Sunday, December 27, 2009

Was 2009 a Good Year?

At the end of every December, I reflect on my writing progress to determine what went well and what I could do better next year. Truth is there are plenty of things I would have done more often and probably better if I wasn’t a working mom. But I did the best I could with whatever time and energy I had, and I’m very grateful for the things that went well.

This year, I took part in twice as many writing events as I have in the past: panel discussions, workshops, and readings. All were great fun.

My first mystery Taxed to Death also made it into the world of Kindle which has resulted in more sales and readers.

I wrote and published nearly 190 blogs, reviews, articles, and essays this year. I’ve edited two and a half novels, started writing another, and all of my short pieces have either been published or accepted for publication. Which means I have to get to work on creating more pieces.

Best of all, I’ve made new friends through various social networking avenues. So many people have shared advice and offered support, and I tried to reciprocate. In the end, writing and promoting is as much about helping one another as it is about finding your niche or your voice. And that’s really what made this a good year.

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

Fatal Encryption is available through at and Taxed to Death can be found at

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Promote My Novel: How to identify who your target market is (Lesson 2) is an online service that helps writers

Peace and Creativity and Goodwill Toward Men

This week has been one of those rare moments in 2009 when I’ve felt truly at peace. The reason: my kids are happy (daughter’s final exams were successful, and my son’s high school is officially on break), the Christmas tree’s up, the cards mailed, and shopping almost done. But also, I’m on an eleven day break from the day job – the first time I’ve had any time off in December since 2001. Although I’m busily finishing Christmas preparations, catching up on housework, and compiling a short list of other projects to accomplish before returning to work, life still feels relaxed.

It always happens when I stop living by the clock and put more writing time into my day. It doesn’t have to be a lot. For me, two hours of creativity, plus some social networking each day is all I need for happiness. This is also one of those very rare times where every short story, article, and essay I’ve submitted over the past few years has either been published or accepted for publication. Which means I really need to complete more short pieces in the new year.

I wish the same peace for all of you out there. Have a lovely holiday, however you choose to celebrate your precious time away from the clock.

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

Fatal Encryption is available through at and Taxed to Death can be found at

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Overheard At A Booksigning

Very true exchanges between me and bookstore customers over the last two years.

Of my books on the signing table.

“Are these complimentary?”


Of the title, Janeology.

"Geez, is this ANOTHER book about Jane Austen?"

(After I stopped laughing, I said, no, it wasn't remotely concerned with Ms. Austen.)

Of my pitch - After his wife Jane commits an unthinkable murder, her grieving husband struggles to find a possible explanation for her actions – were they due her lack of nurturing as a child? Did she inherit a tendency toward violence from her ancestors, some with dark, criminal lives?

“Oh, we all have black sheep in our family. My brother’s wife just left him and he’s now realizing it had something to do with her mother. Now THAT'S a story you should write."

(His story made me feel akin to bartenders. If I have enough signings, I WILL have enough material for another book.)

Of me just standing there all alone, stacking and re-stacking my books for about 30 minutes.

"Hey, do you know where the bathroom is?"

(If I had a nickel for everytime I was asked this question....)

Of my description of the book to a kind old man.

“Sounds good. Let me go ask my wife.”

(Sweet! Here she comes and she has a bunch of mystery books in her basket!)

Of my offer to sign a book for a woman.

“Oh, are you the author?”

(Doh, I failed to introduce myself!)

Of my introduction to the next person who approached my table, “Hi, I’m the author Karen Harrington.”

“Hello the AUTHOR Karen Harrington.”

(Okay, now I really feel silly. Steve Martin in The Lonely Guy silly.)

Of the mints on my signing table.

“What are these for?”

(Well, you see. The books are complimentary. But that mint will set you back about $17 bucks.)

Of the woman who ran over to my table with her hubby and told me her name was Jane.

Hubby: “If I read this, will I understand my wife better?”

Me: Ha Ha! Maybe. Here’s a bookmark.” (She leaves. Returns 10 mintues later.)

“OMG! My husband’s name is Tom!” (See, the couple in my book are Jane and Tom.)

(So, you'd probably guess that they bought a copy, but no. Sigh.)

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

(You know how you felt in high-school when you tried to come up with something cool to say and all that came out was "Hey, your shoe is untied." Yeah. That's about right.)

Of the guy who walked into the store and made a bee-line to my signing table.

"I'm in sales, too. Make your pitch in 30 seconds. Go!"

(Are you serious? Gulp! Happy to say he bought the book.)


I'm usually hanging out here if you want to stop by and say hello!

Everything in Service to the Story

I’ve been retyping some of the outtakes from A Spark of Heavenly Fire. These are the scenes I deleted from the book (and apparently also deleted from my computer, hence the retyping). Since the story takes place in December, and this is December (as if you didn’t know) I thought I would celebrate by posting those scenes on my blog.

I expected to be embarrassed by my puerile writing, but some of the deleted work was surprisingly good. The scenes were nicely set up, fairly well written, and advanced the plot, but unfortunately they did not serve the overall story.

One of the hardest lessons I had to learn while writing is that everything in a novel is in service to the story. Nothing stands alone -- not the writing, not the characters, not the plot, not the individual scenes. Perhaps what I’m talking about is balance and flow. If a good scene stops the flow, it’s not a good scene. If a minor character is so weighty that he overbalances the hero, his scenes need to be restricted. A couple of the scenes worked quite well to show the onset of martial law in quarantined Denver, but they were from the standpoint of Jeremy King, the hero of the secondary story. Kate was supposed to be the driving force of the book, and she barely showed up in the first fifty pages. So poor Jeremy had to go.

If you’d like to see my outtakes, you can find them here:
A Spark of Heavenly Fire Outtake #1
A Spark of Heavenly Fire Outtake #2
A Spark of Heavenly Fire Outtake #3
A Spark of Heavenly Fire Outtake #4
A Spark of Heavenly Fire Outtake #5
A Spark of Heavenly Fire Outtake #6

Pat Bertram is also the author of More Deaths Than One and Daughter Am I.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Do You Keep A Journal?

When I was 23, I started keeping a journal in an attempt to purge the bad feelings in a tumultuous relationship. That exercise helped me put things in perspective. I ended the relationship and kept on writing.

More than 30 years later, I still keep a journal, although rather than hand-write in a coiled notebook, I now type each entry onto the computer. My handwriting’s gotten messier over the years and I type faster than I write anyway. For me, journaling is an essential part of the creative process. As a mom and wife, it’s also a treasured record of things that happened as the kids grew. If my memory starts to fail some day, at least I'll be able to read about special events, emotions, disappointments, achievements, routines, and such. But here’s what I also know: journals are a valuable source for fiction.

I’ve been working on a short story that takes place in a youth detention centre. I began the piece by drawing on my volunteer experiences back in 1977. But it quickly became apparent that I couldn’t remember the type of details that would make the scenes more authentic. So, I dug out my old journals and began reading about life inside those walls. Fortunately, I wrote a lot of entries back then, partly because I needed the information for term papers, but also because I was interested in what was happening inside. At that time, I had no idea how useful the information would be to me all these years later, but I can’t think of a better reason for a writer to start keeping a journal. If you haven’t yet, it’s never too late.

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

Fatal Encryption is available through at and Taxed to Death can be found at

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Two Writers Who Make a Difference

One of the nicest things about being an independently published author is that I’ve had a chance to meet other authors who share the same struggles I do. Many of them are supportive, generous people who give their time helping other authors in a variety of ways.

One of these writers is Edward Patterson, author of thirteen books, and one of the most energetic promoters I’ve ever met. But Ed is doing much more than that. One day, while on one of amazon’s discussion groups, he started corresponding with a soldier stationed in Iraq and discovered that some of the soldiers have Kindle readers. One thing led to another and before Ed knew it he’d launched Operation Ebook Drop, a program created to donate ebooks to soldiers overseas. The program is only 12 weeks old and 290 authors have already joined. Needless to say, the Operation Ebook Drop is growing dramatically, and those on the front lines are quickly gaining access to a wide variety of ebooks, thanks to Ed.

To learn more about Operation Ebook Drop you can visit and you can also listen to Ed talk about this on on Monday, December the 7th, 2009 @ 7PM CST:

Which brings me to my second writer who’s making a difference. Author and radio host Bobby Ozuna has been a big promoter of writers for some time and his new half-hour program, The Indie Author Shows on offers all kinds of interesting discussions, usually featuring a guest author each week. To learn more about Bobby, visit

And don’t forget to catch the show Monday night!

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

Fatal Encryption is available on Kindle at and Taxed to Death’s Kindle version can be found at

Friday, December 04, 2009

Pre-Anniversary of A Spark of Heavenly Fire

Is there such a thing as an anniversary before something happens? A pre-anniversary? The first chapter of A Spark of Heavenly Fire begins on Friday, December 2, which means the year in which the story takes place will be 2011. I didn't specifically choose that year, but certain events needed to happen on weekends, others on weekdays, and the year ended up being 2011 by default. I never mentioned the year in the book, so it's mostly a trivial issue. Today is the two-year pre-anniversary of the onset of the story, however, and to celebrate, all month long I will be posting outtakes of the book on my blog.

Sounds easy, right? Wrong. Somewhere along the line I deleted the computer version of the first draft (or perhaps there wasn't a computer version. I wrote it before I had a computer). I dug out my handwritten copy and am retyping some of the deleted parts. And there are a lot of them! The original draft was over 118,000 words, the final version less than 95,000. At least 4,000 of those words were justs and onlys and thats and beginning tos, which I worked hard to eradicate, so I don't intend to bring them back, not even for curiosity's sake.

Still, there many scenes that I deleted in order to get to the action quicker. Like many new authors, I frontloaded the book with information that slowed the story. I kept thinking that if only people could get past the first fifty pages, they would like the book -- it's a solid story with solid characters in a disasterous situation that could actually happen. A real breakthrough in my writing occurred when I realized that no one would wade through fifty pages to get to the good part, so I needed to eliminate those pages.

Included in the eliminated pages was a substory about a real estate agent and a retired defensive back who had once been part of the legendary Bronco defense team The Orange Crush. The realtor was so sex-starved that she would do anything, even turn a blind eye when he started molesting her daughter, in order to keep him in her life and her bed. I was going to post the deleted scene here, but it's way more graphic than I realized. Whooo! It's one thing putting a scene like that in a book, and another to post it where anyone can take a peak. I've saved it, though, and perhaps one day I will find a use for it.

I also deleted many less than stellar scenes, but included a brief mention of the action in flashbacks or dialogue. It got the point across without the sludgery of the original version.

I never quite knew what to do with the handwritten draft, but I'm glad I kept it. And who knows -- someday I might be so famous (or even better -- infamous) and the thing will be worth a lot of money.

Read the outtakes of A Spark of Heavenly Fire on: Bertram's Blog
Read the first chapter of the published version here:
A Spark of Heavenly Fire
Free download: get the first 30% of A Spark of Heavenly Fire free at Smashwords
Read blurb (or buy!) at Second Wind Publishing: A Spark of Heavenly Fire

Pat Bertram is also the author of More Deaths Than One and Daughter Am I.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Which is the Better Buy, Kindle or Sony's Reader?

The buzz about Kindle’s availability in Canada last week prompted an interesting CTV news piece from the segment Olsen On Your Side. In this segment, consumer advocate Chris Olsen was comparing Kindles and Sony Readers to see if one was a better device than the other. Here's what his sources said:

Kindle offers crisp type and an easy-to-change font size. Also, if you’re tired of reading, Kindle will read to you! How cool is that? Also, with Kindle, you don’t need a computer and you can connect wirelessly to Amazon’s 300,000+ collection of book picks. A book takes about a minute to download.

While Sony’s Reader costs about the same as a Kindle ($259. U.S.), it’s bookstore has fewer titles. You will have access to Google’s library of free classics, however, which means lots of free books to read without spending a penny. The drawback with the Reader is that you have to install software on your computer to download a book, then transfer it with a USB cord. Still, it might be worth it to browse through an entire library for free. Regardless of which e-reader you choose, it looks like you’ll have fun!

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

Fatal Encryption is available on Kindle at and Taxed to Death’s Kindle version can be found at Both will be available on the Reader in future.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Promote My Novel: why targeting your audience is so important (Lesson 1) is an online service that helps writers

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Twitter 101: Using the new Retweet feature

Retweeting is a social way of acknowledging that someone's tweet has value and should be shared. When you see a tweet you like from one of the people you're following, you can re-send that tweet as a "retweet". The old way of doing this is simply to copy and paste their message and add "RT" plus their Twitter name @cherylktardif, then the message.

But Twitter has created a new automated Retweet feature. Most people seem to like the ease of this new feature, but many don't like that they can't add a personal comment to the message. The Retweet feature allows for no editing or adding of text. But that's also a plus as you don't have to figure out how to edit someone else's tweet to make the old "RT @cherylktardif" lead in fit.

The advantages to having one of your messages retweeted by a follower is that your message then goes out to all THEIR followers. Like the old shampoo commercial, "and they tell 2 friends, and so on and so on..", your tweet goes viral.

So here's how you now retweet using the new feature:

  1. You see a message on your home page (which shows tweets from those you're following) and you know all your followers should see.
  2. Retweet it by hovering over bottom right of the individual message. This activates the Reply link and the Retweet link.
  3. Click on "Retweet".
  4. A message pops up asking: "Retweet to your followers?" Click "Yes".
That's it. You're done. That tweet has been retweeted to all your followers. If you'd like to verify this, simply go to the top right, right beneath your twitter name and click on #tweets (the # being however many tweets you've sent out in total).

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Three Chances to Win a Copy of Daughter Am I

You have three chances to win a copy of Daughter Am I.

1. Eric Beetner, author of One Too Many Blows to the head is sponsoring an ebook contest for the new releases from Second Wind Publishing. To win a Daughter Am I ebook, all you have to do it go to the Second Wind blog and answer the question: "have you ever learned something shocking about your past? Maybe not murder but what rocked your world once you found out?" I know you have learned something that rocked your world -- for example, how did you feel when you found out where you (and all babies) came from? See, it's not so hard! You can also answer another question to win an ebook of One Too Many Blows to the Head by J.B. Kohl and Eric Beetner and a third question to win a copy of False Positive by JJ Dare.

Click here to find the contest: Free Ebook Giveaway of the Latest Thrillers

2. At A Book Blogger's Diary, all you have to do is leave a comment saying why you want to read Daughter Am I (because it was written by me, of course!). Click here to find the giveaway: A Book Blogger's Diary

3. And finally, you can win the only signed proof copy of Daughter Am I and have fun doing it by going on a treasure hunt. Click here for a chance to win the book: Treasure Hunt!

Bonus: Download the first 30% of Daughter Am I free at: Smashwords

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Kindle Now Available in Canada!

If you’ve been following my blogs, you’ll know that I’ve written about e-books and electronic readers a couple of times, based on research from American readers. Well, this week it’s been announced that Kindle is finally available to Canadians for about $259 (U.S.) plus shipping costs. Although my budget prevents me from buying one right away, Kindle’s availability is certainly good news.

A writing colleague ordered one within hours of the announcement and can’t wait to use it. She just returned from a two-week vacation, where half of her suitcase contained books to read. Since Kindles can carry up to about 10,000 books, she won't have to worry about muscle strain in future. Also, Amazon currently has over 300,000 titles available for sale at very reasonable prices, and you can bet that number will grow.

In a recent Globe and Mail article, journalist Virginia Galt reported that while electronic books made up only 1% of the buying market in 2008. That number has doubled in 2009 and Indigo CEO Heather Reisman speculates that this figure could jump to 15% over the next five years. I think she’s right. This is bad news for authors whose works aren’t available on Kindle or Sony Readers, and is why all writers should make sure there’s a clause in their contract providing for electronic publication in a timely manner.

Galt also wrote that a small private school is ordering Sony readers for their students. These readers will be preloaded with textbooks, course outlines, and assignments, under an arrangement with Sony and textbook publisher Pearson Canada. Is this the wave of the future? I can’t picture universities doing this, given the price and size of student enrollment, however, I can see post secondary institutes eventually making textbooks and curriculum materials available on readers and encouraging students to purchase one themselves. They might not be cheaper than the price of a print textbook—in fact, I think they’ll be more expensive—but it sure will be convenient for students to have all of their books and materials in one handheld device...until they lose them and, trust me, that will happen. To read the entire Globe and Mail article go to

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

Fatal Encryption is available through at and Taxed to Death can be found at

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Twitter 101: Creating Twitter Lists

Twitter recently introduced a new Lists feature. Now you can organize the people you're following and find them much easier. You can catagorize your lists in any way you like.

I created a list of some of my favorite authors. Later, I plan to make a list of Canadian authors, then one for publishers, etc.

If you haven't already explored list-making on Twitter or if you haven't figured out how to make a Twitter List, please visit Twitter 101: Creating Twitter Lists for complete, easy to follow instructions.

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Kudos to Writers Who Want to Learn

Yesterday, I was one of six presenters at a one-day workshop organized by the Surrey Writers School. The event was called Writers’ Express and for forty-five minutes each presenter discussed their topic. Mine was Traditional Versus Self-Publishing: 25 Tips to Help You Decide.

As is common at workshops, some writers had been writing for a long time, others were published or just venturing into publishing while other attendees were new writers. The thing that drew everyone to the workshop, though, was the desire to learn. In my opinion, being willing to learn is a crucial element to successful writing and publishing.

It often seems like everybody wants to write a book. Maybe everyone really does have a story in them, but there are lots of different ways to tell it, and a number of different roads to publication. There are also people who refuse to take constructive criticism from anyone about their work in progress, or advice about how best to publish it. Many of them are doomed to flounder.

With over one million books being published worldwide every year, we all need to produce the best work we possibly can. And we need to keep working, learning and growing to be able to move our writing lives forward in whatever direction it takes us. So, kudos to those who spend their hard-earned money on workshops, conferences, editors, books, including how-to guides, and any other tool necessary to rise above and stand out. As long as we’re learning, we’re on the right track.

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

Fatal Encryption is available through at and Taxed to Death can be found at

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Daughter Am I Blog Tour -- Final Week

My Daughter Am I blog tour is winding down -- I have seven days to go (eight if you include today) and I don't know whether to be sad or to rejoice. Since my promotion motto is "Promotion is just another word for party," I decided to rejoice and have an end of blog tour party on the 22nd and 23rd. You are all invited, of course.

The most interesting aspect of the tour has been coming up with unique guest posts that highlight various elements of the story. Unique, in this case, meaning that all the posts for the tour were different. I range from talking about the hero's quest, to gangsterism, to descriptions of my characters, to researching the book. This should, ideally, give prospective readers a better idea of the story than a simple blurb.

I didn't have a real tour for my first books. I just did a guest appearance on a few of my blogger friends blogs, but that was more of an international get-together than a real tour. Always one for a challenge, I halfway considered going ahead and doing a tour for those books now, but then I really would never get back to writing and, as hard as turning off the computer in the evening is going to be, I am ready to finish my work-in-progress. If nothing else, its completion will be another excuse for a party!

The point I'm stumbling over here is that I'm thinking of doing a series of articles in December similar to my blog tour posts, but focusing on my first two books, especially A Spark of Heavenly Fire. After all, odd though it may seem considering that I decimate Colorado with a bioengineered disease, it is a Christmas story. Since the story leads up to Christmas, I wonder if my blog could mirror those fictional December days without my giving away the story. Something to think about.

Click here to find the Daughter Am I Blog Tour Schedule

Click here to buy Daughter Am I from Second Wind Publishing, LLC.

Click here to buy Daughter Am I from Amazon.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Guest Post: Leave Your Ego at the Door – Collaborative Writing

I invited a friend of mine to pop by The Write Type today. Eileen Bell and I met a few years ago and for a while we were members of a small writers group that met every week. I knew she was a talented writer the first time she read aloud part of a story she was writing. Today, Eileen is going to share her experience of working on an anthology with 3 other authors. ~Cheryl Kaye Tardif

I recently finished a collaborative project called “Women of the Apocalypse,” a novella anthology that was released at the end of October. I worked with three other writers: Billie Milholland and Roxanne Felix from Edmonton, Alberta, and Ryan McFadden from London, Ontario. This is the story of how we survived.

From the outside, it looked like a simple assignment. We were tasked with writing one novella each for an anthology. A small cast of characters for each of us – one Horseman of the Apocalypse, one Archangel, and one female protagonist. We could write in any genre we wanted. The novellas were stand alone stories. No working story lines together. No “four writers writing with one voice.” Seemed like a dream come true, so we all said “Yes!”

We wrote our novellas without any input from the others, in order to allow each writer's voice and style to come through. It was a little difficult, due to a tight timeline and other aspects of our lives that demanded attention, but we all finished, on time, and barely scarred.

Then came the editing. We edited round robin style, giving each writer the opportunity to work on each novella. It was the right thing to do, because we all have different editing strengths, but this was the spot where egos threatened. As Roxanne said, “Need to lick your wounds? Rebuild your self-esteem? No time for such nonsense. Dive dive dive … into the rewrites. And edit your colleagues’ work, while trying to forget which one recently ripped apart yours.”

The hardest part about the editing process for me was remembering to leave the other person's voice and style intact, while cleaning up a wide ranging variety of issues – from grammar to plot holes big enough to drive a concrete truck through! We quickly figured out that ongoing communication was the key to keeping our stories our own, and keeping relationships with each other whole through this process.

The result? A unique anthology, with individual stories that stand on their own, but that work together to tell an even bigger story. And we all remained friends!

Women of the Apocalypse is now available online at, or on It is also available at Audreys Bookstore and Chapters Southpoint in Edmonton, McNally Robinson Booksellers in Winnipeg (after November 14th) and Pages on Kensington in Calgary (after November 13th.)

Eileen Bell has written (you guessed it) most of her life. She has completed 3 novels (one burned, one under her bed, one out in the world), several novellas, short stories and personal essays, and is happily working on several new projects. When she isn’t writing she’s living a fine life in a round house with her husband, her dog, her daughter’s cat, and two fish.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Bookcrossing: A Great Place for Book Lovers

There are many opportunities to discuss and share one’s love of books on the Net, but one site in particular has captured my attention. is a global book sharing and recycling program that currently has over 800,000 members in 130 countries. The purpose of Bookcrossing is to share books with others around the globe, to discuss them, review them, and rate them, if you choose. It’s a terrific way to find homes for books you no longer have room for, and it doesn’t cost anything. All it takes is a little time to register yourself and the books you wish to release into the world.

Each registered book is assigned a number which you’ll place in the book along with a note that bookcrossing supplies. Then you leave the book in a public place for someone to find. If a Bookcrossing member picks it up, chances are they'll leave it at some other location. Many members take titles on vacation so they can leave them far away from home. One local writer's book made it to Pakistan!

While I was in Las Vegas, I left Fatal Encryption near a coffee bar at the Flamingo Hotel. Here's hoping the person who picked it up will read it.

The great thing about this program is that books are recycled, new authors discovered, and readers can come together to discuss their findings. So join up, share some books, and having fun. The website is

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

Fatal Encryption is available through at and Taxed to Death can be found at

Friday, November 06, 2009

Raking the Leaves of My Mind

The other morning I was staring out the window at all the leaves on the ground, marveling at how so much come from almost nothing. A bit of water, a bit of soil, a bit of sun, and something exists where nothing did before. I cherish those leaves. There’s no lawn here, just native grasses, so I don’t need to rake the leaves. I let them finish out their natural cycle of replenishing the soil from which they came.

Looking at those leaves, I was reminded of written words, and how they come from almost nothing. A circle, a few lines, a couple of dots, various arcs, and something exists where nothing did before. We never run out of words. We use the same words over and over again, combining them infinitely into ideas, stories, lullabies.

Recycling the very same words you use every day, I wrote four novels (plus that one poor begotten thing that’s locked away never to see the light of publication), hundreds of bloggeries, and thousands of comments. I hope my words live out their natural cycle, replenishing the mental soil from which they come.

Okay, I’m getting a bit over the top here, so I’ll get to the point. Some of those words are now residing on other people’s blogs all over the Internet from Canada to Florida, from Australia to South Africa. Today I’m in the U.S.A. Please stop by to visit me at one or all of these locations. I’ll be glad to rake up a few words of greeting for you.

Murder by 4 — Suspense: More is More

Bookworm — Names Matter

Dragon My Feet — Interview

Also, I am pleased to welcome Aaron Lazar to my blog. Please stop by and mumble, groan, hiss, grunt, expostulate or simply say hi. -- Dialogue Tags.

Click here to find: Bertram’s novels on Amazon

Click here to find: Bertram’s novels at Second Wind Publishing

Pat Bertram’s novels are available in all ebook formats at Smashwords. Also, 30% of each novel is available as a free download. Click here to find: Bertram’s novels on Smashwords.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009 Announces Semi-Finalists in Dorchester "Next Best Celler" Romance Writing Contest

PARK CITY, Utah, November 3, 2009— announced the Semi-Finalists for the current Dorchester “Next Best Celler” Romance Writing Contest, which combines a live, serial publication model with a unique voting and ranking system to help identify top new novelists and fiction writers.

See who made the Top 20 Semi-Finalists.

I'll let you know that Lancelot's Lady, my debut romantic suspense, is #3 on the list. In fact, I'm the ONLY Canadian author to make the Top 20.

If you haven't read Lancelot's Lady yet, please do. If you enjoy it, click on the blue thumb and phone circles. This contest isn't over yet, and points still matter.

Thank you all for your support!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Writing Without a Reader is Like Kissing Without a Partner

One of the guest stops on my Daughter Am I blog tour is the Second Wind Publishing Blog. I talk about a fan letter (well, fan email) I received, and cite a quote by John Cheever, “I can’t write without a reader. It’s precisely like a kiss — you can’t do it alone.”

Many writers don’t consider readers -- they write solely for themselves, or at least they say they do -- but often as I am writing a passage (or more precisely, after I have written it), I wonder what readers will think. Will they understand my references? Will they find the humor? Is my writing clear enough? I like thinking that perhaps someday a reader will share the product of my mind.

Malcolm R. Campbell, author of Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire responded to my guest post with, “Whether it’s a book, poem, post, review, article or news story, I always hope somebody will say something. One never knows. It’s a slow conversation, so much time having gone by between the moment when something was written and the moment when somebody tells you they found it.”

Such a wonderful description of writing/reading -- a slow conversation. I know I’ve read many books where I felt the author and I were having a conversation, silent though it may be. I read and I think about what I read. It’s quite a heady realization that now I am a writer with readers of my own.

If you’re interested in reading the original blog post, you can find it here: Writing Without a Reader is Like a Kiss Without a Partner.

I am also at the D.C. Examiner today: Pat Bertram speaks about her novels and her writing

Today is the last day for the Clue Game at the Simpson Haunted Mansion

Also, this is your last opportunity to leave a comment to win Daughter Am I from: Book Reviews by Bobbie

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Serendipity, Karma, and Connections

There’s no doubt about it, promoting and marketing one’s book is hard work. There are quite literally thousands of ways to promote yourself and just about all of them take you away from your writing time. Half the time, your efforts seem to produce little or no sales at all, and you can only hope that getting your name out there will eventually pay off one day.

So, it’s always a complete surprise to me when selling a book happens with absolutely no intention or effort at all. Sales can happen by pure serendipity, for instance. You know those wonderful, rare occasions when you happen to see someone you hadn’t seen in a long time at a place you never expected to, and you get to talking and suddenly that person’s asking to buy your book (this is the best reason for keeping books in your car, by the way).

This week, I sold a couple of books without actually trying. In fact, a cold virus made selling the last thing on my mind, but I sold a book to someone at the gym because I’d recommended a writer’s conference for her son. The conference turned out so well for the young man that she bought a copy of Fatal Encryption as an early Christmas present for him. Honestly, I was just happy I could help this person.

This week, a writing colleague recommended me for a joint book signing/reading/workshop at a local store. I met my potential presenting partner, things clicked, and she too bought a copy of Fatal Encryption. That’s how it goes sometimes, and I’m so thankful that it does. May you experience your own serendipity, good karma, and connections.

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

Fatal Encryption is available through at and Taxed to Death can be found at

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The business side of being a writer

Some people might not view an author as a business person, but I have to tell you, there's far more to being a writer than cloistering oneself in a small room for months and typing out 80,000 words. In today's world, a successful writer must also take on the hats of publicist, marketer, event planner, advertising rep, accountant, stocker (not stalker) and more.

As a successful Edmonton author, I am right at home with the writing and marketing part. I even make a decent publicist and have done this for other writers. It's the accounting part I suck at. And the stocking of shelves.

I'd love to discuss this here with other writers. How do you manage the number side of writing? Do you hire someone else or just suck it up and do it? Are there other options you've discovered (other than having books published by a traditional publisher, which I've also had)?

For me writing is both an immense pleasure and a business. I can't really have one without the other--unless I want to be my only reader. With the economy being as it is and so many changes in the book industry, authors must take on more of the marketing role, no matter who publishes you.

Finally, a small bit of promo from the marketing side: I am one of only a handful of Canadians who are competing in a writing competition sponsored by Dorchester Publishing, a very respectable US publisher. I think I'm the only Edmonton contestant as well. I'd sincerely appreciate your support.

Please check out my debut romantic suspense Lancelot's Lady on and click on the blue thumb and blue phone circles. This gives me 2 points in the contest. There are 3 days to go until the semi-finalists are selected. I really want to win this! The prize is a publishing contract with Dorchester.

Sign up is fast and free and you'll have access to many novels and short stories you can read for free. Thank you, in advance, for your support of an Edmonton author.

Now I must go and procrastinate about doing my accounting. :-)

Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Why can't I be the Meryl Streep of fiction?

In the August issue of Novel Writing Magazine, Jane Friedman wrote something that put a bee in my bonnet:

“It’s likely you’ll be returning to the same themes or topics throughout your writing career. [e.g. – if you write about small-town life today, it’s likely you’ll still be writing about small-town life in a few years.] Becoming known as someone who explores certain themes or topics can make you interesting and visible to particular audiences.”

As a reader, I understand why writers write about similar themes. But like most people I know, I have an expansive curiosity – and so this advice puts me in a conundrum. Must I write about the same themes? The same landscape?

So I ask you: Why can’t I be the Meryl Streep of writing? Streep has an unquestionable range of talent. She can portray an inflexible nun (Doubt), a romantic hotelier (Mamma Mia) or a cold magazine editor (Devil Wears Prada) - and so many other roles in between! She may be virtually unrecognizable from one character to the next, but you still want to see her. You know you will be in good hands. Her brand is Meryl Streep – not any particular character or era or subject. If she can inhabit different worlds and still have fans, why shouldn’t a writer be able to do the same? Why can't I write about murder and suspense from a man's point of view and then write women's fiction that explores marital infidelity?

I suppose I know the answer. If you want to build a following or readership, that following must have a sense that they will get what they expect when they plunk down hard-earned money for an author’s latest work. I have purchased most of Elizabeth Berg’s novels because they explore the underbelly of women in suburbia. I love Elmore Leonard because I can experience the crime underworld and root for both good guys and bad guys – all while learning how to write dialogue.

Writers who’ve built a career in a certain genre are generally more successful. They have a style. They’ve created reader expectations and they meet them. They sell books.

I understand this on a business level, but didn't on an artistic level until I read this:

"A second novel must be like the second song on a CD. It may be different, but the listener must be able to recognize similarities in the different tracks, They must sound like they fit together, but also be unique."

(I'm paraphrasing this because I can't for the life of me remember where I read that. I remember I was standing in a bookstore, reading it from the acknowledgments. Somehow, that book didn't make it home with me.)

The musical analogy makes it clear: It's a good idea for a writer's SECOND novel to include the voice and style and possibly, the themes, that marked the first work. It might just need to sound like another track on the same CD.

I'll still keep my Meryl Streep dream alive and I hope my career is as diverse. In the meantime, there's plenty of time to create more stories that fall under the category of psychological suspense and family drama, which are themes I explored in my first novel....(wait for it...shameless plug ahead)....Janeology.

Write on!

Karen Harrington
author, Janeology
Visit my daily blog -

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

How to Turn Your Book Into A Movie

Have you ever wondered how you can turn your book into a movie? Well, to get a movie deal you first need a book that can easily translate into Hollywood. There are a few key elements your book needs. One important element is its genre. Hollywood often looks for romantic dramas, thrillers, and science fiction themed novels. Think the Bourne Identity or The Notebook. What usually doesn’t work? Romantic comedies. Not because Hollywood doesn’t love a romantic comedy but because romantic comedies do not work in the book business. If you want your book to become a movie, it must be a successful book first and foremost.

Reputable literary manager and producer, Ken Atchity also suggested that "Your book must also have a hero and heroine that are in the right Hollywood age range."

The ideal age range is 20-something to 40 – do not make your character over 40. After that it becomes difficult to cast. It’s also important for a different reason. The average age of moviegoers are teenagers to 30-somethings. Adults over 40 are more likely to watch their movies through Netflix rather than go to the theater. So, to keep attracting adults who do go to the theater, you want to have characters they can easily relate to – this means actors who are close in age to them.

Another important element is the story line. You want to make it clear your book contains three acts. Novels are not usually constructed this way – more often than not books have only two acts. You need to be sure your book has three, but it also can’t feel like third is tacked on. It needs to be incorporated with the first and second. A great way create a book with a successful three-act structure is by making sure there is a twist at the end of the book that makes the third act even more riveting than the second. is an online service that helps writers

Monday, October 26, 2009

Daughter Am I Blog Tour 2009 Update

Day nine of the Daughter Am I blog tour, and I am still going strong. I actually went to bed before midnight last night, and I’m a bit more rested. Good thing -- there is a lot going on today! First, check out “After the Writing Comes the Work.” Great discussion going on at that unscheduled tour stop, and a wonderful compliment about Daughter Am I.

Next, check out “How Best To Procrastinate” on Claire Collins’s blog. It was actually yesterday’s tour stop, but I kept finding other things to do and never got around to telling you about it. (Procrastination humor. Trite, but still amusing. I hope.)

Claire is a guest on my blog talking about “Welcome to the Business of Writing”, and the importance of a mission statement. Mine is: “It is my mission to become so well-known that a traditional publisher will offer me an obscenely large advance. I will turn down the advance because I’d like to show that there is value in being published by a small independent publisher, and because the resulting publicity could be worth more than the publishing contract.” Did you notice that it says nothing about writing? Hmmm.

One of these days I really do have to work on my poor stalled WIP. I’m thinking of doing WriMo -- my own slimmed down version of NaNoWriMo. Instead of National Novel Writing Month, I might do simply a Writing Month. Perhaps try to write a sentence or two each day in November to get back into the habit of writing. I did sign up for NaBloWriMo (National Blog Writing Month) and NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month). Since I’ve already contracted to do a blog post every day for the first three weeks in November because of my blog tour, all I need to do is to finish out the month and I win. Win what? you might ask. Nothing, of course. It’s the challenge that counts.

But I am digressing.

Today I am again visiting Joylene Nowell Butler in Cluculz, this time for an interview. I am at Untreed Reads talking about my Rites of Passage as an author. And I am trick-or-treating at the Second Wind blog.

This is turning into an international tour. I’m in Canada today and Wednesday, in Florida tomorrow, and in Australia on Thursday. In the middle of November, I’ll be in South Africa. You gotta love the Internet!

Today’s schedule recapped:

After the Writing Comes the Work
How Best to Procrastinate
Welcome to the Business of Writing
Interview at Cluculz
Rites of Passage
Trick or Treat! Let the Game Begin!

Have fun. I intend to.


Click here to buy Daughter Am I from Second Wind Publishing, LLC.

Click here to buy Daughter Am I from Amazon.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ebooks Create More Sales and Eager Readers

Several weeks ago, I wrote about the growing popularity of ebooks among book buyers, particularly from the 50+ generation. Brad Stone of The New York Times also writes about ebook trends in his interesting article. Unquestionably, print versions of magazines and newspapers are way down and some are closing their doors for good. It seems that people aren’t using these mediums for quick reading in the bathroom or waiting rooms anymore, but instead are using their BlackBerries and iPods.

Kindles and Sony Readers have caused an increase in the number of books people are buying and reading. While the article's evidence is anecdotal, it does support my own findings that people love the convenience of being able to buy and read a book from wherever they happen to be. Amazon states that Kindle owners now buy 3.1 times as many books as they did before they owned the device. Readers claim that they spend more time reading than ever before.

However, there are still publishers who just don’t buy all the hype. One publisher in the article said “ you really believe that people are going to be reading more because they can get it on a screen?” Clearly, this publisher hasn’t been talking to Kindle owners.

Electronic readers are here to stay. They’re convenient and easily customized to suit individual needs. Books are cheaper, more accessible, and no one’s killing trees to create copies. If ebooks get more people buying, reading, and excited about books again, where’s the bad? To read the whole article go to

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

Fatal Encryption is available through at and Taxed to Death can be found at

Goal Setting Tips for Writers

I know hundreds of writers who fall victim to the deadly P-syndrome. If you’re unfamiliar with it, you’re one of the lucky ones. This syndrome is not only a killer of words and inspiration, but it can also be contagious, claiming other areas of the victim’s life or spreading to others. Washing your hands won’t keep P-syndrome away―unless washing your hands is part of a new mindset, one where you set daily goals.

If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m talking about PROCRASTINATION. It can be extremely debilitating to an author.

Read more about setting goals and check out the easy tips at Market My Novel

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Friday, October 23, 2009

Haven't a Clue about Cluculz

My blog tour is really starting to heat up! Lots of activity, more than I'm used to, that's for sure. To start out, I am a guest at the blog of my good friend Joylene Nowell Butler author of Dead Witness. We first met when she submitted a character interview to my Pat Bertram Introduces . . . blog. Usually I have to twist people's arms to get them to send me an interview to post, but she voluntarily responded to a link I left on a discussion on Facebook -- which impressed the heck out of me -- and now here we are, a year later, virtually visiting in Cluculz.

Where is Cluculz? you might ask. Good question. It's 67 km west of Prince George and 32 km east of Vanderhoof, in central BC, Canada. I had to Google it, which was fun since it fit right into the theme of my guest post -- writing about places you have never been. So, come to Clucluz, listen to the loons, and don't forget the mosquito repellent. Click here to find the guest post at Cluculz Lake.

As if that weren't excitement enough, today is the debut of my writing column -- ASK PAT. Way cool! Since it's in an ezine, there's no place to leave questions and comments, so I've set up a special blog post for that purpose. You can find it here: questions and comments for ASK PAT. If you have a question you'd like me to include, be sure to let me know. If you have an answer you'd like me to include, let me know that, too. I certainly don't presume to have all the answers.

And there's more excitement! (I'm trying to sound like an info-mercial.) Tomorrow I am a guest at Reviewers Roundup on Facebook. Glenda Bixler, you, and I will be having a live chat about blog tours, my books, writing in general. So if you are a member of facebook, please pop in to the discussion between 3:00pm and 5:00pm ET tomorrow. It should be a lively chat. What's it called? What else: Blog Tour 2009.

Don’t forget, my books are available in all ebook formats at Smashwords. Even better, you can download the first 30% of each book free. And speaking of free downloads, stop by Second Wind Publishing for a free ebook sampler or two. One sampler includes the first chapters of all Second Wind’s romances, the other sampler includes the first chapters of all Second Wind’s mystery, adventure, maitstream novels. The first chapter of A Spark of Heavenly, More Deaths Than One, and Daughter Am I are in the Mystery Sampler.

If you'd like to do a character interview for my Pat Bertram Introduces . . . blog, you can find the instructions here: Character Questionnaire.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dialogue with Pat Bertram

The Internet is such a wonderful place. Today, day five of my blog tour, I am in Florida with author Nancy J. Cohen talking about dialogue. Virtually speaking, that is. Physically, I am in Colorado, listening to leaves falling like rain. In Florida, it's a sunny day at the beach. At least I hope it is. I sure would hate to get caught in a hurricane while I'm visiting!

Yesterday someone commented that a virtual book tour seemed like a lot of work and asked if I would do it again. My first inclination was to say, "No way!" It's too much work for such seemingly meager results, yet I am meeting people out of my normal circle of connections, which is always a good thing. I am getting to talk about my books, which is fun. And it's a challenge, not just setting up the book tour, writing the articles, and promoting the tour, but figuring out how to make the same basic comment a hundred times and yet make each time seem fresh and new. So, would I do it again? I don't know. Ask me in six months when my next novel Light Bringer comes out. My goal (silly me!) is to be so well known by then that the book will just fly out of Amazon's warehouse as soon as I announce its publication. It could happen. And oh, by the way, I just bought London bridge. :)

So, please join me in Florida to dialogue about dialogue at: Nancy J. Cohen's Notes from Florida

Don't forget, my books are available in all ebook formats at Smashwords. Even better, you can download the first 30% of each book free. And speaking of free downloads, stop by Second Wind Publishing for a free sampler or two. One sampler includes the first chapters of all Second Wind's romances, the other sampler includes the first chapters of all Second Wind's mystery, adventure, maitstream novels. The first chapter of A Spark of Heavenly, More Deaths Than One, and Daughter Am I are in the Mystery Sampler.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Snow White and the Seven Old Fogies

Mary stared open-mouthed into the hole in the wall. Instead of the dining room, which should have been on the other side of the wall, there was a windowless room not much bigger than a walk-in-closet.

"A secret room," she breathed. "It's like something out of Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys."

That brief excerpt from Daughter Am I has nothing to do with my blog today. It's a clue for a Halloween contest at the Second Wind Blog starting on October 26. I hope you will play. It should be an interesting game.

What I really wanted to talk about today is time. Or rather the lack of it.

In August, when Second Wind Publishing celebrated its first birthday, Mike Simpson wrote an article called: Ten Lessons I Learned (The Hard Way): A Publisher’s Reflections on the First Year. Number five on the list was: "Everything takes longer than you think." He was referring to publishing, but that line has stuck with me the past two months because everything takes longer than you think. Or at least, in my case, it takes longer than I think it should. I had hoped to be further along in my preparations for the Daughter Am I blog tour, but . . . yep, everything takes longer than the time I've allotted. I worked on an interview last night, which should have been easy. Ten questions about my books. That was it. Yet it took me three hours. (I'll let you know when it's posted. Try to stop me!)

Today's guest post took almost that long, which completely mystified me. It's simply a brief description of my characters -- my seven old fogies. I didn't go into depth about their character flaws, the dreams that drive them, the failures that created them. Nope -- just a simple description. I've been spending most of my words talking about my hero Mary Stuart, lumping her traveling companions into a group: crew of feisty octogenarians -- former gangsters and friends of her grandfather. They deserve better than that. So please click here to visit The Book Faery Reviews and meet Snow White and the Seven Old Fogies.


Click here to buy Daughter Am I from Second Wind Publishing, LLC.

Click here to buy Daughter Am I from Amazon.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Following the Quest in 'Daughter Am I'

Again I will be at Malcom's Round Table discussing Daughter Am I, but this time we will be focusing on the quest angle. The hero's path, the mythic journey, the quest -- these are all different names for a particular form of story, though the format is so infinitely changeable, that unless you search for all the elements, you might not see the similarities in such diverse stories as Star Wars, Tin Cup, and Daughter Am I. All, however, follow the hero's path.

This virtual book tour is, perhaps, a mythic journey in itself. I was called out of my ordinary world into the special world of blog touring by Malcolm R. Campbell (the herald) when he asked if I planned on doing a formal blog tour. My first inclination was to say no (refusal of the call) but then I decided it was worth a try -- I want to do whatever I can to let people know about Daughter Am I. So here I am (crossing the first threshold). There is much ahead of me in this cyber quest -- tests, meeting allies and enemies (enemies don't have to be human -- they can be missed deadlines, lack of energy, blank mind, all the various ways life has of thwarting us). This quest in itself will be a supreme ordeal -- 70 blog posts in 35 days? Yikes! But I'm sure there will be plenty of other ordeals before I can reap my reward. At the end, I will share what I learned with you, and this too is part of the journey. The hero never keeps the magic elixir of change for himself, but shares it with those back in the ordinary world.

So, please keep me company while I embark on my quest -- I can use all the allies I can get!

Our next stop is at Malcolm's Round Table: Following the quest of 'Daughter Am I.' It will be painless, I promise.


Click here to buy Daughter Am I from Second Wind Publishing, LLC.

Click here to buy Daughter Am I from Amazon.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pat Bertram, Gangsters, and 'Daughter Am I'

Day Two of my Virtual Book Tour, and I am still going strong. This is like saying: I've just run the second block of a marathon and am still going strong. Most of the tour is still ahead of me, but I'm looking forward to seeing what happens, to meeting new people, and visiting new blogs.

Today I am at Malcolm's Round Table for a discussion of gangsters and Daughter Am I. I'd hoped to include more of Malcolm's book, Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire, in the discussion, but he was kind enough to focus the talk around me and my gangsters. And do I have gangsters! My hero, Mary Stuart finds her grandfather's little black address book in a secret room of the farmhouse she inherited from him, and she goes on a whirlwind tour of Colorado, Arizona, and on into the midwest searching out the people who knew him. Though in their eighties, none of them are what you would call upstanding citizens, though they are all loveable in their own way. Even Iron Sam, aka Butcher Boy, seemed less lethal than I intended him to be. Of course, he is dying, so he is more concerned with his own death than others'.

See, I'm doing it, too -- focusing on my book. So, let's focus on Malcolm's novel for a moment. If you are a fan of humorous mysteries with outrageous (though incredibly realistic) characters, you will love Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire by Malcolm R. Campbell. I'm on my second read through. The first time was for the story. This time it's for Malcolm's wordsmithery.

So, please join me at Malcolm's Round Table for a discussion about: Pat Bertram, Gangsters, and Daughter Am I.


Click here to buy Daughter Am I from Second Wind Publishing, LLC.

Click here to buy Daughter Am I from Amazon.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Did You Know?

The other day, a friend forwarded the link to a fascinating clip featuring all sorts of statistics about the state of technology, reading, cellphone usage, and other things. For example, did you know that well over 1 million books are published worldwide every year? Or that print circulation has gone down by 7 million over the past 25 years while readers of online newspapers has risen over 30 million people in the past five years? Here’s a good one: every month more than 250 million people visit MySpace, YouTube, and Facebook collectively yet none of these sites existed 6 years ago. And here’s a scary thought: the average teen sends over 2,272 text messages per month. Yikes!

For more incredible data that will either amaze or horrify you, go to

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

Fatal Encryption is available through at and Taxed to Death can be found at

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Guest Post: Book Candy Sandy dishes the dirt about contracts & more

Today's guest on The Write Type is "Book Candy Sandy" from Book Candy Studios, a company devoted to helping authors by managing tasks "so authors don't take time away from what they enjoy doing - creating books." Today, Sandy is going to share some tips about the paperwork side of being an author. ~Cheryl Kaye Tardif

With all the recent media attention on the pending Healthcare Bill and whether our elected representatives are actually "reading the bill" before signing it into law, I thought I'd take a moment to emphasize the importance of reading (and understanding) all the paperwork we as authors must contend with in our daily lives.

Earning a living in today's publishing arena is vastly different and greatly more complicated than the world our predecessors faced just 20 short years ago. Today's authors must track and wrangle agent agreements, publisher contracts, hosting agreements, domain registrations, marketing agency contracts, international publishing agreements, photographer copyrights, royalty-free licenses, social networking site terms and conditions, self-publishing contracts, and that's just to name a few. Whew!

Here's where a good (and contract-savvy) agent comes in handy. At least you're partially covered. Negotiating the finer points of your contract with your publisher definitely ranks as number one on your to-do list, and that can be handled by a smart agent – if you have one. But what about the mountain of clauses, declarations, restrictions, indemnifications and terms for termination you encounter from all the third-party services you've committed to with your signature to your bottom line?

Okay, fear not. I'm not here to scare you. Take a deep breath. First make a list of all the contracts you've signed with an actual pen (i.e., publisher contracts, self-publishing agreements, literary agent contracts, marketing agency and PR contracts, etc.) and all the service agreements you've clicked the "I agree" box with your mouse (i.e., AOL, FaceBook, MySpace, your website hosting company, Internet service provider, Google AdWords, GMAIL, etc.).

Now, rank them on a "gotcha" scale (something I created for myself):

1) High risk (i.e., you don't get paid, you lose copyrights, you lose other rights, etc.)

2) Medium risk (i.e., a big headache to fix, such as losing your domain name, your website goes down, privacy has been breached, etc.)

3) Low risk (i.e., social networking site terms and conditions, software licenses, conferences you signed up for, etc.)

Now, look at your list. If you don't understand something or if your gut tells you to look into something further because it doesn't FEEL RIGHT or LOOK RIGHT, ask for help (the legal type is best, unless you are a business attorney or contracts negotiator).

It is safe to say that we've all been burned at one time or another during our writing adventures, and most writers are willing to help their peers avoid some painful and costly mistakes. Read blogs, read articles, shoot emails to authors you know and respect. You will probably find answers. If not, at that point you might consider a lawyer.

We know a bit about contracts. We even field minor questions from time to time from worried authors. However, we are not a legal team. We don't know everything. But we are here for you if you need someone to put their heads together for you.

Book Candy Sandy

You Are Invited . . .

Daughter Am I has finally been released, and you are all invited to my cyber launch party on Thursday, October 15. I will be in and out all day to make sure everyone is having a good time, but I will be there live, virtually speaking, between 7:00pm ET and 9:00pm ET to answer questions, banter, or merely converse. Hope to see you! Until then, sample the games and giveaways I've assembled for you. It's a blog event and blogs are forever, so if you can't make it at that time, stop by whenever you get a moment.

Daughter Am I: When twenty-five-year-old Mary Stuart learns she inherited a farm from her recently murdered grandparents-grandparents her father claimed had died before she was born-she becomes obsessed with finding out who they were and why someone wanted them dead. Along the way she accumulates a crew of feisty octogenarians-former gangsters and friends of her grandfather. She meets and falls in love Tim Olson, whose grandfather shared a deadly secret with her great-grandfather. Now Mary and Tim need to stay one step ahead of the killer who is desperate to dig up that secret.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Daughter Am I, Pat Bertram's young woman/old gangster coming-of-age adventure will be released by Second Wind Publishing on October 15, 1009, and you are invited to the cyber book launch party! Please stop by Bertram’s Blog any time on Thursday for fun, puzzles, games, even a free download!

Daughter Am I: When twenty-five-year-old Mary Stuart learns she inherited a farm from her recently murdered grandparents -- grandparents her father claimed had died before she was born -- she becomes obsessed with finding out who they were and why someone wanted them dead. Along the way she accumulates a crew of feisty octogenarians -- former gangsters and friends of her grandfather. She meets and falls in love Tim Olson, whose grandfather shared a deadly secret with her great-grandfather. Now Mary and Tim must stay one step ahead of the killer who is desperate to dig up that secret.

“A delightful treasure hunting tale of finding one’s self in a most unlikely way.” --Publisher’s Weekly.

Click here to buy Daughter Am I from Second Wind Publishing, LLC

Sunday, October 11, 2009

From One Extreme To The Other

As you probably know, Dan Brown’s latest book, The Lost Symbol, recently hit the stands and let’s just say the reviews are mixed. Certainly, he has his fans, but not everyone is. Here’s a small sample from reviewers. From Robert Wiersema of The National Post “a heavy-handed, clumsy thriller.” And of The Da Vinci Code: from Salman Rushdie “...a novel so bad that it gives bad novels a bad name”. And From the BBC’s John Humphreys: “The literary equivalent of painting by numbers, by an artist who can’t even stay within the lines.”

There’s more, but you get the idea. Yet Dan Brown has sold an estimated 80 million copies of The Da Vinci Code in 40 languages and has made more money than most writers will see in a hundred lifetimes. I certainly don’t begrudge Mr. Brown fame or fortune, and since I’ve never read one of his novels I can’t comment on his writing.

But I will say that if you’re already a rich and famous writer, do you really need as many reviews as Mr. Brown has had? How about giving some ink to the unknown writers who are working hard and excelling at their craft?

There’s a Canadian writer named Addena Sumter-Freitag whose poetry collection called back in the days I recently reviewed. No one knows who she is, except a few of us, and she deserves more. So, here’s my review:

The first time I heard Addena Sumter-Freitag read a couple of her poems I was hooked. There was something about the clarity, power, and passion of her words that got to me. So when a collection of her prose and poetry was published I had to buy back in the days and read every word.

This author writes intimately about people and topics many other authors would avoid or merely allude to through metaphor and vague references. Sumter-Freitag tells it straight up, exactly as it was in her world. And quite a world it was. Her collection, back in the days, is a story about growing up a seventh generation, black woman born and raised in Winnipeg.

This is the voice of a writer who knows herself; whose strength lies in her talent and candidness, her family, and her love. Is it any wonder her voice is so strong and memorable? Read back in the days. You won’t be disappointed. If you’re interested in purchasing a copy of Addena’s book go to

And to read Mr. Wiersema’s entire review go to

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

Fatal Encryption is available through at and Taxed to Death can be found at

Thursday, October 08, 2009


I took an informal poll to find out how people discover new authors. I posted the following on discussion boards on both Goodreads and Facebook:

It seems as if there are as many ways of discovering books as there are readers, but I'm curious as to how you choose the books you want to read. Do you go by reviews? By recommendations from friends? Because you're familiar with other works by the author? Do you ever read a book because of an ad you saw? Because of a blog article? Because of a mention on a website such as Goodreads? Do you cruise book stores, libraries, or online sites like Amazon? Do you find them some way I haven't mentioned, such as gifts, perhaps?

Admittedly, the questions were loaded, but I still got an interesting and probably quite accurate overview:

Favorite authors/previously read authors: 36
Word of mouth: 26
Blog reviews/Book websites: 26Goodreads/Shelfari: 24
Local bookstores: 21
Amazon/B&N/other online stores: 15
Library: 13
Publisher sites/newsletters: 5
Social networking sites like Facebook: 5
Book Clubs: 5
Author appearances/writing conferences: 5
NY Times bestseller list: 5
Offline reviews: 5
Yard sales/second hand bookstores: 4
Advertising: 3Saw the movie: 3
Oprah: 1
Free downloads: 1
Gifts: 1

So, how do you discover the books you want to read? Or rather where. (A lot of people said they found books to read by the front cover or the blurb on the back, but I’m more curious as to where they saw the cover.)

Daughter Am I, a young woman/old gangsters coming of age adventure will be published next week by Second Wind Publishing.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Contest: Finish author Kelly Moran's sentence for a chance to win a signed copy of Divine Intervention

There's an exciting new contest over at author Kelly Moran's site. And it's very easy to enter. Simply finish the sentence she started there.

One winner will be selected and will win a signed copy of my paranormal thriller, Divine Intervention.

Prize: a signed copy of Divine Intervention by finishing her sentence.

Enter now at:

Sunday, October 04, 2009

My 100th Blog!

This week’s blog is a milestone for me: my 100th blog with the Writetype group. When Cheryl first invited me to join I wasn’t sure I’d have much to say. But once I started, a whole range of topics came to mind and I’ve been contributing weekly ever since. There’s always something interesting happening in the writing world. Sometimes it’s negative or controversial or just strange. Plenty of times it’s positive, entertaining, or informative.

It’s my privilege to be part of this group and I hope I’m doing my part to keep you informed or entertained, or perhaps a little interested. Meanwhile, I have a link to fantasy author Lorna Suzuki’s interview of me at She provided a lot of thoughtful questions to answer. Hope you enjoy it.

Until next week ....

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

Fatal Encryption is available through at and Taxed to Death can be found at