Sunday, December 22, 2013

The House of Andersvärd

Here are a couple of "trumps" I created for Alexander and Hanna of the House of Andersvärd. If you've ever read the Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny, then you know where I got my inspiration.

I don't plan on incorporating trumps into the world of Övrigmark, at least not in the same fashion as Zelazny did, but I do like the idea of the royal family being depicted on tarot-like cards. I'm thinking the cards might be a sort of magical device whereby the holder can place a card on one of the maps like the children possess, and then ascertain their whereabouts. Kind of like a magical GPS of sorts.

This is the sort of thing I do when I should be writing :)






Okay, okay. I'll get back to writing now. Maybe just one more trump before I start...just kidding :)



Friday, December 20, 2013

A great story for a great cause



The Carpenter's Wife
by Mysti Parker
     Her screams jarred the peaceful night. A donkey brayed. From the rafters overhead, startled doves flew away in a burst of annoyed coos and wing beats. The young woman was no stranger to childbirth, having assisted her own mother on many such occasions in their village. But here they had no one to call upon for help. The thought occurred to her that she might die, that the stunning proclamation had been a dream, that their little family was no more important than any other.
     Her husband knelt in front of her, holding her knees apart. He didn’t flinch at her cries, nor did he look her in the eye. Only a brief crease in his brow indicated any concern on his part.
     She treasured that one gesture, listening to his monotone instructions, straining to hear the slightest hint of his love. “Push. Good. Now breathe.”
     The contraction eased. She allowed her head to fall back on the rolled-up horse blanket he’d provided when the pains began. The months had crept along until this night. She thought about the quiet dinners they shared back home. About all the times when he caught her staring at him while he focused on his bread and lentils. Their stagnant marriage teetered on this one event.
     She had known all along the doubt remained, but she was so grateful for this man who had taken her in despite everything. He worked tirelessly until his hands blistered and bled. His furniture was highly regarded, yet he never boasted. She admired the pride he took in his creations, and she loved to watch him work. Wood surrendered to his skilled touch. Chisels and saws were like an extension of his limbs. She wanted nothing more than to be the wife he deserved, yet the desire to pick up a doll or chase her younger siblings down the dusty streets still pulled at her heart. And, of course, people still whispered.
     Another pain. Then another. Wave after wave. Sweat poured from her brow. The surroundings blurred with every excruciating squeeze. She felt the baby leaving the warmth of her womb, coming closer to the chilly night. Would he be all right? What if something she did while he was in her womb caused him to be stillborn or crippled?
     “Push! I see the head. It’s almost over.”
     His voice was louder, his eyes wider, sparkling with more excitement than she’d ever seen before. She focused on his face, on the promises of God, and pushed with all her might.
     The child came in a sudden whoosh, leaving her weeping with relief and a feeling of emptiness. Her husband caught the baby in the softest bit of cloth he could find, supplied by the innkeeper, perhaps out of guilt for their lowly accommodations.
     “It’s a boy!”
     “Is he all right?”
     The baby cried, easing her fears. Her husband nodded. “Yes, he’s beautiful, like his mother.”

     She smiled through her tears at the joy in his voice and his beaming smile. He cut the cord and swaddled him as gently as if he were his own child. Then, he handed the tiny infant to her. She took him in her arms, astonished at how insignificant the boy felt within his wrappings. Red, wrinkly, and bald, he didn’t look like anyone that could save the world. Yet, as her husband wiped tears and nestled close to her side for a better look at their son, she knew that this tiny babe had already resurrected Joseph’s heart. The rest was up to God. 
****
This story was published in the anthology Christmas Lites. All proceeds go to the NCADV (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence). Grab your copy on Amazon Kindle for just $3.99. Also, be sure to pick up Christmas Lites II and Christmas Lites III. They make great gifts!!!
Buy it HERE!
Buy it HERE!
Buy it HERE!


******
Misty Baker aka Mysti Parker
Wife, Mother, Author 


Journey to Tallenmere for Breathtaking Fantasy and Unforgettable Romance...it's fantasy with a heart!

A Ranger's Tale, Tallenmere #1 (Now Just $2.99 for Kindle!)

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Aspiring authors

I think most writers write because they have stories inside them that they just have to get out. I know that’s true for me, but most of us also, whether we admit it or not, desire to have our work read and appreciated by others. Personally I don’t have any grand illusions of fame and fortune as a result of my writing. In fact, I don’t suspect that I will make much of a blip in the expansive fiction landscape, but I do think I’ve managed to delight and enthrall at least a few readers, and for an author, that knowledge is enough. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking fame and fortune, it’s just that I’m still, at least remotely, in touch with reality and have no plans to quit my day job.

I digress, however. My point is that there are undoubtedly quite a few talented authors all over the world who have either written or are currently writing a piece of work which I suspect many of us would enjoy. The problem is that we will most certainly never even know of their existence. That’s precisely what I love so much about JukePop Serials. They have given exposure to a cadre of wonderful authors who might never have seen the light of day, or at least would have had to struggle for a much longer time in order to do so.

I speak from personal experience. JukePop has put my writing in front of a growing audience, and I have benefited from new readers of my work. I am in the process of revising my serial, The Sixth Seal for publication, and I’m currently writing the sequel. If these works find any success at all as novels, I owe much of the credit to JukePop Serials and its avid readers.

I tell you all of this so that you understand how much I believe in what JukePop does and how important it is to aspiring authors. As it happens, JukePop has recently opened up a new section of their site to, appropriately enough, aspiring authors. In JukePop’s words:

The serials in this section are from candidates who are hoping to become JukePop Serials Authors. We are asking the community to help us decide! For Aspiring JukePop Authors to become JukePop Serials Authors, they need +Votes from our readers and Endorsements from our authors. If a serial receives enough +Votes and Endorsements then it will move into JukePop Serials’ main catalog. Vote your favorite serial into the JukePop community today!

As you can see, these authors can only be promoted to the regular ranks with your help, and by you I mean readers to vote for each of their chapters and authors to endorse them. This is important because it gives them the opportunity to compete in JP’s top thirty which gives them the chance to win monthly cash prizes. An author certainly won’t make a living this way, but the recognition is nice and I think it gives them even more exposure.



OK, I’ll step off of my soapbox now, but before I go I want to introduce you to a writer and serial that I think deserve to be among the regular ranks. The best part is that I think you’ll thank me later. The Mirror Dimension by Tara Grainger has a delightful voice and an intriguing hook. The first two chapters hold a lot of promise that I think the author is more than capable of delivering on. Go check it out today, and if you agree with me, give it your +vote on each chapter. If you’re a fellow JukePop author, I encourage you to endorse it. In my opinion, we all benefit by being surrounded by stories of this caliber, and it strengthens JukePop’s position as a quality purveyor of fine fiction.

While you're exploring the wilds of JukePop Serials, don't forget to stop by and check out my latest serial, Beyond the Gates of Övrigmark. It's a rollickingly good read, if I do say so myself. And I do by the way :)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Book cover gallery

Here are a few of the book covers I've created that I'm particularly fond of. I made all of these using Pixelmator on my MacBook. For the most part they all utilize stock photography that I purchased from BigStockPhoto, which I then manipulate with Pixelmator's built in graphics tools.


















Friday, November 8, 2013

Writing update, The Sixth Seal and more

Book two of the Protectors trilogy is coming along nicely. I'm extremely excited about the story, and I hope fans of The Sixth Seal will enjoy it as much as I do.



The book starts right where the first left off with Ana and Frederick on a strange new world. But Ana's plan to discover her roots and find help for Earth are quickly dashed when her father realizes that they've just stepped into a trap and played right into the hands of an enemy larger and more sinister than they could have ever imagined.

Like The Sixth Seal, Ana Unbound will be told from multiple viewpoints in different times, and in this case, on different planets. For those of you who read the serial in its entirety, you may recognize the young ship mate from the Sea Dragon, Kang. So if you were wondering what actually happened to Kang when he jumped on his master's horse and charged overboard with the book of power, this book will answer that question.

This book will also delve into the history of the books of power and their creators. Of course, like any book worth its salt, it will raise more questions. But don't worry, book three will tie it all up nicely :)

If you still haven't read The Sixth Seal, it's still available to read for free at JukePop Serials. And if you're more of a YA fan, you can read my other serial here. And as always, your +votes on each chapter are appreciated.

Also, I've given the completed manuscript of The Sixth Seal to my editor. When I get her notes back, I'll begin working on the revisions. I'm confident that when I'm finished it'll be a stronger and more cohesive work.

The nice part is that it will be available in eBook and paperback for readers who don't particularly care for the serial format. I've noticed now that the Sixth Seal is complete at JukePop, it's picked up quite a few more readers. I'm certain those are readers who don't want to invest their time until they're certain the story will be completed.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

My NaNoWrimo donation gifts

I usually check the box to decline my NaNoWriMo gifts when I dontate, as I did this year, but for some reason they still sent me these nifty retro book marks and cards. I'm kind of glad they did; they look right at home sitting on top of my trusty old white MacBook.


If you take part in and enjoy NaNo, I highly encourage you to donate. They do so many great things to promote literacy and writing, especially for young writers, and every little bit helps. Plus you get these awesome 80's retro cut-outs...and a bright and shiny halo on your avatar :)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

My day job

For those of you who wonder what I do when I'm not writing, here's a map I created for our company's environmental department. I can't show our pipeline systems to you since they're proprietary, but it still gives you a pretty good idea of what I do all day.

This is a map of Oklahoma that shows interstate and navigable waterways, as well as water compacts that our state has with surrounding states.

















Anyway, just thought I'd share :) Back to work!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Unbound

Ana Unbound, the second book of The Protectors trilogy is pouring out of me. I almost didn't do NaNoWriMo this year, but I'm glad I changed my mind. The words are coming out pretty easy so far. Which I don't believe has anything to do with writing talent; rather it's a result of how excited I am about the story.

Here's the synopsis and excerpt I posted on my Author page at NaNoWriMo...



Synopsis:

Ana Eloise Bertrand, after centuries of anguish and torment, has finally thwarted the Horsemen and bound the destructive powers of the ancient book of power. At least that's what she thought.

Now she's unbound from the great book and alone with her father on a strange new world. Events bigger than she could have ever imagined have been set into play by an unknown power, and she may just have inadvertently delivered herself and the key to the universe right into their hands.

But if they think for a minute that little Ana Eloise is going to play by their rules, they've got another thing coming.

Excerpt:

He shook his head again. Ana could see the lights turning on in his eyes. It was as though she were watching all the gears of a long dormant machine falling into place, turning for the first time in ages.

“Gabriel said that once they had activated the higher functions of the book and delivered the first, they would be granted immortality and allowed to rule however they chose. I didn’t understand at the time, and frankly I thought he was full of shit, but they had been promised these things as long as they delivered. And I think they have, although inadvertently.” He laughed again. “Of course you made sure they wouldn’t benefit from their treachery.”

“Delivered what?”

He grabbed her by the shoulders. “You. Don’t you see? They activated the higher functions, which is what made it possible for you to open this portal. Afterwards you delivered yourself.”

“That’s crazy. Delivered to whom? There’s nobody here.”

“Not yet, but I have a hunch that somewhere, somehow, someone is aware of our presence and that the way has been opened.”

Frederick scooped up his pack and hefted it over his shoulder.

“Wait a minute. You can’t really believe all this.”

He looked back at her. “I do, and I think deep down you believe it too.” His eyes pierced hers. “Come on, Ana. Something beyond our understanding is at play here, and we need to get moving before we become pawns in a game not of our own design.”

He was already halfway to the foothills before she caught up with him. “So what are we going to do?”

“We’re going to get to that damn metallic whatever it is before they think we can, and then we’re going to get the upper hand.”

“Before who thinks we can?”

There was a fire in his eyes now. “Whoever made that centuries old deal with the Horsemen.”

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Protectors Book III Cover

This is my mock-up of the cover for the third book in the series. Now all three books follow a style guide and theme.

Now that I have all of the covers designed, I'd better get back to writing :)





Sunday, October 13, 2013

Cover for my NaNoWriMo project

Here's the first draft of the cover for the sequel to The Sixth Seal. The material I wrote last year for NaNoWriMo will actually be used for the third book in the series.

I'm still editing the first book for release early next year, but in the meantime I'll be working on Ana Unbound for this year's NaNoWriMo.

Let me know what you think of the cover.



Monday, September 30, 2013

A color map of Övrigmark

Here's a more colorful version of the map of Övrigmark that I created using Campaign Cartographer 3. The software really allowed me to capture more of the detail I pictured in my mind. I'll eventually make maps of the other worlds that are linked to the land of Övrigmark, but for now you'll just have to be content with this one.

I might also create a tutorial that shows how I created the map; although there are already some pretty good videos on YouTube that show you the ins and outs of the program. The cartographer in me is totally geeking out :)


Kungens Karta

Monday, September 16, 2013

The worse things get

A little Neko Case is good for the soul. Good for mine anyway. Go ahead, give it a listen. What have you got to lose?

You're welcome...(click this, silly).

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Uplifting

"Every day is yours to win." - R.E.M.

A nice sentiment and a lovely song. Reminds me of my carefree youth. Don't be in a rush to grow up, kids.


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Elmore Leonard

My favorite Elmore Leonard quote...

“Write the book the way it should be written, then give it to somebody to put in the commas and shit.” - Elmore Leaonard

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Still free to read

For those of you who haven't heard, The Sixth Seal is completed over at JukePop Serials. That means you can read the entire thing from beginning to end without having to wait for the next installment. I know there are quite a few people who prefer to wait until a serial is complete before they invest their time in it. I can hardly blame them. I mean, who wants to get all excited about something only to find out the author lost interest and quit writing?

So now's the perfect time to dive in if you haven't already. There are thirty-two chapters of action-packed excitement awaiting you. And if you really like the story, you might be happy to know that I'm working on editing the work into an ebook that will be the first in a trilogy. I hope to have The Sixth Seal ready to publish by the end of the year, and I'm planning to use this next session of NaNoWriMo to rough out the first draft of book two. I'll be sure to post some teasers here once the writing gets underway.

In the meantime, you can also read my ongoing young adult serial at JukePop, Beyond the Gates of  Övrigmark. Don't worry, even if you're not a young adult you'll still enjoy it, at least I think you will. You also don't have to worry about me finishing it. I've already drafted it out to the end, and it's a story that's very dear to me. And just like The Sixth Seal, I plan to write a trilogy in this story world. There are eight chapters up so far with another twenty or so planned, so you should have plenty of reading material for the foreseeable future. Of course there's a veritable treasure trove of other fantastic stories there just waiting to be read. If you can't find something there you like, then you just must not like to read :)

Thanks for supporting my work and helping to make The Sixth Seal a JukePop Top 30. I'm hoping you'll enjoy my new serial just as much, and that it will also climb into the rankings.

JukePop recently gave us these beautiful new badges to post on our blogs, so I decided to show mine off in this post. I think they're splendiferous! Spell check says that splendiferous isn't a word, but you and I know better ;)





Thursday, July 18, 2013

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Some thoughts and plans

For anyone who might be interested, I thought I might post a little about my plans for the future, at least as far as my writing is concerned.

As you may know, I posted the final chapter of The Sixth Seal at JukePop Serials a few weeks ago. It will remain on the site under the completed serials category for as long as JukePop would like to keep it there. As far as I know, you will still be able to read it for free in its entirety for the forseeable future. My experience with JukePop has been wonderful and continues to be. In fact, I credit them with giving me the motivation to complete the Sixth Seal. The positive feedback I received, as well as the modest monetary rewards, went a long way in keeping me moving forward with the story. I also find it easier to stay invigorated when writing in regular installments.

Having said all that, my plan for the Sixth Seal has always been to publish it as a complete novel. Now that the serial is complete, I hope to edit and revise the work as a cohesive whole. Doing so will probably expand the story just a bit because I'd like to weave in some details that will help set up the second book, which I already have a rough outline for. I'll probably work on the second book during the next NaNoWriMo. I'd also like to flesh out the characters a bit more and possibly give deeper insight into the Horsemen as a group.

Since each chapter advances the story from one of three of Ana's lives, including her current one, I think I'll read through each timeline individually, so that I can make sure they read fluidly. I'll still keep the basic structure of the serial, I just want to make sure that everything I introduce fits in with each of the other timelines.

The editing is likely to be a big undertaking, but I'm kind of excited about it. I've set the work aside for a while so that I can go back to it with fresh eyes in a few weeks. My goal is to have a completely revised novel ready to publish by the end of the year. In the meantime, I'm writing new chapters of Beyond the Gates of Övrigmark, which is also available to read for free at JukePop Serials. Actually, the first sixteen chapters are already written, but I'm going back and editing them since I wrote the story back in 2010.

I'm also working on a short story called Paper Dragons which should be released as part of an anthology, with proceeds going to the Wounded Warrior Project, early next year. It's going to be a fantasy/noir type affair set in 1930s Los Angeles with dragons. Yes, I know, I'm certifiable. Anyway, I hope to have it finished and ready for editing by the middle of August. I should mention that the anthology is being put together by a very talented writer/artist who I met over at Writer's Village University. I'll post more details on the project here as they become available. It should be super awesome. She's lined up quite a few talented authors to contribute stories.

That's pretty much it in a nutshell. I mainly wanted to jot my thoughts down so I can come back and remember what I intended to do. My memory seems to get worse by the day :)

My best to you all! Thanks for reading :)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Some research that's right up my alley

I'm doing some research for a short story I'm writing, tentatively titled Paper Dragons. The story is set in 1930s Los Angeles, so I wanted to be as faithful to the locations and street names as possible for the period. Since I love maps, one of my first stops is always the Library of Congress. They have some fantastic historical map collections, including some fascinating panoramic maps. The best part is they're all free to download.

I found this little gem there, and I think it's the perfect map to give me a good reference for the area.

1930s Los Angeles

Of course I'll need more details on the actual locations that the story takes place in, so I purchased this book on Amazon, Los Angeles in the 1930s: The WPA Guide to the City of Los Angeles. From what I've seen so far, it's packed full of the kind of rich detail that I'm after. Now if I can just make myself write and quit researching so much, I might actually get this story on paper.

If you haven't checked out the Library of Congress maps collection, I highly recommend it. Even if you're not doing research, it's a load of fun. You might even find something worth framing :)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Big drawing and virtual book tour

Hey folks, just wanted to let you know about the big drawing my friend Mysti Parker is having to go along with her virtual book tour for her latest book, Hearts in Exile. For anyone who buys a copy and forwards their receipt to her at mystiparker@yahoo.com, she'll enter you into a drawing to win a really nice pack of prizes valued at ~$50. 



To see photos of the prizes, you can click on this Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/519253418129437/

You can buy Hearts in Exile at these links: 

 
                                                    ******
Misty Baker aka Mysti Parker
Wife, Mother, Author 

Journey to Tallenmere for Breathtaking Fantasy and Unforgettable Romance...it's fantasy with a heart!


Saturday, June 8, 2013

A writing prompt

Here's a little piece that I wrote after posting a writing prompt in my classroom at F2K. I'm an intern in the Colin R. Onstad room for our wonderful mentor, maruxa, and yes, maruxa is not supposed to be capitalized :)

The first week of F2K is orientation and introduction, so mentors and interns often post optional writing prompts to keep their students from going bonkers until the first lesson is posted. The prompt is one I found online, but because this is F2K and many people submit and critique the work, we have to keep each entry to a maximum of 500 words. Personally I think that's great practice for a writer. It forces you to think carefully about your words and sentences. No fluff :)


Here's the prompt and my response to it:


Write about nature and include the following words: hard drive, stapler, phone, car, billboard.

Reclaimed by Josh Thornbrugh


Their trek through the forest had taken them the better part of the day.  Ben and Philip knew they were running out of time; the sun was already dipping down below the mountains. They trudged on in silence, intent on their task. Neither spoke until they came to the first landmark that Grandpa had told them about.

“It’s bigger than I thought it would be,” said Ben, craning his neck.

“And it’s right where Grandpa said it would be.” Phillip studied the strange object towering above them.  Vines wound round the post and covered part of the rectangle that sat above it. “What did Grandpa say it was called?”

Ben scratched his head. “A billboard, I think. Look, it has a picture of a talkie…er…a phone on it.”

“Why do you suppose it’s so big?”

“Grandpa said it had to be big so a car could see it from the…highway.” Ben looked back to the west beyond the meadow. “There!” He pointed to a barren stretch of ground that divided the fields. “That’s where the road was.”

Ben took off, tramping the tall grass down as he ran toward the road. “Come on, Phillip!”

His brother didn’t waste any time. Phillip fell in line behind Ben, tucking the leather satchel under his arm to keep it from flapping open. He didn’t want to lose the only artifact they’d found so far, a red Swingline stapler. He didn’t know what it was for, but he loved how it looked. After a bit of polishing, the bright red surface gleamed.

“Wait up, Ben.”

“Hey, look. You can still see some of the old road.” Ben stopped at the edge of the broken surface.

Phillip stood next to him. “So this is what the cars drove on to get to the big village?”

“Cities.”

“What?”

“Grandpa says they were called cities, Phillip.”

“Oh.” Phillip kicked a rock into a crack in the road. “Looks like the grass is taking over.”

Ben nodded. “Yep. We should follow the road. Be easier to find the depot.”

The boys jogged down the road, skipping and jumping over the cracks and holes in the surface. Wildflowers jutted up here and there, doing their part to reclaim the land. A gentle breeze flowed through the meadows, bending the tall grass like waves in the ocean and kissing their noses with sweet, earthy scents.

When they crested a rise in the road, they both quickened their pace.

“There it is, Phillip. It’s the depot.”

“Cool.” Phillip ran ahead of Ben.

Phillip reached the entrance first. He stopped and stared into the darkness inside.

“What’s the matter, Phillip?”

“Looks kind of scary in there.” His voice faltered. “Are you sure you want to do this?”

Ben put an arm around his brother. “Don’t worry. Grandpa gave me a flashed light so it won’t be so scary.”

Phillip relaxed a bit. “That’s good. Now what did Grandpa ask us to find?”

“A hard drive for his apple.”

Phillip laughed. “Grandpa’s weird.”






Sunday, May 26, 2013

A nifty little app

I happened across this nifty little app called Wordify while I was browsing the Mac App Store today. Yes, that's what nerds do for fun, so quit rolling your eyes. Anyway, for a three dollar app, it's loads of fun and pretty easy to use. It doesn't always output what you'd expect, but sometimes that's part of its appeal.

Here are a few samples I created...

A picture of my mom's dog, Samson




















Josh and Dot at a wedding



















Sample using vector clipart










The next couple of samples use Wordify's built in templates...

In a flash




















Love




















All in all, I really like Wordify, especially considering its price and how easy it is to use. I think you can tell from my samples that it does a better job with simple graphics. However, if you picked a photo with some very good contrast, Wordify could probably deliver some interesting results.

Unfortunately, Wordify is only available for the Mac, but I'm sure there's a PC alternative available somewhere on the great wide interwebs :) I've seen this effect done by less graphically challenged people than myself in Photoshop, but for those of us with less experience (and less patience) Wordify fits the bill.

Enjoy!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Refrain


Who are we to judge?
Who are we to say?
When we get it wrong
Day after day after day

Is this the last straw?
Will this divide us?
I'll send out this quiet refrain
So that we might stay united

We can barely understand ourselves
Yet we think we have everything sorted
Try looking through the eyes of a child
And surely we'll all be rewarded

Who are we to judge?
Who are we to say?
I'll send out this quiet refrain
Day after day after day

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A good cause

The Red, White & Blue Awards

Do you know a military spouse who wants to start a business? Do you know a veteran who already owns a business, but wants to grow? What about a military spouse or veteran run business or organization that makes giving back part of how they do business? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you have to check out the Red, White, and Blue Awards.
The Red, White, & Blue Awards were created to recognize and honor the outstanding achievements of businesses run by veterans and military spouses.  As a part of our continuing mission, we want to help promote these businesses; not only within the military community, but also in the local communities these businesses help to support.
The Awards
In this, our inaugural year, our goal is to award six business grants – 3 to Military Spouses and 3 to Veterans – ranging from $500 to $1000. We will be awarding two of each of the six grants in three categories:
http://www.redwhiteandbluepages.org/sites/default/files/shinypenny.pngShiny Penny Award - $500 Grant
Sometimes getting up and running can be the hardest part of starting a business. The Shiny Penny Awards seeks to recognize those Veterans and Military Spouse owned businesses who are taking steps to start and really grown their business in the first couple of years of its existence.  We will award two $500 grants in this category, one to a veteran owned startup, and one to a military family owned startup. Startups must have been in business for less than two years.  
http://www.redwhiteandbluepages.org/sites/default/files/growthaward.pngGrowth Through Excellence Award - $750 Grant
Taking the first step is often challenging, but growing a business beyond startup is no less daunting. We want to help recognize and support those veteran and military-spouse owned businesses that have passed start-up phase and are looking to grow their business. We will award two $750 grants, one to a veteran owned business and one to a military-family owned business to help expand and grow a business that has existed for more than 2 years, but not more than 5 years
http://www.redwhiteandbluepages.org/sites/default/files/communityheartbeat.pngCommunity Heartbeat Award - $1000 Grant
The members of the military community are known for supporting each other, especially when times get tough. Many veteran and military-spouse owned businesses continue this tradition in their business practices. The Community Heartbeat Award recognizes those businesses that have made giving back to their community part of how they do business. We will award two $1000 grants, one to a veteran owned business and one to a military family owned business.
Nominations begin April 15, 2013.
How You Can Help
Because we are looking to our community to help us fund and award these grants, we need your help! Here are just a few of the ways you can help us make these grants a reality and help to launch, grow, and recognize deserving military spouse and veteran entrepreneurs:
Donate!
The most obvious, but also the most important! Even small donations of $5 and $10 dollars help us get closer to our goal. All donors earn a star on our Funding Heroes page and starting at the $10 level, we’re offing all kinds of fun perks and incentives.
Want to donate? Check out of fundraising page for more info!

Perk Sponsorship!
As part of our fundraising efforts, we are looking for perk sponsors. Perks are offered as incentives for folks to donate to our fund. In exchange for perk sponsorship, we are offering free advertising on the home page of the Red, White and Blue Pages or the Military Spouse Business Association. We will also post your perk and business information (if you are donating as a business) and mention you at various point throughout the entire Red, White and Blue Awards campaign, which runs until August.
Want to become a Perk Sponsor? Check our Perk Sponsorship page for more info!

Spread the Word!
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Monday, April 1, 2013

Paper Dragons

Here's a teaser for my fantasy-noir story, Paper Dragons. My family will recognize the name of the main character. It's going to be a tribute to my grandfather, Charles Anderson. I thought it was appropriate since this story will eventually appear in an anthology to benefit military families. Plus, it's set in 1930s Los Angeles and features some of the stuff my old Grandpa Chuck loved.


The name’s Boyd, Charles Boyd, friends call me Chuck. Not many people call me Chuck, but who wants to hear a sob story? No one, that’s who, and besides I have enough people to worry about just looking after myself. In my line of work, friends are a distraction. Tracking dragons is a tricky business, one where distractions can get you killed.


Friday, March 29, 2013

Don't miss this Cover Reveal...


New Cover REVEAL: A Ranger’s Tale by Mysti Parker
The world of Tallenmere was born in January, 2011 with this first exciting story about Caliphany, an elven noblewoman who longs to leave her gilded cage, and Galadin, the half-elf former pirate who trains her to do just that. To better reflect its place in the burgeoning series and Caliphany's choice between two good men, cover artist Caroline Andrus and I tore down the original cover to make room for a whole new look! 



Join us for this exciting reveal party on Facebook, Friday, March 29 from 5-10 PM EST. Bring a friend, too. There do be prizes, mateys! 
*$25 Amazon.com gift card
*Signed Print copy of A Ranger’s Tale
*And MORE!
Blurb:
In the world of Tallenmere, an elven noblewoman longed to leave her gilded cage. A half-breed former pirate wanted nothing more than to escape his guilty past. Easier said than done...

High elf Caliphany Aranea leads an enviable life as King Leopold's niece and daughter of Sirius, Leogard's most famous wizard. Yet, being forced to follow in her father's footsteps and being betrothed to a man she doesn't even like makes her want a taste of life outside the city walls.

As a young boy, half-elf Galadin Trudeaux witnessed his parents' death at the hands of pirates. After being raised by those same murderers and forced to do their bidding, he escaped and now lives an honest life as a sea merchant and ranger.

When two brutes at Leogard Harbor attempt to kidnap Caliphany while she dreams of faraway lands, Galadin comes to her rescue. Impressed by his skills, she asks him to train her as a ranger. Though he is hesitant at first to train a woman of her class, Caliphany's hefty sack of gold finally persuades him. Unfortunately, her father is not amused, and the two must escape before Caliphany faces a forced marriage and Galadin faces a noose.

From that moment on, she and Galadin embark on an adventure of a lifetime. Only if they can survive the trials ahead, will they find a love that stands the test of time.
****
You can find the brand new version of A Ranger’s Tale with its shiny new cover at these websites:
Melange Books (PDF, HTML, ePub)
Amazon.com (Kindle)
Lulu (Print)

…and very soon from all other major online retailers!

About the Author
Mysti Parker (pseudonym) is a full time wife, mother of three, and a writer. Her first novel, A Ranger’s Tale was published in January, 2011 by Melange Books, and the second in the fantasy romance series, Serenya's Song, was published in April 2012. Book Three, Hearts in Exile, is expected to be born in the summer of 2013. Mysti reviews books for SQ Magazine, an online specfic publication, and is the proud owner of Unwritten, a blog recently voted #3 for eCollegeFinder’s Top Writing Blogs award. She resides in Buckner, KY with her husband and three children.

Mysti’s other writings have appeared in the anthologies Hearts of Tomorrow, Christmas Lites, and Christmas Lites II. Her flash fiction has appeared on the online magazine EveryDayFiction. She is currently a book reviewer for the online speculative fiction magazine SQ Mag and has served as a class mentor in Writers Village University's six week free course, F2K.

The Tallenmere Series:
A Ranger’s Tale
Serenya’s Song
Hearts in Exile (coming summer 2013)

Twitter: @MystiParker
mystiparker@yahoo.com