Thursday, September 27, 2012

October Flash Fiction #2

Josh Thornbrugh

The intercom crackled to life.
"Okay, Spencer, initiating temporal displacement test alpha in three...two..."
"Wait. Don't push the button," said Spencer.
It was too late; before he could get out the last word, the control room vanished, light assaulted him, and the floor gave way. His mind raced to piece together what was happening. I'm falling. Those are clouds up there. Spencer turned his head to the side, buffeted by wind. Is that a building? Oh my god! That's a building!
He flailed his arms violently, and managed to roll over. The second he did, he wished he hadn't. He was free falling next to a skyscraper, and the ground was looming closer by the second. A moment later, a shrill sound broke through the roar of wind. A moment after that, he realized he was screaming uncontrollably. They'll never know what happened. All those years of research and the team will never know that I died from a system glitch.
The ground rushed closer. His stomach knotted and he closed his eyes right before impact. He felt his body hit the ground and roll. He was still screaming when he opened his eyes. The light was dimmer and it flickered. He sat up and looked down at his legs. I'm still alive. How can that be? Am I untethered from the stream?
He looked up and took stock of his surroundings. He was in a subway, or at least it had been a subway at one time. By the look of things, it had been deserted for a long while. A single fluorescent light above him flickered on and off. He could make out a sign on the wall, 96th Street, Central Park West. New York? Maybe I can go up to street level and find a phone. Sure, I can find a phone and call the lab.
Spencer got up. He felt no stiffness, no injury. It's like it never happened. For a moment he believed everything was going to be fine. He would go up to street level, find a phone, and let the lab know the test had been a success. Despite the close call, he still felt it had been a success. The temporal jumper had worked. There are still some kinks to iron out. Kinks. He chuckled. We'll definitely have to work on the quantum coordinates, that’s for sure.
The sound of dogs barking brought him back to the present. At the same instance, a sickening smell hit him. It was putrid like something rotted, but it was mixed with something else, something metallic. Where is it coming from? He turned around, and looked in every direction. The platform seemed deserted, and there were certainly no trains running on these lines. More barking echoed through the subway. This time it was closer and accompanied by scratching and clawing. Instinctively, Spencer crouched down and shuffled close to the edge of the platform. The noise echoed all around him.
A moment later, and he knew where the smell and the noise was coming from. A metal door across from him flew open. It hit the wall, cracked several tiles, and ricocheted back, sending one of the dogs spiraling backwards. The others stood silent. Their red eyes glowed in the dimly lit corridor. There were at least ten of them by Spencer's estimation, and they all looked rabid, worse than rabid. Deranged. They raised their heads and sniffed at the air. Saliva and blood ran from their mouths. Almost in unison, they locked onto Spencer. He had been taught not to run away from dogs, but he couldn't contain his panic.
He jumped down onto the rails, and took off as fast as he could. It was even darker here, and the ground was uneven. It wasn't the rails, it was something else. It crunched beneath his feet. Soon he heard more crunching behind him. The dogs have jumped down.
Deep guttural sounds erupted behind him. The dogs howled and bayed. They were gaining ground. He could hear them on either side of him now, but he didn't dare look. He couldn't. He felt something grab onto his right leg. Knives dug into his calf, and in an instant he was down. He landed awkwardly, and realized the crunching was that of bones. There were broken bones everywhere. Some ground to powder, some cracked and splintered. The dogs were on him. They ripped out chunks of his flesh from head to toe. A thousand tiny blades did their work.
An electric tingle, an audible pop, he was floating. His body felt like it was on fire. He opened his eyes and quickly shut them again. The pain stabbed deep into his brain. He nearly passed out. A gasp, a kick, and his foot touched something hard. He stood and his head came up above the water. He opened his eyes. They still burned intensely, but he could make out a faint shoreline. He willed himself towards it, and collapsed on the sand. There were voices.
"We've got another floater, boss." The first voice was rough.
"Take him to decon." The second voice sounded resigned.
Spencer's flesh burned. It seemed to ooze. He tried to open his eyes and failed. He didn't know how many times he blacked out. At one point he thought he was in a van, the next he was stripped and strapped to a chair.
"Hose him," said the rough voice.
His body erupted in a shower of pain. Every nerve ending exploded, was cut open, sanded, then cut open again. A familiar tingle, a pop, and everything went away.
The burn left him, replaced by a dull throb. He knew he was sitting in a chair, but now he was clothed. He opened his eyes. Bright light. The lab! I'm back in the lab!
The intercom crackled to life.
"Okay, Spencer, initiating temporal displacement test alpha in three...two..."
"Wait. Don't push the button," said Spencer, but it was too late.


Josh Thornbrugh is an aspiring novelist living in northeast Oklahoma, otherwise known as Green Country, although lately it's been a little less green. He's been writing intermittently for the past several years as evidenced by his blog, Intermittent Writing. When he's not at his day job as a cartographer, Josh is usually spending time with his wife and children, playing with their rambunctious beagle, Gabby, or working on his fantasy novel. And yes, usually in that order.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

An Interview with Stacy Richman

Please welcome army wife, mom of three, avid reader, and book reviewer Stacy Richman to Unwritten! She's another active participant who won an interview at the 20,000TH Hit Giveaway. Stacy and co-reviewer, Emily Alburn have a book review site called Book Broads. According to their review policy, they prefer romance, but will consider other genres, too. Emily reviewed A Ranger's Tale recently. (Thank you very much, Emily.)

Now, on to the inquisition! Stacy, tell us about yourself. Where do you live and what do you do when you're not reading tales of love and adventure?

     I live in South Carolina right now, but hopefully will be moving to West Virginia at the end of the year. When not reading I… I only read. Besides my books I really have no life. They are my best friends. 

Since you prefer to review romance, let's dig deeper. What are your favorite romance sub-genres?

My favorites would have to be Paranormal and Erotic. However I have been on a YA kick lately.

I think a lot of people consider becoming book reviewers, so tell us about your experience. How did Book Broads begin, and how has the response been so far?

Well I met Emily in June at RomCon. After sharing our love of books we started talking and found out that we liked the same things. She is the technological one so she actually started the page. All I do is get some books then follow a schedule. Read, Review, Repeat.

Is there anything you WON'T review? And what's your policy when someone sends something that's really not up your alley or just doesn't earn a good rating from you?

I’m not big on mystery or thrillers. When someone sends something that just doesn’t interest me I try to tell them that. Better to know that it would get a bad review from me just because it isn’t my type. When I read something though and just didn’t care for it, I’m going to be honest about it. I will however tell them why I didn’t care for it. There could always be someone that will love a book for the same reasons that I didn’t like it.

There's been a lot of romance books turned movies over the years. What are your favorites of those?

     I am a Twilight fan. And even though I was apparently the only one, I loved watching The Secret Circle.

Have you heard of the recent scandals involving authors paying for reviews? If so, would knowing a favorite author paid someone for good reviews, would that change your attitude toward that author?

   I hadn’t heard of it. Yeah, that would change how I felt about the author. An author has to be good on their own. That is why I love them. If you are truly good you don’t have to pay for a good review and you aren’t afraid of a bad one.

Random question coming your way! Paper or plastic?


Finally, Ms. Richman, grab a copy of a nearby great book, and give us the title, author, and opening line.

While it Lasts by Abbi Glines. 
  “Your Mom brought me the letter today.” The pain in my chest was so sharp I had to fight to keep from bending over and screaming. “I read every last word. Several times.”

Thanks so much for visiting Unwritten, Stacy! Happy reading!

Find Stacy and the Book Broads here:
and on Facebook:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

October Flash Fiction #1

by Adam Gaffen

          Ben was afraid.
        That was perfectly normal and natural, according to his Uncle Frank.  Of course, his mother, Frank’s only surviving sister, called him ‘your crazy Uncle Frank’.  But she said it with love.  He thought.
          He lay in the top bunk, one of the few perks of being the oldest.  Sam and Will, his younger brothers, had the beds below him.  Sam was nine, and was only starting to be aware of the danger of this time of year.  Will was just six, and so had become old enough to be part of the night for the first time.  He didn’t really know anything, Ben thought bitterly.
          Ben was twelve.  He would turn thirteen in the middle of February, less than two months away, and he’d be able to sleep in safety from then on.
          He’d done all the traditional things.  He’d tucked himself tight under the sheets, covering even his head, so that he wasn’t visible.  He’d said his prayers, too, though being a cynical near-teen he wasn’t sure what good it actually did.  Before he’d gone to bed, his mother had told him how proud she was of him. 
          “You’ve been so well-behaved this whole month,” she said.  “Not a single pout, even when your father told you you couldn’t go out with your friends, not a complaint.  No matter what happens, I wanted you to know how much I appreciate that.”  She’d smiled up at him over his baby sister, still nursing.  “Now, off to bed with you.  Can’t stay up late, not tonight!”
          A noise in the dark startled him from his reverie.  He strained his ears, listening.  Long minutes passed.  Nothing.
          It was rooted in old traditions, he’d learned in school, adapted for the twenty-fourth century.  Too many people, dwindling resources, there simply wasn’t room for everyone. 
          “Why not get rid of the old people?” he finally asked last year.  It made sense to him.  “They’re old and useless, they’d had their lives,” he continued.  “It’s not fair to take kids away!”
          His teacher, who knew that Ben’s best friend Cyndi had gone the previous year, answered gently.  “The laws don’t allow that, Ben.  In the early twenty-first century, there was a powerful group called the Aarp, and they got rules passed that prevent what they called ‘euthanasia’ without the patient’s consent.  And even though the country that the Aarp controlled is long gone, their laws, like those of the other countries that became part of the One World, continue.”
          “But why kids?” Ben insisted.
          “Because you don’t vote.  If you want to talk about this more, I can give you a pass to see the counselor.”
          Nothing else came of that, officially.  Ben got much quieter as the year ticked down to its inevitable end, and he did his own digging, looking for ways to get around this final selection.
          Now he silently reviewed his efforts.
          Socks, hanging over the back of his chair.  Check.
          Prayers.  Yeah, right, like that’ll work.  Still, couldn’t hurt.  Check.
          Head covered.  Check.
          He just had to wait.  This was going to be the longest night of his life.  As long as he didn’t hear any bells.  That was one thing the old songs all agreed on, that when it was your turn, you would hear bells jingling.
          Time passed.  He could hear the snores of his brothers below him, blissfully unaware.  He could remember a time where he didn’t believe, like them.  Now, he believed.  Just this final night, he thought.  Last time.  No kids for me!  I won’t do this to them!
        He must’ve fallen asleep, because he awoke with a start.  What was that?
          Bells.  Definitely bells.
          Oh crap.
          He had two brothers.  One of them could be taken.  He’d miss Sam, or Will, but he’d get over it, he thought.  There were four sisters.  Take one of them!
          Was that closer?  He couldn’t tell.  Maybe it was the Singhs’; they lived just on the other side of the wall, and they had even more kids than his folks!  That had to be it.
          Oh, that was so coming through the wall.  No way it was in their home, it was too muted.
          He waited.
          He couldn’t hear anything.  Shouldn’t there be screaming, or something?
          More nothing.
          After a long while, he began to relax.
          Suddenly: “Here comes Santa Claus!”
          Then blackness.

Adam Gaffen is a father of 3, working 2 jobs and just published on Amazon for Kindle - with more on the way!  Keep up with him at:

And check out his stories:

Monday, September 24, 2012

An Interview with Marian Allen

Marian Allen writes science fiction, fantasy, mystery, humor, horror, mainstream, and anything else she can wrestle into fixed form.
Allen has had stories in on-line and print publications, on coffee cans and the wall of an Indian restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky.
Allen is a member of Quills and Quibbles and the Southern Indiana Writers Group, and is a regular contributor to SIW's annual anthology.

Buy it HERE!
I had the pleasure of meeting Marian Allen at Fanfest in Louisville, KY this past June, with a couple other ladies from the Southern Indiana Writers. I bought their anthology, Dragon: Our Tales and loved it! See my review HERE. The lucky Ms. Allen won an interview as part of my 20,000TH Hit Giveaway. From what I've read, she has quite the knack for words, so let's interrogate a few choice ones out of her, shall we?

Ms. Allen...where were you on the night of...oh, never mind. Just tell us about yourself. Where are you from? What do you do when you're not writing about real or symbolic dragons and other whimsical things?

I'm originally from Louisville, Kentucky, but now I live in Corydon, Indiana. When I'm not writing, I'm volunteering for, a group dedicated to non-violent problem solving and diversity education. Or I'm hanging out with the Grassroots Locavores, a group dedicated to eating fresh, organic, local foods. Or I'm cooking. Or I'm eating.

I very much enjoyed Dragon: Our Tales. You had two pieces in it: "Blossom On The Water" and "The Transformation". Tell us a little about what those entail and how your group chose which stories to include in the collection.

I'm so glad you liked that book! It's one of my favorites. Here's how our group anthologies work: We choose a theme, then try to write a story that fits that theme (or, more often, write a story that stretches the definition of that theme as far as it can stretch). We bring our stories in and read them, the group suggests edits, the writers do their own edits based on those suggestions, and satisfactorily edited stories go into the book. That year's theme was dragons; one writer had a ride at the fair called The Dragon, and another mentioned a decorative cloth with a dragon embroidered on it. "Blossom On The Water" has a story within the story about a dragon but, in my mind, the story within the story is also about Bud Blossom. "Transformation" is a poem about aging.

Buy it HERE!
You've also written personal anthologies (several of which you generously donated to the giveaway--thank you!). Can you give us the scoop on those and anything else you've published?

I was electronically published back in 1994, when electronic publishing meant people looked at books online but ordered them by mail. The books came on 5 1/4 floppy disks. The first two of those books were reissued by Echelon Press a few years ago, and may come out in new editions soon with another press which would also issue them in print. The personal collections of short stories were self-published. I write a LOT of short stories, so I just collected some that went together and put them out electronically. LONNIE, ME AND THE HOUND OF HELL and TURTLE FEATHERS feature stories sweet and/or strange about animals. THE KING OF CHEROKEE CREEK is all about Bud Blossom and people connected to him, plus a dragon story originally published in the final issue of Marion Zimmer Bradley's FANTASY Magazine. MA'S MONTHLY HOT FLASHES is a collection of micro-mini flash fiction.

Let's talk about the Southern Indiana Writers group. How many members are there, and how long have you been involved?

There are about 13 members, with around 10 coming to any given meeting. We've been together as a group for about 20 years; three of the current members, including me, are original members.

Several writers out there may be considering joining a writers' group. How often does your group meet, and what does a meeting typically include?

We meet every week, though most groups meet monthly. Some of us arrive early, so we can visit before the business starts. Then the moderator calls the meeting to order and we run through any business (where we are in the anthology process, signings and appearances we've scheduled or need to discuss scheduling, questions about craft or marketing). Prior to the meeting, the moderator has gotten a list by email of members who have work to present; now those members pass out copies of their work. Each reads while the rest of us follow along and make notes of corrections, questions, or suggestions. Then we discuss our notes on that piece, give our marked copies back to the writer, and go on to the next.

Our meetings last two hours, not counting socializing before and after.

Are there any fees, rules, or restrictions to joining your group?

We each kick in $1 a week, which adds up. It all goes to producing the anthologies or paying for tables at sales venues. We're strictly a not-for-profit group. Income from sales of the anthologies also goes back into the kitty.

The group has published several anthologies like "Dragon". How do you plan and put together one of those as a group? Do you also do other activities/projects, such as contests, retreats, etc?

Buy it HERE!
As I said, the group members choose a theme or genre. First drafts are due by the end of March. Final drafts are due by the end of May. Long-time member T. Lee Harris, who has a fine arts degree, is our project/art manager. Members Joy Kirchgessner and Ginny Fleming are also artists, though T and Joy have done most of the artwork in the books.

Every so often, we'll have a group outing to a restaurant, to celebrate one another's professional accomplishments. We did have a retreat once, which was a blast! I don't think the hotel told us not to come back....

We attend book fairs and other sales events. Some of us represent the group at speculative fiction conventions like Fandom Fest, Context, and Marcon, where we're on panels and do readings.

Random question time!! This one comes from a silly book my daughters love. Would you rather shoot confetti from your armpits or hot fudge from your ears?

Oh, definitely shoot confetti from my armpits! Hot fudge coming from my ears sounds messy and painful, but I'd forget about my upper-arm flab and go sleeveless if I could hike my elbow up over my head and make a fiesta.

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

Love to! This is from SAGE, Book 1 - The Fall of Onagros, the fantasy due out soon from Hydra Publications. Since you like dragons, I'll give you a bit with a dragon in it.
     "Unload the cart. Put the kettle here, the box of stones here. Put the books on the ground, here and here."
     Andrin placed everything as she told him, the books forming a rough semi-circle around the empty cart and at some distance from it.
     "Now turn the cart over. Put it up against the stones with the kettle just inside it."
     Andrin found the cart as easy to up-end as it had been to pull – under his grandmother's eye.
     "Now you can rest."
     Andrin sat. The drowsy hen snuggled in a nest of weeds nearby.
     I'll wake in the ditch just outside of Kudasad and have to finish the journey all over. I wonder how much of what I'm dreaming will happen again by day.
     But when he woke, although the mist was gone and the sun was shining, he wasn't just outside of Kudasad and he had nothing to do again. He was out of sight of Fiddlewood River Road, on the bank of Fiddlewood River. Behind him was a semi-circular grove of ten trees – willow and fruit. Before him was a small cottage of wattle-and-daub with a stone chimney up one side.
     "My books. My casting pebbles. The cart."
     With a grassy shushing, the water dragon came around the corner of the house. Her feathery ruff and spine-crest riffled in the faint breeze.

Thank you so much for visiting Unwritten, Marian! I hope to see you in person again AND to read more of your fantastic stories!

Thanks, Misty! I'm looking forward to our next meeting, too. :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

OFF = October Flash Fiction

Can you scare me? Or at least make me shiver? If you can do that in 1,000 words or less, then YOU just might win Unwritten's:

Perhaps you saw or participated in the May Flash Fiction contest. The rules here are similar, except instead of 600 words, I've decided to give you a maximum of 1,000 words and NO prompt. 

"Ready for your bedtime story?"
The choice of story is all yours, as long as it lends itself to scary, creepy, or just plain weird! Here are the rules:

  1. Submit a complete flash fiction story of no more than 1000 words to mystiparker @ (no spaces), with OFF 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. Blood and gore 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 Oct. 26, 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 Halloween (appropriate, huh?) 
  8. Questions? Feel free to contact me.
Prizes are as follows:

1st Place 

2nd Place

3rd Place

  • 1st five pages manuscript critique (by either Ian Hall, Veronica Roxby Jorden, or Lindsey R. Loucks)
  • 4 issues of Trembles Horror Magazine (epub or mobi, (donated by Gregory Thompson)

Monday, September 17, 2012

An Interview with Jessica Sawa

I'm very happy to welcome Jessica Sawa, avid reader and mother of two, to Unwritten today. As one of my most active participants in the  20,000TH Hit Giveaway, she won several books and an interview. Since I usually have authors as guests, I'm excited to get a reader's perspective. So, let's get crackin!

Jessica, give us the scoop on the lady on the other side of the screen. Where are you from and what do you do when you're not reading something fabulous?

I am from Belle Vernon Pennsylvania. I do not work right now so life is all about cooking, cleaning, reading my books and taking care of my 13 year old daughter Carmen Maria and 4 year old son Anthony Joseph, They are my heart and soul. I still live with my mommy because when I was little I swore I would never leave her, when I was ready to fly away from the nest she was diagnosed with a heart problem and I swore I would never leave because I cannot imagine my life without her, she is my rock and my best friend. I LOVE to take pictures, I feel they capture the moments in life perfectly and preserve them for future generations. My kids and I love to hike, swim in the river, and camp. anything out doors really. Life definitely has not been easy, but whoever said it would be. I just know I am blessed with a wonderful family and awesome friends.

What are your favorite genres?

Almost anything paranormal: Ghosts, Vampires and so on :) SOME romance IE The notebook. I like anything that can pull me in from the first page on, that can paint a picture in my head as if I am watching it on a movie screen. I will try any genre once, twice to be sure.

Favorite authors?

Buy it HERE!
J.K. Rowling, James Patterson, Mysti Parker ;), Tara Fox Hall, Stephenie Meyer, Nicholas Sparks, Jenny Twist, Oh my gosh this list goes on forever, I cannot pick just a couple I know that! 

Is there anything in a book that drives you crazy?

Nothing really, but I truly cannot stand when I cannot get into a book, I have forced myself to read books even though I could not get into them but now I feel that takes the fun out of reading so I move on to the next one and try again later because just like taste buds I believe our brains change too and sometimes just sometimes if you try again you might be able to get into that same book you truly could not get past the first chapter before. if ya know what I mean HAHA.

Do you have any special places or routines when it comes to reading a book?

I love to curl up on my couch with a hot cup of coffee (french vanilla creamer) and just get lost. I also LOVE to read during thunderstorms. before I got the Kindle Fire I use to read while I laid out as well, but with the screen it is too hard in those bright sun shining lights!

You've probably heard the recent news reports of authors paying for book reviews. As a reader, if you found that one of your favorite authors paid for reviews, would that affect your desire to read their work?

I have actually never heard of this, I don't believe it would affect my wanting to read their books, although it would be very awesome to get paid to read, I actually do not think I could take a payment from an author for reading and reviewing a book. however, I do like the R2R idea though where the Author will GIVE just the book to the reader for a review. being a single mom of two not working it becomes hard to keep buying books so I believe the R2R is a GREAT idea. :)

Random question time! On a typical Saturday morning, what's for breakfast?

Whatever the kids want, ever since having them I do not get to make the decisions anymore! Bacon is a must with everything though!

Now, grab one of your favorite books, give us the title, author, and the opening line!

Buy it HERE!
The Last Lecture, by Randy Pausch. "I have an engineering problem. While for the most part I am in terrific physical condition I have ten tumors in my liver and I have only a few months left to live." 

This book/Man changed my life and it is a must read by everyone. there is also a video of it as well, look it up and watch it I promise you will be moved from laughter to tears to laughter again. My FAVORITE quote from him is "We Cannot change the cards we were dealt just how we play the hand"

Thanks so much for visiting Unwritten, Jessica! Happy reading!

 Thank you very much Mysti you are an awesome author so please keep up the great writing!!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Review of You Can't Go Home Again by Aubrianna Hunter

You Can't Go Home AgainYou Can't Go Home Again by Aubrianna Hunter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you need need to spice up your reading time, you'll want to pick up Aubrianna Hunter's 'You Can't Go Home Again'. This contemporary erotic romance will have you fanning yourself in no time.

It all begins with Danielle Foster, who has quite the dilemma. Life's been great for her in L.A., working in the film industry and making a name for herself. So different from her previous life in a small Texas town. Though her parents are long dead, most of Danielle's childhood and college friends are still back in Texas. And one of them, Jenn, her BEST friend, is getting married. She wants Danielle to be her maid of honor. Danielle can't turn her down, but the thought of facing Jason Bradford after five years is almost more than she can take.

Danielle (or Dani as her friends call her) and Jason (Jace)were once part of a close-knit circle of friends, until something happened between the two that sent Danielle running to L.A. None of the others know what happened, but as soon as Dani arrives back in town to help prepare for the wedding, it soon becomes clear to everyone that she and Jason have some unresolved issues.

Aubrianna Hunter takes us with Dani and Jace on their tumultuous journey. Be prepared to dive straight into some steamy waters. From the prologue, until the end, the sizzling passion and conflict between these two will keep your heart racing and the pages turning.

I have to admit being aggravated with Dani and Jace for their ongoing stubbornness and refusal to come clean earlier in the story. However, when things finally came to light and the climax emerged, their complexity and vulnerability became clearer and helped me to sympathize better with them until the satisfying conclusion.

I'd recommend this book for adults who enjoy a sizzling erotic read that's not overly graphic, but certainly doesn't take place behind closed doors! Grab your copy today!

View all my reviews

A Review of Spur of the Moment by Candace Bowen Early

Spur of the MomentSpur of the Moment by Candace C. Bowen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Candace Bowen Early scores another historical winner with this masterful time travel romance. Her love for the medieval English culture and telling a breathtaking love story is evident in Spur of the Moment. It didn't take long for this book to become one I simply did not want to put down!

This epic romance unfolds quickly as young Bronwyn Chase, a famous author of our time, suddenly finds herself thrown back into 12th Century England. She meets a young knight named Euric and is immedately feels drawn to him, inexplicably so, and it's obvious he shares an attraction to her. Unfortunately, the evil sorceress Jaenelle has cast a spell on Euric that makes him her virtual slave. Euric's mother, a mystic by the name of Gwyllion, is desperate to free her son from the spell and knows that only Bronwyn can do so.

The reasons for this are what drive the story in such a compelling way. As a reader, I longed for Bronwyn and Euric to be free to love one another, and felt the angst with each obstacle that kept them apart. Every character, including the demented Jaenelle, was fleshed out and realistic. Bronwyn's painful past made her a very sympathetic character, but the strength she exhitbited kept her from being a woman you could pity. Former foster child Bronwyn found a wonderful mother figure in Gwyllion, and I came to love her as much as Bronwyn did.

There's not much in the way of criticism I can offer here, except that I never got a solid grasp on WHY Bronwyn and Euric had such a strong bond from the beginning. I think one has to suspend disbelief early in this story to accept that aspect. Otherwise, Spur of the Moment is a story that still lingers in my mind, and is sure to become a timeless romance for anyone who reads it. I'm anxious to read the next installent in this saga and I'd recommend this book to any romance lovers, particularly fans of time travel/paranormal romance. Grab your copy today!

View all my reviews

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Latest Bzz In Candy

Being a BzzAgent certainly has its perks. I get to try free products and share what I think about them with others. For this chocoholic writer, I can't think of a better product to try than an all-natural chocolate candy.

If you've heard of Unreal, you've probably heard that it's an all-natural alternative to your usual junk food choices. As part of the BzzAgent campaign, I took my coupon for a free Unreal item to CVS today. I just finished the Unreal 5: Chocolate Caramel Nougat Bar (pictured above, far left). It's similar to a Milky Way, and I found the general taste and texture to be similar. It's quite yummy with coffee! Some people might find the added fiber in the nougat (called "Fructan": a prebiotic fiber) a little gritty for their tastes. I didn't mind it. 

As this product is still relatively new, some of you may not see it in stores yet. I couldn't find it in my local Kroger (LaGrange, KY), but a mom friend found hers at CVS, so I went there and found it soon as I walked in by the registers. At $1.19 per package, the price may not appeal to everyone, but if you are lucky enough to be a BzzAgent or know one, you can get some buy one/get one coupons to make it a little easier on the wallet. 

Overall, I liked the candy I chose. I'm not certain I would have tried it without it being part of this campaign, and I still think, in a perfect world, one should either choose a piece of fruit or nothing at all instead of eating the excess sugar. However, if you're having a serious candy craving and want to try something more natural, give Unreal a try. 

To learn more about this product, visit the Unreal website:

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Barney Is History, So Kill Purple Prose!

You may have heard the term, "purple prose". If not, let's explore this phenomenon of exaggerated writing.

Wikipedia (yes, that font of online wisdom) defines purple prose as:
...a term of literary criticism used to describe passages, or sometimes entire literary works, written in prose so extravagant, ornate, or flowery as to break the flow and draw attention to itself. Purple prose is sensually evocative beyond the requirements of its context. It also refers to writing that employs certain rhetorical effects such as exaggeratedsentiment or pathos in an attempt to manipulate a reader's response.
I'd say that's a pretty accurate definition. In my simplified language, purple prose = trying too hard. 

In today's publishing world, writers are encouraged to create a style that will stand out from the rest and keep their work from being just another fish in the huge sea of books. Unfortunately, in that effort to stand out among the rest, the result can be prose that's so overwritten, it screams LOOK AT ME!!! I"M DIFFERENT!!

You've likely seen examples of this before. It seems to occur most frequently in the literary, romance, and fantasy genres, but like reruns of that deranged dinosaur, purple prose can pop up anywhere. 

A quite popular example (from Wikipedia again) is from Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton (1803–1873), who begins his novel Paul Clifford (1830) with the sentence: 
It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents — except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness. 
Often shortened to just "It was a dark and stormy night", this opening has given rise to the annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, in which contestants are asked to supply similarly florid opening sentences to their own otherwise imaginary novels.
Deb Stover, who wrote a great article entitled "The Purple Prose Eater" for How To Write a Romance For The New Markets, researched romantic several texts for examples. Here's one of those gems:
Some of the participants in my research became a little...carried away. Example? "The dragon of his desire writhed beneath his tight-stretched trousers." Ahem.
I suspect the hilarity of reading such things in romance keeps some readers from being fans of the genre and many writers from attempting love scenes.

So, what's a writer to do? How do you bring a strong voice to your work without writing something that either leaves a reader scratching their heads or laughing aloud because it's obvious you've tried too hard?

I don't think there's a really simple answer. Like most areas of writing, it boils down to hard work. Write, re-write, write again. Critique partners (good ones) are invaluable for pointing out these areas and giving you honest feedback when the prose turns Barney-ish. Eventually, if you can get to the point where a reader or critique partner says "I was so caught up reading that I forgot I was critiquing (or lost track of time)", then you KNOW you're onto something.

My goal, and perhaps it should be yours too, if you're a writer, is to write a story in such a way that the reader doesn't see the words. They see only the story and characters. I essentially become invisible. Some might scoff at that: If I'm invisible, how do I get noticed?

If that's a concern, then ask yourself: Why do you write? To tell a great story or to get noticed? If your goal is mostly the latter, sure you might get noticed, but maybe not in the ways you wanted. Strive for learning the art of storytelling without resorting to a fresh coat of purple, and when you do get noticed, your work will resonate more in the readers' minds.

Try something for practice: Take a sample paragraph from a published work or your own work that you feel is particularly purple (overwritten). Rewrite it to make it as simple as possible. Note how short it became. Now, play with the passage, paying mind to character voice and atmosphere. See what you can come up with--still keeping it simple, but as active and true to the text as possible. If you do this and want to share your exercise, please do so in the comments.

Or, feel free to share your own findings of Barney-colored prose (citing title and author, of course). Happy writing!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Latest Bzz...

Have you ever tried the Glade Expressions line of home fragrances? Quite honestly, I don't use a lot of home fragrance products apart from the occasional spray and candle. The choices at the store are too overwhelming to sort through when I've got to buy the necessities, like food for my family of five. When BzzAgent announced the Glade Expressions campaign, I was excited! What an easy way to go grab something nice-smelling for my home and not have to stand there wondering what to try first, like a monkey in a fruit market.

 I just received my BzzKit this week, which included coupons for a free Glade Expressions Fragrance Mist starter kit and a free Glade Expressions Oil Diffuser starter kit. I got both products at Kroger today. For the mist, I chose the Fuji Apple & Cardamom Spice scent and really love it. It's very fresh and perfect for fall. I'm trying the Lavender & Juniper Berry scent for the diffuser. AND I'm using it in the laundry room, where the litter box is. If it can help with the litter odor, I'll be a lifelong fan!

For you lucky Unwritten readers and home fragrance fans, you can grab a $2.00 off coupon for Glade Expressions Fragrance Mist here:

And a $4.00 off coupon for the Glade Expressions Oil Diffuser here:

If you've tried these products, let me know what you think in the comments! Have a fragrant day! ~Mysti

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Networking Is Not a Dirty Word: A Guest Post by Cynthia Ravinski

Cynthia Ravinski writes Emotobooks, among other things. From her coastal northern setting she works language into stories. She’s been an athlete, a co-pilot, and a world traveler. She’s basked in the light of great poets, and has been educated to high degrees at UMaine Farmington and Seton Hill University. To say she is obsessed with drinking tea is an understatement.

Find Cynthia Ravinski at her Blog
And twitter @CynthiaRavinski

Magic Appreciation Tour Badge
Where readers find books
and authors find friends.

Please welcome Cynthia Ravinski, who's touring the Blog-o-sphere via the Magic Appreciation Tour with her new emotobook, Lingering In The Woods. In case you're unfamiliar with emotobooks, visit this link for more info:

She's written a very down-to-earth and practical article about something any career-minded person needs, but often shies away from. Read on!

Networking is not a Dirty Word

 Being good at networking doesn’t have to mean being the biggest, loudest person at the party. When I figured this out, I took a look at why I hated that word so much and then at how I’d made it work for me without even knowing it.

We had a motivational speaker come to my high school. He was on a book tour, and I couldn’t even tell you the title. This poor guy had the luck of going to high schools to teach kids what he knew about how to be successful.

To sum up that horrible presentation in one word: Networking. He talked for an hour or so about how to network, and this was before the year 2000.

Buy it HERE!
He wasn’t very motivational to me. I left the school auditorium that day feeling like I had no chance. I knew I couldn’t be like that. I even tried to read his book. Just more blather. I was depressed for a week. His way was not how I would be successful. But then, how could I be successful?

I had to go to college soon and make all those decisions about my future. Blah blah blah. It was terrifying then. But somehow I forced my way through it, doing what worked for me to get into courses, study abroad programs, internships and yes, even a good dorm room one winter semester.

It turns out that I am really good at networking. I’d never have gotten to where I am without it. So maybe it really is important. No, I don’t have the hugest network. But I develop good relationships with the people that I do know. Make a point to keep in touch and scratch backs in return. And I think that was what that presenter was really getting at. One day, someone will need you to get in touch with them just as much as you need to get their attention. And just like that, both of you are in a much better place. It’s happened to me countless times now. All I had to do was swallow and hit send, or pick up the phone. It certainly was never as horrible as I thought it would be.

You don’t have to have the biggest network, but take care of the one you have and it will grow in the right direction. That’s what it’s all about in the end, not knowing all the people, but knowing the right people well enough to stay in touch. And by “right” people I don’t mean the CEO of every company out there, but the people that you connect with. Don’t waste your time on people with whom you share no common ground--doesn’t that just feel awkward all around? That’s not what we’re looking for.

As I begin to take social networking seriously, not too seriously I hope, I’m going to try to keep this in mind.

Have any great networking tools or strategies? Please share them in the comments!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Guest Post/Giveaway with Author R.E. Butler

Everyone give a big Unwritten welcome to paranormal romance and erotica author R.E. Butler. She's written a guest post that almost ANY woman can relate to! Don't forget to answer her question in the comments (and leave your email address) for a chance to win one of the books on her backlist! To see R.E.'s available books, visit these links:

Tweet with me:  @rebutlerauthor
My Amazon Page:  Click here

R.E. Butler has called Southern New Jersey home for the past three years, and lives there with her husband, two young children, and two dogs.  She retired from her executive assistant job at 27 to become a stay-at-home mom, and took the plunge into self-publishing in 2011, with the first in her wiccan-were-bear novella series.  When she's not busy chasing her kids and dogs around, you'll find her working at her laptop, arguing with her characters, and avoiding housework as much as possible.

My Best Friend the Dishwasher

by R.E. Butler

There isn't a whole lot that it takes to make me happy.  A few quiet minutes in the morning with a hot cup of tea.  The smiles on my kids' faces.  A good book.  And, oh yeah, my dishwasher.

I'm a child of the 80s.  I remember when my father installed our first dishwasher.  No longer would I be shackled to the kitchen sink after dinner, elbow deep in suds while my brother dried.  Since then, I haven't hand washed a dish unless it was imperative to keeping the dish in top shape.  Like the set of pans my husband got me last year.  They all have to be hand washed, damn him.  I love the pans, hate to wash them, and I'm lazy enough to debate the need for a non-stick surface every time I use them and consider shoving them carelessly into the dishwasher.  And then there's my Great Grandmother's hundred year-old dishes.  They didn't even have dishwashers back then, so guess what?  Hand washing.  Every time.  Which is why they're tucked away in the cabinet except for holidays.

I didn't realize how much I really loved my dishwasher until it broke on Monday.  For some reason, right when it was full to the brim with dishes, it wouldn't start.  I had to empty everything out for my handy-man husband so he could figure out what was wrong with it.  Turns out it needs a new control panel.  $150 later, I'm a week out from delivery which means - horror of horrors! - I have to hand wash my dishes for the next week.

I know what you're thinking.  Hey, you're a woman of the 21st century.  You can wash dishes.  Well, of course I can, but the truth is, I don't want to.  My husband said the way I was carrying on about washing dishes, that it sounded as if I'd gone back into the stone ages with the loss of one modern convenience.  I have to say, it kind of felt that way.

When I wrote The Tribe's Bride, I set the majority of the story in the late 1600s, with a fictional Native American tribe that set up residence in a mountainous region.  I did extensive research about what life was like back then; how people hunted, cooked, sewed and lived.  The heroine, Carrie, is dropped from modern times back into the 1600s.  Writing about her coping with the abrupt changes to her life as she learns to live without any modern conveniences taught me a lot.  The main thing...that I'd make a lousy pioneer.

There are a lot of things I could live without.  The television, my Jacuzzi tub, and even my Kindle because I could always go back to reading books from the library.  But in all honesty, I don't think I could live without my dishwasher.  I crave the time saving that comes with pouring in some soap, shutting the door and pushing the 'start' button.  Call me lazy if you will, but if washing the dinner dishes by hand means I can't cuddle with my kids and watch SpongeBob (who, by the way I could definitely live without), then I'll take my dishwasher, thank you very much.

My dishwasher.  How I miss you.

If there was one modern convenience you absolutely couldn't live without, what would it be?  Comment (and leave your email address) for a chance to win one ebook from R.E.'s backlist. A winner will be drawn in ONE week, on 9/17/12.