Book trailers and Student Resources by Julie Anne Lindsey

tinyBook trailers and Student Resources by Julie Anne Lindsey

Do you know about book trailers? They’re all the rage now for readers and writers alike. They’re the literary answer to a movie preview. Book trailers are slides or video, plus music and words. People with artistic talent and creative vision put them together to represent a book they love. I’m a book trailer addict. I spend hours on YouTube watching trailers for books I love and discovering new books I need to read as soon as possible. Book trailers are gaining momentum and popping up everywhere books are found. I’m in love with this trend.

When I signed a contract last year for my YA suspense, DECEIVED, I knew I had to have a trailer, too. I wanted to join the exciting league of authors on YouTube. I couldn’t wait! There was one little problem. I had no idea how to make a book trailer. No technical skills to speak of and my artistic talent petered out in preschool. I do words. Only words.


Then, I remembered I’m not an island. I have resources. I contacted my alma mater, Kent State University, and approached Mass Media and Communication students with a proposal. Help this befuddled author with her book trailer and I pinky swear to promote the daylights out of your work. I promised to give them full credit for their efforts, name them on the acknowledgements page inside my book and generally spout my appreciation from the interwebs. The students could use the experience to hone their skills, pad their resumes, and beef up their portfolios. As a bonus, if the book did well, they would benefit from that, too. It was a pretty sweet deal for everyone.

I had no idea.

One young man, then a junior, was interested in making a theatrical trailer. I was open to that. Sure. I had no idea what theatrical trailer meant, but it sounded cool. This student, Matt, wants to work in film after graduation. He will. He’s wonderful. I’ve seen his work first hand and you will too in a minute. Matt did the unthinkable. He spent his time recruiting a cast and crew, developing a script, creating scenes, securing shoot locations and arranging multiple friends’ schedules to accommodate this project. He did this for zero dollars. Yeah. Out of the goodness of his heart. For me, an utter and complete stranger. Delightful as I can be… still.

The finished product was so much more than I could have imagined. I’d hoped for some slides set to music and maybe a little something extra. I didn’t really know. Even as we spoke about what he envisioned, it went over my head. I didn’t get it. Couldn’t get it. My brain doesn’t work that way, but the result is spectacular. I’d love to share his work with you, but first, a final thought. If you need help with something, contact your local college. Students are an untapped resource in the community. Plus, they’re fun.

DECEIVED by Julie Anne LindseyArt._DECEIVED_SL1000_

Ever since she could remember, Elle has had to hop from town to town to keep up with her dad’s demanding career as a corporate insurance agent. Each time, a reoccurring nightmare followed her wherever she went–until the day that the frightening figures haunting her at night became all too real. When news of a serial killer spreads throughout her new school, Elle worries that the Reaper has been leaving her his calling card in the form of cigarette butts on her doormat and an unusual ribbon in her locker. With the help of Brian, a boy she meets at a flea market, she discovers that this isn’t her first encounter with the murderer and that her father has been concealing her true identity for the past twelve years. But despite her father’s desperate attempts to protect her, Elle still comes face to face with the darkness she has been running from her whole life. Trapped in the woods and with help hundreds of miles away, will Elle be able to confront the Reaper and reclaim the life she lost?

Available September 18th on Amazon Barnes & Noble Book Depository and more.

About Julie:

Julie Anne Lindsey is a multi-genre author who writes the stories that keep her up at night. In 2013, Julie welcomes five new releases in three genres including her newest title, DECEIVED, a YA suspense from Merit Press, and her first cozy mystery, MURDER BY THE SEASIDE, book one in the Patience Price, Counselor at Large series from Carina Press (a digital imprint of Harlequin).

Julie is a self-proclaimed word nerd who would rather read than almost anything else. She started writing to make people smile. Someday she plans to change the world. Most days you’ll find her online, amped up on caffeine and wielding a book.

Julie is a member of the International Thriller Writers (ITW), Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI), Sisters in Crime (SinC) and the Canton Writer’s Guild.

Find her online:

Tweeting her crazy @JulieALindsey

Soothing her book obsession on GoodReads

Pinning the pretty on Pinterest

Tumbling lamely on Tumblr

Blogging about books and writing at Musings from the Slush Pile


Review: Breaking Silence by Linda Castillo

breaking silenceBreaking Silence 

Linda Castillo

St. Martin’s Press; 2011, 302 pgs.

ISBN:  978-0-312-37499-0Linda CAstillo

Reviewed by Gina R. Metz

Breaking Silence begins with what first appears to be a terrible accident.  Solomon Slabaugh, his wife Rachel, and brother Abel Slabaugh are all found in the pit of hog manure in the barn.  It is initially assumed that one of the brothers fell into the pit and the other brother and wife have succumbed to methane gas asphyxiation while trying to rescue the other.  However, when the bodies are removed, the Coroner discovers a head wound on Solomon Slabaugh that had occurred just prior to his death and the accident turns into a murder investigation.

Police Chief Kate Burkholder suddenly finds her hands full with the murder investigation and a series of hate crimes against the Amish at the same time.  The state sends in agent John Tomasetti, Kate’s boyfriend, to help in the investigation of the hate crimes and find out whether the Slabaugh murders are related to these crimes.

Breaking Silence is the third book in the Kate Burkholder Amish series.  This is a fast paced book that will keep the reader engrossed waiting to see what will happen next. It is full of twists and turns and will leave the reader surprised at the ending.   As the series continues the books just get better and better.  I am looking forward to reading more in this series.

Reaching to Friends and Strangers by Elaine Orr

Orr,Elaine2012,closeto5x7Elaine L. Orr has written fiction and nonfiction for many years.  She began writing plays and novellas and graduated to longer fiction by the mid-1990s. In Trouble_cover_2_from_whit_small-82x1282011, Elaine introduced the Jolie Gentil cozy mystery series. She grew up in Maryland and moved to the Midwest in 1994.

Reaching to Friends and Strangers

Writing a series take a certain amount of arrogance and some juggling skills. It is tempting to focus marketing on the newest book, but for a series audience to grow, the earlier books need to stay on reader radar.

Most of my marketing is for ebooks, though I use the paperbacks (including large print) as marketing tools with bookstores.

I have a three-pronged strategy. 1) Give friends a chance to help reach new readers. 2) Write articles and occasionally guest blog posts beyond the writing world. 3) Use social media (especially Twitter) to reach beyond my circles.

There are 360 people on my monthly update list. When I sent the first email I promised two things— recipients would not hear from me more than once a month, and I would never take offense if anyone asked to be taken off the update list.

Creating the email audience took a lot of time. There are some writing friends, but they already know what I’m doing. I drew on people from almost every job I’ve had, service organizations I belong to, my extended family, current and former neighbors, and friends from school. I did not choose everyone who is on my email contact list.

I’m always surprised at those who follow up with notes. Some I have not seen in person for more than a decade, others could be in a book club I joined recently. Some of them post information on new books on their Facebook pages. Finally, if all I say is “read my books,” it’s boring. I mention a personal item or a conference where I learned a lot.

As a lifetime nonfiction writer, I post articles on varied topics on nonwriting sites, such as Yahoo Voices. The first thing my brief bio on these sites says is that I write fiction. I post on my blog and sometimes others, but these posts are primarily read by other writers.

I have a Facebook fan page, web page, and Twitter account. I keep them up to date and allow only 15 minutes a day, unless I’m doing extensive updates to the web page. I also get marketing ideas from the Murder Must Advertise Yahoo Group.

Two things in the electronic world seem to make a difference.  I maintain a $3 per day Facebook ad, and vary the content. It draws people to my Facebook fan page and puts my name in front of people whether they click on the ad or not.  When the ad comes down, I sell fewer books.

Every day I send 10-20 tweets to various hash tags (#mustread, #mystery, etc.) and individuals who say they retweet. These are cut-and-paste tweets rather than individually typed. I mention a newer book and give a link or rotate through the series offering freebies via Smashwords, If this sounds repetitive, the tweets only are to the sender. Each one reaches a different audience, because most people only read tweets that appeared just before they signed on or while they are on Twitter.

This system works for me because it keeps my time on writing. I’d like to hear what works for you.

An Interview with Liz Schulte

MeLiz Schulte is a fairly new acquaintance of mine, and I love what I see! I love her website, her tenacity and her sense of humor (let’s face it, all of us mystery buffs can be a little weird). I hope you enjoy “meeting” her here today and will rush right out and buy one of her books!

PJ: How long have you been writing?

LS: I have been officially writing novels since 2006, but my first book wasn’t published until 2010. However, I used to write short stories in junior high and high school.

PJ: At what point did you reach a place where you felt successful as a writer?

LS: I felt successful as a writer when complete strangers began to find me on social networks and tell me how much they loved my books. That always brightens a cloudy day.

PJ: Is the writing life what you expected when you started out? If not, how is it different?

LS: I don’t know that I really had any expectations when I started. I mostly took writing up again because my mother kept telling me I should write a book. Finally, I had a really good idea and just tried it. I had no idea where it would go, if anywhere, or what it would be like once I got there. I have recently become a full time writer. It is a little different than I thought it would be. I thought I would be swimming in extra time, but I seem to be just as busy as I was before.

PJ: The general public seems to think authors are relatively wealthy. Without prying too much, has your writing income lived up to expectations?

LS: My writing income has exceeded my expectations, no doubt. I never really believed I would be able to make a living just doing what I love. I am very fortunate to be in that position now. I know a lot of great authors who also have to have day jobs.

PJ: Early on, so much focus is given to getting published. Now that you’re published, how has your focus changed?

LS: My focus is always on my next book. I want each book I put out to show my growth as an author and to engage the readers.

PJ: How long did it take you to get published the first time?

 LS: I published my first book three years after I wrote it.

PJ: Would you do anything differently if you had it to do over again?

LS: Yes! I would have self-published it and not waited so long.

PJ: Writing new material, rewriting, submitting new work, waiting, promoting published work…the list is large. How do you manage to divvy up your time to give adequate attention to all needed areas?

LSTime management is definitely the hardest part of being a writer. Being a writer is like having three separate jobs. You have to write the book (job 1), edit the book (job 2), and then you have to market the book (job 3). I don’t know that there is a perfect formula for handling this. Writing is always my top priority so I set word count goals for myself every day and once I meet those, I will work on the other two jobs as needed.

PJ: What is the single most exciting thing that’s happened to you as a writer?

LS: It is pretty hard to choose only one thing. I think being named as one of Apple iBooks Breakout Authors in the UK was pretty exciting.

PJ: What is the single most disappointing thing that happened to you as a writer?

LS: I honestly can’t think of anything. There are always disappointments in life and careers, but I never let them get me down or stay with me. When I have a setback, I push forward to better the next time.

PJ: What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?

LS: I went to a writing conference in Florida. A fan of mine who lived in Minnesota wasn’t able to come, but her parents were vacationing there so they came by to meet me and get pictures for their daughter. I thought that was pretty great.

PJ: With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?

LS: I think it is the same things that set books apart before. You need an eye-catching cover and a great jacket copy.

PJ: What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

LS: Don’t get discouraged and keep trying. The market is evolving and always changing. If you can’t find a publisher that works for you, then there is always self-publishing. If you want it bad enough, you can take control of your career and make it happen.

PJ: What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

LS: It is pretty easy for an area of promotion to become over-saturated. So I think the most challenging part of promotion is constantly finding new avenues to meet and engage readers.

Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:

Dark Corner (The Ella Reynolds Series)- 2011

Liz - Easybakecoven (2)Secrets (The Guardian Trilogy Book 1)- 2011

Choices (The Guardian Trilogy Book 2)- 2012

Consequences (The Guardian Trilogy Book 3)- 2012theninthfloor2 (1)

Dark Passing (The Ella Reynolds Series)- 2012

Easy Bake Coven (Book 1)- 2013

Hungry, Hungry, Hoodoo (Book 2)- 2013

The Ninth Floor– 2013

PJ: Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:

The ninth floor of St. Michael’s Hospital was shut off to the public, staff, and administrators in 1984. The doors were welded and chained shut, the stop was removed from the elevators, and the no one talked about what happened there—ever.

Ryan Sterling knew her life was going to change forever the day she found out her aunt needed a transplant, and she agreed to return to a home she never wanted to see again. Spending the vast majority of her time in St. Michael’s hospital, she soon notices peculiarities: her aunt’s roommate rants about evil, the nurses whisper about hauntings, and no one will tell her why the ninth floor is locked. Ryan thinks all the rumors are ridiculous until two nurses die right after she speaks with them about the floor in question.

Ryan never wanted to go home again, now she may never leave.

Where can we buy it?

Amazon, iBooks, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, and Sony.

Thanks for visiting with us Liz! I hope you’ve found some new readers here and I know I’m looking forward to seeing what your next books will be!

Drugs and Adventure Lead the Way in ‘Gray Ghost’ by C.L. Swinney

CC5GrayGhost(2)C.L. (Chris) Swinney, a real-deal narcotics investigator, takes readers deep into the worlds of fly fishing and the war between drug smugglers and law Chris Swinneyenforcement in his debut novel “Gray Ghost.”

Miami narcotics detectives Dix and Petersen have headed to the Bahamas for a long-overdue vacation. They’ve planned a simple agenda: some sleeping, some fishing, some drinking, more fishing. What they stumble into turns into a major drug operation that involves friends of their resort hosts. Although out of their own jurisdiction, they quickly find a Miami connection that brings them ever deeper into the web of murder and lies surrounding the sunken speedboat Gray Ghost.

Fishing for bonefish (nicknamed gray ghosts by the locals) quickly falls victim to fishing for drug dealers and killers as the pair discover high-up official connections in the operation. They must fight local corruption and the resulting distrust of anyone with a badge as they try to solve the double homicide and track down the brains behind the multi-million dollar cocaine shipment.

Swinney’s novel contains classic elements. The exotic locale, the colorful locals, fly-fishing heroes and murderous villains all add up to an intoxicating blend. He’s built tension and action into his story and displays an intriguing assortment of weaponry and hardware. In spite of the gadgets, the characters form the heart of the story as Swinney peels away the layers to reveal history and motives for the assortment he’s gathered.

Fans of adventure and police procedures will find both in the pages of “Gray Ghost.” The plot weaves together elements of law enforcement, military operations, local traditions and friendship to provide an action-filled adventure. The book provides a getaway to paradise without the necessity for an airplane ticket or passport.

Swinney indicates that “Gray Ghost” is the first of a series of Bill Dix novels. Readers can look forward to another visit to excitement as the detective continues to ply his trade.

This content was based upon a free review copy the Contributor received.
Reviewed by Mary Beth Magee