Monday, October 17, 2011

Kestrels Midnight Song for FOUR DOLLARS!

Hello everyone!

This is a blog update to let you know about a deal I am running through the Christmas season. From now until January 1st, you can buy SIGNED a copy of Kestrel's Midnight Song for $4.00! (Free shipping.) In exchange for this low price point, a review must be written and posted to both and for every copy sold.

I really need to jack up the number of reviews on both sites in anticipation of increased buyers in the coming months. So, if you've read Kestrel's Midnight Song or not, please consider helping me in this endeavor. It doesn't matter who the book goes to, who writes the review, etc, as long as at least one review is written and posted on each site for each one copy sold.

If you have any questions, email me at

To join me in this deal for a signed book at a great price, place your order at (EDIT: Deal has ended. Thank you to all who participated!)

Thank you for your time and Merry Christmas!

-J.R. Parker

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Loooong Hiatus...

...and this isn't even really a blog post. SORRY! I'm reposting a blog post from the Nightwing Studios Website regarding a project I'll be directing. Here 'tis:


We’re on Kickstarter! Fans of Nightwing Studios and From Darkness Won, here is your chance to join us in this undertaking. Follow the link for more information and be sure to check out the cool rewards! If you are unable to back the project, please spread the word via facebook, twitter and blogs. You all are awesome!

On the page, it also gives a detailed explanation of what the funds go towards. Thank you so much for considering!

Thank you,

- Nightwing Studios

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

To Darkness Fled Trailer UNLEASHED!

It is finally done! Many kudos to Robert Treskillard, Leighton Hajicek, Adele Hajicek, Ness Hajicek, Christian Miles, and the author, Jill Williamson. The trailer is finished after an unbelievable amount of work put forth by the people mentioned above. I played the evil prince in red.

Turn your speakers up and double click to view full size.

Monday, November 22, 2010

My Skin is Blue... And You Can Too! (Hurry)

My Skin is blue. My hair is green. Why?

To win stuff, of course!

Brock Eastman is putting on a contest to promote his upcoming book, Taken (Coming June 11th.) If you digitally dye your skin blue and your hair green, you'll be entered to win...


Click here for details on how to enter
, but HURRY, today's the last day. I lost track of time and entered really late.

(More blog posts coming...)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Moonbeam Awards Finalist!

I just got word that Kestrel's Midnight Song is a finalist in the 2010 Moonbeam Awards! The category is "Young Adult Fiction - Fantasy-Sci Fi," and four finalists were chosen, instead of the standard three, meaning this category received a particularly large number of entrants, and there will be a tie between two of us.

The gold, silver, and bronze medals will be handed out in mid-October, but honestly I'm just giddy to be a finalist. (Flapping-my-wings-around-the-living-room-giddy.)

For those of you familiar with Curse of the Spider King, by Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper, it won the silver medal in the same category last year, and the silver seal is now prominently displayed on the cover. I wonder if I can just have the publisher buy copies of the actual medal to melt on there... Just kidding Scott!

Anyway, congrats to all the other finalists. Click here to check out the full list.

Unfortunately, I won't be able to attend the awards ceremony in Traverse City, Michigan. (The Traverse City Children's Book Festival)

Fortunately, I may be doing something that is even cooler...


The Costco in Clarkston, Washington has invited me to a booksigning in November. The final date hasn't been nailed down yet, but it looks likely that it will be November 13th, the day of the Book Festival.

This is an opportunity so huge... it has to take place in a Costco Warehouse. And I'm looking forward to it. In my next blog post I'll bring everyone up to speed on what I've been up to (with lots of pictures,) including how the Costco signing came about. But for now, a call to arms!

If you've read Kestrel's Midnight Song, and would like to help, consider posting a review on Reviews there really, really help. They don't have to be over-the-top, glowing. Just post your honest thoughts. I would really appreciate it!

photo credit:

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

In Which I Receive 1,500 Copies of My Book! (Pictures)

Since my last post, I've been a busy beaver.I mounted my $150 canopy on my $1,500 pickup and drove to Spokane, WA to pickup 1,500 long overdue books. (Due to an overrun, I actually picked up 1,594, but saying that would ruin the number scheme.) (That's my dad making a cameo appearance in the picture above, helping me mount the canopy.)I signed books, crisscrossed the county delivering books, packaged books, shipped books, and dreamed of books. If you entered in the HUGE ONLINE PARTY and/or ordered a book from me, expect to receive a package in the mail very soon. And if you don't, let me know.

This morning I walked into the post office to ship out 149 packages.

"Hi! I have roughly 149 packages to ship!"
"...Come again?"

And each and every one had to go through the system. All told it took about an hour. And when it was done, I received what the ladies told me was the longest receipt they'd ever had.

That's right.
I own the record for longest receipt at the post office in my county. I'd like to thank everyone who ordered and the post office ladies for making this dream possible. I couldn't have done it without you. There is no 'i' in 'team.' But there are sure a lot of 'i's on that receipt.

The Nez Perce County Fair starts a week from tomorrow. I am excited about this because it's a much larger fair than my first one. I sent out press releases to all media in the area, and a reporter from the Moscow-Pullman Daily News replied that they'd do a story if I toured nearby Moscow, Idaho. I immediately called the Hastings at the Palouse Mall in Moscow.

And lo and behold, despite the fact that booking anything up to this point has been a real chore involving multiple phone calls, (seriously, the other night I was overjoyed to receive a real-life returned call. Then I woke up) they were happy to book a signing with me literally FOUR DAYS from the date I called.


My previous bookings have been 1.5 months+ in advance. So I am really excited to sign books this Saturday at the Moscow Hastings, my first official book signing, the day after the story mentioning the event is supposed to release to a metro area of 50,000+.

From there I will continue south to the Nez Perce County Fair. No word yet on if any media will pick up the story there. But stay tuned.

In my next post I want to show you a picture of the seven foot tall banner I ordered, and the hilarious (read: embarrassing) story behind it. Or maybe I'll just take a picture of my setup at the Hastings signing, and you can see it then.

Books Sold to Date? Ummm... 300... or so. (Not counting online or physical bookstore sales.)
Miles Traveled? I really need to be keeping track of this stuff...
Events Total? Does that Post Office record count as an event? Because that was pretty cool.
Jacob's IQ? Hahaha! Wait, what?
Marriage Proposal Success Rate? You know, I think it's time to wrap this post up. ::Clicks "Publish Post" repeatedly::

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Western Montana Mini Book Tour

There's so much to share in this post! I got home last night from quite the five-day road trip.
EurekaI drove to Eureka, Montana for the Lincoln County Fair on Thursday, sold 12 pre-orders on Friday, 22 on Saturday, and left early Sunday because it was pouring rain and I had nothing to cover my booth.

—I was camped out at the Rexford Bench Campground. The first night the wind blew so hard I was afeared a tree would fall on me. I would have escaped to my pickup, but I'm pretty sure the tent would have rolled away.—The Rexford Bench Campground is, in theory, located on Lake Koocanusa [Random Factoid: The name Koocanusa comes from Kootenai (the tribe) plus Canada (the country) plus U.S.A (Unidentified Smoldering Asteroid)]

The campground had no showers, so I jumped in my swimming trunks grabbed shampoo, soap, and a towel, and tore off down the path labeled "The Beach."The sun had set at this point, so I was racing against darkness, which is when spooky things like rabid ninja rabbits come out to devour lonely campers. The plan was to run to the lake, take a quick bath, and run back. But when I mounted the first hill, there was no lake in sight. The second hill revealed more wilderness. At this point, I started muttering "You have got to be kidding me!" over and over again as I ran as fast as I could.Finally, I reached a parking lot, but that only led to another parking lot, which finally descended into the lake. My estimate is a half mile from the campground. I dropped everything (except my shorts) and plowed into the water. It was colder than I expected for August (A local seemed pretty surprised when I later told him that I'd gone swimming in the lake.) But I felled myself and took the fastest bath of my life. Plunge-glunk-scrub-plunge.

Then I ran back, dripping wet with my computer-dust-filled lungs tiring. But I made it before nightfall.—I love it when teachers stop by at the fairs. A teacher from Kalispell, MT ordered a book, and I gave her four signed posters and a ton of bookmarks. She said she likes to read part of a book to the class, enough to get them hooked on the story, and then tell them they'll have to find the book to finish it themselves. How awesome is that?

—It was pretty cold in the mornings. I didn't bring a jacket or coat of any kind, so I invented a new style. Two dress shirts. Be on the lookout next Fall's release of my new clothing line, Parkquoir. (Pronounced like the urban freerunning sport, but with more of a French twist.)
—"The Western News," a newspaper out of Libby, Montana (an hour away) ran a story about me. Several people mentioned that they'd read about me there, and one person said she made the hour drive JUST to order two books, (that made me feel good) so it definitely contributed to sales, but I think it was too far away to have the kind of impact that the newspaper stories did at my local fair.


On Sunday morning I took down my tent in the pouring rain, threw it in the back of my pickup and set off for Kalispell, Montana. My only stop was at the Borders there (pictured at the top of this post.) I talked to a manager, handed her a bunch of materials. Not only did she decide to stock KMS, she wants to use the poster to make a display for it! And, depending on how well it sells, may even contact me about setting up a book signing.

Apparently they like to promote regional authors. I was quite a ways from home at that point, so I didn't think I'd have the "local" advantage. But regional works for me! As I've been telling people, by the time I reach Connecticut, I'll be introducing myself as an American author.


I have family in Ronan, so I stopped by for a few hours and participated in a Birthday bash/dinner for my cousin. I also got to meet an online friend in person.

I think now is a good time to introduce... The Mystery. Back at the Eureka Fair, several people not from Libby mentioned that they'd read something about me. Nobody could remember where, and nobody could remember details about the story. They were all from the Kalispell/Missoula area. Some guessed "The Daily Interlake," and some guessed "The Missoulian." Both are newspapers with a large distribution. Getting a story in either would be a tremendous boost. At this birthday dinner, another person said the same thing, and again, she couldn't remember the details or where she'd read it.

The plot thickened when a boy at the dinner said he had one of my bookmarks already. Where had he gotten it? At the local bookstore! I'd never heard of this bookstore, and all bookmarks had to have gone through me since I'm the only one with the ability to order them. Weird, huh? A look through the archives of all newspapers in the area turned up empty. I have yet to talk to that bookstore.

I hit Missoula late Sunday night. One of my friends is a student at the University of Montana there, so I crashed on a couch in his apartment. Coolest thing about the apartment? The 3x3 mule deer buck in the parking lot.The next morning I visited five bookstores:
The Bird's Nest
Fact & Fiction
The Book Exchange
Barnes & Noble

The Bird's Nest only sells used books, but they told me to cross the street to Fact & Fiction. The lady there told me they get a LOT of authors that come in and do exactly what I do. In fact, she said I was the third person that day. That's an impressive number when you consider that the store had only been open for an hour! What makes this even more curious is that it's a small bookstore located downtown. I was the only non-employee there. None of the other bookstores I've visited mentioned getting a lot of authors who stop in. I noticed that a large percentage of the books are marked "Montana Author." So that might explain some of it. If they have a reputation for stocking Montana authors, that would tend to attract small Montana authors.

But anyway, back to the story. She seemed skeptical at first, but after I poured gifts upon her (more on that later) and she looked through the book, and I told her it was named to the Highlighted Listings in Independent Publisher Magazine and a Book Trailer Pick of the Week in Foreword Reviews Magazine, she decided to stock it.

The Book Exchange is kind of set up where you trade your books in while paying a small fee. This place was recommended to me, but the clerk told me they don't stock new fiction, however, she got the manager, and he seemed really impressed. I mentioned that the clerk said they didn't stock new books, and he said something like, "Well... we used to. It's just... You know, I'm going to show this to the fantasy guy." If they don't end up stocking it, at least they agreed to hand out the stack of free bookmarks I left with them, and I left a signed poster too.

I walked up to the book counter in Hastings and asked to speak with the manager. The guy said, "That's me." Oops. His name tag even said "Books Manager." But he was a nice guy. He ordered copies of KMS to stock, put my booksmarks out to be taken by customers, agreed to hang the poster, and even invited me to call if I ever wanted to set up a book signing.At this point, I realized that this whole getting KMS into stores appears to be easier than I thought. The managers have all been nice people, and excluding Fact & Fiction, I haven't even given much of a sales pitch. The cover grabs them, they look it up on their computer, see that it's returnable and agree to stock it. Those two things appear to be all that they look for: A great-looking product and a fully returnable book through a national distributor. KMS is set at a standard 40% discount for bookstores, but that topic hasn't even come up yet. The retail price, however, I did discuss once. The manager didn't know how I'd managed to get it so low. Further talk revealed that actually "Well... it's an OK price." But he was initially comparing to self-publishing services, where he said they jack up the retail price if you want to get it set up with a national distributor.

From Hastings I drove to Washington Middle School, I was just going to talk to the Librarian and drop of a poster and some bookmarks. But when I got there and saw all the kids running around, I felt this desire to share my story with them. So I signed and left one of my author copies too. The librarian wasn't there, but I left a note.

Then I drove to the biggest Barnes & Noble I have ever set foot in. The manager was, again, nice. And, again, once he saw that it was returnable, he was all for stocking it. He also set the bookmarks out, and would have put the poster up, but it had "solicitation" on it. ("Go to to win yada yada") in small print. So for future B&N visits, I will black that out. I will do so for Borders, too, just in case.

Here is the package I hand to the managers: I plop everything on the table, and explain what each item is as I hand it to them, starting with the info sheet, then the book (just to look at), then I list off the book plate stickers, signed by author stickers, bookmarks, and signed poster. The book plate stickers say "Hastings, Missoula, MT! 08-30-2010 "Signature"

I stopped by the local Borders on the way home. I'd done so a couple times previously, but the manager wasn't there either time. Not so this time! And when he found out it's distributed through Ingram, he agreed to stock it and set me up for a booksigning on a Saturday in mid-October. I had dropped off the standard package I hand to managers over a week before that, and he mentioned that he'd seen it on his desk, but hadn't looked through it. What did I learn from this? It's important to actually speak to the manager. Just dropping stuff off and waiting for the phone to ring won't cut it.

I had a great time. My success rate is 100% when I speak to a manager in person. Now if only I can duplicate that success over the phone.

Now, about the ForeWord Reviews Magazine thing. Here's a snippet from their latest newsletter, under the title "Book Trailer Pick of the Week."

Many of you responded to a question I posed last week, and overwhelmingly the response was “Yes!” tell us more about what’s hot (or cool if you’re from an older generation) in Young Adult fiction. So here’s a suspenseful, animated book trailer for Kestrel's Midnight Song, a YA fantasy novel written by teen author, J.R. Parker. Take a look!

How cool—I mean hot—is that??

One last thought. At the fair, several people mistook me for Christopher Paolini. That led me to think about how strange the similarities are between Christopher Paolini and I. We were both homeschooled. We're both teen authors. Our home states, Montana and Idaho, are right next to each other, much like our books will be in the bookstore. No really, P-A-O, P-A-R. The uncanny similarities don't end there, but I can't give any more away without revealing the exact location of my home. Here's hoping these similarities extend to sales figures. :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Independent Publisher likes KMS!

Independent Publisher is one of the review publications I sent an ARC to. Go to this link, read the top, then scroll about halfway down the list. :)

Also, I just got word that my copies won't be arriving until September 3rd. That's a bummer, especiallly considering I told everyone they would be arriving any day. Sorry to everyone who pre-ordered a copy from me thinking I'd be the quickest source to receive it from. But part of that is it hit the bookstore system much faster than anticipated. You can buy it on right now for $11.51 and for $15.99, and you can order it from any bookstore.

P.S. Still working on emails, so don't panic if I haven't responded.