Monday, January 30, 2012

I Can Do a Book Trailer

On Saturday I was doing some research on marketing and discovered I could make my own book trailer from the comforts of my home.

For those of you who don’t know what a book trailer is, it’s like a movie trailer, but for a book instead. It’s pretty cool, actually.

There are so many ways to do a book trailer.

You can do it just like a movie production with actors portraying your characters, if you so desire to.

But for me though, I want the reader to conjure up their own image of my characters in their minds, instead of planting the image of them before hand.

Does that make sense?

You can also use animations to do your book trailer, or still photos, set to music with the storyline written on the photo, which is the one I'm going to use.

I know I’ve mentioned that I’m a moron when it comes to computers/technology, but I think I can do this. Of course, it’s going to take a lot of time and effort to accomplish, but I think it will be fun to do. So why not try, right?

What's the worse that can happen?

I can’t figure it out and my time was wasted?

But would it really be a waste?

I guess that would be a matter of perspective, huh?

I think for me personally, I’d look at it as another experience I could put in my repository with the rest of the experiences I’ve had in my life.

Anyway, there’s a program called, ‘Windows Movie Maker’ that I can use to make the book trailer. I discovered I already had it on my computer, but those computers that don’t, can easily (so I’ve read) upload that program.

Now, I’ll be honest. I don’t know crap about the program. However, there are websites to teach you how to use it. There’s also YouTube as well, which is cool because you can visually see how to use the program.

Before I came across this information, I thought I’d have to come up with my own music and pictures to do it. But I don’t, which rocks. I discovered there are websites with free pictures and music you can use without violating copyright laws.

How cool is that?

So before making the actual book trailer, what I’m going to need to do is first and foremost, go to YouTube (I love YouTube) and watch a ton of book trailers to see how they did it. After that, I'll need to storyboard my ideas out and consider how to convey the idea of my book in such a way it’ll capture people’s interest enough to buy my book. When that’s done, I’ll need to spend a day finding and saving pictures to my computer, and then I’ll need to find the right music to fit the mood I’ll be aiming for. Also, book trailers should last no longer than two minutes, so I’m going to have to factor that in while I’m creating it.

Once I have everything together, I can then go into the Windows Movie Maker program and start creating my book trailer. What I’ll probably do, though, is play around with the program so I can get familiar with it before hand.

The only thing that really concerns me at this point is summarizing my book for the trailer. I’m still struggling over writing my blurb for the back cover of my book, so it’s going to be a huge challenge for me to break the storyline down in such a way that it’ll grab people’s attention.

*Big sigh*

I know it can be done though, because other people have done it. What one man can do, another one can too, right?

Maybe once I get my blurb written, it won’t be so hard to write the summary. At least, I’m hoping so.

When I do start this project, I’ll post how I’m doing it, step by step, so you can experience it with me. I’ll even post the websites that I’ll be using, just in case you might want to check them out.

I won’t be starting it for a while though, because I still have a TON of things to do before hand. However, once I do, I’ll start posting about it.

Well, I better get back to work. :)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Self-Induced Stress

The other day Kevin was talking about self-induced stress, how people, including himself put unnecessary stress upon themselves. Afterwards, when I told him all the things I wanted to accomplish by the middle of March so I could self publish my book, and how much work I still needed to do, he responded with, "It’s not like you’re on a deadline."

Yeah, well, that’s true but. . . .

But nothing.

The stress I’ve been under lately is self-induced. There’s no reason for me to be stressed out. I know that and agree with Kevin. However, I’m still aiming for the month of March because it would be fitting (I think) to publish, 'Beyond the Eyes' then, since the story starts in that month.

I’m going to try really hard though, not to stress myself out. But the thing is, I’m the type of person that when I’m doing a project, I will not rest until it’s completed.

Yeah, I know. That’s just an excuse to support the reason why I'm self-inducing this stress. Basically saying, "I can’t help it that I stress myself out because I’m the type of person who will not rest until I finish a project I’m working on. That’s just how I am." Shrug. Shrug.

I have to change my thinking on that, and get these four words through my thick skull:

THERE. ARE. NO. DEADLINES.

So why stress out about it?

It’s silly, really.

But, oh, what a challenge this is going to be for me.

I can do it. Yes, I can.

Besides, I’ve been having a hard time sleeping because of it. I even drank some brandy the other night, hoping it would help me sleep because usually it does.

But did it help me?

Hell no.

And when I do sleep, I have some weird ass dreams about myself.

Last week I had a dream I was standing in an open parking lot with a crowd of people. The sky was gray and overcast, and I was standing there, watching men in some dark government type uniform herd them away from me to God knows where. I was completely dumbfounded. I finally asked one of the men, why they weren’t taking me as well, and he told me because I was a good person . . . .

Huh?

I know I’m a good person, but I don’t think I’m THAT good. In fact, I think Kevin is a better person than I (he gets so annoyed when I tell him that. LOL).

And then last weekend I had a dream I was in a square empty room. There was a tall guy in a dark gray trench coat leaning against the wall, and he said, "The angels are watching you."

I snorted, "Yeah, the dark angels."

He smiled, amused by my statement and shook his head. Then he said something, but I can’t remember what it was, dang it.

Totally weird though, huh?

I don’t know what that was all about, or why I’m having these dreams. I’m thinking, it has to be the stress I’m causing myself.

Those dreams and not being able to sleep some nights should be an incentive for me to chill out and go with the flow, don’t you think? Otherwise, that pattern is going to continue, and I don’t want that.

So, starting right now, I’m going to make a strong effort to go with the flow and not stress out.

Wish me luck. :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Another Happy New Year to You

Happy New Year.

Chinese’s new year that is.

The year of the dragon.

The dragon is a symbol of good fortune and intense power.

So what does that mean, for all of us?

I guess time will tell, huh?

Anyway, I spent most of Saturday, going over one chapter.

Yeah, you read that right.

One. Frickin’. Chapter.

How sad is that?

*raises hand in a halting gesture*

Don’t answer that. :)

Although, I did get through another chapter afterwards, but still . . .

Sometimes I drive myself crazy because I’m such a perfectionist when it comes to my work. But I know in the long run, it’ll be worth it. At least, I hope so. There’s always that looming fear of failure though. However, I like to be a doer instead of a talker, if ya know what I mean. And if we aren’t in danger of failing, then we’re not growing, right?

My critique partner told me the other day her agent had told her the interest in paranormal books will soon be gone. I also had heard the same thing from another agent. But the thing is, how do they know? And it’s kind of hard for me to believe (not because my books are YA paranormal books) because there are paranormal shows on TV (Vampire Diaries, The Secret Circle, Supernatural, True Blood, etc.) that are extremely popular. Not to mention, the movie industry is still pumping out paranormal/supernatural movies. So I don’t get why some agents feel that way. The only reason I can think of is because The Hunger Games movie is coming out, which might propel people to buy more dystopian books and in turn, would jet those types of books into super popularity.

I don’t know.

I love The Hunger Games book and can’t wait for the movie to come out, and if dystopia books do become the ‘in’ thing for a while, then so be it. And honestly, I wouldn’t mind reading more of them. But I have to say, it’s still hard for me to believe that people will stop buying paranormal books. And again, I’m not just saying that because I have a three-book series I’ll be publishing.

I’m sure there are people who are tired of vampires, werewolves, and zombies. But if a story is able to grab the reader by the face and pull them into the story. . . . Well, you got yourself a damn good book, regardless if it’s the ‘in’ thing or not, right?

I’ll admit, I am kind of concern about the whole paranormal books dying off, even though I find it hard to believe.

But you know what?

I love, love, love, Beyond the Eyes, Dark Spirits, and the writing-in-progress third book to my series, The Devil’s Third.

I’m excited and petrified to share my books with the world, and I hope whoever reads them, will love the characters and story as much as I do.

Now, I should get back to work because there’s still A LOT to do. Not to mention, I have things to do outside of this wonderful writing bubble I’m in.

Have a wonderful Monday. :)

Friday, January 20, 2012

One Foot in Front of The Other

This week has been super busy for me. The health issue is still up in the air and is going to be that way for a while, so let’s move on . . .

I’ve been struggling for days on a blurb for the back cover of my book. I was SO frustrated yesterday that I almost gave up.

Almost.

As I’m writing this post, I’m still working on the stupid blurb. I thought a query letter was a bitch to write, but for me, writing the blurb is much worse.

That’s one of the disadvantages of self-publishing–you have to write your own stinkin’ blurb. I’m just glad I have a critique partner to go over it, and of course there’s Absolute Write. The writers there are wonderful.

I love them.

They’ve been helping me with the blurb, but I’ll admit, a couple of them had me second guessing my book, which added to my frustration and had dissolved me into that ‘screw the whole thing’ kind of mood I was talking about.

When I told Kevin I should just forget about my dream of becoming a novelist because now I was questioning my story (even though I love it and so did my critique partner), wondering if it was good enough, he frowned, shook his head, and made a gesture like he was slapping me on the head. He reminded me that I needed to have a thick skin in this type of business and assured me things would get better.

*Big sigh*

God, I hope he’s right.

What am I saying?

I know he’s right.

Agonizing over this blurb will be a distant memory in a month or two. As for the thick skin, he’s right about that too. Every writer/artist receives some form of criticism, so I need to buck-up and expect that. I also I need to keep in mind that at least my book(s) won’t be on the shelf collecting dust, as well as the ultimate goal: keep writing books and publishing them.

Besides me painstakingly writing a blurb, I have made some good progress this week toward my self-publishing goal.

I have two editors I’m checking into. I also had been contemplating on learning how to copyedit myself.

I like the idea of doing everything on my own (editing and formatting) because I hate relying on other people, not that I don’t appreciate their help.

I totally do.

I just think it would be better if I did it myself. The thing is though, I don’t know how I can learn how to format my book to Kindle, epub, and POD. Unless, I write a short story and practice with that.

I don’t know.

I wish there was a class I could take on it.

Anyway, I found somebody to format my manuscript to Kindle, ePub, and POD through Createspace.

Yay!

Another thing I did this week was a lot of research on self-publishing. It’s time consuming, but I do enjoy learning about it, which I still have A LOT to learn.

Oh, and I joined the Kindle boards this week and everybody is so nice there.

I love the writing community.

It makes me happy.

*Smiles*

Since I’m feeling all warm and fuzzy now, I’ll bid you a farewell. . .

Um, just until Monday though.

HAPPY FRIDAY! Enjoy your weekend and be safe. :)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Craziness

It’s kind of crazy here right now.

The first crazy thing is we’re still dealing with a health issue because the ultrasound results found a centimeter size mass below the right thyroid.

Yikes!

Another test will be preformed this week and possibly a biopsy.

The second crazy thing is I decided to self-publish, ‘Beyond the Eyes’ the first book in my series, hopefully sometime in March. The thing is though, I don’t know diddly squat about formatting my book to an ebook and paperback. Therefore, I have to find a computer savvy person to do it for me, or talk me through it and hold my hand.

I’ll admit; I’m a complete moron when it comes to computers. I did find somebody to do my cover art for me, which totally rocks. I’m excited about that and will post it here when it’s finished. I’ll also keep you guys up to date on my self-publishing journey so you can ride the wave with me. Just hop on my huge surfboard and we’ll ride it together.

I know.

I’m a dork.

But I want you to know you’re not alone, and I want to share my experiences with you so maybe you can learn from them and get a glimpse into the scary world I’m embarking upon.

Yeah, it’s scary. I mean, this is a HUGE decision that has the potential to crush me. I’m bombarded by so many fears that if I think about them, I start shaking like I would if I had to stand on stage and give a speech in front of a room full of people.

So why am I self-publishing then?

I’m doing it because I believe in my book(s) and I’m tired of the query process and agents saying they like my story, I write well, my story is intriguing, please don’t give up, but sorry it’s not right for their list, or regrettably they can’t take on another client–blah, blah, blah.

I have nothing against agents and totally respect them. I understand they’re busy and have constraints they can’t slip out of, but I’m not going to let another year go by while my story goes unread. I love it too much and want to share it with the world.

Yesterday I emailed Createspace and Lulu so I should be hearing from them sometime this week. For those of you who aren’t familiar with them, they do POD (print on demand) books, along with other things. I’m not sure which one to use to do a trade paperback of my book(s). My critique partner told me a lot of the self-publishing books she reads and reviews go through Createspace, so I’m leaning toward them. But we’ll see. There’s another company a fellow writer of mine told me about called Bookbaby, so I think I’m going to check them out as well.

There’s SO much to do. I’m trying not to get overwhelmed or think about how crazy, scary this is. It’s a lot of hard work and time consuming, but I’m enjoying it. And although I’m scared to death (not that I haven’t already mentioned that) I’m excited as well. I figure if I take it in baby steps, I won’t end up in a little ball, sitting in the corner, rocking back and forth, mumbling gibberish.

Anyway, I better get back to it. If anybody that’s reading this knows how to format a book to an ebook, I’d love to hear from you. :)

I’m going to work on my blurb now, and go through some sketches the girl that’s doing my cover had sent me. I’ll be back on Friday with hopefully some good news.

*fingers and piggies crossed*

Have a good Monday and week. Be safe and happy.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Haunted Houses in Town

Last week I was at the beauty salon getting my hair done (yeah, I’m not a natural blond), telling the beautician who does my hair about when my parents were UFO investigators. I didn’t go into the UFO stuff and only briefly mentioned about when my dad used to hunt for Big Foot. I did tell her about the mysterious stain Dad had investigated, which propelled our conversation into haunted houses.

At the beginning of our conversation, I’ll admit, I did silently wonder if I should continue to open up to her about the paranormal and how my life had been deeply entrenched with it while growing up.

I mean, what if she thought I was a nutcase?

But then I thought, you know what. Screw it.

Yeah, I live in a small town and rumors spread quickly around here, but I’m not going to change who I am in fear of being ridiculed or ostracized.

I know I’m not a freak, and I don’t live in fantasy land. I’m like my dad who needs solid evidence, not bullshit. I need to see it with my own eyes and the experience has to be tangible, leaving no doubts in my mind. So if people think I’m a nut because of my family history, what I believe in, what interests me, and what I write. . . .

Well, so be it.

And that was what I had said to myself, punctuating it with a mental shrug, right before I launched into a paranormal conversation with my beautician.

When I told her the story about the blood stain, she surprised me when she shared a story about a haunted house here in town. She told me there was a murder suicide in a two-story house about a mile from where I live, and the people who live there swear it’s haunted.

I wanted to know more, but she didn’t offer up more details about it. Maybe because she didn’t know much more than that, or maybe she was concern I might think she was a nutcase.

Nah, that couldn’t be it, considering I had already confided in her about my family.

I told her when Kevin and I moved here, I had wondered if any of the houses in town were haunted because most of the houses here are old, like a hundred years old.

Not ours though, our house was built in the thirties, and it’s not haunted.

Anyway, as I was leaving, a client came in to get his hair cut and my beautician asked him (to my surprise) if he believed in ghosts. And, again to my surprise ( I was constantly surprised during my appointment) he told her he did. In fact, he claims his house is haunted, and he had thought about calling ‘Ghost Hunters’ to investigate.

When he said that, I thought, damn, I would love to investigate his ghost haunting, but then again, I don’t have the equipment to do it.

He told us that every time he and his wife discuss remodeling the house, something weird happens, like a glass on the kitchen counter shattering all by itself.

Kind of spooky, huh?

Hearing the stories about the two houses makes me wonder if there are more houses in this small town that are haunted. It also makes me wish my dad lived here because then we could get together and start our own investigation team.

Wouldn’t that be fun?

I think so.

I’m just grateful for the experience I have because I can use it to write cool stories, blending fiction with truth, like I did in my 'Beyond the Eyes' series. And if my books do become popular (when they get published), I can share that part of my life with the world as an added bonus to my stories.

Now that would be cool.

*smiles*

HAPPY FRIDAY!

Much love.

*blows a kiss*

Be safe and enjoy your weekend. I’m sure you deserve it. :)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Wonderful Winter Weather

So far the winter here in North Dakota has been perfect. Right now, we’re usually buried in snow.

Check this picture out.
 

 
 
This is part of our backyard last year. On the left-hand side you can see the handle of my bicycle sticking out.

Crazy, huh?
 
Now, check this picture out.



 
 
 
This is the same part of our backyard as the other picture. I took this picture yesterday. Do you see any snow? (Ignore the junk on the left. That’s from the roofer who is STILL not totally done with our roof). We’re completely snow free. . . . Well, almost completely snow free.

Oh, and that blue cord hanging off the tree is to plug our vehicles in at night when the temperature drops to below zero. When we moved here I didn’t know why there were plugs hanging out the front of people’s vehicles. LOL.
 
The following picture was taken a couple weekends ago when we decided to take a walk along the train tracks, enjoying this wonderful winter weather.
 
 

 
As you can see, there’s a tiny bit of snow there, but not much, which make us very happy. The farmers though, are worried about not having enough moisture for their crops. However, my neighbor told me we’re supposed to get snow in February and March. Hopefully, not a lot, but if we do, at least it’ll just be a couple months of it instead of the usual six we normally get.
 
Anyway, I’m starting to feel like an old person talking about the weather. I just thought I’d share it with you because it has been so nice here and makes us happy. :)

Friday, January 6, 2012

First Week of 2012

So how was your first week of 2012? I swear, I think it’s a year for change. I could be wrong (it wouldn’t be the first time), but for me, this first week of 2012 was like BAM–change.

Week one: health.

Smack down.

A health problem that had been plaguing us for a very long time was resolved this week, making us very happy. There also was a health scare, but so far everything had turned out fine. One more minor test will be preformed next week (just to be on the safe side). If that test comes out negative, then it’s all good, which we’re pretty sure it will be.

Week one: work.

Kevin’s boss stopped by our house at 9:30 the other night to let him know how much he values him as an employee. So much so he’s giving Kevin the opportunity to choose his own hours instead of making him work 55+ hours a week at the high-stress job he has. So I’ve been looking for work that suits the degree and qualifications I have. You see, I’ve been off of work for over a year because Kevin told me to quit the stressful job I had at the time, and stay home and do what I love–write. So I did, and now I think it’s about time I get back out there and get a job.

As you probably already know, my dream is to write books for a living, and even though I’m planning on going back to work, I’m not giving up on that dream.

No way.

I don’t care if I keep getting smacked down.

I am not giving up that dream.

I still believe in my ‘Beyond the Eyes’ series that I’m working on, and will not abandon it.

It’s frustrating though because people in my small town think once you write a book that’s it, you’re rich. They don’t have a clue how much work it is and how the literary world works.

For example: I had an interview with a Chiropractor. It was an excellent position, good hours, good pay, and it was within walking distance to where I live.

Sounds perfect, right?

The interview was going great, and I could tell he was impressed by my qualifications, my letters of recommendation, and my work ethics. But when I told him about my book, he totally freaked out.

Seriously.

He started shifting uncomfortably in his seat, anxiously looking around. I thought the poor guy was going to have a panic attack or something. And then he said, "That means you’ll be doing book tours, and I’m looking for somebody to be here for at least a few years, and, and. . . ."

I wanted to say, "Dude, chill out." But instead I said, "No. That’s not how it works." I tried to explain to him the whole process and that it could take years to get a book traditionally published, but he wouldn’t listen to me. Then a patient came in and that was the end of the interview. Needless to say, I didn’t get the job, but I honestly think I would have if I hadn’t mentioned writing my book.

So yeah, it’s frustration when people have preconceived ideas about the publishing world. Not to mention (again) I live in a small town and a lot of people here knows I’ve taken time off to stay home and write. I just hope that doesn’t hinder my chance in getting a good job here.

*Heavy sigh*

I think it’ll all be okay though: health, me finding a job, my book getting published, and living a happy, fun life.

On that note, I’m going to go and finish up chapter eleven to my third and final book in my series.

HAPPY FRIDAY!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Nine Things I learned in 2011

Over the weekend I was thinking about the things I'd learned in 2011, and thought I should post them.

On Writing:

1.) Just because you revised your book several times doesn’t mean it’s ready to be sent out. Get critique partners first, and then start sending out the query letters.

2.) Before sending out query letters and a synopsis, have your critique partner go over it for you.

3.) Join a popular writing forum (hint: Absolute Write is a damn good one).

4.) Do a blog, even if you think nobody will read it. It helps you practice more with writing, connects you with others, and helps you build a platform for your book(s).

5.) Join Facebook as another avenue to get yourself out there.

6.) Do research on the literary world so you know how it works, so you’re aware of what’s going on and your options.

7.) Self-publishing doesn’t mean you’re a loser and that you suck as a writer. It means you believe in yourself enough to publish your own book and have the balls to do so.

8.) Don’t compare yourself to other writers. Just because some writers seem to obtain representation rather quickly, don’t mean your writing or story doesn’t have a chance. Everybody’s path/journey is different. Some writers were rejected hundreds of times before they found the right agent and publisher to represent their work, and then achieved great success.

9.) Shedding a bucket of tears is not going to get you any closer to your writing dream. Believing in yourself, your story, and not giving up, is the only way you’re going to make it.
 
On Life:

1.) Happiness is the most important thing (besides love), not how much is in your bank account, and working long hours at a stressful job you hate so you can have that sense of financial security isn’t worth your health, happiness, and life.

2.) Be yourself, and if people don’t like you for you than they’re not worth being in your life. You should NEVER change who you are in exchange for approval.

3.) The stock market is a joke. Need I say more?

4.) Trying to force something to make your life better is a bad, bad, idea.

5.) Just because you get an awesome feeling about something doesn’t mean it’s going to happen.

6.) Pining for a life you want is another bad, bad, idea. It’s okay to visualize that life and work towards it, but remain in the present and live the life you have now. Otherwise, you’ll make yourself miserable and you might be missing out on something really cool.

7.) When a tornado is heading your way, don’t stand around so you can see it, get your ass in the basement pronto.

8.) Never complain about the insurance adjuster to your insurance agent before the insurance adjuster inspects the damage to your house/property.

9.) When scheduling a connecting flight, make sure there’s plenty of time to get from one flight to the next.

So there you have it. 2011 is in the past, and now it’s 2012, the year of the dragon. I hope to God/Universe/All-That-Is, this year will be a damn good year for Kevin and me.

*fingers and piggies crossed*

*Eyes squeezed tightly shut*

Um, wait a minute.

Am I disregarding number six–pining for a life I want?

Crap.

Okay, hold-up.

Hoping for a better year isn’t necessarily pining for the life I want.

Right?

Just as long as I keep living this life in the NOW and enjoy it, I’m golden.

Yeah, that’s right. I’m already starting this year out right and right now I’m so golden. :)