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Faded Denim Excerpt: What it takes to be a superhero

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An excerpt from chapter five of my new adult fantasy romance, Superheroes Wear Faded Denim. One of my main characters, Don Shimada, contemplates the sacrifices he’ll have to make to become a superhero.

Everything was going to change now that the fate of mankind was sitting on his shoulders.

Even after he gulped down his drug shots of caffeine, he couldn’t keep his mind off Santiago. He tried to feed his hunger by googling summer tourist spots, Spanish recipes, earthquakes, but it wasn’t enough. Finally he typed in Chile. Everything that came up was about Santiago. Clicking on the link he read, “Feb. 27 an 8.8 magnitude Earthquake occurred 3:34 a.m. local time . . . Over 340 people have been killed, authorities are still searching . . . not much is left of a beautiful city known for its cherished, historical architecture.” It was nothing more than a dry summary that did not do any real justice for the travesty.

Stunned, he didn’t move, not even to breathe. It had all been true. Everything was going to change now that the fate of mankind was sitting on his shoulders. He could wash away his dreams of being a normal frat boy on his way to law school with drain cleaner. Focusing his energy on training for war, he knew where his life would go and what he’d become.

He rubbed his temples with clammy hands. He’d become that stoic little boy he was when traveling the world with his mother.

He used to spend all of his free time dreaming of taking the women he helped to a place where they would no longer need a one room shack for medical care. Being a nurse and health advisor for women in third world countries called for efficacy not a social sphere. His mother and a motley crew of traveling martial artists set up portable hospitals wherever they traveled. Most of the time they were small, one bedroom apartments with no air conditioning or running water. Their waiting rooms were the dusty streets where the crew taught the women and children basic defense. Like the perfect aid, he did whatever his mother commanded him to do.

Afterwards, Don remembered never wanting to practice with other children. His nights would be spent alone, swinging a saif until he collapsed. Later the crew would always find him in the dusty streets staring at the moon. They’d coax him into a circle. After a few jokes, they’d shove him in the middle of Capoeira. A rhythmic dance and hand clapping would ensue. He’d back flip in the air dodging playful blows to his head. They would always let him win.

He cherished those few moments, but good memories were few and far between. Most of his life was filled with angst and—“I don’t want to relive it,” he said aloud. “Not on anybody else’s terms.” If he was going to be forced to save anybody it would be in a business suit in a court room.

He went back to the blinking cursor just waiting for him to write the first sentence to his thesis. It didn’t have to be anything magical. He just needed to start.

‘Sex trafficking is a modern day form of slavery.’ He felt powerful. One sentence down, a thousand more to go. All truths set aside, these were strenuous circumstances. Bull spitting was going to have to do.

“Don,” he heard from out of nowhere. Gabriel’s voice was inside his head, right next to his thoughts.

He kept on typing, ignoring it. ‘It is man’s indirect way of keeping women from obtaining equality with—’

“Don, head to the black streets of campus.”

‘Women.’ Typo. He erased women. ‘Men.’

“You are the Paladin. We await you.”

He wasn’t sure what to type after that. He could elaborate on popular perceptions that deemed women inferior. ‘They are objectified,’ he typed.

“The battle between evil and good wages on. Paladin, head to the black streets of campus. There you will meet the King and Queen of the Low Court. They will aid you and Blissany Cherry, the Key, in this war.” The walls blurred into a vision of a girl with sun kissed skin and copper hued curls dragging herself to bed. Seconds later he was sitting in his car, staring past the glare of his headlights at a girl with her arms stretched out. Wolves flooded streets behind her, transitioning into human form as they paced the black pavements.

Startled, Don burst from his seat, knocking over his coffee. “This is never going to end,” he yelled as his chair toppled to the floor.


He slammed his laptop shut. He wasn’t putting up with this anymore. He was heading to the black streets of campus, wherever the hell that was, and find Gabriel to demand he stop messing with his head.

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International bestselling author Cheryl Kaye Tardif: Envisioning your success

International bestselling author Cheryl Kaye Tardif really knows how to look past obstacles and take advantage of opportunities. Her passion pushed her past hardships many authors never have to face while pursuing their literary careers. She did what many accomplished professionals do: predict her success. 2012 would be her year, and according to Miss. Tardif, it definitely is!

Straight from the author’s mouth: Envisioning your success

1. Can you tell us about your journey as a writer?

I started becoming interested in writing and creating stories in school, and at 16 I wrote my first novel, a supernatural horror titled BECKONING WRATH. But someone broke into my locker and stole it. I was devastated. I didn’t attempt another novel until I was 19. I spent a few years querying agents and publishers but became very despondent. No one seemed interested in publishing a young Canadian writer. So I collected rejection letter after rejection letter. I probably have enough to wallpaper my office—twice.

In early 2001, I became obsessed with a story plot. It wouldn’t leave me alone. I thought about it all the time, yet I hadn’t picked up a pen or keyboard. In 2003 I told a friend about the idea, one that had fermented for two years and had grown complete from beginning to end. She cried when I told her the ending. Then she (a non-writer) gave me the best advice ever. She told me I needed to write that story. She said, “Write it for you. Write it because you have to.” So I did. And that story became WHALE SONG, a #1 international bestselling novel about family, tragedy and forgiveness. It was self-published the summer of 2003 and has inspired and changed people’s lives.

In 2004, I self-published/indie published DIVINE INTERVENTION, book 1 of my Divine series. In 2005, THE RIVER was released, a techno-thriller set along the Nahanni River, a mysterious area of Canada’s northwest, an area nicknamed the “Bermuda Triangle of Canada.” In 2006 WHALE SONG was picked up by a traditional publisher who later went bankrupt. In 2010, I published a third edition. I followed this with a horror anthology, SKELETONS IN THE CLOSET & OTHER CREEPY STORIES, and a novelette, REMOTE CONTROL.

2011 was the year everything changed. For me and for the book world. With the popularity of ebooks, came more opportunities. I published ebooks editions of my titles, plus released LANCELOT’S LADY, a romantic suspense written under a pen name of Cherish D’Angelo. Then came CHILDREN OF THE FOG, which is my #1 international bestselling novel of all. DIVINE JUSTICE, book 2 in the Divine series followed shortly. And I released a school edition of WHALE SONG, complete with a discussion guide.

2012 was a year I had predicted would be “my year.” My lucky number is 12. And it has been my best year so far. In fact after huge success and sales of CHILDREN OF THE FOG in March 2012, I published a tell-all ebook, revealing my secret strategies and my personal journey into Amazon’s KDP Select program—one I had balked at, at first. My marketing book HOW I MADE OVER $42,000 IN 1 MONTH SELLING MY KINDLE EBOOKS should be retitled to: HOW I MADE OVER $150,000 IN 7 MONTHS SELLING MY KINDLE EBOOKS.

With this success came two offers for agent representation. I will be signing with Trident Media Group this week. I was also contacted by a senior editor at a major “big 6” publishing company; she’s interested in my work. As well, I’ve been approached by an audio publisher and Amazon personally invited me to participate in two back-to-back special promotions. Yeah, I’d say 2012 is shaping up to be “my year…and then some!”
2. How long did it take you to complete your novels? Can you talk about your writing process?

Whale Song – 3.5 months, edited by me and 2 others. I was driven!

Divine Intervention – 4.5 months, edited by me and 2 others.

The River – 5 months, edited by me and 3 others.

Lancelot’s Lady – 2 months; I completed it for TextNovel and Dorchester Publishing’s Next Best Seller Contest and placed as a semi-finalist.

Divine Justice – 5 months, edited by me and 2 others.

Children of the Fog – 6.5 months, edited by me and 2 others.

3. Any editing tips?

Edit, edit, edit. Learn about editing; brush up on Chicago Manual of Style grammar and punctuation rules! Then find at least 2 people WHO KNOW HOW TO EDIT to edit your book. Drop the ego and take constructive criticism as what it is—a gift. Then edit it again.

4. Who are some of your favorite authors and how have they inspired your writing?

I have too many favorites to name them all, but the three that inspired me most, especially to write paranormal suspense, are Stephen King, Dean Koontz and John Saul.
5. What do you love most about the writing industry? What do you dislike?

I love how the industry is ever evolving. It’s exciting. This is the best and most exciting time to be in this industry! I LOVE being a writer. Never in my life, with all the JOBS I’ve had, have I felt so complete.

I dislike that major publishers still don’t get that readers want lower priced ebooks and they should be lowering the prices to under $8. I actually stopped buying books from my favorite authors because of the prices. I’ve found far too many other authors whose books sell for less—and they’re quite good.
6. Do you have any other books or new releases that you would wish to talk about?

Since I now have a new agent—thank you, Adrienne Lombardo and Trident Media—I am hoping we’ll have a book deal soon. I am currently working on a standalone thriller titled SUBMERGED and another thriller based on true events. I predict both of these will be huge hits.
7. If you could share one tip you learned with self-published and traditionally published authors who share the same dream of being a successful author what would it be?

Be bold. Take risks. Learn the business of writing. Learn the business of publishing. Learn how to market yourself and your work—even BEFORE you’re published. And never, ever give up. If you want this badly enough, it’s worth pursuing. Just write your heart out. Oops, sorry. That’s more than one tip, so pick your weakest one.

Cheryl Kaye Tardif is a Canadian author, whose is best known for Whale Song, which is now available in its third edition, the 2010 ebook edition.

Whale Song, an emotional mystery that explores controversial issues like assisted suicide, school bullies and racism, has captured the attention of numerous film companies. A screenplay, which Cheryl wrote with co-writer Alison Neuman, was completed in 2006, along with a movie treatment.

Cheryl is now in negotiations with a respected film producer/director.

The 2007 paperback edition of Whale Song went out of print as of February 1, 2009. All rights have been returned to the author.

In 2009, Cheryl branched off into romance with her debut romantic suspense Lancelot’s Lady, which will be released as an ebook in late September 2010. Since romance is a different genre from Cheryl’s usual suspense/thrillers and YA, she wrote Lancelot’s Lady under the pen name of Cherish D’Angelo. Lancelot’s Lady was a semi-finalist in the Dorchester Publishing Next Best Celler contest hosted by Textnovel. It also won an Editor’s Choice award from Textnovel in 2010.

A novelette of suspense titled Remote Control was released in ebook edition in July 2010; and a collection of stories titled Skeletons in the Closet & Other Creepy Stories is slated for release in August 2010.

In September 2005, Cheryl’s gripping action-packed techno-thriller The River was released. This carefully researched novel explores the mysterious Nahanni River area, nanotechnology and man’s obsession with longevity. The River has been compared to works by Michael Crichton, James Patterson, Dean Koontz and Dan Brown.

Cheryl is also the author of the 2004 “sizzling psychic suspense” Divine Intervention, a ‘psi-fi’ suspense thriller (or paranormal romance) that has been compared to works by authors such as Iris Johansen, Kay Hooper and Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb’s ‘In Death’ series.

All of these novels have made Amazon.com’s bestsellers list.

In 2006, Cheryl Kaye Tardif participated in a hilarious new TV series ‘A Total Write-Off’, hosted by comedian Barbara North. In 2004, Cheryl was nominated for the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Award. In 2003, she wrote a public service announcement for a racial harmony campaign. Her PSA script, One Voice ~ One World, placed third and was produced and aired on cable channels in Alberta.

Cheryl has not only held hundreds of book signings, she has organized multi-author signings, held a virtual book tour and taught others how to do their own, and she has presented at conferences in Canada and the US. Cheryl is known amongst her peers for her creativity and knowledge regarding book marketing, and in 2009 she embarked on a new venture as a Book Marketing Coach. She is a member of various social networks, including Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Goodreads, Shelfari, LibraryThing, AmazonConnect and Chapters Online Community.

Cheryl has been interviewed by numerous TV and radio stations in Canada and the US, and she has been featured in a variety of newspapers and magazines in both countries. According to photojournalist, Heather Andrews Miller, who interviewed the author for a Real Estate Weekly article, Cheryl is a “gem in the literary world”. And according to Graham Hicks of the Edmonton Sun, “Cheryl Kaye Tardif specializes in mile-a-minute pot-boiler mysteries, usually set in Western Canadian locales.”

As a teen, Cheryl was a journalist with a weekly newspaper column. Years later, she completed a course in Journalism and Short Story Writing and graduated with Highest Honors. She has worked as a motivational speaker for a respected international company, written material for a number of companies, and worked as a consultant in telemarketing, sales and promotion. But writing fiction with passion and vision is her dream.

Cheryl has completed her next novel, Children of the Fog, a terrifying suspense that asks, “how far are you willing to go for your child?” She has also completed Divine Justice, the second in the Divine mystery series, and has started another thriller, plus a YA novel, Finding Bliss, the first novel to be written on the iPhone 3G using the Notes application.

Born in Vancouver, BC, Cheryl Kaye Tardif was a “military brat” and a “military wife” who has lived all across Canada and in Bermuda. Now residing in Edmonton, AB, with her husband Marc, daughter Jessica and the family dog, she is an author that Booklist calls “a big hit in Canada…a name to reckon with south of the border”.

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