Jolly Fish Press Titles & Authors
My friend and fellow Jolly Fish Press author Elsie Park just published her debut novel, Shadows of Valor. (My review here.) Elsie stopped by to talk story with me as part of her blog tour.
You’ve been a wildland firefighter, a police officer, a musician and composer, a poet, a botanist, a zoologist, an ex-pat Christian missionary living in Italy, a stay-at-home-mom with three little ones, and now an author. I’m exhausted from just typing that! Any other careers on your bucket list?
I know that on several sites my author biography stated that I was a zoologist and botanist, but I actually only minored in those fields in college. I’m far from a scientific expert – LOL. Before I die, however, I’d LOVE to go on different trail hikes around the world to see castles, old monuments, ancient cities, natural structures, forests, wild animals and to try all the different, wonderful cuisine from all around the globe, but I’d like to stay in a hotel every night while I do all these things – LOL – I’m not a “happy camper.” My body doesn’t rough it very well. I need a mattress and pillow.
Me, too! (Showers and room service are nice!) We’ve all been fascinated by stories of people living double-lives, from superheroes like Batman to sleeper agent spies like Mr. & Mrs. Smith to the Count of Monte Crisco. What inspiration helped you tap into your inner secret identity when crafting the backstory to The Shadow?
The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emmuska Orczy is a story (and movie) I grew up with, and one that I absolutely love. I could watch the film with Anthony Andrews and Jane Seymour again and again. When I was working on my hero’s story and the challenges that came with being a spy, I often thought of Sir Percy from The Scarlet Pimpernel harboring his dual identity and having to keep it secret from the one he loved. My hero’s backstory, however, came to me from hearing and reading about the evils of modern smuggling and how it hurts innocent children and others.
In your novel you deal with themes of love and redemption. Tell me, does true love heal all wounds or are some betrayals too deep?
I believe we need to forgive others, leaving the ultimate judgment to God, but I’m the first to admit that forgiveness is easier said than done. I’m not perfect at this principle, but it’s a trait I endeavor to uphold. I believe true love CAN heal all wounds, regardless of the betrayal, and no matter how long it takes, but ONLY if all persons involved are working together toward the same goals: Repentance, restitution, forgiveness and becoming better. True love must encompass both sides of a partnership or this will fail. I believe that where betrayal occurs on one side, true love never really existed or was replaced by selfishness and greed. These can be remedied only through hard work, persistence and love. If half of the partnership doesn’t return love, betrays the love, doesn’t do his/her part to make the relationship work, or doesn’t change his/her ways, then the wounds inflicted will fester, but only on the part of the betrayer. True love can only help heal the people holding onto that love. The selfish people will not heal, but will suffer until genuine changes are made. Though true love on the part of the injured can aid eventual forgiveness for the other, it doesn’t necessarily mean trusting the betrayer again or remaining with that person in a relationship that’s harmful. Trust needs to be earned back by the genuine actions of the wrongdoer to repent and remain penitent.
Wow, did I just deliver a sermon? Sorry for that. *chagrin*
Your debut novel is out, yay! So what’s next?
I’m working on another story that takes place several years after Shadows of Valor. I’ve taken a minor character from Shadows of Valor and weaved a story around him. The story takes place in England again, but ventures into Scotland as well, drawing on the historical happenings and battles that took place between the countries at that time. You don’t need to read Shadows of Valor to read my next book. Though they share a common character, it’s not a sequel. It’s a separate story. I will, of course, compose a song for it (probably not three like I did for Shadows of Valor) and it will be another PG-rated romantic adventure.
Connect with Elsie Park
Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorelsiepark
Shadows of Valor by Elsie Park is a step back into a medieval England where a noblewoman’s outward scars hide an inner beauty and fire as a dark knight walks a fine line between upholding the law, revenge, and becoming what he most despises. It’s a delicate dance between light and darkness, subterfuge and revelation, and a flirtation that never wavers past squeaky clean.
But you knew the maiden and the Shadow were going to have a thing for each other, right?
Lady Elsbeth is the good maiden, serving as a midwife and caring more for the common people of Graywall than herself. Sir Calan returns to Graywall under the guise of courting Elsbeth’s cousin, but in reality he’s on a secret mission to hunt down smugglers and to stop a plot against Lord Shaufton. As his alter-ego the Shadow, Calan battles his own inner demons to find the good in humanity, a faith that’s unshakable in Elsbeth.
Like many hero in disguise tales, there’s mistaken identify, misdirection, conflicting codes of honor, and snappy banter between the would be lovers. Elsie’s meticulous research into medieval England is apparent in her details of period clothing, food, social graces, and music. To the modern ear, the novel’s language harkens to the more formal speech patterns of the past. While purists may spot a few rough patches, it doesn’t get in the way of the story.
Lovers of entertaining non-bodice-ripping medieval romances will find an easy afternoon escape into another world. When the dark knight has a thing for cinnamon, you know it’s gonna be good.
Shadows of Valor by Elsie Park is published by Jolly Fish Press and is available beginning September 7, 2013 as a hardback, paperback, and eBook from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other purveyors of fine books.
Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorelsiepark
My friend and fellow author Eric Bishop just published his debut novel, The Samaritan’s Pistol. (Click here for my review.) We’ve had long conversations that have twisted and turned like an old cow trail about writing, literature, and ’80s rock bands. One of my favorites is our Dude vs. Chick Lit debates. Eric graciously wrote some of his thoughts on this topic.
Me: Dude vs. Chick Lit. Is there such a thing and if so, what are your favorite he-man titles?
Eric: Dude vs. chick lit? I think there is, or at least used to be, such a thing. As for my favorite he-man titles I really don’t have any, but I’ll offer an explanation. I’ve never seen any data to support it, but I think boys read more as teenagers in the eighties. Even as an author, I read less now than I did then.
Janilee and I have four daughters. The oldest is twenty-one and my baby is fourteen. They’ve grown up on the Twilight, Hunger Games and, of course Harry Potter series to become voracious readers.
Their reaction to Katniss was similar to my experience reading Louis L’amour in the eighties. We all love tough resilient heroes and heroines, who problem solve their way through some crucible. The western stories I read as a teenager tapped into something primal. The heroes were usually in their twenties or early thirties. I related in a personal way, wondering who I’d become. Would I grow up to be capable like the protagonists who cleaned up a corrupt town or chased down the runaway herd?
Eventually, I tired of Louis L’amour’s formulaic stories. The names and towns changed, but there was the same tough loner cowboy, fighting a stacked deck in the form of a corrupt sheriff, rancher, or crazed killer. I still like stories with these elements, but as a middle aged guy, I want something more than formulaic good and bad reflected in what I read. I’ve wondered what Louis L’amour’s protagonists would do with a biker gang who was trying to extort them, while going through a custody dispute with their third wife, some way of showing me the complexities of life.
While I enjoy the work of lots of different authors, The Samaritan’s Pistol is the story I look for in book stores but can’t find. I wonder if there isn’t an untapped market right now for guy or dude fiction.
Some say teenage boys don’t read because books can’t compete with over the top action and graphics of video games. I wonder what picture a great action author could put in the reader’s head if “Tour of Duty” or “Grand Theft Auto” was in paperback. Done right, I think teenage boys will read again in droves. Just like I did in a decade long, long ago!
Me: Rock on, Eric. I think you can define Dude Lit as more adrenaline action and less sparkly vampires and there’s a real need for that in bookstores and libraries. Like Harry Potter proved, kids (and guys) are willing to read good fiction that sparks the imagination and speaks to the secret inner hero in all of us.
By the way, if you’re looking for the perfect read for the hardworking, rather-be-fishing, what-these-moody-vampire-kids-need-is-a-job man in your life, The Samaritan’s Pistol fits the bill.
Eric Bishop likes to say that The Samaritan’s Pistol is about a guy who had a gun and used it when he needed it. It’s a pithy, memorable way to describe his book and the cover certainly conveys this idea.
But Eric’s book is much deeper than a simple gunslinger western—although there are horses, guns, ranches, sheriffs, and hay bales a plenty. I tease him that it’s cowboys versus mobsters, but even that’s too reductive. The Samaritan’s Pistol blends several different genres into one rip-roaring read that sure to delight readers of thrillers, westerns, spy, literary fiction, and crime novels. There’s even a little skinny dip into romance.
With a few keystrokes, Eric paints rural life in small town Wyoming where people generally let people live as they please, but fiercely circle the wagons at the first sight outsider trouble for those they consider their own. I’ve lived in these kinds of communities and the small kindnesses that Eric describes are as real and as genuine as the characters he creates. In many ways his story is as much about this way of life as it is about murder, revenge, and money stolen from the mob.
But you knew it had to come back to the mob, right?
Jim Cooper’s ex-military and living as a rancher and wilderness guide in the town he grew up in. Except for a couple of ranch hands and his dog, Duke, he’s pretty much a loner. Like most modern-day cowboys, he’s got his own moral code about fair fights and damsels in distress, so it’s no surprise that when he comes upon three men on a mountain trail about to shoot an unarmed fourth he decides to even up the odds. When the smoke clears, Jim has three bodies to pack out, a dead horse, an injured man to care for, and more trouble than he knows what to do with. It’s a journey that sends him to Las Vegas and back and gives a new meaning to shoot, shovel, and shut up.
But I gotta warn you. The fight doesn’t end in this book. I think Eric’s got a couple more novels about Jim Cooper simmering in the ol’ dutch oven.
If you’re looking for the perfect read for the hardworking, rather-be-fishing, what-these-moody-vampire-kids-need-is-a-job man in your life, The Samaritan’s Pistol fits the bill.
Connect with Eric Bishop
Book 2 is heading to the copy editor where all the commas get put into the right places!
Until then, here’s a little taste of One Shark, No Swim.
I climbed on the toilet tank and stuck my head out the window. The drop was near the front door to Hari’s store. A little below me and to the left was the hand railing for the upstairs lānai that ran along Uncle Kahana’s living room. I was pretty sure I could make it.
I was holding onto the window frame hugging the outside wall with the ball of my right foot resting on the railing when I heard a plop. I looked down. A young haole girl with a sunburned nose was looking up at me. A large yellow and orange shave ice was melting at her feet.
“Mom!” she yelled. “There’s a naked boy covered in lipstick climbing out a window!”
I froze. I couldn’t go back and I couldn’t go forward.
“Jeanie!” a woman’s voice scolded from the store.
“Mom! He’s got weeds wrapped around his ankle and wrist!”
Please, let me die and end this, I prayed. But whatever happens, please don’t let anyone show up with a smart phone or camera. If this gets out I’ll never live it down.
“Go away!” I mouthed at her.
“He wants me to go away!”
“What did I say about telling stories?” the woman said.
“But Mom, this time it’s true!”
I sensed more commotion under me, shadows and light flickering like schools of fish on the reef. I peered down.
“Jeanie! Look what you did! Your snow cone’s all over—” the voice trailed off.
Bleach blond hair and mega-sized sunglasses stared up at me. I closed my eyes.
Next to me the sliding door swept open and a strong brown arm wrapped around my body, lifting me over the railing and onto the lānai. Uncle Kahana leaned down.
“Aloha! So sorry about the shave ice! Tell the girl at the counter Kahana said to give you a new one! On the house, of course! Have a nice day!”
As he pushed me through the open door and into living room I heard the woman say, “Hush, Jeanie, hush! I told you it’s another culture! The whole island is like going to Chinatown in San Francisco. Now do you want a free snow cone or not?”
All excerpts and short stories copyright © 2012 by Lehua Parker. Excerpts from the Niuhi Shark Saga by permission of Jolly Fish Press, LLC. All rights reserved. No part of these excerpts may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. No part of these short stories may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the author.
10-year-old Melody wants to fly, to soar like an eagle far above the troubles in her earth-bound life. She knows if she can just swing high enough her wings will unfurl and she’ll finally be happy. Until then there’s always her patented zombie face guaranteed to frighten away the most tenacious bully or possible friend, keeping Melody safe in her self-imposed cocoon of isolation. When Melody leaps off a swing and into the mystical realm of Chimeroan where dreams come true, she begins a journey to not only earn her wings, but to face her past, conquer her fears, and to discover that the things that hold us back—even the things we want most desperately or fear with all our heart—are not always what they seem.
Up in the Air by Ann Marie Meyers is one of those rare books for children that accurately portrays the reality of being a child without making adults look like stumbling idiots or children seem uber-smart, successful, lucky, or treacle-y sweet versions of grown-ups. On the surface Melody’s story is an adventure quest complete with magical beasts, puzzles, and inscrutable Guides. It’s easy to get caught up in the world of unicorns, elves, dragons, and leprechauns as most middle grade readers will. But Melody’s story is much deeper, a parable for all ages that explores the complicated reasons for self-abusive behavior and a hit-first-before-they-hurt-you view of the world. As Melody progresses in her quest, she has to face and understand how her perceptions of herself and past events are limiting herself and preventing those she loves from true happiness.
Like flying, it’s a view that will leave you breathless.
Up in the Air by Ann Marie Meyers is published by Jolly Fish Press and available in hardback, trade paperback, and eBook from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other fine bookstores. While appropriate for middle grade readers, adults and teens will enjoy it, too.
On June 21, 2013 I was privileged to meet some very talented young authors at Brigham Young University. Click on Fan Art to see how they answered the question, “What would you draw on the bottom of a surfboard to chase away a shark?”
Two weeks after high school graduation, he walks into Willa’s life, the boy who gets into her blood like a fever. But Willa barely has a chance to mention Simon to Solace, her best ghost friend, before they’re swept up into kidnapping, murder, and the dangerous hidden world of witchcraft. As Willa and Simon discover their quirks are actually powerful gifts, they have to decide whether to join a True Coven and fight the darkness or simply walk (run!) away, turning their backs on who—and what—they really are.
Blood Moon by Teri Harman is book one in her Moonlight Trilogy. It’s a page turning read with a fast paced plot and characters that draw you into their world of intrigue, deception, and witchcraft like you’ve never read before. Deeply rooted in earth magic, the tendrils of witch generations reach out through time, the past affecting the future in ways unexpected and imaginative. It’s a master’s chess game of light versus dark magic that affects us all—even if the rest of world doesn’t realize it. Simon and Willa seem fated for true love, but I have to question whether it’s real or simply witchy thinking.
By the Moon, I guess I’ll have to wait until book two to find out!
Blood Moon, book one of The Moon Trilogy by Teri Harman is published by Jolly Fish Press and is available in hardback, trade paperback, and eBook from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other purveyors of fine books beginning June 22, 2013.
What if you had a powerful gift that was slowly killing you? What if at the moment you needed it most, it knocked you out cold? What if soldiers were hunting people with this gift and the only way to protect your family and everything you loved was to leave it behind?
Insight, book 1 of the Beholders, by Terron James is a sword and shield fantasy set in Appernysia. Seventeen year old Lon has the gift of True Sight, which in a trained Beholder’s hands allows a person to see the world’s energy and manipulate it. But Lon has never met another Beholder and doesn’t have a clue about how to use his gift. Just having it paints a target on his back for the Rayders, an invading army scouring the countryside for a True Sight Beholder. Lon soon realizes that for everyone’s sake, he has to leave his family to search for answers. It’s a journey that leads him to some remarkable revelations as he learns how harness and control his True Sight.
If it doesn’t kill him first.
Insight is an adventure quest full of battles, inner conflict, and humor. While this is mainly Lon’s story, I suspect Lon isn’t the only Beholder in the family.
Guess I’ll have to wait until book two to find out.
Insight, book one of Beholders by Terron James is published by Jolly Fish Press and is available in hardback, trade paperback, and eBook from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other purveyors of fine books beginning June 1, 2013.
Today’s post is an interview with Jenniffer Wardell, author of Fairy Godmother’s, Inc., published by Jolly Fish Press just last week. I caught up with Jenniffer as she shared her thoughts on her wonderful world of fairy tales with a twist.
To an outsider, having a career as a fairy godmother sounds pretty sweet. But poor Kate shows us it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be. What sparked the initial idea for Kate’s situation?
Kate sort of fell into her job. Certain companies are always looking for a hard worker who has her own set of highly atmospheric fairy wings, and Fairy Godmothers, Inc. was the one that didn’t require being obsessed with flowers or regularly mobbed by small children. Also, she likes helping people through stressful situations, and nothing is more stressful than a fancy dress ball.
I love reading your Facebook and Twitter posts about Fairy Godmother rules. Have you written an actual rule book or do these posts simply percolate through your brain and end up on social media?
I get them one rule at a time, which means that my numbering system is a complete and total mess. If I ever do organize them into a complete book, I’ll have to re-file everything and put them into the appropriate sub-categories. While I’m vaguely terrified by the idea, my inner geek would love it.
Your day job is reporting for the Davis Clipper. Do you approach writing fiction differently than reporting? If so, how do you switch mental hats?
The basic idea is surprisingly similar. Whether I’m writing an article or a novel, my main job is to watch what’s going on and translate it in such a way that my readers will know everything I do. Sometimes I’m watching city council meetings, and sometimes I’m watching fancy dress balls. Either way, “Show, don’t tell” are important words to live by.
Unfortunately, newspaper articles rarely give you the chance to be funny. Luckily, I have my novels for that.
I know you’ve written short fiction in the same world as Fairy Godmothers, Inc. Do you have plans for other works?
My novel set to come out in 2014, Beast Charming, is also set in the same world as Fairy Godmothers, Inc. I’m currently at work on a third novel in the same world (I’m having some fun with Sleeping Beauty this time), and have some ideas for a Fairy Godmothers, Inc. sequel.
Jenniffer Wardell is the arts, entertainment and lifestyle reporter for the Davis Clipper. She’s the winner of several awards from the Utah Press Association and the Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. She currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah.