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

Saturday, February 28, 2009

A San Francisco story: The man with the golden smile

I've been back now a few days, but I think I left my heart in San Francisco. What a beautiful city! What amazed me most is how clean it is--at least where we were, which was mostly the Pier 39 area of Fisherman's Wharf.

And the people there are so friendly (and I'm not talking about the scammers who just want your money!) Everywhere we went, people were friendly and smiling.

But there was one smile that particularly caught my eye.

Let me set the scene:

It's morning on a beautiful warm day and my husband and I set out for Pier 39, which is about 4 blocks from the Best Western Tuscan Inn (a beautiful boutique hotel, by the way.) As we walk down Mason Street toward the piers, we're taking in the view. We cross Jefferson Street and head east until it turns into The Embarcadero.

As we walk, we notice the panhandlers. It's sad for me. They remind me of my brother Jason. I wonder if he ever panhandled like this before he was murdered. He'd lived on the streets of Edmonton, and died there too.

The looks in each panhandler's eyes is one of quiet desperation, lost hopes and unrealized dreams. Except one.

He is old, with sun-weathered skin. Maybe 75 or 80. Until he smiles. His smile makes him look 60 or so. It's hard to tell how old exactly, but his face is wrinkled and worn, as are the clothes he wears. His face and clothes tell a story, but few stop long enough to 'hear' it or acknowledge him. His shopping cart with all his prized possessions sits behind him. It doesn't look like much, but it's all he's got and he has to stay on guard to keep it.

What makes me look a second time is this man's smile. It radiates from him, sparkling like gold. You can't help but smile when you see him. His smile is contagious.

He plays an old violin. What makes this even sadder is that he can't play. What comes out is this horrid teeth-grinding, forehead-scrunching screech, like long nails dragging down a chalkboard. The sound is awful and everyone who walks by cringes. Some laugh at him and shake their heads. I don't blame them; it's hard not to.

I walk past and can't help but cringe at the strangled sound. Then I take another look and am mesmerized by his smile once again. What makes him so happy? Why isn't he miserable, like most of the others? Several thoughts go through my mind, an epiphany of sorts.

The next day we went back to the pier. The man was there, in his spot. But this time something was different. His violin lay on the ground, discarded. I think he'd broken some of the strings. Did he give up? No. He picked up the bow and with another piece of wood, played the bow. The sound was almost as grating as the violin.

Every day that we went to the pier, this man was there, playing his bow, his eyes sometimes closed, his smile ever so wide, as if he's hearing the sweetest tune on earth. He never asked for money, but his "tip" jar was in front. Other panhandlers boldly asked for money. One fellow held a sign that read: "Why lie? I need a beer."

Hopelessness and despair emanated from these people. Except for the man with the golden smile.

On that second day, I realized why he smiles so fully.

My epiphany: This man believes he is playing the most beautiful music on earth, a symphony of life. He believes that he is playing a concert and that we are his audience. He doesn't see our scowls. He sees the smiles and believes they are smiles of appreciation. He appreciates everyone who smiles back and he smiles even brighter.

Every day he goes to "work" and plays his concert, his gift to every person who walks by. His smile holds hope and appreciation. He's alive! He's free! He's celebrating life!

On our last day, a couple of hours before we headed to the airport, I wanted to do something special for the man with the golden smile. I brought him some clam chowder and a loaf of sourdough bread, plus an order of fish and chips. I wanted to thank him for his smiles.

When I reached his spot, he was gone. We looked everywhere. I was so disappointed. We spotted 3 men lying on the sidewalk a block further and I decided I'd give them the lunch. As we walked toward them, my husband spotted the man with the smile. He was pushing his cart and making his way toward us.

I stopped him and smiled back. I told him we'd seen him every day playing his violin or bow. He said he'd just taken a break. I told him I wanted to thank him for his smiles by bringing him lunch. When I gave him the bag of food, his smile was blinding.

He giggled and looked inside the bag. His eyes grew big when he saw the food, and he sniffed in the aroma, closed his eyes and smiled even wider. Then he looked at me and my husband and said "Thank you."

I know he has a story to tell. I wish I'd had more time to listen. This man could have been a father or grandfather. He was certainly someone's son, maybe someone's brother or uncle. I bet he's someone's friend.

He taught me a valuable lesson. Be grateful for everything. Be grateful that you woke up today, that you get to listen to your choice of music, that you get to play with your kids or even fight with your spouse. Just be grateful. And show it every day, no matter how rough life might get. You're alive! You're free! Celebrate your life!

And don't forget to smile! Smile at everyone you meet, and accept every smile as a gift.

This man may be a panhandler, but he's ever so wise. Part of me wanted to ask him his name; part of me wanted to respect his privacy. To me, he'll always be the man with the golden smile, a smile he shares with anyone he sees, even if you can't hear his music the way he does.

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif
author of Whale Song

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Cheryl is back in Edmonton, with tons of news!

Okay, here is a quick breakdown of my news items. I'll expand on them in the future as I get more information.

First, San Francisco was a blast. I learned so much at the Brendan Burchard Sponsorships seminar and I'm planning some HUGE events in the future--ones that will benefit Hope Mission, the Mustard Seed Church and the Bissell Centre (here in Edmonton) and hopefully another major Canadian nonprofit. Some of my plans include a North American book tour to promote a third edition of Whale Song and the upcoming movie, a benefit concert, and a benefit concert/telethon. I am hoping to see these events in action during the next 3-4 years.

I also have some stories to tell of my experiences in San Fran. I'll save them for later posts.

While in SF, I was able to meet a great friend, whom I now call the Query King. Jeff Rivera helped me refine my query and that got me signed with a New York agent. Jeff has grown his own expertise and business and now helps other authors with queries. If you email him, tell him Cheryl referred you and he'll treat you extra special. :) Jeff's new business is bringing together some of the big names in the book industry, people who were recently laid off due to current economics and cutbacks. Check out!

While I was gone I was contacted by an Alberta magazine. They want to run a story on me. When I told them about the Whale Song movie deal that is in negotiation, we agreed to pursue the story for the magazine when I have more concrete news and can release names of parties concerned.

This morning I was contacted by City TV in Edmonton. They want to profile me in the new series "Outstanding Edmontonians". I am so honored! Filming for the segment will be on Tuesday in my home. My wonderful publicist Rachel Sentes from OutRight Communications will be participating in the interview. (I wonder if she'll tell the table story...gasp...oh no!!! lol)

By the way, if you're still interested in purchasing a copy of Whale Song, it is STILL AVAILABLE at online retailers. I have no idea when it will officially be out of print, but it could be any day now. The 2007 edition of Whale Song will make a great addition to anyone's book collection. It's now a collector's item! Order from or My apologies to independent bookstores whom I do support, but I know that they won't want to be ordering in stock of a book that is going OP. When the 3rd movie edition comes out, I'll gladly support all my friends who operate independent bookstores! :)

Well, I think that's enough for now. I promise to post a couple of heartwarming stories here very soon. For now, adieu, take care and dare to dream!

Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Sunday, February 22, 2009

San Francisco, Brendon Burchard and Whale Song movie

Hey all, I'm still in San Francisco, and I have to say, I LOVE this city. I came here for a 3-day seminar with Brendon Burchard, a young man who teaches others how to put their ideas and goals into a plan--and boy, do I have ideas. I am so appreciative of everything Brendon shared with us. He's an inspiring speaker and teacher. And the people who attended--WOW! What a great bunch. Thank you, Brendon!

When I get home later this week, I'll tell you more about what I'll be doing to help 3 or 4 nonprofits raise funds and awareness. I should also have more news on 'Whale Song' - the movie. If you've been following my latest blog posts you'll know that a respected film producer is extremely interested in the inspiring message in my novel Whale Song. We both want the movie. And he is doing everything he can to see that this happens.

After talking with many people at this seminar, I KNOW that Whale Song isn't just my dream anymore; other people want to see this movie made. Why? Because this is the kind of movie that changes people's perspectives, their hearts and even their lives. Already, my novel has changed the lives of many of my fans/readers. And in ways I never imagined.

If you've read Whale Song and found its message has inspired you, please email me and share your story with me. I'd love to hear from you. I won't print your personal story/journey, unless you give me permission. However, I would be very grateful if you'd allow me to share your stories with this film producer--even if I can't mention your name.

Please email me privately at or if you don't mind your story being public, please leave your story of how Whale Song affected you or your life in the comments section below.

To everyone who has read Whale Song:

Thank you. Thank you for allowing me to tell this story. Thank you for sharing Whale Song with your family and friends. And thank you for

Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Cheryl talks about book marketing on CKUA today

Today on CKUA Radio (94.9 FM in Edmonton), you'll hear my interview on Bookmark, hosted by Ken Davis. Join us today at 12:30 pm (Mountain Time).

This is what CKUA says:

"We also talk with an Edmonton writer who is unabashedly one of the most intensely self-promoting authors in the marketplace today. Cheryl Kaye Tardif, author of Whale Song and other suspense novels, shares her insights into what any writer should do to help ensure success for their published work."

If you live in Alberta, but outside of Edmonton, check the list to find your frequency.

And anyone can listen LIVE online at:

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Whale Song - "A compelling and moral story, beautifully written..."

"Whale Song is a curl-up-under-the-covers kind of book. A compelling and moral story, beautifully written by a popular Canadian author.

Sarah Richardson, a likeable and adventurous young girl, is forced to leave her home and friends in Wyoming to live in a remote little town on Vancouver Island. There she is pulled though a gamut of emotions and experiences; the humiliation of racism and bullying, learning about Indian myths and culture, the haunting eye to eye contact with a killer whale, saving her abuser and almost drowning, losing two people she loved and finding her soul mate.

Cheryl's characters are so real, you would swear that she must have known them all of her life. Her readers will feel like they are experiencing the traumatic events firsthand. You won't want to put this one down."

--Emily Ross, aka Pauline Holyoak

*Whale Song is going out of print soon, so order while you can. Most stores won't order in an "out of stock" item, so your best bet is to buy online.

US readers can order from

Canadian readers can order from

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Embrace grief and get through it

A new friend has a blog called By Grace of Mourning. It is devoted to helping people cope with death, loss and grief. In her February 4th post, titled The Importance of Embracing Grief, Corry writes:

"The truth is, we never ‘get over it.’ We do, however, with passage of time and conscious grief work, come to a place in our lives where we have our loss in perspective, and we can move into living life again instead of just going through the motions..."
My thoughts on her message:

Corry is right. Grieving parents never ever "get over it". But we do "get through it".

As a mother who has lost a newborn baby, I will never forget the pain I was engulfed in. Or the guilt. So much guilt that I almost choked on it some days.

I've learned so much since that terrible black day over 19 years ago. I learned that life does go on. With or without us. I learned that I had to choose to move forward with life--when I was ready. I learned that no other day will be as black as that single moment when my first child, my son, died on his way to a special children's hospital--without me.

A year later, I had to learn to trust that Fate would not be so cruel as to put me through the same misery. I delivered a healthy baby girl, who is now 18 and ready to start her own life. I've been blessed by her presence in my life.

My son's death has colored so much of what I've done, including my own writing. He is "in" everything I write, in one way or another. In my novel Whale Song, the prologue may seem like the reflections of Sarah, the main character, but in many ways, these are my feelings, and a glimpse into my heart...

"I once feared death.
It is said that death begins with the absence of life. And life begins when death is no longer feared. I have stared death in the face and survived. A survivor who has learned about unfailing love and forgiveness..."

For those who are suffering, grieving, mourning...

There is always light at the end of even the darkest tunnel. And with light comes hope.

Read Corry's entire post, The Importance of Embracing Grief

Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Listen to Cheryl on CKUA's 'Bookmark' with host Ken Davis

On Sunday, February 15th, from 12:30 -1:00 pm, please drop by CKUA Radio Network's special program "Bookmark".

I'll be chatting with host Ken Davis about my life as a writer and the books I've written or am working on.

You can listen live or even after the show.

View Bookmark's upcoming guests.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Do you read e-books, Kindle books or text novels via computer or phone?

I am very curious about the many ways that the book world is changing. We've seen massive changes with publishers--many have combined their imprints and cut back on staff, some are being more selective in the genres they print and some have even announced a temporary stall in accepting new submissions.

I'm most interested in how readers are changing to adapt to the economic crunch and the varying formats available for reading.

So here are my questions:

1. Do you read e-books, Kindle books or text novels? If so, how do you most often read them--on your computer, cell phone or portable reader like Kindle or Sony Reader?

2. What do you most like about reading e-books? Is it the portability, price, novelty or some other reason? What do you like least?

3. Which do you prefer, print or e-book format? And why?

For those of you looking for something to read on your cell phone, I recommend you sign up to read free samples and complete stories at I also must direct you to my own stories there, including the prologue of Finding Bliss, the novel I'm writing ON my iPhone 3G.

Happy reading!

I am very interested in your answers to the above questions, so please leave them in the comments section.

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Are you a 'Wild Roses' fan who's wondering what that catchy theme song is?

I've noticed a lot of people are coming to my blog because I wrote about my new favorite TV show on CBC--WILD ROSES, which airs Tuesdays at 9:00 p.m. Everyone wants to know the answer to one burning question...

"What is that very catchy theme song on Wild Roses, and who sings it?"

Well, I've got the answer.

The song is called Black Horse & the Cherry Tree, by KT Tunstall.

You'll find the lyrics below (for entertainment purposes only):

two, three, four


well my heart knows me better than i know myself
so i'm gonna let it do all the talking.
i came across a place in the middle of nowhere
with a big black horse and a cherry tree.

i fell in fear, upon my back
i said don't look back, just keep on walking.
when the big black horse that looked this way,
said hey lady, will you marry me?

but i said no, no, no,no-no-no
i said no, no, you're not the one for me
no, no, no,no-no-no
i said no, no, you're not the one for me


and my heart had a problem, in the early hours,
so it stopped it dead for a beat or two.
but i cut some cord, and i shouldn't have done that,
and it won't forgive me after all these years

so i sent her to a place in the middle of nowhere
with a big black horse and a cherry tree.
now it won't come back , cause it's oh so happy
and now i've got a hole for the world to see

but it said no, no, no,no-no-no
i said no, no, you're not the one for me
no, no, no,no-no-no
said no, no, you're not the one for me

(ooooo,woo-hoo) (not the one for me, yeah)
said no,no, no,no, no, no, no
you're not the one for me
said no,no, no,no, no, no, no
you're not the one for me

big black horse and a cherry tree
i can't quite get there cause they've all forsken me
big black horse and a cherry tree
i can't quite get there cause they've all forsken me

[The copyright belongs to the writer(s).]

Listen to the song and view the opening credits of Wild Roses on YouTube:

Join the Wild Roses Facebook group!

Check out Wild Roses on CBC.

UPDATE May 1, 2010: Sadly, this awesome Canadian TV series is cancelled and there are no plans it seems to bring it back. If you have enjoyed this taste of Canadian drama and are looking for more, I invite you to check out my novels--all set in areas of Canada. I can promise you lots of drama, suspense and sometimes romance. Please drop by my website and check me out.

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif, bestselling author and Wild Roses fan

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Whale Song - still available, but not for long

I'm not really surprised to see that Whale Song is still available online and in some Edmonton bookstores. Although my publisher at Kunati Books--actually ex-publisher is more accurate--said Whale Song would be out of print at the end of January, I suspected it would take some time to clear it from places like Amazon and

So as of now, you can still purchase Whale Song. I have a feeling it could take a few weeks, maybe even a month or two, before these retailers have sold off their stock and change the status to "out of print" or "unavailable".

I recommend you order while you can, via Amazon or Chapters at this time, since bookstores don't like to stock books that are going out of print.