Month: May 2014

A Simpleton’s Guide to Making a Book Trailer

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Book Trailers are all the rage right now, so with the upcoming release of The Button Legacy: Emily’s Inheritance, I thought I would try one!

I am technically challenged, but didn’t want to pay a fortune to have someone do a book trailer for me that might not be exactly how I wanted the book trailer to feel. I’m a touchy-feely kind of person and I wanted that to come across in the music and the photos I used.

So here it is. The Simpleton’s Guide to building your own book trailer. I hope it might help another writer as they struggle to find their way in this noisy world of publishing.

 

1. I went to animoto and opened a free account. (Note that the free account gives you 30 seconds of photos, video & music.)

2. I choose a background (Rustic.)

3. I followed the directions and downloaded personal photographs, paintings and free stock photos I found on the web.

4. I choose a song that matched the theme of my book.

5. When the book trailer didn’t seem as long as I wanted, I paid $30 to upgrade for a year.

6. I added more photos and then previewed the piece.

*** All of this took me about 3 hours. The second one I built took less than 30 minutes. You know what I mean. Don’t get discouraged, the end product is lovely!

Click on this link and tell me what YOU think about the results!

 

Ginger

A Grateful Nation

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We can thank our friends for gifts, our parents for talents and our bosses for jobs, but no earthly gratefulness comes close to what I feel toward our nation’s soldiers. To ALL soldiers who have served our nation. Thank you! May God richly bless your lives and keep you safe!

 

Why Book Clubs Count

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I read a wonderful article in the newspaper today about book clubs that are popping up like daffodils all over the country. These seemingly small groups of six to twenty people get together out of love for the written word. It’s a social club filled with wonderful people who appreciate quality writing and good stories. It made me think of a Des Moines Book Club, which consisted of several women who graciously read the first draft of my first manuscript.

Just like the article in the paper, the women of the Des Moines Book Club were brutally honest in their reading, which not only gave me a better sense of my story, but caused me totally rewrite parts of the book so the reader might better understand what was rolling around in my head. It was a lesson well learned.

So to book clubs across America, thank you for your honesty. Writers need your input and your reviews. Thank you for the generosity of your time, as you make us better writers.

Here’s a short tribute to those of you in book clubs, whose importance cannot be denied, from the poets and writers you support!

Surprise
by Beverly McLaughlin

The biggest
Surprise
On the library shelf
is when you suddenly
Find yourself
Inside a book-
(the HIDDEN you)
You wonder how
The author knew.

 

What God says:
Psalm 139:4 “Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely.”

Yes, Ms. Bonet, I Do Remember You!

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I am sitting at my writing desk fumbling with an aqua-colored  button given to me by a thin, aged woman I met one winter day on my way to Chicago several years ago. We were sitting side-by-side on a United 737 airplane when I saw the button fall from her hand knit sweater into her lap. She hadn’t noticed it and when she crossed her legs it fell to the floor. I patted the floor to retrieve the tiny bit of plastic and placed in to her trembling hand. I complimented her on her sweater, as I had never seen such a delicate weave or color before. One thing led to another and soon we were chatting about how the sweater came to be.

Her name was Yvette Bonet. She shared with me that the sweater was almost seventy-years-old, passed down from her grandmother to her mother and then to her. She had owned it since she was sixteen, a gift passed to her on that special birthday. The wool was angora, imported from France and dyed the pale aqua by a clothier in Paris. My eyes ran over the covering again, seeking ordinary pilling to a small hole that might give away the garment’s age, but their was none to be found. The buttons I thought were plastic, were actually dyed bone, craftsman carved and held in place by strings made of leather.

I watched her as she wove the leather of that missing button through her fingers and listened as she told me about her journey from France to the United States wearing that very sweater. Her eyes teared as she talked about leaving her beloved country, knowing again she would never see the grandmother she had come to love.

I shared the fact that the color of the buttons reminded me of a favorite aunt’s kitchen table. As we spoke, I found myself closing my eyes and swore I could still smell the six-inch high, fresh rolls that seemed to emerge from my aunt’s kitchen any time a neighbor or friend arrived. I knew the warm butter mixed with homemade jam would drop from my lips at any moment.  In that short journey, this stranger and I shared vivid memories of the bright moments the color of those tiny buttons evoked.

As we hugged each other goodbye, she placed the tiny bone button in my hand. “You gave me back the memories I thought were lost. Remember me with this,” she said as we parted.  “I have no children to pass this on to, but you will remember me, won’t you?”

God is so faithful in the way he has given me out-of-the-blue recollections of so many people I have travelled with over the years. Yes, Miss Bonet, I do remember you.

I push back my office chair and smile at this tiny aqua-colored button that rolls in my hand. It is a good memory.

I Found a Button

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I reflect on my past a lot. Not the bad parts, as I try to let those dark moments go. Instead, I stop often to remember the people, places and things that influenced me. For those who have read Run, River Currents, it goes without saying how the place of Plaster Rock, New Brunswick made a mark on my life. But, you may not know that it was a tiny button I found on a journey to Italy that started me on a path to my upcoming release, The Button Legacy-Emily’s Inheritance. 

I was in the small town of Vinci, home to Leonardo de Vinci. The others travelers had decided to visit de Vinci’s Museum, but I was feeling restless and decides to roam the small village while they toured the site. I remember strolling down a short hill lined with stone walls that overlooked a spectacular valley. The sight caught me off guard and I stopped to take in the grandeur that surrounded me. A moment later an old woman on a bicycle sped by, her front basket filled with fresh flowers. I remember feeling so lucky as to be able to enjoy such a cultural banquet. Knowing that my fellow sojourners would soon be emerging from the museum, I started back up the hill. tripping over the uneven stone sidewalk and dropping to the ground. I glance around hoping no one saw my clumsiness. As I put my hands on the sidewalk to raise up, I saw a small red button to my left. I picked it up, palming it until I was again on my feet.

For the balance of my walk up the hill, I let the small round circle turn over in my hand. It was then that the remembrance of my grandparents button box came to mind. It was there that the stories from my youth wove there way into The Button Legacy-Emily’s Inheritance. Funny how such simple things in life turn into stories, isn’t it?

Do you have a story that came to life from a life experience? Share it, won’t you?

 

A Moment Alone

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I’m sitting at my desk trying to read the final proof of my upcoming novel, The Button Legacy-Emily’s Inheritance. I don’t feel like writing. I feel like taking a walk. I feel like eating chocolate. I feel like studying my Bible. I feel like pushing my feet into the sand of a beautiful beach. But there is so much to do! I have students waiting for test results and papers that need to be graded. I have phone calls to friends and family who I am constantly forgetting to respond to. There are meals to fix, a dog to feed, visitors to entertain, laundry to finish, beds to make, dished to do, a lawn to be mowed, groceries to be bought, and a bicycle that needs repair.

And then I realize, I need to bow my head and settle into God’s loving arms for just a few moments. So, here at my desk, I stop everything and I pray. I thank God for the stories that will come, for the forgiveness He has given me, for His constant strength and companionship when I feel so alone. I praise Him for the sun that shines in my heart when the storms are outside my window and allow him to remind me that I can do all things through Him.

The realization that arrives that this moment is not about me. It’s not about my feelings, nor my good or bad day. It’s not about how life treats me. No, it’s about Him. It’s about the praise He deserves. It’s about what He has done. It’s about how loving He was when I rejected Him and how full of grace He was when I realized how unworthy I really am. The thought of His sacrifice cover me like a gentle sigh and I am lifted up once again.

And for a moment in my heart I cry, “Praise be to a Holy, Holy God!”

How Life Can Give You Ideas

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This post is a repost from my traveling days. I couldn’t help but repost it, as I had something similar happen on a plane journey to Australia. Enjoy!

Recently ,I purchased a “Body Bugg”. (www.bodybugg.com) to give me some motivation to lose a bit of weight. The Body Bugg is a calculator of sorts. It monitors the amount of calories you burn in a day via a black armband you wear on your upper arm. At night, you log on to your IPad and enter everything that goes into your mouth, including breath mints, gum, etc. The Bugg then gets plugged into your computer and syncs to calculate how many calories you ate and how many you burned!

When it quits screaming, you’ve done okay. That is where the story begins.

I got on a plane to Chicago from St Louis. I’d been working all day and was feeling full of energy. For those that know me, that’s not always good. I get to my row on the plane and there is a distinguished looking man, a bit older than I am, if that is possible, sitting in the tiny seat next to me. He stands and steps aside to let me into my seat. I take off my jacket, which reveals my Body Bugg. I see him looking at it, but he says nothing. Curiosity finally wins him over and he says, “What’s that thing on your arm?”

I say, “A jail monitor.”

“What did you do?”

“Murder.” I say matter-of-factly.

He gets quiet and turns away. A few minutes later he looks at me and says,
“You look like a nice enough person. It must of been a long time ago.”

I read the hope in his eyes, but I can’t resist.

“Yeah, it was. ‘Bout two weeks now.”

His eyes widen. “Why are you on this plane then?”

“Going to meet my parole officer in Chicago. She thinks I’m a flight risk.”

He cranks his head sideways and gives me a good long look.

“But you’re on a plane, doesn’t that mean you are a flight risk?”

“Naw,” I say. “The police put me on this plane. Actually, I was more of a driving risk. Got out of Colorado ten days ago in a golf cart. Made it clean to the Oklahoma border before someone stopped me.”

“Why did they stop you?”

“I still had someone’s clubs on the back end and there wasn’t a golf course for two hundred miles.”

By now, I’m barely able to contain myself, but the business man is so intrigued I just have to play it out.

“Yeah, even stopping for gas didn’t raise anyone’s suspicion,” I said. “I told them I lived just down the road and had forgotten my purse. Everyone helped me out.”

“How did it end?”

“How do these always end, Mr.?” I said straight faced. “Speed trap.”

He stares at me for the longest time wondering if he heard right, then bursts right out laughing.

We both chuckled for  the rest of the trip. That moment gave me a great scene for an upcoming book!

And THAT’s how scenes can be made!