How to make a book trailer

The Birth Of a Book Trailer

I knew I needed a book trailer to help promote my debut YA novel Winnemucca. First of all, I love movies. Heck, I live in Los Angeles. And, I worked in the entertainment industry. I knew the power of the trailer. Plus, how much fun would making my own trailer be?

But still, I didn’t know how to make one. Hmmm. I’d incorporated videos in my designs for years at E! Entertainment Television and at The Los Angeles Times. But they were provided to me by amazing teams of award winning videographers. And the photos I worked with were shot by Pulitzer Prize winning photographers. Who did I think I was trying to do this all on my own?

Well, that’s the best part. We aren’t on our own! Writers are some of the most generous people. And so I kept my eye open for trailers that I loved. Enter the wonderful writer Rebecca Rasmussen [@birdsisters] author of The Bird Sisterspublished by Crown/Random House. I was surprised to find out she made her own trailer. Rebecca was very generous with her support and advise. Thanks Rebecca!

So after a load of conversations I managed to conjure up a recipe for book trailers:

  • iMovie application.
  • A killer soundtrack.
  • stock videos.
  • stock photography.

and WaaaaLaaa! You have your book trailer.

A Recipe For Book Trailers

iMovie is a very easy application to work with. It’s drag and drop so no worries there. And it comes with every Mac.

A killer soundtrack is so important. I don’t mind book trailers where the author reads their work. There is something very pure about that. But, like I said, I love movies. Music that evokes your story is compelling and can draw a viewer into the trailer in a unique way. I used Most of the audio clips are very reasonable priced. [I splurged on this and purchased sound for $60 because I loved it and am a music junkie.]

Stock Videos. I’ve seen a lot of trailers that try to tell the story with static images and scrolling or rolling text. It’s a great effect. But, the medium is meant for video. And, if you don’t have any that you’ve shot yourself, stock video sites are great ways to add some punch to your trailer. Sites I like include Both have great selections and great ways to save multiple videos for your consideration so if you are busy, like who isn’t, you can come back later and make your final cut. Again, most videos are very reasonably priced, but watch it, some aren’t. And don’t worry if your video has a soundtrack with it. iMovie let’s you separate the audio channel out and you can use whatever audio you want with any video. My average purchase for a video was $15.

Stock Photography. I use the same sites I recommended above to find images for book covers and for book trailers. Again, stock photography is reasonably priced. But be sure you check prices.

As always, have a budget in mind and stick to it, mine was under $90. It’s really important to get the word out about your book, but what’s more important is how much fun you have doing it!

The Book Trailer

Winnemucca is a young-adult small-town fairy tale about a teenage girl awakening to her own intuition on an enchanted road trip. One lie will change Ginny’s life forever. The truth will will set her free.

Over To You

Did I miss anything? Do you have any tips or tricks from making your own book trailers? If you have anything to add to this article, or even just want to share your own book trailers, then please add it to the comments below…

YA Storytellers : *blushes* or yeah I d-id….


This week for Fun Friday the YA Storytellers are dishing embarrassing moments. There are sooooo many to choose from for me. But the one that just cracks me up is the one that happened to me in Houston. I hadn’t flown very far, it was only a four hour flight. So I can’t blame this on jet leg or even exhaustion, I guess I could try and blame it on what I call travel haze. Overstimulation. Rushing. This thing and that thing on the mind. I was not quite where I needed to be CLEARLY.

See, I had to pee. Yeah. And so I did. Only, as I did, a very deep voice in the stall next to me said in a southern, very gentlemanly accent, “Ma’am, I believe you are in the wrong bathroom.” He must have seen my pink painted toes. You know those moments, the ones where you’re like, REALLY? It sort of hits me between the eyes and the center of my stomach at the same time and I alternate between wanting to laugh and disappear. I didn’t laugh. I remember that because I was so gobsmacked, as a good friend would say–it actually is the perfect word to describe how it felt for me. So I sort of doubled over on my half-naked self and swore silently. Then he added, “I’ll make sure no one else comes in while you are in here.” And my rescuer was a very wonderful man who asked me if I was okay. And I thought I was, but maybe deep down I really wasn’t. Anyway, looking into his deep dark eyes and seeing his white smile made whiter by his chestnut skin, I felt certain he was an angel watching out for me. A perfect stranger’s kindness is usually what meets my embarrassment every time. I guess fast friends are formed in the intimacy of being vulnerable, being human. And for every time I’ve wanted to disappear when I’ve been embarrassed, I’ve been given a measure of magic too.

Ginny, in Winnemucca, a small-town fairy tale has an embarrassing moment when she realizes she’s falling for the local axe-murderer…at least that’s what her best friend Lizzy calls him. Of course this happens the day she’s planning to breakup with Bobby, her fiáncee. Here’s the excerpt:

Clyde placed his murdering hand on the doorknob and took his

eyes off me for the very first time. He walked out of the stock room

but something floated in the air behind him and whatever-it-was

caught in the door Lizzy held open. I bent down, and freed the

paper, but it was just an empty toilet paper roll. I tossed it into the

garbage but when it landed on a pile of folded Pampers packing

boxes, I saw what I hadn’t seen when I held it in my hand––ribbons

of blue words.

“What’s that?” Lizzy said pawing my hand.

“Nothing.” I rolled it over in my fingers trying to make sense of the

scribbling. But, it wasn’t scribbling. It was, poetry. Even had a title,

No one loves you like me. Dated the day before.

There’s a circle, a spiral I walk

with dear Ginny

and a wish we’d never part

as we lift over our barbed wire sea

Ginny. Me. Clyde signed his name so hard it indented the

“Let me see,” Lizzy said. But I stuffed the poem in my apron like a

used Kleenex. Like it wasn’t the most enchanting moment of my

life––that a man I’d never spoken to wrote a love poem about me.

And for the first time I didn’t believe the rumors about Clyde.

Lizzy unloaded another box of shampoo and I peeked at the next


The Devil’s rope around my heart

I wanted to know more about Clyde as desperately as I wanted

nothing to do with Bobby.

“Now, you girls get back to work,” Charlie said, all fake mad, his

forehead a sea of wrinkles, his tuffty eyebrows formed a V like a

Muppet. Tie Guy sighed, scribbling on his clipboard again.

“Anna knows where you are. Bobby’ll be here any minute,”

Lizzy whispered in my ear.

I rolled Clyde’s poetry in my fingers, trying to read every word.

“Let me tell Bobby.” Lizzy eyed the poem.

I shook my head, dropped the poem into my apron pocket and

grabbed Lizzy by the hand so we could catch up to Clyde. My cell

vibrated again. I searched up and down every aisle but Clyde had

vanished. The clocks on the new majestic shelves in aisle nine

weren’t running. I stared at them anyway.

“Why are you just standing there?” Lizzy asked.

Clyde walked past empty picture frames and table lamps.

He met me at the frozen clocks and leaned his mop against the

majestic shelves.

My cell vibrated again, and all I wanted to do was breathe in

Clyde’s big-sky, blue-eyed stare. My stomach sank knowing why.

My heart had Devil’s rope around it too. I held tight to Espy’s

“Lizzy Fairchild, to the register,” Charlie announced over the

Lizzy said, “Keep away from my best friend, Convict.” She threw

Clyde an axe-murdering gaze on her walk down the aisle. She

was a master at axe-murdering gazes.

I’d never really seen Clyde before. And right then he wasn’t just

one of the people on the edges of my life anymore, he was front

and center.

“Straddling the fence is the same as straddling the middle of the

road,” Clyde said, like he knew the ripening would seal our fates.

Like he’d been with me when my sleep went thin and I’d straddle

the open road. And there, in aisle nine, I fell for Clyde. It was

wrong. It was lousy timing. But it was real. My heart jack-hammered

and more than anything I wish I had the power to freeze time.

Thanks for stopping by. If you feel like sharing one of your embarrassing moments, feel free to comment and we can have a laugh together. Check out all the fun posts from the other YA Storytellers here. Have a wonderful weekend! *waves* from Indonesia.


Clyde placed his murdering hand on the doorknob and took his


Johnny Cash inspired Winnemucca, a small-town fairy tale

I thought I’d share one of the inspirations behind Winnemucca, a small-town fairy tale, where fear’s as blind as love. There isn’t a better day to do it than today, what would have been Johnny Cash’s 81st birthday. It’s hard to believe he was only eight years younger than my Dad.

Everyone always asks me about the title. “Winnemucca? Where’s that?” Most of the people who’ve been to Winnemucca ask if I’ve ever been there, especially when I tell them that Winnemucca, NV is the Emerald City of the novel. When I heard Johnny Cash’s version of the song, it inspired me to write about an enchanted road trip. “I’ve Been Everywhere” is Ginny’s father’s favorite song. She has no idea why, not until the end of the story.

But Johnny Cash did more than inspire the plot of the story.

Ginny, a seventeen-year old girl who’s happily ever after has gone bad, meets a truck driver who is more like a fairy godfather. He’s a fairy truck driver, and his character is also inspired by Johnny Cash. He not only teaches her guitar but also speaks to her soul. This story of a girl listening to her intuition for the first time, no matter where it leads, is a story of faith. Along the way she meets many characters that help her find her own path in life. Even if it takes her where she never expected.

Happy Birthday, Johnny Cash!

Here’s one of my favorite quotes of Johnny Cash:

“The Master of Life’s been good to me. He has given me strength to face past illnesses, and victory in the face of defeat. He has given me life and joy where others saw oblivion. He has given new purposes to live for. New services to render and old wounds to heal. Life and love go on. Let the music play.”

A Valentine’s Day Story

Source: via Amy on Pinterest


Valentine’s Day is full of happy memories for me. Once upon a time, I got married on Valentine’s Day and had a beautiful snowy Chicago wedding. And once upon a longer time, Valentine’s Day was the very first holiday that a boy did something so over-the-top amazing, it was the first time a boy made me feel special. And, isn’t that how every girl/woman wants to feel every day, but especially on Valentine’s Day? I was a junior in high school and home hanging with my family when the doorbell rang. I think Mom beat me to the door so I settled back to my spot at the kitchen counter talking with one of my brothers when Mom calls, “Laur, it’s for you!” Continue reading A Valentine’s Day Story

Shadow Slayer Tour: Laura Answers Readers’ Questions with a Q & A & Giveaways!


First a picture of my favorite ornament this year!

(Read to the end of the interview to enter the giveawayS!)

Where do you get your character names? Do they come natural or does it require a lot of thought? (Dana Mason)

I LOVE dreaming up character names. They are such an important part of the story and can have so much symbolism attached to them. For the Shadow Series the names of my characters came from a 2nd/3rd grade class where I was a volunteer. I taught kids how to read and it was so rewarding. The teacher was fabulous too. And so a lot of the names of the characters in 13 on Halloween and Shadow Slayer were inspired by the kids I got to know through my volunteer work. Roxie just introduced herself to me. I’ve never known a Roxanne. But, I really like that she has an X in her name. I think that’s cool:) Drew was originally called Andy in Shadow Slayer, but I didn’t like that name as much as Drew, so I switched it. Sometimes I write an entire story and switch out a name that doesn’t work for me any more after I’ve written and revised and put the polish on a story. Most of the times characters just come to me and their names are a part of them, so it doesn’t require very much thought. Great question Dana! Thanks for asking it and for joining the tour.

Do you do a lot of research before starting a book? (Giedre)

I do a certain amount of research for all my books. But some way more than others. For Winnemucca, a small-town fairy tale, I delighted in the research of mariachi music. Mariachi music is folk music and so there really isn’t a lot written about its history, especially about female mariachis. But I was very lucky to find the history of Lydia Mendoza and so I based Esperanza’s character on the life of Lydia Mendoza. If you want to read a little bit about Lydia Mendoza click here.

For Transfer Student I did quite a lot of research about aliens. And extraterrestrials. What one might look like. There’s so much literature out there about about UFOs and I found one book in particular extremely helpful when I came up with the way Rethans appear and their world. I wanted to research a plausible parallel planet to earth and found this research fascinating. So I dove into the books and literally found it so fascinating, I almost didn’t write the book 🙂

For 13 on Halloween & Shadow Slayer I did a lot of research about luck and superstition and animal spirits. I also researched The Tempest.

In my current WIP, a WWII tale based on the real life survival of my family in Indonesia, I’m doing quite a bit of interviewing and reading historical documents, verifying prison camps and hellships. It’s all very fascinating.

So…as you can tell I LOVE research. And I love it so much that I might never write. This is the dilemma. How much time should a writer spend on research? Well, thankfully Dana Jo Napoli, a great YA writer, came to my rescue and gave me some great advice. She said first to give yourself a set timeframe in which to do your research and stick to it. You can’t research forever. (Wise woman, huh?) And second, you will always find information that conflicts. If you have two different bits of research to choose from when writing your story always pick the one that will let you write a better story, a more dramatic story. I tell you what, I think that advice is fabulous. It’s saved me from researching books and never writing them. Thank you Dana Jo Napoli!

Do you have a favourite SF series or movie that inspired you to write Transfer Student? (Jen Minkman)

Well, yes. Every series I ever watched from Star Trek to Lost in Space to The Jetsons to My Favorite Martian. I’ve always been drawn to the portrayal of aliens, perhaps because there isn’t a greater “outsider” than an alien. And I think aliens are a metaphor for growing up. We often feel like aliens in our own lives/bodies while we are just growing into them. We don’t recognize ourselves sometimes. And so, I love exploring the very literal instance of what people/societies would do when they are confronted by a person/species they don’t understand.

If you any free time … what do you do on said free time? What’s one thing you do to unwind? What’s one of your favorite guilty pleasures? (Veronica Huerta)

I love to play the piano. I haven’t played in years and am just back at it. I took lessons for eight years from the nuns at a local convent in Chicago. I think Sister Mary Carl and Sister Miriam Rose are looking down on me and smiling, even as I hit some wrong notes 🙂 I love to cook/bake and I love to garden. I love to hike and ski too 🙂 My favorite guilty pleasure is to go to movies and see a double feature and eat lots and lots of popcorn!

Who would you cast to play the lead in Winnemucca, a small town fairytale? (Suzy Turner)

I cast Emma Stone as Ginny. I love Emma and think she’d be fabulous. Anyhoo….here’s the rest of my Dream Cast: if you want to see who’s who in Winnemucca.

How did the story of Shadow Slayer. come to you? (Tara)

Great question. The story of Shadow Slayer evolved over a period of time. Originally the series was going to be the Teen Halloween Series, but I didn’t really think that title described what was happening in the series. So, I changed the name of the series to reflect the real drama of the books, the shadows. As I dove deeper into what a shadow really is, I came up with the plot of Shadow Slayer. I think it is fascinating to explore who we become and why. And the idea of “another us” out there wanting “in” on our lives. The constant struggle we all have between good vs. bad, our wants vs. our needs, our desires vs. our reality. These are all things I hope to explore in the series.

I hear that there’s four books in this series.. any idea if you plan to continue on with this series or any spin offs in the works? (Veronica Huerta)

There are four books in the series. Moon Killers, is book 3 and will be out in early 2013. Last Life is book 4 and is due out this summer. I wouldn’t rule out a spin-off, although I haven’t got that mapped out yet. Thanks for the suggestion! *grabs notebook and scribbles down ideas* 🙂

Thanks for all your wonderful questions! I had a fun time answering them 🙂 

Buy Laura’s books here.

Where will the tour be next? Click here for the schedule.

Enter the giveaway! What’s up for grabs? 4 ebook copies of Shadow Slayer!

Just tweet this post to enter to win! (tweet button is below) Easy. Peasy. Good luck 🙂 Winners will be announced on Monday 12/17!




Click here to enter the tour giveaway today! The prizes include: 2 – $10 Amazon Gift Certificates 2 – paperback signed series copies of 13 on Halloween & Shadow Slayer 5 – ebook copies of Midnight Surrender, a paranormal romance anthology that includes a lost excerpt of Shadow Slayer.

Romance, Snoopy & Sonoma Valley

I had a wonderful time at the Sonoma County Book Festival last Saturday. I’ve got lots of stories to share from the festival and will be posting little snapshots of the festival this week. Today I want to share a few of the fabulous surprises that met me there:


Isn’t he adorable? I had no idea that Charles Schultz was a Santa Rosa native. This Snoopy was in the lobby of our hotel and we were told they are all over the town too. I wish I had time to visit The Charles Schultz Museum there. The festival went all day long. But next year I’m definitely going to go a bit early to check it out!

The day was full of romance….novels of course. It’s so fun when someone walks over to my booth and picks up Winnemuca, a small-town fairy tale, and says…oh, I’ve got to tell you about what happened to me in Winnemucca. I love hearing about readers’ personal connection to the town. When they ask what the story is about, I say the story is about a girl awakening to her intuition for the first time on an enchanted road trip to Winnemucca, NV––the Emerald City of the novel. I usually get some raised eye brows followed by the question have you ever been to Winnemucca? When I say I have, they usually laugh and say this one time in Winnemucca…Here are a few of the tales people shared with me on Saturday.

This one time, in Winnemucca…..

“her clothes flew off the top of our car and we pulled over and picked underwear out of the tumbleweeds….”

“Dad moved to Winnnemucca to escape our government’s collapse, I believe it was 1992….”

“We grew up just outside of Winnemucca and my cousin was jumped in the bathroom at our high school, and some guys rubbed Tiger Balm on his balls…”

“I was on a road trip and stayed there overnight and I saw the milky way clearer than I ever have in my entire life!”

Thanks so much to everyone for sharing their Winnemucca stories. I’m thinking about starting a page on the blog so I can post them. To read more about Winnemucca, a small-town fairy tale click here.

I look forward to sharing some more stories from the festival this week! I want to give a BIG shout out to my hubby for being the best booth buddy ever 🙂

Diary of a Debut Author: Winnemucca, a small-town fairy tale, Bookiversary & Giveaway!

A year ago today Winnemucca, a small-town fairy tale, was published. I can’t tell you what a thrilling year it’s been. Of all my books, Winnemucca is the best seller so far. Like my other novels, Winnemucca has sold all over the world and has even won an award for its trailer. I’ve gotten emails from readers from as far afield as Romania, The Philippines, Australia, and Russia. I’ve gotten to join some amazing groups of authors too including The Paranormal Plumes Society, The Pacific Northwest YA Authors, The Central Coast Writers Association, and The YA Indie Carnival. And because of these great authors, I’ve given my first presentations at libraries & schools, done book signings and even attended my first book festivals as an author, I blogged a little bit about these experiences here in my diary of a debut author posts. I’ve visited new places — Savannah, GA; Portland, OR; and Deltona, FL. My work has been reviewed by book bloggers, readers and publications. The book bloggers I’ve gotten to know have been so welcoming and encouraging of indie authors and I feel blessed to have met them. And I’ve had the pleasure of reading some amazing novels this year. Novels I never would have known about if I hadn’t gotten into the Indie world. It’s all been so incredibly inspiring. I learned about blog tours and swag and how to format paperbacks. I had so much to learn! But the great groups of authors I’ve gotten to know have helped me put all the pieces together and get over the bumps along the way.

To thank you all for your amazing support and to celebrate Winnemucca’s Bookiversary I’m giving away 13 on Halloween…click here for your free copy. Shadow Slayer, book 2 in The Shadow Series will release Sept. 18. Its cover reveal is coming soon! I’m also having a little giveaway. My goal is to have 25 Amazon reviews by the end of the month. So if you’ve read Winnemucca, just leave a review and you’re entered. Every review is an entry. What do you win? A $25 Amazon or B&N gift card! Woot! Click here for more details!

To read an excerpt, check out the dream cast and watch the trailer click here!

Buy Winnemucca here:

iBooks | KINDLE  | NOOK |KOBOSMASHWORDS | Bookshop Santa Cruz

YA Indie Carnival : Fireworks, scenes with sparks!

What books have you read lately that sizzle? Any indie titles? I love getting great read recs! This Monday I’m participating in Indie-PENDENCE Day and it’s all about blogging great Indie Reads:) Stay tuned! Today a the YA Indie Carnival we’re celebrating the 4th with some fiction fireworks 🙂 I want to post an excerpt from Winnemucca, a small-town fairy tale since it’s book birthday is coming up on July 9! Winnemucca opens with Ginny awakening to her own intuition for the very first time when it “talks” to her through her feet. In this scene, Ginny’s intuition begins to move from her feet to her fingers:

The night that changed my life started off like every other. I listened to my strings’ stories in the same corner booth at The Pit. Dolly stacked glasses at the bar. If it were up to me alone, I might have missed my transformation. But, lucky for me, the boys in the band kept their ears open and knew when I’d taken the turn.

“Play that again,” Matt said, putting his hands on his hips, holding a drumstick in each hand. The boy-genius drummer for the house band, The Midnight Men, glared at my fingers, instead of my twins, so I knew he was serious. His boyish grin made me smile too.

I took a deep breath and tapped my feet to try and calm them. I imagined my bedroom back home, sitting by my picture window, the wild oats rippling all pink and purple in the wind. And when my heart stopped racing, I hunched over my vihuela, willing my fingers to do what they’d done to make Matt notice. But, the story didn’t come out the same.

Matt gulped down some Budweiser and placed his damp fingers over my eyes. A chill poured through my eyelids, invaded my skull and settled in my slightly twitchy feet. “Play it again,” he said. Something about the darkness calmed the twitchiness.

“Again,” he said still covering my eyes.

I strummed faster. As if the faster I played, the clearer the strings’ story would be. But, something unfamiliar flavored the harmonics. 

Matt let me go and took a long drink of his Budweiser.

I felt like some idiot fan of his, grateful to be noticed at all.

“Here,” he said throwing a bandana on my lap. I picked it up and waved it in front of me, all dark blue with tiny white stars. It smelled like the wash on the line and reminded me of the eternity I’d spent in my own grime. It had been even longer since I cared. But I cared more than ever because Espy might walk in the door any minute.

Matt slipped the bandana out of my fingers, rolled it up and tied it around my head to cover my eyes the way my folks did with Anna and me and our friends at our birthday parties, just before they spun us in circles and turned us loose, bat in hand. Lizzy and I would make bets about who’d burst the piñata first. God, how I missed Lizzy. Even told Him so, hoping I’d baked the murderer out of me by now. Hoping He’d see fit to bring Lizzy and I back together again, somehow. Lizzy kept me company in the darkness, like she always did.

“Sometimes, the only way to hear what’s on the inside is to make the outside disappear,” Matt said. One boot hit the cement harder than the other on his walk back to the stage.

I played the riff blindfolded. And the earth’s rhythm played with my fingers, and a growing and a blooming and a withering visited them. Part music, part message from beyond. At times I couldn’t tell which was which. Even though my words sat with my heart in my throat, the ripening eased in me. For the first time. So after I played my very own song again for the third time, I pulled the stars off my eyes wanting to capture it forever, but I had no idea how.

It’s hard to believe I’ve been an Indie for a year now. To celebrate Winnemucca’s book anniversary I’m holding a $25 gift card giveaway, you can check it out here.

Want more fireworks? Check out what’s sizzling with the authors at the YA Indie Carnival here.

Click here to find out what’s new at the carnival this week!

Happy 4th from all of us at the carnival!!!

Winnemucca, a small-town fairy tale Book Anniversary & $25 gift card giveaway!

On July 9, 2011 Winnemucca, a small-town fairy tale hit the ether and some amazing local bookstore shelves here on the central coast of California.

“Boy, did this book take my breath away. It was completely different than anything I have read before and yet still had a tinge of familiarity about it. There are broken promises, chase scenes, bands, an apple pie baking marathon, two men out to destroy each other, and a girl who travels to Winnemucca and becomes a woman.” -Erika and at Suddenly Books, June 22

To celebrate a year of being Indie and to thank everyone for helping to spread the word about Winnemucca, I’m giving away a $25 gift certificate to Amazon or B & N! All Amazon/B & N reviewers are entered. So if you’ve read Winnemucca, just post a review on Amazon or B&N and you’re entered. If not, here’s a special coupon on SMASHWORDS for 75% OFF SX56F. A winner will be drawn 8/13 and announced here 🙂 Thanks for all your amazing support!

YA Indie Carnival: Location, location, location–where we like to go in books

Today the carnis are blogging about where we love to go in books. Like most readers, I love to go to places I don’t expect. I love to see regular places in new ways and feel transformed. Setting is powerful and I like when it’s used like a character. I try to do this in my own writing. Some of my favorite books have done this so well like THE GRAVEYARD BOOK by Neil Gaiman, and AMERICAN GODS by Neil Gaiman. In CITY OF THIEVES by David Benioff, setting is used to help ramp up the tension and take us to WWII Russia. Cheri Lasota take us to the beautiful Azores in ARTEMIS RISING. Who will ever look at a train station the same way after HUGO CABERET by Brain Selznick? These are just a handful of fabulous reads that take me where I love to go in books. How about you?

In WINNEMUCCA, Ginny’s road blood ripens on an enchanted road trip which begins when her feet start asking her questions she doesn’t want to hear and take her to a place she never expected to go to find her answers. She’s walking along Highway 33, a deserted two-lane road in the middle of the San Joaquin Valley:

I covered my ears to drown out their trouble-making questions, but all I heard were my own.

What happened to Bobby and me?

Why was I listening to my feet?

Had I lost my mind?

A dirt devil twisted over a fallow field in the tired sun and spun my thoughts backwards to the second in Tar Canyon when Bobby’s eyes met mine and I knew only death would separate us. My Big, Fat, Lie-of-a-Life churned in my gut like the dirt devil. I doubled over, more alone than ever before, and I tied myself into a knot so tight I could hardly breathe. I’d been wrong about Bobby. Wrong about a lot of things.

When I caught my breath and lifted my head, the sun ricocheted into my eyes. Devil’s Rope twisted around the top of the chain-link fences that secured Avenal State Prison. I had no idea why my feeet marched me there. It didn’t look like the kind of place a practically married, straight-A student would find the answers her feet demanded. But the ripening like to surprise me.

In TRANSFER STUDENT we see our world through the eyes of a boy alien named Rhoe and see Rhoe’s home planet, Retha, through the eyes of Ashley, a Beverly Hills surfer after they swap lives when Rhoe’s science fair experiment goes wrong:

Ashley decides to airboard to save Rhoe’s reputation even though she’ll risk her own life on planet Retha, a parallel planet to Earth with lower gravity and a little less technology:

Yuke lets go of my hand. I walk up to the launch platform with him and the two Astrals in our heat. We all shake hands. The same handshake Yuke taught me before. For fortune. I still feel Yuke’s hand in mine when I catch him whispering to the other riders.

The muscles in my arms tense. I place my board over my head and run off the platform. Yuke launches right after, followed by the other two Astrals. My feet dangle and I gasp, caught in the gentle cradle of a rising wind. I tug at the board to bring it close and whirl around, nowhere near as graceful as the golden-sparkle riders of the first heat. I set my frog-feet down on my board, adjusting the suction as I lean to any side that pulls me hardest. Dizzy, I have a hard time knowing up from down, like when I get munched int the surf. Continue reading YA Indie Carnival: Location, location, location–where we like to go in books