Dance and Sing for Books!

Well, I hope you all had a chance to revisit your childhood over the holidays. I’m talking about the release of the new movie Mary Poppins Returns. Now I don’t usually post my thoughts about movies on my blog, but this one deserves some attention
I have to admit I was skeptical there was no way they could outdo the first. There is no way that someone else would play the role of the ultimate nanny and carry it off the way Julie Andrews did.original_1099048853
But boy was I wrong! I’m in love with the new movie it was everything I hoped for and more. The return of old characters, new characters, song, dance and Disney the way it used to be!
It felt like the movie was made just for me; the writer, the reader, the adventurer.

Big, big, big spoiler alert here!! If you haven’t seen, the movie, you may not want to read the rest of my blog. Or you can go ahead and read, I promise not to give too much away.
The original Mary Poppins had this beautiful scene where Bert and Mary took the kids on an adventure through pictures. They jumped into the paintings on the sidewalk, and the fun begins. Everything that you remember from that scene in the original Mary Poppins– keep that in the back of your head. Because in Mary Poppins Returns they took the same concept, but instead of jumping into pictures they made the emphasis on books.

library-1147815_1920

Books, books, books! There is a fantastic song, & dance number called ‘The Cover Is Not the Book’ and the song stuck in my head for most of the movie. You can even play it on iTunes.
I think for me as a reader and a writer it felt like the movie was calling out because of the accent on books. It is all about judging a book by its cover, and the lessons that it taught the Banks children through song and dance are excellent.
Now as a writer we know you can and should judge a book by its cover– because the cover is what sells your book. So don’t lose heart to that concept.
The movie was taking an old saying and giving it a new song and a fun visual concept. One that I hope will resonate with every child. Teaching our children to remember that each person is an individual and has their own redeeming qualities. Qualities that you can’t see by looking at a person until you get to know them.
So, thank you to the Disney Company, and the creators and writers of Mary Poppins Returns. You touched my heart and my soul, especially with that song and dance routine.

rendered (18)

PS  I have the soundtrack playing as I’m writing this, and I can’t stop grinning!

Victoria LK Williams

Sharing the Toys…er…Tools

shutterstock_1011630079

Toys, toys, toys, oh the shiny toys.
Oops, I really mean tools! Because as writers we don’t have time to play, do we?

Summertime is my time for writing. The other times of the year I’m busy with my landscape business. So this is when I get to explore what’s up-and-coming in the industry, all those wonderful things I put aside during my busy season. Now I can finally read books on my list about the industry as well as for entertainment.
And speaking of entertainment, even though these tools  seem self-indulgent, they are meant to grow my writing experience and business, but I have to it admit they are fun. Maybe it’s learning a new skill, exploring the possibilities of what your book can do, or making fun graphics for your promotions, it feels more like play and work. This summer I’ve indulged in a few new toys

.shutterstock_176225708

Kindle Rocket this is a great tool for helping you understand the keywords you need to promote your book and find out what books you’re competing against in your own category.
KD Spy. Another new tool to help you with promotions. Picking the right categories and niches and positioning yourselves and your book where it needs to be.
Natural Reader. Oh my gosh, the mistakes this thing finds for me! I use this tool to read back my work in progress letting me catch mistakes of my eyes don’t see. (The only thing to keep in mind; if you want to make corrections as you read, you’ll need to get the software, not the online app.)
Covers Sell Books. I will freely admit that this is the most fun I’ve had in a long time. This program will let you take your book cover to create a 3-D picture you can use for making ads and post for all the major sites. But beware, hours can be lost using this program.

CoversSellBooksImage (1)
These are just four of the many programs out there. Most of these programs will have a free trial. And I encourage you to use it. As indie authors everything about putting our books out for sale falls on our shoulders. Why not find it used the tools will help you achieve your goals?

Victoria LK Williams

*I have not received any benefits from any of the above companies-I simply wanted to share what I have used to help me in my writing. 

Hello Summer!

Yes, summer is here!
rendered
You can tell as soon as you walk out the door and humidity slaps you in the face like a warm, damp washcloth. Five minutes outside and your hair is frizzy, sweats twinkling down your back, and your eyes are a little cloudy from squinting against the hot sun.
And then there’re the bugs. We won’t even go there! Anybody who’s lived in the South, knows summer and bugs go hand-in-hand. The rain comes in heavy storms during the afternoon hours, cooling the temperature a few degrees for a few hours.
But there’s also a sense of freedom that comes when the temperatures heat up. Kids are out of school and they’re feeling that sense the freedom. You can hear it from the shouts of laughter coming from the pool.
Even adults tend to be a bit more laid-back, ready to enjoy life a little more. This is vacation time, even if it’s only a stay-cation.
shutterstock_155739101
Days are spent at the beach lathering on sunscreen and drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated. Doesn’t matter if you go in the water or not, you feel like its cooler because you’re at the beach. The waterways are active with boats, jet skis and paddle-boarders. Yes, summer is a fun time.
There are essential things you have to take to the beach; a good pair of sunglasses, sunscreen, water, towels to sit on so the sand doesn’t creep up your butt, flip-flops so your feet don’t burn on the hot sand and a good book to read.
There are always some great books to take with you, whether you use your e-reader or a book. To me, there’s nothing more relaxing than sitting under an umbrella with a book in front of me listening to the waves and hearing the squeals of happy children running up and down the beach.
shutterstock_249074023
Since the sun tends to make you tired and an afternoon nap is often accompanied by day at the beach, I find that my reading is a little lighter and shorter.
There are tons of new books coming out on Amazon and other marketplaces. These are perfect for beach reads; whether you’re in for a cozy mystery, a lighthearted comedy, or sizzling romance. This is the time year when we can sit back and relax and get our reading in.
So what’s in your beach basket? What type of book are you reading? 
Free to share any new books you think others might want to read. 

http://www.VictoriaLKWilliams.com

Hi-ho, hi-ho, its off to camp we go!

My bags are packed and I’m running away for the month of April!

shutterstock_543460609

Of course this is only in a virtual world. April is the first of the Camp NaNo months and I’m exciting to take part.

The camps are a bit more laid back than NaNoWriMo, with less emphasis on 50,000 words and more on your cabin and new writing friends. This is the time to finish up goals which may not have been completed (guilty!) in November and re-connect with other writers.

shutterstock_448811584

I think this is what I love about the camps-the connection! No one understands your misery more than someone also going through the same process. This is the 4th year I’ve opened a cabin up, and I’m thrilled to see old friends return. This year there are  new writers joining us and I’m looking forward to getting to know them as well.

There is a special bond that forms here, one that will never fade. Encouragement is freely given, helpful ideas are tossed around and constructive criticism is offered if asked for and venting is allowed at any hour of the day or night.

shutterstock_326406221

So, we authors set our goals and aim for our targeted number of words as we juggle or daily tasks, jobs and family. To those around us; have patience it’s only for a month.

At least until July rolls around!

http://www.VictoriaLKWilliams.com

“Baby, it’s Cold Outside” – “No it’s a Blizzard Outside!”

thCA0ICHQR

This winter has been brutal for those living in the North.  As soon as one storm is finished, the next one hits.  And just in case you’ve forgotten how many storms you’ve managed to get through, the weather service has decided to name them from A-Z.  At this point I think they are up to T.  But really, after K doesn’t all just become one long, nasty winter?

I grew up in Niagara Fall, New York-so I can sympathize with my northern friends and family.  I lived through the blizzard of ’77 and even though I was just a teenager, I can still remember how miserable it was.  And we didn’t have all the techy stuff to get us through, either. When the phone lines went down because an icy tree branch broke, well that was that-you had no phone.  Instead, you would bundle up and walk next door to check on your neighbors and make sure they were okay.  If the power went out, you relied on the wood stove or fireplace for warmth and played board games for entertainment.  And for exercise you shoveled snow and  (wait for it) went back out a half hour after you finished because either the wind had blown drifts across the walks or the snow plow had just gone through and blocked the end of the driveway.

Before the storm would hit there were chores to do too.  Wood had to be chopped for the fireplace, hoses disconnected so they wouldn’t freeze the water still inside, gas can filled for generators or snow blowers and a trip to the market was a most for bread and milk.

thCZHZHHZCYet for all the hard work that we had to endure and all the inconvenience, there was still something magical about the storm and it’s aftermath.  You have never seen the perfect beauty of a tree frozen in place with icicles hanging from the branches.  The wind will have created mounds of snow to be built later into snow forts and then, once the wind calms, there is an unbelievable silence.  Some may say it is eerie, some peaceful, but to me it is magical.  Only the sound of icicles dropping break the silence.  It is almost as if you are in another world.

And then the kids find out that there is NO SCHOOL!  Cheers can be heart from inside the house, mixed with the groans of parents wondering what to do with these happy urchins.  In no time at all the children are bundled up so heavily that they can hardly move (remember the scene from A Christmas Story?) and are out the doors.  Snowballs are flying, sled are being dragged out of garages and the older kids are reviving up the snowmobiles.

7208136-a-group-of-children-having-a-snowball-fight

Some how we managed to live through each storm and prepare for the next.  It is just a way of life.

Not anymore….I would much rather have to prepare for Hurricane season and each storm to come that will be named from A to Z.

 

***Just a note: this was a writing challenge that I threw out to my readers: just post one word that you would like to see my try to blog about (this one came from Karen in New York).  Feel free to join in the fun!