Thursday, January 31, 2013

Digitus 233

Today I want to share with you a book that I am just thrilled about! Yesterday you got to know the author, K.D. Emerson. To read the interview click here! In that post you will also find out how to learn more about the author and follow her work. Just in case you missed it yesterday, here's the synopsis for the book:

When Zeph, the adventurous son of a millionaire hid in the cargo hold of the Learjet carrying his brother Zander to camp he had no idea there was anything dark or ominous going on. That was until he watched Zander ejected from the plane onto a barren arctic island and Zeph, trapped in the cargo hold, found himself headed for South America. Will Zeph be able to uncover and expose the truth behind Digitus, the world’s dominant corporation or will they succeed in their sinister plan to control his brother and destroy the world?

I have begun to read this book myself and I can tell you it is gripping! To give you a sense of what you can expect, the author has allowed for a very special sneak peak! She has chosen some excerpts to share with you: 

Transfixed in place, Zeph watched as four teenagers shot out into space and then one more time the door in the ceiling opened. He recognized his brother Zander as the airplane seat came through the opening and then propelled out into the blue and white sky. Whoa, how crazy is that? The Fantastic Four and my older brother just shot out of a perfectly good Learjet. In shock, Zeph stood staring numbly at the floor of the tube. Wait! That’s not normal! He slammed his hands against the tube and then froze in place; his mind whirled in panic. What kind of crazy camp was this? He understood survival camps, but this was nuts.
His heart thumped madly in his chest, pumping blood to his throbbing head. I have to do something! He forced himself to think. Those seats had to have parachutes. Obviously they weren’t killing those kids… were they?

A blood curdling scream ripped through the air. Jackson was on his feet and out of the cave before the rest of them had time to look up. Zander followed Lana; with Quinton right behind. They tore off up the snow bank. Jackson crested the rock outcropping and disappeared behind it. Zander felt his feet pounding beneath him, slipping and sliding on the ice. He left Quinton behind and passed Lana swiftly. In the distance he saw Google backing away from a large white bulk.
Polar bear!

“Hold on to each other,” he screamed at Google and Lana. Pointing and motioning for them to wrap their arms around each other, he then pointed to Quinton and Zander, who both lay on the bottom of the boat, unconscious. “Hold onto them! Keep your feet pressed against the walls. If we get tossed out, it’s over.” His muscles were quivering from the tension of pressing his arms and legs against the walls of the boat, but he knew if he relaxed the next wave would devour them and send them to an icy death. Sheets of rain pelted against his back. It wasn’t rain so much as buckets of water tossed at them by angry gods. Blackness threatened to consume him. He had to hold on. He had no experience or knowledge of the sea. He had no clue how long this could last. All he knew was that if he passed out, they were all dead. The girls didn’t have the strength to keep themselves inside this retched boat.


Bushy Brows, the man they called Klaus, looked up at the computer team. “Switch to live streaming on the Arctic Ocean, please.”
“The last team has experienced several setbacks. They have been traveling southwest in what appears to be a life raft cut out of a large chunk of ice.” The overhead voice continued in a monotone as the screen displayed a small boat bobbing up and down in the black water. Zeph counted five bodies in the bottom of the boat. Four of them huddled around a fifth body that was laying still. Too still.
“Very creative. We’ve never had a group try escape by water before.”
“Yes. The leader has slipped into unconsciousness probably from shock or infection from the wounds inflected by the bear. They also got tossed around by a mild storm for awhile, but they managed to pull through it. There is a vessel on its way to intercept the life raft.”
“How long?”
“Should be any time now.”
“Have we been in contact with the leadership in Russia?”
“We’ve had communications. They should have had time to alert the submarine about protocol by now.”
“Is the Miller boy going to make it?”
“Hard to say at this time.”
The Miller boy, the Miller boy? That was Zander! Why are they talking about him like he was a dry goods shipment? Zeph squinted to get a better look at the people down in front.
“Be a shame to lose that one,” the silver haired man stated.
“Right, we’ve invested a lot of money in him,” the female agreed.


They turned to gaze at the ocean once more. The sound of the rolling waves settled around them.
“Isn’t this breathtaking?” She leaned into Zander. “I honestly thought we were going to die on that island.”
“There were times I wanted you to die on that island.” Zander grinned.
“Yeah, I was a beast, wasn’t I?” She batted her lashes and ran a fingernail along his neck.
Zeph rolled his eyes. The world is being taken over by madmen and these two are out here auditioning for a soap opera.
Zander cupped her face in his hands.
“What was that?” she asked. “I heard something.”
“I didn’t hear anything.” Zander leaned down.
“That! Zander, I think there’s someone watching.”
“You scared I’m gunna take a bite outta ya? Too many vampire movies, Lana.” Zander pulled her closer.
“Zander!” Zeph hissed.
Zander stopped and looked over. Zeph waved a palm frond.
“Lana, stay here.” Zander walked forcefully. “Quinton, if that’s you, I’m going to rip you apart.”


So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and get yourself a copy, only $1.99 right now!
The website and personal blog for Digitus Series is here:
And the Amazon link for US: and UK:

- Heidi Nicole Bird

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Interview with K.D. Emerson

Hi there everyone! This week I'd like to introduce you to a great author and friend of mine, K.D. Emerson. Today I'll be helping you get to know her a bit, and tomorrow I'll be spotlighting her fabulous book Digitus 233. Enjoy!

Welcome, Kim! Tell us a bit about yourself.
First, let me thank all of the hosts of this blog tour and all the readers for their time. I am grateful to each of you!  I am just your everyday human who takes a detour every now and then into the dark passageways of my imagination. I have enjoyed many marvelous experiences on earth. Love, loss, joy, pain – it’s all a part of the journey. Things that have changed me for the better have been losing everything I owned and having to start all over again and living with two packs of wolves who taught me the meaning of life. My deepest desire is to assist other’s in creating a joy-filled life.

How long have you been writing?
A looong time. I won’t say how many years, but I have been a writer from age five. I wrote what I ‘thought’ was a novel at the age of six.

Tell us about DIGITUS 233. What’s the story about?
It is about power and corruption, control and bondage and the story of how one young adult can make a difference. Here is a very short synopsis of the book: When Zeph, the adventurous son of a millionaire hid in the cargo hold of the Learjet carrying his brother Zander to camp he had no idea there was anything dark or ominous going on. That was until he watched Zander ejected from the plane onto a barren arctic island and Zeph, trapped in the cargo hold, found himself headed for South America. Will Zeph be able to uncover and expose the truth behind Digitus, the world’s dominant corporation or will they succeed in their sinister plan to control his brother and destroy the world?

How did the idea of the story come to you?
It came out of the darkness of the corner of my mind while I pondered the loss of freedom people see under oppressive governments such as the events in Nazi Germany before and during World War II.  The reality that freedom (and life) can so easily slip through our fingers, the intrigue of fringe science and how it can be used for good or evil (depending on who is in control).

Do you have a critique group/partner or beta readers, or do you self-edit?
I majored in creative writing back in the day and I am used to constructive critique. I would never edit my own work; it’s too easy to miss a mistake. Even now, I have people pouring over Digitus 233 to find a typo.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Both. I outline, do scene sketches, and character sketches complete with back story for all characters, then during the writing process the muse will often take over and I let it flow to see where it goes.

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?
Getting over the old voices and programming in my head that say “if you publish you will die”. I have fought against the enemy, self-doubt, and I have become victorious. You can do it as well!

What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?
My bowler hat (long story), coffee and Beethoven.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?
To heal all ailments in the world.

What's the weirdest thing you've googled?
“Humans that fly” I was looking for people that jump out of perfectly good airplanes and do some pretty crazy things. I found a group of people that have these suits that have wings and they sail for a long time before landing. Looks awesome, but I don’t think I will try it in this lifetime.

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: randomly, dome, and memorize.
She darted about under the dome of doom escaping death from randomly fired poison arrows while trying to memorize the Gettysburg address.

Finish this sentence: If I'm not writing, I'm probably ...
Racing across the horizon on a wild Mustang

Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.
My deepest thanks to Megan McDade and all the bloggers and readers who have supported me, also my many friends and family who have offered their assistance in spreading the word. Thanks to my creative partners, Tim and Brenda Emerson who played the “what if” game with me until they were ready to drop me out of an airplane. And of course, thanks to those of my past who tried to hold me back or stand in my way. Because of your fear and jealousy you made me stronger and more determined.

And finally, where can people find you and your book online?
I love to connect with people!
Find me on Facebook at:
On Twitter I am:
The website and personal blog for my Digitus Series is here:
And the Amazon link for US: and UK:

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Book Review and Contest!

Hi everybody! Today I want to give you a review on my very favorite series of all time! I bet you know how many stars these books will be getting from me :) I first found these books when I read the first one for a book club in 2009, and since then I have been undeniably hooked. I couldn't put the first one down, rushed out and read the second one, and then had to wait a whole dang year for the third, but it was so worth it! Each and every installment had me looking like this:

And it felt a lot like this:

What is this amazing series, you ask? Well, I'll tell you. The Hourglass Door Trilogy, by Lisa Mangum. The author has an incredible way of pulling you into the story and making you want to be a part of it. She weaves intricate story lines and problems that manage to blow my time every time I read her work.  The books follow a girl named Abby and her oh-so-intriguing classmate Dante. Let me just say, girls, you will love these books! I also think guys will love them too, but especially girls. The story will take you all sorts of places you have never imagined as time itself is threatened, especially for Abby. I don't want to give anything away by telling you about the second and third books, but here is the synopsis for the first one:

Abby's senior year of high school is textbook perfect: She has a handsome and attentive boyfriend, good friends, good grades, and plans to attend college next year. But when she meets Dante Alexander, a foreign-exchange student from Italy, her life suddenly takes a different turn. He's mysterious, and interesting, and unlike anyone she's ever met before. Abby can't deny the growing attraction she feels for him. Nor can she deny the unusual things that seem to happen when Dante is around. Time behaves differently when they are together, traveling too fast or too slow, or sometimes seeming to stop altogether. When the band Zero Hour performs at the local hangout, Abby realizes that there's something dangerous about the lead singer, Zo, and his band mates, Tony and V. Oddly, the three of them are also from Italy and have a strange relationship to Dante. They also hold a bizarre influence over their audience when performing. And Abby's best friend, Valerie, is caught in their snare. Dante tells Abby the truth of his past: he once worked for Leonardo Da Vinci, helping to design and build a time machine. When Dante was falsely implicated as a traitor to his country, he was sent through the machine more than five hundred years into the future as punishment. As the past and the present collide, Abby learns that she holds a special power over the flow of time itself. She and Dante must stop Zo from opening the time machine's door and endangering everyone's future. More than one life is at stake and Abby's choice could change everything.

I am proud to say that I own each and every one of these books and that they have all been signed by the author! I had the great privilege to meet Lisa Mangum, tell her how much she has inspired me, and also tell her about my own books. It was incredible to say the least, and don't worry, I was highly professional and had my fangirl moment over behind a bookcase ;)

I really hope you get as excited about these books as I do. I hope you feel the thrill that I do every time I read them, and that you get so into them that you yell at people when they try to talk to you. I give you permission. These books are the ones that get me in the sort of situations where someone tries to get my attention for five solid minutes before I even realize they have entered the room. Read them! Do it!


Okay, so I also promised you a contest, so here it is! My author page on Facebook is nearing 300 likes and I would love to get it there in time for the release of my book in the next few weeks! Click here to get the link. Like the page if you haven't already, then share it! On your Facebook, your groups, your pages, your blog, your twitter, anywhere and everywhere you want! Then, let me know how many times you've shared the link! Each share will get you an entry into the contest. I'll randomly pick a winner and that winner will get an advance look at my next book Ontario! I'll email your the entire prologue! What are you waiting for! Get out there and share! Then go get yourself a copy of The Hourglass Door and I'll see you in about one to three days after you've finished the series :)

- Heidi Nicole Bird

Monday, January 28, 2013

Saving Your Files

First of all, a huge thank you to all of you who have been spreading the word. My last post received more views than any of my others posts ever have. That's fantastic! Thank you!

What I want to talk to you about today is really more advice than a tip, but I think when it comes to writing it is the most important thing, right up there with never throwing away your work or giving up. This morning I was thinking about what to tell you today, and then it hit me. Today I want to talk to you about saving your files.

As a writer your words are your life. They are how you live, eat, drink, breathe. They're your outlet. They are you. We spend hours and hours typing away, getting our souls and stories down on paper (electronically or real) and the very last thing we want is to lose what we have put down. I am coming to you as one who has lost work and who has always been haunted by what was lost.

In 2009 I did my very first NaNoWriMo. I was going to college, living with room mates, and writing a book. In other words, having the time of my life. I'd had my laptop for about a year and then all of a sudden one day, it failed me. It didn't come through like it had on all those other days. It crashed. I was devastated, to say the least. Luckily, I had been smart enough - or paranoid enough, either way I'm grateful - to save my story in more than one place. As I was writing, I saved my book on my computer, and I also emailed a copy to myself. Now, it just so happens that I hadn't done that in a little while when my computer crashed, so I lost a scene. That's pretty good news I think, only one scene! But, it just so happened to be a really great scene that I thought I had written particularly well. Not cool.

Eventually I got my computer up and running again, and, using my gracious fellow-Nanoer and room mate's computer, I rewrote that lost scene, but it was never as good as the first time around. As much as I hate that it happened, I will forever be grateful that it did happen, and in such a small way, because it taught me that I have to be more careful, because I never want to lose another word.

My advice for you today is to always save your files in more than one place. You'll never know how much you appreciate it until you lose something. As a writer I have changed immensely since I finished my first book. I have grown older, become a much better writer, and a several times NaNoWrimo veteran.  I have also learned a lot. Luckily for us, technology is getting more and more awesome with every second of every day, and we have so many options for saving our novels securely and in multiple places. Here's a list of some ways you can do it:

  • Email: This is definitely not my first choice, since, like I mentioned above, you can lose everything since the last time you uploaded, but it's definitely something and will work if you don't have any other option. 
  • External Memory: This is a good option too, though one I don't rely on. I've heard too many stories of people's memory sticks getting misplaced, or eaten by their dogs, and in all reality your external hard drive is a computer - it can crash just like the computer you are using to write your book. 
  • Google Drive: Previously Google Documents, this is great option. I used to use Google Documents all the time, especially to collaborate with other students. It's easy and free (to an extent) and it guarantees that your file will be saved online. 
  • Dropbox: This is the option I choose, because it is my favorite. I depend on it so much it's not even funny. It's my life line. Everything related to my books is saved on Dropbox. Like Google Drive, you are given a certain amount of space for free, but you can grow that space by sharing, getting other people to join, and doing other things. My space has grown quite a lot, thanks, probably, to a lot of you. Dropbox (and Google Drive) installs a folder on you computer where you save files, and each time you press save on your document, it is instantly saved online, and wherever else you have downloaded your Dropbox folder. I currently access my Dropbox folder from my computer, my Mom's computer, my phone, and online. You can have it on all of your mobile devices and computers, and can access it anywhere by logging in to the online site. If you change a document in your folder, it also saves those changes in all the places you have the document. For example, I can open my novel on my phone, add a new line, and when I get back to my computer file, that added line will already be there. A-freaking-mazing in my book! I believe Google Drive works the same way.
These certainly are not your only options, but they are the ones I thought I'd list today. Right now I am coming to you from the very same laptop that crashed on me four years ago, and it has, since then, nearly crashed too many times for me to count, but now, every time that happens, I don't even worry about it (except that I'd be ticked to not have a computer). I hope that you will think about how you are protecting your work, and if you are protecting it enough. Trust me, the last thing you want to do is end up like these guys:

Did you find this information helpful? Do you backup your novel? Do you use one, or more, of these methods, or something else? If you're a paper-only sort of person, how to you protect your work? I'd love to hear about it!

- Heidi Nicole Bird 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Big News!!!

If you've been following my author page on Facebook (see link in the side bar if you haven't!) then you know I have some big news for you today! But, before I get to that, I'm going to let you sit in suspense for a couple more minutes. *evil cackle*

Here's your weekly update about Through the Paper Wall. I have received complete edits from two of my beta readers and I have been working through them. Overall I am thrilled with what I am hearing and I have been given some really great direction and advice. As of right now I'm about two hours away from being done with this edits, if I estimated right and I stay at my normal pace. So, in other words, I'll be finished with them today if I can keep myself on track! That's the goal. After that, I'll be going back through and doing another edit on my own, looking for some specific things I want to fix, which include the following:

  • Contractions
  • "Dad" vs. "dad"
  • Deciding what I want to do with the first line in a chapter
  • Adding to the epilogue so readers know what happens to one of the characters
After that point I'll start working on formatting the book itself and getting it ready to send for a proof copy! I will also be finalizing the synopsis and cover, probably while I'm waiting for my proof copy to get to me. 

Okay, okay, enough updates, here's what you've been waiting for - THE BIG NEWS! Drum roll please...

My book Ontario has been picked up by a publisher! I am absolutely thrilled, and I can't wait to tell you more about it as things are finalized. Once all the contracts have been signed and everything is cleared away, I'll clue you in on who the publisher is and all that jazz. I am so excited for you to get this story and to actually have a publisher! Ontario is by far my favorite story that I have ever written. I spontaneously started writing it last January. I wrote 75% of the story in about two weeks, stopped for a while, then finished it in August. For those of you who don't know about Ontario, here's the synopsis I included in my query letter:

“Don’t worry, Ontario, I’ll never leave you. You will always have me here to protect you and your brother.” Those words from a childhood memory would haunt Ontario for the rest of her life. Losing her father had been difficult enough, but her life would change even more drastically at the beginning of her senior year of high school. That was when her mother abandoned her, leaving her brother Eddy as her legal guardian. Suddenly thrown into a very different life, Ontario clings to her brother, and to no one else. Could she trust anyone anymore? Even her best friend was not there for her. 

In order to feel like less of a burden on her brother Ontario gets a job at the local fifties-style diner. It is there that she meets her new “family,” including Austin, who eventually becomes her love interest and the only one who can help her truly heal. In time Ontario discovers that Austin has his own demons, and their relationship as friends and boyfriend and girlfriend allows them to find a way to escape their sadness. Through learning to face the past as well as the future, Ontario comes to realize that even though she has been let down in the past, it is still alright for her to trust and to love. The romance that blossoms between Ontario and Austin is one that is proper and clean, and also healing for both of them. 

I am really excited for what is coming, especially now that I have two books coming your way! Keep reading for more interviews, book reviews, guest posts, and updates. I may even have some contests coming your way! If you haven't lately, I'd love for you to spread the word about Through the Paper Wall, this blog, and my Facebook and Twitter pages. Thanks for all you do!

- Heidi Nicole Bird

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

"A Different Journey," a Guest Post by Jennifer Don

Darkness lingers within the shadows, ever stretching outwards with its invisible tendrils. The power it possesses grows stronger by the hour and only a small few can resist it. Unearthly voices can be heard whispering from the depths of its caverns. They call out to unsuspecting individuals who carelessly pass on by, calling them towards the darkness. They are the new sirens of the land and their power is the absence of light.

"Come with us, be one of us. We have power that you would never have imagined," they call out in harmony. Over the years people have been snared, claimed by the growing darkness within the shadows.

So come with me as we explore the depths of these vast caverns in the darkness. But grab those lanterns and keep that light burning as we venture where the sirens dare.  In this world, we know not what lies before us as we seek the unknown in search of new adventures.  For many writers like me, opening the pages of a clean notebook can be as daunting as venturing down the dark alley with sirens calling them. They hear the call and are pulled to write, but as soon as the pen touches the paper, the doubt floods in. Words escape our grasp and spread out aimlessly into the universe.

There is nothing worse than being trapped in the vast darkness with no light to lead the way. The absence of words to a writer is just as daunting as the absence of light. When we are struck, not with a block, but a missing muse, we are thrust into the depths where siren’s call and words drift untouched.

The muse is certainly one of the most important tools a writer has to hand, and when it goes missing some tend to panic. But what is a muse, if not a siren?

Well for many it’s the little voices at the back of the mind injecting them with small ideas or sections of dialog for the writer to use when writing. For others it is a constant source that keeps them inspired and for others it’s the nagging sensation that pulls at you when you’re way behind where you should be.

When a muse is absent, the world is turned upside down.  Only recently my very real muse sadly passed over to the rainbow bridge. She was a real inspiration and offered much humour into a world otherwise left plain. But she wasn’t the only muse that graces my writing field. However all of them had until recently – vanished!

Did they enter the void? Were they pulled down by the new sirens sweeping the shadows? Maybe they did, or maybe they didn’t. They are back now and the role they play is very important. Without them, I would have never written his post. Without them, I would be the one being pulled into the darkness by those unearthly voices that call for us. So remember, when you’re walking down the street at night, and you see shadows move, or hear the voices in the night – double check it’s not your muse talking to you before you run away screaming for your life.

An absent writers muse leaves for a stir crazy writer desperately seeking a new road to wander and a new adventure to snare them. Step wisely and don’t go too far down those darkened streets were unseen hands can grab you. Unless, it is you that has come to the conclusion that you are ready to venture into the unknown yourself, to take the plunge and delve down into the depths in search of something new.

As they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder – and many writers this statement may be true, but for others it is further from the truth than you would ever think possible. I mean look at me, I am on the verge. This is the first piece of writing I’ve done since November… well it is when you exclude the memorial poem that was written for my now very absent, but never forgotten friend and muse.

I will leave you with these four lines from Daylight by Maroon 5:

And when the daylight comes I’ll have to go
           But, tonight I’m ‘gonna hold you so close
           ‘Cuz in the daylight, we’ll be on our own
           But, tonight I need to hold you so close

With those words… it seems to be true, when the sun rises my muse vanishes. It is without a shadow of doubt to me that the sirens that call from the shadows are the desperate cries from the muse yearning for my absent attention. Well my friends, trust me when I say that this writer will do all she can to keep writing and I will be listening out for the muse in the shadows.

But will you?

The absence of my friend, my muse, has shown me how her memory deserves to live on and her inspiration to me will help keep the words flowing.

About Jennifer Don 

Jennifer spent many years without daring to lift a pen, without writing a word that wasn’t forced. But 2008 arrived and with it, her love of writing. She began with poetry which quenched her thirst to begin with but soon that wasn’t enough to satisfy her. 2011 arrived with a dream to write her first novel – Awakening, which is on-going. November saw her attempt her first NaNoWriMo, and so Timber Varden was born, with the bulk of it being written within that month. Now she finds herself aiming to re-write that draft and turn it into her first published novel.


While she aims to work through the edits needed, updates on her progress can be found on here

To find out more with regards to her other projects, then check out her blog here

And should you wish to follow her on Twitter, or ask her any questions please see here!/Voice_Of_Spirit

You can also add and follow Jennifer over on Goodreads. You will find that link here

Jennifer will be more than happy to answer any questions you have for her. You can contact her at any of the links posted above. Or email her at 

Grandparents Today by Teena Adams

Looking for a great, interesting, and helpful read? Check out Grandparents Today, by Teena Adams.  


Hi my name Is Teena Adams. I was born and raised in Texas. Texas is a awesome state and I am very proud to be a Texan. I am married to my best friend. He is very supportive and understanding. I have five grown children. They were a joy to raise and I have loved every minute of it. I have eleven grandchildren and counting. There are ten rowdy boys and one precious grand-daughter. I am so thankful for getting to be a grandma. My grandchildren are the love of my life. I am a Christian above everything. The Lord lights my path. I have been a Christian for twenty two years. I am the author of Grandparents Today and I am working on my upcoming book Bridge of Worlds. My prayer is that my books help others in their life journey.


"More grandparents are finding themselves raising their grandchildren. The statistics say that 6.2 million grandparents are raising their grandchildren in our day and time. This is staggering statistics.What has happened to the original family unit? Grandparents Today will discuss these issues. This book will also serve as a valuable resource guide to get the grandparents the resources they need. The children have been placed in the home for many reasons. They have been abused and abandoned. They have parents that are in the military or are on drugs. Then there are the parents that do not want their children. It is my quest to help these grandparents find the resources available to them as I am one of the grandparents raising my grandchildren, so I understand what you are experiencing. This book is resource guide, and book to help you in raising these children. May God Bless you! Teena Adams"

To learn more about Teena Adams and her work, visit the following links:

Currently this book is only available on Kindle, but watch for it on Nook and in other places beginning in February! 

As always, I like to add some more information that I think is helpful for up and coming writers. Grandparents Today was published November 18, 2012 and is listed under the genre group "family and adoptions." Teena Adams published her book through Amazon, and she highly recommends this self-publishing process, stating that it is "fast, effective and affordable." When it comes to the cover for her book, Teena provides some very useful information: 

"I had looked around for a cover and couldn’t find one I liked or could afford. So I thought I could do this myself. I found a reasonable priced place that gave you the tools to make it yourself. Well needless to say I am no graphic designer! Back to the drawing board I went. That is when I found a place called This is a place where others do a job for you and only charge $5.00. I figured at this point, what do I have to lose? Well I can tell you for $5.00, you can get a professional cover done at fiverr."

Thanks for the information Teena, and good luck with your book and your future endeavors!

- Heidi Nicole Bird

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Book Review: The Haunting of Derek Stone

Tony Abbott combines the best of the action, suspense, and humor that has made DROON a hit for almost a decade -- and takes it to the next level in this spooky new middle grade series.

Could the road to the afterlife be a two-way street? Derek Stone just turned fourteen. He's lived in the heart of New Orleans with his dad and older brother, Ronny, his whole life. He's a little overweight. He can't hear well out of his left ear. Oh, and he's on the run from the dead. 
Derek never imagined that the dead could be anything but dead. But there's no denying it. They're back -- and they're after him. He just doesn't know why. And he doesn't have long to figure it out.

Last summer I was perusing the library and I stumbled upon this book. I am not one to go for books that might be scary, but I had read most of Tony Abbot's Secrets of Droon series and I absolutely love them. So, when I saw this new series by the same author I jumped at the chance for more. Little did I know what what coming.

The Haunting of Derek Stone: City of the Dead is an incredibly written piece of literature. Though the book is juvenile fiction, I have never been so creeped out by a story in my entire life! Abbot combines great story telling with fantastic detail and imagination to create a story that is frightening enough to make you reconsider everyone around you, and yet so compelling that you can't put it down. This book literally took my breath away and, even though I was feeling rather terrified in my empty house when I finished the book, I was left craving more.

Due to my level of being freaked out I have yet to read the next book in the series, but it is sitting in my room at this very moment, among the other books I hope to read soon. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes a chilling story, likes being scared, and loves juvenile fiction. If you scare easily, you might want to stay away from it, especially if you are considering it for your child. All in all, I give this book a huge five stars for being so brilliant and well put together.

Have you read this book? Do you plan to? I'd love to hear about it!

- Heidi Nicole Bird

Monday, January 21, 2013

A Sort of Day Off

Hi everyone and happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day! Since it is a holiday this is going to be a short post, but I still wanted to let you in on something that I am going to be trying this week.

In a previous post I talked a little bit about editing and I also mentioned that I would be trying a technique that I learned from Caitlin Hensley. She posted it as a tip on her blog, and now I am going to try it and share it with you.

If you've been following my blog you know that I am in the semi-final stages of editing my book before it is published. The method that Caitlin suggested is to go through the entire manuscript word by word and only look at each word individually, not looking or reading ahead at all, or reading for story or content. Simply focus on the words themselves and you should find a lot of typos you may have missed the other times you were editing.

Sounds tedious, right? Yes, but I am willing to try it because I think it is a great tip, and that is why I am re-sharing it with you. If all goes as planned, I will be implementing this technique this week, and when Friday rolls around I'll let you know how it went.

Have a great holiday!

- Heidi Nicole Bird

Friday, January 18, 2013

Updates and the Liebster Award

Hi there everybody! It has been one slow week on my part. Well, when it comes to writing anyway, but I am really excited to get back into things on Monday. Last time I told you that I was sending Through the Paper Wall to my beta readers. So far I have received the files and comments back from one of my readers and I should be getting the others within the next couple of days. This is all so exciting, but also crazy! I am going to be swamped next week going through all three of those edits, but I am planning on getting it done in one week, so we'll see how that goes!

Now that you've been updated, this week I was nominated for the Liebster Award! So here we go with a fun little blog hop!


I was nominated by A.L. Jambor at Java with Jambor! Thanks!

Here are the rules for the Liebster Award:
1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog and link back to the blogger who presented this award to you.
2. Answer the 11 questions from the nominator, list 11 random facts about yourself and create 11 questions for your nominees. 
3. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 11 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed and leave a comment on their blog letting them know they have been chosen. (No tag backs). 
4. Copy and Paste the blog award on your blog. 

Questions I have been asked: 

1. Do you think Kristen Steward ever smiles?
Well, everyone has their own way of smiling, but I don't think hers is that noticeable. At least not from what I have seen. I don't really pay that much attention to her honestly. 

2. Before you discovered blogging, what did you do in your spare time?
Well, I still do these things, lol. Scrapbooking, music, reading. 

3. Why did the cow jump over the moon?
Well, see the cow was trying to follow Doctor Who. 

4. As a child, what book spoke to you?
Any book my Mom read to me during school.

5. If you could be any character from any book, who would you be?
Hermione Granger 

6. Favorite flavor of ice cream?
This is NOT a fair question! But right now I'll say Cookies and Cream. 

7. If you could live in any era, which one would it be?
50s baby!

8. Why did you choose that era? 
Elvis! And all the awesome other music that was going on. And the cars, and the clothes, and the jukeboxes, and the hair, and the shoes, and the diners. . . yeah, can you tell I love the 50s? :)

9. Something you've learned from a child.
Find joy in the simple things. 

10. Are your books in alphabetical  order, or just randomly placed on the shelf?
They are not in alphabetical order, but they are categorized my genre. 

11. What time is your alarm set for?
I have alarms set on my phone right now for 11:30am, 9:30am, 3:00pm, 12:00pm, 9:45am, 5:05pm, all for different days! I use them as reminders. 

11 Random Facts about Me 

1. I love tomato basil soup.
2. I wish the 90s would come back.
3. I think 90s pop is the best pop there ever was or ever will be.
4. I almost always carry a water bottle.
5. I play three instruments and sing.
6. I love old things, especially books.
7. I have a BA in History.
9. I am a total NaNoWriMo addict.
10. A lot of my closest friends are people I have never met. 
11. I largely don't like the music that is out right now. 

Questions for Nominees: 

1. What do you turn to when you are bored?
2. Granola bars or Poptarts?
3. If you could move to the city for free, would you do it?
4. Where is the number one place you want to go?
5. If you could be in a movie, who would be your love interest? 
6. Has the time come to talk of cabbages and kings?
7. What did you always want to be when you were little?
8. What is your favorite movie?
9. If you could do anything you wanted right now, what would you do?
10. What was the last thing you ate?
11. What is that thing on your left? 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Author Interview: Kessa Montez

Today I would like to introduce you to Kessa Montez, an aspiring young author. Hi Kessa, and welcome to the blog today! 

You’re very welcome. I’m actually excited! I’m always willing to get myself out there as a writer! 

To start off, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?
A bit about myself--well, I’ve been homeschooled my whole life, though I plan on going away to college this year. I’m an artist. I don’t draw or paint, but I create art. Music. Words. Stuff like that. And I’m rather mature for my age--I have more friends that are adults than my own age! 

What did you want to be when you were little?
An astronomer. I wanted to study space. Just because it was the only thing in all the things I learned about that I was actually interested in at the time.

Do you plan on being a full time writer, or do you have other career plans?
I don’t plan on writing full time. I love writing, I really do, and I would go crazy with all the stories in my head if I didn’t do it--but my real passion is for music. I want to be a concert pianist. I can’t stand to write for much more than two or three hours a day, maybe four if I’m really inspired. Any more than that and I get a little stir-crazy. 

How long have you been writing?
Good question. For a long time--nine, ten years? Something like that. The first thing I ever wrote was a short story called “Crazy Broom” about the Wicked Witch of the West’s broomstick and how it kept spinning around in circles repeatedly, no matter what she did to try to stop it.  

What do you write? 
I write contemporary fiction with a few touches of fantasy. I say a few touches because I don’t go off and create my own world--anymore, I tried that once and it was utterly insane--I stick to the real world and just add some fantastical elements. And currently I write for older YA. 

Have you published anything?
Not yet.

When do you plan on publishing?
Soon. And by soon I mean probably within the next two to five years, how ever long it takes for me to actually do some serious edits on my current WIP. 

Do you plan on self-publishing or going the traditional route?
Traditional route. I want my novel in bookstores.  I don’t have anything specific against self-publishing, but I feel like if you go the traditional route it’s more legitimate, you know? Well, and sort of the fact that I don’t want to go through all the formatting for it myself. 

Ebook, paperback, or hardcover?
Doesn’t matter too much to me. I prefer holding the book in my hands and turning the pages in a real book, but whether it’s paperback or hardcover doesn’t matter to me. 

What are you currently working on?
Well, currently, as in this month, I’m outlining my next novel, but ultimately my current work is my recently finished novel, Masks. I wrote it for NaNoWriMo in 2012 and it’s the first thing I’ve written that I really wanted to be published someday. So I actually plan on going back and doing a real edit of it in a couple months, getting it all ready to be awesome, and then I’ll figure out a query letter and start getting it out there. 

What makes your writing unique?
It’s unique because I wrote it. And I’m a different person than every other person in the world. In actuality, though, I think it’s unique because I try to keep the characters very real--they all have flaws and they make mistakes and nobody’s perfect. And I know there are definitely a bunch of other people who do that, but to me that’s what stands out. I do all I can to develop their character and figure out who they are before giving them a situation and throwing them into it and then it’s just figuring out how they respond. And sometimes it’s badly. And that’s why it’s unique. 

Why would someone like your book?
Because I have interesting plots? Because I have real characters? I have no idea. Not a whole lot of people have read much of anything I’ve written, but most of the feedback I’ve received is that my ideas are new and interesting. 

How old were you when you wrote your first and most recent books?
I was fourteen when I wrote my first one, but seventeen for this last one. And I assure you, my skills have greatly improved.

How long did it take you to write your most recent book?
One month, for NaNoWriMo, like I said. However, the planning process began about three months before that.

Did anything in particular inspire anything in your book, or anything you have written?
Oh, holy crap. Yes. I have a good friend that I sing with in an opera chorus, and he’s extremely good at memorizing his music. And before I knew his name, that was all I knew about him. So in my mind I knew him as “Memorizing Guy.” And I had actually written that in my music at one point, when I was staged to stand next to him. That was just over three years ago. And about a year and a half ago, I had found that little tidbit in my music, and of course I died laughing, because I knew him well by that point, so I showed it to him. We both died laughing. So then a friend of ours walked in and we showed it to her, and she said the following line: “Memorizing Guy? Sounds like a superhero name. Ha. Librarian by day (he’s a librarian) and saving the world by night. I wonder what his power would be?” 
I, too, wondered what his power would be. And I continued to wonder for the next six months. Finally, in March of 2012, I knew what it was, and the world that this character lived in, and I figured out his name and I figured out what went wrong. And then over the summer I planned it all out for NaNoWriMo. 

That sounds like a great story! Do have any writing rituals? Treats you have to have, places you have to be, etc.?
I wouldn’t say I necessarily have to have any particular things, though I do prefer, if I can, to sit in a quiet place with no distractions, and have some candy and/or chocolate to motivate me. Something I can eat a piece of every 100 words or so. Chocolate chips, Skittles, stuff like that. It really gets those words out a lot faster. J

What do you like to read?
Mostly the same as what I write. Contemporary fiction with some fantastical stuff. But also dystopian stuff. The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner--those kinds of things are my favorites, but I’ll read almost anything as long as it’s good. 

What advice would you give to other aspiring writers?
  • Outline. 
  • Set yourself a deadline and writing plan and stick to it.
  • Don’t think it’s the best thing the world has ever had the opportunity to lay their eyes upon. But don’t think it’s the worst, either. It’s always somewhere in the middle. 

What are some of your hobbies besides writing and reading?
I play piano, though that’s more of a career goal than a hobby. I’m learning how to play the guitar. I make intricate friendship bracelets. I sing in an opera chorus. I practice karate and am currently a brown belt. And I’m an obsessive record-keeper. Anything I can do to help me remember events and details in my life, I do it. Photography. Journaling. Jotting down thoughts. Those "one something a day" books from Barnes and Noble. And then I can look over it all again and it’s like I’m reliving it and it’s one of my favorite things to do. 

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what do you listen to?
I don’t. I can’t, actually. As a musician, my brain is trained to give almost all my attention to music when I hear it. Obviously that would not be productive for writing.  I’ve tried. It just doesn’t work.

It has been great getting to know you and your work today. Thank for stopping by! Where can people go to learn more about you and your work?
I have a blog and an author page. I don’t update the author page very much, especially now that NaNoWriMo is over and I’m not actively writing something at the moment, but I update the blog every week about my writing and other related projects in my life. Those can be found at:

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Caitlin Hensley: Learning from Screenwriters

Today I am very happy to share with you a guest post by Caitlin Hensley. Caitlin was interviewed here a few weeks ago, and you can find her interview by clicking on the "Interviews" tab at the top of the page. To easily find this post in the future just click on the "Guest Posts" tab. Enjoy!


Authors can learn a lot from screenwriters. "But books," you might say. "They're totally different from movies!" And that's true, I agree. Yet you can still learn from examining the process that screenwriters go through, and thus improve your own writing. Here are five tips from screenplays that might help you with your book.

1. Imagine the first part of your book as a screenplay. If your book's beginning was playing on a big screen, what would the audience think? How would they react? Would the opening scenes engage or bore them?

2. Writers are always dealing with the dilemma of showing versus telling. One great way to determine whether a piece is showing or telling is to think to yourself: Can the camera see this? If the lines in your book were actually scenes being acted out and filmed, what would be happening? "My mother likes books" can't be shown on camera. But "My mother can often be found in the armchair in the living room, legs curled up under her, a worn paperback open on her lap" is perfect. That's showing, not telling.

3. Another good thing to remember is to start late. In individual scenes, don't waste time on characters greeting each other politely and talking about the weather. Launch right in to the scene and get things moving. You don't want your readers (or viewers) to fall asleep before the characters get to the juicy part of the scene. In a book, sometimes cutting the first few and last few lines of dialogue really strengthens a scene.

4. Characters need to be memorable so that they don't blend in with millions of other characters that fill the fictional world around us. And these characters need memorable first entrances as well. The first time that a character enters your story, it can't be boring. Do they trip over a rug and knock a vase off the table with an explosion of shattering glass? Are they sitting up in a tree reading when another character walks past below? Are they found kissing another character's boyfriend? Whatever you decide, make that first time the character walks onto the page memorable enough that the reader will remember.

5. In movies, props are great to use in revealing character. You could use the same technique. Instead of saying that a woman is depressed, write about a wastebasket overflowing with crumpled tissues. Have another character notice the mascara smeared under her eyes and the way she keeps sniffling. Describe the dirty dishes piled on the kitchen counter and mail left unopened on the front porch.

Start using these screenwriting tips in your own writing, and you'll definitely notice a difference. Also, study movies and watch what works and what doesn't. How is a certain character introduced? How does the dialogue work? Are certain scenes awkward or boring; should parts have been cut out?

Caitlin Hensley is the author of the novelette Together Alone and the full-length novel Paranormal Legacy, scheduled to be released in March. She lives in rural Oklahoma with her family and a nutty Chihuahua. Visit her blog or Facebook page for more information.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Bump In The Road

So, remember yesterday how I said there are bumps in the road? Well, tada! One showed up today, just to help me prove my point. Today I planned to write out a fabulous book review to share with you, but instead I am writing you a quick note from my phone while I play mom for my sick little brother. So we are just a bit off schedule, but oh well, right? I have great posts coming over the next two days, so we at least have that to look forward to.Thanks for sticking with me!

- Heidi Nicole Bird

Monday, January 14, 2013

Making Mistakes and Getting Messy

Hi there! I hope you had a great weekend! Since it's Monday, the beginning of a fresh, new week, I'd like to share some writing tips with you. I've been thinking for a while about what I wanted to post today and I finally decided. Today I want to talk to you about mistakes.

One of my favorite shows to watch while I was growing up was The Magic School Bus. Among the many scientific facts I learned from that show I also learned something that applies to just about everything, especially writing. Ms. Frizzle, without fail, taught the kids to "take chances, make mistakes, and get messy!" I can't think of a better rule to apply to writing. If you jump into a new manuscript or blog post, or really anything you are writing, and you expect it to be a walk in the park, think again. Writing is all about taking chances, making mistakes, and getting messy. 

Now, most writers are working towards a goal, and to reach that goal their manuscript or piece of work needs to be "perfect." Too many writers think that perfection is going to come the first time around. That simply is not true. There will be typos, and there will be horribly written lines that make you want to give up entirely, but I have something to tell you: Just keep writing! "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming. . ." Sorry, I couldn't resist! In all seriousness though, just keep writing. 

Easier said than done though, right? Yes. I don't know anyone who does not have a problem with this, and we all have different ways of keeping ourselves in the game. Here are some tools and techniques that I use to keep myself from hitting those harmful backspace and delete keys:

  1. Turn off spell check. I have found that this helps tremendously! It is a lot easier to keep plunking down more words if you don't see red, green, and/or blue squiggles plaguing the words you have already written. Take away the distraction. You can always turn the spell check back on later when you are editing.
  2. Use the strike-through tool. The first time I used this was in the last book I wrote, Through the Paper Wall, and I plan on using it from now on, especially during NaNoWriMo. The whole point of NaNoWriMo is to get 50,000 words written, not to get 50,000 good words written. I saw several of my fellow nanoers forget this fact in 2012. If you aren't happy with the words you've got down, don't delete them, and don't chuck your whole file! Instead, if you type something you find particularly revolting, hi-light it with your mouse, and apply the strike-through tool, which you will see next to your bold, italics, and underlining tools. It works like this! Great huh?  That way, you still have your original words, which gives you the word count, and it allows you to see what your original thought was when you come back to edit.
  3. Sprint. One of the greatest things you can do to keep yourself writing, and so many writers will testify to this, is to do a word sprint (also called a word dash, or word war). Get with some other writers, or even do this on your own. Pick a start time, and how long you are going to go for, then during those minutes write as fast as you can. A little competition can do wonders for your word count and also force you to think. 
  4. Practice. Of course one of the best ways to get used to not going back and fixing things in your manuscript is to practice. It will he hard, sure, but you can do it! I've seen so many writers, including myself, overcome the urge to go back simply by just pushing onward. Always remember that your first draft is probably going to be crappy and there is nothing wrong with that. Best-selling books are never the author's first draft.

There will be bumps in the road while you are writing your way to the goal that you see at the end of the tunnel. There may even be gaping holes that take you a good amount of work to get across, but whatever you encounter in your writing, never give up. The only thing you will get from giving up is not getting to where you want to be. Perfection is something you attain after the writing process and many more steps. So, what are you waiting for? Get motivated, get a good group of people to support you, and get out there! Take your own chances, make your own mistakes, and by all means gosh dang it, get messy! 

- Heidi Nicole Bird