I haven’t done many blog challenges, but this one sounded fun—possibly because I’m enjoying a beautiful 80° day outside, which always puts me in a great mood.
Herding Cats & Burning Soup Presents – BLOG ALL ABOUT IT Blog Challenge
This 2018 blog challenge is easy because each month has a different prompt. The prompt for March is Favorite Scent and April is Art. For the challenge, you can review books, interview authors, post pictures, share recipes, or get creative as long as you can weave the theme of the month into it. Since I only just found this challenge today and March is almost over, I’m keeping my post simple. I promise a more creative one for April. If you’d like to participate, you can sign up for the challenge here.
MARCH Challenge Favorite Scent: Cinnamon
To me, no scent is more wonderful than cinnamon filling a room, especially when the spice is baking in my oven. I like to put cinnamon sticks in hot apple cider and tea as well as bake desserts with apples and cinnamon. The aroma of chocolate chip cookies baking is a close second on my favorites list. To get the two great smells of cinnamon and chocolate together, I use the Rich Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake recipe from Taste of Home.
Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake
1 cup butter, softened
1 – 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar (divided into batter and topping)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup milk (I use almond milk)
1 cup chocolate chips (I use semi-sweet)
¼ cup chopped pecans (I don’t add these)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
In mixing bowl, cream butter, cream cheese and 1-1/4 cups sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder, soda, and salt. Add the dry and creamed mixtures alternately with milk. Stir in the chocolate chips. Pour into a greased 9-inch springform pan. Combine the pecans, cinnamon, and remaining sugar and sprinkle over the top. (I also sprinkle a handful of chocolate chips).
Bake at 350° for 50 – 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of pan to loosen and remove the side of the pan. Cool completely before cutting. (We never do that!)
As a writer, I weave scents into my writing for my protagonists and readers. For instance, in my Dagger & Brimstone series, one of the characters, Arloe, loves lavender and uses a lavender shampoo. When her boyfriend Racer smells lavender, it immediately makes him think of her. When Racer and Arloe smell sulfa, they know a demon is nearby.
Next month’s challenge – Art!
Wattpad is an interesting website that allows you to read part or all of a book without spending any money. As a writer and a reader, I created my free account, posted some of my work, and built a library of other authors’ works. Some of my posted work in available on Amazon while others are only manuscripts that I hope to have published one day. Check out the Wattpad site and see what you think.
Entering a town from hell might seem like a bad thing, unless you’re Siren, the cat. She is the featured “Kirchner Zoo” member whose picture appears on my young adult, supernatural/horror book, Dagger & Brimstone: Town from Hell. Her story ends happily. You’ll have to read Town from Hell to see if my characters Racer and Arloe are as lucky.
“What a difference a year makes” is a statement that is especially true for this cover cat. A year ago, Siren braved the Kirchner Zoo backyard, roaming with ferocious beasts—not an exaggeration for a 7-pound cat—to tear into our garbage bags to feed herself and her unborn kittens. Skin and bones with a dragging belly, Siren had no collar or microchip, and nobody claimed her through ads and posters. Fortunately, through the persistence of my daughter and the help of friends, Mary and Patience, Siren’s four kittens were born healthy in a comfortable and dry room while rain poured outside.
I could say Siren is one lucky cat, but it’s more accurate to say that we’re the lucky family because she chose us. If you check out my other books, the Pirates Off series and The Troubled Souls of Goldie Rich series, the author bio always features at least one of my furry kids, and sometimes, they turn up as characters in the book as well.
Siren courtesy of Jelly Bean Photos
It’s official–Dagger & Brimstone: Town from Hell, a young adult horror/supernatural book, is available on Amazon and making the rounds on Bewitching Book Tours. Visit the tour and sign up to win a $10 Amazon gift card.
Some of the stops feature interviews and a sample from the book. The trailer for Town from Hell, which is on YouTube, was the subject of my previous blog on ‘How To Make a Low Budget Book Trailer.’
The book trailer is completed for my Young Adult horror/supernatural Dagger & Brimstone: Town from Hell. The book will be published in April 2015 and available on Amazon. Since I shot all my own video and only purchased two audio files from iStockphoto, which were one credit each, the cost came in around $10.
The desert scenes were actually shot in the Nevada desert, although the ‘Winthrop’ and ‘Welcome to Nevada’ signs were added in Photoshop. The coyote howls were captured at a golf course, the wooden planks were at Bonnie Springs Ranch, and most of the other scenes were shot at home. View the video on YouTube.
Differences from the Original Layout
In the first part of the series, How to Make a Low Budget Book Trailer: Step by Step, I showed how I created a storyboard before shooting the video. Most of the ideas from the storyboard were shot as scenes in the final version; however, after having friends view the first version of the trailer, one scene that confused them was deleted. The handwritten notes from Racer and Arloe were replaced by boots and backpacks sitting next to a door. Also the scene with a door, which would have had Blue’s symbol emblazoned on it, was replaced by a treasure chest—possibly hiding a body—watch the trailer to find out.
Special or Not-so Special Effects
I created a burning symbol in Photoshop that glows within Racer’s tattoo on his bicep. The original tattoo wasn’t very good, so I worked on it to get a better version. The flaming symbol isn’t perfect, but I think it portrays what I was getting at. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. I’ve had mixed reviews on it so far. It gives me incentive to work on my Photoshop skills.
The Final Installment
Overall, I’m happy with the final trailer and the fact it is completed weeks before Dagger & Brimstone: Town from Hell is for sale on Amazon. Hopefully, it will stir up interest about what’s going on in Winthrop and what Sheriff Blue really is. As I bring this series in my blog to a close, I hope that any or all of it has helped inspire you to try making a trailer. Good luck with your endeavor!