Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Blog Tour Day 2

Hi there everybody! Today marks day two of the blog tour for Ontario!

Today's post can be found at Brenda Perlin's blog Home Wrecker. There you'll find fun info about the book, an excerpt, and the very first review of Ontario by Brenda herself!

While you're over there, make sure to check out Brenda's work. Her book Home Wrecker was re-released yesterday, so it's sort of like Ontario and Home Wrecker are sister books or something, with the same release date, woot woot!

Don't forget to check back tomorrow for day three of the blog tour, and please share these posts with your friends! Let's get the word out!

- Heidi Nicole Bird

Monday, April 29, 2013

Inside Ontario's Head

Ontario isn't your ordinary high school senior. She's recently been abandoned by her mother. Throughout the story there are many things that Ontario has to deal with, and I thought I'd make a post to help you get inside her head a bit. Here's some thoughts that run through her mind as the story progresses:

  • What am I going to do with my life?
  • Can I trust anyone anymore?
  • I'm holding Eddy back
  • I want to help Eddy so he isn't the only on supporting us
  • I will get out of this place some day, but it won't be the way my mom did
  • What is with Austin and his crazy dance moves?
  • Why can't Kelly-Ann appreciate what she has?
  • At least I have one great friend -Warren. He's always there for me.
  • There's nothing a raspberry malt can't fix.
  • Maybe it's okay to let myself go sometimes.
  • What will my future be?
  • Am I capable of anything great? 

As you can see, Ontario has lots of things on her plate, and in Ontario you follow her journey to resolve these questions. The great part about it all? The story is also jam-packed with great fun and music thanks to the 1950s! I couldn't think of a better setting for a story that teaches you to find the good things in your life. 

The Extras

In my opinion the minor characters in a story are just as important as the major ones, so I wanted to introduce you to some of the characters you only see a couple of times in Ontario:

  • Mrs. Cherry - She is the mother of one of Eddy's friends, and Ontario's audience buddy for the boys' annual Halloween baseball game
  • Mr. Candor - Drugstore owner. Super friendly, and obsessed with serving his customers
  • Mrs. Wheeler - Eccentric art teacher who inspires Ontario. Inventor of "emotipainting musica" an exercise that helps her students paint what a song says to them, not what the words say.
  • Vince Cherry - good friend of Eddy's, loves baseball
  • Teddy - a worker at the diner where Ontario works
  • Mrs. Stratton - Ontario's mother, who is obsessed with Canada and abandons her children for it
  • Mr. Stratton - Important to the story in thought, Ontario's father who died when she was young
  • Brad - fourteen year old in Austin's dance class 

Gettin' in the Groove

Music is a big, like HUGE, thing in my life, and it plays a big part in the story of Ontario. While I was working on the story, I decided that I needed to make a playlist. Ontario works at an authentic 1950s diner, and I wanted to feel like I was there. I wanted to be immersed in the story, and dang if this doesn't do it! I did some research and made a playlist of my favorite songs that would be playing at Maggie's Diner and I now fondly refer to that list as "Ontario's Jukebox." Take a listen! You're bound to know some of these great songs!
  • Little Bitty Pretty One, Bobby Day
  • Rockin'Robin, Bobby Day
  • Mr. Sandman, The Chordettes
  • Johnny B. Goode, Chuck Berry
  • Roll Over Beethoven, Chuch Berry
  • Rock N' Roll Music, Chuch Berry
  • Yakety Yak, The Coasters
  • At the Hop, Danny & The Juniors
  • Blue Suede Shoes, Elvis Presley
  • Heartbreak Hotel, Elvis Presley
  • Shake, Rattle and Roll, Elvis Presley
  • Are You Lonesone Tonight, Elvis Presley
  • Can't Help Falling in Love
  • Love Me Tender, Elvis Presley
  • Hound Dog, Elvis Presley
  • Don't Be Cruel, Elvis Presley
  • All Shook Up, Elvis Presley
  • Jailhouse Rock, Elvis Presley
  • Burning Love, Elvis Presley
  • I Only Have Eyes for You, The Flamingoes
  • Why Do Fools Fall in Love, Frakie Lymon & the Teenagers
  • Great Balls of Fire, Jerry Lee Lewis
  • Lucille, Little Richard
  • Tutti Frutti, Little Richard
  • Long Tall Sally, Little Richard
  • Good Golly, Miss Molly, Little Richard
  • Earth Angel, The Penguins
  • La Bamba, Richie Valens
  • My Girl, The Temptations
  • Be-Bop-a-Lula

Sunday, April 28, 2013

"Ontario" Official Launch!

Guess what guys? Today is the day! Ontario is now available!!! Oh my gosh, you have no idea how much joy I get from saying that! This story in particular means everything to me, so I really hope that you enjoy reading it! I can't wait to hear what you all think once you get your hands on a copy!

Paperback                                       Kindle Store

And there are the links! Now you can get your very own copy! To celebrate, I am throwing a launch party on Facebook from 12:00-2:00pm (MST). Click here to join in the fun! Just stop by the page during the indicated time period to play some awesome games, get the word out about Ontario, and get yourself entered to win some really awesome prizes! 

Also, this post marks the beginning of the official blog tour for Ontario! Eleven other authors have joined in to help me out with this, and I am so excited for the posts that are coming your way! Check in every day April 29 - May 10th and I will tell you where to go! Each post will be different and have great content about Ontario

So there you have it, lots of sweet and awesome stuff! I hope you'll grab a copy of Ontario and that your day is freakingly fabulous!

 - Heidi Nicole Bird

Friday, April 26, 2013

Author Interview with Connie Wilson

Today I would like to introduce you to Connie Wilson, writer of interracial romance. Hi Connie, and welcome to the blog today! Tell us a bit about yourself. 

I always feel like I'm pimping myself off to a dating site when I write these things. LOL. I'll spare you the “I'm 35 and love candle light dinners and long walks on the beach” speech and say that I've lived in Michigan most of my life and have an almost 18 year old calico cat named Simone, who I think at this point is going to out live us all. Between her, my writing and my fantabulous support system, they are the only reason I'm as sane as I'm going to get.

I enjoy watching movies and reading. I'm really into reading books and watching their movies and seeing the difference between the two. 

What made you decide to be a writer, and when was that?

I got serious about it when I was 19. I had story ideas in my head, had no idea how to do it properly, but I just started writing them down. It was through going back and saying “Hey, these aren't very good” that I started researching on how to make it better.

How old were you when you finished your first book?

I've “finished” a few, but never did anything with them. The first one that I finished that did something with, I was 33.

How long did it take you to write it?

Seven months.

Do you have any published works?

Yes. Two on Amazon – Learning the Hard Way and Northern Lights 1: Natural Order
Have you ever participated in NaNoWriMo? If so, how many times?
I haven't participated in NaNo in like two years, but before that, I'd done it 7 times with 4 wins – 3 of them consecutively.

What do you do to keep yourself going when you aren’t motivated?

I allow myself a a day or two break but then I go back and I read what I've written, fix grammar stuff I've seen and usually end up fixing dialogue or adding description and that gets me going on other ideas.

Why would someone like your book? 

Because they're a new twist on something that's been seen a million times. There are no new ideas, only new spins on old ones. And I'd like to think that my spin hasn't been done before. The characters are strong, likable but not perfect. They have visible flaws that make them seem human.

How old were you when you wrote your book?

Being that I have just finished it, 35.

How long did it take you to write it? 

This rendition of it, 4 years. It's been incomplete for about that long.

Did anything in particular inspire anything in your book, or anything you have written? 

When this particular idea came about, I was looking to do something completely different than the fan fiction that I'd been doing at the time.

What is the title of your book? 

The Wrong Side of the Mississippi

How do you plan on publishing? 

My book is currently being optioned by Queen Midas Books.

Did you design your own cover, or have someone else help? 

They will be handling that.

What format(s) will your book be available in? 

Ebook and paperback

When do you expect your book to be released?

There isn't a release date yet.

What genre does your book fit into? 

Interracial romance

How long did you work on it until you felt like it was ready for publishing? 

I've been working on this idea for at least 10 years. It's gone through at least three changes before I felt comfortable with writing it and getting it out there.

What else are you working on right now? 

I'm really busy getting The Wrong Side of Mississippi ready to put out so I'm really focused on that for now.                      

Writers and Books that Have Helped You

What do you like to read?

 I read anything that catches my attention. Usually I stick to romance but I've been branching out to some street lit and urban fiction.

Are there particular writers that you admire?

To completely contradict the previous question, my favorite authors are Nicholas Sparks and James Patterson.

What have you learned about writing from reading the books that you love?

To take chances. That it's okay to shake things up and step out of your comfort zone from time to time. James Patterson is known for his crime dramas but his book Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas is my favorite book and it's a love story written in second person.

If there was one author you could meet with and learn from one on one, who would you choose?

I would have to say James Patterson, simply because he's so versatile.

Advice for Other Writers

What advice would you give to other aspiring writers?

People find out I'm a writer and I hear “I always wanted to be a writer but I wouldn't know where to start”.. pick up a pen... or open a document and just start. Get the idea down on paper and worry about form and character and all that later. If you want to write, do it. Don't worry about if you're good at it. And then worry about the particulars. Read all the how to books and bone up on what to do that way. When I first started writing, one of my best friends told me to learn all the rules of writing so I knew when it was appropriate to break them.

Any advice for the editing process?

Ugh. I always think I'm a great writer until I edit. Before actually changing anything, read through it and make notes (though I end up making the grammar changes I see because I'm OCD and can't help it). Then make your changes and read through it again for more grammar changes or anything else you may see. And then have several people go through it because fresh eyes will see things you didn't. And read Elizabeth Lyon's “Manuscript Makeover: Revision Techniques No Fiction Writer Can Afford to Ignore”. 

If you could do everything over (writing your book, or publishing, etc.) would you change anything?

I would have self published sooner. I was never confident enough in my ability to put myself out there but once I did it and people responded positively, my self confidence grew.

Is there anything particularly helpful you have found as you have written/edited/published?

Having a schedule seems to help move things along better for me.

General Questions

What did you want to be when you were little?

I wanted to be an English teacher and then a social worker.

Do you plan on being a full time writer, or do you have other career plans? 

At this point in my life, I intend on being a full-time writer.

How long have you been writing?

Honestly, my entire life. But I got serious about turning it into a career around nineteen. I started writing what is known now as fan fiction at 19 with the idea of eventually turning it into something more.

What do you write? Specific genres, ages groups, etc.

I write interracial romance. I have several young adult projects out but I will eventually focus only on adult romance.

Why that particular genre/age group? 

I started writing the genre about seven years ago when there wasn't a lot of it on the market and I wanted to be different and stir things up a bit.

Ebook, paperback, or hardcover? 

Ebook for now, but I've got something in the works now that will lead me to paperback.

What are you currently working on? 

I am currently deep in the clutches of the editing process with my book The Wrong Side of the Mississippi.

What makes your writing unique?

I'd like to think that my characters aren't stereotypical. And I put a lot of my own experiences into my characters and my plots so it gives my books a unique spin.

Do have any writing rituals? Treats you have to have, places you have to be, etc.? 

My area has to be completely spotless, there has to be some sort of back ground noise and I have to have some sort of flavored water.

What are some of your hobbies besides writing and reading? 

I love to cook and I try new recipes a couple of times a week. If I don't get a recipe right the first time, I'm likely to try it three of four times that month until I have it right. 

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what do you listen to? 

Yes. It depends on what type of scene I'm writing. Usually it's hair bands because well, I'm stuck in the 80s. But if I'm writing a sad scene or a more sensual scene then I listen to r&b or hip hop.

Where can people go to learn more about you and your work?

You can follow me on Facebook: Author Connie Wilson, Twitter: AuthorCWil and all three of my books have fan pages on facebook.

Thank you Connie for a great interview! It has been a pleasure getting to know you. Good luck with your work!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

"Dark Revelation" Blog Tour Stop!

Today I am excited to introduce you to author S.E. Myers as part of her Dark Revelation blog tour! Stephanie was born in San Antonio, Texas and spent most of her youth in Germany. She joined the military and traveled the world...somewhat. She lived in Japan, spent time in India, and currently resides in Sacramento, California. She is surrounded by her close friends, family, and animals. She lives with her oldest daughter (Illeana), youngest daughter (Kathryn), Punky & Snoopy (their Chorky's), and their cat (Miss Kitty). She misses her son, Gavin, terribly. He currently lives in Georgia. Stephanie has written for many years. She started writing songs at the age of ten. Her writing progressed into short stories, poetry, screenplays, and more recently, her novel Dark Revelation. While Dark Revelation is of the YA genre, her other WIP's (Works in Progress) are more adult in nature - and no - not that kind of adult.

To tell you a bit about Dark Revelation here's the book blurb:

Ryleigh Simmons just turned seventeen. After losing her parents in a fatal accident, Ryleigh moves in with an aunt she was unaware of and is introduced to family she never knew existed. After finding out she is a descendant of the Fae, she embarks on a journey of self-discovery with the assistance of Tristan - a long lost cousin. Ryleigh's Uncle Finar wants nothing more than to consume her and those like her to become the most powerful Fae in existence and Ryleigh is the only one who can stop him.


Slowly starting to stir, she could hear the voices say, "Shhh, quiet - she's coming around." Ryleigh groaned as she attempted to open her eyes. "It's okay, little one, wake up," she could hear the soft voices calling to her.

Ryleigh opened her eyes and shut them immediately. The blinding light felt like fire raging through her skull. She could hear rustling around her. Opening her mouth to speak, her voice caught the gravel coating in the back of her throat. "Hello," she choked up.

A few snippets from Amazon reviews:
"This book had me hooked in the first chapter" ~ A.E. Drury
"The laundry I did not do today tells you I loved this book!" ~ BrittR
"A great read for anyone into paranormal" ~ John Schwab
"Definitely 5 stars for this new edition!!! Just loved this very creative work of art!" ~ Arlene O’Neil

As a writer myself I know these are the kinds of reviews and comments authors love to receive! Let’s get to know Stephanie a little better by asking her a few questions.

Is your glass half full or half empty? Definitely half full…  when it’s not empty

If you could have a dinner party with five people (living or dead) who would be invited? David Tennant, Billie Piper, Guillermo Del Toro, Gerard Butler, and Leonardo Da Vinci

Do you have any advice for the editing process? Hire an editor.  Hire one.  Do it.

 Sounds like you are pretty passionate about that! If you could do anything over (writing your book, or publishing, etc.) would you change anything?  I would ensure my book was fully edited prior to publishing it the first time

Describe yourself in one word – Supercalifraglisticexpialidocious

What super power would you like to have? The power to freeze time.

What kind of books do you read for pleasure? Urban Fantasy

What compelled you to write this book? I saw someone running and had to know why.

Are there any specific authors that you admire?  Yes!  There are many and a lot of them are indies.  Nicole Storey, Todd Brown,  K. D. Emerson, Donna Dillon, Rich Meyer, J.D. Mader, Laurie Boris, David Antrobus.. just to name a few.

And there you have it folks, Stephanie Myers (S.E. Myers) author of Dark Revelation. Check out her book here: http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Revelation-The-Series-ebook/dp/B00AXOR7S6/

Stick around, read her blog, follow her on twitter and most of all -- read her books!
She is currently working on the second book in the Dark Revelation series.
You can reach Stephanie at: SEMyers.Author @ gmail.com. She would love to hear from you!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Cool Things

It's been a while since I did this, so here's an update for you all! It's gonna be short and sweet. Okay, ready?

Cool thing #1 - I have finished editing and formatting the paperback version of Ontario
Cool thing #2 - I have finished editing and formatting the Kindle version of Ontario
Cool thing #3 - Ontario is now on Goodreads, so you can add it to your shelves and recommend it!
Cool thing #4 - The winner's copy of Ontario is on its way!
Cool thing #5 - The great prizes are stacking up for the official launch party
Cool thing #6 - The blog tour posts are just about ready to be sent to the bloggers

Yeah, that's about all I can think of right now, but I think that's a pretty darn good list! So, I'm off to work on a few more blog posts, party games, and promoting! Have a fabulous weekend!

- Heidi Nicole Bird

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Author Interview: DeEtte Beckstead

Today I'd like to share with you an interview I did with author DeEtte Beckstead, who, funny enough, is the official winner of my Ontario giveaway! I interviewed her a while back and I only realized this week that I neglected to post it. Sorry DeEtte! I hope you all enjoy getting to know such a great lady!


Tell us a bit about yourself. I started writing in 2007 after my son challenged me to try NaNoWriMo. The manuscript sat untouched with several others until January 2012 when my good friend encouraged her to seek publication. The Christmas Visitors is my first short story, and Victory is my first novel.

I spent much of her childhood playing piano, reading, or making up stories. I was active in Girl Scouting, which gave me a wide variety of experiences. While in college, I was on the University of Utah Synchronized Swimming team, and I taught winter camping and survival for Girl Scouts. I have spent most of my life working with people with disabilities, including managing a group home for several years.

I now live in New England where I write full time and work on the editing team of Master Koda Select Publishing. My other interests include swimming, crocheting, reading, dog rescue, and my many grandchildren.

What do you like to read? I like to read classics, historical fiction, Christian fiction. Pride and Prejudice, Beowulf, Narnia, Lord of the Rings, Canterbury Tales and Moby Dick are some of my favorites.

Are there particular writers that you admire? Jane Austen, CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien, and Max Lucado.

What have you learned about writing from reading the books that you love? I have learned to paint with words. I am detail oriented, and sometimes that gets me into trouble. I hate having to pull whole sections out because they aren't needed. I am saving those if for no other reason than I can read them again myself.

If there was one author you could meet with and learn from one on one, who would you choose? I would love to spend time with Max Lucado. I really enjoy his writing.

What advice would you give to other aspiring writers? Write about what you love, what inspires you; write about the people who have touched your life; write about places you have been. Write. If no one else likes what you write, write. Just write.

Any advice for the editing process? I think we all at least dislike editing. It is a necessary evil, and must be endured. I am also an editor, so my advice, besides the obvious checking punctuation and grammar, is to watch. Watch for clichés. Watch the flow of the story so you have a river and not a mud puddle. Watch for the common pitfalls. Remember it is “could have” not “could of” and that “it's” means “it is.” It is not “me and Sam” but rather “Sam and I.” I don't think Sam is necessarily mean. (Read the first one out loud. It sounds like “mean Sam.”)  And there is the issue of “there,” “their,” and “they're!”

A trick that I find useful is to go through your book and do the best you can, then go through it again, but start with the last paragraph to double check for errors. Proceed paragraph by paragraph from the end to the first. That way, you don't get so caught up in the story and forget you are looking for typos, misplaced punctuation, etc. It is time consuming, and can drive you nuts to start with, but it helps to block out the entire story and just look at the details.

If you, as the writer, can take care of these basics yourself, your editor will be able to help you better with the other parts of your story to make it the best it can be.

If you could do everything over (writing your book, or publishing, etc.) would you change anything? I would probably have started earlier. I had no intention of publishing when I wrote Victory in 2007 as my NaNoWriMo project. It sat, unnoticed but not unloved (or I would have deleted it), on my hard drive for five years before it was published.

Is there anything particularly helpful you have found as you have written/edited/published? I have learned that I can. I have also learned first hand how hard it is to put my “baby” in the hands of someone who has the potential to tear it apart. I remember that feeling as I edit others' works and try to make the changes as painless as possible.  

What did you want to be when you were little? When I was little I wanted to be a nurse, have a home for children with disabilities, be a teacher, be a mom, be a concert pianist. There was even a moment when I wanted to be a ballerina. 

Do you plan on being a full time writer, or do you have other career plans? I would love to write full time, but that isn't a viable option right now, so I am looking for a job where I can write my own stuff and get paid at the same time. I wish I could retire and just play with my grandchildren and write,  read, and crochet.

How long have you been writing? I suppose I have been writing most of my life. I loved to write in school, and often went above the expectation when I had reports and other compositions in school. One high school paper was supposed to be 15 to 20 pages, but mine was 50! And that was in the days of typewriters, carbon paper, and no copy machines or auto-correct!

I started writing seriously when my older son finally talked me into being his writing buddy for NaNo in 2007. He had to quit in the middle, but I continued.

What do you write? Specific genres, ages groups, etc. Usually I write words, but sometimes I write numerals. Just kidding!  I have Christian fiction published, but I also write non-fiction, children's stories, and have been known on occasion to write poetry.

Why that particular genre/age group?  I write what is in my heart. I love my Lord and want everything I write to bring Him glory. I want my readers to be touched by my stories and put them in a place where they need to think about their own lives. I write children's stories because they are fun, and their worlds are so full of imagination.

Ebook, paperback, or hardcover? My books that are out now are both ebooks only. I would love to see both of them available in print someday at Christian Book Distributors, and in Christian bookstores, too.

What are you currently working on? I have a couple projects in the works. One is a non-fiction story about the first puppy mill mama I adopted. Actually, it was she who adopted me, and rescued me. She was 12 years old when she was rescued from a Missouri puppy mill. She had suffered terribly physically and emotionally, and lived in her own little world. After she had been with my daughters and me for awhile, she blossomed into a funny, sweet little girl who loved to be rocked like a human baby. That one is called From Tinker to Belle; From Worthless to Priceless. It won't be out for some time.

Another that I am working on is a fictional story laced with true stories of my own family's history. It is untitled at present.

I am also working on some short stories about my grandchildren. Each one is a superhero created from his or her own imagination. They have the superpowers that they choose, and I use the disabilities some of them have as strengths and superpowers, again, by what they told me.

What makes your writing unique? I write in my own style. I don't model it after anyone I know, and I write from my heart. I usually write from the seat of my pants because I often find that I struggle to try to make a story work if I have to outline it before hand. Sometimes I will write a skeleton story, then fill  it out after.

Do have any writing rituals? Treats you have to have, places you have to be, etc.? I used to have to have my writing buddy with me. My Maltese Max would sit on my lap, next to me, or lie beside my feet as I wrote. He would listen to me and give me encouragement. He died at the age of almost 14 years last February.

I like to listen to contemporary Christian music or classical music, usually, but not limited to, Mozart or Bach.

And then there is chocolate.......

What are some of your hobbies besides writing and reading? I crochet for fun and profit. Well, mostly I crochet for fun. I haven't made much profit yet! I love spending time and doing activities with my grandchildren. I love to visit historical places. Since I came to New England about a year ago, I have only been able to visit a few places, but I intend to visit more!

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what do you listen to? Yes, I like to listen to contemporary Christian music or classical music.

Why would someone like your book(s)? I have been told I am a storyteller, not just a writer. People like my style. My books have strong patriotic and Christian themes and encourage people to trust God and His Word, as well as to enjoy the story.

What made you decide to be a writer, and when was that? I don't know when I really “decided” to be a writer. I think it was in me when I was born. It just took many (I won't admit how many!) years to realize what I wrote was worth publishing.

How old were you when you finished your first book? I was probably in elementary school when I first wrote a book, the handwritten and illustrated, and bound with staples. My mother was a teacher and I often played school as a child. Writing was part of that experience.

My first published book was written in 2007 and was just published in December 2012.

How long did it take you to write it? The actual writing of Victory took 30 days since it was my NaNo project. I let it sit on my computer until January 2012 when my long-time friend (and now publisher) Kim Emerson told me I should publish it. It was then the editing and reworking began.

Do you have any published works? Two: Victory and The Christmas Visitors.

Have you ever participated in NaNoWriMo? If so, how many times? I have participated in NaNo five years. Both Victory and The Christmas Visitors were from NaNo projects.

What do you do to keep yourself going when you aren’t motivated? I take a break and don't think about writing. I crochet, watch television or a favorite movie, play with my grandkids. Usually those will help me shake the dust out of my brain and get me started again. Sometimes it takes a deadline to push me, but I don't do my best writing when I am pushed.

Why would someone like your book? People who love their freedom and faith would enjoy Victory. It's a story about an 8 year old orphan and the town she lives in with her distant cousin. It's a story of faith, freedom, forgiveness, and redemption. Victory is a town where the people love their country and their neighbors in spite of their differences, but something happens when two visitors come to town. One comes with fear and control, slowly taking away the freedoms the people love. The other comes with faith. When darkness overtakes the town and even the child's very life is threatened, who will have Victory?

How old were you when you wrote your book? The age I am now less 5 years and 3 months! :)

How long did it take you to write it? Initially, it took 30 days to write, then it sat on my computer hard drive for five years before I started preparing it for publication.

Did anything in particular inspire anything in your book, or anything you have written? Some of the incidents in Victory were inspired by events in my own life, or in the lives of others I have known. Others are dreams I have had and would like to see realized. The town itself was modeled after a small, rural town my youngest daughter and I lived in for a few years, and the attitudes and naiveté in the town in my book were influenced by some of the locals.

In my WIP, From Tinker to Belle, From Worthless to Priceless, the entire story was inspired by BelleKyra Joy, whose story it is. I could write a book on how she influenced it! LOL! 

And now last, but not least, where can people go to learn more about you and your work?

My short story, The Christmas Visitors, is available at http://amzn.com/B00ACNOXOY

My debut novel, Victory, is available at

My author page is

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Thoughts on Screen Adaptations, by Cody L. Martin

Today I am excited to share with you an excellent guest post by Cody L. Martin of Resonant Blue. Before you jump in, just a quick reminder: the Ontario rafflecopter giveaway ends today, so watch for a winner announcement soon! Good luck!


You don’t have to play Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon to link The Hunger Games, A Beautiful Mind, and The Great Gatsby. Their connection is that they were all books before they became films.

Adaptations are nothing new to Hollywood. The common lament has been: “The book was better than the movie.”  Audiences discuss the differences: characters missing, scenes deleted, things added that weren’t in the book. But if a movie is too faithful, they say it was predictable and boring. I use to think that adaptations were easy: just write down what was in the book into screenplay form. Wham, bam, it’s finished. Many people don’t think about the fine line screenwriter’s must walk when bringing an existing property to the big screen.

Books are difficult to adapt for many reasons. One of the biggest, however, is that books are so internal. Reader can get pages and pages of backstory, character history, and more, while the main character simply walks down a country road. How are you supposed to show that visually? Sometimes, you just can’t. This is one reason Stephen King movies are so hit-and-miss. There are passages, clues, bits of story that make a certain situation in his books seem perfectly natural, but strip it away and use only the visual images and comes off funny or boring. Internal monologues don’t translate well to film. Sure, there is voice-over, but that still doesn’t capture the struggle a character may have with their feelings.

Screenwriters must balance being true to the book while bringing something new for audiences. This mostly involves staying true to the spirit of the book, not the letter. New characters and new plot lines are invented to open up the story, while redundant and needless characters and stories are cut. If things are left as is, screenwriters risk alienating the reader, who will know everything that is happening before it happens, because they have read the book ahead of time. But those same readers still want to see their favorite characters and situations brought to life, and hopefully get something new.

I think the Harry Potter series was very well adapted. Everything major was kept in, while enough stuff was cut, added, or twisted to make the movies enjoyable. I enjoyed the movies for the story and the visuals, I enjoyed the books for the deeper story and history and mythology of Harry’s world. A more extreme example of changing while adapting is A Beautiful Mind. The movie stars Russell Crowe as John Nash, a brilliant mathematician who suffers from schizophrenia. I read the book by Sylvia Nasar, and read some interviews with screenwriter Akiva Goldsman about the story. The book is a very detailed account of Nash’s life, but it is told from the outside. You know he has hallucinations, you’re told he has delusions, and that what he sees is not real. You know all that. The movie took a different approach; it showed his life from the inside. You experience his hallucinations as he does, not knowing what is real and what isn’t. Only when he is made aware of his illness is the audience as well. The book was an outside view, the movie an inside view. The movie was criticized for changing too much, not covering significant details about his life. But the book can go into much more detail than a two hour movie ever could. I feel that if you wanted to cover everything, it could take an entire television season. The point is that Goldsman had to decide what to keep and what not to. What was needed for a good movie story.

Adapting an existing property, as opposed to a single story, is much easier, I think. G.I. Joe, Batman, The Avengers, have all ready been made and remade in several different forms that one is free to tell it like they want, to pick and chose what worked best from the different incarnations and add their own personal touches. But again, there will always be detractors, mostly saying that it wasn’t faithful enough to the property.

The next time you read a book then watch the movie, think about the differences of the mediums. Read a passage and ask yourself how you would have filmed it. What would you have added or deleted? Don’t compare the two and bemoan the differences. Enjoy them separately for what they are.


Cody Martin was born in Edmond, Oklahoma but raised in Wyoming. After moving to Alabama and attending the University of Alabama, he moved to Japan to become an assistant English teacher in Yamaguchi Prefecture, helping teach junior high school students. He currently lives there, with his beautiful wife Yoko. "Adventure Hunters" is his first novel. When he isn't writing he enjoys watching movies, listening to Morning Musume, Berryz Koubou, C-ute, and other J-pop singers, and reading.

Get Cody's book Adventure Hunters on Amazon and Smashwords today!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

"A Shard of Ice" Cover Reveal!

I am proud to be one of the several bloggers participating in the cover reveal for A Shard of Ice, an exciting new novel by Alivia Anders, author of the best selling Illumine series! Now, before we get to the cover, which was chosen by the voting public, here's a bit about the book:


When 13-year-old Lilix Morgan is found alive and floating on a bed of ice at sea, everyone counts it a miracle. Kidnapped nearly four weeks earlier, she remembers nothing of her mysterious abduction. When she tries to remember what happened, she hears only a melody – a faint and delicate set of notes, strung together in a tune she doesn’t understand. 

A year later and desperate to put the lingering nightmares of her past behind her, Lilix crosses the country to enroll at Baelmorte Academy, aiming to become the violinist she once dreamt of. Things seem to be finally going well, and Lilix settles into a routine of sheet music and inspiration among new friends.

Then the dreams start. 

The melody and night terrors she thought she’d left behind return with a vengeance, threatening to ruin her fragile version of normalcy. Then an unlikely ally tells her that she isn’t alone. That there are others just like her, fighting to hide their own shocking truths from coming to light. That they know who she is, and what she’s been through. Now, accompanied by four other girls, Lilix discovers her nightmares are larger than a single trauma; they’re a window to a hidden part of her soul, a place of immense power with a destiny that cannot be ignored. 

With this knowledge comes a new and frightening reality. For Lilix has been reawakened to stop an age-old enemy, one thought to have been destroyed centuries ago. Trapped by her destiny, Lilix is torn between what feels right and what she remembers. Her memories tell her of a star-crossed love waiting to be reunited, of friendships and trust broken in the past. But can she save that love when reality brings her an enemy, and an evil that will be the undoing of them all if they don’t destroy it?

I don't know about you, but that definitely sounds worth reading! A Shard of Ice, the first book in Alivia Anders' new Black Symphony Saga, is being published by Red Alice Press and will be released April 14, 2014. Yes, you heard right. This is one big build up for a book that isn't going to be out until next year, but get it in your head now, because you won't want to miss out! To find out more about the author and stay up to date with her, check out the following links!

Facebook for Alivia Anders: http://www.facebook.com/aliviaanders
Twitter for Alivia Anders: https://twitter.com/AliviaAnders
Blogger for Alivia Anders: aliviaanders.blogspot.com
Official author website (still under construction): aliviaanders.com

And now, the big moment so many of us have been waiting for, the big cover reveal! Drum roll please...

Gorgeous! We look forward to reading this book next year, Ms. Anders! 

- Heidi Nicole Bird

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Writing Memes!

So, because I have been rather a occupied with so many things, I, once again, don't have any amazingly awesome content for you today. I feel extremely lame, and would feel even worse if I didn't post anything, especially since I didn't post yesterday. So, here you go, a random post with some of my favorite writing memes! :D Enjoy!

There are so many like this, but this one is probably my favorite!

Yeah, that one was pretty darn random, which may lead you to do this . . . 

There you go, a random post! And now I'm going back to editing Ontario, cheers!

- Heidi Nicole Bird

Monday, April 8, 2013

Time Management

We have all seen those memes about authors, you know the ones that show what we think we do and what we really do. When it comes to being an author there are many different and exciting options for us each and every day. To blog or not to blog. To start a new story based on that cool idea you had last night, or to finish your current, or one of your current works in process. To work on your cover design or the blurb for your up and coming book.

Each and every one of these options is a good one and so it is easy to want to do all of them. I am here to tell you it isn't possible to do all of these things in one day. Not if you are expecting quality in your work anyway.

This month I set out to do not one, but two crazy things: publish my second book and participate and ideally win Camp NaNoWriMo. I started off with much gusto and excitement and things were awesome. Then reality set in. Writing 1667 words a day is usually nothing for me, but doing it while publishing? Unfortunately I am realizing how impossible that is. For me anyway. So as much as I.don't want to do it I think I am sending myself home from camp this time around. You can tell my.bunk mates that I had a severe case of the need to publish.

Am I disappointed? Yeah, a little, but not really. Why? Because I have been writing for a long time and now I really want to work on publishing. I have four.completely finished.books that I.would love for you all to read, but they will never get where you can read them if I leave them how they are.

So my advice for you all today is to manage your time well and prioritize. Sit down for a minute and decide what is important to you as an author, and than decide.what is most important for here and now. Cramming causes all.sorts.of stress.so just look at what you want to accomplish and then prioritize!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Tour Stop for "Role of Dishonour" by Brad Fleming

Book Blurb: 

For generations Northern Ireland has withstood a vicious campaign of terrorist violence that has left thousands dead and countless more horribly injured. The British and Irish Governments seem powerless and to have settled for what one leading politician calls an acceptable level of violence.

There appears to be no solution to the conflict. But, when a Provisional IRA bomb kills two grandparents and a four-month-old baby on a lonely border road, four men from widely different backgrounds – a politician, a policeman, a soldier and a journalist – decide enough is enough. They embark on a daring plan to exact vengeance – and to end the Ulster Troubles once and for all.

Role of Dishonour is about violence and vengeance, treachery and treason, retribution and reward. Men die – women and children too. It’s a world where one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter. For generations the troubles in Ireland have pitted Protestant against Catholic, Unionist against Nationalist and Loyalist against Republican. There seems no end to the mindless spiral of death and destruction.

Yet the book is also a poignant love story, set against the background of one of the most 
beautiful pieces of earth God ever made. It’s the story of a man and a woman from different backgrounds and different worlds who find one another and tentatively begin to forge a relationship amid the chaos and despair. Are they to be star-crossed lovers or will true love triumph in the end?

Here's an idea of the kind of reviews Role of Dishonour has been getting on Amazon:

 “I love a book that allows me to see the characters as well as feel their emotions.”

“Brad Fleming weaves a very real tale of dishonesty, betrayal, and enemies amongst friends, collateral damage, and the horrible stages that go along with a war within a war.”

“…an inside view to what was happening in Ireland of the height of their troubles. But it wasn't that that grabbed me about this story. It was the undercurrent love affair, which had an almost Romeo and Juliet feel about it.”

“I was deeply emotionally involved with the characters.”

“I certainly recommend this story to anyone who enjoys a good thriller/mystery/suspense. Congratulations Mr. Fleming.”

Where to get it:

Readers, good news – you can pick up Role of Dishonour this week for just 99 cents at this link: http://www.amazon.com/Role-of-Dishonour-ebook/dp/B009R8X2EC

If you would like to connect with Brad and get news on his next big release you can friend him on Facebook: http://www.amazon.com/Role-of-Dishonour-ebook/dp/B009R8X2EC

Brad’s newest release, Deadline to Danger is due out in April of this year.


Before becoming an author Brad Fleming was in journalism, broadcasting and public relations all of his working life. Born in the small fishing village of Kilkeel, Co Down, in the shadow of where the famous Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea, he worked in local newspapers before moving on to a national daily paper in Belfast. Later he broadcast on news and sport for the BBC. In his thirties he made a career switch to join the British Government Information Service, a job which took him to many corners of the world.