Photo Phriday with a C Major twist from I like to draw

By Aaron Keleny Parks

By Aaron Keleny Parks

For those of you who don’t know, my son, Aaron, is an art student. He is currently in art school in New York City – the land of artist. I was looking at his latest blog post and I really enjoyed his integration of the drawing (which I like), and the lyrics (which I like), and the youtube video of the song (which I liked). It is so creative.

Way to go Aaron! (And that’s not just a mom talking.)

C Major | I like to draw.


Book III is finally Here!

Book III in the Rose Series is finally here and I want to celebrate!

Cover by Aaron Keleny Parks and Earl Keleny

So I am giving away THREE ebook or paper books of any of my books in the Series. How fun is that!

To enter to win go to my website: ckbookspublishing and enter the rafflecopter giveaway. There are many ways to enter and the more you enter, the better your chances to win!

(Note: the giveaway says you can win Rose From the Ashes or Rosebloom, but you can win A Burnished Rose too, if you prefer – I”m just too lazy to redo the giveaway to correct that. If you are a winner, I’ll contact you and ask you what book you would prefer. Also – I will send an ebook (or pdf if preferred) to anyone, anywhere, but will send a paper copy to those in the US only.) The giveaway will run until Friday, Oct 26th.

Good Luck and Happy Reading!

More Excerpts from The Red Velvet Box

The Red Velvet Box – Chapter 3

When I stepped in the door of Grandma’s small house, I was hit with the familiar smell that all old people seemed to have: the smell of moth balls and mold.

“Mother! We’re here!” my mother called out.

“I’m in the kitchen, Ruth,” came a small voice.

“I’ll put your cases in the bedroom,” Dwight said and headed to the back of the house.

Grandma’s house had only two bedrooms, so mom and I had to share a room. It was a little creepy sharing a room with your mother, but at least she understood a woman’s need for privacy, so both of us dressed and undressed in the one, small bathroom in the house.

Mother and I walked through the living room, small dining room, and into the kitchen where Grandmother sat at a small wooden dining table. Grandma had shrunk. I swear it. She was so thin her skin hung from her arms and her face like she had deflated or something. Mother didn’t seem shocked by how she looked, so I tried not to be, too. It wasn’t easy!

“Hello, dear,” Grandma said, leaning over so mother could give her a kiss on the cheek.

“And look at you! My have you grown,” Grandma said, reaching out her arms for a hug and kiss.

I obliged but against my better judgment, and I was right; she smelled like baby powder, and kissing her was like kissing skimmed over mashed potatoes: all cold and mushy.

“You look so grown up!” she said when I pulled away. “What are you, sixteen now?”

Maybe Grandma had a bad memory, but she sure was a good judge of maturity! “Just thirteen, Grandma,” I admitted with regret. Mom was standing right there, so I couldn’t even inch it up to fourteen without being caught.

“You could ʼa fooled me.” Her eyes twinkled as she smiled.

“Dinner should be ready around six,” Dwight said, coming into the kitchen from the other direction. “Just walk on over, if it isn’t too far for you, Blanch.”

“I’d walk a mile backwards for one of Olivia’s meals!” Grandma joked.

A mile backwards? That’s funny, I thought, imagining my little old Granny walking backwards down the street. She’d probably need to wear a sign on her back that read, “Make way, old person coming through!”

But then I saw my Grandma Blanch try to stand, and I realized it really was a joke. “That leaves us plenty of time to start work on the attic,” my Grandmother said.

“We can start that anytime,” Mother said.

“No time like the present,” Grandma replied, and she pushed herself slowly up using the back of her chair and the table top for support.

My mother noticed how much effort it was for Grandma to stand and ran up next to her. “Let me help you, mother.”

Blanch stopped mid way up and scowled. “Let me be, Ruth. I have to do this myself when you’re not here.”

Mother went a little white and stiff and took a step back. I had never seen my mother stopped like that before, and she was just trying to help. I’m not one to take my mother’s side on things, but Grandma seemed like she was getting mean as well as forgetful…

“Where do you want to start, Mother?” she yelled, startling me.

“How ʼbout with the Christmas decorations, since I need to put them up soon, anyway,” came the small, distant voice of Grandma Blanch from below. “They’re over on the north side.”

Mom looked around, not sure which way was north. I looked out of the window to our left and noticed the sun streaming in. I pointed straight in front of us. “That’s north,” I said and stepped forward.

I spied a box that had “Lights” written on the side. I opened it up and sure enough, it was Grandma’s Christmas tree lights. “Yup, this is it!”

I knew they were the ones Grandma used because Grandma’s lights were like no other lights I had seen before. Grandma’s lights had an oval, plastic base with a thin glass piece coming out of the top like a small candle. The neat thing about this glass piece was that it was filled with water, and when the light got hot, the water would bubble up in the glass. It was really cool.

Mother had joined me by then and was opening boxes of her own, mumbling, “I just don’t know where to start here?”

“I’ll take the lights down,” I said, trying to be helpful.

“Just put them at the top of the steps,” mother said quickly. “I’ll carry them down. It’s too dangerous for you.”

“I can do it.”

“Please don’t argue with me, Kate. I’m not in the mood for an argument right now.”

I dropped my shoulders in defeat and put the box of lights where I was told.

When I walked back to the Christmas things, I noticed a large dark-colored box sitting on top of a stack of boxes. It wasn’t a tall box, it was probably only about five inches high, but it was as wide as a drawer in my dresser back home. I could tell this box was different. It wasn’t made of cardboard like most of the other boxes, and as I got closer to it, I could tell it had a tassel hanging down from the lid. When I picked it up, I instantly knew something was different. This box was made out of something special. I took the box over to the light, blew the dust off the top, and sat cross-legged on the wood floor. I ran my hand over the top of the soft surface. It was covered in velvet, red velvet. I salivated at the thought of the treasures that must be inside.

I tipped the box so the tassel side was up, slipped the loop the tassel was attached to over a clear sparkly button, and slowly lifted the lid. My imagination wasn’t disappointed.

The box was all red inside, too. It was made up of seven felt-lined compartments, six square ones and one longer one on the side and each compartment held the most amazing array of ornaments.

“Mom! You gotta come see this!” I said, not trying to hide my excitement.


 Kickstarter update: We have 13 wonderful backer, are 6% funded with 11 days to go!

Aaron’s Sketches for The Red Velvet Box

Aaron and I met last week to nail down what illustrations we wanted for The Red Velvet Box project. This week he has started working on character sketches. This is so fun for me to see what he comes up with. I have a vague idea of what I see with these character when I wrote them into being, but it will be interesting to see them “in the flesh” so to speak. I think it is interesting how he puts so many ideas/sketches on one page. (a step into the mind of an artist!)

If you want to see a bit more of what he’s come up with on the book go to his blog: You can also view a lot of his other stuff. I like his work, but then I’m a little biased.

And I need to make another plea for the project. I had a flurry of activity the first week we put up the project but nothing since. We’re still only 4% funded and we only have 18 days to go, so I would appreciate any support you can give us including just passing this on. Thanks!

A nice interview on the blog:

Indie BookSpot

Christine Keleny, whose books include A Burnished Rose and Rosebloom, talks about her approach to writing and her plans for the future.

Why do you write? Is it something you’ve always done, or always wanted to do? Or is it something that you started fairly recently?

I think it’s kind of funny, I really didn’t like to read when I was in school, and it’s hard to be a good writer if you aren’t a big reader. I write now because it makes me smile. It’s something I can’t wait to do when I get home from my other job. I started writing when I was in college. My nephews were small at the time, and when I would read them stories, some of them were just plan bad. I thought: “I can do better than this,” so I did. I wrote children’s stories. I still have those and…

View original post 1,553 more words

The Red Velvet Box Project Week One

 Well, it’s been one week for The Red Velvet Box project on Kickstarter and we’re on our way! I just talked with Aaron, the artist doing the illustrations (and my son), and he said he’d have something to show us this week. I’m excited to see what he comes up with! We had to go through the whole story before we set up this project in order to decide on what we were going to illustrate. Now I’m working on some pictorial research from Aaron and he’s flushing out the characters. Can’t wait to see what he comes up with. We’ve got eight sponsors so far and Kickstarter says we’re 4% funded and we’ve got 22 days to go. (eek!) I sent a press release to the local paper – no bite, and I contacted the local Isthmas newspaper book reviewer – no reply, so I’m going to try another angle with the papers. If you can keep sharing with folks you know, that would be wonderful. I have to keep reminding myself, either this flies or it doesn’t, so me stewing does nothing. I’m trying not to stew. I’ll keep you posted and share Aaron’s first sketches when he shares them.

This is the beginning of the story to give you a taste for how it goes. 

Chapter 1

 “Katherine Rosemary Gale, if you don’t get down her this instant…”

My mother’s voice was serious now. If the tone hadn’t convinced me that I couldn’t stall any longer then the use of my proper name did. “At least she didn’t call me Katie,” I said to myself. “Katie is so childish.”

I rolled my eyes, closed my newest issue of Seventeen Magazine, and stuffed it in my pink vinyl, overnight bag, the one with the picture of the white poodle on one side being lead by the bottom half of a very fashionable girl in a dark pink skirt.

I wished with all my might that this was just an overnight trip, but it wasn’t; it was four whole days. Father had already taken my suitcase down to the car. It was an ugly, old brown cardboard thing that didn’t match anything I owned. Mother didn’t seem to realize the importance of matching accessories; they really made the woman. It is one of the first things I had promised myself I would get once I was on my own.

This trip was a Thanksgiving vacation ritual. When Dad made his annual fishing trip to the great north woods, mother and us kids went south to visit my mother’s mother, Grandma Blanch, in Galena, Illinois. It wasn’t until two years ago when Ronnie turned six and John was eight that the boys got out of going with us to Grandma’s and started going fishing with Dad. Lucky ducks!

I had even tried to convince my parents that I needed to go with Dad this year to keep the boys from fighting. They were always fighting, and since I was the oldest and had just turned thirteen, I was the official babysitter. Unfortunately, neither of them had gone for it.

I am so Excited!

I just posted a project on: 

(click on the Kickstarter logo to see my project page) Doesn’t sound very exciting, but it really is. If you ever had something you wanted to do but couldn’t do it for one reason or another, then some or something happened and VOILA!, it happens! That’s exciting!

Well that is what I am hoping for with Kickstarter.

Kickstarter is a very unique website. It is a place where people who have ideas get their ideas funded – ideas for a music CD, ideas for video game, ideas for a design, ideas for a movie, ideas for a BOOK… Well you get the idea! (yuk, yuk). The fun thing about the funding is that anyone from any where in the world can help fund a project with as little as $1 (or anything above that). It’s a really fun idea, I think. I like to support the arts, but presently don’t really have the funds to do that much. This site allows you to fund creative ideas and creative people with whatever amount of money you want.

And what’s even better is with any money pledged, each project creator has agreed to give you a “reward” for your pledge.

I’ll use my project to tell you what I mean. I have a Christmas story called The Red Velvet Box. It is a short story that I would like to have illustrated. Well, illustrations cost money, and in this story, there will be over 25 illustrations. The other fun thing about this project is that my son, Aaron, is going to do the illustrations for me. He is continuing his art education in the fall, so this will help him pay for his schooling.

So I build this web page thanks to the Kickstarter folks, made up a video with the help of my daughter and my friend Colleen, made up rewards for various dollar amounts pledged {ie. pledge $25 and get a book with your name in the book on the “thank you” page.} and posted it. Now I have 30 days to come up with the goal needed to illustrate and publish The Red Velvet Box.  If I don’t reach my goal, then nothing happens, no money changes hands, no rewards are handed out, no illustrations are drawn. If I make my goal (or surpass it!) then Kickstarter gets 5% of what is pledged, and projects goes forward and I send out the rewards to the people who have pledged.

Again- pretty cool idea, don’t you think? I hope you think it’s cool, and I hope you check out the project:

If you aren’t in a place to contribute toward the project, please do me a big favor and share it with people you know. I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks for your help, and I’ll keep you posted on my blog how things are going: post illustrations as Aaron finishes them, let you know how the pledges are going…

I’m so excited!