Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Judi Moreo and Kim Baccelia - Virtual Tour Stops (and - Preview For September)

Judi Moreo – Author of, You’re More Than Enough shares the opening chapter of her book. She shares a wealth of useful information in this book. How can you feel better about yourself and accomplish more? Read on for more information. Click to read more – http://startatbeginning.blogspot.com

~ and ~

Kim Baccelia talks with us about her young adult fantasy. She’ll tell us how she promotes the book. There’s always something that we can learn from talking to other authors about how they promote. To learn more, click here - http://inspiredauthor.com/v3/node/12 for the Self Promotion section of the Inspired Author website. Or, click here to go directly to Kim’s interview - http://inspiredauthor.com/v3/promotional-interview-kim-baccelia

There are a lot of interviews and information coming your way the beginning of September, see you here for more details. Some of the authors that will appear next month include: Yvonne Perry, Nick Oliva, Dr Barbara Holstein, CJ Maxx, Dwayne Anderson, Scott Zema, Hazel Statham and Nikki Leigh.

We’ll see you soon. I'll post the schedules for my tour and for Yvonne Perry's tour this weekend.
Nikki Leigh

Book Promo 101 -www.nikkileigh.com/book_promo_101.htm

"Coastal Suspense with a Touch of Romance"

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Dr Barbara Holstein Shares "The Truth"

I recently got a chance to read Dr Barbara Holstein's book "THE TRUTH: I’m Ten, I’m Smart and I Know Everything!"

This book is centered around a ten year old girl who has some important information to share with you. Do you remember what you thought of life when you were ten? What did you expect to happen in your life? Now that you've grown up, did you reach the dreams that you had when you were ten? If not, why not?

Dr Barbara starts off in the Introduction and reminds us of how many woman are leading unfulfilling lives and who feel they have lost the feeling that they have any control over their lives. Many woman have forgotten how to laugh and are feeling depressed and discouraged with the way their life ended up.

Its never too late to take control and try to take back your life. Do you have creativity that is untapped? This could be the time to find a creative outlet. Let the young heroine of this book transport you back to the time when you were time. She will remind you of how innocent life was at that time and all the promise that was before you. It can be productive and therapeutic to go back in time to a simpler and more interesting time. Come along as our young friend tells you about her "first love", "balloons" in her father's nightstand, betrayal by her best friend and the feeling in the pit of her stomach every time her parents fight.

Dr Barbara's Contact Information
Visit her website at www.enchantedself.com/ or her blog at www.enchantedself.typepad.com/.

Preparing for the Lady Lightkeeper Tour

I'm getting ready and putting the finishing touches on interviews for my virtual book tour to promote my book Lady Lightkeeper. Its the second book in the Misty Cove Chronicles. The tour starts next Monday, but I wanted to go ahead and mention it now. There will be lots of great info and I look forward to sharing the background information with you all. I'm also saving a surprise which will be mentioned here each day of the tour and it will also be mentioned at each stop of the tour. You'll just have to wait and see what I have in store for every one.

Nikki Leigh

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Promotional Interview with Marilyn Meredith

Join me as we talk with Marilyn Meredith, author of Judgement Fire. Here's a little information about Marilyn ---

Marilyn Meredith is the author of award winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, the latest, Judgment Fire, from Mundania Press, Fringe Benefits, the third in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series, with Smell of Death soon to follow. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, EPIC and Public Safety Writers of America. She was an instructor for Writer’s Digest School for ten years, served as an instructor at the Maui Writer’s Retreat and many other writer’s conferences. She makes her home in a small foothill community much like Bear Creek where Deputy Tempe Crabtree lives.

You can visit Marilyn Meredith at http://fictionforyou.com/ or her blog at http://marilynmeredith.blogspot.com/. I'm working in conjunction with Kathleen Gage of Street Smarts Marketing on these interviews. The interview is posted at: http://inspiredauthor.com/v3/promotional-interview-marilyn-meredith-0

I need to apologize for any inconvenience a couple of days ago with the interview for Judi Moreo. The Inspired Author website was relaunched about a week ago and there is all kinds of information for visitors. Everything is working and I invite you to read Marilyn's interview and take a look around while you're there. We're working on the Inspired Author site to make it a wonderful writer and freelancer resource.

Nikki Leigh

Nikki Leigh – Fiction Author – www.nikkileigh.com
Book Promo 101 – www.nikkileigh.com/book_promo_101.htm
“Coastal Suspense with a Touch of Romance”

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Promotional Interview with Judi Moreo

This is the first author promotional interview that I've posted on my Self Promotion blog on the Inspired Author site. This is the first interview in a series that I'm doing with Kathleen Gage. She is posting some on her blog and I'll be posting all of the interviews on my site. To read about Judi Moreo's promotion - visit


Kim Baccellia - Young Adult Author - Earrings of Ixtumea

Nikki & Muze – I was reading the synopsis for your book and was intrigued by the inner struggle that your character faces. It’s also interesting that she is confronted by the same cultural problems in the fantasy world. Can you give us some information about how you came up with this idea and what sort of problems she deals with in the story?

Kim –As a bilingual teacher in the later ‘80’s and early ‘90’s, I saw a lot with my second language students. I taught in a LA county school district, close to East LA. I also was researching my own family history at this time. I was bothered how each year my students would draw themselves blond, blue-eyed, and fair skinned. I was also a graduate student at Ca State Fullerton in Bilingual/Bicultural studies, so I would ask my professors about this issue. I learned a lot.

Lupe wants to be like the popular kids in her school. She’s embarrassed of her grandmother’s tales of a land similar to her ancestor’s. Even while she’s in Ixtumea, she struggles against the realization that maybe her grandmother was right.

Nikki & Muze – You mention on your website that you’ve done genealogical research. I’ve done a bit of that myself and it is interesting to find out about our ancestors. Are there some interesting details that you found out about your relative?

Kim – Wow. Yes, I did. I remember as a seventeen-year-old my aunt Kay telling me that my great-grandmother was Mexican. My grandmother denied it and told me that she’d been adopted by a Mexican family. I couldn’t get that story out of my head. When I moved to Southern California after I graduated from college, I wanted to know the truth. I found a family member who had written the history of my family. The Colton public library had this featured in their history section of local authors. The librarian gave me some information and I contacted the author, who I found out was my mother’s aunt’s husband. He verified what my aunt Kay had told me. I also went to Olvera Street and found the marriage license at the same church where my great-grandparents were married. The marriage license had a wealth of information.

Another place that really helped was SHHAR-Society of Historical Hispanic Ancestral Research. Mimi Lozano helped me find the family name Acuña and some history of the first Acuña who came to America.

Nikki & Muze - Why did you pick the setting you used in your story?

Kim – I taught second language learners in Tustin. I wanted to show the contrasts in different cultures. There were schools in Tustin that had newer computers in each classroom plus other updated materials. While there were schools (like the one I taught at) that struggled to get newer materials. More than once I questioned this. Hopefully the last bond has helped with the improvements in the schools.

Nikki & Muze - What does the setting add to the story? What does the setting add for your main character?

Kim – The parallel world of Ixtumea adds the richness of the culture. Also it helps Lupe to see what her grandmother had been trying to teach her all along—that she had a culture to be proud of.

Nikki & Muze - Could you write the same story in a different setting?

Kim – I could see doing something similar with an Indian teen going to the mystical parallel world of Indian mythology. Or other teens going to parallel worlds of their own cultural backgrounds. It would be fun to do research on some of these mythologies.

Nikki & Muze - Did you use a real place as a basis for your setting? Or, did you create the setting from scratch?

Kim – I based my setting on a combination of different ancient Mesoamerican civilizations. The Mayan and the Incan. I made up some of the setting, for example the humungous spider web that separates our world from Ixtumea.

Nikki & Muze - What would we see? What sort of people are there? If we were traveling to your setting, what should we bring with us? For visitors, what do they need to know to visit your setting?

Kim – If you went to Ixtumea you will overwhelmed by the beauty. Also seeing the temples and pyramids painted in their vivid colors would take your breath away. Go to the open marketplace and see all the different food, clothing, weapons, and other things for sale. Most of the people will be friendly. Um, maybe except a few like Mulek, who don’t take kindly to other world visitors. If you’re squeamish about spiders, well, you’ll have to leave that fear back in our world. Spiders are protectors. And you have to go and see the Spider Goddess’s humungous web. Maybe one of Ixchel’s maidens can show you the khipu tapestries too.
You can visit Kim's website at http://www.kim-baccellia.com/ and her blog at kbaccellia.livejournal.com.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

PG Forte - Waiting For the Big One

Nikki - I love your tag line "PG is a name, not a rating". That is great. How did you come up with it?

PG - Oh, self defense, definitely. *grin* As soon as I started writing erotic romance the teasing began. I mean, PG erotica? That's such a contradiction in terms, don't you think?

Nikki - Do you use Berkeley, California as the basis for the setting in your book? If so, why?

PG - Nope...although I'm certainly not ruling it out for future books. Waiting for the Big One is set in Los Angeles. That was very important because it's the kind of story that could only take place there, for a number of reasons. The first, and most obvious, reason being that the seed concept--that everyone in LA was waiting for the big one--was something that came to me while I was living there...and expecting my first child...who did turn out to be rather a big one, now that I think of it. Hmmm. I don't really think there's that same focus everyplace else. My previous series, however, was set in the fictional town of Oberon, California. Now that was an amalgamation of several places I'd lived in California, including Berkeley. Setting is very, very important to me so I do need to feel as if I know the location just as well as I know the characters. Also, I love California, so I love setting stories here.

Nikki - The idea of moving a relationship from friendship to something more is a common concern. What are your feelings about this shift in a relationship?

PG - I think it's hard not to fall in love with your friends. And I think it's even harder to fall out of love with someone without the friendship suffering as a result. Tom Cruise had a line in the movie Cocktail that kind of sums up my feeling about that: "Everything ends badly--otherwise it wouldn't end."

Nikki - I notice in your synopsis that there's a crisis in Gabby's life and she re-evaluates her relationship with her good friend after he helps her through the problem. Do you think that is one of the most common situations that make a woman take a fresh look at future possibilities with a friend who could be more?

PG - I think it's human nature to cling to what's familiar unless we're pushed by circumstances into doing something different. Most of us are creatures of habit. We rarely ever simply wake up one morning and decide to change without some sort of catalyst.But it doesn't have to be a crisis. I broke up with a boy in high school after reading Ibsen's The Doll House. Hardly a traumatic event, but it crystallized things for me somehow. In Gabby's case, even though she was obviously attracted to Derek all along, it had always been safer and more comfortable to maintain the status quo than to risk losing their friendship by trying for something more.

Nikki - Did you have a similar relationship that sparked the idea for the story? If so, would you like to tell us about him?

PG - I don't really think I based the story on anything I've been through, although, now that I think about it, when I met my husband, I did go through a period where I tried to deny how serious my feelings for him had become. I'm much more impatient than Gabby, however. It didn't take a crisis or more than a couple of months before I came to my senses. Actually, all it took was a friend asking me who I was planning on inviting to go with me to an upcoming event. It was a perfectly reasonable question, since she knew I was seeing several people at the time. But, when I found myself thinking, "well, that's ridiculous--who else would I want to go with?" I realized things were more serious than I'd been willing to admit.

Nikki - What do you think is the most attractive thing about a man? What draws your attention and makes you think he could be someone special?

PG - Most attractive? You mean on first meeting someone? Oh, that's impossible. I mean, it could be almost anything. Seriously, a lot of things are capable of drawing my attention. LOL! To quote one of my characters: "Nice eyes, a deep voice, a sexy smile, a great set of buns, any of those--or any one of a dozen other traits, like broad shoulders, or strong legs, or the right kind of smell--and she was a goner. Every time." Mmmm.But, as for being someone special, well, I don't really think that has very much to do with physical attractiveness. In the end, who someone is, how he behaves, how he thinks, is much more important. On the other hand, my husband got me on our very first meeting simply by flashing me the most dizzyingly gorgeous smile I'd ever seen. I've been trying to get him to recreate that look for years.

Nikki - Do your female characters share similar thoughts? If not, what appeals to them in a man?

PG - Sure, a lot of them do. But they are individuals so I think it's fair to say they each have their own individual take on the matter. Gabby, for instance, is quite enamored with Derek's muscles. That's probably what's making it most difficult for her to stay 'just friends' with him. I mean, she knows he's a great guy--that's why she's so reluctant to risk their friendship. But those muscles...For April (Love, From A to Z), on the other hand, it's Zach's gentleness, his humor--and his guitar playing that make her fall for him. And for Claire (Let Me Count the Ways) I think it's Mike's voice that does it for her. Or, as she puts it: "that deep, dark, delicious river of sound that could never be anything but male and can't help but leave you wondering, what's all the fuss about Tenors?"

Nikki - So you started writing sexy stories while you were in a Catholic school. Do you have a favorite story about how that went with your friends and the teachers? I'm picturing a teacher who wasn't impressed with your literary skills

Well, my English teacher certainly wasn't impressed--she accused me of plagiarizing some of the work I turned into class because she didn't believe a teenager could write that well. Kind of a backhanded compliment, I guess. The teacher who was most supportive of my writing was my Biology teacher. Go figure, huh?But as for the stories you mentioned, it was actually one, long, on-going serial, very open-ended--sort of like a soap opera. I started writing it while I was bored in French class one day...which probably goes a long way toward explaining why I never did learn to speak French! All the characters had the names of my friends or people I knew. And even though the action was largely fictional, it mirrored some of what was going on in our lives--if someone was sick, if two friends were fighting with each other or if someone had a new boyfriend or a new car, etc--the same things would likely occur to their 'characters'. So it was us, but not us, if you know what I mean, and 'we' all got to have fantastic adventures. I wrote most of the installments during class and then I'd pass them around. As more and more people heard about what I was doing, they'd ask me to write them in as well. Luckily, most of the action was set in a previously abandoned hippie commune/farm in New Mexico that we supposedly discovered and moved into, so the location could accommodate a very large cast of characters--especially since a lot of the 'extras' were only written in for a few episodes. My Algebra teacher managed to confiscate some of it, at one point and...well, I don't quite think she understood that it was fiction, so it was probably very shocking for her. I mean, it certainly wasn't as explicit as the erotic romance I write today but, on the other hand, she was an elderly nun. She looked shocked, in any case; her eyes just about popped out of her head. Probably because she recognized so many of the names. I don't believe I ever bothered to clear up the confusion. lol! I know--very mean of me.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

CJ Maxx - In The Arms of a Warrior

Nikki – I see you used to write military citations and efficiency reports. How does a person make the jump from that to romance?

CJ – If you're a writer, you're a writer. When I was in the Army I wrote several citations and numerous efficiency reports. Both types of documents must be written well if they are to represent the recipient properly. In one you're describing an action, in the other a person's performance. Both require using descriptive language that accurately portrays what you're trying to say. That's pretty much what you're doing when you write a book. Jumping to romance wasn't a simle transition though. I had to teach myself to my romance scenes. I write from both male and female points of view. I had a lot of 'supervision' from the females in my life until I got the female stuff right.

Nikki – Your character Susan Ambrose, has a strong family history in the military. How did you decide to give her this background?

CJ – The premise I started with was Susan, the product of a warrior family, wanting to marry outside that culture. I work from a rough outline so I don't know what's going to happen in my stories. The influence that her family, especially her father, had on her just came out as I wrote. It became much more important than I originally envisioned.

Nikki – Defense contractors seem to be playing a much larger part in war situations in the 21st century. Did that increased importance in national security play a part in your decision to set your story in this environment? If not, what prompted your decision?

CJ – I needed a role for David that would eventually show that he was a warrior. Selecting a program that would require him to go to a war zone worked well. I didn't consciously select a defense contractor for any other reason than it fit the story. David had to be a civilian and one who wasn't obviously a warrior. He's not your typical romance hero--in the beginning.

Nikki – Most men I know tell me they are visual and enjoy watching sex scenes, but I’ve noticed more and more are reading sex scenes. Do you think that’s a shift in attitude or is it just the men I know?

CJ – I hope things are changing. It seems like the majority of erotic romance readers (and writers) are female. That's always been the female source of sexual fantasy, reading explicit novels. Men had their x-rated films but also would read things like the letters in Penthouse. I think men's fantasies are more pure erotica than women's Getting them to read something titled 'romance' is difficult. Most think romance novels won't be that erotic. Boy, are they wrong. Their interest in something with the term 'romance' in it isn't there. Obviously, they will read erotica. They need to understand that women, and some men, are writing stuff that will fire them up. If all men knew the effect erotic romance had on their significant others, sales would boom.

Nikki - If it is a change, what do you think has lead to the change?

CJ – The erotic romance doesn't have to change, just the packaging. The term 'erotic romance' works great with women. We need a similiar term for men, 'smut for men' seems too crude. We need something provocative that will catch their attention.

Nikki – What sort of reactions do you get from women and other men when they find out about your books?

CJ – Easy question. The women's eyes light up and the men shrug their shoulders.

Nikki – Many women mention that they write erotic books under a pen name because of family concerns. Do you have these same concerns? Why or why not?

CJ – I use a pen name because my given name is so obviously male. I didn't want a potential reader turned off by the fact that a man wrote it without even seeing what it was about. It wasn't a family thing, all the women in my family think it's great that I write erotic stuff.

Nikki – Female writers often use their initials when they write thrillers because men are more accepted? Did this sort of idea lead to you using your initials?

CJ - That's interesting. The ladies use their initials to mask the fact that they're female and I use them to mask the fact that I'm male.

You can visit his website at http://www.cjmaxx.net/.

Robin Jay - Art of the Business Lunch

Visit with Robin Jay, author of the Art of the Business Lunch, and learn about the story behind her book cover.

Visit her at http://judgebookbycover.blogspot.com/

Nikki Leigh

Learn About the Art of the Business Lunch with Robin Jay

Join me as I talk with motivational speaker and author Robin Jay, author of The Art of the Business Lunch. We'll talk about her background, the experience she brings to the table and she gives us some tips on how to make a business lunch more successful.

Nikki - Tell us a bit about your business background.

Robin Jay – I’m originally from Cleveland , Ohio , but I have lived in Las Vegas , Nevada for more than 33 years. I guess I really don’t like the cold. We’re in the middle of summer right now and even though it’s 110*, it’s still better to me than scraping ice off a windshield in January! I sold advertising for more than 18 years. During that time, I hosted more than 3,000 client lunches and I saw my sales increase by more than 2000%! I knew I was on to something and I wanted to share that information with other business professionals so they could also enjoy more success.

Nikki – You have a definite point that those kind of sales numbers show you were doing things the right way. Congratulations on that sort of increase. I’ve worked with business owners who want to get all they can from a customer while they have the chance, but I prefer to build long lasting relationships with customers and clients. What do you feel are a couple of keys to building long lasting business relationships?

Robin Jay – Ask yourself, “When was the last time I was made to feel special…REALLY special?” I’m afraid that most people would be hard-pressed to remember exactly when someone made them feel special. And it’s quite likely that no one has made your client feel special, either. I would take my clients out to lunch and make it all about them. By asking them about what’s going on in their lives, listening to their answers and sharing quality time with them, I manage to make them feel special. If they enjoy their time with me, then they are going to want to do business with me. There is an art to it. Relationships are important because people prefer to do business with people they LIKE. No one ever spent their money with someone they hated just because that person had the best price. Almost everyone has traveled farther or spent more because they preferred the way one business operated over another. It’s what Brian Tracy calls “The Friendship Factor.” In other words, people will not do business with you unless they are convinced that you have THEIR best interest at heart. You really have to believe it, too. You have to put your client’s or customer’s needs first…and in doing so, your needs will ultimately be met as well. It’s a skill that anyone can learn IF they have the right attitude and the willingness to learn it. In my book, I reveal specific ways in which the reader can differentiate themselves from their competition. So few people work to elevate themselves to a higher level - that it can actually be quite easy to sail past your competition by applying the principles that I share in my book.

Nikki – I'm reading your comment and I was just saying many of the same things to someone last night. Your advise coincides with business and customer service advise my grandfather gave me when I first entered the business world. Its so critical to show your customers and clients that you want what's best for them. Awesome point that just having the cheapest price isn't enough - I firmly believe that excellent customer service is also very important.

Some people cannot balance work and social events. Can you share a couple of tips on how to use a lunch or other social event to build a positive business relationship?

Robin Jay – Sure. A networking or social event with clients should never be confused with a party amongst friends. It’s very easy to say or do something to offend your clients and you may never recover. A mistake could cost you a lot of money and business in the long run.
~ Remember that even though a social outing is better than a day at the office, that it’s still work.
~ Be on your best behavior. If you wouldn’t say or do something if your boss was standing right there, then don’t say or do it when it’s just you and your client.
~Take advantage of your client’s relaxed state to find out what’s going on in his or her life and if there is any way you can help them.
~ Put your client’s needs first. In doing so, your needs will ultimately be met.

Nikki – I’ve been in business situations where an event got to be too social and the business relationship was hurt. What are a couple of suggestions of talk or behavior that people should avoid in a social situation where they are trying to cultivate a stronger business relationship?

Robin Jay –

Avoid anything controversial.
Don’t discuss politics (hard to escape during an election year!)
While one or maybe even two drinks probably won’t hurt you, never every get drunk in front of a client.
Don’t get too personal. Instead, try to find out how you can help your client.

Nikki – I see in your bio that you’ve served on a number of committees and with several organizations. Is there one that you would recommend to others? If so, which one and why would you recommend that?

Robin Jay – Probably one of the best organizations for business is the Chamber of Commerce. Ours in Las Vegas has the third largest membership in the country! Another great organization that we have here is the Nevada Development Authority; I’m sure everyone has a similar organization where they live. It is an organization that works to bring new business to a city. Most large metropolitan areas have such an organization. This is ideal because new businesses are recruited and likely attend these events. What better way to do business than to get first crack at someone?!

And any other charity that is close to your heart will appreciate your efforts. Habitat for Humanity does a lot and provides a great sense of community. If you don’t have a favorite, ask your client what is their favorite charity and why; then ask them about volunteering. They will be honored you chose to lend your support to “their” charity.

And always volunteer to serve on the board or at least on a committee. It’s the best way to get to know everyone AND make a difference in your community.

Nikki – On a light note – can you share some information with us about your dog Georgie?

Robin Jay – Ahhh – my favorite subject! Georgie is one spoiled dog. She is very delicate Shih Tzu; between her food allergies and chronic pancreatitis, I get to cater to her a LOT! I push her in a stroller which she really enjoys, even though the walks are really for me. It’s a great break from the computer and sitting at my desk. Every writer should stop writing for a few minutes for playtime with their dog, kids or maybe even their spouse! It’s good to get the blood flowing.

Thank you for visiting with us today and for sharing wonderful tips for us. So many things in business are affected by the way we behave and the way we treat clients and your suggestions are wonderful. It was great to have you with us and we'll look forward to hearing more from you tomorrow at http://judgebookbycover.blogspot.com/. On WEdnesday, join me at the Judge a Book by its Cover blog to learn about the cover for Robin's book.

Nikki Leigh

and Muze - my cat and my diversion on a busy work day :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

New Posts for Your Review

There are a number of new posts on my book theme blogs. Feel free to take a look -- these are the links. Are any of these, your books??

http://startatbeginning.blogspot.com/ - First Chapter Blog

http://mybestfriendsstory.blogspot.com/ - Best Friend From a Story

http://judgebookbycover.blogspot.com/ - Book Cover Blog

http://itsallinthesetting.blogspot.com/ - Story Setting

http://shareyourheroine.blogspot.com/ - Heroine

http://shareyourhero.blogspot.com/ - Hero

http://badguysandvillains.blogspot.com/ - Bad Guys or Gals

http://startwithfacts.blogspot.com/ - Non Fiction Book Background

Do you have a story about a best friend in one of your books that you would like to share? If so, click on http://mybestfriendsstory.blogspot.com/ and click on HOW TO SUBMIT for more information. Come on folks - tell us about that all important best friend :)

Nikki Leigh

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Whale Song by Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Today we'll talk to Cheryl Kaye Tardif. She is a Canadian author and she is going to share some details with us about her novel Whale Sone. She has some surprises within the interview for you. Read on for more details.

Nikki - Tell us a bit about how Whale Song came to be.

Cheryl - Whale Song arrived as a simple idea: ‘What if your mother died when you were young, a pre-teen?’ It then evolved to: ‘What if there was a mystery surrounding your mother’s death?’ And of course, these ideas took shape, joining with a native legend I had heard years ago about killer whales being the reincarnated souls of loved ones who have passed on.

The plot for Whale Song literally ‘haunted’ me for two years, but I was jaded by the writing business, and wasn’t sure if I wanted to go through writing something, sending it out and getting back another stack of rejection letters. And then one day, I was visiting with a friend and for some reason started telling her the story of Whale Song. The tears in her eyes made me realize I was really onto something. And then she gave me some very wise advice. She said, “Cheryl, don’t worry if it gets published. Just write it for yourself. Write it because you have to.”

Within a week or two I started writing. My friend was right. I had to write it. That’s why it is so different from anything else I’ve written before or after. It’s a heartwarming, gut-wrenching, life-changing story that will change the way you view life…and death.

Nikki – Whale Song takes place mainly in Bamfield on Vancouver Island. Tell us why you chose that particular location.

Cheryl - Well, I did have a few people ask me why I didn’t set the story in Edmonton where I am living now, and other than the obvious answers (we have no ocean, therefore we have no killer whales), I needed a setting that was isolated, small, and near the water. When I was doing research online, I discovered there was a marine station in Bamfield, a small town on Vancouver Island’s northwest side. Bamfield proved to be perfect for what I needed. The weird thing is, I have never been there and wasn’t familiar with the town. Now I am surprised at the number of people I have met who know Bamfield quite well.

I also needed access to Victoria and Vancouver, but I didn’t want it to be easy access. Again, Bamfield works because it is very difficult to get to and takes many hours from Victoria. Of course I did need an area that killer whales were often seen, and so the island works very well for that.

Selecting this setting in Whale Song adds an almost exotic flavor. The wilds of nature, wolves and whales, plus the prevalent native culture of that area enriches the story. It took me back to a time when I was young, growing up on the Queen Charlotte Islands, which are north of Vancouver Island and just as isolated and wild.

Nikki – Your website mentions native myths – can you share an example of a native myth that is woven into the book?

Cheryl - Nana, the wise native grandmother, tells many fascinating stories to Sarah, the main character. In the beginning, Nana does this to share the native culture, but later she tells her stories to help Sarah deal with a terrible tragedy in her young life.
Here is an excerpt of one of the legends—The Bridge of the Gods:
Long ago, the Great Spirit gave the people of the land everything they needed. No one was cold or hungry. But soon two brothers began to argue over the land. The Great Spirit told the brothers to shoot an arrow in opposite directions.
“Wherever your arrow falls, that will be your land.”
One brother aimed his arrow high and shot it southwards into the valley. The other brother shot his arrow north into the Klickitat country.
Then the Great Spirit built a bridge over the river that divided the brothers’ lands.
“This will connect you,” the Great Spirit said. “It will be a sign of peace, so that you and your people may visit those on the other side. As long as you remain friends, the Bridge of the Gods will remain.”
For years, the two brothers remained peaceful. But gradually, they became selfish, greedy and wicked. The Great Spirit punished them by withholding the sun’s warmth. Soon, the rains came and the people were very cold.
They begged the Great Spirit, “Give us fire or we will die!”
There was an old woman on one side of the bridge who still had some fire left in her lodge. The Great Spirit, softened by the people’s pleas for warmth, asked the woman, “What do you want most, in exchange for sharing your fire?”

Of course, when you buy a copy of Whale Song, you’ll find out how this legend ends, and how Sarah’s life is forever changed by one horrifying but loving act.

Nikki – What prompted you to write a book about assisted suicide?

Cheryl - Again, it was the ‘what if” factor. What if your mother was dying a horrible, painful death and she asked your father to help end her life? Would he do it? Would she do it on her own? Would they find someone else to do it? And how would that affect a child left behind?

Assisted dying is such a controversial issue, especially with the June release of Jack Kevorkian, the retired pathologist who made headlines for helping an alleged 130+ people end their lives. There is a clinic in Zurich, Switzerland, called Dignitas that helps provide lodging, care and counseling for those who wish to end their lives but cannot do so in their own countries because of laws. Dignitas is the last stop for some people and I’ve read descriptions of their patients’ deaths that can only be described as peaceful and perhaps even beautiful.

We are taught from an early age to fear death, to forestall it, sometimes at a terrible cost. I am not saying I condone assisted suicide or assisted dying as a commonplace service, but I believe there are some people in certain situations (those who are dying from disease and suffering while they wait) who should be given the choice. It is such a tough issue. No one wants to even think of it. But in the end, I believe it comes down to the right to choose. People who smoke are choosing something that jeopardizes their lives and it’s not illegal. Why can we not choose how we want to leave this world? Why do we have to rely on medicines and machines to extend our lives unnaturally because science says it can? Choice. Isn’t that our God-given right?

Nikki – I like books that have an element of mystery woven around a family. I do that in one of my series and readers have said great things about it. I feel this draws the reader into the mystery even more because it affects the family I want them to care about. How do you think this combination works with readers?

Cheryl - I have always been drawn to writing stories of horror, suspense and mystery. Whale Song is very different from a lot of my other work. It has a softer, sweeter side, one that is realistic and heartbreaking, yet makes you feel good when you’re done reading it. But the key for me is the people who inhabit each story.

I want my characters to “drive” the story. I want readers to care for them, love them, hurt for them, cry with them, even hate them. The interesting thing that I think appeals to most of us is that families have a history, and that means they have secrets. Dig deep enough and you’ll find lies, tragedies, deception and more in your own family tree. And that’s what makes any story about family exciting.

In Whale Song, I have a more typical family-- the father Jack, the mother Daniella, and the daughter Sarah. This leads to a very emotional story that anyone can identify with, and I believe that’s its charm.

In Divine Intervention, I have Jasi and her team of psychic agents who are very much like a family since they work closely together and must rely heavily on each other for their very lives.
In The River, the main character Del assembles a team to go with her to the Nahanni River in search of her father. They slowly become like family, making some of their deaths hard to bear.

Nikki – Did you research whales for the story?

Cheryl - They seem like fascinating animals and since whale songs are beautiful, it gives an interesting mental image when your book title is mentioned.
I spent a lot of time researching, reading and even listening to material on killer whales. Since Sarah’s dad is a marine biologist, I needed to know about echolocation, killer whales in general and their habits. I found it most interesting to read about whale adoption, and I’m not talking about people who adopt a whale but how occasionally an abandoned whale is adopted into a pod. It’s rare, but it does happen.

While researching, I learned many interesting things that were very useful in broadening the story. I also contacted various experts, something which I enjoy doing for all of my novels. Even in fiction, I believe research is vital if you want readers to believe what you’re telling them. I see every reader as an intellectual being, so I never want to talk down to them or fluff something over. For me, research is a definite must.

The interesting thing about the title is that it came to me crystal clear, without any hesitation or forethought. I knew what the story was about, and I saw the words--WHALE SONG—flash before me. When you read the novel, you will see why it fits perfectly.

Thank you so much for inviting me here. This month I am giving away free books at some of my virtual book tour stops. And this is one of them!

*I am happy to announce that one of your site visitors will win an autographed copy of Divine Intervention. All they have to do is email me with the correct title of the legend or myth that I discussed here on this site. I will do a draw today and notify the winner. Email Cheryl at
cherylktardif@shaw.ca. Be sure to check my schedule: http://www.whalesongbook.com/virtual-tour-2007.

Please note: A portion of my royalties for Whale Song is going to 3 nonprofit organizations to help combat social issues like poverty, homelessness and addictions, in honor of my brother Jason who was murdered last year.

To order Whale Song, please order from Amazon.com this month. If you order on my birthday, August 12th, you may qualify to win one of 44 prize packages. For more info on this special contest, please see 44 Prizes. Also, if you order Whale Song plus two other Kunati titles, you can qualify to enter Kunati’s Great Summer Reads Contest.

~ Cheryl Kaye Tardif, bestselling author of Whale Song


TONIGHT, August 8th, at 6:00 PM Eastern, Cheryl will be interviewed on ArtistFirst Radion Network. You can listen online at http://www.artistfirst.com/ ("Click 2 Listen Live").

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Lilah and the Locket - Book Trailer

I finally just took some time and finished putting together a book trailer for Lilah and the Locket. I would love to include all kinds of pictures, but that would make the trailer much too big. There are a couple of that I should add and it will probably be updated. But, for the moment - the link is - http://www.youtube.com/v/cXkhTX5s4l4

If you would like to share your thoughts, that would be wonderful. Now I need to create one for each of my other books :)

Nikk Leigh

PS - I updated the link about 4 pm EST to reflect some nice changes :)

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Is Your Book Posted on My Promotional Blogs?

There are plenty of new posts on my special promotional blogs. Take a look at the details of a lot of great books. There’s a wide variety of genres, topics, authors and storylines. Any author is invited to submit information about their books for these blogs. I’ve had a waiting list since the second day they were online – get your information in soon and you can also be posted on these blogs.

http://startatbeginning.blogspot.com/ - First Chapter Blog

http://mybestfriendsstory.blogspot.com/ - Best Friend From a Story

http://judgebookbycover.blogspot.com/ - Book Cover Blog

http://itsallinthesetting.blogspot.com/ - Story Setting

http://shareyourheroine.blogspot.com/ - Heroine

http://shareyourhero.blogspot.com/ - Hero

http://badguysandvillains.blogspot.com/ - Bad Guys or Gals

http://startwithfacts.blogspot.com/ - For non fiction book authors

The TRUTH, I'm 10, I'm Smart and I Know Everything! by Dr Barbara Holstein

Dr Barbara Holstein tells us the story behind the cover art for her book The TRUTH, I'm 10, I'm Smart and I Know Everything! Visit the Judge a Book By Its Cover blog (http://judgebookbycover.blogspot.com/) to learn more about her book cover. This is the latest stop on the first month of her virtual tour. For full details visit http://virtualbooktoursforauthors.blogspot.com/2007/07/truth-my-secret-diary-im-ten-im-smart.html.

Nikki Leigh
Visit us on the Promo 101 Promotional Services site - http://www.bookpromotionservices.com