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

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A bit of nostalgia


Here's a little bit of nostalgia for my fellow children of the 80s. Do you remember those Choose Your Own Adventure books published by Bantam (now Random House) they used to sell at the Scholastic book fairs? Does the Cave of Time ring any bells? I loved those books, and at one time I think I had almost the entire collection.



If you have no idea what I'm talking about, the books usually featured some sort of adventure, such as, time travel, and were written in the second person. You would read the story and then be presented with choices every few pages. So if you wanted to enter the cave, you'd flip to page 40, or if you wanted to turn back, you'd flip to page 80. Ultimately each book had a multitude of possible outcomes. Some were better than others. Of course, if you chose wrong, there was really nothing to stop you from going back and choosing the other option. Not that I did that sort of thing. By the way, in case you don't know me very well, that last statement was a bit of sarcasm.

Anyway, I didn't really intend to write a post giving the history of CYOA books. You can find more complete information on that here. I just wanted to give you a little background before I told you about another project I'm working on. It's a choose your way sort of story created online using a great site called Inklewriter.

The cool thing about Inklewriter is that it lets me write bits of my story and then connect them with options and choices. It also helps keep everything organized. If you're interested in this sort of thing, then I'd recommend you watch their video tutorials. It's easier to use than you might think.

Here's my first attempt at an Inklewriter story. It isn't complete yet. In fact, it's just getting started, but you can take a look at it to get an idea of where I'm heading. It's kind of my take on an Alice in Wonderland kind of tale. Give it a spin, and let me know what you think.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

A very short story

I'm not entirely sure what possessed me to write this story, but I kind of liked it after I was done, so I thought I'd share it here. I hope you enjoy it.

Replacements

I remember how pathetic Martin looked that day on the bench in Central Park. Nothing like the first time I’d met him. I had half a mind to walk up and kick him in the shins, but I had long since gotten over the whole fiasco, and besides, Martin was an android. Sure, he would offer a programmed pain response, but would it really hurt him? Anyhow, I was ultimately in a better place than I had been when he first came into my life. I decided I’d stop and see why he looked so dejected, if an android could even be dejected.
“Hello, Martin. Lovely day, isn’t it?”
He looked up at me, the faint sound of his servo-motors mingling with the new spring breeze. “Oh, hello, Robert. Lovely day? I hadn’t noticed.”
Even though it was impossible for Martin’s particular model of android to age, besides the normal wear and tear that is, his body language and tone made him seem much older than he actually was. He slid over, giving me room to sit. I sat my briefcase next to the bench and plopped down beside him.
“What’s got you so down, old pal?”
He didn’t appear to pick up on my sarcasm, instead, he shrugged. During the entire year I had trained him as my replacement, I had never seen him shrug. Not even once.
“Do you even care, Robert?” He looked away, focusing his ‘eyes’ on a grungy man pushing a squeaky shopping cart down the sidewalk.
To be honest, when I first sat down, I didn’t really care, but something about his demeanor piqued my curiosity. I suppose the better part of my nature, despite my best efforts, won out. I truly wondered what could make what had once been a perfectly well adjusted ‘person’, turn into such a miserable heap. I also sensed that it wasn’t a sudden change in disposition either. His uniform, which normally kept ranks with that of the military in its precision and press, was now fraying at the sleeves and legs and was decidedly disheveled.
“Of course I care, Martin. I don’t like to see anyone so down.”
He turned his head back to me slowly and regarded me with those perfect glossy eyes. I could see myself reflected in them. He managed a half-smile, which was probably quite a feat for his particular model.
“That is what makes it even worse, Robert. Despite what I did to you, you really do care.”
He hung his head, the brown nylon fibers that were his hair, managing to underscore the depth of his sadness. Could it really be sadness?
“Don’t be so hard on yourself. Sure, I was pissed off at you something fierce when you were first assigned to me, but eventually I realized you were just doing your job. It was my time to move on. We all eventually become obsolete.” He seemed to flinch on that last word. I put a hand on his shoulder.
Again I heard his servos working, but I couldn’t detect any movement. He just spoke in a resolute monotone, as if his speech inflection circuits had been fried or shut off entirely.
“You said it, obsolete.”
“No, not you. Marvelous Martin, obsolete?” After I said it, I wished I could take it back. I couldn’t be sure, but he seemed to detect the sarcasm in my tone that time. And there was something else as well. Something rearing its ugly head. It was a smug sense of satisfaction, as if I’d been vindicated or avenged. It was an ugly thing and it made me feel small. “Sorry, Martin. I didn’t mean it like that. It’s just that—“
“You do not have to be sorry, Robert. I’ve had much time to reflect on our work relationship, and I can see how terrible it must have been for you.”
I shrugged, sat up against the slats on the bench, and draped my arm over the back. “It wasn’t all terrible. After all, if you hadn’t come along, I probably wouldn’t have ever gotten out and experienced the world. Hell, I’d probably still be sitting behind that desk designing shells for electro-tabs, note slates, and whatever other new piece of techno-wizardry the boys on twenty-two came up with.”
“You made such beautiful things, Robert. I could always tell the ones you…crafted.”
Martin’s eyes moved ever so slightly to study a sparrow that landed next to his feet. They both regarded each other for the longest time. The breeze continued, the man with the shopping cart kept up his erratic journey away from us, and I closed my eyes and listened. I don’t remember how long I sat like that before I felt him watching me.
“Do you wish you still made all of those beautiful things, Robert?”
I shook my head. “No. They’re just things, Martin. Just things.”
“But what do you do now? What do I do now?”
“What would you like to do?”
I could hear his servos working again. I wasn’t sure if it was from actual movement, or his deep concentration on the question.
“I would like to have a function again, a valuable function. One appropriate to my level of programming.”
I chuckled a little, and then tried to stifle it to keep from hurting his feelings. “I think that’s all any of us really wants. To do something that matters, that utilizes our talents.” I looked him in the eyes. “What do they have you doing at the factory now?”
His eyes avoided mine. “Maintenance.”
“That doesn’t sound so bad. I know it’s not creating, but at least you still get to work on the beautiful things.”
“Not that kind of maintenance.” His head hung further down, if that was possible.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean maintenance, like building maintenance. I collect trash, buff the floors and change light bulbs from time to time.”
“You’re still an important part of the process, Martin.” I did my best to sound uplifting, but even I wasn’t buying it.
He seemed to sigh before replying. “Thanks for trying to cheer me up, Robert. It really is quite nice of you considering everything.”
“I really do hate to see you so depressed, Martin. I know I wasn’t the best of company when we first met, and I’m sure I gave you quite a bit of crap. I had built my whole life around my work, and when they scheduled me for early retirement, I was devastated. I was absolutely terrified by the prospect of figuring out what I would do. Maybe not so different from how you feel now.”
This time he chuckled a little. “Believe me, Robert; the irony isn’t lost on this unit. I have one of the first irony chips ever installed in an android.”
“I didn’t mean it like that. I just meant, I know how you feel, but there’s more to life than work.”
“Like what?”
“Like friends.” I patted him on the shoulder. “And good times. Let’s go grab a drink.”
“It isn’t necessary for me to drink.”
I smiled and stood. “I know it’s not necessary, but sometimes it’s just the right thing to do.”
He sat silent, looking down at the ground.
“Well, suit yourself, friend, but I’ll be at the pub around the corner if you change your mind.”
He looked up at me and cocked his head. “What pub around the corner?”
I picked up my briefcase and gave it a pat. “The one I’m going to make an offer on today. I’ve always wanted to run an old-fashioned pub with good beer and a couple of dart boards, and my retirement income from the factory is going to make it happen.”
He nodded and managed another half-smile. “I’m happy for you, Robert. It’s good that you have found something that gives you purpose.”
I just shook my head, not really knowing what to say or how to respond. When he didn’t say anything else, I turned to go, but something made me look back. Martin had pulled a bag from his uniform pocket and was breaking off tiny pieces for the sparrow. I realized then that this machine, this man, had more humanity than I’d ever given him credit for. He needed a friend just like the rest of us. He needed a purpose.
“Martin?”
He looked up at me again, eyebrows arched.
“You ever consider creating cocktails?”
This time Martin managed a full smile.