Saturday, May 31, 2008

ForeWord's 'First Independent Publisher of the Year' award

Out of over 28,000 independent book publishers in the US, ForeWord magazine selected one winner for their First Independent Publisher of the Year award.

And the winner is...(drum roll please)

Kunati Books!

MY publisher!

From ForeWord's site:

ForeWord has named Kunati Books the first Independent Publisher of the Year. The new honor was created to celebrate ForeWord's tenth anniversary and to recognize Kunati's innovation and fearlessness.

Kunati, a year-old publisher, produces book trailers for every new release, maintains a blog, and encourages its authors to blog and actively participate in marketing their books. The publisher currently has several movie deals in the works, and its roster of authors includes Pulitzer Prize winner John E. Mack.

On another page on ForeWord's site, they went on to say:
Kunati is one today’s most innovative independent publishers...It has been called “a publisher to watch” by Booklist and “impressive” by Publishers Weekly; now Kunati Books is ForeWord’s 2007 Independent Publisher of the Year.
Congratulations to everyone at Kunati!!! This is a prestigious award for a wonderful book publishing company that is only in their first official year of publishing books. Way to go!

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
a proud Kunati author
ISBN: 1601640072

Forcing fags underground?

I smoke. Tried to give up but when I found myself rooting through the bin for a half finished pack I’d crumpled there 3 days before, I realised that it wasn’t happening. Not yet at least, although I’ll maybe have another go in a couple of years time. What I won’t do though is stop buying cigarettes because the manufacturers are forced to remove all the branding from them. How is this supposed to work anyway? Mind you, it will make the whole transaction a little weird.

‘Can I help you sir?’
Yes please, I‘d like to buy some cigarettes.’
‘Certainly sir, any particular kind?’
‘Erm, have you got any of those smoking is bad for your health one’s?’
‘’Fraid not sir, just sold the last packet to that very short man with the false beard and sunglasses. Have you tried the smoking whilst pregnant will damage your baby one’s sir? Very popular with the ladies.’
‘Not sure there’ll be to my taste, bit on the strong side. Just give us twenty smoking not only harms you but others around you. They sound a bit more sociable don’t you think?’

On a semi serious note, I’m a strong believer that your health and your mind are firmly linked. If there is even the slightest truth in this then surely plastering cigarette boxes with explicit descriptions of the illnesses you may contract is not very fair and I’d go as far as to say bordering on negligent.

On a very serious note, next time you’re in the shop kids, don’t buy fags, buy a book instead.

Recycling Jimmy

Friday, May 30, 2008

Must see info for the published or soon to be published writer

Watch with interest as this writer talks with his editor about the release of his paperback book.


Karen Harrington

Write a Book Blog

You write a book and then what? You stay up all night and sleep through the afternoon; you don’t get out of your jammies for days on end. You let voice mail answer your phone and you hide under the covers when exhaustion seeps in. You write a book and then what?

You field questions from the curious, how long did it take? When did you get the idea? Is it autobiographical? How difficult was it to get an agent, a publisher? You write a book and then what?

You have to get out of your jammies? You have to join a networking group. You have to be social. You have to find a way to get the book out of your head. You have to be a shameless marketer.

The book is written, the publisher and the agent are found and the release date is past. Your face is in the newspaper; people come up to you in the grocery store and offer congratulations. You wrote a book and then what?

You get reviewed and the reviews are five stars. You want more reviews. You want the New York Times, you want Oprah, and you want Don Imus to invite you on the radio. You wrote a book, so now what?

Buy the book, that’s what you say, buy it and read it and get back to me. Tell your friends, tell your neighbors, tell anyone you can about Belly of the Whale. Tell them this is a book about the pink ribbon disease, about hope, about faith, about life, and about survival. This is a book that will stay with you long after the last page is read.

Blog what you think, what you feel, what you see and what you write…

Linda Merlino, author of Belly of the Whale
Available from and at bookstores

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

How many words in a book title?

In a recent article on Foreword Magazine, publisher and author Derek Armstrong wrote about book titles and whether it mattered how long they were or how short. It made me contemplate how I named my novels, how sometimes I chose the titles before or during the writing or how the titles sometimes chose me.

The following are my comments about his article titled Would You Pay Attention, Please? Or, How to Keep Up with Trends in Book Titles, Arguably the Most Important Element of Your Marketing! (which personally I think is just a bit too long...hehe)

I have always believed that titles are key to a novel's success. I have searched out books in my genre and studied their titles, text placement, front cover, back cover etc and asked myself, 'Why does this book's title work?' For my own novels, my titles are always tied to the story, often in a symbolic way and sometimes in more than one way. Children of the Fog is literally children taken by a kidnapper nicknamed The Fog, and it represents the children in the story who are cloaked by an actual fog.

I might be an unusual author; I almost always have the title of the book before I've even started it, or at least before it's finished. I sometimes look within the manuscript for the title, as I did with The River--short, mysterious, adventurous, just like the novel. Some titles are just "there", in front of me before I even start writing, like Whale Song and Children of the Fog. Divine Intervention had no title a few chapters in, and then one night I saw a promo for a new TV show--Joan of Arcadia. As the preview ran, the words DIVINE INTERVENTION ironically appeared. I knew at that very moment, and the title affected some of the actual story and gave me my 'Divine' series. (I'm currently working on Divine Justice, book 2.)

I am also working on a suspense thriller called SUBMERGED. It's the story of a man who is submerged in grief and self-blame; and it's about a woman and her 2 children who are trapped in a submerged car--a fear that most of us have. I had the title the second I knew that the story would be about someone in a submerged vehicle. I also knew that it would represent the main character's guilt.

I have another novel plotted: The 6th Plague, a thriller about a small quarantined town gripped by a deadly plague during a film festival. I actually played with a few titles, until I realized what the invasion was going to be--and when I looked up the Deadly Plagues, I found that the 6th one--boils--was perfect. The idea for the story and the title came to me within 5 days.

As for subtitles, I have an aversion to long ones, unless they're absolutely necessary and ONLY for nonfiction. If the main title gives you enough information, then I wouldn't want a subtitle. But if you can't understand what the book is about from the main, then a subtitle is vital. Take for instance this nonfiction title: Kissed by an Angel. Does it tell you what the book is about? No. I am working on a nonfiction book titled: Kissed by an Angel: 12 Steps to Surviving the Death of a Child. This is not just a 12-step program, but a look into the paranormal/spiritual and healing side of grief.

As a reader, I tend to be drawn mostly to suspense fiction with titles that are most often two words.

If you're a bookworm, please comment on your preference for titles. If you're an author, which do you prefer--short, long or somewhere in between? I look forward to reading your replies.

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif, author of Whale Song (April 2007, Kunati Books)

Inspiration found me.

I have found a new haven.

I decided to wander outside this evening with my laptop and was tremendously rewarded. I could barely write I was so overwhelmed with such contentment.
I sat on my plain patio, the warm glow of my $9.00 patio lanterns surrounding me, a hot cup of tea in an oversized mug and my laptop-fully charged. What more could a girl ask for?

I’ve been wracking my brain for weeks on what to write my next blog about. And in turn, I’ve prolonged it. I’ve learned so much just since the release of my first novel that I just couldn’t focus on one aspect. So I figured: screw it. Inspiration would find me.
Boy, did it ever.
I’ve written more tonight that I have in weeks and it feels SO GREAT! All that pent up frustration and anxiety over my lack of writing-gone.

Ah-there. The glorious sounds of a distant wind chime take my worries even further from me. They ride away on the backs of the crickets lulling my muse to work.

So take my advice. Suffering from pre-summer writing stalls? Take a deep breath-and a step outside. It’s worth it.

Sex and the book review

Yeah, you read that right. Sex.

Don't know about you, but I notice an interesting trend in several highly sought after book review sites: the tendency to associate books and sex. Here are a few examples:

Bookbitch (A nice review of Janeology is found there, thank you very much.)


And if that weren't enough, I find my book favorably reviewed today at In Bed With Books.

I think I'll open my own review site and call it "A Read and a Smoke."

Or, if you have any other suggestions....

Karen Harrington

Author, Janeology

Sunday, May 25, 2008

What I've Learned About Promoting

I haven't done nearly as much promoting as other savvy writers on our Write Type team, but I'm trying to do something everyday to let people know about my books. I've been part of Goodreads and MySpace for a little over a week now, and had feared I'd be languishing there for weeks or even months alone but, to my surprise, such is not the case.

I find I'm "adopting" new friends on a daily basis, especially on MySpace. While many of them are writers, others are not, and it's great fun to talk to people from other backgrounds and other parts of the world. Some of them actually think it's cool I'm a writer. Hmm. MySpace is an interesting place, but I have to admit I've had trouble creating an attractive page with all the bells and whistles. For people like me, who aren't technical wizards--or even technically competent--it's been tough to figure out how to do some of the fancier things. Still, I'll get there, eventually.

I've also joined John Kremer's Book Marketing Network and Bestsellers, and again, am meeting more people. I have more sites to join, more work to do, but I figure I'm on my way. Whether all this networking translates into sales remains to be seen, but I've come to realize that networking isn't always about selling books. It's about being part of an enormous community of terrific people I wouldn't have met if I hadn't made the effort. Sometimes, I don't want to sell anything to anyone. I just want to talk . . . see how someone else's day is going.

So, I'll keep putting myself out there to the world, and to see what the world brings back.

For excerpts of FATAL ENCRYPTION and TAXED TO DEATH visit:

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Whale Song and The Page 69 Test

Over the years, I've heard of many interesting ways for a reader to check out a book, to see if it's worth reading. Some read the first page and if that doesn't grab them, they put the book back. Some read the last page, which always makes me squirm and think: Wait! You're going to ruin the ending!

Many people read a specific page number. I've heard of people who read page 20 or 30. Some read page 40 or 50. And some choose page 69.

Today, my novel Whale Song is featured on two websites:

I invite you to check out these sites, and please leave me a comment, especially on the first site if you feel that page 69 in Whale Song is interesting enough to make you want to read more. Does it reveal enough of the story to grip you?

Attention writers! Sign up for CanWrite!

I'll be speaking at the Canadian Authors Association Annual National Conference - CanWrite! in Edmonton July 3-6. The conference has a great line up of sessions, panels, keynotes and special events and I encourage you to attend. This is great opportunity to meet authors, editors, publishers and agents from across Canada.

If you're a writer and can make it to Edmonton during the above dates, be sure to register.
Learn more about CanWrite! Conference 2008 at

I hope to see you there!

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif, a proud Canadian suspense author

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Blog a Bookmark

I am fond of bookmarks. I have several. Some came by way of gifts, others were collected in my travels. Now that I am a published author I have a bookmark that depicts my book’s cover. Across it and about a third of the way down is my name and website. A great promotional tool, this bookmark has become my calling card.

Since the release of Belly of the Whale in April I have distributed hundreds of bookmarks. Few people escape without taking one home. Since I work with different people every day I can cover a lot of territory without going very far. Most recipients are interested, if not excited for me and about purchasing Belly of the Whale.

The last few months have been hectic with marketing and promotion also coupled with traveling. I have passed through several states in only a few months and have not wasted a minute in my ongoing desire to get the word out about Belly of the Whale. Airports, airplanes, hotels and cabs, anywhere I can leave a bookmark I am there.

On a recent trip to the mid-west, I found myself exploring a part of the USA that I’d never been to before. We were in Oklahoma and any preconceived idea of what the state of Oklahoma was supposed to be like vanished. Every turn brought something new and unexpected.

In a place called Guthrie, formerly the Capitol of Oklahoma, we found a charming downtown area to walk around and shop. One business in particular, caught my eye. It was a boot maker, Dorwart’s Boot Shop. The inside had a few boots displayed, some large books and lots of leather pieces strewn on workbenches.

A man with a cowboy hat came over to talk with us. He asked if he could help me. I wanted to know about the process of making western boots; I entertained the thought of being able to afford a pair. The man had patient eyes; he looked at me as I stumbled through my inquiry. He told me about the measuring of my feet and how precise it would be. I asked the price and he smiled an easy smile and said that the starting price was $2100.

I gulped and laughed. So sorry to have wasted your time I said, but your starter price is way more than I can pay, but perhaps when I sell a million copies of my book I’ll come back. He asked about my book and I gave him a bookmark and my spiel. He listened and then asked me what my favorite color was. Red I said, because if I could have a pair of boots I’d want them to be red.

The cowboy opened a drawer and pulled out several pieces of hide, each in a different hue of red. I settled on one shade and he whisked off the piece to one of his machines. When he returned he had a strip of leather, narrow at one end and bulged out at the top. He showed me where on a boot this piece would fit, the loops at the sides and then he explained that it was his gift to me, a red leather bookmark. My eyes filled with tears and I had to turn away for a minute. The cowboy smiled again, come back for the boots when you’re ready, he said.

I dream of those red western boots made by the cowboy at Dorwart’s in Guthrie, and I’ve hung the leather bookmark over my desk, next to the quote: ‘Writing is an act of faith…”

Blog what you hear, see, feel and think.

Linda Merlino, author, Belly of the Whale

BookBitch Not Crabby about Janeology

If you haven't visited, you are missing out. The style and concise nature of its reviews are often little bits of interesting literature all by themselves. But most of all, if you are looking for a solid read, you'll find trustworthy recommendations here.

Here's what they had to say about Janeology:

JANEOLOGY by Karen Harrington: A year after his wife is convicted of killing their son, Tom find himself under fire in the courtroom. One day, Jane snapped and drowned her two children; her daughter managed to survive. Public outcry demanded that there be some repercussions for Tom’s failure to prevent the crime, that, as her husband, he should have known she was on the edge of collapse and that he should have protected his children better. Tom’s lawyer hopes to exonerate Tom of all charges on the basis that Jane’s family history and genetic makeup made her predisposed to the crime. By tracing Jane’s family lines they uncover one example after another to support their theory, but will the jury buy it? Can you predict a person’s behaviors based on those of their forebears? What affects a person’s personality more, their DNA or the examples the witnessed in others? The question of nature versus nurture is a hot topic at the moment, one that Harrington handles with ease. Janeology is a thought-provoking and thoroughly engaging read. 05/08 Becky Lejeune

Read more BookBitch reviews by visiting

And don't forget to stop by my website to read an excerpt of Janeology

Sunday, May 18, 2008

My Head is Spinning, and Anyone Up for a Review?

One of my favourite words of wisdom comes from Gregg Levoy, who said, "Rejection is a writer's best friend. If you are not failing regularly, you are living so far below your potential that you're failing anyway."

I've sure found this to be true for submitting my work (the harder I tried the more success I had), but now that I'm promoting and marketing Fatal Encryption, it also applies to getting the word out about my book. When my first novel, Taxed to Death, came out twelve years ago, I knew very little about the internet and did little online promotion. Now, I've found list groups, websites, blogs, reviewers, and several places to feature my work on line.

A couple of days ago I joined MySpace and, oh my gosh, my head is spinning. There are so many people, so many groups just for writers, never mind everyone else, that I'm wondering how I'll ever find time to visit them and post comments, or promote my book. I've also signed up with GoodReads which I'm slowly getting to know, but there are more sites to join. I figure if I do a little every day, a year from now I'll know a lot more people, and maybe they'll know me. Not all of this will result in sales, but if I don't try, I've failed myself and that's simply unacceptable.

If anyone out there is interested in becoming my friend on MySpace, I think all you have to do is go to and let me know, but as I say, I'm still figuring things out. And if anyone's looking for more friends, I'd be more than happy to join you.

Also, if anyone would like to review a copy of Fatal Encryption and post reviews either in print or on the net, I'd be happy to send a complimentary copy to the first three people who request the book. If you'd like to read excerpts first, please visit my site at

Thursday, May 15, 2008

If ever there was a case for taking your time....

Not strictly a literary subject, but does anyone know when that big particle accelerator in Geneva is striking up? I think its due any time now and normally I’d look forward to it (just love all that mind blowing stuff that the geeks come up with from time to time) but on this occasion, hmmmm. See, normally I trust the scientists implicitly, almost blindly. If they say that embryo research is a good thing, then that’s fine. If a bloke in a white coat assures me that genetically modified crops are safe, I’ll be the first to munch his plums. My problem with the CERN project is simply this; there’s a chance that it will destroy the planet. Okay, I know it’s a very small chance (like winning the lottery three times on the bounce) and I accept that the potential to expand man’s understanding of his existence is mouth watering but seriously, do these statements make the potential risk acceptable? Once the button’s pressed there is no going back. If the strangelet appears, then its game over and the scientists, the smug bugger collecting his winnings for the third Saturday in a row, me, you, everything; all gone when the experiment "spits out something that would convert our planet to a shrunken dense dead lump of something called 'strange matter." But surely, with even the smallest chance of bringing on armageddon the boffins will be taking precautions won’t they? Apparently not; schedule issues caused them to delete the low energy ‘test’ run from the program. “We’ll be starting up in May 2008, as always foreseen, and will commission the machine to full energy in one go,” said LHC Project Leader Lyn Evans. Well Mr Project leader, just ‘cos you’ve got a girls name doesn’t mean the rest of us are in a hurry to see if you’ll find the God particle or just God.

Recycling Jimmy

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Taking a peek behind the story

Every story has a backstory; those first gems of inspiration that made a writer run to her keyboard or notebook and write.

Visit The Story Behind The Book today to read more about the early development and inspirations like this old family photo that set the novel, JANEOLOGY, in motion.

And don't forget to leave a comment on this blog along with your email address to be eligible for the book giveaway at the end of my May 08 blog tour.


Karen Harrington

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Introducing...Dean Koontz's ODD-cast

It's no secret that I admire Dean Koontz and his books. I think he is a very gifted author and I've enjoyed his novels over the years. I am behind on the Odd Thomas series, but I'm hoping I'll have some time this summer to get to my 'read' pile.

Today, I checked out his new web movie--ODD PASSENGER. It's actually not that bad. Okay, the acting may not win any awards, but the video has a suspenseful mix of special effects, music and narration.

I am calling this his ODD-cast.

Dean Koontz's "Odd Passenger" Webisode 1

Dean Koontz's "Odd Passenger" Webisode 2

Dean Koontz's "Odd Passenger" Webisode 3

I can't wait for webisode 4! I love Odd Thomas!

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif, author

Monday, May 12, 2008

Careful what you say. It might end up in a novel.

A wonderful memoir writer with the initials Robert Rummel-Hudson once wrote, "If they had known about the book, they might have behaved."

Writers are born spies. We are watching and recording even when we don't realize it. Often, a story is inpsired by a slice of conversation between a couple we overhear in the next restaurant booth – "This is not the time or place, Fred!" or the way someone artfully complains to a steward on an airplane – "Maybe this service goes over well at Greyhound, sweetie, but this is first class and I shouldn't have to tell you."

I was recently having drink with a friend at a coffee chain. We were sitting inside next to a window. As we talked, I noticed a couple sit down at a two-seater table outside.

They didn't arrive together, that was clear. She, natural and not in-your-face-pretty in a Gwyneth Paltrow kind of way, sat down first. Her ram-rod straight posture against the hard, wire-framed chair suggested she felt very relaxed and confident.

He, equal to her looks in an everyman, but not leading man fashion, carried a large laptop case, pulled out his chair and made to sit down – but not before his whole case came tumbling open and the contents of it, including his laptop, spread around on the pavement at his feet. Fortunate for him, it was not a windy day. He stood there for a moment looking like he'd just wet his pants on the playground in front of the popular girl. He scooped the papers and pens back into the case and shoved them under the seat. (I noticed she did not help him with this task.) Then, he sat on the edge of his seat, slightly hunched toward her, continuously running his hand through his hair. He was talking fast. Whatever he was saying, probably tinged with a healthy dose of nervous laughter, just made her more interested in her frothy drink and straw, which she was moving up and down inside the cup with the tips of her coral colored manicure. She was bored. I assigned her a bubble thought: "I think on my next polish change, I should go with Make Mine Mauve."

His bubble thought shouted, "Idiot! Stop talking about how your new Dell laptop can withstand a drop from three and half feet."

I felt bad for them. Well, actually, I felt bad for him.

It was clear this was a first and possibly last meeting. Through the window glass, I never heard any of their exchange. Still, I could see a story play out in front of me. Would she be worn down by his nervous charm when he called her the next week and they'd go out again? Or was she counting the minutes until she could text her girlfriend about this bad date? Was he waitng for her to leave so he could sufficiently flog himself for being so clumsy, fueling the start of his future serial-killer infamy as the Manicure Maniac? Or, would this send him inside for a double-tall latte from a sweet barista who would become his next girlfriend merely because she asked, "Is that the latest Dell laptop?"

The story could go so many directions, which is the pure joy of writing. We take human observations and weave in our own "what ifs" and life experiences until an interesting scenario emerges.

Do you observe people and conversations? Do you sometimes fill in the blanks about what is taking place?


Karen Harrington
Author, Janeology

Today's JANEOLOGY blog tour stop is a review from ReviewYourBook:

Sunday, May 11, 2008

My Near-Miss Book Launch and Other Great Disasters

A few days ago, I received an e-mail from a local publisher apologizing profusely for having to cancel their book launch because the books would not arrive in time. My heart went out to the author because the same thing nearly happened to me.

My launch was scheduled for April 17th. I'd booked the room nearly three months in advance because this particular centre hosts lots of events. I checked with my printer to make sure the books would arrive in plenty of time. By their calculations, I should have received them three to four weeks before the 17th. Of course, I'm old enough to know that real life happens while you're making other plans, and sure enough, things became a little delayed mainly because I wanted a second proof because of my own errors.

Time passed. The books were to be shipped on Friday, April 11th, but they didn't make it on the delivery truck until Monday the 14th. My printer is in Victoria, and I'm on the mainland, so with a body of water between us and two pallets of books to be delivered, I was a little concerned. By 1:30 p.m., Tuesday, the 15th, I started calling the delivery people. To my horror, they had no record of the shipment at all. After one panicky phone call to my printer, they got on the phone to find out what was going on. It turned out that the driver had forgot to forward the info to his company. Worse, he hadn't made it on the ferry that night because a windstorm had prevented larger ferries from docking. The small ferry taking its place would only take passenger vehicles, so the trucks had to wait.

After hearing this, I started to sweat big time. My printer's CEO took over and demanded that my books reach me by the 16th at the latest. I guess the shipper took him seriously because my books made it to a warehouse in Surrey (on the mainland) by 6 p.m. Tuesday evening. They were delivered to my home on the morning of Wednesday, the 16th, with a little over 24 hours to spare. By the time my launch arrived, what I felt most was relief.

I was telling this story to my writer's group, and at least two other people had had similar horror stories. In fact, one pour soul didn't get his books, couldn't cancel the launch in time, and wound up handing out promotional materials. It seems to me that, sooner or later, most writers will either experience or witness one launch disaster. May it not be yours!

FATAL ENCRYPTION is now available at or through Dead Write Books at
Excerpts can be found at

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Borders Tries About-Face on Shelves Counting on Covers to Sell, Bookseller Changes Display While Cutting Titles Stocked

*THIS ARTICLE BY JEFFREY A. TRACHTENBERG HAS BEEN EXCERPTED. It recently appeared in Jerry D. Simmons' newsletter - TIPS for WRITERS from the PUBLISHING INSIDER. It has been reprinted here with permission from Jerry D. Simmons,, and the author.

Borders Group Inc. has decided you can sell a book by its cover.

In a radical move aimed at jump-starting sales, the nation's second-largest book retailer is sharply increasing the number of titles it displays on shelves with the covers face-out. Because that takes up more room than the traditional spine-out style, the new approach will require a typical Borders superstore to shrink its number of titles by 5% to 10%.

Reducing inventory goes against the grain of booksellers' efforts over the past 25 years or so. Chains like Borders and Barnes & Noble Inc., the nation's largest book retailer, became household names with superstores that stocked as many as 150,000 titles or more. The rise of Amazon made it even more important for stores to offer deep inventories.

Borders has little choice but to experiment. Competition from the Internet, videogames and other electronic devices has flattened growth in book sales in recent years.

The new display strategy is the brainchild of CEO George Jones, who says he learned when he was a buyer at Dillard's Inc. early in his career that dresses sell better when the entire garment is shown rather than hung sleeve-out. So he recently decided to test sales of books shown with the cover visible at a newly built prototype store in Ann Arbor, Mich., where the company has its headquarters. Results were so encouraging after the first two weeks -- sales of individual titles were 9% higher than at similar Borders stores -- that all of the retailer's superstores have been told to adopt the new strategy.

The retailer says customers throughout the country should be able to see the difference in displays within six weeks. While books shown face-out will still be in the overall minority, as many as three times the titles as in the past will be shelved with covers showing. Certain categories, such as books about food, cooking, travel, art and photography -- and children's books in particular -- lend themselves to the new approach.

Shoppers in the Borders store where the new face-out display was tested Borders says customers visiting its prototype store said their impression was that more books were available. Even so, its new strategy -- which at a typical superstore will mean a reduction of anywhere from 4,675 to 9,350 titles from the former total of around 93,500 -- could make Borders vulnerable to a marketing campaign from Barnes & Noble that promotes its own vast selection. The average 25,000 square-foot Barnes & Noble superstore stocks approximately 125,000 to 150,000 book titles, and the chain says it has no intention of cutting back.

The Borders push may affect small publishing houses, which can often place a debut novel in Borders because it has such a broad selection. Whether that will be more difficult in the future is unclear.

From Cheryl:

I have always bought books that are facing out, unless I've gone in for a specific title. It is always the cover that grabs me first, then the author's name, then the title and back cover or inside flap text. This is how I pick a book.

What about you? What makes you buy a book? Does it matter to you if it's facing out?

If you're an author, have you ever gone into a store and turned your books face out? :)

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif, bestselling author

Blog Out-of-the-Blue

Stuff happens. Thomas Carlyle once called it “the lightening bolt that comes out of a clear blue sky.” Everyday we wake up and have no knowledge of how our day will transpire, or how it will end. Most days it is the same old routine, get up, go to work, take care of the kids, read the paper, take the train, traffic, on and on…a routine, a boring predictable routine called daily life.

But some times we get side swiped, something or someone comes “out-of-the-blue” to turn our ordinary life on its head. People we love can suddenly be taken from us. Our homes and all our possessions can be lost. Cyclones. Hurricanes. Our car gets totaled in an accident and we never make it to work. Instead we are in an ambulance praying that we won’t die, not like this, not today.

Hudson Catalina is the protagonist in my new novel, Belly of the Whale, she decides that breast cancer will be her executioner. The beast will claim victory and Hudson gives up hope of surviving. But the story that continues unfolds in twenty-four hours and is about out-of-the-blue situations, it is about lightening bolts and thinking you know what is going to happen, but it doesn’t.

Blogging out-of-the-blue days, resonates in me. I had a recent bolt come out of the sky that rocked my world and it is still sending shock waves. There is a lesson here, a life-lesson. Do not take anything or anyone for granted. Every day is a gift.

Blog what you think, hear, see and feel.

Linda Merlino
Belly of the Whale is available on

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Keeping it fresh

When you’re writing contemporary fiction it’s important to keep things…well, contemporary. Now at first glance this statement doesn’t seem like rocket science (or should that be shuttle science?) but keeping your book fresh ain’t as straight forward as you might think. Things change fast these days; slang, attitudes, society in general I guess and if you’re not careful it’s easy to work up a piece that you think is current and relevant only for it to become passé and clichéd before it hits the editors desk. Take one aspect of UK culture as an example: the good ol’ British bobby. Don’t get me wrong, I think the coppers do a cracking job but I was under the impression (I guess from the days when I was hanging on street corners) that their attitude, towards youth in particular, was still authoritative and one which demands respect. Apparently it isn’t. I was watching the box last night (camera crew following a various policemen going about their business in London) and was amazed at how naff community policing had become. Policemen chatting casually with gangs of under age drinkers on the very same streets they should be keeping safe. Policemen using words like ‘dude’ and ‘chill’ instead of ‘you’re nicked’. Policemen swearing and lighting cigarettes for 15 year old girls. And as the kids realised that these friendly, laughable policemen were more concerned with looking cool than doing their job, you could see the respect drain away. I’m just glad that I didn’t involve the coppers in the story line of Recycling Jimmy….I would have been so wide of the mark.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

CanWrite! 2008 - Canadian Authors Association Annual Conference

Don’t let your writing dreams take a vacation this summer! Grow them!

Find inspiration at the Canadian Authors Association Annual Conference - CanWrite! July 3-6 in Edmonton, Alberta.

Learn how to source new material, break into new markets, try new genres, polish your word gems and get your writing out there!

If you can’t attend the entire conference, invest in yourself with a day of professional development or take in a keynote address. Mingle and celebrate with publishers, agents, writers and readers who enjoy a good book at the National CAA Awards Presentations Gala. Listen to the National Literary Award winners at a reading at the Timms Centre.

Keynote speakers: Ralph Keyes - author and speaker; and Ian Ferguson - writer and humourist

Presenters include: Cheryl Kaye Tardif, Carolyn Swayze, Gloria Sawai, Jacqueline Baker, Richard Helm, Jay Bardyla, Susan Musgrave, Matthew Bin, Ted Bishop, Sharon Budnarchuk, Gloria Sawai, and many more.

Where will you find inspiration this summer? Learn more at:

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Short, short, short story contest

Janeology just received a 5 Bolt review from the New Mystery Reader. Woo! To celebrate the event, I have a couple first edition, signed, hardback copies of Janeology to give away to my most creative friends.

All you have to do to prove your creativity is write a ten word story about a dysfunctional family. (See, Jane's family is pretty dysfunctional so, well, you get the idea.) It can't be under ten words. It must be precisely ten. The more humorous and bizarre, the better. No profanity, please. If your gem absolutely, positively must include an expletive, insert the word "muffin." Really. It will work. Trust me. Ex: "I've had it with these mother-muffin snakes on this mother-muffin plane!" Hey, you've got to have rules or we'd all be…dysfunctional. Okay, more dysfunctional.

Once you've written your story, post it as a comment on my blog - .

I'll announce the winners on May 31, 2008 and post the stories on my blogs. And if you don't feel that creative and just want to read Jane's dysfunctional family story you could always order it here.



Monday, May 05, 2008

3 Easy Steps to Building a Successful Writing Career

Step one: Make sacrifices to get the book written

Charles Bock, author of Beautiful Children, has said,

"Truth is I worked on this novel for 10 years. Not ten years of watching Seinfeld at 11 PM. Ten years of a high priority in my life. When I was dating the woman who is now my wife, I would only go out with her two nights a week because I couldn't give more time to that.

Step Two: Make your opinions known to your publisher

James Bernard Frost wasn't happy with the cover St. Martin's Press came up with for his debut novel, World Leader Pretend. This was after he'd already asked for a redesign of his first cover. So he created his own, stick-on cover that he slapped on his books after they hit the shelves.

Step Three: Make sure you only receive positive reviews

Author Deborah MacGillivray made an interesting choice when faced with an unfavorable review. According to, the author and her critical Amazon reviewer exchanged a series of heated emails over the posting of a 3 star review. Ms. MacGillivray is credited with making said review disappear by encouraging her fan base to "vote down" the bad review.

Who knows what's in store for these writers in years to come. But their techniques, if nothing else, have made them widely known throughout the blogosphere – which either makes them shrewd marketers or cautionary tales. Only time will tell.

This week's blog stops on the Janeology book tour include:

The Campaign For the American Reader
If Books Could Talk
New Mystery Reader
The Dark Phantom Reviews
Leave comments and your email address on the blog stops marked "PumpUpYour Book" to be eligible to win a free copy of Janeology at the end of my tour!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Blog a Whoville Review in the NY Times

The truth, the entire truth…I am a New York Times Book Review junkie. I pay for delivery of the Times so I can get the Review on Saturday. The other sections often remain untouched, recycled eventually at the end of the week. The point of being a subscriber is simple: to read the fiction reviews, and of particular note are the debut authors. First novel writers who somehow rose to the top of the new fiction pile to be given a nod in the New York Times.

My big question is how? How does one unknown author with the good fortune of being published get into the Book Review? Being an author with a newly released novel of fiction, my curiosity is heightened. I think it has to do with the publisher, one of the big five. No. In this week’s Review there were three debut novelists and their publishers are all obscure. What is the formula? I don’t know who to ask, there is no call in number, no Help line indicated.

Considering all this, there are days that I feel like I live in Whoville, that place where the inhabitants fit on the head of a pin and go about life unseen, unnoticed and unheard by all the bigger folk. Having written a book and achieved mainstream published status has not given me bus fare out of Whoville.

Book store managers and librarians for the most part are kind, but they need to be convinced about my book. Some are warm and supportive and others avert their eyes when they speak to me, acting hurried and late for some previous appointment just remembered. Frequent return trips to skulk the new fiction aisle often turns up nothing and requires another request to the higher powers.

Along with this let me throw in the daily internet marketing, the emails and the requests to Amazon reviewers and other such cyber spaced acquaintances. This still leaves me pondering the how of getting to the almighty New York Times. In Whoville it is difficult to be heard through the din of A-list authors of churned out thrillers and romance.

Perhaps if I blog about a Whoville Review someone might notice. Some random editor navigating Blogger might stumble upon my Whoville Blog and find it delicious, really dig it and gather all of his or her friends into one Space…put them face-to-face and then they would all say: This is a review blog from WHO?

Blog what you think, hear, and feel.

Linda Merlino, author
Go to to order: Belly of the Whale

How I Spent My Weekend

This weekend, I did something I'd never done before. I attended a romance writer's conference. The Vancouver chapter of the RWA put on an event at a gorgeous hotel overlooking the Fraser River in New Westminster, not far from where I live.

Now, I've been to my share of mystery conferences. After all, it's what I write, but a colleague invited me (she's working on a romance) to this one, and since a local law enforcement officer would be giving a workshop, not to mention the talented Lisa Jackson and Vancouver's own Michael Slade, the opportunity sounded too good to miss.

The conference, in fact, was terrific. Speakers were entertaining, funny, informative, the attendees incredibly friendly, and the food terrific. This was the shorest conference I've ever been to--just Friday evening and Saturday until five--so I was surprised to receive a large complimentary bag containing books and other goodies. Breakfast, lunch, and a cookie break were part of the deal too.

I made copious notes, exchanged business cards with some terrific people, got an idea for a new series (I couldn't stop writing notes for a half hour), and learned about a fantastic website for crime writers. Mostly, I discovered that romance writing has evolved into an incredibly diverse genre since I last picked up a romance paperback. I guess I've spent too much time reading only mysteries because I had no idea there was such a thing as erotic suspense. Yahoo! I also learned more about urban fantasy, paranormal romantic suspense, historical suspense, and on and on.

So, I've started a brand new TBR pile, and if anyone out there can recommend some great reads, let me know and onto the pile it'll go.

Debra Purdy Kong
For excerpts, visit me at

The Page 69 Test

The author of the Gutenberg Galaxy, Marshall McLuhan, once very famously made this recommendation: Turn to page 69 of any book and read it. If you like that page, buy the book. It works

I recently applied that test to JANEOLOGY.

Visit the Page 69 Test to read that page and see what I discovered about the book as a whole. I found this experiment surprisingly wonderful.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

The shocking truth finally revealed! Or… My ‘Tell-All’ interview with ‘Celebrity Interviewer‘ C.K. Tardif

Here's a bit of a recent interview that I did with Author and Journalist Cheryl Tardif. It was lots of fun and it reminded me of some funny stories that lead to my current series and ... Well read on and you'll see what I mean.

What do you get when you mix rock 'n roll, hippie motorcycle riders and dead bodies?
A MyNews exclusive interview with Ric Wasley, author of Shadow of Innocence
Cheryl Kaye
Tardif 24/4/2008 8:01:50 PM(IST)

This week I had the pleasure of interviewing Ric Wasley, the author of the exciting and suspenseful Shadow of Innocence, book two in the McCarthy Mystery Series. Ric talks about how the "psychedlic 60''''s" influenced his work. ~ Cheryl Kaye Tardif
Photo: Ric Wasley -- writer, musician, reformed biker, downhill and x-country skiier, ex-waterskiier, home brewer (and cosumer of)and working hard to bring his golf score under 90

Cheryl Kaye Tardif: What inspired you to write Shadow of Innocence?

Ric Wasley: Shadow was actually the second book in the McCarthy Mystery Series and the idea for the story had been in my head since the first book. In fact, I blocked out all five mysteries before I started to write the series. The inspiration for Shadow and the series grew out of my first abortive attempt to write about all the excitement, energy and music of the ‘psychedelic 60’s’.

I thought that I’d hit upon the perfect way to tell that story. By recounting it through the eyes of someone who had firsthand experience. Someone who played folk music with Bob Dylan and Joan Baez and Rock & Roll as the opening band for the Kingsman. Someone whose photo appeared on the front page of the Village Voice at a Love-in at Washington Park. They snapped the photo as he danced with a swirling paisley clad pixie with long blond hair that swirled around her like ribbons on a maypole. A young man who roamed the country on a motorcycle with his guitar and a sleeping bag.

Sounds like a pretty good idea for a book, right? I thought so. And so did my first agent until he read it through a couple of times.

“I’ve got one question for you,” he growled at me late one night. “Is this all about you?”
“‘Tis,” I admitted.
“And are you famous?” he snarled.
“Not yet.”
“Then,” he told me with some unfathomable degree of satisfaction, “nobody gives a crap about your life.”

My ego gave off little squishing sounds as I picked the pieces up off the floor. As I was being admonished not to let the door hit me on the way out, he called after me, “Too bad you’re not – lots of good stuff about the 60’s in this.” He shook my ‘unfamous’ manuscript like a handful of pennies in some beggars tin cup.

But was I confounded by such rejection. Did I use that setback as a catalyst for success? Did I go home that very night and pour all of the frustrations into creating a brand new series that would make fictional use of all of my great 60’s experiences? Did I turn out a set of novels that raced up the NYT bestseller list? And is Hollywood now hammering at my door with offers to turn the ‘McCarthy Family Mystery” series into an HBO special?

Well, in a word – no.

I actually went home and drank and muttered about perfidious agents (which I recommend by the way – drinking and muttering – very therapeutic). But after that ran its course I did decide to use all of those first-hand experiences to create a new mystery series that would make use of all that. Thus my protagonist, Michael Prescott McCarthy – Mick, a motorcycle riding, ex-Harvard undergrad, ex-Vietnam Vet, musician, lover of free-spirited young ladies and part time detective – was born.


Read the rest of the interview at:


CKT: What is your website URL? And please list any blogs you have too.


You can buy Shadow of Innocence at any bookstore or online retailer, including Amazon.

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif is TV, film and book critic, freelance journalist, plus the bestselling author of The River, “a cross between Michael Crichton''s Timeline and Dan Brown's Angels & Demons

Friday, May 02, 2008

Body of Quebec woman found in freezer - On Ice?

Globe and Mail covered a story today just seemed weird and a bit ironic to me. The body of a 73-year-old woman in La Prairie, Quebec, was found in a freezer today.

My first reaction was horror; my next reaction was disbelief. This led to a barrage of questions that raced through my mind, ones I'm sure authorities are also asking. Who would do such a thing? Was she alive when she was stuffed into the freezer? Was she already dead? Did she die of natural causes? Was she murdered?

The woman's son, 50-year-old Daniel Martin, was arrested and "charged with improper disposal of a body", states Globe and Mail reporter Sarah Hoida.

The irony of this story is that it immediately reminded me of Red Evans' novel On Ice. It was published by Kunati Books, the same company that published my novel Whale Song. Sadly, Red Evans passed away January 13, 2008.

Here's a synopsis of On Ice. You may see why this news story reminded me of this book.

A twelve-year-old boy from West Virginia, a banjo player and a flatulent dog set out for Louisiana in a 1959 Studebaker pickup truck. In a kiddy pool full of ice, is the corpse of Tyrane Percival. Their mission is to bury Tyrane where he is meant to be, next to his long-lost love, Leona. Young Eldridge and his new pal Felton soon learn that transporting a body that distance is more difficult than they had anticipated as they are pursued by a motorcycle gang and well-meaning bumbling police in this heart-warming and funny road

“Evans’ humor is broad but infectious ... Evans uses offbeat humor to both entertain and move his readers.” —Booklist

Red saw humor and life in everything. His joyous spirit is immortalized in his wonderful novel On Ice. Red Evans had a varied career in the print, radio and television media, and traveled extensively throughout the world to research his writing projects. He lived in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.

"Truth is stranger than fiction."

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
bestselling author

Thursday, May 01, 2008

A Salute to ALL Fallen War Heroes

When I was a child, I knew a lot about military life; I was a military 'brat', born and raised. My father served in the Canadian Armed Forces, as had his father before him. I grew up surrounded by army green or camouflage uniforms and the smart looking dress uniform I saw on special occasions. My father retired years ago after a long stint and trips to faraway places. My husband and his father also served their country. They are heroes.

My brother Derek is the next generation of military men in our family. He, too, is a hero. I find it very hard to think of what he does, what he could be doing, where he could end up going. It's harder because he's the only brother I have left, since our younger brother Jason was murdered in 2006. I don't think I've ever told Derek how proud I am of him, for representing our family, his family and our country. I am very proud, Derek.

Today Derek sent me a link to a news story in Britain, where fallen heroes are not given the respect they so deserve. While the article made my heart ache for the fallen soldiers in that country, I also felt pride for my country--Canada. I've been 'away' from military life now for about 18 years, but I always think of the men and women overseas who are fighting for freedom--maybe not Canada's freedom, but they're helping those who are too weak to fight for themselves.

I salute and honor all fallen heroes in all countries, particularly Canada, Britain and the US. I think it is tragic and criminal that war heroes are not welcomed with ceremony and honor in Britain. But we can honor them now. I invite you to take a few minutes right now and read the article posted today in This is London and honor ALL fallen heroes.

The article begins with:

"They serve the same Queen, fight the same foe and lay down their lives with equal valour and sacrifice. But when the fallen heroes of Canada and Britain come home, the welcome is very different."

There is no place to comment directly at this link, so I welcome your comments here after you read the article.

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
former military 'brat' and former military wife