Author Archives: solitaireparke

REMEMBER all those who fought for our freedom!!!

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Take time today and remember all the men and women who fought for our freedom!

Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in our country’s armed forces.   The holiday, which is observed every year on the last Monday of May, originated as Decoration Day after the American Civil War in 1868, when the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans, established it as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Memorial Day eventually extended to honor all Americans who died in the Military Service.

“THE FALLEN”

 A Poem by Robert Laurence Binyon (1869-1943), published in The Times newspaper on 21st September 1914.

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

“Thank You” to all our fallen soldiers!  We will remember you always!

Solitaire

Woohoo, it’s Memorial Day Weekend!!!

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Hi, Solitaire here. It’s that occasion again – Memorial Day Weekend. Time to take a break, even if it’s a short one, to spend some quality moments with family, or just relax and do something other than work. You deserve it!  As an author, that’s hard for me to do. Not the spending time with family part, but the not using the time to write part. I almost feel guilty not using every spare moment to sit down at my computer and continue to write my latest novel. I think that’s probably a universal feeling with most authors. But like any profession, authors need to get away from their chosen profession once in a while. So take this weekend to unwind a little, and maybe it will spur those creative minds on to bigger and better ideas for your up and coming writing endeavors!

Have a great mini-vacation and enjoy some much needed relaxation! Happy Writing!

Solitaire

You can check out my just released Dragomeir Series Book Two, “Flight of the Aguiva” here –

www.solitaireparke.com

“Flight of the Aguiva” is Now Available!!!

“Flight of the Aguiva”

Book Two of the Dragomeir Series

is finished and

Available NOW !!!

 

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Click on the above link to find out more!

Does Dialogue have you stumped?

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Today I came across some great tips concerning dialogue from a regular contributor to CreateSpace.com, Maria Murnane. (www.mariamurnane.com) She writes romantic comedies and provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing.  So I thought I’d share what I thought were some  helpful pointers.

  • Look who’s talking.

 A common problem is that the characters all sound the same, so the readers have a hard time telling them apart. As a result, the readers get confused, annoyed, distracted, or all of the above – none of which you want to happen. If you want your readers to become invested in your characters, you need to bring those characters to life – and dialogue presents a wonderful opportunity to do just that! So when your characters speak, have them make an impression. Are they sarcastic? Jaded? Bitter? Happy? Sad? Pessimistic? Optimistic? Loyal? Funny? Do they use their hands a lot when they speak? Do they lower their voice when they gossip? Do they chew gum? Do they have a particular gesture or body tic that gives away what they’re feeling? You may have heard the expression “show, don’t tell,” and this is a great example of that. Don’t tell us what the characters are like, let them show us.

  •  Does your dialogue sound realistic?

 When I read a book with dialogue that doesn’t ring true, instead of getting sucked into the story I find myself thinking, “Who talks like that? No one would say that.” You want your readers focused on the story, not on the problems with your writing. A good way to avoid having unrealistic dialogue in your own writing is to read it out loud. This may sound a little crazy, but it works! After awhile you will be writing the way people actually talk and your dialogue will be realistic. You want to create strong, believable characters that your readers will care about, so take the time to give them lines that will allow that to happen. With every conversation you write, ask yourself “Does this sound believable?” That might seem daunting at first, but over time it will get easier. It will be well worth the effort. Your readers – and your characters – will be grateful.

  •  Turn the beat around.

 A “beat” is a description of the physical action a character makes while speaking, and good beats can bring your characters to life and make your dialogue pop right off the page. Beats can also help you show your readers instead of telling them. (Misuse of show, not tell is a common mistake many first-time authors make. Remember that readers don’t like to be told what to think

     Example #1

A) “I told you, I’m not going!” John shouted, furious.

B) John slammed his fist on the table, his nostrils flaring. “I told you, I’m not going!”

  John is clearly angry. But in example A, we know this because we are told so.   

In example B, we know this because we are shown it.

              Example #2:

A) “You’re really not going?” Karen said, incredulous.

B) Karen’s jaw dropped. “You’re really not going?”

 We know Karen is incredulous, but why do we know this?

In A, we’re told what to think, and in B, we’re left to decide on our own what to think.

Well-placed beats make your writing richer, fuller, and better. And good writing, like good teaching, engages your readers and lets them draw their own conclusions.

  • Use contractions in dialogue.

Well written dialogue draws you into the story and makes you feel like the people speaking are real. So to write good dialogue, use language that sounds the way people actually talk. And in English, that includes contractions. A lot of them. Without contractions, people sound more like              robots than real people. (Did not becomes didn’t; Is not becomes isn’t; Do not becomes don’t; I am becomes I’m; He is becomes he’s, etc.) Contractions aren’t often used in formal writing, but they are for informal conversation, especially in the United States. So perhaps you should review your  own dialogue to see if it passes the robot test.

  • Dialogue doesn’t necessarily impact the plot, but it impacts character development, which is just as important.

Once you have completed your novel, read it over again. You may need to tweak the dialogue a bit, especially in the early chapters. Your characters have probably evolved, and some of the early lines may no longer fit their personalities. Good stories do a wonderful job of creating characters who are like real people to the audience, and that’s what you want to do with your manuscript. So when you’re finished, go back and read that dialogue with fresh eyes. Do you think it rings true throughout for each of your characters? If it doesn’t, change it! That’s the fun thing about being the author – it’s all up to you.

Have any tips that you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them.

Solitaire

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Want to Improve Your Online Presence?

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In my Internet travels I am always on the lookout for sites that are not only helpful to me as an author/writer, but that may also be interesting to other readers. Today’s little gem is called “KATHARINE WRITES, Be Online Better.” Katharine is a writer, blogger, and online presence strategist, and her website is packed with great insights on a multitude of topics – one of them being Blogging. Here is a great link to check out if you’re a newbie to blogging or if you just want to improve on what you are already doing. So take a look – Katharine has quite a bit of information that you might find helpful. Don’t forget to scroll down the page to her “TOPICS” section to find other useful information on

  • Blogging
  • Social Media
  • Freelancing
  • Copywriting
  • Marketing
  • And much more. So check this out –

http://katharine-writes.com/category/blogging/

Do you know of any other terrific websites that would be interesting or helpful that you would like to share? Please leave me a comment!

Who is The Ariella?

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In the Dragomeir Series Book One, “The Emerald Dragon,” you will find a character called Queen Mother, The Ariella, which means Queen of the Dragons. She stands about five feet five inches tall, but carries herself like she is much taller, and weighs about a hundred and ten pounds. With dark brown hair and green eyes, she can appear pretty hard core, and can be a formidable opponent in a fight. She is, however, a real “softy” when it comes to her dragons. She is a very powerful woman and a Dragon Rider to two of the kings of their species, the black and white Wyvern Dragons, Basiliskos and Invectum, respectively. As the Queen Mother presides over the many Riders and their Dragons at Mt. Drago, Mt. Femmes, and Mt. Arcadia, you can imagine that her position is one that is very demanding and quite hectic on a daily basis.

In spite of her title, there are some who wonder if The Ariella is more than what she appears to be. There are many mysterious meetings, and she appears to know people that are in direct conflict with her entire Empire within the mountains. Even the Dragon Rider, Tanis, who has been very close to her for many years, is beginning to suspect that something is being kept secret from him. What is the real purpose behind the acquisition of other Creatures who are being brought into their world?  Why does she appear to be acquiring an army, and why do some of the strangers that are arriving at Mt. Drago seem to know her?  There are many unanswered questions about The Ariella.

Join Tanis and his Dragon, Demios, as they maneuver through the day to day struggles and adventures in the wonderful world of Dragons, incredible Creatures, and unusual planets, and find out if The Queen of the Dragons, The Ariella, is actually who she claims to be!

You can find “The Emerald Dragon” and coming very soon, BookTwo of the Dragomeir Series, “Flight of the Aguiva,” along with much more at –

http://www.solitaireparke.com

Location – Location – Location – THE SOUTHWEST DESERTS

The primary location of my book, “The Emerald Dragon”, is in the deserts of the Southwestern United States. So the following is a short description of those deserts for anyone that might find it interesting. My lead character, Tanis, finds it to be one of the most beautiful places on earth.

The Sonoran Desert covers large parts of the Southwestern United States in Arizona and California, and of Northwestern Mexico in Sonora, Baja California and Baja California Sur. It is the hottest desert in North America, with an area of 280,000 square kilometers (110,000 sq mi). The western portion of the United States–Mexico border passes through the Sonoran Desert.   It is home to the cultures of over seventeen contemporary Native American tribes, with settlements at American Indian reservations in California and Arizona, as well as populations in Mexico.

The desert includes 60 mammal species, 350 bird species, 20 amphibian species, over 100 reptile species, 30 native fish species, over 1000 native bee species, and more than 2,000 native plant species. The area southwest of Tucson and near the Mexican border is a vital habitat for the only population of Jaguars living within the United States.

The Sonoran is the only place in the world where the famous saguaro cactus grows in the wild.  Cholla , beavertail, hedgehog, fishhook, prickly pear, nightblooming cereus, and organ pipe are other types of cacti found here. Shrubs include the creosote bush, bur sage, indigo bush, and Mormon tea. It also has wildflowers such as desert sunflowers, sand verbena, and evening primroses. There are also desert willows, palo verde trees, ocotillo, and desert ironwood.

The Mojave Desert includes both the infamous Death Valley and slightly less infamous Las Vegas Valley. An existence in the Mojave means coping with a range of extreme conditions.  It is considered a hot-cold desert, meaning it’s hot in the summer — but also extremely cold in the winter, dipping below freezing at night. These extremes have led to plant and animal species that are uniquely adapted to the Mojave. The desert averages about five inches of precipitation a year. Death Valley, which is about 282 feet below sea level, is the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere, and is in the Mojave Desert. It is also the hottest and the driest point in North America. In fact, it is the second hottest place on the Earth; 134 degrees Fahrenheit is the highest temperature ever recorded here. This region also consists of several high-rising mountain peaks, like the Telescopic peak, which is about 11,000 feet high.

The desert is home to numerous unique and interesting plant and animal species that have adapted to this arid landscape. Although the Mojave isn’t home to a large amount of plant life, it is home to numerous unique and interesting plant and animal species that have adapted to this arid landscape. It is home to mistletoe, a well-known Christmas decoration, and also to the slow-growing Joshua trees, which are actually not trees, but water-storing succulents. These plants grow to between 20 and 70 feet in height and live around 150 years.

The Mojave is home to the camel spider, the short-horned lizard, rattlesnakes, king snakes, a wide variety of lizards and the desert tortoise. Small desert mammals include the antelope squirrel, the kangaroo rat, jack rabbit, desert cottontail, the coyote, kit fox, and the bobcat. Large herbivores include big horn sheep, mule deer and wild burros. Predatory birds include the red-tailed hawk, barn owl, golden eagle and roadrunner. Scavengers include vultures and ravens. Herbivores include Gambel’s quail and the mourning dove.

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1280px-Sonoran_Desert_33.081359_n112   Cougar on guard in the Sonoran Desert with a clear blue sky above.

USA 2004 (October 6th) California, Joshua Tree National Park  Sonora_Desert

You’ll discover a whole new world in the desert at Mt. Drago, the home of Tanis, and his dragon, Demios, in Book One of the Dragomeir Series, “The Emerald Dragon.”

Book Two, “Flight of the Aguiva” will be out very soon! The adventure continues . . .

 Find my books at http://www.solitaireparke.com

 

CREATURE FEATURE – Solitaire Parke – Inspiration – Where does it come from?

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I have had the most spectacular dreams since I was a kid.   These dreams were chronological, so every subsequent night’s sleep picked up where the previous one left off. I took notes on almost all of them and they ended up as poems, stories, and eventually full novels.   I dreamed about people, places and things complete with history and background. The creatures were plausible and could have existed during certain times in our history. The science was at least possible, depending on the physical environment as shown and described.

To say that I have an overactive imagination would be an understatement, and quite frankly, I have no idea why I began dreaming like that. I realize it fundamentally changed me very early on. I have enjoyed almost all of the dreams, even the ones that were nightmarish. I have a constant need to write this stuff down, and I don’t believe I’ll ever get to the end of the ideas (dreams) no matter how fast I write.

As a result of this unusual behavior I have decided to list myself as a part of the creature features on the blog. I only hope everyone enjoys reading my books as much as I do writing them. Check out my books HERE.

What inspires you? I’d love to hear about it, so send me a comment!

Solitaire

SPECIAL FEATURE – Tanis Nickolai Theatra – Emerald Dragon Rider

Hi there, my name is Tanis Nickolai Theatra and I am a Dragon Rider from Mt. Drago. I live way out in the Mojave Desert in Arizona, a magnificent stretch of the Country that is usually described as desolate compared to what most folks have become accustomed to, but I love it here. It is an amazing wilderness that is teeming with life and artistry, while at the same time exuding a kind of peace and solitude that I find fascinating and very comforting. That having been said, it’s interesting that inside the Mountain is a very large community that virtually no one knows about. We want to keep it that way! We have an assortment of distinct and divergent people and creatures that somehow all manage to coexist and work together on a daily basis. It’s quite amazing – especially the Dragons! Yes, I said Dragons. They really are as fantastic as you would imagine them to be, and much more. They are outlandish, whimsical, HUGE, eccentric, exasperating and downright unmanageable at times, but there is nothing more exiting or gratifying than knowing that I was called by an Emerald Dragon to be her special companion and rider. One thing is for sure, there is never a dull moment around Mt. Drago. I have been witness to places, creatures, and cultures that I would love to share with you, so if my life sounds at all intriguing, I hope you will join in some spectacular adventures with me, Tanis, and Demios, the Emerald Dragon. See you there!

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“The Emerald Dragon,” Book One of the Dragomeir Series

is available now in various formats below –

“Flight of the Aguiva,” Book Two of the Dragomeir Series will be out soon!

 

 

DRAGOMEIR SERIES – Creature Feature – “The Sabers”

This time on Creature Features let’s take a closer look at the species known as The Sabers.   These creatures can be found in Book Two of the Dragomeir Series, “Flight of the Aguiva.” They are one of the older races of non-human, quadrupeds and considerably larger than most. Their leader is an enormous Alpha male named Suyet Suun. Try to imagine a nine foot long, eight hundred pound Bengal Tiger in a yellowish gold color, with tusks coming off the side of his face – ten inch long, large tusks. He was at the very least half again the size of a Bengal. Huge feet below a shear muscled body, and topped off with the most regal of heads. That was Suyet Suun. The females of The Sabers are smaller versions but just as beautiful. The Sabers are mammals and give birth in the same way as the feline species we have on Earth.

These creatures are fully sentient, and thanks to the demons on the Provinces, have been placed on the endangered species list. The demons hunt them for sport, or did until they moved to Mt. Drago. They are peaceful, but become warlike when their young are threatened. Fierce fighters, they unfortunately do not have the numbers to fend off the superior volume of the Hordes of Hell.

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