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, May 31, 2008

A candlelight vigil and walk in memory of Tori and Dean

Yesterday I wrote about a tragic double murder that happened on July 26, 2006--the brutal strangulation of Tori Vienneau and her 10-month-old son, Dean. Their story deeply saddens me, especially for Tori and Dean's family and friends.

Such a senseless and incomprehendable act by Dennis Potts, the baby's birth father, a man who is awaiting a trial that I know will bring more heartache for Tori's family as they relive their loved ones' last hours. If the court sees fit, as it should, perhaps Tori and Dean will see a slim slice of justice. However, I believe there is never really true justice in this world.

Now I am going to turn my thoughts away from the INhuman to the wonderful and loving family and friends of Tori and Dean. I felt honored when I found emails from Tori's good friend Deserie and Tori's mom (and Dean's grandma) Dayna. I felt an immediate connection to them both, and my heart cries for their losses. But I am going to focus now on the knowledge that Tori and Dean's lives were richly blessed, by love and an ever-growing family of relatives and friends.

Right now Dayna and Deserie are preparing for a candlelight vigil and walk that will take place from 5:30-8:00 (PST). They are expecting about 50 family and friends to walk with them, including possible media. If you live in their area, I hope you will consider joining them. They can use all the support possible. (Vigil details at the end.) I wish them a peaceful and safe journey filled with loving thoughts of their two angels.

I can't walk with them since I live in Canada, but I'm walking in spirit. I've set up my own candle vigil, with angels and flowers from my brother's memorial service watching over my display.

Tonight I'll light 2 candles in honor of Tori and Dean, who touched my heart in 2 days. I pray that their spirits are at rest, just like my brother Jason, safe in the knowledge that they are loved.

A message from Deserie:

PLEASE JOIN US for a walk and candle light vigil in memory of Tori Vienneau (22) and Dean Springstube (10 mo.), TONIGHT from 5:30-8:00 pm.

Tori and Dean were viciously murdered on July 26, 2006 in their home. (Tori was savagely beaten and strangled; Baby dean was hung by a noose from his crib! The murder suspect is finally behind bars awaiting trial, to begin June 16, 2008).

We will walk from Tori's childhood home @ Fallbrook Ct. in Bonita, CA (91902), stopping along the way for a silent lighting of the candles.

We will continue on to Tori and Dean's final resting place at Glen Abbey Cemetary on Bonita Road.


We are asking for a $25 dollar donation, but any amount will help.

ALL PROCEEDS WILL GO FOR LEGAL EXPENSES AND START-UP COSTS for to become a non-profit organization to help others who have been affected by violence.

Your donation is GREATLY appreciated!

While we are hoping to raise funds for this very worthy cause, we are first and foremost doing this to HONOR THE LIVES OF TORI AND DEAN.

Deserie Peterson

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif, author

Friday, May 30, 2008

A Voice for Tori and Dean

I came across a very heart wrenching site today. And I don't believe in accidents or coincidences. Someone had signed my guestbook recently at and I decided to check out their blog. On the right side I saw a link to A Voice for Tori & Dean. I'm not sure what made me click on it.

There are some things that happen that just make us cringe and ask: How can this possibly happen?

Tori Vienneau (22) and her 10 month baby boy Dean were brutally murdered on July 26, 2006. Tori was found beaten and strangled in one room and her baby Dean was found hanging by a noose in his crib.

I can't shake this imagery from my mind. It is tragic beyond words, beyond belief.

Strangled? Both of them? And one a baby?

What would make someone do something like this? How could any human being hang an innocent baby?

To me, there is only one answer: someone INhuman, someone evil, a monster who has no right to life himself.

There is no defense or excuse for murders such as these.

Thankfully, there was an arrest. Two, actually. Dennis Potts, 23, was charged with two counts of murder and conspiracy to obstruct justice, and Max Corn, 23, was charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice. Reading some of the news reports, I was not surprised to learn that Potts was actually the baby's father. It felt like a case of focused voilent rage, which meant that the victims knew the perpetrator.

Recently, an author friend of mine, Karen Harrington, wrote about mothers who kill their children and the possibility that it could be a hereditary trait. Does this suggest that men could inherit this same deadly trait? We all know men who are prone to voilence, but what kind of man takes a friend with him and performs such a heinous crime? No man at all.

I felt compelled to sign the guestbook, but I admit, I felt somewhat like an intruder. This is such a very deep and personal loss for them. But I haven't been able to forget about Tori and Dean. Surprisingly, I received an email from Deserie, a friend of Tori's. She thanked me for leaving a message in the guestbook, and this reminded me of how I felt to see strangers leave notes in my brother's guestbook after his murder. Strangers and people who knew him but that I didn't know.

I think the real message in all this is that victims of violence need to be remembered, their memories kept alive by everyone and anyone. Survivors of violence need the comfort of knowing that their loved one(s) have reached out beyond the grave and touched even a stranger's heart, as Tori and Dean have touched mine. I know what it's like to lose a baby. I know that Tori's mom and Dean's grandma need to feel still connected, and they are. By love.

My message for Mom/Grandma and all family and friends of Tori and Dean is this:

There is always light at the end of even the darkest tunnel. And with light comes hope. You have been kissed by angels.

So I invite you to visit this humble site with it's tragic story, beautiful pictures and a guestbook filled with love.


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Mission of Hope Radio-thon in October 2008

As mentioned in my last post about Hope Mission in Edmonton, I was asked to pre-record a personal message for the Mission of Hope Radio-thon in October 2008. As this date draws closer, I'll give you more information.

For now, here's a recap of what Hope Mission is all about:

Hope Mission, a Christian social care agency, began in 1929 as a soup kitchen serving meals to hundreds of people struggling with unemployment and homelessness at the onset of the Depression.

Hope Mission currently operates a men’s emergency shelter (Herb Jamieson Centre), a residence for at-risk women with or without children (Women’s Centre), a youth outreach centre (R.W. Tegler Youth Sports Centre), an activity and hot meal program to low income area elementary schools (Kids In Action), a Youth Shelter, a Women's emergency shelter, a Ministry Van, an Intox/Detox Centre, Transitional Housing, an Emergency Mat program and a summer camp for underprivileged youth and children (Brightwood Ranch)

Today, I drove down to Hope Mission. It's located in downtown east Edmonton. From my understanding, they rely solely on donations from the public. I had the honor of teaching a men's writing workshop last year, to men in the addictions program. These men were inspiring, respectful and eager to learn, and there was some awesome talent there. They should each be proud of all their accomplishments. One day at a time.

My interview went well and I hope I was able to convey how important Hope Mission is to the people of Edmonton. I hope it inspires more people to donate, and I hope it will change people's perceptions of homeless or down-on-their-luck people. I talked about my brother Jason, who was murdered in Edmonton in 2006. I spoke about how Hope Mission tried to help him, how they reached out to me and my family and remembered Jason in a special memorial service in 2007.

On the way home from Hope Mission, I heard a song on the radio that hit me hard. The lyrics spoke to me. I felt like this is a message my brother wants to share with his street family...

Never Too Late by Hedley

Hoping I can run today and get away faster

Than ever from here

Another night and who can say if leaving is better

Than living in fear

Here's to all the broken hearts tonight

Here's to all the "fall-a-parts" tonight

Here's to every girl and boy who lost their joy

They let it get away

You know it's never too late

Get up and start all over again

You know it's never too late

There's got to be a better way

Don't settle for the cold and rain

It's not too late to start again

Find a way to smile and never let it get away

It's been too long and we've been down and out without laughter

No smiling just tears

We're tired of falling down and being such a disaster

We've been here for years

Here's to all the broken hearts tonight

Here's to all the "fall-a-parts" tonight

Here's to every girl and boy who lost their joy

They let it get away

You know it's never too late

Get up and start all over again

You know it's never too late

There's got to be a better way

Don't settle for the cold and rain

It's not too late to start again

Find a way to smile and never let it get away

I'm gone, I'm gone, there's got to be a better way, I'm gone

I'm gone, I'm gone, there's got to be a better way, I'm gone

I'm gone, I'm gone, there's got to be a better way, I'm gone

I'm gone, I'm gone, there's got to be a better way, I'm gone

You know it's never too late

(I'm gone, I'm gone)

You know it's never too late

(I'm gone, I'm gone)

There's got to be a better way

(I'm gone, I'm gone)

It was tough to hear these words and drive home. Below is the actual song.

Please consider donating to Hope Mission.

Also, if you buy a copy of Whale Song, a portion of my royalties will go to Hope Mission.

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Edmonton author supports Hope Mission

Yesterday, I received an email from Stephen Berg, the Development Director at Hope Mission here in Edmonton, asking if I would agree to pre-record a radio interview for the Mission of Hope Radio-thon in October and talk about Hope Mission. I was extremely honored that Steve thought of me; he has always been very supportive of me as a survivor of a violent crime and also as an author. I knew immediately what I wanted my message to be. I wanted to share how I am connected to Hope Mission by tragedy, what it offers and how important it is to Edmonton inner city survival.

First, let me remind you of what happened to me and my family in January 2006...

My youngest brother Jason was raised in a good and decent family, went out on his own in his early 20's and tried to start his adult life. But he struggled financially and emotionally. He went from job to job, as is common with many young people, and he moved to Edmonton on my invitation, with hope to start a new life for himself. But somewhere along life's path, he lost his way.

Jason turned to alcohol and it became his companion. He lived for some time on the streets, then in a men's shelter. He called occasionally and told us about Hope Mission, that they were helping him. He also suffered from mental illness and bouts of depression. He was on medication--when he remembered to get it. Slowly, he closed himself off from family, and I even filed a missing persons report at one time because we hadn't heard from him in months.

We finally did hear from him, indirectly. I was contacted by a local hospital. Jason had been admitted because he'd been badly beaten. But by the time they contacted me, he had already been discharged. At least we knew he was still alive. We heard from him a few times after that.

Jason had just celebrated his 28th birthday on January 15th, 2006. Then on January 23, 2006, two police officers showed up on my doorstep and my world and that of my family's was turned upside down. What we had feared most had happened. My brother, a funny copper-haired computer whiz, was found dead in the alley close to the Mustard Seed church in downtown east Edmonton. His murderer is still at large and police are still looking for leads in this case.

After his death, we were contacted by people who knew Jason. We even met some of his friends--his city family. The police officers were kind to us and very respectful of Jason's memory. They admitted that they knew of him, but that Jason had never caused any serious trouble and had been the recipient of violence (as in the time above when he was admitted to the hospital). It is during this time that I was connected again to Hope Mission. Many people there knew about Jason and knew him.

In January 2007, Hope Mission held a special memorial to honor all the people who had died in the last year--people who had lived like Jason, disenfranchised, suffering from addictions and feeling hopeless. Most of these people struggled through life and died very violently. My husband, daughter and I attended this memorial, and I was asked to talk about Jason and remember him. That is the only time I ever recall speaking to a group of people while my entire body shook and while struggling to hold back tears. It was a beautiful memorial, and I was so grateful to meet others who knew my brother. Everyone had such wonderful things to say about him. He was loved.

Shortly afterward, my husband and I decided to support Hope Mission financially. We've always given money to charities before but this time we had a personal connection. We signed up for one of their donation programs--Friend of the Friendless. We gladly give money every month and I can't tell you how rewarding it feels to know that our money is going to something so vital, so hopeful, and to an organization that can use it to help save a life.

When my novel Whale Song was published by Kunati in April 2007, I dedicated it to Jason. I also decided to give a percentage of my WHale Song royalties to the three nonprofit organizations who helped my brother--the Bissell Centre, Mustard Seed church and Hope Mission. These types of nonprofits are found in every major city, and it's unfortunate but we need them. And they need us. Without financial support, programs are shut down, shelters are closed or never expanded and people are left with nothing--no food, no shelter, no support, no hope.

Next time you see a homeless person, someone begging in the street, a person you would consider a "bum", please remember this: this person before you is someone's son or daughter, maybe someone's brother or sister, or a mother, father, uncle, aunt, grandmother, grandfather. These are PEOPLE. With feelings, emotions, hopes and dreams that have been squashed by addictions they can't help, jobs they're just unable to get or keep, and a life they never chose.

Do you really think anyone would CHOOSE to live like this if they really felt deep inside that there was another way? Don't you realize that they often think they're unworthy, that they don't deserve better? Don't you understand that it's this lifestyle that leads some of them to crime; they weren't born criminals--at least not the majority. I think the poverty lifestyle is also an addiction. It's a life they know.

I implore you to look at the people behind the grizzled, dirty, tired, drunken, drugged up, battered, homeless faces. SEE them as human beings. And I urge you to check out your local homeless shelters, support them in their work and in bringing hope to those less fortunate.

Don't you think everyone deserves hope? I do.

"Become a friend of the hungry, the hurting, the homeless; become a friend of the too often forgotten." --Hope Mission

Please visit Hope Mission's website and support the work they are doing. Right now they need donations to help send children to a special camp. I am about to donate to this myself. And remember...your donations could save a life.

More on the Radio-thon and my interview in my next post.

Buy Whale Song in support of Hope Mission, the Bissell Centre and the Mustard Seed church and help the homeless.

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Show us your character!

I came across an interesting blog today. It's called 'TOMORROWVILLE' and it was created by David Isaac, author of Shock and Awe.

In his post titled 'Less Characterization, Please?', David talks about how certain generalizations are made, like one that says: “Literary novels are mainly about character; commercial novels are primarily concerned with plot.”

Like David, I don't agree with this statement. I think commercial fiction can be told through the character's journey, and in fact, that is how my novel Whale Song is told. It's a story told through the eyes of Sarah Richardson, a young woman whose past is haunted by a tragic event she can't quite remember.

Whale Song isn't literary fiction, yet the story is mainly about Sarah and her growth and journey from 11 years old to 26. But it is the plot that grips you as well. There is action, adventure, tragedy and an inspiring message.

I think this all goes back to 'show, don't tell'. Show us your character...AND your plot, and then it'll be a novel worth reading. At least, that's what I try to do.

I invite you to read David Isaak's blog.

Attention writers! Sign up for CanWrite!

I'll be speaking at the Canadian Authors Association Annual National Conference - CanWrite! in Edmonton July 3-6. The conference has a great line up of sessions, panels, keynotes and special events and I encourage you to attend. This is great opportunity to meet authors, editors, publishers and agents from across Canada.

If you're a writer and can make it to Edmonton during the above dates, be sure to register.

Learn more about CanWrite! Conference 2008 at

I hope to see you there!

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif, a proud Canadian suspense author

Whale Song and The Page 69 Test

I've heard of many interesting ways for a reader to check out a book, to see if it's worth reading. Some read the first page and if that doesn't grab them, they put the book back. Some read the last page, which always makes me squirm and think: Wait! You're going to ruin the ending!

Many people read a specific page number. I've heard of people who read page 20 or 30. Some read page 40 or 50. And some choose page 69.

Today, my novel Whale Song is featured on two websites:

I invite you to check out these sites, and please leave me a comment, especially on the first site if you feel that page 69 in Whale Song is interesting enough to make you want to read more. Does it reveal enough of the story to grip you?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Royale tribute to a much loved friend

Her name was Royale. She was oh-so-beautiful and loving. She was born April 22, 1995 and died May 19 (Victoria Day), 2008. She was 13 years old.

Royale was our baby--a miniature American Eskimo dog that was named after toilet paper. Yes, you read right. Royale toilet paper. You know, the brand that is advertised with those adorable fluffy white kittens?

Ever since our daughter Jessica was a toddler, she loved those kittens on the commercials. She begged us to buy her a "toilet paper kitty". Unfortunately, my husband is allergic to cats and really doesn't like them. He was never raised around a cat, unlike me. I grew up with cats and dogs, rarely just one pet in any given year. We lived near wooded areas in an isolated town, so our pets never lasted very long. Some ran away, some died.

Jessica wasn't the only one who wanted a pet back in 1995. I did too. I'll admit it now, I shamelessly used my little girl as the reason to buy a dog. I told my husband that if we couldn't get her a "toilet paper kitty", we could give her a "toilet paper puppy", a miniature American Eskimo.

When Jessica was almost five, I tracked down a breeder and we went to visit the farm. Royale was the only pup in the litter, which was kind of unusual--no brothers or sisters. Just like Jessica. I say that we went there to pick her out, but really, Royale picked us. The breeder let her out to play with Jessica, who thought we were visiting a friend. Royale chased her around in the grass and Jessica laughed in delight. This white little ball of fur seemed to love her instantly.

On our daughter's 5th birthday, we gave her a box. She opened it and just stared. Royale was sleeping, curled up, with a pink barrette in her hair. Jessica looked at us and said, "Is it real?" At that, Royale woke up and Jessica shrieked. She was so happy to finally have a toilet paper anything.

Royale was a great family pet. She woke us when the police were searching our back yard for a thief. She alerted us when some kids were hiding in our neighbor's back yard. She barked when the doorbell rang or someone knocked. And yes, sometimes she barked at nothing. Maybe a fly, or a leaf or plastic bag.

Sometimes we called her "Royale Pain in the Ass", because like most dogs, she'd get into something. She was getting slower in her old age, but she still shot out from nowhere if I was in the kitchen making dinner and said, "Oops." I swear some bits of food I dropped never had time to hit the floor. Her favorite food was seedless grapes. Heck, who am I trying to kid? Royale would eat onions, garlic, celery, anything I might be chopping for dinner.

Ironically, her favorite distraction was...toilet paper. She'd chew it, shred it, eat some and leave pieces of it around the house. Sometimes she'd get very annoyed if we left her for too long and we'd find a clump of chewed up toilet paper at the top of the stairs above the foyer. Kind of a "Let's see if you'll leave me alone that long again. So there!"

She lived up to her name on many occasions. She was royalty and she knew it. She often slept on the couch, on a blanket and with her head on a pillow. She had everyone trained too. Anyone who came into our house regularly, from family to friends to our house cleaner, knew exactly what she wanted when she yipped and spun in circles outside the pantry. Yes, she had us trained very well. My mother called Royale her "grand-doggy", and when "grandma" came to visit, Royale was in treat heaven.

Spoiled, always begging for food, grounded sometimes to her cubby, and sometimes sent to our room when we had company, she was just like another child in our house. She was Jessica's best friend and baby. And Royale was my baby too. She always knew when I was in pain. She'd jump into my lap and lay across my stomach. She was better than any heating pad.

On her last day with us, she had gotten into some candies. Since she had stopped jumping up on any furniture because of arthritis, I never thought she'd get into the sweets. But she did. We thought she'd just pass them, but as the day progressed, we could see she was bloated and uncomfortable. We thought we had no choices since it was a holiday, and kept thinking she'd pass the candies.

She came into my office when I was on the phone and climbed under my desk, but I had to take her out because she was too close to all the electrical plugs. She rested on a table cloth on my office floor. A while later she went out into the back yard and laid in the grass. My husband was mowing the lawn. Royale stayed in the grass for a while, and then crawled under our deck. That was when I knew for sure that she was dying.

We tried to coax her out, bribe her with treats but she stayed there. We kept hoping she'd come out later. I went out for half an hour to pick up groceries for supper, and when I returned my husband told me.

Royale was gone.

It has not been a good couple of days. Jessica is devastated. We all are. My husband realizes now just how much he loved that dog. Our house is not the same. It's quiet. Too quiet. There is no clicking of her nails as she walked on the floors. No whining at the back door. No barking. No soft fur to brush outside--that the birds would take to line their nests. No "rug" that lies in the middle of a doorway and doesn't move so you had to step over her. No warm heating pad to soothe me.

I have suffered a lot of loss in my life--from the death of my first baby after a brain stroke, to the death of my Grandma after illness, to the suicide of a close childhood friend, to the brutal murder of my brother Jason, and now to the death of a much loved pet. I'll deal with Royale's loss and my grief, just as I did with each of the others, by remembering the good times. I know that life does go on. There is always light at the end of even the darkest tunnel.

Royale was the best dog I ever had and I loved her. She was a part of our family. She was much loved and she'll be missed by us all. One day, I will immortalize her and one of my character's in one of my novels will be blessed to have a white "toilet paper puppy" named Royale.

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif, author of Whale Song

Friday, May 16, 2008

Do you believe in the paranormal?

Whether you believe in psychic or paranormal phenomena or not, there is an element of the "unknown", happenings that don't lend to logical explanations. Since the beginning of mankind, there have been reports of strange or unusual phenomena--UFOs, psychic visions, crop circles, Stonehenge and much more.

Do you believe in the paranormal? What exactly do you believe?

Can God or an ultimate power still be found within a psychic gift?
Or is this power coming from something or somewhere evil?

Have you ever had a premonitory dream or vision? Ever touch
something and suddenly know who held it last and why?

For some, paranormal gifts are a reality; for others a curse and for many an impossible feat. Some of us avoid thinking about it, while others are drawn to television shows like Medium and Ghost Whisperer or to novels like Divine Intervention that explore the luring world of the paranormal.

If one whiff of smoke from an arsonist’s fire made you see into a killer’s mind, would you consider it a gift or a curse?

For CFBI Agent Jasmine McLellan, her special gift as a Pyro-Psychic gives her an ‘edge’ as she leads a covert team of psychic government agents in search of some of North America ’s most ruthless criminals.

Jasi and her team hunt for a deadly serial arsonist who is bent on revenge and murder in Divine Intervention, a novel that explores abortion, abuse and abandonment.

Vicious murders, deadly secrets, suspects with hidden agendas and a dead girl’s ghost in Jasi’s closet are the key elements to Divine Intervention, book 1 in a paranormal suspense series set slightly in the future, and a novel for fans of J. D. Robb and Kay Hooper or TV’s CSI , Ghost Whisperer and Medium.

"An exciting book from start to finish...mystery fans will love this book." --Writer's Digest

Read an excerpt.

Order Divine Intervention on or

P.S. I welcome your thoughts on the questions above.

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
author of Divine Intervention

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Which successful authors am I compared to most?

I was asked this question recently and it really got me thinking about the authors I've been compared to and the authors who have inspired me in the past.

This was my answer:

Since each book I’ve written is different, it’s very interesting to see the variety of writers I am considered most like, but I have to agree with people who have made these comparisons.

For Whale Song, I have been compared mostly to Jodi Picoult, Luanne Rice, Sue Monk Kidd, and Madeleine L’Engle.

The River fans compare me mostly to Michael Crichton, Dean Koontz and Dan Brown.

Divine Intervention fans compare me to J.D. Robb (aka Nora Roberts), Kay Hooper, Iris Johansen, Tanya Huff and Michael Connelly.

If you asked me which authors have inspired me, I would say that two authors inspired me from the time I was a teen--Stephen King and Dean Koontz. I was always fascinated not just by their stories but by how they told them, the characters and their back stories, the vivid descriptions, foreshadowing, fast pace, red herrings and mounting suspense. I used to ask myself why they wrote something a certain way. I'd reread lines that I found particularly captivating. I saw every paragraph as part of a design, something magical, scary and all too real at times.

Over the years, other authors have inspired me. Nora Roberts (writing as J.D. Robb), Sandra Brown, Michael Crichton, Luanne Rice. They all write about situations that I've found fascinating. Some ask the 'what if this happened?' scenario, while others stick to real world happenings. Yet each of them showed me that all is possible in the world of fiction. So I suppose it is no wonder that my work is sometimes compared to these wonderful writers. And I am truly honored.

I do find it interesting that with Whale Song, a much softer, more emotional story, I am compared to women authors. With my grittier, crime-related, paranormal suspense Divine Intervention, I am compared mostly to women. But with The River, a fast-paced techno-thriller, I am compared mainly to men. I love it! And I look forward to the day I write something that makes readers think of Stephen King and Dean Koontz. Hmmm, maybe I should write something cold and creepy under the pen name of Stephanie Koontz or Deana King. ;-)

Please leave a comment and tell me which author I remind you of, for which of my books, and maybe why. I'd really appreciate this and it'll help keep me on track as to the kinds of stories I want to be writing. The comment button is below.

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif,

author of Whale Song, The River and Divine Intervention

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Do you observe people and conversations?

An author friend of mine, Karen Harrington, recently asked two interesting questions on The Write Type, a multi-author blog we both belong to.

Her questions were: Do you observe people and conversations? Do you sometimes fill in the blanks about what is taking place?

Like Karen, I find people fascinating. I watch their facial expressions, mannerisms, how they relate to people around them.

I also study their hair, partly because of my past life (real past life) as a stylist and partly because hair tells a lot about a person.

Is her hair styled, freshly washed? Is it simple or elaborate, or wildly colored? Is his hair naturally that color? Did he straighten it for her? Is there a squished in patch at the back that suggests he just woke up? Why did he wake up so late? Is he lazy or was he moonlighting as a criminal fighting vampire?

You can tell a lot by how people dress too.

Is she wearing make-up, fashionable clothes and expensive shoes or did she just throw on a sweater over her PJs, thinking no one can tell she's in her night wear? Are his jeans practically falling down under his butt? Does he really think this is cool? Why would a sixty-year old man think that?

Okay, these people haven't made it into one of my novels--yet. However, there is a young nanny at a park in my new (no release date, sorry) novel Children of the Fog, and she is a composition of many women I used to see at the park when my daughter was a baby.

Other people I've watched may not have made it into a novel, but some have made it to my blog. People are fodder for writers. Not that we'll chew you up or spit you out, but more that your actions or words may spark something in me and I'll assign them to a character, knowing that if nothing else, they'll ring true. I do sometimes imagine what their lives are like. One look at some people can give me a story without them even opening their mouths. It may not be the correct story, but it'll be interesting all the same.

Airports are a great place to watch people. So are malls. My favorite place is a bookstore--usually because that means I'm there signing books if I have that much time to watch people. You can tell a lot about a person just by the books they buy.

Yes, I am a watcher. I naturally notice things. And who knows when something I see will end up in one of my novels? :)

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Dean Koontz's ODD-cast

Well, it's no secret that I admire Dean Koontz and his work (see below...or better yet, come and see how many of his books are on my shelves :) Today, I checked out his new web movie--ODD PASSENGER. It's actually not that bad. Okay, the acting may not win any awards, but the video has a suspenseful mix of special effects, music and narration.

I am calling this his ODD-cast.

Dean Koontz's "Odd Passenger" Webisode 1

Dean Koontz's "Odd Passenger" Webisode 2

Dean Koontz's "Odd Passenger" Webisode 3

I can't wait for webisode 4! I love Odd Thomas!


Monday, May 12, 2008

London Bachelor finds true love

The first international Bachelor, Matt Grant, a 27-year-old global financier from London, England, finds true love with a young American actress, Shayne Lamas from Toluka Lake, California. Shayne played Emily in the daytime soap General Hospital and is the daughter of actor Lorenzo Lamas, probably best known as Vince in the 1990's TV show Renegade.

Read my analysis of the Bachelor, his chosen love and the Final Rose ceremony on Film Clipz and TV Showz.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Book Review: The Girls by Lori Lansens

I've always been an avid reader and for the past few months I've been reading novels by Canadian authors as part of The Canadian Book Challenge. Yesterday, I finished reading The Girls by Lori Lansens and I decided to share my review of her book with you here.

The Girls by Lori Lansens

4 solid stars!
ISBN 13: 978-0316066341
Publish date: April 2007
Trade paperback; 368 pages; $13.99
Fiction; Family Drama
Recommended for: Anyone who enjoys an emotional tale of love, loss and life.

Unbelievably believable!

Lyrical, poetic prose opens this heartwarming and unique story of conjoined twins Rose and Ruby and the lives they led, both separately as two individuals with different likes and dislikes and together as sisters who must rely on each other solely for their very existence. Joined at the head, ‘The Girls’―as they are known as in their small Ontario town―are raised by loving adoptive parents Aunt Lovey and Uncle Stash, after their birth mother disappears shortly after giving birth. The conjoined twins are considered the pride of the town, not an oddity, and they rise above what most of us would think of as a handicap or disability and love each other unconditionally.

The Girls is a diary told in two voices―Rose’s and Ruby’s. Rose encourages her sister to contribute to what will become their life story and although she does most of the writing, both characters come to life as they observe the lives of everyone they meet, sharing their innermost thoughts, hopes, fears and dreams with the reader. I found myself so connected to Rose and Ruby that I didn’t want their story to end, and when it did, I was left with a bittersweet ache for more.

The first paragraph reads like pure, sweet poetry that is sure to haunt any reader; it is what first grabbed me and pulled at my heart. The Girls opens like this:

“I have never looked into my sister’s eyes. I have never bathed alone. I have never stood in the grass at night and raised my arms to a beguiling moon. I’ve never used an airplane bathroom. Or worn a hat. Or been kissed like that…So many things I’ve never done, but oh, how I’ve been loved. And, if such things were to be, I’d live a thousand lives as me, to be loved so exponentially.”

Lori Lansens is an extraordinary Canadian author who paints a picture of rural Ontario farm life and two distinct lives with a magic wand of effortlessness, vividly colorful description and heartfelt compassion. At times you’ll forget you’re reading a novel because it reads with such clarity and believability. In fact, this novel is so full of realism, you may find yourself flipping to the author’s photograph at the back of the book to see if she is a conjoined twin. Instead, you’ll find her sitting alone at one end of a sofa, as if waiting for someone to join her.

The Girls: A Novel is a MUST READ for anyone who enjoys an emotional tale of love, loss and the challenges of life. Other books of comparable emotional impact: The Lovely Bones: A Novel and Mothering Mother: A Daughter's Humorous and Heartbreaking Memoir and of course my novel Whale Song: A Novel , "a compelling story of love and family and the mysteries of the human heart."

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Canadian Authors Association Annual Conference - CanWrite!

Don’t let your writing dreams take a vacation this summer! Grow them!

Find inspiration at the Canadian Authors Association Annual Conference - CanWrite! July 3-6 in Edmonton, Alberta.

Learn how to source new material, break into new markets, try new genres, polish your word gems and get your writing out there!

If you can’t attend the entire conference, invest in yourself with a day of professional development or take in a keynote address. Mingle and celebrate with publishers, agents, writers and readers who enjoy a good book at the National CAA Awards Presentations Gala. Listen to the National Literary Award winners at a reading at the Timms Centre.

Keynote speakers: Ralph Keyes - author and speaker; and Ian Ferguson - writer and humourist

Presenters include: Cheryl Kaye Tardif, Carolyn Swayze, Gloria Sawai, Jacqueline Baker, Richard Helm, Jay Bardyla, Susan Musgrave, Matthew Bin, Ted Bishop, Sharon Budnarchuk, Gloria Sawai, and many more.

Where will you find inspiration this summer? Learn more at:

Whale Song is in a cartoon

Check this cartoon out! It's the first time any of my books have appeared in a cartoon. :)

This cartoon was designed by the talented Ivana Hrubá, author of A Decent Ransom

Thursday, May 01, 2008

A Salute to ALL Fallen War Heroes

When I was a child, I knew a lot about military life; I was a military 'brat', born and raised. My father served in the Canadian Armed Forces, as had his father before him. I grew up surrounded by army green or camouflage uniforms and the smart looking dress uniform I saw on special occasions. My father retired years ago after a long stint and trips to faraway places. My husband and his father also served their country. They are heroes.

My brother Derek is the next generation of military men in our family. He, too, is a hero. I find it very hard to think of what he does, what he could be doing, where he could end up going. It's harder because he's the only brother I have left, since our younger brother Jason was murdered in 2006. I don't think I've ever told Derek how proud I am of him, for representing our family, his family and our country. I am very proud, Derek.

Today Derek sent me a link to a news story in Britain, where fallen heroes are not given the respect they so deserve. While the article made my heart ache for the fallen soldiers in that country, I also felt pride for my country--Canada. I've been 'away' from military life now for about 18 years, but I always think of the men and women overseas who are fighting for freedom--maybe not Canada's freedom, but they're helping those who are too weak to fight for themselves.

I salute and honor all fallen heroes in all countries, particularly Canada, Britain and the US. I think it is tragic and criminal that war heroes are not welcomed with ceremony and honor in Britain. But we can honor them now. I invite you to take a few minutes right now and read the article posted today in This is London and honor ALL fallen heroes.

The article begins with:

"They serve the same Queen, fight the same foe and lay down their lives with equal valour and sacrifice. But when the fallen heroes of Canada and Britain come home, the welcome is very different."

There is no place to comment directly at this link, so I welcome your comments here after you read the article.

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
former military 'brat' and former military wife