Friday, February 3, 2012

Traveling for Peace

I've started exploring my travel options for Everyday Peacemakers. There's a lot of travel required to finish researching for this book.  
OFF THE RECORD: I don't really love flying. In fact, I intensely dislike it, but it's a means to an end.
So I'd like to begin in Costa Rica, where I'll meet with Rita Marie and her colleagues. More importantly, I'll get to see her work up close.  We've spoken over the phone.  Rita Marie is remarkably forthcoming about personal events in her life that motivate her to work for peace. The TX native founded two non-profit organizations in Costa Rica to teach kids & adults peacemaking methods.  She swears by the program, and I want to see it in action.  
Also, I want to feel what it's like to be in a nation with no military.   Can you imagine?
Thanks for dreaming with me.  Hopefully, in the not too distant future, we'll all be able to hold a book called Everyday Peacemakers in our hands, sit in our favorite comfy spot with a cup of tea or cocoa, and read about Rita Marie.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Book Trailers & Other Self-Promotional Videos

Someone sent me a link to their book trailer via twitter last night.  Or at least I thought it was a book trailer while I was watching it.  The images seemed totally disjointed from the text scrolling across the screen, and the music, while evocative, was also unconnected to the text and images.  It turns out the trailer I was watching was an advertisement for a self-help writing program.  Interesting idea, poorly executed in my opinion.

Off the Record:  If you're going to put a self-promotional video online, make sure the message is clear!

I think the message is clear in the self-promotional video I produced last week to raise funds via  You can see it here:

I posted a comment about this on my linked In writer's group.  Someone responded:
"One of the issues I've had is trying to find cheap background music that will fit the theme - I think I've got one now off of Incompetech, but it took a lot of searching. I also just created my first totally original animated .gif! Fun! But I am worried about it coming out just a bunch of images and what makes a trailer good & what makes it suck?"

My answer:  
The trailer has to make sense, the way a movie trailer does. It gives you a taste of the storyline, without revealing too much. A good book trailer hits on the central conflict of the actual book. The book trailer must be compelling in its own right. The music should fit the tone of the book and, in my opinion, the protagonist's character. 

Here are a couple of great examples.  The first is for a memoir; the second is for a YA fiction book.



In answer to the last post: YES!  I am back into the dumpster! (...well, not literally.  I just clean my food wrappers, fabric scraps & odd bits &  save them for art projects.  I don't dumpster dive.  People who know me know I'm a wee bit too squeamish and pre-occupied with cleanliness to crawl, dive or even reach into a vessel filled with refuse.)  The point here is that TRASHION will reign in my small town again for one glorious night.

Since joining the Local Cultural Council, I've had opportunity to foster all sorts of artsy fartsy activities.  When we realized we had some extra cash in our coffers, I humbly suggested my peers consider the idea of holding a trashion/re-fashion ball.  To my amazement, they agreed without even batting an eye.  (Realize, this is a somewhat conservative small town in Massachusetts, folks, not Brooklyn or New Haven).  

So... we booked a DJ, booked a space, put out a call to all locals to save their trash, and have begun collecting prizes from local biz for the most glamorous, silliest, and creative costumes.  We will have a community trashion creation event prior to the dance, for those folks who'd rather not surf these wild waters alone.  Food, dressing rooms, extra duct tape, safety pins, and contact paper...  it's not too much work, and we're looking forward to having a ton of fun.  

OFF THE RECORD:  I already made some barrettes from magazine pages.  And today I bought an extra large bag of rice.  We will eat all that rice eventually, and the bag will make a nice base for my flapper dress.   I'm inspired by the many trashionistas who have gone before me, and who are devoting their entire artistic lives to this art form now.  

Check out this video of an intense fabric scrap recycling process. This is not just fashion; it's engineering!