Tag Archives: #AprilTaylor

…elementary, my dear April Taylor…

…those of yeez of a certain age may well recall then Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson saying, ‘…a week is a long time in politics…’ …well it hardly seems that on my wee blog, ‘coz just over a week ago, my dear pal, Authoress, April Taylor graced these pages with a terrific dissertation (a blog post, Mabel… a blog post) about how to create yer own promotional videos… and very well received it was, too… now here her name pops up again across my radar with her own latest launch, SHERLOCK HOLMES & THE OAKWOOD GRANGE AFFAIR... by m’Lady, April’s own description, ‘…a pastiche, emulating the great Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s writing style…’ …well, I have the complete WURKS of the good surgeon/scribbler himself, and have downloaded April’s book already in splendid anticipation of another entertaining product of her smashing writing prowess… yeez can read her insightful post below…enjoy…

avril-book-promo-portrait-bokeh

Are readers bored with all the gore, grit and angst yet?

What is the enduring appeal of Sherlock Holmes, who, as written by Conan Doyle, is more machine than flesh and blood? And how could anyone believe in Watson as Conan Doyle portrays him?

If we look at Watson critically, how can he be that dim? Unless, of course, it is to accentuate Holmes’s incredible gift of deduction. After all, Watson is a doctor. Or, is Conan Doyle perhaps having a quiet joke against himself? Because, he, too, was a doctor, who, at the height of his fame as a writer, volunteered and travelled to South Africa so he might use his medical skills in the Boer War?

The simple answer to all these questions is that Conan Doyle knew what his Strand Magazine readership wanted. Derring-do and high adventure. So, that is what he gave them, not just with Holmes but Brigadier Gerard and Professor Challenger, too. He knew his market and fed it.

As a writer in the 21st century, it is clear Conan Doyle was all about plot. His characters are pale and two dimensional compared to detectives in today’s crime fiction. But is that a bad thing? Or, is part of Holmes’s enduring appeal a backlash against many of the stereotypical modern-day detectives – angst-ridden alcoholics with family issues, married to partners who haven’t bothered to work out that police officers do not work 9-5?

How refreshing then to meet a writer who cracks on with the story, gives us all the thrills and spills with none of the action-stopping internalisation that sometimes goes on for page after tedious page. Yes, I can see why Holmes is still popular.

And that, in part is why I decided to have a go at emulating the Conan Doyle style and write a Holmes pastiche. Most readers have given it the thumbs-up for getting the style of writing authentic. I must confess I found the great detective incredibly annoying by the time I had finished the book. I felt like smacking him over the head with a frying pan saying ‘How’s that for a seen but not observed incident?

smaller-oakwood-grange

But why is Holmes so refreshing to read? Have we in fact gone too much the other way with our modern detective characters? All good fiction these days is character-driven, but there are sadly few writers out there whose detectives have calm, happy private lives and hurrah for them. Their books make such a refreshing change from the gory, gritty, relentless hopelessness so prevalent these days. How fabulous to find writers who, instead of making every scene downbeat and their main character demonstrating in nauseous detail the depth of their hidden demons, we get the necessary grit interspersed with contentment, humour and light.

Look at Ann Cleves’s Vera books or L M Krier’s Ted Darling books. Both protagonists have issues but these are not shoved down our throats. In some ways, the very fact that there are happy, humorous light episodes makes the darkness of the crime scenes and the twisted minds of the killers so much the blacker. Otherwise what do we have? The very opposite of the essence of a crime story, where good overcomes bad. Stories where it would be easy to transpose the killer and the detective, both are so damaged. How can you portray depths of darkness when everything is bleak and dismal? I think it very fitting that in 2017, the winner of the CWA Diamond Dagger is Anne Cleves.

You can find Sherlock Holmes & The Oakwood Grange Affair  here:

Amazon.co.uk – http://amzn.to/2kAeFRc

Amazon.com – http://amzn.to/2kAIHbN

You can read more about April Taylor here:

FaceBook  Twitter  Amazon UK  Amazon USA  Website and Blog YouTube

…thanks again, m’Lady, April... see later… LUV YEEZ!

ALL MY BLOG POSTS ARE FREE TO SHARE OR RE-BLOG SHOULD YOU SO WISH—BE MY GUEST!

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…my terrific pal, Authoress April Taylor, shares about creating promo videos…

…if ‘Music be the Food of Love’ for great novels, then April Taylor, accomplished writer of the Georgia Pattison crime novels, and no mean soprano in her own vocal right, serves up some great self-made videos… but more than that, she tells yeez how to go about creating similar productions yerselves… have a wee look and listen:

avril-book-promo-portrait-bokeh

 

Promo vid/visual presentations for authors by April Taylor

This is aimed at writers who are not necessarily computer wizards and just need a few pointers on how to put together a short video/slideshow presentation to upload to social media to publicise their books. I shall use the term video throughout for convenience.

It is really important that you create this show in plenty of time and not at the last minute. There will be snags and you do not want to sit at your computer tearing out your hair as I did trying to create the video, from start to finish, in one day for Dearly Ransomed Soul.

Go to your favourite search engine and enter “Slideshow software” or “video software” as a search term to see what is out there, how much it costs and what it does. In other words, do your research, just like you would do when you are writing a book.

aaaa

The most used software at the moment is probably Animoto www.animoto.com  – videos are easy to create and you can get 30 seconds worth free but you will pay through the nose for anything more. If you only want to do a vid once or twice a year, think carefully. Here is the current pricing structure. https://animoto.com/pricing. That said, you may find the free 30 seconds is fine for what you want to achieve.

I use iMovie, but this doesn’t always play nicely and, in the case of Weebly, refuses to load into my website, which is why I have changed website provider.

Powerpoint. Available in MS Office for Macs and PCs. Creates quite sophisticated slideshows.

Here is a rough template of my process.

When I first began to make these videos, I subscribed to Animoto and became drunk with the powerful tools it has. However, people surfing the internet get bored very quickly, so I advise making the presentation/video last a minute or 90 seconds at most

  1. When I first began to make these videos, I subscribed to Animoto and became drunk with the powerful tools it has. However, people surfing the internet get bored very quickly, so I advise making the presentation/video last a minute or 90 seconds at most.
  2. How are you going to go about collecting the material you need, from where and how are you going to present it? Finally, what music do you think will best accompany your show?
  3. Crack on and play. Check it is right before publishing.

Let’s flesh that out.

Planning:

First, you need to write a rough outline of the story you want the video to tell. Choose a few key points in your story and put them in a phrase or sentence. Make the sentences ramp up the tension. Include a question or two, especially in the last picture. Don’t forget, everything is tweakable, so don’t agonise too much at this point. Avoid using too many pictures. If you check the YouTube link below, you will see that all my videos to date are too long. Ideally, in the space of a minute, you only have time for 8 or 9 pictures, otherwise your audience will go cross-eyed. If your software allows, use two captions for one picture. Just because you can change your picture doesn’t mean you have to.

Now you know the caption for each picture, you will have a better idea of what kind of pictures and music will match. Go find them.aaaaaaaaaa

And here is a word of, not caution, but warning.

Do not assume you can romp into Google images or music sites and start downloading and using the pictures you find there. 98% of them will be subject to copyright. If you find the perfect picture, try to contact the copyright holder and ask their permission to use it. If you do not, you are liable to prosecution and a HUGE fine. Trust me, I’m a librarian!

Read this – http://libanswers.anglia.ac.uk/faq/78776

And this – https://www.copyrightservice.co.uk/copyright/p01_uk_copyright_law

Infringing copyright is THEFT!

Collecting your source material

Right, now I have scared you half to death, how do you find the material you want?

There are several websites where images are free. I use www.pixabay.com, http://www.publicdomainpictures.net  or https://picjumbo.com. I am also lucky enough to have a husband who can manipulate photos that we have taken. I sometimes realise I only need part of a picture, so I crop that in Powerpoint or Paul plays with it in Affinity.

Here is another beware. Loads of websites like Shutterstock, Dreamstime, freedigital photos et al, all have the word free in their banners. They are not free. Earlier, I said about creating your show in good time and not at the last minute. Why? Because in the stress of trying to get the whole thing put together and out there, you can fall into the trap of signing up to these websites, only to find afterwards that there is maybe a month’s trial free after which you pay megabucks for each image. If you do sign up, you will find your inbox stuffed with spam e-mails for months afterwards. Of course, if money is no object, go right ahead.

Music can be more tricky. There are no fixed amounts of a song you can use without violating copyright. Beware of sites that come with added payload you don’t know about, downloading things like MacKeeper to your computer and making Yahoo your default homepage without your permission or knowledge.

Because these sites come and go almost daily, my best advice is to enter “copyright free music” or “public domain music” into your favoured search engine. When I wanted to use Nigel Hess’s It Came Upon The Midnight Clear for the accompanying music to the Georgia Pattison Christmas short The Midnight Clear, I wrote and asked him. I was permitted to use one minute of the track on Facebook, Twitter and my website until 31st January. Very restricted. I have now put public domain music on it and it is on YouTube. Notice how the music is placed so that it begins to grow on the words The family dinner was not. From that point the music helps increase the tension of the video. Compare the number of pictures in the Midnight Clear video with the others. It is far less frenetic. By the way, if you do write and get permission to use music, make sure you acknowledge that in the video.

A final word on music. It can make or break a video. When the film Jaws was run without the music, the test audience laughed in the opening scenes where the shark is swimming back and forth. When the iconic soundtrack was added, some of the audience screamed.aa

Crack on and play

This is the fun bit. Getting the pictures in the right order, making sure they match the caption, getting the right bit of the music – if you end the video on a tense point, you need the music to reflect that, so probably use the end bit with the climax. When you are happy, keep playing it through. Wait until next day and play it through again to make sure. Chances are you will find something that needs amending. Then you can publish it.

To sum up.

  • Don’t do this if time is short. Leave enough time to get it right without you becoming frazzled.
  • Plan and outline what you want the video to say. This is a marketing tool after all.
  • Do not infringe copyright. Get permission if necessary.
  • Keep the photos in one folder. You may be able to use them next time.
  • Remember that the video clip will likely be small in frame size and not hi-res so there is no point in having huge and busy pictures.  A small portion of a picture is more likely a better choice.

Happy Playing!!!

Here is a link to April Taylor’s YouTube videos for The Tudor Enigma and the Georgia Pattison Mysteries:

YouTube

You can read more about April Taylor here:

FaceBook  Twitter  Amazon UK  Amazon USA  Website and Blog

…many thanks, m’Lady, April… for the rest of yeez Lads and Lassies of Blog Land, I expect to see yeez transformed into mini-Scorsese clones in short order… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

ALL MY BLOG POSTS ARE FREE TO SHARE OR RE-BLOG SHOULD YOU SO WISH—BE MY GUEST!

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…April come she will… Simon and Garfunkel MUST’ve had Ms Taylor in mind…

…if yeez ever doubt the strength of virtual friendships on the Web, here’s sum’thing about what happens when yeez eventually get to meet in so-called ‘real life’… many thanks to terrific Authoress, April Taylor (she of the Georgia Pattison mystery crime novels)… her blog post today encapsulates a microcosm of the WUNDER of it all:

reader

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…welcome the third in the terrific THE TUDOR ENIGMA series from Authoress, April Taylor…

…Lay-dees and Gennel-men! announcing today the launch of the third book in her TUDOR ENIGMA SERIES, Mantle of Malice, from the LUVLY April Taylor… she also hides under her real name sum’times, Avril Field-Taylor (oh, I see what you did there …(Avril—April —couldn’t sneak that past this ol’ cunning linguist!)…april taylor

April Taylor: The Tudor Enigma – Crime Fantasy in an Alternate Tudor Universe.

Book 1 Court of Conspiracy:

court of conspricacy

England is the prize. The death of a young king is the price.

We are introduced to Luke Ballard, apothecary and elemancer, a man who loves a quiet life, but is commanded by Queen Anne Boleyn to find the traitor who is trying to kill her son, Henry IX.

Book 2 Taste of Treason:

taste of treason

Blood, frogs and a threat to the firstborn.

 Luke, now Henry’s Privy Inquirer into Divers Mischiefs and Grievances. The continuation of Tudor rule and the future of England’s true religion rest with King Henry IX’s new bride, Queen Madeline of Scotland. Pregnant with a possible heir, she’s nearly killed—twice—in incidents that bizarrely mimic the Plagues of Egypt.

Book 3 Mantle of Malice:

mantle of malice

England’s infant heir has been kidnapped, and there’s only one man who can find him.

Luke Ballard has dedicated his talents—and his life—to protecting the throne. As Henry IX’s Privy Inquirer and Dominus Elemancer, his loyalty is no longer in question. But when Queen Madeline’s coronation is interrupted with the news that Arthur, the baby Prince of Wales, has been abducted, Luke is given an ultimatum: retrieve the royal heir and prevent future threats to the royal family or lose his head.

DON”T MISS THIS FABULOUS TASTER VIDEO : http://bit.ly/1zYVWmw

Links to April Taylor:

Amazon UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/April-Taylor/e/B0090N6E3U/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Amazon USA – http://www.amazon.com/April-Taylor/e/B0090N6E3U/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1424680579&sr=1-1

Carina Press – http://bit.ly/17k6lO6
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard

…thanks a bundle, m’Lady, April/Avril… now Lads and Lassies of Blog Land, get following my pal :

Website Blog Facebook Twitter Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk Goodreads

…see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

ALL MY BLOG POSTS ARE FREE TO SHARE OR RE-BLOG SHOULD YOU SO WISH—BE MY GUEST!

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