Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Blog Tour and Review: A Time for Everything by Mysti Parker



Mysti Parker is a wife, mom, author, and shameless chocoholic. She is the author of the Tallenmere standalone fantasy romance series and The Roche Hotel romantic comedy series. Her short writings have appeared in numerous anthologies and magazines. Her award-winning historical romance, A Time for Everything, was published this summer by EsKape Press.

Other writing pursuits include serving as a class mentor in Writers Village University's seven week online course, F2K. She has published two children's books (Quentin's Problem & Fuzzy Buzzy's Treasure) as Misty Baker.

When she's not writing fiction,Mysti reviews books for SQ Magazine, an online specfic publication. She resides in Buckner, KY with her husband and three children.

After losing her husband and only child to the ravages of the Civil War, twenty-five-year-old Portia McAllister is drowning in grief. When she sees an ad for a live-in tutor in another town, she leaves everything behind in hopes of making a fresh start. But as a Confederate widow in a Union household, she is met with resentment from her new charge and her employer, war veteran Beau Stanford.

Despite their differences, she and Beau find common ground and the stirrings of a second chance at love—until his late wife’s cousin, Lydia, arrives with her sights set on him. Burdened with a farm on the brink of bankruptcy, Beau is tempted by Lydia’s hefty dowry, though Portia has captured his heart.

In another time and another place, his choice would be easy. But love seems impossible amid the simmering chaos of Reconstruction that could boil over at any moment into an all-out battle for survival. Will Beau and Portia find their way into each other’s arms, or will they be swept away by raging forces beyond their control?

My thoughts:
Set in the turbulent years of the American Reconstruction, Portia McAllister wants only to escape painful memories and takes on a position as a live-in tutor. She finds her new job has challenges she hadn't expected, including a student who doesn't speak and an unexpected attraction to her employer. I received an ARC of this book and couldn't stop reading! The storyline is engaging and well paced. Portia and Beau seem to face one obstacle after another, and I started to wonder how they could find the strength to continue. Special strengths in the book are strong, believable characters and clear but not overbearing descriptions. Definitely an enjoyable read!

You can find A Time for Everything at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, and other ebook outlets.

You can find Mysti on Facebook as well as her website, and on Twitter and Pinterest.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, July 24, 2015

Thank you!

I was scrambling for this week’s Marketing on a Shoestring post when it occurred to me that I need to promote two things! So I’m giving away some things to celebrate

1.     Having almost 800 Likes on my Facebook page, and
2.     The Samurai’s Garden is on sale this week! That’s right, instead of paying $2.99 for a digital copy, it’s only 99 cents right now. 


To celebrate both, I’m having a giveaway. This is a Japanese washcloth. It’s about 13 inches wide and almost 36 inches long. Japanese washcloths (tenugui) are long because then you can grab one end with each hand and rub it across your back! They also roll them up lengthwise and tie them around their heads like a sweat band. These tenugui are popular gifts (kinda like t-shirts) given out by restaurants, hotels and other businesses. I’m not sure where I got this one, but I got it during my last trip to Japan and I’m giving it away now (thus the marketing on a shoestring – I’m “re-gifting”)!

To win, enter through the rafflecopter below. There are lots of ways to enter! 

1.     Tweet about the giveaway. Here's a suggested tweet:
Best-selling historical romance only ‪#‎99cents‬! Get The Samurai's Garden by @PatriciaKiyono http://amzn.com/B00A2ZGHL4 ‪#‎Japan‬
2.     Go to my Facebook page and leave a post letting me know you’re entering the giveaway.
3.     Find a piece of fabric the size of this tenugui and take a picture - or have someone take it -  of you wearing it! (Check out this awesome website to find different ways to put it on). Post the picture on your own Facebook page. Be sure to tag me so I’ll see it!
4.     Leave a comment here about something you’ve re-gifted!


Thanks for visiting my blog. Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Have a Tissue, Please


Somewhere, I heard that people need to see a name at least three times before they’ll remember it, so the key to name recognition is to make sure people see your name. With that in mind, I’m always looking for little things to give away. I know authors who spend big bucks on giveaway items like pens, magnets and other cool items to keep their names out there. My advertising budget isn’t so big – but I have a huge fabric stash, so when my scrapbooking friend Katie showed me a little tissue pack that she made out of scrap fabric I was thrilled! It just takes five little pieces of material and a few minutes of cutting, pinning and sewing. My only “cost” was for the labels I had printed up from StickerYou.com and a little time.

These are so simple and quick to make! Here’s what you need:

Fabric:
Three pieces cut 4” by 5-3/4”
Two pieces cut 4” by 4”

Normally I wouldn't select five different colors or prints, but I thought it might be easier to see the process with different colors.

Place one of the rectangle pieces FACE UP. This is your base.

Fold one of your other rectangle pieces in half the long way, RIGHT SIDE OUT. Pin it to a long edge of the base with all three cut sides together.

Fold one of the square pieces in half RIGHT SIDE OUT and pin it to a short edge of the base. Again, put all cut edges together.

Repeat with the last rectangle piece,

And again with the last square piece. Tuck one end of the last square piece under the first rectangle. I didn't like how the black square looked against the dark green, so I cut another square out of the flower print.

Sew around all edges. The sewing machine would work just fine, but my serger was all set up - plus it's faster and leaves neater seams on the inside.

Turn the entire case right side out.

Fill with a travel size tissue pack. It works better if you take the tissues out of the plastic pack, but for giveaways I keep them in so folks know that I haven’t handled the tissues.

For marketing purposes I iron on a name label with my website on it. That way, readers can see my name every time they open their purses!


I love the fact that I can use leftover scraps for this project. I’m always sewing, so I always have scraps. Sometimes I feel like matching, sometimes I want to coordinate – and sometimes I just feel crazy! I’ve given away a lot of these, so I really need to get to work making more.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Christmas Angels!


Christmas has always been my favorite holiday, so “Christmas in July” is a trend I can readily embrace! Today’s featured author makes fun little critters that she gives away (and sells), but her string angels make wonderful Christmas gifts, as well as the perfect Christmas-themed swag! Instructions for making these cute angels can be found at http://www.craftelf.com/Craft_elf_holiday_Christmas_angel_ornaments_&_pins.htm

I asked Mysti to share some of the ornaments she’s made, and she readily complied:


She also sent a picture of other cute critters she makes:


Currently, Mysti is celebrating the release of her new western historical romance, A Time for Everything, released by Eskape Press. 

Here’s the blurb:
After losing her husband and only child to the ravages of the Civil War, twenty-five-year-old Portia McAllister is drowning in grief. When she sees an ad for a live-in tutor in another town, she leaves everything behind in hopes of making a fresh start. But as a Confederate widow in a Union household, she is met with resentment from her new charge and her employer, war veteran Beau Stanford.
Despite their differences, she and Beau find common ground and the stirrings of a second chance at love—until his late wife’s cousin, Lydia, arrives with her sights set on him. Burdened with a farm on the brink of bankruptcy, Beau is tempted by Lydia’s hefty dowry, though Portia has captured his heart.
In another time and another place, his choice would be easy. But love seems impossible amid the simmering chaos of Reconstruction that could boil over at any moment into an all-out battle for survival. Will Beau and Portia find their way into each other’s arms, or will they be swept away by raging forces beyond their control?


You can find Mysti on Facebook as well as her website, blog, on Twitter, and on Pinterest.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Got Some Paper Handy?



Authors need to be creative, and when it comes to promoting our work we need to turn up our creativity in order to stand out among millions of other authors writing the same kinds of books. Joselyn Vaughn is an author who, like me, loves to sew. When we appeared at a book event a few years ago I noticed she had a pile of cute handmade notebooks. She let me copy her idea and I’ve made several to give away as thank yous to readers and winners of my contests. I asked her to share her instructions for making them, and she referred me to her blog post, which I’ve copied here:

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My swag pile was depleted so I needed to make some more notebooks to give away. I feared that this would require a trip to Wal-mart with all three kids on a snow day. (Our last trip to the store required everyone to sit in timeout when we got home. I probably needed it the most. yikes. So I was not looking forward to another trip.) So you can imagine my excitement and relief when I discovered the paper I thought I had used up was not gone. Whew!

I thought I’d share the instructions for making these little notebooks because they are fun, easy, and cute.

What you’ll need:
Fun paper
5 sheets of plain white paper
Cutting device (paper cutter, rotary cutter, or scissors, if you are awesome.)
Sewing machine with a leather or denim needle.


1. Cut the fun paper into a rectangle – 5 5/8″ x 8 5/8″. Fold in half.



2. Cut the white paper in half. 8 1/2″ x 5 1/2″. Put half sheets in one pile. Fold in half.


3. Insert white paper inside fun paper.


4. Sew down the fold. Refold the notebook and Tada! a notebook.


For promotional purposes, I put a sticker on the front with my name, website, and tagline on it. I figure this is something that people will keep around for a little while.

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Aren't these clever? Joselyn's list of books can be found on her Amazon author page. You can also find Joselyn on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. She's also getting ready to release her brand new novella, Seeing You Again! Here's the awesome cover, and we hear the book will be available for pre-order sometime this month!