Category: metaphysical fantasy

Old People, Computers and Technology–It’s Simply Cruel

Sandy's Sad

All I wanted to do was make a lousy video …

I’ve been grappling with Animoto.com all day, trying to produce a really good video for my new Christmas paranormal romance In Love by Christmas, also known as ILBC. I did create such a video. I produced about twelve, all sightly different. Different music, theme, words. I also fixed typos on the videos I’d just made and the ones I produced yesterday. As you know, typos multiply any time you take your eyes off your text. God knows what goes on on my hard-drive or in the cloud at night. Typo frolics of a reproductive kind.

Yesterday, I made some other videos of ILBC and posted them. Actually, I didn’t post them. Unbeknownst to me, my Animoto account has tentacles more invasive than an octopus’s, so that any little thing I finish is promulgated all over my cyber/social universe. All the “toss this stinkeroo in the trash” versions seem to end up on my FB wall. Other places, too, most likely. But, to continue …

Despite this, I really like Animoto.com as a way to make book videos. I can use their technology and produce stunning results. But PLAYING videos from their site … I don’t like so much. Those files hit so many snags they might have been using some of my old pantyhose as a power source. Takes so long to play a vid that even my MOM wouldn’t hang in there.

My web guy, Don Herion, suggested hosting my videos on Vimeo or Smugmug, as faster, higher quality places to mount my results. I tried Vimeo and found that it had superior play back to Animoto.com’s , but NOT superior enough. My MOM would lose interest after the second stall, plus all that jiggling made me dizzy. So I got on Smugmug and signed up for their free trial. Yesterday. If you hit that link in two weeks, it may not exist, as will be explained below.

Smugmug gives you this amazing website, all yours, if you can figure out how to use it. It’s very chic and stylish, design-wise, which means that if there are any controls for the site, I can’t find them. So, I won’t sign on for more than the free two weeks unless I make amazing progress in the cyber dimension. If a 69-year-old woman with two advanced degrees can’t find the friggin’ controls in two weeks, it’s not worth paying for.

Although I seem to be rambling, I’m writing about the elderly and technology. Did I mention that my husband got not only a brand new iPhone 6+, but a new Apple laptop to go with it? GO BARRY! After a week, he can competently answer the phone, without dropping the device from his belt holster. Today, he was working on ANSWERING EMAIL with his new laptop.

This afternoon, we practiced the New Intimacy: he sat at one end of our family room with his new toys while I sat on the other end with my sturdy 27″ iMac, attempting to produce the perfect video for In Love by Christmas, or ILBC, as I may have said, perhaps several times. I did make several, if I could remember which ones were the good ones. Also, I somehow erased the vids I’d previously sent to Vimeo and to Don Herion, my web guy, to post on my website. So those are all screwed up, as is the video embeds and locations I sent my publicist. This is really important, because THE BIG PUSH starts soon and he needs to get the visuals out there.

IN LOVE BY CHRISTMAS ANIMOTO

This is how the front image of "winning vid" for ILBC looks on my Animoto page.

This afternoon, I sat in my ergonomically designed chair, swearing softly at the short, computerized films bursting from the screen, listening to my husband swear at his new computer and phone. I did help him once or twice, “Push this arrow to return an email.”

This is how people relate in this new age. Sort of like sitting on opposite banks of a river, throwing electronic tomatoes at each other.

Basically, technology for those over sixty is dicey. Even for younger people, sometimes. I believe the cyber age responsible for the degeneration of our social order, which isn’t saying much. You’ve been out to dinner and looked at the next table, to find everyone on his or her smart phone. You’ve shaken your head and tskked sadly, until you got a text you had to answer.

The the problem is not technology, it’s learning how to use it. Every family should be assigned a 12-year-old from the local elementary school to teach the elders how to at least get to the gaming apps. That’s only right.

Meanwhile, here’s the vid I made on Animoto, transposed to Vimeo. You should be able to watch it easily by clicking appropriately, though it may stutter a bit the first run through. The Smugmug version will take me longer to post. I have to find the controls.

So, I did produce the #@^!! video. I’m not saying that the elderly can’t do tech stuff. We can. We may simply use unseemly vocabulary for long periods while doing it. This is not a sin. Old folks have feelings, too, and need to express them. Sometimes, %&*%#!! isn’t enough. But it was today. Enjoy the video.

Next time I’ll tell you about making Christmas presents for your loved ones using the graphics of your book covers. This is not as easy as it sounds, even given the plethora of companies promising the mouse pad of your dreams, or your hubby’s dreams. (Or porcelain mugs, my particular weakness.) That’s another story.

Sandy Nathan

And here’s the beast itself:

IN LOVE BY CHRISTMAS – NOEL VERSION 12/12/14 from Sandy Nathan on Vimeo.

Leroy Watches Jr. is a shaman whose Power sometimes makes things worse. Despite his flaw, he must save his soul mate from her addictions, her father, and Evil Incarnate, or she’ll be damned forever.

Leroy embarks on a pilgrimage that takes him to the highest levels of European society. As he travels, his shamanic Power grows. So does the Dark Lord’s hatred of him.

His prospective father-in-law demands that Leroy and Cass be in love by Christmas. Can they be?

If that doesn’t work, this link to the video on Vimeo will.

My Thanksgiving Gift to You – Let’s Go to the Movies!

Hello all! It’s been a huge year for me, publication-wise. I’ve completed all the writing I’m going to do in 2014 and can now tackle what I really love: making movies. People have asked me, “Who does your videos? They’re really good.”

Lil ol’ me, myself, and I, on Animoto. I learned to use Animoto years ago. They deliver incredible quality and I can DO them. I load my images on the Animoto site, select the video style I want from Animoto’s menu, pick music from their library, add text, and push a button. Animoto’s clever computers do the rest. If I don’t like what I get, I push the button again. Voila! Instant genius that even an almost-seventy-year-old grandmother can master.

My Thanksgiving gift to you is a recap of my writing of 2014. You may not know about everything I published this year. The books are interconnected. Free-standing, so you can read just one and get the story, but they are a family. Grab some popcorn and enjoy the show.

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! For your support and patronage in 2014. I appreciate it with all my heart. Much more is in the pipeline for you in 2015 and future years.

Lots of hugs,

Sandy Nathan

The only problem with Animoto on my computer is that sometimes it’s balky replaying videos. You probably have to play it through once to buffer. We may have the problem because we live out in the country, where ground squirrels carry the images across the fields in their mouths. They are a little slow, especially after large meals. My Computer Guy said to counter this by using Vimeo. (This is my Vimeo account. See ALL my vids!) I’ll attach the Vimeo version,  in addition to the Animoto . Thing is, sometimes it’s balky, too, and it stutters. It’s right below, followed by the Animoto version. The combined show is probably enough to make the ordinary computer explode with excitement. You, too, I hope.

I LOVE TO SEE YOU SMILE – A THANKSGIVING GIFT FOR MY READERS + from Sandy Nathan on Vimeo.

Happy Thanksgiving! This is a day and season for gratitude–and for telling people how much they mean to you. Readers, you mean a very great deal to me.
I love to see you smile and I’ll do my darndest to keep you smilin’.

 

LEROY WATCHES JR. & THE BADASS BULL WAS FREE YESTERDAY ––

LEROY WATCHES JR. & THE BADASS BULL

LEROY WATCHES JR. & THE BADASS BULL

I tried to tell you about it beforehand on my trusty blog, Your Shelf Life, right here. Yep, Leroy Watches Jr. & the Badass Bull, the award-winning, almost 5 star rated, Western bit of craziness was free. And I didn’t tell you about it here. I tried.

I don’t know if you’ve put on an Amazon KTP Promotion. Amazon makes it easy to give your book away free for a few days, but the hard part is letting the bazillion potential readers know about it. That requires contacting an infinite number of sites that will tell people about your freebie. When I say INFINITE, I mean it.

Lord have mercy. I have a  wonderful person who helps me, but even so. I mean, other wonderful people and I were cranking out the free eBook download––in addition to the free LEROY download––until minutes before the free day started. Cranking, loading, writing, Photoshopping.

I finally got a moment to whack out a Your Shelf Life (YSL) article. I opened the Dashboard on WordPress … and discovered I didn’t have a blog. YSL was gone. $#@$%&!! WHAT!!??

Turned out that my URL address had expired. How could that happen? Uh. Well, we had some fraud on our credit card and had to get a new number. I contacted everyone I could think of and used often and changed the number with them. But not PowerHoster.com where I buy my URLs. They had YSL on auto-renew, so what’s the problem?

Big problem. YSL’s auto-renew had not been renewed because they didn’t have the right card number. AAAAHAAHHHH! Not only was I freaking out over the promo, I have so many really good articles on YSL. Articles to make a great book for self-pubbers and writers. Articles that weren’t backed up anywhere. Gone. This was HUGE.

I paid the delinquent fee, changed my credit card number to the good one, and checked the net. NOTHING. NO YSL. GONE, ALL GONE.

CUT TO THE CHASE:

I opened the Dashboard this AM and YSL was back. At least enough for me to write this. I’m writing fast.

The promo was a great success. Leroy Watches Jr. & the Badass Bull hit #1 in free Westerns, #2 in Metaphysical & Visionary and topped out at #125 in the free store (I was asleep at that time: my friend told me.) About 9,000 books were free that day; hitting 125 out of the pack was not bad. Not only that, a bunch of people got their Leroy and went over to my website, Sandy’s Website, and downloaded the eBook I created for the occasion–for FREE. Yep, made it just to give away, for a limited time. More on this below.

LEROY HITS # 1. ALSO #2.

LEROY HITS # 1. ALSO #2.

Not only was the Leroy giveaway fabulous, a dear friend of mine, Vallibus Apache Sherwood, started a fan site for me: author sandy nathan  So hop over there and say howdy! Please join my little group. It may be small, but I’ve got some great friends and fans! And appreciate Vallibus so much.

What did I say about the free eBook, in addition to the FREE LEROY? Oh. I was a participant in a very fun and awesome event my friend Wendy Potocki throws for the month of October: Halloweenpalooza II. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, for the sheer wackiness of it and lack of any serious purpose. Also, I like the concept of getting dressed up and wandering around town. I don’t actually do that, because it’s a lot of bother. I don’t like the part about kiddies going into sugar comas over the potentially poisoned candy they score, but the rest of it is great fun.

Especially the graphics. Check out Wendy’s Halloweenpalooza II FB page above. You’re lucky enough to get this post so you can still read the guest posts and scary thing Wendy has planned.

Wendy has various guest authors write stories, tales, and descriptions of real paranormal events they’ve experienced and adds her own magic. I wrote “The Richest Person in the World”, posted right here on Wendy’s blog, HALLOWEENPALOOZA: 31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN. We featured my visionary fiction/romance/horror combo, Mogollon: A Tale of Mysticism & Mayhem. I gave away some eBook copies and then Wendy presented “The Richest Person in the World”, the short story I wrote for the event.

Long short story. All I need to do is add three more and I’ll have a full length book. Which is what I intend do do. That’s how Vanessa Schierman PhD, Witch came into being. I had “The Richest Person in the World” formatted nicely and got Clarissa Yeo, my brilliant cover designer,to do up a cover. Voila! Something to give away for more than a day.

VANESSA SCHIERMAN PhD, WITCH

VANESSA SCHIERMAN PhD, WITCH

I wasn’t able to get news of Leroy Watches Jr. Free Day to you in time, but I can tell you about this. For a limited time, I’m going to give this brand new, never launched, never seen by anyone but those involved in producing it eBook–and it’s as big as some eBooks you see–away free. Yes, FREE! It’s more important than that. Grab your copy and I’ll explain why. Go to my website and punch the button right in the middle. It looks like this:

HIT THIS BUTTON TO GO TO DOWNLOAD PAGE

HIT THIS BUTTON TO GO TO SANDY'S WEBSITE AND THE DOWNLOAD PAGE

Why should you care about Vanessa Schierman Phd? What has she done for you? Well, turns out she’s a major character in my upcoming novels, starting with In Love by Christmas, which should be debuting the last week of October. Halloween? Never heard of In Love by Christmas?

You will. It’s the sequel to Mogollon: A Tale of Mysticism & Mayhem. It’s also the sequel to Leroy Watches Jr. & the Badass Bull! Yes, the series really is a series. If you read Mogollon and then read Leroy Watches Jr. and Vanessa Schierman PhD, Witch, you’ll be in the know. You’ll be ready for In Love by Christmas:

In Love by Christmas (Bloodsong 3)

In Love by Christmas (Bloodsong 3)

In Love by Christmas will be out before Halloween! I promise–I ain’t jokin’. This is the story that completes the others. This is the novel that will break your heart and rend your soul. You’ll fall in love, and be scared to death.  You’ll be glad you read Mogollon and Leroy and went to my website and downloaded Vanessa.

Happy trails!

Sandy Nathan

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