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!

Chocolate Covered Cheesecake Bites - Heavenly!

Photo from Buzzfeed
A friend posted this recipe on Facebook from the Buzzfeed sight. They look divinely sinful!
http://buzzfeedrecipes.com/chocolate-covered-cheesecake-bites/

INGREDIENTS
Makes 30-40

10 graham cracker sheets
¼ cup confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 stick melted butter
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups chocolate chips, melted

PREPARATION
In a plastic bag, crush the graham crackers finely with the back of a large pot or pan.
In a large bowl, combine graham crackers, combine confectioner’s sugar, salt, and melted butter, stirring until the mixture is the texture of wet sand. Dump the graham cracker mixture into a 9×9 baking dish lined with parchment paper. Press the mixture down with your hands to create an even layer. Freeze for ten minutes.

In a separate bowl, combine cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar, and vanilla, stirring until smooth. Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly on top of the graham cracker crust. Freeze for one hour.

Transfer the frozen cheesecake onto a cutting board, peeling away the parchment paper. Slice one centimeter strips horizontally, then vertically, creating little cheesecake cubes.

In a medium bowl, microwave the chocolate in 20-second intervals, stirring in between, until melted and smooth. Dip the cheesecake cubes in the chocolate, dripping off excess, and set them on a tray lined with parchment paper. Repeat with the remaining cubes. Freeze for 15 minutes, then serve!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Ahh yeah, Root Beer Slow-Cooker Chicken!


Photo Credit - Pillsbury
Oh boy! My favorite soda coupled with my favorite protein is a match made in heaven! Put it on a sweet Hawaiian bun and you've got one delicious sandwich. Serving it alongside juicy watermelon chunks and a green salad would make a tasty meal.

Root Beer Slow-Cooker Chicken (from Pillsbury)

2 ½ lb boneless skinless chicken breast
Salt and pepper
1 ½ cups barbecue sauce
1 cup root beer

Spray slow cooker with cooking spray. Season chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper, and place inside slow cooker. Pour in barbecue sauce and root beer; spread around. Cover and cook on High heat setting 2 hours. Remove chicken from slow cooker, and use two forks to shred. Place chicken back in slow cooker on Warm heat setting; simmer 30 minutes. Serve on burger buns, as desired.

Photo Credit - Pillsbury
Photo Credit - Pillsbury

Monday, April 4, 2016

1,300 Pine Cones!

Photo by Elsie Park
Make sure when you tell your kids that you'll pay them a penny for each pine cone they pick up off the lawn that you have the correct change in your wallet. My three girls ended up gathering about 1,300 pine cones (yes, they counted every one of them in front of me), equating to $13. Well, I looked in my purse for their promised payment and found that I didn't have any one dollar bills, only fives. I ended up paying each of them $5 and it cleaned me out. They're now richer than I am! Oh well, it was worth a good lesson in working hard to earn their money, and it was a good reminder for me to take a better look at the amount of pine cones lying around before putting a price on them.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

One Brave Knight

Brady Knighton, cover model for Shadows of Valor, portraying Sir Calan Beaumont/The Shadow
I revamped my ballad, One Brave Knight, that I wrote for Shadows of Valor. I got a new music program and was able to put in some fun instruments, making it sound a lot better than my old version from my digital piano. One person commented that it was like a renaissance techno, a new genre in music. I liked that *big smile*. Here it is on Youtube with pictures of my characters (portrayed by Paulina Baykova and Brady Knighton) and other medieval scenes. I know it's not professional, but I had fun making it. Have fun watching it. And be sure to turn up the bass.

Youtube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCrxPeanidM
Shadows of Valor bookmark, design by Jolly Fish Press, cover photos by Yelena Baykova

Paulina Baykova, cover model for Shadows of Valor, portraying Lady Elsbeth Rawley (Photo by Yelena Baykova)

Brady Knighton, cover model for Shadows of Valor, portraying Sir Calan Beaumont/The Shadow (Photo by Yelena Baykova)

Knight at a medieval fair in Marriott-Slaterville, Utah (Photo by Elsie Park)

Knight jousting at a medieval fair in Marriott-Slaterville, Utah (Photo by Elsie Park)

Thursday, December 31, 2015

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2016!


New Chair Covers!


When my husband's cousin visited around Christmas time and I offered him a seat, I was extremely embarrassed at how stained the old brown suede swivel bar stools were. I had cleaned and washed and them countless times, but they were stained for sure. So I vowed right then to do something about it. I dug into my material boxes and found a grape/leaves/vine design and some thick plastic to place over it (to prevent any future stains due to our four kids) and then set to work. The seat was attached with four screws underneath, so it was easy to remove. I kept the original material on, but simply covered it with the new layers. Using an insane amount of staples from my husband's staple gun, I attached the new materials and then reattached the seat to the chair. Voila! "New" chairs! Price: $0!