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, December 23, 2009

Jason's Gifts -- the true story of the life and death of Jason Kaye

This time of year--Christmas time--is a time for celebration, love, family, friends and remembering. There is always something good to celebrate and something great to wish for in the upcoming new year. For me, it's also a time to remember my baby brother Jason, who was murdered in a back alley in downtown east Edmonton, not far from the Mustard Seed Church. Before and after his death, Jason left us many amazing gifts...

Jason's Gifts

People receive gifts all the time, often never understanding what the other person had to sacrifice in order to give them. A gift given from the heart can be many things—a box of chocolates, a visit from someone you haven’t seen in a while, a huge bear-hug…or gifts that have no other explanation but that they are gifts from God or the Universe.

My brother, Jason, always loved gifts. I remember his excitement at opening up a Christmas or birthday present, the sparkle in his eyes as he hoped it was exactly what he wanted and not a pair of underwear or socks. He’d rip into the wrapping paper, even as an adult in his twenties. There was no thought of recycling for him. And he always gave us the biggest hugs afterward. In the past few years, when it came to giving gifts, he was either in no position financially or he simply forgot because of his social and mental situation. We always understood and the only presents we expected from him was maybe his presence.

Then in January, 2006, his birthday month, Jason left us more gifts than we ever expected.

It started with a book. My book. Whale Song was published in 2003 and months afterward, possibly even the following year, I mailed Jason a copy. I never knew what impact that book would have on the events that would later come.

But I digress. Jason’s story really starts many years before this one event. Jason’s story starts the night I dreamt my mother was pregnant. The night I dreamt she would bring a baby home in a green, pink and white blanket. Pink being more a girl’s color, I envisioned a beautiful red-headed girl. I was wrong on one account. Jason wasn’t a girl.

Jason Anthony Kaye was born in Bermuda and kissed by a tropical sun. God gave him copper ringlets and a cherubic face…and the temperament of a little devil at times. (God does have a sense of humor.) Jason was the ‘golden child’ in more than physical ways. Sure, he was a pest at times—especially to me and my brother, Derek. We were so much older, but we loved that little pest. And he knew it.

Jason was the chubby kid at school who got picked on. I can relate so well because I was the first Kaye child to see that side of childhood. Jason overcame the weight issue at an early age, partly with my help but mostly on his own. And I was so proud of him. He overcame many things. But then his ‘demons’ called—in the form of peer pressure, alcohol and eventually drugs.

And he slowly began to slip away from us. We lost him…and we never got him back.

My brother, Jason, became an Edmonton street person—one of the invisible people that we turn away from in fear, disgust, incomprehension, and shame. He lived in an area of the city that makes you want to lock your doors—especially at night. He lived in a one-room apartment in a rundown boarding house. He lived on social assistance. He lived a life of alcohol, middleman drug dealing and he was often beaten up. But the key is—he lived.

Almost two years ago, Jason called my mother after many months of silence and she invited him to dinner. He brought his girlfriend. And for the first time, my mother felt she had her son back. He was full of life and humor, and there was an air of hopefulness and possibility. It was a beautiful time, a time my mother will always remember. That was Jason’s gift to my mother.

He called me a few months ago. It was late and he had been drinking. On this particular night, he still seemed able to comprehend, so I took my phone into my office and talked to him. Jason said he was sorry. Sorry for his life, sorry for his choices, sorry for everything. I knew at the time it was heartfelt and sincere. But I also knew that he didn’t know how to stop it. He asked if I forgave him and I did. I do. And because the message of Whale Song is ‘forgiveness sets you free’, and because I included that message after my parents’ divorce and partly for Jason anyway, I told him he had to do something as well. Jason had to learn to forgive himself. I don’t know if he did. I hope so. But in case he didn’t have time to, I forgive him. My family forgives him. And that is more than enough forgiveness to set him free. That call was maybe my gift to Jason, but also a gift from him.

In December 2005, my father had a heart attack. He survived but was left with weeks to recuperate. Thankfully, he had his wife, Dianne, to nurse him. But he needed much more than that. He needed a peaceful healing place. And he got it in the form of an email that dropped from Heaven into my lap. An email from a man I had never met who owned a B&B close to my Dad. Bernard Vincent, owner of the Qualicum Bay Bed & Breakfast, contacted me because he somehow came across my name. I am a writer—no one famous or on New York Times best selling list, just a self-published author with a passion to write. Bernard was looking for help in promoting his B&B to the writing and arts community. And for some strange reason, he chose me.

I met Bernard for coffee in a Starbucks in Sherwood Park, just outside of Edmonton. But before he arrived, I noticed a police officer sitting by himself across from my table. His uniform said NYC Police, and that sparked my curiosity. So me being the ‘investigative reporter’ type, I had to ask. The man had been to New York City—I believe he said for a conference. So I took it a step further and told him I was writing a crime series and that sometimes I needed a source to verify my facts. Things like what kinds of guns do the police in Canada use. And yes, I asked this in the middle of a Starbucks while other customers were enjoying their coffee and wondering what to make for dinner. The detective gave me his contact information, and I thanked him and tucked it into my purse. Then Bernard showed up.

Bernard’s B&B turned into a Godsend. While helping him promote his wonderful place, he gifted me with a free stay. Unable to get away, I asked if my father who was recuperating from a heart attack could stay on my behalf. And Bernard, being the awesome person that he is, said yes. My father and Dianne stayed there off and on in the first three weeks of January. I was so grateful that my father was able to relax. And even more so, now that I know what was to come next. The B&B was a miraculous healing place, and I believe it was Jason’s gift to my father.
On January 23, 2006, two nicely dressed men knocked at my door. It was voting day so I assumed they were politicians. As I opened the door, one of the men greeted me and flipped his badge. I thought, “Is this how politicians are getting into people’s houses now?” They said they needed to speak to me and asked if they could come in. So I let them into my empty house—my daughter Jessica was at the mall, my exchange student, Akari, was just leaving and my husband was at work. As they took off their shoes, my husband, Marc, pulled up in the driveway. The odd thing was that it was early afternoon, he had a trainee with him and he had a few hours until his next job. The trainee stayed outside while Marc joined me. So, my daughter was out and my husband was with me. These were Jason’s gifts to me.

The men were police detectives. I knew from the moment they asked to come inside that something was terribly wrong. And although my family and I had often talked of the day, I actually had flickering thoughts. Maybe they were here because of the mysterious vehicles that had been reported in our area…maybe they were here because something had happened to Jessica. When I couldn’t stand the wait, I said, “I need to know what this is about.” And Detective Campeau said, “Do you have a brother named Jay?” My heart sunk immediately. It dropped to my feet and exploded. And I knew that the day we all had imagined and dreaded…had finally arrived.

Jason was dead.

My brother, Jason, was murdered in the early morning on January 23rd, 2006. I can’t go into details, but he was injured and left alone to die in a back alley in downtown Edmonton. The police had tracked me down through my book—Whale Song. Jason’s friends didn’t know my last name. All they knew was that Jason had a sister who lived on the south side of Edmonton and who wrote a “book about whales”. Jason’s gift to them and us was that the police were able to track me down on such limited information.

The detectives offered to contact my mother in Vancouver, my father in Victoria and my other brother, Derek, in Trenton. But I knew I had to do it. This was my family. They should not hear about Jason from a complete stranger. There was no choice in my mind. After the detectives left, I broke down and grieved with my husband. Then I made him go back to work so that I could prepare for what lay ahead. I called my best friend, Shannon, and she was here in minutes. Shannon is the closest thing I have ever had to a sister, and I had gone many years without the close relationship of a best friend...until last year when I met her. She listened and talked and hugged me and let me cry. But most importantly, she helped me to prepare for the phone calls to my family. Shannon was one of Jason’s gifts.

Those three phone calls were the most awful—the most difficult ones—I have ever had to make and I pray to God I never have to make them again. It nearly killed me to tell my mother that her baby, her beautiful son, was dead. And it hurt so much to tell her how. My mother and I now share the most horrible of bonds—we have both lost our beautiful sons. This is something no mother and daughter should ever have to share. Luckily my mother’s sister, Paula, was with her when I gave her the news. That was one of Jason’s gifts.

Two days later, one of the detectives took me to the scene. I stood in that alley, thinking what a sad place to die. I left a small bouquet of flowers on the ground. The next stop was Jason’s apartment. A one-room dingy apartment in a boarding house run by a woman who, when I called her to make arrangements to get Jason’s things, said “Who’s gonna pay me what he owes? I lent him money.” Thankfully, the police escorted me to his room and I was able to collect some precious things. They have no monetary value—none of his belongings do—but they are gifts he left us.

The first thing I saw was a small pile of CD’s. On the top was an Enya CD. My mother and I had just mentioned the day before how much Jason had loved Enya…how he had hooked my mother…and all of us, for that matter. I knew that Jason had left this gift for my mother. Beside it was a stack of books and one spine immediately caught my eye. He still had Whale Song…my first book. A gift for me. Later, we noticed that one of the CD’s was for Derek …because DerekDebbie, Marc and I had gone to see the DJ on the album last time they were in Edmonton. A gift for Derek. I gathered all the CD’s and books and put them in a pile on the bed.

Then I found some photographs in a drawer beside his bed. Most were of his girlfriend K.C., whom I had never met. Some were of Jason. I added the photos to the pile. I spotted a small framed picture of Edwin, my nephew… Jason’s nephew. I knew that Derek would like to know that Jason thought of Edwin, even though he had never met him. That was a gift to Derek.

In the drawer I also found a bible, the AA handbook and an AA coin. I believe this shows Jason was trying. He was seeking a way out. I added these to the pile. Then I prayed for a last gift from Jason for each of us. I found a beautiful little basket for my mother, a huge coffee mug for my father (with a ‘message’ that he’s to only use it for water), a baseball cap for Derek, a gargoyle figure for Jessica, and a mug for Edwin and ZoĆ«.

Jason’s room was littered with computer parts. They were everywhere…in drawers, on counters, tables and floor. This was a gift to us all. Although there was nothing really salvageable, he left us with a sense of peace in knowing that he had gone back to his original passion—computers. According to his best friend, Glenn, the two of them would go “dumpster-diving” for parts. Then Jason would build computers and sell them. It is somehow satisfying to know that he found some enjoyment in an otherwise rough life.

As a result of his death, we were led to many of Jason’s friends…ones who live the same lifestyle. We spent time listening to stories of Jason, stories of putting his stinky feet up on Glenn’s table, stories of Jason coming home in the middle of the night and yelling “WAAAHHHH!”, stories of Jason cooking meals for the entire house. Perhaps this was Jason’s biggest gift…he left us with the knowledge that he had never really been all alone as we had thought. He had a close circle of friends—his family. And he was blessed by them and he blessed them. And he had never forgotten us, never blamed us and always loved us.

On the day of the viewing, I decided to keep my last memories of my brother and stay home. There were still things that needed to be organized before everyone returned to my house. Shannon picked up the food for me and kept me company. Eventually she had to leave, and I dreaded that I would be home alone with nothing to do but think. But another of Jason’s gifts knocked at my door. It was Andrew, one of Jason’s friends from elementary school. So I never had to worry about being alone after all. Jason took care of me. Shortly afterward, my friends, Bobbi and Rus, arrived.

Later, my family returned from the viewing and we remembered my brother, Jason, with stories and tears. Apparently, even in death, Jason had a sense of humor. My mother told me that he looked just the way she remembered him. His mouth had formed his usual mischievous smirk. And for a moment, she half-expected him to open his eyes, sit up and crack a joke.

Yes, my brother was a prankster, a terrible tease and wickedly humorous. That was more evident when we took a closer look at the books he had left us. One book was The Mystery of the Dead Sea Scrolls Revealed; another was Golf: How to Look Good When You’re Not. And then one title made my heart skip a beat. Lazarus .For those who may not recall or know, Lazarus was the man in the bible who rose from the dead. I couldn’t hold back a laugh as I absorbed the title, and without thinking, I muttered, “Jason, don’t you dare!”

There have been few leads and we have no idea what the outcome of the investigation will be. I learned afterward that the #2 investigator on Jason’s case was none other than the officer I had met at Starbucks just weeks before. Coincidence or another of Jason’s gifts? Who knows? But instead of worrying about the investigation, I am holding onto the best thing about Jason —his ability to make people laugh. From his impressions of drunken Haida Indians, to the message he left on my parents’ answering machine telling people (in an Sikh Indian accent) that Mary and Larry couldn’t answer the phone because they had gone on a camel ride, to his “Pardon me…said the blind man to the three-headed goat” after he burped, my brother always knew how to get a laugh.

To my brother, I say, “Jason, while you’re up there, give Sebastien and Grandma Hanna a huge hug, and since there is no grief up there we can assume your feet smell like roses now. Oh, and one final thing… Jason, don’t make an ash out of yourself!”

Yes, gifts can arrive in many forms, from unexpected places or people. Countless emails, cards and phone calls poured in after Jason’s death, and we all learned that we were not alone in loving Jason. His life, albeit short, had affected many people in positive ways. And it still does.

So, I thank my brother for the most precious gift of all—the gift of Jason Anthony Kaye.  

~ * ~

Whale Song: A NovelWhen the 2007 edition of Whale Song came out, a percentage of my royalties went to three Edmonton non-profits, including Hope Mission, where they held a memorial one year later for all people killed on the streets of Edmonton. The 2007 print edition of Whale Song is now out of print, but you can buy the Kindle 2003 edition on

If Jason's story touched you in any way, I'd appreciate it if you would consider donating to Hope Mission through their website at

Merry Christmas, and hold your loved ones close this year. Have a safe and happy holiday!

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Monday, December 14, 2009

10 Silly Things You Didn't Know About Canadian Crime Writer Cheryl Kaye Tardif

A Canadian crime writer friend, Anthony Bidulka, has suggested a silly blog interview to Crime Writers of Canada members, which he'll be posting on his blog at a later date. In '10 Silly Things You Didn’t Know About Canadian Crime Writer Cheryl Kaye Tardif', I got a bit carried away with my answer for question #1, and I decided to share it with you...

1. If you could invite any famous person, dead or alive, for dinner, what would you serve?

I'd invite Stephen King for dinner. And of course he'll say yes!

He'll arrive at my Black House, two blocks east of The Bone Church and not too far from 'Salem's Lot and the Pet Sematary. In Desperation, I'll serve him The Devil's Wine and get out the Firestarter. Then we'll sit by the Blaze of the fireplace eating assorted appetizers and other Needful Things. Next, we'll move onto some Children of the Corn on the cob and a salad The Color of Evil; got the recipe from Kathy Bates (I'll put away my hobbler bat). Then we'll bite into Cujo steaks until all that's left of It is a Bag of Bones.

Just After Sunset we'll leave The Dark Tower, take a long walk in The Mist and talk about writing until the Cycle of the Werewolf passes. When the Night Shift is over, Stephen King--The Man in the Black Suit--will use the Rest Stop before Riding the Bullet home. In Misery, I'll watch him leave out my Secret Window, then After Four Past Midnight, I'll slip into Nightmares & Dreamscapes and wait for my Dreamcatcher to gobble up Fear Itself, though I do suffer from Insomnia.

I'm the Survivor Type, so when he's gone, I'll just go back to writing Under the Dome of Silence. The Shining of the sun will greet me and I'll call my friends on my Cell and say, "I just had Stephen King for dinner." To which they'll reply with Chattery Teeth, "Carrie (not sure why they call me that), you must be doing the Danse Macabre." And I smile in response.

I'll let you know when Anthony posts my other answers. Cheryl, aka "Carrie", aka "Cherish", aka "Stephen King's #1 Fan".

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Winter Lust

Winter Lust

Winter’s cottony cloak gently drapes the ground,

Slowing Mother Earth’s heart to a sluggish waltz beat,

Cooling her hardened skin, frozen in endless time,

Stunting all growth as if in agonizing defeat.

This icy wrap she wears, it clings so lovingly;

How frigid is Mother Earth, unrelentingly in her claim

That she owns this frozen land and everything within,

And possesses calm reserve despite Winter’s pain.

The snow drifts and icicles form, suspended in time,

The breath and teardrops of Mother Earth’s last stand

Before Winter smothers her final weeping breath

And silent cries spread across the glacial land.

Unyielding of her riches buried far beneath the soil,

Mother Earth sighs, her time will come once more to reign.

In the thaw of springtime, freedom comes full circle,

She emerges victorious…at least ‘til Winter’s lust begins again.


©2009 Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Read an excerpt from Lancelot's Lady

"Another brilliantly crafted novel by Cheryl Tardif. This is a beautiful love story rippling with suspense and just the right amount of sensuality. Its great dialogue will sweep you along and its well stocked cast of colorful characters will draw you in and make you feel what they feel." --Emily Ross, aka Pauline Holyoak

When palliative care nurse Rhianna McLeod is given a birthday gift of a dream holiday to the Bahamas by her dying boss, billionaire JT Lance, Rhianna has no idea that her 'holiday' will include being stranded on a private island with Jonathan, an irritating but irresistibly handsome recluse. Or that she'll fall head over heels for the man.

To live fully in the present, Rhianna must resolve her own murky past, unravel the secret that haunts JT, foil the plans of a sleazy, blackmailing private investigator and help Jonathan find his muse. Only then can Rhianna find the love she's been searching for, and finally become...Lancelot's Lady.


Lancelot's Lady placed as the #3 Semi-Finalist in the Dorchester "Next Best Celler" contest, hosted by Lancelot's Lady was #1 Most Popular for the first 3 months and in the top 3 Most Popular for the following 2 months.

You can read the first few chapters (without having to sign up for anything) on my website: Lancelot's Lady

Or you can read a bit more of my novel at:

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Gift of Chocolate, Coffee & Crime

For anyone living in Canada, you can now order a special gift at that contains your choice of my bestselling techno-thriller THE RIVER or my bestselling paranormal suspense thriller DIVINE INTERVENTION.

Also included is a mug and your choice of hot chocolate or coffee and your choice of biscotti or a chocolate spoon.

Chocolate, Coffee & Crime. What goes better together than these?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Remember our Canadian heroes: 2 minutes is "a pittance of time"

Today, Remembrance Day, is the day we need to remember our Canadian troops, those Armed Forces men and women who have fought for us, died for us and survived for us. While you walk through the day, please remember that there are children without father or mothers because of their commitment and dedication to our country. Mothers and fathers have lost sons and daughters. Many have lost spouses and countless have lost dear friends.

If you haven't yet taken 2 minutes out of your busy life to remember that these men and women have fought for their country so that you can enjoy the freedoms we are so richly blessed with here in Canada, please take your 2 minutes after watching the video below. ~Cheryl

The story of A Pittance of Time:

On November 11, 1999, Terry Kelly was in a drug store in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. At 10:55 AM an announcement came over the store's PA asking customers who would still be on the premises at 11:00 AM to give two minutes of silence in respect to the veterans who have sacrificed so much for us.

Terry was impressed with the store's leadership role in adopting the Legion's two minutes of silence initiative. He felt that the store's contribution of educating the public to the importance of remembering was commendable.

When eleven o'clock arrived on that day, an announcement was again made asking for the two minutes of silence to commence. All customers, with the exception of a man who was accompanied by his young child, showed their respect.

Terry's anger towards the father for trying to engage the store's clerk in conversation and for setting a bad example for his child was channeled into a beautiful piece of work called, A Pittance of Time. Terry later recorded A Pittance of Time and included it on his full-length music CD, The Power of the Dream.

Thank You to the Royal Canadian Legion Todmorden Branch #10 and Woodbine Height Branch #2 for their participation in the Video.

You can read the lyrics of this inspiring song at:

Please visit

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Press release regarding Lancelot's Lady making the semi-finals in the Dorchester Next Best Celler romance contest hits the US

NEW YORK, NY, November 04, 2009 /24-7PressRelease/ -- When Canadian author Cheryl Kaye Tardif decided to dust off an old romance manuscript and enter it in the "Next Best Celler" contest sponsored by Dorchester Publishing and hosted by, Cheryl had no idea how popular her debut romantic suspense would become.

Read the full press release at

Lancelot's Lady by Cherish D'Angelo (aka Cheryl Kaye Tardif) is a Semi-finalist in the Dorchester "Next Best Celler" Contest Hosted by

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!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Fan mail from a teenaged boy in BC who loved The River

Every now and then I get a piece of fan mail that really tugs on my heart and fills me with gratitude. This morning I received one such email, and I've received permission to post it here.
Dear Ms. Tardif,
Hello! My name is Cliff. I am 15 year old and live in Nanaimo, BC Canada. I just finished your novel "The River" and wanted to tell you that i really loved it. I think you are an awesome writer and can't wait to read more of your work. I'm honestly not much of a reader and it normally it takes me a long time to actually finish a novel, but I read "The River" in only five days. That is a record for me! Your writing really grabbed my attention and made me want to continue reading. I'm actually kind of shocked that I could get so much enjoyment out of reading. I want to thank you for that!
Anyways I was wondering if it would be possible to get an autographed bookplate? Or would it be possible to send you my copy of "The River" and have you sign it? I'm not sure how it works, but I could send you a money order or a self addressed stamped envelope if you'd like. Just let me know. I'd truly consider it a great honor to have your autograph!
Thank you!

Anyone who has ever received fan mail before will be able to identify with how this email made me feel. It's one thing to write a novel that adults have embraced, but it's particularly meaningful to me to have written one that inspires teenagers to read--probably because it makes me think of myself as a teen writer dreaming about getting published.

Cliff is one of many teens who have discovered my work in the past few years. A while ago, I blogged about ESC Trillium high school students who used The River and Whale Song as a novel study project this year and last. The first batch of readers wrote me awesome reviews for The River that I also posted here.

And in case anyone's wondering, I feel honored by such fan mail. That anyone would take the time to email me about my novels is hugely rewarding and touching.

Cliff, I am very happy to send you a signed bookplate. I've also added a couple of bookmarks. :-) I am so honored to have written a novel that opened your eyes to the pleasures of reading! And thank you from the bottom of my heart for your email.

Reviews of Lancelot's Lady on

In the comments link and comments for each chapter you'll find some wonderful reviews of Lancelot's Lady, my debut romantic suspense.

Some of my most favorite reviews are:
"Desperate to leave her sordid past behind her Rhianna has found a new job and a new life. At long last she feels like she belongs.When her employer and companion T.J. Lance, gives her a ticket for a six week vacation on a secluded island, in the Bahamas, her life takes on a new and exciting dimension. There she meets the dark haired, dashingly handsome Jonathan. But why is he so reclusive and what secret is he hiding? Will Rhianna ever be able to heal the scares of her tortured past and give herself fully?.......Another brilliantly crafted novel by Cheryl Tardif. This is a beautiful love story rippling with suspense and just the right amount of sensuality. Its great dialogue will sweep you along and its well stocked cast of colorful characters will draw you in and make you feel what they feel." --Emily Ross, aka Pauline Holyoak
"Cheryl Kaye Tardif is the Next NORA ROBERTS/ J.D. Robb. She writes her stories with passion. I can not put her books down. Anyone who loves suspense, drama, and romance will love her books. I can only hope that Ms. Tardif continues to write, she has a wonderful gift with words." --grapie
"You've got that mythical "voice" down to a fine art, both in setting the stage and character dialogue. Well done!" --Jennifer L. Hart
"I can't believe I'm so hooked on this story! I NEVER read this genre, but it's so wonderfully written-I can't help but LOVE this story!" Firen Hendrix
"Another winner, Cheryl!Your work is riveting.It holds on and won't let you go!Your descriptive powers are amazing.You summon up scenes like genies from bottles!" --Susan McLeod
"Lancelot's Lady is bestseller quality and you've created characters we really care about." --Marc T
"This is a fabulous story! I knew I would be hooked. I have been a fan since "Whale Song". You truly have a gift!" --Tamara
"This new novel of yours is awesome, Cher. I love your characters, especially Rhianna and Jonathan. And I guess I love Winston too, although he's such a jerk!! This is a winner in my books." --BunnyS
"Love the characters and the premise of the story --Love the potential heat and intensity of tension of the characters." --Karen Vaughan
"Read the excerpt you have on your site Cheryl, and I couldn't stop reading. Now I want to wait until I can buy Lancelot's Lady." --bmorrison
"I have to tell you that the minute I started reading I couldn't stop.:) I love the whole idea of this story and the characters.Everyone of them. I can't wait to read the rest. Good luck with the story Cheryl. It's excellent." --Carol Luciano/Lucky4750
"Like everything you write your new novel is exciting and suspenseful. You always make me want to read more and your characters seem real." --AliKat
"Still to this day everytime I walk into a bookstore I look to see if they have your books. I loved (and cried) Whale Song and also loved Divine Intervention. Im still on the hunt for The River but I will find it! I really like that you still have some suspense in Lancelots Lady but still have the mushy stuff! I dont think I could handle just the mushy stuff in a whole entire book (BORING) anyways I'm excited to read the nxt book and I'm cheering for you all the way!!!" --Princess Cairo
"On a recommendation from a friend, I looked up your story. I intended just to read a chapter or 2. I am on chapter 38 now and had to force myself to quit so I can get some work done. I look forward to finishing the story!" --AER
"Riveting!!!" --GOT BOOST
"Its nice to find finally find a writer who has a vast dimentions to her writing. From paranormal, to thriller to mystery and more to come, I can't wait to read whats next. Great job Cheryl." --skydiva
"You have a fantastic and unique way of using your words to set the mood and tone of the scene. The reader is immediately pulled into the scene with the character. I enjoyed how you were able to describe almost her whole life story in one small paragraph! It did not take a lot of dialogue between characters. Stated simply we knew alot about her background. I do enjoy your writing style. I enjoy your subjects too! I will have to explore more of your books. I know they will make it to my 'must have' list!" --chloeev
"What a wonderful writer. This is a great story. You can not stop reading it." --nella
"Wonderful novel, easy to read and colorful characters!!!" --graciem
"I do not usually read this type of novel, but once again Cheryl Kaye Tardiff has my attention and the desire to stay up past my bed time." --abigail
"Exceptional characters and intriguing plot. Your writing is magical - I end up in the characters' heads, thinking what they're thinking, seeing what they're seeing. And your descriptions are absolute poetry. I'm hooked!" --Alexis Sinclair
"This is fantastic!! Where do you get these ideas from. I think you'll do fine branching out into romance. You seem like a natural. My favorite of all your novels so far though is Whale Song." --Ashgreen
...and so many more.

You can read these reviews by signing up for a free account at Then click on my title Lancelot's Lady in bottom right box.

And if you'd like to leave me your own review or comment, please do. I love reading them. :-)

Also, if you enjoy reading Lancelot's Lady, feel free to click on the 2 blue circles by my title. This gives me 2 points in the contest.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Reflections on the past 5 months in the Dorchester - Textnovel Next Best Celler contest

Tomorrow, the top 20 semi-finalists will be selected from all the entrants in the Dorchester/Textnovel Next Best Celler contest, and I'll admit I'm a bit nervous. My entry, my debut romantic suspense Lancelot's Lady, is currently in #3 Most Popular place, but I've seen people whiz by the forerunners in a day. Like they say, it ain't over til the fat lady sings!

So today will be spent hoping for more votes to secure my place and most of all thanking everyone who has supported me in this 5 month "marathon". :-) THANK YOU! I couldn't have come this far without your support.

I've been getting emails and DMs asking what this contest has been like. First of all, I have to tell you, I've entered some contests, but not many during my career as a novelist. I'm just not big on them. It's not that I'm afraid of competition; I'm not. In fact, I seem to do some of my best work when I'm forced to compete in some way, whether it's versus someone else or the ticking of a clock. I thrive on the latter kind of competition, the one where I'm really competing with myself.

This has been the longest contest I've participated in. Or at least it's felt that way. Kind of like a writing triathlon--write, edit and get votes. The first two I revel in. Writing fulfills me in a way that no other career ever has. And I've had a few. The getting votes part has been the most difficult part. Not because I can't promote my novels. I CAN. In fact, I'm known as "Shameless Promoter" and I speak at writers conferences on book marketing. However, in this contest, I found 5 months a bit long to be begging for votes. 3 months isn't so bad. And this contest isn't over yet. I really need to keep my votes going until the winner is chosen--which will be in early February.

With my background in sales, advertising, promotion and motivational speaking, I find my skills learned years ago really complement my life as a writer and a promoter of my work. I love that I'm not only creative in constructing my characters and stories, I'm also creative in the ways that I market my work.

I was one of the first contest entrants on Textnovel to offer a contest to reward my fans for their loyalty. From August to November, I've offered Giveaways, with prizes of signed novels and $75 Starbucks cards. While some may think this is a bribe of sorts, I look at it as a fun way to engage my fans and thank them. I also held an interactive contest, one I've done in the past. For my "Create a Corpse" contest, I asked fans to supply me with a name of a character that would be killed off in Lancelot's Lady. The winner, Waheed Rabanni, gave me the perfect name--Winston Chambers. Winston has proven to be one of my most interesting and well-hated characters ever, and I love that!

I've talked about the Next Best Celler contest and Lancelot's Lady on a radio station and I've been a guest at various blogs where I've talked about how Lancelot's Lady was "born", and how I chose my new romance pen name Cherish D'Angelo.

Someone asked me "why" I chose to enter this contest. My answer is simple. One writer is going to win a publishing contract with Dorchester Publishing, a publisher that I've been very interested in. In fact, I believe they are still considering my suspense thriller Children of the Fog. Something I've heard about Dorchester from a few of their authors is that being one of their authors is like being with family. That really appeals to me. I view every publisher who takes on my work as a partner in my success and I want to share that success with them.

Links about my debut romantic suspense Lancelot's Lady and Cherish D'Angelo:

Please check out LANCELOT'S LADY. If you enjoy my new novel, please consider clicking on the blue thumb circle and blue phone circle beside the title. This gives me 2 points in the contest. Thank you so much.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Lancelot's Lady gets official

I was elated today when I got the word from Senior Business Development Advisor Michael Iwasaki, that my debut romantic suspense Lancelot's Lady now has an official corporate sponsor --, a major press release distribution service.

Over the years, has come to be my favorite onlne newswire service and the one I recommend to my coaching clients and to other writers. They have worked with me in the past on other projects, including Project Drumheller, a special project that granted the wish of a young BC boy to visit Drumheller, Alberta, and see the dinosaur bones.

I have had great success at obtaining interviews because of my press releases, and I find 24-7 offers competitive pricing, quick service, and I love that I can attach a video (or book video trailers) to my releases, where appropriate.

I've used "the other guys" but none of the other press release services have given me the personal attention and huge support that I've found with Michael, Philip and their company, and none of the others have sponsored me as 24-7PressRelease is now doing.

For those of you who are unaware, my debut romantic suspense novel is in the Dorchester Next Best Celler contest held at As of right now, it's #3 Most Popular. I've been begging for votes since June 3rd. For the first 3 months of this competition, Lancelot's Lady was in #1 Most Popular place. Please drop on by and read it. It's free, and you can even let me know what you think about my new novel.

You can expect to see press releases regarding Lancelot's Lady, complete with a stunning book video trailer, to hit news editors' desks very shortly.

THANK YOU, Michael and Philip. I can't tell you how grateful I am for your support.

To learn more about, please visit their website:

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

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Romantic suspense: a scintillating combination of titillation and trepidation

When I first decided to write a romance novel, I polished off the first half of a contemporary romance, then got bored with it and filed it away in the bowels of my computer. You know, stuffed so far into a file that I easily forgot about it. The problem was that I had already established myself as an author of mystery and suspense. Sure there was some romance in my novels, but it didn’t “drive” the story, and there often wasn’t a “happily ever after”, which is the unshakable law of romance novels.

What bored me about my original romance novel—beside the title (Reflections)—was the journey of my characters (I forget the main character’s name). They met, there was chemistry, she had a disturbing past that stood in her way, they explored each other timidly, she fell in love, he didn’t at first, they eventually hooked up…blah, blah, blah…and they all lived happily ever after. Boring!

Read my full post about romantic suspense over at Magic of the Muses, where I talk about what it was like to write my first romance novel and my entry in the Dorchester "Next Best Celler" contest.

~Cherish D'Angelo, aka Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My thriller THE RIVER shows up with Richard Castle's HEAT WAVE on home page of

I received an email today from my friends at, a branch off of Canadian bookseller They let me know that my thriller THE RIVER is now featured on the home page. What an honour!

Of course, I had to go look, and there it was, tucked in between PURSUIT OF HONOR by Vince Flynn and HEAT WAVE by Richard Castle.

If you recognize the latter book title and author, you'll know that Richard Castle is the name of the character starring in the hit TV series "Castle", a cop show about a female cop who is paired with a famous author who helps her solve crimes. I'm a huge fan of the show! And now there's a book out--brilliant idea!

And Nathan Fillion is perfect in the role of Castle. He never fails to make me laugh, and his portrayal of a writer, with all the quirks, is dead on. You can follow Nathan on Twitter at fillion.

Now, if you'd like to read an exciting thriller for free, please check out THE RIVER.


The South Nahanni River area of Canada's Northwest Territories has a history of mysterious deaths, disappearances and headless corpses, but it may also hold the key to humanity’s survival―or its destruction.

Del thought her father was long dead. But someone from her past says otherwise. Now she and a group of near strangers embark on a perilous mission...

Download a free copy of THE RIVER at This offer is good until the end of November only. So get it now while you can.

You can read these ebooks on select cell phones and on your PC or Mac. If you have an iPhone, Blackberry, Palm Pre or Google Android, download the Shortcovers app so you can read ebooks on your phone.

The birth of my pseudonym Cherish D'Angelo and Lancelot's Lady

The Birth of Cherish D’Angelo, aka Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Call me Cheryl; I prefer first names. You could also call me Cherish, since that’s the name I’ve adopted as my pseudonym so that I can detour from writing mainly suspense and venture into the romance genre. Cherish D’Angelo is my flowery, romantic pen name. I selected it a few years ago when I started writing my first romance novel. Since my real first name is Cheryl, which means “dear one” or “beloved”, I wanted something similar, and “Cherish” came to mind. Finding a last name to go with it proved to be trickier. After all, when I make it big in romance, I’ll have to sign that name on thousands of books. Hundreds of thousands, hopefully.

I started an angel collection years ago as a memorial for my son, who died at birth. Prior to his birth and death, I’d ordered two angels from a friend who made ceramics. She wasn’t sure if I’d want them after he died, but I did, and this started a collection that grew every year around his birthday and at Christmas. Angels…hmmm…Cherish Angel? No. Cherish D’Angelo. YES! I’d found my new name. It means: “Beloved angel.” Yeah, that’s me.

After Cherish D’Angelo was “born”, she went to work on her first contemporary romance―Reflections. It was a story of a woman stranded on a tropical island with a reclusive rich guy, who had a deaf daughter. Cherish wrote about half of it, then hid it away on my computer. I’d realized that I had other stories that were demanding my attention―darker, more suspenseful stories. It wasn’t the right time for Cherish. So she slipped into a kind of coma, though every now and then she opened her eyes and said, “What about me?” before slipping back to sleep.

In June, I heard about a contest over at Now I’m really not much of a contest person. I love giving them and awarding prizes, but I don’t usually like entering them. I’d been a member on Textnovel ever since the CEO Stan Soper emailed me and invited me to check out the relatively new website.

What drew me to Textnovel’s newest contest was the fact that Dorchester Publishing, the oldest independent mass-market publisher in the US, had paired with Textnovel and was offering a small advance and a book contract. I’m very familiar with Dorchester. I’ve been hooked on their books since I was a teen, and my agent recently submitted my new thriller Children of the Fog to Dorchester. Plus, one of my author friends, thriller author Jeff Buick, is published with them, and I recently connected with one of their romance authors, Colleen Thompson, who is absolutely wonderful and writes awesome romantic suspense. Both told me that being at Dorchester was like being a part of a family. I want that! I want a publishing partner.

The Dorchester/Textnovel “Next Best Celler” contest is looking for the “New Voice in Romance”, and I want to be that voice. Cherish D’Angelo wants to be that voice. She’s ready now! She woke up from that virtual coma and dug out the file for Reflections. The old chapters were used as guidelines, but to date, about 80% of it is new material. Cherish has been on a roll with this novel and it’ll be finished by the end of October.

The Birth of Lancelot’s Lady

Reflections has grown into something far bigger and better than the original. A few days in, I changed the name to Lancelot’s Lady. It’s still the story of Rhianna, a young woman stranded on a tropical island with a rich recluse, but she has far more back story and Jonathan is far angrier, making for a complicated relationship and some humorous scenes. Then there’s Misty, Jonathan’s young, deaf daughter who can’t seem to keep a tutor; not to mention the development of JT Lance, Rhianna’s dying patient, and his butler Higginson, plus the inclusion of the Atkinsons, Jonathan’s caretakers.

As with my other novels, I have come to love these characters. I can picture them, right down to their flaws. And believe, me, they’re all flawed. Rhianna has survived a terrible past filled with horror and death, and Jonathan has cut himself off from family, friends and the world.

Since Lancelot’s Lady is a romantic suspense, both Cherish and Cheryl get to work on this story. I know that sounds weird, and truly, I haven’t lost it. Well, not completely. I think Lancelot’s Lady is a potpourri of sexual chemistry, sizzling tension, spicy passion, illusive danger and triumphant love. But in the end, it doesn’t matter so much what I think. I want to know what YOU think.

This leads me back to the “Next Best Celler” contest and how YOU can be involved. I really need your help to have a chance at winning this contest and to win that publishing contract. Even more, I want to know what YOU think about my newest venture and I’m willing to reward you for your time. For the months of October and November, I’ll be holding Giveaways. Right now you can visit my contest page to see how to enter this month’s Giveaway contest. You’ll have a chance to win signed novels and a $75 Starbucks gift card.

To have a chance at winning Dorchester’s contest, I really need votes and subscribers. I can’t do this without your support. Lancelot’s Lady must stay in the top 10 Most Popular, preferably the top 3. It’ll take about 5 minutes of your time to vote, but I truly hope you’ll check out Lancelot’s Lady and read it for free. And please leave me a comment there. Judges are also reading them. I truly hope you enjoy the debut of Cherish D’Angelo and Lancelot’s Lady.

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif, aka Cherish D’Angelo

Read & vote for Lancelot’s Lady, a Dorchester “Next Best Celler” entry, at

Enter my October & November Giveaways

Visit my website at and follow me on Twitter at

Monday, October 26, 2009

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

Writers and editors: different roles, same goals

by Denise C. Baron
(originally published on

The marriage between a writer and editor can be a glorious one, or it can be a relationship full of strife. As in any marriage, the glue that will hold it together combines mutual respect, appreciation and admiration of each partner's skills and the role each person plays.

Marriages tend to be most successful when the partners are also each other's best friend. They might not always agree, but they manage to work things out compatibly.

A writer's best friend should be his editor. I say should be, because that's not always the case. In a perfect world, a writer writes and an editor improves. Ultimately, the beneficary of their alliance is the reader.

Although you'll find many a talented writer/editor out there, not all writers are cut out to be editors and vice versa. So being a writer doesn't automatically entitle you to consider yourself an editor, nor can all editors write particularly well. What good editors can do well is recognize good writing when they see it and, in wielding their blue pencils, ensure they preserve the writer's voice.

Good editors will take the text the writer has labored over and artfully make it even better – and the writer gets the glory. They correct mistakes, rearrange text where warranted or necessary, amend for house style, confer with the writer, and occasionally suggest overall improvements.

What good editors don't do is equally important. They do not feed their egos by making changes willy-nilly. They do not need to put their stamp on the writer's piece to prove anything. They're already where they are because they've earned the privilege. Truth is, they'd much prefer getting clean copy that is publication-ready; the reality is that's rarely the case. And that's OK, because if all writers submitted perfect prose, these people would be out of a job.

Then there's the incompetent editor. The damage this person can inflict is unlimited in scope and may include whitewashing the writer's text, making it conform to a faceless style, or otherwise stifling what distinguishes one writer from another: the personality, the voice. This person should not be editing anyone's copy but should be praying for the writer's forgiveness – and a lenient penance – and then seeking a new line of work.

Similarly, career writers who fail to understand that theirs is a vocation of lifetime learning may be unsuited for the task. Good writers are on a never-ending quest to improve; what they know for certain is that they don't know it all. And so they strive for perfection. Every day. It's the only way they eventually can become great.

Still the so-called writers and editors lurk. It's no wonder that the writer's lament is that anyone can do his job. That's because everyone writes, right? Who in business today has not composed a memo or an e-mail or even an instant message? Isn't that writing, after all? Doesn't that make everyone a writer?

Uh, no.

A writer doesn't merely put pen to paper or finger to keyboard. What a writer does is create. A writer captures ideas and transforms them into verbal pictures for the reader. Pictures that do indeed tell a story. Pictures that captivate the reader. These pictures are powerful tools. They can make you laugh or cry, enrage or delight you. Mainly, though, they will make you think.

Next time you find yourself reading good writing, listen carefully to hear the writer's voice. Some writers sound witty; others sound academic. Some sound like people you can envision yourself hanging out with; others sound too intimidating for that. What you're listening to is the result of the writer and editor working in harmony.

Just like a happy marriage.

Denise C. Baron is a director of global communications with Merck & Co., Inc. This article was reprinted here with permission from Denise C. Baron.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The birth of Cherish D'Angelo, pseudonym of author Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Throughout literary history, pseudonyms or pen names have been used by authors for various reasons. For authors like Nora Roberts, having a pseudonym allows them to explore new territory, maybe a new genre or a series. My idol Stephen King wrote books under the pen name of Richard Bachman because he didn’t want the market saturated with “Stephen King” books. It was also part experiment; he wanted to test whether luck or talent played a part in publishing.

For me, the choice of writing as “Cherish D’Angelo” made sense since one novel I’m writing doesn’t fall into my usual suspense genre. Lancelot’s Lady is a romantic suspense, heavy on the romance. “Cherish D'Angelo” is the pen name I’ve planned on using should I ever branch out into romance. This is a genre I've been drawn to since I was a teen and it was only inevitable that’s I’d write a romance novel.

As “Cheryl Kaye Tardif”, I write suspense set in various locations of Canada, something my fans love. As “Cherish D’Angelo”, I’m free to set my steamy romance novels anywhere and I can boldly go where I haven’t gone before—into my characters’ bedrooms, with the lights on. There’s something titillating about having a “secret identity”, even if it’s not so secret. But I don’t take naming myself lightly.

Most people assume that “Cheryl Kaye Tardif” is my legal name, with Kaye being my middle name. It isn’t. Kaye is my maiden name and the name that I saw first published in print when I was a teenage journalist with a paid reporting job. After I married, I struggled with my writing identity. Cheryl Kaye had always been the writer. I didn’t want to lose her. In a glimpse of absolute brilliance (lol), I combined my last names. My husband’s family always tells me I’m the famous “Tardif” now, and that I made their name famous. I don’t quite think I’m there…yet!

The name "Cherish D'Angelo" comes from two sources. "Cherish", the meaning of which is the same as my own first name "Cheryl", meaning 'beloved' or 'dear one', and "D'Angelo", meaning 'of the angel'. After the death of my first baby, I started collecting angels. In 2006, my baby brother Jason (28) was murdered in Edmonton and sent to the angels. Thus, "D'Angelo" seems to be a perfect choice for a surname that honors them both.

Combined, my pseudonym means: "Cherished one of the angel" but I like to say it means: "Cherish the angels". There is something flirty, romantic, magical―and so 'me'―about this name.

©2009 Cheryl Kaye Tardif

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif, aka Cherish D’Angelo
*Check out Lancelot’s Lady on and please vote ‘thumbs up’ for it!