Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thursday Movie Review--Season of the Witch

Season of the Witch  PG-13 2011 1 hour 53 min

In 14th century Europe, a courageous knight (Nicholas Cage) leads a group of weary warriors across impossibly treacherous terrain in order to transport a suspected witch believed to be responsible for spreading the devastating Black Plague.

I was intrigued with the setting, the wardrobe, the historical features--it was all done very well. I had the feeling of being there with them. They had me right up to the end. Is she or isn't she a witch?

Then, the ulimate battle of good versus evil at the end left me feeling cheated because it was so hokey. I won't spoil the ending, the producers/directors did that. And, with all of the really excellent things out there to watch, you really don't need to waste your time with this one.

I'd give it 1 1/2 stars.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Monday Morning Motivation


"Life is all about Plan B."  ~Anonymous

Life is Plan B. I can't think of anyone whose life is what they imagined as a child, or even as a college student.

For better or worse, we learn to be flexible and 'go with the flow'. It's okay if life takes a detour, it's just a bend in the road. Maybe it's not of your choosing, maybe you don't like where this detour has taken you.

Learn what things you can change and change it. The things you can't change can always be modified by a positive outlook. Sometimes Plan B turns out better than Plan A. Enjoy the journey!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thursday Movie Review--The Chronicles of Narnia: The Dawn Treader

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Dawn Treader
PG 1 hour 53 min. 2010

With their spoiled cousin, Eustace, Lucy and Edmund take an unexpected trip back to Narnia and join noble King Caspian for an epic high-seas adventure. Setting sail aboard the Dawn Treader, the young heroes head for the end of the world, determined to rescue seven once-powerful lords banished by Caspian's evil uncle.

Based on the series by C. S. Lewis, you know the symbolism abounds. I'm always amazed at what these kids can accomplish against enormous odds. Eustace comes away learning some life lessons as well. Awesome family movie, but it should be discussed. Find out what your kids think about it. See if they pick up any of the symbolism. Often times, my kids pick up much more than I do, or they see it in an entirely different way.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tuesday Tips--Feed your Muse part deux

Feed your Muse part deux

1. Take a shower and change clothes. Start fresh.
2. Get away from the computer. Get your pen and a notebook and go somewhere else.
3. Do a chore. Something moderately physical to get your circulation going.
4. Talk to a monkey. Try to explain what you're trying to say to a stuffed animal. Don't worry unless he talks back.
5.Spend time with your children or someone else's children. I use grandkids for this.
6. If you have more than one WIP, make a box or binder for each project. When an idea hits write it down and throw it in your box/binder. When you're blocked flip through your ideas.
7. Imagine waking up in your favorite fictional place. For me it would be The Shire, Lothlorien, or Hogwarts.

Stay tuned next week for Feed your Muse part trois
Oh and Have a Happy Valentine's Day xoxo

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Thursday Book Review--Retirement Quest: Make Better Decisions by John Hauserman, CFP

Retirement Quest: Make Better Decisions by
John Hauserman, CFP

This is not your average bedtime storybook, but it is well written with clear-cut information. It is definitely a teaching tool that I could've used 30 years ago.

This book is intended to help young people and those with resources, make educated decisions for their retirement needs. He even has a formula to help you determine what your needs will be.

From this book I learned the difference between stocks, bonds, different types of bonds, and the kind of broker or investment advisor to use to get the most bang for my buck. I also learned how to avoid panic in those "times of tumult".

All of this information is written so a lay person, such as myself can understand. Some of the information went over my head, but I grasped the basics. Like I said, I could've used this book 30 years ago.

I really liked the last couple of chapters where the author takes the time to review the last several decades of American and World history and shows all of the factors that have influenced our economy to this point. I especially appreciated his conservative approach and his take on entitlement. He quotes JFK--
"Ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country." The author then suggests that "one thing we can do for our country is to prepare ourselves financially" (page 98). This way we do not become a liability to our families or our country.

I wish I would've understood these things as a newlywed. If we had put a little away with each paycheck before paying anyone else, we wouldn't have missed the money and we would've learned to live on less. Fortunately, our children have learned from our mistakes.

This book would make an excellent wedding gift to help get newlyweds off to a healthy financial future. Husbands and wives should read this together.

To learn more about the author check out his website
http://retirementquest.com/home.aspx

To buy this book, look here
http://www.amazon.com/RetirementQuest-Better-Decisions-John-Hauserman/dp/0983021708/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1327988186&sr=8-1

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

How to Make a Book Trailer by Rebecca H. Jamison

I'm so excited to have Rebecca Jamison, author of Persuasion: A Latter-day Tale, as a guest post today. I hope you enjoy this post as much as I do. I can't wait to try it out.
Take it away Rebecca--

How to Make a Simple Video Book Trailer

When I signed a contract to publish my book, I didn’t think I’d have to do much, other than attend a few signings. Since that time, I’ve done a lot of things I never thought I’d have to do as an author. One of those was to create a video book trailer and post it on YouTube.com. This is a link to the trailer I created:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKgM9tuCzSo

Here’s how I eased my way through the process:

Search YouTube.com
I searched for book trailers on YouTube and watched for what I liked.

Collect Pictures
I started collecting pictures in a folder on my computer. I asked friends and relatives to send me pictures of places I mention in my book. I also looked online for royalty-free photos. You can do a google search for “free royalty free photos.” Here are the two websites I used:

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/
http://www.istockphoto.com/

The first website lets you use photos for free if you place the photographer’s name on the photo when you use it. (You can do this by placing a small title at the bottom of each photo.) The second website requires you to pay a small fee for using their photos. (I only spent $1.99.)

Import Pictures to Windows Movie Maker
I imported my pictures to Windows Movie Maker. If you have Windows on your computer, chances are you also have Windows Movie Maker. (If you have a Mac, iMovies works similarly.) Once you get your pictures imported, you can drag and drop them into the Movie Maker timeline.

Here’s a tutorial about using Movie Maker to create a book trailer:

http://www.mywritingblog.com/2011/11/how-to-create-video-book-trailer-using.html

Experiment with Windows Movie Maker
After I put my pictures into the Movie Maker timeline, I clicked on each picture and added a title for each one. Each title was part of a sentence that explained, in as few words as possible, what the book was about. Once I had the titles roughed out, I tried out different fonts, colors, and effects.

This process was a lot of fun for me. I played around with the length of time my pictures stayed on screen. I rearranged my pictures, imported more pictures, experimented with overlapping pictures, and revised my titles. I added a picture of my book cover to the beginning and a few endorsement quotes to the end, along with my website address.

Find Music
Next, it was time to find a soundtrack. One online source suggested using the Windows sample music as a soundtrack, so that’s what I did. I dragged and dropped a song to the bottom of the timeline. I had to listen to the music many times to figure out where to clip it for the best effect.

After posting my video to YouTube, I found out that using the Windows sample music wasn’t a great idea since its owner now has the right to place advertising on my YouTube video. So far, this hasn’t been a problem, but I’d recommend a different strategy. A lot of authors get their music from Kevin MacLeod’s website:
http://incompetech.com/m/c/royalty-free/#

You can also try getting permission from musicians to use their songs or do a google search for “royalty-free music.”

Publish the Video
When I was finished editing, I selected “publish my video” on Movie Maker. It’s important to keep track of the address where you save your published video, and make sure there’s plenty of space there.

Upload to YouTube.com

Finally, I went to YouTube.com. At the top of the home page, I clicked on “upload” and followed the directions. Within twenty minutes, my video was online. I wrote down the address for my video and later posted it to Facebook and my blog.

Rebecca H. Jamison Biography
Rebecca Jamison met her husband on a blind date. His first words to her were, "Do you want to get together and play spin the bottle?"(He was trying to avoid another bad blind date, but she went out with him anyway.) Rebecca grew up in Vienna, Virginia. She attended Brigham Young University, earning a BA and MA in English. In between college and grad school, she served a mission to Portugal and the Cape Verde islands. Rebecca and her husband have six children. She enjoys running, dancing, making jewelry, reading, and watching chick flicks. You can learn more about her at http://www.rebeccahjamison.com/