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

Friday, January 30, 2015

Fade Into Me: Created by Aliens?

It's book tour week, but instead of the usual book promotion posts, I'm changing things up a bit. I'm mashing them up with the "what if?" posts. It's an experiment, so you'll have to tell me what you think.

Our final "what if?" question of the week comes to us via our very own Charity Bradford...

How would you react if you learned the earth and humans were created by aliens--aliens that live all around us, look just like us? More importantly, would you marry one of them if he or she said the future of your world depended on it?

Thank you, Charity. And make sure to check out Charity's newest book, which has just gone live...

Fade Into Me

Caeden Frey doesn't believe humans will evolve to see the magic, much less control it. Even so, he has two months to marry a human or face the wrath of the High Council. Bitter about a responsibility he thinks prevents him marrying for love, he figures any human girl will do. He’s ready to propose when his soul mate stumbles into—and right out of—his arms.

Human, Ryanne Killian might be Caedan's one shot at happiness while still fulfilling his duty. Unfortunately, she guards a dark secret. She’s determined to push Caedan away to protect him from her past.

Caedan must convince her she’s worthy of his love before a rival family puts an end to his wedding plans. If she can see her own worth, she just might save herself and his people.

Buy it in Print
Buy it for Kindle


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Ashes Burn: Amazing Power

It's book tour week, but instead of the usual book promotion posts, I'm changing things up a bit. I'm mashing them up with the "what if?" posts. It's an experiment, so you'll have to tell me what you think.

Today's "what if?" comes to us from Tyrean Martinson...

What if you had an amazing power, but couldn't control it? What if your power had killed or hurt innocents? What would you do? Where would you go? We all know that running from the past doesn’t work, but would we try anyway, even if it meant leaving behind everything we had ever known?

Now, could you write that story in a hint fiction story?

Hint fiction is fiction of twenty-five words or less. It’s like a spark for a reader’s imagination. The most famous example is Hemingway’s six word story: “For Sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

I discovered hint fiction last spring, and I've found it thoroughly enjoyable. So I started a hint fiction serial, Ashes Burn. Season 1: Ashes Away just came out in e-book format, and it contains 30 episodes of hint fiction. Yes, it’s experimental. So, I'm trying to spread my hint fiction love. Try it, you just might like it. J

Ashes Burn Season 1: Ashes Away is part of a hint fiction series based on the lives of three characters: Wend, on the run from his past; Teresa, hunting for the man she loves; and King Bryant, a man haunted by nightmares and desperate to hold onto his throne.

Ashes Burn Season 1: Ashes Away is available at:

Tyrean Martinson is online at:
Tyrean’s Writing Spot

For other hint fiction offerings, check out:
Nail Polish Stories
Seven by Twenty
And, one of my fave super short stories: “Failed SAT. Lost scholarship. Invented rocket. - William Shatner” from Wired: Very Short Stories 2006

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Serenity: Would You?

It's book tour week, but instead of the usual book promotion posts, I'm changing things up a bit. I'm mashing them up with the "what if?" posts. It's an experiment, so you'll have to tell me what you think.

Today's question comes to us from Ava O'Shay...

What if you had to give up yourself to save someone else? Would you do it?


Serenity Diaz gave up her innocence when she stepped in to save her twin brother from the abuse of their mom’s revolving boyfriends. Now, entering her senior year, Serenity believes she finally left her past behind and sees a future away from the hypocrisy of high school life.

Life was always easy for Jolin Daniel. After finding his gift on the football field, he is catapulted to the popular table. With the head cheerleader on his arm, Jolin is high school royalty. Scouts are knocking on his door, and his future as a college football star is within his grasp.

All Serenity and Jolin need to do is make it through their senior year. 
But it takes a single moment for their dreams to shatter.

Unwillingly thrust together, they must learn to accept who they are without the labels given to them by their peers and be open to the unexpected feelings growing between them. 
What would you sacrifice to save the ones you love?

SERENITY is a gritty New Adult Romance that mixes Romance with family drama. It’s an intense read as the story takes the reader through the twists and turns of bullying, abuse, and the lengths some will go to get what they want.

SERENITY has been in the top fifty books on Amazon in the category of Abuse and Dysfunctional Relationships, reaching number one for a week.

This is as real and gritty as you can get. A love story from the wrong side of the town story where happy endings is a joke. Very intense and entertaining read ! I love the fact it is not like ever other love story.   –Kiona E.

The sequel to SERENITY, titled TRANQUILITY, is set to release at the end of March 2015.

Excerpts for SERENITY and the soon to be released TRANQUILITY can be found on WATTPAD:  http://www.wattpad.com/user/avaoshay

Author Bio:
After many years trudging through the social awkwardness of high school and the whirl wind of college romances I finally landed in the Seattle area writing about the hell, horror, and don't forget the hot romance of youth. I love all things outdoors and can be found hiking, kayaking, mountain biking or doing anything active. I am a former Mrs. Washington United States but hung up my crown to focus on family and career. I love to learn and possess many degrees. I am a Christy McCullough Excellence in Education Award winner and I am Nationally Board Certified. I love to interact with my readers and meet them at signings so never be shy to come up and give me a hug or email me.   


Monday, January 26, 2015

Division: Change Yourself?

It's book tour week, but instead of the usual book promotion posts, I'm changing things up a bit. I'm mashing them up with the "what if?" posts. It's an experiment, so you'll have to tell me what you think.

Today Lee S. Hawke is joining us. Take it away, Lee...

Hi everyone!

My name is Lee S. Hawke and I write science fiction and fantasy storytales. And as is the case with a lot of speculative fiction, I often find myself asking ‘What if?’

In line with Unicorn Bell’s ‘What if’ posts, here’s one from me. I recently published DIVISION: A COLLECTION OF SCIENCE FICTION FAIRYTALES. In one of the stories, gender, race and beauty have all been ‘transcended’. The CTR machine has made it possible for anyone with money to reshape their looks and their body, but at a terrible social price.

So what if you were able to change anything about yourself? What would you change? And what would you stop other people from changing?

Lee S. Hawke is the author of fantasy/mythological short story The Changeling and the Sun, published by Ideomancer Speculative Fiction magazine and free for you to read!

If you enjoy classic science fiction shorts exploring the divisions between mind, technology, body, and grief, check out the FREE sample of Division: A Collection of Science Fiction Fairytales now!

Friend me on Facebook! Just search for Lee S. Hawke

Friday, January 23, 2015

Using Amazon as a Marketing Tool

...before they use you.

Kindle Unlimited—started in July and conceived by Amazon—is for die-hard readers. Participants pay a monthly fee of $9.99 and can read as many books as they want. The catch is, not all books are included in the program.

How does the program help authors?

Payout started in the $2.20 range but has dropped since to 1.43 in December. It had declined to approximately $1.33 until the last month's bump. 

Readership is up. The author can rake in new readers and get name recognition in that way. 

It is voluntary. No one is holding a gun to the authors’ head and insisting on their participation. I used it as a marketing tool for my prequel to The Magic Withheld series, Out of Magic, because the novelette was never intended as a money-maker. 

But the other books I've written...eh, I’m not so willing to do this.

Some are happy with KU. Others are not. Some are pulling out of KU due to a massive loss of sales. 

The problem? Too many books. Amazon tends to market for their own benefit. The company is geared for profits and getting that monthly $9.99 fee is gravy. The number of e-books especially self-published has exploded from 600,000 in 2010 to 3 million in 2014. Amazon has an endless supply of books. 

They don’t really need yours.

Depressing? I’ll say. But it is a fact that some writers fantasize so much about the words published author that they take a few short cuts and publish before crossing the molten lava of critique. Their books go into the caldron with authors who have gone through the fire, formatted correctly, polished their grammar. Kinda dilutes the mix in a way. Plus creates a skeptical public who notice poor writing.

Amazon highlights their Kindle Unlimited and that goes for the books in that program. Where does it leave those who don’t participate? Their sales show the same dip that KU authors report. 

The only way to combat the trend is to keep your name and brand in front of readers. Examples:

Author page on Amazon. Make a page. For Pete's sake, take the time to make a doggone page.

Social networks. Yep, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter are becoming wall-to-wall ads. But get your name into them anyway. New books and authors have caught my eye more than once and I’ve bought a lot of books that way.

Connect the two. Set up your author page on Amazon with your social networking.

And for heaven’s sake, blog. Post occasionally and link that to your FB page and Amazon author page.

There are ways to use Amazon and service them as well as yourself. Don't let them call all the shots. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Marabella. Discovering Magics by Sandra Boutwell-Falcone

Marabella is an uncommon girl growing up in Common Valley. When the mysterious Demalion people take an interest in her and her family, their lives change for the better. She discovers her magics and her new friends ensure her training. But her bliss is short lived. Unspeakable tragedy strikes and Marabella must grow up quickly. Aided by a magical creature and her Demalion friends, she learns to fight and focus her magics. She will need all she’s learned to battle for her life. Mourn her losses, cheer her victories, and fall in love with Marabella. Her adventure is just beginning.

Marabella’s story is a coming of age story about finding your own personal power. It is filled with relatable characters who may resemble someone you know. It is an easy read for anyone who enjoys the fantasy genre, from juvenile to adult. There is magic, good guys, bad guys and magical creatures with a healthy dose of teen angst. I have included action, comedy, drama, and just a touch of romance. It is the beginning of an adventure that will span at least three books. Don’t you want to come along and see what happens next? You know you do.
Amazon  Age Level: 10 - 18 | Grade Level: 4 - 12

Sandra Boutwell-Falcone grew up in rural Louisiana. She
attended University of Central Arkansas earning a Bachelor of Arts in English. A voracious reader and lover of all things fantasy, Sandra draws inspiration from nature, gaming, and people watching. She currently resides in Arkansas with her husband Michael, dog Bess, and cats Chaucer and Miss Kitty.

My first novel, MARABELLA, DISCOVERING MAGICS, grew from a few pages written in a notebook while in college. My friends and I played D&D. I wrote an origin story for a character I played. Many years later, I found the pages and decided to turn it into a novel. I am currently working on the second book in the series.


Download the sample pages of Marabella. I bet you'll buy the book like I did. Good writing and an interesting opening really sucked me in. And I'm telling ya, my TBR pile is towering. Oh my gosh.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Cairo in White by Kelly Ann Jacobson

As Cairo swelters in the summer of 1986, spunky Egyptian teen Zahra pins on her hijab and faces the heat like a warrior, prepared to risk everything for a secret rendezvous with her lover. But after climbing the Ahmeds’ wall and sneaking into their household, Zahra’s parents catch her and force her to choose between telling them the truth about her relationship with the Ahmeds’ daughter or marrying the son they think she’s been sneaking there to see.

Years later, Zahra’s American daughter, Aisha, steps off a plane at Cairo International Airport and greets her grandparents for the first time. Who is this tall girl wearing black clothes, piercings, and a pixie cut, they wonder, and what secrets does she hold? Zahra and Aisha’s lives unfold together as they both grapple with their religious beliefs, social pressures, love, and the search for a place to call home amidst the feminist movement and the Arab Spring.

Kelly Ann Jacobson is a fiction writer, poet, and lyricist who lives in Falls Church, Virginia. She recently received her MA
in Fiction at Johns Hopkins University, and she now teach as a Professor of Literature and Writing Lab Instructor. Kelly is the author of several published novels, including Cairo in White, The Zaniyah Trilogy, and the forthcoming Caron High News, and her stories have been published or will be published in reviews and magazines such as Iron Horse Literary Review and New Plains Review. Her work, including information about her forthcoming novels and previously published poems, fiction, lyrics, and nonfiction, can be found at
Twitter: @KAnnJacobson

Praise for Cairo In White
“Anchored by family, culture and love, this story about enduring relationships is a joy to read.” – Kirkus Reviews
“Kelly Jacobson brilliantly weaves the coming-of-age story of a headstrong Egyptian daughter, Aisha, with the remembered regrets of the mother who raised her within narrative so smooth the reader only remembers to pause during moments when Jacobson’s lyricism glints so brightly one must slow to admire. With grace and great detail, Cairo in White speaks of loneliness and love, of expectation of self versus obligation, and of cultures starkly different but, ultimately, blurred. I couldn’t put it down, nor could I choose which protagonist I was most drawn to. Wholly engaging and absolutely artful.” -Brandi Dawn Henderson, author Whereabouts: Stepping Out of Place

“A gem of a story dealing with self-identity and set against the vivid backdrops of modern-day America and Egypt.” -Tim Wendel, author Castro’s Curveball and Habana Libre

“Kelly Ann Jacobson is a natural writer, with a fluent and musical prose rich in detail, and a special gift for narration, a keen sense for the way a good story unfolds for the reader. She’s very, very talented and I’m sure “Cairo in White” is only the first of many wonderful books.” – Nels Hanson, James. D. Phelan Award for fiction, five-time Pushcart Prize nominee.
Author Blog Posts and Essays
“Culture Clash in Cairo,” The Tufts Get Going Radio Interview (October 15, 2014)
- See more at: http://www.kellyannjacobson.com/cairo-in-white#sthash.RxBlxtHH.dpuf

Four Questions for Kelly:

The one book that influenced you as a kid and your absolute fave as an adult. 

One might say I was “obsessed” with reading as a kid—I read five books a day during the summer. True, that was mostly because I wanted to win all of the prizes from the mobile library that came to our neighborhood, but I also preferred reading to anything else in the world. I must have read Dealing with Dragons by Patricia Wrede at least monthly, so that’s probably at the top of my list, but there were so many others, including Ella Enchanted, Which Witch, and The Witch of Blackbird Pond (are you seeing a theme?). I only write YA fantasy novels occasionally, but I love them and they’re the easiest and fastest to write. In terms of adult novels, I have an ongoing affair with The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje.  

Favorite TV show, now and past.

As a kid, we didn’t have a functioning antenna (and I wasn’t really allowed to watch TV anyway, which helped foster the whole book obsession thing), so I missed a huge chunk of ‘90’s culture. Recently, I binge watched The L Word and Orange Is the New Black to the point where I wasn’t leaving my house or sleeping. 

Do you write and read in the same genre? Why does this genre appeal to you?

Yes, in the sense that I read all genres (except for nonfiction, I can’t stand real facts) and write all genres. I love YA fantasy, literary fiction, LGBT, poetry, and occasionally personal essays, and I write all of those off and on whenever I get bored with another project. The adventure of switching around is what makes writing exciting for me—it feels like watching a new movie instead of work—but it can be a curse when it comes to marketing. “Yes, I’m that poet/LGBT/fiction writer who wrote that XOJane article about turning your suits into everyday wear.” Literary fiction that can accommodate multiple genres, such as my novel Cairo in White (literary/LGBT with poetic elements), are the books that I’m always the proudest of. 

How did you arrive at the land of Published Author. For instance, did you try the literary agent route, consider self-pub, etc.

At 26 years old, I am already very jaded by the “traditional” route of publishing. I’ve tried to get an agent for most of my big projects, and there are always a few nibbles and manuscript requests, but the whole thing takes too long and is too frustrating to really work with my rapid book production. I do hope to get an agent one day, but in the meantime, I’ve very happy publishing with small presses. I occasionally self-publish, but only in rare instances, such as if I’m editing an anthology like my most recent Magical: An Anthology of Fantasy, Fairy Tales, and Other Fiction or producing a chapbook of poetry about robots in the year 2050 that I know no one will buy (Robots on the Horizon). 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Fame in the Making. R.R. Virdi

Followers of this blog might recall me yelling from the top of buildings about this author. Watch his rise in the world of literature because this is how its done. 

Good writing and a most excellent storyline is at the junction of Success and New York Times Bestseller list. 

A recent Facebook post caught my eye. Ronni aka R.R. Virdi has done it again by snagging a review that can make any author blink. This review is by E.J. Roberts for her site, A Drop of Ink Reviews.

Meet Vincent Graves. Who is he? He’s not 100% sure himself. All he knows is he died under “strange and mysterious circumstances” awhile back. Now, his soul is bounced back into newly deceased bodies whose previous owners also died under “strange and mysterious circumstances.” He learned real quick that meant the same as “supernatural.” He has bounced in and out of so many people, he’s not even sure who he was anymore, however, he at least gets to retain some of the memories and skills of the people he’s inhabited.

His job is to figure out what killed the person whose body he is now occupying and put an end to it. To aid him in this, he keeps a journal of each thing he encounters. Since he can’t take it with him when he switches bodies, he hands it off to his caretaker. At the beginning of every job, he enters the nearest church, grabs his journal and receives a snazzy countdown tattoo. He has yet to fail in his job, but there’s always a first time for everything.

This go-around, Vincent ends up in the body of Norman Smith, who was once the curator of the American Museum of Natural History. As he goes around trying to figure out what killed Norman, he has a run in with the FBI and meets Special Agent Camilla Ortiz. She turns out to be a rather interesting woman.

Honestly, I don’t want to give anything away. Virdi has a fun style of writing and the entire book was enjoyable from beginning to end. The idea is a great one and he obviously had fun writing Vincent Graves. It has a definite feel of Jim Butcher, reminiscent of the Dresden Files. I will admit I enjoyed this more than the Dresden Files books. Okay, that might be blasphemy to some, but hey! A girl has the right to her opinion. ;-) There might have been a few sneaky bits tucked in from a few TV shows, but I can’t prove that. I found the sense of humor that ran through the entire book great.

Virdi uses some harsh language here and there, but considering what Vincent goes through? It’s understandable. He also has a thing for ellipses (…) and periodically using periods in odd places to emphasize something. For example, “Stop. Moving. Right. Now.” That kind of thing. So if that drives you insane, you’ve been warned.  There are a few editing issues here and there, but those can be fixed over time. Personally? I can’t wait for the next book to come out.


About Grave Beginnings. From my perspective, it is a series that promises to out-do the urban fantasy genre of Jim Butcher. I do not say that lightly. JB is one of my all-time favorite authors. But his Dresden series is tiring now or maybe simply running out of steam. His last one, Skin Game, wasn't worth the price the price of a first edition. In the past, I've pre-ordered his books and waited anxiously for USPS to show up at my door, ripping the box out of their hands and speeding back to the house. Now I'll probably wait for the price to drop. Or buy the Ebook version.

Ronni's Grave Beginnings surpassed Skin Game


Monday, January 19, 2015

Dragon of the Stars by Alex J. Cavanaugh

Lookit, Peeps. I love Dragons. Any dragons. Even Starships named Dragon. And cats too, ala The Secret of Nimh. The talking kind, the nice kind, and the evil Smaug kind. Love 'em.

Dragon of the Stars
By Alex J. Cavanaugh
Release date – April 7, 2015
Science Fiction – Space Opera/Adventure/Military
Print ISBN 9781939844064
EBook ISBN 9781939844057
Dancing Lemur Press, LLC http://www.dancinglemurpress.com/

The ship of legends…

The future is set for Lt. Commander Aden Pendar, son of a Hyrathian Duke. He’s poised to secure his own command and marriage to the queen’s daughter. He’ll stop at nothing to achieve his goals.

But when the Alliance denies Hyrath’s claim on the planet of Kavil and declares war on their world, Aden finds his plans in disarray. Entrenched in battle and told he won’t make captain, Aden’s world begins to collapse. How will he salvage his career and future during Hyrath’s darkest hour?

One chance remains–the Dragon. Lost many years prior, the legendary ship’s unique weapon is Hyrath’s only hope. Can Aden find the Dragon, save his people, and prove he’s capable of commanding his own ship?

What Are the Kargrandes? A new clue and puzzle piece every Monday! #whatarethekargrandes

Pre-order –

Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design and graphics. He is experienced in technical editing and worked with an adult literacy program for several years. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. He’s the author of Amazon Best-Sellers CassaStar, CassaFire, and CassaStorm. The author lives in the Carolinas with his wife.

This is pre-ordered and highly anticipated on my part. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Calling for Book Submissions

Do you have a book to promote?

Would you like to try a little something different?

January 26th through the 30th is my book promotion/tour week, and I thought we'd try something new...

Want to be a part of it? Let me know.

(Email unicornbellsubmissions [at] gmail [dot] com. Put "book tour" in the subject.)

Friday, January 16, 2015

Mastering the Art of Action Scenes

Most books have action scenes in them. These action scenes can be a fight, a car accident, a chase, etc. It takes a lot to get these scenes just right, but don’t worry because I am sharing ten tips to help you master the art of action scenes.

1. Show action and reaction. In a fight, every movement from one person causes a reaction with their opponent. What happens when someone receives a punch? Their head turns with the impact, they stagger, and sometimes fall.

Who doesn't like kittens?
Image from commons.wikimedia

2. Describe, describe, describe! Describe each step of a fight and the pain a character feels from injuries. Bring a car accident to life with speed, bending metal, and shattering glass. Let your words make the suspense!
TIP: Keep the tone of your story in mind. If you don't use much detail in the rest of your book, only add a little more detail during the action scenes to give your reader's a clear image of what is happening.
3. Use action verbs! And try not to use the same verbs over and over again. A thesaurus can help you find a good alternative.

4. Write short sentences. Shorter sentences quicken the reader's pace, giving the illusion of fast action.

5. Use “All of a sudden” and “Suddenly” sparingly.
6. Don’t forget dialogue! Action is not all about what a character does, but also what a character says. Have your characters spit threats back and forth. Adding a character's thoughts can also add a great deal of suspense.

7. Read books by your favorite authors and study how they write action. Note words and phrases they use, but don’t plagiarize!

8. Get into the mood for writing action by listening to rock music.

9. Act it out. Even if you can’t do half the things a fighter can do, by acting it out you can understand how a body moves to better describe the movement with words.

10. Watch action movies. Depending on what you need to write, find movies that show a lot of it and then study them. Now write the scene in your book as if you are watching it unfold on a television screen.

* This is an updated version of an article previously posted on my blog, Write with Fey.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

How to Beautify Your Manuscript

As you type your manuscript, you have to format it. Knowing how to format a manuscript in the beginning will save you a lot of time and energy later. It’s not that difficult as long as you do it right.

Follow these simple instructions:

* Use a 12-point font. Whether you use Times New Roman, Arial, or Courier New is your judgment call.

* Double-space   
* 1-inch margins

* Indent your paragraphs. I like to use .3 for my tabs.
TIP: You don’t have to hit “tab” on your keyboard, though. If you have Microsoft Office, right click your mouse. When a little screen pops up, go to “paragraph” and then click “tab.” You can set the tab to whatever size you prefer (no greater than .5, no less than .3), so whenever you hit the “enter” button to start a new paragraph, it’ll automatically indent for you. 
* Your title page should have your name and contact info in the left corner and in the right corner the word count for your manuscript.


Name                                                                                        Word Count
Phone Number

* 5-7 spaces down from the bottom of your contact info type the title of your book. Add another space and type “by”. Then add one more space and type your writing name. 3-5 spaces down from your name is where you type “CHAPTER ONE” or begin your story if you don’t have chapters.




Your Name

* Create a header for the top of each page. In the left corner type your last name/title of your book in all caps/manuscript, and to the right put the page number.

TIP: Microsoft lets you insert a header that’ll appear automatically on each page. You can also insert page numbers.

Last Name/TITLE/Manuscript                                                Page 1      

* When starting a new chapter go about 7 line spaces down from the header.

CHAPTER ONE -- CHAPTER TITLE (If you’re using chapter titles.)

* After you write the chapter number, go down 3-5 spaces, indent using tab, and start writing the first paragraph.

* When you start a new page, begin typing 2-3 line spaces below the header.

FYI: You don’t have to use these exact line spaces, but using spacing close to it would be wise.
* For words or sentences that need to be italic in a book (such as a character’s thoughts), underline it because it's easier for an editor/agent/publisher to see.

FYI: Sometimes editors/agents don’t think this is necessary, but I still do it this way until I know that specific editors/agents tastes.

* Indicate a scene break with the pound sign or 3-4 centered asterisks.



* At the end of the manuscript, go a few lines spaces under the last sentence (or half-way between the last line and the bottom of the page) and type in all caps:

                                                                 THE END     

*This is an updated version of an article previously posted on my blog, Write with Fey.

Monday, January 12, 2015

So You Want to Write Romance

Hi everyone! I'm Chrys Fey, the newest moderator of Unicorn Bell, and today is my first week as co-host. I am thrilled to be here and look forward to many more weeks. :)

Romance is a very popular genre. Don’t we all just love romance? I know I do, which is why I created a post with ten tips to help you write romantic scenes. I’m not talking about dinner dates though. Oh no, I’m talking about those steamy scenes.

1. Build suspense and intensity. Nothing draws a reader in and keeps them captivated more than romance that heats up slowly like a teapot on a stove. Start things out slow between your characters with contact that is just a brush of the lips and a touch of the hands then builds to breath-stealing kisses and full-bodied caresses.

Image Free to Use

2.  Cover all the bases of the five senses: sight, taste, smell, touch, and sound. Get creative!

3. Use similes. Similes are a tiny piece of art in your writing. You don’t want to overpower the scene with similes, but creating a couple can make all the difference to your details.

4. Know your characters and genre. Don’t change your characters attitude just because they are being intimate. If the woman is shy, keep her shy during the whole love-making process. Also, keep your genre in mind. There are certain genres that require more steam and then there are others where it isn’t necessary to go that far into detail.

5. Use setting to your advantage. Describe your characters’ surroundings. A season can also make a difference. During the winter, a love scene could involve a roaring fire.

6. Don’t ignore dialogue. Have your characters voice how much they want each other and what they are feeling.

7. Get into your characters’ thoughts and emotions to make it more romantic. What are they thinking? Tell us! Are they nervous, scared, or anxious? Reveal it!

8. Listen to the great love songs that make your heart go pitter-patter.

9. Pretend you’re the one being romanced. How would you want to be treated? What would you want to happen? What are your desires?

10. Lastly, there are two ways to go about writing a romantic scene. The first route is soft and sweet. The second is hot and steamy. If you’re writing a sweet encounter, the kisses will be long, their hands will be caressing each other tenderly, and the love-making will be slow and gentle. On the other hand, if you’re writing a steamy encounter, the kisses will be bruising and breathless, their hands will be eager, and the love-making will be fast and furious.

TIP: You can blend these two options by starting out soft and sweet and then turning the heat up to hot and steamy.

* This is an updated version of an article previously posted on my blog, Write with Fey.

Friday, January 9, 2015


Our final toot for the week comes from Dianne Salerni for her book The Eighth Day which has come out in paperback:

About the book:

Recently orphaned Jax Aubrey discovers an eighth day of the week hidden between Wednesday and Thursday and a reclusive teenage girl living next door who exists only on that secret day. Evangeline is the key to a 2000 year-old spell with its roots in Arthurian legend, and Jax’s teenage guardian, Riley, is her reluctant jailor. When Jax accidentally leads a pack of human bloodhounds to Evangeline’s door, he incites a catastrophe that could destroy the regular seven days of the week.

Why would people like it:

What’s not to like?! There’s a secret day hidden in the split second between 11:59 pm Wednesday and 12:00 am Thursday, during which descendants of heroes out of Arthurian legends vie for power. Meanwhile an entire race of people is imprisoned in that single day, their lives skipping over the other seven days of the week like stones skimming across a pond. Throw in a bank robbery, mysterious tattoos, normal middle school angst, and a human sacrifice ritual atop a Mexican pyramid, and I hope I’ve given readers an adventure to remember!


Thursday, January 8, 2015


Angela Brown has accepted the challenge to toot her own horn for her book, Beacon:
What it's about: For seventeen-year-old Macie Breen, life in The Colony is a daily norm of being the odd girl out, that is, until everyday predictable slams to a screeching halt. Forced to the capital city of Bliss, Macie's life becomes a horrific unraveling as she confronts daunting truths about The Colony as well as who, or what, she really is.

Here is why folks might like it: Beacon is a YA urban fantasy dystopian, a novel crossing and mashing genres into something that is both familiar and different. Yet it is also a journey of discovery. Our lives oft involve some truths we'd rather ignore. The phrase "ignorance is bliss" stems from this. But in this story, ignorance empowers Bliss, with few exceptions, Macie among them. Following along as she steps out on her path will intrigue, excite and tug at your heart.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


MJ Fifield has accepted the challenge to toot her own horn about her book, EFFIGY.


I wrote a fantasy novel called EFFIGY, which was released last summer.

It's about: Here's a limerick I wrote about the novel back when I was procrastinating on writing a serious blurb:

There once was a queen named Haleine
Who found battling evil a pain
But when she found support in a lover
And a small pegasus who hovered
She soon became evil's bane

Why You Might Like It: The paperback edition is heavy and could be used as a weapon. Also, there's a love story and an unhealthy amount of sarcasm coming from a tiny, talking pegasus.

Click the pic to buy it. And if you want to toot your own horn, send me your cover pic along with 100 words each telling what your book is about and why someone might like it to: unicornbellsubmissions@gmail.com