Thursday, July 31, 2008

Want to review books for

Do you like to read? Want some free books in exchange for writing a review? is looking for people who love reading to review the stacks of books that are pouring in to a new book review program.

If you enjoy reading, don't mind getting a free book (or 2...or 5) and like to write reviews, then this is for you!

From the newsletter TIPS for WRITERS:
We have tons of books and not enough readers to review them...if you know someone that would love to read and review books please send them my way. It’s easy, they can pick what they want, there is no timeline, the book is free, all we need are interested readers. Your help is appreciated.

For more information, please contact Jerry D. Simmons.

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
Canadian suspense author

True Crime, True Balls

This little tidbit served up from National Lampoon’s Big Book of TRUE FACTS

TRUE BALLS – A man wearing a ski mask entered a 7-11 market in Miami, Florida, and ordered the clerk to give him everything in the cash register. When the clerk produced only fifty dollars, the robber forced all of the store’s employees into a walk-in cooler, then removed his mask and manned the checkout area for three hours to increase the take. Two local policemen were among his customers. The malefactor escaped. AP

Now that's a cool character.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Writing. Editing. Deleting.

Tell me if this is true for you - does the level of your writing progress directly correlate to the cleanliness of your house?

This week, I am happy to report that dust bunnies abound, the floor needs mopping and the place could use a general tidying. Yay! This means I’ve been writing. A lot. So much so that I have arrived at that golden moment on a project where it is actually acceptable to print it out and begin editing on paper. This is a piece that's been in progress on the computer for a full year. Time will tell if this is a gross misuse of paper and ink. Right now, it just feels good. And I do look forward to reading the novel as a reader – which is, as they say in Texas, a whole nuther process.

Also this week, I’ve discovered something decidedly quirky. The Delete Key Awards These awards, brought to us by the fine One Minute Book Reviews Blog, are given to published books whose writers and editors did not make good use of the delete key. Ah, we are all guilty of this at times. But this is just downright funny. (Unless this writer ever wins one. Then, it will not be so funny, eh?)

I offer into evidence, the runner’s up for the 2008 Delete Key Awards contest:

“And there it was, the hole that had given birth to me.…This was not the first time I’d been face-to-face with my mother’s genitalia.” - From Alice Sebold’s The Almost Moon (Little, Brown)


From Holly Peterson’s The Manny:
“We’re in the modern era, baby, you spoiled, Jurassic, archaic, Waspy piece of petrified wood!”

“He was munching furiously on his prey, like an African lion with a freshly caught zebra.”

Not the WORST string of words I've ever read. Still quite worthy of this award.

The grand prize winner in the 2008 Delete Key Awards contest

“A new species is arising on the planet. It is arising now, and you are it!"

“We are in the midst of a momentous event in the evolution of human consciousness. But they won’t be talking about it in the news tonight. On our planet, and perhaps simultaneously in many parts of our galaxy and beyond, consciousness is awakening from the dream of form. This does not mean all forms (the world) are going to dissolve, although quite a few almost certainly will. It means consciousness can now begin to create form without losing itself in it. It can remain conscious of itself, even while it creates and experiences form.”

Both of these sentences came from Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose (Plume)

Also offered into consideration was this line from Barbara Walters' memoir Audition

“Just before the ax fell, lightning struck and my life changed, never to be the same again.”

Barbara! How could you? How could your editor? Oy!

Time to get my manuscript off my printer and start looking for places where my characters are face to face with nether regions of their mothers while munching petrified wood like an African lion that is arising like a new species on the planet right before lightning strikes. Surely, I will never be the same again!!!!

Whaddya think. Should I just clean the house first?


Author, Janeology
Check out my daily blog -

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Update #5 on the suspenseful work-in-progress Remote Control

“Be careful what you wish for,” they say, but for forty-four-year-old Harold Fielding, who unfortunately isn’t one to listen to such good advice, those words will come back to haunt him.

Harold―Harry―always rebels against the norm. In fact, he says, “Wishes are like saying grace―something to be said before every meal.” So he wishes at least five times a day, while growing exceedingly fat.

However, good ole Harry has an excuse.

“If I wish hard enough,” he tells his wife Beatrice, “my wishes will eventually come true.”

Harry’s a TV fanatic and, surprisingly, very intelligent. He spends about ten hours a day parked in front of his ten-year-old Sanyo television with the remote control in hand, while watching shows on just about everything. The next day, he can tell you all about it; his recall is nearly perfect.

He never once contemplates actually working a forty-hour week and earning money. He’s already maxed out the VISA and MasterCard, plus a small bank loan that Beatrice knows nothing about. And now he’s waiting for his fortune to fall in his lap. Sadly, there’s no room there, so whatever good luck finds him usually ends up in a puddle on the floor.

Harry’s good with puddles. He’s a plumber by trade, when he bothers to do a job. The truth is, he’s been having trouble maneuvering under kitchen sinks; his stomach keeps getting in the way. Six months ago, he was depressed, which made him eat more. He’d almost lost faith that there is something better for him…somewhere…out there, and then fate stepped in. After a chance run-in with an old classmate (Harry nearly knocked him down a flight of stairs when they passed on a landing), who happens to be very wealthy and who recommends one book, Harry’s life changes forever.

The Secret sits on the shelf behind the toilet. Harry reads it every day while relieving himself of the pounds of food he’s eaten that day. Since he’s always there a while, he can usually get through five or six pages a visit.

“I’ve read it now from beginning to end at least five times,” he boasts to his friends.

Of course, he hasn’t quite figured out that one must work towards receiving the good things in life, whether by deed or thought. He just figures that if he wishes for something, he’ll attract it. Eventually.

Be careful what you wish for, Harry.


Read the work-in-progress so far.

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif, Canadian suspense author

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Men are from Nick, Women are from Nora

I’m about to embark on an exciting writing adventure - collaborating on an urban fantasy novel with a female writer. As our lead characters evolve we are exploring the differences between male and female protagonists. In doing my research I’ve learned there are many good reasons why a man and woman together make the perfect detective team. Their brains really do work differently.

There is a good deal of solid scientific evidence to support women's intuition. No, I’m not talking about psychic powers, but rather a highly developed ability to read body language, facial expressions and emotional responses that men simply don’t seem to have. It doesn’t appear to be environmental but actually hard wired into your brains. (Don’t believe me? Check, for example, the neat book Why Men Don't Listen and Why Women Can't Read Maps or the more technical The Female Brain. )

I can hear you snickering already. “See, we told you,” you’re saying. “Men just don’t pay attention.” Well, not really true. We’re just paying attention to different stuff.

If women were always more attentive there wouldn’t be a cliché about woman drivers. Men aren’t better drivers and carpenters because we’re smarter. It’s because we’re hard-wired to be spatial thinkers. We can estimate speed and distance better. We’re hunters, and our perception is 360 degrees when we’re on the move, but we have tunnel vision for problem solving.

I’m married to a professional facility manager. Denise can solve complex personnel and supply problems talking on the phone set to speaker, while doing her make-up and making a grocery list. She got mad skills with the multi-tasking, but she can’t read a map to save her life. She can distinguish 18 colors that I’d call “blue” but can't tell which connection will let her plug her ipod into the stereo. And she can TELL time, but she can’t tell how much time has passed. "Dinner’s ready" means I have a good 6 minutes to get downstairs, and "I’M ready" means I can read 4 more pages of the book I’m holding.

And men are born to defend. Conflict is our business. Women are born to nurture. Getting along is your stock in trade. Again, don’t blame me. It’s hard-wired in our brains. And it’s great stuff to use in fiction. Detectives need to be able to read people and negotiate. They also need to be able to spot the bad guy and put him down hard before he hurts somebody.

This is what makes the male/female detective team perfect. When they walk into a room, the woman is focused on the people: what are they wearing, who’s happy or sad or nervous. The man is checking for ways in and out, who might be a useful ally or dangerous enemy, what’s broken, what could be an improvised weapon.

Woman detectives are great to write too, because they talk thru their problems. Guys tend to turn off talking and listening when we’re thinking.

BTW, if you watch women and men in groups you’ll notice that women are wired to listen and talk at the same time. It’s white noise to us guys. We tend to take turns because we’re wired like CB radios. Can’t hear when I’m in transmit mode. Want me to really listen to you? Schedule a meeting and give me the agenda.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Time, time, time

Did I write about time bending before? Book writing has become so exciting that I wake up at the crack of dawn and head for the desk, only dragging myself away to go patrol the local campground in search of rogue coolers and other toilet rangers. As soon as I return home, it's back to the desk.

I know I have a family here somewhere, amongst the undone laundry or behind the mounting pile of recycling, because once in a while they place food in my general vicinity - not daring to come too close least they shake the floor, which shakes my desk, my pen and my temper. I really do want to find time to bring some balance into my life but it seems suicidal to abandon the muse when she is such a strong visitor. I can barely spare the time to write this blog as the magnetic force emanating from one of my other desk pulls me towards it.

So back to the intention of bending time - where there really is enough to do everything. The common 'spout' these days is flowing with how important where we place our thoughts so better to think there is enough than too little. Time is funny like that. And speaking of time, here's another of my favorite quotes:

“As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.”
- Henry David Thoreau
So I guess you have to play with it, rather than kill it.

Hmmm - kill time -- now there would make an interesting if existential mystery.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Is your destiny written in your DNA?

Has everyone received his or her copy of June’s UTNE Reader? Great. We’re all on the same page then. And if not, you can get on said page here.

So, what did you think of the article “The Nature of Nurture?”

To recap, in that article the author discusses the “effects of maternal stress on childhood development.” Well, that certainly caught my eye due to the subject matter of JANEOLOGY in which the nature and nurture of one Jane Nelson are explored going back four generations on both sides of her family until a full picture of her genetic inheritance and family traditions emerges. All of this, of course, is explored in an attempt to answer the question – Why did Jane do what she did? Intrigued? (Read the first chapter at

The Utne Reader article features a neuroscientist’s experiment with mother rats to illustrate what anxious nurturing versus calm nurturing can do to a child. Will a child absorb the tendencies of her mother?

From the article

As a graduate student, Francis conducted an experiment in which she swapped pups between a litter of rats bred for calmness and another that was predisposed to anxiety. The genetically calm mothers tended to be better nurturers, licking and grooming their pups more than the anxious mothers did. But when a calm, nurturing mother raised the genetically anxious pup added to her brood, the adoptee switched tendencies. The anxious rat behaved calmly throughout life, performed better in cognitive tests, and was more willing to explore new environments. The calm mother’s behavior, Francis discovered, had caused permanent changes in the operations of the anxious rat’s genes. Even more stunning: The acquired traits—calmness and nurturing habits—were passed on to the anxious rat’s next generation.

In the question of nature versus nurture, we’ve embraced the view that our fates are written in genetic code. The news in recent years has been filled with reports about the isolation of genes said to “cause” everything from diabetes to voter turnout. Increasingly, though, researchers are finding that genes don’t tell the whole story.

Genes don’t tell the whole story, do they? The influence and social relationships in one’s environment has such a profound impact on each individual. This is probably the reason my siblings and I would all report a different childhood experience to you.

So, what do you think about all of this? How do you think an anxious or calm mother impacts one's personality?


Sunday, July 06, 2008

What Makes a Hero?

Every good story has a protagonist. That’s the guy or gal you root for. In crime fiction this person may be a professional (policeman, detective, spy) or an amateur who get pulled into an extraordinary situation unexpectedly. Either way, this person is sometimes just a protagonist, but I prefer to read about a hero.

In my class on creating characters I discuss various character traits, including strong or weak character (yes, I used that word with three different meanings in the same sentence. Sue me.) I point out that villains can have strong character because a good villain has the courage to pursue what he believes in despite the possible consequences. Most of the hero’s character traits can turn up in villains: intelligence, toughness, bravery, loyalty, determination, patience, etc. Eventually someone will ask how we can tell our heroes and villains apart. I then point out what I believe is the one signal difference - the single important discriminator.

The hero will sacrifice for the good of others. The villain works primarily to promote his own ends. That’s it. Selfish vs. selfless. Regardless of all else, that’s what sets them apart.

Now it’s true that in some mysteries and thrillers the protagonist is simply a victim who fights back. “The Fugitive” is a crime story that starts with the protagonist just trying to avoid taking the rap for a murder he didn’t commit. An interesting idea, but I wasn’t having much fun until his objective switched to finding the man who murdered his wife. Still, I prefer Indiana Jones. The sequel to “The Fugitive,” “US Marshals” put Wesley Snipes in a similar position, but I much prefer the Blade movies.

When I created fiction private eye Hannibal Jones I decided to show that he is a hero even when he’s not solving a murder or saving a damsel in distress. So Hannibal is mentoring a young boy in his neighborhood. He volunteers at a nearby homeless shelter. And he never misses a blood drive.

Is it important for a fictional man to do this stuff? I don’t really know. But when I was a younger fellow I know how strongly I was influenced by Tarzan, Batman, James Bond, Doc Savage and even little Frodo. So maybe on some level I’m hoping that young people reading my books will absorb the subliminal lesson that anyone can be a hero, even if they never meet an actual villain. Hannibal is a hero in ways everyone can follow because real heroes need to set the standard for the rest of us.

If you’re a writer, I challenge you to make your protagonist a hero. If you are a reader, let me know who you think is or was a great fictional hero.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Check out Remote Control, a 'work-in-progress'

I've added a "work-in-progress" to my site. I'll be posting additional paragraphs to it as I have time, up to the conclusion. I hope you check back every week or so.

Ironically, a TV game show came out in '87. It was called 'Remote Control'. I never heard about it until today when I did some research. Also, in 1988, a movie was released with the same title. I never saw that either. There's also another movie--one that is more current and probably better known. I'm sure you'll think of the title when you read my story. Keep in mind, I had this concept and wrote about it in 1987.

The story you're about to read was originally written in early 1987 by Cheryl Y. Kaye, in the small town of Chatham, New Brunswick, now known as the Miramichi. It was written as a 2700 word short story. However, it looks as if it will be closer to a novelette, about 10,000 words, when finished. This story was never published.

I am cleaning it up now, adding to it, changing the tense and tone and I quite like where it's going. It's not the exact original--I think now it's even better. I welcome your thoughts, so feel free to leave me a comment.

I can't recall what made me write the original story, but it has always been a favorite of mine. Perhaps it was inspired by that old saying...

"Be careful what you wish for."

And now....

Remote Control