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Monthly Archives: August 2011

How to Brighten An Author’s Day


What do you do when you receive some good news?

You share it with the world!! 

My good news?
I was just checking the ibook store the other day and was having a look at the bestseller list for Romance and what do I see? Gena Showalter’s new release Dark Taste of Rapture, it’s number 13 on the bestseller list which is to be expected. Gena Showalter, for those of you that don’t know is an author of epic proportions! She’s a global bestseller so you know she’s all kinds of awesome all over.
She and Kresley Cole are my favourite authors in the paranormal romance genre. If any of you haven’t read their work then I highly suggest you pick up any book in Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series or any of Gena Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld books.
I’m getting side tracked. >.< Let me get back to the point. I was on the ibookstore and saw Gena Showalter was number 13 which wasn’t unexpected. What WAS unexpected was who I saw right next to her….ME! A Wolf’s Oath was number 14!!!
If that isn’t a way to brighten up a writer’s day, I don’t know what is!! I could hardly believe it, I was right next to one of my writing idols.
I was blown away. I still am. I had to take a picture for posterity and now I can’t stop looking at it. I keep thinking that the whole thing was made up by my fevered brain in an attempt to make me write the blurb for Whirlwind of Pleasure faster. Thankfully I have the picture to confirm that I’m not completely crazy. Look!!
I suppose that’s enough of my wild ramblings.  I just wanted to share the good news with all of you as well as say thanks to everyone who bought a copy of the book and made that little bit of sunshine come into my life. You are all sorts of amazing! Here’s hoping that we can do the same for A Wolf’s Pride which should be available on the ibookstore next week!!

And don’t forget if you want to win a copy of Rocked by Passion come over and join me on the Mega Author Blog Hop!! It’s running all this week. Come over and join the party!!

 
 

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A Hop! A Discount and A Winner


So this post is going to be a short one!

It’s more an announcement than an actual post but here we go!

Starting from Monday 22nd August, the Sultry Summer Nights Blog hop will go live! I really hope you take a look. It’s going to be awesome, lots of fantastic authors, giveaways and a chance to chat with all of us.

Click Me!!! And join the party from Monday 22nd August!!!

We have a winner….2 actually.

Firstly, the winner of the free book is Nicole!!! Now I know you liked the cover for Submerged in Ecstasy but as that hasn’t been released or completed yet let me know which one you’d like instead.

Secondly, the winner of our discounted book is….Seared by Desire!! As of today the book will have a 50% discount throughout August!!

I really hope to see lots of you on the blog hop tomorrow!!

 

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Obsession begins with a book


I’m many things. A writer. A sister. A girlfriend. A friend. A daughter. And these are just a few but this week i’ve discovered another side to myself. I’m obsessive. Not just a little obsessive either I mean truly obsessed. When an idea grabs me it will NOT let me go. Let me explain.

I decided to self publish and when you make this decision it means you add a whole host of other roles to your repertoire. Editor. Illustrator. Marketer. Publisher. Agent. In my case my obsession centres round the role of illustrator….Seeing as I cant draw to save my life imaging to change illustrator to designer. Now I decided that I was going to create covers for my books but it’s surprisingly difficult to transform my 100,000+ words into a single image.

You’ve seen the evolution of my book covers if you’ve been following this blog but if not let me explain. It began with Seared by Desire and because I had Rocked by Passion published as well my obsession spread. I thought they were all absolutely lovely at the time but still something niggled at me. It was sort of like that sensation you get when there’s something in your shoe. You want it gone more than anything but you just can’t seem to make it happen.

Nothing seemed to work for me. I spent days working on new ideas, obsessively trying to create what I wanted to represent my books. Nothing worked! Everything was alright but nothing was outstanding. Personally I think my insanity was beginning to spread…if the murderous looks my sister kept giving me are anything to go on. Really, I think she was going to murder me when I was asleep if I showed her one more image. But then it happened. That eureka moment!

I can’t be sure but I think it came about when I got the letter from the US tax office, which by the way, did not give me the news I wanted to hear. After two months of waiting, I finally saw a letter from the IRS. I was so excited until I opened the letter…Did it hold the long awaited tax payer code? Absolutely not. No, it held a letter requesting information. After the fiasco of me getting into the US embassy I didn’t think I needed to give any more information. I filled the letter out in the IRS office and was told it was fine, that I should expect the tax payer number within 12 weeks. Apparently that wasn’t good enough….Anyway, I’m getting side tracked.

The point I’m trying to make is that after weeks of obsessing I think I’ve finally done it.

I’ve finally created book covers that I’m 100% happy with!

Take a look. Weeks and weeks of labouring and I finally have a finished project. Creating a cover I was happy with filled my every thought and meant I didn’t get much writing done which is a sorry state of affairs.

So in series order, here are the final book covers for the Elemental Passions series.

Seared by Desire


Rocked by Passion

Whirlwind of Pleasure

Submerged in Ecstasy

To make up for my lack of writing I have three things for you!

1 – The book trailer for the series 😉

2 – A contest

Tell me which cover is your favourite and I’ll arrange for one reader to win a free copy of that book. Seared by Desire and Rocked by Passion are complete and if you’re happy to wait about a month then you can have Whirlwind of Pleasure which is what I’m currently working on. All you have to do is leave a comment saying which one is your favourite.

3- A Promotion

Because I’m so pleased with how they’ve all turned out I’m also going to run a promotion as well. I’m going to put Seared by Desire and Rocked by Passion in a head to head battle!! You vote for your favourite and the book that wins will be discounted by 50% until the end of August!!

 

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How to make a book trailer


Today is one of those rare things for us in England. A sunny day!! You’ll never find a person who appreciates sunlight more than a British person. The sun rarely deigns to visit us so when it does I should make the most of it right? Apparently not. I was once again inspired to do something that makes me want to block the sun out to prevent glare on my laptop screen. Creating a book trailer!!

Now I know I’m not the only one who gets struck by these bursts of creativity so I thought I could map out my journey for anyone brave enough to do it. The first thing you’re going to need to do is set aside some time…not a little bit of time, a lot of time. Your book trailer might only be a few minutes long but trust me when I say it takes a lot of time to put it together!

The next thing you’re going to need is software. Depending on how committed you are you’re going to need either one or two pieces. One for video editing and one for image editing. I’m a mac and proud so I’m going to being using iMovie for the video editing software and I used pixelmator for the image editing. Now both of these are applications you have to pay for but there are others out there that have that magic price tag! FREE. Here’s a few that you could look into that won’t make your wallet weep =)

How to make a book trailer continued…

What’s next? Next you need to summarise your books into a few short sentences. Literally only a few. No more than twenty. Anymore than that and it’s not snappy enough and your trailler will be too long to keep people’s attention.

Here are a few for FREE =)

Image editing

– Sketchbook express

– Seashore

– Paintbrush

Video editing

– Muvee Maker

– Windows Movie Maker

Right so you’ve got your software and now the next step is your images. You’re going to need images that capture what you’ve written. Now this isn’t going to be easy I admit it honestly. You’ve spent months with your characters, you know what you want them to look like and if I’m being honest which I always try to be, there’s not going to be a single picture that represents your book. Why? Because your book is unique to you and unless you’ve figured out a way to take pictures of the images running through your head then you’re going to have to compromise.

P.S. If you’ve found a way to take pictures of the images running through your mind tell me!!

Okay, where was I? Oh yes, pictures. There are a whole host of images out there that are going to be the closest approximation of your book all you need to do is find them. Two things.

1 – Google is your new best friend.

2 – I’m here to help so here are some sites that have pictures on them.

ó www.istockphoto.com

ó http://www.freeimages.co.uk/galleries/nature/index.htm

ó http://www.stockfootageforfree.com/

ó http://www.dreamstime.com/

ó http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1076917

ó http://www.123rf.com/

Some of them are free, some of them aren’t. The images you choose will all be specific to your book so I can’t really recommend any site over another but that’s half the fun!

Okay, so you’ve got your images! Well done. Here’s the tricky part. Making them into what you want. Remember that image editing software I recommended before, you’re going to want to grab it now. Some images will be fine as they are, others will want some tweaking. If you’ve set aside lots of time like I suggested then you’re going to be fine. If not then it’s not too late to get that extra time.

Why do you need this extra time you ask?

Because you’re going to take those images and make them into something that they might not have originally been intended for.

Take for instance this image here.

I saw it and instantly thought of the heroine in my book, Rocked by Passion. It was almost perfect but Estraya’s eyes aren’t gree. Damn! So what did I do? I sat down with the time I didn’t have and made her eyes the right colour.

See much better, that little trick took me the better part of 15 minutes and it wasn’t even the hardest one I had to do. If you spent 15 minutes on even just 10 pictures that’s two and a half hours!! And you had to find the pictures in the first place which isn’t a walk in the park either.

Right, so you’ve got your pictures, you’ve edited them slightly and now you want to put them together. Get that movie editing software ready now.

Put your pictures in the orer that best reflects the story and place the short sentences you wrote on top of the images or between the images or both whichever suits you best.

My next piece of advice is to get your soundtrack! There are lots of places that you can get music to act as the background for your words. It will all depend really on what you like to listen to and what you think best compliments your book trailer.

The last thing you’re going to need to do is add effects to your images. Spinning, fading in/out, mosaic effects. The list is a long one and again you’re going to need to pick what best suits your book!

I think that’s it. You should have a book trailer!

Congratualtions.

I think that’s enough from me. I’m off to enjoy the sunshine before it disappears!! Oh before I forget, in honour of this post which actually took me about 3 weeks to complete from start to finish, I’ll be uploading a book trailer for my Elemental Passions series soon!

 

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