Teaser Tuesday: The Castle in Transylvania, Back from the Dead: The original zombie story by Jules Verne

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Here’s a few teasers from my spooky read this week. I know, I know…you’re saying Jules Verne? Zombies? Really? I mean…isn’t he all about Sci Fi and sea monsters and stuff? Zombies and Romance? That’s what I said, anyway. Jules Verne came back on my radar because a good friend said his favorite book ever was by Jules Verne called Mysterious Island. He’s a native French speaker, so it was no surprise that when we started talking about our favorite novels most of his were French, and most of them were authors I’d never heard of. I really loved Mysterious Island so I guess that’s why this title jumped out at me while I was checking out books on a recent visit to see my daughter in Boulder. I’m not really a zombie girl, but I’m hooked now. Jules Verne wrote this story in 1892.

First sentence:

“This story is not fantastic; it is only romantic. Should we conclude that it isn’t true, given its implausibility? That would be a mistake. We are living in a time when anything can happen–one can almost say, when everything has happened. If our tale is not very likely today, it can be so tomorrow, thanks to the scientific resources that are the lot of the future, so no one should take it into his head to rank it among legends.”

later…..

“But there was no time to lose, for it was probable that someone would enter the crypt, as soon as they thought he had fallen asleep under the influence of the sleep-inducing drink.

The work went faster then he could have hoped, since mildew had eaten away the wood around the metallic framework that held the bolts to the embrasure. With his knife, Franz managed to detach the round part, working almost noiselessly, pausing sometimes, listening, making sure he heard nothing outside.”

What are you reading this Halloween week? Happy Haunting!

Wordless Wednesday

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How to make a book trailer

The Birth Of a Book Trailer

I knew I needed a book trailer to help promote my debut YA novel Winnemucca. First of all, I love movies. Heck, I live in Los Angeles. And, I worked in the entertainment industry. I knew the power of the trailer. Plus, how much fun would making my own trailer be?

But still, I didn’t know how to make one. Hmmm. I’d incorporated videos in my designs for years at E! Entertainment Television and at The Los Angeles Times. But they were provided to me by amazing teams of award winning videographers. And the photos I worked with were shot by Pulitzer Prize winning photographers. Who did I think I was trying to do this all on my own?

Well, that’s the best part. We aren’t on our own! Writers are some of the most generous people. And so I kept my eye open for trailers that I loved. Enter the wonderful writer Rebecca Rasmussen [@birdsisters] author of The Bird Sisterspublished by Crown/Random House. I was surprised to find out she made her own trailer. Rebecca was very generous with her support and advise. Thanks Rebecca!

So after a load of conversations I managed to conjure up a recipe for book trailers:

  • iMovie application.
  • A killer soundtrack.
  • stock videos.
  • stock photography.

and WaaaaLaaa! You have your book trailer.

A Recipe For Book Trailers

iMovie is a very easy application to work with. It’s drag and drop so no worries there. And it comes with every Mac.

A killer soundtrack is so important. I don’t mind book trailers where the author reads their work. There is something very pure about that. But, like I said, I love movies. Music that evokes your story is compelling and can draw a viewer into the trailer in a unique way. I used www.productiontrax.com. Most of the audio clips are very reasonable priced. [I splurged on this and purchased sound for $60 because I loved it and am a music junkie.]

Stock Videos. I’ve seen a lot of trailers that try to tell the story with static images and scrolling or rolling text. It’s a great effect. But, the medium is meant for video. And, if you don’t have any that you’ve shot yourself, stock video sites are great ways to add some punch to your trailer. Sites I like include istockphoto.com andpond5.com. Both have great selections and great ways to save multiple videos for your consideration so if you are busy, like who isn’t, you can come back later and make your final cut. Again, most videos are very reasonably priced, but watch it, some aren’t. And don’t worry if your video has a soundtrack with it. iMovie let’s you separate the audio channel out and you can use whatever audio you want with any video. My average purchase for a video was $15.

Stock Photography. I use the same sites I recommended above to find images for book covers and for book trailers. Again, stock photography is reasonably priced. But be sure you check prices.

As always, have a budget in mind and stick to it, mine was under $90. It’s really important to get the word out about your book, but what’s more important is how much fun you have doing it!

The Book Trailer

Winnemucca is a young-adult small-town fairy tale about a teenage girl awakening to her own intuition on an enchanted road trip. One lie will change Ginny’s life forever. The truth will will set her free.

Over To You

Did I miss anything? Do you have any tips or tricks from making your own book trailers? If you have anything to add to this article, or even just want to share your own book trailers, then please add it to the comments below…

True love

I love you,’ Buttercup said. ‘I know this must come as something of a surprise to you, since all I’ve ever done is scorn you and degrade you and taunt you, but I have loved you for several hours now, and every second, more. I thought an hour ago that I loved you more than any woman has ever loved a man, but a half hour after that I knew that what I felt before was nothing compared to what I felt then. But ten minutes after that, I understood that my previous love was a puddle compared to the high seas before a storm. Your eyes are like that, did you know? Well they are. How many minutes ago was I? Twenty? Had I brought my feelings up to then? It doesn’t matter.’ Buttercup still could not look at him. The sun was rising behind her now; she could feel the heat on her back, and it gave her courage. ‘I love you so much more now than twenty minutes ago that there cannot be comparison. I love you so much more now then when you opened your hovel door, there cannot be comparison. There is no room in my body for anything but you. My arms love you, my ears adore you, my knees shake with blind affection. My mind begs you to ask it something so it can obey. Do you want me to follow you for the rest of your days? I will do that. Do you want me to crawl? I will crawl. I will be quiet for you or sing for you, or if you are hungry, let me bring you food, or if you have thirst and nothing will quench it but Arabian wine, I will go to Araby, even though it is across the world, and bring a bottle back for your lunch. Anything there is that I can do for you, I will do for you; anything there is that I cannot do, I will learn to do. I know I cannot compete with the Countess in skills or wisdom or appeal, and I saw the way she looked at you. And I saw the way you looked at her. But remember, please, that she is old and has other interests, while I am seventeen and for me there is only you. Dearest Westley–I’ve never called you that before, have I?–Westley, Westley, Westley, Westley, Westley,–darling Westley, adored Westley, sweet perfect Westley, whisper that I have a chance to win your love.’ And with that, she dared the bravest thing she’d ever done; she looked right into his eyes.

-William Goldman, The Princess Bride

Wordless Wednesday

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Best Friends (Nepal)

Sonam, Me and Sangmo taking a break at the dental clinic at their school in Boudha, Nepal

Sonam, Me and Sangmo taking a break at the dental clinic at their school in Boudha, Nepal

This Friday the YA Storytellers are all telling tales that inspire.

Today I’m typing in my daughter’s apartment in Boulder, CO. I gain my inspiration on my travels. Wonder is the feeling that feeds my soul. Childlike wonder. The kind I only truly experience when I’ve lost myself in another world. When the ordinary fades away. Beauty sometimes makes this possible. Natural beauty inspires but what I’d like to share with you today is a story about the beauty of courage and strength against all odds. These are the gifts that Sonam Lama (left) and Sangmo Chodan (right) gave to me.

Sangmo and Sonam are best friends. I met the girls when I volunteered as a relief worker in Boudha, Nepal. The clinic for Global Dental Relief was set up at their school, Shree Mangal Dvip. Sonam and Sangmo are students at the school and volunteered their time to help at the clinic. Sangmo, Sonam and I worked closely together organizing the kids for their dental work, at times playing with the kids, at times comforting them, giving fluoride treatments, holding the kids hands, laughing, playing string games, teaching the kids how to brush their teeth, giving them toothbrushes and stickers. As I watched and worked with Sangmo I appreciated her work ethic, her sense of humor and maturity. I thought she was sixteen years old. It was near the end of the week that I discovered she was only thirteen.

To the beats of drums and chants of a nearby puja, I entered the newly set up clinic at the Shrew Mangal Dvip school along with all the other Dental Global Relief volunteers from all over the world. Shirley, the principal, dropped in to say hello and told us that the children at her boarding school are “yakland” kids–children who live at an elevation of 10,000 feet or above. She said that many of the children walked up to a week in order to take a day-long drive to attend the school. As the journey was long and dangerous, it would be years before the children would see their families again, those lucky enough to still have families. Sangmo is one of these lucky children. Many of her classmates were orphaned as a result of the ten-year civil war that ended in 2006. The principal blushed as she shared that she’d love to get an email from Richard Gere because she admired his charity work so much. Shirley has a beautiful spirit. During our orientation, Shirley said that the children were experts at Buddha’s main teaching—turning problems into happiness.

One day, while I worked with Sangmo I asked if she stayed in touch with her family by writing them letters. She said that she did but that her mother and father couldn’t read or write. So, when they receive her letter they take a one-day hike to another village where someone there would read her letter to them. Then, her parents would take another one-day hike to another village to find someone to write a reply.

This struck me deeply. Sangmo and Sonam have very little materialistically. But they are among the happiest most polite, hard working teenagers I’ve ever met. Their light comes from within. And as children and teenagers often do, they taught me more about life and love than I could have ever taught them. They truly inspired me by rekindling a light that had died inside of me.

Wouldn’t it be fun for Shirley to get an inspiring note from Richard Gere? If you know him or know someone who knows him, or can help in any way, it would be my joy to help give back to her in this very small way. Here’s the address to send a note to Shirley: himalayanchildren@
yahoo.co.uk. If you like, you can “like” the school on Facebook here to find out more about the kids and the school.

Wordless Wednesday

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Home, a bracelet and the Maasi

Maasi women (photo credit : D. Burrows)

Maasi women (photo credit : D. Burrows

Some of the joy of travel is when I return home and share the fun and stories with my friends and family.

On this trip though, it occurred to me that I really didn’t have a home to come back to. Not the kind of home that I had always had. This thought kept me traveling for much longer that I had planned and would take me around the world. It was in the space of time when I left the plan behind that I realized home is no longer a place, but resides in my heart. And the heart, while fragile, has an infinite capacity for love.

Some trips shape me. Some trips change me. Some trips transform me. Some trips have affected my family and friends. And sometimes, the stories I tell and the gifts I give have reached beyond those I know and love. Far beyond anything I could have ever imagined.

This is the story of the bracelet.

Wherever I was, whether in the countryside on the outskirts of Melbourne, trekking the Himalayas, in the jungles of Java or on the shores of the Bali Sea, I had my eye out for little treasures. Unique gifts I could bring back for friends and family. As I was backpacking through the world, portability was key.

In Kalibaru on the island of Java I found and purchased a handful of beautiful handmade bracelets. For the next sixty days they would travel with me all over the world. When I returned to the U.S. I gave one to my very good friend. She loved the bracelet so much she never took it off. It stayed on her wrist as she journeyed to Wales and then to Africa.

The bracelet (photo credit: A. Burrows)

The bracelet (photo credit: A. Burrows)

And it found its way to a little village in northern Tanzania where a tribe of Maasai lived. The women of the village made bracelets to help support their families. The Maasai women surrounded my friend when they saw her bracelet. The idea of using different-sized beads on the same bracelet never occurred to them. The type of beads captivated them. The way the bracelet fastened was a curiosity. This gave the Maasai women lots of ideas about bracelets and their future designs. My friend bought one of their bracelets and when she returned home, she gave the bracelet to me.

And through my friend and the bracelet and the Maasi women, my home just got a little bit bigger.

So often in life we think that the little things we do don’t matter. We discount our influence or even our own significance, at times. But the biggest things we do can be the smallest. A smile. A joke. A well-timed call. A small gift. A simple treasure. The little things your heart whispers can bring so much joy to the world.

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Wordless Wednesday : Nyepi Day, Bali

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