Sunday, November 29, 2009

Which is the Better Buy, Kindle or Sony's Reader?

The buzz about Kindle’s availability in Canada last week prompted an interesting CTV news piece from the segment Olsen On Your Side. In this segment, consumer advocate Chris Olsen was comparing Kindles and Sony Readers to see if one was a better device than the other. Here's what his sources said:

Kindle offers crisp type and an easy-to-change font size. Also, if you’re tired of reading, Kindle will read to you! How cool is that? Also, with Kindle, you don’t need a computer and you can connect wirelessly to Amazon’s 300,000+ collection of book picks. A book takes about a minute to download.

While Sony’s Reader costs about the same as a Kindle ($259. U.S.), it’s bookstore has fewer titles. You will have access to Google’s library of free classics, however, which means lots of free books to read without spending a penny. The drawback with the Reader is that you have to install software on your computer to download a book, then transfer it with a USB cord. Still, it might be worth it to browse through an entire library for free. Regardless of which e-reader you choose, it looks like you’ll have fun!

To read excerpts of Fatal Encryption and Taxed to Death, visit

Fatal Encryption is available on Kindle at and Taxed to Death’s Kindle version can be found at Both will be available on the Reader in future.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Promote My Novel: why targeting your audience is so important (Lesson 1) is an online service that helps writers

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Twitter 101: Using the new Retweet feature

Retweeting is a social way of acknowledging that someone's tweet has value and should be shared. When you see a tweet you like from one of the people you're following, you can re-send that tweet as a "retweet". The old way of doing this is simply to copy and paste their message and add "RT" plus their Twitter name @cherylktardif, then the message.

But Twitter has created a new automated Retweet feature. Most people seem to like the ease of this new feature, but many don't like that they can't add a personal comment to the message. The Retweet feature allows for no editing or adding of text. But that's also a plus as you don't have to figure out how to edit someone else's tweet to make the old "RT @cherylktardif" lead in fit.

The advantages to having one of your messages retweeted by a follower is that your message then goes out to all THEIR followers. Like the old shampoo commercial, "and they tell 2 friends, and so on and so on..", your tweet goes viral.

So here's how you now retweet using the new feature:

  1. You see a message on your home page (which shows tweets from those you're following) and you know all your followers should see.
  2. Retweet it by hovering over bottom right of the individual message. This activates the Reply link and the Retweet link.
  3. Click on "Retweet".
  4. A message pops up asking: "Retweet to your followers?" Click "Yes".
That's it. You're done. That tweet has been retweeted to all your followers. If you'd like to verify this, simply go to the top right, right beneath your twitter name and click on #tweets (the # being however many tweets you've sent out in total).

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Three Chances to Win a Copy of Daughter Am I

You have three chances to win a copy of Daughter Am I.

1. Eric Beetner, author of One Too Many Blows to the head is sponsoring an ebook contest for the new releases from Second Wind Publishing. To win a Daughter Am I ebook, all you have to do it go to the Second Wind blog and answer the question: "have you ever learned something shocking about your past? Maybe not murder but what rocked your world once you found out?" I know you have learned something that rocked your world -- for example, how did you feel when you found out where you (and all babies) came from? See, it's not so hard! You can also answer another question to win an ebook of One Too Many Blows to the Head by J.B. Kohl and Eric Beetner and a third question to win a copy of False Positive by JJ Dare.

Click here to find the contest: Free Ebook Giveaway of the Latest Thrillers

2. At A Book Blogger's Diary, all you have to do is leave a comment saying why you want to read Daughter Am I (because it was written by me, of course!). Click here to find the giveaway: A Book Blogger's Diary

3. And finally, you can win the only signed proof copy of Daughter Am I and have fun doing it by going on a treasure hunt. Click here for a chance to win the book: Treasure Hunt!

Bonus: Download the first 30% of Daughter Am I free at: Smashwords

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Kindle Now Available in Canada!

If you’ve been following my blogs, you’ll know that I’ve written about e-books and electronic readers a couple of times, based on research from American readers. Well, this week it’s been announced that Kindle is finally available to Canadians for about $259 (U.S.) plus shipping costs. Although my budget prevents me from buying one right away, Kindle’s availability is certainly good news.

A writing colleague ordered one within hours of the announcement and can’t wait to use it. She just returned from a two-week vacation, where half of her suitcase contained books to read. Since Kindles can carry up to about 10,000 books, she won't have to worry about muscle strain in future. Also, Amazon currently has over 300,000 titles available for sale at very reasonable prices, and you can bet that number will grow.

In a recent Globe and Mail article, journalist Virginia Galt reported that while electronic books made up only 1% of the buying market in 2008. That number has doubled in 2009 and Indigo CEO Heather Reisman speculates that this figure could jump to 15% over the next five years. I think she’s right. This is bad news for authors whose works aren’t available on Kindle or Sony Readers, and is why all writers should make sure there’s a clause in their contract providing for electronic publication in a timely manner.

Galt also wrote that a small private school is ordering Sony readers for their students. These readers will be preloaded with textbooks, course outlines, and assignments, under an arrangement with Sony and textbook publisher Pearson Canada. Is this the wave of the future? I can’t picture universities doing this, given the price and size of student enrollment, however, I can see post secondary institutes eventually making textbooks and curriculum materials available on readers and encouraging students to purchase one themselves. They might not be cheaper than the price of a print textbook—in fact, I think they’ll be more expensive—but it sure will be convenient for students to have all of their books and materials in one handheld device...until they lose them and, trust me, that will happen. To read the entire Globe and Mail article go to

To read excerpts of Fatal Encryption and Taxed to Death, visit

Fatal Encryption is available through at and Taxed to Death can be found at

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Twitter 101: Creating Twitter Lists

Twitter recently introduced a new Lists feature. Now you can organize the people you're following and find them much easier. You can catagorize your lists in any way you like.

I created a list of some of my favorite authors. Later, I plan to make a list of Canadian authors, then one for publishers, etc.

If you haven't already explored list-making on Twitter or if you haven't figured out how to make a Twitter List, please visit Twitter 101: Creating Twitter Lists for complete, easy to follow instructions.

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Kudos to Writers Who Want to Learn

Yesterday, I was one of six presenters at a one-day workshop organized by the Surrey Writers School. The event was called Writers’ Express and for forty-five minutes each presenter discussed their topic. Mine was Traditional Versus Self-Publishing: 25 Tips to Help You Decide.

As is common at workshops, some writers had been writing for a long time, others were published or just venturing into publishing while other attendees were new writers. The thing that drew everyone to the workshop, though, was the desire to learn. In my opinion, being willing to learn is a crucial element to successful writing and publishing.

It often seems like everybody wants to write a book. Maybe everyone really does have a story in them, but there are lots of different ways to tell it, and a number of different roads to publication. There are also people who refuse to take constructive criticism from anyone about their work in progress, or advice about how best to publish it. Many of them are doomed to flounder.

With over one million books being published worldwide every year, we all need to produce the best work we possibly can. And we need to keep working, learning and growing to be able to move our writing lives forward in whatever direction it takes us. So, kudos to those who spend their hard-earned money on workshops, conferences, editors, books, including how-to guides, and any other tool necessary to rise above and stand out. As long as we’re learning, we’re on the right track.

To read excerpts of Fatal Encryption and Taxed to Death, visit

Fatal Encryption is available through at and Taxed to Death can be found at

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Daughter Am I Blog Tour -- Final Week

My Daughter Am I blog tour is winding down -- I have seven days to go (eight if you include today) and I don't know whether to be sad or to rejoice. Since my promotion motto is "Promotion is just another word for party," I decided to rejoice and have an end of blog tour party on the 22nd and 23rd. You are all invited, of course.

The most interesting aspect of the tour has been coming up with unique guest posts that highlight various elements of the story. Unique, in this case, meaning that all the posts for the tour were different. I range from talking about the hero's quest, to gangsterism, to descriptions of my characters, to researching the book. This should, ideally, give prospective readers a better idea of the story than a simple blurb.

I didn't have a real tour for my first books. I just did a guest appearance on a few of my blogger friends blogs, but that was more of an international get-together than a real tour. Always one for a challenge, I halfway considered going ahead and doing a tour for those books now, but then I really would never get back to writing and, as hard as turning off the computer in the evening is going to be, I am ready to finish my work-in-progress. If nothing else, its completion will be another excuse for a party!

The point I'm stumbling over here is that I'm thinking of doing a series of articles in December similar to my blog tour posts, but focusing on my first two books, especially A Spark of Heavenly Fire. After all, odd though it may seem considering that I decimate Colorado with a bioengineered disease, it is a Christmas story. Since the story leads up to Christmas, I wonder if my blog could mirror those fictional December days without my giving away the story. Something to think about.

Click here to find the Daughter Am I Blog Tour Schedule

Click here to buy Daughter Am I from Second Wind Publishing, LLC.

Click here to buy Daughter Am I from Amazon.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Guest Post: Leave Your Ego at the Door – Collaborative Writing

I invited a friend of mine to pop by The Write Type today. Eileen Bell and I met a few years ago and for a while we were members of a small writers group that met every week. I knew she was a talented writer the first time she read aloud part of a story she was writing. Today, Eileen is going to share her experience of working on an anthology with 3 other authors. ~Cheryl Kaye Tardif

I recently finished a collaborative project called “Women of the Apocalypse,” a novella anthology that was released at the end of October. I worked with three other writers: Billie Milholland and Roxanne Felix from Edmonton, Alberta, and Ryan McFadden from London, Ontario. This is the story of how we survived.

From the outside, it looked like a simple assignment. We were tasked with writing one novella each for an anthology. A small cast of characters for each of us – one Horseman of the Apocalypse, one Archangel, and one female protagonist. We could write in any genre we wanted. The novellas were stand alone stories. No working story lines together. No “four writers writing with one voice.” Seemed like a dream come true, so we all said “Yes!”

We wrote our novellas without any input from the others, in order to allow each writer's voice and style to come through. It was a little difficult, due to a tight timeline and other aspects of our lives that demanded attention, but we all finished, on time, and barely scarred.

Then came the editing. We edited round robin style, giving each writer the opportunity to work on each novella. It was the right thing to do, because we all have different editing strengths, but this was the spot where egos threatened. As Roxanne said, “Need to lick your wounds? Rebuild your self-esteem? No time for such nonsense. Dive dive dive … into the rewrites. And edit your colleagues’ work, while trying to forget which one recently ripped apart yours.”

The hardest part about the editing process for me was remembering to leave the other person's voice and style intact, while cleaning up a wide ranging variety of issues – from grammar to plot holes big enough to drive a concrete truck through! We quickly figured out that ongoing communication was the key to keeping our stories our own, and keeping relationships with each other whole through this process.

The result? A unique anthology, with individual stories that stand on their own, but that work together to tell an even bigger story. And we all remained friends!

Women of the Apocalypse is now available online at, or on It is also available at Audreys Bookstore and Chapters Southpoint in Edmonton, McNally Robinson Booksellers in Winnipeg (after November 14th) and Pages on Kensington in Calgary (after November 13th.)

Eileen Bell has written (you guessed it) most of her life. She has completed 3 novels (one burned, one under her bed, one out in the world), several novellas, short stories and personal essays, and is happily working on several new projects. When she isn’t writing she’s living a fine life in a round house with her husband, her dog, her daughter’s cat, and two fish.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Bookcrossing: A Great Place for Book Lovers

There are many opportunities to discuss and share one’s love of books on the Net, but one site in particular has captured my attention. is a global book sharing and recycling program that currently has over 800,000 members in 130 countries. The purpose of Bookcrossing is to share books with others around the globe, to discuss them, review them, and rate them, if you choose. It’s a terrific way to find homes for books you no longer have room for, and it doesn’t cost anything. All it takes is a little time to register yourself and the books you wish to release into the world.

Each registered book is assigned a number which you’ll place in the book along with a note that bookcrossing supplies. Then you leave the book in a public place for someone to find. If a Bookcrossing member picks it up, chances are they'll leave it at some other location. Many members take titles on vacation so they can leave them far away from home. One local writer's book made it to Pakistan!

While I was in Las Vegas, I left Fatal Encryption near a coffee bar at the Flamingo Hotel. Here's hoping the person who picked it up will read it.

The great thing about this program is that books are recycled, new authors discovered, and readers can come together to discuss their findings. So join up, share some books, and having fun. The website is

To read excerpts of Fatal Encryption and Taxed to Death, visit

Fatal Encryption is available through at and Taxed to Death can be found at

Friday, November 06, 2009

Raking the Leaves of My Mind

The other morning I was staring out the window at all the leaves on the ground, marveling at how so much come from almost nothing. A bit of water, a bit of soil, a bit of sun, and something exists where nothing did before. I cherish those leaves. There’s no lawn here, just native grasses, so I don’t need to rake the leaves. I let them finish out their natural cycle of replenishing the soil from which they came.

Looking at those leaves, I was reminded of written words, and how they come from almost nothing. A circle, a few lines, a couple of dots, various arcs, and something exists where nothing did before. We never run out of words. We use the same words over and over again, combining them infinitely into ideas, stories, lullabies.

Recycling the very same words you use every day, I wrote four novels (plus that one poor begotten thing that’s locked away never to see the light of publication), hundreds of bloggeries, and thousands of comments. I hope my words live out their natural cycle, replenishing the mental soil from which they come.

Okay, I’m getting a bit over the top here, so I’ll get to the point. Some of those words are now residing on other people’s blogs all over the Internet from Canada to Florida, from Australia to South Africa. Today I’m in the U.S.A. Please stop by to visit me at one or all of these locations. I’ll be glad to rake up a few words of greeting for you.

Murder by 4 — Suspense: More is More

Bookworm — Names Matter

Dragon My Feet — Interview

Also, I am pleased to welcome Aaron Lazar to my blog. Please stop by and mumble, groan, hiss, grunt, expostulate or simply say hi. -- Dialogue Tags.

Click here to find: Bertram’s novels on Amazon

Click here to find: Bertram’s novels at Second Wind Publishing

Pat Bertram’s novels are available in all ebook formats at Smashwords. Also, 30% of each novel is available as a free download. Click here to find: Bertram’s novels on Smashwords.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009 Announces Semi-Finalists in Dorchester "Next Best Celler" Romance Writing Contest

PARK CITY, Utah, November 3, 2009— announced the Semi-Finalists for the current Dorchester “Next Best Celler” Romance Writing Contest, which combines a live, serial publication model with a unique voting and ranking system to help identify top new novelists and fiction writers.

See who made the Top 20 Semi-Finalists.

I'll let you know that Lancelot's Lady, my debut romantic suspense, is #3 on the list. In fact, I'm the ONLY Canadian author to make the Top 20.

If you haven't read Lancelot's Lady yet, please do. If you enjoy it, click on the blue thumb and phone circles. This contest isn't over yet, and points still matter.

Thank you all for your support!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Writing Without a Reader is Like Kissing Without a Partner

One of the guest stops on my Daughter Am I blog tour is the Second Wind Publishing Blog. I talk about a fan letter (well, fan email) I received, and cite a quote by John Cheever, “I can’t write without a reader. It’s precisely like a kiss — you can’t do it alone.”

Many writers don’t consider readers -- they write solely for themselves, or at least they say they do -- but often as I am writing a passage (or more precisely, after I have written it), I wonder what readers will think. Will they understand my references? Will they find the humor? Is my writing clear enough? I like thinking that perhaps someday a reader will share the product of my mind.

Malcolm R. Campbell, author of Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire responded to my guest post with, “Whether it’s a book, poem, post, review, article or news story, I always hope somebody will say something. One never knows. It’s a slow conversation, so much time having gone by between the moment when something was written and the moment when somebody tells you they found it.”

Such a wonderful description of writing/reading -- a slow conversation. I know I’ve read many books where I felt the author and I were having a conversation, silent though it may be. I read and I think about what I read. It’s quite a heady realization that now I am a writer with readers of my own.

If you’re interested in reading the original blog post, you can find it here: Writing Without a Reader is Like a Kiss Without a Partner.

I am also at the D.C. Examiner today: Pat Bertram speaks about her novels and her writing

Today is the last day for the Clue Game at the Simpson Haunted Mansion

Also, this is your last opportunity to leave a comment to win Daughter Am I from: Book Reviews by Bobbie

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Serendipity, Karma, and Connections

There’s no doubt about it, promoting and marketing one’s book is hard work. There are quite literally thousands of ways to promote yourself and just about all of them take you away from your writing time. Half the time, your efforts seem to produce little or no sales at all, and you can only hope that getting your name out there will eventually pay off one day.

So, it’s always a complete surprise to me when selling a book happens with absolutely no intention or effort at all. Sales can happen by pure serendipity, for instance. You know those wonderful, rare occasions when you happen to see someone you hadn’t seen in a long time at a place you never expected to, and you get to talking and suddenly that person’s asking to buy your book (this is the best reason for keeping books in your car, by the way).

This week, I sold a couple of books without actually trying. In fact, a cold virus made selling the last thing on my mind, but I sold a book to someone at the gym because I’d recommended a writer’s conference for her son. The conference turned out so well for the young man that she bought a copy of Fatal Encryption as an early Christmas present for him. Honestly, I was just happy I could help this person.

This week, a writing colleague recommended me for a joint book signing/reading/workshop at a local store. I met my potential presenting partner, things clicked, and she too bought a copy of Fatal Encryption. That’s how it goes sometimes, and I’m so thankful that it does. May you experience your own serendipity, good karma, and connections.

To read excerpts of Fatal Encryption and Taxed to Death, visit

Fatal Encryption is available through at and Taxed to Death can be found at