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Assignment today is to read The Veldt. 

I am putting together a reading and study list. Ray Bradbury is my first study subject. You can join me if you want.


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Today, as I take another bite of chocolate covered cinnamon bears, I feel myself physically get fatter. Like the adipose tissue in my stomach globbing and growing and I wonder, does a body get tired?

Are you tired of all the sugar and the sadness? Is it fair to heap everything, my worries and my stresses and my disappointments and even my joys on one helpless frame of bones and tissue and blood and organs, one body that works and works and works to keep me going.

We went to Yellowstone Park last weekend. I told Cam to be prepared.

Prepared for what?

I’m probably going to be discovered for a movie.

He looked at me. What are you talking about?

One time I heard Winona Ryder walked into a cafe where a movie casting director happened to be eating french fries and when he saw her, he knew it. He just knew she was going to be a star. He talked her into being in a little film called Lucas (which I love, P.S.) and the rest is history (I just googled Winona and it turns out that that the story isn’t true which is a little devastating because I feel like my daydreams for the past thirty years have been based on this legend).

I tell Cam that probably at the Old Faithful Lodge, probably while I’m holding my baby and trying to calm down my two year old and my bum is hanging out of my mom jeans and my bangs that were supposed to be cool and ironic but which most of the time look puffy and eighties, my bangs are at their worst, probably right then, a famous director will see me, he’ll see through the exhaustion and the wrinkles and the belly and the screaming children and he’ll say: Excuse me.

And I’ll say: Me?

Yes, he’ll say, You. I can’t help but notice you’re different.


Yes, you. You. There’s something about you.

He’ll study me. I’ll blush. The babies will keep screaming but no matter.

Have you been in films? He’ll ask.

Why, no. I haven’t.

He nods. That’s what it is. It’s rawness. It’s real gut. You’re what I’ve been looking for.

And then he’ll tell me he’s got a project going in two locations Toronto and Rome with a final scene in Hawaii–blast the budget he needs that shot! An independent film and he’d love to fly me out. He’s already got Viggo Mortensen and Helen Mirren signed up. Would I consider? It would only be three months. I could possibly bring the family but it would be long days for me, a lot of hard emotional work. I have to do it though. I have to. Because he’s been looking and looking and looking for just the right person and he’s sorry. I am so sorry, but you are her.

What should we do? I ask Cam.

He stares at me.

I mean it’s only three months.

He keeps staring at me.

The baby is happy now as I hold her on my hip the others are hitting each other as they wait for Old Faithful.

Do you think we can do it? I ask. Can we make it work?

Cam nods then. He says, I think we can. I think it’s probably the right thing to do.

And you guys, it is the right thing to do. You just have to make it work, is what I say.

And that’s all for today.


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Carol is Nice and Words and Sentences and Paragraphs matter

Carol is nice. And a fabulous mother herself. And nice. And nekkid.

This is important information.


I take my Sammy on walks because he wakes up early and then loves to pounce on other people in the house and there are SIX available candidates who are sleeping soundly and most of those six have been awake (and screaming) at least one time or another in the night so this person (ME) who is usually the first person (though sometimes it’s his father, bless his soul) he attacks, does not want him to wake any of the other six if at all possible.

Please read this sentence out loud. Fast. Is it a good sentence? Why or why not?

Here are some more sentences:

Brian Robeson stared out the window of the small plane at the endless green northern wilderness below. It was a small plane, a Cessna 406—a bush plane—and the engine was so loud, so roaring and consuming and loud, that it ruined any chance for conversation.

Not that he had much to say. He was thirteen and the only passenger on the plane with a pilot named—what was it? Jim or Jake or something—who was in his mid-forties and who had been silent as he worked to prepare for take-off. In fact since Brian had come to the small airport in Hampton, New York to meet the plane—driven by his mother—the pilot had spoken only five words to him.

“Get in the copilot’s seat.”

Read these out loud. Fast. Are they good sentences? Why or why not?*

Here’s another example:

The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives. She went on olden-day sailing ships with Joseph Conrad. She went to Africa with Ernest Hemingway and to India with Rudyard Kipling. She travelled all over the world while sitting in her little room in an English village.

Same questions.**

I know I’ve been harping on sentence structure and style lately and that’s because they matter. They matter a lot. The more I write, the more I read, the more I see how crucial it is we become concerned with the sound of our sentences. The rhythm of our words. The structure of our paragraphs.

Do you read your writing out loud? Do you look at the page and assess the paragraph lengths? Is there variety? Are there punches? Do you ramble? Is there any joy or delight in your writing on a surface level?

Take one page of your WIP and play with the sentences. Rewrite them. Rearrange them. Play with the sentence length. The paragraph length. The formatting. Eat cinnamon bears. Chocolate covered. Spend your entire writing session playing with the English language.

If you have time and you’re brave, report back. Maybe even post a before and after sentence.

I promise with all my heart hope to die, this will make you a better writer, It will make writing more fun. It will make your readers want to come back again and again even if they don’t know why.

Love and candy,

The End.

*This is from Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. I have a story about Hatchet I will share later.

**This is from Matilda which I love.

P.S. I’m thinking of starting a class. On writing. With lots of reading. And eating. And writing. And talking.


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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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