Teaser Tuesday: The Castle in Transylvania, Back from the Dead: The original zombie story by Jules Verne

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Here’s a few teasers from my spooky read this week. I know, I know…you’re saying Jules Verne? Zombies? Really? I mean…isn’t he all about Sci Fi and sea monsters and stuff? Zombies and Romance? That’s what I said, anyway. Jules Verne came back on my radar because a good friend said his favorite book ever was by Jules Verne called Mysterious Island. He’s a native French speaker, so it was no surprise that when we started talking about our favorite novels most of his were French, and most of them were authors I’d never heard of. I really loved Mysterious Island so I guess that’s why this title jumped out at me while I was checking out books on a recent visit to see my daughter in Boulder. I’m not really a zombie girl, but I’m hooked now. Jules Verne wrote this story in 1892.

First sentence:

“This story is not fantastic; it is only romantic. Should we conclude that it isn’t true, given its implausibility? That would be a mistake. We are living in a time when anything can happen–one can almost say, when everything has happened. If our tale is not very likely today, it can be so tomorrow, thanks to the scientific resources that are the lot of the future, so no one should take it into his head to rank it among legends.”

later…..

“But there was no time to lose, for it was probable that someone would enter the crypt, as soon as they thought he had fallen asleep under the influence of the sleep-inducing drink.

The work went faster then he could have hoped, since mildew had eaten away the wood around the metallic framework that held the bolts to the embrasure. With his knife, Franz managed to detach the round part, working almost noiselessly, pausing sometimes, listening, making sure he heard nothing outside.”

What are you reading this Halloween week? Happy Haunting!

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 www.productiontrax.com. 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 istockphoto.com andpond5.com. 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…

Trailer park Thursdays — What I learned making 13 on Halloween’s book trailer

The trailer for 13 on Halloween was the second trailer I produced. I learned a lot when I produced my first book trailer for Winnemucca, a small-town fairy tale. Winnemucca’s trailer was a bit long. The standard seems to be right around a minute and a half at the most. It’s crazy how long two and a half minutes can seem. The minute difference really matters to readers/viewers. I’ve been doing a lot of presentations lately on my trailers and wanted to share this one with you because, as you know, I’m a bit of a freak when it comes to Halloween. I love it. I always have. And 13 on Halloween is free everywhere, so if you like reading about a girl who gets a birthday gift that’s literally out of this world, on her 13th birthday which just happens to be on Halloween, you might want to check it out.  When I produce trailers, they help me see my stories in new ways. My process so far involves writing the novel, then designing the cover, then producing the book’s trailer. I love this creative process because it reminds me of a crescendo in music. I begin with all the characters in my mind, then I get to “meet them” visually for the first time in the process of designing the book’s cover. And finally I get to experience the world in a bigger way when I add music and live action footage to breathe even more life into the story.

When my girls were little, I liked to serve dessert or breakfast for dinner sometimes. I loved it when their schools had upside-down days, or inside-out days. I’ve been thinking it would be fun to do the same type of thing with my creative process. Take that crescendo and reverse it. Start with a trailer, then a cover, then write the story. It’s fun to think about. Mixing things up. Trying something new creatively. But, whatever I do, I need to keep it under a minute and a half! LOL!

It’s the friends you can call up at 4 AM that matter — Marlene Dietrich

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Wearing a peacock necklace–a little special swag I’ll be handing out at UtopYA this year 😀

I’m thrilled to be attending UTOPYA COn 2013 this year. It’s a miracle that I’m able to make it. I know we’ve all had tough times. Honestly, everyone I’ve talked to about 2012 has said it was the suckiest year ever. Okay, I know that suckiest isn’t actually a word, but there’s no other way to describe it. I hope 2012 wasn’t that way for you. I have to give a shout out to the many, many people who’ve kept me on track despite the dark times this past year. There aren’t words to describe how much your encouragement and unwavering support has meant to me.

While shopping the other day, I found this card at Cost Plus that read “It’s the friends you can call up at 4 AM that matter” – Marlene Dietrich. Srsly, if you can count even one person in the “4 AM friend category” you are truly blessed! Take some time to thank your 4 AM buddies today. I can speak from personal experience that you probably don’t thank them enough. And in the middle of it all this past year, when I didn’t think I’d ever write again, I had some amazing 4 AM friends to kick me in the A$$ and say, there’s beauty in the brokenness….now f-ing write about it. Well, I have. I just finished editing my first adult title called The Storytellers, about a group of writers whose stories all come true for each other. The Storytellers will always have a special place in my heart because it brought me back to what I love. I have much to be thankful for, one of which is the nomination of SHADOW SLAYER for Best Book Trailer of 2013. Working on this trailer is the first thing I did to try and find my way back to writing. I’ve always loved expressing my stories visually. This was just a natural extension of that. Here’s to a wonderful time in Nashville and to ALWAYS remembering to count our blessings no matter how dark life seems! <3

Monday Muse: Shadow Slayer’s Seven Magic Words

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I did a ton of research when I wrote SHADOW SLAYER (Shadow Series #2). Among the many things I researched were magic words. I wanted to create a magical world that felt and seemed real and had a feeling of history. What I discovered were magic words that had been used in literature for centuries. (Yes, this is when I spend way too much time reading cool stuff and not writing.) I do enjoy tangents. They are wonderful things and sometimes take me exactly where I need to be. And then again they sometimes lead me to wander off. And while deadlines and commitments and the real world are all fabulous things, I like to wander. I’m a fan.

Here’s a magic word that I found in my research and fell in love with––Ranokoli. It looks kind of odd in black and white, doesn’t it? For some reason it reminds me of pasta. I’d like some ranokoli with marinara sauce. Can’t you just see it on a menu? Ok, that aside, the real cool thing about this magic word is that it appeared in a story long ago written by Irving Bacheller (1859-1950) and he lived nearly 100 years. Back in the day, that was SO rare. So, that kinda got my attention. And then, I read this excerpt from Silas Strong by Irving Bacheller (1906):

The chief invited a great council and organized the Society of the Magic Word. Every member promised that whenever the greeting ‘Boneka’ were given him, he would smile and bow and answer, ‘Ranokoli.’ The greeting meant ‘Peace,’ and the answer, ‘I forgive.’ Then, one by one the law-giver called his councillors before him, and to each he said: ‘The Great Spirit is in this greeting. I defy you to hear it and keep a sober face.’ Then he said ‘Boneka,’ and the man would try to resist the influence of the spirit, but soon smiled in spite of himself, amid the laughter of the tring, and said ‘Ranokoli.’ Thereafter, when a quarrel arose between two people, and outsider, approaching, would greet them with the magic word, and immediately they would bow and smile and answer, ‘I forgive.’ 

This is the story behind one of the seven magic words in The Shadow Series. Roxie only gets to use the magic words one time. So, far in book 2 she’s used up four of the seven magic words. She still has to use Ranokoli : The Great Spirit of Forgiveness.

Email me with Roxie’s worst fear at the beginning of 13 on Halloween & your address and I’ll mail you Shadow Series Swag. (HINT: you’ll find it listed in the 13 on Halloween ebook which is free everywhere 🙂 ) This giveaway is open internationally until 4/30 🙂  my email address is elliwrite (at) yahoo (dot) com

You can purchase Shadow Slayer here, here, and here.

We have a WINNER! And the mystery txt

A **BIG** congrats to the winner of this stop of the LUCKY LEPRECHAUN HOP Emily L.!

Here’s the ebooks she’s won:

Shadow Slayer (Shadow Series #2) by Laura A. H. Elliott
Undertow by Elle Chandou
The One by Heather Self
The Dark by Heather Self
The Misfit McCabe Series by LK Gardner-Griffie (3 ebooks in the series)

woohooo! What a great way to start the spring!

HAPPY SPRING BREAK! I’d love to know what you’re reading right now…any suggestions for a lazy day at the beach?

Ok..and now for something completely hilarious. I just got this random text from someone I don’t know. Here’s what it said. Can you make sense of it?

Hey do you envision the track wholly changing gears sonically with each decade or retaining some thread of the dead prez beat vibe throughout?

**googles dead prez beat vibe**

Best selling authors offering their favorite books to their loyal fans at Free-bookshop!

www.free-bookstore.com
Several of your favorite authors have joined together to offer you free copies of their best selling novels. Visit Free-Bookshop.com from March 7, 2013 to March 11, 2013 to pick up kindle and nook versions of these must read books. Paranormal, YA, Fantasy and more. Titles will change daily. Check back all week so you don’t miss any of these fabulous ebooks.Authors featuring free books on one or more days include:Nancy Straight
Charlotte Abel
Leia Shaw
Laura A.H. Elliott
Samantha LaFantasie
J.H. Walker

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.”

Indie-licious Teaser Blog Hop! Teaser from Moon Killers (Shadow Series #3)

Moon Killers (Shadow Series #3) releases May 2013
Moon Killers (Shadow Series #3) releases May 2013

Here’s a little bit about the story:

After slaying her first Shadow as a freshman, Roxie expected sophomore year to be less epic. But this year she’ll discover it will take far more than her skills with a sword to win her ultimate reward, her Last Life. A human life. Roxie’s five-hundred-year reign as Shadow Slayer has just begun.

Interworld peace is a lot for a fifteen year old to handle. Slaying shadows is one thing, but now Roxie must face her biggest enemy yet. When Roxie’s Shadow influences her in tragic ways, she must master moon killing––a type of time travel––if she is to survive the Shadows bent on her murder.

But moon killing is tricky, and if Roxie isn’t careful she could destroy everything she so desperately wants to save, not to mention lose a chance at her Last Life. Moon killing’s thrill proves addictive, enchanting. When Roxie’s boyfriend Drew becomes more and more of a stranger and her world begins to crumble, she finds peace in her addiction. Now, moon killing could kill Roxie and she may be too heartbroken to care.

And here’s the teaser from Moon Killers:

“Shadows are at play,” Drew says staring at the moon.

A chill rushes over my body and I try to shake it off. The autumn wind kicks up leaves and swirls around us blowing cold, right through me. Drew takes off his letterman jacket and places it over my shoulders. I zip it up and lean into him. “Thanks,” I say. It seems impossible to warm up now. I hate the cold so much that I wallpapered my Chicago bedroom with palm trees. Lots and lots of palm trees.

Drew puts his arms around me. This is so normal. Him hugging me. Us standing here together, like a million other high school couples have done in this very spot for over a hundred years. He’s just a boy and I’m just a girl. I ignore my nerves. I pretend that nothing about this night scares me, especially Shadows at play.

Drew gives my hand a History Channel kiss and doesn’t even flinch in the cold. He stands defiant against it all red-cheeked wearing only a gray, v-neck sweater and jeans. But it’s not my favorite look for him. Even when he’s in jeans it makes him look even more like he was born to wear a tuxedo. He’s got that energy about him. Regal in a way no boy I’ve known could ever be.

I can’t wait any longer. It’s been torture just pretending like everything is fine, when it isn’t. It’s been agony waiting for the next battle, the next rupture between worlds. “If Shadows are at play, like you say, then it’s even more important that I know how to kill the moon, right?”

Drew kicks a spot in the grass over and over. Every time I confront him about what I must know, what I need to know, he always changes the subject. He’s sort of been in denial about training me, I guess. Educating me. He wants to forget that I’m the Shadow Slayer. For some reason, he’s having a hard time helping me learn what I have to know to fight off and survive the Shadows. To keep them at bay. So he’s just blown it off, wanting more than anything to keep things normal between us. To try to hang on to normal for as long as possible.

I guess I can understand that, after fighting Shadows for five hundred long years, Drew just wants a little peace. He wants to focus on his Last Life. But I can’t take it any more. I can’t just stay silent. He’s the only one who can teach me what I need to know. And he sucks at it. I take a deep breath and try and forget that I’m asking him this one more time, for the hundredth time. “Where are the Seven Cities of Gold?”

Drew stops pounding the grass with his foot but he’s already worn a muddy spot there. He takes my hand in his. We walk off the field and when we step onto the rubbery, all-weather track each cushioned step gives me little pings in the pit of my stomach. The feeling I get when I’m being ignored. Nothing is as awful as him ignoring me. Nothing. Especially when I have Shadows to slay. I clear my throat trying to contain what’s bubbling up inside of me. Wanting to run away now.

“It is time.” Drew squeezes my hand, turns to face me and says, “But first, you need to know, the truth.” He glances at the nearly full moon.

“About what?”

“About me,” Drew says, shuffling his feet, glancing at the moon again as if it might have shifted in the sky. “Stand here.” He wraps his arm around my waist and gently walks me over to the bleachers. “Remember what I said about the full moon?”

I nod.

“When the moon is full it’s the time when the veil between the world of Shadows and the world of humans is at its thinnest,” he says. His warm breath on my neck sends waves of heat through me. I place my hand over his, the one he has wrapped around my waist, and push his hand into my stomach. We walk together this way and stop only when we’re a few feet from the bleachers. He lets go of me and we stand an arm’s length away, just out of reach. He stares at the all-weather track and says, “Ready?”

“For what?” I say.

“To kill the moon,” he says with a slight smile.

I swallow hard. “Sure.”

He takes guarded steps, one, then another, inching his way toward me as if I’m a pile of dynamite or something that might explode if he walks too fast. It’s like he’s shy but maybe he’s afraid or uncertain or pissed I’m not sure which. But it kind of seems to me, from the way he stoops and moves, like Drew hasn’t done this very often or if he has, he hasn’t killed the moon in a very long time. Maybe, centuries? When Drew’s just inches away, he places his hands on my hips and it’s like fifty butterflies swarm in circles in my stomach. Drew never takes his eyes off the track, though. We keep coming together, smoothly. I watch our shadows come closer and closer together on the reddish-orange track, then merge and blend into one.

Moon Killers releases May 2013. Click here to get in on the Moon Killers Cover Reveal Giveaway 🙂

Squeeeee! It’s a HOP, so get hopping! Thanks for stopping by, now check out some great teasers from these fabulous Indie-licious authors!

Moon Killers (Shadow Series #3) Cover Reveal & Giveaway

Moon Killers (Shadow Series #3) releases May 2013
Moon Killers (Shadow Series #3) releases May 2013

After slaying her first Shadow as a freshman, Roxie expected sophomore year to be less epic. But this year she’ll discover it will take far more than her skills with a sword to win her ultimate reward, her Last Life. A human life. Roxie’s five-hundred-year reign as Shadow Slayer has just begun.

Interworld peace is a lot for a fifteen year old to handle. Slaying shadows is one thing, but now Roxie must face her biggest enemy yet. When Roxie’s Shadow influences her in tragic ways, she must master moon killing––a type of time travel––if she is to survive the Shadows bent on her murder.

But moon killing is tricky, and if Roxie isn’t careful she could destroy everything she so desperately wants to save, not to mention lose a chance at her Last Life. Moon killing’s thrill proves addictive, enchanting. When Roxie’s boyfriend Drew becomes more and more of a stranger and her world begins to crumble, she finds peace in her addiction. Now, moon killing could kill Roxie and she may be too heartbroken to care.

To celebrate the Moon Killers cover reveal I’m giving away 2 audiobooks—1 copy of 13 on Halloween & 1 copy of Shadow Slayer. Just tweet this to enter to win (open internationally & until midnight 2/28/13 winner announced 3/1 on Laurasmagicday):

@Laurawriting’s Moon Killers (Shadow series #3) Cover Reveal #Giveaway! Moon killing’s addictive, enchanting. http://wp.me/p1J9jx-11E #ya

That’s not all! To celebrate, Shadow Slayer (Shadow Series #2) has been reduced to 99 cents everywhere––click here to get your kindle copy. Click here to get your FREE kindle copy of 13 on Halloween (Shadow Series #1). The series is also available for nook, kobo, sony, apple, and on Smashwords too!

Click here to check out the series book trailers, excerpts, dream cast & playlists! Thanks for helping to spread the word about the Shadow Series 🙂

To keep the party going, I’m posting an excerpt from Moon Killers tomorrow on the Indie-licious Teaser Blog Hop, so you won’t just get a peak at my latest book, but you’ll also get to read a bunch of awesome teasers from some fabulous Indies! Hope to see you here tomorrow.