Thursday, November 29, 2012

No Safe Place

Domestic violence, even if it ended years ago, can leave deep scars. "No Safe Place", submitted by a friend, is based on a true story. Read on to see how you can help others make those scars a little better.

****

No Safe Place


“Daddy’s yelling again.” Maddie stands in the doorway, wiping sleep from her eyes.
I set my book on the coffee table and smile reassuringly at her.  “I’ll take care of him. Thanks for letting me know.”  I cuddle her as we walk up the stairs.
“I don’t like it when Daddy yells.” 
I pull her closer, “I know, but he can’t help it.”
I tuck her back into bed before going next door to my room.  
From the doorway I watch for flailing arms and legs. Thank goodness we caught him early tonight before he was in too deep: everything is still except for his mouth. To Maddie, I guess it does sound like yelling, but to me it’s more like bellowing because his voice is so harsh it’s like the words are wrestled from his gut.
I climb under the covers and drape my arm across his chest. I press my face to his. “Wake up, Adam, wake up. You’re okay.  You’re okay.” 
His eyes open immediately.  Within seconds his entire body is shaking.  I hold him and wipe the gathering moisture from his cheeks. 
“What was it this time? The walls?  The car?”
“The car.” 
The walls are the dreams he has about his step-father throwing him and his mom against the walls of their apartment.  

The car dreams are worse. They revolve around the moment when his step-father pulled a gun out from under the backseat of the car and killed the man driving it.  Adam was sitting in the front seat.  When that dream goes on too long he wakes up, rubbing at his face uncontrollably, trying to clean off the blood and brain tissue that splattered there thirty years ago.  On those nights, nothing but a shower will stop the rubbing.
“There’s no safe place.”  His words are a whisper, one I’ve heard countless times.
As the years pass it’s harder for him to find a safe place in his head, one free from the nightmares of his childhood.  His psychiatrist says it’s because as we grow older we have so much more in our brains, so much more to concentrate on that the bad memories creep in through our subconscious.  

Adam's tried everything to escape the dreams--counseling, forgiving his abusers, finding God, yoga, medicine.  It all works for short bursts of time, but nothing over the long haul, nothing that affords him a safe place while he sleeps.
Maybe if the abuse had ended with his step-father’s murder conviction, maybe then.  But it didn’t work that way.  His mother--mentally ill after years of spousal abuse--continued what her husband had begun.  “You’re worthless.   You’re weak.  You’re a weak little boy.  Get me the switch.  I’ll teach you to be weak.”
He keeps going day after day, night after night. He keeps his trauma hidden from the outside world.  Except when he yells in his sleep, he keeps it hidden from his children.  He romps and plays, teaches and soothes. He's a gentle dad who never raises his voice or his hand in anger. 

There's no safe place for Adam, but he makes sure there is one for his children.

****
How can you help? Support local efforts like women's shelters and food banks or organizations like the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV). By supporting this organization, you're helping in their fight to make every home a safe home. The NCADV works to eliminate domestic violence by empowering victims, supporting local programs, and educating the public about how to recognize abuse and what to do about it. 

In our joint effort to support this organization, twenty authors have compiled an anthology of holiday-themed stories called Christmas Lites II. ALL proceeds will go to the NCADV. Last year's Christmas Lites raised $500. Let's break that record! Purchase your digital or print copy of Christmas Lites II from one of these online retailers:

Amazon.com **4 for the price of 3 print deal!**   





Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Silent Epidemic

Domestic violence manifests itself in many ways. But, despite the turmoil behind closed doors, it often goes unnoticed in the public eye before it's too late. I'm fortunate to never have experienced such a nightmare, but my heart goes out to everyone who suffers under the silent cloud of fear and shame.

*Photo from NCADV.org*
Here are some USA-based facts from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (www.ncadv.org):


  • One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. 
  • An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.
  • 85% of domestic violence victims are women.
  • Historically, females have been most often victimized by someone they knew.
  • Females who are 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence.
  • Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police.


In my home state of Kentucky, these facts are quite sobering: 


  • Kentucky’s spouse abuse programs received 33,027 domestic violence related calls  and 61,788 calls requesting information and referrals in FY 2006. 
  • 3,786 victims of domestic violence were sheltered in in Kentucky in FY 2006.
  • 22,269 domestic violence allegations were investigated by Kentucky State Police in FY 2004
  • The state of Kentucky was unable to shelter 1,316 individuals in 2006.
  • Kentucky State Police reports that there were 10,159 Emergency Protective Orders and 25,967 Domestic Violence Protective Orders issued in Kentucky District Courts in FY 2006.
The facts may seem overwhelming. Perhaps you think:

What can I do? 

I'm just one person.

 If I don't know someone's in danger, how can I help?

This is where the NCADV steps in. By supporting this organization, you're helping in their fight to make every home a safe home. The NCADV works to eliminate domestic violence by empowering victims, supporting local programs, and educating the public about how to recognize abuse and what do do about it. 

In our joint effort to support this organization, twenty authors have compiled an anthology of holiday-themed stories called Christmas Lites II. ALL proceeds will go to the NCADV. Last year's Christmas Lites raised $500. Let's break that record! Purchase your digital or print copy of Christmas Lites II from one of these online retailers:

Amazon.com **4 for the price of 3 print deal!**   







Monday, November 26, 2012

Christmas Lites II is Here!!!


I'm so thrilled to announce the release of a fabulous Christmas short story anthology! Twenty authors share a wide variety of holiday-themed tales for your reading enjoyment AND to benefit the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV). 


BUY YOUR COPY AT ANY OF THESE RETAILERS:







Front Cover
 Here's a snippet from my story, "Table Five":
            Multi-colored lights from the garland above the counter twinkled on the porcelain as Janet poured some of the fresh brew. From across the street, Target’s signature logo cast its red light into the diner, reminding her about the Christmas shopping she’d tackle tonight as soon as she clocked out. For months, she’d scrimped and saved, and $200 waited in her purse so her three kids could wake up to new toys from Santa under the tree. Things were finally looking up. A steady job, no sleaze-bag husband, and no more nights in crowded shelters or cramped in their tiny car. 
          She plated Table Five’s pie and brought his order to the table. He smiled warmly and picked up his coffee.   
          Janet put a hand in her apron pocket, fingers resting on her order pad, just in case. “Do you need anything else?”  
          “No, thank you.” He had a slight accent that she couldn’t place, but his soft, yet resonating tone reminded her of Bing Crosby, whose rendition of ‘White Christmas’ echoed from the diner’s radio.  
           Table Five sipped his coffee and scanned the room. He seemed to like watching people. Not in any creepy sort of way, but the way one might observe animals at a zoo or ducks in the city park. His dark eyes brightened, and his lips curved into a slight smile when new customers arrived.  
Last year's Christmas Lites brought in $500 for the NCADV. Let's earn even more for them this year, so be sure to add Christmas Lites II to your gift list! To learn about this charity and how they help women and children, visit their website: http://www.ncadv.org/#



Authors included in this anthology:


Addison Moore
Amy Eye
Angela Yuriko-Smith
Cassie McCown
E.C. Stilson
Frank Smith
JA Clement
JG Faherty
Kimberly Kinrade
Lizzy Ford
Lynn Rush
Melynda Fleury
Misty Baker (Mysti Parker)
Monica La Porta
Nichole Chase
Patti Larsen
S. Patrick Pothier
Tish Thawer
Tricia Kristufek
Vered Eshani

Join the fun on the Facebook Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/397586730309839/

Guest Post by Jade Kerrion, author of the Double Helix Series

I'm thrilled to have Jade Kerrion here today as part of her virtual blog tour for her Double Helix series from November 23 through March 1. For more information and tour stop schedule, see this link: http://www.jadekerrion.com/double-helix-blog-tour/.


Kick off your shoes, grab a cup of coffee and read about a scene that never made it into her award-winning novel, Perfection Unleashed! Take it away, Jade Kerrion...

Deleted Scene from “Perfection Unleashed”

I love the extra features that accompany movie DVDs, like the director’s commentary, movie bloopers, and deleted scenes. My debut novel, Perfection Unleashed, which won multiple awards, is frequently compared to an action movie, anime, or graphic novel, and today, I thought I’d give you a peek into one of its deleted scenes.

But first, what was the scene in question, and why did I delete it?

The deleted scene was the prologue, and it set the context for the entire Double Helix series. The scene helped transport readers from “today” into the “not-so-distant future,” and described key players in a world transformed by the Genetic Revolution, including mutants with psychic powers. It also introduced Galahad, the perfect human being, and foreshadowed the existence of the abominations, inhuman by-products of the path to perfection.

Clearly it was an important scene, but why did I delete it?

The prologue didn’t do much more than the first chapter did. By the first chapter, readers are introduced to Galahad, and hear the banshee-like wails of the abominations. By the first chapter, we know that mutants with psychic powers populate our world, even though we have to wait until chapter three to meet Danyael, the alpha empath, Galahad’s physical template, and the protagonist of Perfection Unleashed.

It was a hard decision. The prologue was the scene that launched the movie in my mind, which eventually became the Double Helix series. I was, perhaps not irrationally, deeply attached to the scene. Still, in the final count, the prologue slowed down my attempt to plunge my readers straight into the action. I took a deep breath and hit delete.

Figuratively speaking, of course. The prologue never made it into Perfection Unleashed, but I did save it as a deleted scene, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to share it with you today. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

PERFECTION UNLEASHED—PROLOGUE

The large octagon-shaped building that housed Pioneer Laboratories seemed especially desolate on that Christmas Eve when the child was born. It brooded as it kept watch over the manicured lawns all around, unimpressed by the gently falling snow. The lights that usually spilled from its many windows had been extinguished, save for one glowing softly from the highest floor.

Shepherds did not keep watch over the child that night, but scientists did. Two gray haired men whose seeming age was belied by the youthful vigor in their lithe frames waited in the dimly lit birthing chamber, speaking in lowered tones about nothing in particular. It would have been bad luck to speak about the only thing on their minds—the child—even though they knew, logically, that that no amount of conversation could change the outcome of that night. Still, they could not bring themselves to anticipate success or even discuss outcomes, not after having failed so many times before.

No angels heralded the birth of this child. It was the soft beep of the incubator as the timer ticked down to zero. Conversation stilled as the scientists moved quickly to the machine. They exchanged glances but said nothing as one scientist held his hand over the incubator’s controls. The moment of truth was at hand; the successful birth of this child would redefine the boundaries of genetic manipulation.

The scientist inhaled deeply before pressing down on the switch that would open the incubator and release the infant from the now-perfected artificial birthing process. Both scientists held their breaths as the translucent cover of the incubator swung silently to the side to reveal its precious contents.

The rules of life were broken. The science of life was rewritten in that single magical moment when the child was delivered into the world.

Buy it HERE!
The perfectly formed, healthy male infant was the most beautiful thing the scientists had ever seen. With trembling hands and near reverence, they lifted the child from the chamber and wiped the birthing fluids from its soft skin before wrapping it in warm clothes. Warm and content, the child transitioned from incubator to world without the slightest fuss, making a soft gurgling sound—a happy sound—as it snuggled into the scientist’s arms.

The other scientist gingerly touched the child’s tiny, perfect hands and then smiled as the delicate, little fingers closed tightly around his. He looked up at the other man, almost afraid to hope even though he longed to believe. “Do you think…?”

“We would need to run tests over the course of the child’s life, but I think it’s safe to say that it’s done.”

Yes, it was finally done. Genetic manipulation had always been part art, part science, and completely magical. What began with the unraveling of the double helix and the cracking of the code of life in the Human Genome Project had finally led to mastery over life itself. The human genome had been mapped, scrutinized, and analyzed. Gene therapy, genetically modified food products, and cloned pets were parts of everyday life. Cloned human beings, once deemed impossible and outrageous, were steadily becoming the norm.

The journey was also littered with failures. Mutants tarnished the purity of the human race, typically created inadvertently as a result of genetic selection taken to an extreme. And in the past few years, increasingly dangerous psychic-level mutations threatened to tip the balance of power entirely.

But there was still that last step—the creation of a human being from a swirling mixture of nucleotides, building the double helix of life a base pair at a time, one gene at a time, to create the perfect human being. For the two scientists, it had been a lonely and difficult road, littered with failures, but the child born on a cold and quiet night made it worthwhile. They forgot the nagging despair they had felt during those long nights of painstakingly careful genetic coding, forgot the helpless anger they’d felt at the mocking derision of their colleagues. They held success now—sweet success—in their hands.

“What shall we name the Gene Child?” one scientist asked as they left the birthing chamber together. Their footsteps echoed hollowly down the empty corridors as they walked towards the nursery, carefully carrying the product of thousands of hours of work. “Gene Child” was an interesting and potentially acceptable scientific classification for this unique creature that had neither father nor mother, but it would need another name. “How about Galahad, after the last, the peerless knight of the mythical Round Table?”

The name seemed appropriate for the perfect little being. The scientist carrying the child set it down in the crib that had been prepared, a smile curving his lips as he gazed upon the sleepy infant. “Welcome, Galahad,” he said. The birth of the Gene Child was their ultimate gift to the world on this quiet Christmas Eve.

But another voice was heard that night. Deep within the bowels of the building, a low, inhuman moan, aching with pain and anger, shuddered its way from behind the thick walls of its prison to break the calm silence of that perfect starless night as something far too grotesque to be human welcomed Galahad—its brother—into the world.

Author Bio:

Jade Kerrion unites cutting-edge science and bioethics with fast-paced action in her award-winning Double Helix series. Drawing rave reviews for its originality and vision, and described as “a breakout piece of science fiction,” Perfection Unleashed, and its sequels, Perfect Betrayal and Perfect Weapon, are available in print and e-book through Amazon and other major retailers.

About The Double Helix series: 

His genetic code sourced from the best that humanity offers, Galahad embodies the pinnacle of perfection. When Zara Itani, a mercenary whose abrasive arrogance exceeds her beauty, frees him from his laboratory prison, she offers him the chance to claim everything that had ever been denied him, beginning with his humanity.

Perfection cannot be unleashed without repercussions, and Galahad’s freedom shatters Danyael Sabre’s life.

An alpha empath, Danyael is rare and coveted, even among the alpha mutants who dominate the Genetic Revolution. He wields the power to heal or kill with a touch, but craves only privacy and solitude—both impossible dreams for the man who was used as Galahad’s physical template.

Galahad and Danyael, two men, one face. One man seeks to embrace destiny, and the other to escape it.

The award-winning Double Helix series, consisting of Perfection Unleashed, Perfect Betrayal, and Perfect Weapon, will challenge your notions of perfection and humanity, and lead you in a celebration of courage and compassion. Science fiction, urban fantasy, and action-adventure readers will enjoy this thrilling roller-coaster ride as it twists and turns through a world transformed by the Genetic Revolution.

To connect with Jade and to learn more about her work, visit these links:

Connect with Jade Kerrion: Blog / Facebook / Twitter
Perfection Unleashed: Amazon / Amazon UK / Smashwords
Perfect Betrayal: Amazon / Amazon UK / Smashwords
Perfect Weapon: Amazon / Amazon UK / Smashwords

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

An Interview with author Heather Montford


Bio: Heather Ann Montford lives in Sackets harbor, New York, on the shores of Lake Ontario.  She is a primarily a fantasy writer who recently self-published A Midsummer’s Day, a romantic fantasy set in the world of the renaissance festival.  When she is not writing, she spends her days reading and dreaming of the fantasies to come.






Please welcome author Heather Montford to Unwritten! She's another of the lucky ducks who won an interview as part of the 20,000TH Hit Giveaway. Let's see what words of wisdom we can squeeze out of her, shall we?



Heather, tell us about yourself. Where are you from, and what do you do when you're not spinning fantastical tales?



            I’m from a little village on the shores of Lake Ontario in New York called Sackets Harbor.  It’s such a small village I am always surprised to hear that others have heard of it, even though it does have historical significance during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.  This past summer I discovered the joys of writing at our historic Battlefield site, looking out over the beautiful water of Lake Ontario.  Is there anything better than writing in front of the water?

I honestly don’t do much outside of writing at the moment.  I do enjoy video games, especially from the Lego series (I am dying to get the newly released Lego Lord of the Rings.)  I have started getting into the habit of reading again, as well.  I always find it hard to equally mix reading and writing, and during writing spells I hardly find myself reading.  Though I am remedying that, and I’ve read more during this busy month of NaNoWriMo than I have all summer.



From my snooping, it looks like you've self-published two novels: A Midsummer's Day and Solitaire. Both of them revolve around Renaissance Faires. Can you tell us more about each book, and how you researched the settings?


You have done some deep snooping.  I didn’t think anybody knew about Solitaire anymore.

A Midsummer’s Day follows the events of Sammie and Vaughn, lifelong best friends, as they go about their daily routines as Renaissance Festival actors.  When a freak event sends the pair back into the year 1585, Sammie and Vaughn have to try to make their way back to 2012, and keep their heads while doing it.

Buy it HERE!
Solitaire is about Mage Rianne, a shop girl in a mall by day and actress by night (and renaissance faire actress in the summer).  When Mage meets Nick Watkins, she thinks her life is complete.  Until his obsession with a seemingly harmless card game comes to light.  (As a side note:  I have plans on giving Solitaire a complete rewrite at a very near point in the future.)

The Renaissance festival does play a part in both stories.  Most of the research I’ve done for those locations came directly from my own visits to my local Renaissance Faire in Sterling, New York.  Until I broke my leg there, the Renaissance Faire was one of my favorite places to go, and I still look forward to going there again.  But with location, other research did come into play.  For A Midsummer’s Day, I did heavy research into  proper Renaissance Faire speech and how actors should talk during the festival.  It got pretty tedious, especially during the points of the books when everybody was talking in the period speech.


If I'm not mistaken, you're also writing a children's book series. What's it about, and how's the process going?


The work on my children’s book series has come to a temporary stall.  The series involve the faeries that I created in a novel.  I recently went back to my novel, with the plans of rewriting it for publication, and reorganized my system of faeries, cutting their numbers from thirteen down to nine.  I do plan to get back to the children’s books as soon as I get the novel sorted out.


Like so many other exhausted writers in November, you've participated in NaNoWriMo. Can you tell us anything about what you're working on this time around? And what are some tips you can offer for other writers to stay sane while striving for 50,000 words in one month?


This is my fourth year doing NaNoWriMo.  This time around I’m doing my first book with elves (yay!).  My main character is a male for the first time ever, and a human to boot.  He is a trainer of captive elves, getting them ready for their new lives as servants in the households of humans.  But when a blood elf with strange markings comes into his life, his world gets turned upside down, and in the end, he is prepared to give up everything he knows in order to keep her safe.

NaNo can be pretty simple, even for brand new WriMo’s, so long as you remember one thing:  NaNo is about quantity, not quality.  The point of NaNoWriMo is to write a book from beginning to end, without getting bogged down with editing and “is this good enough?”  There is always time for editing.  There is always time to make things better, or to add the detail that you didn’t get down before.  And it’s not November.  Truthfully, NaNo has been one of the best things I have done for my writing.  I used to be bogged down in editing everything as I wrote it, until I was happy, that I never finished a story.  The thought of getting a story down, even in bare boned form, and them going back to flesh it out later, is what keeps me sane throughout NaNo even today.

Mysti: That book sounds very intriguing to my elven ears. I do hope you'll finish it and let me read it! 


Rumor has it you're a big Lord of the Rings fan like me. How excited are you about the upcoming film release of The Hobbit?


 I am an enormous Lord of the Rings fan, so much so that my grandfather painted me a portrait of JRR Tolkien for my birthday a couple of years back.  I have been so excited about the release of the Hobbit, ever since I found out New Line was smart enough to finally give the movie to Peter Jackson.  I already have Hobbit calendars for next year hehe.  The Hobbit movies are the only movies that I would ever be willing to go to a midnight opening for.  There is almost no way I can say on paper how FREAKING EXCITED I am about the Hobbit hehe.

Mysti: *girly scream* Me too! Except I won't camp out like SOME movie freaks I know...*ahem* 


Don't look now! The random question just arrived. If you answer it and don't make any sudden moves, it won't bite...This one comes from a favorite book of my daughters, Would You Rather...? Radically Repulsive, so here goes:


Would you rather...be constantly compelled to chase squirrels and mailmen like dogs OR casually crawl onto people's laps to take naps like a cat?

I’d definitely have to go with the cat on the lap.  Especially if there were a few specifics laps I could lay on…  Jeremy Renner… Karl Urban…  Apparently any hot actor who is about ten years older than me.


Now, Ms. Montford, would you be so kind as to share an excerpt of your work?


Here is an excerpt from my work in progress, Rivensong.

                It was said that the mists made them easier to catch, those who were uncatchable.
                They gathered in the gray rain fog, white clouds escaping their lips to swirl amongst steam cascading from stone.  Specters floating in the mists, they were ignorant of the lack of sun, of the heavy wetness hanging in the air.  They would stay there for days if need be, waiting to see the wares brought in by the new mists.  The elves caught in the darkness.
                The elves… they would train to serve humans.
                He wound his way through them, avoiding the mindless chatter of the dozens of others like him.  Some couldn’t wait to pick their first elf, or their fifth, or their fiftieth.  Some drooled, a glazed look in their eyes at the opportunity to train yet another satin elf.  Those were the ones who were degenerate enough to only train elves as satins.  Still others, too great a number even over the satin drooling men, twitched with anticipation of implementing a new form of torture deep within their dungeons.
                Some tried to pull him into their prattling conversations.  Young insipids, new initiates into the life, sought advice from him, he who was the best in their eyes.  The best relocater. 
    He pushed past them all.

Mysti: Great excerpt! Can you tell I love elves? Hee hee.


Thanks so much for visiting, Heather! I wish you all the best for a wonderful holiday season and beyond.


Thank you, Mysti.  This has been too much fun.


Monday, November 19, 2012

An Interview with the Stars of "Trapped on Draconica"

I had the privilege of reading/reviewing Dan Wright's debut manga-inspired novel, Trapped On Draconica in May of this year. From November 19-25, he's touring the blogosphere, and I get to kick off the tour! At the end of this post, you'll have a chance to win some fabulous prizes, so stick around.
Click HERE for the complete Tour Schedule!
Being the nosy interviewer that I am, I've gathered up some of the interesting stars of Trapped on Draconica and asked them a few questions. Here's what happened:

Mysti: Ben, you fell into the wrong crowd with some other mischievous teens, and on one of your escapades, you found yourself transported into a whole other world. If you had to sit down and tell your Earthbound friends about your journey there, how would you sum it up in one paragraph?

Ben: Not sure how I would to be honest. Although, to be fair, I doubt I’ll be speaking to the guys after what they pulled on me. I know who my real friends are now. 

Mysti: Erowin, you're the youngest Dragonkin sister, and you found Ben when he arrived on Draconica. What did you think of him at first?


Erowin: He seemed a little strange at first. His manner of speaking confused me a little bit – but he seemed nice enough. Then I got to know him better and I’m glad that I did. (shies away).

The Stars of Trapped On Draconica, from left to right: Daniar, Kalak, Ritchie, Erowin, Rana (top), Zarracka, & Ben
Artwork by Alexis M. Centeno
Mysti: Princess Daniar, as the "muscle" of your father's kingdom and some really powerful Dragonkin abilities, why do you feel so strongly about NOT killing your enemies?


Daniar: You don’t have to call me Princess – but I appreciate the gesture. I’ve never really told many people this, but when I was young (I think about five or six) I used to play swordfights with the son of one of the Paladins, who are the personal guard of my father. We used fake swords (made of wood) but I really wanted to fight with real swords.

One day, I managed to sneak out a couple of short swords so that me and Anthony could have a real fight. But during the process I accidentally stabbed him at a vital point. As luck would have it, he survived – but when I saw the look of horror and pain on his face, and realised that it was ME that caused it... It traumatised me. I made a promise never to kill anyone because I could not bear to look at someone dying before me.

People may think I’m strange for not killing my enemies – but I don’t believe that life is mine to take. If I can inspire others to think that way then maybe I could make Draconica a better place.

Mysti: Prince Kalak, I confess that I found you hard to stomach at first. Though you did grow on me, and I hope to see you in the next book, I'm still not certain what Daniar sees in you. For the sake of like-minded ladies, if you could start over with her, let's play the dating game: What is your idea of the perfect date?

Kalak: Dates? My people don’t do “dates”. In Leonida, if you see a woman you want – you TAKE her by force. If she fights you off, you’re not worthy of her love, but if YOU can force her into submission...

Daniar: (cutting in) Excuse him. Leonida is a warrior culture and they tend to do things a little... differently there. But in answer to your question as to what I see in him. To tell the truth, I actually wondered that myself at first and only really let him join us because I thought he’d be a good ally against Baalaria. Kalak can be a bit of a thug I won’t lie, but there is a gentle side to him that people just don’t see. He likes to hide his true self under a tough mask – but he’s actually not that bad if you get to know him.

Kalak: I can speak for myself, woman!

Daniar: (sighs hard).

Mysti: Rana, as eldest and most secretive sister of the Dragonkin clan, you've kept to yourself for many years. What have you been doing in your solitude to pass the time?

Rana: From Skycrack Mountains, I was able to hear the voices across the world. My Dragonkin abilities give me a greater hearing than most and I hear whispers in the wind. This is how I heard what was going on – and the wars that men started. I learned through this that men are worthless and violent.

I made friends with the hyppagryphs that lived around Skycrack. They can be quite loyal companions if you treat them right. Much like me.

Buy it HERE!
Mysti: Zarracka, I do believe you were one of my favorites of the whole bunch. Yes, you're bad to the bone, but you're certainly a lively one! I'm certain you'll hate me for this, but if you could become Empress by naming one good thing about each of your three sisters, what would those be?


Zarracka: Firstly, I’m not in the least surprised that I’m your favourite! How can anyone not like someone as likeable, and absolutely gorgeous person like myself. (smiles in a smug way)

Do I really have to answer your question? Oh well, I suppose I should do. Ok, let’s get this over with.

Daniar – She’s easy to torment!
Erowin – Shes easy to beat up!
Rana – She’d make a good ally for when I was Empress.

That answer your question? Good. Now how about you introduce me to that Jayden Ravenwing fellow? He seems quite my type! I like a good, strong man that can look after himself.

Mysti: Err, actually I think he’s spoken for.

Zarracka: Really? Shame. Never mind (looks at Kalak). Hey, Kalak. Fancy spending some time with a REAL woman? (gazes at him with a sultry look and angles her chest).

Daniar: Hey! Get away from my man! (punches Zarracka)

Zarracka: WAAAAGGGGGH! (sniff) I’m telling Daddy!


Mysti: (trying to get order): Last, but definitely not least, let's hear from a real favorite of mine, a talking tiger by the name of Ritchie! As Kalak's companion (I wouldn't call you a pet), you definitely experienced his bad side on more than one occasion, but you remained loyal. What is redeeming about him in your eyes?


Ritchie: Aww, you’re too kind. Yes, I know Kalak can be weally nasty sometimes – but I’ve been with him thwough the good and bad. He’s confided in me his deepest pwoblems so I knew he wasn’t all that bad. Even though he was weally nasty to me, I knew that was just a cover. I could take his abuse because I knew he wasn’t weally like that.

Now that Daniar’s managed to bwing out his gentle side, I think we’ll see a new side of him.

Kalak: Shut your face, furball!

Daniar: Kalak! Don’t be so mean!

Ritchie: Told you! She’ll make a new man of you yet.

Kalak: (under his breath) You are so dead...


Thanks for stopping in, gang. I can't wait to read more about your adventures on Draconica!


GIVEAWAY TIME!

***Leave a comment with your e-mail address ON THIS POST for a chance to win ONE limited edition Trapped on Draconica e-book. This edition includes the original action-packed story, along with a teaser for the upcoming sequel! Winner to be announced Nov. 26***


Also, don't miss this tour-wide prize pack! The more activities you complete, the more entries you'll earn:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Author Bio
Dan lives in the UK, his hometown being Canterbury, Kent. A huge fan of both Fantasy and Manga, he has a style that combines both within his writing, which lets him tell stories that are both dramatic and tongue-in-cheek at the same time. Dan also runs his own website, blog and even a wiki page that goes into detail of the world of Dra­conica. He is also a book reviewer, which he does independantly and on his website Read2Review.Authors who have inspired Dan are Douglas Adams, J.R.R Tolkien, Harlan Ellison, Alan Moore, Joss Whedon and Hiromu Arakawa.

Contact Dan via the following links:

TWITTER: @PandragonDan


Where to buy Trapped on Draconica:

Saturday, November 17, 2012

CFF = Christmas Flash Fiction!

Put up some mistletoe and kiss somebody! It's time for Unwritten's 



Get your writer muse elves to work on hammering out something fitting for the holiday season. Make it funny, romantic, scary, sweet, or anything in between. The choice is yours.


"Aye, but thar be rules, matey!"



  1. Submit a complete flash fiction story of no more than 1000 words to mystiparker @ yahoo.com (no spaces), with CFF in the subject line. No scenes or excerpts!
  2. Please keep your submissions PG--no heavy profanity, nudity, sexual acts, etc. If you aren't sure, ask me first. Mild violence and hanky panky are ok.
  3. The contest is open to writers of any experience level, but please edit your story to the best of your ability before submitting. I will not be editing them for you.
  4. Along with your stories, send in a profile pic, short bio (45-100 words), and most recent book cover (if you have one) or links you'd like to share.
  5. I will be posting selected stories as I receive them, but cannot guarantee every story will be published. Your comments on them are greatly appreciated!
  6. Deadline is Dec. 20, 2012 at 12:00AM EST. Anything received after that will not be considered.
  7. Winner(s) will (hopefully) be chosen by our blind judge (my husband, who is not blind) and announced on Christmas Eve (appropriate, huh?) 
  8. Questions? Feel free to contact me.

Prize List:
1st Place-1 year Membership to Writer's Village University ($99 Value! Donated by Bob Hembree)
Christmas Collectibles (anthology, ePub or Kindle, donated by Stan Hampton Sr.)
1 Copy of Snowflake Girl by John Steiner (PDF)
1 Print (US) or E-Book (International) of Christmas Lites II (anthology, donated by Mysti Parker)
 2 Hand-Crocheted Snowflakes (US Winners Only: made and donated by Sherry Derr-Wille)
Collectible Ornament (US Winner Only, donated by Leona Pence)
1 Interview Here on Unwritten

2nd Place- $20 Amazon Gift Card (donated by Leona Pence)
Warm Christmas Wishes (anthology, PDF, donated by Mel Jacob)
Collectible Ornament (US Winner Only, donated by Leona Pence)
1 Copy of Snowflake Girl by John Steiner (PDF)
1 Print (US) or E-Book (International) of Christmas Lites II (anthology, donated by Mysti Parker)
 2 Hand-Crocheted Snowflakes (US Winners Only: made and donated by Sherry Derr-Wille)
1 Interview Here on Unwritten

3rd Place- 1 Copy of Snowflake Girl by John Steiner (PDF)
1 Print (US) or E-Book (International) of Christmas Lites II (anthology, donated by Mysti Parker)
 2 Hand-Crocheted Snowflakes (US Winners Only: made and donated by Sherry Derr-Wille)
1 Interview Here on Unwritten




To get an idea of how the previous flash fiction contest worked, visit this link: http://mystiparker.blogspot.com/2012/09/off-october-flash-fiction.html

Put on some Bing Crosby, make some hot cocoa (with a kick of brandy if you dare) and tell me a good Christmas-y story. I look forward to your submissions! ~Mysti

**Please note: If I post your story on the blog, it's considered "published", so if you wish to submit it to other markets, keep that in mind. Some markets accept reprints, others do not. If you'd rather submit it and NOT be posted unless you win, please make note of that when submitting. Thanks!**

An Interview With Jennifer Bombard

Please welcome wife, mom of three, and former firefighter Jennifer Bombard to Unwritten! She is one of the lucky 20,000TH Hit Giveaway interview winners, so I get to grill her about whatever I want. Bwahahahaha! *cough*

Let's get down to business. Jennifer, tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from, what are your hobbies, and how's the family?

I am from Baldwinsville, New York and am an at home mom right now. I have Multiple sclerosis and it got bad so haven't worked in awhile. My kids are doing great Michael is in 6th grade and Josaphine is in 8th. My Hubby Rob is my best friend, I am very lucky I met him. Hobbies are reading, doing stuff with kids and hubby, facebook and video games.

I haven't spoken to many firefighters, especially female ones. What got you interested in such a noble, yet dangerous profession?

I was a volunteer Fire fighter from Feb 1989 til sept 2000 when I had my kids. I loved being a interior fire fighter and helping people. I think its in my blood, my grandfather was a fire fighter to. I did everything fought fires, drove trucks, rescue calls and dragged hose it was hard but I felt like i belonged there.

On the same note, do you have any favorite firefighter-themed books and/or films?

Movies I have about fire fighters BackDraft and books I have a couple love stories but I cant find them sorry I have so many books.(shock lol) 

As most people who get interviewed here know, I like to research my subjects before I question them. On your Facebook profile, it says you're into wicca and anything ancient Egyptian. How did these two interests come about, and how do you reflect those interests in your everyday life?

 I always been interested in wicca but got more in to it when I found out I had MS, stones to help symptoms and I do practice some one it. About ancient Egyptian I love to watch history on it anything and everything. I am a history freak lol. loved the movies The Mummy, The Mummy Returns etc. I had a Cartouche necklace made with my kids names in it, I wear it all the time.

How's about a random question? This one comes from one of my daughters' favorite books, Would You Rather...? Radically Repulsive. Choose ONE:
Would you rather...be terrified of triangles or of the number 4?
 I think terrified of the number 4.

Since you were an active participant in the 20,000TH Hit Giveaway, I'll assume you're a book-lover. So, here's a fun activity: Grab one of your favorite books, turn to chapter 1, and give us the very first line. Also, list the title and author.

My fav book line "Its not every day you see a ghost." H.P. Mallory, Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble

Thanks very much for visiting Unwritten, Jennifer! I hope you have a wonderful holiday season.