Author Archives: solitaireparke

The Eternal Amulet of Ele-Amarna

Excerpt from DAUGHTER OF THE DARK LORD – Part One – THE BURNING SKY:

(Cheron – the true specter of death, Ferryman at The River Styx – speaking to Katherine Pendragon, the daughter of the Dark Lord of the Provinces of Hell)

“Your father and his loyal demons cannot cross flowing water, and I speak not of the river of death.  Only through me may you cross the Styx.  These lands are not your prison and there are no conventions which bind your fate, but without an army, your father’s curse will be the end of us all.”

Cheron reached into his robe and pulled out an amulet attached to a golden chain.  Gazing at it for a moment, Cheron’s energy spiked, almost unnoticeably, and then passed.  He handed the piece to Katherine hesitantly, as if he was about to lose something meaningful to him.

“The most precious gift I can give you is this.  The Eternal Amulet of Ele-Amarna.  It will give you control over Bahn Fahr and the Army of the Dead. “

The Amulet of Ele-Amarna was an ancient vial, one and one half inches in length, attached to a solid gold chain, which was eighteen inches in length.  The six gold rings surrounding it, would spin in the manner of a combination lock until they lined up, allowing it to open.  Katherine had no knowledge of what would happen once it opened, but she did know that her energy combined with that of the amulet would call up the Army of the Dead, and their subsequent leader, General Bahn Fahr.  The General resided with his army in the Province of Sheol. This might be the only way to defeat her father.

But the Amulet came with a warning:

“But beware . . . if the Amulet is destroyed once the Army is called, you will unleash dominion over the living by angry legions of those who cannot be stopped or killed.  Be warned, Ariella.  Hold the Amulet and call the Name of Bahn Fahr at the peril of all you hold dear.”

Does Katherine resort to using the Amulet, or does she find another way to to thwart the plans of her malevolent father, the Dark Lord, and his army of demons?  The answers can be found in

DAUGHTER OF THE DARK LORD – Part One – THE BURNING SKY

at my website www.solitaireparke.com, where it can be purchased at numerous locations in a variety of formats.

I look forward to hearing from my readers.  Let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Solitaire

 

DAUGHTER OF THE DARK LORD – Creature Feature – Bubalos

BUBALOS-

An animal that is similar to what we know as a bison or buffalo; they roamed on the Provinces of Hell and were the main food source for dragons, and also on the menu for the citizens.  They were bulky oversized animals, not terribly intelligent and often cranky, but extremely useful.  Large fields were cultivated outside the Palace, and as the bubalos were procured, pens were built for the massive number of creatures.  They migrated twice a year from the more barren lands of the Provinces to the northwestern edge of Hell proper, where they fed on the grasslands produced during that time of year.  The Dark Lord’s daughter, Katherine, even had bubalos brought in to feed the Hell hounds living within the city.  Being such large creatures, they were often bridled and used for transporting supplies from place to place when needed.   The hide from a bubalos could be tanned and used for various articles of clothing or types of baggage.

Read more about life on the Provinces in the following book –

DAUGHTER OF THE DARK LORD – Part One – The Burning Sky

A prequel book to the Dragomeir Series

 Find this book and many more at

www.solitaireparke.com

Solitaire

WHY DO WE LOVE DRAGONS?

Dragons are magical, mythical winged creatures that we find both thrilling and frightening.  Both adults and younger readers seem to find them equally fantastic.   We’d like to believe that they might have once existed, and they are legendary in almost every culture on the planet, so why not?

They have traditionally been viewed as perilous, dangerous creatures with magical qualities that laid waste to the countryside and carried off damsels in distress, thereby having to be sought after and conquered. Some authors have written about them with this view in mind – Tolkien, Ursula K. LeGuin, and J. K. Rowling, to name a few.  The fantasy writer, Anne McCaffrey, explored human kinship with dragons, man and animal befriending one another.  Countless children’s books have now brought these fantastic creatures into the next generation to be both feared and loved.

I have continued with Anne McCaffrey’s affinity of dragon and man in my Dragomeir Series books, and now in the new prequel series, Daughter of the Dark Lord – Part One – The Burning Sky, and the forthcoming Daughter of the Dark Lord – Part Two – The Alberra Project.  (There will definitely be a Part Three!)

Dragons introduce a much needed magic and adrenaline into our lives – the appeal of being unpredictable and potentially dangerous that emulates our challenges, frustrations and achievements in an exhilarating and exceptional way.  Dragons never play by anyone’s rules.

Nowadays, dragons are our constant companions in novels, movies and computer games.  They are the most familiar and respected creatures from fantasy and legend. They can give us an emotional reaction of faithful friendship, as well as the opportunity to fly.  Dragons allow us to feel indestructible and open up our imaginations.  They give us wings.

Solitaire

www.solitaireparke.com

What are your favorite dragons?

6 Ways to Improve Your Writing!

  1.  How often do you use the word “very” in your writing? It is often extremely overused and can make your sentences sound weak.  So check out this site.  It gives you 128 ways to avoid using this word by replacing it with stronger more vibrant ones.

http://writetodone.com/128-words-to-use-instead-of-very/

 

  1. Need some help with your grammar? Take the following quiz and find out how much you know.

http://writetodone.com/grammar-tips-for-writers/

 

  1. Book titles, blog headings, or other articles are sometimes difficult to come by. You might need a little help occasionally.  Here are 7 tools to provide that help.

http://writetodone.com/bestselling-book-titles-2/

  1. Do you love the television show “Game of Thrones” or the books? Here are 5 lessons to be learned from them.

http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2014/04/08/writing-game-of-thrones/

  1. Do you know how to research a novel, and when to stop? This article could be helpful.

http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2017/01/18/research-a-novel/

 

  1. Tips for finding those eye-catching images for your books, articles, or blogs.

http://bookmarketingmaven.typepad.com/book_marketing_maven/2015/02/ultimate-guide-to-finding-images-for-book-promotion.html

Which ones are your favorites?

If these were helpful to you, please pass them on!

Visit me at my website – sp@solitaireparke.com

Solitaire

 

Latest Book from Solitaire : Prequel to the Dragomeir Series – Part One

dotdl_book

DAUGHTER OF THE DARK LORD – Part One – THE BURNING SKY

The first Prequel Book to the Dragomeir Series

(A  saga of dragons, demons, fierce creatures and dragon riders)

BEFORE IT ALL BEGAN  . . .

A daughter born to the cruel tyrant of the Provinces, the Dark Lord

An incredible child of great skill and abilities

A long awaited prophecy yet to be fulfilled

A remarkable and enduring gift – a Dragon egg

Friends, allies and enemies embroiled in conflict for their lives amidst schemes and unruly allegiances

Who is this child and how does her life impact the future?

– THE PREQUEL

AND THE ENTIRE DRAGOMEIR SERIES

IS AVAILABLE NOW in multiple formats at the following sites –

BARNES & NOBLE

iBOOKSTORE

KOBO

LULU

SMASHWORDS

SOLITAIREPARKE.COM

Enjoy the sci-fi/urban fantasy world of Dragomeir!

Happy Reading.

Solitaire

Any questions about the books?  Leave me a comment.

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Cover Reveal : Daughter of the Dark Lord – Part One – The Burning Sky

 

dotdl2

The new PREQUEL BOOK to the DRAGOMEIR SERIES is coming out this month and HERE IS THE COVER!  The new book –

Daughter of the Dark Lord, Part One, The Burning Sky

– will inform you about the early years of “The Ariella”, Queen of the Dragons at Mt. Drago.  It gives a better understanding of her earliest moments and how the environment into which she was born and the people surrounding her, shaped the character of a child and led to the unique leader she became.   And of course, her best friend and dragon companion, Exxa, played an important role in shaping her life.  So, if you loved the dragons in the Dragomeir Series, along with all the other amazing creatures, Daughter of the Dark Lord will give you an engaging look into the past of the Queen of the Dragons that will keep you wondering what happens next!
Check out the Dragomeir Series and my other books at www.solitaireparke.com.

Solitaire

 

 

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What Foods Should Creative Minds Eat?

blueberries

If you’re struggling with feeling tired, uninspired, or have writer’s block, maybe you should take a good look at your diet.  We tend to blame everything for not being at our peak performance, but what if it’s partially as a result of what we eat?  Creative minds place very tall demands on our brains, and to do our best work we should think about what affects our productivity.  We probably won’t produce our best work if our bodies feel tired and sluggish. So check out the list below:

FOODS FOR CREATIVITY

  • FISH – High in Omega3 fats which are essential for healthy brain function
  • EGGS – Contains choline which enhances memory and reaction times
  • WHOLE WHEAT BREAD, PASTA, AND BROWN RICE – They are digested more

slowly than their white equivalents, so you don’t experience creativity-killing energy

highs and lows

 

  • BANANAS – Contains potassium needed for oxygen flow to the brain, keeps energy levels up with just the right amount of glucose

 

  • BLUEBERRIES – Contain antioxidants which improve memory

 

  • UNSALTED NUTS AND SEEDS – Great source of proteins and fats which provide long-lasting energy

 

  • BROCCOLI – Your brain’s best friend. Contains Vitamin K which enhances cognitive functions – works best when eaten raw or roasted with olive oil and garlic

 

  • SWEET POTATO CRISPS – Baked crisps, thinly sliced, with a little salt. Contains more potassium than bananas – needed for oxygen flow to the brain

 

 

If you know there are certain foods that will tempt you, just don’t keep them around.

Make sure you don’t over-indulge.  Even healthy foods and snacks can quickly lead to a

sugar crash.  (Avoid foods and snacks containing high fructose corn syrup).

It’s always a good idea to eat a healthy breakfast to start your day.

Have a snack a couple times during the day – maybe an apple or some unsalted nuts.

 

These are some ideas that should help to keep the creativity flowing and keep your brain functioning all day.  So, what works for you?  If you have a special diet that helps you to write, think, and learn better, let us know.

Solitaire

www.solitaireparke.com

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Friday the 13th – Why is it Considered Unlucky?

thirteenth

Don’t step on the sidewalk cracks, walk under any mirrors, and stay away from black cats are a few of the taboos on Friday the 13th.  We’ve all heard them before.   Most people do not take it too seriously, but there are some who dread the date. By the way, if you’re interested, the word paraskevidekatriaphobia means fear of Friday the 13th!  If you were looking for a definitive answer, there really isn’t one.   Like many cultural traditions and long-running superstitious beliefs, the exact source is unknown. It is most likely the result of many different factors, strengthened over time by a combination of specific incidents, folklore and religion that have evolved over hundreds of years to create what we now refer to as the unluckiest date in the calendar. Here are a few of the beliefs about Friday the 13th:

  1. Some superstitions about Friday the 13th are rooted in the guest list of the Last Supper. Judas was the 13th guest at the table, and Jesus was crucified on a Friday. Coincidence?
  2. On Friday the 13th in 1307, thousands of Knights Templar were arrested on orders from King Philip IV of France because of suspicions that their secret initiation rituals made them “enemies of the faith.” After years of torture, they were burned at the stake. Dan Brown’s novel The DaVinci Code popularized the link between the Knights Templar and Friday the 13th.
  3. The first specific written reference to Friday the 13th as an unlucky day was in an early-20th century novel by Thomas W. Lawson, called Friday, the 13th. Ironically, a ship named after Lawson was caught in a storm and shipwrecked on the night of Friday the 13th, 1907.
  4. Superstition can result in an economic dip. Donald Dossey, founder of the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute, says U.S. businesses lose millions of dollars on Friday the 13th, because some people are reluctant to leave their homes.
  5. Friday’s position as the unlucky day may have been strengthened by it being the day of execution of criminals for many years, commonly called Hangman’s Day.
  6. Scandinavians believed 13 signified bad luck because their 13th mythological demigod Loki was an evil one who brought great misfortune upon humans.
  7. Hindus believed that it was unlucky for 13 people to gather in one place.
  8. Most skyscrapers and hotels lack a 13th floor, which specifically comes from the tendency in the early 1900s for buildings in New York City to omit the unlucky number (though both the Empire State Building and the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel have 13th floors). Street addresses sometimes skip from 12 to 14, while airports may skip the 13th gate.
  9. Allegedly, the popular Friday the 13th films were so-named just to cash in on this menacing date recognition, not because the filmmakers actually believed the date to be unlucky.
  1. Black cats have been seen in Western cultures as an omen of bad luck — they have been associated with witches, and many cultures believe that a black cat crossing your path means you will suffer disaster or even death. Gamblers are especially fearful of the black cat curse – many of them believe that if they see a black cat while going to a casino, they should abandon their plans to gamble there.

Do you consider Friday the 13th to be an unlucky date? Has anything bad ever happened to you on this day before? Do you have any superstitions to help you avoid bad luck? Add your comments below.

Solitaire

www.solitaireparke.com

 

 

HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR 2017 EVERYONE!!!

red-christmas-ball

christmas

This is such a crazy, busy time of year, but I wanted to stop for a minute – although I’m continuing to write amidst the chaos – and wish all of you an amazing and wonderful Merry Christmas and a New Year 2017 that’s filled with joy and prosperity!  Enjoy your friends and family, and be encouraged to go after your dreams in the New Year.  Do what you love and don’t listen to anyone who tells you not to go for it.  Be unstoppable and refuse to give up!

BE AMAZING!!!

Solitaire

www.solitaireparke.com

 

12 Ways to Handle “Toxic People”

toxic

Hello Readers,

It’s hard to believe we’re at the close of November, heading into December – The Christmas Season.  Where does the time go?  Way too fast, that’s for sure.  I was thinking about the pros and cons of the holiday season which triggered a subject that we all have to deal with, not only during the month of December, but all year long.  That issue we call “Toxic People.”  This season seems to bring them out of the woodwork more than any other time of the year.  I guess when you take the hassle and stress of everyday life and then add the hustle and bustle of the holidays on top of it; you get very disgruntled and often malevolent people.  You’ll find them everywhere – at home, at work, at the shopping mall, driving down the freeway, or at the grocery store.

How do we deal with these exhausted, exasperated, furious, and anxious human beings?  Well, I came across an article that was very enlightening.  It was written by Dr. Travis Bradberry, who is the award-winning co-author of the #1 bestselling book, Emotional. Intelligence 2.0.  Here is some of the information from that article.

Toxic people defy logic. Some are blissfully unaware of the negative impact that they have on those around them, and others seem to derive satisfaction from creating chaos and pushing other people’s buttons. Either way, they create unnecessary complexity, strife, and worst of all stress.

Studies have long shown that stress can have a lasting, negative impact on the brain. Exposure to even a few days of stress compromises the effectiveness of neurons in the hippocampus—an important brain area responsible for reasoning and memory. Weeks of stress cause reversible damage to neuronal dendrites (the small “arms” that brain cells use to communicate with each other), and months of stress can permanently destroy neurons. Stress is a formidable threat to your life success—when stress gets out of control, your brain and your performance suffer.

You need to manage your emotions in times of stress in order to remain calm and in control. To deal with toxic people effectively, you need an approach that enables you to control what you can and eliminate what you can’t. The important thing to remember is that you are in control of far more than you realize.  These are the things you need to master:

 Set Limits (Especially with Complainers)

Complainers and negative people are bad news because they wallow in their problems and fail to focus on solutions. They want people to join their pity party so that they can feel better about themselves. People often feel pressure to listen to complainers because they don’t want to be seen as callous or rude, but there’s a fine line between lending a sympathetic ear and getting sucked into their negative emotional spiral.  You can avoid this only by setting limits and distancing yourself when necessary. Think of it this way: if the complainer were smoking, would you sit there all afternoon inhaling the second-hand smoke? You’d distance yourself, and you should do the same with complainers. A great way to set limits is to ask complainers how they intend to fix the problem. They will either quiet down or redirect the conversation in a productive direction.

 Don’t Die in the Fight

Victorious people know how important it is to live to fight another day, especially when your foe is a toxic individual. In conflict, unchecked emotion makes you dig your heels in and fight the kind of battle that can leave you severely damaged. When you read and respond to your emotions, you’re able to choose your battles wisely and only stand your ground when the time is right.

 Rise Above

Toxic people drive you crazy because their behavior is so irrational. Make no mistake about it; their behavior truly goes against reason. Which begs the question, why do you allow yourself to respond to them emotionally and get sucked into the mix?  The more irrational and off-base someone is, the easier it should be for you to remove yourself from their traps. Quit trying to beat them at their own game. Distance yourself from them emotionally and approach your interactions like they’re a science project (or you’re their shrink, if you prefer the analogy). You don’t need to respond to the emotional chaos—only the facts.

 Stay Aware of Your Emotions

Maintaining an emotional distance requires awareness. You can’t stop someone from pushing your buttons if you don’t recognize when it’s happening. Sometimes you’ll find yourself in situations where you’ll need to regroup and choose the best way forward. This is fine and you shouldn’t be afraid to buy yourself some time to do so.  Think of it this way—if a mentally unstable person approaches you on the street and tells you he’s John F. Kennedy, you’re unlikely to set him straight. When you find yourself with someone who is engaged in similarly derailed thinking, sometimes it’s best to just smile and nod. If you’re going to have to straighten them out, it’s better to give yourself some time to plan the best way to go about it.

 Establish Boundaries

This is the area where most people tend to sell themselves short. They feel like because they work or live with someone, they have no way to control the chaos. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Once you’ve found your way to Rise Above a person, you’ll begin to find their behavior more predictable and easier to understand. This will equip you to think rationally about when and where you have to put up with them and when you don’t. For example, even if you work with someone closely on a project team, that doesn’t mean that you need to have the same level of one-on-one interaction with them that you have with other team members.  You can establish a boundary, but you’ll have to do so consciously and proactively. If you let things happen naturally, you are bound to find yourself constantly embroiled in difficult conversations. If you set boundaries and decide when and where you’ll engage a difficult person, you can control much of the chaos. The only trick is to stick to your guns and keep boundaries in place when the person tries to encroach upon them, which they will.

Don’t Let Anyone Limit Your Joy

When your sense of pleasure and satisfaction are derived from the opinions of other people, you are no longer the master of your own happiness. When emotionally intelligent people feel good about something that they’ve done, they won’t let anyone’s opinions or snide remarks take that away from them. While it’s impossible to turn off your reactions to what others think of you, you don’t have to compare yourself to others, and you can always take people’s opinions with a grain of salt. That way, no matter what toxic people are thinking or doing, your self-worth comes from within. Regardless of what people think of you at any particular moment, one thing is certain—you’re never as good or bad as they say you are.

 Don’t Focus on Problems—Only Solutions

Where you focus your attention determines your emotional state. When you fixate on the problems you’re facing, you create and prolong negative emotions and stress. When you focus on actions to better yourself and your circumstances, you create a sense of personal efficacy that produces positive emotions and reduces stress.  When it comes to toxic people, fixating on how crazy and difficult they are gives them power over you. Quit thinking about how troubling your difficult person is, and focus instead on how you’re going to go about handling them. This makes you more effective by putting you in control, and it will reduce the amount of stress you experience when interacting with them.

 Don’t Forget

Emotionally intelligent people are quick to forgive, but that doesn’t mean that they forget. Forgiveness requires letting go of what’s happened so that you can move on. It doesn’t mean you’ll give a wrongdoer another chance. Don’t be willing to be bogged down unnecessarily by others’ mistakes, so let them go quickly and be assertive in protecting yourself from future harm.

Squash Negative Self-Talk

Sometimes you absorb the negativity of other people. There’s nothing wrong with feeling bad about how someone is treating you, but your self-talk (the thoughts you have about your feelings) can either intensify the negativity or help you move past it. Negative self-talk is unrealistic, unnecessary, and self-defeating. It sends you into a downward emotional spiral that is difficult to pull out of. You should avoid negative self-talk at all costs.

Limit Your Caffeine Intake

Drinking caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline. Adrenaline is the source of the “fight-or-flight” response, a survival mechanism that forces you to stand up and fight or run for the hills when faced with a threat. The fight-or-flight mechanism sidesteps rational thinking in favor of a faster response. This is great when a bear is chasing you, but not so great when you’re surprised  by an angry person.

Get Some Sleep

I can’t say enough about the importance of sleep to increasing your emotional intelligence and managing your stress levels. When you sleep, your brain literally recharges, shuffling through the day’s memories and storing or discarding them (which causes dreams), so that you wake up alert and clear-headed. Your self-control, attention, and memory are all reduced when you don’t get enough—or the right kind—of sleep. Sleep deprivation raises stress hormone levels on its own, even without a stressor present.  A good night’s sleep makes you more positive, creative, and proactive in your approach to toxic people, giving you the perspective you need to deal effectively with them.

Use Your Support System

It’s tempting, yet entirely ineffective, to attempt tackling everything by yourself. To deal with toxic people, you need to recognize the weaknesses in your approach to them. This means tapping into your support system to gain perspective on a challenging person. Everyone has someone at work and/or at home who is on their team, rooting for them, and ready to help them get the best from a difficult situation. Identify these individuals in your life and make an effort to seek their insight and assistance when you need it. Something as simple as explaining the situation can lead to a new perspective. Most of the time, other people can see a solution that you can’t because they are not as emotionally invested in the situation.

Bring It All Together

Before you get this system to work brilliantly, you will find yourself tested by touchy interactions with problem people. Thankfully, the plasticity of the brain allows it to mold and change as you practice new behaviors, even when you fail. Implementing these healthy, stress-relieving techniques for dealing with difficult people will train your brain to handle stress more effectively and decrease the likelihood of ill effects.

So there you have it.  Maybe by using some of these techniques we can keep the stress levels down and make it through the holidays and even our lives!

Have a great day and don’t forget to check out the information and books on my website.  Reading is a terrific stress reliever and books make a wonderful gift!

If you have any helpful ideas, please let us all know.  We can always use another stress reliever or way to deal with those toxic folks out there.

Solitaire

www.solitaireparke.com

 

 

 

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