Peek at the Process: How I make my video trailers.

Video trailers are a fun way to show people my books and give them a taste of what they’ll find between the pages. They’re also one of my favorite pieces of marketing media to make.

Some of you might think it’s expensive, or time-consuming, to make these videos, but I make them for no cost out of pocket and each video takes me around an hour to make.

What you’ll need:

  1. An account on a copyright-safe music site like Uppbeat.
  2. A video creation program like Video Editor (which comes already installed on most computers).
  3. An account on a media design website like Canva.
  4. An hour or two to spare.

When I make my videos, I use the blurb from the back of the book, so the text simply needs to be copied/pasted. I also include a few marketing images my publisher has provided. If you don’t have images of your book, you can also make these on Canva. In addition to the images and text segments, I love to use video clips which I create using available free video segments on Canva. I can mute and trim them to fit what I need and bring the whole blurb to life!

Once I have all the components I need, it’s a simple matter of uploading the elements and putting them where I want them and then adding the song I’ve chosen from Uppbeat. The great thing about Uppbeat is that the license code comes with the music when I download it, so I’m covered. Canva also makes what images or video clips are free to use very clear, so I’m safe and do not have to pay extra money. This isn’t a marketing post for either of these companies and I’m not sponsored, I just really love working with their products and wanted to share!

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Cherry Sunrises: Why Nikki matters to me.

For a kid, feeling a bit weird is commonplace. We’ve all been there. Our eyes are too far apart, our noses are too big, we’re too tall, too short, too this, too that. We all have our “too.” For me, though, a part of that too was feeling like I was part robot because of my shunt. For anyone who missed that story, here’s a quick recap: When I was three days old, my parents were told a grade four bleed had been found in my brain. The scale went from a one to a four and mine was the worst. When I was ten days old, the doctors operated on me and inserted a plastic tube into my head to relieve the pressure.

Thankfully for me by the time the feeling of “too” arrived, the tube in my head had been there for years so my hair hid it. None of the other kids knew it was there, but I did. I was always aware of it, but it was something I didn’t talk about. I thought kids would think I was a cyborg or something and being bullied for it was the last thing I wanted.

I had never met anyone with a shunt, aside from the doctor who gave me my vaccinations before school. I thought it was cool to see someone else like me, and so imagine my surprise when I sat down to watch Disney’s, at the time, latest made for television movie, Miracle in Lane Two. For anyone who hasn’t seen the movie, it stars Frankie Muniz as Justin Yoder, a wheelchair-bound boy who gets into soap box racing. The thing that stuck out to me was, he had a shunt too! Just like me! Through the movie, he deals with the idea of it malfunctioning or something going wrong and what that might mean for his health. Even though nothing had ever happened with my shunt, it was still always a notion in the back of my mind. Each time I had a headache, the thought of “Is it going bad?” would cross my mind for many years. He had the same thought. It meant the world to me, to see someone with that same connection. For years, he was the only character I ever saw in media with a shunt, and so, I wrote one myself.

When I signed onto the Doughnut Shop series, I hadn’t known what I wanted to write, only that I wanted Nikki to have a shunt. I wanted some young adult, or even kid, to have that same moment I did of “Hey! She’s like me!” Nikki is a spitfire of a character who was so much fun to write and it was therapeutic to get a worry or two I’d faced in the past onto the page. Having another character out in the world with her version of what those with a shunt can face, means a lot to me and I’m so proud of her. Forever, because of our connection if not for who she turned out to be, she will always be very special to me.

Have you read Cherry Sunrises? If not, you can grab your copy on Amazon today.

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Step into Darkness Series: The story that started it all.

There aren’t many of us who come into this world knowing what we want to do, but I think I might have. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a storyteller. First verbally, and then on paper with each word spelled the way it sounds. I still have a few notebooks filled with school-assigned stories written in a first grader’s handwriting.

In the second grade, my teacher called my parents in for a conference. They’d never been called in before, so they were confused, to say the least. That’s when my teacher retrieved my writing assignments and handed them over, saying it wasn’t common for a child to write pages upon pages. She encouraged my parents to help me hone what natural ability was there, and they have supported my writing ever since.

Over the years, writing dropped off in favor of reading until I was twelve. We moved to Alabama with the promise of only being there for a year and so, I turned to creating my friends instead of meeting people. I’d spend hours in my room with some computer program that let me add pictures and decorations to my writing. I created whole worlds, but I shared them with very few until the story that would become Would You Have Believed Me?

When I was fifteen, I decided to be brave and share my work in the scariest forum possible. The internet. I grabbed one of my old stories, thinking there would be enough space between my words and my heart if people hated it, and began posting. I thought it would be a simple copy and paste but realized it’s impossible not to tinker when I go back to a story. Especially when people began asking for more.

And so, one short story became one novel, my first, and then two, three, four, and five once I found Crazy Ink. The stand-alone spin-off Dark Steps was published a few months ago too and I’m currently writing another spin-off, Babycakes. Can anyone guess which character it follows as a teenager?

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Tulips to Kiss at Midnight: How I met the leading man.

Hey everyone! Today I’m talking about my latest preorder, Tulips to Kiss at Midnight. Tulips is my offering for the upcoming Flower Shop series and is a HEA sweet romance that will keep you guessing while giving you warm fuzzies.

When I begin to write, most of the time my characters introduce themselves to me as their scenes come along. In scene one, I enter the diner and there sits Ivy, looking out for an old friend. My leading lady has arrived, and she is fabulous. She’s sassy, smart, and outgoing. Onto scene two. Samuel Johnson is headed to Masonfield, Vermont. (Y’all might recognize this as the same town The Heart Recalls took place in. Check the bottom of the article for a bonus fact.) He’s tall, has dark blond hair, and he’s handsome…and that’s all I’m getting. There’s more to this man. There always is… but I had nothing.

I sat there, blinking at my laptop while this romantic lead gazed back at me from the page, but I couldn’t get a read on him. What was he hiding from me?

He smiles. He has a secret, but no matter how I search the corners of my imagination, I can’t seem to find where I’ve misplaced his past. I glance at the clock and too many hours have passed. I’m getting nowhere, so I put the laptop away for the night, trying not to look at the calendar. My deadline was in less than a month.

Days pass in this same way and the tension increases. Who is this mystery man? I ask myself. I look him up and down, turn him on his head, shake him to see what falls out of his pockets…and get nothing.

What makes him tick? It was time to call in backup for the sake of my sanity and there’s no better rescue for a stuck author than a good brainstorming session. I reached out to a dear friend and fellow author, Yolanda Allard (who you should check out if you don’t already know). We joked and laughed debating one idea after the next. Between the two of us, we molded his features trying one hat and then another on our plaything.

He’s a plant man! Yolanda wraps him in ivy.

Yes! But make him a Venus flytrap! I remold his features.

But he doesn’t want to eat people and be bad! Yolanda insists.

And then, Samuel Johnson smiled at me. In all our joking and silliness, I’d found him. I’d found his secret, and what a juicy tale he had to tell.

Want to meet Samuel and Ivy? Preorder your copy of Tulips to Kiss at Midnight today.

*If you’re a fan of The Heart Recalls, keep your eyes open while reading Tulips for an update on Adella and Parker.

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