Musings Over Coffee: Write From the Heart

Cleaning my phone photo album because I’m hitting 2TB on my cloud storage and found my first ever self-made trailer for Everything She Ever Wanted from October 2016. Brought tears to my eyes because I never really wrote it as a category romance story but one woman’s journey from darkness to light, from losing herself and finding herself again. It’s women’s fiction at its heart and the two-minute-long trailer pretty much says it all.

These days, if I make a trailer, it’s straight to the point and as succinct as I can get it in 30 seconds or less, the details sacrificed for SEO discoverability and limited attention spans on social media. It’s a gift to find treasures like these because they remind me that once upon a time I wrote for the pure joy of writing, needing to tell the stories I had to tell from my heart.

This is also why I no longer have a publishing schedule like I had last year and at the beginning of this year because there was no more joy, just hustle and hustle and hustle harder because if you slow down, readers forget you. Only in doing so I forgot myself and felt so empty and hollowed out like Bilbo Baggins says in Fellowship of the Ring, “I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.”

But I digress.

I need to go back and clean up my phone storage.

Falling for Jordan is LIVE!


FALLING FOR JORDAN, the second book in a Different Kind of Love series that began with Dax and Harlow’s story in Everything She Ever Wanted, is officially live. I’m so grateful for all the people who have helped beta-read, edit, and proofread this book, and to the many ARC readers who had way sharper eyes than I did after I thought everything was said and done.

This is my seventh novel to date since I published my first book in 2014 and it’s a strange feeling. I’ve also published two novellas so the count, as far as published stories are concerned, is nine. Still, every book published is a special event and this one is just as special (although not as nerve-wracking) as the last one.

Anyway, I’ve received emails from some readers asking me what programs I use to make my videos like the one above and the lowdown happens on the next page.

Revisiting Old Muses

Before I learned all about the alleged importance of writing to market, I wrote from the heart.  I still do although it usually starts as a tug of war inside my head that goes like this:

Business me: Write to market.

Creative me: NO!

Business me: It’s what people want. More sex. More sizzle. More… whatever the market wants.  Maybe whips and chains.

Creative me: No, I want to write about love and pain and trust.

Business me: Write to the darn market anyway.

Creative me: Whatever.

Luckily, the creative part of me wins during the writing phase, leaving the business me to scramble on how to market the finished book to the public.  But this isn’t the point of this post.

I found a few of my older trailer videos back when I was posting most of my stories on Wattpad (and then unpublished when I started self-publishing for real) and one of them is finally coming out of the shadows in a contemporary romance box set that launches in May.

In His Heart first started out as a 50K word romantic suspense novel but I saw major problems with it when I wrote it – like how on earth did I make Hermosa Beach PD look so bad? I lived one block away from the station and they were good people – the ones I knew.

So I knew I had to change a few things like focus mainly on the romance and cut back on the suspense part but I wasn’t ready to read the whole piece all over again when I had another novel to get ready at the same time this novella was due for the box set.

Thank goodness for book trailers because it turns out I made one for In His Heart.  And the inspiration for my two characters, Josh and Livvie, are there along with the original blurb and the mood I wanted to convey. Rose Leslie and Nicolai Coster-Waldau are perfect, and even though I no longer use actors to imagine characters, Rose and Nicolai are the only ones I see in my head for California surfer-detective Josh and feisty Cali girl, Livvy.

Disclaimer: All images of the actors belong to their respective owners.  

An Updated Book Trailer

I have a confession: I love making book trailers. I wish my laptop could still handle the demands of Camtasia which is my go-to software to make videos but alas, it can’t, so I had to find other apps that could help me create book teasers and trailers.

My current go-to is Animoto (available for desktop and mobile devices) and if you haven’t tried it yet, definitely check them out. They offer beautiful themes you can use and while the free version limits your videos to 30 seconds, the Plus version is quite versatile. You won’t have access to some videos that are in the Premier plan but what you do have available is already a great selection. With Animoto you can upload your own pictures and videos and arrange them along with text and royalty-free music to tell your story.

For authors stumped on their blurbs, this is a wonderful way to craft your elevator speech as you craft the storyboard for your video. What is your book about? What is the conflict? What is the hook? I have come up with my best descriptions from making Animoto movies.

This is the latest book trailer for Everything She Ever Wanted and this time, I included some review quotes.

Another app that I use is the mobile only Ripl app. It allows you to craft images and up to 30 seconds of video that they post directly to your social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You can also save the images and videos for later use.

I also use Magisto which just recently launched a version for ads but I haven’t checked that out yet. As much as I love video, sometimes when it comes to book marketing, nothing beats a simple image that features your book along with a quote or snippet or two. Or even just the image of the book and nothing else.

What about you? What programs do you use for your book ads?