Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Springtime at the Park Place

My husband, three little girls and I have lived in our new home (new to us, but built in the 80s) for 6 months and are experiencing our first spring around the one acre yard. It has been a lot of work raking, seeding, mowing, weeding, and junking old things left behind by the previous owner. And aside from a startling moment when I ran into a garter snake while moving and stacking old bricks (I didn't kill it, knowing he'd come in handy catching moles in my garden), the entire experience has been fun, and has given me a sense of accomplishment knowing the yard is my own and that it's what I've always wanted.

The real treat was watching so many trees catch color within days as temperatures warmed and snows melted. I was delighted to discover that the tree right outside our livingroom window blooms pretty pink flowers in the spring. Beautiful!

My most exciting thing was planting 7 fruit trees in the latter portion of our yard. I've always wanted my own mini orchard and now (assuming I don't kill the trees in their youth) I can do that. I planted two cherry trees (Bing and Stella), two apple (Fuji and Gala), two peach (both Elberta) and one apricot (Chinese). It takes 2-5 years for most trees to begin producing fruit, so that's why I wanted to plant them right away, so we would have several years of bounty before my kids pack up and leave the nest.

We have gobs of onion grass clumps springing up all around the yard, sending off a pleasant, light whiff of green onion when we walk through them. We haven't tried eating them, but they sure smell good *smile*.

Cute little purple flowers have popped up all around the yard. They look like miniature versions of the lupins that grow in California.

And I can't forget to mention the mass of Irises that have grown wild from years of being left to themselves. I'll let them bloom this year, see what color they are, and then transplant the ones I want and let the ladies in my church or my neighbors have the rest (they must bring their own spades and pots, however, and dig them out themselves *smile*).
Not so cute are the hundreds of dandelions popping up, too. Though my girls love the bright yellow flowers, and even pick them to "give to mommy," I know the truth. They are a WEED, a nasty, horrible weed that takes over your lawn if not dug out or killed some other way. And once they produce those giant puffballs of flying seeds that children delight in blowing (yes, I did it as a child, too) they take seed in hundreds of other places. It's all I can do to merely keep the infestation from my lawn.

I decided I wanted boxes for my garden. I've heard they are easier on the back (if they are tall enough) and that it's better for controlling weeds. Using the warped and damaged 2 x 4s my husband got free from work, I designed and constructed two 8' by 4' boxes, painted them with some old stain we had to keep them weather resistant, and I will line them with old lumber tarps to keep them from rotting on the inside.

Having our own home and large yard has allowed us to enjoy a firepit anytime we want without worrying about smoking out the neighbors or bothering them with boisterous voices or music. We love a good weenie roast complete with marshmallows, good friends and family.

I love my home and yard, and I enjoy doing the work to make it what I want it to be. Yes, springtime at the Park household has been a delight so far and certainly not a disappointment in any way (but I also realize that my enthusiasm stems from my being here only 6 months. Catch me next year when I'm doing this all over again. My attitude may be more on the ho-hum side. . . . We'll see *laugh*).

The absolute BEST part of doing yard work is that it has enabled me to FINALLY get my weight down to 160 pounds (not my ultimate goal, but certainly closer to it).

Friday, March 21, 2014

Workbench: A Lot of Work!

So this is what I've been up to the past week:

When we bought a house that had a separate shop in the backyard, my husband was elated because he finally had his "man cave". But his job took long hours out of his day and made him tired upon returning home, not leaving much time or energy to set up shop as he'd like. Wanting to help him realize his dream in having a nice area with shelves and a big workbench to place power tools and automotive things, I tapped into my woodworking skills acquired from Mr. Dooman's class at Yosemite High School (thanks Mr. Dooman), and drew up some plans (with Chris' blessing) before setting to work.

I built the shelves first (there's another set off to the right, not pictured) so I'd have a place to put all our stuff, getting it off the floor and out of the way and then began work on the workbench made up of 2x4s. The best part was that the 2x4s were free! Chris was able to bring them home from work because they were warped or damaged in some way, but that I was still able to utilize. We only had to pay for the wood screws. I worked on this project every day after dropping the girls off at school and then taking the youngest into the shop with me. It took me about a week total to get it done. Chris will finish the bench off with 3/4-inch OSB board. I'm pretty proud of my work, getting all the tables level even though the floor was seriously sloped in the corner. Power tools are fun and invigorating!

And yes, that's my 2-year-old sitting on top of the bench playing with screws. At least she was happy. Any parent knows that an unhappy child means not getting any work done :-)

Friday, March 7, 2014

Cover Reveal - Daddy Doin' Work by Doyin Richards


“You’re a great dad!”—Vinne Politan, live on CNN HLN!

“Doyin, my hero!”—Al Roker, live on the TODAY Show! 

“Thanks for setting the bar so high. Now when we can’t do
something, our wives will go, well Doyin does it!”—Carson Daly,
live on the TODAY Show!

Doyin Richards - Daddy Doin’ Work: Empowering Mothers to Evolve Fatherhood answers questions about fatherhood that many women want to know, and does so in a no-nonsense and entertaining style that ladies will enjoy. Similar to how Steve Harvey’s best-selling title Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man empowers women to make smart relationship decisions by entering the minds of men, Daddy Doin’ Work empowers new mothers to enter the minds of new dads to change the perception of what should be expected from a modern father. Readers will be exposed to the manipulative secrets of deadbeat dads, moms will learn practical tips to help hard working dads understand that being a father encompasses more than paying the bills, and women in relationships with amazing dads will learn methods to ensure their men stay on-track while inspiring more fathers to be just like them. Most importantly, women will be forced to take a long look in the mirror to determine if they are part of the solution or part of the problem in shaping the behavior of modern fathers.

Release date: September 2, 2014

ISBN-13: 9781631630149
Pages: 350 | Trim: 5.75 x 8.5
Formats/Price: Trade Paperback ($16.99), eBook ($9.99)
Available Subrights: Production (World), Translation (World), Non-US English (World)
Distributed By: Independent Publishers Group (IPG)

Doyin with his daughter (SO CUTE!)
 DOYIN (pronounced “doe-ween”) RICHARDS is a father, husband, writer, Daddy Consultant, and public speaker inspiring new mothers and fathers to think, laugh, and learn while evolving as parents and couples. He authors the popular and well-respected parenting blog Daddy Doin' Work, and since creating the blog in June 2012, it has rapidly grown in readership with no signs of slowing down. Doyin has appeared on national and international television several times, and is a regular contributor to Huffington Post. He currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife and two young daughters.

Doyin has appeared, and will continue to appear, on major talk shows and news sites including the TODAY show, Good Morning America, Katie Couric, the Bethenny Show, Sunrise in Australia, CNN, Huffington Post, and more. Doyin has experienced several instances of becoming viral where his story, pictures, and blog were liked, shared, and viewed by millions. Doyin has an incredibly active and supportive fanbase, including over 90,000 likes and counting on Facebook. The approach to parenting Doyin takes in this book is genuine and insightful. Even individuals who haven’t heard of Doyin will appreciate his authentic contribution to fatherhood.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Cover Reveal - DEFIANCE by Adrienne Monson

DEFIANCE - the exciting sequel in Monson's vampire/immortal saga
Leisha and Samantha barely survived the vampires and immortals six months ago. Now, an explosive battle between the vampires and immortals seems imminent. It's more important than ever before that the prophecy child is found, but there's a problem—Leisha has lost her powers. She seems like nothing more than a human. Her newfound humanity is further complicated when Tafari, her old lover, appears with a desire for reconciliation. Can Leisha lock up the past to save those she loves? Or will fate tear everything from her once again?

Adrienne Monson

Author Bio
Monson’s debut novel, Dissension, book one of the Blood Inheritance trilogy, came out in 2013. Defiance (book 2) is slated for release February 24, 2015.
She lives in Utah with her husband and two kids. When she’s not writing, she enjoys Zumba, kickboxing, reading, and trying new recipes.


Monday, March 3, 2014

Cover Reveal - LITTLE DEAD RIDING HOOD by Amie and Bethanie Borst!

You know things are going to suck when you’re the new kid. But when you’re the new kid and a vampire… well, it bites! Unlike most kids, Scarlet Small’s problems go far beyond just trying to fit in. She would settle for a normal life, but being twelve years old for an entire century is a real pain in the neck. Plus, her appetite for security guards, house pets and bloody toms (tomato juice) is out of control. So in order to keep their vampire-secret, her parents, Mort and Drac, resort to moving for the hundredth time, despite Scarlet being dead-set against it. Things couldn't be worse at her new school, either. Not only does she have a strange skeleton-girl as a classmate, but a smelly werewolf is intent on revealing her secret. When she meets Granny—who fills her with cookies, goodies, and treats, and seems to understand her more than anyone—she’s sure things will be different. But with a fork-stabbing incident, a cherry pie massacre, and a town full of crazy people, Scarlet’s O-positive she’ll never live to see another undead day. Not even her Vampire Rule Book can save her from the mess she’s in. Why can’t she ever just follow the rules?

Add Little Dead Riding Hood to your Goodreads to-read list here:  


Amie Borst is a PAL member of SCBWI. She believes in Unicorns, uses glitter whenever the opportunity arises, accessories in pink and eats too much chocolate. Bethanie Borst is a spunky 13 year old who loves archery, long bike rides and studying edible plant-life.

Little Dead Riding Hood is their second book in the Scarily Ever Laughter series. 
Their first book, Cinderskella, released in October 2013 and has been nominated for three awards.  

You can find Amie on Twitter ( Pinterest ( From the Mixed-Up Files of Middle-Grade Authors ( and blog ( Together they can be found on Facebook (

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Cover Reveal - SPLINTERS by Matt Carter & FJR Titchenell

AND HERE IT IS! The cover reveal for husband-wife team's novel, SPLINTERS!!!

Back cover blurb:
Under ordinary circumstances, Ben and Mina would never have had reason to speak to each other; he's an easy-going people person with a healthy skepticism about the paranormal, and she's a dangerously obsessive monster-hunter with a crippling fear of betrayal. But the small town of Prospero, California, has no ordinary circumstances to offer. In order to uncover a plot set by the seemingly innocent but definitely shapeshifting monsters-that-look-like-friends-family-and-neighbors, the two stark opposites must both find ways to put aside their differences and learn to trust each other. Categories: YA, Horror, Sci-F

Splinters is the first book of the series The Prospero Chronicles.
Tentative publication date set for Fall 2014

Everyone who adds Splinters to their Goodreads to-read list on or before March 7th will be entered to win a $25 Amazon giftcard. A winner will be selected at random and contacted by Goodreads direct message. Letting people know in your reveal post and linking to the Goodreads page is greatly appreciated! Here it is:

Authors' bio:
F.J.R. Titchenell and Matt Carter met and fell in love in a musical theatre class at Pasadena City College and have been inseparable ever since. Though they have both dreamed of being writers since a very young age, they both truly hit their stride after they met, bouncing ideas off of one another, forcing each other to strive to be better writers, and mingling Matt's lifelong love of monsters with Fiona's equally disturbing inability to forget the tumult of high school. They were married in 2011 in a ceremony that involved kilts, Star Wars music, and a cake topped by figurines of them fighting a zombified wedding party.

Authors' links:
F.J.R. Titchenell’s blog:
F.J.R. Titchenell’s Facebook:

F.J.R. Titchenell is also the author of Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (That I Know of), to be released May 6th, 2014 (link:

Friday, February 28, 2014

Cover Reveal - BLACK MOON by Teri Harman

YES! The second book in Teri Harman's witch fantasy will be released soon. Here is her awesome cover for BLACK MOON:

Simon Howard accidentally killed three people. Four months later, the nightmares won’t stop. Willa Fairfield, his girlfriend, his soul mate, wants nothing more than to help him move on. But guilt isn’t the only thing getting in Simon’s way. When unexplained earthquakes hit the small town of Twelve Acres, and dozens of people go missing, the Light witches discover their most feared enemy, Archard, is still alive. Employing the twisted, dynamic magic of a legendary witch known as Bartholomew the Dark, Archard plans to exact his revenge and take control of the Powers of the Earth on the night of the black moon, a rare lunar event infamous for Dark magic. As the Light Covenant fumbles to defend against Archard’s sadistic intentions, Simon’s magic grows inexplicably more powerful, even dangerous. Willa throws all her efforts into solving the mystery of Simon’s transformation, but when the events of the past storm into the present, the couple’s future changes forever.
GIVEAWAY: THere is a giveaway for a signed hardcover of BLOOD MOON, book #1. Here's the link and/or HTML to the rafflecopter:

Teri Harman
author of magic and wonder
Blood Moon, Black Moon (9/2014), Storm Moon (9/2015), A Painted Life (2015)
Instagram: @authorteriharman
Twitter: @TeriHarman,

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Cover Reveal - MOJAVE GREEN by The Brothers Washburn

It's here! The sequel to The Brothers Washburn's YA horror mystery, Pitch Green: 
Check out the awesomely creepy cover! I LOVE IT!

       Camm and Cal thought they had killed the unearthly creature that preyed upon the people in their isolated mining town deep in the Mojave Desert. Off at college, they feel safe, until they hear news that Trona’s children are still disappearing. Caught in that nightmare since childhood, Camm feels responsible for the town’s children. As her life-long best friend, Cal feels responsible for Camm. With unsuspecting friends in tow, they return to warn the town’s innocent people, but things have changed. 
       Death comes in a new form. The dimensional balance is altered. Crossovers multiply. The situation spirals out of control, and Cal is pulled into another world where his chances of survival are slim. Without Cal, Camm seeks help where she can, even from the dead. Soon, she is on the run from relentless federal agents, who are hiding secrets and pursuing their own agenda. The mysterious depths of the Searles Mansion may yet contain a key to stopping alien predators, if it is not already too late.


A. L. Washburn and B. W. Washburn are licensed lawyers and full time writers, residing in Colorado and southern Utah. They grew up in a large family in Trona, California, a small mining community not far from Death Valley, and spent many happy days in their youth roaming the wastelands of the Mojave Desert. After living in Argentina at different times, each came back to finish school and start separate careers. Living thousands of miles apart, they worked in different areas of the law, while raising their own large families.
Each has authored legal materials and professional articles, but after years of wandering in the wastelands of the law, their lifelong love of fiction, especially fantasy, science fiction and horror, brought them back together to write a new young adult horror series, beginning with Pitch Green and Mojave Green. They have found there yet remain many untold wonders to be discovered in the unbounded realms of the imagination, especially as those realms unfold in the perilous wastelands of the Dimensions in Death.

Author links:

Goodreads: Berk Washburn
                  Andy Washburn


Here is the official (and awesome) book trailer for SHADOWS OF VALOR on Youtube:

The short video directed by Yelena Baykova features the original score that I (Elsie Park) composed for it, the two cover models (Paulina Baykova and Brady Knighton) featured on the cover of SHADOWS OF VALOR as Elsbeth and The Shadow, and the narration by Ashley N. Grant. The still shots depict scenes from the novel, and the scenery in the video gives the appearance of a painted background, perfect for a medieval story. I LOVE IT SO MUCH! SO FUN! I LOVE IT! Did I mention I love it? :-)

Here are the links for the other book trailer I did earlier as well as the One Brave Knight ballad:

Sunday, February 16, 2014

I Know That My Redeemer Lives

Picture from:
Lately I have felt a need to address an old misconception about my religious beliefs; that LDS (Latter-Day Saint / Mormon) people are not a true Christians.

Many people in the world still believe that LDS people are not Christian because our meeting houses and temples don't display the cross. This makes me sad because this misguided belief couldn't be farther from the truth. LDS churches and temples have tall steeples without crosses that seem to stretch toward Heaven as a reminder of the RESURRECTED Lord and symbolizing that we believe in eternal life (life after death). Although we hold Christ's death on the cross with ultimate importance and reverence, we focus on his life before and after his death. This beautiful song posted below, "I Know That My Redeemer Lives," embodies the message that Latter-Day Saints not only believe that Jesus Christ lived and taught on this earth, and that He not only died for everyone on the cross, but that he arose from the dead three days later, and that even today, He has a perfected, resurrected body. The best way we know how to emulate Christianity is not through displaying a cross on our churches, but by living a life that follows the example of Jesus Christ. After all, isn't a true Christian someone who emulates Christ's life through his/her own actions, showing forth the fruits of good works and not just in the displaying of a symbol?

That being said, I love all of my dear friends and acquaintances, whether from my own religious denomination or others, who  strive to live good lives and to serve their fellow men with selfless love and compassion.

Youtbe - I Know That My Redeemer Lives:

Note: LDS people are in NO WAY associated with the FLDS (Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saint) church.