Category Archives: author blog
Insights from an Author’s Desk – The Writing Process
There is no particular time or place for writing – it happens when it suits you best and everyone has his or her individual approach. I drink a lot of coffee, the think drink. My favorite of late is a mocha blend. I have two dogs who can be pretty distracting, but only when someone comes to the front door. They’re couch potatoes the rest of the time.
Posted in author blog, blogging, Insights from an author's desk, Writing & Self Publishing, writing ideas, writing process, writing tips
Tags: author insights, author's desk, book characters, chapter counts, distractions, Dragomeir Series, dragon books, dragon riders, fiction, inspiration, music while writing, solitaire parke, solitaireparke.com, story creation, triple threat, word counts, writing books, writing process, writing spaces, writing tips
Smashwords – Read an Ebook Week 2023 !
Welcome to the official Read an Ebook Week from March 5th through March 11th 2023!
Mark your calendars! Here’s an opportunity to find new authors with one of the biggest sales of the year! Support the many authors on Smashwords in this global celebration of Ebooks. You will find around 100,000 multi-format books regularly priced at free every day, and thousands more that are free or deep-discounted exclusively at Smashwords during Read an Ebook Week only. Browse the catalog by discount categories of FREE, 75%-off, 50%-off and 25% off.
This sale is a fantastic way to discover new authors and continue reading your favorite authors – so load up your e-readers and get started!
Posted in author blog, author website, Book Events, books about dragons, Dragomeir Series, dragon books, dragon lovers, ebook sale, ebooks, free ebooks, sci-fi/fantasy, smashwords, smashwords 2023 ebook sale, the dragomeir books
Tags: #ebookweek23, books, Dragomeir Series, dragon books, dragon riders, dragons, ebook authors, fantasy, fiction, read an ebook week, science fiction, self publishing, smashwords, solitaire parke, solitaireparke.com, the dragomeir books, writing
TODAY IS INTERNATIONAL LEFT HANDER’S DAY
10% of the entire world population is left-handed. That is 760 million people around the globe. You are much more likely to be a lefty if one of your parents is too. I am one of those left handed people. It was in August of 1976, on a Friday the 13th, that Left-Handers International first declared August 13 to be a day where left-handers were celebrated.
It is thought that left-handed people are more flexible and adaptable, as they are often challenged in a world that is made for right-handed people. The left hand is also controlled by the right side of the brain, which is associated with emotion and creative qualities such as music and art. I have always been a musician, playing guitar and writing music, poetry, and books, and have a passion for digital art, so I guess it holds true, at least for me.
American Presidents Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton are part of the left-hander’s club, along with such famous musicians as Céline Dion and Jimi Hendrix, who was one of the biggest rock stars in the world. He was renowned for playing a right-handed guitar with his left hand.
Here’s an idea – if you are left-handed, challenge your right-handed friends and family to use their left hands for the next day or so! You never know when using your left hand could be a real benefit!
Posted in author blog, Celine Dion, International Left-Hander's Day, left-handed presidents, Topics
Tags: books, Celine Dion, Dragomeir Series, fantasy, fiction, International Left-Hander's Day, Jimi Hendrix, left hand, left-handed presidents, science fiction, solitaire parke, writing
May is Mental Health Awareness Month!
Since 1949, the month of May has been designated throughout the nation as mental health month. Each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness. During May, NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Health) joins the national movement to raise awareness. Their site provides support for those who deal with this everyday, along with their families.
I found a blog on LULU Books called Mental Health for Writers that applies not only to writers like myself, but has some great links for mental health in general.
After the last two years of pandemic living, many people are realizing that stress, isolation, job loss, and uncertainty have taken a toll on their well-being. To help slow the spread of coronavirus, many schools and childcare centers across the U.S. closed and transitioned to virtual instruction for at least some time. With these closures, children and their parents were experiencing ongoing disruption and changes to their daily routines. Throughout the pandemic, anxiety, depression, sleep disruptions, and thoughts of suicide have increased for many young adults. It has hit just about everyone in some form or fashion.
Personality may also influence how we manage in difficult times. How we endure uncertainty and our ability to tolerate distress are related behaviors that appear to make a difference. Some people are less comfortable with struggle or the unknown than others. Feeling afraid, depressed, or anxiety ridden has seemed to hit an all time high in our world right now.
We can’t always self-improve our way out of pain and difficulty. Facing it is the only answer, and there are ways that we can get help and help ourselves. This is one of those times when life really is harder by a little bit or a lot, depending on your situation. We need to work to feel better, stay connected, and help others however we can.
Have You Watched These 10 Movies About Time Travel?
Image by Solitaire on Emporeum
Time travel is described as the concept in which people are able to move backwards into the past or forwards into the future. This subject is one of my favorites, and I have written a few science fiction/fantasy books which focus on time travel in my Dragomeir Series. You can check them out at my website – www.solitaireparke.com
What is it about time travel that keeps us coming back for more? First of all, is it even possible? Yes, and you’re doing it right now – moving forward into the future at the rate of one second per second. But this isn’t the kind of time travel that has made science fiction writers so prolific, or movie makers so fascinated that Wikipedia lists over 400 titles in the category “Movies about Time Travel.” Traveling by way of a time machine or by using some other means into the past or future is what is really intriguing. If you are one of the many who find time travel to be incredible, you might want to check out the following ten movies.
- The Adam Project – “After accidentally crash-landing in 2022, time-traveling fighter pilot Adam Reed teams up with his 12-year-old self for a mission to save the future.
- The Tomorrow War – A family man is drafted to fight in a future war where the fate of humanity relies on his ability to confront the past.
- Tenet – Armed with only one word, Tenet, and fighting for the survival of the entire world, a protagonist journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time.
- Palm Springs – Stuck in a time loop, two wedding guests develop a budding romance while living the same day over and over again.
- Boss Level – Trapped in a time loop that constantly repeats the day of his murder, a former special forces agent must unlock the mystery behind his untimely demise.
- 12 Monkeys – In a future world devastated by disease, a convict is sent back in time to gather information about the man-made virus that wiped out most of the human population on the planet.
- Looper – In 2074, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent into the past, where a hired gun awaits – someone like Joe – who one day learns the mob wants to ‘close the loop’ by sending back Joe’s future self for assassination.
- Avengers: Endgame – After the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War (2018), the universe is in ruins. With the help of remaining allies, the Avengers assemble once more in order to reverse Thanos’ actions and restore balance to the universe.
- Time Machine – Hoping to alter the events of the past, a 19th century inventor instead travels 800,000 years into the future, where he finds humankind divided into two warring races.
- Donnie Darko – After narrowly escaping a bizarre accident, a troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a man in a large rabbit suit who manipulates him to commit a series of crimes.
To all the Travelers out there – Be Safe!
Change your life – Have an Attitude of Gratitude
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” — Albert Einstein
Gratitude means thankfulness, counting your blessings, noticing simple pleasures, and acknowledging everything that you receive. It means learning to live your life as if everything were a miracle, and being aware on a continuous basis of how much you’ve been given. Gratitude shifts your focus from what your life lacks, to the abundance that is already present. In addition, behavioral and psychological research has shown the surprising life improvements that can stem from the practice of gratitude. Giving thanks makes people happier and more resilient, it strengthens relationships, it improves health, and it reduces stress.
It Heightens Your Quality of Life
A practice of gratitude raises your “happiness set-point” so you can remain at a higher level of happiness regardless of outside circumstances. Research shows that those who practice gratitude tend to be more creative, bounce back more quickly from adversity, have a stronger immune system, and have stronger social relationships than those who don’t practice gratitude. To say we feel grateful is not to say that everything in our lives is necessarily great. It just means we are aware of our blessings.
Notice and Appreciate Each Day’s Gifts
We tend to take for granted the good things in our lives. Imagine losing some of the things that you take for granted, such as your home, your ability to see or hear, your ability to walk, or anything that currently gives you comfort. Then imagine getting each of these things back, one by one, and consider how grateful you would be for each and every one. Start finding joy in the small things instead of the bigger things, like getting the promotion, having a comfortable savings, getting married, or having children, and so on – before allowing yourself to feel gratitude and joy. In the face of hard times ask yourself: “What’s good about this?”, “What can I learn from this?”, and “How can I benefit from this?”
Incorporate Gratitude into your life every day
If we increase our conscious awareness of gratitude it may require that we train ourselves to think differently. This can be done by incorporating some simple exercises into our lives. For example, you might begin to keep a gratitude journal. Gratitude journals can take many forms, but one way of doing this is to simply write down one thing that you are grateful for each day.It can be something that happened that day, something you felt, or someone in your life who has made a positive impact on you.
You can also speak your expressions of gratitude. You can engage someone in a daily discussion about what you are grateful for. This might take the form of questions like, “What was the best part of your day today?”, or “What is one thing that made you feel really happy today?” This kind of discussion not only helps to increase your own awareness of all that you have to be grateful for, but can also promote positive connection and experiences in your relationship with whomever you choose to have these exchanges. Focus on the positive things, which in turn help the stressors feel less significant, and help you feel happier. Basically, gratitude promotes gratitude.
You can train yourself to notice things that you are thankful for. They can be small things: maybe you notice that your bed is very comfortable, that your lunch is tasty, that a good friend said something nice to you, etc. It is easy to take these kinds of experiences for granted and not direct our conscious awareness to them. But training yourself to notice these kinds of things and really feel grateful for them can help increase your own experience of happiness.
Be Thankful –
Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire,
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don’t know something
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge
Because it will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes
They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you’re tired and weary
Because it means you’ve made a difference.
It is easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are
also thankful for the setbacks.
GRATITUDE can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles
and they can become your blessings.
A Writer’s Secret Ingredient?
Perusing the web this week I discovered a guest post that I found to be particularly outstanding and possibly very helpful to other writers. It was a recent post from author and guru of all things writing and publishing, Jane Friedman. I regularly get her newsletter, Electric Speed, which contains a myriad of information for writers. (I highly recommend subscribing to it, by the way.) https://janefriedman.com/.
The post is about a secret ingredient that can keep readers riveted to your book down to the very last line, rather than lose interest and have it fall to the floor. The guest was C. S. Lakin, a writing coach, workshop instructor, blogger and award-winning author of 30+ books.
So, check out this post at the following link –
Forthcoming book – The Atrium
Posted in author blog, Author Spotlight, author websites, fiction writing tips, improve writing, secret ingredient, Writing & Self Publishing, writing ideas, writing tips
Tags: C.S.Lakin, comercially successful novel, Electric Speed, guest post, jane friedman, newsletter, secret ingredient, solitaire parke, solitaireparke.com, successful novel, the atrium, writing, writing and publishing
10 Ways to Find “Comps” For Your Book
“Comps” are other book titles that might be comparable to your book. The main purpose for comps is to show who your readers are likely to be and to show where your book might be shelved in a bookstore. Often agents, publishing sales people or booksellers need this information to understand more about your book. It gives them a better idea for categorizing your title. If you are self-publishing, comps are a guide to the readers you want to reach. So how do you find comps for your book? Here are a few ideas –
- Look up the Best Sellers in the last few years for your genre
- Check out more recent books with similar themes or point of view
- Utilize your local library to locate books you can read or listen to without having to purchase them. See if your library uses Novelist Plus which allows you to search for books by theme, genre and appeal. You can also ask your librarian.
- Use social media sites to find out what is popular in that genre
- If you are in any writing groups, ask other writers or readers what they would recommend
- Film and TV can be used as comps as well as books. If it gives a reliable comparison of what you are writing, then use it. Sometimes a visual is the best explanation. (If you use media, be sure to clarify your source)
- Describe what part of a plot or characterization might be like your book.
- Try not to compare your book to one that is too far out of date unless it is very well known and liked. Let people know that you are keeping up with the marketplace.
Barnes & Noble and Amazon show a lot of sales data that can be beneficial for comps. People often buy items that are similar. Especially when it comes to books, you can enter a title on their sites and then look for books that are recommended that appear under these headers:
“Customers who bought this also bought . . .” (Amazon and Barnes & Noble) “Frequently bought together” (Amazon)
“What customers bought after viewing this” (Amazon)
- You can also ask people who have read your book for some suggestions.
TIP – Avoid saying that your book is better than someone’s title or classic. It might be better, but you don’t want to be the one to say it. Attacking another author only puts a negative spotlight on you. Reading is subjective, and what you hated, others might love. So, compare your book to others that you admire or respect.
Are you influenced by other comparable titles? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Tips to Help You Get Through Covid!
Wow, none of us expected 2020 to be such an unbelievably worrisome and stressful year! It’s just almost too much to comprehend sometimes that this pandemic is really happening. Who would have thought? We went from a somewhat “normal” lifestyle to a world where everyone and everything has just gone crazy. But since it is a reality, we’ve had to learn to adapt, change and just learn to deal with a life that is very different than what we wish it would be. Change can be super hard and stressful, but if we can remain positive in the midst of it all, we might even come out of this hardship as better, more resilient and caring people. At least that’s how I choose to look at everything since I can’t change it anyway.
Here are a few tips that might help you keep your sanity during this difficult time –
If you are a religious person, keep your faith strong and pray often – about everything and everyone. Keeping your mind focused, especially on helping others, will keep you grounded each day.
Try to keep your sleeping and eating patterns the same every day in order to stay as healthy as possible. Get as much sleep as you can.
Exercise – it keeps your body strong and keeps your mind healthy too.
Be sure to make time to do activities that you love – things that make you feel happy, like painting, cooking, singing, playing a musical instrument, reading, or any indoor or outdoor sport where you can be safe.
Stay connected with others so you don’t feel so isolated. We have so many different devices these days that can keep us connected. And don’t forget your neighbors or those who may need a friendly phone call. We’re all in this together, and people need each other.
Find as many ways as you can to have positive emotions – joy, gratitude, love – all the good things that you can focus on. Negativity never helped anyone.
Enjoy simple moments like sipping a cup of tea, laughing at funny moments with your children or grandchildren, playing with your pets, watching a special movie, or just having a conversation with a friend or family member.
Take whatever action that you can to achieve goals you have set for yourself. It can be one of the best antidotes to anxieties. Don’t let anything stop you from achieving what you want. There is always something to be done.
I look at it this way. There will inevitably be hardships in this life. We have to remember to be grateful in spite of the difficulties in which we find ourselves. We learn from those hard times and it makes us better and hopefully wiser people. It teaches us not to take things for granted and to really appreciate what we have.
I want to give a special “shout out” to all those who are putting themselves in the front line to help those who are sick with this virus. I appreciate all that you are doing and you are in my prayers – – THANK YOU!
I also want to commend the many many parents who are taking on the daunting task of online and home schooling their children. That has to be a difficult task along with your daily jobs and everything else you do. I feel sure that teachers are going to be appreciated much more after this! More power to you!
This too shall pass.
Posted in attitude of gratitude, author blog, positive thinking, stress, tips to get through covid
Tags: 2020, achieve goals, activities, anxiety, appreciation, covid, difficult times, hardship, healthy, homeschooling, isolation, online schooling, pandemic, reading, simple moments, sleep, solitaire, solitaire parke.com, stress, teachers, this too shall pass, tips to get through covid, virus
AUTHORS GIVE BACK SALE – NOW UNDERWAY – FREE BOOKS!
Smashwords authors are reaching out to do their part by using the power of their books to help minimize the emotional and economic hardships we all face in every country. Many of us are faced with having to stay at home and stay isolated from others in order to contain this global pandemic. So we, as authors, want to do our part by offering LARGE DISCOUNTS of 30%, 60%, or even FREE on select ebooks, starting now through April 20th.
We hope that all of you readers might find comfort and enjoyment from them and it might make your day a little brighter. If you find a favorite book during the sale, please consider reading their other books as well. There are 140,000 authors that publish at Smashwords from every country around the world. They are all your friends and neighbors.
You can find all my Smashwords’ books here: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/solitaireparke
The first book in the Dragmeir Series – The Emerald Dragon – is FREE
The first book in the Daughter of the Dark Lord Series (prequel books to Dragomeir)
Daughter of the Dark Lord, The Burning Sky) – FREE
Please spread the word, take care and stay safe!
Posted in author blog, author website, Daughter of the Dark Lord - part one - The Burning Sky, Dragomeir Series, dragon books, prequel books, sci-fi/fantasy, smashwords, The Emerald Dragon
Tags: authors give back, book discounts, book sale, Daughter of the Dark Lord, Dragomeir Series, dragon books, fantasy, fiction, free books, science fiction, smashword, solitaire parke, the dragomeir books, The Emerald Dragon, urban fantasy