Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Across the Winds of Time review by Siren Book Reviews

Book Review by Nikki at Siren Book Reviews

I try to keep abreast of anything to do with my books by Google Alert, but somehow missed this lovely review done about six months ago.  I'm always thrilled by kind reviews, and this one is especially flattering.

"Across the Winds of Time is one of those stunning time travel stories that makes the reader believe in magic.  .... 
If you're a fan of time travel romances, then I'd suggest getting a copy of Across the Winds of Time.  I want to know what else Ms. McBride has to offer.  I'm a new fan! 

For the rest of the review, please follow this link:

And I must say...I'm a new fan of Nikki's!  Thank you, Nikki!

Bess McBride

Monday, July 09, 2012

Book Trailer How-To

 How To Make A Book Trailer by Nancy J. Cohen

Would you like to be able to create your own book trailer in Windows Movie Maker to save money and to maintain control over your project? If so, be prepared to spend time on a learning curve. The first effort is the hardest, but then you’ll know what to do for subsequent books. Just follow these steps for Windows 7 and you’re on your way. Generally, with images and music, I spend about $70 on a video.


Find trailers for books in the same genre as your work.

Write down the text on each slide and note the image accompanying it or if the text is alone.

Listen to the music. How does it make you feel? Does it create a certain mood?

Does the story flow smoothly and hold your interest? How long is the trailer?

What do the credits say at the end?

Now write your own text in verses to fit on each slide. Try to stay brief, keeping in mind that long lines may tax your reader’s ability to keep up. The text should give the reader an idea of what your story is about, the tone of your work, and a hint about your main character(s).

Let your critique partners offer their suggestions for improvements. Often another critical eye can help you hone down your plot to a few sentences, not an easy task.

Remember the adage: Short and Simple. Keep your video under 2 minutes if possible.


I use: Medium is 564 x 848 px and are 2 credits each. I bought16 medium photos = 32 credits = $30; See my trailers for Shear Murder and Warrior Prince Small is 602 x 900 px at $2.99 each. 6 credits cost $13 and buys 6 small images; 25 credits costs $49 and buys 25 small images) Book Covers for futuristic trilogy Small is 567 × 847 px at 72 dpi and is 5 credits each. 12 credits cost $19.50; 26 credits costs $41.50 but you’re only getting 5 small images.

Establish an account so that you have a Lightbox. In the Search feature, put keywords for the type of picture you want (i.e. romantic couple, beautiful redhead, man with gun). Scroll down until one catches your fancy. Click to add it to your Lightbox. If you like the model, you can click where it says Other Images Using This Model or Similar Images.

Keep collecting images until you have enough to match your lines of text. Then purchase credits, select the photos you want to keep, buy and download them to your computer. Whichever site you use, check the licensing requirements first. Some may require an extended license to use an image on a book cover, coffee mug, etc.


Live action can add spice to a video but it also takes up time.


Besides writing the text, this is the hardest part. Decide upon the tone of your video and put keywords into the search feature on these sites. Is your story dark and scary? Light and funny? Upbeat? Intense? Music is important to soliciting an emotional response in your viewer.

Check the length of the music clip against the length of your trailer. You can repeat the music if necessary to extend its length on your video.

I use $39.95 per track; Pay once, use forever 12 credits = $18.50; 26 credits = $39.50 Easy Samples (pay in English pounds) Don’t see royalty free music Inexpensive but hard to sample Way too costly! $100 and up, $500 for perpetual usage.


Open a New Project in Windows Movie Maker (File; New Project) and click Add Videos and Photos. Add one at a time and the program will produce slides. If you want a blank slide to add text only, click the Credits button.

Once you have your pictures, Click Add Caption for each slide and add your text in the text box. You can manipulate this box wherever you want it. You can also change the color of the text. If it’s a light background, choose a dark text. If you have a black or dark background, make the text white.

You’ll now see Video Tools and Text Tools. These have little boxes where you can see the Duration. I try to have the duration of my text shorter than the video. So a video slide might run for 5 seconds, and the text for 4.75. Some slides you’ll want longer, if you have more text or if you have an image like the book cover that you want to linger on screen. Under Text Tools, choose Effects. This gives you options for how you want your text to scroll or appear on the slide.

Under Video Tools, click on Animation. Position your cursor in front of each slide and click on animation. These choices will allow you to add transitions. Keep in mind that the transitions cut some of the time out of the slide before and after. Each time you want to view your slide, put the cursor in front of it and click the Play button.

When you have arranged your pix and matching text to your satisfaction, click on Home and Add Music. Browse for your music file. The program adds it to your slide show. You can adjust the track as needed. Also, hit Fade In at the beginning and Fade Out at the end.

Add credits at the end by clicking Credits. This will be a text only slide. Here’s where you put the sites where you found your images and music. You’ll also want a slide to show your book cover. Either add text there or on a separate slide with your book info.

Remember to save your project often. Hit File, then Save Project. Don’t hit the button on the right that says Save Movie or it’ll be finalized.

When you are totally done, click Save Movie and choose To Your Computer. It’s then ready to upload to YouTube and elsewhere. For YouTube, save it in HD mode. You can save it in several different sizes, too. For example, if you want to upload a video to LinkedIn, you need it in a very small size.


Watch my Videos:
Warrior Prince:
Shear Murder:

*Note: This post originally appeared on Nancy's Notes from Florida