Writing, promotion, tips, and opinion. Pour a cuppa your favorite poison and join in.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Stealing A Day

I'm sneaking in a post today to let you know I'm compiling the results of last week's surveys. So, those brave souls who offered up their first 400 words, I'll be getting an email to you soon.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Wrap Up and Links

Thanks everyone for commenting and filling out the surveys. The hope was to draw out some of our lurkers and give them an opportunity to give feedback without feeling like the spotlight was on them.

What did you think of this format?

I really appreciate the way you give constructive feedback in a positive way. THANK YOU!

I'll compile all of the data from the surveys and send it to the authors on Monday of next week. So, if you haven't chimed in with your two cents, do it now or over the weekend. The survey is all yes/no with two spots to leave comments. It takes about 5 minutes to read the selection and do the survey.

Here are links to the submissions:
In the Time of the Green Stone
The Key Collective
Faerie Wings

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Submission #6--DiamondBlack

Please take a minute to answer the questions below and I'll compile the results for the author. This gives you a chance to give honest and anonymous feedback. You can still leave comments here as well. Remember, our goal is to help each other become better writers and reach our goals.

Title: DiamondBlack
Genre: Urban Fantasy

To a ghost, telling a lie is like dancing a tango. The one-on-one action is stimulating as hell but an audience makes it even better.

I’d tried getting the truth out of Marv, the recently deceased by playing nice. When that didn’t work, by giving him the stink eye. But he shimmied like a goofy puppy and sported a self-satisfied grin. Time was running out.

Ghosts look as real to me as my living, breathing colleague does. Thorne stirred and uttered a mild curse popular in Australia but otherwise didn’t move. My partner’s frustration wasn’t lost on Marv though. His smile brightened.

“Smallest violin, Di,” Marv said rubbing his thumb and forefinger together. Then he gestured to my fisted hand. “Won’t that smudge your nail polish?”

I forced my hands to relax. “You’re beginning to piss me off,” I said through my teeth.

Marv laughed outright and gave an elaborate bow. His green and red plaid vest hugged his trim waist. “At least you can’t say ‘you’re a dead man if you don’t tell us where the papers are’.”

Thorne fisted his hand then glanced at a slim woman walking us. Her initial interest was probably due to my partner’s blond hair and svelte physique. But the bared teeth made him look a teeny bit postal. She frowned then quickened her steps past the bench where we stood by the hamburger joint. I leveled a stare at Thorne. He shrugged and muttered, “Ratbag piece of…”

I turned back to the ghost who now wore a gray pin-stripe suit.

“Geez, Marv. You’re a regular fashionista,” I said. “Look. Here’s the deal. No more games. Your heir needs the papers. You hid it and I can’t figure why.”

“To keep it safe.” Marv’s voice held a twinge of anxiety.


I nodded. “To keep it safe. Yes. And you did a fantastic job, keeping the document safe from those creeps.”

“They killed me.”

Marv’s suit had turned into a dark blue polo shirt and tan slacks, a style more like what he’d worn when he was alive. A maroon logo, Rainaire Industries, decorated the left side of the shirt.

I patted his shoulder as he stood with head bowed. “They didn’t get what they wanted though did they?”

He barked a short laugh. “For sure they didn’t. No Will. No papers. No inheritance. Zip.”

If the survey doesn't work, you can find it HERE.
Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Submission #5--Faerie Wings

Please take a minute to answer the questions below and I'll compile the results for the author. This gives you a chance to give honest and anonymous feedback. You can still leave comments here as well. Remember, our goal is to help each other become better writers and reach our goals.

Title: Faerie Wings
Genre: YA Contemporary Fantasy

This year I will stand in front of the Abhithian High Council and marry a human girl. It's my duty as heir to the throne during the year of Reparation. I only have six months left to find my Anam Cara, my soul mate, among the humans. Otherwise I will marry a human girl of my parent's choosing.

I leaned my elbows on the balcony wall and watched the colors in the garden dance in the sunlight. Reds, blues, yellows, and greens jumped from flower to flower, mingling, changing. More than anything else, this is what I missed the most when living on the human side. Their ignorance and disbelief kept the colors glued to one spot. How mundane.

"Carter?" Mother joined me. "Are you home to stay?"Almost four hundred years old, Mother's dark hair had started to streak with gray, but her skin remained flawless. She leaned against the wall and watched me with steel grey eyes.

"Not yet. I'm going back to the human side tomorrow."

"Son, you have to stop this. You're out of time. When you become king you must take a human bride, Anam Cara or not." She rested her hand on my shoulder. "It's very rare, you know that. Just pick a human girl. There's enough time to convince her to marry you."

Hummingbirds zipped through the air. For most of my kind, the one hundred and twenty-fifth birthday wasn't a big deal, but for me it fell during the year of Reparation. It signified the beginning, or the end.

"Let me have two more months."


"Everyone else gets more time."

She sighed and her shoulders drooped, but she smiled up at me. "You have until Sedonia's wedding. That's your two months. In the meantime start dating one of the girls from the possible candidates."


"Oh, before you leave, take some time to visit the Garden. The Oracles may have a message from the council for you."

"What else could they have to tell me? My whole life has been in preparation to fulfill this duty."

"Shh, it's an honor they speak to you so frequently. Only kings of the Reparation get such
attention. They want you to succeed. Trust in that."

"Taking a human bride is pointless. They will never reach our level of understanding. Why do we have to continually be punished for the mistakes of the ancients?"

If the survey doesn't work, you can answer the questions HERE.
Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Submission #4--The Key Collective

Please take a minute to answer the questions below and I'll compile the results for the author. This gives you a chance to give honest and anonymous feedback. You can still leave comments here as well. Remember, our goal is to help each other become better writers and reach our goals.

Title: The Key Collective
Genre: Steampunk

She found the key under his bed. Not that she was looking. She didn’t even know the guy. Why would she be looking under his bed, for crying out loud. Assignations are odd like that. One minute you’re locked in the most intimate of embraces, the next you’re crawling around on his floor, ass in the air, looking for your sock. Instead you find this key. It was just a key. Nothing special about it. But when her fingers touched it she automatically grasped it, glanced over her shoulder and hid it in her fist like a child sneaking away with stolen candy.

Twenty minutes, money exchanged, and an awkward hug/cheek kiss good-bye she was finally able to get a good look at her stolen treasure. She leaned against a battered guard rail under a flickering fluorescent light in the building’s basement parking garage, and slowly unfurled her tightly clasped fist.

The weird pinkish yellow light seemed to be absorbed by the thick brass key cupped in her hand, giving it an odd greenish color.  It was about three inches long, fairly freshly cut, or rather, not used much. She felt the raw edges scrape over her callused fingertips as she twisted it around and around.  There weren't any distinguishing markings on it but she couldn’t seem to put it away, turning it over and over in her chilled fingers. Anoria raked her long, tangled hair out of her eyes and hunched her shoulders deeper into her threadbare navy pea coat.  Idly, her fingers twisted the key around again, rubbing it between the thumb and forefinger of her left hand. What was that groove in the head? She brought the key closer to her eyes, moving directly under the unsteady light.

In the pocket of her coat her cell buzzed. Startled,she jumped and almost dropped the key on the damp pavement.

“Goddamn it!” She muttered halfheartedly, “ What the hell can you possibly want at this time of night, Braedon?”

She shoved the key deep in her pocket and wrenched the phone out, flipping it open. Text message.  Sender Blocked.  “What the hell…?”  Curious, she hit the open key.  Two words blipped onto the screen. 

“Look Up.” 

Look up?  She looked around the dim basement parking garage.

A hazard, if you could call it that, of her job required her to be very aware of her surroundings. Consequently she had already done a quick sweep of this garage before ‘accidentally meeting’ her john in the bar. But, when she had scoped it out for exit routes earlier in the day it was, admittedly, quite a bit emptier.  Now, as it was almost 1am, and presumably most sane people were in bed, it was fairly full, if the heavy smell of stale exhaust was any indication. There were a decent number of high end sports cars (posers), a few mid-range suv’s (for those that need to go off-roading in the city) and one or two beaters (Employee-mobiles).

If the survey doesn't work, you can answer the questions HERE.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Submission #3--In the Time of the Green Stone

Please take a minute to answer the questions below and I'll compile the results for the author. This gives you a chance to give honest and anonymous feedback. You can still leave comments here as well. Remember, our goal is to help each other become better writers and reach our goals.

Title: In the Time of the Green Stone
Genre:YA Fantasy

My footsteps echoed through the empty lobby. An uneasy feeling that I was being watched held on like a limpet to a rock. I quickly pressed the up button on the elevator and tapped my foot impatiently as I waited for it to get there.

“Ten, Nine,Eight,” I said aloud.

Stop talking to yourself, Mia. You’ve already got quite the reputation around town. Seven, Six, Five, Four, Three, Two, One. And then I took two deep breaths. I was amazed that it still worked.

It’s weird the kinds of things that stay with you. When I was five, my Grandpa taught me this little trick when I couldn’t sleep because I was convinced there were creatures out to get me anytime the light was shut off in my room.

This wasn’t exactly monsters in my closet, but it was being afraid of something that wasn’t there. The distinct ding of the elevator arriving made me jump. As soon as the doors opened I scuttled in, glad that I would soon be in my familiar doctor’s office. Just as the door was about to shut completely, a hand jutted into the small opening. I recoiled. I imagined a serial killing maniac with a butcher knife on the other side of the hand and backed up into the corner of elevator.

In the moments that it took for the elevator door to open again, my mind went into full argument mode. Part of me was telling me I was being absurd. This was an elevator ride I had taken many times before. But the other part of me was almost sure I wasn’t imagining that someone was following me. I stuck my hand into my purse wishing that I had listened to my Grandpa and carried the pepper spray he had given me as “my little girl is now in high school” gift. Instead I found my wallet, lip gloss, and a pen. I grabbed the pen, not sure what I would do with it, and held it in my purse as the door finally opened completely. Peering out of the door, I saw no one there.

This I was not imagining. Even if I wasn’t in danger, this was a bizarre situation. I could feel my entire body tense up, ready to run out of the elevator toward the front door of the lobby. At that moment,a figure came from the left of the door and entered the elevator. The girl quickly hit the door shut button and I stood there staring. She looked back at me smiling. I looked away from her and then turned back to her.

If the survey doesn't work you can answer the questions HERE.
Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Problem with the Surveys?

Is anyone else having a problem with the surveys at the end of the submissions? They worked for me, but I know some have reported a problem.

Submission #2--Dragon

Please take a minute to answer the questions below and I'll compile the results for the author. This gives you a chance to give honest and anonymous feedback. You can still leave comments here as well. Remember, our goal is to help each other become better writers and reach our goals.

Genre: Fantasy

Maay hummed as she worked the old loom, the dull clack of wood like a lullaby to her ears. Sunlight blazed into the small solarium, its normally stifling heat cooled by the wind blowing through the open windows.Tall, potted plants screened the bulk of the sunlight from those first entering, their green leaves bright and inviting as they bobbed in the breeze.

She cocked her head to the sound of footsteps echoing through from the open door on the other side of the living barrier. Men. It had to be for their boots to hit the stone with such a racket. One pair even sounded as if punctuated by the clink of metal.

Maay frowned at the woven threads before her, idly looping another through. Not many men came into this quarter of the castle, mostly servants with their soft shoes and irritating tendencies to blend into the background.

She glanced over her shoulder, gaze perusing the room before settling on the wide leaves overhanging the tiny foliage-crafted doorway. You’re imagining things again. Why earlier, she could’ve sworn she’d heard the flap of massive wings. Like a dragon. Utter foolishness.Dragons hadn’t flown over this region since before her birth.

Shaking her head, she returned to her work, hoping to regain the comfort in being blissfully alone. Rarely could she find time without her brothers and sisters, both the older and the younger, dogging her. One day, or so her adopted mother believed, she’d miss their presence and the foolish games they’d played.

A smile tweaked her lips at the memory of their cavorting and the laughter. Vaguely aware of the action, she tracked the course of her fingers as they wove the shuttle through the upright cords. Wood resumed its rhythmic clacking, once again in counterpoint to her humming. For the moment,the thread was a soft white. Above sat the dark green wall of their banner.

Her idle gaze caught the patch where one line tried to overlap another. Putting the shuttle down with a sigh, she stood to tease the thread back into position. The wood creaked, twisting the other way. She circled the frame, adjusting it as she went. It always needed to be done halfway through, didn’t matter how simple the design she picked. How wonderful it would be to have the skill to weave dragons into the tapestry like her elder siblings did.

If the survey doesn't show up you can answer the questions HERE.
Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Submission #1 UNYIELDING

Here is our first submission. Please take a minute to answer the questions below and I'll compile the results for the author. This gives you a chance to give honest and anonymous feedback. You can still leave comments here as well.

Remember, our goal is to help each other become better writers and reach our goals.

Genre: YA high fantasy


Glass shattered, piercing the silence of night. Gabe leapt from bed in a state of panic and his blankets tackled him to the floor. Flailing around, he wrestled the material in a chaotic display of acrobatics.

Pins and needles pricked in his palms.  Not again!  He froze and took a deep breath, trying to settle his anxiety to keep from setting his covers ablaze.His power calmed. 

He broke free and sprung up,alert. What was that?  Gabe stared at his opened door,searching for signs of movement beyond his room. 

The house slept.  Silent.

Good, it was just a dream.

No sooner had the thought entered his mind, a shadow dashed through his door. Before his eyes had time to warn his brain of potential danger, she was at his side, arms outstretched.

“Sis,” he said, exhaling a deep breath.  “Why are you out of bed?”  He bent over and picked up the frightened, little girl.

“The noise scared me,” Kyla whimpered, wrapping her legs tightly around his waist and throwing her arms about his neck.

She heard it too!  His heart quickened. What should I do?  Did Mom and Dad hear it?   

He attempted to lower the six-year-old to the ground, but she squeezed tighter, moaning.

Suddenly the house shook, booming as if a rocket had barreled through the living room. 

A scream shot up the stairs.  Gabe knew instantly who it was.  Mom!

Kyla cried out.  Gabe clasped his hand to her mouth and darted to the safety of his closet.  He pealed her from his waist, placed her on the ground and began ripping shirts from their hangers in a frantic effort to barricade her in.  “I’m going to go see what’s happening downstairs,” he whispered, swallowing hard against the lump in his throat.

“No,” she bellowed, trying to wiggle out from her shelter.

“Don’t worry. I’ll be right back.”  He hoped.  “But I need you to stay here.”

He finished packing her in then knelt.  Her deep, brown eyes streamed with tears,stabbing his heart with each droplet. He longed for words to comfort her, but what do you say to a six-year-old in a time like this?

“How about we play a game?” He forced a smile. “Let’s pretend you’re a princess.” It was her favorite game. He’d outgrown childhood make-believe when puberty crept up and had stopped playing with her, something he now realized was a mistake.

If the survey doesn't show up below you can answer the questions HERE.
Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Call for Submissions!

The other day I was reading Nicole Zoltack's blog post containing a checklist for the First Five Pages. Now, I would never ask you to send five pages for posting--(you shouldn't as it would be considered published and might cause problems at a later time), but I thought we could use the checklist for the first 400 words of your WIP.

Here's the checklist (I've tweaked it a bit for a shorter section):
1. Is the page engaging?
2. Do you want to keep reading?
3. Is the main character likeable?
4. Is the scene set clearly enough to ground the reader?
5. Is the voice strong?
6. Is it passive/telling?
7. Is the pacing too slow, too fast, or just right?
8. Does the dialogue sound stilted?

If you would like to have these questions answered for your first 400 words, send them in to unicornbellsubmissions@gmail.com with First 400 in the subject line.

I'll post as many as I receive over the next few days.

Friday, April 20, 2012


Friends and family call me strong-willed. Stubborn. Pig-headed even. 

No better example of this attribute exists than my career as a writer.

Rejections happen to everyone. Whether it is the person just starting out to the famous writer surrounded by book covers.

It can be the publisher, an agent, or a buyer that tosses the book aside in disgust. Every writer wonders if this route is worth the arrows of rejection.

I've had this quote on my desk for many years.
You’re not finished when you’re defeated. You’re finished when you quit.
No one succeeds after they quit. Persistence is the key. Along the way, don’t stop writing but don’t remain in the same spot either. Keep moving. Write the next story rattling around in your head. Improve your craft; never stop learning. Keep reading. Then read some more. Remain optimistic and keep a sense of humor about the whole thing.

You are a writer. That is what you do.

All of us know that the destination is seeing your name on that book cover. The journey to that goal is what strengthens your writing. And your character.

How long should you try? Until. - Jim Rohn


“Never give up. Never surrender.” – Galaxy Quest, Jason Nexsmith.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012



Are you a pantser or a plotter? Who is your hero? What is your inspiration and what is hot right now?

These questions come up in many forms on other blog sites as well as ours. We’ve heard them before in various contexts.

My question:

How do you begin a new manuscript, a novel? What concept germinates the kernel of your tale?

  • Do you have a scene and build your story around it?
  • Or decide on genre and let your mind take you on a journey?
  • Are you checking the treads, gauging their popularity and write a story to follow them?

I have a theory on what sells and why.

Begin your new manuscript by determining you MC’s character traits. Create the bond between you, the Writer and your Main Character first. Give her or him life and let them take you by the hand and lead you on the journey.

Introduce yourself to the character and form the attributes. Set them in your mind.

Don’t compose a scene or a big dramatic revelation. Create a bond immediately. Make the reader care first. Do this from the very beginning and give your potential reader a reason to turn the page.

The shoot-‘em-ups will happen later after you’ve known each other a while. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Magic in Words

There is music on the printed page for all to hear. To anyone that holds the words of a novel close to their hearts, who can hear the bird song, and taste the coffee from the printed page; the Magic is ours.

“The red eyes flicked up and made contact with my own.” Shadow Kissed by Richelle Mead.

“And as if in answer there came from far away another. Horns, horns, horns. In dark Mindolluin’s sides they dimly echoed. Great horns of the North wildly blowing. Rohan had come at last.” The Return of the King, The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien

And this from Burning Daylight by Jack London. Dede and Daylight have just been married and this is their first night:

“She heard the footsteps of Daylight returning, and caught her breath with a quick intake. He took her hand in his, and, as he turned the door-knob, felt her hesitate. Then he put his arm around her; the door swung open, and together they passed in.”

From a CPs Work In Progress, a passage that tore me into pieces:

“You think you’ve been wronged? Whose shadow have you lived in, then? Who gnawed out your mother’s heart and left scraps for her own son? I will not abandon Kate or our child.” Disciple, Part II: Claims Laid – L. Blankenship, Notes From the Jovian Frontier.

In all this, Voice is important. But equally so is passion, sentence structure for dramatic effect, and timing. Sometimes, as in the piece from Burning Daylight, the unsaid speaks like a mega horn. The reader’s imagination supplies the rest.

Resist explaining. Let the words flow but don’t flood the reader’s senses. Let them taste the words, hear the wind in the trees, and see what you see.

Monday, April 16, 2012


Great prose has cadence, a rhythm. 

These lyrics by Dierks Bentley is an example. Note the two-count beat at the end of each stanza:

“Becky was a beauty from south Alabama
Her daddy had a heart like a nine-pound hammer
Think he even did a little time in the slammer
What was I thinkin'?

She snuck out one night and met me by the front gate
Her daddy came out wavin' that twelve gauge
We tore out the drive he peppered my tailgate
What was I thinkin'?” - What Was I Thinkin, Dierks Bentley,

Of course, poetry is the shining example of tempo, of words arranged to a beat.

“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.” – The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost

But novels, especially narrative, can benefit from using this technique.

“The future, good or ill, was not forgotten, but ceased to have any power over the present. Health and hope grew strong in them and they were content with each good day as it came, taking pleasure in every meal, and in every word and song.” – The Fellowship of the Ring, JRR Tolkien

“I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.” – The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss

And what about the Limerick?

“There once was a man of noblesse
Who said spices weren’t too excess.
But the sauce was quite hot
And caused him to snot
Which ruined his chance to impress.” -- Off the Cuff, CD Coffelt

Read poetry and get a feel for the beat. Use this in your writing.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Some Exciting News

Marcy asked me to share my good news with you today. I'm excited to announce that this week I signed a contract with WiDo Publishing for my first novel Sendek: The Magic Wakes. It will come out in their 2013 line-up!

The dream has been years in the making and I almost decided it wouldn't happen. Perhaps you have reached the same point in your writing career? You love it but are losing hope that you will ever see your name on a book cover unless you self-publish.

Don't Give Up!

Dig deep and ask yourself what your dream really is. When I looked in my heart I realized that more than anything I just wanted to share my story with the world. It's not about fame or fortune. For me it's about providing entertainment, escape from our every day lives, and just bringing a smile to someone who needs a break from reality.

But I didn't want to do it on my own. That thought paralyzed me. 

So, I started researching smaller publishers until I found a few that I felt good about. I actually received two offers! In the end I chose WiDo because I already knew a couple of authors that have published with them and they only had good things to say about them.

After signing the contract I waited to feel let down for giving up the agent and Big 6 dream. But you know what? It never came. In fact, I've grown more and more excited each day. This really IS the right choice for me.

That's what I want you to find out for you. What will be the best choice for you and your story? It will be slightly different for all of us, so don't be afraid. Don't compare your journey with someone else. Find your path and enjoy every step!

What am I the most excited about? 
  • Having a team of people help me make Sendek the best story it can be and help me spread the word about it. 
  • People will finally get to read the whole story. I hope they like it as much as I do.
  • I'm going to get to hold MY book in my hands with MY name on it!
  • I can't wait to see the cover for it.
While I'm waiting to start the editing process, I'm working on a website and a facebook page to share information as I receive it.

What kind of things you like to see on these types of media? Please share in the comments so I can make it as user friendly as possible.

Oh, and please go vote in my science vs. magic poll on the facebook page. Pretty please? 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

J is for James

James is the hero.

And if I say Roald Dahl I'll bet you know who I'm talking about.

If you're lucky you have an edition like the one pictured, with the Burkert illustrations. Regardless, I'm sure you're familiar with James, the  hero of this story, a normal happy boy until his parents are eaten by a rhino at the zoo. Remember his awful aunts? Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker? Weren't they just the most horrible people? No wonder we were rooting for James. No surprise we were pleased when the aunts met their satisfying end and even better when wonderful things started to happen to James.

I think James was one of the first heroes I met. Certainly he's one of the most memorable. Do you remember any of your first favorites? Care to share? And don't be shy you know I love comments :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

one of my heroes


God knew her mother had warned her, so many times she’d lost count. And every time he pulled another stunt Adrienne could hear her mother’s voice, “For God’s sake, Adrienne, all you have to do is look at those eyes to know he’s no good.” And she supposed she knew it was true. She just hadn’t wanted to admit it. If she admitted to the possibility then she might have to do something. And she didn’t want to do anything. But…but this was bad, real bad. Why had he even told her? She didn’t want to know. She’d told him that, told him not to tell her anything.
     “But I need you on this,” he’d said.
     Oh, God, what should she do? She couldn’t leave him, not now. It was too late for that. Besides, he said when it was over they’d go away, just the two of them, make a life for themselves out west where no one knew anything about them.
     “Adrienne, if I told you once I told you a hundred times; stay away from that boy! He’ll bring you nothing but heartache and trouble.”
     But I can’t, ma, I’m all he’s got and I love him too much to leave.

Now it's your turn - unless you want more of me...

Monday, April 9, 2012

H is for Hero

In keeping with the blogosphere's biggest thing going right now (that would be the a-z blogfest) I give you the letter H for Hero or Heroine.

That's your main character, whoever he or she may be. You might even have two main characters, or, if you're George R. R. Martin (Song of Ice and Fire), you might have many characters. Whoever they are, they're probably the good guys, the people who will change and be changed by the events in the story. Your readers will be rooting for them, worrying over them, possibly even blogging over them! So you best make them worthy and give them helpful attributes that will aid them on their journey - but not too helpful, because that journey needs to be a challenge. In fact, I suggest giving them at least one hindering characteristics. It doesn't matter what but make sure they're not perfect because no one likes to read about perfect people; they're a bore. And remember, sometimes the most flawed heroes are the most memorable. Like Lestat in Interview with a Vampire and The Vampire Lestat. Anne Rice masterfully gave us a vampire to despise in the first book and then turned him into a hero in the second. Now that's magic.

Who is the hero in your story? Care to share? If so, send me 250 words about your mc from your current wip. I'll post the first four I receive here this week.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

April Showers

In honor of my dear former coworker who passed away yesterday morning, I'm going to make today's prompt be about April showers, about loss and a sense of renewal, about cleansing the pain from said loss while embracing the joy that can still be found in life. Share with us a scene, poem, paragraph, or what you like in honor of April Showers. Bonus Kudos points go out today to everyone who posts something.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Stand on Your Own Prompt

This week has been the theme of loneliness versus standing alone, and how it applies to blogging and writing. The thing we have to keep in mind is that while the act of writing is a solitary effort, everything else involving the craft--critiquing, publication, networking--is decidedly not. There are times where we have to stand together just to get through the tough times.

Yet we can stand on our own if needed. Today, I present to you a prompt that dares to defy the concept that one is a lonely number. For this prompt, write a one to two paragraph piece  showing a character who doesn't go with the group norm, but who at the same time manages to enjoy life in the comfort of "oneness". Be creative, and bonus kudos points to you if you happen to show this sort of defiance in the genre of romance.

Have fun!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Beauty of Standing Alone

Yesterday, I came up with the thought that those who are not doing the A-Z challenge need not face loneliness and isolation during this month. While many bloggers are taking fun in the A-Z challenge, there are those of us who have other priorities preventing us from enjoying the ride, too. I submit to you that these bloggers need support, too, and so the thought of a Lonely Bloggers Club or Group has come to mind.

It can be downright difficult not to buckle under the pressure of trends. Part of human nature is to want to belong, which is why so many people succumb to peer pressure. Hardly anyone out there likes the thought of being excluded, of standing alone in such a socially driven culture.

But sometimes when you stand alone, you learn how to fend for yourself. In terms of writing, this translates over into a thing of beauty, into something called finding your voice. When you sit down to write, no one else is writing for you. You’re doing the work yourself. You’re putting your prose, poetry, or article onto the page, sharing with the world your various insights. In the solitary act of writing, you’re creating a work of art.

In finding their voice, every writer stands alone. It is after the writing where we come together with our beta readers, our editors, and other collaborationists to get the final product to where it needs to be. In this aspect, we’re never truly alone.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Lonely Bloggers

Jeffrey here. I’m pretty sure this is my week to post at Unicorn Bell. If it’s not, then whoopsie! However, it has been about a month since my last posting. I’m thinking it’s time anyhow.

Of course, many people might not even notice because of the A-Z Challenge Blogfest that’s dominating the Blogosphere this month. It’s a fun challenge for sure, one that I’ve participated in last year. This year, however, my priorities have changed, and it’s not something I felt I could dedicate the proper time such a challenge deserves.

My post today has nothing to do with encouraging or dissuading someone from participating in A-Z. It’s a wonderful program, giving over 1500 blogs the chance to connect with one another. What I will talk about briefly is that should you not choose to participate in this, do NOT feel guilty about it. Our friends in A-Z will understand our situations, and they’ll return in a few weeks from their blogging adventures. Maybe now is the proper time for those who aren’t in A-Z to get to know one another and support each other. It can be downright lonely seemingly being the only person not taking part in this.

But something beautiful can arise out of standing alone, too. I’ll cover that part tomorrow in Part Two of my Lonely Bloggers Series.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

And the winner is...

Thank you all for taking the time to visit our wonderful entries and voting. Every one of them went above and beyond anything we hoped for. Why am I surprised?

After three days of voting, you have chosen--

Julie Dao's Fairy Tale over at Silver Lining
Congratulations! You have a choice between a first chapter critique or a $20 Amazon Gift card. Email me at charity.bradford@gmail.com to let me know what you would like.