Sunday, March 1, 2015

UPDATES!!


For those of you who don't know, I also write children's books, and my first one, Quentin's Problem, is currently on sale for $0.99 on Kindle!! It's all about a pirate boy who can't say "Arrr!" and is perfect for the pre-K to 2nd grade crowd. Grab a copy for your little pirates from now until March 3. 







Congratz to Shamona H who won the handmade necklace from HMC by KATE for our Let's Get Scientifical blog series!






Thanks to all the authors and readers who participated in this series! Without all of you, our blog events wouldn't be possible. Unwritten has always been and will always be for authors and readers to connect through fun events, educational articles, reviews, and more. If you ever want to appear on my blog or if you have any ideas for good series topics, just give me a shout!





Next Event: A-Z Blog Challenge
 April 1-30


Stay tuned for the sign-up link!

For the rest of March, I'm taking the month off to write, write, write! See ya soon! ~Mysti 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Let's Get Scientifical #21: Love--The Sensible Choice or the Passionate Choice?


Welcome to Unwritten's February blog event! Of course, this is the month of love, so I wanted to celebrate that theme as I've done in year's past. But this year, I've decided to add a scientific spin to it. All month long, talented authors from several genres will write about some aspect of love from their books as it relates to science. It could be social, psychological, biological, or anything in between. Our blog event is sponsored by "HMC by Kate", a fabulous independent jewelry crafter. Kate's giving away one of her very beautiful necklaces that I think fits our theme perfectly. She's also offering everyone who stops in a 10% discount on any item from her Etsy store. Be sure to enter the giveaway at the end of this post and check out her lovely offerings! Without further ado, please welcome our guest author:

Love: The Sensible or Passionate Choice?

by MJ Post

Old MJ says:   In romantic stories, we know who gets picked, right? The true love, the one that makes the heart beat faster, the soul-mate. But is that realistic? Does passion make us pick?

First of all, we don't always want what we think we want.  Writes blogger Pamela Haag:   "a new research study finds that while we think we know what we want, we don’t. Researchers found that when looking at written profiles, participants expressed more interest in candidates who fit their 'ideals.' But in live interaction, the ideals were no longer correlated with romantic interest."

Dating services let customers make sure they only meet people who fit preselected criteria. These criteria tend to be sensible (similar age and education, wealth, preferred look).  But the study implies that when the screening's done and we move on to meeting in person, the sparks don’t fly. Why not?

Psychology Today blogger Dr. Alex Lickerman:   "As with everything else, our conscious minds play second fiddle to our unconscious desires…. [W]e may think we know what we want in a mate, but the real qualities we find attractive—the real reasons for the choice we ultimately make—are often quite different from what we tell ourselves they are."

A marketing expert, Gad Saad, tells us about this. There are different ways that we weigh the characteristics of a person.  If a possible mate is being judged by some combination of looks, personality, and status, then how these get balanced in our minds determines whether someone becomes a mate. You could use what Saad calls the Weighted Additive Rule, in which one criterion is multiplied in importance. After you magnify that trait, someone becomes acceptable who might have been refused if all qualities were weighted equally. This explains  why dumb, good-looking women get smart men -- in such cases, looks are those men's top priority.

Saad also defines other methods of selection, including Lexicographic Rule:   "I'm seeking someone who's good in a particular category, so when I find that quality to the degree I want, the person is a potential mate, period." Want someone rich, hot, or funny -- if person X meets that description, you may fall in love.

Back to the question of whether choices are made because of passion or good sense:   the categories are a little more complicated than two. Good sense usually means pairing with someone of higher status than you,  someone with similar education and background, someone you can get along with. Passion has to do with just feeling someone is right for you so strongly that you will blow past obstacles and objections to be with that person. Based on my life experience, I think choices are made both ways, and the odds for happiness are comparable whether you are passionate or sensible. What matters the most is how maturely you both handle the relationship once you are in it -- but that's a different article!!


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Bio: MJ Post debuts as a romance author with "Chances Are." Educated in creative writing in Southern universities, MJ has ties to Florida and North Carolina but currently resides in New York City and works in education. MJ is married and grew up in the 1970's and 1980's.
      MJ's interests include relationships, social media, and comic books. Ask her about any and all of them!

Email MJ:   MJPostAuthor@gmail.com

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Friday, February 27, 2015

Let's Get Scientifical #20: Is Techno-Love Real Love?


Welcome to Unwritten's February blog event! Of course, this is the month of love, so I wanted to celebrate that theme as I've done in year's past. But this year, I've decided to add a scientific spin to it. All month long, talented authors from several genres will write about some aspect of love from their books as it relates to science. It could be social, psychological, biological, or anything in between. Our blog event is sponsored by "HMC by Kate", a fabulous independent jewelry crafter. Kate's giving away one of her very beautiful necklaces that I think fits our theme perfectly. She's also offering everyone who stops in a 10% discount on any item from her Etsy store. Be sure to enter the giveaway at the end of this post and check out her lovely offerings! Without further ado, please welcome our guest author:


Is Techno-Love Real Love?
by Eve Francis

Hi readers! Thank you to Mysti Parker for hosting me on the “Let’s Get Scientifical” blog-hop. My story, released Feb 15 2015, is called Not About Love. It's a lesbian sweet romance story, which deals with an online relationship between two women who meet and fall in love while writing comic book fan fiction. For me, this is a distinctly modern romance, but a not a story everyone is used to seeing yet.

So much of what we know about love, at least from a scientific perspective, has been reduced to chemicals. Mai Nguyen, the main character in the story, is studying to be a pharmacist and her study buddy Nathan reminds her (along with her professors) of this fact. In order to bond with our mates, the body releases happy hormones and chemicals—such as serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin. These produce the euphoric feelings of love and make us stick around long after the thrill of sex is gone.


There are evolutionary reasons for this, of course. It's assumed that those we have sex with end up being the ones we raise offspring with, and we function better when there are more people to raise that kid. Because of birth control, however, we don't necessarily need to be in love with the people we have sex with anymore. Most contemporary rom-coms reflect the changing way we’re dismantling love from sex (Friends With Benefits is an example), but we seem to have a harder time thinking of love being present without sex. Is it possible to love someone you’ve never had sex with? And more importantly, is it possible to love someone you’ve never even met?

In this story, Mai struggles to decipher whether her love is "real" because it happened online. She and Kate have known one another for a long time, have seen one another over Skype, and have shared many experiences. And since they write fan fiction together, they've discussed sexuality in vivid terms. But does that mean Mai is in love with Kate—the characters they write—or the screen itself? What about Kate's feelings? In fandoms, where emotions already run quite high, it can be hard to decipher if an “I love you” is a genuine expression of romantic intent, a friendly exchange, or just excitement.


Many researchers are already looking into the new ways in which technology influences our love life and if it's possible to be in love through the technology itself. I'm sure they're doing great research, and that attitudes towards love and sex will change in time. But for now, as an author I'm figuring out these conundrums and attempting to write a very short, but I hope also quite sweet story, about the possibilities of love on the internet.

My conclusion? It's definitely possible, chemicals or not. 
Thank you for having me!

Buy link: http://www.jms-books.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=34_162&products_id=1378
Find more information on my website here: evefrancis.wordpress.com

Bio:

EVE FRANCIS has appeared in The Fieldstone Review, Hyacinth Noir, Plunge Magazine, and Gay Flash Fiction. She has forthcoming publications with Ylva Publishing and JMS Books. She lives in Canada and can be found at http://evefrancis.wordpress.com/

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Let's Get Scientifical #19: From Shakespeare to Hallmark-Just Add Chocolate


Welcome to Unwritten's February blog event! Of course, this is the month of love, so I wanted to celebrate that theme as I've done in year's past. But this year, I've decided to add a scientific spin to it. All month long, talented authors from several genres will write about some aspect of love from their books as it relates to science. It could be social, psychological, biological, or anything in between. Our blog event is sponsored by "HMC by Kate", a fabulous independent jewelry crafter. Kate's giving away one of her very beautiful necklaces that I think fits our theme perfectly. She's also offering everyone who stops in a 10% discount on any item from her Etsy store. Be sure to enter the giveaway at the end of this post and check out her lovely offerings! Without further ado, please welcome our guest author:

From Shakespeare To Hallmark: Just Add Chocolate

By Alayna-Renee Vilmont


“If making love is an art
And improper courtship a crime,
The way to a true lover’s heart
Is a mixture of chocolate and rhyme.”

--- Alayna’s Deservedly Unpublished Valentine Collection

It may be a bit simplistic, but Hallmark has stumbled upon something with this observation, continuing traditions that have been around for centuries, and adding chocolate. While many have dubbed Valentine’s Day a Hallmark holiday for this very reason, the roots of using poetry as the ultimate romantic gesture stretch back to at least the Middle Ages. In the time glamourized by the stories of Lancelot and Guenevere, or Isolde and Tristan, knights and ladies were not just busy occupying themselves with liaisons that would be honoured in poetic form years later. A love poem scrawled to the object of one’s affections could be tucked neatly into one’s locket or hidden underneath a suit of armour, and served as a promise of reunification in a world where the average life span barely touched middle age.

If the fastest way to lift a woman’s skirt was to lift her spirits, preferably while sharing a glass or two of them, it was the Elizabethans who took romantic poetry and letters to another level and started a trend that would last roughly 350 years and is still kept alive by greeting card companies. In an era defined by inequality, many peasants still didn’t know how to write well, much less compose verse. Education was often considered wasted on women, yet a background in art, music, literature, and dancing were talents that made upper-class women more attractive and marriageable. Therefore, hastily scribbled verses pining over a lover were not uncommon, and were one of the only discrete and acceptable ways to inform a potential suitor of romantic interest in a society where arranged marriages were law of the land and fidelity a seldom-kept promise in people of any station

Of course, for a young man who could not rely on his looks or station to have women competing to fall into his bed, romantic verse was a tool in the art of seduction that did not discriminate. The idea of becoming a talented man’s muse or a less talented man’s object of flattery was often one not to be sneezed at, and remained that way for centuries---unless you happened to be a pragmatic heroine in a Jane Austen novel.

While many of the poems in fashion throughout Europe during the Elizabethan and Victorian eras were bawdy limericks, or thinly veiled pick-up lines, others were true works of art. More so than any other author, it is the love poems penned by William Shakespeare that live on. Shakespeare’s cranky but insightful Jacques describes the phase of being a lover as “with a woeful ballad made to his mistress’ eyebrow”. While Jacques mocks the convention of bad rhyme as courtship, in 2015, we are still comparing others to a summer day. Words are still sweeter when whispered in secret, in really not-so-secret from a balcony, or in the case of Roxanne and Cyrano, recited by a best friend who is single for a reason.

Did Romeo offer Juliet chocolates in a heart-shaped box while offering immortal words of love? Probably not, but chances are good that if you’ve forgotten a card with a short rhyming verse as a token of your affection, you won’t be getting any luckier than that immortal pair.

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Alayna-Renee Vilmont is a freelance writer, blogger, performer, and modern-day Renaissance woman currently residing in Atlanta, Georgia. This year, she did not receive a Hallmark valentine and penned this blog instead. Her first book, “Ophelia’s Wayward Muse”, is a poetic anthology based around the many facets of human relationships and experiences. Alayna is also the voice behind Jaded Elegance: The Uninhibited Adventures Of A Chic Web Geek, which has been entertaining readers since 2000. She maintains an active presence on Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, and almost every other form of social media out there. She is a frequent contributor out in the blogosphere, and has a second book in the making---as soon as reality television is discontinued. Alayna has previously appeared on this site, winning last year’s flash fiction contest and contributing other guest blogs. If you’d like to follow the adventures of this modern-day wayward muse, please stop by and visit at www.jadedelegance.net



* Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Ophelias-Wayward-Muse-Alayna-Renee-Vilmont/dp/1478218886/


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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Let's Get Scientifical #18: From Widow to Wife


Welcome to Unwritten's February blog event! Of course, this is the month of love, so I wanted to celebrate that theme as I've done in year's past. But this year, I've decided to add a scientific spin to it. All month long, talented authors from several genres will write about some aspect of love from their books as it relates to science. It could be social, psychological, biological, or anything in between. Our blog event is sponsored by "HMC by Kate", a fabulous independent jewelry crafter. Kate's giving away one of her very beautiful necklaces that I think fits our theme perfectly. She's also offering everyone who stops in a 10% discount on any item from her Etsy store. Be sure to enter the giveaway at the end of this post and check out her lovely offerings! Without further ado, please welcome our guest author:

From Widow to Wife
by
Mysti Parker

In my upcoming historical romance, A Time for Everything, Portia McAllister has to make a difficult choice. With her husband killed in battle, her only child taken by sickness and with taxes a poor Confederate widow cannot pay, she decides to leave home to work as a tutor for a Union veteran’s son in Lebanon, Tennessee. Only after a great deal of resentment do she and her employer, Beau Stanford, find common ground and eventually love.

Had it not been for the war, her progress from widow to wife would have been much different. If Portia’s husband Jake had died of natural causes at home instead of on a battlefield, she may have had the chance to sit beside him in his last hours. She would have worn black mourning clothes for a period of up to two years. Should her daughter have died—and this was still quite likely, as child mortality rates were much higher before the rise of vaccines and antibiotics—Portia would have worn black for at least a year.

Having had no other close relations, her husband’s brother Frank and his wife Ellen would have taken her in. Portia would have helped take care of their children and home, while Frank would have made the decision whether to sell his dead brother’s property or claim it as his own.

Soon as the mourning period passed, Portia would have been eligible to marry again. Her husband would most likely have resided nearby in Brentwood or the area surrounding it. He would have to have Frank’s blessing to marry her, as her brother-in-law was her closest male relative and would be responsible for her well-being. Once married, she would move into her new husband’s home and be fully integrated into his family. 

A Time for Everything coming this fall
 from EsKape Press
But the war changed everything, especially for the former Confederates. Many widows who were poor already like Portia were left practically destitute. Even if they were lucky enough to have family who could take them in, that family might be just as destitute. In Frank and Ellen’s case, it was all they could do to keep themselves and their children fed, so they couldn't take on the burden of a dead relative’s property or a widow. Though they begged Portia to stay, she didn't want to add to their hardship.

So she did another thing most women would have never done pre-war. She left home to live and work in a stranger’s household. A Union household at that. She didn’t arrive wearing mourning clothes, either. Not because she didn’t want to, but because she couldn’t afford to purchase or even dye those garments herself.

Before the war, Beau would have never entrusted his son to a Confederate’s widow, nor would he have allowed himself to fall in love with her. Yet, the war obliterated more than men and bricks and mortar. It forced new social rules upon everyone. Former slaves were now free, but struggling under the weight of what freedom brought with it. Veterans were left handicapped, with missing limbs or internal scars that would never heal. And widows were left to fend for themselves, taking on the provider role of their late husbands.

When widows finally did become wives again, they often had to marry men who were much older or younger, or those who had once been considered enemies. Like Beau and Portia—two people who understand the pain of loss, let go of dead social conventions, and find comfort in each other's arms. 

Sources: 


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Bio: Mysti Parker is a wife, mom, author, and shameless chocoholic. She is the author of the Tallenmere standalone fantasy romance series and The Roche Hotel romantic comedy series. Her short writings have appeared in the anthologies Hearts of Tomorrow, Christmas Lites, Christmas Lites II, Christmas Lites IV, The Darwin Murders, Tasteful Murders and EveryDayFiction. Her award-winning historical romance, A Time for Everything, will be published this summer by EsKape Press.

Other writing pursuits include serving as a class mentor in Writers Village University's seven week online course, F2K. She has published one children’s book, Quentin’s Problem (as Misty Baker), with another (Fuzzy Buzzy’s Treasure) coming this spring.

When she's not writing fiction, Mysti works as a freelance editor and copywriter. She also reviews books for SQ Magazine, an online specfic publication, and is the proud owner of Unwritten, a blog voted #3 for eCollegeFinder's Top Writing Blogs award. She resides in Buckner, KY with her husband and three children.

Author links
Visit Mysti’s website: www.mystiparker.com

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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Let's Get Scientifical #17: Love at First Sight--Myth or Reality?


Welcome to Unwritten's February blog event! Of course, this is the month of love, so I wanted to celebrate that theme as I've done in year's past. But this year, I've decided to add a scientific spin to it. All month long, talented authors from several genres will write about some aspect of love from their books as it relates to science. It could be social, psychological, biological, or anything in between. Our blog event is sponsored by "HMC by Kate", a fabulous independent jewelry crafter. Kate's giving away one of her very beautiful necklaces that I think fits our theme perfectly. She's also offering everyone who stops in a 10% discount on any item from her Etsy store. Be sure to enter the giveaway at the end of this post and check out her lovely offerings! Without further ado, please welcome our guest author:

Love at First Sight--Myth or Reality?

by Tony Acree

In The Hand of God, when my protagonist, Victor McCain finally finds the woman he’s sent to find, Samantha Tyler, he falls instantly in love with her. Or perhaps, instantly in lust. Is there a difference?
Laura Schwecherl wrote a column in the Washington Post discussing the possibility that love at first sight might have a biological component, suggesting animals may have a pre-programmed perfect mate and when you see them, it is instantaneous. And I believe there is a case for two people to have a chemistry which matches up. But does instant physical attraction equate to love? When Vic and Samantha meet, the attraction is instant and hits him physically.

Dr. Helen Fisher, a research professor at Rutgers University, says, “Sexual chemistry does not always equal love, and this is because we’ve evolved distinct brain systems for mating.” Or in other words, just because your attracted to someone, doesn’t mean it will work out.

I think there is a combination of things when it comes to the science of love. Two people can have a quick chemical connection, that “something in the air” moment where you meet a person and the static electricity cranks up between the two of you.

But I also believe there is a part of the equation which science cannot explain. Humans are complex beings and I don’t think any one formula can describe why two people hit it off. You hear couples all the time saying, “we were meant to be.” Perhaps.

In the end, Samantha also finds feelings for Victor, but the attraction was not quite as immediate. One thing Vic knows for sure, though, is despite only knowing her for one day, he knows he will love her for the rest of his life. In the end, that’s all that matters, science be damned.  

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Amazon best selling author, Tony Acree,likes putting characters in situations they think they will never survive, and find out if they're right. He lives near Louisville, Kentucky with his wife, twin daughters, two female dogs, a female cat, and says the way the goldfish looks at him, he's sure she's female, too. 

Buy links:


Website: Tonyacree.com

Twitter: @Tonyacree


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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Let's Get Scientifical #16: All in the Family--Goblins & Inbreeding


Welcome to Unwritten's February blog event! Of course, this is the month of love, so I wanted to celebrate that theme as I've done in year's past. But this year, I've decided to add a scientific spin to it. All month long, talented authors from several genres will write about some aspect of love from their books as it relates to science. It could be social, psychological, biological, or anything in between. Our blog event is sponsored by "HMC by Kate", a fabulous independent jewelry crafter. Kate's giving away one of her very beautiful necklaces that I think fits our theme perfectly. She's also offering everyone who stops in a 10% discount on any item from her Etsy store. Be sure to enter the giveaway at the end of this post and check out her lovely offerings! Without further ado, please welcome our guest author:

All in the Family: Goblins & Inbreeding

by Jaq Hawkins

Goblins are very aware of the effects of a limited gene pool. If a small community breeds only within its borders, the inbreeding will result in autosomal recessive disorders, which occur in individuals who have two copies of the same gene for a particular recessive genetic mutation.1 The alleles (versions of genes) collect a multitude of deleterious mutations which diminish fitness in the bloodlines.2 Therefore, to mix genetic lines more broadly, goblins seek out mates from other grottos. What's more, the tradition of the succubus; the female creature who visits unwary males in the night and seduces them, provides outbreeding1 for more diverse genetics when a sufficiently humanoid looking female goblin is able to conceive from such a seduction.

Love is considered a separate issue to goblins. There is no room for jealousy in a species in danger of extinction through insufficient fertility. The fact that fewer females are born within the goblin grottos is nature's way of reducing the inbreeding, but it also limits the number of females that might bring new strains into the bloodlines.

Goblins share common ancestors with humans, and therefore are able to crossbreed. Genome sequences harvested from Neanderthal bones have previously confirmed that Neanderthals (the direct ancestors of the Deep Dwellers) and modern humans mated, and that about 2% of the genomes of people who descend from Europeans, Asians and other non-Africans is Neanderthal.3,4.

In earlier times, human communities also suffered the effects of inbreeding, before transportation developed so that more humans could travel on a regular basis. The obvious solution to two communities who have become inbred was of course to trade the occasional infant so that both communities could benefit from more diverse lines. The tradition of changelings, unfortunately, had to be abandoned some time ago. The humans objected to the exchange and would torture the goblin infants and leave them exposed in the woods until their own infants were returned.

The goblins, who treasure every birth and could not understand the ability of humans to be cruel to innocent babes, ceased the practice and instead seek more direct fertilisation via the succubus, leaving the humans to deal with their inbreeding problems in their own way. Fortunately they eventually developed long distance means of travel and their communities began to diversify.

As for the goblins, they continue to seek ways to diversify. Runners, the goblins who carry information from one grotto to another, are always in demand when the females choose their mating partners at The Dance. The primal seductivity of The Dance encourages regular matings, though not always with the partner that the female loves most. Exclusive partnerships are rare, but goblins do love.

Goblins recognise emotional love as a unity between two like-minded entities who share attitudes and opinions most closely. Physical attraction may be involved as well, but the goblins recognise that pheremones5 are strongest between a male and female who are most likely to be able to breed. It is simple biology, sensed on a subtle scent level.

References:
1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inbreeding
2. http://helorimer.people.ysu.edu/inbred.html
3. http://www.nature.com/news/modern-human-genomes-reveal-our-inner-neanderthal-1.14615
4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archaic_human_admixture_with_modern_humans
5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_pheromone

Dance of the Goblins

Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/Goblin-Trilogy-complete-ebook/dp/B00MGIAXE2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1422016805&sr=8-1&keywords=goblin+trilogy

Smashwords
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/123080

Lulu
http://www.lulu.com/gb/en/shop/jaq-d-hawkins/dance-of-the-goblins-new-expanded-third-edition/paperback/product-21642070.html

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