About Meraz Storyteller

Hello! I'm a fiction writer. See my books on Amazon and other online bookstores. Most are in paperback, Kindle, and Nook (and more).

YouTube video tips from a beginner

Note: I got away from making YouTube videos because of my work on Geronimo, Life on the Reservation. I hope to get back to it this winter. I now have two new tripods for lighting. Woot!

Today’s video tip: Some of you have mentioned an interest in making YouTube videos. As a beginner myself, I thought maybe we could learn together.

My latest video

Above is my latest video I’ve messed up…anyway the talent is good!

My equipment:

I should mention that I know NOTHING about video, but that doesn’t stop me! I have a  camera a little bigger than the size of  a deck of cards. I use a little plastic tabletop tripod that is only about 8 inches long and fits in my purse. When I get ready for the MovieMaker on my computer, all heck really breaks loose. We’ll get into that later. Maybe I can save you some stress!

I have no light meter or those fancy lights with the white umbrella attached. Maybe you don’t either.

Today’s tips:

If you’ve got pieces of film all over your computer for a video be sure to make copies and put all of them in a file. I’ve lost a whole day’s work this week because some of my video clips have sound and others don’t!  Now, I have no copies to switch to. Augh!

I had to punch out of this yesterday before I was done. If you look at the video, you’ll see I have a big bloom from too much light coming in the window. If I’d downloaded a test clip of film, I would have seen my problem before I used up three hours of my and the musician’s time. Are we having fun yet? Well, actually yes. This is the most fun I’ve had in a long time.

Thanks for stopping by,



August 14th, National Navajo Code Talkers’ Day

See the book on Amazon (My WP is cranky this morning. It won’t post the link.)

                        A few Comanche words from the book.

Eka kuura– baby buffalo

Haa– yes

Kee– no

Maruawe- hello

Meztizo- part Indian, part Mexican

Mia!- go!

Natsa– interjection, meaning “no matter!”

Ohape- yellow watermelon

Peekwi– fish

Tehauno– Texan (not flattering)

Wakarèe- turtle

Wanapuhiwi- paper money


August 14th was National Navajo Code Talkers’ Day but there were other Native American Indians, like the Comanches, who helped in the war effort by befuddling enemy attempts to intercept radio messages. And let’s not forget the First Nations of Canada. We salute you! And thank you from the bottoms of our hearts.

The Comanches, from my home state of Oklahoma, didn’t have a word for tanks in their radio messages, so they used the Comanche word for turtles: wakarèes. Now you know how I love my turtles…any wonder I think it was the perfect word? 

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The care and feeding of pet turtles…

See the book on Amazon

Note. This is some of the background research for my Turtle Trilogy. I’ve had a lot of people interested in turtles!

   I mentioned that I had some more information on pet water turtles from my old friend Rosa, a fellow turtle lover, but that it was misplaced. This morning, while I was looking for something entirely different, I came across it. Since a lot of you are turtle lovers, I thought you might be interested.

It all started because I was doing research for the turtles I was writing about in my books. I reached out to Rosa who (at the time, anyway) kept pet turtles. What I learned was far more than I could ever imagine. It’s quite a long email, so I’ll just highlight the main portions of her message:

Unhappy with the food safety of the commercial turtle foods that had been found (at that time) to contain chicken meat that contained salmonella, she began to investigate what kinds of food turtles might eat in the wild. Meanwhile, as a city dweller, she tried feeding her pets hamburger and worms. Along the way, she discovered that they did not like night crawlers (a kind of Northwest worm). She also used lettuce and tomatoes, and occasional cat food. Along the way to improving her turtles’ diets, she discovered from her pets’ veterinarian that cat food is very rich so she switched to dog food.

Turtles, she said can survive on eating very little, so she stopped feeding them daily; she stayed away from food that had preservatives.
She added that she got plant lights because turtles had to be kept above 70 degrees or they stopped digesting their food and could starve to death on a full stomach!

She has now branched out into different kinds of turtles. What I learned from Rosa is that pet turtles take more care than a person might think. Also, the pet turtles I had when I was a kid never had a chance.

As a five-year-old, I knew nothing about the care and feeding of pet turtles. The chapters in my fictional autobiography (A Three-Turtle Summer) are true. All three of my pet turtles died. The deaths of the first two were puzzling, but I dropped the third turtle in a snow bank and it was never found. I’m guessing that turtle did not have a 70 degree environment!

In closing, I must add that I do not believe in keeping pet turtles in captivity. They are marvelous creatures that deserve to be free.

www.amazon.com/author/janellehooper My Amazon author page

My book site: Janelle Meraz Hooper



The Slum Resort, a novella

9-20-12 Resort Front Cover Final copy

The Slum Resort on Amazon

Amazon and others. PB & Kindle. Suitable for New Adults and up.
My book site: Janelle Meraz Hooper

…Henry arrived at the ramshackle trailer park in the middle of the night, thinking no one would notice he was being dropped off by a limousine. They noticed. The other tenants, all connected by recycled CBs, were awakened by the sound of an expensive engine purring outside the manager’s door. They whispered into their microphones to each other: “Who was he?” “Why was he here?” “What did he want from Rodella?”
The next morning, without introductions, Henry was seen fly-fishing in the lake as if he’d been there all along. When he wasn’t fishing, he was inside his broken-down trailer with the curtains pulled running his corporate office on his laptop computer he kept hidden. He deleted his personal messages like the one from his ex-wife as soon as he read it. After he hit the delete button, he realized she hadn’t asked him where he was, or what he was doing. Not even a meaningless inquiry about his health. He never asked her about her health. The answer was always too boring. She was well. Spectacular. Well into her sixties, she was still statuesque and able to beat most comers in tennis at the country club. He’d heard through the grapevine the guy she was seeing in California was a real hunk, tanned, personable, and athletic. The complete opposite from him. Good for her. He was happy she had what she had with whomever she had it with. Angela had always liked good weather and good men; she was in the perfect spot to find both…

The Slum Resort was an honorable mention in the 2013 Great Northwest Book Festival. It’s a novella about senior poverty told with humor and heart. Kindle, $2.99 USD.
I wrote this book because I was so saddened by senior citizens who were caught up in the economic mess and were suffering even though they had worked hard all their lives. There are a lot of them! humor/suspense. Suitable for ages YA and up.


www.amazon.com/author/janellehooper My Amazon author page

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Make your clutter beautiful! A comment


Not published, written for this blog.

My upgraded popcorn bowl
A comment

Janelle Meraz Hooper


   Years ago, I looked at the interior of my home and decided it was cluttered. What to do? What to do? I’d clean it, and pretty soon, it was cluttered again. I didn’t like it one bit. Because (for too many reasons to list), I couldn’t eliminate the clutter, I decided to take a different approach: I set upon a mission to make the clutter I had more beautiful.

For instance: That metal popcorn bowl on my coffee table that used to drive me crazy was traded up for a beautiful china bowl in a cobalt blue pattern from a local store specializing in Asian house wares. I bought a wicker basket to hold my old newspapers. The firewood was in a cardboard box, so I got a tin bucket from my favorite department store to keep firewood in. Dirty napkins and dish towels now have their own stylish stainless steel trash basket in the corner of my kitchen. All of these items are stylish, but inexpensive. And I didn’t upgrade my clutter all at once. Got clutter? Can’t get rid of it? Make it beautiful!

Why am I mentioning this now? Because it’s an ongoing project! Just recently, I ordered a lidded square basket from eBay. It sits by my keyboard. Each day I clear off all the papers on my desk and store them in my new basket. Believe me, it looks a lot better! And it enables me to start each day with a clean desk top!



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