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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Needless Rambling and a Cat Picture

OMG, I am killing the to-do list this week. I am quite excited about it. I would be even more excited if I could finally wrap up this audio editing business! I have about 10-20 minutes of finished audio left, which should probably equate to at least 6-8 hours of editing work. Yes, it does take that long. I think the worst part about it is that I can’t listen to music while I’m doing it. Music makes everything better.

But it will be done soon. Soon!

I’m lucky that I’ve had time at all. This last month has been bonkers. We got a new roof put on the house due to storm damage, a newish truck because the old one was dying. My daughter moved out. She’s 20, so it’s not like she ran away or anything. I miss her, despite the fact that she’s right down the street. The location makes it better. She took Merlin, though, because he belongs to her. That makes it slightly worse. I miss him, too.

There is a small silver lining. We’re setting up a guest room/office the spare bedroom. Our “office” has always been a corner of the bedroom, so that is pretty cool.

On a somewhat unrelated note, I’ve been reading Locke and Key, which is a comic book series written by Joe Hill, aka son of Stephen King. It’s really good stuff so far. It reminds me a little of The Haunting of Hill House

Also awesome and actually by Stephen King – the new IT movie. I never saw the original or read the book, so I can’t offer a comparison. I thought Bill Skarsgård was amazing. I watched him in Hemlock Grove, which I liked well enough, but I think his performance as Pennywise really showed he well can act.

Now, please enjoy this picture of Bleu. Adorable while asleep. A terror while awake.

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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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Working, Whistling, Cough-Shouting

I’m still alive, I promise. I’ve been getting a lot of work done. Work on my books, work on books by other people. It’s like a work extravaganza! I do have a brief rundown of stuff that should be out and available before the end of this year.

Desmond Winters and the Ghosts of Arbolettis – release date – approximately November, possibly December, possibly near the end of December.

Beneath Oceans of Sky – another middle-grade book – by the end of October or sooner.

Iyrico audiobook – hopefully by the end of September so I can get in on the people looking for ghost stories in October.

Destined for Darkness audiobook – Around the first part of November. I’m not actually doing this one. I have a very talented narrator on ACX working on it.

I’m cutting audio on Iyrico this evening which is one of my FAVORITE tasks (NOT). I found this lovely soundbite in which I was trying to clear my throat and what came out was this strange combination of shout and cough that sounded like a demon briefly invaded my vocal chords. I’ll save your ears, but here’s a picture of the sound levels. Normal speaking voice on the left, demon cough-shout on the right.

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The whistling part of the post title was actually a lie. I can’t whistle…like, at all.

 

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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How Not to Babysit a Snake, plus an only slightly-related Merlin pic

When I was about 15 or 16 years old, I had a friend who worked in the mall near the apartment complex in which I lived. I can’t remember if she worked at the pet store or the record store, but I do remember that one day, she bought a ball python while she was at the mall working.

Since she still had some hours left in her workday, she asked me to babysit the snake for her. Hang out with a 4-foot ball python? Heck, yeah! So I took the snake home back to my apartment.

I had no knowledge of how to handle snakes. I had no snake accessories, no fish tank in which to keep it, no cage, just a snake.

It was a sweet thing, very well behaved, but I was a teenager with a short attention span and who really wants to actively monitor a snake for hours on end, anyway?

I put the snake in the bathtub. I believe that my thinking was, even if it escapes the tub, where is it going to go? The bathroom door was closed. The room was small, no windows.

Yeah, snake is in the tub. I left it unattended to…I have no idea. I might have been watching Gilligan’s Island. I went through this weird phase in which I watched Gilligan’s Island reruns every day.

I did eventually go back to check on the snake. I was just in time to see its tail ready to disappear into a hole in the bottom of the cabinet under the sink. Apparently, at snakes-eye view, there was an escape route. I don’t spend much time lying on the bathroom floor, so I had no idea it was there.

I tried to grab the tail, and it slipped out of my hand.

I don’t remember if I called the maintenance man or I called my mom and she called the maintenance man, but he did arrive. He had to bust open the floor of the cabinet to get the snake out. I got the snake back, unharmed, and my friend picked up her snake later. I have not been asked to snakesit since.

Now, to make this a fully 100% reptile-themed post, please enjoy this fantastic picture of Merlin on a car ride. Photo credit: the girl.

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Mish Mosh Applsosh

I’ve been listening to the Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard. I’m actually on book 2.

It’s a lot like The Hunger Games, and when I say a lot, I mean A LOT. Both stories are YA dystopian fiction. It’s the ruling class versus the lower class. Main character is a spunky female who isn’t satisfied with her situation. Both heroines are thrust into the midst of the ruling class. Both trilogies contain arenas and rebellion. There’s a Peeta-like character and a Gale-like character, a Prim-like character. The list goes on.

It really does.

I don’t have an issue with this. I actually like the books so far, but the similarity reminded me of a podcast I listened to recently. The author on the podcast advised other authors to find books and themes that are popular and mimic those if you want to sell books.

I wonder if that’s what the Red Queen author did, if she took the main plot points and mushed them and tossed in a few extra ingredients.

Is this really what writing has come down to?

I hope not. I have a binder of notes for books and none of those ideas were exactly lifted from popular books, not consciously, at least. I mean, given how many books there are, it’s impossible to come up with an idea that no one before you has ever come up with, but there’s a difference between that and using someone else’s work as a road map.

The idea feels icky to me. Of course, that Aveyard lady is making mountains of cash, so she must be doing something right.

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