Sunday, June 29, 2008

Local Author Extravaganza!

So over the weekend I particiapted in Chapters' Annual Local Author Extravaganza. It included myself and six other authors as we peddled our wares and munched on cake. It was a major event for me-my first multi-author signing.

The day hit a high point as Marty Chan arrived and ended up coming over and chatting with me. This is an author whose books I'd sold numerous copies of working in the bookstores, and whose play I was totally anticipating this fall. He blew me away further by purchasing my book! Friggin' Marty Chan! I couldn't believe it. I sat there writing out his name in the book. For Marty...

I refrained from writing 'Holy Shit-you're buying MY book'.

I was lucky enough to be seated next to Cheryl Kaye Tardif, a wonderful friend and writing mentor of mine. It was SO fun to chat with her in between customers.

I met several other great authors and all-in-all had a blast. It wasn't overly busy due to the weather being ridiculously nice, but I had fun, sold some books and walked away with a sweet gift from the store.

Quite a day!

What Goes Around . . .

I've been talking to a few writers lately . . . people with two to five published books under their belts who are navigating through the millions of blogs, forums, websites, and other promotion avenues available. What I've found lately is that the process depresses some people, partly because they lose writing time, but also because their efforts aren't translating into sales.

No doubt about it, selling fiction is tough. Every time I join a forum, I meet hundreds more writers who are also plugging their books. It sometimes feels like we're crawling over one another just to gather a little attention from potential readers. Promotion's daunting for me too, but I've discovered that when it gets to be too much, the thing that cheers me up is doing something for someone else, whether it's giving a good review, buying a colleague's book, or offering words of encouragement.

This week, I'd had no idea that a colleague was feeling a little down about promotion until I told her I'd reviewed her book and posted the review in three or four places. She said it was the jump-start she needed to start promoting again, which prompted me to double my efforts. It was a win-win for both of us, and a great lesson. Sometimes, one of the nicest things about promoting is doing something for someone else.

And wouldn't you know, today I got an e-mail from another writing colleague who said that while pitching a new book to her publisher, she also pitched my other series, which the VP apparently wants to see. I nearly fell over. I had no idea she'd do this, and I'm truly grateful.

You know what they say . . . what goes around comes around. So, I'll keep doing what I can for other writers struggling out there, and I wish you all good karma.


Friday, June 27, 2008

Do book trailers sell more books?

There’s been a lot of discussion about book trailers on this blog and elsewhere on the ‘Net, and the question is: Do book trailers sell books?

As an author who has no access to knowing where book buyers come from or whether they bought because of a trailer, I am very interested in the answer to this question...

To read my article on book trailers, please visit Books on the Brain.

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif, suspense author

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

"Kunati is the way to go" says reviewer

That's right. The wonderful and insightful book blogger J. Kaye Oldner just posted a rather generous review of Janeology, but also had wonderful things to say about Kunati. Woo! Makes an author proud. Of course, I already knew that Kunati books are keepers!

About Janeology From J. Kaye's BookBlog

"How many of you were caught up in the arrest, trial, and conviction of Andrea Yates? I was. There was too much about her that hit close to home. She was a home school mother like me. I suffered from depression along with other things. Depression was part of her genetic make up.

When I read about this book, JANEOLOGY, I wanted to read it. Our library was processing five copies and I was on the waiting list. When Becky LeJeune, a reviewer for Book Bitch, sent me an email with the opportunity to review this book, I jumped on it.

I didn’t get past ten pages when questions started bubbling up. I wanted to know more about the author, where she got such a fantastic idea, and more behind the scenes information. More importantly, I wanted to know the authors views about issues presented in the book. I quickly emailed Karen Harrington and asked if she’d be willing to chat more and put my curiosity to rest. She agreed. (YEAH!!) I’ll be posting about that later on in the week.

Before I go further, here’s what the publisher has posted about the book.

A legal thriller ripped from the headlines.

Jane, a loving mother of two, has drowned her toddler son and is charged with his murder in this powerful examination of love, loss, and family legacy. When a prosecutor decides Jane’s husband Tom is partially to blame for the death and charges him with “failure to protect,” Tom’s attorney proposes a radical defense. He plans to create reasonable doubt about his client’s alleged guilt by showing that Jane’s genealogy is the cause of her violence, and that she inherited her latent violence in the same way she might inherit a talent for music or a predisposition to disease.

• “Harrington begins with a fascinating premise and develops it fully. Tom and his wife emerge as compelling, complexly developed individuals. This debut novel is as much a character study as a legal thriller.” —Booklist

• “Beautifully written, compellingly crafted ... brilliant characters.” —Donald T. Phillips, author, Lincoln on Leadership

• "A fascinating legal thriller with some paranormal elements... fast-paced and gripping as readers want to know what caused Jane to kill her son and attempt to kill her daughter." Harriet Klausner, Amazon #1 Reviewer, Senior Review Midwest Book Review

The book is only 256 pages, but it took me almost a week to finish it. Normally this means the book is dragging or failed to entertain - not so in this case. I found myself reading slower, wanting to absorb the words and emotions of the characters. I paused throughout to reflect back to my feelings during the Andrea Yates trial.

It’s hard for me to form the words about I feel because my thoughts and feelings are almost at war with each other. The book brought to light controversial and moral issues. Who is to blame? Has our mental health failed us? Does our genetic makeup predict our future?

I have read so many great books this year and Harrington’s JANEOLOGY ranks at the top. To learn more about this author, visit

Another thing I want to mention is about the book’s publisher. If you are a collector of books, K√ľnati is the way to go. The books are cloth hardcovers which are so rare to find now days. It’s such a beautiful book. You all know that I am not a collector and so will be passing on my beautiful copy of Janeology to a viewer. If you are new to this blog’s raffles, please click on the link below where it says “About the Raffles.”


Thanks, J. Kaye!


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Bestselling author James Patterson inspires me

I'm a Canadian author and long time fan of James Patterson's work. I've been reading his novels since I was a teen. I'd like to say that was only a few years ago...but I can't.

As an avid reader, I've always enjoyed the thrill of suspense--from following the clues, to uncovering the 'red herrings' and the yearning to know just who did it and why. I've been drawn into criminal minds, wondering what motivates people to do things, and I've loved some of the characters that authors have given birth to--the ones that I can't forget--like Max and Lindsay Boxer.

As an author, I've admired James Patterson--his vision, story plots, writing techniques and his success. His stories are usually character driven, and he is well-known by authors for his short chapters--something I experimented with in my novel The River.

I've been extremely impressed by James' willingness to partner with other authors, usually ones who are up-and-coming success stories in their own right--authors like Andrew Gross, whom I've chatted with via email. I can only imagine what Andrew learned from James Patterson, and I hope one day to be one of the lucky authors selected to pair up with him. His willingness to share what he's learned over the years and to inspire other authors makes me determined to be 'just like him, when I grow up'. :)

I think most of all, he's taught me that there is longevity in the writing world if you can find the right 'groove' or genre. He's taught me by example to persevere, never give up and keep writing.

Thank you, James!

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif, suspense author

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Blog a Flag

The Fourth of July is coming up, the first official summer holiday. Memorial Day kicks off the spirit of summer but the Fourth is the main event. Both holidays mark our country’s heroes; one honors those who fought to keep us free and the other honors independence.

The American Flag is the symbol of our great country, we unfurl it proudly most often during the summer months. Streets and town halls are decorated with the Stars and Stripes along with flag poles and schools. Many folk here in New England hang the flag outside their homes as way to show pride for the United States.

Up the street from my home is a small church, it sits on the intersection of two routes, one to New York the other to the Connecticut coast. The main street of my town is quite picturesque, a perfect Main Street that invites people of all ages to stroll, jog or power walk its sidewalk. Up and back it is a generous two miles, first one side and then the other taking in stately old homes, community center, storefronts, and the town’s favorite fountain.

For the past several weeks, walkers, joggers and the like slow to a stop in front of the small church on the corner. Planted across the expanse of the church’s lawn are close to 5000 American Flags, a field of flags. This small church appears to be one of several that have erected the flags. The image is startling and powerful.

Each time I pass the display of flags I offer a prayer to all the fallen soldiers that each flag represents. I am proud to be an American and I am most grateful to all the men and women that serve in our armed forces and with each prayer said, I wish God’s speed home to those still serving and a heroes welcome in heaven for those who gave their lives so that I can walk Main Street on a beautiful summer day.

Blog what you see, hear and feel…

Linda Merlino, author, Belly of the Whale

Go to Linda’s Virtual Book Tour on Author Day Wednesday July 25th for a chance to win a free book.

Fame, or Infamy, in Port Moody

Last time, I mentioned that the newspaper article about me and FATAL ENCRYPTION still hadn't arrived. But then, neither had my local paper which, under normal circumstances, is delivered twice a week to our door, free of charge. (Yes, some things in this world are still free). Delivery has fallen apart over the past couple of months. I guess not many kids want to earn money delivering papers anymore, so the Friday the 13th issue didn't arrive. I made a mental note to look for the paper at the library and community centres, but it slipped my mind over the weekend.

First thing Monday morning, I went to Curves for my usual workout and the next thing I know everyone is smiling and clapping as soon as I stepped onto the circuit--not something that ever happens when I show up, trust me. Still not quite awake, I said, "What happened?" Our instructor pointed to the bulletin board and said, "I saw the article about you and put it on the board." And that's how I found out.

I didn't take a closer look at the article until I'd finished my workout and was stretching. There in large, bold letters was the caption: WHITE-COLLAR CRIME BIG DRAW FOR PORT MOODY AUTHOR. Cool. I was given half a page, including a nice photo, and I'm happy with the article, so all is well. My local bookstore told me that someone even came in asking for it a couple of days ago. You know, Friday the 13th has always been a pretty lucky day for me, but then I never did swim with the crowd.

Also on the promotion front, I received a nice review from, where the reviewer described the plot and ended by saying it was a nicely done Canadian story. After it came out, I asked the reviewer if I could post his review on my site and at AuthorDen. He said "Certainly, it's a great book." I wish he would have used those words in the review. Sigh.

More reviews are coming. Meanwhile, I keep looking for more reviewers.

To read excerpts or order FATAL ENCRYPTION, visit

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Book clubs: Looking for next month's pick?

On Friday, June 20th, I'll be guest blogging over at Books on the Brain. Since it's the first time I've been a guest there, I decided to introduce myself, my books and cover the topic of book clubs, as they relate to what I have to offer.

I hope you'll check out my post, especially if you're in a book club that is looking for their next picks.

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Help the homeless find shelter from the storm

A thunderous storm blasted Edmonton today, creeping up on us after a day of mixed sun and clouds and humidity. Yes, even Edmonton, Alberta, can experience humidity.

The wind howled fiercely, pained perhaps by its dutiful bending of the trees. Then the rains came, torrential waterfalls that washed everything clean. Let's start over, the Universe seemed to say. The wind calmed, the skies lightened, the rains faded to quiet teardrops...and the day was fresh and renewed.

I turned to my computer, feeling listless as thunder boomed across the sky--the angels are bowling again. Lightning streaked past my window and I jumped. Then all was still...quiet...the calm before--

Another angry thunder growl.

This is the kind of day when you want to curl up with a good book, maybe snuggled up by a fireplace, glad you're safe and warm and dry in your home. I did this for a while, until a thought crossed my mind. I wonder where the homeless are taking shelter from this storm.

I think about them often--these nameless, faceless people that walk our inner-city streets and alleys, ghostly wisps that come and go as they please, occasionally begging for money or dumpster-diving for treasures to pawn, lost in their own small world of fight or flight. But to me, they aren't all nameless or faceless. I've seen some of them, met them, talked with them...cried with them.

I came across an article about bestselling author Danielle Steel, whom I've read ever since I was a teen. Danielle is involved with helping the homeless in San Francisco. She started an outreach team that she named Yo! Angel! and has been secretly helping people in her community. In an article in Newsweek about Danielle Steel's homeless endeavors, she says, "Dealing with homelessness feels like emptying the ocean with a thimble. But sometimes making a difference in the world, a big difference, happens one person at a time."

Then I stumbled across a blog called Tri to End Homelessness, where Robyn Durham wrote about how she is trying to be a solution, make a difference.

I, too, know this homeless issue all too well. My brother Jason lived on the streets of Edmonton for a while, then in a run-down boarding house. One time I filed a missing persons report on him.

My brother was funny, a practical joker who was also a whiz at anything computer related. As a teen, Jason offered his knowledge to people who needed help with their computers. He was the original Geek Squad. In his early twenties or so, Jason's life seemed normal. At first, we saw a young man who struggled like most young people do to find himself and his place in the world.

I invited Jason to live with my husband and daughter in Edmonton, to make a new life for himself. I had such hopes for him. Jason had such wonderful dreams for himself too.

But something went terribly wrong.

Jason suffered from mental illness (depression, maybe more) and alcoholism. Eventually he was unable to hold a job or budget his money. We didn't know how to help him. We gave him money, food, clothing and other things in the beginning, hoping it would help him get over this hurdle in his life.

Then we tried the "tough love" approach and stopped giving him any money. We didn't want to feed his addictions. It's so hard to know what to do. Jason gradually distanced himself from his family until we rarely heard from him. We often talked about if one day we'd hear he had died in a ditch somewhere.

Some thoughts should never be spoken aloud.

Jason was murdered and left to die in a cold, dark alley on January 23rd, 2006. He was only 28 years old. None of his street family knew anything about his family, other than he had a sister in Edmonton named Cheryl and she wrote a book about whales. That's it.

I'll never forget the day I opened my front door and found two police detectives on my porch. And I'll never forget my brother Jason.

I so admire Danielle Steel and her caring, unselfish desire to help the people on her streets. I've also done what I can (although it is never enough). I have spoken openly about my brother, tried to educate people about the homeless issue.

I was fortunate to meet some of Jason's inner-city 'family', and they are wonderful, caring people who loved my brother. I am so glad he had them! My experiences opened my eyes, gave me some insights and made it easier for me to see behind the addictions, dirt and bruises.

Every person you see on the street, every 'drunken bum', dirty person dressed in ragged clothing, is part of someone's family. They did not choose to live on the streets. Their situation, and in many cases, a misdiagnosed or undiagnosed mental illness or addiction problem is what puts them on the streets. They are people who had hopes and dreams--although most have been squashed by their circumstances.

To those of you who think: "Why don't they just get a job?", would YOU hire them?

Most people wouldn't. And it's not that cut and dry. The homeless need medications and community services that are usually only available in an inner-city area. Many don't have transportation or bank accounts. Many don't have clean clothes to work in, and their addictions lead to late arrivals at work and lack of skills and education make it nearly impossible for them to get hired.

So please don't think that these people are just milking the system. For what--used clothes and disgusting boarding houses with communal bathrooms that are caked in dirt and excrement? Yeah, that's some life! Some 'free' ride they're getting, huh? Don't you wish you could not have to work so you can live like that?

The problem of homelessness will NEVER be eliminated until people start to realize these people need and deserve help. Number of homeless will only increase until society takes them in, accepts them, gets them help, and appreciates them as people--human beings who have lost their way.

What have YOU done for YOUR city's homeless this month? If you've done something helpful or inspiring, I salute your courage and caring. If you've done nothing because you think it's "their problem" and not yours, then you are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Like Danielle Steel, I'm doing what I can to help combat homelessness--I hope to educate people, while I donate money, food and other items and my time. In October, I'll be participating in the Mission of Hope Radio-thon in Edmonton.

My plea to you: please consider getting involved and bring the homeless home to a community that respects them and wants to help. Be 'the one'; make a difference. Help the homeless find shelter from the storm.

~ Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
bestselling author of Whale Song

P.S. Every time someone buys a copy of Whale Song, a percent of my royalties is donated to Hope Mission and two other nonprofits that help the homeless, poverty-stricken and those with addictions.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Where does the Muse come from - and what was she thinking?

As a writer, have you ever wondered where certain things come from?

Well if you ever figure it out … please let me know!

In the meantime...


Midnight Epiphany

Ric Wasley

“Who are you?” She said.

“Your worst nightmare and your greatest hope.” I answered. “I am the million thoughts that deluge your mind each time you let your defenses down.
I’m those flittering nasty, no-where impulses that perch on your eyelids each night when you try to close them. I’m what makes you cry out into the darkness that you’re better now. You don’t want this anymore. You can’t take this anymore. You just want this all to be over. You want to be free. You don’t want my body to ever invade yours again – but then again you can’t survive without it.
I am what you despise and lust for eternally without rest or respite.

I am the claw wrapped around your heart that will never let go. I make you scream into the midnight darkness with unbearable pain. And I am what you moan into your pillow for each night.

You will never be free of me and could not face another dawn if you were.

I am less of me than you imagine and more of you than you realize.

I am.


Ric Wasley – Author/Musician

•Shadow of Innocence - Kunati - 2007
•Newport Blues (limited Edition)
•Acid Test – 2004

And please check out my McCarthy Family Mysteries free sample chapters on Amazon and Google!
Baby Boomer article series:

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Two Smartest Promotion Things I've Done So Far

The promotion game is slowly starting to gel. I'm beginning to see the logic of spending nearly every evening (and some days) on this part of the writing biz, even though it takes a chunk out of actual writing time. But then, I don't write much in the evenings. When it comes to being creative, I'm definitely a morning person. Nights are reserved for the bookkeeping, promotion, market searches and other necessities in the writing life. So, here's what I've done this week:

- added two PayPal 'buy me' buttons to my website, one for each book. My 19-year-old daughter, Elida, watched over my shoulder and steered me in the right direction, which was a good thing because I was about to click the wrong button a couple of times. Sadly, I do that a lot.

- Found six more people who are willing to review my book, and this is a big thing for me, because I'm a little shy about asking, but I keep looking.

- Joined AuthorsDen and set up a profile page. I'm also about to launch a new blog that focuses on all things to do with white-collar crime, which is what my mysteries are about. It's a subject that interested me long before Enron, BriX and Conrad Black made the front pages.

-Sent out more flyers to libraries, who were great about buying my first book, Taxed to Death.


I bought and started reading Steve Weber's amazing how-to promotion book called Plug Your Book. Thanks to Cheryl K. Tardif for recommending it.

Second, I decided to have more fun with promotion because, frankly, searching for reviewers and mailing out flyers just doesn't cut it. Last weekend, I was talking about this blog to Elida as she was finishing her own blog entry. And that's when the idea came. Wouldn't it be fun if we blogged together and discussed all sorts of topics from our different perspectives? Elida thought it was a great idea, so we posted our first entry on MySpace on Wednesday. I don't know if it will be an effective promotion strategy because few entries will be devoted to writing or my books, but the main point is that it's a fun thing to do with my daughter (she's a great writer herself) that we can actually fit into our busy lives, and that's important to me.

If anyone's interested in reading it, visit

Alas, the newspaper article about me has yet to appear. Hmm. I've asked about it, but haven't heard back yet. In the grand scheme of things, though, I'm not going to sweat the stuff I have no control over.
Excerpts of Fatal Encryption can be read at
Available at or from my website, provided the buttons work.

Blog about Love

Where to begin? What is love? The question has been asked through the centuries, in poetry and sonnet, in music and in long soliloquies. To blog about love is to get in line with those that came before, the men and women in love, out-of-love, desiring love and unsure of love.

In Belly of the Whale, the main character asks her captor, Buddy Baker, about love. Hudson Catalina remembers that she did not say “I love you” to her husband Jack that morning and reprimands herself for being preoccupied. Buddy Baker answers Hudson. “There’s no such thing as love like in the movies. The kind of love that someone is supposed to have for another, the kind that says no matter what or who you are I still love you.”

There are people who feel that way, the ones who never had the love and support of family. Love is lost on folk like Buddy Baker who take love and twist it into hate and violence.

The bible says that love is patient and that love is kind. It also says to love thy enemy. Now that isn’t easy. We strive our whole life to be loved, we search out that person or persons who will love us with our faults and failings. But then what? How do we keep love alive?

Perhaps love is blind; perhaps it is really a fairy tale, or a fantasy. Love can be elusive, like a butterfly. Maybe love is not in the places we are looking, maybe love is in front of our nose and we have to pay attention.

Hudson Catalina from Belly of the Whale tells us something about love. When Buddy Baker tells her that he never told anyone he loved them. She says. “Too bad, it feels good to tell people you love them.”

Love advice from a blog.

Blog what you hear, read, see and write.

Linda Merlino, author, Belly of the Whale
Buy Belly of the Whale, today.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

On Writing

...when life isn't funny - a short video featuring Garrison Keillor.


Karen Harrington
Author, Janeology

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Blog Fiction Radio

Blog Fiction Radio

Nothing would please me more than to go on the radio; to be heard through those invisible waves that connect voices and music to billions of people in their cars.

I imagine a radio talk show host introducing me: Linda Merlino thanks for coming today and then the two of us would discuss Belly of the Whale. Where did the idea for your book come from? How difficult was it to be mainstreamed published? What do you want your readers to remember when they are done reading Belly of the Whale?

My answers would be honest and sprinkled with humor. Since I am fond of talking, there will be no concern about my being shy. If you get me on a passionate subject, like writing, it may take some prompting to keep me quiet.

In the meantime, while I am waiting for my big radio break, I will blog you an excerpt from a fictitous interview with Jack Emerald, husband of Hudson Catalina. WRSB in Gloucester is doing the interview. The full post can be seen on my Virtual Book Tour next Monday and Tuesday, the 16th and 17th of June.

WRSB: We here at WRSB are pleased that you stayed in Gloucester and would like you to share with our listeners some of what you speak of regarding the last several years and your family. You were a caregiver to a wife with breast cancer, is that correct?

Jack Emerald: Yes, our youngest child was four years old when Hudson was diagnosed with breast cancer. My wife’s mother died of breast cancer when she was fourteen and for all the years that followed Hudson carried the fear of also dying of this disease.

WRSB: What kind of an impact did this double tragedy have on your family?

Jack Emerald: I for one never thought my wife would die young or from breast cancer. When she was diagnosed I made a plan, the same way I make a plan or outline for my marine research. I was sure we, and I emphasize the we, could beat breast cancer. Hudson’s mother died at a time when the treatment of the disease was in its infancy. Her chances were slim to none of recovery. I did not feel that those odds applied to Hudson.

WRSB: Your wife felt differently about her breast cancer, about her survival, correct?

Jack Emerald: She tried for many months to be hopeful. Hudson endured multiple surgeries, experimental drug therapy and chemotherapy, but one day, the day before our daughter turned five, she lost hope.

WRSB: What does a caregiver do when this happens?

Jack Emerald: Being a caregiver is a role you assume without thinking of yourself. Cancer was not about me and I tried everyday not to personalize its presence. I loved my wife and I always thought of myself as a good husband, not perfect, but for the most part a good guy. After she was diagnosed I became a better husband, I loved her more than I thought I ever could. I wanted her to have quality of life, no matter what happened. I thought about the times I wasted on small stuff, on insignificant complaints and I made an effort, no, a vow, that I would not do that again. When Hudson gave up, I didn’t know it. She was a pro at hiding her emotions from everyone. I just kept on doing what I was doing, pushing her to survive. Telling her, Hudson Catalina I love you.

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

Linda Merlino

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Sheesh, You Could Go Broke Promoting a Book

In my quest to find book reviewers, I've stumbled across lots of interesting sites this week. Some of them will not only review your book, for a fee, but they'll post the review on bookselling websites. Other promotion sites offer to write press releases, design banners, arrange for you to guest host on others' blogs and all sorts of good stuff.

Don't get me wrong, these are great services and I plan to use some of them, much like our own Linda Merlino is doing now, but in the span of about five days, I've been quoted $400 at one place, $699 (for one year) at another, plus $55.95 at the third, and $240 at the fourth. By my calculations, that's $1,394.95 I could have spent on promotion without actually leaving my keyboard. Yikes! Needless to say, I'll have to pick and choose options carefully, and even then it won't guarantee sales.

At a writing conference five years ago, the instructor told us about a midlist author who decided he didn't have to promote his latest book. I guess he thought his earlier books were succesful enough. Well, the new book tanked and, months later, he wound up spending $70,000 of his own money on marketing and promotion to save it. The book still tanked. Apparently, he'd missed his big chance and, no, I don't know who the author is.

The newspaper article that I thought would arrive this week, hasn't appeared yet. So I'm still on pins and needles, wondering if I said something really stupid during our rapid-fire, ten minute phone chat.

FATAL ENCRYPTION is available at

Excerpts can be read at

Friday, June 06, 2008

Blog an Excerpt

Excerpts often require ten minutes of reading out loud, that’s probably two minutes over the normal attention span; but you go over anyway, because you need to finish your thought…

The Dark Phantom Review posted an excerpt from Belly of the Whale. This is day five of my Virtual Book Tour and the cyberspace train keeps chugging along inviting passengers aboard to browse, discover, read, buy and win prizes.

Chapter One of Belly of the Whale is the excerpt. No better place to begin then at the beginning. The reader meets Hudson Catalina, finds out who she is, where she came from and begins to understand that the story unfolding is not an ordinary tale.

Hudson is named after a car, the Hudson Jet, one of the last of its kind to roll off the line in 1955. To be named after such a unique automobile carries a timeless honor. I recently attended a memorial Weekend Car Show. There were lots of Muscle Cars and 50’s Drive-in classics along with Flat Heads and 65’ Corvettes, but the one that stopped me, the one that put a smile on my face from earlobe to earlobe, was an ocean blue Hudson Jet.

As you read the first chapter excerpt you will get caught up in the turbulent twenty-four hours that surround Hudson Catalina’s story. She is a thirty-eight year old woman, wife and mother with breast cancer. As she narrates the story from a gurney in Whales market you recognize that the Hudson Jet of so many years ago and this young woman will both, stop you in your tracks. She will pull you into her story, page after page, until you reach the end, and then Hudson Catalina will stay in your head long after you finish Belly of the Whale.

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

Linda Merlino, author, Belly of the Whale

New York literary agency signs Canadian suspense author Cheryl Kaye Tardif

For any writer who's been at it long enough and sent out hundreds of queries over the years to agents and publishers, I'm here to bring you HOPE. I have enough rejections to wallpaper my office--twice!

In 2006, I managed to get an originally self-published work (Whale Song) picked up by Kunati Books, a provocative new publishing company that just won ForeWord's 'First Independent Publisher of the Year' award at BEA.

Whale Song was published in April 2007 and launched Kunati's UNA trade paperback imprint. Other trade paperbacks will be joining the UNA imprint shortly, but I'm proud that Whale Song was the first.

This week, I signed a contract with an enthusiastic literary agent from New York. It's an all-inclusive contract, meaning he'll represent me and ALL of my books--past and future--in any upcoming deals.

To me, securing an agent represents climbing another ladder rung--or two. If you're a writer, you know how tough that can be to accomplish. And wait! I haven't told you the clincher...

I am Canadian.

No, this isn't a beer commercial. I'm a Canadian author, and in Canada, it's nearly impossible to get an agent here. First, we don't have the population of the US, and hence, we just don't have that many agents here. So many Canadian authors go across the border--or even the ocean--in search of that illusive literary agent.

My agent is in New York, the frenzied hub of the book industry. I couldn't be happier. He came highly recommended by one of his clients. I am positive this will be a productive and successful venture. Why? Because I'm a positive person. So there! :)

To every writer who has struck out sending query after query to agents and publishers over the years, I'll share my two secret strategies: UNWAVERING BELIEF and STUBBORN PERSISTENCE. You must have both.

Having a literary agent will open so many doors that have, in the past, been closed to me. Having a New York agent will even get past the ones that seemed deadbolted shut. I view my agent as my new business partner, someone who knows what he's doing and that I can trust to do the best for us both.

So I'm off to New York. Well, not really. But I am in spirit! My best friend said I should have a "pahty" to celebrate. I'm thinking of having one with a New York theme. You know...New York steaks, New York fries and New York cheesecake. Am I missing anything? Oh yes, and maybe Liza can show up and sing for me so that I'm not forced to Karaoke everyone to death.

And now...a musical interlude. You know the tune.

(music, please...)

Start spreading the news
I got an agent today
I want to be a part of it, New York, New York
My vagabond books
Are longing to stray
And make a brand new start of it
New York, New York
I want an agent in the city that never sleeps
So I can be queen of the hill, top of the heap
These Edmonton blues
Are melting away
I'll make a brand new start of it
In old New York
If I can make it there
I'll make it anywhere
It's up to you, New York, New York.

(This is my shamelessly adapted version of 'New York, New York'--strictly for entertainment purposes.)

And no, I'm not mentioning my agent's name yet. Now you'll just have to check back here. :)

P.S. I welcome any other 'New York' themed ideas for my "pahty".

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Foreward Thinking

I know it’s not the usual stuff I post about and Cheryl has already probably filled you in but I just had to let you know about this again because believe me, it’s some achievement.

"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."

Cool or what, and if you haven’t seen the trailer to Recycling Jimmy, it’s a good laugh….except for the headshot of me drifting though where I look like an anaemic Dale Winton.

Recycling Jimmy

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

No thanks. I already have a book.

Once Michael Seidenberg had a string of bookstores in New York City. Now, he has a secret one where he sells books by appointment only. But before these businesses, he sold books on the street.

In a recent New Yorker article, Seidenberg recounts a particularly sad sales experience.

"Once, a couple stopped,” he recalled. “And the man asked his girlfriend, ‘Do you want a book?’ She said, ‘No, I already have a book.’”

I had a similar experience once while browsing through books at an antique store in Jeffereson, Texas, where, to my surprise, I found a copy of Tom Sawyer by Samuel Clemens, printed before the author took on the pen name of Mark Twain.

I watched two twenty-something girls run their hands over the spines of other old books.

"So, what kind of book are you looking for?"

"A green one."

God help the writers.


Karen Harrington
author, Janeology

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Blog an Interview

“Who are you?” This classic line from Alice in Wonderland is what I think of when I think: interview. My Virtual Book Tour is entering day three and an interview with BCBooks by Mayra Calvani is posted for those stopping by.

Interviews allow a writer to squirt about him or herself. To reveal childhood dreams and paths less traveled. The inspiration for titles and characters all come alive when questioned. Once a solitary figure stooped over the computer keys this writer gleefully answers questions that probe sacred space and writer’s block.

What scares me to death and what propels me to continue as a writer; my preferences when reading, my heroes, my favorites. Is there another book in the works? So many questions and so much food for the train of thought.

Thank you Blogcritics, for the perfect opportunity to talk about me. Me and my passion for writing and how fortunate I am to be a published author, and not only published but published by the Best Independent Publisher of 2008, Kunati, Inc.

All of the Kunati authors applaud the genius of Derek Armstrong and the Kunati Three. We are proud to be a part of the celebration. Look for more information about my publisher in today’s interview with BCBooks.

The Virtual Book Tour Train is chugging into the cyber station, hope you can come aboard today and everyday through the month of June.

Blog what you think, see, hear and write…

Linda Merlino, author, Belly of the Whale

Blog a Reader's Review

You write and you write and some days you think, who will read this, and why? Writing is private and solitary, often not meant for others to view. But when a writer makes the leap, when a writer makes the move into public, then the writer expects someone, anyone to give a nod of approval.

Belly of the Whale is making the rounds with readers. There have been reviews and most are very positive, and encouraging. Today is the second day of my Virtual Book Tour and Review Your Book has given Belly a five star review.

What struck me upon reading Debra Gaynor’s review was that she got it; she absorbed the story and found the core, the heart beat. There are readers that will like Belly of the Whale and to them I will always be grateful, but there are those readers who will understand with a pure heart what is being said.

Debra Gaynor is one of these folk. “Everyone can relate to this novel”, she states, “For we have all faced the belly of the whale in some manner.”

Blogging a reader review is humbling. My head is out, my neck too. Thanks to all my reviewers and especially to Debra Gaynor for joining me with such kind words on Day Two.

Blog what you think, feel, see and write.

Linda Merlino, author Belly of the Whale

Monday, June 02, 2008

Is Dad a booklover?

Father’s Day is on June 15th. If he is a booklover and/or John Grisham fan, consider giving him the thought-provoking legal thriller Janeology. If you order a copy in the next seven days, send me an email ( with your order and address info., and I’ll send you a bookmark and signed bookplate to accompany your gift!

Here’s what guys and dads across the country have to say about this new book:

This novel is more than the story of a father and his lawyer struggling to defend an unfair indictment for reckless endangerment arising from the drowning of a child by her mother, Jane. It is a finely-crafted tapestry of family history. – Eldon Youngblood, attorney

I particularly enjoyed the ending which has both surprises and answered many questions while raising other thought-provoking questions of its own. Janeology was a wonderful read that left me enriched for the experience. - David Loewenstein Ph.D. Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and author of For the Love of Rachel: A Father's Story

Janeology gives a new direction to the legal thriller genre. A new ambit, a new scope hitherto unexplored in legal thrillers is the hallmark of this debut novel by Karen Harrington. – Narayan Radhakrishnan, attorney

Janeology penetrates the darkness with characters you care about in a tale that compels you to read from page one to the very end. – Peter Clenott, author of Hunting The King

I went into this book thinking that I had a straightforward mystery in my hands. By the time I was done, I found that Janeology is so much more. This book is a surprise, and a very welcome one. – Robert Rummel-Hudson, author of Schuyler’s Monster: A Father’s Journey With His Wordless Daughter

Janeology is a thoughtful, frank, and engrossing investigation into the potential for anti-social behavior that lurks inside us all, ready to show itself when the breaking point comes, and theorizes that the best defense is strong parenting during the early formative years. A truly satisfying, five-star read. – Art Tirrell, author The Secret Ever KeepsAn unthinkable crime, and perpetrated by the most shocking culprit. This is just the start, the premise for JANEOLOGY, Karen Harrington's debut novel that breaks boundaries in every direction. – Dave Diotalevi, author of Miracle Myx

Janeology is a legal thriller about love and loss, but at its core it is a study of how we may all be haunted by our families. – Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds

I finished Janeology in two nights, and I'm sorry that I read it so quickly. Since finishing the book, the characters have stayed with me, and I've wondered how their lives played out. – Kenneth Chapman, parole officer (ret.)

Maybe your dad will like it, too.

Blog a Book Trailer

This is the First Official Monday in June 2008 and my Virtual Book Tour has left the cyberspace station. The number one stop is a film, a book trailer to be exact. No time for popcorn or candy bars but if you press play again you could down some peanut m & m’s.

Kam Wai Yu of Kunati, Inc is the genius behind my book trailer. He has portrayed the sentiment and emotion bound in the pages of Belly of the Whale. Kam is part of the Kunati Three which includes Derek Armstrong and James McKinnon. Not only has Kunati created an incredible book trailer for Belly of the Whale but my publisher has also just been honored to win Independent Publisher of the Year by Forward Magazine. All of the Kunati authors are thrilled to be a part of the celebration.

Today I hop on the Book Tour Express from Pump Up Your Book, I am handing out virtual m & m’s and Kleenex, along with confetti.

When the train stops at your station take three minutes to view Belly of the Whale’s Book trailer, then go to and buy a copy and then check out Kunati’s web site, after that get back on the virtual train because tomorrow’s stop is a Book Review.

Blog what you think, see, write and feel…

Linda Merlino, author, Belly of the Whale

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Feeling Exposed

Last week, I wrote about meeting people on MySpace and Goodreads, an ongoing process which is still fun. Goodreads in particular is a mecca for bibliophiles, and it does my heart good to see so many people who love reading and who love sharing info about what they've read. These past couple of weeks, I've been introduced to hundreds of books and readers I had no idea existed.

Another interesting thing about networking online is that you get to know people from a geographical distance. Distance offers a measure of privacy and perhaps even security, especially if you're not someone who loves the limelight, which I don't. Well, this week, physical distance is about to be stripped away.

On Wednesday, a reporter interviewed me, by phone, for our local newspaper. Two hours later, a photographer came to the house and took a photo of me and FATAL ENCRYPTION's cover. Since a number of scenes in the book are set in Port Moody (where I live) and Coquitlam, we played up the local angle. After all, no one's put Port Moody in a mystery before. The article will appear this week and it's a little daunting to know that people in my community will see my picture and learn what I've been up to. But this time, I have a better idea of what to expect.

Four years ago, an essay of mine appeared in Chicken Soup for the Bride's Soul. The publisher sent a press release to the local paper, and within days a reporter and photographer came to my house. After the article appeared, everywhere I turned people were mentioning it. The article went up on bulletin boards where I worked, at my husband's office, at my daughter's skating club, and my son's elementary school (to his embarrassment). Suddenly, it felt like the whole world knew about my essay. And while people were complimentary, part of me felt like I was walking around wearing a fairly sheer skirt, wondering how much people could actually see through.

Yet, after all is said and done, I'm proud of what I've written and I love Port Moody. It's a beautiful place and if you'd like to see a glimpse of it, photos are on my website at

It should be an interesting few days ahead. Am I prepared for what comes? I hope so.

FATAL ENCRYPTION is available at