Mystery, suspense, thrillers, paranormal, horror & YA by "Cheryl Kaye Tardif" & romance by "Cherish D'Angelo". Cheryl is represented by Trident Media Group in NY.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

'Create a Corpse' Contest Winners Announced!

I received so many wonderful entries for my 'Create a Corpse' contest that it was very difficult to pick one name for one corpse. So I decided to pick 3 winners--3 corpses!
(I guess that kind of makes me a serial killer...)

"Deirdre Dailey" is the corpse named by...who else but Deirdre Dailey! Yes, I did have a few brave people who volunteered to "kill themselves off" for the benefit of my novel Divine Justice. Congratulations, Deirdre!

"Monty Winkler" is the corpse named by M.F., who says this "grade school bully knocked my glasses off one time after school" Bad Monty! Kudos, M.F.!

"Porter Sampson" is the corpse named by T.L. and I'm not sure if there's a story behind that name or if T.L. just likes making up names. T.L, feel free to tell us the story in the comments section!! And congrats!

These names will be characters in Divine Justice, a new paranormal suspense and book 2 in the Divine series. No publish date as of yet.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Do prison inmates deserve their privacy?

TV shows like Prison Break tend to glamorize prison life. Yes, they show the violence, but they tend to make the characters more sympathetic. Some of them. And we forget why they are there.

In real life, this sometimes happens as well. Some prison rules allow for many of the same comforts we have at home. And there is a lot of controversy around this. How much do prisoners derserve these creature comforts? What rights do they have?

On Saturday, January 26th, Matsqui prison, located in Abbotsford, BC, went into lockdown. Apparently, a woman with a baby stroller tried to pass through security, but the stroller tested positive for cocaine and guards stopped her. AOL News reports that the woman was allowed to continue with her visit but that she was reported to the B.C. Ministry of Children and Family Development.

So the inmates retaliated.

170 inmates set fires in the yard and refused to return to their cells. Why? Because they think their privacy is not being respected. They believe they deserve privacy.

Reading this reminds me of a similar situation in which guards set fires at Mastqui. In fact, I used the situation fictitiously in my novel Whale Song. For those of you who've read my novel, you'll recall there is a scene where a fire breaks out at Matsqui and prisoners had to be airlifted off a roof. It happened back in the 80's.

Reading the Globe and Mail story, made me think of 2 things: Whale Song and the fact that these inmates should count themselves lucky they get to have visitors. Or time out in the yard in the fresh air and sunshine. These people have been convicted of crimes. They are paying for their crimes in a locked facility. That's what they deserve, and they are lucky that they are still alive and being fed, clothed and sheltered.

What I find even more disgusting is that the guards were able to find traces of cocaine on a baby stroller. What the--? Any mother who would use her child as a drug mule needs a good smack in the head...and her kids should be taken away.

Read the Matsqui story on Globe and Mail.

Read the Matsqui post on AOL News.

If you pick up Whale Song, you can read about the earlier fire in Matsqui prison. Some is truth and some is fiction. :)

And please feel free to leave a comment about this story. Do prison inmates deserve to have privacy? Was this a fair call by the guards?

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

Friday, January 25, 2008

Blast From My Past: Bermuda is another world

When I was 14, we moved to Bermuda. My father was in the Canadian Armed Forces and this was the best posting we'd ever gotten. We were all very excited. We packed up only the stuff we really needed and put everything ielse nto storage. And I said goodbye to my best friend Cathy. For those of you who have read Whale Song, you'll recognize this scenario.

I was sad to leave behind my best friend but so excited to go to another country--and one so tropical. I remember that the trip was long. It seemed to take forever. I think we went by car, train and plane. Then we stepped off the plane. And were hit in the face with a wall of heat and humidty. In seconds we were drenched in sweat. It was July or August. Canadians should know better than to travel somewhere hot during summertime. Then again, we didn't have a choice.

We lived in a pale yellow house (the biggest house near the water) with 2 floors and no basement. The house was divided into 3 apartments; ours was the biggest section. I was so surprised that the houses were all so...pretty. All painted pastel shades with white roofs. Our house was right on a bay and we had a boat dock. My brother Derek and I used to go swimming off the dock. We loved it. Swimming in the bay while boats went past us. We had small bananas growing in out yard and the most beautiful flowers--hibiscus and oleander.

Bermuda had its own legends or traditions. One was that if you walked through a moongate (an oval fixture that many people had in their yards), you would always return to Bermuda. I walked through one once when I was a teen. I've been back twice. Once for my honeymoon and once for my 20th high school reunion. The first time I took my husband (obviously) and the second time I took my daughter.

I want to go back. I always want to go back. There has always been something about Bermuda that I have always loved. It got into my skin and into my was the closest place that I could have called HOME back then. We moved around so much.

Schooling in Bermuda was very different from what I was used to. I went to Bermuda High School for Girls. They've done away with the "for Girls" part now and have opened it up to any child. But when I went, there were only girls...and uniforms. I have always said that I had my best education there. The school was strict; we had O'Level exams in my last year, so I had to take my studies seriously. The last year I was there I won an English award and an art award. I remember this because I wasn't allowed to keep my trophy for a year like other winners, because we were moving back to Canada.

Bermuda is beautiful. The beaches are various shades of coral and pink. The sand is like satin. My brother Jason was born in Bermuda. He was born with coppery red curls and cherub cheeks. He used to eat the sand. I wish Jason could have gone back to Bermuda at least once before he died. We always had such fun there. I was 14 when Jason was born and I often told people that baby Jason was mine.

Bermuda is another world -- that is actually a song by The Bermuda Strollers. I have always remembered that song. And it is so true. Bermuda was a safe haven for my family. We shared so many happy times. We did all the tourist things the first few months. Then we laughed at all the "tourists" who were visiting, because by then we were Bermudians in our hearts.

One day I will visit again. I have to. I have one dream there that I have never fulfilled. My brother Derek and I used to play in the Southhampton Princess Hotel. We would ride the elevators while I talked to tourists in a British accent. Oi was bloody good at that, you know. We snuck into the hotel's swimming pool by pretending we were guests. That's where I met Frankie Avalon's kids. He asked me to watch them because there wasn't a lifeguard on duty. Of course, I didn't realize until afterward who he was. My dream was to stay at the Southhampton Princess as a guest--a real one! :) One day...

I love Bermuda. Bermuda loved me. I grew more in that 3 years than in 5 years prior. I am still heart and soul. And one day I'll return. And I'll think of my past, of school, of the fun times and of my brother Jason. Bermuda is another world. You should check it out sometime. If you ever get a chance to visit Bermuda, be sure to visit the Crystal Caves and Gibbs Hill Lighthouse. (I remember when the fellow started this website years is so much more now!)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I want my shows back!!

This writers' strike is starting to weigh heavily on my mind--no, my sanity. I want my shows back. I NEED my shows back! Otherwise, I resort to watching stuff I don't usually bother with.

Like The Celebrity Apprentice.

Ok, I'm sure that there are some true blue Celebrity Apprentice fans out there...somewhere. But I just don't get what all the fuss is about. I've watched 2 episodes now...nothing else on to watch. I watched Gene Simmons get fired. I kind of liked him, but every time I heard him speak in his low, slow, monotone drone, I kept remembering that fried egg commercial. You know the one: "This is your brain...this is your brain on--"

Then I watched Jennie Finch, the Olympic champion of something, get fired. Poor girl never really had an opportunity to shine. And in between we get to see Piers Morgan (whom I quite like) and Stephen Baldwin (who gets on my nerves...give me one of his brothers any day) butt heads...over and over again. And Omarosa? Don't even get me started on her. What's she even doing on a "celebrity" show anyway. These other women--all of whom I truly respect--have been celebrities for years and worked hard for that title.

And then there's Donald Trump. I won't talk about his hair (although I was a stylist years ago and I'd like to get near him with some scissors) or the white circles around his eyes (I think he was in a tanning bed too long, and he should fire his makeup artist--my 17 year old daughter could do better at blending than that), but I will mention that he has treated these celebrities with immense respect and it's nice to see. I just wish he had treated the regular contestants in past seasons the same way. Yes, I have watched the show before...maybe 2 seasons.

Don't get me wrong--I respect Mr. Trump. Look at what he's achieved. He is obviously a brilliant man. And he does do a lot of good when it comes to the charities he helps. But sometimes I think he forgets that he is really no different from anyone else in the world. He's a human being like the rest of us. And we all measure success differently. The closest I've seen him come to acting like a regular person was tonight when he told Jennie that she didn't belong in his world and that it was a nasty place, or words to that effect. And he said he liked and respected her.

I think his daughter Ivanka is lovely and graceful, and she's a Trump, through and through. Stiff and serious. She could use a good laugh. I've rarely seen her smile. And hey, life is too short to not play, laugh and enjoy it. I'd like to send her a copy of Whale Song. Maybe she would get the message in it. Life is a journey and it's for the living. So enjoy life while you can.

In my opinion, the only saving grace with this show is that these contestants are competing for money for their favorite charities. I have no problem with that. I think it's an awesome, worthwhile venture. Perhaps The Celebrity Apprentice is just annoying me because I miss my weekly fix of Survivor. I'd like to boot Omarosa off the Apprentice island. And I miss CSI (the original!). Give me Grissom any day!

Or Piers Morgan. By the way, Piers, I loved the knight outfit, and I would have stopped and bought a ticket from you. And do you think you could contact your friend Sir Richard Branson for me? He's my MySpace friend, but he hasn't answered my email. I know an author he might like to back. ;-)

See? This is how I get without my weekly fix of all the great shows I enjoy. So writers...dear writers, can we please settle this strike?

And then please, please bring my shows back!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Book Clubs, Whale Blubber and Bannock

Last night I had the pleasure of attending a book club meeting in Edmonton. The ladies had selected Whale Song to read. Karen, the host, didn't tell her friends that the author was going to be there until I got there. I thought that was kind of fun. All of the gals were so welcoming.
When they talked about Whale Song, I heard comments like "I couldn't put it down" and "I loved it". It's hard to describe how rewarding it feels to hear these things. But even more, I got the reaction that I always hope for. "It made me cry."

What a mean author I am...making people cry. But I have to say, I feel honored when someone sheds a tear over something I've written. It means I have written something well and affected them deeply. One gal told me she was reading Whale Song while walking on her treadmill. She said she got to a part at the end of the book and broke down. I don't know why but the imagery this creates is kind of funny to me, and also touching.

We talked about the characters in Whale Song--Sarah, Goldie and Annie, especially. We discussed the bullying theme. I found out that one of the gals was a teacher and when I asked what grade, she told me she taught underaged prostitutes. Wow! What an awesome thing to do! She could be responsible for changing a life...or saving lives. It sure made me think.

We talked a bit about my brother Jason, whom Whale Song is dedicated to. He led a tough life.
The conversation turned to future books and I told them about my chilling suspense thriller--Children of the Fog. I said that the premise of the book is this: You have 10 seconds to make a decision: Let a serial abductor take your child or watch your son get killed in front of you. What would you do? This spawned some great comments. And I believe I have a book club that is dying (no pun intended) to read it. :) Hopefully I will have some news soon on when it will be published.

We talked about a lot of things. And we feasted on salmon and shrimp, bread, crackers, cheese, fruit and much more. I was told the seafood was to keep with the ocean theme in Whale Song. My reply: "What, no whale?" This led to comments about whale blubber and bannock. :) The bannock I would have eaten.

This got me thinking...I need to plan my books a bit more, infuse them with all the food I really enjoy, so that when a book club selects my books and I visit them, they'll serve all my favorites. ;-)

Hmmm...steak, shrimp and lobster....chocolate and cheescake. Yes, that's what I'll do.

A special note for all book clubs: I now have a discussion guide for Whale Song. Feel free to print it or download the PDF. And for book clubs in Edmonton, I am sometimes available to join you if you select Whale Song to read. Just email me.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A little gift in the Inbox...

Every morning I wade through my Inbox, deleting all the spam first, until I am left with all the important and interesting emails. This morning, I received an email from Sylvia at

This is what she had to say:

"Fuelmyblog team is awarding you Blog Of The Day! Attached is your award for the occasion to display on your blog if you wish ;-) "

And on the FuelMyBlog website, she writes:

"Today I have come across the blog of Cheryl Kaye Tardif. Cheryl is a well known Canadian writer who has already had several novels published. Her blog is about her books and Cheryl, pay her a visit it is a welcoming and soothing place to be."

That is so very nice of her to say. Thank you, Sylvia! This makes my day.

I write in numerous blogs and the one she is talking about is my Whale Song Blog. Check it out!

I'm a new member at FuelMyBlog. I still haven't figured everything out yet. So many things to do...and I already work at writing and promoting about 16 hours a day. Oh, and for those of you who think a writer's life is easy, it's not. Every day is a challenge. So many decisions to make. What should I blog about? What event should I plan? Do I need to close a contest and award a winner? Should I go to Starbucks and write? Should I do some bookkeeping? (blah!) Should I send out more review copies, do a signing, contact libraries, bookstores, schools, book clubs?

It all has to be done...eventually.

And then there are the rejection letters an author has to wade through. Rejections from agents. Rejections from publishers. It's all part of this life, but it can be tough at times to have people telling you "No, this is not right for us."

But for this moment--right now--I am going to say "Thank You!" to FuelMyBlog. It may be a little thing, winning an award like this, but for me it is a symbol of appreciation and recognition.

Someone is telling me I've done something right. :)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Blast From My Past: Cheryl's singing career continues

Ok, I've told you about my singing debut and now I'll tell you how my "career" took off. I think I was about 12 the first time I entered a talent show in Masset, BC. I believe that first time I sang 'I Can See Clearly Now' and 'Amazing Grace', while strumming on my old guitar.

I was excited and nervous. The lights were bright and hot on that stage and I could barely make out the people in the audience. I think there were a couple of hundred--I'm not sure.
I had spent weeks practicing, gaining my confidence.

And then I sang. I can still recall the thrill of singing in front of an audience. At the time I was such a shy kid, with a poor self-image and low self-esteem. But I did it. I managed to pull off 2 songs with barely a missed note.

Later, at the end of the talent show, they announced the winners of the various categories. When they called my name, I was so shocked. How could I have possibly beat these other contestants? It was an amazing feeling when I went up to the stage to accept my trophy. I still have it...somewhere.

I just went to check and the 2 trophies I have are still packed away. Maybe one day, I'll dig them out, polish them up and take a pic. For now, I can tell you, I won first place soloist. I can't remember if I won anything else with it; the trophy was such a big deal to me at the time.

The following year, I entered the talent show again. I think I sang "Froggie Went A Courtin'"...and I don't remember the second song...maybe "California Dreamin'" I won second place soloist. A boy named Glenn Lamourie beat me that year.

I played guitar for many years afterward, and loved singing and writing my own songs. I recall sitting on the deck near the bay at our house in Bermuda. Yes, I was blessed and lived in Bermuda for 3 years. I would sit on the deck at night, playing and singing and watching the glass bottom boats go by with their brass drum music and people's laughter echoing across the water. Once I played and sang so loud they heard me and applauded.

A singer was born. And I still sing. In the shower, in my car, at the store, when I'm getting my hair done, while cooking, in the hot tub...I sing all the time. And sometimes I hum. It drives my family nuts. :)

This is a great memory--a great Blast From My Past to think about. If you have your own "Blast From Your Past" to share, please do so. I welcome all comments.

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

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Blast From My Past: Cheryl's acting and singing debut

I have decided to blog a series of articles titled 'Blast From My Past', so that you have a chance to really get to know me, maybe have a laugh or two. I'm going to dig deep on some of these, and dates may be off somewhat because we moved around a lot.

So here's the first Blast From My Past...

I'm not sure how old I was, but it was in elementary school--Tahayghen Elementary in Masset, Queen Charlotte Islands, BC, to be exact. For those who are geographically challenged, the Charlottes are on the West coast, north of Vancouver Island. Beautiful, wild and isolated...
One year, we had a school play. Winnie the Pooh.

I was Eeyore.

Okay, stop laughing.

You're probably saying something like: "So that's why she likes to make an a$$ of herself."

Yes, I was the donkey....heehaw!

And I had a great role. We did the story where Eeyore lost his tail, so I was very important to this play. Oh, and I forgot to mention, it was a musical. I had to sing in a very low, bored sounding voice. It's funny--I actually remember that part. I even remember some of the words...

"Christopher Robin is coming. When? Nobody knows, but he is coming..."

My costume was a very warm (I think flannel) one piece outfit. Then there was a cap with long droopy ears and a tail held on by a safety pin. Thank God I have no pictures!

The musical was a success.

So even in my younger years, I had a passion for telling a story. And to this day, I still make an a$$ of myself on occasion. And I've found my tale--in writing.

I invite you to check out a multi-author blog I am involved in...more voices, more tales.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

In memory of my brother Jason...

Today, my "baby" brother Jason would have turned 30. Quite a bit younger than I am, I know. He was an "oops". And a delightful one at that. As a baby, he had curly red ringlets and often looked like a chubby cherub. But with the red hair came a mischievousness that was anything but angelic.

Jason made us laugh.

And his death made us cry.

Jason Kaye was murdered here in Edmonton, and not a day goes by that I don't think of him. Sometimes I see a kid who reminds me of him. Sometimes I hear about another lost soul whose life was somehow pushed off track. Jason was at one time homeless, living on the street, dumpster-diving for computer parts so he could fix a computer up enough to sell it, and an alcoholic with mental illness. None of us saw the latter until it was too late.

He died on January 23rd, 2006--Edmonton's third homicide of that year. His case is still open. No leads. No answers. No one has come forward as a witness. I am resolved that it will always be this way.

I feel a slight emptiness in my heart when I think of my brother. I think he took a small part with him. But that's okay; he can keep it.

Jason would have turned 30 today, had a huge party with his friends, probably gotten drunk...but he would have had fun.

Tonight I'll light a candle for him, in memory of a brother I truly loved, although I sometimes didn't understand him. But that's okay. I know he forgives me...and I him.

Recently, I was interviewed by CityTV for a segment on Celebrity Chefs. I had fun taping it and making Strawberry Dumplings with my daughter Jessica. This was one of Jason's favorite desserts and we made it in his honor. I'll make some tonight and think of Jason.

And remember him for who he was.

My brother.

Jason only read Whale Song, none of my other novels. And that's why I now donate a percentage of my royalties to 3 Edmonton nonprofits that deal with homelessness, addictions and poverty. I will do this as long as Whale Song is published and available to the public.

Much of our lives growing up was similar to Sarah's in Whale Song. We lived on an isolated island (Jason lived on 3) and grew up with native legends. I invite you to check out Whale Song, buy copies for your family and friends. It makes a wonderful gift for any age between 7 and 108, and I know that my brother would be grateful, as I would be, that your purchase is benefitting his community, his family and friends on the streets of Edmonton.

One thing I have learned: these people, these human beings living in poverty and battling addictions, are somebody's son, father, grandfather, daughter, mother, grandmother, sister...or brother. And they're just as human as the rest of us.

To read about Jason Kaye, please visit his memorial site at

Order Whale Song and help those in need of a friend...a helping hand. We have all needed that at some point in our lives.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Whale Song review: "A powerful, moving family drama that spans the generations! Beautiful writing!"

"The title of this book leaped out at me from its striking cover, but when I started reading, I was captivated by how meaningful the title was to this very moving story. Cheryl Kaye Tardif's words, scenes and characters flowed through the pages so smoothly I almost forgot I was reading. I felt as though I were in Canada with the characters.

This is a story about an eleven-year-old girl, Sarah Richardson, who moves with her family to Vancouver Island, Canada where her father, a biologist, has taken a new job studying killer whales. Sarah makes friends with a neighbor girl, Goldie Dixon, who is a Nootka Indian. Before Sarah moved there, a tragedy occurred in Goldie's family; it involved her older brother, and there is a mysterious tie-in to this novel's title through that occurrence.

Goldie's wise granddmother, Nana, steeped in Indian tradition, plays a major role in Sarah's life, and Goldie's entire family becomes friends with Sarah's family as the story unfolds. When Sarah's mother becomes ill, a boy who has a crush on Sarah gives her a lovely whale figurine which is another tie-in to the title.

What happened in Goldie's family before Sarah came to live there? How does Sarah lose her mother ... and then her father, in uniquely different ways? How does she reclaim them both uniquely different ways? And how does Sarah lose her memory? Why can't she remember the events of the most tragic day in her life? And just how does a whale figure into the plot? Do people who are drowned truly come back as whales, as the Nootkas believe?

That's a long list of questions, I know, but this author answers them with such dexterity, she'll leave you breathless. And, finally, the question that begs to be answered: What IS a Whale Song and how does it help Sarah reclaim her mother?

To get the answers to those questions, you must read this intriguing, exciting book. It will tug at your heart strings, stirring your emotions like no other.

One doesn't simply read a Tardif story, one experiences it! Among the very few authors I've ever said that about is my all-time favorite Pat Conroy. Like him, Cheryl Kaye Tardif has a definite way with words.

This is not only a coming-of-age story, it's a love story, a mystery and a family drama in one clear, concise package. Though billed as women's fiction or general fiction, this novel will appeal to YA and all generations--just as "Harry Potter" does.

"Whale Song" is a bestseller in Canada and the US. It made both lists on Amazon shortly after it was released. I'm not surprised that a film producer is looking closely at this book. In the front of my copy, Tardif wrote: Dare to Dream, and Dream Big! I certainly hope her Big Dream comes true and this novel becomes a movie!

My only regret is that I didn't discover this author sooner. She has two other novels out, "Divine Intervention" and "The River." But she says she "holds this one close to her heart." Well, it's now close to my heart, too, as I'm sure it will be to yours. I look forward to reading those other two, but I can't wait to read the one she's currently working on; it's a nonfiction story about the tragic murder of her younger brother and his friends, The Porch Monkeys ... a story of the lost, the forgiven."

--Reviewed by: Betty Dravis, author of 1106 GRAND BOULEVARD and Amazon Top 1000 Reviewer

(printed in full with permission)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Medium redeems itself with UNpredictable episode

After my huge disappointment in the season premiere of Medium, I am happy to report that I truly enjoyed the second episode. It should have been the premiere! :)

In it, we find the characters acting more like we are used to. Ariel acts like her usual spoiled self, but we're also treated to her softer side. And it was very interesting to see her dreams in relation to Allison's.

Joe had his witty charm back.

Smaller cast this time, but lots of interaction with Anjelica Houston's character who starts off as rather cold and skeptical and then becomes a believer.

Best of all, the plot was UNpredictable. I felt that tug of suspense and urgency that I expect to have with this show. And I loved the mother/daughter theme.

10 out of 10 stars on this one. KUDOS!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Introducing the Whale Song Discussion Guide for Book Clubs and Schools

Whale Song is the perfect choice for book clubs and schools!

Not only is Whale Song a “beautiful” and “compelling” novel, it has had an emotional impact on many readers and it explores numerous topics. Reading it, you will learn about living in an isolated town, the lives of killer whales, west coast native traditions and legends, the effects of racism, the impact of bullying and abuse, the choice and consequences of assisted death, the depth of a parent’s love, and surviving great tragedy. In the end, I hope you will come away feeling inspired and hopeful.

And now there is the Whale Song Discussion Guide for Book Clubs and Schools, the first discussion guide to complement a Kunati title.

This guide was designed to help book clubs, schools and individuals get the most out of Whale Song. It will give you some insight into how to interpret this work of fiction and the subtle or not-so-subtle messages found in the book. While this novel was originally marketed mainly for women 30-60 years old, it has now broken all boundaries in age and gender. My youngest reader that I know of is 7 and the oldest is 108. And Whale Song has become an international hit.

Spoiler Warning: The following book club discussion questions on Whale Song reveal important details from the novel. You should finish reading it before continuing.

View the Discussion Guide online or download the PDF.

Out with the old and in with the new!

As we head into January and a new year, I'd like to wish you all the very best in success and hapiness. January has always been a time of renewal. That's why we like to reaffirm our New Year's resolutions. It is the one month of the year that we feel anything is possible, that we can make a new start--out with the old and in with the new.

January has aways been the time of year where I focus on my next novel, putting my marketing of existing novels in second place. I won't be doing any book signings now for a while. There aren't many other events lined up for the next 2 to 3 months, except an occasional book club meeting (I love attending book clubs). This is the time of year when I am most at peace--creating...writing.

I have no news yet about Children of the Fog, but when I do, I'll let you know.

I am now throwing myself (headfirst?) into Divine Justice--book 2 in the Divine series. If all goes well, it may be available as early as fall '08. But I can't make any promises. If you're a Divine Intervention fan, please know I'm doing my best. If you haven't read Divine Intervention yet, now's your chance. :)

I will be updating my websites, blogging, and I have some new contests planned for next month and beyond. I still have some active contests that you should check out. :)

Don't forget, I have also posted some excerpts from my books. And I have 2 short stories available as Amazon Shorts: Picture Perfect and A Grave Error.

So while I'm writing, please check out all three of my published novels:

*If you order any of them, I would be happy to send you a signed bookplate (a beautiful sticker) for the inside of your book and a bookmark.

This offer is good while supplies last. Just email me and let me know how many you need (signed books make great gifts), who they are for and include your mailing address.

Happy New Year to you all!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Medium premiere - "And Then"...everyone was depressed

Last night I sat down to watch the highly anticipated season premiere of Medium, one of my favorite shows. My first reaction to the episode titled "And Then", was: "Good God, what did they do with the writers?" I am not sure if this was the product of the writers' strike or if it was taped earlier, but the episode was flat, predictable one word, BORING. Sorry, NBC.

Spoiler alert!

In the premiere, we are given a recap of what happened last season and left with a depressed cast who should all go on some meds.

Allison (Patricia Arquette) was depressed because no one would take her calls or listen to her dreams and she was having money problems.

Her usually witty husband Joe (Jake Weber) was depressed because he was out of work and his mother wouldn't lend him money.

Their teenage daughter Ariel (Sofia Vassilieva) was depressed because she realized that another girl sang better than her (and maybe she was depressed because the writers made her do something nice instead of act like the spoiled brat that we have all come to want to smack).

Detective Lee Scanlon (David Cubitt) was depressed because he has been demoted to playing with puppets instead of being an active crime investigator.

His girlfriend (what's her name) was also equally depressed (and depressing) as she waded through her few lines as if reading off a cereal box. Though maybe her depression is justified--NBC doesn't even see fit to acknowledge her role in the cast, even though she's been in many episodes.

Allison's former boss D.A. Devalos (Miguel Sandoval) was depressed because someone else has his job and now he'll have to go back to being just

Then there's Academy Award-winning Anjelica Huston who plays Cynthia Keener, an investigator for "Ameritips". I'm sure that she was depressed because her role was so minute. I hope they develop her character better in future episodes.

Let's see...who else was depressed? Oh yes, let's not forget the millions of viewers who watched, predicted every step and tried to keep from dozing off. Pass the Valium!

As for plot, it was equally as depressing: a kidnapped boy, a pointless side-story about Ariel auditioning for a school musical, a dream of the kidnapper's feet (he likes to dance) and another dream of mice, a scene where Scanlon finds the dead boy packaged up in a doll box and mice running around.

At this point I thought, the killer is a young man who likes to dance and he's an exterminator. And lo and behold, it seems that maybe I should take over for Allison Dubois. What's disappointing is that there's no real investigation. The killer just conveniently shows up, let's himself into the scene of the crime (dancing to music, of course)...

"And Then"?

The show is over. (Thank God!) Talk about anti-climactic. A visit to your dentist for a root canal would be more suspenseful and less painful.

So please, NBC...get some good writers! I loved this show! I love the cast! But hey, there are other new shows on now, so give us some credit here and write for the intelligent viewer. We deserve better.

By the way, my paranormal suspense novel Divine Intervention is often compared to Medium (and CSI and Ghost Whisperer) and will definitely appeal to fans of the show. And I can promise you there are no flat characters and the story line is anything but predictable or boring. So while you're waiting for Medium to get back on track, feel free to pick up a copy of Divine Intervention at Amazon.


Thursday, January 03, 2008

Law & Order premiere mimics Dr. Death's life

Assisted death is still a sensitive and timely topic, and even the hit TV show Law & Order is discussing this controversial topic.

Because of the assisted dying theme in Whale Song, I have read many articles about right-to-die activist and retired pathologist Jack Kevorkian, who was paroled in June 2007, after spending 8 years in prison. He had been convicted of second-degree murder [People v. Kevorkian, 248 Mich. App. 373, 639 N.W. 2d 291 (2001)]. So when I sat down last night to watch the season premiere of Law & Order, I was surprised at how similar the plot was to reality.

WARNING: Spoilers!

In the premiere of Law & Order, Jeremy Sisto joins the cast as Cyrus Lupo, a detective who comes home after 4 years abroad and finds that his brother has committed suicide by lethal injection. Shortly after, a second man is found dead in the same manner, after being diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease. Both men had their deaths videotaped, to be aired by a well-known television reporter. This is similar to the real-life case of Thomas Youk, whose assisted death aired on November 22, 1998, on 60 Minutes.

In the Law & Order episode, there is graphic mention of how the suicide machine is used and the side effects of the drugs. It is then discovered that Lupo's brother's death was assisted by a young woman who turns out to be the daughter of a recent parolee (ironically nicknamed "Dr. Death") who spent 10 years in prison, and detectives believe that he had something to do with the men's deaths.

In many of the articles I read about Jack Kevorkian, he was referred to as "Dr. Death". Many anti-right-to-die activists proclaim that Kevorkian's chosen method--lethal injection--is painful and slow, making it an inhumane way to die. But others argue that lethal injection, if done correctly, is fast and virtually painless. Law & Order mentions that death can be painful, yet we see two men slip away rather peacefully.

The first scene with the Kevorkian-like character shows a man who still holds onto his beliefs but cannot do anything with them. He professes to the detectives that because of his parole stipulations, he cannot help anyone who wants an assisted death, and that it's the fault of the legal system. This is also very much like the words of Jack Kevorkian, who proclaims that he will work now towards changes in the laws, rather than violate his parole terms and break the law. "I can't talk in detail about the procedure or advocate a procedure, especially with individuals," Kevorkian says in a recent interview with Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes.

Assisted death has been in the news a lot this past year. Dignitas, the Swiss right-to-die organization was ousted from their offices and forced to make other accomodations for their clients who come to them in their final days. Sharon and Ozzie Osbourne loudly voiced their own personal assisted-suicide pact, should either of them lose their mental faculties. (Some may argue that has already happened.)

While Whale Song does have a theme (one of many) of assisted dying, the novel itself neither condones nor condemns this personal of all choices. It is not the key focus of the novel, which is why I have readers as young as 7 reading it and loving it. The messages in Whale Song deal more with surviving traumatic experiences, such as bullying, racism, the death of a mother, the loss of a father. The message is really about redemption and forgiveness. Life does go on, even after tragedy. And the messages I have received from readers of all ages have expressed how much they have loved the delicate handling of assisted dying and that it has opened doors to discussion with friends, spouses and kids.

Order Whale Song.

See my article on Kevorkian.

The following sites are listed for information purposes only and represent both sides of the argument on assisted dying. My personal belief is that one cannot truly make such a decision unless in this situation. If I had to watch someone I loved dying a slow and painful death with no hope of recovery and no quality of life, I admit, I would be tempted to consider assisted dying. However, I cannot say for sure that I would follow through.

Here are a few sites that may help you understand this issue.

Right to die/assisted dying organizations:

Pro-life oranizations:

Whale Song is mandatory reading for victims of violence

Because of everything that happened with Alliance for Children's Enrichment (ACE), I was contacted by a few of ACE's board members. One of them is Linda, the Executive Director of Community Welcome House, a shelter in Newnan, Georgia, for women and children who are victims of violence. I received this email from her.

I love the book. I have been reading it in between the business of the Christmas Season which is always tragic for women and children who are victims of domestic violence. As soon as I complete the book, I am almost there, I will send the critique to It is going to be included in our mandatory reading for our residents of Community Welcome House. It will be a wonderful addition to our library. I can't thank you enough.

Community Welcome House is looking for volunteers, so if you live in the Newnan area and would like to help out, please contact Morgan Reese at

CWH is also looking for donations of gift card from department stores such as Target, Walmart, Belks, Kohls, etc., older cars that are still driveable, and monetary donations.

You can donate online at:

Or arrange a donation by calling 770-304-0966 or emailing

Order Whale Song.

Amazon and Chapters/Indigo gift cards

This year for Christmas, I gave out a few Chapters/Indigo gift cards. Strangely enough, I didn't get any in my stocking. :(

But I did get Tim Horton's and Starbucks cards. (They know me sooo well!)

With all of the book signings I've done over the years, I am still surprised at how many people in Edmonton (and possibly across Canada) aren't aware that the Chapters gift cards are actually good for the following stores:
  • Chapters
  • Indigo Books & Music
  • Coles
  • Smithbooks
Amazon gift cards are good for...well...Amazon (as far as I know, that's it).

So for those of you who received either of these cards, I invite you to consider ordering some of my novels. January is a great month to start reading again. Reward yourself and give yourself permission to relax and enjoy some time to yourself.

*Anyone who orders my books in January can email me and request a personalized and autographed bookplate and a colorful bookmark.

If you have an Amazon gift card, here are the links to my books:
If you have an Chapters/Indigo gift card, here are the links to my books: