Monday, January 30, 2012

It's The "Love at First Sight" Writing Contest!

In a great story or film, we all know the butterflies in the stomach feeling when guy meets girl and sparks fly. While I'm finishing up the sparks of Serenya's Song, and to celebrate the love of February, here's YOUR chance to show off your love-at-first-sight scenes.

And just for an example, here's a scene from Chapter One of Serenya's Song, where Jayden Ravenwing first spies the enchanting Serenya Crowe:

    I stepped through the door.  Soft piano music and the voice accompanying it—angelic, rich, soulful—stilled my footsteps. I finally made my way inside and slid onto a stool at the bar.  The bartender, an aging human with a partly bald head and pot-belly, asked me what I wanted.
            “Gingerroot tea, please.” I couldn’t take my eyes off the ebony-haired girl singing at the piano.
“That’s my daughter, Serenya. Lovely, isn’t she?” He retrieved a teapot behind him, added water, and set it on a small stove.
            “She is.”
            “Where is the one who holds the key? Where is the one who’s made for me?”
I’d heard the song she sang before, but the words had never resonated within me like this. I shifted in my seat. If I listened long enough, I feared her voice could unearth every secret I had. But, I had no intention of leaving now. I liked a good challenge.
“I’ve journeyed high, I’ve journeyed low, to heaven above and hell below.”
            Slightly pointed ears indicated she was half-elven, but she didn’t resemble the proprietor at all. I studied her white skin, pale as the ivory piano keys she commanded so well. Lustrous, black hair fell in waves over her shoulders. Rose red lips wrapped around each word of the song. An irresistible light sparkled in her eyes. Pure joy. I knew that feeling all too well. Very few women had even come close to understanding my passion for music. A familiar longing settled over me like an invisible net.
            The teakettle whistled. The bartender filled my cup. “Haven’t seen you before. Don’t get many wood-elves down here. What’s your name?”
            “Jayden Ravenwing.”
            “Douglas Barnaby. Welcome to the Wasted Witch. New in town or just passing through?”
            “Just moved from Leogard.”
“Then, welcome to Summerwind, too. It’s just a spot in the road, but I think you’ll like it here.”
            He nodded and walked away to serve other customers. The spicy aroma of fresh ginger met my nose as I sipped and listened. Maybe this would be a decent town to reside in after all.
            “Years have passed, but I’m not free. My love—too late he came for me.”   
The final note of the song sent chills across my skin. The audience applauded. I lifted my hands to do the same, but decided that gesture was too paltry for such talent. She deserved something more.
 In 500 words or less (PG ONLY PLEASE), send me a scene from a finished story, WIP, or even a brand new flash fiction. Show me how your guy or girl reacts to meeting their perfect match. It might not be all butterflies and roses, but we should be able to tell that an impression was made!

I'll take entries from now until midnight on February 14--that's right, Valentine's Day! Depending on the number of entries, I'll either post them all for voting or pick finalists and THEN run a vote.

Winners will get a $10 Amazon Gift Card, plus an exclusive interview right here on Unwritten.

***TO SUBMIT: Send all entries to the link on the sidebar that says, "Submit your entries..." Please put "Love at First Sight" Writing Contest in the subject line so I can easily spot them!

Now, get to writing!!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Working With a Literary Agent by Author Stephen Prosapio


As part of Stephen Prosapio's virtual tour to promote his new book, Ghosts of Rosewood Asylum, he's here today to talk about working with literary agents, a topic most writers consider at some point in their careers.

Please welcome Stephen, and read on, because there are goodies to be had!

Working with a Literary Agent

There are so many misconceptions within the writing community and amongst the general public, I thought I’d give a realistic snapshot of what it’s actually like working with a literary agent. Having worked with my agent for four years and four different projects now, I have a current and thorough perspective.

First, just like soul mates, there is only ONE agent that’s right for each author. Typically there’s a very narrow window to get through as well. Any writer sending the wrong project idea to their soul-mate agent, is doomed to eternal failure. Worse, is the author who sends the CORRECT project idea to their perfect agent and is rejected because of a typo in her manuscript. Alas, she was so close to securing the perfect agent who would land them with the perfect publisher and launch them into a perfect career.

Once securing an agent (the process takes typically a week or so after the writer finds their perfect one), a writer need only sit back, relax and cash advances and royalty checks. Agents sign them to multi-book, movie deals and the foreign rights? Can you say, “Life of luxury?”

The second novel is even easier. Most times, authors merely leave voicemail messages for their agent about their ideas for a second novel. Sometimes those ideas come from fans (or the author’s parents). Once that novel is written by a combination of the writer and publisher, said author is already basking in the glory of success. Rarely if ever, is a third novel needed. That’s why most authors write under pseudonyms. That way we get multiple revenue streams going!!!

As much as I’d love to say it’s not, I’m sure you’ve figured out that the above paragraphs are fiction. More than fiction, they’re sarcastic hyperbole. Working with a literary agent is much like working in collaboration with anyone. Agents are typically highly intelligent and extremely hard working people who love books. My agent showed up early to one of my Friday night book signings this summer. I know that during the course of a weekend she’ll typically have at least two full manuscripts to read along with potentially dozens of “partial” manuscripts.

Think about that. After a week of dealing with the business issues of publishing, her weekend consists of reading the equivalent of three or four books—AND—making either decisions on whether or not to represent these works or if that decision has already been made in the positive sense, she needs to keep her mind aware of how to make suggestions for the writer to improve the work. So what does my agent do while at the bookstore that Friday? She talks to the clerk about various books people are reading and enjoying, and then buys three or four books to read “for fun.”

Literary agents LOVE reading. As a writer, you need to match that intensity with your love of writing. Creating story. Then it’s just a matter of presenting that story to the right agent—the one who sees your potential greatness.

I hope this helps encourage people out there to pursue their dreams!

To learn more about Stephen and his work, please visit:

You can also purchase "Ghosts of Rosewood Asylum" at Amazon:

****GIVEAWAY TIME!!!****

Stephen, you got me all excited with the "life of luxury"! Thanks for sharing your experience with an agent who is both accessible AND human. It's encouraging, for sure.

Hey, lucky people! Stephen is offering one signed, print copy of his book, along with a signed bookmark and postcard (US only), and one e-book if you are international!

To enter, comment on this post with your location (US or International) and your e-mail address [Ex: mystiparker (at) yahoo (dot) com]. 

I'll pick the winner(s) at the end of Stephen's tour (Feb. 15) and will notify you then. 

Good luck!


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Like Unwritten? I Need Your Votes!!!

I've made into the running for eCollegeFinder's top 75 Writing Blogs. The polls have opened, and I need YOUR votes!

On the sidebar, you'll see a button. Click it, scroll down the list, and vote for Unwritten. I'll also include it here for your convenience:

Online Colleges

Here's some of the information from the e-mail I received today:

Based upon the responses received, we have finalized our list of the top 75 nominees and featured each alphabetically on our site. You can view the page here:

In addition, we have created a page in which visitors will be able to place votes for the blogs they feel are the best writing resources. Visitors may vote as many times as they’d like during the voting period, which will continue through February 3, 2012 at 5 PM EST. This page can be accessed through the blog list or at the following url:

When the voting period ends, the 3 blogs with the most votes will be announced in the eCollegeFinder blog and each winner and finalist will be presented with an official Top Writing Blogs Award badge to display their accomplishment.

The more votes, the better my chances. Please share this on your blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc. I've worked really hard on this blog to make it a helpful, fun, and informative website for writers and readers. I appreciate all your support!


Monday, January 23, 2012

Read-A-Thon Participants: Stop Here for Your Chance to Win!

Click HERE to sign up!! It's FREE!!!
If you haven't signed up for this event (hosted by The True Book Addict blog), please click the linked picture here or in the sidebar. 

Then head to all the blogs listed for your chance to win all sorts of lovely book-related prizes. 

During this event, I'm offering ONE signed, print copy of my debut fantasy romance, A Ranger's Tale, to one lucky participant of the Read-a-Thon!

26 Amazon and 38 Goodreads reviews can't be wrong, including...

Anya at Pillow Talk Reviews, who says: 

"If you like a story that's nonconventional, one that doesn't follow all the rules, then you're bound to love A Ranger's Tale by Mysti Parker."

Once upon a time an elven noblewoman longed to leave her gilded cage. A half-breed former pirate wanted nothing more than to escape his guilty past. Easier said than done... 

In the fantasy world of Tallenmere, the high elf, Caliphany Aranea, nearly a century old, has never been allowed to travel farther than a few miles out of the capital city of Leogard. Her father, Sirius, leads the Mage Academy, and after losing his only son, he expects Caliphany to take his place one day. The trouble is, she doesn't want to study magic and doubts she'll ever be as good a wizard as her father. She dreams of leaving Leogard to explore the world and strike out on her own--lofty goals for Sirius' daughter, who also happens to be King Leopold's niece. 

When two brutes at Leogard Harbor attempt to kidnap her while she dreams of faraway lands, half-elf ship captain and ranger, Galadin Trudeaux, comes to her rescue. From their first chance encounter, to the finale, where Caliphany must decide where her heart truly lies, she and Galadin will face more adventure, more love, more heartache, than they ever thought possible. Through it all, they discover the power of forgiveness and of a love that stands the test of time.


Please Note: This is only for Read-a-Thon participants, so if you haven't signed up, go do it now. Then comment with your email address for your chance to win! Winners will be announced at the close of the event, after January 29. Good luck!!


Friday, January 13, 2012

Novel Under Construction + Free Books

That's me shoveling the crap
from my manuscript. 
Pardon the hiatus. I'm going cross-eyed getting Serenya's Song ready to hand over to the lovely folks at Melange Books. 

I'm knee deep in ironing out rough scenes and mopping up those crazy time markers I keep spilling everywhere. Piles of:

then, before, after, when

splattered with all those useless silly words like 

so, finally, well, very, really, nearly

and enough adverbs to choke a horse. So, I'll be away for a bit. Not totally away, but mostly away. Notice my useless words. I am allowed to use them here. It's my blog and I'll spew out useless words if I really want to. 

Now, for the good stuff. In preparation of my 2nd book release, I'm offering a twenty-four hour blitz! Free e-copies of A Ranger's Tale to anyone who comments here and leaves their e-mail addy. 

That's right, 24 hours of the book that started all this mess! It's a fantasy romance, with lots of elven goodness. 

25 Amazon and 37 Goodreads Reviewers can't be wrong. 

Curled up by the fire, I was transported into the world of Tallenmere and didn't come back until the last page. Really enjoyed it! ~Bobbi Groover

This is one of the books that I'll most definitely pick off the shelf and read again. ~Stefanie J Pristavu

I started "A Ranger's Tale" expecting a fantasy novel about a heroine seeking adventure, but what I found was a story written with love from the very beginning. ~Alan Zendell

Mysti Parker has hit one out of the ballpark with this first story in her new Tallenmere fantasy romance series with its wizards, paladans, elves, trolls, halflings, royalty, a secret agency, a poignant romance, betrayal, a love lost and found. ~WildAboutBones

So, leave me a comment with your email, and until Saturday 3:30pm EST, I'll send you A Ranger's Tale (.pdf or Kindle). 


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Things I Have Learned, Take Three

Welcome to the third installment of Things I Have Learned (ooo, scary font!), and it's inspired by a flattering e-mail I received from eCollegeFinder. They have nominated Unwritten for a Top Writing Blogs Award! Can I hear a WOOT???

Thank you.

No, really, I have ALL of you fabulous authors, readers, and commenters to thank for this award. Without your participation, all you'd have is my babbling and the sounds of lonely crickets. Cheep, cheep. I've had a blast interviewing writers, reviewing books, and hosting contests, along with my rambling. The truth is, y'all make me look good. I hope to keep this a hopping, happening place that just keeps growing as I hope to do as a writer.

So for today's installment, I'm answering a question posed by eCollegeFinder.

They asked: 

What advice can you offer students aiming to improve their writing acumen?

First of all, let's define acumen. The definition says it is: keenness and depth of perception, discernment, or discrimination especially in practical matters

This to me says savvy. Savvy? This means gaining wisdom, and wisdom usually comes with experience. In terms of writing (and everything in life) I usually learn things the hard way. Yet, every challenge nourishes wisdom (and therefore savvy), and along the way, I learn to discern what works and what doesn't. I'll share a few of these tidbits now.

1. Writing is Work--"But I love it", you say. "I wake up and can hardly wait to write the next bestseller. It doesn't feel like work!"

 My answer: Maybe not...yet. If it doesn't feel like work, chances are you're still writing as a hobby. And don't get me wrong, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. It's super fun to get a spark of an idea and sit down to see what pours out from the keyboard, even if nary a soul but you ever reads it. 

But, if you really want to write for publication (no matter how small the venue), writing then becomes more than just a hobby. It's a real job. It requires time-scheduling, planning, the actual writing of course, and editing. LOTS of editing. When you're writing for the sake of appealing to an audience of any kind, you have to have the mindset of writing as a career. It probably won't be your primary occupation until you're JK Rowling rich, but if you don't take it seriously, devote enough time and effort, honor deadlines and other activities that go along with it (promo, etc), you're gonna remain a hobby writer. 

In other words, if you want any recognition or compensation for your word-crafting, you have to put in the work to get there!

2. Know Your Limits--"The sky's the limit!" you say. 

My answer: Sure it is! Until you bonk your head on a passing airplane carrying the banner of I CAN DO IT ALL! Cut back and schedule. Do you really need to join 15 social networking sites? Do you really need to blog three times a day? Figure out how to minimize and prioritize. Schedule your blog posts and Facebook time. Instead of taking five online writing courses a year, maybe take one or two. Maybe reward yourself with some surfing after you've written for a whole hour or finished an article or short story draft. 

Boy, have I learned this one the hard way. Last year, I stretched myself too thin. I like to pretend I'm superwoman, but I'll share a secret with you...I'm not. I thought I could take online classes, be active in my online critique group and all the social networking sites, have a popular blog, and STILL get my work-in-progress done. 


I'm a full-time mom of three, so any thing on top of the mom job stretches my schedule to the breaking point. I piled too much on my plate, so now I have to trim the calories, so to speak. None of the other online pursuits were bad in and of themselves. But, I pushed my writing aside too much while I was doing them. 

If you have a writing project to finish, you really have to stick to your guns (see #1) and get it done! I hate to pick on J.K. Rowling (she's totally awesome), but unless you're a famous author like her, you probably have a job or you're in school, or you're a parent, most likely don't have eight straight hours to sit and write. And if you spend all your spare time surfing Facebook or blogging, then wave goodbye to your writing time. Figure out how much time you need to get your project done and push aside the non-necessary stuff.

3. Take Care of You--"Writing is me time," you say. "I'm already locking myself in my room for two hours a night. Isn't that taking care of me?"

My answer: Not exactly. You're working. (see #1 again) You're sitting on your tail and stressing over the 17th rewrite of the 3rd paragraph on page 56. It's butt and brain-numbing. Plus, if you're stuffing your mouth full of Cheetos at the same time....

So, last year, I put on a few extra pounds. All that writing, promo, etc (see #2) had me falling off the exercise wagon early on. Stress had me stuffing myself with junk, especially over the holidays. Add to that some really late nights and I was a total mombie. 

Moms are tired enough. But I just made it worse. And what did that do to my writing? You guessed it. Took a serious toll that resulted in some real writing blocks. Hours of staring at the same paragraph, interrupted by mindless surfing on Facebook (see #2 again).  

If you want to be successful at any writing project, your mind needs to be sharp. You know how to do it. Limit the junk. Get more sleep (easier when you schedule better and prioritize). And move! Taking care of your body will keep your mind functioning properly so you can focus.

***Here's a little thing I'm trying: I've traded my office chair for an exercise ball. It forces you to use your core muscles to balance as you sit and keeps your spine in proper alignment. Plus, you can bounce like Tigger! ***

4. Attitude Is Everything--You say, "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!"

My answer: This is true. But, sometimes it's not. Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither was a bestseller. Had enough idioms yet?

I don't know of anyone who became a writing phenomenon overnight with the first draft of anything. And, quite frankly, there are thousands of superb writers out there who will never be famous. That doesn't mean their efforts are futile. They've spent hours at the keyboard, been rejected time and time again. So, should you just throw in the towel now?

Nope. There's one thing every one of you should be doing.

READ!!! And if you're not, you should be--it's one of the best ways to grow as a writer. Read widely and often. But have the right attitude about it. You might pick up a wonderful book and get the "I wish I could write like that" syndrome. I know I do. 

Well, stop it! Most likely, that author has worked his or her butt off  (and had a little bit of luck) to get to where they are today. Read Stephen King's On Writing if you doubt that. So what if you're not ranked #1 at Amazon in the Culinary History of Ancient China category. You may never be, but that doesn't mean you can't improve your skills and really crank out some readable material. 

Start small and give it your all. From short stories, to articles and newsletters, there are tons of writing projects at your disposal. It's up to you to have the right attitude about it. Take whatever writing job you get and run with it! When you're finished, be proud of your accomplishment. You don't have to be on the NYT Bestseller list to be a good writer. You just have to write! 

Now shut down Facebook, put down the Cheetos, and channel the voice of Stuart Smalley, because doggone it, you are good enough. So, get at it!