Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Power of Music

Music is powerful.

It's always amazed me how a plucked or rubbed string, air passed through metal tubes, the pounding of a pair of sticks, or the perfect vibration of the human vocal cords, has the ability to seep deep into the reaches of my soul and stir incredible, unexplainable feelings.

For as long as I can remember music has inspired me. Music creates mood, enhances joy or sorrow, instills motivation, opens the doors of creativity in all aspects.

When I paint, I love to listen to Classical music--no words, just the flow and ebb of  notes carefully composed with the intention of evoking a specific emotion in the listener. The brush in my hand seems to take on a mind of its own as the music turns into colorful ideas.

When I write, I love to listen to movie soundtracks. Each piece in a soundtrack was written for a specific purpose--whether it is to increase the dramatic tension or action in a scene, or to engender an emotional response such as regret, sadness, pain, joy, or love. Can you imagine watching a movie without the background music? Every time I watch Batman Begins and I hear "Nycteris" my heart starts to pound. In We Bought a Zoo, "Why Not?" brings tears to my eyes every time. At the end of August Rush when August is finally able to take what has been in his heart and portray it in his Rhapsody I feel like anything is possible!

I doubt I would be able to write a single word if it weren't for the genius of Hans Zimmer, James Newton Howard, James Horner, Steve Jablonsky, John Williams, and Jonsi--just to name a few.

Nearly every scene in The Ninth Chosen: The Shadow Prison, was written to a track from Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, August Rush, and Transformers.

Book Two in the Ninth series seems to be thriving on tracks from Man of Steel, We Bought a Zoo, After Earth, and The Dark Knight Rises.

I owe a lot to the amazing individuals who can take something from their heart, and turn it into something that has the power to touch mine.

Just for fun, I've included a few YouTube videos of some of my all time favorite tracks.


Batman Begins: Nycteris

We Bought a Zoo: Why Not?

August Rush: August's Rhapsody

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

It's Official!!!

It’s official!

First, I want to thank all the wonderful, amazing people who have been behind me through this whole thing. I never could have survived, or continued, if it hadn’t been for all your loving support and occasional push when needed. I love you all to pieces.

After hundreds of hours, buckets of sweat and tears, is finally finished and I have a tentative release date for The Ninth Chosen: The Shadow Prison for the first week of June! 

AHHH! Sorry, I had to scream. This has been such a long road. I know it’s not over yet, in many ways it’s just beginning, but I feel like I have made it across a huge milestone and it deserves a virtual scream:).

I am so excited! This is a huge, scary, step, but I’m so thrilled you’ll be taking it with me. Because I am doing this all by myself, I owe so much to my early fans and blog followers. You all have been my beta-testers and cheerleaders. It has been, and will continue to be, your comments and suggestions that make the website and final book something that will entertain and draw future audiences. Please don’t be afraid to give me honest feedback. If you think something great needs to be added to the website, let me know. If you see something awful that needs to be fixed, let me know. The comments on Wattpad will only give everyone a better final read. The comments and feedback on the website will only make it more fun and entertaining for everyone. I LOVE suggestions!

Here’s a short list for what is in store for your visit to the website:)

·       *All new subscribers to the website will receive an awesome free PDF entitled, Insights into the Main Characters of the Ninth Chosen Series. It has some amazing character sketches by Lisa as well as fun tidbits about the main characters that couldn’t be included in the book without huge info dumps:). This also allows you to receive automatic email updates when I post something about the book, like release dates, preorders, and other fun stuff.
     *There is an About the Hidden World page where you can learn all about many of the characters and creatures of the Hidden world. It includes sketches by Lisa as well as some by me.

·       *There is an About Lisa Anderson page where you can read about my amazing illustrator, link to her Facebook, or even contact her for her commission pricing.

·        *There is an About the Book page where you can read the basic blurb for the book.

·       *There is an About the Characters page where you can view a list of Characters as well as the definitions of different terms used in the book and a language dictionary.

·       *Each page has a several share buttons from Facebook to Pinterest. Lisa has given permission to “pin” the images you see of hers to your Pinterest boards or share them via other social media, so long as the main URL still directs back to the website and her copyright is not removed. 
·       *On the About the Hidden World page there is a link to my Pinterest board entitled, Novel: The Ninth Chosen, where you can view all the pins I relate to my story—character look-a-likes, creatures, and settings used in the book.

·       *On the main page you’ll find a link to Wattpad where you can read the first chapter. I’ll be adding a chapter a week until the book is officially released. If it goes as planned then you should be able to get a sneak peak and offer valuable feedback on the first eight to ten chapters! Reads with “comments”, “follows”, and "votes" on Wattpad greatly help my promotion, so I’d love for you all to take a look if you have time. You will have to create a free account, but it’s a really fun site and you can read a ton of books for free! Just put in your favorite genre, rating, and it will make suggestions for you to read. Some authors post samples for feedback, but some established authors actually post the whole book for free! Even big names like Brandon Sanderson post to Wattpad:)!

·       *Also on the main page will be links to all my most recent blog posts and categories.

I invite all you amazing people to come take a look, invite your friends, and leave a comment or two. Word of mouth is an Indie author’s best friend. 

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!! I hope you stay on the journey and don’t leave disappointed.

If you have any questions or concerns you can email me at:  
kaparkinson AT kaparkinson DOT com

Stay tuned! Next week I plan to post a little history of how the book came about:)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Exciting News!!!

Over the next week or so there will be some big changes here on my blog. Backgrounds will change, pages will disappear (and reappear somewhere else), a cool new header will grace the top. . . .

Why . . . ?

Because my novel, The Ninth Chosen: The Shadow Prison, is going to take it's first baby steps into the world!

For the last year or so, I've been querying my little heart out only to have it stomped on time and time again, I was continually asking myself, should I persevere? Should I continue down this rocky road to publication? Or should I give up on this silly dream and be content with my already awesome job of stay-at-home mom?

I made my decision. I would quit and I would be okay with it.

I wasn't okay. I couldn't seem to get over it. It was a good decision. Why couldn't I let it go?

Because writing is a part of me. The greatest joy for me in writing comes when someone reads something I've written and tells me it had a positive effect on them. I have always loved working with and inspiring youth. I've known, despite my periods of self-doubt, that it is somehting I'm meant to do. I want to write and I want to inspire others. I can't stop writing any more than I can cut off my arm or stop breathing.

So what to do? I decided not to give up writing, but I was so sick of the publishing game. I asked the advice of my writing mentor Mary Rosenblum. She said two words that sent me into a panic. Self-Publish. . . .

Gasp! Self-publish? But . . . isn't that like saying, "I am a crappy writer and that's the only way I'll ever see my book in print"?

Boy was I wrong.

LOT'S of homework and tons of advice later, I've discovered that this is the best way for me personally to go, and probably always has been. I just had to get over the idea that no self-published authors write well. In fact, I've learned that many New York published authors are finishing out their contracts and turning to the freedoms of the Indie route as well.

It is a HUGE undertaking if you want to succeed. It's not just taking your manuscript, slapping a cover on it, and putting it on Amazon. It requires much, MUCH, more work than that. I have put in hundreds of hours already and I'm not done yet. But here's just a short list of why I decided to do it (after a lot of praying, crying, and sweating, I might add).

An Indie author sets their own deadlines. An Indie puts out as many (or as few) books as they want, AND in whatever genres they choose. They control the content--no one can tell them there's too much religion, not enough profanity, gore or risque elements. An Indie answers to no one but themselves. An Indie sets their own prices beyond the required amount of the printer/carrier. An Indie earns upwards of 70% of their royalties versus the average 15% with a big publisher. The Indie retains control of EVERYTHING. I can keep my focus on my main priority, my family, and still fulfill my dream of writing books for teens that are clean, moral, and entertaining.

The pitfalls?

An Indie answers to no one but themselves. . . . I have to do all my own promotion. ALL of it. That means paying for, setting up, and maintaining an active website; utilizing social media platforms like Goodreads, Wattpad, Pintrist, and even (if I can handle it) Facebook. I have to self-motivate. Set realistic deadlines and goals. Divide my time between writing and promotion. Whether or not the book succeeds resides mostly on my shoulders.

A little scary. (Sarcasm on little:)

The website is giving  me migraines, but hopefully it will be ready to share with you soon.

I've hired the artistic genius of Lisa Anderson to do my book cover design (check out her work on her faacebook page--she is AMAZING!!). She has some incredible character sketches of Tolen that are so eerily close to the way I see him in my head it gives me chills. It's like she looked right into my brain!

I have some BIG surprises in store for the website with the help of Lisa. Just a hint of what's to come: Character interviews featuring some of Lisa's sketches and fun little-known facts and backstory on the world of the Hidden. . . . There will also be exciting giveaways to celebrate the book's release (hopefully early summer--it will be available on Nook, Kindle, Kobo, as well as many other ereader devices via Smashwords, and in paperback on Amazon. com). I will also be offering special gifts to those who subscribe by email for the website newsletter.

I hope you are as excited as I am for the website and release of The Ninth Chosen. Come over for a visit as soon as it's up and running and bring your friends!

If you want to be alerted when the website is up as well as any other news of what's to come, sign up for the email subscription here--if you haven't done so already. Once the wesbite is up you can subscribe there for the newsletter and cancel your subscription to the blog if you choose.

Stay tuned!!! :)

Saturday, March 8, 2014

I love this article!!!

I love Diane Henkler's blog, In My Own Style (I have the link to her site on the right side of my blog). She is so much fun, so creative, and very insightful. In her last post she suggested reading this article by the Huffington Post, Eighteen Things Creative People do Differently. 

It was so enlightening. It's nice to learn that all those things I used to get in trouble for at school are actually really good things!

I had to share it. All creative thinkers/doers, or those who get frustrated or don't understand them, should read this! 

I hope you enjoy!
 Be proud of your creativeness!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Inkheart, Love, and Valentines Day

I absolutely love the movie Inkheart. Maybe it's the child in me. I mean to be a Sivertongue and have the ability to read characters out of their books? A-w-e-s-o-m-e!!

But, there were horrors linked to that gift--the bad characters were read out of the books along with the good. I guess that's a lot like real life and even writing books. You can't bring out the good in your character without exposing some of the inner "demons" in the process.

The song Demons, by Imagine Dragons ( I love that group) talks about how we want to hide the bad parts of ourselves--the greed, the sin, the selfishness--but no matter how hard we try to hide it behind a mask, the truth still remains. We are a fallen people. We make mistakes, we do stupid things. We are not perfect. It's actually kind of a sad song, but I like the way it talks about how when you love someone enough to be yourself, and they love you despite your "demons", they help you get rid of the greed, the sin, and the selfishness.

Love is an interesting thing. It is the only feeling that can cause completely opposite emotions. Unbearable pain or inexplicable joy. The loss of someone we love brings us pain because of what their absence does to our heart. It is painful to love and not have that love reciprocated. It is scary to open our hearts to love and take the chance of having it broken. But, the truth is a guarded heart turns to stone, and the crazy unexplainable joy that love can give to us is worth every sacrifice.

As mere mortals we are incapable of unconditional love (except maybe in the love between parent and child). Marriages fail, friendships die, hatred is all too common throughout the world. Sometimes it is easier for me to dislike someone than it is to forgive and love them in some circumstances but, I also feel it takes a great deal of effort to truly hate. It's draining, debilitating, and poisonous.

Love on the other hand gives us the desire and power to forgive. The power to pick up the pieces and move on after grief or tragedy. It gives us the power to look past the vices and follies of others and see the heart underneath. It gives us the ability to look at those around us and recognize something beyond their imperfections. We are all imperfect people trying to make it along the difficult path of life. We all fall, we all screw up, we all find ourselves traveling down the wrong path now and then as we chase, or run from, our "demons".

A part in Inkheart that always makes me cry is when the author of the book (they refer to him as the Creator) begs Maggie to read him into the world he created. He feels like he will fit in and be happier there. I understand that feeling. There is such freedom and joy when you can leave reality and create your own world--or enter the worlds created in other books.

But, wouldn't it be great if we could find all the joy we need in the world we currently live in? Maybe if we could accept one another's "demons" and try to love a little more it just might be possible.

Abraham Lincoln has a quote that says in essence, when you look for the bad in mankind--you shall surely find it. Maybe this Valentine's season we can go beyond just giving flowers or chocolates to our significant others. Maybe we can try to carry more love in our hearts for everyone around us, be a touch more forgiving, and look for the good in people.

It's a nice idea right?

Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Blank Pages...

It's a new year:)

I confess I'm one of those people who makes resolutions faithfully every year. I don't always fulfill them, but I make them. Maybe it's the hope for something better, or maybe just something new. Or maybe it's the blank spaces on the calendar that has me itching to fill them with something new and important.

I guess I have an issue with blank things.

Something about blank pages in a notebook or on a computer screen, a blank canvas, or even a lonely piece of wood makes my fingers tingle and my arms ache to get moving--to pick up that pencil, or paintbrush, hammer and nails, or start tapping those keys. I'm not sure why certain colored sunsets, or certain songs strike up a desire in me I cannot seem to quench until I pick up that pencil or strike those keys--but I always seem to feel a void until I can take what is in my head or in my heart and transform it into something tangible.

I don't have a lot of time to create. Work schedules, family schedules, and church callings always take top priority. Sometimes I wish the voices in my head would shut up so I wasn't always thinking about my projects when I need to be focused on other things. It would make the time management thing a lot easier. I realized a long time ago that I'm a lot more balanced mom when I take a little time to try and develop this desire to create that won't leave me alone. Elder M. Russell Ballard, an apostle in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, once said in a talk he gave to mothers that you can't draw water from an empty well. We need to take time to develop our talents or "refill our wells" in order to be more content and balanced. A mom's needs are important too. But I'm really struggling with not feeling guilty about scheduling time to create. I told myself long ago I wouldn't let writing take time away from my husband and my kids, but my husband's new work schedule is making this goal very difficult. Maybe I've found a new resolution for this year--better time management. I wonder how I'm going to do it. . . .

I'm thinking. I'm thinking.
Hmmmm. . . . Nope I got nothin.

If anyone out there has some awesome time management suggestions--sans guilt--I'd love to hear them:)

I wish you all a fabulous 2014 and that all your blank pages be filled with great things!!!