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Welcome back from the Manic Pixel Scav . . . ug, I’m tired of typing all that.

You searched long and wide and far through that crazy pixelated city. Let’s see what you found . . .

  1. Spaceships!
  2. Talking chairs!
  3. A drug deal!
  4. A nipple!

And, of course, they can all by seen now, by you, in full, on the cover of CURE FOR THE COMMON UNIVERSE:


Add on Goodreads!

Preorder on Amazon.

But that’s not why you’re here.

You’re here to see if you won one of our five elite prizes, which, to remind you, look like this:


Ooh, look! The cover isn’t blacked out anymore!

Our five Manic Pixel Dream Reveal winners are . . .


The Cotton Floozy will get stitching and Simon & Schuster will get printing and we’ll have your stuff out to you by December.

Thanks so much for hunting. Hope you enjoy the inside of the book as much as I enjoy the outside.

See you in June,

Christian McKay Heidicker


P.S. I would be remiss if I didn’t give one more shout out to eboy and Greg Stadnyk. Incredible work.

Also, thanks to Brooke Lark, for designing these incredible prize packages. I don’t know what I did to deserve you as a friend.

And finally, thanks to Christian Trimmer, my editor, and John Cusick, my agent. None of this would be possible without you, fellas.

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This is it, folks. This is your chance to easily win the CURE prize package:

An ARC of Cure for the Common Universe and an embroidery of ‘Nobody Puts Princess in a Castle’ from The Cotton Floozy [LINK:!

Oo. Aah.

All you have to do is participate in the Manic Pixel Scavenger Hunt for a chance to win.

Oh, look, here’s a pixel now!


What do you see?

Write down your findings from this and the other pixels at any or all of the other blogs (listed below) and email them to me at or message them to C.M. Heidicker on Facebook.

For every three things you send, I’ll put your name in the hat (or my jeans pocket) again and again and again, and then I’ll draw five names out of the hat (pocket) and send prize packages to those people.

Go! Get started! Win it! Win it all!

Valynne Maetani [LINK:]

Carol Lynch Williams [LINK:]

Elana Johnson [LINK:]

Christian Trimmer [LINK:]

John Cusick [LINK:]

Brooke Lark [LINK:]

Brooke Kelly [LINK:]

The Cotton Floosy [LINK:]

#cureforthecommonuniverse #manicpixel

(I hope you’ll take some time to explore the amazing blogs.)

(I also hope this means that more than just my mom will participate.)

Tune in tomorrow to find out if you’ve won!

Happy Scavenging!

Go check out the book on Goodreads!

Prepare to be cured June 2016.

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Hello, everyone. My name is Christian McKay Heidicker.


Whew. That’s a mouthful. Let’s try . . .


There. Better.

You may be asking yourself, where’s the cover? I came here to see a cover.

Okay, first, have I told you how nice your hair is looking today?

And second, the cover isn’t here.

CURE’s cover art is a little intense to take in all at once, so for everyone’s safety, I’ve divided it into nine pieces (er, pixels) and spread them across the internet.


To make a scavenger hunt, of course. What’s the use of a book about a kid going to video game rehab if there isn’t some gaming first?!

Also, this will be your chance to take in all of the juicy (potentially scandalous) details of the cover before it’s fully revealed.

The art is reminiscent of books like I Spy or Where’s Waldo, so this scavenger hunt will work just like that . . . except instead of finding a cats eye marble or some seemingly friendless chump in a red and white striped sweater, you’ll receive ACTUAL PRIZES.



Five lucky winners will receive a signed ARC (advanced reading copy) of CURE FOR THE COMMON UNIVERSE (cover obscured for obvious reasons) AND an embroidery of one of the phrases from the book, hand stitched by the extremely talented Cotton Floozy.


For every three things you discover hidden in the nine pixels and email to or message to C.M. Heidicker on Facebook, I’ll enter your name again . . . and again . . . and again. (There’s a lotta stuff on that cover.)



Subject: Manic Pixel Scavenger Hunt

Dearest Christian,

I found:

  1. A puppy made of garlic cloves
  2. A bottomless bowl of undercooked breadsticks
  3. A Christmas tree wearing lipstick
  4. Amelia Earheart’s monocle
  5. A bottomless bowl of overcooked breadsticks
  6. A Who*

*(Objects not actually on cover, but no less interesting than what’s really on there.)



So, no, the cover is not here. But fear not! Tomorrow, I’ll be posting their whereabouts on this blog and at (You can also follow them with #cureforthecommonuniverse and #manicpixel.)

Tomorrow, the Manic Pixel Scavenger Hunt begins!

In the meantime, go check out the book on Goodreads !

Again, the cover is exquisitely complex, and in my personal opinion, AMAZING. It was designed by Greg Stadnyk with art by eboy (that of Miley Cyrus fame).


Prepare to be cured, June 2016.



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Three Things Thursday

In literature, I’ve always been a fan of romances that are more of a “slow burn” than “love at first sight.” Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy rather than Cinderella and Prince Charming, if you will. 

I think part of the reason is that the reason I love books is that they are the only medium in which you can truly understand a character, heart and soul. And because of that, I want to learn to love them as a person, not just as a pretty face. Don’t get me wrong, I love staring at Channing Tatum’s abs as much as the next girl, but it’s just not the same as longing for Mr. Rochester and wishing he’d stop flirting with that stupid Blanche Ingram.
What do you think? Are there brilliant literary romances that work as love at first sight?
UNwrite Your Way To Success ! ! !
Many years ago, as a great fan of Irving Stone (think The Agony and the Ecstasy, Lust for Life, Men to Match My Mountains, etc.) I found out that he, TOO, was an over-writer.  It’s one of my biggest problems.  I know this story is true, because I heard him tell it myself: he had a layover in Salt Lake and came to speak to the League of Utah Writers.  He said he’d offered The Agony . . . to a number of publishers but was always turned down.  Desperate for help, he gave it to a secretary he knew and asked her to take a look at it and tell him what the problem was.  She insisted she knew NOTHING about writing, but he insisted “fresh eyes” might help.
She read the manuscript and told him he’d said everything three times.  She went through it again, trying to see where he’d said it best.  After they UNwrote great segments of it, he sent it out again . . . and it SOLD!  (The sweetest part of his story: he took the advance and used it to marry her — and she edited all his books after that.)  How’s THAT for UNwriting?
So a check-list for me —maybe it will help you to UNwrite too:
CUT as much as possible in 
 1.  Redundancies
 2.  Deliberate repetitions for “special effect” if it’s NOT special
 3.  Over-explanations
 4.  Words/ideas/sections I wrote for the “literary effect”
 5.  Now look at the pacing to be sure it’s clean, crisp, quick
Thank you for coming to my signing last night. It was no where near as terrifying as the last one.
Thank goodness.


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I think it’s valuable for all writers to practice on a sentence level. It’s one thing to be good at plot and character. It’s another thing to write beauty words, beautiful sentences, etc.

My friend Brian has an excellent style website. It’s geared for students in college studying composition but I think it’s fabulous for fiction writers too. Try it and see what you think.

Another thing you can do to help your sentences is to read. And then read some more. And then keep reading. Sometimes you can even find something you love, a book, an author, and then rewrite one of their paragraphs. Maybe even a whole chapter. By doing this, you’ll feel the rhythm of their writing. You’ll start to understand how they construct their phrases, where they put modifiers, why they put modifiers where they put them. You’ll be surprised at what the actual act of rewriting, of copying for the purpose of learning will do for you. Now, beware, I’m not saying you should copy other writers. I’m saying you should STUDY. you should become a student of fiction. You should learn from those you admire, from the masters.

I’ve learned so much from copying down passages from Sylvia Plath, Ernest Hemingway, Sandra Cisneros, Flannery O’ Conner, Cormac McCarthy, and others. So many others.

love and style.

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Dear Friends

The other day I listened to a therapist give a podcast on how to talk to our kids about sex.


This makes me very uncomfortable.

I never want to talk about sex to anyone, let alone my kids.

But they say I must.

Did your parents talk to you about sex? Where were you? Sitting in the front room with your arms folded? Standing in line at McDonalds? Going up the stairs of the Statue of Liberty?  Did your mom talk? Your dad? Your grandma? The tour guide?

Did you ask questions, request more information or mostly just die?

What about your MC? What does she know? Who told her? Does it matter? How does she feel about boys? And love? And all the rest?

Sometimes I like to think of the weirdest worst situations, like a mother attempting the talk in the subway or possibly at Subway. And a girl, like me, wearing my horrible Benetton outfit and eating a slimy turkey sandwich sitting in the booth, nodding and crying inside and also hoping she’ll tell me more details but not really, but really and will a boy ever love me? And want to hold my hand? But please not want to do that. Never THAT.

For ten seconds or ten minutes freewrite about the Birds and the Bees and your character and your life and then talk to your kids about sex at Subway.


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“A writer in the act is a thinker on full-time cognitive overload.”   –Linda Flower and John Hayes.

Is this true for you?

What if you don’t any cognitive load let alone overload?

What does your brain do when you write?

Try to be a mindful writer today and think about what happens when you write, what is your optimal writing time of day, your optimal writing atmosphere? What are you roadblocks? When are you able to focus best?

Also, what do you wish you were writing but you’re not.

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