Thursday, December 18th, and the winner will be announced on Friday, December 19th, 2008. Good luck!

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Part 1 of an interview with Betty Dravis, author of 1106 Grand Boulevard

I am aways interested in other authors, how they got started and what their life has been like, and today I'm very pleased to introduce you to a lovely, great friend of mine, author Betty Dravis. Betty will be giving away one of her books, so be sure to read Parts 1 & 2 of her interview to find out how you can enter. ~ Cheryl Kaye Tardif, author of Whale Song

1. Hi, Betty, and welcome to The Write Type ~ Multi-Author Musings. I'm glad you agreed to this interview because I have found you to be a very interesting person who has had some unique experiences. Please tell us when you first knew you wanted to be a writer and a little about your first paid writing job.

Thanks for the kind words, Cheryl. I'm happy to do an interview with such a talented, charming person as you. It's my pleasure. As for my writing, I started with a few poems in elementary school and was encouraged by my parents and teachers, so I began to take courses that helped in that field. I didn't take writing seriously until I had a few of my six children and sort of fell into a writing job for the Sacramento Sporting News. I wrote short articles about local athletes, so that was my first paid writing job. I received the huge sum of $15. per free-lance article.

2. I am very intrigued (and a bit jealous) that you interviewed the legendary actor, Clint Eastwood. I know you get asked about this a lot, but how did this interview come about? Can you recall some of your questions and Clint Eastwood's answers? How did you feel interviewing him?

Yes, I get asked about my famous (lol) interview with the great Clint Eastwood a lot. I met Clint through June Cheim, a woman he had gone to school with. It was after his role of Rowdy Yates for the TV series Rawhide and during his "Spaghetti Western" days when he was first becoming a major star. Clint was in town as June's houseguest and she asked him to grant me an interview because she enjoyed the story I'd done about her for a Halloween edition of the East San Jose Sun for whom I wrote a weekly column at the time. I asked Eastwood the general questions about his wife and career, such as how he enjoyed the "Spaghetti Westerns" and what movie he was currently working on. I can't recall what movie it was, but I do recall that he and his first wife, Maggie, were expecting their first child at the time. I met Maggie, too, but got no photos with her.

Now, Cheryl, I was a young woman interviewing a handsome, sexy movie star, so how do you think I felt interviewing him? I was aglow with pleasure, and nervous at first, but he put me at ease right away. He was so charming and down-to-earth, after five minutes with him I felt as though I'd known him all my life. I get teased a lot because he curled his long fingers around my neck in the photos June took and he's looking at me as though he adored me. I should be so lucky….lol…I treasure that memory and posted a story about my feelings before and after the interview on my website. In case any of your fans would like to read it, the link is: http://bettydravisauthor.googlepages.com/

3. Who else have you interviewed that we might recognize? Tell us a bit about that interview?

I've interviewed a number of celebrities during my pre-novelist journalism career, including another legend Jane Russell, a movie star of the forties/fifties era. It was about 1970 that I met Ms. Russell at Trader Vic's in San Francisco for the interview. I was editor of The Gilroy News Herald in Gilroy, California and was just as excited to meet her as I was Eastwood a few years earlier. The most memorable thing about the interview was that I ended up late due to a road spill and she graciously granted me extra time. I also write about that on my website (link above). In addition to Russell, I've interviewed actor Dale Robertson, singer/actress Tanya Tucker, and many politicians, including Senator Ted Kennedy, the late San Francisco Mayor Joe Alioto and the late Speaker of the House "Tip" O'Neill…the list goes on. Oh, one of my very favorites was the late Cesar Chavez whom I met on a number of occasions; he was the heroic founder of the United Farm Workers, as you know.

4. How long did it take you to write your first novel and what kept you going and motivated?

It took me a year to write my first novel, "1106 Grand Boulevard", which incidentally was the third to get published. It's my longest novel to date, coming in at over 100,000 words. It's a "faction" story, a highly dramatized version of the life of my beautiful older sister Billie and her seven marriages. It's my most recent release and is centered around our childhood home in Hamilton, Ohio…the actual address being the book's title. My sister's enthusiasm helped keep me going on that one, plus my own natural work ethic and "sticktoitiveness." Having owned my own newspaper until my retirement, I was geared to deadlines, so developed an ingrained habit of "keeping my nose to the grindstone." During my entire journalism career I always longed to write novels, so the determination to see my name on the cover of a book and to hold one in my hand kept me writing and writing and writing.

5. How did you find a publisher? How was the publishing experience and how did it feel to hold your first book.

The first novel I published was "Millennium Babe: The Prophecy." Since it was a new millennium book with a timely topic that for commercial reasons needed to be out before January 1, 2001, I had no time to go the traditional route of submitting to mainstream publishers, so my daughter had that one published with Xlibris, a POD publisher which is a subsidiary of Random House.

OMG, Cheryl, it felt wonderful holding "Babe" in my hand. I was as proud as I was when I had each of my children and held them in my hands. It's an awesome feeling, as you know, being an author yourself. I was like a little kid with a brand new toy, and I thought my blue-and-white cover was the prettiest in the world….lol

6. Please share with us your writing and promoting routine? When and where do you write?

I write anywhere and everywhere I can. The same with promo! I always write on my computer and I write about three hours daily. Since I have a large family and also write reviews for Midwest Book Review and Amazon, I write in between a variety of "real life" happenings, but I try to devote at least two hours daily to writing on one of my WIPs (works in progress, as you know).

My promoting is mostly on the Internet with various writers' groups, such as YA Y Not?, Teen Lit Authors, The Red Room, and readers' groups like GoodReads, Shelfari, Student Operated Press and Amazon. I also visit local bookstores, libraries, TV and radio stations to acquaint them with my books. And mustn't forget your very own BookAdz.com…lol


Read Part 2 to find out more about the intriguing Betty Dravis.

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Register for Bloody Words 2009

Canada’s premier mystery writers' and fan conference Bloody Words will be in Ottawa from June 5-7, 2009.

Confirmed guests of honour include Denise Mina, Louise Penny and Barbara Fradkin with Mary Jane Maffini as Mistress of Ceremonies.

For more information and registration forms, please visit:


Monday, December 08, 2008

Blog Winter

It is winter, the Solstice will herald the official arrival on December 21st. Outside my window there is evidence of this coming event, a fine layer of snow covers the ground, the wind has a deep chill and the dog goes out and comes in without being called. For some the weather is not a factor on the longest day of the year, perhaps where you are the temperature will remain mild...lucky you. I was reminded, once again, that plans can change on-the-turn-of-a-dime. That's the same lesson twice in as many weeks. Perhaps the universe is telling me something...I've promised myself that I will slow down, beginning today,reducing my speed will allow me to see what is around me, to listen better and to appreciate the small stuff.

The Aries Moon will be reflecting on us until 4:30pm. So the day until then is a Good one. The week will get off to a fast start and the suggestion is to watch tempers around you. Short fuse people can explode. The Taurus Moon joins us for about two days beginning early on Tuesday morning. Tuesday and Wednesday are very Good Days. These are the days that you can ask for what you need. You are deserving and should be successful. You may be tempted to milk the Good Day Moon on Wednesday past 5:30pm and you might be safe to do so. However the moon changes hats and goes off radar until early in the morning on Thursday so do not put too much expectation into those final Taurus Moon hours. There will be a Full Moon in Gemini on Friday which will insure God Days for Thursday and Friday morning. After 1pm and for the next twelve hours the moon will say No Day. Keep the No Day rules for the balance of Friday.

The television show 'Extreme Makeover" takes people out of their home, on vacation and then home again to a completely new house. Not a TV watcher I spent a few hours watching in awe what this show accomplishes. In the spirit of giving at this time of year and all year round we can all practice some kind of generosity. Reduce the scale of what TV manages and go out as an individual and make a difference.

Have the best day everyday.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

No Snowflake

There’s a wonderful Zen expression that says, “No snowflake ever fell in the wrong place”.

I first read it in The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen and from that moment I was struck by the poignancy of those words. The saying could be interpreted a number of different ways, but for me it means that everything happens for a reason. There are no mistakes despite obstacles, failure, or even tragedy. I know this is difficult to fathom when a toddler dies from cancer or a person is killed simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. But things do happen for a reason. Events—good and bad—are meant to teach us something about ourselves and about life . . . experiences we share with our children, students, friends, and strangers so that they to0 may learn.

What I love most about this expression is that it also applies to my writing life. Heaven knows writers have setbacks in many forms, but I’ve mentioned before that being a writer is a tremendous learning process for me. Sometimes, though, expectation takes control over reality and defeat sets in.

But then I remember the snowflakes and I push on, knowing that I’m learning something every day. The reasons for these particular lessons might be beyond my understanding, but I have faith that the purpose is out there, as ubiquitous as those gently falling flakes.

To read excerpts of Fatal Encryption and Taxed to Death visit, http://www.debrapurdykong.com/

Friday, December 05, 2008

Forever Friends

I contributed to a fantastic anthology earlier this year. It is called Forever Friends and features poems and short stories about friendship and love from writers all over the world! It is beautifully written and compiled and here's the clincher: It's available through Amazon WAY below cost right now-for only $9.99! I don't know when they'll change it back to its previous price(nearly 3 times as much!), but this is a steal!! I recommend you pick it up at this price, while you can. For information or to purchase Forever Friends, head to this url: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1409232905/ and check my website(www.kellykomm.com) for updates.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Author Jeff Rivera interviews Cheryl Kaye Tardif on GumboWriters.com

I was recently interviewed by a good friend and fellow author, Jeff Rivera. Not only has Jeff been a supporter of me and my work, he has taught me a few new tricks, mainly how to write compelling and intriguing query letters. His tips led to me signing with a reputable New York agent. For this I am eternally grateful to Jeff.

Jeff asked me some interesting questions, and the first part of my interview is on GumboWriters.com now. In it, I talk about the things I've done to market my books.

I'll let you know when the next part of the interview is up.

Read the interview on GumboWriters.com.

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Bestselling Edmonton author Cheryl Kaye Tardif & Starbucks host a special event on December 21st

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 21st - SPECIAL STARBUCKS EVENT: Meet bestselling author Cheryl Kaye Tardif at the new SE Edmonton Starbucks location.

1:00 pm to 5:00 pm

4357-50th Street, Edmonton, AB - 780-465-4173

Have your favorite coffee drink or Cheryl's favorite Chai tea with 2 shots of Cinnamon Dolce and try some yummy samples.

Enter to win a fabulous gift bag filled with gifts and surprises.

No purchase required to enter. Just show up & bring your friends!!!

Meet Cheryl, a bestselling Edmonton author who has been in the news a lot lately, and pick up some personalized, autographed novels for yourself and for family and friends. All of Cheryl's books make wonderful Christmas gifts.

Whale Song, The River and Divine Intervention will be ON SALE!

A percentage of all book sales will be donated to:

  • Hope Mission
  • Mustard Seed Church
  • Bissell Centre
  • and one Edmonton school

I really hope you come out and have some fun celebrating this new Starbucks location and the Christmas season! ~Cheryl

18 Percent of NaNoWriMo writers cross the finish line

Hot off the presses from the NaNoWriMo Peeps:

- 119,401 Authors participated in NaNoWriMo 2008 (National Novel Writing Month)
- 21,683 verified winners
- 18% winning rate


For all of my fellow winning buddies, CONGRATS! It was a great challenge and I'm proud that I finished.

Here's advice about continuing to write, edit and polish your first draft better said than I could ever put it:

"You feel the call. That's the important thing. Now answer it as fully as you can. Take the risk to let all that is in you, out. Escape into the open." -- Elizabeth Berg, Escaping into the Open

"Just don't pretend you know more about your characters than they do, because you don't. Stay open to them. It's teatime and all the dolls are at the table. Listen. It's that simple." -- Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

"Keep chewing on that bone. It's the only way to finish." Abby the Wonder Dog

Karen Harrington, Author Janeology
"What did Jane do and why?"
Read an excerpt at http://www.karenharringtonbooks.com

Blog the Moon

Travel Days on a No Day are best approached with an open mind. On Monday, December first the Moon in Capricorn was off the cosmic radar screen from about 10:45am until the next day at 1:45am when she reappeared dressed in her exceptionally weird Aquarius garb. I chose Monday to return from a long weekend with family and knew in advance that my timing was smack in the middle of that No Day. I mentally deferred to the energy and calmly experienced delay after delay, terminal, tarmac, holding patterns and the like. Three amazing experiences happened to me as I moved from scene to scene: one was that my traveling companion was my oldest daughter, we were locked into this travel madness together and we were spending more time together than either of us could remember. That was a good thing. The regional jet that flew us from North Carolina to JFK broke all air time speed records trying to beat out the air traffic controllers at Kennedy. The third thing was circling Long Island and Manhattan (because we were early) the view outside our cabin window was the crescent moon with her diamond earrings of Venus and Jupiter. Never doubt with this combo that love is all around and that you are loved in a big way. If we are in deep economic trouble it is because the symbolism of these two planets has been misused. Living large is one and love me, love thyself is the other.

In this downward turn of financial events please keep in mind that living large had to end. This is a cleansing period and we need to be supportive of each other until the cycle ends. If you are more fortunate than your neighbor...please share your good fortune. This is the lesson to be learned.

Have the best day every day.


Tuesday, December 02, 2008

"Divine Intervention captivated me"

"Para-psychic, Para-psychotic, Para-captivating! Ditto on the previous reviewers who loved the scenery, intricate plot lines with twists and turns...Divine Intervention captivated me and I think it will turn out to be better than the movie!"

--Yale R. Jaffe, author of Advantage Disadvantage

Read the entire review on Amazon.com.

(Note: No movie deal at this time. Film rights are available; email Cheryl.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Crap Happens

Recently, I read a blog from someone who was warning of the dire straights bookstores are in, or will be in soon, because of the recession. In fact, I’ve read several comments this week about how we should all buy books to help bookstores survive.

Lord knows that in unhealthy economies, artists of all sorts are among the first to feel the pinch. Books, paintings, and sculptures are luxury items for many people. A choice between buying food or a book, is a no-brainer. While I’ll likely buy books for Christmas and love receiving them as gifts, I also want to say that spending my hard-earned money to support certain bookstores might be too much to ask. Here’s why.

Last month a bookstore arranged a “Meet 'N Greet” for me. I’d attended one in August and it went so well that the store invited me back. A week before the event, the store cancelled on me because a scheduling snafu had a celebrity appearing the same day. Three weeks later, another date was given to me. A week before that event, another apologetic email arrived stating that all events were now cancelled for December because the store couldn’t handle the “challenge” of hosting events while dealing with the heavy volume of customers. Huh? We’re in a recession and this store (a large store) couldn’t handle the extra work of hosting a three-hour "Meet 'N Greet" (where I do all the work) during their best sales month of the year?

Look, if authors, publishers, and bookstores want to survive tough economic times, then we’d all better step up to the plate, work harder, and think outside the box. Lately, I’ve heard far more complaining about reduced sales than new ideas for selling books. And I’ve already heard about layoffs at publishing houses and fewer contracts being offered to authors. So what else is new? During thirty-five years in the workforce, I’ve been through enough recessions and bad news cycles to know that crap happens now and then. Best thing to do is deal with it and move on. But for crying out loud, don’t tell me that selling books is too much work at Christmas time, or any other time, or you’ll lose my business.

To read excerpts of Taxed to Death and Fatal Encryption visit, www.debrapurdykong.com

Best Of/Worst Of Book Lists

I hope you had a restful holiday weekend. I don't know about you, but I'm resting my tired carpal tunnel-inflamed arms after completing the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenge. Woo!

For your viewing pleasure, here are a few links of interest.

Check out the NYT 100 Notable Books of 2008 Strangely, my book was not on this list. (wink) However, it did not make the The UK's Times report on the 10 Books NOT to read before you die so I guess I'm happy with that.

NYT reviewers says these are books that Tower Above The Rest

And here's to John Updike for winning the Lifetime Achievement Bad Sex in Fiction prize.

View a slideshow of the Best Illustrated Children's Books of 2008 according to the NYT

Take a peek at Esquire's 7 Books They Won't Be Curling Up With - Ex. Fleece Navidad: A Knitting Mystery. Oh, how I love a punny title.

I liked this very interesting nugget about The Best Review of The Worst Book Ever.

And last, the shameless book promotion linky dinky doo, connecting you to one free chapter of a book that is neither prize-winning nor horrible, but just plain interesting.


Karen Harrington is the author of JANEOLOGY. Visit her at http://www.karenharringtonbooks.com/ or stop by her daily blog - http://www.scobberlotch.blogspot.com/

Friday, November 28, 2008

Whale Song - "mystical and poignant"

"Mystical and poignant...Reminiscent of youth's sweetness, Whale Song confronts the truth of that treasure's fragility, upon varying paths, with uncomplicated and graceful ease...'Bravo' to Cheryl Kaye Tardif for Whale Song."

--J.M. Lavallee

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Blog a No Day-Good Weekend

Well so much for a plan...when you have a plan God laughs. I've been without a computer for five days not because of technical problems but because I ventured out for a few hours with a plan and life grabbed me and threw me into a nightmare. I watch the sky and track the No's and Good Days but that does not give me magic powers to see what will happen in my own backyard. Enough said, except to remind you all that life is very fragile, hug the people you love tell them every day that you love them.

Wednesday is soon to be a No Day packed with changes of plan and God knows what else. Go with the flow. New Moon is on Thursday in Sagittarius and we love that new moon because it allows us to begin again. From just after midnight on Thursday morning until about 8pm on Friday use that moon to be generous and thankful. The Capricorn Moon shows up on Saturday but not until about 1pm. You can make lists in the morning and if you are shopping on Black Friday do it in the daylight, rest up when the moon goes off radar.

The balance of the Holiday weekend is the Capricorn Moon which has us all counting our pennies and trimming costs. Budgets will prevail, go green-go lean.

Have the best day every day. Remember: Hug someone you love.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Reviewer compares Whale Song to The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

I was recently interviewed for The Student Operated Press by Chase Von, a two time war veteran, retired Marine and author. He then went on to read my novel Whale Song.

Chase posted an interesting review of Whale Song on Amazon.com, and compares my novel to The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller and also to The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks.

"The book me and others read in the field and knew it was a sure fire, can't miss gift for those we loved for Christmas...is called "The Note Book" by Nicholas Sparks. "Whale Song" is not only that good... It just might be considered by some, better." -- Chase Von

Please read the interview I did with Chase too.

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif,

Monday, November 24, 2008


Be sure to check out the photos page on my website at www.kellykomm.com and see some photos I've posted from recent events like the World Fantasy Convention and an event I did with the Scarlett Sisters!
Both of these events were fantastic and I had so much fun attending them.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

TV Can Be a Good Teacher, Can't It?

This week, I brought a chapter of my current work in progress to my writers’ group for critiquing. The scene takes place in a backyard, where the RCMP are confronting a suspect holding a baseball bat. The group offered a lot of helpful comments about the scene, but the comment that struck me most came from a writer who told me to watch the TV show Cops. She said she learned how real police officers talk to people from that program. (She also said that after viewing a few episodes, she’s decided that no one under eighty-nine should be allowed to drink, but that’s another story.)

I like TV, though I don’t actually sit down to watch many programs. I use it as background noise for cooking, washing dishes, or working on writing-related things like market searching and online promotion. Television as a research tool isn’t something I’ve considered much. Occasionally, I’ll watch a documentary that ties in with a piece I’m working on. But when another colleague told me to watch DaVinci’s Inquest to get a feel for how local crimes are handled, I began to think about other benefits for writers.

Great plot ideas can spring up, for instance, especially from the news. And one of the few shows I did actually sit down to watch, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, inspired an interest in horror/vampire novels, especially ones that incorporate humor. And what about screen writing? I’ve often thought about trying to adapt my own stories into screenplays. One way to learn would be to study excellent screen adaptations. I read Brideshead Revisited years ago and loved it. I also watched the adaptation with Jeremy Irons and Anthony Edwards and was completely blown away by the production. Should I ever buckle down to study screenwriting, that book and screenplay would be a great place to start. So maybe I should watch more TV. Seems there's still a lot to learn from it.

For excerpts of Taxed to Death and Fatal Encryption, visit http://www.debrapurdykong.com/

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Free sample of Cheryl Kaye Tardif's latest novelette

You can now read the entire novelette REMOTE CONTROL for free on Textnovel.com.

In this dark, suspenseful and somewhat comical look at one man's desires, Remote Control by bestselling author Cheryl Kaye Tardif delivers a strong message: Be careful what you wish for!

Meet Harold Fielding--plumber by part of the day, slacker/tv addict the rest of the day and night. Harry believes that fame and fortune will come to him if he wishes hard enough. God forbid if he should actually work for it.

Beatrice Fielding is Harry's hardworking wife. She holds down multiple jobs so her husband can laze about on his recliner, eating popcorn and drinking cola while watching his favorite shows. She has many wishes--some aren't so nice.

I hope you'll check it out. If you sign up (FREE) on Textnovel.com you'll also be able to read my suspenseful and creepy short story OUIJA.

And please don't forget to vote by clicking on the "thumbs up" icon. I need all the votes I can get. :)


~Cheryl Kaye Tardif, bestselling author of Divine Intervention, The River and Whale Song

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Well, I Had to Start Somewhere

In the world of mystery novels, lawyers, police officers, PIs, FBI agents, and journalists often take leading roles. Few authors choose an accountant as an protagonist but when you’re a beginning writer as I was when I started to write Taxed to Death, the old adage, “write what you know” was sound advice.

I was working as a secretary for a mid-size accounting firm and spent many lunch hours sharing a table with articling students. One day, I found myself talking about my writing (something I still rarely do at work) when one of them said, “How come no one writes about us?” It was a good question. A lot of the accountants I’d known we’re pretty interesting: funny, smart, cocky, shy, arrogant, kind, neurotic, lecherous. Some loved their work, others loathed it, but most were ambivalent.

The idea for Taxed to Death came easily, but the words didn’t. I’d written a few short stories, but I quickly discovered that writing a novel was completely different. Concepts like point of view changes, inner monologue, pace, red herrings, and dialogue were skills that came slowly with practice, workshops, and a helpful agent.

The book took twelve years and ten drafts to complete while I maintained a day job and had two babies. Needless to say, writing time was squeezed between feedings, diaper changes and the hundred household duties most of us have. But I finished it and Taxed to Death was published in 1995. The book received some terrific reviews, one from a CA, no less. I thought the sequel, Fatal Encryption, would go a little faster. Boy, was I wrong. But that’s another story.

To read excerpts of Taxed to Death visit http://www.debrapurdykong.com

Monday, November 10, 2008

Fleshing Out the Truth

Recently, I had the opportunity to observe a hospitalized teenager (someone I didn’t know) suffering from bulimia. It was tough to watch her eat and then regurgitate her food a few minutes later, only to slowly chew and swallow it back down again. It was even tougher to understand why this young woman looked more like a famine victim than the slender, beaming teenager she had been. (I saw a photo by her bed.) The teen seemed to have a lot of things going for her: intelligence, career goals, a loving supportive family who visited every day, and friends. She also happened to have a gorgeous face. But truly, her body was down to the bare bones. Her collar bone and vertebra protruded noticeably; her arms were merely two sticks layered in flesh.

A few weeks later, I was reading a novel as I always do before sleeping. A couple of times, when I put the book down, I thought of the emaciated teen, though I wasn’t sure why. The novel was a sci-fi thriller and none of the characters had an eating disorder. Food was scarcely mentioned in the story. But when I began to analyze the writing, I realized something was missing. Here was a book with an intriguing concept, memorable characters, and a fast pace, yet there was almost no narrative description. The story moved forward on dialogue, a trend I see more often all the time. A trend I’ve also followed.

These days, there’s a certain amount of pressure to tell a quick-paced story to hold readers’ short attention spans. The downside is that the strive for fast, thrill-a-minute reads can take a toll on one’s work. Certainly, there are readers who love the heavy-dialogue style and habitually skip narrative descriptions, and I was one of them. But I’ve begun to look at things differently. Now, I want to flesh out of my work, especially in short stories where the goal to tell a story in as few words as possible can pare a story down to the bare bones, and that’s not always a good thing. I now want to achieve a better balance between narrative and dialogue, and take time to tell a story.

Life is all about balances. And when something goes out of sinc, it reflects on the quality of life and the quality of one’s writing. Sometimes, it’s almost impossible not to succumb to pressure, whether real or imagined. And it’s really tough to look at your work and yourself as a writer, in a different way. But look we must. Painful as it might be. In the long run we’ll be better for it.

To read excerpts of Taxed to Death and Fatal Encryption visit www.debrapurdykong.com

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Preparing for winter hibernation

As a writer, I have two main times of the year where I go into a sort of "hibernation mode", one in the winter and one in the summer. During these times I like to focus mainly on writing, so it's a time I really look forward to.

Winter in Edmonton can get quite cold, as some of you may know, and sometimes we get a good dump of snow, the kind you don't want to drive in. In past years my winter hibernation usually ran from January to the end of March, and the summer would run June to the end of August. These can be slower months for book signing events too, so it makes it prime for hibernating.

This year since I didn't have a new book out to promote, I'm able to go into hibernation mode early. It'll start later this month through to March, coming out for just a handful of events, and of course I'll continue blogging, but probably not quite as often.

For my winter hibernation I have to prepare ahead of time, and these are the things I'll be "storing":
  • Chai tea mix (hot for winter, cold for summer)
  • white hot chocolate mix
  • apple cider that I'll heat up
  • bread and cheese for grilled cheese sandwiches
  • lots of coffee, flavored and Tim Hortons
  • towels for when I take breaks in my hot tub--yes, even when I'm surrounded by snow
  • lots of books--my to-be-read pile never seems to go down much
  • my seat cushion that has heat and massage modes
  • my Starbucks card for when I just need to get out
  • and of course, my laptop
What do you do to prepare for the winter? :)

Is there anything special you store or crave? What do you eat or drink that is a winter treat?

P.S. Happy new president day to all my wonderful American friends and fans!

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
author of Whale Song, The River and Divine Intervention

Sunday, November 02, 2008

REMOTE CONTROL is now featured on Textnovel.com

For those of you who were following the progress of my serialized novelette titled REMOTE CONTROL, I am not updating it on my website at this time. I was contacted by the founder of Textnovel.com and was asked if I'd consider posting a story there. I've decided to post REMOTE CONTROL from beginning to end, with a new chapter every day.

So if you've been reading about Harold Fielding and his wife Bea and want to read about what happens when Harry's wish for fame and fortune is granted, please visit my novelette's page on Textnovel.com. It has been selected as an Editor's Picks.


I hope you enjoy. Please sign up for Textnovel (free) and then you can subscribe so you don't miss a chapter, plus you can leave a review or vote by clicking on the "thumbs up" symbol. :)

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
suspense author

Learning to Recognize a Gift When I See One

Every time I try something new that involves interacting with other people, be it a job, a book signing, a reading, or even attending a party where I only know the host, I feel a niggling in the pit of my stomach. It's like a silent warning that something might not work out, that I might bomb miserably and be fired, or horribly embarrassed and humiliated by someone who couldn't care less whether I lived or died. It's a common feeling, I think. One most of us feel from time to time, regardless of how much we look forward to an event or how well prepared we are. Hearing war stories from writers who've had book signings with no one showing up doesn't help matters. So, I've learned to attend these things with a view of having fun no matter what. So far, it's always works.

Tuesday night's "Mystery Author Visit" at my local library didn't have a huge turnout despite the library's great publicity efforts, but because I'm an unknown writer, I didn't expect a large number of people. There were about nine attendees in all -- one with an infant who started wailing while I was reading. But the small turnout didn't worry me. I spoke a little about white-collar crime and how my books came to be. I then read the first two chapters of Fatal Encryption which take place on Halloween night. The head librarian asked questions about my work, which prompted more questions from the audience. Afterward, we were served a lovely platter of chocolates from the new shop down the road, plus refreshments.

A short while later, the woman with the baby came up to me and apologized for the interruption, but I told her the truth. I have children and know exactly what it's like. When my kids were babies, I read my work aloud as part of the editing process when they were nearby, and tears and fussing often erupted.

A gentleman and his wife who were seated before I even arrived stayed for the reading. Because of the open area, I thought they might be just resting, but it turned out they came to see me. The gentleman had already read Fatal Encryption in the library and liked it enough to buy a copy plus a copy of Taxed to Death. Another woman approached and said that her daughter wanted to be a writer and asked me how she could help her, so I provided a few tips.

I don't know why the niggling keeps coming back when good things happen so often. Maybe it's just a sign that I should stay on my toes and never ever take any promotion opportunity for granted. Maybe I need to appreciate these moments as the gifts they are. And maybe I should learn not to complain about all the time promotion and marketing takes.

To read excerpts from Fatal Encryption and Taxed to Death, visit www.debrapurdykong.com

Friday, October 31, 2008

Blog Memory Lane

I had not been back to my Alma Mater in forty years. But here I was driving down once familiar streets, craning my neck at buildings renovated and reinvented that housed me, fed me and schooled me many years ago. This return visit was not by chance, but by invite. I was to be a guest speaker to a group of communication majors. Me. The girl who graduated with a degree in science was returning as an author of literary fiction.

Strange how life has its way with you; how a barely eighteen year old with the dream of being a journalist finds herself taking Anatomy and Physiology, Physics and Biology. The dreams I left behind remained dormant waiting to energize again when the timing was different, better; when life said it was okay to be what I always wanted to be.

I stood before a group of students recounting my journey from graduation using the metaphor of shoes. With lines taken from Forrest Gump in the film of the same name I weaved my way through the maze of days, months and years.

“Mamma always says you can tell a lot about a person by their shoes, where they are going and where they have been. I bet if I try real hard I can remember my first pair of shoes.” Forrest Gump

Perhaps some of the students listening never saw the movie. Too bad. Despite its length there were some memorable lines, chunks of wisdom like the one above that might serve as a guide in the future. My shoe metaphor allowed me to travel through the decades since I’d last walked that campus and each different pair put me in another mind set, on another journey.

I told the young men and women listening, to nurture the friendships they will make while in college and to live their lives with passion. I told them also to believe in their dreams and to do whatever it is that ignites the fire inside. Let that flame burn hot, I said, for a life without passion is no life, why it live any other way.

For the record, my next pair of shoes might be flip-flops; I want to see where they will take me.

Blog what you say, see, hear, and feel.

One Writer's Passion

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Textnovel.com serializes REMOTE CONTROL by Cheryl Kaye Tardif

After news spread across North America about the novel I am writing on my iPhone 3G, I have had the pleasure of being interviewed for TV, radio, newspapers and websites, plus I was contacted by Stan Soper, the founder of Textnovel.com, a website devoted to cell phone novels or serialized fiction by phone.

Stan states: "I started Textnovel™ after I stumbled across an article in the New York Times on Japanese teenagers who were writing and reading fiction on their cellphones and publishing them on websites."

This fad has quickly spread across Japan over the past few years and resulted in a number of bestselling novels written mainly by teenagers with no previous writing or publishing experience. Many of the novels were written using cell phone lingo (LOL) and most are Young Adult (YA) novels.

Textnovel is the first English site to offer cell phone novels, which can be read on your computer or cell phone.

With my novel Finding Bliss I take cell phone novels to a whole new level. Not only am I the first person to attempt to write an entire novel using the Notes application on my iPhone 3G, it'll be written with my normal style (no cell phone lingo) and will feature a character who uses and iPhone 3G. This novel may one day find itself on Textnovel.com.

When Stan read about me in a recent press release, he extended a special invitation for me to check out Textnovel.com. That's when I decided to do a test run with my serialized novelette REMOTE CONTROL. I've been posting it on my website, but that will be on hold while I post it to Textnovel.com instead. Feel free to read it on Textnovel.com or you can subscribe and have new chapters delivered right to your cell phone. And don't worry, my chapters are short.

Read REMOTE CONTROL on Textnovel.com.

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif
bestselling author of Whale Song

Monday, October 27, 2008

Guest blogger Jeff Rivera talks about his journey to getting published

My journey to getting published: an inspirational essay by author, Jeff Rivera

I remember walking along the beach in Hull, Massachusettes. I was depressed and frustrated, wondering if I'd ever even finish this crazy little story called Forever My Lady. See, I had this idea that because Hollywood kept rejecting my screenplay for Forever My Lady that somehow, maybe real people would be interested in reading it. So, that's why I set out to write it as a novel. Nevermind the fact that I had never written a novel before, nevermind the fact that I had already decided to self-publish it and didn't have a dime to my name.

I had this idea in my head because some small voice inside of me kept longing me to do it. It's that nagging part of me that kept pushing me to go when I felt stuck in my life, when I was disappointed in the people that didn't "get me" that kept me going. Yet, here I am and now my novel, Forever My Lady is being released by Grand Central Publishing. I knew it was a crap shoot to be one of the few people who went from self-published to published but I had to anyways.

I want to be a voice of inspiration to any of you writers out there that have self-published something and want to make that leap out there to being published by a major because it can happen. I'm living proof of it. I'm not saying it's the best route but if you decide to take that route it can be very rewarding.

I worked so hard to promote my book. Not having a dime to my name forced me to become creative with my promoting. I stuck to online promotion, spreading word through mainly message boards and forums, spamming the world. And eventually because of the love for my story it was the fans that spread word mostly. It was their support that kept me going. I'll never become jaded by those letters and emails.

I felt like I was on a mission, that I had to tell this story. It wasn't every day that a Black American writes a Latino story and I had that strike against me. Would people accept me? Would they "get" me? How would I pay for the printing? All those questions entered my head.

But one thing I learned is that God, the Universe, whatever you believe in has given you right now everything you need to succeed. Anything else you need will fall into the right place at the right time. And I knew that I had internet access, I had the time, I had the energy and I had the drive to tell the story I wanted to tell and that's all I needed. Think about what you have. If it truly is your dream to get published you won't allow those doubts and excuses to enter your mind. No, you'll keep moving forward.


Note from Cheryl:

I've had the pleasure of talking with Jeff Rivera and working with him. He is an extremely gifted writer and someone I'm very pleased to call a friend. I am so happy to see that his novel Forever My Lady is being released tomorrow.

You can order Jeff's novel at your favorite online retailer such as Amazon.com, or purchase from your favorite bookstore. If they don't have it in stock, please ask them to order it.

Visit Jeff's website at: http://www.jeffrivera.com/

What's on the grill at Book Roast?

Today's special: Karen Harrington, author of Janeology

The fine book chefs at Book Roast are officially roasting me today. Ouch! Hop on over to the Book Roast grill and take a look at how they've set the table.

Not only is the Maitre d serving up an excerpt from JANEOLOGY, he is also going to help me give away one copy of the book to a lucky commenter. And the winner will be chosen by the end of TODAY! I'll be stopping by the grill all day to answer questions, too.

Hey, one little blog comment of what, 50 or so words, to win 75,000 words! That seems like a deal to me.

Even better, Book Roast grills up new authors each week so stop by and see other writers take the heat.


Karen Harrington

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Reflections on an Anniversary

This month, I reached the one-year anniversary of my first blog, and I want to thank Cheryl Kaye Tardif for inviting me to join this group and for encouraging me to try blogging . . . something I'd never thought I'd find time to do until after retirement from day jobs. But this is my 52nd post and one of three blogs I now keep.

I've been writing a journal since I was 22, a little over 30 years ago, so blogging hasn't become the time-consuming demand I'd been afraid it would be. Thoughts about writing and the writing life pour out of me easily, but then I've been at this business since 1980, and have a lot to say on the subject.

What I've gotten back by reading others' thoughts, though, has been tremendous, and the people I've met through blogs and networking is just amazing. I've read some terrific novels you won't likely find on bookstore shelves because they're independently published by writers with talent and an absolute passion for the written word. You will, however, find their books and my reviews of their books on amazon and goodreads.

The other day, I met a woman through MySpace who asked if I'd review and blurb her unpublished book (she has a publisher). I was hesitant. I'd never been asked to blurb a book before and her work is nonfiction: a tragic story about the loss of her four-year-old son due to medical errors. Her story is intense and heartbreaking, and it's a privlege to help promote someone with a story that needs to be told. I'll let you know when her book is published.

Meanwhile, let's keep sharing and reading and writing. It's the best remedy I know for tough times, whether they're personal or global.

For excerpts and reviews of Taxed to Death and Fatal Encryption visit my website at www.debrapurdykong.com

Friday, October 24, 2008

Blog Another Season

There is a woodpecker rat-tatting on the south wall of my house. The sound reminds me of other autumns, other late mornings when October’s leaves fill my driveway full of yellow, orange and rust. My writing space has been winterized. I am now in the loft just above the wood stove. For the next four to six months this is where you can find me most often; under the window over The Elm.

Today the dog is outside, oblivious to the knocking of our feathered friend. If I knew Morse Code I am sure that bird is tapping a message; something profound.
Something to do with the shift of my writing space, which has also created an alteration of purpose, because with so many months devoted to book promotion I feel that my writer’s compass is off. There is a strong pull to let go and let what I’ve done find its way and give myself permission to do this without penalties attached.

I keep a calendar on my kitchen counter. Every day there is a painting or print from museums around the world. Today there is a black and white print of The Large Cat by Cornelis Visscher (1629-1662). This feline is over three hundred years old, drawn by a man who died at thirty-three. I wondered what he would think if he knew I had my morning cup-of-tea looking at his large cat. I wondered too just what becomes of all we do and all we have created, centuries from now. Perhaps my tapping woodpecker had the answer or maybe Mark Twain did when he said: “If you would have your work last forever, and by forever I mean fifty years, it must neither overtly preach nor overtly teach, but it must covertly preach and covertly teach.”

Blog what you hear, see, think and feel…

Linda Merlino

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Perfect Day

Tuesday, October 14th was a perfect day for me, one of those rare calm occasions when there are no major errands to run (except to the voting poll), the to-do chore list is about done, and all is right in one's family--no drama or things going wrong, no dog pooping on the carpet. So I allowed my mind to get into the writing groove. Not the quick, shallow groove where one writes on the fly between day-job and domestic duties, but someone who stretches out on the sofa in an empty, quiet house and picks up a chapter and allows the mind to think and create, and to edit ... a new phrase here, a crossed line there ... page after page of sharpening, tightening, clarifying.

In the afternoon, I really indulged by putting the chapter down and turning to a short story I've been trying to work on for weeks. The story will be one of my longer pieces. I've written twenty-three pages so far and the first draft is not yet finished. But once that first draft is done it will be cut and sharpened and polished ten to fifteen times--more in some spots--until I'm happy with it.

Short stories have never been a quick process for me. Even the 250 word flash fiction pieces require time and attention and rewriting, but it's one of the most satisfying types of writing I do. I've written fifty-six stories - some mysteries, others mainstream, humorous, and even a horror/ghost story. Fifty-four of them have been published, and the last two are being marketed. I've started posting some of the published pieces on Authors Den, so if you'd like to read any please visit my page at http://www.authorsden.com/debrapurdykong

When things get rough, and I'm swamped with real life, I'll remember October 14th and know that a perfect day can happen with a little planning and maybe a little luck. I wish all of you perfect days of your own.

To read excerpts of Fatal Encryption and Taxed to Death visit, http://www.debrapurdykong.com

Saturday, October 18, 2008

'Dare to Dream and Dream BIG' - the motto I've lived by

Note: Ironically, my post ties in to Karen's just below. You know you're addicted to blogging when you still post something even though you've been suffering from major food poisoning for the past 2 days. This is the first day I've left the house and that was to go to the doctor for tests and medication. And we leave for Vegas on Monday...sigh...

Anyway, please enjoy today's post. It was featured on OnceWritten.com.

Daring to Dream Big

I’ve always been a dreamer, and I’ve always believed in dreaming BIG. Ever since I was a young girl, my goal was to become the next Stephen King―or 'Stephanie', at least. It’s been a long, hard journey, but one well worth it, and now I am published and on my way to greater success. I learned that with a dream, anything is possible. With a BIG dream, one never stops reaching higher. This is my story…

Read the rest of my story at OnceWritten.com.

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
bestselling author of Whale Song

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Dare to dream? Or succumb to fears of failure?

It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult. ~Seneca

Dare to dream? Or succumb to fears of failure?

A collection of rejection letters dating back to 1997. You can bet some of these have tear stains on them.
A drawer full of scripts and novels and stories battered and bruised by rejections. But I'll never throw them away because they remind me that I have many more stories in me.

The one story that made it past the rejections. These are the original notes and edits and drafts for JANEOLOGY. On the day the novel was published, a new round of rejections began. And they aren't just in my drawer. They are public.

Should you dare to dream? Yeah, it's a dare for certain. It takes courage. No one can dream your dream for you. There will be many obstacles and more reasons to quit than to keep going. But how do you know if God's plan is that you must have 51 rejections to reach the one yes? That the 52nd try is the one that will take off? That all the time spent dreaming, nay WORKING, was all to make you better, stronger, impervious to rejection. And what if you quit at attempt 39? Well, you would never reach your dream summit.Once you reach your dream summit, as I have, you are still in for bruising judgment and critique. But you'll be able to endure that because of the years of blood, sweat and rejection that preceded it.
I learned to be the drill sergeant to my own goals. And I hope you become that for yourself, too. You have to want it more than the other guy. This is one reason you will observe extremely successful artists, singers and writers and say to yourself, "Uh, what's so great about their art? I can do better than that?"Yes, but those people are on their dream summit not because they were the MOST talented, but because they wanted it more than anyone else and they WORKED harder.

And I suspect that, like me, that the fearful dare to dream did not stifle them - it fueled them.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Wine Buyer's Guide

Whenever I lead a wine tasting, it seems that the same questions always come up. Millions of people are falling in love with wine and most of them are intimidated by the enormous variety that they see in the wine shop. Here's an excerpt from The Short Course in Wine that I hope will help.

Chapter 4 – Standing in the Wine Shop Trying to Make Sense of It All

When you finish this chapter, you will:
• Understand what makes one wine shop a better place to shop than another
• Understand the difference between red and white wine • Know when age helps a wine and when it hurts
• Appreciate the unique position of Beaujolais
• Know what makes sparkling wine sparkle
• Know how and when to best serve champagne
• Have a beginning of an idea about the appeal of fortified wine
• Appreciate why some sweet wines are so expensive even though most sweet wines are very cheap
• Understand why many great wines are very expensive

Now let’s turn from the sensual and pharmaceutical to the crassly commercial business of buying wine. You are standing, let’s say, in a well-stocked wine shop. You are staring at perhaps 8,000 different labels, and they seem, somehow, to be staring back at you. The whole thing is very intimidating. You know that wine is important, you know how to taste, and you are aware that alcohol, like fire, is a friend only if judiciously contained. None of that is the same as knowing what to bring home for dinner. Let’s reduce the confusion by sorting the wines out by type. [MN:
What should you look for in a wine shop? There are four things to keep in mind.
o Selection
Having thousands of bottles to choose from isn't the same thing as having a good selection. Many of the large discount stores simply pile in the wine, focussing on the labels that are most heavily advertised and the ones sold to them at the deepest discount. A good selection is one that's been carefully picked by a knowledgeable wine buyer. You're much better off choosing from a few hundred wines that have been tasted by someone in the store than from a few thousand that came in by the carload.

o Storage
Wine stored at temperatures over 80 degrees quickly loses its flavor.
That's why wines are often made and stored underground. It also explains why the bottle of wine that you left in the hot beach house doesn't taste as good.as the one you drank right away. Shipboard containers, tractor trailers and uncooled warehouses do the same nasty thing. Look for a store where the temperature is around 60F/16C and the staff is wearing sweaters in summer, a sure sign that the place is well-cooled and the wine is happy. If there’s no cashmere in sight, ask where the wine that’s not on the shelves is stored and at what temperature that room is maintained. (Sometimes turnover on a sales floor can be so rapid that a slightly warmer room doesn’t matter.)

o Information
A good wine store is a good source of information. Sometimes wine merchants have merchandise that they were forced to buy and they may want to dump it on you. It's a good idea to ask the wine guy to recommend a few bottles. If you like what you bought, if there are no more than one or two obvious losers, then you may want to keep doing business at that store.

o Price
Wine prices vary widely and I have never found one store that's consistently lower than all its competitors. Even the big discount shops are not reliable money savers. The best way to save money is to subscribe to the various newsletters that the shops mail out to their customers. Remember that the only real saving is a good price on a wine that you enjoy, and that there's nothing special about a 'special' on bad wine.

• • • •

You can find out more about The New Short Course in Wine by clicking here. Or you can get the first chapter of bang BANG-the exciting new novel about sex, guns and wine here.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Balancing Promotion With the Rest of My Life is Going to Get Tougher

After seven months of promoting Fatal Encryption and a new job starting this week, I've begun to ask myself how much more should I do? Since March, book promotion has been a seven-day-a-week job combined with writing and market searching/submitting my short stories. (Did I ever mention that I write short stories too?) To be honest, I only spend two to three hours promoting each day, which is probably why there's still so much to do--about two years worth of work, I figure.

I might have mentioned that I bought Steve Weber's how-to-promote-yourself book, Plug Your Book, some time ago. I read the book through and loved it, but I've barely started incorporating the many useful tips he offers for promoting. With time becoming more limited, it looks like I'll have to assess what's essential and what isn't. It could be a hard call.

Meanwhile, I have two events coming up. On Tuesday, October 28th, I'll be reading from Fatal Encryption at the Port Moody library, at 100 Newport Drive, Port Moody, BC. It's a Halloween event and since my first two chapters take place on Halloween, the library kindly asked me to read to the parents while someone else reads to their kids. The event starts at 7 p.m. and if anyone out there lives in the Lower Mainland, you're welcome to join us. For further info, call 604-469-4577.

My local Chapters (in Coquitlam) also invited me back to do another Meet 'N Greet on Saturday, November 8th from 12 to 3 p.m. I'll be selling both books at a discounted price, so if you're looking for a gift idea for the accountant and/or computer geek in your family, have I got a deal for you.

For excerpts of Fatal Encryption and Taxed to Death visit http://www.debrapurdykong.com/