Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wild Dreams Wednesday #19

Photo courtesy of Stock Xchg

Tell Me Your Wildest Dreams!
Every Wednesday I venture away from romantic/erotic fiction writing to interpret your dreams. Have a recurring or puzzling dream? Send it to and I'll try to shed some light on Wild Dreams Wednesday!

This Week's Wildest Dream:

"I dreamed I was back in school again, and I had to take a test but I didn't study or have any clue what the answers were!"

Dreams that take us back to school days are extremely common. This likely indicates you feel you are being "tested" or scrutinized in some aspect of your life right now, and you worry you will not measure up. You may feel you weren't properly prepared for the challenges you are facing, but are being unfairly judged for it. Or, perhaps you feel you should have been better prepared, and would have better opportunities at present if you were to have done so.


Wild Dreams Wednesdays interpretation by romance author/editor Lisa Logan is meant to be used for education and entertainment purposes only. I hope you've found this week's post useful! Stay tuned until next Wednesday, when we again delve deep into our Wildest Dreams. Sleep Tight!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Mystery Date Monday: Bear from InkUbus Tattoo

Photo courtesy "Surely" from Stock Xchg
Note: today's excerpt contains adult themes

Every Monday I'll treat you to a Mystery Date with a character from one of my romantic or erotic fiction novels!

This Week's Mystery Date:

Who: Pagan tattoo artist "Bear"

What Book He's In: THE WICCANING, a paranormal romance

Where He Lives:
the fictitious and magical town of Willowgrove, California

Why He's So Fascinating: Bear is a top tattoo artist, who puts a special flair into his artwork. He's also big with the ladies, who line up for a chance to have him brand them--both in the parlor and in bed. Though he tries to pass along his sage female advice to best friend Rion Silverhawk, in the end his friend has to follow his own path to romance.

A Memorable Moment with Bear:

Bear finally came out of his daze. Boots clicked on the floor with a resounding thump thump, then a sharp smack clipped the side of Rion's head. “Ouch! What the hell was that for?”

“You knocked Justine up, then did magick on her without her permission? What's wrong with you, Man?”

“Can't you understand? It's my child at stake. I acted to protect it from a woman who doesn't believe in our powers, let alone has the power to save the baby herself. Why is that wrong?”

Several long moments of thick silence followed. Then another slap on the side of his head sent hair flying into his face.

“Damnit, Bear! Stop already!”

“You got her pregnant?”

“I used a condom. And she claimed she couldn't even have kids.”

Bear chuffed. “That's what a lot of 'em say, pal. I can't believe she caught you.”

“It wasn't like that. I told you, as soon as she heard the word 'pagan' she wanted nothing to do with me.”

“Yeah, until she came crawling to your doorstep with the Big News, waitin' for a handout.”

Rion stalked over to the garage door and yanked down with excessive force. It came down with a grinding metallic scrape. “Wrong again. She never came to me about it at all. Never told me any Big News.”

“Okay, now you're confusing your best friend. If she didn't even tell you...”

“I overheard her talking about it. Twice.”

Bear waved giant arms as though diverting a ship on a crash vector. “So? That doesn't prove the kid is your problem.”

“Kids aren't problems, thanks. And I know for certain this baby is mine.”

“What, did it crawl up and say 'dada?'”

“No, the universe did.” He walked over and snapped up the spare tarot deck laying on the finishing table. “Over and over, the same cards. Remember?”

Recognition dawned in weathered, yet sharp blue eyes. “That's what all the tarot freakiness was about on fourth of July?” The manic guffaw he let out was promptly replaced by a scowl. “And you never once thought to mention any of this to your good old friend Bear?”

The man leaned across the worktable as his paw came up yet again. This time, Rion grabbed his wrist before he could make contact with his skull. “Enough with the slapping. I need some brain cells to run this business, you know.”

“You're obviously already a few short, considering your track record with women.”

“Hilarious. It's not my fault she turned out to be anti-pagan.”

He retracted his hand, pointing it in Rion's face instead. “Are you kidding? It's totally your fault. You're a trouble magnet, friend. That's why I keep trying to take you under my wing, show you how to escape the claws of the unforgiving female.”

Rion rolled his eyes. “What, with your laudable conquer-and-flee technique?”

“No, with my brilliant find-the-players technique. I only bed women who can handle a ride on the Bear Express without the need to use a barbed lasso on me when the deed's done.” He shot Rion a pointed glare. “And I don't leave behind any surprises scheduled to arrive nine months later.”

He growled. “I told you...”

“Yeah, yeah. It wasn't your fault.” Bear clucked his tongue. “Careless, Man. Real careless. And then you shtupped her with magick?”

“I shielded her to protect the baby.” A memory of their night together flashed.


When Bear is Available: THE WICCANING is a work-in-progress.

How You Can Get His Story: Stay tuned!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Good Book Trailers, Part 5

Feng Shui Friday is pre-empted this week as we finish up my week-long series on making good book trailers...

Last time we talked about using the Key Point and 1-2-3 Rule to conceptualize a script and storyboard. For the final post in our series, I want to talk a bit about the order in which you present elements of your video, or the "geometry" of a Stand Out trailer.

Let's look at a standard, triangular style of presenting information:

Here the presenter starts off slow, builds gradually, and offers a big finish. This is great for a musical score, maybe for keeping people awake during a boring lecture (nudge!), but this does NOT work so great for an advertisement. Or even in writing. We learn as authors to "hook the reader" within the first page--or even sentence--of a story, or we'll lose them. The same theory applies to a book trailer.

Here's how a Stand Out trailer is organized:

Note the "hook" is RIGHT up front, grabbing the audience within the opening seconds of a trailer. This is especially important for trailers that clock in at the upper end of the 90-second limit, because if you don't get their attention right away they might click off. I'll admit, I watch a LOT of trailers. If it doesn't hook me in the first 5-10 seconds and the timer tells me the trailer is much longer than a minute, I'll shut if off and go to the next one. So wake that audience up!

Some people see this inverse triangle and worry about the bottom. Note that this point does not mean "leave them bored and sleeping." It means "leave them needing more information." Information they'll get by reading the book.

Now, this does not mean it is impossible to make an effective trailer using the regular triangle concept. It can occasionally be useful when done right. Most of the time, however, the inverse is what you want.

That said, there is another interesting way to work this I want to show you:

This is the double hook. Get the viewer hooked with an interesting aspect of your book, then WHAMMY them with an even more exciting plot point. Remember I said you can use one or "two" Key Points in a trailer? Here's a neat way to do it.

There is a great deal more to making trailers, and I confess that I've become so enamored with the art of video creation I could go on a good deal longer. For this series I've tried to offer tips I have not seen in other book trailer tutorials, which are generally step-by-step guides for getting images and music and putting them together in your software program. If you are interested in this, I have a DIY workshop on Windows Movie Maker that you might want to check out.

I hope you enjoyed this series. I will be featuring YOUR Stand Out videos and offering (nice!) "critiques" of your trailers upon request during upcoming segements of Tuesday Trailers. I'll throw in some other tips along the way, too. So stay tuned, and feel free to comment here or email me at with links to your trailers!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Good Book Trailers, Part 4

Part 4 of my week-long series on making good book trailers...

Last time we talked about the Key Point of a trailer and how to find it. Today I will tell you how to conceptualize a script and storyboard using the Key Point and the 1-2-3 Rule.

Key Point to Concept
I'll use one of my Works in Progress as an example. TWELVE STEPS TO MURDER is a 1st person POV, amateur sleuth mystery with a romantic subplot. Let's say I've decided I want the Key Point for this trailer to be:

I was telling the truth this time, but nobody trusts an alcoholic. So more people died.

This was taken in part from the opening line of my book, and is a theme that thwarts the heroine throughout the tale. Just like any 1-liner tag line, Key Points don't need to be told from the viewpoint of a character. But since this book is 1st person POV I thought it was a nice touch.

This Key Point offers me some good text titling options, but I need to flesh it out.

--Using Rule 2, I won't be trying to "tell the story" here. I'll just want to show some compelling imagery and text that conveys the Key Point theme.

--Since Rule 1 is to keep this to an average of 1 minute, I won't need a ton of imagery. I just need some with the right punch.

--Rule 3 involves motion. There's a tense foot chase in this book that could add to the danger element in my Key Point. I'll try to find stock video for that, and will incorporate other motion during editing by using still image effects.

Next I open up WordPad and jot a few notes that will become my concept:

Cassie believes her friends' deaths were no accident, but no one trusts the word of an alcoholic. More women die, and Cassie is captured by a murderer.

Note this is simple and by no means covers the entire tale, but you get the gist (and are hopefully intrigued). Now I can map this out in our next step...

Concept to Storyboard

Now I can write up a script/story board showing what I want to happen in each frame of my movie. I'll go back to my Word Pad file and write out the script like this:

Opening Title: "I Was Telling The Truth This Time."

Images representing Cassie-- mood pensive, desperate.
Quickly flashed images hinting at danger: caution tape, a male's eyes with a predatory, dark expression, etc.

2nd Title: "But nobody trusts an alcoholic."

Brief shots depicting alcohol/party lifestyle.
(Since this has a romantic subplot, I might even "hide" that element in here by including one or more somewhat flirty, suggestive party shots.)

3rd Title: "So the murders continued."
(I decided this had more "punch" than my original Key Point.)

Images conveying murder--toe tags, chalk outlines, a partial shot with just an arm lying on the ground.
Footage of foot chase
Footage cuts to black with sound effect of a woman's gasp.
(as though he's caught her.)

Book Title/Author with shot of cover and purchase/site info

While I normally find "voice over" narratives cheesy and prefer text overs, this particular script might lend itself well to a female voice over. Might give it a couple test runs, see which way offers more "oomph."

Now that I have my script, this gives me something to shoot for when I hit the stock photo/video archives. This saves TONS of time, rather than sifting through thousands of images trying to find things that fit the book (much of which I end up not using). Also, this script gives me a pretty good idea of the dramatic music I want.

In my final post tomorrow, I'll be covering the "geometry" of a good trailer, or rather, the inverse pyramid style of advertising your concept.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Good Book Trailers, Part 3

Wild Dreams Wednesday is pre-empted this week as we continue with Part 3 of my week-long series on making good book trailers...

Last time we talked about the 1-2-3 Rule of Good Book Trailers. Today I want to talk about Key Points, and why you need this to develop a Stand Out Concept.

The Trailer Key Point
Don't let terms like Key Point and Concept confuse you. These are simple blocks you build your trailer from. Concept may sound a lot like the PURPOSE of your trailer, but it's not. We assume the purpose is to sell the title in question, which factors into decisions like the length, style, and format of your video.

The CONCEPT of your trailer is, simply put, your overall script. Which, for many trailers, is where authors try to synopsize their entire book. Since we learned not to do this in the 1-2-3 Rule, a Stand Out script will revolve around a smaller factor. That's where the KEY POINT comes in, which is what I call the aspect of the story you want to emphasize.

How do you find the Key Point for your trailer? Typically in one of three ways:

1. Start with your jazzy one-liner blurbs. This (these) are generally your best bet, as they are already made, quick, grabby ideas that hooks the reader and sets up interest for your book. If you have a good one, build your trailer around it.

2. Reread your favorite Stand Out scene for inspiration. No one-liner yet? What scene/sentence/dialogue grabbed you the most during writing? Reread it and see if you can build an interesting trailer around that concept. You can also ask your critique group or test readers this question, and see what the consensus has to say.

3. Figure It Out As You Go. Basically, this means surfing around for random images and music that seems to fit your book, play around with them in your movie making program, and see what springs to mind. My least favorite approach, as it tends to be longer and more frustrating. Still, I've used this trick on a few trailers when I couldn't decide on A Key Point.

Once you've got your Key Point, you can expand that into your script Concept.

"Wait! I've got a lot of Key Points I want to use!"

Especially with cross-genre or complicated plots, you may well find several real juicy Key Points or tag lines to build from. Happy dilemma! But stick with one or two for your trailer, as more than this is tough to get across in the average 60 second format.

If you want, you can make more than one trailer that emphasizes a different aspect--for instance, targeting a different reading audience for a cross-genre book. But keep your Key Points clean and simple, or the next step will be a real bear.

"I've tried all this and still can't figure out a Key Point. What Should I Do?"

There's one other trick I like to use, and that's MUSIC. Often I start with a trailer key point, then write a script and storyboard the concept, then I choose music and imagery that fits the mood. However, there are occasions when I have to work backwards, and sometimes when I don't know where to start, I hit the music archives. If I know the genre of the book (and I'd better!) that gives me some sense of the mood of music I want, so I'll sit and listen to clips until one inspires me. I'll see a key point appear on stage, and BANG! Next thing I know, I've got my script concept. So play around with the order of things a bit if you're having trouble. You may find your muse hiding somewhere you didn't expect!

Tomorrow I will cover scripting/storyboarding a concept based on the 1-2-3 Rule.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Good Book Trailers, Part 2

Part 2 of my week-long series on making good book trailers...

In Part 1 I talked about my background and asked a few questions about your opinions on book trailers. Today I'll be giving away my big secret formula for a winning book trailer--the 1-2-3 Rule of Good Book Trailers. Obviously a lot more goes into an ideal trailer than just three rules, but these are the top things I've found that keep trailers from Standing Out.

The 1-2-3 Rule of Good Book Trailers:

1. Keep it SHORT.

A very common problem with book trailers is they are toooo looong. Think about your typical TV ad or movie trailer. A "sneak" trailer may be 30 seconds; a typical ad runs 1 minute. Some go 90 seconds. Yet many book previews top out over 2 minutes--some more than 4. That's not a preview ad; that's a featurette! Someone clicking on a trailer "ad" expects a certain format and length. Go much beyond that and you risk losing your audience.

Writing analogy for Rule 1: If your preview trailer drags, your readers may get the idea your book does, too. Get in, grab 'em, and get out.

2. Do NOT "Synopsize." I Repeat...

I heard some jaws hit the keyboard. "But Lisa, how will readers know what my book is about if the trailer doesn't tell them?"

How indeed? Let's take a look. By the time you are marketing your title, you probably have the following:

1. The quick 1-page "pitch" you used to query the publisher
2. A several-page, in-depth synopsis the publisher requested when the query hooked them
3. A jacket-style blurb synopsizing the book in a few paragraphs
4. A two-or-three sentence blurb you use on web groups and in conversation when people ask "So what's your book about?"
5. Your quickie "tag line" that you use on your Email signature, promotional bookmarks and items, etc.

Why so many? Because each fits a different situation. #1 or 2 as your Email signature will not make you popular on groups. #5 will get you a form reject if the pub asked for #2. A whole lot of trailers use 1,3, or 4, but this isn't grabby advertising. Effective text title is quick, short, and adds dramatic impact. Use style #5, or a brief #4 split up over the course of the video, for a Stand Out trailer.

Writing analogy for Rule 2: Less is more. Hook trailer audiences with an "oomphy" hint, then leave 'em wanting--no, HAVING--to know more.

3. Don't Forget Movement.

With rules 1 and 2 in mind, you've got 30-90 seconds and few words to grab your audience. Beyond making those words count, how are you going to do it? Compelling, eye catching media. There's several levels to this I will discuss later, but the key factor is motion.

Lots of trailers are a series of still photos set to music with text titling in between. With clever editing this can be extremely effective. But with thousands out there just like this, to make yours Stand Out you'll want to use motion.

That doesn't mean grab a camera or hire a company to shoot scenes from your book. (Though it IS really cool and "next level.") This means either editing so still photos appear to be in motion (most movie editing software has pan and zoom effects for this), add animated gifs like our ticking clock here, or stock video elements. A video ad implies motion pictures. Give people what they expect.

You can definitely go overboard here. Don't do twirly-loops, zoom-fades, and zig-zags with every image or you'll give your viewers vertigo. Enhance, don't distract.

Writing analogy for Rule 3: Add layers to your video the same way you do your books, to allow the audience a fuller, more in-depth experience.

Tomorrow I will talk about finding the key point and concept for your trailer, and when it can be useful to go out and get your music first.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Good Book Trailers, Part 1

While we're on a break from meeting all my characters, I thought I'd do a mini series about a subject I've been seeing a lot on my groups lately: making book trailers.

Book trailers aren't exactly the "hip new" thing on the scene; they've been around several years now and just about everyone has one up on YouTube--even bestselling NY folks. Still, I see writers asking on groups every week how to make trailers, and even more who are asking how to make trailers that STAND OUT. So I've decided to start a week-long series about what goes into effective book trailers, then I will be launching a new segment: Tuesday Trailers and Trailer Shark. I will be featuring some of YOUR great book trailers, as well as offering helpful tips and techniques. In addition, if you send me a trailer you would like critiqued (along the lines of blogs like Query Shark), I will feature you here.

A bit about my background:
I did my first trailer in 2006 for my then-unreleased novel, VISIONS. It was short and simple with zero frills...and was nominated for an award a few month later. I've won awards for other trailer work, produced a number of trailers for other authors, wrote an online how-to workshop, and work with my husband's new production company that, among other things, creates live-action sequences for book trailers and author promotion. (Like my recently released eBook ad on Meanwhile, I've taken time to study some things about my software programs, sound/video/photo editing, aftermarket add on effects, and am slowly progressing toward low budget special effects.

All that said, it isn't necessary to learn fancy film techniques or spend weeks doing computer training to make an eye-catching book trailer!
It's easy and fun--so fun you may find that once you make one, it's hard to stop!

Tomorrow I will cover my 1-2-3 Rule of Book Trailers, three of the biggest factors in what makes a trailer concept stand out and grab, or sit back and yawn. In the meantime, I want to open this up to you with the following questions:

Readers: Do you view book trailers? Have they ever given you that "ooh!" factor that made you want to go out and buy the book? Are there styles of trailers that DON'T work for you?

Writers: Have you tried making book trailers, or had one made for you? What was the biggest problem you faced? If you don't have a trailer, is there a particular reason, or have you just never gotten around to it?

Don't forget to come back tomorrow for the 1-2-3 rule for good book trailers.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Organize with Streamy

Streamy Welcome from Streamy on Vimeo.

I'm sorry I've been off all this week; I took some bereavement time as my husband's grandfather passed on. Meanwhile, in lieu of our usual Feng Shui Friday I thought I'd leave you with this awesome new social networking tool, Streamy.

What's social networking got to do with Feng Shui? Hey, if this helps you clear social clutter, organize, and streamline your online experience, it definitely qualifies. I saw this over on Ask Angela/Market My Novel blog, and I just HAD to share this neat video intro to Streamy with you all.

Friday, August 07, 2009

I Did It!! Free Promo for YOU

I interrupt our regularly scheduled Feng Shui Friday for some big news!

It's been a labor of love, but for all of you who are seeking fun, unique content for your related site, blog, or social network, I've created a 1-minute video to promote the idea of reading eBooks.

Check out the final product, starring Yours Truly in all six female roles:

Give your readers something to talk about! Grab this promo to use wherever you wish.

If you enjoyed this "ad," would you do me a favor and please give it a high rating on YouTube? I'd also love to hear your comments here--and whether/where you will re-post this promo. Also, for any interested the "commercial" has its own official website at

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Wild Dreams Wednesday #18

Photo courtesy of Stock Xchg

Tell Me Your Wildest Dreams!
Every Wednesday I venture away from romantic/erotic fiction writing to interpret your dreams. Have a recurring or puzzling dream? Send it to and I'll try to shed some light on Wild Dreams Wednesday!

This Week's Wildest Dream:

"There was a little boy and girl in a parking lot. I see this white van speeding,and she runs over the little boy then stops. I'm yelling at the top of my lungs 'oh my God' and running towards the van and boy."
--Liz on Twitter

This seems like a very disturbing and violent dream, what with the death of an innocent child, but there is some mercifully simple symbolism behind it.

Vans represent things we "haul" in life, the load we bear as we move along on our path. Children, regardless of sex, represent childlike aspects of ourselves, or else childhood memories or traits. Death often does not mean literal death, but losing a part of ourselves, changes or transitions.

Here, perhaps life's burdens have struck down some of the childlike fun you experienced in the past. In this dream there was both a boy and one girl, and it is the boy who is killed. Perhaps you perceive the more active rough/tumble/athletic aspect of your youth has been lost. Maybe you were a tomboy or always "one of the guys," and this has been compromised. A woman driving the burdens of life smashes this aspect, as the demands of womanhood robs you of the pleasure of a carefree, "one of the guys" existence. The girl is left behind, but bereaved by the loss. Another interpretation of this is that you may feel opportunities are denied you because of your gender.


Wild Dreams Wednesdays interpretation by romance author/editor Lisa Logan is meant to be used for education and entertainment purposes only. I hope you've found this week's post useful! Stay tuned until next Wednesday, when we again delve deep into our Wildest Dreams. Sleep Tight!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Mystery Date Monday: Seeking Guest Dates!

Photo courtesy "Bixo" from Stock Xchg
Every Monday I have been introducing a character from one of my romantic or erotic fiction novels. Now I'd like to open this up to other authors as well! Send me a request, along with the info below, to me at I'll feature YOUR character on a Mystery Date Monday! I do prefer romance or erotic titles, please, though mixed genre is fine. (i.e. romantic mystery, sci-fi, or paranormal)

What To Send:

Your info: Your name, brief bio, and website or blog address.

Who: What the character's name is and what they do for a living, or "who" they are as a person.

What Book They're In: The title and genre of the work.

Where They Live:
The location, fictional or real, of your character's setting

Why They Are So Fascinating: Give me a quick paragraph explaining what the character's driving factors are in your book, or something unique about their personality.

A Memorable Moment with Your Character:Provide an intriguing excerpt/scene featuring your character.

When Your Character is Available: Whether this is a current or upcoming release. (No work in progress please)

How You Can Get Their Story: Sales links for purchase.

I'm looking forward to meeting some of your characters for a Mystery Date!