Friday, July 30, 2010

Tardif on Andrew Wylie, Random House and Amazon dispute

Everyone in the book world has been buzzing about the controversial move made by New York literary agent Andrew Wylie, who according to book industry expert Jerry D. Simmons "earned the nickname "the Jackal" for a reason; he doesn't mess around when it comes to his clients." Wylie recently teamed up with Amazon on an exclusive deal to have the mega book retailer sell his clients' ebooks, bypassing the regular route of finding publishers for his clients first.

Some of the controversy stems from the fact that Wylie is the agent. His job is to sell his clients' works to a publisher, and many believe he has crossed some boundaries here. Questions arise like "Isn't this a conflict of interest then?" Is it fair for him to take a publisher's cut on top of an agent percentage? Will he? How hard will he work to sell his clients' print rights if he's investing time into the ebook venue?

While I agree this is a bold move on Wylie's part, I think it's also a reflection of the monumental changes that have occurred--and WILL occur--in the book publishing industry. Authors are jumping onboard the ebook train, independently and with their publishers. And I can see why. Amazon recently reported that ebooks far outsold hardcovers. Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO, reported, "Even while our hardcover sales continue to grow, the Kindle format has now overtaken the hardcover format. customers now purchase more Kindle books than hardcover books." Everyone wants in on the ebook craze. Can we blame them?

Authors Guild has raised some concerns over the issue. They believe publishers were largely to blame for the dispute that has risen between Random House and Andrew Wylie. Random House has stated they will not conduct business with the agent until the issue is resolved. Authors Guild is concerned also about the exclusivity agreement, stating, "That the Wylie/Odyssey agreement is reportedly exclusive raises many questions and concerns. Amazon has, time and again, wielded its clout in the industry ruthlessly, with little apparent regard for its relationships with authors or publishers or, for that matter, antitrust rules."

American Booksellers Association CEO Oren Teicher also voiced his concern: "The issues sparked by evolving business models in the rapidly developing world of digital publishing are multifaceted and, at times, complex. However, from the perspective of independent booksellers one important reality is unchanged: Diminishing the availability of titles and narrowing the options for readers can only harm our society in the long run. That the Wylie agency has sought to distribute these works through a single retailer is bad for the book industry and bad for consumers."

Jerry D. Simmons, who has been in the publishing industry for nearly 33 years, has this to say about Wylie's decision: "Either way Amazon deserves a big place at the table for selling content in printed and digital format. However they are not the only game in town and teaming up with them exclusively is wrong. This means that any reader interested in an eBook from one of Andrew Wylie's authors must purchase a Kindle. The better choice for Mr. Wylie would have been a separate deal with Amazon, Apple and anyone else who distributed eBooks to offer those titles across the board."

I agree with Jerry, who runs a publishing company and WritersReaders. It is far better to have your books distributed through multiple retailers than to team up with just one--no matter how big that giant is. As a reader, when I want to buy books I want a choice of places to shop. I don't want to be limited to one store, one format, one experience. As an author, I want to offer my readers a variety of formats, as many as possible so that they have a choice. I would not want to be the author who has to say, "I'm sorry but you'll have to buy a Kindle to read my ebooks." I prefer to say, "You can read my ebooks on your PC, laptop, iPhone, Blackberry, Android, iPad, Nook, Kindle, Kobo, Sony...etc."

In response to book industry outcry, Andrew Wylie told the New York Times, "I’m going to think about it a little bit...we take it seriously, as do the authors we represent. This area of discussion and negotiation needs to be resolved."

I think that's a good idea. Take some time and think things over before jumping into the frying pan. While being a trailblazer in a new frontier is commendable, Wylie's exclusive deal could backfire on him. It could hurt his authors' chances of ever getting published by a major publisher. It could create tension for other author/publisher relationships. Wylie's day of "the Jackal" may be over sooner than he thinks. Or he could see such huge success that other agents follow his lead. Only time will tell.

For now it's safe to say that old models in the publishing world are just that--OLD. It's time for change, no matter how scary and unpredictable that change may be. Authors, literary agents and publishers must learn to adapt unless they want to be swept under by the tide of change.

Readers, what do you think? How would you feel if your favorite author told you you'd have to buy a Kindle to be able to read his or her books?

Authors, would you want this exclusive deal? Do you think there'd be a conflict of interest and that your agent would be less inclined to push print sales to publishers? Would it hurt your chances of having your books read by publishers?

Cheryl Kaye Tardif is a bestselling author of suspense, paranormal and inspiring mystery. Her latest release, Skeletons in the Closet & Other Creepy Stories, was inspired by Stephen King short story collections, and Twilight Zone and The Hitchhiker television series. You can learn more about her at and

Monday, July 26, 2010

Writing Good Bad

I recently published a post at Echelon Expressions called Why Is The Bad Guy Bad.

There are a lot of possible answers to that question, but here I'd like to address the question of HOW TO make the bad guy bad and do it well.

The bad guys I find most interesting are the ones not entirely bad. I like the ones with weaknesses and vulnerabilities.

Kids agree with me--they love the lonely Frankenstein's monster. They love the henchmen who stumble over their feet. BeBop and Rock Steady--anybody know those names?

A good bad guy may have endearing or laughable flaws--he's vain about his ties or she has a fit if she breaks a nail. A good bad guy may have good qualities--he's intent on destroying our hero, but he'll let an opportunity pass if it would endanger anyone else; she doesn't care if the world goes up in flames, but she'd run into a burning building to rescue a cat or a child. A good bad guy is, above all, a person with many facets to his/her character.

Not that all those facets have to be explored, but a good bad guy's qualities can be alluded to, hinted at, shown in passing or as part of a scene where something of importance to the good guy happens. Anything that lifts your bad guy above the level of Sock Puppet (hi! look at me! i am bad!) is all to the...well...all to the good.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

More Publishing Stats

After writing last week’s blog about the future of publishing, I came across some interesting statistics. An article in Publishers Weekly stated that Amazon executives claim their physical book business rose by double digits for the first half of 2010. They also state that amazon’s media segment, which includes books and e-books, rose 15% in the second quarter of the year. How much of that percentage is e-books versus videos and other forms of media wasn’t specified in the article. Regardless of what amazon is selling, it appears to be doing well as they’ve opened thirteen new fulfillment centers this year. To read the whole article go to

The American Association of Publishers issued an interesting press release on July 14th stating that books sales were up 11.6% compared to this time last year. The adult hardcover category was up 43.2% in May and sales to date are up by 21.7%. Oddly enough, adult paperback sales decreased 2.2% for May, but are up 15.7% on the year so far. Adult mass market book sales decreased 14.6% and were down by 7.3% on the year. Why sales have risen on more expensive books compared to the much cheaper mass market paperback isn’t explained in the release and is a complete mystery to me.

Not surprisingly, e-book sales grew 162.8% for the month of May and are up a whopping 207.4% on the year to date. AAP’s data estimates that e-book sales now comprise 8.48% of the total trade books market, compared to only 2.89% for the same period last year. To read the entire release go to

What does all this mean for the future of publishing? Based on this snapshot, print books are not out of the running by any means, but the e-book market is catching up fast. One can only imagine what the e-book market share will be this time next year.

As always, my amateur sleuth, Vancouver-based, Alex Bellamy mysteries can be purchased at

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Guest blogger: Ashlynn Monroe shares her thoughts on being a multi-published romance author

Today's guest is author Ashlynn Monroe, who writes romance and erotica. Ashlynn is going to share her thoughts on being a multi-published published author. ~Cheryl

I feel so blessed this year to have multiple publishers like my work and contract me!  It’s been a trip.  February, Wild Horse Press offered me my first contract and June 4, I experienced the excitement of my first book Hidden Magic being realized and available for purchase.  It was amazing!  

I love to write and I’ve also been lucky to work with Cobblestone Press. Chemical Lust became available July 9th.  I also have several releases with Silver Publishing scheduled for this year, two in July: Passion’s Escape and Lost Hearts.  My work is also under contract with Keith Publications, Willow Moon Publications, and XOXO Publishing.  

This has been a trip…a dream come true.  A writer isn’t an author until they have a reader and I feel so warm and fuzzy to be an author.  Writing is my escape from the daily grind; I cling to my imagination in times of stress and trial. My greatest hope is for my writing to give the reader the same freedom and joy that I experience when I write. 

I hope you will try one of my novellas, I write for people like me…busy moms that need an escape.  I hope we can escape together into one of my books!  

CONTEST: The first two people that email Ashlynn at will get a free copy of either Hidden Magic (low heat) or Chemical Lust (erotic) in PDF.

Ashlynn Monroe is a busy wife and mom.  She enjoys writing about anything and everything paranormal or fantasy related while maintaining a career as a full time customer service professional.  When she is not lovingly raising her young family, she is dreaming up her next tale of romance.  

She’d love to hear from you at

Visit her website at

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Chekhov's Gun

I’ve been thinking about my grieving woman book of which I’ve written so little it’s not a Work-in-Progress but an IIP -- Idea in Progress. The woman finds a gun in her dead husband’s bathrobe pocket, and I've been wondering what to do with the weapon. Chekhov said that if you show a gun in the first scene you have to fire it in the third. I followed Chekhov’s rule for Daughter Am I, but I don’t see the woman in my IIP shooting the gun. The gun could be more of a symbol, something so out of place in her husband’s life that she realizes she didn’t know him at all, and hence she doesn’t know herself. So the book would turn out to be a search for identity, as are all of my novels.

In googling “the rule of the gun” to find its author (I’d forgotten it was Chekhov), I came across a wonderful site: Glossary of Terms Useful in Critiquing Science Fiction. Only a few terms are specific to science fiction, so it’s a fun glossary for anyone who writes. I especially like:

Black box scene analysis. A convenient means of evaluating how important a scene is. Think of the scene as a black box: characters go in to it and come out of it. What have they gained or lost? What irrevocable things have happened? How are they different people afterwards than before? The black-box scene analysis is a useful means of separating local dexterity (entertaining imagery) from important plot or character development. (CSFW: David Smith)

Card tricks in the dark. Authorial cleverness to no visible purpose. Wit without dramatic payoff. (Lewis Shiner)

Eyeball kick. A perfect, telling detail that creates an instant and powerful visual image. (Rudy Rucker)

Head fake. A plot action that appears to be significant but is rapidly proved to be a net null, leaving the plot moving in exactly the same direction. Excessive head fakes undermine the reader's engagement because the reader becomes trained that they are not real. (CSFW: David Smith)

Inappropriate mystery. An author will often use mystery as a means of propelling a reader forward: characters speak of things that are opaque to the reader, a character goes offstage to do something important, or a development is referred to indirectly ("I was just heading out the door when the phone rang, with terrible news"). Mystery is inappropriate when the expected dramatic follow-up is lacking: the offstage action proves to be a diversion, or the suspense proves false. (CSFW: Steve Popkes)

Laughtrack. Emotional countersinking, where the characters' give cues that tell the reader how to react. They laugh at their own jokes, cry crocodile tears at their own pain, and, by feeling everything themselves, eliminate the reader's imperative to do so, so the reader disengages. (Lewis Shiner)

Laughtrack is one I am going to have to be particularly careful of in my grieving woman story. In my previous books, I’ve tried to show the story and let readers infer the emotion, but tears are such a part of grieving that I will have to figure out how to engage readers despite the tears.

Happy Birthday, Ernest Hemingway

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” - Ernest Hemingway (b. July 21, 1899)

Do you have a favorite work from Hemingway? I love The Old Man and The Sea and A Farewell to Arms.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Thoughts on the Future of Publishing

This week, I had an interesting discussion and read a couple of articles about the explosion in e-publishing that is throwing traditional print publishers into a bit of a tailspin. There’s no doubt that the e-book market is growing rapidly. When I first wrote about e-publishing sales, they captured only about 1% of the market. Several months later, I read statistics indicating that the market was up to 3%. A recent article by Christine Kearney published in The Vancouver Sun suggested that e-books now account for 5% to 6% of all U.S. book sales, although this is still a fledgling market not yet making money for most publishers. Also, traditional print publishers are losing money on books and have been for several years. For this reason, Kearney believes that publishers will accept the work of proven authors with great sales records, a trend they’ve been leaning toward for some time, in fact. This doesn’t bode well for up and coming midlist authors who’ve already taken their share of hits over the past twenty years.

There is a growing battle for readers from traditional publishers, Amazon, e-publishers, and independent authors. While independent authors have been marking down their newly published e-books to a dollar or less to attract readers, it seems that some of the big publishers are following suit. According to a piece in the Southern Review of Books, Harlequin is actually giving away a 15,000 e-book novella to readers, hoping to entice them to purchase the author’s full length work.

So, I’ve been wondering, where is all of this going to lead? As author and publisher, Julie H. Ferguson suggests in her insightful blog, the e-book explosion will definitely impact a writer’s contract. As Julie points out, it’s up to writers to keep up with the times and trends whether their publishers are on board with the e-book world or not.

The thing is, with over one million books being published (not including reprints) every year and with so many more people choosing to publish electronically, is there a real market for even a fraction of all those books? Statistics indicate that people aren’t reading more than they used to; in fact, they’re reading and buying fewer books. As I’ve mentioned in the past, the average book sells maybe 250 copies. With so many more books being published, could that figure drop to say, fifty copies in another five years? A writer’s world has always been challenging and competitive. While producing and promoting a book is certainly easier than it was fifteen years ago, the battle to rise from obscurity and sell lots of books might be harder than ever. It wouldn’t be wise to count on royalty income as one’s sole retirement plan. Given the way things are going, the odds aren’t great. On the other hand, I know a few fairly unknown independent authors who sell far more than 250 print copies of their work, so who knows?

To read the entire Kearney article go to

You’ll find the Southern Review of Books’ piece on e-books under No. 26 at

To read more of Julie’s insightful blogs on this and other topics go to

Should writers pursue print publication or publish their own ebooks?

The above question came up in a forum recently, and while everyone has to determine what's right for them as it is a very personal decision, I gave them my thoughts on the topic.
I say go for both--print and ebooks. If you have a traditional publisher for your print, all the better. But don't let that stop you from publishing your own ebooks, especially the ones your agent and publisher aren't interested in. You definitely don't want to overlook the ebook market. That's where the money is right now for authors, if you publish the ebooks yourself.

As a self-published and traditionally published print author, I've seen the pros and cons to both sides.

If you have a backlist of titles that your publisher is finished with, get them up on Amazon Kindle, KoboBooks and Smashwords right away. Sales of ebooks are on the rise, and they won't be stopping or slowing any time too soon.

Other ideas for ebooks: publish a collection of short stories or an anthology with other authors, publish a novella or novelette, publish a how-to book or a book of poetry.

I have 4 ebooks coming out between April 1, 2010 and Sept 27, 2010. :-) There's only one thing better than promoting your books, and that's writing them!

My agent is holding 2 thrillers. I'm considering taking one back and publishing it as an ebook next spring.

The key is this: you want to build momentum, then try to keep that momentum going. And the only way to do this is to keep releasing books under some semblance of regularity.
With Amazon's recent royalty raise to 70% for qualifying ebooks, it's possible for authors to now make more money selling less expensive ebooks than selling traditionally published print books. But in the end, it depends on the personal goals of each writer.

Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
bestselling author & book marketing coach

Friday, July 16, 2010

My thoughts on the Kobo ereader

I was recently asked to give my opinions of the Kobo ereader on another blog, and I've decided to share them with you here. Since Kobo is a Canadian company and I'm from Canada, I am a bit biased. I really want this company to succeed; I was one of their first Canadian authors at the very beginning when they were known as Shortcovers. So I do have history with them.

But I'm also a Kindle fan and Sony ereader fan and others.

I recently bought a Kobo ereader. For a few reasons.

1. I want to give it to my mother for Christmas. She's an avid reader but not big on technology. I think she'll love the Kobo ereader because it's very simple to use and she won't have to pack 4 books when she travels. And it's a dedicated ereader; it doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles to detract from its purpose. My Mom doesn't need those bells and whistles. So for ease of use and practicality, the Kobo ereader scores a 5/5.

2. It was one of the least expensive ereaders--before the ereader price wars. However, now that other ereaders have dropped their prices, I think Kobo should follow suit. Their product is just too simple to compete, price wise.

3. I wanted to play with the ereader before giving it to my Mom. :-) As a reader, I wanted to feel the Kobo ereader experience myself. I wanted to see what makes it great, and what doesn't. For me, the Kobo is perhaps a bit too simple. I like the bells and whsitles. I like 3G functionality and easy purchasing and updating of new books. So for me, the Kobo rates 4/5 for functionality.

There's also a second reason why I wanted to try it. I'm an author. I want to see what potential Kobo readers will be using, how my books will appear, what the readers' experiences will be. Again, for those who just want an ereader, the Kobo ereader is perfect. I believe it will especially appeal to those who are young (great kid's Christmas gift idea), or much older (60+) and those who aren't very techie.

It's unfortunate your experience at Borders wasn't a positive one. Here in Canada, we've had big ad displays advertising the Kobo ereaders, even in the Chapters bookstores that don't have them in stock. The staff I've talked to have all been excited, especially when I showed them my Kobo ereader. Some staff hadn't seen one yet, but most have some knowledge of the device.

I've even volunteered to go into my local stores and show customers my Kobo ereader, let them play with it. :-)

I've enjoyed the Kobo ereader. The update went fairly smoothly for me and I haven't had any major glitches, though I always expect them with new technology. But I'll be honest; I was one of the people who swore years ago I'd never read on an ereader. Oops...

Check out the Kobo ereader and be sure to check out their huge library of books (including my own) at

Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
bestselling author

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Zigzagging Plots

I walk in the desert, sometimes on straightaways, sometimes on hills. I learned something from the hill walks: she who goes up, must come down. And sometimes “down” means a very steep grade. I discovered that it was much easier to get to the bottom of these steep hills if I zigzagged from one edge of the path to the other. By descending diagonally, I can cut the steepness of the hill and am able keep my footing.

This seems to be a good metaphor for plot. While writing, we zigzag down an increasingly steep slope, never quite letting our readers know what direction they are traveling, but always keeping them on the path to the end. Or perhaps they are going up a hill, but the point is still the same: zigzagging.

I sent More Deaths Than One to hundreds of agents and editors, and the consensus was that my writing style was too matter-of-fact for the overly complicated plot. This from people who never read more than a few chapters. (Luckily for me, I finally found a publisher who read the whole novel and understood what I wanted to accomplish.)

It could be that as readers head down the steep slope of my story, zigzagging from side to side, the plot does seem complicated, but when they reach the end and look back, they can see that the story is very simple. A straight path. A man discovers that what he knows about himself is not true, and he sets out to discover the truth. Very simple. All the complications are simply the zigzagging path.

So, how do you keep your plot zigzagging? How do you know when to zig and when to zag? When readers look back from the finish line, can they see a simple story, or a complicated one?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Guest blogger: Anna Kashina, author of Ivan and Marya, talks about the challenge of the first page

Today, I welcome Anna Kashina to The Write Type. Anna is the author of Ivan and Mayra, a dark romantic fantasy based on Russian folklore. The cover alone is intriguing enough to make me want to pick it up and read more. Great to have you here, Anna.

Thank you very much, Cheryl, for hosting my post! I am very excited to be here.

I wanted to talk about first pages and story openings. The first page is arguably the most important piece of your writing that, if written well, can sell your book. With that in mind, first pages present a separate challenge that I wanted to discuss.

You might have written a gripping story, a sure bestseller, but does it show its full promise right from the start? A slow first page can kill your chances of ever reaching your publisher – and ultimately, your audience. True, sometimes first pages just work, but more often than not the story picks up later, leaving the first pages lagging behind. Thank God for revisions.

So, is there a recipe for a successful first page?

One of the absolute musts is a catchy first phrase. But even the most wonderful, witty first phrase can kill the reader’s interest in a split second if it is not followed by the prose to match. This first phrase must be set in a context, be delivered from a strong point of view, and draw the reader into a gripping situation.

A good thing to have in an opening is an immediate, brief, but vivid sensory input that places the reader right into the setting and gives a taste of the situation. Ideally, the description should be given through action, as part of the plot, and it should move the story forward. And, it should involve as many senses as you can naturally fit into this short piece of text. Once of my favorite examples of such sensory input given through action: “The darkness tasted like bitter bark and earth, sharp berries, and cold water.” (Unseelie, by Meredith Holmes). This phrase uses vision, taste, smell, and touch all at the same time.

But wait, what about the character? Yes, don’t forget that your readers would only stay with you if they care about your protagonist. Your opening should include a brief but catchy piece of information on your character and his/her situation that would make the reader strongly relate to this person and care what happens to him/her. I don’t normally do this, but for simplicity’s sake, here is an example of my own opening phrase from Ivan and Marya: “I stood beside my father and watched the girl drown.” -- a phrase that drops the reader into the protagonist’s point of view and tells something about the situation, and the character – someone in control and clearly on the side of evil.

Last but not least – an opening hook, relayed through tension. This does not necessarily mean action – in fact, hard action on the opening page is usually off-putting because we don’t know yet who is acting and why. What you really want to do is create an anticipation of events, pose an unanswered question that compels the reader to want to know the answer. To get that answer, they flip to page 2, and so on. Coming back to the example of Ivan and Marya – the design of the first phrase leaves the reader with a question of why the protagonist is just standing there watching someone die and does not do anything about it? Who is dying and why? These questions leave an opportunity to spend some time to paint the rest of the scene without losing the reader’s attention.

Successfully combining all these elements in a short space constitutes the challenge – and the reward – of a good first page.

Anna Kashina, was born in Russia and moved to the United States in 1994. She is the author of several fantasy novels published in different languages, including the most recent, IVAN AND MARYA, a dark romantic fantasy based on Russian folklore, just out from Drollerie Press.

For more information visit Anna's web site, and make sure to watch the trailer for IVAN AND MARYA. Anna also has a blog and runs a book promotion web site, Vacation Reads that highlights recent fiction titles. She always welcomes friends, fans, and followers on Facebook and Twitter (@akashina).

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Walk in the Desert

My work in progress has a scene where the hero is escaping across a desert with a group of acquaintances, so as I take my daily walk I try to see what he would see, such as a ghost moon and a ghost sun. Unless he has sharp eyes, he might miss much of the color -- the flowers are so tiny it's hard to see them at a casual glance. There are few creatures, but he would see jackrabbits and ants, scorpions and snakes (though I have yet to see either -- whew!), and lots of lizards. The lizards move so fast that only when one stops to pose can I capture an image of it. Lucky for me, one did stop to pose.

Guest Post: Ten Things You Can Do Now to Promote the Novel You Haven’t Even Sold Yet

Today's guest blogger is Gina Holmes, author of the novel Crossing Oceans, and she's sharing some valuable tips. Here are Ten Things You Can Do Now to Promote the Novel You Haven’t Even Sold Yet:

  1. Buy your website URL and begin to build it. You can go very expensive and pay thousands for a professional site, or you could start small and do something like godaddy, where you build your own site. I took a third route and hired someone to make me a template and then set it up like a blog, so that I could tweak and update it easily.
  1. Get professional headshots. I hired a friend whose work I admired but who is still considered an amateur. For fifty dollars and my husband agreeing to baby-sit for an afternoon, I got a few really great and professional looking pictures. Don’t let anyone convince you that a good headshot is a waste of money for a novelist. On Novel Journey we post lots of author photos, many of which look like candid shots that other people are cut out of. Remember how important perception is. I look at a substandard picture and I subconsciously think this author is no perfectionist, and am less likely to want to read their work. Spend the money and get a good promo picture of yourself.
  1. Keep a file filled with the names of magazines you come across that fit your writing. For example, if you write Victorian era historicals, Victorian magazines might later be interested in an article written by you. Jot down the names of them and any other publications you come across that might be a fit. This will save you a lot of research time later on.
  1. Keep a folder of book reviewers you’ve come across that seem to enjoy the type of  stories you write. I send myself emails with the reviewer’s name, books they’ve reviewed and liked, their email address and, if I know them, how I know them. While it’s true that they might not still be reviewing when your book finally releases, it won’t hurt to try. 
  1. Start reading marketing/publicity books now and take notes. My personal favorite is the simply titled Publicize Your Book. If you can only afford one book on marketing/publicity, I highly recommend you make it that one.
  1. Read The Tipping Point. It will explain some very important concepts on what makes things popular. It’s an easy and surprisingly entertaining read.
  1. Read How to Make Friends and Influence People. The book has been around forever for good reason.
  1. Keep a list of natural influencers. You’ll call upon these folks later for help in getting the word out about your book.
  1. Help anyone you can. For one, it’s just the right thing to do, for two, what goes around comes around.
  1. Start building your platform now. Write articles, create a blog with excellent and frequently updated content, volunteer to teach classes on what you’re an expert in, or for whatever committees in ACFW, or other writing organizations you belong. People are much more likely to be interested in your book if they feel like they know you and you’ve shown interest in them.
About Gina: In 1998, Gina Holmes began her career penning articles and short stories. In 2005 she founded the influential literary blog, Novel Journey. She holds degrees in science and nursing and currently resides with her husband and children in Southern Virginia. Her debut novel, Crossing Oceans released April/May 2010 with Tyndale House Publishers.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Book Reviews, Anyone?

Instead of focusing on my books and writing this week, I’d like to talk about other writers’ novels. I read and review as many books as possible year, though I’m not a fast reader. I read every book from beginning to end, whether I like the content or not, and always look to find something positive. Here’s a couple of books I really liked:

Sign of the Cross by Anne Emery

Attorney Montague (Monty) Collins has the client from hell in Father Brennan Burke. The priest is surly, cynical, secretive, arrogant, and Monty has to stop him from being sent to prison on two first-degree murder charges. Father Burke insists someone’s framing him, but as Monty investigates, he begins to have doubts. Regardless of Burke’s guilt or innocence, Monty knows defending this man will be enormously difficult. Adding to Monty’s stress is an unsettled personal life as he and his ex-wife Maura try to remain civil to one another for their children’s sake. Maura also happens to be an excellent lawyer and Monty needs her help. That she and the irritating Brennan seem to hit it off only irks Monty further.

What can I say about Sign of the Cross but wow! This book is everything I look for in a mystery: memorable, well-developed characters, a compelling plot, and great writing. Tension flowed through every page with mounting suspense. That author Anne Emery clearly knows Catholicism, lawyers, and court proceedings, all adds up to one amazing legal thriller that I couldn’t put down. There is so much depth to this mystery, so much to think about, and such a satisfying ending that I really wanted their stories to continue. Happily, Emery has another Monty Collins’ novel called Obit. I can’t wait.

Wrongful Death by Robert Dugoni

With a string of court wins under his belt, attorney David Sloane has no interest in taking on what he knows is Beverly Ford’s no-win case, until she tells him her story. Beverly wants to sue the U.S. government for her husband’s wrongful death in Iraq. Beverly claims that if the government had provided enough ceramic-plate body armor for soldiers, her husband James might have lived when he and his team were ambushed. Sloane, a former soldier and new family man himself, has sympathy for Ford who’s trying to support four children, so he asks a few questions on her behalf. The answers are not satisfactory. When two more national guardsmen, who’d been with James when he died, recently die on home soil, Sloane begins to think something is terribly wrong. And so begins a riveting legal/political mystery.

Not only did this page-turner give me a glimpse into what American soldiers have gone through in Iraq, but I learned a lot about the obstacles for families who believe they’ve been wronged by their government. As a Canadian, I imagine this is a hot-button issue in the U.S., and while some fairly detailed discussions ensued in the book about real legal decisions regarding military personnel, I was completely captivated. The subplots were just as intense as Sloane and his friends struggle to protect his wife and step-son. This was one terrific read by an author I’d never read before, but certainly will again. Well done.

If you’d like to read more of my reviews go to

As always, my amateur sleuth, Vancouver-based, Alex Bellamy mysteries can be purchased at

Ever been alone at the book signing table?

For all those who face the challenge of writing a novel, believing that it will one day change your life and lift you from obscurity, take heed! Writing is only ONE of the challenges. View Parnell Hall's cautionary tale below.


Visit me at and read an excerpt of JANEOLOGY, the book I tried to sell at many book signing table.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Seven Easy Steps for Importing PDF or ePub Files to Your Kobo eReader

Many people are wondering if they can add PDF and ePub files to their Kobo ereader, and the answer is yes. You CAN import PDF and ePub files into your Kobo ereader using Adobe Digital Editions, a free program that you can install on your PC or laptop.

Once you've imported one PDF or ePub file, you'll see just how easy it is, and it will open the opportunities for you as an ebook consumer as you'll be able to buy books from other retailers, including, where you'll find some awesome deals and multiple formats.

Here are the 7 easy steps for importing PDF and ePub files to your Kobo ereader:

  1. Download and install the free Adobe Digital Editions program to your PC or laptop.
  2. Authorize computer. If this doesn't show automatically, open Adobe Digital Editions (should be on your desktop after downloading) and select dropdown button Library at top left, then go to Authorize Computer and fill in info.
  3. Add any PDFs or ePubs saved on your computer by using Adobe Digital Editions. To do this, simply select Library at top left―then Add Item to Library―and find the file on your computer and click Open.
  4. You should then see your files added to the right side of the screen on Adobe Digital Editions.
  5. Now plug your Kobo ereader into your computer. In a few seconds you will see your ereader has been added to the list under Bookshelves on left side of Adobe Digital Editions screen.
  6. Now this is the easy part: DRAG a file from the right side by hovering over it, holding left mouse button and dragging to KOBOeReader file on left side. This file will turn medium gray when hovering over it. Then release left button to drop. You may see a small window appear showing status of file copy. When in doubt, just click on KOBOeReader and you will see all your files inside that folder.
  7. Eject Kobo ereader from your computer. Wait for it to reload. Then view your files by clicking on Home, then Documents at very top. Your PDFs and ePubs will all be there. Happy reading!
If you found this article helpful, please consider visiting and ordering one of Cheryl's novels, all under $3. They're available in multiple formats, including ePub and PDF. Or you can order them directly from

Cheryl Kaye Tardif, aka Cherish D'Angelo, is a bestselling author and book marketing coach. You can learn more about her at: or

Sunday, July 04, 2010

So, the Editing is Done. What Next?

I just returned from my trip to Penticton and had a lovely time meeting people at the markets and at my book signing. One of the great things about selling books is that people come by to chat about all sorts of things. I’m pretty sure I have the basis for some great characters in future novels. I’m also pretty sure that I’ll be taking motorcycle lessons next year, based on one customer's account of all the fun men and women my age are having on the road.

Now that my Casey Holland novel is safely with the publisher, I find myself in a bit of a quandary. What do I work on now? Given what I’ve learned these past 2-1/2 months, revisions will be needed on my second Casey mystery, which means draft #10 is coming up, though I’m not ready to start it yet. Maybe it would be better if I put the right side of my brain to work and continued working on the first draft of the fourth mystery. On the other hand, the third book still needs another rewrite. Perhaps I should just put novels aside for a bit and finish polishing the short stories I’d also been working on before the editing started.

I don’t remember what it’s like to work on only one book at a time because I haven’t done so for over fifteen years. Do you novelists out there continuously juggle more than one project? If so, what tricks do you use to manage? I’d love to hear from you.

As always, my amateur sleuth, Vancouver-based, Alex Bellamy mysteries can be purchased at

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Midwest Book Review calls Lancelot's Lady "a non-stop romantic adventure"

An early review for Cherish D'Angelo's upcoming debut romantic suspense release, Lancelot's Lady, has come out at Midwest Book Review under the Reviewer's Choice tab.

Here's an excerpt from the review:

"Lancelot's Lady is a non-stop romantic adventure combined with the agonizing struggle to not give in to the magnetism between two people with troubled pasts. Enticing. Fun." -- Christina Francine, reviewer for Midwest Book Review
To read the full review, please go to the Reviewer's Choice page at Midwest Book Review and scroll down. It's currently the second review.

Lancelot's Lady will release as an ebook on September 27th, 2010.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Celebrate Canada Day with the new ebook release: REMOTE CONTROL, a novelette by Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Celebrate Canada Day with some Canadian fiction:
the ebook release of my novelette
now available on Amazon (Kindle) and Smashwords (various formats).

ONLY $0.99 US

In this dark, suspenseful and somewhat comical look at one man's desires, Remote Control by bestselling author Cheryl Kaye Tardif delivers a strong message:
Be careful what you wish for!

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

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

***2008 Textnovel contest finalist***

Remote Control is ONLY $0.99 US at Amazon, Smashwords and more to come, including KoboBooks.

WIN: Leave a comment here with your email address and you'll be entered to win a free ebook of Whale Song, my critically acclaimed, bestselling novel. One winner will be selected later tonight, so enter now.

Happy Canada Day!