Monthly Archives: February 2012

Snoring Conspiracy Tried to Ruin My Book Trailer

     I feel awful not being able to blog all week, but working all day and coming home to immediately run my son off to school keeps my days busy.  By the time I get home I pass out…and snore!! It’s not very lady like, but I still hold to the fact that I snore like a princess (not a chainsaw like my boyfriend).  I spent a few nights working on my book trailer and doing some research.  Have I ever mentioned I’m a nerd when it comes to doing things? I have to research everything and play the numbers game.  In my last blog I said it costs $4-19K to have someone produce a book trailer and I thought I could do it better and cheaper.

     I spent about $250 in conversion software and  video downloads to make my trailer.  It is still raw but I think it is coming along nicely.  I downloaded everything in standad format and wish I would have upgraded to media which would have been about $150 more and about $500 more for HD, but live and learn on that one.  My raw file is on windows movie maker for now which I can’t upload to the blog for review, so I’m working on a better format with my video converter. 

     My son showed me a few new fonts but we had trouble downloading those so I am still working on that, too.  I wish I could say looking through a million videos and pics was fun, but it just wasn’t.  It gets quite tedious and burns my eyes and when my eyes grow tired I start seeing floaties which is a major distraction.  Then I spent endless hours listening to music and had my son eventually tie in two songs for a nice break and change in pace.  The kid is brilliant with stuff like that, unfortunately he gets a bit lazy when it is not something he enjoys doing.  Everyone says the video looks good, but the kid says, “I hate the font!” Yet does nothing to help fix the problem.  Then again this is my gamer kid, my blow up the world with napalm, and alien abduction theories kid…not sure I want him to choose my font.  It’d be some weird alien doodle that blows up in the end.  Not at all fitting with my theme, but he did approve of the armageddon video clip.  The military really needs to pick up this kid.

     I suppose my boyfriend also took witness to a different side of me (and he’s still here so kuddos to the boyfriend) while I was working on this.  His best advice is, “just use that one.”  I told him he wasn’t inside my creative genius and I couldn’t just, “use that one,” because it was the first thing to pop on the screen.  I had to explain that if I spent over $200 then it had to be great not just good, and if I spent over $500 then it darn well better be the best video ever created by man (or woman).  Then he saw the original video and said, “its good, Honey.” I shook my head.  It was okay, but nothing was in sync, which leads me to believe he works for some other author who seeks to destroy the future of my career by infiltrating my life by placing a wonderful man that I would fall in love with only so he could detour me from reaching greatness by saying things such as, “it’s good, Honey.” Or…as my son would suggest…perhaps he is an alien intelligence decoy.  Hmmmmm.

     All in all I had to sit the perpetrator, I mean my boyfriend alien decoy, down and explain that when my name is attached to something it can’t just be, “okay,” it has to be amazing.  It has to be stunning.  Eye catching.  A spiritual experience.  Most of all, it has to make people want to read this book.  After all, it is a commercial to plug the book and show off my writing skills.  A commercial can’t be mediocre.   Mediocre publicity would be associated with the book and that is not good or acceptable.  After seeing my intesity and frutration he dropped the subject, turned around, and began to snore like a bear with sleep apnea… I couldn’t work the rest of the night because snoring is about as distracting at a gooey hot fudge sundae sitting on my lap, and thus the alien conspiracy theory and other author infiltration theory grew.   It took over 40 hrs to research and get to where the video is at today, and assume it will take another 5-10hrs to finish, but I can’t do that until I have a pdf of the book cover to plug in at the end.

     Thanks for keeping up with me and my crazy ideas of publicity.  And just remember to ak yourself, “when he’s snoring, what is he trying to keep me from accomplishing?” It’s probably a conspiracy.  That one’s for you, Honey.

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Million Dollar Book Trailer

     How much does it cost to produce a quality book trailer? Iuniverse has several packages ranging from $4k-$20k, depending on how exciting you want it to be.  The first service offers basic photos with what I call the Star Wars scrolling of text and a quick flash with a link to the book in the end.  The more expensive service offers paid actors and looks more like a movie trailer than a book trailer with the big hitch being that they would pitch the trailer for Hollywood production.  Still, I can’t see paying that much UNLESS the book was already a great hit in sales. 

     I’m trying to cover all my bases with marketing since I am being independently published, but I stand firm that I am a WRITER not a marketer or publicist.  I wish I was great at all three.  That would be wonderful, wouldn’t it? I feel safe in saying I’m a jack of all trades, master of none (except writing…maybe…read the book and let me know).  I have read that some people write their book then spend two years in marketing and publicity.  Oh my! I would prefer to spend two more years in producing more novels…maybe a vacation.  Tahiti? Fiji? And only, only do I want to go publicizing for two years if I’m doing signings in places like Tahiti, Fiji, New Zealand, heck even Missouri.  My apologies to any Missourians, but I’m from Southern California and don’t do weather temps less than 73 without complaint.  I’m a weather diva.

      Back to the topic at hand.  I have dabbled at great lengths in movie production from my home computer.  I have used Vegas and Vegas pro as well as some free download software, and for my nursing graduation did some work with  green screen that turned out nice.  I wouldn’t say it was cinematic, but pretty dern good for using a green bed sheet as the background.  So I got to thinking if I really wanted to spend $4K to see some still photos scroll across the screen with words scrolling up.  I feel comfortable in my  skills that I can do better than that…even wth my generic movieware.  So last night I pushed myself to stay up until 1:30am browsing and listening to hundreds of free music downloads which I found at Kevin MacLeod’s www.incomptech.com There is some fabulous music there.  I was more impressed by his works than any other page I ran into.  I also looked at over 500 royalty free videos from various sites, but I was discouraged by the prices. $79 to download a wave form 12 sec loop, but also to download a 9 sec video of a field on an apparently windless day.  I had to double-check if it was a still photo.  By the end of the night I was exhausted and upset.  I kept track of any videos and photos I might like to use and they came to a total of $500 with limited use. 

      Granted $500 is a far cry from $4k, but I was still upset by the prices.  I had to narrow down my search to essentials and skim on my movie which is just devastating.  I think I may be able to pull it off though.  I have some creativity genes floating around my DNA somewhere.  Regardless, I’m certain it won’t be cinematic, colors, bells and whistles, with great HD quality, but it will do.  Yet, if it’s not up to par to standards that I would be willing to sign off on then I would have lost my investment and be no better for the ware.  Wish me luck.  I’m going for the feel of a million dollar book trailer.  I’ll try to post my progression.  And fingers crossed…book sould come back from content editing this week.  If all goes well, should be a late April release.

If my characters wait for me

     I am sorry I haven’t been able to read any blogs all week.  It’s plain awful.  I feel like  I need my blog fix and can’t get to it.  I am currently training as a Pre-op assessment testing RN and my hours are Mon-Fri 830-500pm.  After work I have to tote around my son who is in charter school and needs to go do proctor chaparoned testing twice a week.  Then Thursday I get my girl and send off my son and Sundays we reswap kids.  Since being back at work I have not turned on my computer until today.  For the first time in over year, my laptop shut down because the battery died in sleep mode.  That has never happened before and Ifelt like I wasn’t around when the “plug” was pulled on my poor Sony.

     You all know by now that I talk to my pets, but today I pulled the laptop out from under a pile of scrubs and gave it a huge hug…but my love alone couldn’t turn it on.  The poor thing was cold and dead.  I coaxed it and sweet talked it as I turned it back on and bypassed safety mode.  My hands were twitching (withdrawls) as it lit up and played its vibrant Microsoft diddy, letting me know there was still hope to recover the last chapter of my third novel that was left on the screen all those days ago.  First I checked the read count on “When I Thought I Was Tough,” which is up to a wonderful 1571 reads and 180 likes.  Then I came straight here to catch up on my blog and read other blogs.  I feel like I have missed so much.

     But more than missing writing my blog I miss writing my stories.  I used to wake up at 630 and punch away all hours of the day.  For one year it was my full-time job.  Now, just as I expected, writing has taken a back burner to work and my motherly duties.  I haven’t seen my third novel in over a month, but some of that was due to editing, “Be Still.”  I had a dilema with the new book because I hated the first chapter.  I didn’t feel it was captivating, and after much thought I realized the fix.  Now all I need is the time to write the fix.  I’m so upset…so very upset that my dream has come to a halt.  I’ve whined to my boyfriend everyday that I miss doing what I loved.  I didn’t know how much I loved being a writer until this week when I wasn’t able to do it anymore.  I can’t fnd the time.  I am exhausted from work, which is mentally grueling then kick myself for not even getting one page of writing in when I used to get a chapter in a day. 

     I’ve lost my love.  My heart is sinking into an abyss and I’m not sure anyone around can truly understand my pain.  it’s real.  Not only am I not writing, but I’ve abandoned my characters and for me it’s like walking away from friends who need to be heard.  They still talk to me, but I have to ignore them and concentrate on work now.  I’m afraid that if I keep pushing them away then they will disappear all together.  What if my talent disappears with them? I’m not conceded, but I feel like I have been blessed with a wonderful gift of story telling.  And right now my gift is quietly in waiting on computer drive C.  Quietly waiting to be revived…someday…if my characters wait for me.

I hear in color and see in music. It’s called Synethesia

     In my last post I wrote about how I hear in color and see in music and Sally told me I should write about it.   What a fabulous suggestion! Well, first I had to figure out what this was, and thanks to the power of Google, it only took two tries to find it.  I searched, “hear in color,” and up popped a few links to something called “synesthesia.” Please read the brief fun facts at Wikipedia.  I found many other links and learned there is an actual organization for people with this. . . this. . . hmmmm, I don’t know what it is. Disease? Genetic mutation? Phenomenon? Whatever it is, now that I know what it is I don’t mind talking about it.

     I was about fifteen when I realized not everybody heard in color and saw things in music.  All my notes were written in every color known to man, and my side notes would read, “think of (insert song).” When someone asked what I was doing, they gave me a weird look after i told them I was writing in the colors I saw.  And thus I realized I was odd and mostly kept that fact to myself.  To clarify, I do not see letters in colors…except the letter “A.”  If it is in caps I see it in red, but lower case is kind of a cross between violet and crimson.  So I see things in various shades.  For the most part I see entire words in color, not usually individual letters, but there are a few exceptions.  And i do not see every word in color.  It is a bit difficult to explain, but I’ll try…

Glenn=hunter green

Glen (one “n”)= neon green

     See how one letter can change the color.  Well maybe you can’t see it, but I can.  So this is how it works for me.  The most recent conversation I had-had this sentence from the person I was talking to, “I know, but sometimes it is hard to get out of your on head.”  In that sentence I only see one word in color: head and its color is navy blue.  I used to think it was a word-color association, but I’m not sure how head and navy blue equate.  Or how Glenn and hunter green relate.  years ago my ex-husband asked me something and I said I couldn’t remember the word but it was on the tip of my tongue and it was orange.  He looked at me strange as I explained myself (most people chalk this up to being a writer/creative).   Later I remembered the place I was trying to remember was, “Georgia.” How does Georgia=bright orange? I don’t know, ask my brain.  My head picks out certain words from a conversation and displays them on a marquee in my head, so i visually see these words as clear as day, and they are in color.  Like I said, only some words.  It’s like a  mental highlighter.

     This phenomenon doesn’t interfere with my life in any way.  It’s not like I stop to see the word or color, its just flashes and they move on.  Oh, and i only see this when people are talking, not so much in print unless I am really studying something in depth, then words tend to light up, but its rare.  I won’t complain, though.  This little niche has helped me through several exams and was a God send in nursing school.  I owned every color pen and highlighter known to exist.  So when I tested I would see the color of the word and the rest of the text sorta followed with it.  Mega bonus! (By the way, it does nothing to help with comprehension of the material. 😦  )

     Okay, so I also see in sound.  This is very rare, but when I am in full concentration mode I hear music.  Not always a specific song so much as a beat.  somethings are kind of blues jazzy while others are insane rocked out electric guitars that hurt my eyes.  Yep, I said the sound hurts my eyes.  I’m not even going to try and explain that.  On an average day this hardly ever happens.  I attributed that to my world moving so fast, but when I slow down and stop to smell the roses or “people Watch,” then it happens.  I assume this is why I must play low, background music when I write.

     the final quirk I have and the one that is most prominate, I think, is personification.  I give words, letters, and numbers personalities.  How does that work? The letter “A” is very proud and stands high above everything else, but lower case “a” is timid and shy and tends to sneak away.  My favorite letter is lowercase “c” because it is always ready to attack and devour something when called to action, but loves to cuddle. 0-6-8-9 are the round numbers and how I remember dates.  My boyfriend’s birthday I can not recall exactly but I know it is one of the fun round numbers. 1-7 are stubborn numbers.  2-3-5 are full of confusion and are various shades of red.  The number 4 stands alone and is very arrogant.  I also do this with full words such as, “brilliant,” which is shiny silver and stands in an ivory tower, or “arrogant” which is shocking pink and tends to scowl… And yes these colors have changed over time, which I just chalked up to age and experience. 

     My day of research has proved that there are variations of this experience.  Not everybody sees “A” as red and not everyone thinks a cute older couple talking is pastel yellow and Etta James.  It’s just me.  I will be honest, I spent years thinking I was crazy or had some gene mutation, and lately wrote it off to side effects of constant migraine headaches.  All I knew is it wasn’t common and so I automatically presumed it was a defect.   Now I know it is a wonderful neurological condition that has helped me for years and not some premonition into degenerative brain dysfunction.  It may sound funny to read, but these are all things I thought.  Not to mention there were clinical trials on tv years ago and so my only deduction was this was some form of a brain disorder.  I immediately tried to turn it off, but it never went away.  I just stopped talking about it so people wouldn’t think I was weird.  My boyfriend says my mind is as amazing as the person I am.  Awe…… Oh, and for those who remember this guy, Billy Joel has the same condition as do many composers.  It seems many people with this are labeled, “creative.” When my book comes out you’ll see just how much I need to use color in description, because I try to get people to see what is in my head more than simply using descriptive words.  But it’s all a far cry from what I really see when I talk to people.  Imagine telling people when they talk I see a blue cat or green dog. 

     Well now that I know what it is and that it doesn’t mean I am going to die from brain melt I will learn to embrace this and not be afraid to say, “It’s on the tip of my tongue…something to do with the color teal.” Thanks for indulging in my senses.  And may you all have wonderful lemon-merangue colored day.

People Watching & Bacon Shakes

     I’m sure most writers have done this at some point and time.  Sit down and just watch the people around then create their life, personalities, back stories, and run with the stories from there.  Since I’ve been out on disability for an entire year I can’t say I have done much people watching lately.  Most my time was spent sitting at home and writing.  My best people watching was spent on my pets, even the turtle was given a character.  Well, today was my first day back at work which is at a fairly small hospital in my relatively small community.  We are quite a diverse little area and see people of all kinds of nationalities, backgrounds, histories, and sizes.  I gotta say, after a year of talking to the pets, I was in sensory overload.  Steam literally escaped my ear canal from all the fusing synopses in my brain.  No RedBull, Monsters, or Dexatrim needed to get my brain in action.

     I wish I would have had my laptop to get all this information down (which may have subdued the overloaded brain).  I had so many story lines from people who walked through the door before I ever got their names.  There was a beautiful older couple sitting in the hall, holding hands, and I couldn’t help but create a life for them.  Then there was  a younger couple who bickered loud enough for people a city away to hear, and I created a story line for them, too, but there’s was a bit more death metal while the older couple was a little more Etta James. 

     Oh, yes.  I do hear music in my stories and I equate things to colors.  There was a research study for that years ago, but quite frankly I’m not looking for the cure to “why music and colors fill my head”.  I don’t know why, but I see the cute older couple and I hear Etta James and see pastel yellow.  I see the bickering kids and think Ozzy ripping off a bat’s head and think deep purple.  Go figure.  I was so overloaded I had to drive straight home and jot down personalities on my cell phone.  This stuff is classic.  And its free, so that’s a major bonus since I’m a flat broke writer moonlighting as a nurse.  Funny how a year changed that around. 

     Anyway, I realized just how fat my brain was (does that make sense?). I mean teachers say that learning is exercise for the brain.  Well if I was trapped (chained to my laptop) for a year without much in the way of sensory stimulation save for the occasional SpongeBob cartoon when the 4-year-old is home, or K-9 therapy sessions, or frontal lobe meltdown while the 17-year-old explains the time continuum paradox flaw in time travel, or the telepathy games that the bag of Oreo cookies plays on my mind every night…other than those little blips in life, I was getting no mental exercise.  This fully explains why my brain fried today.  It was out of shape.  It was like pulling it from a one year bacon and rocky road ice cream sedentary slump then instantly sticking it on some Jillian Michaels or Insanity work out on expert level.  Mmmmmmm….bacon.  Sorry, old habits die hard.  Wake up brain! Focus.  There is an entire world out there to explore and write about f you would just get up off your lazy medula oblongata and see past your own frontal cortex.  We can’t continue to melt down everytime we are in a room of people like a person suffering from agoraphobia who steps out the front door for the first time in a year.

     Tomorrow we will walk around the park and take it slow.  Maybe create a back story for a sparrow or lizzard to start.  We can move on to the creepy man with muscles on his shoulders who walks the little boston terrier and wears shorts just a bit too tight to be considered “casual.”  Perhaps if we feel up to it we can go to the movies and catch Star Wars in 3D and watch the people in the theater while the 4-year-old eats all our popcorn, tells us what is going to happen next, and gives a sermon on why Darth Vador needs to pray.  We will walk and not run through our people watching exercises.  Next week we work 40 hours and that will start the endurance training.  And when we survive without any shorting of fuses I will gladly reward all your wonderful efforts: BACON SHAKES!!! 

     Lesson of the day: take your brain out for a walk…oh, and keep a pen and notebook handy for all those wonderful thoughts.

Jack In The Box: Bacon Shake. Yummm or hmmmm?

Living Vicariously through Characters

     It seems there was an error in my revision as I obliviously did not turn offf the track changes mode in Word.  To be honest, I just bought Word in December.  Never used it before, so I am finding working in this format to be some what mind boggling.  Usually I would channel my inner geek and look to Youtube and other internet venues to study up on this new adventure, but I decided to wing it … and I got it wrong.  Figures.  Now before I continue on my topic of the day I just want to say that I apprciate everyone who is following my blog.  I have visited most your sites and I love how diverse you all are: poets, novelists, photographers, medical professionals, and my mom.  Hehe. My mom thinks I’m brilliant. Thanks mommy.

     I realized a few things after rereading my book in editing:

  1. I am an amzing writer (and modest)
  2. I can make my mom cry just by telling her the scene and not actually reading the chapter (this is good, right?)
  3. Males tend to be my strongest and most written characters (Freud, do you have any insight here?)
  4. I write better when I’m in a bad mood (call it displacement)
  5. I think better after a sugar rush (considering keeping splenda packets by my computer)
  6. Country music and love scenes don’t mix (can’t write through tears, and I always wonder if the dog is going to come back)
  7. I live vicariously through my characters …

     That’s what my topic today is about: living vicariously through characters.  I have made a point to say that I do not write myself into characters.  I may give them a joke that I said once.  Maybe have them say something I said before, but I draw the line there.  I do not add my personality, though some say if you write then you are showing a piece of you.  I’ll buy that, but I won’t pay full price.  You see, I don’t want to talk about me, that’s what the bio and website (www.TaniaLRamos.com) are for.  HEY! I haven’t put in a shameless plug in awhile.  Seriously, though; my characters are my alter ego.  They are people I am not and could probably never be.  Case and point: my character Dr. Christina Amity in “Be Still,” is very vocal and not afraid of confrontation.  I AM THE OPPOSITE. I hate confrontation on every level.  I am a peace maker and hate, hate, hate when I have to tell someone bad news or even the truth if I know it’ll hurt. 

     Then there’s Travis Silver who has to confront his father’s death and handles it poorly.  Now I’m not condeming my mother to death (and yes mom, I know I have to wait at least a week to pull the plug), but if mom was on her death bed with no hope for survival, I would let her go (after the one week of praying for a miracle period).  I guess being a nurse kind of puts some things in perspective, but again I can not relate to my character and I lived vicariously through his journey through self discovery.

     Where I live vicariously is sometimes in their personalities.  I love to get fiesty, bossy, and down right crass sometimes.  Why? Because its alter ego me.  It’s fun to be something I’m not.  I get to be whatever I want to be.  My most vicarious areas are always those gushy, romance scenes.  I don’t do detailed like Harlequin novels, at most I say, “this is where we made love the first time.” End of story.  I blush just thinking about a love scene.  But there’s that scene where boy meets girl, boy kisses girl, or some other romantic thing where I became my character.  Remember the movie, “Ghost,” with Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze, the scene where Swayze becomes Whoopi’s character and kisses Demi? That’s pretty much what  do with my characters.  I jump into them and divulge in the romance…kissy faces and all.  But,I’ve said too much.

    I also create scenes I can only imagine, like sitting on top of a hill in the desert where the sky is full of stars and the city below is full of lights.  “Like being in a glimmering snowglobe,” I wrote.  I loved that scene, because I took myself there and felt it the way my characters did.  Every tingle, every romantic glance.  It’s so….wow! I’ve said things I wouldn’t say and done things I could only dream to do through my writing.  It’s very liberating.  Like being an actress before it ever goes to script, and I’ll know that I was the very first person to play that character.

     What I have loved about blogging is that I’m slowly discovering I am not the only person who suffers from Writer’s schizophreni where I talk to myself in public.  Or writer’s paranoia, because I think I’m not good enough.  Or writer’s deflection where I put my anger into words.  Or even writer’s dillusions where  I put myself into the character and live vicariously through them.  After all, as writers, we truly live the story before anyone else gets the chance to.  I love this gift…except when it doesn’t shut itself off as I’m getting ready to go to sleep.  I have one character that just won’t go away.  It’s weird.  I tell him  I already wrote his story and it’ll be out in a few months, but he keeps dialoguing.  I’m pretty sure he’s a diva and needs a sequel.  Is it just me, or does anyone else need a character exorcism sometimes?  Living vicariously does have its downside. 🙂

I live this ...

The Rapidly Fraying Rope

     So, this is it.  I finished my developmental rewrite and resubmitted the book for content editing.  I am told that will take two weeks and my editing should only take a few days after that.  Then the book goes to another review where they decide whether or not I get my nomitation for “Editor’s Choice.”  And I all have to say to that is, “Arghhhhhhhhhhhhh …” oh, I could go on forever.  I’m so over it.  So so so over it.  I don’t want to see this book anymore.  I was so looking forward to seeing the final product, but now I just want to tuck the final product away on a shelf.

     Do other author’s feel this way? I read the inside jacket of  a Sparks book and he thanked so many people: editors, lawyers, managers, agents, researchers, and I’m thinking, “I want someone to edit my book.”  Yeah, I don’t need an attorney or manager (yet), but to have someone do the monotonous revisions that sucked up two and half weeks of my life, well that I would not scoff at.  I am exhausted, like put the dog  out, close the blackout blinds, send the boyfriend off to a late night shift, and pop a Xanax kind of exhausted.  And after the tenth read I feel like I’ve seen this stuff a million times before, and I don’t know if I can add in creative new details because I’m unsure whether they are actually new or something I already wrote.  Does Palahniuk go through this? I need a vacation, maybe a nice get away at some establishment for 3 days (my nursing friends will uderstand that), where I can get some rest, talk to fun and interesting people, and chew on a few meds.  Who knew writing was actually a full time job anyway? I thought I would write a little something, someone would read it and say, “Oh my God this is what the world has been waiting for!”, then I get a bonus check and take my family out to a nice dinner. Woo hoo!

     I am so bummed.  That is not the way it happens.  Maybe after a two week hiatus this feeling of blah will have passed.  Maybe it will be better when I see the finished product.  I am just so exhausted and at the end of my rope with this project.  I assume this is normal, though.  What sucks is that I return to work some time this week and will no longer have all my free time to devote to writing.  But, maybe going back to work is just the break I need.  NOT! I still have ideas in my head! Voices are still speaking to me and they need their stories to be told.  The world must know what happens between Ben and Evan’s struggle to be a family.  And know what happens when the Packer kids try to get their parent’s divorced.  I have stories! Tons of them, and although I am over the, “Be Still,” novel, I am not over my next books .. or the zombie-alien book I have promised my oldest son.

     So I will take the rest of this week, and fingers crossed that I get back into my nursing job soon, because not being paid for over a week sucks! Then next week I jump right back into writing.  I have goals to meet and I intend to meet to them.  Thank you all for your support and encouragement.  My next post won’t be so drab.  Promise.  I have a great theory on video games to get out…