In June, I wrote a mid-year review, and now that 2017 has come to an end, it's time to write the wrap-up for the year. So, picking up where I left off, here goes!
That's it for 2017. I can't wait to see what 2018 brings!
Are you ready for Christmas? I'm one gift away from finishing my shopping then I have to complete my wrapping. It's hard to believe another season is upon us!
A couple of years ago, I wrote a letter to Santa here at my blog, and I thought now would be a good time to update that, but this time, I'm looking for miracles and the promise of hope!
We're around the corner from Christmas again, and I'd like to ask you for a few things you don't ordinarily put under the tree. This time, I'm not asking for just myself. I'm asking for all of us. Maybe it's because this is a magical time of the year, but I think it doesn't hurt to believe in miracles! I know you can't put these under the tree, but they'll still make a lot of us happy if you can bring these gifts!
Thank you for what you can do, Santa. I'm sure we'll all appreciate even one of these wishes on this list!
This song will always be my favorite Christmas song, although Mary, Did You Know runs a close second. What's yours?
I have an addictive personality when it comes to songs. If I hear one I like, I will play it on repeat for quite some time. Recently, I discovered one of those songs which I've now memorized. Weirdly, I love the song, but I prefer a cover of the song by Colton Haynes and Travis Atreo. The song is "Craving You", originally by Thomas Rhett. See if you feel the same way about it!
Here is the original song sung by Thomas Rhett. I'd love to hear which one you prefer!
we still have a long way to go. If the storm of sexual assaults and harassment allegations have shown us anything, it's taught us that we still live in a world where some men think it's okay to ask women for sexual favors in exchange for a career boost or even just to keep the job they currently have. That's why I felt the need to write this post for Movie Pilot. It's vastly different from what I usually talk about there (television, movies, and fun stuff), but I thought it needed to be said. Because the women that are under attack or have been attacked are victims, and they deserve a voice even if they can't speak for themselves.
Click here to read the full article.
Book videos don't have to be two or three minutes. You can say a lot in just a few seconds, especially if you use the right words and images.
Last month, I told you the things you shouldn't do. This month, we're going to focus on what you need to get started and where to find those things, most of which are free or low-cost.
You will need high quality images. One of the best places for free images is Pixabay.com. There is not attribution required, and you can use them commercially. If you want to spend some money, though, Deposit Photos has fabulous images as does Fotolia. But, focusing on free, you can find some at www.stockfreeimages.com and http://www.freeimages.co.uk/ (although this one does require credit).
You will need an editing program. Windows Movie Maker works fine, and most video editors allow a thirty-day trial so I would encourage you to download one, give it a try for a month and see if you like it. You can always delete it and try another one. I use Corel Video Studio Pro and Cyberlink PowerDirector. There is also Adobe Premiere, Pinnacle Studio Ultimate, and more. You can find the top ten list by PC Magazine here.
Of course, you'll also need music and/or sound effects. Maybe you even want to use voice over. One of the best places to find voice over artists is www.fiverr.com. You can listen to samples, and, if your text is short enough, may get what you need for only $5.00 (plus Fiverr's small fee).
For free music (although you should still attribute it to the artist), try Incompetech or Purple Planet Music.
Now that you know where to start looking, take some time to go through the images and the music. You want to choose carefully to create the best video possible.
I'll be back soon to go over some of the logistics behind creating a video.
Book videos are expensive, but they are also beneficial. They can help spread the word about your book in a way a tweet or a Facebook post can't because today's society is visual. Millions of viewers watch videos every day, and you increase the chances that people will learn about your book with a high-quality video.
Before you begin putting your first video together, there are some things you should know and some things to avoid. That's what this first post is about. We'll get into the actual creation in upcoming posts.
1. Don't use red text on a black background. It looks amateurish, and it's difficult to read. It's best to avoid colored text unless your book is a children's book or is about humor. Stick to black and white which is much more professional.
2. You don't need an expensive video editor to create a high quality video. Windows Movie Maker or iMovie will work just fine.
3. There are free video editors online that will allow you to make a video; however, most of them will brand your videos with their logo unless you pay for the removal of the branding.
4. You can still make a great video even without video clips. Images work fine if you use them properly.
5. You cannot use songs from your favorite artist in a video that is going to be used to promote your book. That is copyright infringement and can get you in a lot of trouble.
6. You cannot use clips from movies, television shows, or plays in your video. I have seen some videos that have used scenes from popular television shows, and although the videos are quite good, it is also copyright infringement. And both the video creator and the author can be sued. Before you ask, yes, I've seen the music videos, too, that fans put together to celebrate their favorite onscreen couples. The difference is they are not creating the videos for profit. Your book video is to help sell your book, and you cannot imply celebrity endorsement or use a celebrity's image, likeness, or clips of their work to promote your book.
7. There is such a thing as too much detail. Using the entire book description in the body of your video is, most likely, too much information. A video should be all about the visual aspect, not the reading aspect.
8. You can create a book video for little to no money, but if you do have some to spend, you can make an even better one.
Next week, I'll go over what you need to get started and where you can find what you need. Until then, why not go to Youtube and take a look at the different book videos to get an idea of what you do and don't like?
I mentioned on the front page of my site that I'm working on a contemporary romance novel (among others), and since I'm a few chapters in, I thought I'd share a quick peek. I hope you'll let me know what you think!
Chapter One (Part 1)
More lights flashed in her eyes, exploding around her in a blur of white that nearly blinded her. Sierra held her hand up in an attempt to shield the next onslaught, but the paparazzi was relentless. They trailed her until she reached security and were unable to follow.
Finally time to rest. To forget about the privacy she’d traded for a life pretending to be someone else.
The flight attendant greeted her with a broad smile, escorting her to her seat in first class while gushing over Sierra’s latest movie and pelting her with questions.
How was it working with Logan Morrison?
Was he really that handsome in person?
What her best part about playing Marie Antoinette, and was she interested in returning for the sequel?
Sierra was too exhausted to tell the perky attendant that there could be no sequel without Marie’s head. She sank down into the plush seat and propped her feet up on the rest.
From across the aisle, the whispers began, two elderly women who’d noticed her. Their voices grew louder as they attempted to convince each other to ask for Sierra’s autograph.
Ordinarily, Sierra would smile and graciously grant their wish, but tonight, she couldn’t fake what she wasn’t feeling. Instead, she pulled her eye mask down and lowered her seat, clearly letting everyone know she wasn’t interested in conversation.
The hum beside her dissipated, and she welcomed the roar of the engines as the plane began its journey down the runway. Minutes later, the tires bounced as they left the asphalt, and the ascent toward Sierra’s vacation began.
Two long weeks in the mountains, surrounded by nothing but wilderness, peace and quiet, and no cameras. Just five more hours, and she’d be in heaven.
The aboard-flight solitude lasted an hour before someone tapped Sierra on the shoulder. “Ms. Patton?”
Sierra lifted the edge of her mask to peer at the owner of the squeaky voice interrupting her attempt to sleep. A little girl with a blonde ponytail and braces grinned back at her.
“C-could I take a picture with you?” She held out her phone while an anxious-looking woman hovered in the background, clearly ready to protect her daughter.
With an inward sigh, Sierra peeled off her mask and fluffed her hair. “Absolutely. What’s your name, honey?”
“Arabella, but everyone calls me Bella. You’re my favorite actress. Was that really you singing in The Lion’s Heart? My brother said it wasn’t, but I think it was.” Without asking, Arabella crawled up into Sierra’s lap and took a cheek to cheek selfie with her phone.
After setting her on her feet, Sierra thanked her for her kind words. “And yes, that was really me.”
Arabella’s eyes widened. “You’re so pretty, and you can sing, too. I’m going to be an actress one day. I already have an agent and everything. I was on a cereal commercial. Have you seen it?”
Before Sierra could answer, the captain interrupted in a solemn voice. “Ladies and gentlemen, we’re having some technical difficulties, and to be on the safe side, we’re being rerouted to the nearest airport. Don’t worry. We’ll get on the ground safely and have you back on your way in no time.”
Arabella’s mother hustled her back to her seat, and Sierra straightened hers, making sure her seatbelt was fastened. She spent most of her life traveling, and this wasn’t the first reroute she’d experienced, but the older ladies beside her clutched their arm rests with one hand and made the Sign of the Cross with the other.
“I’m sure it’s going to be fine,” Sierra tried to reassure them.
Both women turned as one to look at her with identical faces. “You think so?” They spoke as one.
“I’m sure. This has happened several times to me while traveling. It’s a bit of an inconvenience, but everything always works out.” Watching as their frowns eased away, Sierra offered to sign their napkins, and they immediately lit up, segueing from trepidation to animation.
The plane took a sharp dip, and everyone gasped. Sierra’s stomach pitched, and she casually looked out the window so as not to alarm the twins across from her.
It looked like the aircraft was coming in at a sharp angle. A flight attendant scurried past her, and Sierra’s uneasiness grew. While it was true she’d experienced minor technical issues onboard a plane, this was the first time the attendants seemed concerned.
A sharp bank to the left resulted in screams emanating from behind the first-class curtain. The captain tried to reassure everyone once again, but no one was listening. He spoke louder, letting everyone know this could be a bumpy landing, and the pandemonium increased.
The words “crash position” caused a cacophony of wails and prayers as the oxygen masks dropped from overhead. Sierra dug her nails into the palms of her hands and bent low.
Maybe this was how it would end for her. She guessed going out on top wouldn’t be a bad thing, but there was still so much she wanted to do. Of course, everyone felt that way. She doubted one person behind her or beside her wanted these to be the last moments of their lives.
And she certainly wasn’t special because she rode in limousines and vacationed in exotic locations. At a time like this, money and fame didn’t matter.
The plane pitched and bumped again, and from the corner of her eye, Sierra could see lights out the window. They were close to the runway, and while a part of her wanted to be relieved, another part, the one that always served her well in dangerous situations, warned her that the worst was yet to come.
I usually keep two or three books handy so I can choose whichever one I feel like reading each evening. Right now, I'm reading two non-fiction and one fiction.
I picked this book up when I visited the Creation Museum in Kentucky last month. It's an engrossing look at how racism is against everything the Bible teaches. And it offers scientific and historical proof that we are all of one blood. I'm only into Chapter Two, but it's an engrossing book.
A truly unique book, this offers ways to help you achieve your dreams and goals in business. It really is a creative business planner, taking you through the steps to build the business you've being dreaming about.
I've actually read through this book once, but I didn't feel like I got everything the first time around so I'm giving it another read-through, focusing more on the chapters that are more beneficial to me and what I need. But it's definitely worth a read to all of you entrepreneurs.
I'm only into Chapter Two of this book, but I love it. What a way with words Rachel Aaron has. Julius has to be one of the funniest protagonists I've ever read!
Though it's billed as urban fantasy, I think anyone that enjoys reading about dragons will like this book. This is book one, and there are several more books in the Heartstrikers series so I'm looking forward to reading them all.
So here's my reading list this month. What's yours?
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My thoughts, experiences, challenges, and goals. Right here. At least once a week or so. Oh, and opinions, too. Those will definitely come in. Join me!