By H.E. Roulo

All books require a relationship between reader and text. The reader is searching for the book that’s right for them, but how can they be sure? A good cover image and blurb, goes a long way, but that’s the bare minimum for even a Tinder match. For that extra touch, a searchable book trailer communicates a lot. After all, a picture is worth… well, you know.

With the release of the newest book in my series, I wanted to get the word out. I’d never done video for my books, and my publisher, Press, requested I put something together. I wanted it to be quick and give the mood of the book.

First, I wrote up a few bullet points as if set in the Plague Master Universe. What I got wasn’t so much a book trailer as a three-episode miniseries. Whoops! It was fun and engaging, but not the professional book trailer I’d intended to post on Amazon and Goodreads.

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I started over at square one.

I was fortunate to know of a site with rights-free images. After pouring through them, I found a dozen that I thought represented parts of my book. By organizing them logically, I got enough of a storyline to think of a sentence for each. I wrote up a quick script for a narrator and remembered to include a sentence about going to my web site for more information.

Although I could have recorded the lines myself, I knew someone with a cinematic voice. He recorded the lines. A quick search gave me rights-free music to run under the video and narrator.

In searching for images, I’d found enough that related to each book that it was simpler to divide and organize them all at the same time. With a day’s effort, I had not one but two book trailers.


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I don’t know whether more people will match with my book because of the trailer. I hope that those interested in dystopian zombie sci-fi find it fun.

Visit Amazon to purchase Plague Master: Sanctuary Dome, the first book of the Plague Master series, followed by Plague Master: Rebel Infection.


“A perfect mix of classic sci-fi and zombie horror. Once you start, you are hooked!”

-Jake Bible, author of Little Dead Man.

Sanctuary Dome is fast-paced zombie sci-fi on a prison planet of the dying and the undead.”

-Stephen North, author of Beneath the Mask

In my middle-grade chapter book, The Right Hand of Velachaz, the twelve-year-old hero asks his companions a question that no one else seems to have considered…if dragons are intelligent, why not talk to them before attacking with sharp pointy things? Taking the time to do that winds up saving the day.

Similarly, in Mutiny on the Moonbeam, one of the most misunderstood characters in the story proves key to the final resolution because our heroine bothers to be kind to her. Who is this mysterious creature? 

The spider Queen Mab.

Mab is seen, when we first meet her, to be a fearsome, untrustworthy menace good only for supplying the silk to mend the pirates’ sails. She is locked in a crate when not working so that she will not hurt Branwyn—though to be fair, the elves do like to keep people in cages—and considered to be dangerous and insane.

When Branwyn bothers to be kind to her, however, she finds companionship behind Mab’s behavior, and learns that there is intelligence and wisdom behind those multi-faceted eyes. 

Johnny is shocked to find she can talk—but no one had ever bothered to ask before. And the story she tells is heartbreaking. 

The spider is the last of her family on the ship. Her children were all taken from her—it’s enough to drive anyone mad! But when Bran, and then Johnny, actually listen to her, they find an entirely different creature than they had originally surmised.

This lesson of taking time to listen, of learning to accept and adapt to new circumstances is something I like to come back to time and again in my work. It is a lesson that serves all of us well.

Mutiny On The Moonbeam

From the moment I conceived the idea of Mutiny on the Moonbeam, I knew my pirates would be elves. This is not the usual profession for those enigmatic beings, and that’s part of the fun.

Aidrian is a bored aristocrat who wanted to go off and have adventures. While he could just as easily been a human lord, it seemed to me that adding the fey component gave me a lot to play with. The enmity between the elves and the fairies speaks to a common history that is outside the human realm.

There is a song by the Corsairs called Pirate’s Life that outlines a pirate code of conduct. This was one of my key references in creating Aidrian’s code. However, I picture the elves making some adjustments:

The Pirate Code (with Elven Amendments)

  1. We accept no man as master, lord, or king.  (or woman as Queen for that matter!)
  2. We call no place home. 
  3. We take what we want. (Pate will take care of paying)
  4. We speak truth in all things. (within moderation)
  5. Captains drink rum (brandy); ale (wine) for the crew.
  6. We live every day like it might be our last.
  7. We allow every man an equal vote. (But the Captain has final say)
  8. We allow no woman aboard the ship. (Except the fae, of course.)
  9. We give Quarter when craved in time of Engagement.
  10. He that may be Drunk in time of Engagement shall suffer what Punishment the Captain thinks fit.
  11. The Captain and Quartermaster shall each receive two shares of a prize, the Master Gunner and Boatswain, one and one half shares, all other Officers one and one quarter, and private gentlemen of fortune one share each.

The bottom line is that the elves are mostly playing at piracy. They are not out to hurt anyone, though they might steal a cargo or two. But even that goes against the laws of the Elven Court, and this is what gets them in trouble.

MoonerIt’s become a fact of life that fear follows you as a woman. Fear of safety, fear of getting
something wrong, fear of misinterpretation, fear of being labeled, fear of failure (because it can follow, because it could feasibly affect everything else you do forever), just plain fear.

I grew up well aware of my place in the world as a child, as a girl, then as a teen, and a woman, that at any given point something could happen that could upset the apple cart forever. Horror movies and stories only amplified it.
And yet they still intrigued me. There was something about monsters, about dark urban legends, about the horror genre that felt subversive. At some point, instead of focusing on being perpetually afraid, I started focusing on the things causing the fear. I favor paranormal, because that usually serves up some amazing metaphors, and I like the distance provided between it and everyday life. I love exploring why characters might do the things they do, love terrorizing them with some well-placed machinations. I also love that nothing is easy – a lot of the time, the things that set off the moments that my characters consider life-ruining very well happen in part because of them. It’s a great avenue to explore characters and creepy creatures alike, as well as take a look at some really complex situations without the burden of trying to figure them out.

And if I manage to scare the hell out of some people in the meantime? So much the better.

About the Author: Selah Janel has been blessed with a giant imagination since she was little when she wondered if fairies lived in the nearby state park and worried that vampires hid in the old barns outside of town. Her appreciation for a good story was enhanced by a love of reading, the many talented storytellers that surrounded her, and a healthy curiosity for everything. A talent for warping everything she learned didn’t hurt, either. Everything she does feeds the idea machine and she often finds a story in the strangest of places. She gravitates to writing fantasy and horror but will give any genre a chance if the idea is good enough. Her work has appeared in the winter 2012 issue of The MacGuffin, issue three and five of The Realm Beyond, and the back to school issue of Stories for Children Magazine. She has also contributed to multiple anthologies including The Big Bad: an Anthology of Evil, the upcoming Thunder on the Battlefield, and the upcoming Bedtime Stories for Girls. She has multiple e-books with Mocha Memoirs Press, including Holly and Ivy and The Other Man. Olde School, the first book in The Kingdom City Chronicles will be out later this year with Seventh Star Press. Catch up with Selah in the following places:Blog – www.selahjanel.wordpress.comFacebook – – –



The first of the new year brings us the beginning of something great. Mocha Memoirs Press and horror author, Sumiko Saulson, have come together to celebrate African American women’s contribution to horror as well as Women in Horror Month.

We’re looking for 20 short horror stories between 3,500 and 5,500 words in length, by black women who write horror. This anthology is in association with 60 Black Women in Horror’s upcoming update, 100 Black Women in Horror, so if you aren’t already part of the Black Women in Horror project, please include a 50 word bio and a photo to be added to it, along with your submission. Continue reading “Open Call: Black Magic Women Anthology”