In Which the Audiobook Was Set Aside

Yeah, yeah, I know. Quitters never win, and winners never quit. Technically, I didn’t really quit. I just pushed the audiobook aside for now. Far, far aside.

I was doing a final listen before I uploaded my audio short story to ACX. I was happy with about 90% of it, but that remaining 10% is a killer. It’s basically all I see.

And I have a lot that I’m working on. I plan to do NanoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) this year, so I’m clearing as much as I can out of the way before November 1st.  I had to evaluate my priorities and decide which things I would finish in the next 2 weeks. That one has chewed up too much of my time as it is.

I am also very tired of reading and listening to that particular story. I like it okay, but it’s definitely not my favorite work. I wrote it a while ago, and my writing is somewhat better now. I could go back and rewrite/rerecord, but it’s not worth all that.

So, I might go back to it sometime next year. I might just start on another recording and chalk that one up as a very long training session. I did learn a lot, after all.

 

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Fear and Dust

I have a tendency to analyze everything when it comes to the way people (including me) act and how they interact. Maybe it’s a writer thing; I don’t know.

I read an article, editorial, opinion piece? I don’t know what it was, exactly. I’m not up on my journalism lingo, but anyway, this author lady was talking about how she has been trying to get one of her books published for the last 10 years.

10. As in a decade. What’s the definition of insanity, again?

So then I started asking myself why anyone would do that. In this day and age, when authors publish their own work every day, why would anyone hold out for that long? Does she have some deep-seated need for validation?

I think the more likely motivation is fear. Even things like rejection can feel like a kind of safe-zone. If no one “accepts” the book, then she doesn’t have to set it loose into the world. She doesn’t have to make it available for the general public to read. She doesn’t have to worry about bad reviews.

I get it; I really do. But life is too short. I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to spend so many precious moments of their life begging for approval that probably won’t ever come, at least, not the way she wants. Meanwhile, her book hasn’t done anything but gather dust.

I hope she gets past it.

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In Which I Tried Not To Pick The Obvious Thing

I believe that our culture conditions us to have certain expectations when it comes to stories. Movies, books, spoken word, it doesn’t matter. That’s why people get in an uproar when, say, a YA author kills off the main character in the last book of a trilogy (keeping them nameless to avoid spoilers). People weren’t expecting the author to do that. They were expecting the story to end the way they wanted it to, the way so many other books have.

Sometimes when I write, I reach a certain point in a story, and I feel like what I’m about to write, the next part, is too obvious. It’s almost like autopilot writing propelled by my cultural conditioning. So, when I hit that point, I stop.

I take a step back and wonder what else could happen. I actually brainstorm a little bit, and I jot down several possibilities.

Like this:

Let’s say we’re writing a horror. I love love love horror, but a lot of horrors (movies, books, whatever) sometimes have a tendency to follow a formula.

Let’s say, Jimmy is about to open a door. The audience is all like, “No, Jimmy! Don’t open that door!” Why? Because something bad is going to happen to Jimmy. Duh. It’s happened in a thousand stories before this.

So, we have Jimmy standing in front of the door. Since this is an especially cliché situation, we’re going to use 15 possibilities.

Rapid fire. I don’t think; I just write. And I start with the obvious ones so I get them out of the way. 

  1. Ghost grabs Jimmy and pulls him into the room.
  2. Nothing is there. Empty room.
  3. See something terrifying but doesn’t affect him, like he witnesses a murder that happened a long time ago.
  4. Sees a mirror image of the room behind him, as well as a reflection of himself.
  5. Brick wall like in cartoons.  🙂 
  6. Portal to another dimension.
  7. Ghost inviting him to dinner.
  8. Jimmy doesn’t open the door and walks away. Creepy thing reaches for him.
  9. Door opens to outside of the building. Long way down. More cartoons!
  10. Swirling fog monster.
  11. Opens to his bedroom in his childhood home (or so it would appear)
  12. Dead friend is there, trying to lure him inside.
  13. Soul eating machine.
  14. Opens to a hospital room where he sees himself in a coma and something tries to convince him the haunted house is a dream.
  15. Doesn’t open the door at all, but when he turns, he’s surrounded by a ring of duplicate doors, so he has no choice but to open one.

Okay, some of these are still kind of cliché, but you get the idea.

And now, because I don’t know how to conclude this post in an eloquent manner and because every blog post needs a picture, here are some terrifying bunnies I saw in an antique store.

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Audio Schmaudio

I am such a wimp when it comes to audio recording. My makeshift sound booth is HOT and I stand too long and my feet hurt. Both my mouth and my eyes do their best to dry up. Nevertheless, I finished rerecording Iyrico, so yay! This last round was the longest. It was about 45 minutes. The recorded file was only about 36 minutes. All that will probably boil down to about 20 minutes of edited audio, maybe slightly less.

In other audio news, I’m putting up the AnnaBeth trilogy on ACX to take auditions for an audiobook narrator. I do plan to work my way up to recording full-length audiobooks eventually, but I won’t record that particular trilogy myself.

The first couple of those books, especially the first one, came about really early in my writing career. I imagine putting myself through reading every word and then listening to/editing every word would be a bit like staring at my junior high school yearbook photo for hours on end. I’d see nothing but awkwardness and flaws.

So, if someone takes that business on, there will be AnnaBeth audiobooks!

The next book I plan to record myself is one that’s in final edit right now. It’s a kids’ book that’s about 30,000 words. The print version of the book should be finished very soon. I have no idea when the audio version will be out, but I’ll keep y’all posted.

Now, please enjoy these pictures of Bleu in a fashionable tote bag.

 

 

 

 

 

A Couple of Updates, No Stuffed Bee Butts

My son and I were talking about the lootcrate we received today. We weren’t big fans of it, so he started suggesting other subscription boxes. One was foreign foods. He informed me that it was just snack food and there was nothing weird like “stuffed bee butts”.

Stuffed. Bee. Butts. That kid cracks me up. He turned 14 a few days ago, and he’s thisclose to being taller than I am.

I’ve been very bad at blogging lately. I wish I could say it was because I’ve been working diligently 100% of the time, but alas, that is not the case. Work is done on a daily basis, yes, but the pace always feels leisurely to me. I read about other authors’ writing habits, and I feel like a giant slacker.

But today, I did finish a thing. It will be a while before that thing is out. I can’t even tell you where it will land in the editing schedule because I have 2 kids’ books in front of it. I will tell you a couple of things. It takes place in a valley in the Appalachian Mountains. Strange events occur. The book is very short, only about 40,000 words, so it’s more of a novella, I guess.

I plan to offer it free 30 days before the release to the hapless victims who sign up for my email list. Form is below.

Subscribe to my mailing list to receive book release updates and possibly other written shenanigans.

I hear all the cool kids are doing this email thing.

What else is going on? Ah yes. The audiobook. I decided to rerecord the entire thing because I’m a looney bird who can’t let things go in a timely manner. I’ve got the recording part about 2/3 of the way done. I’ve been using my makeshift sound studio, which gets rather warm.

Okay, I need to go edit something. And now, because every blog post needs a picture, please enjoy the fortune from my fortune cookie.
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Semi-forgotten Demon

Guess what I forgot to do. I forgot to release a thing! About 4 years ago, probably not quite 4 years, I wrote a short horror story called Iyrico.

I posted it on the blog.

I posted it on Wattpad.

I intended to post it on Amazon and other places, but apparently, I did not end up doing that.

If you read my blog on a somewhat regular basis, you probably know that I’ve been working my way toward producing audiobooks. I’ve actually recorded some chapters for other books, but I decided to take on something shorter at first, in case ACX didn’t think my equipment/quality was up to snuff.

I thought for a long time about what that thing would be. Most of my short stories are pretty short, maybe too short for audio. Then I was like duh! Iyrico would be perfect. It’s about 22 full-size pages long, so long enough to be a somewhat decent length but not long enough that I would waste too much time getting it together if it didn’t work out.

I then noticed that the story was not listed on Amazon or Barnes and Noble or Goodreads or anywhere! It’s kind of cool because I get to do a new release and not do all that much work for it. Forgetful past me sometimes gives really good presents. 🙂

It’s also cool because I get to revisit a story I really like!

If all goes as planned, that should be the first audiobook I release, the first one with my voice on it, anyway. At the average timing (according to ACX) of 150 words per minute, the recorded story should end up being about 75 minutes long.

I’ve given the story a bit of an edit/rewrite because my writing and editing has improved a bit in the last four years, thankfully. Quickie cover redesign, which is already done, and maybe another read-through to make sure I didn’t screw anything up. Then mass release next week. Record the audiobook and release that…maybe within the next 30 days as long as ACX likes it? That’s sounds pretty reasonable. 


Now, because blog posts are better with pictures,  please enjoy this unrelated and slightly blurry photo of a tortoise we rescued from the street.

Misc Updates

Hey, guys! I feel like I haven’t been on the blog much lately. My workload has been utter insanity, and while I like being busy, I’d be okay with it cooling off for a while. However, as soon as it did cool off, I’d probably get excited about some other project and dive right in…like the podcast I’ve been thinking about starting. Everything I’m working on simultaneously feels like too much and never enough. 

I’m still making the 45 minute to an hour drive into and working at the day job, proofreading, occasionally writing, trying to make the publishing thing fly, blogging (mostly over at NightLark), and working on publicity for the next release there, which isn’t my book. Not one I wrote, at least. The crazy thing is that I think I’m better at promoting someone else’s work than I am at promoting my own. The effort is more consistent, which is a good thing and a bad thing at the same time.


It’s good because better/more consistent promotion usually equates to better sales. It’s bad because I’m doing things for this book that I should’ve done for all of my own books, and I know that. While putting this thing together, I neglected my own work. And that’s my fault. I should’ve found a way to manage my time more effectively. I am getting better, though, I think…I hope.


I have found that habits are magic. Whether they’re good magic or bad magic depends on the habit.


As far as my book release schedule goes for this year, I should have 2 more kids’ books out by the end of the year as long as the editing is somewhat smooth sailing. Both of those rough drafts are done. Is it weird I don’t get overly excited about finishing rough drafts anymore? I mean, I am happy they’re finished, but it’s kind of just a big step 1.


The adult series I planned to start this year will probably have to wait until next year. I do have one adult novella that I need to finish writing. That may be out around…Novemberish?? Or it could come out in the first couple of months next year. We’ll see what goes down between now and then.


Audiobooks…I’m still working on that. I have an area set up for recording. It’s much better than the setup I had before. I just need to get my rear end in there and use it!


What I really need is an assistant to follow me around and nag me until I finish all the things and also to occasionally knock the PlayStation controller out of my hand.


That’s it for now. Another toy collection post is on the way. I’m thinking Disney Villainess dolls…

Now please enjoy this picture of Bleu with 2 of his favorite things: newspapers and a box.