Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A 12-12-12 Treat!

Today I have been seeing all sorts of great treats floating around, notably the "buy one dozen of Crispy Cream donuts get a dozen free" coupon! In honor of this wonderfully fabulous day of 12, I have decided to share with you a treat of my own: an excerpt from my current work in progress (from my editing table anyway) Through the Paper Wall. I find this especially appropriate since I wrote this story for NaNoWriMo 2012 and all together I wrote it in only 12 days. (Ah, see, I got 12-12-12 in there! '12, 12 days, page 12 . . . you get it). I hope you enjoy it!

Through the Paper Wall, page 12
Copyright Heidi Nicole Bird 2012

            “Your Dad says you love to surf,” Jessica continued, trying to keep her tone positive. “Surfing is one of my favorite things to do.”
            “You can’t surf here,” Jesse said matter-of-factly.
            “No,” Jessica said slowly, “but I do travel sometimes. It is part of my job.”
            Jesse wanted to ask what Jessica’s job was, but he didn’t want to make it look like he was enjoying this, so he didn’t. He just stared back at Jessica without responding. Jessica’s smile began to falter, but Dad had heard enough.
            “Jessica is a humanitarian,” Dad said from the stove. “She works for the Red Cross. So whenever there is a hurricane or something she usually ends up going there to help people.”
            “Oh,” Jesse said with a slight nod. That was the very last thing he had expected. He had wanted Jessica to be someone he couldn’t like, but she was turning out to be not very bad at all. He wasn’t going to give in though.
            Jessica looked slightly embarrassed. In an effort to lessen the tenseness of the situation she plunged into a story about one time when she had gone to Hawaii to help the people there and how after everything had been cleared up they had found some time to enjoy the warm water and play a bit.
            Jesse was saved from finding some way to respond without giving away how interesting he found the story by Dad announcing that dinner was ready. Jessica clapped her hands like a little girl at a birthday party as Dad gallantly brought the pot and its steaming contents over to the table and placed it on a hot pad.
            As Dad put the stuff down Jesse leaned over and looked into the pot. It smelled wonderful and it actually looked great. What sort of a joke was this?
            “It looks wonderful,” Jessica said, and she reached over and squeezed Dad’s hand, which made Jesse’s stomach churn. “What is it?”
            Dad grinned broadly as he sat down.
            “It’s called gumbo,” he said. “It’s a type of Cajun food, you know, like what they eat in New Orleans.”
            “Ooh,” Jessica crooned, looking excited. Dad grabbed a ladle and started dishing up bowls for everyone then he brought over a glass pitcher of iced lemonade and a small bottle of hot sauce. Once everything was ready he said a prayer over the food and then said “everybody dig in!”
            Jesse watched the other two for a minute, then grabbed his spoon and shoved a spoonful of gumbo into his mouth. To his immense surprise a burst of flavor met his tongue and he felt himself yielding to its delicious flavor. He reached over and grabbed the hot sauce, shook the bottle of few times over his gumbo, mixed it in with his spoon, then took another bite. Without realizing it a small smile spread over his face.
            “This is delicious!” Jessica said, beaming at Dad. “See, even Jesse likes it.” She nodded towards Jesse who dropped his smile quickly, kicking himself under the table for letting his guard down.
            “It’s pretty good I guess,” Jesse said. Dad and Jessica gave each other a knowing look then went back to their food.
            They ate in silence for a few minutes. Jesse quickly finished his food then waited politely for Jessica and Dad.
            “Hey Jesse,” Dad said as he laid his spoon down on the table. “Jessica and I are going to work on the living room and try to set up the TV and everything. You can help if you want, or you can do your own thing.”
            “Okay,” Jesse said, relieved. “I’ll just be downstairs going through my stuff.”
 Dad nodded and Jessica waved as Jesse turned and tried not to run down the stairs. As soon as he reached the bottom he sighed. He had been worried that he’d be stuck with Dad and Jessica all night, but he was glad that Dad had released him. It was clear that Dad and Jessica would like some time alone. After all, they had practically been dating through a webcam for three months now and now they were actually together in person. It made Jesse sick just thinking about it. It was gross. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Another Side of Me

So this post has very little to do with writing. Okay, it has nothing to do with writing, but I feel like to really get to know an author you should know a bit about what they do when they aren't writing because that often shapes how a writer writes their stories. Lately I have been very busy and it has been keeping me away from my 30 Days of Nano project, as well as editing my Nano 2012 novel, or finishing my Camp Nano story from August.

So here it is, something you may not know about me: I am a musician. More specifically for this particular post, I am a singer. I am a part of a wonderful choir and we have been rehearsing and performing like crazy. This past weekend we had our big culminating Christmas concert, combined with four other choirs. Each choir sang a couple of songs on their own, and then we all came together as one big choir and performed three other songs. The last song, John Rutter's Gloria is what has been occupying my time so much lately. Extensive rehearsals at far away locations for long hours certainly paid off though. I hope you'll watch these, since most of you live much too far away for me to have invited you. I wanted to though, have no doubt. So, here you are, you are invited to my virtual concert! If you only watch one, watch Gloria, especially the last movement. I would be so flattered and interested to hear what you thought. Enjoy!

Edit to the above info: I just found out that a great friend I made in all of this is also a writer and she just did NaNoWriMo for the first time. How freaking awesome is that! I love finding writers who live so close to me :)

Jordan LDS Institute Choir - A Christmas Proclamation

Jordan LDS Institute Choir - The First Noel/Jesus Once of Humble Birth

Combined Choirs - Christmas Bells

Combined Choirs - Beautiful Savior

Combined Choirs - Gloria

Friday, December 7, 2012

Interview with Author Caitlin Hensley

Today I have a special treat for you! This week I interviewed one of my fellow writers who I look up to immensely. Caitlin Hensley is an up and coming author who I work with quite frequently. I have tailored these questions to both help you learn about her, and also to help other up and coming writers. Enjoy!

What is the title of your book?
Paranormal Legacy

How do you plan on publishing?
I’ll be indie publishing through CreateSpace.

Did you design your own cover, or have someone else help?
I designed my own cover, but Marcy Rachel from Marcy Rachel Designs was nice enough to help me add a few finishing touches.

What format(s) will your book be available in?
Paperback and Kindle.

When do you expect your book to be released?
Probably late March. I’d like the exact release date to be March 22, but I’ve read that it can take anywhere from a week to fourteen days after the book is uploaded before it actually goes live.

What genre does your book fit into?
Paranormal with a touch of romance.

What makes your writing unique?
Compared to the millions of other books out there, I’m not sure my writing is too terribly unique. But I like to use sarcasm, strong descriptive sentences, lots of dialogue, and just enough description to get the reader’s imagination flowing.

Why would someone like your book?
I’ve got something in Paranormal Legacy for just about anyone. Paranormal creatures, humor, adventure, mystery, a bad boy, slight romance, magic, and an eccentric British vampire.

How old were you when you wrote your book?
I think I wrote the first draft about six years ago, so I must have been around 12.

How long did it take you to write it?
I can’t remember how long it took me to write the very first draft, but the latest version took a couple months.

How long did you work on it until you felt like it was ready for publishing?
Well, that’s a tricky question. I worked on Paranormal Legacy for about five years before I ever let it see the light of day. A few people told me I should publish it, but I didn’t believe them, because I’m extremely picky when it comes to my writing. And I mean EXTREMELY. So another year passed, and then I decided to self-publish. I’m still polishing up the book right now, and it’s getting down to the wire. But I can’t seem to stop!

Did anything in particular inspire anything in your book?
I overheard my little sister talking on the phone to her friend, and that sparked an idea.  And my fingers flew from there.

What else are you working on right now?
I’m still working on my NaNoWriMo 2012 novel, and I’m also editing another book I’m thinking of publishing next year.

Amazon recently released the official rules for their 2013 Breakthrough Novel contest, and many authors are working on their submissions. Is this something you plan on doing? If so, tell us a little bit about your story.
Yeah, I’m excited about the contest! This will be my first time to participate. I’m planning to enter a story into the young adult fiction category. It’s called Dust to Dust, and it’s about a teenage drug dealer living on a futuristic world plagued by hungry vampires.

What do you like to read?
I’ll read just about anything in the YA category, as long as it’s not too full of romance. I read a few adult books too, but usually I find adult fiction too full of long and winding description for my tastes.

What advice would you give to other aspiring writers?
Develop a thick skin so the criticism can’t get to you. Accept valuable criticism, and ignore all the rest. And no matter what, keep writing. Write and write and write. Then edit some, then keep writing.

Any advice for the editing process?
I think it’s best to wait at least two weeks after finishing a book before you start editing it. It’s hard for me to make myself wait so long, because I’m usually excited to dive right in, but I always make myself wait. That way I can look at the project with as fresh eyes as possible.

What are some of your hobbies besides writing and reading?
I like to clog, which is sort of like tap dancing. And I also like designing book covers and taking care of my dog Blair. Taking care of her is almost a full time job by itself!

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what do you listen to?
I like to listen to scores from movies and TV shows when I write, because they’re always so dramatic. Two of my favorites right now are the Pirates of the Caribbean and Game of Thrones CDs.

Where can people go to learn more about you and your work?
You can check out my Facebook page or my blog. I keep both updated regularly.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Breakthrough Novel Award

Every year Amazon has a contest. The mother of all contests, in my opinion. At least, for writers anyway. I first found out about this contest at the end of last year, and I felt inspired to come up with something to enter! Enter a little story I like to call Ontario. The idea just popped into my head and I ran with it. I wrote 35,000 words of it in about two weeks. I was on a role! I only had about another week to have the 50,000 required words for the manuscript. At some point I realized that my writing was suffering because I was trying to so hard to get it done, and so I stopped aiming for the stars, at least for that year's competition.

Ontario ended up getting put on hold and I didn't finish it until the first weekend in August, but as the Amazon Breakthrough Novel contests for 2013 looms in the near future, and have a little bit more time. While I was finishing Ontario I had another idea pop into my head. It was a random day in July when I found myself bolting to my computer and furiously typing out the opening scene to another story. Another one? GREAT! At the end of August I found myself with 33,202 words worth of a new story, which for now I am calling Lorn. Ever since I started working on it I could tell that this one had some huge potential, if only I could tell the story in the right way. This is the story I will be using to enter the Breakthrough Novel contest for 2013.

Sadly, the momentum I had in August died off and my sights changed to the up and coming NaNoWriMo. Now that I've finished that and yet another book I am ready to jump back into working on Lorn. I am so excited for the future and what it holds for this story. I should definitely be working on that manuscript and not blogging about it on here, but I wanted to give you an update! Here's to hitting another 50K mark by the end of December!

33,202 words,

- Heidi Nicole Bird

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Next Big Thing Blog Hop

Hi there everybody! Today I am participating in my first ever blog hop! Fun, right? I think so! Thanks to Caitlin Hensley for tagging me so I can hop along! Yeah. . . bad pun, I know. I shouldn't even try. I've had a lot of fun answering these questions, and I hope that you enjoy reading them!


What is the title of your book? Through the Paper Wall

Where did the idea for the book come from? One day, one or two years ago, I just had this scene pop into my head, and it mega evolved once I started working on it.

What genre does your book fall under? Juvenile fiction fantasy.

Will your book be self-published or represented under an agency? While I am trying the traditional way with one of my other books I am going the self-pub route with this one. I want to be able to compare the two if I am lucky enough to be published elsewhere. I'd like to have full control with this one, just to try things out.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? Believe it or not, I wrote it in only 13 days, though that was over a month's worth of time.

Give a one sentence synopsis of your novel: Jesse and his Dad just moved to a tiny little town and Jesse hates it, but his outlook on life changes completely when he discovers a tunnel in his basement that leads to a very troubled fantasy world.

What other works would you compare your story to? I guess it is kind of like the Secrets of Droon series, though written for a slightly older audience.

Who or what inspired you to write this book? NaNoWriMo 2012 and my fellow writers in our Facebook group totally inspired this one. I wasn't sure what story to work on for NaNoWriMo this year, and I just ended up going with this one. If it weren't for my friends in the NaNoWriMo Facebook group I don't think I could have finished it.

What else might pique the reader's interest?  What really comes to save the day in the end of this story is the power of words themselves (one of my more brilliant ideas, if I may say so myself). It is only through what we truly mean that can save us in the end.


Now I get to tag five other writers so they can share in the fun! All you have to do is link back to me, and then post your answers to these questions on December 12th. When you are done, tag five other writers at the bottom of your post. That's it! Easy peasy rice and cheesey! Have fun!






Monday, December 3, 2012

Post-Nano Life

So, even though for the past few days a lot of us have been posting sad and disappointed posts about NaNoWriMo being over, the fun has certainly not died. In fact, I believe all of our shenanigans in November were only pieces of a great foundation for something even bigger and better. The fun and games have certainly not ceased and our Facebook group is still hopping! Today one of our admins updated the description of our group as follows:


"We, writers be

"We kill Eric Kovach, apparently

"Not enough to prevent his Zombie postings, obviously



I, for one, think this is just about as good of a description of our crazy group can have. For those of you who aren't in on the story, no, we haven't really killed Eric, but he has definitely been written in and killed off in a large and growing number of peoples' novels. Why do I like this description so much? Because it is telling. It shows the following things:

-We do NaNoWriMo
-We are all writers
-We have inside jokes, which means we are friends
-We like to food, especially desserts
-We are crazy, especially to outsiders

Yep, that sounds pretty darn accurate to me! Kudos to our admin for capturing our essence in such a brilliant literary snapshot! Besides all of us still being crazy and talking and writing, several members of the group and I have been working on a project that I started and fondly call "The 30 Days of Nano." You'll know soon enough what this is. I can't wait to show you all. It is great fun, and it can only get greater!

So, what have I done since NaNoWriMo ended? Well, in a writing sense, not much at all. The Christmas season is already upon us, as you have surely noticed due to the much longer lines in stores everywhere, as well as the growing number of decorations and lights. As a musician I have been performing and rehearsing like crazy, and it will only get crazier throughout the rest of this week. I am proud to say, however, that I have dipped my toes into the editing side of working on Through the Paper Wall, and I am really excited to get going!

So, now you know what I have been up to (which, if you read between the lines is mostly spending a lot of time on the NaNoWriMo Facebook group page talking to people). What have you been up to since November ended?

- Heidi Nicole Bird