On the Brink

Hello once again Readers! Is that Dumbledore’s pensieve that I’m gazing into?! Why yes, yes it is! I felt it was appropriate for my topic today. You (the Reader) seeing the inside of my mind. Scary, I know. Your catching glimpses of my thoughts on being so close to published. Feeling the emotions that pester me minute by minute. Seeing my real addiction problem to Red Bull…

What?!

I digress.

So I’ve been feeling kind of crazy lately. There are so many things to prepare…so many thoughts swarming my mind. It’s literally exhausting. But the good kind of  exhaustion! I’m days away from being a published author. Can you believe it? I still can’t! And now is when the real work begins. Finding reviewers, marketing, wrapping up the edits on Embracing the Flame, starting the third to the Trilogy…it’s insane. And it’s everything I’ve ever wanted.

I’m overwhelmed by the positive feedback I’ve received thus far with the cover and blurb alone. There are a lot of people who are excited about the release. I can’t believe it! And with that, comes the responsibility. What responsibility you may wonder? Well, my readers are everything. For me, it’s not about being super famous or rich. I want the material I’ve written to carry you away. I want you to feel what my characters are feeling. I want you to get lost and come away feeling like you need more. That is all I want as a writer. I’m sure most do.

My biggest fear right now is disappointment. I don’t want to disappoint anyone, let alone myself. I’ve always been my own punching bag, but was lucky enough to find my Bestie who believes in me and sees me through all my doubts and insecurities. Without her, I’m not sure I would’ve gotten as far as I have. She reassures me constantly that my story is a great one…and I know it is…I just hope the majority feels the same.

Where is all of this coming from?

I’m days from the world having the ability to scrutinize my dreams. To tread on what I have worked so hard for and put so much into. I’m flooded with all these emotions as the days of waiting come to a halt. Worry, eagerness, excitement, joy, anxiety, fear…it’s just a tad of what I have actually sorted through. I think it will ease shortly after Born in Flames is published. At least, I hope it will. I haven’t been blogging as much because of these emotions. I’ve thrown myself into my second novel as a distraction from this exciting and anxiety-driven time in my life. I should be done with the edits by the end of September.

But I digress.

Basically, I’m glad you all are here, taking this journey with me. It helps keep the excitement and joy forefront! The support I have received lately is amazing and literally puts a knot in my throat. I can feel myself growing as a person, gaining strength and most importantly, patience. So thank you all!

I should be hearing from my publisher later today about the release date. Of course, you will be the first to know.

That being said, what in your life has thrown you into a whirlwind and how did you cope?

Echelon out ♥

(P.S) I will be holding a fun contest and giveaway within my next couple of posts. Getting pumped Readers!!!!!

How I Created A Book Trailer

Hello once again Readers!!! What? Is that Aurora (the main character of Born in Flames) leaving the cave in which she shifts for the first time? Why yes, yes it is. At least, that’s as close to what I see in my head that I could find.

I digress.

So as promised, I finally found time to write-up a blog on how I created my book trailer-for free I might add. But I must warn you, these tips are geared towards Windows Movie Maker (which is what I used). Now, you don’t have to take my advice. There are tons of blogs out there will similar helpful tips which is I how I pretty much figured things out. I’m just going to break it down how I understood it. And it only took me about two weeks to get it all together.

Lets begin, shall we?

  1. Photo Scavenging- I think this would be the best thing to start with. There are tons of sites that offer free photos and others that offer paid, royalty-free photos. The choice is yours really. If you have the money, the paid photos are better quality and offer no hassle as far as the “fine print”. If you use the free photos, you have to follow their rules. Some want to know you’re using them, others just want a mention. The best site I found was PhotoPin. Now, there are a bunch of photos on there that have nothing to do with what you are looking for, but there are some real gems. I’d say about 95% of the photos I used came from there. Here are some other sites: Shutterstock, iStock, Free Digital Photos, and Stock.xchng.
  2. Music- This was not easy for me. There are so many rules and the sites that offer royalty-free are a bit too pricey for my taste. Some sites are: Royalty-Free Music, AudioMicro. If you have the money to invest, they do offer great music, but if you have a connection to someone with talent, that would be even better. They can customize to your needs. I was extremely lucky and was offered help by Phillip. I’m not sure what his standards are, but he is great at customizing and creating music!
  3. Upload Photos- Now that you have your photos and your music, open Windows Movie Maker and upload all of the photos to begin placement. Each slide has the option to add effects to it. I chose to add fade in and fade out for every one, as well as the different camera angles that best suited the photo. Play around with it to get a feel for what you like and what fits the tone of your novel. If you’re lost, google the question you are stuck on. Even Windows has self-help sites geared towards Movie Maker to help you with all the finicky issues.
  4. Your Pitch- This is the most important step since it is selling your story. There is the option to add credits and a title. If you click on it, it also gives you the option to add caption to the slide or before the slide. I didn’t like the way the caption looked on the slide. So I chose to go before each slide. You can change the font, the color, the background, and the positioning to get the most effect out of it. Make sure you don’t cram too much into one slide because the viewer needs time to read it. I tried to make sure each image I added, matched what each slide was saying before the image, that way the viewer could get a visual of what I was seeing.
  5. Syncing- This is the last and most difficult step. The music needs to sync with the placement and timing of your photos. Besides searching for the photos, this is what took me the longest. I had a lot of help with Phillip because he saw the entire video without music beforehand, so he had something to go off of when creating the music. He did an awesome job of making the music hit where it needed to. Just remember that it’s just like the movies. The music plays a huge part in how a scene affects us. This should be applied to your trailer. Take your time in building the suspense.

I hope this helped you. I am by no means an expert at this. At all. This is just what I picked up from my attempts at making a book trailer. I’m proud of it and sick of it all in the same. I think it’s a wonderful marketing tool and if you have the money to invest into a professional that can do it for you, I totally would. There are trailers out there that blow me away. But if you have a tight budget, well, this is how I did it…for free.

That being said my friends…have you dabbled in this? Do you have any better advice to offer to my readers? Sharing is caring!

♥Echelon out!

Final Revisions Complete!

Hello once again Readers!!! What? Is that a Butterbeer you see? Umm…heck yes it is! I indulged myself yesterday afternoon to the wonderful taste of this delicious beverage as a treat for all my hard work. It was a nice, quiet day and was much-needed. It pulled me from the pit of nausea and anxiety that I was stuck in.

But I digress.

So after what feels like forever, I’ve finally managed to worm my way out of my Writing Cave. I was so deep inside it, for a moment, I thought I had become lost! I didn’t even pack the essentials when I left for the Cave like Doritos and Red Bull.

Gasp!

I know…exactly. That’s how serious it was this time. This was it. This was the last time that I would be able to make corrections to Born in Flames, so it had to have my undivided attention. I’m a perfectionist to a fault. I mean, I literally make myself sick with over-analyzing everything, hence the dire need for Butterbeer.

But believe me, it was well worth it. I can now rest assured that I put everything I have into my debut novel. I didn’t stop until I knew that it was golden. And I even called in back-up-my wonderful bestie Sonya. She read over everything for me just to make sure that it was ready to be set free! I can’t thank her enough for her wise words that always seem to set my scrambling mind at ease.

And now I can let out a huge sigh of relief. I feel a massive weight being lifted as I jump back into the second novel to the Trilogy, Embracing the Flames. It is complete, but I am only half-way through the editing. Once I feel it’s ready, it will go straight to my publisher for professional editing so we can release it as well. A long-awaited dream finally coming true.

Besides that, I have even better news. Born in Flames will be released by next weekend! I’m not sure of the actual date yet, but my publisher announced that it would be before Labor Day weekend! If it wasn’t for my mother I wouldn’t have realized that meant next weekend! Thankfully I finished the trailer in time! Now I just need to finish printing posters and 5×7’s to hand out and do giveaways.

And now I’m rambling. What I mean to tell you my wonderful, fantastic, AWESOME Readers is, I will be back full force with the posts on here! I have had a few ideas pop up that I wanted to delve into, but had to put aside to finish my main responsibility.

I digress.

Wish me luck! And to celebrate the final revisions being completed, here is the Preface to Born in Flames:

      The call of the orb was strong now that it rested in my hands. A song thrummed in my chest as I felt the veins in my neck beating wildly. Looking at it now, the change wasn’t as scary as I had thought it would be. Even with knowing that I could be staring my possible death in the face. The question was—would I be strong enough to sustain these powers given to me? Maybe I was just scared of The Fates choosing my destiny, or maybe I was scared that what was about to happen would forever change my life.

        Either way, growing up I had always hoped that my life would mean something more than just being a foster child, but this, this was much bigger than anyone could imagine. And what lies ahead? Well if it’s anything compared to what I am going through now, then I expect my life to fall into a whole new level of crazy. And I think it may be just what I was looking for.

Now to leave you with a question: How have you been! Anything exciting happen while I was away?

♥Echelon out!

Born in Flames Book Trailer ♥

Hello once again Readers!!! It’s been so long since I’ve blogged. I’ve been nose-deep in my edits and this book trailer! But I have good news!! I can finally say I’ve gotten one out of the two finished (as I’m sure you’ve guessed by now).

I can’t tell you how excited I am to have finished this book trailer. It feels like it took me forever, so I hope you enjoy it. I couldn’t have finished it, if it wasn’t for Phillip. He created the epic music for me. He rocks! Check out his site here. He’s a great guy and a blog worth following!!! Thanks Phillip!

Now for the drumroll please………………………………….(eeeeek!)………………………

    Born in Flames Book Trailer

I hope you enjoyed it! It was fun to make! Below are the links for all the images used to make the trailer. These photos were found on Photo Pin. It’s a good site for blog photo’s too. Now back to the editing. I’m over half-way finished. Hoping to be done by this weekend. The time is near folks!!!

Oh, and of course I will leave you with a question: What’d ya think?

♥Echelon out!

Girl in the grass: photo credit: Lua Ahmed via photo pin cc

Cave: photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/angrylambie/175812820/”>angrylambie1</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photo pin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

Forest Light: photo credit: Gilderic Photography via photo pin cc

Red Eye: photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/notsogoodphotography/2778909670/”>notsogoodphotography</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photo pin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

Blur Image: photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/narciss/3086277609/”>Kr. B.</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photo pin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

Clock: photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/tonivc/2283676770/”>ToniVC</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photo pin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

Hall of Knowledge: photo credit: N05/3344079694/”>SBA73 via photo pin cc

Cloaked Man: photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/alicepopkorn/6928606944/”>AlicePopkorn</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photo pin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

Waterfall: photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/yinghai83/6602173863/”>Yinghai</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photo pin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

Magic Hand: photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/g-ratphotos/3461116582/”>OUCHcharley</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photo pin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

Girl in Water: photo credit: N06/4259307200/”>Nina Matthews Photography via photo pin cc

Kissing: photo credit: N06/6898998880/”>Ariadna Bruna via photo pin cc

Old Book: photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/joelmontes/4762384399/”>JoelMontes</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photo pin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

Glass Ball: photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/mcgraths/3248483447/”>seanmcgrath</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photo pin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

Girl in Cave: photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/katiemarinascott/5919680042/”>katiemarinascott</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photo pin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

Girl on Bed: photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/nimahel/7636663984/”>NimahelPhotoArt</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photo pin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

Fire Hands: photo credit: Closing soon (look for MyVisualPoetry) via photo pin cc

Update: Book Trailer And Final Revisions!

Hello once again Readers!!! I thought I’d introduce you to my two lovely children so I uploaded my most favoritest family picture of them! Logan is the little boy with no eyes and Scarlett is the little baby with no eyes.

Oh…and yeah, that’s me behind them screaming at them to finish their porridge…

Huh?

I digress.

Quick post today and I bet you’ll never guess why…

Okay, so maybe the title does give it away (as always), but still…

So I received the edits from my publisher last night! The last and final edits. This is it people! I go through word by word to ensure that it’s exactly how I want it while fixing the few spots where she pointed out weaknesses in the plot. I am thrilled and anxious as this long-awaited dream finally becomes realized.

Woot!

When I finish this last sprint, she will format it and then voila, Born in Flames will be published!

Also, I’ve spent the past couple of days working on my book trailer that is now about 95% done. The last hurdle I’ve run into is finding usable music that won’t get me in trouble and won’t cost an arm and a leg. I’m sure I will be blogging about the process once I wrap it up.

And that about sums it up folks! I’m not sure when I will be blogging again since I am diving right into these edits as you read this. They need my complete and full attention. Wish me luck!

No questions for today (I know…shocker) so, Echelon out ♥

The Woes of Editing

Hello once again Readers!!! Happy Tuesday. I have to admit, I haven’t done much editing lately. Nor have I been on the blog. I even missed Six Sentence Sunday!

*Gasp*

I know, for shame. But I digress.

Like the quote? I read it on Pinterest and was like, “Yep. That’s totally me.” But not just in a scared-of-the-dark kind of way (which I totally am), but in a writing way as well.

How?

Well, I look at all my self-doubts as Monsters. They creep in while I’m trying to fall asleep and keep me hiding under my blankets, waiting for daybreak. Also, since I’m in the editing stage, all the worries of my script and issues that I thought I had resolved seem to surface and plague my confidence.

It’s a never-ending, sleepless cycle.

But  never fear! I have found a website called WriteOnCon. It’s for those who are looking for critique and advice on writing. Agents and Authors come together for workshops that are free. And as if the stars have aligned in my favor, I stumbled upon this one particular article that I could relate to at this time in my life. It has to do with editing and revising.

Ugh. I have a love/hate relationship with those two words. I think we all can agree on this: yes it’s fun to edit, but yes, it is also a grueling process.

So this particular author, Bret Ballou, talks about the hardships and how to overcome them while revising your work. I love feeling like I’m not alone. Knowing that, makes going through this process so much easier. Any who…

His ideas are simple and leave me thinking, “Why didn’t I think of that?” For instance, instead of simply deleting that entire chapter worth of blood, sweat, and tears, he creates a document called Graveyard where all that work goes. Safe and sound. I have to admit, I have deleted plenty without turning a blind eye. If it’s not good, it’s not good. Plain and simple. But if it’s an entire scene, I think it’s a good idea to keep it for a later date-like after you are published. It may be fun to release some of that material to show your readers where you had first seen the characters going.

He also talks about finding issues within your plot arc and then thinking, “Oh damn, now I need to re-write the whole thing.” I’ve hit this plateau with both of my novels. I finish it and then realize something small needs to change. But anything small is not really small inside of a novel. That small change has to be strewn throughout the entire manuscript, and that’s where you’re like, “Well damn. Now what.”

When I reach that point, I don’t throw in the towel. I realize that I need to go back through each chapter and make sure that, that tiny change is cohesive with the rest of the story. This is where having notes on your story helps because sometimes it’s hard to remember all the tiny details without having to read-thru the entire thing once again.

I must admit though, I don’t take notes as well as I should. I attempted a chapter-by-chapter synopsis and quit because it was boring and I could spend that time editing or writing instead. So I usually go off of my memory to find and fill the small changes throughout each chapter. Is this risky? Probably. But to each his own.

He also shares that when the words begin to grow bland and unreadable, try re-formating or changing the color in font. This will help break up the familiarity of your work and in turn make you feel as if you are reading something new. I haven’t tried it yet, so I can’t attest to it, but it makes sense.

He also says that if you have a kindle or e-reader, try uploading it onto it and having it read it out loud to you. Hearing it out loud helps. This, I can attest to, only I read it out loud to my bestie, Sonya. This helped us both with finishing up the revisions to our novels. You hear the weak spots and notice when the other is getting bored. I highly recommend finding a reading partner.

Just not my Bestie. She’s mine!

…yeah, so that about wraps it up lol. This article is great and I’m glad I read it. If you are near that stage, read it too. Trust me, going into the revision stage with a clear mind and confidence will help you get through it so much easier.

Now to leave you with a question…What stage are you at and how are you managing through it? Share your advice with us! The more the merrier!

Until tomorrow, Echelon out ♥

I’m on Goodreads! Yay!

Hello once again Readers!!! Long time no talk! Except for when I’m held up in a phone booth in the wilds of Canada like I am to your left. Then it’s long time long talk…? And fine, so I wasn’t “technically” in Canada. I was at the Canada in Epcot. Close enough for me!

I digress.

It’s been a few days since I’ve even been on here…so sad *shakes head*. A lot can happen in a few days. You could be abducted by aliens, you could win the lottery and live out your dreams, you could put your author profile up on Goodreads…wait…back up a sec, what was the last thing you said? Something about Goodreads?

That’s right people! I’ve finally got off my arse and set up my author profile on Goodreads. My novel has been added and can be shelved as to-read! What!!!! I know!!!

So many exclamation points!!!

I know it’s not published yet, but this is so exciting for me! It’s one step closer to being official. And to top that, I now have over 200 followers and I was nominated for two awards! The Beautiful Blogger and the Reader Appreciation Award. I am so grateful and on cloud nine (whatever that means)!!

The only thing that could top this would be finally receiving the email from my publisher that we are ready to go live with Born in Flames. Hopefully soon (sending subliminal messages to her now…).

I know this isn’t a very helpful blog (more like a journal entry…kind of), but I just have to share it with you because I am that excited about it. Literally. I’m grinning as I type this. (I know…I’m strange.) But I can’t help it. Seeing my cover online just sends little happy chills down my spine and makes me want to do 15 cartwheels in a row!

So to make this a helpful blog, I won’t bore you with another seven interesting facts about myself, but I will however pass on these lovely awards to some blogs I’ve recently started following. Love to pass the joy around!

Matt Knox * The Pittsburgh Housewife * Tamara Morning * Million Happy Endings * English as a Foreign Language * Dan Thompson * Words on the Page

May we all stay beautiful and appreciated, Bloggers.

Now to leave you with a question: What was the happiest moment in your life?

Until next time (most likely tomorrow), Echelon out ♥