Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Another Bzz about Burt's Bees

As part of the recent BzzAgent campaign, I've been trying Burt's Bees Sensitive Skin facial cleanser and moisturizer.

Bottom line: I'm not a fan.

I harbor more goodwill toward the moisturizer. It's pretty lightweight and does well under my makeup (on days that I wear makeup--for a full-time mom those days aren't that plentiful). Still, it's not been that great on the oily aspect of my skin. I've noticed oilier skin that is prone to breakouts since I've been using it.

The cleanser, I gave up on last week. The stuff feels like I'm washing with lotion. I had hoped it would be a good match for the drier skin I get in the fall/winter months, but it is just leaves my skin way too oily. It doesn't feel clean afterward. When I take the time to have a shower, people, I want to feel clean!

I have given a friend a couple of samples and I'll wait to see what her experience is. Hopefully it will be better than mine. If anyone out there wants to try any, I've still got moisturizer samples with $1.00 off coupons, and I'd be happy to mail them in the continental U.S.

BzzAgent Mysti Parker out.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Character Interview with Lillyanne Sawyer

Answering the call for a character interview made by J. Andrew Jansen...

I present Lillyanne Sawyer, a lovely halfling woman with a fiery spirit and a no-nonsense approach to life. She's a valuable member of the Leogard Intelligence Organization because of her gift for healing, loyalty, and swordsmanship. As partner to the L.I.O.'s lead scout, the wood elf Jayden Ravenwing, Lilly's saved his hide more than once or twice. Her best friend just happens to be Serenya Crowe, the heroine of Book Two. For years, Lilly's harbored a...

Lillyanne: Excuse me! Are ye just gonna be doin' all the talkin' or can I get a word in edgewise?

Me: Oh, I'm sorry, Lilly. What would you like to say?

Lillyanne:  Since ye asked, ye were gonna tell the whole world that I've had a thing for Jay for the last ten years. It's not a secret. Ye blabbed about it enough in that first book of yers. At least ye didn't show me doin' my business on the pot!

Me: I wouldn't do that!

Lillyanne: Why not? Ye show Jay cavortin' with noble elven women and my best friend and ye like to have him walkin' around naked as the day his mother birthed him. What's with that?

Me: Well, he IS quite the looker.

Lillyanne: Yeah, but ye don't have to have him flauntin' his parts all over the place.

Me: You're very protective of Jayden. Why?

Lillyanne: Isn't it obvious? Jay may be a century old, but he'll never learn to keep his head out of the clouds and stop chasing every pretty thing that walks past. If he'd look down, he might see what was right in front of him.

Me: You, right?

Lillyanne: Tyr's blood! It's not like it matters now. I've got my Sammy, and he's all I need.

Me: So, you're happy I put you with him?

Lillyanne: Well, he did rather drop out of thin air in here in Book Two, but yes, he's a good and decent man. Self-employed and picks up after himself. Can't ask for more than that. At least he appreciates me.

Me: I wanted that for you. I know how you felt about Jayden.

Lillyanne: Jay's a fine man, really, but I've come to understand (since ye won't have it any other way) that we wouldn't work like that. We're friends and partners, and that's good enough for me. But, ye better assure me of one thing.

Me: What's that?

Lillyanne: If he ends up with Renny and so much as touches another woman's business, I'll pop over to whatever world ye're from and rip ye a new one!

Me: Whoa! I totally understand. Between you and Renny, I think Jayden's got a good chance of redemption.

Lillyanne: Ye better believe it! I gotta go help Sammy at the store. Apparently it's a nice one, though I'm not even sure it has a name.

Me: I'll get on that.

Monday, October 24, 2011

VOTE for your favorite F2K story!

My story, "Sweet Justice", about a female assassin, was one of the picks for this session of the online creative writing course called F2K. Head on over there, read all 8 great stories (~1500 words each) and pick your favorite! Mine is story 2.

Monday, October 10, 2011

I'm Bzzing about Burt's Bees Sensitive Skin Products

My latest BzzAgent trial is underway. I've used Burts' Bees sensitive skin facial cleanser and daily moisturizing cream for a few days now. And my findings are mixed. Let me elaborate.

PROS: The cleanser is mild, with no harsh fragrance. It tingled a bit on my skin and didn't leave it dry and flaky like a lot of cleansers or bar soap. The moisturizer is very light, has NO fragrance, and works well under my makeup.

CONS: The cleanser is very thick and lotion-like. There is no sudsy goodness, and it's difficult to rinse off. Feels more like a lotion. And the fragrance, though mild, isn't really pleasant either. I know that's a must for people with REALLY sensitive skin, but I like some aromatherapy from time to time. Lavender or mint maybe?  And the moisturizer is almost TOO light. I'm worried it won't quite cut it in winter, when my skin tends to get really dry.

For anyone interested, I've got some little samples of moisturizing cream, plus $1.00 off coupons. I *think* I could stick the samples in an envelope without too much trouble.
Learn more at!

Friday, October 7, 2011

An Interview with the "Curious Hearts" Authors!

Buy it HERE!
It's an unprecedented event here, folks. A collaborative interview with the seven authors of Curious Hearts. You can see my review of it HERE. And because of the popularity of my random question, they will EACH get a random question to answer. Kick back, relax, and enjoy some delicious randomness with your coffee!

Welcome, Curious Hearts authors! Some of you I've had here before, and some of you are new to Unwritten, but all of you are talented writers, and thank you for taking the time to be here today. Now, let's get on with the show!

The first question is for Ellen Margret ("Retrograde Travelers") : What is a fashion trend that you used to wear (in the 70s, 80s, etc.) that you would now be embarrassed to wear?

Ellen: I remember the pair of hot pants, bought from a market in the early seventies. I was desperate to get into them but they were too small for me. Just as well because around the same time my Dad had vowed never to take me anywhere again if I wore a mini dress. It just didn't do to show too much leg as far as he was concerned.

I still carried on wearing the mini though, but I would never dream of
now wearing a skimpy short shirt.

Mysti: For me, it was stirrup pants. Need I say more?

Jane Carver ("A-mazing Shift") If you could have been told one thing that you weren't told when you were a teenager, what would you like to have heard?

Jane: Don't over eat and do exercise! I hit college when still a teen and found a bounty of food in my dorm's cafeteria. Thinking back now, I ate my way through my freshman year! Did I get up and play baseball or volleyball or do anything but trudge the hills where my university sat? Heck no! I guess that would be my one 'well, you could have told me' moments. Oh and maybe the one about eating an entire milk-carton type box of chocolate malted balls. Stress and a test led me right to that big carton of candy. Passed the test; got sick as a dog from the malted ball overload. Haven't touch 'em since. *grin*

Mysti: Yep, my "freshman 15" was more like "freshman 30"! Who knew a meal card would buy so many ramen noodles and Chef Boyardee?

Nell Duvall ("The Corpulent Chiropteran") : When trick-or-treating as a kid, was there any kind of candy that you didn't like to get?

Nell: Chocolate.

Mysti: Be gone, foul demon! Surely ye speak blasphemy! Hee, hee. I'll just take the chocolate from your trick-or-treat bag like I do from my kids. 

Jenny Twist ("Doppelganger") : When you were in grade school, what did you want to be when you grew up? Why?

Jenny: As a child I was going to be a famous singing and dancing film star. An unlikely ambition since I was a chubby child and not exactly graceful. But I could sing in key.

I spent a great deal of time singing songs from the shows in our front room, holding a hairbrush as a substitute microphone, convinced that the people passing by would stop in wonder at hearing my beautiful voice.

I did, in fact, later become a singer, but not a dancer or film star.

My entire family on my father's side was in show business. My grandmother had been a singer with a big band and my father and Aunt Mary were club singers. My cousins between them are or have been singers, dancers, a theatrical producer, a floor manager for a television studio, owners and managers of a theatrical school, and a PR manager for a football club.

Family parties always involved everyone getting up and 'doing a turn'.

My first proper performance was in a working man's club, after the children's outing to the seaside. My dad, who up to then hadn't noticed that I could sing, immediately recruited me to join his duo and I became a proper paid performer.

I have, in my time, been a club singer, jazz singer and escapologist's assistant/vocalist.
It's an odd existence, living out of a suitcase and never getting paid very much.

Later I became respectable and confined my singing to amateur stuff in folk clubs. Much more civilized.

I'm now rather glad I didn't pursue my childhood dream for too long. I much prefer writing.

Mysti: Though I would love to hear you sing, I think you chose wisely, because I definitely love your writing!

Walt Trizna ("Elmo's Sojourn") : Name the most famous person you've had a face to face encounter with.

Walt: I pondered those considered ‘famous’ that I have met, and I came to a conclusion.  Time, for most, will erase their fleeting recognition.

I once shook hands with Paul Tibbets, pilot of the Enola Gay the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, met Robert Morgan, the pilot of the Memphis Belle.  But to the younger generation, these names might be meaningless.

  I met Jane Smiley, but if you’re not a reader that name will bring no recognition.

For seven years I lived in West Los Angeles. It was in the early 1980’s and as my wife and I walked home from dinner at a local restaurant.  There, standing on the sidewalk all alone was a short old man smoking an immense cigar.  We had just walked by George Burns.

My most memorable encounter occurred around 1980.  I was single then and lived next to a very mysterious woman.  She would leave Los Angeles for extended periods of time and ask me to pay her bills. 

One summer Saturday afternoon, she knocked at my door and asked for a ride I soon found myself in the hills north of Sunset Blvd with my bug passing past mansions.

 I brought my neighbor’s suitcase in, and while standing in the foyer, she came in.  Wearing a bathrobe and a towel around her hair, strode Peggy Lee. 

Mysti: That is awesome! The closest I came to a celebrity was at U.K. when President Clinton was there. I couldn't actually see him because of the crowd, but I held my disposable camera up over everyone's heads and got a tiny, blurry image of him later. 

James N. Cricket ("Mission to Doom" and "Bi-Curious Wife") : Have you ever had a reoccurring dream? What was it?

James: When I was a child the recurring dream I remember was being terrified surrounded by water as far as I could see in any direction. I don't know if I drowned in a prior life, or what. When I got older I consulted a dream interpreter and I was told that dream means I am a closet intellectual. hahaha

Mysti: I sometimes dream of flying, but I'm always afraid I'd fly into power lines. Maybe that means I have potential, but am too scared of failure...or electrocution. 

T.D. Jones ("Just A Little Too Late") : What is your favorite weird food combination?

T.D.: My food that I love together is chili cheese fritos and ice cream sandwiches. Love to run the chip along the edge of the ice cream then eat the chip. 

Mysti: I knew I liked you for some reason, T.D.! Ha ha!

I hope you've enjoyed today's collaborative dose of randomness! Thank you again, authors, for stopping in. Readers, please take the time to visit the links below for more information on their work. 

Ellen Margret:

Jane Carver:

Nell Duvall:

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Winners of the Animal Scene Contest!!!

First of all, a big, big THANK YOU to everyone who submitted, voted, and commented in the Animal Scene Contest!

Our winner is....Jenny Twist! She's the fab author of Take One at Bedtime and Domingo's Angel, plus other lovely stories in some great anthologies. You can see the second interview I did with her HERE. She'll get a $10 Amazon gift card, plus another interview soon. 

Now, for all you commenters, I've drawn some names for the 5 books:

The Twelfth Paladin: Barb
Curious Hearts: Chris
Tales from Imagination's Closet: Julie
The Wicked Heroine: Sara
Domingo's Angel: Amy

Congratz to the winners and I'll have the authors contact you ASAP!


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My Latest Live Interview

Listen to my latest live interview with Linda Mooney on Other Worlds of Romance. Hear me read the prologue and first chapter of A Ranger's Tale:

       Listen to internet radio with Linda Mooney on Blog Talk Radio

Monday, October 3, 2011

"Herbert's Dilemma" Published in Fictitious Magazine!

Image courtesy of
Just in time for the Halloween season, my zombie short, Herbert's Dilemma is out at Fictitious Magazine

Please go check it out and the other great stories to add some BOO to your month.

On another great note, Jenny Twist is our winner for the Animal Scene Contest. Stay tuned for more contests, reviews, interviews and zaniness on Unwritten!