June 07, 2009

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The Domestic Divas Strike Again: Homemade book trailers By guest blogger Krista Davis Much to my surprise, I have made a book trailer. Compared to the average third grader, I am a computer dinosaur. I try to keep up but there's always something new. When I saw my first book trailer, I was certain I would have to hire someone to make one for me. After all, how would I ever be able to make anything akin to a movie? Turns out it's easy with the right software. I used iMovie from Apple and the learning curve wasn't nearly as daunting as I feared. It's so much fun that I'm inclined to make more. Someday, I'll look back on this first attempt at a book trailer and I'll shake my head -- how could I have thought that would do? There are lots of tricks I still have to learn, and I'd love to use some live video clips. But for now, I'm thrilled that I didn't have to hire anyone, and that I learned something new. Romance writer Diana Holquist posted a handout on-line that I found enormously helpful. She discusses some important concepts and suggests helpful websites. If you're making your own trailer, you should have a look at Diana's advice. A few things to consider. Keep it short. Thirty to 60 seconds is perfectly adequate. Diana suggests making big use of your cover. That hadn't occurred to me, but that's what we want people to remember, and it's an excellent advertising tool. Like a synopsis, it's easy to make a trailer too complicated. Keep it simple. An effective trailer doesn't have to be complex. Diana's very funny trailer is a great example. If you use iMovie, listen to their free music options before you go to pay sites. They offer an array of clips that run for a matter of seconds, which is what you want. There are a lot of pay sites offering original music, but focus on the very short clips because that's what you will need. iMovie, and probably other movie programs, offer a host of sound effects, too. I can't wait to make a trailer for a Halloween book! Photos and video clips are, in my opinion, the hardest to come by. Again, there are plenty of pay sites on-line. But if you take some appropriate photos yourself, you can avoid those fees and make your trailer exactly what you envision. And here it is, my very first trailer. ========================= Krista Davis writes the Domestic Divas Mysteries. Her first book, The Diva Runs Out of Time, was an Agatha nominee. The second book, out this week, is The Diva Takes the Cake. Krista also writes , The Diva Dishes blog that features products, food, wine, and no doubt some day song! Every Friday this summer, she will feature a cocktail for the weekend.
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COUNTRY CLUB MEDICINE Posted by Sheila Connolly (Sarah Atwell is perfectly health, thank you very much) Medical care in this country is in a mess, no question, and something from on my own recent experience underlined this for me. I am blessed with good health, so I have had little interaction with the medical community. The only time I've ever spent in a hospital (if you don't count my birth and a couple of days when I was two) was to have a baby. I've never had any major illnesses or injuries. My worst problem is hay fever, and I've been dealing with that most of my life–no big problem. So overall I ask very little from the medical community. I even have excellent insurance coverage, through my husband's employer (the federal government). What's more, I keep myself tuned up: regular check-ups, annual mammograms. I get my teeth cleaned twice a year. I am very lucky and I know it. But since moving to Massachusetts, six years ago, I've had some interesting encounters. Newly arrived, we asked for recommendations for doctors who were accepting new patients–not that many. My husband and I found one we liked. Our first doctor was a great guy, just starting out. Sure, he was young, but he listened to you, knew you by name, asked questions. All good. Sad to say, his medical career was affected when his wife had a debilitating stroke before she was 30. That's not something you factor into your career planning. He kept working (while struggling to find support for his wife at home), and my husband and I followed him through three different practices before he just upped and walked away, we don't know where. The last practice wouldn't say, and suggested a few other general physicians who were accepting new patients. We met. I liked her. Again, she's just starting out. She's Filipino in origin, and female–I don't know if that makes things more difficult for her. But she's upbeat, intelligent, and calls everybody "sweetie." When we first signed on with her, she was working in one of the many group practices associated with our local hospital (not one of the big, important Boston-area hospitals, but perhaps the best in this corner of the state). What we found was that this was for her definitely a "starter" position–the umbrella group parked her in an office in an industrial park, just to see how she did. Apparently it's standard practice for that group. Apparently she did just fine, so after a year or two there they "promoted" her to a better office. And therein lies the tale. Medicine ain't what it used to be, folks. For a start, this office (again, a small group) is located in a new development embedded in a golf course. You know, one of those places that tries to look like an old-timey town? There's a bank, an art gallery, a flower shop, and a dynamite café with excellent croissants. The doctors' offices are discreetly nestled upstairs, with a small sign around to the side. Inside, there is sunshine and fresh flowers and pretty views of pine trees (and all the busy gardeners manicuring the green lawns). Okay, she's definitely moved up in the world. The physician's assistant arrived first, clutching a laptop, which she parked in the cradle waiting in the examination room. What, no clip-board, no paper trails, I asked? Nope, she replied, we do it all electronically now. But what if there's a power failure? No problem–we have our own generator. Welcome to the new world. I have to say that the blood pressure thingy (I refuse to try to spell the technical term) was still manual (and my blood pressure is just fine), but she used a cool blood oxygen monitor that clipped on my finger. That was a first. My blood oxygen is good too. Then my doctor arrived, on time (how rare is that?). This was just a check-up, so I reported that, no, I had no new or special problems; yes, I'm still taking all the same medications, and they seem to be working. She listened to my heart and my breathing, but I never took my clothes off. She was out of there within ten minutes, and I left clutching the paperwork to have my blood drawn at some later date. I came away both impressed and troubled. I mean, this looks like a fine practice, and I have no complaints about the medical attention I've received. They report lab results promptly, and refill prescriptions over the phone. The staff is courteous, and the place is immaculate. So why do I feel unsettled? I suppose because it all feels kind of fairy-tale-ish. What is wrong with this picture? Aren't emergency rooms across the country swamped with people with what should be minor ailments, simply because they can't afford health insurance, even for their children? If the emergency rooms are open at all? Maybe it's some lingering Puritan ethic: I'm healthy and I'm insured, so why should I be enjoying this bucolic setting, followed by a cappuccino and pastry? I felt guilty. And I also felt (in hindsight) that maybe the money could be directed to something a bit more useful. This country's medical system needs fixing. It will cost money, but don't we owe it to our citizens (and everybody else) to keep them healthy? We all benefit in the long run. Wouldn't you rather pay for promoting and maintaining good health, than for treating emergency situations that shouldn't have been allowed to go on so long? So let's see if we can get it done. Our President is pushing for this, and maybe if we all get behind it and urge our elected representatives to get behind it, something will happen this time around. * * * A quick update on last week's church fire: the steeple has been removed and is now lying next to the church, but looks to be in surprisingly good condition.

Lorraine Bartlett

Five women, five weekdays, many surprises.

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