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

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Banned Books: WHSmith outraged over pornography, Kobo, Amazon and BN delete erotica and more

Over the past week, a virtual shitstorm (excuse the expression) targeted the book industry--again. This time erotica/pornography is the hot topic of debate, and it has resulted in one popular bookstore, WH Smith, shutting down their online store.

WH Smith was notified by outraged readers that pornographic material--titles that included incest, rape and beastiality--was being sold alongside children's books. This apparently occurred when someone typed in "daddy" or a similar word while searching for a kid's book. What they found instead were erotica and hardcore pornographic titles and covers, along with the innocent children's titles.

As a parent, I know I'd be horrified if this happened to me--or my child. I do agree that this needs to be addressed and remedied. But I am not in agreement over how this has affected the online bookstores involved. A mass exodus of titles are disappearing from Kobo, Amazon and BN, and unfortunately not all of the titles being deleted are even erotica or porn. Many innocent titles/authors have been caught in the crossfire. now has a letter in place of their site. Here's an excerpt:
Last week we were made aware that a number of unacceptable titles were appearing on our website through the Kobo website that has an automated feed to ours. This is an industry wide issue impacting retailers that sell self published eBooks due to the explosion of self publishing, which in the main is good as it gives new authors the opportunity to get their content published. However we are disgusted by these particular titles, find this unacceptable and we in no way whatsoever condone them.

It is our policy not to feature titles like those highlighted and we have processes in place to screen them out. We offer over one million titles through our eBooks partner Kobo, many of which are self-published titles. Due to the massive amount of self publishing a number of these titles have got through the screening process.
So now self-published titles are being targeted and deleted from retailers, and many don't even fall into the categories of erotica/porn. Thrillers, romance and other genres have been deleted. The entire catalog from the publishing platform Draft2Digital has been deleted from Kobo, according to sources.

Kobo has also taken a stance, and authors using Kobo Writing Life received an email. Here's a snippet:
In order to address the situation Kobo is taking the following steps:  
1. We are removing titles in question from the Kobo platform.

2. We are quarantining and reviewing titles to ensure that compliance to our policies is met by all authors and publishers. We will ensure that content meeting the policy is made available online as soon as possible.

3. We are reviewing our policies and procedures to implement safeguards that will ensure this situation does not happen in the future.
All self-published authors now have to keep a close eye on their titles on these websites because ANY title could be quarantined for review. And God knows how long that will take.

I do agree that something needs to be done about this. I have already sent Kobo a letter, suggesting they consider putting filters on their website, tied into accounts with VISA/MC verification for age. Of course that doesn't stop a child from using their parent's account. But filters could be set up on an account, disabling all erotica, including blanking out titles and covers, site-wide, including bestseller lists. I don't have a problem with that as a user of Amazon, or any other book retailer.

Is this censorship? No. This is our responsibility. We should be in control of what we view while online. As for the titles that push the boundaries of what is classified as artistic erotica, I'm all for allowing those who enjoy that genre their freedoms. But adult erotica only, with consenting adult characters. There's a very fine line between erotica and hardcore porn, and the latter just doesn't belong on Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords, BN etc. It would be easy enough for retailers to create a separate website for this kind of material: AmaPorn, KoboPorn, SmashPorn, BNPorn. At least people would know exactly what they were getting.

I am somewhat disappointed that Smashwords hasn't spoken up publicly or on their blog about this problem. They could at least point out that they've tried to be a responsible retailer since they already have an adult filter on their website. I give them Kudos for that. 

I also believe in WH Smith's right to sell what they want, what fits their ideals and their model. They are entitled to that right. But I am somewhat stunned that it took them this long to realize what they're actually selling. This is, indeed, a real shake up and wake up call for online bookstores.

Don't get me wrong. I'm no prude. I've read many novels that are erotic, and I'm a huge Game of Thrones fan ( city!) But I'm an adult, and there's a place for it. And it's NOT next to Curious George kids' books or my YA novel Whale Song.

You can learn more about this situation at the following links:

What do you think about this situation? Do you think these kinds of books should be removed permanently from online retailers, or do you think a filtering system would be enough?

Saturday, October 05, 2013

DIVINE INTERVENTION is on sale - and makes Amazon's Top 100 Movers & Shakers

While I'm working on book 3 in the Divine series, I thought I'd reward everyone with a sale on book 1, so from now til October 12th, DIVINE INTERVENTION is on sale for only $0.99.

DIVINE INTERVENTION is currently #212 on Amazon out of over 2.1 million ebooks. And it's #24 on Amazon's Movers & Shakers list.

CSI meets Medium meets Ghost Whisperer!

CFBI agent Jasmine McLellan leads a psychically gifted team in the hunt for a serial arsonist―a murderer who has already taken the lives of three people.

Jasi and her team members―Psychometric Empath and profiler Ben Roberts and Victim Empath Natassia Prushenko―are joined by Brandon Walsh, the handsome but skeptical Chief of Arson Investigations. In a manhunt that takes them from Vancouver to Kelowna, Penticton and Victoria, they are led down a twisting path of sinister secrets.

Sifting through ashes and clues, Jasi realizes that there is more to the third victim than meets the eye. Perhaps not all of the victims were that innocent. The hunt intensifies when she learns that someone they know is next on the arsonist's list.

Unleashing her gift as a Pyro-Psychic, Jasi is compelled toward smoldering ashes and enters the killer's mind―a mind bent on destruction and revenge. And in the heat of early summer, Jasi discovers that a murderer lies in wait…much closer than she ever imagined.

Here's a sneak peek:


It always began with the dead girl in her closet.
Every night when little Jasmine opened that closet door she expected to see lovely dresses and hangers―not a child her age strung up by a pink skipping rope, her body dangling above the floor…unmoving.
The dead girl had long blond hair. Her blue eyes stared blindly and were surrounded by large black circles. Her mouth hung open in a soundless scream. The pink rope was tied tightly around her neck, a thick pink necklace of death. A purplish-black bruise was visible and ugly.
The most unusual thing about the girl, other than the fact that she was swinging from a rope in Jasmine's closet, was that her skin and clothing were scorched.
Gagging, little Jasmine stepped back in horror.
When the girl's lifeless body swayed gently from a sudden breeze Jasmine let loose a cry of terror and raced down the stairs, searching anxiously for her parents.
Her throat was constricted and dry.
Then she screamed. "Mommy, I need you! Help me!"
In the lower hallway, the shadows quickly surrounded her.
Then she saw them.
Red eyes flashing angrily at the end of the hall.
Jasmine took a hesitant step backward. She tried to run but her feet would not cooperate. Her small body began to shake while the eyes followed her.
Glancing over her shoulder, she noticed a listless form moving toward her, arms outstretched―pleading.
The girl from the closet wasn't dead anymore.
Blistered hands reached for Jasmine.
The girl's mouth yawned and a horrendous shriek emerged.
Trapped and terrified, Jasmine began to scream…


Monday, June 18, 2012
~ Vancouver, BC

Agent Jasi McLellan awoke from her nightmare screaming and drenched in sweat. Irritated by a piercing sound, she turned her pounding head and glanced at the wall beside her.
A technologically advanced video-screened wall, or vid-wall, had recently been added to her daunting security system. The wall was divided into four monitors―each coded for different activities.
The message screen flashed brightly.
Someone was trying to contact her.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Pre-order SUBMERGED for the special price of only $0.99 from, and iTunes (iBooks)

SUBMERGED is making its Kobo, Nook and iBooks debut and is launching with a special pre-order price of only $0.99 US. Order now and receive SUBMERGED as soon as it releases.

From the international bestselling author that brought you CHILDREN OF THE FOG comes a terrifying new thriller that will leave you breathless…

"Submerged reads like an approaching storm, full of darkness, dread and electricity. Prepare for your skin to crawl." —Andrew Gross, New York Times bestselling author of 15 Seconds 

Two strangers submerged in guilt, brought together by fate…

After a tragic car accident claims the lives of his wife, Jane, and son, Ryan, Marcus Taylor is immersed in grief. But his family isn't the only thing he has lost. An addiction to painkillers has taken away his career as a paramedic. Working as a 911 operator is now the closest he gets to redemption—until he gets a call from a woman trapped in a car.

Rebecca Kingston yearns for a quiet weekend getaway, so she can think about her impending divorce from her abusive husband. When a mysterious truck runs her off the road, she is pinned behind the steering wheel, unable to help her two children in the back seat. Her only lifeline is a cell phone with a quickly depleting battery and a stranger's calm voice on the other end telling her everything will be all right.

*SUBMERGED has a unique tie-in to Tardif`s international bestseller, CHILDREN OF THE FOG.

KoboNook and iBooks - $0.99 US