Monthly Archives: May 2012

A Free Bite: Short Story “Unknown” Released Today

A new short story “Unknown” was released on Amazon today to give readers a taste of the characters and world of my series (for which I really need to decide on a name, pronto!).  If you haven’t read Unforeseen, it’s a great introduction.  For those of you who have, be warned it takes place after the events of book two, Unveiled, and if you read closely there are a few minor spoilers–sorry!  The best part is it’s free, short, and fun.  So please check it out, “like” it, give it a quick review and let me know what you think!  Enjoy.
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Wrapping Up the Blog Tour: Leaving On Love


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Six months ago I was preparing another round of queries to
send out to potential agents and small publishers.  The closest I’d come to being a published author was having
an article about online dating profiles published on a British dating
website.  I could only have dreamed
then that I’d be promoting my novel by spilling more of my secrets about love
at the end of a month-long blog tour. 
But here I am. 

To end May’s Unforeseen
blog tour, I talking about my character crushes, not on a blog, actually, but
on an online ‘literary mutiny,’ Black Heart Magazine.  Go take a peek to find out where my soft spot for bad boys began.

So what’ll June bring? 
Those of you who’ve followed for a while are probably expecting me to fall
once again into the black hole of missing blog posts.  After virtually traveling to Colorado,
Florida, Missouri, Australia, Scotland, and a few literary online landings in
between, I think I’d be excused. 
As it turns out though, last weekend I decided it was time to for some
face-to-face networking and headed to New York City to the Backspace Writers’
Conference.  Not only did I meet
some wonderful fellow writers (they exist outside of cyberspace, too, who
knew?), but I also left with plenty of new writing topics to ponder.  Inspired and out of excuses, I’ll be
back to my own blog come Sunday.

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Blog Tour Week Three: Media Remix

Having a video trailer for a book might seem as odd as having a paper bookmark for an ebook, but in recent years, the book trailer has blossomed.  Modern readers are tech-savvy and have come to expect various forms of media related to everything–even their reading.  


Today’s guest blogger, Kathy Krisko, is an author who understands the need to reach readers through a variety of mediums, and she’s a whiz at creating book trailers.  Here she offers some advice on how to get started, much of which I used to create my own trailer for Unforeseen. Enjoy!



Do-it-yourself book trailers – guest post by K.A. Krisko

Granted, a do-it-yourself book trailer might not be a
professional production, but it’s a lot cheaper, a lot of fun to do, and can
come out looking a lot better than a lot of what you see on Youtube! Mine each
cost less than $50 to create.

To do it, you’ll need several things:

1)     A
movie compiler program – I used Windows Live Movie Maker, which came free with
my laptop

2)     A
script – basically a very succinct summary of the most exciting points of your
book

3)     Pictures
to go with the script – you can use photos, drawings, videos, or animated gifs

4)     Music
to back it up

That’s about all you need to get started. As noted, if
you’ve got a newer version of Windows you probably already have Windows Live
Movie Maker. I’ve tried a couple other free programs, and WLMM is the easiest
in my opinion.

Write up the script first. A book trailer should probably be
around a minute and a half: long enough to give the viewer the feel of the
story but not so long that they get bored. At an average of 5 seconds per
panel, that’s 18 panels. One of those will be your opening and one will be your
credits, at least. Not every panel needs text. So come up with about eight
sentences or so to hook your audience.

How about pictures? I used some I took myself and some I
scanned in from old photos in my albums. But I also bought a number from
Bigstockphotos.com. There are other similar sites. You don’t need the highest
resolution for a Youtube video; I bought mostly small for $2.99/ea and some
medium that I knew I wanted to modify for $4.99/ea. Be prepared to accept
photos that don’t quite match your imagination. As long as they get the point
across, that’s okay. Remember, each one will be seen for about 5 seconds.

Music is the last part. I got mine from Incompetech; for a
donation of $5.00 you can download music in a variety of genres. There are also
other similar sites. I listened to several hours of music clips before picking
the ones I liked for my trailers. I think the music really sets the mood.

You can also add text effects and transition effects, like a
fade-in between panels, and pan effects. These make things look smoother but
can also chop parts of your text or gifs off, so be sure to view and re-arrange
things as necessary.

Some other extras you can add are video clips of your own
and animated gifs. I really got into making gifs and enjoyed it, but it’s
definitely for someone with patience. I’m getting faster at it now, but if you
want to create one or more and you’ve never done it before, count on taking
some time to learn the techniques. A gif must be exported or saved as a video
file before it can be uploaded to Windows Live Movie Maker.

So after you’ve put it together, now what? Go to Youtube and
create a channel for yourself. It’s pretty self-explanatory. Also check out other
free video hosting sites like Vimeo. Next, if you’ve got a Facebook fan page,
you can put a tab on your page linked to the Youtube channel. I used the cueler
ap. Search for it on Facebook. Remember to note your trailer url so you can
post it elsewhere – link to it on your website, personal Facebook page, author
page on amazon, and anywhere else that allows you to link videos or Youtube
channels.

Here is mine for Stolen (out now):


 

and Crypt of Souls (upcoming):


or view them on my website at www.stolenworld.com or Facebook site at http://www.facebook.com/pages/KA-Krisko

To learn more about Kathy and her writing visit her websites:

www.stolenworld.com and http://www.kakrisko.com 




***

To read my post this week visit Kathy’s site where I’m Battling My Baddies.

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Blog tour week three: Yeah We’ve Got YA!


Since hearing I published a book, my kiddos have been interested in reading my novel, but I’ve tried to steer them away from Unforeseen due to the more “mature content.”  So, I’m thrilled tonight to have a YA book I can share with them and recommend to you all as well.  My guest tonight has also taught teens and used her knowledge of the age group to write her fantasy novel Silver Knight.  I just started reading it this weekend, and already can tell it’s one both teens and adults will really get lost in.  Here’s a little taste from author Caron Rider.  Enjoy!




A Struggle Against Evil-Love Through the Ages-A Destiny to Fulfill
 
When seventeen-year-old Diana recognizes an elderly priest in a video on YouTube, she realizes that reincarnation is real and that she’s been alive before! Every night in her dreams, she views her past lives learning that it’s kill or be killed.
 
Now a bishop at the Vatican whom she saved in another life calls on her once more. She is needed to help defeat an infestation of demons living within the catacombs of Rome. But when she arrives in Rome, she meets Alexander – the man of her dreams! Through the centuries she has loved him…betrayed him…been killed by him. Will she give him another chance or this time will she strike first?
 
Silver Knight takes you on an adventure where demons and heroes from the past blend with history, action, and just a hint of romance.
 
 
5 Star Review:
“All I could think once I started reading this book was WOW! My only warning is that once you start reading this story you are not going to be able to put it down!” –Readers Favorite (Read more at: http://readersfavorite.com/review/5699)

Caron Rider’s Bio:

I began teaching adults to use computer software, hardware, and networking back in the 1990s. After several years, my clients became younger and younger until I found myself tutoring high school dropouts to pass the GED. I found working with at-risk teenagers so rewarding that I changed her undergraduate major to Education.

Upon graduating from the University of South Alabama with a B.S., I began teaching high school history and I continue to teach history classes online. I now live in rural Missouri with my two kids, two dogs, two cats, and father.


Some useful links:
Twitter: Caron_Rider
* * *
Meanwhile, I’m also visiting Caron’s site today, sharing a little bit about how I got interested in fantasy and thanking those kids who I now won’t let read my book!  (There’s a short story coming soon that they can read.  They just need to be patient!)  Read more about Caron and her work and check out my post here: http://bit.ly/JOXgNs

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(Virtually) Hopping the Pond

Though it’s been great connecting with writers from all across the globe, I must say, I really wish my blog tour wasn’t virtual.  Some day I hope to travel to all these places in person, but for now I’m very appreciative of the writers who are hosting this Yank on their sites.


Today I’m visiting with Shelagh Watkins from Scotland on her blog that features interviews with writers from all over.  I had fun answering Shelagh’s great questions; hope you have enjoy reading my answers!

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Just visiting…

Today’s stop on the blog tour isn’t a swap so much as a visit to Naida’s great book blog “The Bookworm”.  I’ve shared my blog about beach-reads, but check out some of her other great reviews and interviews while you’re visiting!

The Bookworm: http://bit.ly/K3uFCH

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Blog Tour Week Two: Wedding Advice from Around the World

This might seem early for a Wednesday blog post, but  in other parts of the world, it’s perfect timing.  This week I’m welcoming writer and blogger Kim Hepburn all the way from Australia.  For our swap this week we decided to exchange some advice based on our personal experiences.  Over on Kim’s site, I wrote about the mistakes I made attempting to get published, since she is finishing her urban fantasy book.  On my site, she’s provided me (and you) with some advice about weddings.  I’m really hoping to need this advice sooner, rather than later. Maybe a little Aussie luck is just what I’ve needed!


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Blogger Bio:

My name is Kim Hepburn. I’ve
been working on two very different books.

One book is a fiction book that
fits into the urban fantasy genre, the other is a short guide book for brides
to be based on the experiences and challenges I went though planning my
wedding. It’s called Ivory Truth and is finally finished. I plan to self publish
this book within the month.

I can be contacted on Twitter
@KimHepbun

My website is http://www.kimhepburn.com 


Please enjoy an excerpt from
Ivory Truth

When Ben knelt down on one knee
and asked me to marry him I thought how exciting I get to marry the man of my
dreams and plan a wedding! I mean how hard can it be? Pick a colour theme, some
dresses, flowers and say ‘I do’ right? Wrong, well for me it wasn’t that simple
anyway, I had many challenges to face. Planning my wedding was one of the
biggest learning experiences of my life.

Now I have made it past the ‘I
do’ and am happily married I really want to share my experience with others so
they can enjoy the process and avoid some of the stressful situations I confronted.

If you’re not hiring a
professional wedding planner my first piece of advice is to get yourself a
wedding planner book and tick tasks off as you go.

Also listen to people’s advice
but make sure you don’t let anyone tell you what to do, and make sure you stay
positive because this is YOUR big day to shine! 

Asking
your Bridesmaids

I now have
learned a couple very valuable lessons. Firstly, don’t ask your bridesmaids to
be in your wedding until you have a confirmed date for your wedding. When I asked
my girls no wedding date was set and it ended up being 2 years before the
actual wedding date came around and please trust me when I tell you a lot can
happen to your friendships in 2 years. Peoples lives change. There is no rule
that says you need an even number in the bridal party, don’t pick people to
fill a spot. Ask people that mean something special to you. Another reason to
wait until you have a date is that you might have a very good friend that you
want in your wedding but she might have just given birth or be about to give
birth before or around your wedding date and it can be hard commitment being a
new mother and bridesmaid.
 

Secondly,
this I learned a little too late, you don’t only need your bridesmaids to help
you plan your wedding! Your friends help you will help you too, they will be
there regardless of weather they are a bridesmaid or not. That’s where I got it
wrong. I assumed your bridesmaids would be the only ones to help you and the
only ones you could ask for help. That’s not the case, all of your friends are
excited and happy to help and if you not sure just ask for their opinion on
what you need help with. You’ll be surprised at how much they want to help.

Look at how
busy your possible bridesmaids lives are now, none of that will change just
because they are in your wedding. If it’s hard to catch up just to hang out it
will be the same when they are your bridesmaids. Unless you are lucky and they
have had a wedding themselves or been in a wedding before and understand what
it’s all about when it comes to being a bridesmaid. When you have worked out
costing, let them know what you would like them to pay for as soon as you can.
People need time to pay for things and it’s not something you can just bring up
at the last minute. Set your expectations from the start, if you have none,
great. If you have any make sure you let them know exactly what they are like
involvement in planning, availability for trials and fittings. It’s your choice
what you pay for and it all depends on your budget. In some weddings
bridesmaids pay for everything, in others the bridal couple pay for them. For
our wedding it was a bit of both. I paid for hair, makeup trial, makeup on the
day, nails, flowers, dress material and half of the dress. All that will cost you
about $700 per bridesmaid unless you can find some good deals. The girls paid
for the half of the dress and we were super lucky that a family friend gave us
the bridesmaid shoes. It’s even worth having it worked out before you ask your
bridesmaids so they know what they need to pay.

 At the end
of the day, you don’t need to ask your bridesmaids until 6 to 8 months out from
the wedding day. That’s when you’ll start looking at dresses and shoes for
them. Make sure you include them as much as possible in making decisions about
dresses and shoes. Just don’t forget that it’s your day and the decision is
yours ultimately. Be mindful of what you are asking them to wear, if one of
your bridesmaids says she is uncomfortable with the dress you have chosen, take
a step back and listen. There is nothing wrong with having everyone in the same
colour and different style dresses or different colours and the same style
dress.

No one will
care about your wedding as much as you do. Plenty of people say it and it’s so
true.
 

**Update: Kim has just released this book already and it can
be purchased on Smashwords.

To check out more about Kim and her writing and to see my guest post visit her site.

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