Shifter Born is OUT THERE!

December 31, 2009

I’m excited because my ‘baby’ has just been released by Red Rose Publishing. As many of you know, it’s the first in a new series of shifter books and I hope you enjoy it!

May you all have Happy and Safe Holiday Weekend!

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Each book trailer I’ve seen so far has three components. There is the visual content, the audio content and some text.

The visual components can be either short video clips or still images. The audio can be the spoken word, music or a combination of both. We shall gather all three in this next segment. This is where we’re going to start using the tools described in the Part One.

Read the rest of this entry »

Blog Talk Radio

December 26, 2009

Join us, SUNDAY DECEMBER 27 at 2 pm EST with guest Anthony Stevens for an hour of fun and facts on his latest release. To call in, please dial:

(917) 889-3332

Or…join us on the BTR RRA chatroom

OR…just listen, but one way or another enjoy the fun.

You say you’re busy at that time? Not a problem. You can listen to the show anytime through the archives.

www.blogtalkradio. com/RedRoseAuthors

www.twitter. com/RedRoseAuthors

Anyone who adds us to their TWITTER, we’ll connect right back. Just go to our TWITTER and accept us as a friend and we’ll make sure we follow you back.

Hugs

Franny Armstrong-ParaNovel Girl
www.paranovelgirls. com
CoHostess www.blogtalkradio. com/RedRoseAuthors
www.twitter. com/RedRoseAuthors

How to Create a Trailer

December 25, 2009

The latest promotional buzz in eBook circles seems to be trailers. We’ve all seen them not only on YouTube and other online venues, but they are now appearing among network television commercials as well. I just finished my very first effort and you can see it here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLqrMgP7LpU

Creating a short video clip as a trailer for your latest publication requires a few extra skills that most writers haven’t developed, but it’s really not that difficult to learn. Since my promotional budget is about nil for this year, I’ve had to dive in and teach myself. What follows is a series of notes that may help you to avoid some of my errors and give you a little jump start on the process.

This tutorial will have four parts. The first will deal with the software tools involved, the second will go into more detail on the individual component creation process. The post-production assembly and editing will be the focus of part three. Disseminating your work to the world will be our final discussion.

Good luck and be sure to let us all know when your first one is posted!

Read the rest of this entry »

Shifter Born Trailer

December 24, 2009

My very first video trailer is up and ready for comments and thrown tomatoes.

Shifter Born is the first of a series of Urban Fantasy stories and part of it involves a band of young shifters that record their own animal sounds and use that as background music for their CDs. The trailer features the OtherSkins’ tune called Moon Song.

Here are the lyrics for Moon Song, the theme for Shifter Born:

Moon Song
by the OtherSkins
You an’ me we’re born alone
All we want is peace at home
Mortal beings let us be
Shifter, human harmony

Sing with me, gather soon
Sing with me and praise our moon
Sing with me, oh shifter born
Sing with me and change… our… form…

Someone’s watchin’ from the side
Someone’s thinkin’ they can hide
Someone’s lookin’ for deceit
Someone’s gonna hit the street

Wanderin’ through the woods
Late date Saturday night
Wanderin’ through the woods
Wonderin’ who is gonna bite

You an’ me we’re born alone
All we want is peace at home
Mortal beings let us be
Shifter, human harmony

Someone’s watchin’ us from a car
Someone’s wonderin’ what we are
Someone’s gonna get a fright
Someone’ll maybe die tonight

Meet me, drivin’ through the night
Meet me, feedin’ my delight
Meet me, under a howlin’ moon
Meet me… meet me, SOON!

You an’ me we’re born alone
All we want is peace at home
Mortal beings let us be
Shifter, human harmony

You an’ me we’re born alone
All we want is peace at home
Mortal beings let us be
Shifter, human harmony

In a subsequent posting, I’m planning a tutorial on how this was produced.

If you have any questions, you might want to call into the BlogTalkRadio interview on Sunday, December 27th, 2009. I’ll be there from 2pm to 3pm Eastern Time.

Happy Holidays!

It’s WHITE UP HERE!

December 19, 2009

As most of you know, my wife and I live near Washington, DC. It started snowing yesterday (Friday) and is still snowing a little bit Saturday night. It’s being called the worst December blizzard ever and in sixth or seventh place for all-time record snowfall.

Around noon, I decided in all my infinite macho wisdom, to take my wife to lunch. We ended up at a Micky Dees about two blocks away.

Someplace under that white stuff is our Subaru. Thank goodness for four-wheel-drive. I love my Forester.

The snow started to lighten up a bit around 9pm, so I grabbed a couple of shots of the virgin pile on top of our patio table. It measured just at 18 inches based on the aluminum yard stick.

Wow! Whatta Ride!

December 19, 2009

The last couple of weeks have been hectic around here. Besides rushing like mad to finish the edits on Shifter Born (I’m really proud of it), I attended an intensive computer seminar that was both interesting as well as exhausting.

Software Review

Yesterday, I put in more than five hours, working on my first trailer. It’s going slower than I would like, but so are most learning experiences. Years ago, I helped to build a television station down in West Palm Beach, Florida. Part of that process was installing and learning the basics of an Avid post-production computer. Since I don’t have a few thousand dollars to spend on a custom hardware and software system to make trailers, I went looking for Open Source solutions.

There are two popular ones for my Kubuntu Linux desktop. A simple and stable one is called Kino. It seems to work, but doesn’t have the bells and whistles to which I’d grown accustomed. Then, I found KdenLive.

All software packages have a series of numbers after them. These are usually shown as three numbers separated by a period as in XX.XX.X. The numbers refer to the release version of that software. If you’re not a programmer, only the first one is really important. If that number is zero, it means the programming team considers it to be BETA, or still in development, with known bugs. The current version of KdenLive is 0.7.6. If you’re an impatient soul, than consider that a warning. After looking it over and seeing all the professional bells-and-whistles, I decided to bite the bullet and give it a try.

Yes. There are some memory management problems that cause an occasional crash. Don’t let that stop you though. Save early and often and it’s merely a minor frustration. The program is easy to use and feature-rich. If you are running a Linux box and want to do video post-production, give it a try.

Snowbound!

Yep! You heard me right. It looks like we’re snowbound her in the DC metro area. A record-breaking snow started late yesterday and has already dumped more than a foot of fluffy white stuff. If their predictions hold, there will be another foot or before it stops, sometime Sunday.

Looks like I’m going to have plenty of time to work on my trailer and when I need a break, finish writing an erotic south seas pirate tale I promised my friends over at Captiva Press. There are some really exciting things coming from them and I’ll be sharing a lot more in the near future.

Here’s hoping you and yours stay toasty warm and safe over the holiday season.

My Books

December 6, 2009

Shifter Run [NEW RELEASE]

Kimmy’s starlet sister died at the hands of a serial killer. Can a disgraced paparazzo and an ex-con biker keep her alive?

Cambio [NEW RELEASE]

As a whole new world is revealed, can Sapphire’s inner beast shape a superhero? This is the second book in the shifter series that started with Shifter Born. Another great Red Rose Publication!

Cazy Taylor [NEW RELEASE]

Airships…intrigue…adventure! Just another day in the life of Crazy Taylor.

Bondage Anthology

From the quiet privacy of an old bookstore to a castle in the mountains, true love can form the strongest chains of all.

What amount of freedom would you trade for a lifetime of pleasure?

Shifter Born

Becoming an adult is scary. Even with fang and fur. This volume contains the first two stories in a new series of shifter tales with a twist.

How do you like it?

December 6, 2009

This is a new layout (theme) for my blog. I’m experimenting with making things a bit more readable as well as easier to navigate.

Opinions welcome, of course.

Tips for Newbie Writers

December 6, 2009

Three Tips

Number one: Never, EVER pay to have your work published! Any agent or publisher that asks for money up front is NOT your friend! They are called a vanity press and are nothing more than scams.
Number two: Any legitimate publisher will look over your work and either offer you a contract, which comes with an editor, or they will suggest you rework your story in some way. Pay attention to their advice. They have been making a living at this.
Number three: Editors are your friends. They are interested in getting paid too and they will make money if you do. Several people have told me about typoes, misspellings, etc. in their published works. That is due to a failure to properly edit the work or in the case of vanity press publishers, no editing at all.

The Process

There are two sides to the process of going from a ‘writer’ to a ‘published author’. They are the ‘craft’ of writing and the ‘business’ of writing. Both are difficult and both are needed to succeed. This group has a tremendous amount of wonderful information, but the bottom line is that you need to develop these skills.

Here are some very useful links:

Predators and Editors tells you who has a good rep and who to avoid.
Absolute Write is a water-cooler around which pros and newbies gather to share their skills.
Jerry Pournelle has written a good essay on the subject.
Marie Brennan has some good tips in her Essays on writing.
Tobias Buckell blogs and has some video clips about the business of being an author.
And finally, always read the ‘Submission Guidelines’ that every legitimate publisher has on their webpage. If you submit something that doesn’t match their guidelines, they are going to reject it out of hand.
Good luck and keep writing!