Friday, October 31, 2008

Blog Memory Lane

I had not been back to my Alma Mater in forty years. But here I was driving down once familiar streets, craning my neck at buildings renovated and reinvented that housed me, fed me and schooled me many years ago. This return visit was not by chance, but by invite. I was to be a guest speaker to a group of communication majors. Me. The girl who graduated with a degree in science was returning as an author of literary fiction.

Strange how life has its way with you; how a barely eighteen year old with the dream of being a journalist finds herself taking Anatomy and Physiology, Physics and Biology. The dreams I left behind remained dormant waiting to energize again when the timing was different, better; when life said it was okay to be what I always wanted to be.

I stood before a group of students recounting my journey from graduation using the metaphor of shoes. With lines taken from Forrest Gump in the film of the same name I weaved my way through the maze of days, months and years.

“Mamma always says you can tell a lot about a person by their shoes, where they are going and where they have been. I bet if I try real hard I can remember my first pair of shoes.” Forrest Gump

Perhaps some of the students listening never saw the movie. Too bad. Despite its length there were some memorable lines, chunks of wisdom like the one above that might serve as a guide in the future. My shoe metaphor allowed me to travel through the decades since I’d last walked that campus and each different pair put me in another mind set, on another journey.

I told the young men and women listening, to nurture the friendships they will make while in college and to live their lives with passion. I told them also to believe in their dreams and to do whatever it is that ignites the fire inside. Let that flame burn hot, I said, for a life without passion is no life, why it live any other way.

For the record, my next pair of shoes might be flip-flops; I want to see where they will take me.

Blog what you say, see, hear, and feel.

One Writer's Passion

Tuesday, October 28, 2008 serializes REMOTE CONTROL by Cheryl Kaye Tardif

After news spread across North America about the novel I am writing on my iPhone 3G, I have had the pleasure of being interviewed for TV, radio, newspapers and websites, plus I was contacted by Stan Soper, the founder of, a website devoted to cell phone novels or serialized fiction by phone.

Stan states: "I started Textnovel™ after I stumbled across an article in the New York Times on Japanese teenagers who were writing and reading fiction on their cellphones and publishing them on websites."

This fad has quickly spread across Japan over the past few years and resulted in a number of bestselling novels written mainly by teenagers with no previous writing or publishing experience. Many of the novels were written using cell phone lingo (LOL) and most are Young Adult (YA) novels.

Textnovel is the first English site to offer cell phone novels, which can be read on your computer or cell phone.

With my novel Finding Bliss I take cell phone novels to a whole new level. Not only am I the first person to attempt to write an entire novel using the Notes application on my iPhone 3G, it'll be written with my normal style (no cell phone lingo) and will feature a character who uses and iPhone 3G. This novel may one day find itself on

When Stan read about me in a recent press release, he extended a special invitation for me to check out That's when I decided to do a test run with my serialized novelette REMOTE CONTROL. I've been posting it on my website, but that will be on hold while I post it to instead. Feel free to read it on or you can subscribe and have new chapters delivered right to your cell phone. And don't worry, my chapters are short.


~Cheryl Kaye Tardif
bestselling author of Whale Song

Monday, October 27, 2008

Guest blogger Jeff Rivera talks about his journey to getting published

My journey to getting published: an inspirational essay by author, Jeff Rivera

I remember walking along the beach in Hull, Massachusettes. I was depressed and frustrated, wondering if I'd ever even finish this crazy little story called Forever My Lady. See, I had this idea that because Hollywood kept rejecting my screenplay for Forever My Lady that somehow, maybe real people would be interested in reading it. So, that's why I set out to write it as a novel. Nevermind the fact that I had never written a novel before, nevermind the fact that I had already decided to self-publish it and didn't have a dime to my name.

I had this idea in my head because some small voice inside of me kept longing me to do it. It's that nagging part of me that kept pushing me to go when I felt stuck in my life, when I was disappointed in the people that didn't "get me" that kept me going. Yet, here I am and now my novel, Forever My Lady is being released by Grand Central Publishing. I knew it was a crap shoot to be one of the few people who went from self-published to published but I had to anyways.

I want to be a voice of inspiration to any of you writers out there that have self-published something and want to make that leap out there to being published by a major because it can happen. I'm living proof of it. I'm not saying it's the best route but if you decide to take that route it can be very rewarding.

I worked so hard to promote my book. Not having a dime to my name forced me to become creative with my promoting. I stuck to online promotion, spreading word through mainly message boards and forums, spamming the world. And eventually because of the love for my story it was the fans that spread word mostly. It was their support that kept me going. I'll never become jaded by those letters and emails.

I felt like I was on a mission, that I had to tell this story. It wasn't every day that a Black American writes a Latino story and I had that strike against me. Would people accept me? Would they "get" me? How would I pay for the printing? All those questions entered my head.

But one thing I learned is that God, the Universe, whatever you believe in has given you right now everything you need to succeed. Anything else you need will fall into the right place at the right time. And I knew that I had internet access, I had the time, I had the energy and I had the drive to tell the story I wanted to tell and that's all I needed. Think about what you have. If it truly is your dream to get published you won't allow those doubts and excuses to enter your mind. No, you'll keep moving forward.


Note from Cheryl:

I've had the pleasure of talking with Jeff Rivera and working with him. He is an extremely gifted writer and someone I'm very pleased to call a friend. I am so happy to see that his novel Forever My Lady is being released tomorrow.

You can order Jeff's novel at your favorite online retailer such as, or purchase from your favorite bookstore. If they don't have it in stock, please ask them to order it.

Visit Jeff's website at:

What's on the grill at Book Roast?

Today's special: Karen Harrington, author of Janeology

The fine book chefs at Book Roast are officially roasting me today. Ouch! Hop on over to the Book Roast grill and take a look at how they've set the table.

Not only is the Maitre d serving up an excerpt from JANEOLOGY, he is also going to help me give away one copy of the book to a lucky commenter. And the winner will be chosen by the end of TODAY! I'll be stopping by the grill all day to answer questions, too.

Hey, one little blog comment of what, 50 or so words, to win 75,000 words! That seems like a deal to me.

Even better, Book Roast grills up new authors each week so stop by and see other writers take the heat.


Karen Harrington

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Reflections on an Anniversary

This month, I reached the one-year anniversary of my first blog, and I want to thank Cheryl Kaye Tardif for inviting me to join this group and for encouraging me to try blogging . . . something I'd never thought I'd find time to do until after retirement from day jobs. But this is my 52nd post and one of three blogs I now keep.

I've been writing a journal since I was 22, a little over 30 years ago, so blogging hasn't become the time-consuming demand I'd been afraid it would be. Thoughts about writing and the writing life pour out of me easily, but then I've been at this business since 1980, and have a lot to say on the subject.

What I've gotten back by reading others' thoughts, though, has been tremendous, and the people I've met through blogs and networking is just amazing. I've read some terrific novels you won't likely find on bookstore shelves because they're independently published by writers with talent and an absolute passion for the written word. You will, however, find their books and my reviews of their books on amazon and goodreads.

The other day, I met a woman through MySpace who asked if I'd review and blurb her unpublished book (she has a publisher). I was hesitant. I'd never been asked to blurb a book before and her work is nonfiction: a tragic story about the loss of her four-year-old son due to medical errors. Her story is intense and heartbreaking, and it's a privlege to help promote someone with a story that needs to be told. I'll let you know when her book is published.

Meanwhile, let's keep sharing and reading and writing. It's the best remedy I know for tough times, whether they're personal or global.

For excerpts and reviews of Taxed to Death and Fatal Encryption visit my website at

Friday, October 24, 2008

Blog Another Season

There is a woodpecker rat-tatting on the south wall of my house. The sound reminds me of other autumns, other late mornings when October’s leaves fill my driveway full of yellow, orange and rust. My writing space has been winterized. I am now in the loft just above the wood stove. For the next four to six months this is where you can find me most often; under the window over The Elm.

Today the dog is outside, oblivious to the knocking of our feathered friend. If I knew Morse Code I am sure that bird is tapping a message; something profound.
Something to do with the shift of my writing space, which has also created an alteration of purpose, because with so many months devoted to book promotion I feel that my writer’s compass is off. There is a strong pull to let go and let what I’ve done find its way and give myself permission to do this without penalties attached.

I keep a calendar on my kitchen counter. Every day there is a painting or print from museums around the world. Today there is a black and white print of The Large Cat by Cornelis Visscher (1629-1662). This feline is over three hundred years old, drawn by a man who died at thirty-three. I wondered what he would think if he knew I had my morning cup-of-tea looking at his large cat. I wondered too just what becomes of all we do and all we have created, centuries from now. Perhaps my tapping woodpecker had the answer or maybe Mark Twain did when he said: “If you would have your work last forever, and by forever I mean fifty years, it must neither overtly preach nor overtly teach, but it must covertly preach and covertly teach.”

Blog what you hear, see, think and feel…

Linda Merlino

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Perfect Day

Tuesday, October 14th was a perfect day for me, one of those rare calm occasions when there are no major errands to run (except to the voting poll), the to-do chore list is about done, and all is right in one's family--no drama or things going wrong, no dog pooping on the carpet. So I allowed my mind to get into the writing groove. Not the quick, shallow groove where one writes on the fly between day-job and domestic duties, but someone who stretches out on the sofa in an empty, quiet house and picks up a chapter and allows the mind to think and create, and to edit ... a new phrase here, a crossed line there ... page after page of sharpening, tightening, clarifying.

In the afternoon, I really indulged by putting the chapter down and turning to a short story I've been trying to work on for weeks. The story will be one of my longer pieces. I've written twenty-three pages so far and the first draft is not yet finished. But once that first draft is done it will be cut and sharpened and polished ten to fifteen times--more in some spots--until I'm happy with it.

Short stories have never been a quick process for me. Even the 250 word flash fiction pieces require time and attention and rewriting, but it's one of the most satisfying types of writing I do. I've written fifty-six stories - some mysteries, others mainstream, humorous, and even a horror/ghost story. Fifty-four of them have been published, and the last two are being marketed. I've started posting some of the published pieces on Authors Den, so if you'd like to read any please visit my page at

When things get rough, and I'm swamped with real life, I'll remember October 14th and know that a perfect day can happen with a little planning and maybe a little luck. I wish all of you perfect days of your own.

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

Saturday, October 18, 2008

'Dare to Dream and Dream BIG' - the motto I've lived by

Note: Ironically, my post ties in to Karen's just below. You know you're addicted to blogging when you still post something even though you've been suffering from major food poisoning for the past 2 days. This is the first day I've left the house and that was to go to the doctor for tests and medication. And we leave for Vegas on Monday...sigh...

Anyway, please enjoy today's post. It was featured on

Daring to Dream Big

I’ve always been a dreamer, and I’ve always believed in dreaming BIG. Ever since I was a young girl, my goal was to become the next Stephen King―or 'Stephanie', at least. It’s been a long, hard journey, but one well worth it, and now I am published and on my way to greater success. I learned that with a dream, anything is possible. With a BIG dream, one never stops reaching higher. This is my story…

Read the rest of my story at

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
bestselling author of Whale Song

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Dare to dream? Or succumb to fears of failure?

It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult. ~Seneca

Dare to dream? Or succumb to fears of failure?

A collection of rejection letters dating back to 1997. You can bet some of these have tear stains on them.
A drawer full of scripts and novels and stories battered and bruised by rejections. But I'll never throw them away because they remind me that I have many more stories in me.

The one story that made it past the rejections. These are the original notes and edits and drafts for JANEOLOGY. On the day the novel was published, a new round of rejections began. And they aren't just in my drawer. They are public.

Should you dare to dream? Yeah, it's a dare for certain. It takes courage. No one can dream your dream for you. There will be many obstacles and more reasons to quit than to keep going. But how do you know if God's plan is that you must have 51 rejections to reach the one yes? That the 52nd try is the one that will take off? That all the time spent dreaming, nay WORKING, was all to make you better, stronger, impervious to rejection. And what if you quit at attempt 39? Well, you would never reach your dream summit.Once you reach your dream summit, as I have, you are still in for bruising judgment and critique. But you'll be able to endure that because of the years of blood, sweat and rejection that preceded it.
I learned to be the drill sergeant to my own goals. And I hope you become that for yourself, too. You have to want it more than the other guy. This is one reason you will observe extremely successful artists, singers and writers and say to yourself, "Uh, what's so great about their art? I can do better than that?"Yes, but those people are on their dream summit not because they were the MOST talented, but because they wanted it more than anyone else and they WORKED harder.

And I suspect that, like me, that the fearful dare to dream did not stifle them - it fueled them.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Wine Buyer's Guide

Whenever I lead a wine tasting, it seems that the same questions always come up. Millions of people are falling in love with wine and most of them are intimidated by the enormous variety that they see in the wine shop. Here's an excerpt from The Short Course in Wine that I hope will help.

Chapter 4 – Standing in the Wine Shop Trying to Make Sense of It All

When you finish this chapter, you will:
• Understand what makes one wine shop a better place to shop than another
• Understand the difference between red and white wine • Know when age helps a wine and when it hurts
• Appreciate the unique position of Beaujolais
• Know what makes sparkling wine sparkle
• Know how and when to best serve champagne
• Have a beginning of an idea about the appeal of fortified wine
• Appreciate why some sweet wines are so expensive even though most sweet wines are very cheap
• Understand why many great wines are very expensive

Now let’s turn from the sensual and pharmaceutical to the crassly commercial business of buying wine. You are standing, let’s say, in a well-stocked wine shop. You are staring at perhaps 8,000 different labels, and they seem, somehow, to be staring back at you. The whole thing is very intimidating. You know that wine is important, you know how to taste, and you are aware that alcohol, like fire, is a friend only if judiciously contained. None of that is the same as knowing what to bring home for dinner. Let’s reduce the confusion by sorting the wines out by type. [MN:
What should you look for in a wine shop? There are four things to keep in mind.
o Selection
Having thousands of bottles to choose from isn't the same thing as having a good selection. Many of the large discount stores simply pile in the wine, focussing on the labels that are most heavily advertised and the ones sold to them at the deepest discount. A good selection is one that's been carefully picked by a knowledgeable wine buyer. You're much better off choosing from a few hundred wines that have been tasted by someone in the store than from a few thousand that came in by the carload.

o Storage
Wine stored at temperatures over 80 degrees quickly loses its flavor.
That's why wines are often made and stored underground. It also explains why the bottle of wine that you left in the hot beach house doesn't taste as the one you drank right away. Shipboard containers, tractor trailers and uncooled warehouses do the same nasty thing. Look for a store where the temperature is around 60F/16C and the staff is wearing sweaters in summer, a sure sign that the place is well-cooled and the wine is happy. If there’s no cashmere in sight, ask where the wine that’s not on the shelves is stored and at what temperature that room is maintained. (Sometimes turnover on a sales floor can be so rapid that a slightly warmer room doesn’t matter.)

o Information
A good wine store is a good source of information. Sometimes wine merchants have merchandise that they were forced to buy and they may want to dump it on you. It's a good idea to ask the wine guy to recommend a few bottles. If you like what you bought, if there are no more than one or two obvious losers, then you may want to keep doing business at that store.

o Price
Wine prices vary widely and I have never found one store that's consistently lower than all its competitors. Even the big discount shops are not reliable money savers. The best way to save money is to subscribe to the various newsletters that the shops mail out to their customers. Remember that the only real saving is a good price on a wine that you enjoy, and that there's nothing special about a 'special' on bad wine.

• • • •

You can find out more about The New Short Course in Wine by clicking here. Or you can get the first chapter of bang BANG-the exciting new novel about sex, guns and wine here.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Balancing Promotion With the Rest of My Life is Going to Get Tougher

After seven months of promoting Fatal Encryption and a new job starting this week, I've begun to ask myself how much more should I do? Since March, book promotion has been a seven-day-a-week job combined with writing and market searching/submitting my short stories. (Did I ever mention that I write short stories too?) To be honest, I only spend two to three hours promoting each day, which is probably why there's still so much to do--about two years worth of work, I figure.

I might have mentioned that I bought Steve Weber's how-to-promote-yourself book, Plug Your Book, some time ago. I read the book through and loved it, but I've barely started incorporating the many useful tips he offers for promoting. With time becoming more limited, it looks like I'll have to assess what's essential and what isn't. It could be a hard call.

Meanwhile, I have two events coming up. On Tuesday, October 28th, I'll be reading from Fatal Encryption at the Port Moody library, at 100 Newport Drive, Port Moody, BC. It's a Halloween event and since my first two chapters take place on Halloween, the library kindly asked me to read to the parents while someone else reads to their kids. The event starts at 7 p.m. and if anyone out there lives in the Lower Mainland, you're welcome to join us. For further info, call 604-469-4577.

My local Chapters (in Coquitlam) also invited me back to do another Meet 'N Greet on Saturday, November 8th from 12 to 3 p.m. I'll be selling both books at a discounted price, so if you're looking for a gift idea for the accountant and/or computer geek in your family, have I got a deal for you.

For excerpts of Fatal Encryption and Taxed to Death visit

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Blog One Word

There is one word, a four-letter word that binds us to life. That word is hope. Without hope there is no reason to be, no reason to survive or to carry on. Hope is our glue, our daily dose of spiritual vitamin that prevents the breakdown of spirit and the onset of despair.

We must remember how fragile hope can be, how the maintaining of this four-letter word requires the love and support of family. Holding on to the thread of hope when you are faced with the possibility of your own demise is a challenge. Cancer shuts off the music in our lives, it takes up residence uninvited. Cancer moves in and spreads itself out. The treatment of this disease takes over. One day you could get up and go about your ordinary life and the next day you are tagged for chemotherapy, mastectomy, and/or radiology by a staff of nurses and doctors trying to give you every chance to survive.

Emotionally, hope can become elusive almost transparent. You could lose hope at any turn and then what? What would you do? Hudson Catalina is faced with that question and struggles with her own loss of hope. The decent into darkness that is represented by my book’s title has been the subject of several questions. Since hope is also part of having faith then its presence in each of our lives needs to be acknowledged and given its own chance to survive. Cancer crosses boundaries of culture, religion and genetics. It does not discriminate; it is not racist, anti-Semitic or bound by rules and convention.

Cancer laughs in the face hope, but there is no stronger medicine, no elixir or potion. In the end, if we keep hope alive, if we hold on through the darkest of days when there is light again, whether it is the beacon of God’s lantern, or the light in our kitchen, with hope and love we are victorious.

Please stop by Belly of the Whale’s Virtual Book Tour which is dedicated to Breast Cancer Awareness. Here are some of the upcoming stops, welcome aboard.
October 7-The Library at the End of the Universe
October 8-Café of Dreams
October 9-The Merits of the Case
October 10-Café of Dreams
October 13-Scribe Vibe
October 14-Literarily
Blog what you see, hear, think and feel.

Vonnegut's 8 Rules of Writing

1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.

2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.

3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.

4. Every sentence must do one of two things -- reveal character or advance the action.

5. Start as close to the end as possible.

6. Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them -- in order that the reader may see what they are made of.

7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.

8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

-- Vonnegut, Kurt Vonnegut, Bagombo Snuff Box: Uncollected Short Fiction (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons 1999), 9-10.


Brought to you by the mildly talented, K. Harrington, author of JANEOLOGY (you must visit to see what this word means)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Review of the iPhone: Finding Bliss on my new iPhone 3G!

10/10 happy faces

I bought the new iPhone 3G a couple of weeks ago (the first Apple product I have owned), and I have to tell you--I LOVE IT! It is sheer "bliss". The phone is sleek and easy to hold. More importantly, it is super easy to use. Everything is activated by touch or a quick flick of your finger. And it's FUN! I've never had a "fun phone" before this.

I would recommend this phone to anyone, especially to those who have problems using the regular phone-style keypad to text. It is also the perfect phone to give to someone who may be "technically challenged" because once you comprehend how it works, it is easy to use.

Here are some of the things I like about the iPhone 3G:

Usefulness & User Friendly
In the past, my other cell phones have been used for the calendar, once in a blue moon for the game on it, but mostly as a phone--that's it. With my iPhone, I can:
  • download my email contact list in Outlook (or others) so that I have all my contacts on my phone
  • call friends just by touching their name in my contact list
  • activate the speaker by one touch during any call
  • access the internet and enlarge parts of any website or turn the iPhone horizontally for easier reading
  • send out a Twitter post in seconds
  • plan my schedule in the calendar (I actually use this more now)
  • use Google Maps to help me navigate and GPS to see exactly where I am and what's around me (makes ordering pizza a breeze)
  • download numerous applications, music, videos etc from iTunes, plus from my computer (did that all on day 1)
  • take great pictures; it's a camera too--I can view them separately or as a slideshow
  • download photos from my laptop or PC to my phone
  • get a TV guide app that will show me what's on TV--great for when I'm traveling (only US for now but they promise Canadian compatibility is on the way)
  • get a movie app that shows me what movies are on, where and when (even in Canada!)
  • gives me a direct link to YouTube so I can watch clips (get the 6G or higher data package!)
  • check the weather forecast for the week--anywhere (great for when traveling!)
  • check our stocks (not a pretty picture right now!)
  • set world clocks (great for traveling!)
  • play numerous games that I can download from iTunes (many simulate the Wii experience)
  • use as an iPod, complete with headphones and speaker so I can take calls while listening to music (much like having a bluetooth)
  • send and receive email (easy to read and to type)
  • easily send text messages*
  • type notes and email them to myself so I can save on my PC**
I could text on my last phone, but I hated using the tiny numerical keypad. I'm not a teenager that can rapidly fire off a whole paragraph in mere seconds. It took me forever to type a text message. So I rarely used that function.

With my new iPhone, texting is a breeze--and fun. It is made easy by the use of a simulated keyboard that pops up. Since I'm a writer, using a keyboard is second nature to me. The letters on the iPhone keyboard are quite large and easy to tap. When you tap a letter and hold for a second, the letter pops up enlarged, making it easier to read for those of us who have vision issues. I don't even need my reading glasses for this.

All text conversations are stored so you can flick back over a conversation that may have taken place over weeks. You can read both sides of the conversation in colored balloons. Or you can erase the conversation and start fresh.

The notes application opens to a legal pad (yellow pad with lines). All you have to do is tap on a line to drop the cursor, then use the keyboard to type. With all typing on this phone, you can touch and hold and a magnifying bubble comes up, helping you to see the text more easily. This way you can move the cursor if you need to correct something. With the iPhone's smart technology, it'll offer you suggestions for words that you accept by tapping the space bar.

Finding Bliss
Two nights ago, I discovered just how much this note app will help me. I write novels--suspense mainly. Because my imagination is so active and is always "on", I am often blasted with an idea for a novel at the least convenient time. Sometimes while I'm driving, sometimes while I'm watching TV. In these cases, I scramble around for paper, write down my thoughts, then end up losing or misplacing the paper if I haven't entered the info on my computer.

Two nights ago this happened. I was watching TV and a commercial came on. It was for Bliss chocolates. First, it made me want chocolate (lol). But the more I looked at the word "Bliss" in its pretty scrolling font, the more I started to picture a young girl--named Bliss.


I was blasted with a story that made me sit up in my chair and reach for my iPhone. I couldn't let this idea or Bliss escape. I had to capture her story right away. So I made some notes. When I was done I had a very brief plot outline. I was extremely happy to see that I could email it to myself, which I did. Then I went on my PC, opened the email and copied the text into a new folder with the title of this new YA novel--Finding Bliss.

The following day I told my husband about my new novel idea and about Bliss and my iPhone note feature. While we sat in the mall, another piece of her story showed itself to me. So out came my iPhone, type-type-type send.

As my husband and I talked, he gave me a terrific idea. I am going to write Finding Bliss on my iPhone! A complete novel, using the notes feature. The iPhone will also be featured in my novel; someone will be using it. Marc suggested I contact Apple and let them know what I'm doing and how I'm using the new iPhone 3G. I think that's a great idea. They might get a kick out of the fact that a bestselling Canadian author is using her iPhone to write a novel.

I have already started Chapter 1 of Finding Bliss. My plan is to write it on the iPhone, then edit it on my PC.

As for Bliss chocolates, I bought a bag to celebrate. They're heavenly. :)

And my new novel? It will be a project of love.

Finding Bliss will be an emotional, heartwarming story of a teenager who must fight to survive a world of abuse, lies and loss. As she struggles to find herself, Bliss will discover exactly where she belongs and she'll learn that she is worthy of love after all.

bestselling author of Whale Song

Monday, October 06, 2008

Is American fiction of high quality?

One man doesn’t think so – and he’s a Nobel judge. This week's The Telegraph reports:

As the Swedish Academy enters final deliberations for this year's literature award, permanent secretary Horace Engdahl said that writers from the country that produced Philip Roth, John Updike, Ernest Hemingway and F Scott Fitzgerald were "too sensitive to trends in their own mass culture," dragging down the quality of their work.
“Yes,” says Engdahl,” it sometimes seems that the typical American novel is about a writer who has six friends who also happen to be writers. But there are also excellent modern American authors."

Hmmm. I scanned my shelves and two of my last 5 reads do, in fact, involve angst-ridden writers. (A Window Across The River/Matrimony) But even if the Nobels aren't given to them, there are some pretty happy American authors who are doing just fine. Here's a list of of the world's highest paid authors from Forbes'" Magazine.

But hey, Nobel judges aren't the only ones with reading pet peeves. Imagine if it was your job to read through hundreds of manuscripts? Well, Writer's Digest recently compiled a hilarious article called What Agents Hate.

A couple to-don'ts from this article that struck my reader/writer fancy:

“Avoid any description of the weather.”—Denise Marcil, Denise Marcil Literary Agency

“In romance, I can’t stand this scenario: A woman is awakened to find a strange man in her bedroom—and then automatically finds him attractive. I’m sorry, but if I awoke to a strange man in my bedroom, I’d be reaching for a weapon—not admiring the view.” —Kristin Nelson, Nelson Literary Agency

Stumbled across this little gem from the Big Bad Book Blog - an article called Fonts That Make You Look Lame.

Well, glad I found that before I commited to Web-Dings Wing-Dings.

You know, maybe today is the day YOU write a great American novel. Okay, maybe not a novel, but you could write one sentence. At OneSentence, you are invited to write a true story in one sentence. Lots of cool entries there. For example, here's mine:

"In the misty, morning light just after the rain had stopped, I could tell from the font of his tattoo that the handsome stranger in my bedroom would judge my American, angst ridden novel about my writer friends Nobel worthy."

This happens to me all the time. I swear.

What's your one true sentence today?

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Depression & Suicide: Help those in need step "Out of the Darkness"

If you've read my novel Whale Song or are familiar with the story of my brother Jason's murder in 2006, you'll know that depression is a topic I am familiar with. Depression hits hard and is often undiagnosed and unseen until too late. It led directly to my brother's death. He suffered from depression and it made it very difficult for him to hold down a job or stay in one place.

I am also familiar with suicide. My closest friend from childhood committed suicide years ago. And I have had my own personal battles with it in the past. Thoughts of suicide are practically an every day event for teens, and often for adults who can't cope with daily stress. Something must be done!

Karen, one of my good friends, shared with me the story of her husband's life...and his death. I was so saddened by what she told me. It brought such strong feelings within me. Most of all, I felt that her husband loved her deeply, but was just a lost soul who couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel. Those who choose to die can never see the light.

Karen wrote me recently about an event she is participating in, one that I have supported financially and one that I hope you'll consider supporting too. Here is her message, which she has asked me to post here.

Just over two years ago my husband died as a result of suicide after a life-long battle with depression. The last two months of his life were extremely hard for him, the pain of depression hurt throughout his entire body, and medications that he was given usually made the depression worsen or had side effects that were too difficult for him and one day he threw them all away. A few days later he was gone and my life, and all who loved him, have not been the same. So many times he would tell me that assisted suicide should be legal and that one day it will be, that I could mark his words.

I met Cheryl Kaye Tardif online and began a friendship with her after reading her latest novel, “Whale Song”. I wrote to tell her how much I enjoyed the book and that I could identify with each of the characters on almost every level and how touched I was by the story. This is a book that you should read, especially those that have lost someone that they love, no matter what type of loss. To me the book was haunting, spiritual, loving, insightful...I could go on and on.

On October 11th I will be taking part in the AFSP (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention) Out of the Darkness Walk in Portland, Oregon. AFSP is a non-profit group that brings awareness to suicide, depression, and mental illness as well as offer support to those who have survived the loss of someone to suicide and those contemplating suicide. It is a wonderful organization that I have been involved in since my husband died. If you would like to donate to this worthy cause, go to my donation page at

Cheryl has graciously offered a signed and personalized copy of two of her novels, “Whale Song” and “Divine Intervention”, to the first person to donate $100 to the walk in my name. Although the walk is on October 11th, you can continue to donate until December 31, 2008. Thank you Cheryl, you’re an incredible person and incredible author!
I will definitely be very happy to give away those 2 books.

Just think: be the first to donate $100 and you'll get 2 books valued at $36. And your money is going to a very worthy cause. I will also give the recipient some bookmarks and a personalized bookplate for each book.

Please consider donating any amount. Suicide should never happen and with your help, people's lives CAN be saved.

Donate now!

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Word on the Street Fair

Last Sunday, September 27th, was Vancouver's annual Word on the Street Fair. This free, one-day event is held the last Sunday of every September in Vancouver at the main library and in Toronto as well as a couple of other cities (this can vary from year to year). It's a wonderful opportunity for people to meet local writers, talk about books, attend readings and panel discussions, and browse through the many small press magazines and books published in our province. Lots of musical entertainment is also provided and it's just a great day of fun all round. Fun being the key word here.

Writing and promoting is hard work, which is why it's good to get out there and simply talk to people when you can. Find out what they like to read, what they'll buy and won't buy, and who for? Themselves? Someone else? One of the interesting things I learned was how many mystery readers are out there, yet how little they know about the local writers. Many of them hadn't heard of our national organization, Crime Writers of Canada, but we did our best to change that by handing out a catalogue of authors' books and signing people up to receive more info about us and CWW. One by one, we're spreading the word about who we are and what we write. It was great fun and if anyone has an opportunity to attend next year's WOTS as either author or reader, I really recommend it.

Near the end of the day, a couple came up to me and bought a copy of each of my books to read on their long flight back to Australia. I should be so lucky to travel that far!

To read excerpts of Fatal Encryption and Taxed to Death visit

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Press release about Whale Song and Dallas Rocks 2008

Whale Song, a Bestselling Novel by Canadian Author Cheryl Kaye Tardif, to be Gifted to Celebrities at Dallas Rocks 2008 Gala Benefit Dinner and Afterparty

DALLAS, TX, October 03, 2008 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Canadian author Cheryl Kaye Tardif is thrilled to be donating 125 copies of her bestselling novel Whale Song to the VIP bags that will go to celebrities and special guests attending Dallas Rocks 2008. This fundraising event is in support of Russell Simmons' Diamond Empowerment Fund, which helps raise funds and bring education to economically disadvantaged people in Africa who are affected by the diamond industry.

Dallas Rocks will honor legendary basketball star Earvin "Magic" Johnson, who played for the Los Angeles Lakers. Johnson, now retired, was honored as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996, and enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002. Since his retirement, he's been an advocate for HIV/AIDS prevention and safe sex, as well as a philanthropist.

The hosts of Dallas Rocks 2008:

*Russell Simmons - In 2007, USA Today named Russell Simmons one of the "Top 25 Most Influential People of the Past 25 Years," calling him a "hip-hop pioneer" for his groundbreaking vision that has influenced music, fashion, finance, television and film, as well as the face of modern philanthropy.

*Pat and Emmitt Smith - Pat (Laurence) Smith is an actress, and her husband Emmitt is the Dallas Cowboys star running back.

The MC for the evening is Fox News Anchor, Suzanne Sena. Other guests expecting to attend - celebrities, athletes, business leaders, social leaders, and national and regional media.

The goal of the evening is to raise awareness and funds for the Russell Simmons' The Diamond Empowerment Fund (D.E.F.) a non-profit international organization that raises money to support education initiatives for disadvantaged people in African nations where diamonds are a natural resource. D.E.F.'s first beneficiary is CIDA City Campus, a model for higher education in Johannesburg, South Africa. Every student at this higher education institution is on scholarship and comes from a background of extreme economic disadvantage.

Canadian author Cheryl Kaye Tardif contacted Rhonda Bunton, President of Lush & Luxe PR, the company in charge of creating spectacular VIP gift bags for the celebrities attending this event and many others. Tardif arranged, with her publisher Kunati Books, to have 125 copies of Whale Song added to the VIP bags because she was inspired by the event and it's worthy cause.

"I have many friends from Africa, and I am an advocate of education and literacy," Tardif says. "Since my novel Whale Song deals with youth, racial discrimination and forgiveness, I thought it would fit very well with the event. I'd love to hear from anyone who receives Whale Song in their bag, and I wish Russell Simmons the very best in reaching his goals and dreams."

Whale Song is an award-winning, critically acclaimed bestselling novel. Booklist calls it "moving...sweet and sad" and "Tardif, a big hit in Canada...a name to reckon with south of the border." Tardif's other novels The River and Divine Intervention are "darker, more suspenseful".

Whale Song makes the perfect Christmas gift for anyone 7-108, and a percentage of the author's royalties goes to three Canadian nonprofit organizations to help combat homelessness, poverty and addictions.

Dallas Rocks 2008 takes place on Friday, November 7th, 2008, from 6:30 pm to 1:00 am at Dallas Cityplace. Guests at the gala will enjoy a 'Diamond Dinner' created by award-winning chefs. The dinner will be held on the 39th floor of Cityplace, with spectacular views of the Dallas skyline, and will be followed by an Afterparty. Dallas Rocks promises to be "one of the premier events of the year".

For more information, please visit Dallas Rocks.

For information on Canadian author Cheryl Kaye Tardif, please visit her website at

Whale Song (ISBN: 1601640072) is available at your favorite bookstore. If it's not in stock, you can have them order it in. Whale Song is also available at online retailers, including Amazon, Chapters, Barnes and Noble and many more.

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