Monday, December 31, 2018

43 Writing Contests in January 2019 - No entry fees

Writing Contests

Photo by Clark Young on Unsplash
January 2019

January is a great month for writing contests. This month there are 42 contests, and none charge entry fees. Prizes range from $40,000 to a camera.

If you are an author, you might as well enter some.  It certainly won't hurt and just might help get you and your books some attention.  I found this great blog that lists current writing contests each month and supposedly there are no entry fees attached.  Who can beat that?

Go here to learn more.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Book Announcements and GiveAways 2018 December - Journey To Osm - The Blue Unicorn's Tale

Book Announcements and GiveAways

Journey To Osm - The Blue Unicorn's Tale

by Sybrina Durant

Enter for a chance to win 1 of 5 Kindle Ebooks of this new unicorn novel.  
This giveaway started Dec 26, 2018 6:38 AM PST and ends the earlier of Jan 2, 2019 11:59 PM

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Sybrina's Phrase Thesaurus Sample Phrases

Volume 2

Moving Parts - Part 2

Sybrina's Phrase Thesaurus is a 4 Volume Set of thousands of descriptive phrases to help authors break through writer's block.  This group of phrases describe movements of the shoulder.  


Get this writer's aid at all online book stores.  

Unicorn Book Feature - The Last Hunt by Bruce Coville

Unicorn Book Feature

The Last Hunt

The Unicorn Chronicles Book IV

By Bruce Coville

In the center if Luster stands an enormous tree called the Axis Mundi, the Heart of the World. But now that tree is wounded, pierced through by magic. And through that wound marches an army of Hunters, led by the sinister and vengeful Beloved. And they are all determined to destroy each and every unicorn. As the unicorns gather to defend their lives, the human girl, Cara, is sent on a mission to meet a ferocious and mysterious dragon. Faced with perilous danger, Cara must make a desperate decision that will change her life forever.

With a deft hand and keen imagination, master storyteller Bruce Coville brings this riveting epic fantasy series to a rousing conclusion as the secrets of Luster are finally and satisfyingly unveiled.

Get it at Amazon.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Book Reviews2 for the Blue Unicorn's Journey To Osm by Marcella G

Marcella Gonzales rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Is it weird that I want to live inside this book? Please? Haha. “The Blue Unicorn’s Journey to Osm” by Sybrina Durant is such an utterly charming story, one which I would have no hesitation having my children read, and even adult will like it as well. It is a “clean” fantasy suitable for most ages, but it is definitely geared toward the younger YA/ Upper MG crowd (12-18 I’d say), but it is a rare story that will transcend age groups. Sybrina Durant has a great way of writing in a believable manner that is intelligently constructed with great worldbuilding and lore, and characters we love and love to hate. Absolutely love the vibrant pictures that brighten the pages (and storyline). A well-written and tightly knit and action-packed plot will appeal to all readers, not just fans of fantasy. It has a solid universal message that everyone can understand and appreciate, and it is a lot of fun to read. I loved the ending as well, but keep reading to the last pages because there is a helpful pronunciation guide and some very cool drawings that relate to the story. This is such a cool niche here that Ms. Durant has tapped into and I would definitely love to read more like this in the future! Highly recommend.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Unicorn Book Feature2 - Creative Haven Unicorns Coloring Book (Adult Coloring) by Marty Noble

Unicorn Book Feature

Unicorns Coloring Book

For Adults

By Marty Noble

Unicorns have captured the imagination for centuries—now, sophisticated colorists will be enchanted by more than 30 illustrations of these legendary creatures. Set in a variety of poses against intricately embellished natural backgrounds, these mythic scenes will foster a sense of creative serenity.

Pages are perforated and printed on one side only for easy removal and display. Specially designed for experienced colorists, Unicorns and other Creative Haven® adult coloring books offer an escape to a world of inspiration and artistic fulfillment. Each title is also an effective and fun-filled way to relax and reduce stress.

Get it at Amazon.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Monday, December 24, 2018

Book Reviews2 for the Blue Unicorn's Journey To Osm by Nicole

By Nicole L 

I am a huge fan of unicorns and was super exited when I found this book! "The Blue Unicorn's Journey to Osm Illustrated Book" is true gem. "The Blue Unicorn's Journey to Osm Illustrated Book" is a beautifully illustrated fantasy novel that pulls the reader directly into an incredible fantasy world that you don't want to leave.
The illustrations done by Dasguptarts perfectly match the story and help set the atmosphere. The love the beautiful color map provided that clearly identifies locations such as, Egada Home of the Cussers, Muzika Woods, and the Rainbow Colored Bands of Weita.
Author Sybrina Durant takes us on an adventure, following Blue, the unicorn who was was supposed to be the savior of his fellow unicorns. He was born without magic or the metal horns attributed to his tribe of unicorns. Fast forward twenty years and the adventure truly begins.
"The Blue Unicorn's Journey to Osm Illustrated Book' is such an imaginative, creative tale. I truly enjoyed reading it. I hope Sybrina Durant will publish future books similar to this. "The Blue Unicorn's Journey to Osm Illustrated Book" is easy to read and a true joy. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy young adult fantasy books. "The Blue Unicorn's Journey to Osm Illustrated Book" is quick, fun read for all.

Get the full color illustrated hard cover book for your home library at Amazon.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Unicorn Book Feature2 - The Unicorn's Secret - by Kathleen Duey

The Unicorn's Secret

The Journey Home

By Kathleen Duey

Heart is convinced that the old man from Castle Avamir can help her find her family -- the only people she dares to trust with the Unicorn's secret. But the old man has been taken prisoner by Lord Dunraven. Heart's search for the truth is leading her into the most dangerous place of all: the depths of Dunraven's heavily guarded castle.

Heart's quest is nearing its end -- and what awaits her is beyond her wildest imaginings....

Get it at Amazon.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Book Reviews2 for the Blue Unicorn's Journey To Osm by Jennifer R

In the Tribe of Metal Horned Unicorns there is a prophecy that tells of a unicorn who will save them from the evil sorceress Magh who uses their horns and hooves for spells, but when he is finally born the Blue Unicorn has no metal in his horn. Without a metal horn the Blue Unicorn has no magic, but he still must find a way to save his people or they will all be doomed.Along the his way on the perilous journey he has the help of many friends, like Gaiso the Stag and Girasol the Firebird. With the help of both forest friends and magical friends alike, Blue Unicorn must battle his way through the magical land of MarBryn to get his tribe back to Unimaise or face extinction.

The cover art caught my eye as soon as I saw it and I was delighted to find that the same vibrant and detailed illustrations are found throughout the entire book. A map in the beginning of the book make it easy for readers to follow both the Blue Unicorn's journey and the separate trek of his Tribe as they make their way to Muzika Woods. Each section has a small black and white illustration and is only two pages of text, making it easy to pick up and put down. Following each section is a full-color 2 page spread version of the black and white picture on the text page. The formatting in the e-book great, but is best enjoyed on a color tablet or computer screen to get the full color illustrations.

Seeing each of the unicorns special abilities corresponding to each unicorns unique metal horn is creative. Although Blue is without magic, he certainly isn't helpless and his ability to stay positive throughout the book definitely helps him on the way. The writing style is appropriate for the age category. The story moves at a steady pace and kept me hooked from beginning to end. Readers should be warned of the inclusion of death near that end, which may be too dark for younger readers.This coming-of-age story is sure to delight fantasy and unicorn enthusiasts.

Get the full color illustrated hard cover book for your home library at Amazon.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Unicorn Book Feature2 - The Lost Soul -Enchena Book 1- by K.S. Marsden

Unicorn Book Feature

The Lost Soul

Enchena Book 1

By K.S. Marsden

~Part one of the epic fantasy duology~

Enchena's history is written by the victorious. Through war and betrayal, King Hrafn's reign has spread across the land. The rebellion is stirring again...

In a world where the evil nature of humans has infected the very forests and animals surrounding them, they are crying out for a new hope; a new hero.
Natural enemies must come together, to overcome the curse.

Two innocent people must be brought from another world. One will bring the rebellion the way to succeed; the other will be their destruction.

Get it at Amazon.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Unicorn Book Feature - Journey To Osm - The Blue Unicorn's Tale - By Sybrina Durant

Unicorn Book Feature

Journey To Osm

The Blue Unicorn's Tale

By Sybrina Durant

Facing extinction, the Metal-Horned Unicorns of MarBryn are desperate for hope. Any hope. . .So when the Oracle reveals the prophecy promising just that, the remaining members of the tribe pin their future on the birth of a young foal.

Hope becomes despair when the baby unicorn is born without metal. . .because without metal there is no magic. And without magic, this little blue newborn has no chance to defeat the evil sorcerer that has imprisoned all of MarBryn. Magh’s rule proves both harsh and brutal and by the time Blue comes of age there are only twelve metal-horns left in all of MarBryn. Eleven can claim some form of metal based magic. . .but one must get by on sheer grit, will, and the desire to avenge his parents untimely deaths.

Like most of the metal-horns, Blue disregards the prophecy as nonsense, but driven by his insecurities, he covertly trains for a fight he’s ill-equipped to win.And then hope comes back around.

For Blue…For the Metal Horn Unicorns of MarBryn …But can a unicorn with no metal … no magic … answer the call of fate?

The Blue Unicorn's Journey To Osm Illustrated book was a feast for the eyes but the story was short.

This novel is the expanded version of that story.

Get it at Amazon.

Book Announcements and GiveAways 2018 December3 - The Blue Unicorn's Journey To Osm book


Book Announcements and GiveAways

The Blue Unicorn's Journey To Osm 

book for teens and older readers

Jamie G. won the black and white "read and color" version of The Blue Unicorn’s Journey To Osm Illustrated "Coloring Book" for Teens and Older Readers.  Contains over 42 unicorn images for coloring.

She will also receive a tee shirt featuring a character of her choice from the book.   

This book is available in audio as well as soft and hardback print and all ebook formats.  There is an accompanying Coloring Book/Character Description Book and a Children’s Picture Book, too. Finally, there’s lots of unicorn bling to be scooped up from 

Get them at all online book stores.  

 This contest runs fromDecember 1st, 2018 through December 28th, 2018.  Winners will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter.  Winner’s mailing address will be requested at that time.

Now Published!

Enter the Amazon Giveaway for a chance to win 1 of 5 kindle ebooks of this novel. 

This is the novel version of The Blue Unicorn's Journey To Osm.  If you wanted more after reading the illustrated book, you will be delighted with this much longer story.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Book Reviews2 for the Blue Unicorn's Journey To Osm by Sage

This book is aimed at younger readers and has many underlying life lessons in its story. It follows a unicorn named Blue, who is the prophesized savior to save the tribe of MarBryn from the evil sorcerer Magh.Though the writing is easy to follow and as I read the story I could imagine myself reading it out loud to a child.There are parallels to real life in the story and the book will likely teach young readers the value in believing in themselves despite the pressure that is put on their shoulders. The illustrations are well put together and will help young readers visualize the story. I do wish that some of them appeared larger on the screen in a higher resolution, but they served their purpose regardless.Not everyone appreciates how complicated it can be to write a children’s book. You have to use language that easily flows, while also being conscious of word choices that will help build upon a child’s vocabulary. It takes real talent, and I believe that the author has paid close attention to the writing of this book as well as the visuals.

Get the full color illustrated soft cover book for your home library at Amazon.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Unicorn Book Feature2 - The Magical History of Unicorns (Gothic Dreams) - Russ Thorne

Unicorn Book Feature

The Magical History of Unicorns

By Russ Thorne

Enter the fantastical and enchanting world created by artist Josephine Wall, populated by fairies, wizards, goddesses, angels and nature spirits. Enjoy and discover some of her most beautiful artworks, alongside engaging text that discusses the life and work of Josephine as well as taking a wider look at the art and artists that have influenced her. Then read on further as we delve into the mythic influences and folklore that lie at the heart of Josephine's art, from Mother Earth and the Green Man to Northern European, Native American, African and Aboriginal legends. The book explores the motivations and wonders of art that reaches deep into the imagination to create magical and otherworldly realms.

Get it at Amazon.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Unicorn Book Feature2 - Knight's Duty: The Unicorn Knight Trilogy: Book One - By Elaine Bassier

Unicorn Book Feature

Knight's Duty

The Unicorn Knight Trilogy: Book One

By Elaine Bassier

Arianna longs to be a Unicorn Knight, one of the protectors of the realm of Failyn. When she encounters a unicorn who mysteriously lost her Bond, Arianna learns she has unique powers to sense and speak with magical creatures.

No other Unicorn Knight, no other human, has the abilities Arianna possesses. She is determined to learn more about her magic, and to make a place for herself amongst the knights. Can she persevere through the challenges ahead of her as she begins her training?

Get it at Amazon.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Book Reviews2 for the Blue Unicorn's Journey To Osm by Ann


What an amazing read! “The Blue Unicorn” was colorful, adventurous, riveting and just plain amazing. I love love love the illustrations. I mean, a picture book for adults! It’s refreshing, engaging.Durant’s writing is beyond imaginative, enrapturing and inspiring. I would pay hard cash to spend five minutes in her head. The characters are thoroughly fleshed out, the pacing is without flaws, and the action scenes are precise and well-written.Also, be prepared for violence and death. This is not about unicorns farting skittles or drawing rainbow hearts. The situations are real, the peril, the losses, the journey…If you are looking for a refreshing, unique read with lots of action, feels, and a real plot, then grab this one! You won’t regret it.

Get the full color illustrated soft cover book for your home library at Amazon.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Unicorn Book Feature2 - The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge

Unicorn Book Feature

The Little White Horse

By Elizabeth Goudge

"I absolutely adored The Little White Horse."--J.K. Rowling, creator of the Harry Potter series

Winner of the Carnegie Medal

When orphaned young Maria Merryweather arrives at Moonacre Manor, she feels as if she's entered Paradise. Her new guardian, her uncle Sir Benjamin, is kind and funny; the Manor itself feels like home right away; and every person and animal she meets is like an old friend. But there is something incredibly sad beneath all of this beauty and comfort--a tragedy that happened years ago, shadowing Moonacre Manor and the town around it--and Maria is determined to learn about it, change it, and give her own life story a happy ending. But what can one solitary girl do?

Get it at Amazon.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Pump Up Your Book Blog Tour - Radio Underground by Alison Littman

RADIO UNDERGROUND by Alison Littman, Historical Fiction, 354 pp., $10.97 (paperback) $9.99 (kindle)


Author: Alison Littman

Publisher: Last Syllable Books

Pages: 354

Genre: Historical Fiction

After years of suffering under the communist regime in Cold War
Hungary, Eszter Turján—fanatical underground journalist—would sacrifice
anything, and anyone, to see the government fall. When she manipulates
news broadcasts on Radio Free Europe, she ignites a vicious revolution,
commits a calamitous murder, and is dragged away screaming to a secret
underground prison.

Her daughter Dora, then a teenager, cowers in her bedroom as the
secret police arrest her mother. Haunted and hurt, Dora vows to work
against everything Eszter believes in. But, it’s not that simple.

After nine years, Dora meets a strapping young fan of Radio Free
Europe and is unwittingly drawn back into Eszter’s circle. She finds her
mother, driven mad by years of torture, is headed for death.

On the brink of losing Eszter again, Dora must decide if she should
risk her life to save the mother who discarded her—or leave it to fate.

“A propulsive read and a timely reminder that maintaining our humanity requires courage as much as love.”- Kim van Alkemade, New York Times best-selling author of Orphan #8 and Bachelor Girl

“Littman’s debut novel is a delectable blend of history and
heartstrings, sure to please the palates of literature lovers
everywhere.”- Selene Castrovilla, award-winning author of Melt and Luna Rising

5 out of 5 star review from Readers’ Favorite

Radio Underground reads like a movie…A revolutionary tale written with style.”- Readers’ Favorite


Amazon | Barnes & Noble

A black Zis-110 idled ahead of me, the car’s curtains drawn
on its passenger windows. I shivered at the sight of the secret police’s
hallmark car, thinking of all the friends who had disappeared for no reason,
taken away by henchmen in the middle of the night, never to return. It was no
coincidence the Zis looked just like a hearse. I scurried onto a side street,
dodging the car and the poor captives I assumed sat, trembling, inside of it.

I tiptoed past the Ministry of Interior, where red geraniums
lined the building’s windows. In the secret prisons below, police tortured
people with whips, limb crushers, nail presses, and scalding and freezing
baths. Or else they just executed them. But the geraniums were always fresh.

I slid my fingers across the building’s dusty exteriors,
imagining I could somehow transfer my nerves onto the cold, unfeeling brick. I
had snuck through the streets after curfew for years, but tonight was
different. I could feel the regime sensing our newfound courage, like a dog
pushing its nose high into the air, catching the subtle perfume of a rabbit

After walking several blocks, I spied smoke unfurling in the
path before me, like a languid snake expanding as it digests a fresh kill.
Following it, I found Antal, his eyes closed, relishing in a cigarette.

“Antal, it’s me,” I said, coughing on the smoke now choking

Antal smiled and opened his eyes, his cataracts reflecting
the glow of the street lamps. “Eszter, it’s good to see you.”

“It’s good to see you too.” I kissed Antal on both cheeks,
feeling his dry skin against mine and wondering how long he’d been outside
waiting for me in the cold.

“Tell me, what information do you have for me today?”

“It will happen tomorrow,” I said. “Today, technically.”

It was already past midnight.

“So it’s here, isn’t it?” Antal said.

“Yes,” I said. “I went to their meeting. The students
decided they’re going to march. I heard them talking about gathering arms.”

“How many people are participating in this … this march?”
Antal asked as he stamped his cigarette into the ground and lit another one.

“Hundreds, thousands, maybe. I can’t be certain.”

“It doesn’t take a genius to predict how Gerő will react.”

“Gerő will slaughter them,” I said, feeling dizzy as I said
aloud what we both knew. Hungary’s
leader, Erno Gerő, was a Soviet puppet with an arsenal at the ready. “Without
enough people hearing about it and organizing, it will just be a bloodbath.”

Antal fell back against the brick wall, suddenly losing his
breath. He was always so levelheaded, so much so it often drove me to even
greater heights of anxiety as I tried to compensate for his indifference. His
fingers, still clutching the cigarette, quivered as his eyes searched the space
behind me.

“The state radio will probably ignore this and just keep
spewing out its propaganda,” he said.

“Exactly. We’re going to print with this too. But Realitás
won’t reach enough people in time. An announcement on Radio Free Europe is the
students’ only hope.” I held on to Antal’s shoulders to steady him. “It has to
happen first thing in the morning, so people will have time to plan.”

The closest Radio Free Europe outpost was in Vienna.
If Antal left now, he would get there by four in the morning.

“I already have meetings scheduled in Vienna
for today,” he said. “I’ll visit our Radio Free Europe contacts as soon as I
get there and cancel my other meetings to get back in time for the march. Gerő
will think I cut short a routine visit to be by his side.”

Our lives by day were lies—Antal’s more than most. He served
as the regime’s Deputy Interior Minister. After being forced to coordinate the
executions of his friends—communists who threatened the power structure when
they became too popular—he resolved to undermine the regime in any way
possible. He began relaying intelligence to the American-run Radio Free Europe.
With the freedom to travel at will and deep knowledge of the government’s inner
workings, he also became an asset to Realitás, the underground newspaper I ran.

“It’s already one in the morning,” I said. “What will you do
when they ask you why you’re crossing the border so late?”

“This is normal for me. I go to Vienna
at all times of the day and night, just to keep them guessing. Just in case I
run into a situation like this.”

“Smart. Well, you better leave now before Gerő tries to get
in touch.”

We both knew Antal’s phone could have been ringing right
then. I wondered what it would cost him—or his children and grandchildren—if he
wasn’t there to answer it.

“I’ll be back,” Antal said, coughing into his hands, still
shaking from what I knew was the fear we all shared.

“Wait.” I pulled out a tattered piece of paper, wincing as
the cuts in my hand protested the sudden movement. “Take this with you. A
student gave it to me yesterday. It’s a coded list of meeting points and times
for the march. You have to get this on air too.”

Antal nodded as I slid the paper into his coat pocket,
making sure to secure the meticulously crafted plans of the brave, hopeful
students. They probably didn’t even realize that at this moment, Soviet troops
were almost certainly readying their tanks at a base nearby.

Alison Littman lives in San Francisco where she’s a writer by day and
standup comedian by night. A former journalist in New Mexico, she
covered politics and education while also contributing articles on John
F. Kennedy and The Beatles to various specialty magazines. Her feature
stories focus on listening to rock ‘n’ roll behind the Iron Curtain and
Cold War politics. Radio Underground is her first novel.

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