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Writing without the reins
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Happy Wednesday, everyone!
Thanks to Cynthia Leitich Smith’s lovely Book Trailer & Giveaway, I was inspired to post this for any author faced with the daunting task of creating a book trailer for their novel, but who has limited video skils and absolutely NO CLUE where to begin. Oh, yeah. That was me last June: Daunted, limited, and clueless.
Despite the release date of my young adult novel, JUST FLIRT ticking closer and closer, the mere thought of making a book trailer overwhelmed me and when I get overwhelmed, I procrastinate. It’s a vivacious cycle. I couldn’t afford outside help, but thanks to Chieu Urban’s timely suggestions in this As the Eraser Burns entry, I found my answer:
My apologies for sounding like an infomercial, but it’s a great website for daunted, clueless, overwhelmed people with limited funds. After much blood and sweat, here’s what I was able to create!
And it was easy!
Well, correction: It COULD have been easy with no blood and sweat necessary if I didn’t over-think, obsess, and make tons of mistakes. What might have taken most people only seven hours to complete took me five days. Plus, I wasted a lot of money.
Lots of money.
Despite my blunders, though, I like my trailer. The total cost? Had I not made so many mistakes, it would have been $165.85.
What did it actually cost me? $253.35, ouch! But hey, live and learn. At least now I can consider myself quite the Animoto Pro who can help others make their own trailers in seven (kind of) easy steps!
STEP ONE: Storybook
Think about what you want to accomplish with your trailer. To give just a tease? Or make it more like a blurb with a short description? A good way to get a feel for what works and what doesn’t is to search YouTube for “book trailers,” or be genre specific by entering, for example, “young adult book trailers.” Once the ideas start flowing, write down a storybook or script for your video.
For mine, I first decided to go with a one-sentence description followed by snippets from a PW review:
- It’s summer, sweet summer! A secret blog and a flamboyant karaoke DJ collide with a self-proclaimed Superflirt, her sworn enemy, a toxic ex-boyfriend, her flirt-phobic best friend, a lonely outcast, and a very cute but very off-limits go kart racer at the struggling Barton Family Campground.
- A “sweet and lively summer read,” PW, about a summer of lies, lawsuits … love, and unexpected friendships!
- By Laura Bowers, author of Beauty Shop for Rent.
- Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers.
Of course, I’ve since shortened this significantly, but it served as a jumping off point. After you get a rough idea, make a list of images or video clips that could emphasis certain elements while keeping in mind that with Animoto, you can’t add text directly below or above an image; all text will show up in a separate frame.
STEP TWO: Selecting your software
Don’t just take my word for it. There are many video creating services online besides Animoto that could work beautifully. Also, if you own a Mac, your computer will most likely have iMovie installed, which has been very helpful for authors such as Jeri Smith-Ready, who used it to create her trailer for SHINE.
If you feel as though Animoto is a good fit, however, I recommend signing up for the Pro plan. Right now, the cost is $39 per month, but you will have more music tracks to choose from, and you can upgrade your video to high definition for no additional charge. Most importantly, your video will be unbranded, meaning there will be no Animoto logo at the end, which adds about five seconds to your video and makes it look less professional. At first, I went the cheap route and used the free plan only to waste $9.00 in HD fees before upgrading to Pro.
Also, if you only plan on making one video, be sure your account is not set up to automatically renew at the end of the month. And yes, I’ve learned this lesson the hard way. Ouch.
STEP THREE: Create a rough version with temporary images
If you’ve researched book trailers tips like I have, you know most folks advise that you now select images or video clips that best represent your book and the script you’ve outlined in Step One. That’s what I did. I made a spend DAYS scouring websites for the perfect images: One that represents a blog. A karaoke DJ. A flirt, sworn enemy, toxic ex-boyfriend, flirt-phobic friend, lonely outcast, two trouble-making twins, a race car driver, love, friendship, and, of course, summer.
Total images purchased: 18 for $205.35
Total images actually used: 8 for $165.85
Total money wasted: $87.50
Say it with me. Ouch! This is why I’m suggesting you first create a rough draft using generic photos or clips from your own collection for following these steps:
Click on “Create Video.”
Select a style for your video. Here’s another benefit for purchasing the Pro plan—you’ll have more templates to choose from. For JUST FLIRT, I picked Through the Blossoms because the colors coordinated nicely with the jacket colors and it had a flirty feel.
Next, select your music. At first, I was intent on using something instrumental only, but after hearing Golden Days by The Memory Stones, it felt like a perfect fit! Very summery, very breezy. Keep in mind that your choice of music determines the transition speed. Something slow and classical with cause slow transitions whereas a peppy, upbeat song will give you faster ones.
Now skip to Add Text. Depending on which style you have selected, you’re going to have limited room for each slide. You can use both the “header” and “text” spaces, which will make two lines.
Next up is adding images and videos, including your book jacket cover. For the rest, consider using generic images from your photo collection until the editing process is over so you won’t spend more than necessary.
Now put your images, videos, and text pages in order simply by clicking and dragging them into proper place.
Once everything is where you want it, hit Preview Video and see what you created!
Near the top right corner of your screen is a gray box saying how long your video is. It’s best to keep your video under two minutes with one minute being ideal. My final version clocks in at 1:20 minutes, but I wish I would have tightened it up even more with less images, so be brutal. Ask yourself if certain text or images will be necessary. If not, cut it!
STEP FOUR: Selecting your images
Now that you have a good feel for your video’s length, and you know how many images you’ll need, it’s time to shop! Very important: Be sure you use only royalty-free photos. You’d hate to have your hard work deleted from YouTube by breaking copyright rules. Some good places to check out are:
There are sites where you can get free stock images for commercial use such as Stock.chng, but I didn’t have any luck with them. Maybe you will. Keep in mind that photos with landscape orientation seem to work better than those with portrait.
Regarding size, I mostly bought 1.9 MP or “medium” size images. I was okay with spending more for better quality, but a smaller size might have worked fine. Some photos were inexpensive, such as the one where a couple are holding hands which cost $6.50, but others, like the fours girls are jumping backwards into the water, cost a pretty penny! I paid $57.35 for that bad boy, but it was absolutely perfect so I have no regrets. (I bought the smallest size, 794 x 605 PX, 989.34 KB and it worked fine.)
STEP FIVE: The nitty-gritty editing
Now it’s time to perfect your video while keeping in mind that shorter is better!
In the small gray box that shows your video’s length is a white wheel. Click on that if you’d like to either slow down or speed up the amount of time each image appears. For mine, I set it for one notch above “moderate,” which shaved off many seconds. (Note: you can’t change the speed for text pages.)
If you’d like the highlight a certain image by slowing down its transition, such as your jacket cover, then click on the image and then click on “spotlight” on the right side of your screen.
By clicking on “Advanced Settings,” you can change the title of your video and the thumbnail image.
It’s best to not include any external links or direction to outside URLs. If you include a webpage or blog, your publisher might want you to create two separate copies of the video: One with URLs and one without, since Amazon will not post a video with outside URLs.
You may also want to keep out any release or on-sale dates.
Now, about the backgrounds and transitions. Oh my gosh, this part drove me crazy! You have no control over backgrounds or transitions between images. It’s automatically selected by Animoto, and every time you hit “Preview Video,” they shuffle and change. The problem is, I didn’t care for some of them. And, I really loved the transition where the pool photo looked as though it was dropped into water, and I wanted the trailer to end with the hand blows a kiss. So what did I do?
*Warning: here’s the obsessive part.*
I kept hitting “Preview Video” and made note of each different transition. If I didn’t like them, I hit cancel and tried again. If the preview was a possibility, I selected “Produce,” and saved it under “Draft 1.” After that, I went into “My Videos,” and clicked on the small gray wheel underneath the draft copy that will bring up the “edit a copy,” option and allow me to repeat the process, cancelling what I hated and saving what I liked.
I’m ashamed to say I saved fifteen versions, spent nearly an entire night narrowing them down to three favorites, and then pestered my family to DEATH trying to select the best one.
Seriously. It was ugly. And my poor children still cringe whenever they hear the Golden Days song. I hope and pray you have better luck with this for your mental health.
Once you have completed your final trailer, then hit the Upgrade to HD option. I went with the 480p option, which seemed to work just fine.
STEP SIX: Get approval from your editor.
The above video isn’t my original uploaded version. After I loaded my first one to YouTube, I sent the link to my editor before announcing it. In return, I received guidelines from my publisher’s online marketing manager, and suggestions to make the trailer much shorter. Plus, if it wasn’t too much trouble, it would be great to add the jacket credit.
My first thought was, “Do I seriously want to go through this again?”
My second thought was, “Well … yes.”
By then, I had some time away from the project, so my original 1:54 minute version did seem too long and could be tightened. And I liked the idea of giving jacket credit, seeing as how I love JUST FLIRT’S cover design, so much to my family’s dismay, I got back to work, but it was well worth the time!
Lesson learned: Share your trailer with your editor first, either by downloading a MP4 file or posting it to YouTube and sending them a link before announcing it.
STEP SEVEN: Uploading to YouTube
Finally, the best part! Under “My Videos,” click on your final version, then select “Sharing,” and “Export Video.” If you don’t already have a Goggle account, you’ll be cued to do so. (Note: You’ll have to use a Gmail account.) Once your video is loaded, log into your YouTube channel and add your book description, any reviews, plus a link to your website, blog, Facebook account, etc. You will also have three images to choose from for the thumbnail, in case you don’t like the one YouTube automatically chose.
And that’s it, you’re done!
Easy, right? Well … kind of easy?
Now it seems like a total piece of cake to me. I even created a book trailer for my first novel, BEAUTY SHOP FOR RENT:
Because of my previously learned lesson on overspending, I didn’t shop for images until the rough draft was finished. I was able to use an image purchased several years ago, so I only needed to buy two more photos. The one with the piggy banks cost $63.70, but the colors coordinately beautifully with the style template, so I bought it! Again, no regrets. Love, love, love this picture. The trailer also clocks in at 1:10, which is a much better length.
The total time to create this one? Five hours. Seriously. Just five hours!
Total cost? $70.20 for two images, $39.00 for Animoto Pro, $109.20 total.
Not too shabby.
And what ever became of all those images not used for JUST FLIRT’S trailer? I used them for an As The Eraser Burns challenge exercise:
Hey, sometimes you just have to be creative. Good luck creating your book trailer and I truly hope this post helps someone out there who is as computer-clueless as I was!
Today I'm interviewing the lovely Terie Garrison, who recently celebrated the release of her e-book, CHANGING GEARS, a young adult sports novel on bike racing in San Diego!
Winning the race doesn’t equal winning at life.
After receiving a classic racing bike for his birthday, Barry Sloane discovers that he has the makings of a top-notch bike racer. If things work out right, he could even go to the Olympics some day.
Of course, there are other attractions: the young women racers, and particularly Daphne Turner, who can kick Barry’s rear on a bike any day of the week.
Another discovery, though, puts him at odds with his best friend, and soon Barry has to choose between pursuing his Olympic dream and being the kind of friend he always imagined himself to be.
And now that Terie is settled in with her favorite coffeehouse drink, tea--just plain bog-standard tea . . . or Earl Grey if she's feeling spunky . . .
And her favorite snack, potato chips . . .
... Let's begin! Okay, Terie, what was your favorite book as a child?
I don’t remember any particular favourites from my pre-teen years, but the book that grabbed me when I was twelve and didn’t let go for a good three or four years was The Outsiders by SE Hinton. I loved that book so much I would often read the last line and turn back to page 1 and start over. Of course, The Outsiders is particularly well-suited to that! For a couple of years, you could’ve opened to any random page and read a few words, and I could quote the rest of the paragraph word-for-word.
When did you decide to be a writer?
When I was in fifth grade, we were taught how to write limericks in an English lesson, then given some time to write one. I wrote three, and the next day, my teacher was showing my limericks to the other fifth-grade teachers. That was the moment I decided I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. After reading The Outsiders for the first time, I decided I wanted to write books for teenagers when I grew up. Which is kind of ironic since technically speaking, I wasn’t a teenager myself yet!
Where’s your favorite place to work? (Bonus if you share a picture!)
I like to go anywhere that’s not ‘home’ or ‘work’. Here’s a recent photo I took while writing at the Chester Zoo (in Chester UK).
Some other favourites are Alderley Edge,
Stonehenge (yes, really!),
and Castlerigg Stone Circle.
The best part of last weekend’s Creating Sparks: Kindle the Fire of Imagination Conference? Meeting one of my all-time heroes and favorite writers in the whole-wide world, RICHARD PECK!!
Love him. Love him, love him, love him! I pre-warned my hubby that I was going to buy every single book of his they have on sale, and that’s exactly what I did.
Both of his presentations were amazing, especially the one about first lines, which made me what to go back and redo all of mine. And on Monday morning, I took some time off and totally devoured SECRETS AT SEA, which was incredible.
Love him, love, love him!
Have I made that clear yet?
Happy Tuesday, everyone!
Today we have young adult author, Denise Jaden in the cyber chair for a chat!
She’s celebrating a book birthday today for her latest release, NEVER ENOUGH, woo-HOO, congratulations, Denise!
Loann’s always wanted to be popular and pretty like her sister, Claire. So when Claire’s ex-boyfriend starts flirting with her, Loann is willing to do whatever it takes to feel special . . . even if it means betraying her sister.
But as Loann slips inside Claire’s world, she discovers that everything is not as it seems. Claire’s quest for perfection is all-consuming, and comes at a dangerous price. As Claire increasingly withdraws from friends and family, Loann struggles to understand her and make amends. Can she heal their relationship—and her sister—before it’s too late?
“A beautiful story…heartbreaking and raw.”- Tara Kelly, author of the award-winning YA novel HARMONIC FEEDBACK
And now that Denise is settled with her favorite coffeehouse beverage, mocha, with real whipped cream . . .
And your favorite snack, seaweed or salt and pepper peanuts . . .
Let’s begin! First off, Denise, when did you decide to be a writer?
I became a writer as a bit of an accident. When I was pregnant with my son, I suddenly got the urge to journal. I’d never been a journaler before that. My journals slowly took shape into stories, and before I knew it, I was writing entire novels!
What advice for beginners do you wish you would’ve followed?
I wish I had learned earlier to move onto the next project, physically and emotionally, while on submission. It took me a few manuscripts to get the hang of that.
Oh, yeah, been there, done that! Okay, what’s your favorite writing how-to book, technique, or website that has helped you improve your craft or provide inspiration?
I LOVE Writing The Breakout Novel by Donald Maass. Mr. Maass is a genius when it comes to getting and keeping a story going. When I’m revising, I constantly say to myself, “Tension on every page.”
How were you inspired to write your current or upcoming release?
A good friend of mine struggled with eating disorders for many years, and as I got closer with her, I found myself wanting to understand her more and wishing I could help. I wrote Never Enough to sort out my feelings and to delve beyond my surface understanding.
What is your favorite line(s) from this book?
Look at Claire, the first three words I’d learned as a toddler.
If you followed the career
Happy Friday, everyone!
Some fabulous writers have given me the honor of doing interviews on their blogs recently. (This is why I love the children’s book genre–because most authors are so wonderfully supportive of each other!)
PJ Hoover, author of SOLSTICE, interviewed me on her Roots in Myth blog.
Denise Jaden, author of the soon-to-be released NEVER ENOUGH, welcomed with an interview on her blog, as well!
And my dear friend, Pam Smallcomb, author of I’M NOT and CLUNK TO EARTH, took me for a spin in the cafe cyber chair on our regional SCBWI As The Eraser Burns blog.
Thanks, ladies, I appreciate it!
While us blogger gals, Susan Mannix, Larissa Graham, and I have been doing tons of interviews over at As The Eraser Burns, SCBWI MD/DE/WV's regional blog, (check it out if you want to,) I think it's high time I got back to having Shop Talk Tuesday here!
So I'm super excited to welcome Janet Fox, author of the young adult novels FORGIVEN and FAITHFUL, into the shop talk chair!
Kula Baker never expected to find herself on the streets of San Francisco in 1906. The daughter of an outlaw, Kula is soon swept up in a world of art and elegance – a world she hardly dared dream of back in Montana. She meets the handsome David Wong, whose smiling eyes and soft-spoken manner have an uncanny way of breaking through Kula’s carefully crafted reserve. Yet when a mighty earthquake strikes and the wreckage threatens all she holds dear, Kula realizes that only by unlocking her heart can she begin to carve a new future for herself.
“A new century lay open before us, where all things could be made clean and shiny, even a man’s soul. Why, if it was true as I’d heard tell, that men could get up in the air in flying machines – imagine! Men flying like birds! – why, then, anything was possible.
Wasn’t it? Couldn’t I lift out of here until I was wrapped in the blue bowl of the sky, free? Couldn’t I fly like a swallow out over these thick-timbered woods, these braided rivers and steaming rocks and sullen springs and hulking peaks?”
“Fox is a skilled writer who creates a multifaceted heroine surviving in the early 1900s… she proves she’s a heroine worth reading about.”--Romance Times
“Kula Baker, who had a small role in Fox’s engaging Faithful (2010), takes center stage as she journeys from Yellowstone to San Francisco…Slowly and at great peril, she uncovers secrets of the past. The San Francisco earthquake and acute class consciousness of Kula’s Native American roots feature hugely in this gripping tale.”--Booklist
“Fox manages to weave the many strings of the plot together nicely, with everything reaching a climax during the aftermath of the 1906 earthquake that leveled the city. Kula’s story comes to a heartbreaking, bittersweet conclusion that will leave readers satisfied.”--School Library Journal
In 1904 Margaret Bennet has it all – money, position, and an elegant family home in Newport, Rhode Island. But just as she is to enter society, her mother ruins everything, first with public displays, and then by disappearing. Maggie’s confusion and loss are compounded when her father drags her to Yellowstone National Park, where he informs her that they will remain. At first Maggie’s only desire is to return to Newport. But the mystical beauty of the Yellowstone landscape, and the presence of young Tom Rowland, a boy unlike the others she has known, conspire to change Maggie from a spoiled girl willing to be constrained by society to a free-thinking and brave young woman li
I'm so excited about the recent release of my second young adult novel, JUST FLIRT, about a secret blog that brings a summer of lies, lawsuits . . . and love to a self-proclaimed Superflirt and her sworn enemy!
It’s summer, sweet summer!
Self-proclaimed Superflirt Dee Barton can’t wait the summer months practicing her Nine Rules of Flirting on all the cute guys who come to stay at her family’s campground. Why not? Flirting is fun and makes everyone involved feel good—which is pretty much the exact opposite of her relationship with her toxic ex-boyfriend, Blaine. Sabrina Owens’s summer plans include keeping her over-the-top karaoke DJ mother in check, maintaining her status as the queen of the popular crowd—and being the perfect girlfriend to Blaine.
Each girl sees the other as the enemy. But when a secret blog embroils them in a frivolous lawsuit, they must team up and embark on a risky, flirt-filled plot to set things right again.
Laura Bowers’s new novel is a heartfelt and hilarious story of friendship, family … and flirting!A "sweet and lively summer read,"
Publishers Weekly“Bower’s fun read about flirting – and the fun/disastrous consequences it can bring – is enjoyable and has a positive, unexpectedly feminist message. I loved it and so will teen girls!”
And for those in my area, please join me at Constellation Books
on July 21st from 3:00 to 5:00 for tea, coffee, goodies, and book signings!
Have a great day!
It's official. I'm now the mom of a high school graduate! Wow, what an emotional, beautiful day that was. Congratulations, Broc, I'm so proud of you!
And I'm also happy to report, (rather late,) that I did complete our first annual May Mid-Grade Madness Marathon! 20,010 words in 72 hours with 11:30 as my end time. Seriously--my right thumb still aches from typing so fast in that final hour.
I was cramming at the end after foolishly spending the first part of the second day rewriting my first chapter because it didn't "feel" right. (Bad, Laura, bad.) And the manuscript still needs another 20,000 words, but I'm really happy with the story and I love, love, LOVE my characters! I hope to finish the rought draft by the end of July and I'm looking forward to doing this again next year!
Have a great day!
Happy Friday, everyone!
Since I'm prepping for next Tuesday's May Mid-Grade Madness, I thought I'd read these fabulous books this week to help get me in mid-grade mode!
See you at Harry's, by Jo Knowles.
Oh my gosh, I love this book. Love, love, LOVE! It's heartbreakenly beautiful and completely captivating all rolled up in one gorgeous package. I couldn't put it down!
Lulu and the Brontosaurus, by Judith Viorst.
Again. Love, love, LOVE!! This is more chapter book than mid-grade, but whatever. It was just the right book for me to read this week, because it was a reminder how wonderfuly simple can say so much more than overblown and complicated!
Love, Ruby Lavender, by Deborah Wiles
*Sigh* I could read this book again and again and again and never get tired of it! Love Ruby. Love the chickens. Love Miss Eula. Love, love, LOVE it!
Okay, and now it's time to kick some serious to-do list bootie because next Tuesday, I'm starting our 72-hour write-a-thon! Wish me luck and have a GREAT holiday weekend, everyone!
Congratulations and a mighty woo-HOO to regional member and future Creating Sparks: Kindle the Fire of Imagination Conference presenter James Proimos, for today's release of KNUCKLE & POTTY DESTROY HAPPY WORLD!
Knuckle and Potty are tired of being lovable book characters. Together, they hatch a plan to venture to the Outer-world by clicking their heels and leaping off the pages into real life to confront the author and illustrator who created them. When that plan fails, a trip to Happy World is their last option. Simple: they’ll just erase Happy World with their de-zonker contraptions. Little do Knuckle and Potty know that Happy World isn’t as happy as they think.
“…imaginative and humorous…”--Publishers Weekly
"A knee-slapper for recent early-reader grads..."--Kirkus
Check out this hilarious book trailer!!
Congratulations, James, I absolutely love this book! :)
Happy Tuesday, everyone!
Woo-HOO, registration is now open for SCBWI MD/DE/WV's summer regional conference, "Creating Sparks: Kindle the Fire of Imagination!" I'm so excited about this conference because once again, we have an amazing line-up of speakers, including . . .
. . . the lovely Deborah Wiles,whose book, Love, Ruby Valentine, is one of my all-time favorites! (I've heard her speak before. She's such a great motivator!)
. . . the amazingly-talented James Proimos, my friend/mentor/therapist who I love, love, love, and adore and is the author of Knuckle and Potty Destroy Happy World. (So hilarious!)
. . . and finally, our keynote speaker. . . <swoon, swoon, try to contain my happiness> . . . RICHARD PECK! Yeah, I know. RICHARD PECK! He's one of the reasons why I fell in love with young adult novels, after reading A Long Way To Chicago.
(My other reason is Joan Bauer, after reading Hope Was Here.LOVE that book!)
Anyway, it's going to be a great conference. For more information and a complete list of speakers, go here. Hope to see you there!
Happy Writing! :)
I finally sent a new manuscript that I love, love, LOVE to my awesome agent! Fingers crossed she likes it.
(Fingers, toes, eyes . . .)
I have a bad habit - I always cling onto manuscripts and try to make them perfect before sending them to my agent because I'm so afraid she's going to reject it and dump me as a client. But that's wrong. She's my agent, not my editor. It's her job to tell me what's wrong with the story near the beginning of the process, so I don't waste time spinning wheels in the wrong direction. She's the one who will help me create something that will be loved by my editor.
Besides. She wouldn't dump me over one bad manuscript, right? Right??? Fingers crossed she doesn't.
(Fingers, toes, eyes . . .)
Last Saturday, I ran my second 5k for the year! This one was at the always-wonderful Frederick Running Festival, which is such a blast. Great course, great band, great goodie giveaways at the end, and bonus . . . two included beers! My goals were to pace myself, to be a passer instead of a passee, and to finish in 31 minutes. The humidity really got to me, as you can see here . . .
. . . so my ending time was 33.20. I was kind of dissappointed with that, but I did reach my other goals and ended up running the second half faster than the first half. (11:14 pace first half, 10:10 second.) Oh, and did I mention the included two beers? :)
Next up: The Baltimore Women's Classic 5K on June 24th! My goals? To finish in 29 minutes. :)
The young adult author in me loves the sweet, romantic way my youngest son asked his girlfriend to prom last night!
I still have splinters in my fingers and I'd rather not confess how long it took my husband and me to make this work, but it was worth every second! We had neightbors taking pictures and waiting for her to arrive and everything.
Say it with me. Awwww! :)
And finally, to all you awesome, splinter-wearing mothers out there . . .
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!
Have a great weekend! :)
Yep, it's been a while since I've posted.
Well, here, at least. I've been blogging my rear off over at our regional SCBWI blog, As the Eraser Burns. I've let this one slip, though, mostly because I've been writing a ton, and also because I've become a bit online anti-social. It's just hard keeping up and I can never seem to find that right balance! But I do miss blogging, so I've giving it another shot with a very important announcement:
I, Laura Bowers, am now a runner.
Sure, right now, I'm only running twelve-minute miles . . . on a good day.
The fartherest I can run is three miles . . . on a very good day.
And truth be told, I more resemble this woman instead of the gal above:
But that doesn't matter. You have to start somewhere, and this weekend, I'm running in my very first 5k race since having my surgery last December! (Hysterectomy - no more tampons, woo!)
And in exactly 320 days, I'm going to be running in the Disney Princess Half-Marathon along with forty-some awesome women and a few brave gents!
Yes, I will be wearing pink! I will run through Cinderella's castle! I will get a picture with Captain Jack Sparrow, and I'm even considering wearing a tiara! But a tutu? Eh . . . nope, that's a bit much even for me.
More posts on running, writing, reading, and rejoicing to come! :)
Congratulations and a mighty woo-HOO to all-around great guy James Proimos, author of several books including Scholastic Book Fair pick, SWIM SWIM, for the release of 12 THINGS TO DO BEFORE YOU CRASH AND BURN!
Hercules Martino has until the end of the summer (i.e., two weeks) to accomplish these twelve tasks. The tasks will take him to the far reaches of Baltimore, lead him to a Beautiful and Unattainable Woman, and change the way he sees his past, present, and future.
Day One: Choose a mission.
Day Two: Find the best pizza joint in town.
Day Three: Clean out the garage.
Day Four: Muck the stalls at Riverbend farm.
Day Five: Read a complete book under a tree.
Day Six: Go to a place of worship and pray.
Day Seven: Go on seven job interviews.
Day Eight: Spend the day thinking big thoughts. Write them down.
Day Nine: Make your uncle something.
Day Ten: Eat a meal with a stranger.
Day Eleven: Recite a poem at Blake’s Coffee Shop.
Day Twelve: Complete your mission.
“Time and again, picture-book creator Proimos has demonstrated a rock-solid sense of humor and outside-the-box thinking. His first book for teens is no different, opening a promising new chapter in his career… Proimos fully inhabits the mind and voice of his hero, whose almost mythic journey offers moments hilarious, heartbreaking, and triumphant.”–Publisher’s Weekly, starred review.
“Told in short, near-poetic vignettes, the chapters of Proimos’ first teen novel are packed with plenty of small details and genuine moments of ridiculous humor.”
Congratulations, James!! I absolutely love this book.
And speaking of things to do before crashing and burning . . .
For those of us participating in NaNoWriMo
, I hope you are having a great time writing your little fingers off! Well . . . having a great time might be pushing it, seeing as how for me, writing those rough drafts–in a month, no less–is painful, painful, painful. But I’m at 12,521 words, only about 1,000 behind schedule, which isn’t bad. I’d be a lot farther along if I could just turn off that pesky inner editor!
So keep pushing, fellow NaNo’s!
Happy Halloween, everyone!
A belated woo-HOO to Mary Quattlebaum for the September 27th release of The Hungry Ghost of Rue Orleans!
Fred the ghost loves his leaky, creaky old house in New Orleans. But when Pierre and his daughter Marie turn it into a jazzy-snazzy restaurant, Fred makes a haunting appearance. Instead of being scared, though, the diners are entertained! Dejected, Fred decides to leave--until he gets a whiff of Pierre’s new sweet-and-spicy dish. A charming tale, infused with New Orleans atmosphere and cuisine.
“The interplay among the characters is great…. [E]thereal, quirky [illustrations] … help anchor the New Orleans setting.”--Kirkus
“A good story for both storytime and a one-on-one read. The painterly illustrations, rich in color and detail … [convey] the atmosphere of the old house and the New Orleans setting perfectly.” – School Library Journal
Congratulations, Mary, your book looks awesome! :)
A mighty woo-HOO also to Julie Dunlap, for the October release of her book, Parks for the People: The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted, published by Fulcrum Publishing of Golden, Colorado, with new and updated text and historic photos and other illustrations!
Olmsted designed parks in Maryland and DC as well as NYC and around the country, and Julie hopes that her book will remind teachers and children how important he was in shaping the best parts of our cities today. Maybe it will even encourage a few kids to go outside and play!
Congratulations, Julie, and best of luck with your lovely new book!
NATIONAL NOVEL WRITING MONTH
Okay, how many of you wonderful writers are braving NaNoWriMo?
Every year, I'm always so tempted to join in on the challenge. There'd be something so magical about thousands of other writers from around the world slaving, sweating, and (possibly) swearing right along with me as I crank out 50,000 words in only thirty days. The timing has always been bad, however, so I've always passed. This year is no exception, but seeing as how I'm scheduled for a December 7th surgery and will lying on my rear for weeks afterwards, I'm so in!
What about you?
If you have signed up at their website and are currently girding your loins and begging those pesky characters to please be cooperative for the next month, then share your user name in the comments below! Mine is Laura Bowers.
Good luck to all my fellow Nanowrimo's and happy writing, everyone! :)
(Cross posted from As The Eraser Burns.)
If you're going to the Roads to Publication conference on November 11 - 13th, (or if you just enjoy a good author chat,) then check out the pre-confererence interviews that I've posted on the SCBWI MD/DE/WV regional blog!
and Alexis O'Neill
Have a great day! :)
If there ever was a good reason for me to start blogging again, it's this:
The galleys for my second book, JUST FLIRT have arrived!!
Wow. When I look at the gorgeous cover and flip through the freshly-printed pages, it's hard to comprehend that after four years, fourteen drafts, hundreds of lessons learned, and buckets full of blood, sweat, and tears, this book is actually real! And I must confess that my first thoughts were, "Dang, I better kick my marketing plan in gear now," and, "I also need to finish rewriting my next novel asap," and "Yikes, my website needs some major updating as well . . ."
But no. That's tomorrow's worry.
Today, I'm going to enjoy this moment and the fact that I wrote a book! And it's funny, sweet, and . . . hopefully . . . one readers will love.
Have a great day! :)
Can't believe I'm leaving for the BEA tomorrow!
I'm so not ready.
So, SO not ready.
Off to do a major Wal-Mart run.
I lost my newsletter contact list. Each and every one of the 300+ email addresses.
It happened when my home computer was completely upgraded last June with a new hard drive. I saved all my documents, pictures, etc, but did I remember to save all of my saved emails and contacts?
Nope. Not-ta one. And they were never copied to my laptop.
Aren't we supposed to grow wiser with age? If so, when will mine kick in?
There is one small sliver of hope, though. I'm waiting to see if a few family members saved any of my past newsletter emails. Fingers (and all cross-able body parts) crossed!
Off to write!
My editor from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt sent me this very cool video, which may have already made the blogging rounds already, but I'm still hopelessly out of the loop.
(When will I learn how to balance? I'm horrible at juggling writing and promoting and working and housekeeping and laundry and kid running and--yikes--exercising.)
Anyway, enjoy. Or not, if you've already seen it. But if you haven't, be sure to watch it to the end . . .
The dates are picked, our reservations are made--we're going to Universal Orlando this fall, woo-hoo-HOOOO, can't wait, can't wait, CAN'T WAIT!!!
And we get to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!!
Oh my gosh, I'm so excited. SO EXCITED! Even my non-reading son is looking forward to this. (Finally--we get to find out what butter beer tastes like!) Wow, it truly blows my mind how this all came from the imagination of one woman. And although JK Rowling's worlds are a million times bigger than mine, it makes me stop and think about how truly cool it is to be a writer, despite all the negatives that come with the territory. We get to create worlds, how awesome is that?
Speaking of which, I need to stop thinking about our trip and singing Holiday Road Ohh ohh ohh ohh ohh ohohohoad at the top of my lungs and get back to work. My husband might appreciate it that very much. :)
Hey, all! Be sure to check out Readergirlz this month, who are featuring Deb Caletti's THE SECRET LIFE OF PRICE CHARMING!
Quinn is surrounded by women who have had their hearts broken. Between her mother, her aunt, and her grandmother, Quinn hears nothing but cautionary tales. She tries to be an optimist–after all, she’s the dependable one, the girl who never makes foolish choices. But when she is abruptly and unceremoniously dumped, Quinn starts to think maybe there are no good men after all.
It doesn’t help that she’s gingerly handling a renewed relationship with her formerly absent father. He’s a little bit of a lot of things: charming, selfish, eccentric, lazy…but he’s her dad, and Quinn’s just happy to have him around again. Until she realizes how horribly he’s treated the many women in his life, how he’s stolen more than just their hearts. Determined to, for once, take action in her life, Quinn joins forces with the stepsister she’s never met and the little sister she’ll do anything to protect. Together, they set out to right her father’s wrongs…and in doing so, begin to uncover what they’re really looking for: the truth.
Once again, Deb Caletti has created a motley crew of lovably flawed characters who bond over the shared experiences of fear, love, pain, and joy–in other words, real life.
"Caletti's gifts...are at their sharpest."--Starred Publisher's Weekly review
Ooo, sounds fantastic!!! And, I was super-excited to find out that BEAUTY SHOP FOR RENT is one of this month's recommended reads, along with:
A Bad Boy Can be Good for a Girl by Tanya Lee Stone
Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers
The Stolen One by Suzanne Crowley
FBI Girl: How I Learned to Crack My Father's Code by Maura Conlon-McIvor
Thanks, ladies, I'm honored!!
First it was Snowpocalypse 2010 . . .
. . . then a bunch of starlings tried to move in.
Poor thing. I think I'll go out and buy it a brand-new cover to make up for all this.
And then I'll actually keep the cover on for a change. Hmm, might be good idea, you think? ;)
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My father had open heart surgery this week, (he's doing great, THANK GOD,) so I'm a few days late with this, but . . .
Congratulations, Jeri Smith-Ready, for Tuesday's release of your amazing book, SHADE, and for your PW starred review, woo-HOO!!!
Love ties them together.
Death can't tear them apart.
Best. Birthday. Ever. At least, it was supposed to be. With Logan's band playing a critical gig and Aura's plans for an intimate after-party, Aura knows it will be the most memorable night of her boyfriend's life. She never thought it would be his last.
Logan's sudden death leaves Aura devastated. He's gone.
Well, sort of.
Like everyone born after the Shift, Aura can see and hear ghosts. This mysterious ability has always been annoying, and Aura had wanted nothing more than to figure out why the Shift happened so she can undo it. But not with Logan’s violet-hued spirit still hanging around. Because dead Logan is almost as real as ever. Almost.
It doesn't help that Aura’s new friend Zachary is so understanding—and so very alive. His support means more to Aura than she cares to admit.
As Aura's relationships with the dead and the living grow ever complicated, so do her feelings for Logan and Zachary. Each holds a piece of Aura's heart…and clues to the secret of the Shift.
"Smith-Ready changes the world simply by changing our ability to see." — Publishers Weekly, starred review
"SHADE is a hauntingly good story and an intriguing beginning to a new series. Jeri Smith-Ready proves again why she is one of my very favorite reads!" — PC Cast, New York Times-bestselling author of the House of Night series
"The perfect combination of mystery, ghosts and romance, SHADE left me breathless." — Lisa Schroeder, author of I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME and CHASING BROOKLYN
I'm reading it now and I'm LOVING IT so far!!! And, I need to get back to the hospital, but next week, I'll blog about Jeri's awesome book signing party . . .
. . . at Constellation Books . . .
. . . where Jeri also took the time to absolutely make my son, Cooper's day when she gave him a signed copy of D.J. MacHale's latest book, MORPHEUS ROAD!!
Cooper loved this book and said it was one of favorite books EVER, which is pretty dang cool considering the kid reads lik