I’m so happy to welcome Mysti Parker to my blog today. I recently appeared on Mysti’s blog in an impromptu interview after being her 100th follower, and have invited her to tell us about herself and her book, The Ranger’s Tale now available from Melange Books, Amazon, Bookstrand, Barnes & Noble, All Romance Ebooks, Digibookscafe and Coffee Time Romance.
Tell us a bit about yourself, Mysti. Where are you from and what is your non-writing life like?
Whee! Thanks so much for the reciprocal interview. This is the second time I’ve been (virtually) to Australia. Maybe one of these days I’ll get there for real! On with the interview.
I’m from the USA in the lovely state of Kentucky, where the summers are hot and the iced tea’s so sweet you can stand a spoon in it. My husband and I are high school sweethearts, married for fourteen years. We have three beautiful children, and I’m lucky enough to be a full-time mama AND a writer.
Long ago and far away, I studied biology and worked in the field until our first child was born. I still love science, and I try to bring that into my writing.
When I’m not writing, I’m reading or critiquing. This summer, I’m pretty busy trying to keep “the three” entertained. We spend lots of time at the library and zoo. I also love to bake, take walks in the morning before the kids wake up, and catch some favorite TV shows now and then.
What writing projects are you working on, and what can you tell us about them?
I’m working on Book Two of my Tallenmere fantasy romance series. It’s called Serenya’s Song and stars one of the prominent males from the first book (A Ranger’s Tale). Jayden Ravenwing, talented artist/musician and head scout of the Leogard Intelligence Organization, will finally get a shot at true love. Too bad nothing comes easily for Jayden. He’s moved to the small town of Summerwind to make a fresh start. He never meant to fall in love again so soon. Serenya Crowe is half-elf, half-something else, but everything he’s ever wanted in a woman. Unfortunately, she’s married to the cruel Sebastian Crowe, Earl of Summerwind. When a strange portal opens up on the Crowe property, Jayden is thrown into an investigation, knowing that if he fails, Serenya and everyone in Summerwind may die.
So far, it’s darker than A Ranger’s Tale and the stakes are higher. It’ll be out in April 2012.
Other than this big WIP, I’m in the planning stages of a four-author collaboration on a time-travel romance. It’s set in Texas and spans about 300 years. It’s tentatively called “The Castillo Family Legacy” and will follow the lives of the female members of the Castillo clan as they attempt to keep a villain from getting his hands on a precious artifact that will allow him to travel freely through time and control the world.
I’m also writing short stories when so inspired, book reviews, and of course, the author interviews for my blog, which I really enjoy.
How long have you been writing, and what are some lessons you’re learning (sometimes the hard way)?
I’ve been writing, as my mama used to say, since I was old enough to carry a pencil. In my younger years, I wrote a lot of poetry. College years involved lots of research papers. And I dabbled here and there when ideas hit. I didn’t really get started with serious (looking to be published) writing until about 2009.
Lessons I’m learning…if you visit my blog, Unwritten, you’ll see the posts I’ve written on that subject. Among the lessons, you’ll find how I’m learning to take and give criticism, learning to market without being a shameless promoter, learning how to self-edit my work, and most importantly, learning how not to give up.
Here’s your random question! Mysti, what’s one habit you have that you just can’t seem to break?
Hee, hee—I get a random question too! Let’s see…nowadays, I’m spending too much time checking my e-mail, Facebook page, etc. when I get stuck in my writing. I just can’t seem to turn it all off and stick to a set time or word count. I’d love to be more scheduled. It’s highly challenging with three young ones here, but I’m hoping to be more disciplined when school starts in the fall.
Do you have an excerpt from one of your WIP’s and can you tell us about it?
I’ll give you an excerpt from Serenya’s Song (current draft). This is when Jayden first discovers the unusual portal, and it brings back some terrible memories.
The sun had barely been visible on the horizon when we’d started out. Now it was almost completely dark, so the glow ahead in the dusky field was easy to see. A chill hung in the air, and my teeth chattered as we rode up the hill in the remote field. The wheat had been harvested, and the choppy points of the stalks crackled softly under Trick’s hooves.
It was indeed some type of fire, and when we reached it, I knew it was no ordinary brush fire. No swarm of firegnats either. The small, round wall of flame illuminated the middle of a small circle of rocks. I dismounted and looked over to Lilly, who wore an apprehensive expression.
She eased up beside me, eyeing the fire. “I dunna like the looks of this, Jay.”
I stepped closer, nocking an arrow in my bow, just in case. Visions of the night that tormented my dreams from nearly thirty years ago flashed through my mind. It was a wood elf town called Sheffield at the northeast corner of Leogard, where Wildewood forest met the slopes of the Eastwood Mountains.
Deep breaths. Concentrate.
Lilly drew her sword. We circled the rocks, until we met on the other side. There appeared to be no fuel source for the fire, and it was shallow, the depth of a door, and shorter than Lilly. I lowered my bow and extended a cautious hand.
Lilly whispered, “Jay, what are you doing?”
“I don’t feel any heat. This is no ordinary fire.” I touched the edge of it and yanked my hand back. “It only burns when I actually touch it.”
We’d been too late last time. When we reached the remote area, a number of villagers had been murdered. Mutilated. Decapitated. Entrails strung across clotheslines. Dismembered hands and feet, pale and blotchy, formed an obstacle course on the ground.
My stomach churned, and I turned my head, willing the bile to stay down. Lilly lowered her sword, paced away and then back again. “Please tell me it’s not like the one before. From what ye told me, it was like hell on Tallenmere.”
“It looks similar, but I’m not sure.” I bent down, noticing some green luminescent material. Inside my belt pack, I took out two empty vials and carefully gathered some of the fluid. Sticky and viscous, it strung off the vial like thick syrup. Once I had capped them, I handed one to Lilly and pocketed the other.
A drop of the liquid burned my finger, leaving a red blister. I had forgotten how caustic it was. “Careful with that Lilly. I want you to take that back to Leogard. Get the scholars to analyze it.”
“They didn’t find anything last time. What makes ye think they will now?”
I stood and took a deep breath. I’d never been on good terms with the scholars at the Mage Academy. Wood elves were beneath them. I doubted they put forth much effort the first time.
Only one person might have better connections there. “Take it to Caliphany. She’ll know who to set to the task.”
“All right, Jay, but if we’re too late this time, like ye were before…”
“Don’t think that way. This portal isn’t as big or as intense as the other one. But if we don’t find a way to close it before something emerges, we might have to evacuate the town. I want you to send a couple of scouts down here too. Hurry.”
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Twitter: Follow me @MystiParker
Thank you so much to Mysti for stopping by, it’s been a pleasure and best of luck with your books you’re working on.