wrist tattoos + writing inspiration

I have always, always wanted a tattoo on my wrist. But I have a very low pain tolerance. And I can never keep my mind made up (which is why my hair color changes all the time). Something permanent, like a tattoo, is not something I should invest in.

But I still love wrist tattoos, so I collect images of them on Pinterest to keep me satisfied. Also, the narrator of the novel-in-progress has a tattoo on each wrist. I collect these images, also, as inspiration for her.




If you couldn’t tell, I am also a very big fan of birds and feathers and the like.

(BEDA: April 13, 2013)

Carrie Butler’s STRENGTH Tour — “How I Made My Book Trailer (for Free)”


How I Made My Book Trailer (for Free)

Thanks for having me over, Bailey!

A couple of years ago, book trailers became a “thing”. You can blame the digital revolution for this one. Readers stopped frequenting brick-and-mortar stores, and in turn, stopped getting introduced to new books via events, promotional materials, and employee recommendations. Instead, they relied on introductions from the same place they made the majority of their purchases—the Internet.

So, authors adapted.

Borrowing a page from the film industry’s playbook, they began condensing their blurbs into short, accessible videos. If readers were enticed, they could go to the author’s site for more information. Simple as that.

Okay, maybe simple isn’t the best way to describe it. Book trailers are an expected staple in marketing campaigns these days, and let me tell you, those things cost a pretty penny. I looked around, and most start around $350. Start! That’s a little less than my car is worth.

(I wish I were exaggerating.)

Obviously, I couldn’t afford to hire someone to do Strength’s book trailer, so I took on the project myself. We’re talking hours and hours of work here, but you know what? I managed to pull it off for free, and I’m pretty darn proud of myself. 🙂

Want to give trailer-making a try? Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Some kind of video editing software. I used a combination of Windows Movie Maker (free) and an old, diluted version of Sony Vegas I had from college. I know other people who’ve had luck with programs like iMovie, Animoto, etc. Play around with a few of them, and then use whichever one works best for you.
  • (Optional) Royalty-free or public domain video, i.e. Videezy or Neo’s Clip Archive
  • (Optional) Royalty-free or public domain images, i.e. Public Domain Pictures or Morgue File
  • Royalty-free or public domain music, i.e. Incompetech or SoundCloud
  • Patience
  • An Internet connection
  • A YouTube account

Oh! And before you get started, here are a few quick tips:

  • Read license information carefully. Even if you don’t have to, it’s nice to credit those who helped contribute to your project.
  • Choose music and visuals that complement your genre, i.e. I write paranormal music, so I went for a mysterious, otherworldly vibe.
  • Keep things moving. Ideally, book trailers are between 00:30 and 1:30 long. If you use still images, try playing around with video effects that pan or zoom.
  • Avoid bombarding viewers with huge blocks of text.
  • Include relevant information, i.e. title, author, publisher, release date, etc.

Beyond that, just try to have fun. Think of your book trailer as another way to express yourself. 🙂 Good luck!

Divider_for_LightCB_Author_PhotoAbout the Author:

Carrie daydreamed her way through college—until they thrust a marketing degree into her hands, slapped a summa cum laude seal on the corner, and booted her out into a less-than-stellar job market. Instead of panicking at the prospect of unemployment, she used her Midwestern logic to steer into the skid and point her life in the direction she really wanted to go: writing out those daydreams.




Series: Mark of Nexus – Book 1
Publisher: Sapphire Star Publishing
Category: New Adult (NA)
Genre: Paranormal Romance (PNR)
Release Date: March 07, 2013
Formats: E-Book & Paperback
Paperback ISBN: 9781938404351
E-book ISBN: 9781938404368

Short Synopsis:

When college student Rena Collins finds herself nose-to-chest with the campus outcast, she’s stunned. Wallace Blake is everything she’s ever wanted in a man—except he can’t touch her. His uncontrollable strength, a so-called gift from his bloodline, makes every interaction dangerous. And with a secret, supernatural war brewing among his kind, there’s no time to work it out. To keep Wallace in her life, Rena will have to risk a whole lot more than her heart.





“Carrie Butler is now on my must read list.” ~Lynn Rush, author of Violet Midnight

“I carried Strength with me everywhere. Grocery shopping, the dinner table, you name it. The storyline was addictive, and the characters were hilarious. I couldn’t put it down.” ~Jessica Therrien, author of Oppression

“…Carrie Butler’s debut novel is brilliant, riveting, imaginative and seamlessly written.” ~Lisa Regan, author of Finding Claire Fletcher

“This is definitely one to buy for the bookshelf.” – All’s Fair with Pen and Paper

“I love that Carrie took so much time in building the relationship between them. Yay for no instalove!” – Read It, Reviewed It

“I freaking loved every last word on every page.” Scelest’s Journal

“I’d definitely recommend this to anyone who’s interested in reading a bloody good book. :)” – The Life of a Total Book Nerd

“I devoured this book in two days – staying up until the early hours because I didn’t want to stop reading!” – Kyra Lennon, author of Game On


so that’s Carrie! i worked with Carrie during my NA Alley days and i am so excited to be hosting her on the blog today for a stop in her STRENGTH blog tour. she’s a wonderful woman & truly inspiring as an author because just look at the things she does for herself! she made her own book trailer (for free!) and now you can, too.

if you have any questions/comments/anything for Carrie, please comment below.

thanks for stopping by, Carrie!

November 15: Halfway Heaven or Hell?

It’s November 15, and we are exactly halfway through November now. If you’re participating in NaNoWriMo, you should be approaching & passing the halfway word count sometime today — 25,000 words!


If you’re like me, and still in school, maybe you’re realizing that this is week 12 of the semester & you really only have 2 weeks of anything left. Because finals don’t count; or you’re in grad school, as I am, and you don’t have finals, so you just lose that whole last week. (Bah humbug!)

Either way, on November 15, you’re probably in either Halfway Heaven (so you rock! and we also kinda hate you) or you’re in Halfway Hell (so you still rock! but you kinda hate yourself).

Which is it?

I am in Halfway Hell. November has been productive, so productive, and now I just want to curl up in a little ball and sleep. Which is actually what I did most of this week, and now that I’ve metaphorically woken up, I’m in this cold place and feelin’ kinda panicky.

You see, I had lots of things to do this week and I did nothing. NOTHING. But, because I never started anything, I can’t actually be further behind than I am now, and that’s a weird & backwards sort of silver lining. You know, like, “I couldn’t possibly be more behind that I am now, so the only direction is forward!

So now I am going to use November 15 for everything it’s worth: getting caught up (or, at least, getting started on catching up). November 15 is a great day to realize that you can still accomplish your November goals by just readjusting your original daily goals  — whether they be word counts for a novel or page counts for a school paper.

Here is how I will spend my November 15: (1) grading four major projects, and (2) creating a workable outline for 1/2 of my Wikipedia paper, and (3) submitting my degree plan for graduation, and (4) going to class, and (5) watching my boyfriend’s soccer match.

There are a lot of great things about this November 15. First, I get to feel accomplished for doing something I have to do anyway — going to class, where I will give a presentation, yay! — and I scheduled in some fun break time — watching my boyfriend play his last match of the season. And both of these things should help me stay motivated to accomplish real grad school tasks — the seems-endless-in-the-moment grading gauntlet, and the outline for the paper that will represent my writing in my Master’s thesis portfolio in April, eek!

So, are you in heaven or hell today? If you’re in heaven, congrats! If you’re in hell, welcome.

I’m over on NA Alley all week!

It’s Monday, and it’s also the Monday where I post on NA Alley and spend the week talking to our blog readers, our Twitter followers, and our email senders. Gearing up for a week on NA Alley can be a bit stressful (it takes a lot of prep!), but when the week is finally here and I finally get to kick back, post some blogs, and just chat with fellow NA writers and readers, it’s always a blast.

This week I have launched Alley Reads, a New Adult Online Book Club. What can I say? I like to keep my Monday’s productive. We’re beginning with Cally Jackson’s The Big Smoke (I’ve posted about it here on this blog) and we’ll be discussing it on December 19 with a live blog chat.

In my own words, “Alley Reads is designed to be a leisurely book club, giving all of us a chance (and the motive) to tackle that NA reading list while still managing other life priorities.

Head on over the Alley this week to learn more about Alley Reads and to spend some time with me.  Also on tap this week: Agent in the Alley pitch contest with Julia Webber, Wednesday, November 7. Be sure to swing by to enter a pitch if you have a revised NA manuscript.

And one more thing: GO VOTE.

No NaNo for Me

This year I am not participating in NaNoWriMo.

This is the first November since I became a NaNoer in 2004 that I have not participated in this crazy, tremendous writing event. This is the first November I’m not even bothering to attempt a novel. I didn’t win ever year, but I always put in the effort to start. I always spent October planning, and getting some words down in November. I have always stretched my creative mind in November, even when it’s just a little bit, because I am a writer and that’s what I have to do.

But this year, I am not.

And a large part of me fears that I’m not participating because, for the first time since 2004, I just don’t have anything to write. I don’t have a story to tell. Or, I don’t have a story I want to tell.

I know, I know. I spend a lot of time talking, blogging, and tweeting about that novel-in-progress I have — and, I guess it still is a novel-in-progress. I still believe in and love the story I’m trying to tell. These last few months, though, I haven’t written a word. I haven’t jotted a note. I haven’t doodled an outline.

What have I done?

I’ve opened blank document after blank document. I’ve flipped through blank journal pages. Essentially, I have done nothing.

My word document is blank, and my mind is blank, and something about this scares me. For the first time since I can remember, writing — writing anything — is not just hard. It’s not possible.

In case you’ve been wondering, yes, this has definitely impacted by blogging and tweeting, as well. It’s even impacted my reading. It’s like I’ve disconnected from the written, fictional word entirely.

So here is my odd, spontaneous November confessional. I am in the worst place possible with my writing, and I have no idea how I got here, and I have no idea how to get to a different place.

Setting Up New Adult

Click to visit #nalitchat on Twitter. Follow the hashtag #nalitchat at 9pm EST.

NA In Depth, Part 2 — Setting the Mood

It’s Thursday, and that means it’s #nalitchat night on Twitter. At 9pm EST be sure to log in and follow the #nalitchat hashtag for a great insightful and curious discussion about New Adult literature.

This week’s topic is about setting in new adult fiction, and is the second part in a larger discussion series that seeks to dig deep into the aspects of fiction — from both a writer’s and a reader’s perspective. If you missed last’s week NA In Depth discussion on characters, you can read the chat transcript here. And something I’ve wanted to highlight for a few weeks now are these tweets by Kristan Hoffman, who I think summarized well in 140 characters or less the basic boundaries of each category — MG, YA, NA, and Adult. (Read from bottom up, as that’s the way timelines work in Twitter.)

These tweets are an easy & quick snapshot to refer to when thinking more specifically about aspects of any category, and in the case of these chats, the new adult category.

Host of #nalitchat, EJ Wesley, has also written a post — Setting the Mood in NA — that includes helpful links about setting in general. It is useful to read the more generalized setting-related resources that writer’s use when working on craft with an eye towards how those “tricks of the trade” might be manipulated in new adult.

My two cents:


In a non-fiction course I took in my undergraduate career (I was a creative writing major, for those that don’t know), we had a unit on writing setting as character. Essentially, we learned how to personify setting, how to give setting a weight that drove both plot arc and character development. We learned that the physical setting of where we’ve been, where we are, and where we want to end up — if it’s a city, a style of house, a remote island with no human contact, a dense jungle with threatening creatures — these places impact how people change & grow, and who people are as a result.

The point is always this: how a “new adult” perceives the setting around him or her is important to story advancement. Setting is a dynamic piece of a story, and it should be used to it’s fullest dynamic potential. It’s more than just, “This story is set in Minneapolis” or “this story takes place on a college campus” or “this story is about a girl who works in the restaurant.”  Minneapolis, a college campus, and the restaurant are the physical spaces that influence, and sometimes quite literally direct, the girl’s actions and movements; and the events that take place in these defined, physical spaces determine our perception.

The physicality of setting — the dimensions of a room, the decorations on a wall, the vastness of a park, the solitude of a deserted island — can both develop and confine a story, a character, and/or an event. Use setting wisely and with purpose.


There is this single-minded conception (as opposed to a misconception which isn’t exactly the right word here) that NA fiction is about college students and for college students. It’s really not.

It can be about that and for that particular audience. That’s OK. But it’s not just about college / for college.

I think discussions about settings will go a long way to broaden this single-minded conception. The physical spaces for growing and developing as a twenty-something person is, I think, also broadened. (Because of my age, my independence, and my responsibilities, I simply spend more time in more places now as a twenty-four year old than I did as a teenager; the places I frequented as a teen were actually quite limited.)

The take-away:

In all writing, setting is complex and dynamic, but how these settings are used and internalized by a NA character is going to be unique to NA.

Let’s just take a look at the expected college student on a college campus setting: there are probably secondary settings of importance (a workplace, a bar, an apartment) and micro-settings of importance (a dorm room, a classroom, the library, the gym) that contribute in meaningful ways to the overall development and help drive action and epiphany.

Finally, to return full circle to my original non-fiction course intro, I wrote a piece in that class during the setting-as-character unit about my first childhood home. It was house I lived in until I was six years old, and yet, it came back to me in an epiphany moment of my early twenties. When it came back to me, something interesting occurred to me: I can only ever remember the house from the perspective of being a young child. Those particular memories are forever, at most, six years old. And yet, that young-child memory influenced my 20-year-old self more than anything else of more recent, and probably more logical, reasoning.

To me, that piece from that class, and that moment that’s now itself a memory, is what makes writing about growing up in your twenties so completely fascinating and meaningful.



V.E.D.August 3

Plotting & Planning for Writing

I’m getting sick. In August. In Texas. I can hear it in my voice. Or maybe it’s just really bad allergies. Yes. I like that better.

Further Clarification: I don’t plot out or even know of every scene that happens in a book. I know the major scenes, including the opening, the point of no return, the complication(s), the climax, and the ending. I do know extensive character histories, and while I know most of those details will never be explicitly put into the book, they do define and shape character arcs. The details and the connecting scenes remain a mystery until I am at that section of the book — sections begin and end with the major moments I knew before drafting.

#nalitchat was a total blast last night, and I’m still very encouraged by the smart & curious discussions that take place during that chat event. If you missed it, read the transcript here.

Leave comments about your plotting & planning process — it really is one of my most favorite things to discuss about the writing process.