Clicky McClickerson

I’ve been working on recording an audiobook version of Love and the Dark. Holy crap that book had some editing issues. I do have someone edit for me but I have a tendency to monkey around with the book once I get it back, so you know, my inability to leave things alone is one hundred percent of the problem. The issues will be fixed shortly.

Anyway, recording the audiobook has been an interesting experience so far. I had to figure out which software to use and then how to use it. I now know things about sound that I didn’t know before. I also learned that once I get past the weirdness of hearing a recording of myself, my voice is actually kind of soothing.

The worst issue I’ve had is my mouth drying out. After about 10 minutes of recording, my mouth gets dry and starts making these little click sounds that are undesirable in the audiobook world. Not only do they sound bad, they distract me. In fact, the whole dry mouth thing is so aggravating that more often than not, I end up quitting for the evening before I intended to.

And the audiobook I’m recording has an estimated finished recording time of 7 hours. It’s a lot more than 7 hours of labor once you factor in all the retakes and editing, etc. At this rate, I’m gonna be fifty years old by the time I finish.

I looked up the clicking (mouth noise) and apparently, this is a common audio recording problem. I’ve seen the following suggested solutions.

  1. Get a better microphone to filter it out. That’s fine and dandy but if the mouth noise is distracting me as I’m reading, then the fanciest microphone in the world isn’t going to help.
  1. Water – This was the first thing I tried. Do you know what water does? It rinses the saliva out of your mouth. I drink so much water as it is that it’s probably causing the problem in the first place.
  1. Vaseline – ew
  1. Lemon – Wouldn’t this be drying?
  1. Talking while holding a pencil in your teeth – What?
  1. Get someone else (a professional someone else) to record it – Like I’d give up that easily. Do you even know me, bro? The clicks aren’t stopping me, not yet, anyway.

I did try keeping a glass of milk next to me. That helped a little, but it definitely wasn’t a cure. It was skim milk, though, so maybe milk with fat in it would do a better job.

This evening, I bought some mouth moisturizing gel. Sounds pretty gross, right? It’s clear and sort of minty-ish, not as minty as toothpaste. I’ll give that a go later. I also considered coconut oil. I may still try that if the gel doesn’t work.

Oh, the glamorous life I live! 
Here’s a picture of Bleuberry (aka Bleu, aka Mr. Baby, aka Jerkface).

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Maybe the Grossest Story You Read All Day

I was an odd child. As with many children, I had more energy than good intentions.

In the third grade, I had some wax lips. I might’ve gotten them for Halloween. I might’ve bought them at the candy store down the street from my house.

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Being the creative soul I am, I discovered that I could chew them up and then form the wax into shapes. I began to sculpt. I made small snowmen and other simple things, probably a cat or two.

I made a bunch of them and hid them in my desk. It was one of those models where the top flips up, and you stash books and whatever inside.

Then I came up with the bright idea that I would sell them. My classmates really seemed to like them, and they never questioned my materials. I sold several of these saliva and wax masterpieces.

Unfortunately, my gig didn’t last very long. I don’t remember why I quit. I think my teacher must’ve told me that I should not do such things. Of course, teachers did that a lot.

Toy Collection 4: The Nightmare Before Christmas

Greetings, lovelies! I was listening to the Nerdist podcast the other day. The guy who hosts collects things like I do, only his stuff sounds WAY better. He said that his collection was like a diary of things he loves. That’s exactly what mine is!

Today we have the Nightmare Before Christmas – um – group? Subcollection?

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The first time I saw The Nightmare Before Christmas, I didn’t like it. When I went to see it in the theater, I didn’t know it was a musical before I went, so I was annoyed. Of course, later I saw it again and was able to appreciate it for the piece of genius it is.

So, left to right, starting in the back, we have stuffed Zero, VHS of the movie, big Jack, which should have arms but doesn’t. I have no idea where they went. Next row from left to right, we have non-stuffed Zero, smaller Jack, Oogie Boogie, Sally, Doctor Finklestein. Then there’s Lock, Shock and Barrel but not in that order, and tiny Christmas Jack with Christmas tree.

I think the next collection post might be Batman.

Rapid-Fire Randomness

Hey, what’s up! I’ve been sick for about the last week because my husband decided to bring home the plague. I haven’t had much energy for blogging, but apparently, that won’t stop me from posting words on the internet.Today, I have some random bits and bobs about what’s been going on.

Current writing project: Desmond Winters and the Ghosts of Arbolettis (middle-grade book), word count – 24231, a little over a third of the way complete if I hit my 60,000-word goal.

Most recent books read:
Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger – meh
The Bell Jar by Syvlia Plath – slightly better
Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet – pretty good

Currently reading:
Shadows of the Dark Crystal #1 by JM Lee and Brian Froud

Also about to start:
Splintered by AG Howard

Most recent movies watched:
The Magnificent Seven (2016) – very good
Don’t Breathe – not bad
Star Trek Beyond – decent

And here’s a picture of my son’s new snail. Its name is Larry and it is slightly larger than a quarter. Every time someone sees this picture, they ask me how big it is.

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Toy Collection 3: Christmas/Dark Crystal Edition

Hey-o! Christmas was a good time. I wish I had more time off for the holiday, but that’s the breaks, I guess. I did get some cool stuff for Christmas, including a couple of new additions to the collection.

I’ve loved The Dark Crystal since I was a kid, so I was quite pleased to get these. On the left, we have Ursol the Chanter, and on the right is Aughra! Aughra is the best. She was one of my favorite characters in the movie. Grouchy characters always have the best lines.

I also got the new Dark Crystal book: Shadows of the Dark Crystal # 1. I’ve read a couple of chapters, and I really like it so far.

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It was a very Dark Crystal Christmas.  🙂

Toy Collection 2: Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

I am fully aware that these are not toys, but they are AMONG toys and part of the collection.

This is a set of promotional pins for the DVD/VHS release of Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. They were given to Blockbuster employees in either 2003 or 2004 and then given to me by one of my friends. I don’t remember if he was the one who worked there or if he knew someone who worked there and then he just passed them on to me.

lotr

I like how easily they arrange in this neat, little grid. It appeals to some OCD portion of my brain.

These were actually missing for years. I just found them a few weeks ago in some random box. They don’t have an official spot yet. I thought about mounting them in a frame. For now, they just sit in their neat grid on the counter.

Writing Updates

Despite the fact that the cold is making me want to hide in bed until spring, the writing is going pretty well. There are times that I feel like I’m just spinning my wheels, but I am making progress. I’m working more consistently than usual, which is good.

The current project is a rough draft for the sequel to the middle-grade book that’s coming out near the end of February. The first book in the series is currently in the hands of final proofreaders. I have vowed to touch it no further, except for book formatting, etc.

I’m actually launching 2 series next year: one for kids and one for adults. Did I mention that before? I can’t remember. The series for adults is going to have Gaiman-level weirdness and Evanovich-level attitude, both things that I love, so I’m really excited about it.

I also found a book that I forgot I wrote last spring. That’s normal, right? To forget you wrote a book?  That one is a kids’ book but not part of the series. I think it needs some intensive rewriting, so I might put that release off until I get both the series rocking and rolling.

And now, here is a selfie I took with Bleu. He tried to eat a cookie through a ziploc bag the other day. That incident is not pictured.

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