Thursday, September 26, 2013

Tips From Some of the Greats

Recently I had the great pleasure to meet and hear some words of wisdom from best-selling author Brandon Mull. I also had the great opportunity of learning from guest author Shannon Hale! To make it even better, I went with a bunch of my co-workers, a.k.a. some of my best friends. Needless to say it was one big night of awesomeness! 
Pizza buffet before the event, om nom nom!

Much of the night was about the new release of a series that both Mull and Hale are participating in (Spirit Animals), but along the way they gave some great advice, and I couldn't help but think of you guys. I knew I had to share what they said. So, here are the notes I wrote down:

Brandon Mull:

  • Observe, then imagine.
  • Ask yourself: What is your defining image as a writer?

Shannon Hale:

  • Your character needs to want something.
  • Have an interesting character who is about to get in an interesting situation.
  • Get your character doing something immediately, and get them talking. 
  • Pay close attention to how your favorite authors build their scenes.
  • Buy the current Writers Market book.
  • Go to conferences. 

I hope you'll really put some thought into these ideas, because they are GREAT! I definitely will be keeping these things in mind as I keep writing, especially as I get ready for and head into NaNoWriMo 2013!

Waiting for Brandon Mull!

Meeting Brandon Mull, booya! I got bonus points for being an author, and he
declared us "fellow nerds" because I write Fantasy! Saweet! 

The books I bought because I have money now, haha. The Brandon Mull
book I have read, and his newest one!

Yep, got them signed. 

Definitely awesome.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Spotlight: Narrator Andy Mack

Today I want to introduce you to one very talented guy: Mr. Andy Mack! Mack is a very talented voice artist, bringing to life many different stories as a narrator for audio books. You can check out his work by clicking here. From his site you can contact him about numerous types of projects, including:

· Radio Station Imaging 
· Animation and Video Games 
· Radio and Television Commercials/Promos
· IVR/Telephone Messaging 
· Audiobooks 
· Narrations 

A while back I became acquanted with Andy Mack while searching for a narrator for my book Through the Paper Wall. Mack auditioned for me, and I was definitely satisfied, so we went full speed ahead! Through the entire process I was impressed with Mack's professional attitude and his desire to do a great job and stay in contact with me. I couldn't be happier with the end result! 

Here are just a few of the reviews he has received:
"Andy's turn-around time is impeccable; wasting no time to get to work. His vocals pushed the stories he worked on to the next level." 
     - Kayla O'Brien, Director, 

"Andy Mack breathed life into a character undergoing significant changes." 
     - Robert Parson, CEO at Audioblaze Productions and 
       Director, "Red Rover" 

"Andy Mack is a wonder! He nailed all of my impossible demands!"
      - Patti Cassidy, Director, "The Ballad of Baby Roger" 

Audio Creation Exchange is where I pursued my audio project, and you can find Mack there, as well as his site, linked above. I am extremely happy with how our project turned out, and I highly recommend Mack's talents, as well as his work ethic. Check out the work he did for me by clicking here (also available from iTunes): 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Review: The Dream Keeper, by Mikey Brooks

Few stories strike me as being unique like this book did. The Dream Keeper, by Mikey Brooks, is a stunning piece of work that will keep you reading until you are on the last page, and even then you won't want to stop! This middle-grade fantasy isn't your cookie-cutter sort of fantasy story. Check it out:

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?

I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I think sometimes a reader gambles a bit when they enter into such an agreement, but in this case I couldn't have been more pleased. 

The book follows the story of two young people, how they become friends, and how they are linked through dreams. Together they fight for both the dream world, and the real world in a fight against darkness and time. 

The Dream Keeper delivers in every way a story should: great characters, well-placed conflict, interesting plot lines, and twists and turns that keep you turning page after page. Long after I finished this book I found myself thinking about it, and believing that Brooks's dream world really is the world we enter when we dream.

Overall I give this book a huge 5 stars! One of the easiest ratings I've given. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy, a good adventure, and good, clean fun. Look for The Dream Keeper in your local bookstore, or grab your copy here:






Not only does Mikey Brooks write fantastic stories, but he also illustrates for other authors. Check out his work by visiting his website:

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Through the Paper Wall, Middle Grade Fantasy

Things haven’t been the same between Jesse and Dad since Mom died, and now Jesse’s worst fears are coming true. Not only has he been forced to move across the country, but Dad is also flirting like crazy with his new girlfriend. In an attempt to get away from the two lovebirds, Jesse starts to explore his new house and what he finds changes everything. Hidden in Jesse’s basement is a room the adults can’t see, and leading from the room is a massive tunnel. That’s not the only weird thing about Jesse’s new house, though. It’s also tagged with all sorts of rumors. Could the house actually be haunted like some people think? 

With the help of his new friend Jake, Jesse soon discovers the truth, and they find themselves in a situation that is way out of their control. Ambyth, an eternal city of teenagers, is anything but a safe place for Jesse and Jake to be. Together they must overcome the evil that Jesse’s house has been hiding for decades, and they have to do it before time runs out.

"Absolutely pulled me in from the start. I loved the book and even cried at the end. This book is definitely one I will be recommending." - ShoshysCandy

"Heidi has a great imagination, and great talent!" - Jane G. 

"This story is a young adult fantasy but is perfect for all ages and it has definitely not been done before! It was so well-rounded and interesting that it kept me reading long into the ours of the night. I would describe Ms. Bird's style as whimsical and fresh, yet she gets down and dirty in the depths of the human soul and puts in some hard-core real life lessons. Bird's style can almost be related to that of M. Night Shyamalan, in that it is mysteriously engaging and so true to heart in its mesh between fantasy and reality. I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone, as it will not disappoint!" - Jade M. Phillips, author of MER

Ontario, Young Adult Romance

Voted #1 Indie Young Adult New Release for May 2013 on!

“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 Stratton 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. Only weeks into the school year Mrs. Stratton abandons her two children for a more carefree way of living. Suddenly thrown into a very different life, Ontario clings to her brother Eddy, her new legal guardian, and to no one else. Could she trust anyone anymore? Even her best friend isn’t 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 the oh-so-intriguing Austin, the only one who can help her truly heal. In time, Ontario discovers that Austin has his own demons, and that he needs her just as much as she needs him. Some things in Ontario’s life begin to come together again, but others continue to fall apart. Though her world seems to be breaking, she is introduced to a kind of happiness she has never known before, and her new found friends show her that maybe, just maybe, she can learn to love again.


"I found this story to be filled with true-life raw emotion and felt relatable to me. I found the main character to be very relatable. This was a very touching story." - Stephanie Boggs

"Ontario is a heart-warming saga with real depth even though it is a YA novel. I think readers will identify with the subject matter and connect to the characters in a special way. I am not sure where Miss Bird found her inspiration but this book was filled with true-life raw emotion and felt relatable to me. I was drawn into the main character, Ontario from the very first pages. This is a painful story in some ways but not without real optimism and something I admire more than anything, ZEST FOR LIFE!!! This sweet story touched my heart!" - Brenda Perlin, author of Home Wrecker

"I loved the story line. If you have ever been hurt by someone you love this book will give you hope and happiness." - ShoshysCandy

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

My Home Away From Home

For a fun little post today I thought I'd show you around my current number one writing spot - the awesome little area just outside the room I work in. I spend at least about three hours here every work day. It's a great little work area, plus there's free cereal, fruit, and hot chocolate every day! A bunch of people in the company think I live here, and it's practically true, haha! And yes, it is usually this empty after work. During lunch hour . . . well, that's another story :)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Oh, the Places You'll Read!

There is a lady in my neighborhood who has recently attracted my attention. I don't know her. I've never met her. But, I do know something about her: She loves to read. Not only does she like to read, but she seems to really enjoy reading while sitting our on her front porch. Time after time, at varying times during the day, I've seen her there, sitting on her front porch, leaning on the door, and lost in some fabulous work of literary art. Sometimes it's a physical book, sometimes electronic. Either way, I think she is pretty darn awesome. The last time I saw her it got me thinking about the places people read, and I figured it would be fun to share some of my favorite places to read, and for you to tell me yours!

So, for me, there are TONS of places I have read, do read, and want to read. Here's a few:

In bed, of course! 

In the library

In a book store

Sitting by a fountain

In a tree house

Lying on the floor

In the car

Flying through the air

And one of my very favorites - in a café

So yeah, there's some fun little pics for you. Hopefully you were at least mildly amused. Of all these places though, I think I'd have to say that my favorite place to read would have to be either in my bed, on the couch, or in my big round chair . . . don't really know what to call it. It looks like this:

Now that I've mentioned some places I like to read, what about you? Where do you read? Where's the strangest place you've ever read? Where would you love to read? I want to hear about it!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Review: "Fateful Night"

"Imaginative," "intriguing," and "thought provoking" are just three of the terms I would use to describe the masterpiece that is Fateful Night, book one in the What She Knew trilogy, by K.R. Hughes and T.L. Burns. I have never read a story quite like this and I recommend it to all readers who love a good mystery, historical fiction, and the idea of "what if?"

The premise of the story comes from a simple question: What if Marilyn Monroe had lived and President John F. Kennedy had not been shot? By exploring this question, Hughes and Burns weave an intricate and breathtaking story based on possibilities. What if Marilyn Monroe really did know something, and what if that something was the key to preventing the historic assassination?

Story telling and great imagination come together in this book to create a completely believable story, cast by historic figures we all know and love. At least, we think we know and love them until we read what could have happened. Did we really know Frank Sinatra, the Kennedy's, and those in their inner circles? Maybe we did, maybe we didn't. What I do know is that the story presented in Fateful Night had me so convinced that it took me a while to remember that the events didn't actually happen, that I couldn't hate a beloved, crooning musician for things that only might have happened.

I quickly and easily give this story a huge 5-stars for the quality of the story and characterization, and for how well it was put together. I was constantly wondering what was going to happen next, eagerly turning electronic page after page. This wouldn't be a fully honest review if I didn't warn the reader that this book contains a few spots with adult content, so keep that in mind. If that is something you are comfortable with, by all means get yourself a copy of this book! It certainly does not disappoint.

To get yourself a copy, head on over to
To get to know the authors head to their Facebook page or Blog

Look for book two of the What She Knew trilogy, coming this month!