Free Video Clips

I’m working on the trailer for How to Win Friends and Influence Magicians. Since I don’t know many college students who could bend reality for me to film, I had to comb the web for clips to make you all think I do. There are lots of free ones out there, so I thought I’d give you my list of the ones where I found what I needed. There is a sort of delineation between sites that contain actors and those that don’t. Any footage with actors will most likely be more expensive, but will have more specific action if you need it.

Free sites (This has a limited number of specific free clips, No actors) (Lots of free clips) (free video effects, but no actors) (public domain video footage) (Religious-themed backgrounds) (You have to choose the “free” price option)

Inexpensive Paid Sites (Most videos $20-$40, with actors) (Most videos are under $10, a few with actors) (More expensive, over $30, but with a large amount of stuff I really wanted to buy for my video)

Some other good lists of sites online:

I also bought a video creation tool called Power Director 10. I looked all over everywhere to find a decent, free video tool that could blend my videos together. But there just weren’t any that didn’t want to put a watermark in my film. I ended up getting a pretty good deal at I was able to find the best-rated software on Cnet with reviews and even a free download trial. It ended up being $50, but i know I’ll use it a lot for future book trailers, and I was able to test it out to see if I could do what I wanted to do with it.

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Places to Post a Free Ebook!

I looked around and found several places to post my free ebook! Here they are: This one I had trouble figuring out just how to get my book up. I skipped it to move to easier uploads.

So call me a dunce, but I didn’t know you could upload books on Goodreads. Derp!

I also learned where to post videos on Smashwords. There is a link on your book page on the right side underneath the “total downloads”.

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Some Links and a Question

First, here are a few more links I’ve found: This is a good one about things not to do when approaching, well, anybody. This is an ebook directory.

The Question:

What burning questions would you like me to answer on this blog? I have written a lot about my experiences, but what have I left out?


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Kickstarter for Authors

A few weeks ago, my hubby suggested a site called Kickstarter to help me raise money for my upcoming launch this summer. It sounded like a great idea, but also scary. I found it hard to picture how an author would accomplish a successful project asking for other people’s money on this site.

Then, Rosa Sophia gave me a great link to an author’s site who had posted a project for funding on Kickstarter:

There are a lot of people that this filtered through!

This article gave me the information connection I needed to start my own project! I really needed some concrete examples of how this site was used specifically for books. I think the site felt a little overwhelming to me because there is SO MUCH there. This post gave me the boost I needed!

Here is the link to my preview:

Please let me know what you think about this preview! Does it look like something you would contribute to? Am I missing information? Could I word it better? Is the photo too abstract, or does it represent well my concept? (This isn’t my cover art.) Is the ball of energy too orange?

I plan to make a video, but my voice is all scratchy with a cold so I’ll try that in the next few days.

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A Whole Bunch of New and Awesome Links!

Some days I struggle to figure out what to blog and some days I do the pee pee dance holding myself back from making 4 posts per day. I’ll give you a rundown of cool links I found in the last few days while posting lots of reviews.

Just read this article now and loved it!

Two interesting tools I signed up for but haven’t gotten the hang of yet.

Why Google Books is probably not a sales avenue (other than that my uploads don’t work)

Another book/reading community more focused on….

Something interesting I need to contemplate first:

 An awesom all-around website, followed by a ton of articles thereon that I loved: (This one mentioned free ebook again. Gotta get on that.)

Some links to free book promotion sites: (I signed up with 2 accounts, one for my author stuff and one for my blog reviews using 2 different email addresses) They are doing a promotion right now using your favorite 3 paragraphs of your books. Looks awesome!

A contest I didn’t enter but probably will: L. Ron Hubbard’s writers’ contest for new authors (self-published OK under a certain amount of sales) Limit of 1700 words, occurs several times throughout the year, one book per author per session.

Idea: Use to post book covers with descriptions for visibility



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Busy Beaver!

That’s me! I did a lot today. I thought you’d like to see since it may be something you would like to do too. This is a book/author listing sight. It’s free! I was reading through more book sales info from and they encouraged posting book covers here. This is my profile. The other stuff I read I’ve already mentioned here on the site. This is another book sales site with free ebook sales and a section where cover artists can post and sell art for covers. That’s cool and I sent it to some of my artist friends.

Now I’m going to go gnaw on some logs!

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Looking Back

A wonderful new author recently emailed me after reading Compulsively Writing Fiction, my free ebook on Smashwords, and asked me what I would recommend for a burgeoning author to read before embarking on the scary world of publishing. What would you recommend if this question were asked of you? It felt really good to go back over my research to give a good, comprehensive run-down of my recommendations. Here is my list:

Some books I liked were:

These are all free! But the ones below aren’t. (I found this one in ebook form at my library website) (this one too)

and these articles were good:

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I Love Free Listings!

I just got linked on ! If you want to sign up, visit here: It’s FREE but go quickly because their list fills up and then you don’t get on for a while.

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Critique Form

This is a cool critique form from Maine Muse:

The Musings of A New Englander

My instructor passed out a form for us to critique the work of others.

I thought we could pass this form to our beta readers. They can use it as a guideline. We could use it ourselves and see if we are spotty in some areas. Each section is worth five points for a total of 20 points.


-Attention needs to be paid to plot development

-The story lacks credibility in places

-Good start/good ideas but loses direction and force

-The story holds interest throughout but the ending is disappointing

-Flows smoothly,well researched, almost there

-This is a well-crafted story and it is clear that the author has considered all the aspects of the plot


-The characters do not always come over as real people

-Told from the viewpoint of too many characters, so that the readers learns little about them

-In general, the characters are believable …

View original post 138 more words

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How To Make a Video Trailer II: Video Clips

My first video trailer was made with photos and no video clips. You can find the steps I used here:

This time I wanted to use mostly video clips rather than a series of still pictures. Once I had the right clips, filmed by myself and my dad with our cameras, it was almost the same as using pictures! Here is how I did it:

  • I used Microsoft Windows Live Movie Maker again, which you can get for for FREE. It’s part of Windows Live Essentials:
  • It was still disgustingly easy to use and dummy-friendly. Like with photos, you just plunk everything in there with the “Add Videos and Photos” button. You can add effects and text just like with photos, and everything right there. You can export it in multiple file formats.
  • It took a little more creativity coming up with scenes I could capture on film. Photo is only limited to what I could find online. Video is harder. You can find royalty-free video online too, but that seemed expensive to me. I didn’t even look because I found ways to take my own video with help from Dad. I used family and friends and local places or places in my home. I bought, scavenged, or borrowed props to use on film. One trick was to take closer shots with the videos. Instead of showing the whole room, I just showed a close-up of the subject with limited background.
  • Windows Live Movie Maker has lots of special controls just for video. I had to pay attention to the volume of each clip and I adjusted the length of the clip using the controls (they highlight as soon as you click on a loaded video clip in the top tabs.) Some videos were louder than others and some had inappropriate sounds I had to avoid by starting after them or ending before. Here is a photo:
  • For music, I emailed my dad, the composer with a Masters in music again. (You should do that too. It’s really easy and cheap.) But if your dad isn’t a composer, you can contact . You can sample some of his work here: Some of this music is not available for use, legally, so don’t steal it unless you want to get sued by Electronic Arts or somebody like that.
  • If you need free music immediately, you impatient thing, go to this beautiful site: I particularly liked their link, and found a song there in case Dad didn’t have anything. (But he did. Neener.) WARNING: there is a lot of kooky stuff on musopen. Don’t worry, though, your music isn’t one of the kooky ones, user of musopen who is reading this post. It’s all those other people’s music that is kooky.
  • Music controls are like the sound controls (see picture) and are pretty flexible and easy to understand. You can time your music to coincide with the video action.

To show you how you can get different effects with the same clips using the video and music controls, here is my trailer spoof:

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If you have any kind of Android device, I recommend you try out the Evernote app. It is also an app available on Google Chrome, and what it does is connect your PC or Mac (I think) to your Android device using a notepad-type application. You can type on your computer and stick it into a note on Evernote and then pick it back up in your Android device. You can type something up on your Android and then get it onto your computer too.

I use Ever to take notes for my book reviews while I am using the Kindle app to read books. I can jot down thoughts while I read so I can refer to them later for the review. I can also use it to jot a quick note about any writing ideas I have so that I can leave the laptop closed.

The website, where you can access any of your notes on any browser is


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Library Thing

Library Thing has been mentioned in my web readings here and there, but didn’t really take the time to look. Since an author of a book I reviewed requested I put my review up there, I signed up. Here is my page:

Library Thing is a lot like Goodreads, but slightly less flashy with more emphasis on  information. There is a lot more room for detailed information too. For example, if you write with multiple pen names, this would be a great place to clarify that. There is a forum and they have groups just like Goodreads, but no alerts or mail (that I could see).

It was pretty easy and quick to sign up as an author and it was automatically connected to all the information I input before the approval. There is no block, that I could see, from anybody out there inputting information about any author or book. This was interesting and a little scary. Aside from the author page, they have an Author Chat area and an Early Reviewer section to review books before they are available to the public.

I feel more and more like I am just repeating information on all these sites, but I figure that if I get another reader, it was worth it. Overall, I am focusing on the blogging and Goodreads because there is no great way to use them all to their fullest unless I man the sites full time and stop writing. Since I signed up because of the writing, that would be nuts. And since I don’t want my kids turning feral (and mine would), I won’t be doing anything else full time anytime soon.

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Why An American Novelist Reads Manga…

I mentioned in my chart on Me, Sleep, Caffiene, and Writing that I read Manga, and that I’d write more about that later. Well here it is!

Yes, I confess, I read manga. If you don’t know what that is, they are comics from Japan and sometimes Korea. They are posted on lots of sites online and also are the basis for Anime. These comics are not all written for children. A great number of them are written for teens and adults, and there are even labels for the age/sex group they are written for. (Shoujou = girls, Shounen = boys, Josei = women, and Seinen = men)

No, I’m not a high-schooler dressing up in bizarre outfits in public. I am a boring, slightly odd homemaker reading Manga in my spare (hehe) time.

I think it has been a big boost for my writing and here is why:

  1. It is free. (Yep. Cheap-o alert!) Surprisingly, I don’t have wads of money to spend on books and the library, though it is free, often has a waitlist for ebooks. Yeah. Cause that makes sense… Anyway, many Manga are free because they are scanned and translated in the US by people who love them and want them to be available here. Many aren’t yet (or ever) licensed here in the US, so this is 100% legal. There are scads of websites and apps devoted to reading these free “scanlations” (scan + translation).
  2. Quality varies. All the work is done by amateurs and often people for whom English is not their first language.  This is actually good because it sharpens my skills regarding what is wrong and why. If grammar is bad, or sentences don’t make sense, I can correct them in my own mind to cement what not to do myself. If they are too indecipherable, I skip them, but overall they are mostly readable.
  3. The format of Manga consolidates a single or very few ideas in the story. These aren’t classic novels here. They are cranked out by the thousands and usually center around a single concept. Often these concepts are bizarre and seem mismatched, but that adds to the interest and creativity in connecting them. Seeing these ideas highlighted is a great way to learn more about them.
  4. The ideas are universal. Marc (my hubby) and I talk a lot about universal themes. Most writing employs them and Manga are no exception. The fact that they come from an entirely different culture emphasizes that fact. Japan is a nation based on very different foundations from the Western world and yet many of the human struggles in the writing are basically the same.
  5. I’m learning a new culture. I suppose that I might not get an accurate view of American culture by reading comic books, but I do get some idea. The same goes for Manga. Also, Manga are more widely-read there than they are here and so they can write to a broader audience than we do. I absorb so much insight from their different attitude towards daily life as seen in their light literature.
  6. The light reading of simple stories fits with my busy life. I can read a manga chapter in 5 minutes and it is often just what my sleep-deprived and exhausted brain needs. I love stories–wild and imaginative stories. I can’t get them from magazines (ugh). Novels are often too much for my weakened mind to tackle, but I still hunger for the story. This is where Manga fit in perfectly.

So that’s why I read Manga, and why I think it enhances my writing!

If you’re interested in trying some Manga reading, there are tons of places online you can go to for them. There are also lots of apps for Android and Iphone that connect you directly to them! I’m using one called Pocket Manga right now.

Here are some Manga websites to be read online or downloaded:


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Things That Are Missing

While searching your blogs and reading all the great stuff you post, I find that some very very important things are missing. I thought I’d list them here so you can be sure everyone sees what you want them to see. (Some of this information may only apply to WordPress blogs.)

Your link on your Gravatar: This link is important, but it takes a bit of clicking to find where to put it. I’m surprised how few people have their blog site linked back to their Gravatar image. When you comment and when you are listed under “followers”, it posts your Gravatar and not your blog link UNLESS you put that link in there.

  • Here’s how you do it: Click the image at the top right corner of your page next to the little magnifying glass to open your Public Profile. In the second sentence below “My Public Profile” you’ll find a link to Click that link. You’ll bring up’s profile of you. If you haven’t signed up yet, you can do that now. Be sure you have the picture you want and be sure to add your blog address to “My Links”, found on the left.

Your personalized Tag Line: I see a whole lot of blogs with the default tag line, “Just another site.” If you want to appear to be a blogger who knows their stuff, this is the first thing you have to fix. You have to either have no tagline, or write something in there. Really, you do.

  • To change your tagline: Go to the “Dashboard” and under the “Settings” option, click “General”. The second line under your Site Title is your Tagline. I think some people haven’t changed it because they have changed Themes and the previous theme didn’t show a tagline. I have had to delete mine with certain themes because they weren’t placed right and covered over other elements of the blog.

A contact email: I can’t think of any reason why you would not have a contact email posted where people could find it. You can set up a separate email address for free on numerous sites to use just for your blog. That way if some weirdo comes along wanting to sell you foreign medications, they don’t have your personal email. If you don’t have your email up there, how can someone contact you to ask to represent your book to publishers, or recruit you to write professionally for their company? I’m not promising that will happen, but if it does, you really want to have that email easy to find. Put it wherever you want, just so we can find it if we want to. Some people recommend posting it as a .jpg instead of text so that spammers can’t copy and paste your email address. I haven’t seen any spam email originating from my WordPress site, so I don’t know if this is necessary.

A way to follow your site if you aren’t on the same blog server: When I like I site, I want to follow it. If it isn’t on WordPress, though, and the author hasn’t put up a way to follow the blog, then I can’t. I might never see your blog again! You may never know that I was there or that I appreciated your site. There are lots of great ways to connect to blogs not on your blog network. One I use is Networked Blogs. (I noticed when I posted this that my Networked Blogs buttons seem to have been bumped off, probably when I last changed themes. Oops!) On Networked Blogs, you can connect to Facebook too. Pretty neat-o!

Those are the biggest offenders. WordPress can be complicated and I really hate all those blank pages in the Dashboard with just a link to a completely different page, or an obscure window to add something unexplained. I’m assuming it is how they transition to a new format, but I never saw the old one so it’s just baffling to me.

Best of fortune in your blogging!

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How Did I Get That Book On The Shelf?

How did I get my book on that bookstore shelf?

First, I had to identify where my book might be purchased. Third Place Books was ideal because I already knew that they consigned used books. I had done it before through them, so I knew they were all set up to put books on their shelves that weren’t ordered from a proprietary catalog.

  • Places like Barnes and Noble and big chains probably do not take books that are not on their special program. You can, however, look to see if they have an ebook publishing site!
  • Places that are tiny and have limited shelf-space will only sell the type of books you see on their shelves. If they are selling mostly classics or a certain type of book that isn’t like yours, don’t bother. Example: I looked at the independent bookstores at Pike Place Market and they all were tiny and sold mostly easy sellers and a few novelty books. Didn’t even try those.
  • Your best bet is at places that have a variety of books and are not affiliated with a larger parent company. Stores that advertise consigning your used books are ideal. My next endeavor will be Half Price Books because they also consign used books and that is a good indicator they may be receptive to consigning new books. The only reason we may not work out together is my second point.

Second, I had to count the cost of selling your book through a third party. (hehe) If you buy your own books at $5.26 apiece and pay $4.77 shipping and $1.50 in tax, then selling 3 books will cost you $22.05. If your reseller takes 40% of that and sells your book at $9.99 then you make $17.82 back and that means you are paying $4.23 to have your book available on the shelves.

This is actually my rundown of the three books on that shelf right now, and  it’s worth it to me right now. This was an experiment and it was partially successful. I’ll only lose $4.23 if my books all sell, and nothing if they don’t. My plight is not hopeless because there is a “Pro Plan” program through Createspace (where I obtain my print books) that I can pay an extra $39 to upgrade with a $5 annual renewal. Then I would pay only $9.30 for the books, making my cost $15.57(ish) instead and I’d make a $2.25 profit selling them. It’s worth it to leave it right now because I’m not sure my books will sell and the extra $44 for the Pro Plan is only worth it if I can manage to sell more than 22 books this year. Not so sure about that.

There are also other places I can publish my book that would charge me less. But it has to sell. I actually reversed the second and the third steps because I didn’t know how much Third Place would sell them for when I submitted, but it was worth it to pay extra to have them in the store. I had the books already, saved for just such an occasion, so I didn’t have to order them, just drive them over after I dropped the kids off at school.

Third, I had to contact the right people. There was a specific person who was in charge of the Indie Author Consignment program at Third Place. That person wasn’t the first or second person I contacted though. I called up the store and got a name and email of the person to contact. This person forwarded my email to the correct person, who gave me all the terms and such. Then I had to bring in a book to her for her to inspect, which I would not get back afterward.  That was intimidating, but this is the beginning, right? But there my book sits, ON THE SHELF!!!!! YAAAAAYYYY!
Now, I have to wait and scheme. Mwahahaha! Actually I also have to pester everyone I know about my book for sale so that they will know that I have one and where to get it. If the books don’t sell in six months, they are returned to me in shame, never to grace the shelves again (I think).
Remember, a published book is FOREVER. It may go in and out of print, but it is yours and you can sell it, and your children can sell it, and generations thereafter for as long as it isn’t public domain. Oooooh! Coooool!
That is how I did it! I bet you can do that too if you want. Go on!
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