Wednesday, April 30, 2008

JANEOLOGY featured as today's "Cool Book Of The Day"

Check it out!

The arrogance of celebrity.

Revelling in the after glow of a magnificent ManU victory last night, I was flicking through the channels looking for something to wind down to. Came a across a program looking at celebrity religion (kabbalah, scientology, P Diddy with $7MM diamond encrusted crucifixes etc) and yes, I know most of this is history now, but it did make me think about what is really going on here. Okay, I am not a religious person but I do try and respect other people’s views. So what is it about a celebrity that makes them think they can hijack someone’s religion in the name of cool? More to the point, what gives them the right to stamp their personal brand all over it? Okay, Kabbalah might be represented by only a piece of red string (that retails at about $26 a length by the way) but why does Madonna feel it necessary to build a Kabbalah hotel? And as for Kanye West (or is it Jesus Christ, I can never remember; they’re so similar aren’t they?) the less said the better. There are more examples but I won’t go on, suffice to say that these people are truly missing the point. I mean, if we look at JC for example, he was surely one of the biggest celeb’s of his day, and in a very competitive market too. Imagine if T shirt’s had been around then? He’d have cleaned up. Don’t the modern day celeb’s realise that daubing themselves with 2000 year old icons isn’t cool, it’s both naff and disrespectful to those who truly understand what their religion is about.

Recycling Jimmy

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Blog to Believe

Even if you do not believe in God, you must admit there is a higher power. Where else would creativity come from, if not from a more evolved being? We don’t go around saying: “Thank, God” for nothing. How about “God bless you” when someone sneezes? These few examples demonstrate that people, even those reluctant ones, believe in something they can’t explain. Someone they have never seen.

I have a sign that goes up over the front door at Christmas. It is one word: Believe.

What specifically does that mean? I see it as believing in life and believing in the power of giving, the power of family, the power of a story that happened thousands of years ago in a little town far, far away. The birth of a baby is a miracle, and perhaps the humanizing of believing began with the little boy in the manger, just a way of bringing us to a level of understanding.

It is not so much that one needs to embrace this concept, but more the symbolism of what the miracle of the birth of believing is about, that which is inside each of us. Because inside each of us, is where God resides. We were made in His image and likeness, again words to humanize believing.

We are all blessed in some way and we all have talents that no human being could give to us, no amount of genetics could pass on. There is a knowing that some things we must simply believe exist without reason, like prayer working, and no one knows why.

So to blog about believing is to blog about what we can not see, hear, smell, or touch.

Believing is not tangible. Believing is a gift from God.

Blog what you feel.

Linda Merlino, author, Belly of the Whale

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Oh No, It's That Time of Year Again

Once again, taxes are going up, income taxes are nearly due, and most of us are struggling with government forms and the dullest guidelines to have besieged mankind, unless, of course, you pay someone else to read the forms. Did you know there are people who actually like doing taxes? That there are people who think it's cool to be an accountant? I'm married to one, although he's not a tax accountant and hates the forms.
If you, or the accountant in your life, needs a break from dull, confusing, infuriating, number-crunching . . . if you want to look at taxes and tax auditors in a unique and lighter way, TAXED TO DEATH might be an answer.
Young, Revenue Canada auditor, Alex Bellamy, has stumbled into his first fraud audit, but things become dangerous when his colleague is murdered. To solve the murder and safe his life, he recruits a CA's secretary to help him. Problem is, she doesn't want to have anything to do with Alex.
Taxed to Death can be ordered from
Excerpts from the sequel, Fatal Encryption, can be

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Overheard At A Booksigning

Of my books on the signing table.
"Are these complimentary?"

Of the topic of filicide.
"I can't read this. I read The Lovely Bones and I hated it."

Of my pitch that it's about a man trying to understand his wife by way of understanding the family secrets and ancestors in her family.
"Oh, we all have black sheep in our family. My brother's wife just left him and he's now realizing it had something to do with her mother."

Of my description of the book to a kind old man.
"Sounds good. Let me go ask my wife."

Of my offer to sign a book for a woman.
"Oh, are you the author?"

Of my introduction to the next person who approached my table, "Hi, I'm the author Karen Harrington."
"Hello the author Karen Harrington."

Of the mints on my signing table.
"What are these for?"

Of the puzzle on my signing table.
"Why did you cut up your cover like that?"

Of the woman who ran over to my table with her hubby and told me her name was Jane.
Hubby: "If I read this, will I understand my wife better?"

Me: Huh Huh. Maybe. Here's a bookmark." (She leaves. Returns 10 mintues later.)
"OMG! My husband's name is Tom!" (See, the couple in my book are named Jane and Tom.)

Of my accidental penning "Very best pictures" (Doh! Should have written WISHES)
Me: "Oh, I'm so sorry. We were talking about pictures, and, well, ha ha…well, if I become famous, one day this will be very valuable."

Signings: 3
Books sold: 43
Ratio of male/female purchasers: 30%/70%


Monday, April 21, 2008

JANEOLOGY makes a few more blog stops this week

Jane Nelson, the central figure in Janeology, is the feature subject on this week’s Share Your Heroine interview series. In this brief but telling interview, you’ll learn more about Jane’s secrets and motivations.

Also this week, Janeology is among this weeks’ list of “New Reads” by the Campaign for the American Reader Network. Other great new works highlighted on this site include The Story of Forgetting by Stefan Merrill Block and Enlightenment by Maureen Freely. Be sure and look over all the blogs associated with the CFTAR network, including the Page 69 Test, where Janeology will soon be put to the challenge.

And on April 23, I hope you’ll visit the blog at ( to read my guest blog “When a man loves a woman…who murders.”

See you on the bookshelves!

Read an excerpt:
Buy a copy on Amazon

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Welcome to Kelly, and Five More Great Quotes

First of all, welcome to Kelly. I tried to leave a comment, but I'm not exactly a technical wizard. I wanted to say that I relate to much of what you said, except for the being young part. For me, the important about writing is to do what you believe is right for you. I've followed my instinct many times and it's always served me well.

Here's some more quotes I'd like to share. May one of them strike a chord with you.

"Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self." -- Cyril Connolly

"For your born writer, nothing is so healing as the realization that he has come upon the right word." -- Catherine Drinker Bowen

"The reason one writes isn't the fact he wants to say something. He writes because he has something to say." -- F. Scott Fitzgerald

"Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don't try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It's the one and only thing you have to offer." -- Barbara Kingsolver.

"Every word is a victory against death." -- Michel Butor
Fatal Encryption available at

Angel in Blog

I met an angel the other day. She did not have wings, or a long flowing gown. Encountering an angel isn’t always apparent in the first few minutes. There is a brief introduction where his or her identity is hidden from view. I’ve probably missed dozens of opportunities because I was too busy or distracted to pay attention, to listen, or to be aware.

There are all kinds of angel activity swirling around us, so much in fact that we can often mistake it for coincidence or accident. But there is no such thing as coincidence, nothing happens outside the master plan; which means we have so much to believe, and even more to chalk up to blind faith.

The interjecting of angel wisdom has no pattern of whys and when’s. Sometimes it is just to help find a missing shoe or our keys. We get flack from non-believers when we talk out-loud about such things, in all honesty I simply say thank you and keep it to my self.

How about the other morning when I was wondering where I could get single dollar bills at four thirty a.m. to tip my baggage handlers at the airport. I’d thought of everything for my trip except that, and then getting dressed I put my hand in my jeans and in the pocket was a freshly washed and dried bundle of one’s. Huh, you say…see what I mean I reply.

I am deep into the marketing and selling of my new book, Belly of the Whale. There is little time for much else except going to work and occasional sleep. My next manuscript has few pages written, most of the story is still in my head. I continue to collect data and research and sometimes put words on a page, but mostly I blog for writing and compose new emails and have abandoned my usual morning book-writing-routine.

A random connection to a woman I met in my travels proved to be this writer’s gem, or more correct another angel. We were discussing the past and present of places we’d been and lived. She revealed a snippet of her past and I had to stop and sit down. Here was the key to unlock the door to my next book. This woman had been to where I was going in my story. Although fiction, her experience was not, I had to tell her, about the angel thing I mean.

Do you believe in angels? I asked. She said, yes. You are my angel today, I said. She smiled and said thank you. No, it is me that needs to say thanks, we need to talk more, I said. Anytime, she offered.

Do not dismiss happenstance, say a prayer or mouth a thank you to those no-entities that offer guidance and good humor everyday. Perhaps, like me, your questions will be answered.

Blog what you hear, see, think and feel.

Linda Merlino, author, Belly of the Whale
Available on

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


The Genealogue: Genealogy News You Can't Possibly Use

That's the tagline to one of my favorite genealogy websites.

And today, they are hosting moi. Stop by and see why this site is so interesting and diverse.

And all this week, Authors of MySpace hosts me as its feature author. Stop by and check out my interview.



What did Jane do and why?

Monday, April 14, 2008

It begins...

So I've never really had a blog, but at the urging of my good friend and fellow author Cheryl Tardif (, I am succumbing to peer pressure.

I might as well start this off with a little bit about myself. I am a 26 year old female self-published author, which right there causes me grief. I get overlooked because I'm young, I get snuffed because I'm self-published and I get judged because I'm a woman.

But I didn't start this blog to whine...

Too much.

Honestly, I'm a young author because writing is all I ever wanted to do and I was lucky enough to complete my first novel by the time I was 24. Most people don't figure out their purpose in life at 9 years old, like I did.

Now, I'm not going to go on a self-publishing rant because frankly, there are too many already out there. I'll say the same thing that I always say when people ask why I self-published:

"I did sent out manuscripts to traditional publishers. After a couple of rejections, I just decided that I'd rather spend my life writing and sharing my work than wait for some publisher to actually pick up my manuscript, let alone deem it worthy enough to publish."

As for the woman thing, my reply is simple. Um, it's 2008 and women CAN write. Jerk.

About my first novel, it's called Sacrifice and it's the first book in a young adult fantasy duology entitled The Last Forever. Feel free to visit my website here and check out the synopsis and other information.

On a personal note, I am happily married to a tattooed guitarist who doesn't read books and we have a ridiculously adorable 16 month-old boy named Evan.

Stay tuned! I'll update regularily.

Pink Ribbon Blog

This blog is about cookies, pink ribbon cookies. My grandmother passed on a recipe to me many years ago for Italian biscotti’s. Making these cookies became a childhood tradition. The feel of flour on our hands, the roll of dough under our fingers that snaked long as we worked it and using just the right sharp knife to snip off four inch pieces, that then got twisted into a fold over, ribbon-like shape. This memory stays with me and last week when I was preparing for my book’s launch I thought about grandma’s cookies.

A book signing event should not just be about books. What else could I include that might spark conversation and send the message of hope and survival to people walking by or browsing the bookstore? Potential Belly of the Whale book buyers might be hungry and while waiting for me to sign their recently purchased book(s) they might munch on a cookie or two. With these thoughts in mind I baked several dozen biscotti’s.

As a child after the cookies were made, we mixed milk with confectioner’s sugar, drizzled some over the baked cookies and added colorful sprinkles as decorations. For my book signing cookies I made pink icing and no sprinkles. Fight-the-fight is part of the message I like to remind folk about, and for every cookie eaten at my book launch I imagined another battle with breast cancer being won.

Someone at the book signing asked if my grandmother made the cookies. I said, no not these, she’s been gone for almost thirty years, but I’m sure she is smiling down from wherever she is today. That much I know is true.

The biscotti’s and the signing were a success. Looks like I’ll be bringing grandma’s biscotti’s to all my signings. May the pink ribbon symbol for fighting breast cancer flourish in the form of our family recipe. May all who eat a cookie be blessed.

Blog what you think, hear and see…

Linda Merlino,
Belly of the Whale available on amazon

Sunday, April 13, 2008

"How should I promote my book launch?"

Recently, a writer friend had some questions regarding advertising book signings and launches. She asked if she should have had the store put up posters and showcase her book in the front window prior to her book launch. I gave her some advice, things I wish someone had told me at the very beginning.

In the beginning, I was bold...yet I didn't have a clue what to do either.

A few years ago, I didn't really get the difference between a book launch and a book signing. I suppose I could have helped myself out by actually attending some of both, but I didn't and my first "launch" suffered for it. Instead of making it a big celebration, my first book launch had no hoopla, just me at a table in front of the store, handing out business cards. Oy, I was so green I never knew I shouldn't give out cards unless they're to business contacts. No one else wants them. I know better now, but back then I had no idea what I should or could do for a launch party. Now I know it's only limited by my imagination and the fire code of the store. :)

Book signing:

A book signing is an event where you go and sign and sell books. It's that simple. There's only as much hoopla as you can create, based on any news to do with your book. But believe me, I look for anything newsy that can add some hype to my signings. News equals excitement, and excitement means sales, and sales mean I get to write another book. :)

I rarely have any form of advertising for my regular signings, other than in my writers organizations' newsletters and what I post on my site and blogs--mainly because people tend to forget, and so far it hasn't proven to bring in that many more people for it to be cost effective to run advertisements in newspapers. I just look at every person who walks in the store as MINE. Okay, I'm not that vain, but I do look at anyone as a prospective buyer. It seems far easier when I'm not worried about whether my invitees have arrived or if they'll even show. I always know that there will be people walking through the doors, and it's my job to greet them and make them feel welcome. (And give them my bookmarks.)

If I feel I need posters, I've learned not to wait for bookstores to make them. Other than Audrey's Books in Edmonton, which always makes up lovely posters for all my signings, and a few Chapters stores, most bookstores are just too busy to design signs. So I have a local print shop make posters for my special events. They're 14 x 17, I think, full color, announcing my name, author of... and date/time of event. I ask the stores to post them about 5 days before the event. Any earlier and people forget. Occasionally, I'll go to my signing and discover that my posters were never displayed, but usually they'll be up near the front door and often near the bathrooms. If I've been able to get some media attention (newspaper interviews or radio or TV interviews), then that's a bonus. But it's not easy to be newsworthy for all your events all of the time.

Book launch:

A book launch is a celebration, a big party to celebrate your book's arrival and everything you have gone through to get this far, and it's a party for YOU.

This is the one event that you need to have posters up on the walls, fliers to the bookstore a week before to add to customers' bags, media attention, tons of blogging about it, and lots and lots of hoopla. To ensure that you get great promotion for this exciting event, go to the store the day before and see how they're promoting you. Then you can ask them to display your books if they're nowhere to be found.

Also, for a launch, you'll want to send out an invitation to anyone on your email list and newsletter list. Ask them to bring a friend or two (or ten!), and make sure you ask them to RSVP, since you'll need to know how much food and drink to supply. Once you have this list, realize that about 10% won't make it, another 10% might not buy. 80% should be sales. Bad weather the day of the launch will increase the percentage of the first two and lower the last. Make sure the bookstore knows about your RSVP list ASAP. They need to know how many books to order in. Send your guests a "friendly reminder" about 2 days before.

A launch should always be eye-catching, big and bold. You need to create excitement. That's what separates it from a regular book signing. Some launches will have champagne and strawberries, others will have pop and veggies and dip. Some will have food that fits the theme of their book. I served two kinds of seafood dip; however, I just couldn't serve whale. I'm sure my friends were glad about that. :)

Most book launches will have:
  • entertainment
  • door prizes (I always ask local businesses to donate prizes in exchange for a sponsorship mention of them on my posters and I get awesome prizes this way...including a free limo ride for my family and closest friends to my last book launch)
  • munchies (a couple of party trays and a cake with your cover on, at minimum)
  • a mike for you to read a chapter and talk about your new "baby"
  • an MC to introduce you and make you look good (either a friend or the store manager if she knows you)
  • advertising in-store and elsewhere (community bulletin boards, schools, churches etc)
It's your party, so have fun! This really isn't the time to worry about sales. The more events you do, the better you should get at selling your book. If you have a bad signing (like 3 or less), evaluate why. When you have an exceptional signing (like 30+ books), also evaluate why. I always ask myself 'what worked?' and 'what didn't?'

How should you promote your book launch? By doing anything and everything you can think of to ensure its success and to make sure that everyone attending has a party they'll never forget. That way they'll be first in line for your next book launch, which (if you use these tips) will now be bigger and better than the last. :)

bestselling author of Whale Song

Five Quotes from the Famous

Thanks to Karen Harrington for those great sentences. I smiled when I saw her post because I'd planned to share some of my favourite writers' quotes today, which is something I collect. They've been sent to me from everywhere, and some of them you probably already know.

"He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary." -- William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway)

"Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?" -- Ernest Hemingway (about William Faulkner)

"I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it." -- Mark Twain

"Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?" -- Mark Twain

"Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go." -- Oscar Wilde

I could post a lot of blogs on Wilde's quotes alone, but you can find them easily enough with a Google search. I also have some inspirational quotes which I'll post soon.

FATAL ENCRYPTION now available through

Friday, April 11, 2008

Five Great Sentences

Some people collect antiques. I collect sentences.

"It's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting, he thought…" – The Alchemist by Paul Coehlo

"Kalamazoo was a peculiar little town. Even when it was trying to kill me, it charmed me a little." – Schuyler's Monster by Robert Rummel-Hudson

"The thin woman in the green sari stood on the slippery rocks and gazed at the dark waters around her." – The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar

"I am ready to speak of the obsession that revolved around Adolf Hitler." - The Castle in the Forest by Norman Mailer

"The night before the raid on the roadhouse Nestor told his Avengers at the rickety church, "I want us to come at them out of the sun, first light shining hard on the window glass as we roll up on the place."' – The Hot Kid by Elmore Leonard

What are some of your favorite sentences?

Check out my psychological legal thriller Janeology on Amazon. It has a few of my favorite sentences, too.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Book Signings – Do I Sit or Do I Stand?

As an author who has held over 300 events/signings and is very comfortable promoting books, I have noticed that style of approach will differ from author to author. The key is to find your comfort zone--and it's always the one that works the best―for you. If you're getting the big sales, then it's working.

A while ago, I read an article on book signings and the author had said one should always move toward the customer and never sit or stand behind the table. Reading this, I had to chuckle because I was once at an event where an author did exactly what the author here suggested. He went into the aisles, books and bookmarks in hand, smiling and talking to everyone, while I stood behind and sometimes beside my table, bookmarks in hand, smiling and greeting everyone. Sometimes I sat down.

At the end of the event, he had sold 5 books at $14.00 each. I had sold 30 books at $26.00 each.

Why? Many people who came to my table said they felt "jumped on" by the other author. By moving toward them, he had invaded their physical space. He seemed "desperate" to some customers, and all of this turned people off; whereas I seemed genuine and open to them, and they were curious what was going on at my table.

At another multi-author event, an author stayed beside her table, just slightly out front and it worked for her. She had good sales. Again for me, I stood and sat at intervals, and still outsold her.

So what really sells a book? I think it's an author's genuine love for his or her craft, for the particular book that they're promoting and for people in general. At least, that's how it is for me.

There have been occasions where I have left my table. If it's super busy and I miss giving a bookmark to a customer or I see someone loaded down with books by comparable authors, I'll sometimes go up to them and give them a bookmark. "For your books", I'll say. Or, "I forgot to give you this." That small action, non-invasive, will often lead to natural discussions and many times the person who has been standing in the lineup will leave it to check out my books.

Even at signings with well-known bestselling authors, the authors are usually at the table, either sitting or standing behind or beside.

I believe it's a combination of advertising prior to events, ads in the stores, signage near the author (on the table or in sign holders), the book itself, but mostly it's how the author presents him- or herself.

It is definitely less invasive to have the customers come to you. The key is knowing how to get them to visit your table. I'll often have a draw box at one corner of the table, with a visible sign posted that describes the prize(s). Once in a while, I'll have chocolates in a bowl. But most often, I reach across the table after making eye-contact, smile and hand them a bookmark.

Tip: Hand them a bookmark. Most people will just take it. Don't ask if they want one. Try not to ask any question that can be answered by "yes" or "no". That usually results in "no". Just hold out your bookmark and go directly into your greeting, tell them who you are and what you're doing.

And don't forget to smile and enjoy what you're doing. I love signings. I genuinely enjoy meeting people, talking to them, and many times there is no advertisement prior to my events, except online. But it makes no difference. Every customer who walks by me is a potential reader of my books--or they know someone. I like to approach strangers in the same way I would a long lost friend. And I can't wait to meet them. :)

For more book signing tips, check out this article at:

If you're an author, I'd love to hear about your thoughts on this, and your own approach to book signings.

If you're a reader, I'd also love to hear from you. I hope you'll share with me what kind of approach you think works best. What do you prefer and why? How can an author improve your experience in a bookstore?
©2008 Cheryl Kaye Tardif

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif is the bestselling author of Whale Song, The River and Divine Intervention. She is also a freelance writer and book reviewer, and she speaks about book marketing at conferences in Canada and the US. She has appeared on TV and radio, and in newspapers and magazines in both countries.

Blogged to death

The front page of the Sunday New York Times had an article about blogging. The gist of the news was the stress that blogging puts on a person’s health. So much stress that two and a half bloggers died within the last several weeks. The half being the one blogger that almost died but did not.

These individuals were tech bloggers. Blogging about technology can actually bring in a salary, but this profession is highly competitive. The competition being so intense that some in that blogging world get little sleep, no leisure time, no vacation and basically no life.

The term, blogged to death has suddenly taken on new meaning. My off-handed comment on pulling an all-nighter blogging has lost its humor. As much as I want to reach out to my cyberspace friends, and as much as I’d like to see how far reaching my blogging can go, I do not want to be found slumped over my keyboard in the throes of polishing off another blog.

I send my sympathy to the families of Russell Shaw and Marc Orchant. To the friends and family of Om Malik I suggest you encourage him to lay off the blogging for his remaining time on the planet. As for me, I still want people to know about my book, I want to sell thousands of copies and blogging seems to be one way of accomplishing this goal.

In an effort not to bore you to death or blog you to demise, I am proposing that at the first sign of clogging of the blogging arteries, please quit This condition is right up there with smoking and drinking. Nothing you blog tonight could be so important that it couldn’t wait until tomorrow.

Now ask me if I am going to follow my own advice?

Blog what you read, what you think and what you hear.

Linda Merlino, author, Belly of the Whale

The bad gene theory: Is it bunk?

All I have to do is say Jeffrey Dahmer and you instantly call up thoughts and knowledge about this killer. There are scientific diagnoses for this kind of person like socio-path or anti-social personality disorder, but these labels do little to explain a person of extreme violence. Someone acting so far off the bell curve of normalcy is a mystery to us all.

What’s perhaps most interesting to me about these cases is the quest to understand the person’s background and childhood. Sure, the natural rolling of the eyes happens here when I put forth the “bad childhood” excuse. Okay, I’ll say it for you (because I agree with you): How many people emerge from bad, abusive childhoods and become wonderful, compassionate people? In reverse, how many people emerge from loving and privileged backgrounds and choose a dark, violent path?

This paradox is incredibly fascinating. There is no guaranteed predictability on what course a life will take no matter what kind of start he or she was given.

Let’s go back to the Dahmer example. He was raised by hardworking middle-class parents in Ohio. His mother stayed at home to raise the children and his father worked as an analytical chemist. Typical America, right? And then add to this equation that his parents admit to having many high-pitched fights in the company of their son. Okay. Still, not an uncommon experience.

But then you look deeper into the family. In a Dateline interview, where NBC’s Stone Phillips asked Dahmer’s mother and father about events in his childhood that may have led to the murders, Lionel Dahmer said that he often awoke from sleep and felt as if he had harmed someone, even murdered someone, and then realized it was just a dream. Is there a natural connection?

Dahmer accepted complete responsibility for his actions, unlike many socio-paths who lack a conscience or sense of remorse. In that same Dateline interview, the infamous killer declared that anything other than pointing the blame on himself was an excuse. He said he took full responsibility and there was nothing his parents ever did to influence him. There’s the light in the darkness. A tiny bit, at least.

Still, this example begs the question: Can one inherit a predisposition to violence?

Maybe most people want to answer “no” to this question. As quick as we might be to dismiss “bad gene” theory, we are just as quick to embrace “inherited talent or disease” theory.

I give you the following examples from math, religion, sports, music and politics.

Nobel-winning mathematician John Nash suffered from schizophrenia. His son, who displayed a talent in mathematics, also developed schizophrenia.

Evangelist Billy Graham has now passed the torch to his son, Franklin Graham.

Los Angeles Lakers' star guard Kobe Bryant can look to his father, Joe "Jelly Bean" Bryant, who was an NBA and Italian League player.

Grammy-winner Natalie Cole is the daughter of Nat King Cole. Many of her fans argue she is virtually channeling the style and sound of her famous father.

Mary Higgins Clark and her daughter, Carol Higgins Clark – both women are best-selling authors.

Henry Fonda is the father of Jane and Peter Fonda: all three actors have had acclaimed careers in their own right.

And whatever your opinion about politics, any discussion about nature/nurture influence being passed down is not complete without mention of the 41st and 43nd presidents – father and son.

So I ask you, if these qualities run in the family, is it a stretch to consider that predisposition to violence might also trickle down the gene pool? Many researchers don’t think so, citing evidence from brain scans that suggest some are predisposed to violence.

This is THE pivot point around which my novel JANEOLOGY turns. Do we inherit the natures of our ancestors? And if you are like me – fascinated by genetic inheritance theories – you will be intrigued by the exploration of Jane Nelson’s family tree as her own husband searches for an explanation to her unthinkable snap that will let him sleep at night.

Visit to read an excerpt.

Or visit Amazon to read the full story.

Monday, April 07, 2008

On the road with JANEOLOGY

The virtual blog tour for JANEOLOGY, now in its second week, is rolling along. But today, the book made an unscheduled stop. What do I mean, you ask? Click below to find out.

JANEOLOGY also stops by Judge a Book By Its Cover today - a site that has a real love for the art of the cover and how they interpret the story. Check it out here:

See you on the bookshelves!



Visit my website:
Visit my blog:

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Blog a Book

Blog a book, one book, two or maybe more. Books are for reading and learning. They feel good against your fingers, often rest on your knees and more times than that, a book fits perfect under your arm. Old fashion books with well worn pages darkened by turning and re-reading bring comfort to generation after generation.

Libraries with shelves and shelves of books in buildings across the world that store history and ancient philosophy have been a refuge to many and a haven for tourists. A book is the companion you take on a train or on a flight coast to coast. Hardcover or paperback a book serves to help wile away hours of delays and waiting. Characters in books take you to places you’ve never been and into lives unlike your own. There is a door marked escape which you enter when reading a book. The minute you open the cover you can be swept away.

Alas, technology has infiltrated the world of books. An electronic Deity threatens our library stacks. Mr. Blackberry is courting Miss Kindle and in no time there will be wedding bells and little Kindleberries running around and soon the paperless book will be favored.

What will happen to the legacy of books when books are electronic exclusives and kindled daily? Where will we go to smell the scent of leather bound volumes and read newspapers off wooden rails? Will my blogging a book be a thing of the past? The thought makes me stop and pause.

Belly of the Whale, has just come out in hardcover. I look at it in awe. A hardcover has such presence, such clout, and ages well.

To appreciate the continuing advances of convenience is welcome but at the same time disheartening. Perhaps, in another hundred years a brick building once called a library, built on Main Street USA, will become an electronic word storage tank and folk like me will have become dinosaurs.

Blog what you feel, think, hear and see.

Linda Merlino, author, Belly of the Whale

Shakeups in the Publishing World

They say that the only constant in the world is change and, over recent years, this is sure true in the world of publishing. Print on demand technology, and technology in general, has made it easier to make books, and the Net has made it easier than ever to reach people all over the globe.

Two more changes have created all kinds of discussion lately. The first is's announcement that it will be requiring all POD books it sells to be printed through their own in-house printer, BookSurge. Customers are claiming that the "buy" button has already been removed from their books listed there. I'm also hearing that BookSurge does one lousy job of printing books. Apparently, there have been complaints about uncentered covers, pages falling out, etc. Needless to say, this is causing quite a stir. I recently listed Fatal Encryption, but never heard a word about printing my book with them, at least so far. Maybe I'm too small to worry about. Apparently, the official reason for Amazon's decision is environmental friendliness, i.e. less fuel will be consumed shipping books to and from other printers. Hmmm. And if you believe that one . . .

The other big news is that HarperCollins will be starting a new imprint that won't accept returns from retailers and will pay little or no advances to authors. It looks like the big publisher is adopting small presses policies as there are already plenty of presses that don't, or can't, pay advances and a few presses, again using POD technology, won't accept returns on books. It'll be interesting to see how this experiment turns out. Others have tried the "no returns" policy and failed. It's a method of doing business that's so deeply ingrained with booksellers (and some claim this is the only way they can stay in business) that I don't see them jumping on the bandwagon any time soon, especially when other presses, large, mid-size and small, still accept returns. Stay tuned to see how this one turns out. The new imprint is supposed to be launched April 14th. Will it still be alive a year from now?

Meanwhile, just a reminder that my book launch for Fatal Encryption will be at The Lounge in Kyle Centre, 125 Kyle St., Port Moody, B.C., from 7 to 9 p.m.

And for excerpts from Fatal Encryption, visit me at

And as I mentioned, copies will be available - at least as I write this - from later this month. But you can pre-order now, I hope.

Bright Lights and ....?

Many thanks to all of you who contributed words of comfort and
common sense during my sartorial meltdown over choosing
whatever would make me look the least fashioned challenged
the taping of my TV interview..

You want to know what I chose? Aw, come on – you really do - don't
you? Well pretend damn it! I went for … guess? Yup – you got it. All
black. But – sans the silver toed boots.

It actually was a big kick for me. I've had 3 other TV things but
they were all 1 cameraman, sort of off the cuff and once the camera
man told me to delay the start of my talk for 10 minutes while he ran
to CVS to buy a DVD/tape – he'd forgotten to bring any!

This time there were 3 camera men and a sound man. We actually had
a dress rehearsal, went over the questions and set up camera angles.
There was even a nice young lady who come over and powdered my
big old red nose! (didn't do much good that I could see).

The hostess was super nice and the ½ hour flew by. So much so that
yours truly who can never shut up, started getting the cut sign when
I was about halfway through the passage that Darleen (the hostess)
had asked me to read from Shadow of Innocence. "EEEk," I thought.
What should do? Read faster? Just say, "the end"?
Doggedly I plowed on as producers and camera men waved clip
boards in the background. I had to finish the last words from my
favorite passage.
I heard the words, "Roll credits!" as I finally rounded the corner of
the last sentence and finished with…. "Bridget screamed."
"And close," the producer whispered. I looked up at Darleen. Was
she gonna brain me with the water pitcher?
Nope. She was sweet and gracious. "The Book is Shadow of
Innocence," she said holding it up. "And the author Ric Wasley.
Thank you so much for coming Ric." She smiled.
"Thank YOU Darleen!" I breathed a sigh of relief.

Then we sat there – our smiles frozen to our faces as the camera and
sound men fussed with various things. "Can we move?" I whispered
to Darleen from between my gritted, smiling teeth. Finally we got the
official nod.
Now was I gonna get hammered about running over? Nope.
The producer was nice about it and said he see what he could do in
editing but best of all Darleen leaned over and whispered to me, "that
was fun – can you come back in the Fall?" Could I? Just try to keep me
So went my half hour of fame and they were nice enough to burn me 3
DVD's of the show.

Well it was lots of fun and now it's back to the real world of pounding
the keyboard and taking out the garbage (and probably in about that
But thanks all for letting me share with you my tiny slice of
the `glamorous' life.

All the best

Ric Wasley
• Shadow of Innocence – 2007
• Acid Test – 2004

And please check out my McCarthy Family Mysteries free sample chapters on Amazon and Google!
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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

What are some of the best writer's resources?

If you're an aspiring or published author looking for some great resources, I highly recommend the following books. Some will be genre specific as this comprises a large part of my own library.

General writing resources:
  • Writer's Market (the holy grail for writers)
  • The Canadian Writer's Market (ditto for Canadian writers)
  • The Canadian Writer's Guide
  • The Writer's Digest Guide to Manuscript Formats
  • Self-Editing for Fiction Writers
  • The Writer's Guide to Character Traits (excellent for building your characters)
  • Characters and Viewpoint (great for improving POV) - published by Writer's Digest
  • Writing Dialogue - published by Writer's Digest
  • Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things
  • How to Write a Children's Book and Get Published
  • Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel
  • Forensics for Dummies (no dead bodies included)
Book marketing books:
  • What Writers Need to Know About Publishing (by Jerry D. Simmons, a great friend of mine)
  • The Book Publisher's Handbook (Eric Kampmann)
  • How to Sell What You Write
  • Beyond the Bookstore (Brian Jud)
  • Plug Your Book (Steve Weber, another friend)
  • 1001 Ways to Market Your Books (John Kremer, another author friend)
  • Web Site WOW (Jeniffer Thompson)
Like any craft or skill, you have to learn it first, then take the time to hone and perfect it. These books will only help you become that much better and even more attractive to an agent or publisher.

I invite my fellow writers to add to this list and share their favorite writer's resources.

All the best in your writing endeavors. :)

bestselling author of Whale Song, The River and Divine Intervention

Blog a Prayer

Not being one for dogma, rules and sermons I am not sure if I should be blogging about prayer. I grew up memorizing the Baltimore Catechism. For sure I know all the prayers, or at least I did once upon a time. Out-of-practice is what you might call me, preferring to talk to God in my own language with my own words without kneeling, sitting, or standing on cue.

I pray most often in my car. Not the norm, but what I call prayer is far from the traditional version. The good news is that my kind of prayer has had its success. What I mean is, many of my prayers have been answered, and other prayers, well others have not. Those are the ones that went off in an opposite direction from my request, only for me to later realize that if I had gotten what I asked for something else would not have happened, or someone else would not have crossed my path.

Blogging about prayer is my way of acknowledging the power of talking to God. Sometimes I don’t even call God, God. Instead I think of the concept of a higher power or even enlist the mythical gods to speak on my behalf. I don’t think it matters. God doesn’t seem to take offense at how I approach my prayers.

There were times when I would shake my fist at God, and tell him off. I would call Him a comedian. I was sure that He and all his seraphim must be holding their sides laughing at me as one obstacle after another came onto my path. This was how I perceived life unfolding, none of it was fact.

The truth is I consider myself blessed. All that tragic-comedy made me a better person. Without all my run ins with God I would probably not be an author. Belly of the Whale, my recent release, might still be at the bottom of a drawer. Some higher being urged me to write; listened to my prayers, endowed me with inspiration and stuck by me when I was discouraged.

Prayer, no matter how you approach the process, is worthwhile. Blog a prayer, or say a prayer, either way you will be heard.

Blog what you think, what you see, and what you hear.

Linda Merlino, author, Belly of the Whale

Good vs. Bad Girls of Fiction

Part 2

Good Girl vs. Bad Girl: Which is more fun to read about or watch?

Two authors weigh in.

Karen Harrington, author of Janeology, talks about bad girls we hate to love.

We love bad girls because they bring a feast of conflict to whatever scene they enter. You don’t know what they might do, but you want to watch them do it.

When we do read about them, it’s usually from the point of view of the person they treat most cruelly. I think we like to read/watch them because there is that voyeuristic exchange, that we can live out saying or doing things through a character that we would find unacceptable in our own lives. And then there’s the part of us that wants to see them evolve and change. We root for them to learn their lessons. And often, if they are drawn well, we achieve an understanding of why they are so bad.

Some of my favorite bad girls are:

Emma Bovary in Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. Who can forget how Emma pined for unattainable love while tromping all over the heart of her husband? Though Emma pays for her badness with her life, I think this story endures because, while her actions are cruel, her yearnings are universal.

Lexy Ransome in The Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst: Lexy is one of my favorite modern bad-girl characters. In truth, she walks the line of being a good/bad girl. But it is the manipulation of her sexiness that she knows she can use to her advantage that puts her squarely in bad girl territory.

Lily in the The Bad Girl by Mario Vargas Llosa: Again, a derivative of the classic Madame Bovary story, “Lily” goes through several chameleon like guises as she lies and leaves, coming in and out of Ricardo’s life. This is the bad girl who loves that a man is obsessed with her.

Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell: Immortalized on page and screen, the character of Scarlett might have been the first to be described as “Every woman wants to be her and every man wants to have her.” The bad in Scarlett is not just her charms, but her stoic resolve to get what she wants. She would have been a powerful business woman in the 21st century.

And last, even star Omarosa of TV’s The Apprentice fame has been brought back to the show again and again and again. Whatever he may truly think of her, Donald Trump knows bad girls drive up ratings.

Why else do we have Bridezilla-type reality shows? The public has a greater appetite for watching bitchy brides-to-be unravel than graceful, kind brides who allow you to wear the dress of your choice.

Karen Harrington
Visit to read about the bad things Jane did in Janeology.


Linda Merlino, author of Belly of the Whale, talks about the good girl and why we love them.

Good girls can be boring, the reader preferring to love and hate the bad broad with passion. Good girls get passed over for the gum-chewing, hardened, kick-em-when-they're-down bitch. That’s the character the reader will remember. The writer has to endear the good girl to the reader, make her appealing without making her a paper doll cut out. That’s why, historically, good girls are often portrayed as tough women with heart. To exact this point I will go off the linear path for my examples; myth, music and movie.

Myth: Isis, an Egyptian goddess of great distinction, among her many titles: Lady of the Words of Power and She Who Knows How to Make Right Use of the Heart.

Isis was the sister and wife of Osiris and when Osiris was tricked by their brother into stepping into a ready-made sarcophagus and sent down the Nile, Isis set out on a journey to find him. She finds the dead Osiris and lies down upon him and because she is a goddess, allows his seed to enter her and she conceives Horus. The statues and pictures that have come down through history of the Madonna and Child originated from the mother and son, Isis and Horace. You cannot get much better than that for a good girl role model.

Music: Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow have a duet entitled “Picture”; Country Western lyrics that exemplify the good girl in twang. The bad boy is living his life in a slow hell with a different girl every night at the hotel and he’s wishing he had a good girl to miss him.
The Good Girl in question has been waiting on him for a long time, fuel’ in up on heartaches and cheap wine, and hasn’t heard from him in three damn nights.

Got to love that good girl, because she put the bad boy’s picture away, so she can’t see his face while she’s lying next to another guy!!!

Movie: The African Queen, 1951, Bogart and Hepburn on the silver screen…this one is by far the absolute best Good Girl. The legendary bad boy of film meets strong-willed, God-fearing, good woman. Charlie Allmat saves Rose Sayer and good ole Rose tries to rehabilitate gin-loving Charlie along with killing off the Germans. She wants to sink the German boat, Louisa, by turning the Queen into a torpedo boat. Charlie, of course, thinks she’s nuts. But what man wouldn’t after all, because it wasn’t his idea. We all know the end, how sober Charlie marries lovely Rose thinking that they are about to die and then the Louisa strikes the over-turned African Queen, blows up, and Rose and Charlie, Captain and Mrs. Charles Allmat swim to safety and live happily-ever-after. Bravo to the Good Girl, she’s got her man and blew the boat out of the water too!

…And for the sake of literature, how about sweet faced, Melanie of the Ashley and Scarlett triangle. Ashley was the wimp…not Melanie.

Linda Merlino, author, Belly of the Whale

Whale Song myxes it up on 'Where's Myx?'

Friend and fellow author Dave Diotalevi has one of the most creative blogs for promoting his new novel Miracle Myx that I have ever seen. He takes photos of his book in various places and settings and writes about it, with dialogue from him and Myx. It's really quite funny.

Today Whale Song visits his site and his main character Myx. And apparently, we need a referee between us. :)

I invite you to check out Dave's blog and read his post about Whale Song and his other posts. They're guaranteed to make you chuckle, if not laugh out loud.

Check out Where's Myx?

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif, author of Whale Song

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Translating translations

You could say I am "lost in translation".

An email from my publisher created a bit of excitement yesterday. He told me that Whale Song is being seriously considered for translation rights in a foreign language.

I'm not going to say which language or country, but I can tell you this:

The language has the letter 'e' in it. :)

I will let you know when the deal is made. For now, I will lose myself in dreaming about picking up a copy of Whale Song, with a different cover and text in a language I can't read.

Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
author of Whale Song (Kunati Books)