Thursday, May 30, 2013

Review: "MER," by Jade M. Phillips

Well, I've been putting this off because I didn't know how to properly portrait how I felt about this great book, but it's time to get it down on paper . . . or web page, lol.

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

MER, by Jade M. Phillips is a book like any other. I've never seen, heard of, or read anything like it. The story line has many intricate lines that keeps you guessing with the turn of every page, and you'll certainly find it difficult to stop anywhere along the way. There's a magic that comes with this book that I can't quite put my finger on, but it is absolutely wonderful.

Though the story line is absolutely fantastic, there are a couple things I'd like to give you a "heads up"
on before you jump into your own copy:

  • At first I wasn't able to keep the characters straight. Each of the many characters have a name that was not familiar to me, so I really had to work to remember who was who. HOWEVER, that may be simply because when I first started reading I could only read here and there, sometimes only a few pages, then a week of no reading, then a few more, etc. So, don't let that stop you.
  • I also want to forewarn you that there is a some graphic violence in this book. This may be fine for you, but I just wanted to throw that out there. I normally cannot handle violence very well, and I was alarmed in more than a few places, but the occurrences are spread out enough, and the story is amazing enough that I still couldn't put the book down. 

MER tells the story of a land and sea that is caught in a fantastical turmoil, with royalty, magnificent creatures, webs of allies, creatures uniting and rising in rebellion, and plot twists that are sure to knock your socks off. Or, as in my case, make you throw the book across the room because you are so furious. And I mean that in the best possible way. Sometimes I just can't stand the awesome-ness of an author, and this book is one of those cases.

All-around HUGE FIVE STARS for both the book and the author. I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves mystery, intrigue, and fantasy that doesn't fall into the "cookie-cutter" sort of fantasy novel. As long as you are okay with some violent bits here and there, you will absolutely love this story!

Need some more encouragement? Check out the trailer!

Find Jade M Phillips by visiting her website or her author page on Facebook!
Grab your copy of MER, from Amazon today! YOU WON'T BE DISAPPOINTED! 

Monday, May 27, 2013

"The Dream Keeper," by Mikey Brooks

Dreams: Dorothy called it Oz, Alice called it Wonderland, but Nightmares call it HOME.

When an evil shifter takes over the gateway to the realm of Dreams, it falls to 14-year-olds Parker and Kaelyn to stop him. Their only hope lies with Gladamyr, the Dream Keeper, but can they trust a Nightmare to save their world?

Pulled in yet? I know I am. In fact, I'll let you in on a little secret . . . this great book you're wondering about now,  The Dream Keeper, by Mikey Brooks . . . yeah, I'm reading it right now, and I love it! Today I have Mikey here on my blog to help him celebrate the release of his book! Here's all the deets on how to get yourself a copy, and keep reading for a great guest post from Mikey about finding inspiration from classics. 

Paperback Create Space:

Finding Inspiration from Classics
By: Mikey Brooks

I have always been interested in hidden worlds. Ever since I was little I used to believe that the gateways to these worlds were closer than we thought. One day while exploring the woods that surrounded our farm in Missouri I found the remains of an ancient house that had been blown away in a tornado. The only thing left was a bit of the foundation and a set of stone steps leading to an invisible door. I often imagined as I stood there that if I just took one step forward I’d find myself in a dreamland. A place where magic existed and adventure called.

It wasn’t hard for me to believe in the magic of Oz because I had seen Dorothy’s house. On occasion I had found numerous rabbit holes leading to wonderlands. I believed the woods were magic—and they were. Even today I find a lot of my inspiration from the mysteries hidden there.

I wanted to write something based off the classics I had loved as a child. What if Oz and Wonderland were the same place? They were both dreamlands after all. I also wanted a world that wasn’t limited to just a few people to enter—I wanted everyone to visit it. The ideas planted as a child carried on and became the inspiration for my book. I had found the way into a hidden world. It isn’t Oz, or Wonderland, it’s Dreams.

I am excited to announce the release of my middle-grade fantasy THE DREAM KEEPER. It is an action-packed adventure with a toe in both the real world and the fantastic. When an evil shifter takes over the gateway to the realm of Dreams, it falls to 14-year-olds Parker and Kaelyn to stop him. Their only hope lies with Gladamyr, the Dream Keeper, but can they trust a Nightmare to save their world?


Mikey Brooks is a small child masquerading as adult. On occasion you’ll find him dancing the funky chicken, singing like a banshee, and pretending to have never grown up. He is the author/illustrator of several books including BEAN’S DRAGONS, the ABC ADVENTURES series, and author of the middle-grade fantasy-adventure novel, THE DREAM KEEPER. He spends most of his time playing with his daughters and working as a freelance illustrator. Mikey has a BS degree in Creative Writing from Utah State University. He is also one of the hosts of the Authors’ Think Tank Podcast


Twitter as: @writtenbymikey

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Please Welcome Arlene R. O’Neil!

Today I have a fun little treat for you! As a funky and different way to get to know author Arlene R. O’Neil, I've invited her to my blog and asked her to share something awesome: her most embarrassing moment! Take it away Arlene! 

I’m not certain I can narrow it down to one moment as there have been so many in my life. However, one instance does stand out more than others. My baby goat Paxton, was about 5 days old and we were walking through the cattle catch pen. Paxton suddenly decided to spring into action and landed in a huge puddle of assorted wet cattle material near the water tub and got stuck. He was screaming and sinking, so without even a thought I stepped in to pick him up. Holding him close to me I realized that I too, was sinking in this horrible, smelly, gooey pool. I couldn’t let him go and I couldn’t move. The harder I tried, the deeper I sunk until I was knee deep in slop. A friend of mine was laughing so hard she couldn’t even help pull me out. Each step I took sucked the boots off my feet and I ended up lying across the puddle getting Paxton to safety while I crawled my way out. I was covered from head to toe in the most awful mixture of manure imaginable. Of course while I was being hosed off, a fit of laughter ensued. I had to strip off most of my clothes on the deck and Pax and I got into a warm shower. These are the times you wish you had a video camera handy. Although embarrassing, I’m glad my “Mother’s instinct” stepped in and my kid was safe.

Hahaha, oh man! I don't know about you, but I get the impression that there's lots of fun stuff in Arlene's work! Check out her bio below and all her links! Get Broken Spokes now for only $.99!

Biography of Arlene R. O’Neil

“Writing is what lights me up,” states Arlene R. O’Neil. “Being a visual writer, I love seeing my work come to life: to take the reader with me on a journey word by word: to touch a reader whether through laughter or tears.” Her current book, “Broken Spokes,” refers to broken bones, broken bike, and broken spirit. It speaks to the reader of determination, of survival, of inspiration.

Born and raised in Connecticut, Mrs. O’Neil moved to South Carolina to work on her second novel, which will relate the roller coaster life of being the parent of a Soldier on active duty. O’Neil says, “My son, SGT Tanner O’Neil, is a member of the United States Army and the joy, pride, and love of my life. After five tours of duty to active war zones, I feel the need to share my experience with other parents in hope of lessening their fears.” SGT O'Neil recently returned from his 5th combat tour.

Currently Arlene lives with her two Labradors, Holly and Bruno, and her adorable pet goats, Paxton, JaeJay, Rupert, Patches, and Frosty. “These amazing characters have helped me through some incredibly difficult times and I love them dearly.”

Aside from writing, supporting her son while deployed, and caring for her animals, Arlene lives on 3 ½ acres of land that her and her beloved animals enjoy.

An author, editor and proofreader, Arlene R. O’Neil may be contacted



Facebook page

Litflix Video

Monday, May 20, 2013

And the Winner Is . . .

If you've been following along you know there was a contest over the weekend to help celebrate the launch of my newly-designed website! Well, the day has arrive, and winner has been chosen! 

Before I go off and give it all away though, I want you all to know how much I appreciate your support and help as I've gone on this funky little journey of becoming a legit indie author! Whether you joined in the contest and shared the website or not, if you are reading this post, I appreciate it, because that means you are reading my blog, which supports me. So, for any way you have chosen to support or help me, thank you! I couldn't do it without you. 

Okay, now the moment that so many of you have been waiting for. The big winner reveal *drum roll please* Okay . . . spinning my random name-picking fruit machine. . . and the winner is . . . 


Congratulations Nick, and thanks for sharing my site! You now get to select one (1) of the following prizes:
  • Paperback copy of City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare
  • Paperback copy of Elantris, by Brandon Sanderson
  • Signed, paperback copy of Through the Paper Wall, by yours truly
  • Electronic copy of Through the Paper Wall
  • Electronic copy of Ontario, by yours truly 
  • Kindle copy of Digitus 233, by K.D. Emerson 
  • Kindle copy of The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer, by Lisa Orchard
  • Kindle copy of Deception Peak, by Dianne Gardner 
  • Kindle copy of Paranormal Legacy, by Caitlin Hensley 
  • An advanced look at my next book, Lorn, unseen by eyes other than my own
Comment on this post to let me know what you would like and I'll get it to you straight away!

One last thing before I end this post, I'd like to thanks K.R. Hughes and T.L. Burns for being the ones who promoted my site the most! These two awesome gals just released their book Fateful Night. Catch them here:
Thanks again everybody, and have a great Monday!

- Heidi Nicole Bird

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Please Welcome Vickie Johnstone!

Today I'd like to welcome Vickie Johnstone to my blog! Even with this new post, don't forget about the contest I have going! Head here for more info. It ends tomorrow, so don't wait! To get to know Vickie, jump right in and check out this great interview! Keep on reading to find out about her work. Enjoy!

What is the ideal recipe for a good novel?

Gripping plot, interesting characters who have depth and believability, something quirky, some element that is unusual and original (or almost), that it feels real, layers in the story, and good writing that flows and even uses words or sentences in a new way. I’m currently reading The Book Thief and it has all of these things. A novel should offer something different.

You’ve been contacted by the Association of Libraries from the Alien Planet of Zaolia. They want to know the five most important novels in all of Earth’s history. Which five novels do you give them?

Ooh, that’s a tough one and I’d probably change my mind tomorrow. They won’t be the most important historically, but these are the ones I’d give him: Pride & Prejudice (Jane Austen), The Collected Works of William Shakespeare, Fantastic Mr Fox (Roald Dahl), The Handmaiden’s Tale (Margaret Atwood) and The Songs of Innocence and Experience (William Blake).

What was the turning point in your life when you decided to start writing?

There were a few. Number one was when I was 16 or 17, my family moved to Cornwall. The English teacher was really inspiring and supportive, and she liked my poems. So she is responsible for me writing books and books of them!

Number two. In April 2002, I was made redundant and I was bored basically for three months, during which I started to imagine a world populated by cats in which my own kitty, Kiwi, would live and be some kind of cat detective, but magical too. I started writing Kiwi in Cat City and finished it in about four or six weeks. It was the first proper book I ever finished. I sent it to one publisher who rejected it and no one read it until 2011, which was the third and real turning point – when my boyfriend read about self-publishing on Amazon and Smashwords. Cue Kiwi in Cat City being published and read for the first time, along with a collection of my poetry from over the years.

2011 was THE turning point for me. I met a lot of writers on Facebook in the writing groups and I found they were more determined, less lazy and more obsessed with writing than me. It rubbed off. There were people who were typing away during the night when their kids were in bed after a long day’s work, yet I always made excuses that I didn’t have time. I so did have time! I realised that I was lazy and had an inability to finish things. Since 2011, I have written 10 books and it’s because I met these authors and discovered self-publishing. I also did NaNoWriMo in 2011, which taught me that you can sit down every day and write if you really have to!

What is or are the genres of your book or books?

They are mainly for middle-grade readers. There is the six-book Kiwi Series, starring a magic cat who takes her human friends to animal-inhabited worlds, and the two-book Smarts & Dewdrop Mystery Series. The latter are titled ‘Day of…’ something, in tribute to the Day of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead, which inspired my silly comedy Day of the Living Pizza (book one in the S&D series). Apart from these I have written a comedy romance with a touch of fantasy as one character is a dog who swears a lot. That one is called 3 Heads & a Tail and I wrote it for NaNoWriMo 2011. I have also written two books of poetry and a book of haiku. At the moment I am working on a fantasy novel that I started in 2009. I’ve written about 25,000 words. Did I mention that I never used to finish things?!

What made you decide to write in your particular genre?

I never set out to write for children. It sort of happened. I’ve written stories since I was so high (pointing to my knee – I was always small), but I never really finished things. Then in 2002, I was made redundant and, finding myself bored at home, somehow, kaboom, I wrote and finished a book. It was short, about 28k, and it began with a poem about my cat called Kiwi. I didn’t know where the book would go when I started, but gradually all of these cats made appearances and said things. They needed to live somewhere, and a place emerged. Then other questions followed, which demanded answers. What would they eat? Where would they sleep? What did they look like? Would they wear clothes? How would they walk? Would they always stay on four legs? How did they think? What adventures would they have?

Kiwi in Cat City turned into one big adventure for me... into the world of children’s books. As a kid, I loved books. Give me one starring a talking animal and I was in Heaven. Make it a fluffy, cute animal with a sense of humour on a big adventure, and I wouldn’t have noticed if my bedroom ceiling caved in. I would be lost in a world that was unlike my own, dreaming, imagining, and almost being who I was reading about. So sometimes I was a rabbit. All the while, I would have this big sense of wide-eyed wonder.

Then I grew up. I stopped reading children’s stories, except for my favourite book of all time, Fantastic Mr Fox. Now and then I’d dip back into that one, but that was it. So, how come at the age of 30-ish (not giving that away), I wrote a book about magical cats for an audience aged nine to twelve? I’ve no idea. A huge gap of years followed this until I finally self-published the book via kindle and wrote a second at the big old age of 40-(la la). The second one only came about because some readers liked the first one – to my utter shock. I think fear, self-doubt and self-criticism – those big slimy monsters that prevent us doing many things – had got in the way. But, hey, that’s a different story.

Who is your favorite character from your book and why? 

That would have to be Kiwi because she is the heroine of Kiwi in Cat City and the Kiwi Series. There are six books and she’s the star of them all. Kiwi is inspired by a real cat that I had for six years. She was cute, cuddly, cheeky and very curious. In the books Kiwi can do magic and talk to the two children. As a kid I talked to my pets all the time. I actually thought they understood me and that I could communicate with my dad’s budgies by winking!

Who is your favorite author, and how did they inspire you to write?

I have a couple: Hans Christian Anderson and Roald Dahl. I don’t know if they inspired me to write, but I loved both and still do. My favourites are The Little Mermaid and Fantastic Mr Fox. I always loved books starring animals and fantasy, along with characters who had layers and seemed real. I also loved Enid Blyton, especially The Folk of the Faraway Tree. I always had my nose in a book as a kid and I started writing stories really young, so it’s children’s authors who inspired me. I remember in junior school the teacher reading us The Adventures of Miss Pepperpot. I can’t remember anything about the book now, but our homework was to write our own version. I included many of my classmates in my story, which was read aloud, and I remember going bright red because my friends enjoyed it and the teacher liked it. I was pretty shy and writing was my outlet, along with drawing. So, thank you Miss Pepperpot and co.

When you write do you take notes, organize your characters and plot, or you write freely as you go?

I’m a pantser and write as I go. I keep a notebook now because another writer said he did and I thought good idea! It’s great for scribbling down ideas on the move and my memory isn’t great! I get ideas for poems in the shower, for example, and then they’re gone with the wind or the soap. I don’t plan or organise characters or plot out each chapter of a book. I usually start with the title and an idea of the main character in my head. Then I think about it a lot until I can start to ‘see’ stuff happening in my imagination and get an idea of what the character will do and what the story will be about. Usually I don’t know where the book will go. I usually start writing the first chapter. Then I’ll write whatever comes next. Sometimes it’s the last chapter or the middle – it will be whatever comes to me first.

Kiwi in Cat City was written from start to finish in 2002. With 3 Heads & a Tail, I wrote the first chapter and then the last, and then headed back to chapter two. Towards the end I inserted new chapters towards the front. I make stuff up as I go along. My poems are like flash fiction and normally take five to ten minutes. With the fantasy I’m working on at the moment, I wrote the beginning in 2009. In 2011 (I think), I wrote some more that followed on from that point. This year I wrote the back of the book and the ending. Now I have to work on the middle. I keep getting stuck because I’m not sure what is going to happen, although I know how it will end.

Where does your inspiration come from?

All sorts. With poetry, it can be anything – a flower, a person in the street, a word, a phrase or a cloud. The Kiwi Series was inspired by my cat, Kiwi, as I’ve mentioned. I wrote Day of the Living Pizza for a charity book called The Gage Project, published by Inknbeans Press. It was for a boy called Gage who was about to have a scary operation. I asked his mother what his favourite things were and she said The Walking Dead, chicken, rock music and pizza. So I wrote a comedy horror, which is a send-up of scary zombie films and people turn into walking pizzas. I won’t tell you how chicken comes in – you’d have to read it. My other book, a comedy and starring a dog, 3 Heads & a Tail, was written for NaNoWriMo 2011, so that was my inspiration – writing 50k in the month of November. It was great for me as I’m naturally lazy and put things off. It kept my butt in front of my laptop for longer than it wanted.

Do you write about your personal life experiences in your stories?

Not really – the Kiwi books are inspired by a cat I used to have called Kiwi and I put in things that I know cats do, and how they move or act, but that’s about it. Walking pizza dudes… that’s never happened to me! My poetry is not really about me, although it was as a teenager, but more about people I think up, nature, abstracts, philosophy and ideas. With 3 Heads & a Tail, Josie is a bit like me. Her best friend is based on a couple of women I’ve met in my life. David is based on some dudes who wanted to be rock stars and I took some of my dating experiences into the book. I guess with Ben I kind of created an ideal boyfriend! And I haven’t met a dog like Glen – I made him up. I tried to imagine how a dog would think. I’m a cat person so it was a big stretch of the imagination! He’s an odd dog, eccentric but likeable. My first pet was a dog called Glen. He wasn’t a Labrador and I only remember him vaguely as I was little, but he loved to shake dirty water over everyone!

What is your favorite scene in your story?

My favourite scene in Kiwi in Cat City is when Amy and James follow their cat one night to see where she goes, and they’re going as quietly as can be, thinking that she has no idea. But she knows. She can hear them loud and clear, and then, bam, she turns around and asks them why they are following her! The children sit down in shock, gobsmacked, while the cat is as cool as a cucumber.

When I was a kid this would have been the most wonderful thing in the world. My second favourite scene is when Kiwi turns the children into kittens so that they can go with her to her world and discover what it’s like to be a cat. I always wanted to be able to turn into an animal as a kid and find out what it was like.

When I was little, we had a lot of pets. Our house was like a zoo, and my dad bred birds. It was great. I used to talk to the animals and birds – even my pet fish – thinking they understood and somehow were communicating by telepathy! Then I got a bit older and realised, hey, that’s not how it is! But wouldn’t it be cool? Talking animals... Doctor Doolittle, eat your heart out!

Are the characters in your story based on people you know?

The character of Kiwi (Kiwi Series) is based on a black cat I used to have. She was cute, cuddly, cheeky and very, very curious. She died in 2000, and I wrote Kiwi in Cat City in 2002. I made Kiwi the main character, and then the other animals and plot emerged from that. I love the fact that she’s alive in my books because I was gutted when I lost her. She was only six. The real Kiwi was cool, loved jumping for moths (oops) and chasing shadows, ate a lot, would swat the food off your plate if you weren’t looking, liked to play with anything that moved and was really, really fluffy. She also slept on my bed. She would follow me everywhere – down the street in the morning and even to work if she could have hopped on the train. I’d have to pick her up and carry her back home. As a kitten she was just a black ball of fluff with two yellow eyes peering out. The cat I have now is called Moggie and I made her Kiwi’s mum in the books, although they never met. She appears in book two, Kiwi and the Missing Magic.

Is there any part in writing you don’t like?

Not really. I love it. The only thing I hate is when I can’t think of anything and the characters aren’t talking – that blank head moment! Oh, and bad reviews. I haven’t got my head around those. I still sulk for a bit. I’d love to be able to just write and not have to do something else to pay the bills. That’s my dream. I also wish that bookstores would want to stock my books.

Thank you, Vickie, for being such a wonderful guest! Please share the links where readers can connect with you and find your books!

Want to stalk Vickie? Find her here: 

Amazon US author page:
Amazon UK author page:

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Website Launch

Hi there, and welcome to my brand new website! I have spent a lot of time re-vamping and creating this website, and to celebrate I decided we needed a contest! That's right, free stuff! Here's the lo-down:

Your job: 1) Visit this website and look around! 2) Share it with all your friends via twitter, Facebook, and wherever else you want! 3) Tag me in your post so I see it! (Heidi Nicole Bird, Author Heidi Nicole Bird, @HeidiNicoleBird)

The rules: For each post/share I am tagged in, that person will receive one entry into the pool of potential winners. In other words, you can share lots of times, in lots of places, and get lots of entries for doing so!

The prize: To make this contest especially fun, I've decided to let you pick your preferred prize from the following options (paperbacks will only be mailed in the U.S.):

  • Paperback copy of City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare
  • Paperback copy of Elantris, by Brandon Sanderson
  • Signed, paperback copy of Through the Paper Wall, by yours truly
  • Electronic copy of Through the Paper Wall
  • Electronic copy of Ontario, by yours truly 
  • Kindle copy of Digitus 233, by K.D. Emerson 
  • Kindle copy of The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer, by Lisa Orchard
  • Kindle copy of Deception Peak, by Dianne Gardner 
  • Kindle copy of Paranormal Legacy, by Caitlin Hensley 
  • An advanced look at my next book, Lorn, unseen by eyes other than my own

Holy moly people, I don't know how the winner is going to pick between these! Want to win something off this list? Well, get going! I can't wait to see how you share my new website! Creativity may just get you some extra points, but I'm looking for serious creativity here that makes yours viewers click on the link! See what you can come up with!

The winner will be randomly selected from the pool of entries on MONDAY, MAY 20, sometime in the afternoon after I get off work (MST). Good luck!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

"Fateful Night," by K.R. Hughes and T.L. Burns

Today I am proud to help out with the launch of Fateful Night, by K.R. Hughes and T.L. Burns!

In conjunction with the book's release, and the official launch party tonight, here's a great and super interesting post for you from the authors, packed with interesting facts about Marilyn Monroe, the lady of the hour! Here are you hosts: 

And now, without further ado, here's the fun stuff!


Though Marilyn has been gone for over 50 years now, she remains to be a much sought after mystery. Women want to be her, crossing generational lines still today; and men want to be with her. Her untimely death has been the catalyst that haunts us even today about the woman who became the quintessential sex symbol.

Over the next several blogs, we are going to reveal some little known, tidbits shall we call them?, about Marilyn Monroe. These tidbits of one of America’s most iconic people will serve two things:

One ~ to show the fun, quirky and unexpected side of the “Sex Goddess” Marilyn Monroe

Two ~ to show the vulnerability and humanness of a woman who has always seemed bigger than life
This is the fun part, so let’s get started!!

~~Marilyn owned many dogs during her life; her last was a Maltese terrier given to her by Frank Sinatra, which she named Maf (short for Mafia Honey). At the Christie’s sale in 1999, two Polaroids of Maf sold for £220,000.

~~Goya was her favourite artist: “I know this man very well, we have the same dreams, I have had the same dreams since I was a child.”

~~Her weight went up and down so dramatically during the filming of The Prince and the Showgirl that the costume designer, Beatrice Dawson, had to create facsimile dresses in different sizes. “I have two ulcers from this film,” she said, “and they’re both monogrammed MM.”

~~Marilyn whitened her skin with hormone cream, one side effect of which was to encourage the growth of blonde down on her face; Marilyn would not remove this peach fuzz, believing that it gave her face a soft glow on camera.

~~She was named “The Most Advertised Girl in the World” by the Advertising Association of the West in 1953. Among the brands she represented were American Airlines, Kyron Way Diet Pills, Pabst Beer, Tan-Tan Suntan Lotion and Royal Triton Oil.

~~In 1950, Johnny Hyde, her agent, paid for her to have two plastic surgeries: a tip rhinoplasty (reshaping the soft cartilage at the end of her nose); and a chin implant.

~~She was an early devotee of yoga, and was taught by Indra Devi, a Swedish-Russian Bollywood film star who also taught Greta Garbo and Gloria Swanson.

~~Marilyn’s intervention got Ella Fitzgerald her first major engagement at a Los Angeles nightclub. In 1955 the colour bar was still in force, but Marilyn convinced the management to let Fitzgerald play by promising to sit in the front row for a week. (For more information, see our blog “Marilyn and Ella, an unlikely duo?”)

~~She preferred to go naked. Among female studio employees – wardrobe mistresses, hairdressers, make-up artists – she often went without clothes. She gave interviews in the nude and often went out wearing nothing under the black mink that Joe DiMaggio had given her.

~~Marilyn’s hero was Abraham Lincoln: “I used to read everything I could find about him,” she wrote in her (ghosted) autobiography, My Story. “He was the only famous American who seemed most like me, at least in his childhood.”

~~Veronica Hamel, an actress, bought Marilyn’s house in 1972. She claimed that when she was renovating the house she discovered an extensive system of wire-taps. (Four sets: FBI, Mafia, Kennedy’s and Marilyn herself!)

~~The books she was reading at the time of her death were Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and Captain Newman MD, a novel by Leo Rosten based on the life of Monroe’s psychiatrist, Ralph Greenson.

~~Two men claimed paternity of Marilyn on their deathbeds: C Stanley Gifford, who both Marilyn and her mother believed was her father, but who refused to meet Marilyn when she was alive; and Edward Mortensen, who was married to her mother at the time of her birth, and whose (misspelled) surname appears on her birth certificate.
~~She was athletic. As a young married woman on Catalina Island in the early Forties, she studied
weightlifting with a former Olympic champion named Howard Corrington. She later went tandem surfing with a boyfriend, Tommy Zahn, balancing on his shoulders as they cut through the waves.

~~She only owned one home by herself: the house she died in at 12305 Fifth Helena Drive, Brentwood.

~~She was an excellent cook, and famous for her bouillabaisse. When writers at The New York Times tried to make her recipe for stuffing, they were surprised to discover that it was highly complex – it took them two hours to finish. (We would love to find that recipe, and others of hers today!)

Well, we think this is enough to digest for one post. We would love to hear from you and find out which one of the above is most surprising to you? If you have a juicy tidbit to add, please feel free to comment below. For those of you coming to the release party, you will be one step ahead of the rest. Some of the games will reference this post!!

Connect with us:

Fateful Night will be available on Amazon as an ebook May 10th!! In a few short weeks, you will also be able to purchase the paperback. Follow the authors for the latest details and how to obtain a copy for yourself.

Join us this evening, May 11th, for our online release party for Fateful Night, book 1 of the What She Knew Trilogy!!  Here's the link:

Friday, May 10, 2013

Blog Tour Day 12

And here it is ladies and gentlemen, the last day of Ontario's blog tour! To end it all off, here's a post from me about some of the photos that inspired scenes, characters, or other certain things in Ontario. Thanks to Stephanie Boles for hosting me today! Here's the link:

And to cap things off, a HUGE thanks to everyone who has hosted me, shared, participated, commented, bought the book, or helped in any other way with this blog tour! I'd say it's been a success!

As always, don't forget to share, and make sure you come back tomorrow as I help out two fabulous writers as they kick off their new book. You won't want to miss it!

- Heidi Nicole Bird

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Blog Tour Day 11

Hi everybody! It's day eleven of the blog tour, can you even believe it! Time sure does fly! For today's post head on over to Mes Crazy Experiences for an interview I did with Linda Hamonou. Get to know me a little bit and find out more about Ontario at the same time. Here's the link:

While your there, check out Linda's work, and of course, share it with the world!

Thanks everybody!

- Heidi Nicole Bird

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Blog Tour Day 10

For today's stop, head on over to the world of Mikey Brooks to read an excerpt from my very favorite chapter of Ontario!

What are you waiting for? While you're there, make sure to check out Mikey's stuff and enter his Goodreads giveaway for his up and coming book!

- Heidi Nicole Bird

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Blog Tour Day 9

And . . . here's the stop for today! Author G. Mitchell Baker was kind enough to invite me over for a very enjoyable and fun time! Read our conversation here!

Don't forget to share!

- Heidi Nicole Bird

Monday, May 6, 2013

Blog Tour Day 8

Yes, I realize what happened there . . . no day 7! But that's okay, we'll go with it! Sometimes fun things like this happen, no big deal :)

For today's stop, head on over to Writer's Get Together and get to know Ontario a little bit by taking a seat in her art class for a fun and energetic dose of Mrs. Wheeler! I know you'll love her. Here's the link:

I sure hope you've been enjoying the tour so far!

- Heidi Nicole Bird

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Please Welcome Dianne Gardner!

Today I am taking a quick break from my blog tour to introduce you to another author - Dianne Gardner, author of the Ian's Realm Saga! 

Hi Dianne, and welcome to my blog! I'm so glad that my readers have the chance to meet you today! To get you all acquainted, let's get to learning a bit about you!

For what are you grateful?

I’m grateful that I made it through the 60s in one piece. A lot of us  didn’t! I’m grateful for my kids and grandkids. I’m grateful that I can live out dreams that I once had when I was young, thanks to the support of my husband. I’m grateful for Christ.

Wonderful things to be grateful for! It sounds like you have really been blessed in your life. If you could change one thing about our world, what would it be and why?

I would change the eyes of people so that they could see, and in seeing-feel what’s in each other’s hearts. I would want people to have a deeper understanding of themselves, their friends, the children who are struggling to become adults, and their loved ones.

That's incredible. We could all learn from you! If you knew the exact date of your death down to the minute, what would you change about your life starting tomorrow?

I would get in touch with people I haven’t seen, people I love. I would spend more time with my grandkids teaching them reading to them, learning about them, encouraging them. I would go and visit my sons and their families out of state.

Great choices! I imagine I would do something similar. If you could go back in time to when you were seven years old, what wisdom or advice would you pass on to yourself?

Listen to your elders. They know what’s good for you.

So true, isn't it? After a difficult day what do you do to recuperate? Does it work?

I used to get in the hot tub but it’s broken. So sitting in the garden works. Sometimes I sleep in the greenhouse.

Sleeping in a greenhouse sounds amazing! When was the last time you helped someone that was desperately in need? What did you do? Was this person grateful?

My husband and I feed the homeless every Sunday. We listen to a lot of sad stories and offer encouragement when we can. I think the last individual in need was a lady who’s mom just died and she had been having a lot of trouble using. She was pretty despondent. After breakfast, we gave her a ride to where she needed to go but she wouldn’t accept any more help. About a month later she came back all smiles to tell us she went to rehab.Yes, she was grateful!

You really are such a wonderul person Dianne, and a great example to others, writers and non-writers alike! Not, to learn a but about your books - 

What is or are the genres of your book or books?

I call them family friend adventure fantasy.

I consider myself a family friendly author as well, so I love that! What made you decide to write in your particular genre?

It’s what I love reading.

Exactly why I write what I do! There it is, Dianne Gardner! Thanks for being such an awesome guest! Readers, head on over to Amazon, where you can pick up Dianne book Deception Peak for only $.99!

Here's a bit more about Dianne that you may like to know: 
She's been a painter all her life having started at the age of 12 under her mother's supervision. Her first private art lesson was with a sculptress in California. Excelling in art in school and on to college, her portfolio includes portraits, inspirational works, and plein air landscapes. She was the portrait painter for the Washington Renaissance Fantasy Fair for several years painting 20 minute oil paintings during the fair. She has just recently started illustrating books, beginning this endeavor with a 9' triptych of Stenhjaert the Dragon, the antagonist in Ian's Realm

Dianne is an active member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and the National League of American Pen Women. Besides the Ian's Realm Saga (Deception Peak, The Dragon Shield, and Rubies and Robbers which will be released in 2013) she boasts authorship to four short stories titled A Tale of the Four Wizards Series which interweaves with the Saga. She writes for middle grade and young adults targeting boys and adventure loving girls, but adults are some of her most zealous fans of all Her writing definitely falls under the 'family friendly' category!
Ian's Realm Trilogy
Deception Peak
The Dragon Shield
Rubies and Robbers
 coming soon

Cassandra's Castle
 To be released
The Diary of a Conjurer
 To be released

Short Stories

A tale of the Four Wizards

Author Central on Amazon

The Dragon Shield on Amazon






Saturday, May 4, 2013

Blog Tour Day 6

For the blog tour today you have a special treat - a guest post from me about some of the awesome music that inspired and shows up through the story of Ontario. Head over to Caitlin's blog to check it out!

- Heidi Nicole Bird

Friday, May 3, 2013

Blog Tour Day 5

Good morning people, and welcome to day five of the blog tour! Cool things in store for you today! Head on over to DeEtte's blog and check out the interview she did with Maggie, Ontario's employer and the owner of the infamous diner! Get the interview here:

Once again, don't forget to share!

- Heidi Nicole Bird

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Blog Tour Day 4

Hey, make sure you head on over and check out stop number 4 of the blog tour! I am particularly fond of this one! There, you'll find info about Ontario as well as a guest post from me about bringing your characters to life.

Thanks to Lisa Orchard for hosting me!

- Heidi Nicole Bird

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Blog Tour Day 3

Hi everybody, and welcome to day three of the blog tour! Here's where you can find today's post:

Thanks Linda Bowers Bolton for hosting Ontario on your "Romance is in the Air" blog!

Note: This site contains adult content, but my post does not.

What you'll find in today's tour stop - an excerpt that contains one of the pivotal moments in Ontario's life. It should definitely intrigue you.

As always, don't forget to spread the word!


- Heidi Nicole Bird