Have you heard yet?

I signed a publishing contract for my debut young adult novel!

And, I know a lot of you would like to know more about my journey. So, here we go!

The gritty basics:

1.) My novel is a historical set in Ancient Rome.

2.) The temporary title is RUNAWAY SAGE (this may yet change as I’m still working on final bits with the publishing company).

3.) The publishing company is BLACK ROSE WRITING.

4.) My release date, or my book’s birthday, is May 18, 2017.

5.) Yes, I have a whole slew of things planned to celebrate my novel’s birth with all of you.

My journey:

RUNAWAY SAGE took me five years to research, plan, write, revise, and query. As far as queries go, I queried for over two years. Then, I had nothing but rejections. I did stumble upon an agent that worked with me for over a year on revise-and-resubmits, but in the end, I got a form rejection. I was disgusted. That’s when I stopped. I stopped querying. I stopped pitching it in the innumerable Twitter pitchfests. I shelved it.

In my frustration, I tossed away the paper where I had listed all the agents I submitted to, but I can remember there were a bunch. In fact, I had pored over numerous agent websites, Writer’s Digest Market books, writing websites, and everywhere I could look for an agent, but I had submitted to all of the agents I could find that represented both young adult and historical fiction. I’m sure I missed some – positive that I did but at the time I made the decision to shelf this title, I’d done all that I could.

Then back in October of 2016, I stumbled onto a website called I was leery of it. I mean, I’d read horror stories about people that posted their work online and it was stolen or worse. I researched around on the site, and found legitimate agents and publishers used as a means of submission. I hadn’t really considered small presses much until then, as most of them seem mostly interested in romance titles – and I didn’t have any submission ready romance wips. Still, I figured I had this title just sitting on a shelf, so what difference did it/would it make? So, I posted it and submitted it to two suggestions that the website sent me. One of those rejected it a mere month and a half later – no, I wasn’t surprised. I just assumed that it would happen with the second suggestion too. But, in early February I got an email from Black Rose Writing, offering me publication.

I really didn’t know much about Black Rose Writing up until then, so I started researching them. I found some interesting information on a few writers message boards about them, but they were dated from several years ago. The newer posts were a lot more positive, so I decided to take the chance. After all, if all the novel did was sit on my shelf then no one but my family and I could read it. Sometimes the decision to take the jump is singly the most horrifying thing you’ll do for your writing career.

So far I have been extremely happy with the gang at Black Rose Writing, and I feel like it was the right decision to take the plunge. My contract is legally legit, and they even negotiated with me to improve the contract for me. I understand that by going with a small press I’ll be doing a lot of marketing and such for myself, but that’s okay.  I have a background in book marketing, having worked for a few small presses myself in the publicity departments, and I even worked as a freelance publicist for authors for a bit.

In a nutshell, this is really happening. My dream to be able to hold my own novel – that I wrote – in my hands is coming true.

Thanks for reading!

~ H.R. Norrod


Wizard Russian Lesson Two

Lesson Two


Today, we’re going to work on improving our vocabulary in Russian. Since everyone is familiar with apartments, let’s learn some of the words that go along with an apartment. Also, as you learn these new words it may be beneficial to you to put notes up around in your own home to remind you of these Russian words. As research has shown, submersion in another language is really the best way to learn it. We are also going to learn our numbers zero – ten. Shall we get started…


КВАРТИРА  {kvarTIRA}                     —>                             An Apartment


Дверь {DVYER}                                   —>                             Door

Коридор {kariDOR}                             —>                             Hallway/Corridor

Кухня {KUKHnya}                               —>                             Kitchen

Холодильник {khalaDILnik}                —>                             Fridge

Духовка {duKHOFka}                         —>                             Oven

Плита {pliTA}                                       —>                             Cook stove

Кофейник {kaFYEnik}                         —>                            Coffee pot


Ванная {VAnaya}                               —>                            Bathroom

Ванна {VAna}                                      —>                            Bathtub

Душ {DOOsh}                                      —>                             Shower

Раковина {RAkavina}                       —>                              Sink

Туалет {tooalYET}                            —>                               Toilet

Зеркало {ZERkala}                           —>                              Mirror

Полотенце {palatYENtsye}              —>                              Towel


Гостиная {gaSTInaya}                    —>                              Living Room

Диван {diVAN}                                  —>                              Couch or Sofa

Диван Кровать {diVAN kraVAT}   —>                               Sofa Bed

Стол {STOL}                                        —>                             Table

Стул {STUL}                                         —>                             Chair

Телевизор {talaVEEzor}                    —>                              Television

Окно {akNO}                                        —>                              Window


Спальня {SPALnya}                         —>                              Bedroom

Шкаф {SHKAF}                                   —>                              Closet

Кровать {kraVAT}                              —>                               Bed

Подушка {paDOOshka}                     —>                               Pillow

Лампа {LAMpa}                                   —>                               Lamp

Before we go; let’s learn to count to ten …


     0.)      Нуль           {NOOL}

  1.     Один          {aDIN}
  2.     Два            {DVA}
  3.      Три            {TREE}
  4.      Четыре    {cheeTYRye}
  5.      Пять         {PYAT}
  6.      Шесть       {SHEST}
  7.       Семь       {SYEM}
  8.       Восемь   {VOsim}
  9.       Девять    {DYEvit}
  10.       Десять    {DYEsit}


That’s it! Congratulations! Now you can name some things in your home and do Sudoku in Russian, plus two extra numbers. 😉 But, really – count to ten in Russian the next time you’re angry, instead of in English. The more often you use these words; the quicker they will stick in your brain. Pick up a home interior catalog and point out and name the things you just learned in Russian. Practice writing the Russian words next to the English in the catalog. Make yourself some flashcards with your new words and flip through them while you’re waiting on that meeting at work to begin. There are so many ways you can integrate your new vocabulary words in your everyday life, be creative, be consistent, and practice, practice, practice…
Next time, we’re going to learn some meet and greet dialogue so you can surprise your friends and co-workers… See you then!

New details and a new THING for #Adpit & #KidPit…

I’ve posted updated information regarding the April 5th, 2017 #AdPit and #KidPit joint pitchfest on their pages here on this blog…

If you have a completed manuscript and are interested in pitching, please see the new details and a surprise for this round….

Follow the links below….

Write for/ Pitching a New Adult or Adult manuscript

Write for/ Pitching a Picture Book through Young Adult manuscript 



Introducing the Cyrillic Alphabet

Wizard Russian’s Alphabet Lesson


Congratulations! You have decided to learn the Russian language, and you already deserve a pat on the back. Russian is a very rewarding language to learn. Neatly folded in the confines of a family of Slavic languages which also include, Czech, Ukrainian, Polish, Bulgarian and several other languages found in Eastern Europe.


However, unlike Polish and Slovenian and a fair few others, Russian uses the Cyrillic Alphabet which is different than the Roman Alphabet you are familiar with in English and Western European languages. So, for this first step in learning Russian, allow me to introduce you to the 33 letters that make up the Russian language.


Want to sing the alphabet song in Russian? Here are the letters in alphabetical order…

Аа, Бб, Вв, Гг, Дд, Ее, Ёё, Жж, Зз, Ии, Йй, Кк, Лл, Мм, Нн, Оо, Пп, Рр, Сс, Тт, Уу, Фф, Хх, Цц, Чч, Шш, Щщ, Ъъ (hard sign), Ыы, Ьь (soft sign), Ээ, Юю, & Яя.


Русский Алфавит


Hard Vowels

А – A as in sofA

Э – E as in Echo

Ы – Y-glide makes a sound similar to the word we

О – O in cOld

У – OO in tOOl


Soft Vowels

Я – YA

Е – YE as in YEt

И – EE as in lEEk

Ё – YO as in YO– yo

Ю – YU/U as in YOU or Union



Б – B as in Bank

В – V as in Vote

Г – hard G as in Goat (never, ever pronounced as jee)

Д – D as in Dog

Ж – ZH as in meaSure

З – Z as in Zap

Й – OY as in boY

К – K as in Kayak

Л – L as in Lamp

М – M as in Mat

Н – N as in Nap

П – P as in Puppy

Р – R as in Rat

С – S as in Sun

Т – T as in Tea

Ф – F as in Family

Х – KH as in loCH or German’s iCH (This is a very hard H sound)

Ц – TS as in caTS

Ч – CH as in CHurch

Ш – SH as in SHeep

Щ – SHCH as in freSH CHeese

Ъ – hard sign – not pronounced

Ь – soft sign – not pronounced


Pronunciation Guide:  

  • A consonant is hard unless it is followed by a soft vowel (refer to the list above and memorize the soft vowels). A soft Н (N) is pronounced like the N in the word oNion.
  • Only pronounce an O sound if it is stressed. When it is in an unstressed syllable pronounce it like the A in the word sofA. I will mark stress on new words as we learn them, by capitalizing it in the pronunciation brackets – like this; Группа {GrUppa} – Group
  • Consonants become voiceless at the end of words, or before voiced consonants. Memorize these; Б –> П, В –> Ф, Г –> К, Д –> Т, Ж –> Ш, & З –> С.
  • The soft vowel Ё (ё) is ALWAYS stressed but in writing, Russians rarely add the two dots over ё. Also, in dictionaries the words that begin with this letter are listed under the letter Е (е). Best advice I can give you is to memorize these words and spellings as we come across them, or as you do in your own studies.   

Obligatory New Year’s Post…

So, we’ve put 2016 behind us, and are now looking forward into 2017. For me, this has been a trying and absolutely horrifying transition. I’m normally fairly optimistic with the new year that’s coming in, so I’ll try to get back on that horse for this post.

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen where 2017 is going to bring about an overhaul of this blog. If you don’t follow me, I won’t hold that against you. But also now you know.

Here’s what I’m going to do…

I’ve been going utterly loco trying to keep several blogs up and going for a while now. I write the Critic Croc Review Blog. I write The Polyglot’s Guide to the Universe Blog. I write the Madam Money Blog. I also write the Wizard Russian Blog. That’s a LOT of blogs. When you include this one, that’s five. As a ‘side effect’ there are times when each and every one of these blogs have been neglected. I’ve been a terrible Blog Mama. And, I aim to clear that up. After all, no one wants to be a bad mother.


Starting this month – Every Monday there will be a new post on this blog. Those posts will vary between the five that I have, so in an essence, I am funneling all of these blogs through this one. I hope to eventually be able to separate them again, but unless the FDA allows human cloning soon that may take a while. It’s hard work being an entrepreneur and trying to balance all the other things too. I already work like a fiend. That being said, here’s the breakdown of each of the blogs listed above…

1.) Critic Croc Reviews

– Be wary because here, I’ve been labeled a scathing critic. I give HONEST, no frills, sometimes acid-tipped tongued reviews of products, apps, books, films, and everything in between. I do NOT sugar coat things. If I don’t like it, I’ll tell you I don’t like it and why. If I do like it, I’ll tell you that and why. There is a reason I named this CROC. Sometimes, I bite.

– If you have something you’d like me to review (your book, your app, your software, your product or anything in between) feel free to contact me via TWITTER or EMAIL. Click the links…

2.)  Madam Money

– This blog is devoted to personal finance and shopping savvy. I help you understand your money better, and try to help you live a happier financial life.

– I’ve been a single mom for the entire length of my kids’ lives. (One’s 18 now and the other’s 16.) I’ve spent copious amounts of time working in retail, saving money, and trying to make ends meet – I know a bit about personal money management. I’ve raised my kids on less than a $1000/month or less for a big part of that time.

3.)  Wizard Russian

– This blog was intended to teach others the Russian language, the culture, and even the food. As so many of the Russian learning texts and apps on the market today teach archaic Russian from the distant past years of the Soviet Union. Hate to tell you this, but the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 90’s and the language and culture of the Russian Federation has evolved with it. More should be done to update all the Russian language learning ‘help’ that’s out there. But it’s not. Sure, you’ll find books, ‘new’ books even, that boast updated information, but take a look at the copyright dates – and you’ll find a huge percentage of them hail originally from the 1950’s. Dudes, even America has changed since the 50’s. I am happy to note though, it seems like a few learning paths are starting to recognize this. ( A tad bit of my Critic Croc is showing here.)

4.)  Polyglot’s Guide to the Universe

– This blog is my curious and wondering blog. I speak seven languages, and have been exposed to a great number of world cultures throughout my life, starting from my childhood. I think I look at the world differently because of it.

– I spend a ton of time on multiculturalism and acceptance of people with different points of view and backgrounds on this blog.

5.)  This blog

– This blog will remain the same. I’ll still have all the writing helps, tips, and tricks.

– I’ll still have all of the #AdPit and #KidPit information here. If this interests you, you may want to note that the next #AdPit and #KidPit joint pitchfest will take place on April 5, 2017. I’ll be changing things up a bit this round to try and help your completed manuscripts gain as much exposure as possible. That being said, the new rules will be up sometime in early February, as I’m still finalizing the details.

I hope that by spreading my wings you’ll decide to stay with me. I just like to think that I have a voice, and can possibly help the planet with it.

Thanks for reading,

~ Heidi

THE CHEMIST – Stephenie Meyer

I just finished reading THE CHEMIST by Stephenie Meyer, and I wanted to share my thoughts…

No worries, if you haven’t read it – there will be no spoilers from me!

Do I recommend this title: YES!!

Is it worth the read: YES!!

Now, my thoughts:

I wasn’t a fan of TWILIGHT (I’m not much of a vampire person), but I did love THE HOST. So when I stumbled over THE CHEMIST, I didn’t hesitate to buy. It didn’t disappoint.

The flow was excellent with nearly constant and exciting plot twists. The book starts out with a thrilling bang and the bangs keep coming. Alex, the main character, goes through a full positive character arc, and she is a joy to read and experience her trials and tribulations with her.

I loved THE CHEMIST, and the screenwriter in me would love to get my hands on this to turn it into a screenplay.  I could actually see this novel coming to life into a film from the pages of the book.


My TNT Horror Contest Entry

Not many of you may realize that this, but I write stories. (HAHAHAHA!!!!) Yeah right! Every single one of you knew it.

I recently entered a short story into a contest being hosted by TNT Network. Yes, that TNT Network, the one that has wonderful TV shows like …

Animal Kingdom, The Last Ship, The Librarians, and Major Crimes

Their contest asked for an original short horror story, but I had to keep it under 10,000 words. They asked that I make them too scared to turn their lights off at night. And, apparently I did, because I recently found out that my story, LISA CANNON, was named one of the Top 100! When I first found out I was too shocked to breathe. It’s true!

The catch is that I need votes to continue on into the Top 35. Hopefully I can then progress into the Top 10, where I will receive $2,000 and TNT Network will option my story for a Network TV show. Then, from the Top 10, the Network will choose one lucky grand prize winner that wins $20,000 and their story will be made into a show. It’s an amazing opportunity, and I am so happy that I made the Top 100.

Now, the part I hate doing, but that I need to do.

I’m writing to ask you for your vote. It’s easy to do. All you have to do is follow this link:


Then click to open the story. Read it if you like, and click the star icon in the top right corner.

And, that’s it! You’re done! I appreciate each and every vote, as it only takes one to push me from 36 to 35.

You can stick around and read all 100 entries, and vote on as many as you like. I’d like to thank you in advance for your vote. And remember, the voting ends December 6th at 11:59 GMT, so you need to vote before the cut off date and time.

I hope you enjoy LISA CANNON!