Monthly Archives: August 2012

How to Create a Book Trailer

I love book trailers. I think it’s a fun way to get a feel for a book and they are pretty easy to put together on your own. Really it’s just a matter of if you want to take the time to do it. I know plenty of people that would gladly outsource this job just for the sake of their sanity. But if you’re like me and enjoy doing things like this, I’ve put together a bit of a how to.

First, unless you own photos you plan to use, you need to find images. I’m sure in your mind you have an idea of what kind of images would be perfect but searching for them can be a bit tricky. You have two options here. You can pay for access to stock photo websites or you can use copyright free, royalty free images. You can do a simple search for websites offering this. My first choice is stock.xchng but istockphoto is also a good site.
Once you have some photos to work with you can decide what exactly you want to say. Maybe you will use your book blurb, maybe you have different ideas, but you’ll need a basic script. To maximize my word space I like to add words to both the text screens and the photos themselves. I use fotoflexer to do this, but any photo editing software will work. You can also use this to crop photos or edit as necessary. I’m honestly not quite sure how much liberty you are supposed to take when editing these stock photos but I do things like blur images that aren’t quite right or maybe switch from color to black and white, things like that.
Once you know what you want to say and have your pictures prepared, head over to Proshow Web (or any similar site, this just happens to be my favorite) and sign up for a free account. You can there prepare a video. You can do a certain number of slides for free and if you need more you have to upgrade. I’ve never had to pay for mine and was able to put together in the allotted slides.
The great thing about Proshow is they also include free music. When I made the Gossamer trailer I actually searched for royalty free music and found the song I used, but now Proshow has lots of songs to choose from.

The only thing to remember is double check the photos you use. Some people require that they are notified or credited when using their images. If this is the case be sure to include credits at the end of your trailer. I personally don’t want to worry about doing this so I never choose photos that require that.

Well, that’s about it. If you have any questions or need clarifications feel free to leave them in the comments. It really is easy to do and can be done for absolutely no charge if you choose. I’ve made three and they definitely became easier once I knew what I was doing. Gossamer was my first, then I created Dream On, and Gilded was the last one but I have yet to reveal it. I’m waiting for book one to come out first.

Here’s my trailer for Gossamer:

Here’s my trailer for Dream On:

Sunshine Award

The wonderful Mae Clair has nominated me for a sunshine award!


So how does the Sunshine Award work?

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you
  2. Post the award icon
  3. Answer the questions below
  4. Nominate ten other bloggers.

  1. What is your favorite Christmas/festive movie? My favorite Christmas movie is A Christmas Story. I watched it with my family growing up and now my kids watch it with me. Probably says a lot about my family and me. 🙂 
  2. What is your favorite flower?
    I love flowers (not growing them, because I kill every plant I touch) but as for a favorite I love roses in uncommon shades and hydrangeas.
  3. What is your favorite non-alcoholic beverage? Do they come like that?? Kidding. Coffee is my favorite. I don’t really drink sodas very often, so the only *non-alcoholic* beverage I drink besides water is coffee.
  4. What is your passion? I’d love to have some really cool non-writery (I love to make up words, btw. I’ll add -y, -ish, and -ism to basically any word) answer but my passion is writing and reading.
  5. What is your favorite time of year?Well, considering I live in Texas and we basically have two seasons defined as Hot and Cold, I’d say the winter holidays are my favorite time. I love the cooler weather, the lights, the shopping, the family get-togethers, the comfy winter clothes. I think fall would be an amazing time of year if we had a real one. We do get about two weeks of spring 🙂 They’re pretty great if you don’t blink and miss them.
  6. What is your favorite time of day?
    The moment my kids go to sleep? Kidding (sort of). My favorite time is later in the day when homework, dinner, and baths are all done and I can finally sit down to do some reading or writing. My daughter is a big reader too, so she likes to crawl in bed with me at night at read.
  7. What is your favorite physical activity? Hmm, once again I wish I had a really cool favorite here, like sky-diving or scuba diving, but both of those things don’t sit well with me. I have no desire to do either. Guess I need to add to my list of things to do: Get a cool a new hobby.
  8. What is your favorite vacation? I’m not a beach person (at all!). Sandy, sticky, salty…pass. I do love the lake and, where I live in Central Texas, I’m surrounded by them. We take the kids there frequently and I do enjoy that. If we were talking large scale vacations, though, there are tons of places I’d love to visit (Ireland tops my list) but I have yet to get that whole world-traveler thing going.  

Judging a Book by its Cover

Although we’ve been told not to judge a book by its cover…who doesn’t? Now I will say there are plenty of books I love even though the cover didn’t immediately capture my attention (like The Hunger Games trilogy) but there are other covers that I can’t help but be drawn to. Sometimes it’s the picture, other times it’s the title, and even better when it’s both.

Here are some covers of books I have yet to read but really want to based on the cover alone:

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

This is definitely one of my favorites right now. I think it has both a gorgeous cover photo and a great title. It’s definitely something that sticks with you. I love the detail of the border, the dress, title…everything. It’s perfect.

Hourglass by  Myra McEntire

This cover catches my eye every time I see it. I love this picture. There is just something about the wind blown thing that really makes this cover stand out. I also love the hourglass shape of the simple black dress against the blue background.

Matched by Ally Condie

Along with the concept of this cover, the simplicity is gorgeous. I also like the fact she’s wearing a green dress. I really don’t think you see that often. It’s typically black, red, or white.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Okay in one word this cover is…peculiar. I love it. Every time I see this book the title pops in my head. It just sort of sticks with you. I think this one has the perfect combination of interesting design with great title. In a sea of beautiful girls in fancy dresses gracing most YA covers this one stands out. I can’t think of any other cover like it…which doesn’t mean there isn’t one but I have yet to see it. 
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
The title is what sells me on the book. I think it’s a great title and even if I didn’t know anything else about it, I’d want to know who is the girl of fire and thorns? 
What draws you to a cover? Great design, title, or some other unique quality? 

Author Spotlight – Karen Y. Bynum

Witch Way To Turn

Can you give one guy your heart and another your soul?
Thelast thing eighteen-year-old Breena Cross needs in her life is morecomplications. It’s all she can do to balance studying, working,trying to keep her foster-sister safe and drooling over the new guyat work. But things go from complicated to crazy when a fit of rageignites the dark magic inside her and she finds herself fending offthe supernatural underworld.
Myles,Breena’s drool-worthy coworker and vampire convict, is carrying aload of secrets–one of which is that he’s fang-over-lip in lovewith Breena and in danger of violating the terms of his sentence.
Orinis a soul-hungry assassin sent to kill Breena. However, he takes onelook into her eyes and sees his own lost humanity. For once thinkingof someone other than himself, he chooses not to end her life, eventhough it means risking his own.
Despitea convict and an assassin fighting over her, all Breena wants iscustody of her sister. But to do this, she will need help from bothMyles and Orin. And if Breena doesn’t learn to control the darknesswithin, she could lose her sister…forever.
WARNING:Contains strong language and some graphic content.
Please join me in welcoming Karen Y. Bynum author of Witch Way to Turn.
Hi Karen, tell us a little about your current release.
Witch Way to Turn is releasing as an e-book on August 6, 2012 and a print book in October (date to come). It’s a story of a girl telling fate, and all its supernatural complications, to take a hike. Like all writers, I love my characters so much. They are such a big part of my life. I feel like they are living out their lives in the small town of Rhodhiss, NC. I am just so excited to share Breena Cross’s story with you all!

What was your inspiration behind this book?

I’d just come back from RWA nationals in August of 2010. All I knew was there was this girl trying to protect her sister and the only weapon she had was this crazy-fast blue light that just shot out of her hands. And mainly Breena telling me: Karen, get this down… Was my inspiration.

Why did you choose this particular genre?
I love the angst of the teen years…the tortured desire, the wanting, the way a glance can change the heroine’s thinking and a touch can push the hero to the brink. The whole must-have-it-right-now-or-I’ll-die aspect of it sparks my interest and keeps me reading and writing.
Tell our readers a little about you.
Me… Well, I’m married to my high school sweetheart. We live in Coastal Virginia with our Vizsla doggie named Rusty (he’s more like a goat though because he’ll eat anything—including paper, pens, cellphones and glasses—but mushrooms). I don’t watch a lot of TV, but when The Vampire Diaries, The Walking Dead or Falling Skies are on I’m glued to the set! I’m addicted to coffee, and when I hold a cup of liquid sunshine in my hands I feel like I can take on the world. Team caffeine!
What inspired you to become a writer?
Writing has always been a passion. I wrote poems and short stories growing up and I’d always wanted to write a novel, but just didn’t know if I had that many words in me or how I would ever find the time. Then a couple of things happened at once. I was working a job that I wanted out of desperately because of the long commute and my horrific manager. At the same time, I’d just read the first Twilight book by Stephenie Meyer. The way she showed Edward’s torment through Bella’s eyes was inspirational. The day after I finished reading book number one, I started writing my first novel. Now, granted my first novel may never see the light of day, but it was a massive achievement for me. I’d finished writing an entire book. All 80,000 words were right there on the Word document. I couldn’t believe it. It was one of the proudest days of my life. From then on out, I knew… I could do this! Thus began my addiction to writing…if I don’t write every day my soul aches. Fact.
What do you find is your biggest writing struggle?
Great question! Right now finding time to write… I work a full-time job as an Executive Assistant for the Assistant City Manager at City Hall. In order to make time for the voices in my head to get down on paper, I write for an hour at 4:30 in the morning (Monday – Friday) and on my lunch break at work. On the weekends I sleep in until 6:30 in the morning (lol) and write until The Hubs (my husband) wakes up around 10:30 or 11:00. I’ve found that setting a daily word count goal has helped me tremendously in not only writing faster but helping me make time to write. I know that I want to write a minimum of 1,000 words per day, so somehow I find the time. A stolen hour here…a stolen 30 minutes there. You get my drift 😉
Any tips for new writers?
Never stop trying… And always believe in yourself. The first story I ever wrote may never see the light of day, but that didn’t mean I stopped trying. With that first story I had six or seven requests (full and partials) but over 100 rejections. Yeah, it needed help 😉 And one day I’ll breathe the writing experience I’ve learned over the years back into it, but for now… I press forward. Yes, those rejections hurt my pride and brought me down, but I chose not to stay there. I had all these characters in my head that needed their stories told. I couldn’t give up. They depended (and still do depend) on me. So I swallowed my pride, kept going to writing conferences, joined Romance Writers of America (as well as my local chapter) and never stopped writing. I’ve been writing with the goal of publication in mind since 2009. As for believing in yourself, this is not always as easy as it sounds. There are plenty of times that I doubt myself and wonder if anyone will read what I’ve written. Will they like it? Can I do it again? But I work very hard at keeping those thoughts at bay. When the evil thoughts of self-doubt start to rise through the cracks in my sunshine, I think about all the positives in my life: God, family, friends, health, a new day and the passion to write. It’s important to have a strong support group, and I’m extremely thankful to say that I do.
Any other books in the works?
Yes! (Can you tell I’m excited?) I’m so glad you asked 🙂 I’m a little over halfway through the first draft of Witch Way to Turn’s sequel! Life for Breena goes from complicated to utter disaster with one choice. Yikes! I’m also querying my completed and edited demon-slaying unicorn manuscript (Running From Shadows). It’s a YA story about a girl who’s fated with killing the boy she loves in order to save her coven from the shadow demon that lusts after her soul. Also in the works is my grim reaper story (currently at 28,000 words) about a reaper who is afraid of death, ducks and dandelions. But in order to stop the Grim Reaper from unleashing a legion of damned souls into Heaven, she’ll have to harvest her own mother’s soul.
How/where can readers find you?
I’m on twitter daily! I have a blog that I post to at least two times per week, but am planning to do more soon. Goodreads is a great place to discover new authors… I’m on there quite a bit. I try to do Facebook, but I gotta admit I’m not the brightest crayon in the box when it comes to the book of faces 😉 I do love Pinterest and soo enjoy seeing what my followers are pinning! I’m just now starting to get involved with Google+ and am finding it quite enjoyable, because the posts can be longer than on Twitter.
Find me here:
Thanks for stopping by Karen!
Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Renita!! *virtual hand shake*


*Don’t forget to grab your copy of Witch Way to Turn available now at Lyrical Press/Amazon/Barnes&Noble*

Karen Y. Bynum is an author of young adult paranormal fantasy. Her novel Witch Way to Turn is published through Lyrical Press. She grew up in Hickory, North Carolina where mountains and magic surrounded her. Even as a child, she wrote her own faery tales and prattled incessantly to her imaginary friends.

After graduating from UNC Charlotte with a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Media Communications, she went on to become certified in culinary arts from The Art Institute of Charlotte. But it wasn’t until her aerospace engineer husband accepted a job in Virginia and they relocated that she knew what she wanted to be when she grew up.

With the support of family and friends, Karen embarked on a journey with the voices in her head. They wouldn’t stop talking (yes, she does answer back) and their stories took shape.

Karen currently lives in coastal Virginia and enjoys reading, tweeting, writing and spending time with her husband and their spoiled rotten Vizsla named Rusty.

Series: Good or Bad?

I’ve been seeing comments on various book reviews, tweets, blogs, etc. that some readers are tired of series. I’m wondering how many readers really feel this way? It seems kind of split, but with the big shift toward series are some readers just getting burned out? I hope not 🙂

Personally, I love series. If a book grabs me and I fall in love with the characters. I never want to see it end. If the series is done right, I get sad when it’s over. I’ll admit it’s hard to wait for the next installment but in the end the journey is usually worth it.

On the other side of the argument, readers want to sit down, read an amazing story and be done. Short and sweet. I get that too. Which might explain the increase in popularity of the novella. Sometimes you don’t want to drag out a resolution to a conflict over multiple books, especially if there’s too much filler and not enough plot.

I read both types of books, so either one is fine with me.  But I still wonder, how many readers are stand alone book lovers and how many are series fans?