Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Blog a Virtual Question

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Belly of the Whale is on Virtual Tour for the month trying to help fight-the-fight. There will be reviews, posts, interviews and a podcast for anyone wishing to come aboard.

I was asked many questions but one I’d like to share is included here: “What is the most important thing in your life right now?”

The most important thing in my life is my family. Family has been, always will be and is the most significant part of my life. My dreams and aspirations have been realized because even on the darkest of days I keep them at my center, close to my heart.

Remember to stay healthy and aware: Hope begins with Us. Please stop by the Tour over the next few days and say hello:
October 1 - The Book Czar
October 3 – Zensanity

Blog what you think, see, hear and feel…

Linda Merlino, author, Belly of the Whale

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Meet Some Talented Friends

If you’re lucky enough to find a supportive and helpful critique group, you’re well ahead of the publishing game. The writers in this photo represent about a third of the members of our Kyle Centre Critique group and everyone is this photo has published a new book this year, from April to September alone! It’s been great fun to watch these works develop over the months, and even years in some cases, or to hear snippets of work brought in simply to read during our windup at the end of each season.

From left to right, these writers are: Julie Ferguson author of Book Magic: Turning Writers into Published Authors; Eileen Kernaghan (this is her 8th book!), author of Wild Talent: a Novel of the Supernatural, Marja Bergen, author of A Firm Place to Stand (a helpful nonfiction work about being bi-polar while maintaining her Christian faith. Yours truly is next, and on my left is Casey Wolf who’s releasing her first collection of short stories called Finding Creatures & Other Stories, and is already receiving terrific reviews. Their books are available on amazon.com.

Congratulations to everyone, and let's keep going!

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

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Balancing work, life and self as an author

Yesterday I wrote about the warning signs and prevention of author burn-out. I mentioned that balance is the key.

Ironically, last night I received a motivational message from my friends John and Patrice at Higher Awareness, a site that I just love.

In their Inner Journey message, it talks about being open to change.

The following is printed here with their permission:
Be open to change

“Balance is a dynamic process; it changes with the days, the seasons, the years.” -- Sherrill Sellman

How rigid are your routines? Do you exercise for 30 minutes, three times each week no matter how you feel?

Routines and structure can provide a valuable framework to bring discipline to our lives. At the same time, we are always changing and it’s wise to be sensitive to our physical, emotional and mental states so we can ensure that our activities truly meet our needs. We need to be willing to change our patterns when our practices no longer serve us.

“Only in growth, reform, and change, paradoxically enough, is true security to be found.” -- Anne Morrow Lindbergh

“The smallest change in perspective can transform a life. What tiny attitude adjustment might turn your world around?” -- Oprah

The physical, emotional and mental realms are all effects! Shift into working with cause by developing your higher mind, heart and spirituality and then your lfe will significantly change for the better. Get in touch with your spiritual nature.
I agree that we should be sensitive to what our bodies need. If it is screaming for a break, take one. Not doing so will result in a longer recovery of energy. Life is always changing around us, so we must adapt and change with it.

Thank you to my friends John and Patrice Robson at Higher Awareness for allowing me to pass along this message.

I invite you to make one small change today. Sign up for these inspiring messages at: http://www.higherawareness.com/. John and Patrice have personal development plans that are encouraging, empowering and life changing, whether you're an author or not.

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
author of Whale Song

Friday, September 26, 2008

Warning signs and prevention of author burn-out

In response to fellow author Debra Purdy Kong's previous post on author burn-out, I left this comment and then decided it needed to be an actual post here.
Writing can indeed become an obsession, as can promoting one's book. I always suggest to authors (and often remind myself) that we must find a balance between writing, promoting, other jobs/chores, family, friends and fun. Each needs to be a slice of the pie for authors to feel completely successful and not burnt out.

Over the years I've witnessed author burn-out many times. I've come very close myself a few times. I've known authors who have given up writing; some have continued to write but no longer do book signings. I've seen some who barely promote their books at all.

Why do they burn out? Usually because they put so much time, energy and money into writing and promoting their most recent book and have experienced little money, reward or feeling of success. Sometimes they burn out because they had no idea what they were getting into, that writing and promoting is a fulltime career. Being an author doesn't mean instant success; we have to work very hard for it.

All authors must be very wary of burn-out, and there are some warning signs:

1. Do you dread turning on your computer to write or even answer emails?
2. Do you make excuses not to write?
3. Do you make excuses not to blog, hold book signings, write articles etc that promotes your book?
4. When I say "book signing" do you immediately go into whine mode and say "aw, not again"?
5. Do you feel your days are spent on the computer, nights too?
6. Have you turned down an evening or afternoon out or even a few hours this week with a friend, husband, wife, child because you're "too busy"?
7. Have you watched the sun come up from your office window in the past month?
8. Does your agent, publisher, editor, husband, wife, friend, child irritate you?

If you've answered yes to 4 or less, you are doing well, right on track and coping with your obligations.

If you've answered yes to 5 or 6 of these questions, be on guard for burn-out. It is looming around the corner. Take a break now to prevent it.

If you've said yes to 7, you're at the verge of a burn-out melt-down. Time for a break. Take a day or two or 7 off now. Don't wait. Take a break now, or break down later.

If you've said yes to all 8, you are seriously burnt out and this makes you useless to everybody, so go take a 1 week holiday in Mexico or Bermuda and start fresh afterward! :)

Here are some tips to preventing burn-out:

1. Pace yourself! Set limits per day and goals. Prioritize and take each deadline one project at a time. Don't overbook or overcommit yourself.
2. Learn to say no. Learn to pick your projects; say no to ones with urgent deadlines if possible. Just say No.
3. Schedule your day each morning, allowing time to have a break. Have lunch while watching Days of Our Lives.
4. If feeling exhausted, take two days off and do nothing but watch soap operas or On Demand movies all day long.
5. When you have a good, well-balanced day of work and play, reward yourself that evening. Chocolate works well...or margaritas...or mohitos...

Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
bestselling author of WHALE SONG

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Blog Real Life

Nothing in fiction can top real life and I confess that I prefer fiction to memoir and biography. The sprinkling of imagination like spices on a gourmet dish can turn boring history into explosive fiction. Reality as the back drop for fiction needs to go outside the boundaries of hum-drum.

Belly of the Whale is the fictional account of twenty-four hours in the life of a young woman with breast cancer; a disease whose reality is lived everyday by so many people. If you look at statistics the numbers are staggering. Age forty, that mid-life crisis birthday, is when having mammograms should begin. Breast cancer occurs at any age, but more often as women get older. Your chances of not ever having cancer are slim, very slim. For most; it will happen.

Breast cancer is the nightmare turned real in the ordinary life of my character, Hudson Catalina. Bringing the quality of emotion that I felt was needed to depict a situation so grave and where all hope was lost began with the intention not to focus on the cancer but instead on what happens at an over-the-top level; when one person’s life is broadsided by bad news on a beautiful day.

Given previous experience and the fears that follow, how does someone cope with this type of diagnosis? How does the woman in my story maintain her ability to keep hope alive? Extensive research produced one common thread, family. The love, kindness and patience of a spouse, boyfriend, life companion, children, siblings, and friends are crucial to quality of life. Caregivers can have the opportunity to be the best they have ever been, the best husband, the best daughter, or the best brother.

Many people have been touched by cancer, as victim and as witness. Others have been touched by tragedy and by loss. What kind and how each are defined does not matter. There is darkness in every life. The challenge: can we come out on the other side spirit intact? We can because hope belongs to everyone. Without hope, there is nothing.

Blog what her hear, see, think and feel.

Linda Merlino, author, Belly of the Whale

It's All In The Details

How to fill in the details of a story?

As I was considering this question for Write On Wednesdays, my five-year old was coloring in her Disney coloring book. I am in awe of how specific she is about coloring. How she will match the color of the necklace to the hem of a dress. No one taught her to do this. She just looks in her box of crayons and makes these choices. And now, to my word-loving delight, she asks me to read the name of the crayon color. Purple Pizzazz. Red Violet. Midnight Blue. Tickle Me Pink. Mango Tango. And I can see she is just as excited about the descriptions, too. So it got me to thinking that writing the details of a story has a lot in common with coloring. You begin with the thick black sketch of an idea, and then you look in your box of crayons and begin filling in the image.

When it comes to writing about details, two things come to mind that I learned in college about my own writing. You see, I am a sprinter. I can get that black sketch outline on the page with no problem. But to be a writer of details, you must be prepared for a marathon. My writing professor chided me for always writing horizontally. He told me to write vertically, to write down. And this was sage advice. When I stop and slow down inside a scene, I understand what it means to write down, to write vertically, staying with a specific image or idea long enough to stretch it out from north to south, instead of being concerned with going so far east to west. And when I do this, I find this is the real joy of the writing process.

Now, when I begin a new novel, I still give in to sprinting through the action. I still have to do this and maybe that’s because I was a screenwriter before I began writing novels. But I’ve learned to trust this process. Once the rushed blueprint is written, I return to the beginning and spend most of my writing time going back and filling in the colors and the details.

The second lesson I remember about details was when my professor made an example of me in his class. I had written a scene about a housewife ironing. I wrote something like, “She did her work in solitude, moving the iron back and forth as if it was her dance partner.” Nothing brilliant here. But the lesson my prof illustrated was how this sentence made an inanimate object come to life, personified it in a way that revealed how this woman might be lonely, how she might be underappreciated. This example has stayed with me to this day. I like noticing how characters, and all people, are constantly revealing themselves in tiny, dramatic ways like my lonely housewife.

The way a husband always hits his teeth with the tines of a fork when he eats.

The way a grandmother puts two Sweet N Lows in her coffee and stirs counter-clockwise three times, every time.

The way a woman rubs her thumb across the cool metal of her wedding band. Why? To check if she’s still married? Or, to check if she’s STILL married?

It's all in the details.
K. Harrington

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Remote Control, a suspenseful serialized work-in-progress, is updated

If you've been following Remote Control, my suspenseful novelette that is based on a short story I wrote back in 1987, it has been updated and a new scene has been added.

Harry Fielding has just discovered that he has a strange power. And he's ready and willing to use it. No matter the consequences.

“Be careful what you wish for,” they say, but for forty-four-year-old Harold Fielding, who unfortunately isn’t one to listen to such good advice, those words will come back to haunt him...

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

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Are Writers Workaholics?

This week, I was reading comments on a forum about finding time to write and promote one's books. The posters were exhausted from maintaining day-jobs, attending family responsibilities, writing, promoting, submitting, editing, and doing all the other things professional writers need to do.

Many times, I've spoken with writers who are exhausted and burned out. Lord knows, I've experienced it myself. But the phenomenon of driving oneself to succeed has made me wonder if writers are prone to workaholism? Do you know writers who are workaholics - who are writing and promoting every day of the week at full tilt year after year? If so, is this by choice or circumstance because of gruelling deadlines or money needed to pay the bills? It seems that more and more publishers are expecting a book a year from authors who'd much rather put in another year or two to produce better quality work. Is competition and expectation forcing us into workaholism?

Nearly every writer I know not only loves to write but feels compelled to write. Many do it every day with or without a deadline. Even during so-called down times their minds are rethinking plots, making mental notes of characters, settings, events...Does the act of creating ever stop? Can we make it stop?

Do writers face a high risk of burning out? Do you know writers who've quit writing, publishing, or promoting because they can't cope with the demands anymore? It's not something writers discuss openly too often, but I'd really like to know what you think about these things. How do you cope when your energy's low and you have a year of promoting tasks ahead of you? Not to mention a couple of book deadlines?

Excerpts of Fatal Encryption and Taxed to Death can be read at http://www.debrapurdykong.com/

Friday, September 19, 2008

Queries, Commas and Casting

Happy Friday. I found a few interesting sites of note to share with you.

Author Joshua Palmatier has put together The Query Project where he asked a handful of writers to share their specific tips and advice on how they crafted THE query letter that landed them an agent. Visit the site and scroll down for the links to the various authors. Taken together, this is a good primer for any new writer.

Ever wonder what rejection does to the aspiring writer? It inspires, of course. Author Keith Cronin has combined his angst and considerable talent to create The Adventures of Comma Boy offering some hilarious commentary on writers trying to get their words read.

And last, I have discovered another scobberlotcher's dream website called StoryCasting. Simply, this is a site where YOU can go and cast the celebrities you'd love to see in the film adaptation of your favorite books. I just had fun casting JANEOLOGY with Ashley Judd and Mark Ruffalo in the leads. Wouldn't I be so lucky!


Have a great weekend.
K. Harrington
author, Janeology

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Is the end of the world coming for the book industry?

New York Magazine published an article that looks at the downward spiral of the book business. As writer Boris Kachka says, "The book business as we know it will not be living happily ever after." He goes on to describe the "horror" that is now the book world--slow sales, staff cuts, empty offices and more. Indeed, he paints a sad picture of the industry in which I lay my future and my dreams.

Read more about the future of publishing.

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

'Llectuals - A PBS show about being "young, sexy and extremely well read."

Yup. I would watch this.

K. Harrington
Author, Janeology

Visit my blog each Tuesday for more of You TubesDay

Monday, September 15, 2008


I have some REALLY exciting news! My book has won an award! It has won Premier Book Awards 2008 Best Fantasy Novel of the Year! I am just ecstatic! Please feel free to check out the winners by going to www.premierbookawards.com. And if you haven’t reviewed this award-winning novel yet, feel free to do so on Amazon.com or email me through my website (www.kellykomm.com) and I’ll make sure it’s put up. Hooray!!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Popularity in Electronic Publishing?

I received an e-mail from a colleague this week congratulating me because Fatal Encryption has become "most popular" in two of amazon.com's Kindle categories. I'm not exactly sure what this means or how it translates into sales, or if it even does. Still, it's nice to know that my book's reached the top 100 of any category given all the competition out there.

When you're an unknown like me, receiving any kind of recognition is important, so I'll enjoy this moment while it lasts. With any luck, maybe the same will happen for Taxed to Death when it comes out later this month.

Speaking of last, enjoyable moments ... it's been eight months since I left my full-time job in retail to produce, publish, and promote Fatal Encryption. During that time, I also edited two other novels, found an electronic publisher, worked on short stories, started two more blogs, joined MySpace, AuthorsDen, and Goodreads. Before February, I hadn't even head of Goodreads and AuthorsDen. Now I'm contributing and meeting new friends everyday. It's been one of the most productive times of my life, but it's time to start earning a regular pay cheque again, so I have a new, exciting job I'll be starting later this month. Change is a good thing. Learning something new is even better.

For anyone interested in seeing my books, electronic and print, go to http://www.amazon.com/

Excerpts for Fatal Encryption and Taxed to Death can be read at http://www.debrapurdykong.com/

And remember, I'll be at Semiahmoo Library 1815 - 152nd Street on Saturday, September 27, and at Word on the Street Fair at Vancouver's Library Square on Sunday, September 28th. I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Does your writers' notebook include snippets of conversation you've overheard?

You are just one click away from my funny guest post about this subject at the Literary Feline book blog. Just one click!

Chime in and tell me what you've recently overheard that might make it into your writing.


K. Harrington
author, Janeology

Sunday, September 07, 2008

The Nicest Thing That's Happened So Far

If you've read my posts you'll know that I've been embroiled in promotion and marketing since April, and that there've been ups and downs. Today I want to share the nicest thing that's happened so far - and I'm happy to say there've been many good things - but this particular incident happened during my first book signing on August 9th. My table was set up and I was chatting with a customer when a little girl of about eight walked by with her mom. The little girl looked at my table, then at me, and smiled shyly. She said, "I want to be a writer". I thought that was terrific and told her so. I said,

"Do you keep a diary or a journal?"


"Do you write stories?""


"And you read?"

A big nod.

"Well," I said. "You're doing all the right things. Just keep doing it."

Her eyes lit up and she looked at her mom who grinned. She took a bookmark and left the store. And I was left with the sensation that it feels terrific to make a child happy.

So, here we are in September and I have two more events lined up. One is an open-mike reading on Saturday, September 27th from 1 to 4 p.m. at Semiahmoo Library, 1815 - 152nd Street, Surrey, B.C.

I'll also be helping at the Crime Writers of Canada table at this year's Word on the Street Fair in Vancouver. The event takes place at the Main Library on Georgia Street from 11 to 6 p.m., and shoulds be lots of fun with music, readings and panels.

And Big News!!! FATAL ENCRYPTION is now available on Mobipocket and Kindle! For Mobi, go to http://www.mobipocket.com/ and look under mystery and crime.

Kindle is at http://www.amazon.com/ under Fatal Encryption, where you can see the cool new cover my publisher designed.

And, of course, excerpts for FATAL ENCRYPTION and TAXED TO DEATH can be read at http://www.debrapurdykong.com/

Guest Post: author Beth Fehlbaum discusses "The Journey to My Book"

I first wrote about what it’s like to be sexually abused at the age of nine years old, when I confided in my diary about a family member fondling my just-developing breasts. I had to tell someone, but I was too filled with shame and embarrassment to speak it aloud.

Instead, I wrote the words in my diary and hid the book deep within a box in the back of my closet. I remember coming upon the diary when I was a teenager, and, horrified at seeing what seemed to me to be a confession of my guilt written in my childish handwriting, I burned the diary in our brick fireplace when no one else was home.

Terrified that a family member would return home and question why I used the fireplace in the middle of a sizzling Texas summer, I opened all the windows and rolled our sliding-glass door back-and-forth, back-and-forth on its track, telling myself that I was somehow hastening the clearing away of the evidence. I scooped the ashes out while they were still hot and dumped them in the flower bed, then swept the dust out of the hearth.

Just recalling the memory makes my heart race; I remember a deep sense of relief that the shame-filled words were destroyed. I had moved the diary, deep within that cardboard box, from the house I lived in when the abuse began, to the house I spent my teenage years in, always keeping it hidden in the back of my closet, out of view, as if that made what was happening to me less real.

I didn't write about the abuse again for nearly thirty years, when I entered therapy for recovery from that same family member sexually abusing me for the majority of my childhood, into my teen years. Then, like the Thompson River Flood in Estes Park, Colorado, an historic, notorious flood of such wide-ranging devastation that songs have been written about it-- the grief, pain, shame, and rage came pouring forth from the young child I had been when that flood occurred, in 1976. There was just no stopping it, any more than turning my diary to ashes could cause what had happened to me to NOT affect me for a lifetime.

During a therapy session one day, my psychologist suggested that I try writing a novel. It took me about four months of stopping-and-starting. Inevitably, it seemed, what started as a promising beginning kept dissolving into "Why did this happen to me?"-- and there is no satisfying answer to that question. I realized that if I was going to be able to write my way through the experience of being sexually abused, I needed to do it from the perspective of being an observer of someone else's experience.

When I gave myself permission to do that, Ashley Nicole Asher, age fifteen, came into being. Abused by her stepfather since the age of nine, Ashley is driven by rage to tell her mother what he has been doing to her. To her horror, Ashley's mother turns her back on her, and does not act on Ashley's report.

Ashley then confides in the only adult she can trust, a beloved teacher, who reports the abuse to Child Protective Services. CPS contacts her biological father, David, whom Ashley has had no contact with throughout her childhood. It is when David takes Ashley home with him to the tiny East Texas town of Patience that Ashley's life begins anew.

Courage in Patience is a story of hope. Initially, I wrote it for myself, to prove to myself that I was going to make it through the darkest days of recovery and come out stronger on the other side. I gave Ashley a circle of friends in her stepmother's summer school English class, and through knowing them, Ashley discovers that, as a good friend of mine says, "Nobody gets out of this life without a scratch."

With the publication of Courage in Patience, I hope that those who read it will find a story of what it means to face one's greatest fears and find out what one is made of.

~Beth Fehlbaum,
Author of Courage in Patience, a story of hope for those who have endured abuse

Thursday, September 04, 2008

A Story With No Ease

Note: Before I begin this story exercise, I must explain that an author friend joked about writing a book that had no S’s. It got me thinking…is it possible to write a story with no E’s? This is my attempt. And it wasn't easy. Of course, this doesn’t count the title, the tags or this note. :)

Shall I start?

Want to know my story? This is it. Many moons ago, I was born into a military family. I saw various towns and many islands. I had a solid upbringing. “Strict” was my dad’s motto.

My mind is full of words. Always. My goal as a child was always to turn my writing into books. As an author, I want to shock my fans with horrific plots, scary things that could actually subsist in our world.

I’m waiting for a book contract for my fourth book. It’ll occur soon. I know it. This book is most thrilling, I think. I’m working on my fifth book, which is kind of my sixth book. My first and fourth―similar books? Almost matching. Do you grasp what I’m saying? Probably not.

Anyway, I’m living my vision. And I’m awfully happy.

My wish is that you find your vision. Accomplish it by doing anything you can to obtain it. Having a vision is autonomy. It allows you to crush what panics you and attain what you want from this world. Wanting is natural. Accomplish it by motion.

Stay in motion, always moving, always striving, always hoping. Action and visualization draws good things toward you. Soon all your visions will grow into actuality.

Okay. That’s it. That’s all I can possibly post on this topic.

P.S. Did you find any? You know what I’m talking about. Good luck!

© C.K. Tardif,
author of...books

Would SPAM marketing sell a book? Probably not.

Dear one:

Please read this in a confidential place because it is for you only.

My name is Mr. K Harrington. I am the auditing and accounting manager of JANEOLOGY in the township of Dallas. In my department, we discovered, amazingly, quite by accident as a boon to you, a sum of several hundred copies of this book. And there is no person that is coming in for those copies, YET. This is why I am contacting you to stand and claim these copies into your personal library.

I need your help to assist me in transferring these books away from Amazon and Barnes & Noble and independent store, and to other libraries around the world, which means that you may have to act as the late Dr. Seuss Harrington, next of kin, to make this claim. Of course, being that the world is increasingly related (see my article about how Obama and Bush may be related here) you may use your name as next of kin.

Of course, this is a very sensitive matter. The book is a psychological thriller and should be handled thus. If you are a fan of John Grisham or other authors of mystery, I know you can be trusted with this story – one of a compelling family tree of characters, going back four generations on maternal and paternal sides of the family of one Jane Nelson to answer the questions once and for all: who is Jane and was she born predisposed to madness?

Jane’s husband, Tom Nelson, most urgently wants to know the answer to this question as her acts defy the image of the woman he loves. You, too, have been in this position. Recall how love has affected you and you will see the importance. You, too, must have asked these questions in a very trying time in your life. Who is this person I am married too? I am sure you can understand that Tom is desperate to get to the bottom of this matter. And with the John Grisham-like way the book is written (As well as the traits of many other authors you will no doubt readily gleen.) You, dear reader, are put in the jury seat to decide the fate of the defendant. A very great trust indeed is needed. His fate, dear one, is in your hands. Please make your claim of this book IMMEDIATELY. Time is on your side if you act fast and with assurance of my utmost integrity.

For your troubles, of course, you will receive 24-34% off the price. THIS IS GUARANTEED JUST FOR YOU at this link. And on top of this, accept from me a very interesting story New Mystery Reader gives its honorable Five-Bolt rating and says “Janeology concludes with an ending that will rattle your genes.” You’ll agree rattling genes are always better than travelling pants. And Booklist calls it “A fascinating premise…as much a character study as a legal thriller.” THERE SURELY IS NOTHING THAT I CAN SAY THAT WILL GIVE YOU MORE CONFIDENCE THAN THAT TO ACT NOW.

Should you please contact Amazon or your favorite bookseller urgently so we can commence all arrangements and handle this project successfully? (In utmost confidentialities, I assure you.) Please do NOT treat this request confidentially. Tell everyone. Forward this message to your MOST trusted friends.

The link you should hold dear is here to get more information and read a chapter. REVEAL THIS TO NO ONE—ONLY YOUR CONFIDENTES.

Here, I must put a reference to Viagra that makes no sense and has no application to the matter of this lottery win of words whatsoever. But our attorneys require such in the midst of such stiff competition and your understanding is appreciated.

Kind regards, my newfound friend,

K. Harrington
Author, Janeology

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Every Three Minutes...

Every three minutes a person is diagnosed with breast cancer. This in a world of: wait-a-minute, give-me-a-minute, be-with-you-in-a-minute, and this-will-only-take-a-minute.

Sixty seconds multiplied by three is one hundred eighty seconds; that is all a woman has before her entire life is broadsided. Her drive home from the doctor, and the telephone calls to family, all will take longer than three minutes.

On August 13th I attended the Kickoff Breakfast for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer in New York City. Hundreds of people were guests of the American Cancer Society. There were many speakers on the program but the first, a woman who spoke from her table not from the podium pulled me to the edge of my seat and kept me there as her story unfolded.

The woman’s voice was soft but strong, her name was Stephanie and she smiled as she spoke and her hair, a perfectly coiffed shoulder length wig made her appear younger than her years. Stephanie had grown children, one in Iraq and another living in New York City. Among other things she was an author with a book just released when her three minutes were up. Her orderly, well defined life was upended, and now she was a resident of Hope Lodge in New York City undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

As an author of newly released fiction, I was caught up in her heartbreaking story. I’ve written about breast cancer without being sure why. Now I know. As the daughter of a breast cancer survivor I have something more than words invested in this battle. Women like my mother, my character, Hudson Catalina, and like Stephanie deserve our respect. They need advocates and their message must be spread across the planet.

Hope Starts With Us – is the slogan for the American Cancer Society’s 2008 Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. The message of Belly of the Whale is hope and survival. Together we will be in Central Park on October 19th under the Tent. Come walk with us. Every stride you take makes a difference.

Blog what you hear, see, think and feel…

Linda Merlino

Monday, September 01, 2008

Serialized novelette Remote Control has another installment

If you've already read my novels--Whale Song (Kunati), The River and Divine Intervention--and are looking for something new, please know that my latest novel Children of the Fog is being read by publishers now. I hope to make an announcement in a few months (or less).

For now, while you wait, I invite you to check out Remote Control. This is a novelette (about 10,000 words) based on a short story I wrote back in 1987. It has always been one of my favorites.

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

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

In this dark, suspenseful and somewhat comical look at one man's desires, Remote Control delivers a strong message:

Be careful what you wish for!

I am serializing this novelette, adding one scene each week. I hope you enjoy. If so, please leave me a comment.

Read Remote Control.

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif