Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Shadows of Valor and Perils of Wrath on hold pending publisher


Today I received my rights back for my first published novel, Shadows of Valor, and for my second novel, The Perils of Wrath, that was close to publication when Jolly Fish Press (JFP) announced its closure.

Yesterday, JFP shared through social media, their business closure due to lack of funding. The authors and editors found out at the same time as the rest of the world, so it came as quite a shock to everyone. However, that same day, other information soon surfaced about possible investors coming in to save the company. Whiplash! For me, however, the damage had been done to my faith and trust, and with careful thought and consideration, I decided to take back my rights, leaving Jolly Fish on friendly terms (for I certainly still like the people who work there).

I'll move forward and seek another publisher to take my stories, and although JFP, whose future is still uncertain and being worked out, isn't directing the affairs of my books any longer, Shadows of Valor is still currently available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble (and possibly other sites) as they still have copies in stock that they are allowed to sell at their discretion.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Shortbread Plays Roll in Upcoming Novel: THE PERILS OF WRATH


My second medieval novel, THE PERILS OF WRATH (a PG-rated action-romance and spin-off of my first novel, SHADOWS OF VALOR, also a PG-rated medieval action-romance) is due out September 2017! I'm so excited. The cover is presently being designed, and I'm almost finished with the editing passes with my editor, Kelsy Thompson (she's the BEST).

In THE PERILS OF WRATH my heroine loves sugary foods, especially shortbread, a sweet cookie/biscuit which also happens to be a favorite of mine. That's the fun of writing my own novels. I can put a little piece of myself (or anyone else) into each story. Well, the shortbread ends up getting my heroine into a bit of trouble in her unconventional position as squire to a stern (but handsome) knight who has banned her from eating sweet treats. The ensuing situation leads to some comical moments between the knight and his female squire.

I won't say more and spoil what happens, but in honor of shortbread, I'm posting a fun, modern take on the little cookie with a recipe I found on the Cooking Classy site. So here it is:

Photo Credit - Cooking Classy
Funfetti Shortbread Bites
Yield: About 335 bites

1 cup (226g) salted butter, cold and diced into 1 Tbsp pieces*
2/3 cup (142g) granulated sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 1/4 cups (318g) all-purpose flour
2 1/2 Tbsp (30g) nonpareils sprinkles (any color), then about 1/2 Tbsp more for tops if desired

Butter a 13 by 9-inch baking dish and line with 2 sheets of parchment paper (one horizontally and one vertically. I also like to butter between parchment sheets so they stick) leaving a 1-inch over hang on all sides, set aside.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer cream together butter and sugar until well combined. Mix in almond extract. With mixer set on low speed slowly add in flour and mix until combined (it will take a while and will appear dry and sandy at first but it will start to come together). Mix and fold in sprinkles. Press dough into an even layer in prepared pan (I did it with my hands first then used the bottom of a flat measuring cup to help smooth it out). Chill dough in refrigerator 20 - 30 minutes. Meanwhile preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lift dough from pan using parchment overhang on all sides. Cut into 1/2-inch squares using a large sharp knife (it works best to just cut long rows). Sprinkle more sprinkles over the top if desired and gently press into dough. Transfer about 1/3 of the cookies to an unbuttered baking sheet (also do not line pan with parchment or silicone liners) and scatter cookies out spacing cookies 1/2-inch apart. Bake in preheated oven 8 - 12 minutes (keep remaining that aren't currently baking refrigerated). Repeat process with remaining bites, adding them to a cool baking sheet. Cool completely then transfer to an airtight container and store at room temperature.
*Unsalted butter will work great too. Simply whisk in 1/2 tsp salt with the flour before adding if using unsalted butter.
Recipe source: inspired by Land O Lakes

Monday, July 18, 2016

Purple Mashed Potatoes!!!


I made a baked chicken dinner for my husband's birthday, and my 10-year-old daughter wanted to mash up our homegrown purple potatoes as a side. So we did. Turned out so fun! Yes, that is their actual color even after salt, milk, sour cream and butter added. Purple potatoes taste just like russets, but have 4 times the antioxidants!

They are so easy to grow, too. I bought the seed (starter) potatoes from our Walmart garden center in the spring and planted them in my garden boxes. Watered them every other night (every night when it got really hot) and when the plants that grew above ground dried out and died away, my girls and I dug all the potatoes up. Cured them for 10 days in a dark, dry area in our basement and then stored them until use. We'll be growing them again next year!

Monday, June 20, 2016

BEST! NEWS! EVER! My second book will be published!


It’s done! Contract signed! Jolly Fish Press will publish my next book:

THE PERILS OF WRATH

I’m super excited as it will be dedicated to my father-in-law and brother-in-law, both of whom have passed away!

THE PERILS OF WRATH is a spinoff from Shadows of Valor but is still a standalone that can be read aside from the other. However, reading both will make the main character and storyline more meaningful. I’ve taken the little red-haired orphan boy, Roland, from Shadows of Valor and weaved a tale for him when he grows up and becomes a knight.

In 1314 A.D., England, Roland searches for the truth behind his birth parents’ suspicious death, which brings him to Guildon Castle, a foreboding structure near the war-torn Scottish border (I include a brief account of the battle of Bannockburn in this story as well). Roland poses as a disinherited knight to keep himself on the down-low, but then Guildon’s tyrannical earl gives Sir Roland the unusual assignment of taming his obstinate, overweight stepdaughter by making her Roland’s squire! A female squire? Unheard of!

What emerges is a tale of mystery, secrets, dishonorable knights, medieval torture, and hardcore training that stacks up to any modern tactics for weight loss and muscle toning (does the NBC show STRONG comes to mind? Yeah, it’s like that, but medieval!). Most of all, this is another story of love and overcoming personal weakness, turning them into strengths.

And oh, I’ve written another ballad for this story and have composed the music to it which will be featured in my book trailer. Slated for a Fall 2017 release! I’ll keep you posted!

THE PERILS OF WRATH!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Cover Reveal: SNOW FRIGHT by Amie & Bethanie Borst


The final installment of the Scarily Ever Laughter MG (middle grade) series is almost here!
October 4th, 2016, is the big debut!

Snow Fright book Blurb:
Sarah White is gorgeous even if she is a little bit rotten. A mirror arrives on her twelfth birthday and she thinks it’s the perfect gift. But when an innocent game of laser tag gets out of hand, the mirror swallows her whole! Sarah finds herself dead center of the Underworld. As if repeated run-ins with Mr. Death weren’t bad enough, Sarah now has to deal with her decaying flesh and sudden craving for brains. Not to mention she keeps having brain freezes, all due to the seven worms living in her head. Of corpse, by the time Sarah escapes the Underworld, she finds her new zombie life less than appetizing. Even worse, she needs to return to the Underworld to save her friends, Cindy and Scarlet. With a poisoned apple, a crow named Raven, and a glowing necklace, Sarah’s pretty sure that if she doesn’t rescue her friends, she’ll be a brain craving zombie forever. And that’s more dead-ication than she’s willing to accept.

Add SNOW FRIGHT to your Goodreads account or pre-order your copy at Amazon or Indiebound

Be sure to check out the first two books in the series, Cinderskella and Little Dead Riding Hood!

Amie Borst loves glitter, unicorns, and chocolate. But not at the same time. That would be weird. She’s a PAL member of the SCBWI as well as a founding and contributing member of The Mixed-Up Files…of Middle-Grade Authors, a group blog dedicated to middle-grade books. Amie lives in Virginia with her three beautiful daughters, her handsome husband, and two cute dogs named Lily and Maggie. She wishes she could travel the country in a hot pink elevator but for now, her minivan will have to do.

Bethanie Borst is 16 and the author of three books but she was only 10 years old when she wrote her first one. She enjoys reading, writing, and archery. She’s also interested in paleontology and astronomy. Bethanie is fluent in both sarcasm and humor and is prepared for the zombie apocalypse and/or spontaneous combustion of the world. Because, let’s face it, both of those things are totally realistic.

Authors' website: www.amieandbethanieborst.com 

Rachael Caringella is an artist, illustrator, intuitive reader, and healer. And deep down, she is just like you; a rebel and truth seeker. Her days are spent in a little cabin as she paints, dances, sips delicious coffee, reads tarot cards, and, of course, illustrates! When she’s not in her studio, she can often be found wandering the woods, honoring her wild nature in the great outdoors searching for beauty adventure and inspiration.

Illustrator Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/treetalkerart 
Illustrator website: http://treetalkerart.com/

Friday, June 3, 2016

Barnes and Noble Teen Book Festival! June 10-11, 2016!


JUNE 10th & 11th! Looks what's coming up at many Barnes and Nobles across the country! The TEEN BOOK FESTIVAL!

I'll be signing books at the one in ST. GEORGE, UTAH (1720 East Red Cliffs Dr) from 4-6pm on both days. Share if you know anyone in the area who would be interested. Author presentations and panels begin Friday at 2pm and Saturday at 11am.

Come see me, Berk Washburn, Johnny Worthen, Dan Allen, and Nicole Hymas Conner.

I’m honored and delighted to be counted among such wonderful people at this event.

Here’s the Barnes and Noble (Red Cliffs Mall) event page: https://stores.barnesandnoble.com/store/2331

Monday, May 16, 2016

SHADOWS OF VALOR featured on Jolly Fish Press Front Page!

Model: Paulina Baykova. Photo: Yelena Baykova. Design: Jolly Fish Press 

OH COOL! SHADOWS OF VALOR is featured on Jolly Fish Press' front page (just scroll down a little from the top): http://www.jollyfishpress.com

"From May 8 through May 31, we invite all lovers of historical romance to embark on Elsie Park's outlandish and sweeping medieval tale of love and intrigue. For a limited time only, you can now buy and download Shadows of Valor at irresistible prices. PRINT COPIES ARE NOW ON SALE FOR $7.99 EACH, AND EBOOK COPIES ARE ONLY $3.99."

"When a mysterious man shows up under the King's command to uncover the scandals that are tainting the kingdom, Elsbeth Rawley, Lord Shaufton's niece, discovers that nothing is what it seems. There are secrets within the walls of Graywall, and Elsbeth must stand strong and tread carefully to avoid getting caught in the danger that looms ahead. What entails is a glorious tale full of deceit, greed, inner struggles, betrayal, and, most of all, love."

"This sale is only available via [Jolly Fish Press] shopping cart. Simply click the blue BUY NOW button on the book's title page or the link below to purchase."
https://jollyfishpress.bookstore.ipgbook.com/shadows-of-valor-products-9781939967077.php?page_id=21


Model: Brady Knighton. Photo: Yelena Baykova. Design: Jolly Fish Press.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Cynicism in Law Enforcement - Relating it to SHADOWS OF VALOR.


Sir Calan (aka: The Shadow), my knight in SHADOWS OF VALOR, is a spy/law enforcer working for King Edward I. His view of people has become cynical through his long years of dealing with society at its worst (criminals), to the point where he doesn’t trust anyone. He thinks everyone has something to hide, even seemingly innocent people.

This view stems from my personal experience as a law enforcement officer. Police officers are trained to be aware that anyone and anything can be a potential threat to their lives and the lives of others. This is essential in order to be ready should an assault occur. This tactic has kept officers, not only on the police force but in the military as well, alive, safe and able to serve another day.

Seeing everyone as a potential suspect carries into an officer’s everyday activities, even off duty. This is normal and not a bad thing, as it has saved the lives of their own family members and countless citizens throughout history. But if an officer isn’t careful, this view of life can easily turn his/her heart and mind to dark thoughts of revenge, justice, and even more common, to depression. This can, and often does, lead to the abuse of alcohol and other drugs in an attempt to “deal” with the negativity. To avoid this destructive course, it helps to have a strong support system with friends and family, but even beyond that, an officer must remain strong and true to his/her moral convictions of what’s right and wrong.

My supportive family, good friends and religious Christian views have kept my thoughts well balanced between justice and mercy. Though I am no longer an officer of the law, as a mother of four little children and a wife to a hardworking husband, I retain an alert eye to my surroundings in order to keep them and my friends safe from those seeking to hurt or take advantage of them. I do not apologize for my view, but use it to my benefit, being careful not to overstep the bounds of diehard cynicism, but truly judge a situation with an intelligent eye and act accordingly to keep my loved ones safe.

And so the question remains: Does Sir Calan’s hardcore cynicism destroy his soul, sending him into a dark place where none can rescue, or does he find that necessary balance between serving justice and finding mercy? Find out in SHADOWS OF VALOR, on sale now through May 31, 2016.

Paperback $7.99 ONLY on my publisher’s site (Jolly Fish Press) HERE:
Ebook $3.99 on Jolly Fish Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Indigo

Watch the 1:30 minute BOOK TRAILER on Youtube HERE!


Monday, May 2, 2016

SHADOWS OF VALOR BOOK SALE - MAY 8-31, 2016


For individuals (and especially book groups who want the book group package)! Anyone who has been waiting to purchase SHADOWS OF VALOR on SALE, now’s your chance! Since much of the medieval story takes place during the months of May and June, the sale will run May 8th through 31st. Go to my publisher’s site at the address below and click on the blue “BUY NOW” button under my book. It is only on Jolly Fish Press’ site that the paperback will be available for $7.99 (that’s 50% off!). The ebook will be $3.99 on JFP, as well as on Amazon, Barnes &Noble, and Indigo. Please share with those who would be interested. HAPPY READING! http://www.jollyfishpress.com/titles/shadows-of-valor.html

SHADOWS OF VALOR Overview:
Something dark stirs within the peaceful walls of the prosperous city of Graywall, something only the mysterious vigilante known as The Shadow-a man torn between a sense of justice and the desire for revenge-can overcome. In reality the nobleman Sir Calan, The Shadow is sent to hunt down smugglers who have run rampant after the levying of a harsh tax by King Edward. When he learns of a plot against the just ruler of the city, Lord Shaufton, on his mission, he must enter a pseudo courtship with Shaufton's daughter under his guise of Sir Calan, even as he wrestles with emotions stirred by the lovely Elsbeth, Lord Shaufton's niece. Elsbeth may be the only person who can heal Calan's troubled soul, but she has secrets of her own. Rife with deceit, greed, inner struggles, betrayal, and love, this page-turner will grip readers from the opening lines.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Three-Ingredient Cookies - SO EASY!

These have become my favorite speedy cookies!

Photo by Elsie Park

Three-Ingredient Cookies

1 box dry cake mix, ANY flavor (chocolate, white, yellow, red velvet, strawberry, spice, confetti)
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil
Optional additions if desired:  ½ to 1 cup chocolate chips, other flavored chips, nuts, etc.

Mix all together in bowl. Shape into 1-inch balls with hands and place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet(s) (I sometimes roll the dough balls in sugar, a sugar/cinnamon mixture or powdered sugar before placing them on the pan). Bake in oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes or until bottoms start to turn golden. Remove from oven and let sit for 1-2 minutes before removing cookies to cooling rack.

These cookies are fast, easy and tasty! Enjoy!