Rapid Fire Audiobook Mini-Reviews


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First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones: I hadn’t heard of Darynda Jones before this book. She’s basically a Janet Evanovich clone with slightly naughtier scenes mixed in. And her writing quality might be slightly better Evanovich. This series is very Stephanie Plum.

Charley Davidson is a private investigator with supernatural abilities. She solves mysteries with the aid of ghosts. She’s got a mystery man hopping into her dreams. Excellent book junk food if you’re after entertainment. Nice and saucy.

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Brighter

Brighter than the Sun by Darynda Jones: a much shorter companion to First Grave on the Right told from the perspective of Charley Davidson’s male love interest.

This one is pretty brutal, but the story is decent. I don’t want to give away too much, but it tells the story of Reyes, who was raised by an abusive man. It runs through many of the events from First Grave on the Right as well as parts of Reyes’ life that didn’t involve Charley.

Do not read or listen to this before First Grave on the Right.

Oh, and the audiobooks are narrated by Lorelei King, the lady that narrates Evanovich books. She always does a great job with characters.

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mcguire

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

This one is for 2 books in the Wayward Children series. The wayward children are kids that traveled into fantasy worlds and were subsequently booted from those worlds. They return to the normal world with a lot of damage.

Every Heart a Doorway follows a girl named Nancy as she adjusts to life at the home for wayward children. A murder mystery ensues. As the new arrival, she is first on everyone’s suspect list.

Down Among the Sticks and Bones is the story of twin girls named Jack and Jill. They enter their fantasy world through a trunk and find themselves in a world filled with danger.

Every Heart a Doorway is technically the first book. I listened to Down Among the Sticks and Bones before it, and I’m glad I did. The events of the 2nd book actually happen before the first, and I think the 1st book makes more sense when you have information from the 2nd.

I love McGuire’s writing style. It has this rhythmic fairytale quality that fits the subject matter of the books perfectly. The stories for both are both beautiful and violent. I did find the pacing a tad slow but not intolerable. The books are very short and definitely worth the read or listen.

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Quick updates, current favorite writing music, and an entry from my dream journal

I have completed recording the kids book I was working on! YAY! I immediately celebrated by dropping a cup of water in my sound booth and on me…as one does.

I have no plans to edit the audio for that one anytime soon, because I am officially burned out on that book. I don’t think I could stand to listen to it or read it without developing some kind of nervous twitch.

Now that the weather is warmer, I’m having trouble getting booth time in which no lawn mowers, etc. are running. I live in a subdivision, so I should expect such things, but I’m still annoyed. I would really love it if they would establish an official mowing day, and everyone does it then. That would be much better than the constant (CONSTANT!!) barrage of motor sounds.

I do have a lot of sound dampening stuff in the booth, but it’s not 100% soundproof, unfortunately.

What else?

Oh, I should finish the last novelette for the first year of my upcoming short fiction series by Monday. Then, only 2 stories left to write! And all of them left to edit. That will be quick, though. I’m going to set an official launch date once I have the first 3 or 4 pieces proofread. If I had to venture a guess right now, I’d say…Julyish? I think I said May before? Sorry. I was not efficient.

Current favorite writing music: Where’s the Drop by DeadMau5

If you don’t know who DeadMau5 is, he’s an EDM guy. BUT this album is a collection of orchestral (?) versions of some of his songs. I love it very much, and I hope he makes more. Here’s a stream of it on youtube if you’d like to give it a listen.

 

 

On to the dream journal! I started keeping one about a month ago. I’ve never done this before, and it’s been an interesting experience. I don’t remember as many of my dreams as I thought I did. Some days I can’t remember them at all. I try, but it’s kind of like having a thought that you can’t quite grab. I’ve found that if I can land on a word that corresponds with something in the dream, I can get a lot of it to come back to me. Today’s word was zombie.

I don’t have zombie dreams very often, but when I do, I always get bitten right before I wake up.   😦

Here’s today’s entry:

5/9/2019: zombie dream. I was holed up in a hotel with some other people. We made a trap for the zombies that found their way in. It worked for a while, but eventually, we had to leave. I wanted to go to the country. Before I could get out, I was confronted by vampires who wanted to turn me and then force me to attend a vampire wedding as a guest. We only got as far as the car, though, and I remember driving past a couple of tourist attractions that other people in the car seemed pleased to see.

 

Vampire wedding!!! The ridiculousness of that did not hit me until I thought about it while awake. That might end up in one of my short stories in the future. It’s almost too ridiculous not to. Anyone care to analyze?

 

 

 

Today on As the Writer Turns

I’m aware that I’m neglecting the blog again. As usual, I have many things going on. But I do have time to post a couple of quick updates.

I finished another story for my short fiction series that’s coming out this year. Every time, I tell someone about it, I feel like they might think I’m slacking off because I’m not working on a full length novel.

This series is actually a huge project for me. The first year will consist of 12 short stories and 5 novelettes. I’ve finished rough drafts for all but 2 short stories and the novelette I’m currently working on. So yeah, huge project. Even if it ends up being one big pile of garbage, I’ll still be proud that I finished it.

On the audiobook front, guess what…yet more technical difficulties! This week’s technical difficulty is brought to you by this extremely hazardous laptop charger.

This is from a hand-me-down HP laptop from the boy that I’ve been using because the sound on Dell Windows 10 computers is garbage. If you want to do narration, DO NOT purchase a Dell Windows 10 computer.

Anyway, back to the cord. I noticed electrical tape on it before, but I didn’t think too much about it.

The other day, I turned the computer on, and it proceeded to take a year and a half to update. I got bored and decided to check out the cord situation. We see how that went.

Bad words were muttered.

Inquiries were made.

A new cord was ordered.

It should be here tomorrow.

My son claims that the cord just “pulled apart.” I have my doubts.

This is why we can’t have nice things.

The Oddities and Curiosities Expo

Sup, y’all! I have some interesting (I think) things to show you on this fine day.

If you know me well, you probably know that I have a small collection of dead things, mostly bones and fossils. I won’t run through all the fossils, but I will mention the bones: deer skull, bear skull, racoon skull, small jar of mouse skulls/bones, red-tailed hawk skull (which I have not yet cleaned), and a mummified flying squirrel that I’m terrified to try and process.

So when I saw that the Oddities and Curiosities expo was coming, I was in. For the record, I also like weird stuff. I didn’t just go to the expo for the bones.

I took some pictures. Want to see them? Of course, you do. Otherwise, you would’ve stopped reading by now.

So this was the first thing the children and I saw when we walked in.

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Aw, yeah, baby. That’s my scene. #gothgirl4ever As you can see, this fantastic display was for a brewing company.

This next masterpiece was the 2nd thing we saw.

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CAN you feel the magnificence of this, fam-squad? We have a very cool steampunk-style blimp. Let’s get a closer look at the…uh…bottom part? I don’t know what that’s called, but let’s look at it.

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O.M.G. Those are tiny skeletons. Most of them looked like rodents, but if I remember correctly there was at least one that looked like a small bird as well. I wish I had gotten a better picture, but it was a very hectic environment. The place was mad crowded.

Here are a few random shots.

rando 1rando 2rando 3

monkey 2

 

Good times.

We caught a few seconds of a magic show, but it was very crowded.

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We saw many, many dead things, horror-themed art, dolls, jewelry, fake eyeballs on forks. This Stranger Things Ouija Board!!!!!

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If I were a less responsible human, I would’ve come home with this beauty

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or possibly the one caribou skull I saw.

The only thing that really bugged me was the incredible number of dead things. Finding a single skull in an antique store is one thing, but these legions of creatures couldn’t have all been ethically-sourced. I thought about that a lot as I walked around. The number of bats really got to me. So. Many Bats.

I did end up buying a couple of things. I got this sweet mounted cicada.

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I’m not overly fond of the frame. I might switch that out or paint it or something eventually. The children also bought insects. The boy got a wet grasshopper specimen, and the girl bought a magnificent bell jar display with moths and a skull.

I also scored a cool palmistry poster, which I have not yet framed.

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Below is a link to the website for the expo. I will warn you that if you decide to watch the video, you will see a lady hanging by hooks through her leg skin. Me no likey.

https://odditiesandcuriositiesexpo.com/

 

Friday Updates

Greetings! Sorry about the extended absence from the blog, with the exception of yesterday, of course. I thought I’d pop on for a couple of updates.

Spring is here, so no more polar vortex for the moment. Yay!

Current status: very blonde. I might update my photos. I haven’t done that in a while anyway.

Today I’m finishing the first ⅓ of season 3 of DDTS, my short fiction series that should come out sometime in the next few months.

I decided to write a whole year’s worth of content for the series before releasing any of it because I didn’t want to get distracted halfway through and derail the rhythm. I also didn’t want to get into this cycle of stressing out over a monthly deadline. This system is working great so far. Unless life interferes somehow, I should have them all out on time.

Also, I have a t-shirt design in mind, which will likely be just for me, but I’ll put them up for sale in case anyone else wants one or wants any other related merchandise. This is assuming I can pull off the design I want. I’m still learning my new software so anything could happen.

What I do know for sure is that working on this series is making me happy. It’s a bit of a slog, but I get the ideas out of my head much faster than with full novels, and I get to move on to the next thing in a matter of days or weeks as opposed to months. This way of working is very attention-deficit friendly.

Plus, I keep thinking of different ways to use the stories. Turns out that short fiction is a very portable thing. More on that later if I get around to doing what I’d like to do with it.

Audiobook progress: either 26 or 27 chapters recorded. As usual, I’m having technical difficulties. My ten-year-old laptop has all but died. It decided that it no longer wanted to acknowledge the existence of my mic, except for the sound effect that goes off when I plug it in. It will also no longer load the list of devices.

I did all the things it liked before: cleaning it off, defragging, etc. It’s just time to let it go. I knew it was coming.

I am sad, though. That’s my computer ride-or-die. On it, I’ve written books, drawn and designed, learned, conversed with internet people. Have I mentioned that I get weirdly attached to things?

So she’s off to graze in the meadow of semi-dead laptops that lives in my basement. Fare thee well, my love.

I have since commandeered my son’s abandoned HP laptop, which doesn’t seem to have the super weird sound issues that the Windows 10 Dells have.

That’s all I have for now. Catch ya later!

Tolkien, Plato, and Gyges Walk Into a Bar But Not in that Order

You may have heard of a few little books by Tolkien: The HobbitThe Lord of the Rings, etc.

In these books, a central part of the story is THE ring. You know, the one to rule them all? Well, guess what. Tolkien was not the first to write about an invisibility ring.

Let us back up several steps to Herodotus’ Histories and the story of Candaules, his wife and Gyges. This version of the Gyges story goes like this: King Candaules keeps bugging his bodyguard Gyges about how hot his wife is. Candaules is like hey, hide in this room and watch her take her clothes off if you don’t believe me. Gyges does it. Wife catches him. Wife says you have 2 choices. You can die now or kill my skeevy husband, marry me, and usurp the throne. Gyges chooses the latter.

No ring, I know. Just wait for it.

In Plato’s Republic, he takes elements of that story but puts his own spin on it. Here’s a bit from Wikipedia:

“It told of a man named Gyges who lived in Lydia, an area in modern Turkey. He was a gygesshepherd for the king of that land. One day, there was an earthquake while Gyges was out in the fields, and he noticed that a new cave had opened up in a rock face. When he went in to see what was there, he noticed a gold ring on the finger of a former giant king who had been buried in the cave, in an iron horse with a window in its side. He took the ring away with him and soon discovered that it allowed the wearer to become invisible. The next time he went to the palace to give the king a report about his sheep, he put the ring on, seduced the queen, killed the king, and took control of the palace.”

Allowed the wearer to become invisible. Sound familiar?

So we have Herodotus influencing Plato possibly influencing Tolkien. The legend might even go back further than that.

What does it all mean?

That Tolkien likely read Plato, and that a great many writers, even the best ones, take inspiration where they can get it. Kind of makes me curious about what else Hero and Plato were serving up.

Linkies

https://www.livius.org/sources/content/herodotus/candaules-his-wife-and-gyges/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gyges_of_Lydia

 

 

 

 

Coupla Updates

Greetings! How are we doing? Well I hope. I am super excited because today I finished the last of the rough drafts for season 2 of my upcoming short fiction series. Including the box sets, I now have 8 months of releases. Pretty cool!

I’m not sure how well the Authors Read Podcast is going to do this year. I’m having trouble finding guests. I don’t really want to invest in advertising because it’s not a profit thing. I do have a good relationship with a book publicist, who sends some people my way, but I’m not sure it’s going to be enough.

I’ve been on a couple of message boards, etc. The requests just aren’t coming in. I have no plans to shut it down, but if I don’t have content, I don’t have content. Soooooo, if you are an author or you know an author who’s looking for a free to publicize their book, here is a link.

BUT even if it stagnates a bit, I will still have podcast content in the form of a second podcast for the short fiction series. I’ll have full control over that beast.

That’s all I’ve got for the moment. Catch you on the flip side.

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