Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Five Narrator-Related Announcements for your Tuesday

Announcement # 1 (StarShipSofa)

StarShipSofa has re-posted a Beneath Ceaseless Skies story I narrated back in March 2013 along with Tina Connolly, Rajan Khanna, and Michael J. DeLuca. The story is “Boat in Shadows, Crossing” by Tori Truslow and starts 30 minutes into the podcast. This re-post is in honor of the story text being nominated in the “Best Short Fiction” category of the British Science Fiction Association awards. I read the part of Bue.

This podcast was also a 2013 Parsec Award Finalist for Best Speculative Fiction Story: Large Cast.

Runs 1 hour 6 minutes.
Listen to "Boat in Shadows, Crossing" at StarShipSofa.

Announcement # 2 (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

I narrated a new story for Beneath Ceaseless Skies, "Golden Daughter, Stone Wife” by Benjanun Sriduangkaew.

Runs 59 minutes.
Listen to "Golden Daughter, Stone Wife” by Benjanun Sriduangkaew at Beneath Ceaseless Skies

Announcement # 3 (Horror Audiobook on Sale)

The horror novel I narrated, THE DEAD OF WINTER by Jack Night, is now on sale through Audible, iTunes, and Amazon. You can listen to a sample at the links. (Runs 9.5 hours!) I'm really pleased with how this audiobook turned out and I look forward to narrating more.

Now I'm narrating a fantasy novel that I'll be wrapping up soon, and then I get to start narrating two story collections by Cat Rambo.

Announcement # 4 (Podcast Class)

Speaking of Cat Rambo, I will be co-teaching an online class with Cat called PODCASTING BASICS. We've taught this one a few times before and it's always a lot of fun. The date is now set: Sunday, April 27, 2014, 9:30-11:30 AM PDT. $89 for former students; $99 for new students. More details at Cat's web site.

This may be the last podcasting class we'll able to teach for a while, so if you have any interest it's a good time to sign up.

Announcement # 5 (The End is Nigh)

I mentioned in a previous post that I had narrated two stories for THE END IS NIGH audiobook, the first of three anthologies on the subject of the apocalypse, edited by John Joseph Adams and Hugh Howey--audiobook produced by Jack Kincaid.

You can now buy THE END IS NIGH audiobook from the usual sources: Amazon, Audible, and iTunes. I'm not sure why I'm not listed as one of the narrators, but maybe I'm not famous enough yet. :)  Rest assured, I narrated, "Heaven Is A Place On Planet X" by Desirina Boskovich (which you can listen to for free at Drabblecast) and "Wedding Day," by Jake Kerr.

And I think that gets us all up-to-date. I hope you are having a wonderful Tuesday.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Clarion West Class of 2014

Long story short, one week ago today, I received the call offering me a spot in this year's Clarion West class. Of course I accepted. Of course.

Some of you know how much this means to me already. For those who don't, well I will tell you. Clarion West is a six-week intensive workshop for writers of speculative fiction--fantasy, science-fiction, and horror. The program only accepts 18 students each year. Each week a different instructor--a professional writer or editor type--comes in and leads the class. Each week each student writes a story, and each week each student critiques all of the other students' stories.

In addition to the heavy workload, there are socializing opportunities, readings you can attend, the occasional party, and all the while, the students live in the same housing and try to keep up with the workload.

This was my third time applying. I really, really wanted to attend. So to be able to share that it's actually happening, can be expressed in just about any happy-making cliché ever. If you're wondering I'm partial to "over the moon."

I look forward to meeting my classmates, reading the instructors' stories, and being there, immersed in writing and critiquing and learning for six overwhelming weeks.

Before the program starts in June, I still have to deliver three more audiobooks so I'll be keeping pretty busy. My first novel length audiobook has been approved by all parties and is in the process of going on sale as I type this. I'll announce it more formally when the audiobook finishes propagating to iTunes and Amazon, but here's a sneak peek at Audible for Jack Night's "The Dead of Winter." There's even an audio sample if you're curious.

So that's it. That's my news. I hope you'll all follow along with me on this new crazy adventure.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Beneath Ceaseless Skies Podcast

I neglected to mention, and I should have mentioned, in my last post that I also narrated a story for Beneath Ceaseless Skies: "Pilgrims" by Ann Chatham. The whole podcast runs about 27 minutes and the mp3 is available to download or stream.

Beneath Ceaseless Skies is a great market for fiction, one of my favorites. Their focus is on literary adventure fantasy in secondary world settings. You can read their stories for free online or for a small subscription fee ($13.99 for the year, as of this posting) have issues delivered to your eReader: subscribe to BCS here.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Cool News

Some cool news.

First, I narrated "Heaven Is A Place On Planet X" by Desirina Boskovich for THE END IS NIGH, the first of three anthologies on the subject of the apocalypse, edited by John Joseph Adams and Hugh Howey. You can listen to the story for free (or download the mp3) at the Drabblecast. Runs an hour.

You guys, this is seriously cool. And an awesome story. I understand that this narration will be included in the audiobook version of this anthology later. But if you'd rather buy a physical or digital copy now, you can buy the anthology at Amazon. I also narrated a story by Jake Kerr called "Wedding Day," for THE END IS NIGH. And I can't wait to share that one as well.

Second, I have a brand new story, "Arkquarium," that will be included in an anthology that's being funded through Kickstarter: THAT AIN'T RIGHT -- A LOVECRAFTIAN-THEMED ANTHOLOGY. The publisher even did an author spotlight on me. So, if you're moved to contribute, there's still about a week left to back this project. One of the backer rewards is a narration of a short story of up to 5,000 words by me.

Third, the first project I've narrated through ACX is now on sale: Hand of Fire: Battle for Magic. I'm really pleased about that. I am also currently narrating a horror novel that's due in about a week and a half to the author.

Fourth, the next "Podcasting Basics" class I'm co-teaching with Cat Rambo is currently planned for the end of April. I need to double check the date before I post it here, but there is one planned.

I think that's everything for now. Hopefully, this update helps explain why my blog has been so quiet lately. Have a great weekend, everyone.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Better Living Through Pseudoscience

"The spotlight makes me feel as if I'm a giant alien bug roasting beneath a magnifying glass--not unlike those noble arthropods in my favorite film, Starship Troopers. But I am only a middle-aged man wearing a frayed lab coat, standing center-stage in a theater that's seen better days. Although I can't see much beyond the glare of the spotlight, I know I am addressing a full house, thanks to savvy promises of air-conditioning and free soft serve during the worst heat wave of the decade.  
I rub my thumb against the freckle on my palm for luck. It is my first infomercial and I have reasons to be jittery. Even now, my nemesis hides among the slack-jawed tourists, waiting to strike..."

These are the first two paragraphs of my new short story, "Better Living Through Pseudoscience" available in the new ebook, MAD SCIENTIST JOURNAL: AUTUMN 2013.

Available for Nook and Kindle.

It's one of those funny mad scientist stories--at least, it makes me chortle in the secret corners of myself. And it clocks in at 2,700 words, if you are concerned about getting enough value for your money. I know I am! No shame there!

Happy Wednesday.  

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Working with writer's block

At 2am this morning, I finished a new 3,500-word short story. It's embarrassing to admit how long it's been since I last wrote a short story from scratch. Let's just say...a while.

So, future me asks, how did you manage to complete this story?

A few things helped. On Sunday, I attended a one-day Clarion West workshop taught by Eileen Gunn, about working through creative impasses. I managed a rough ending during one of the 15-minute writing burst exercises--at least enough to start editing and expand.

Having a deadline helped. Knowing I had to deliver what I promised helped.

I didn't turn off the internet, but I probably should have. After a month of trying to write this thing, by mid-day yesterday I had about two thousand good words and some rocky words. The key was that no matter how much I procrastinated, and I procrastinated a lot, I would keep forcing myself back to the keyboard. I treated myself like a stubborn kid who refused to eat her vegetables. I basically threw a lot of tantrums, certain I wasn't going to be able to do it, but I kept forcing myself to open MS Word and make small attempts. Over and over and over...Until I was too exhausted to fight anymore and I ate the damned leafy greens.

There are authors who don't believe in writer's block. I envy them. I wish I didn't believe, too. But I have these tendencies, if nothing else, to avoid writing fiction. Give me something tangible and clear cut, where I can make a fancy list and check off deliverables and I'm solid. Technical writing, no problem, but fiction? I struggle.

I've thought a lot about why I struggle. I know it's in my head. I've reorganized my entire life to be conducive to writing. I have the equipment, the books, the support network. So why freeze up? Two reasons come to mind. One, I dislike not being good at something so much I'd almost rather not to do it than fail. Two, I'm afraid of being boring. Both are fantastic ways to make that playful voice inside my head, the one that whispers, "What about..." and "This might sound weird, but..." to take its toys and play elsewhere.

All of this is to say, the draft is done and submitted. And, future me? There are much, much better ways for us to write a short story. Go find them.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Hello, I'm a Narrator for Hire

Hi. I realize this post isn't applicable to 97% of the readers of this site. This post goes out to that very special 3%. You know who you are...

Yesterday I signed up for Elance--a web site that helps freelancers connect with employers. There are no fees for basic membership, but Elance does take a cut of any earnings you arrange through the site.

I put in bids for a few jobs -- voice acting, podcast related -- that sounded interesting and I'll keep an eye out for new opportunities. Of course, if I did get hired, I wouldn't discuss any details of the jobs here--so to any potential employers that might be checking me out, no need to worry about discretion.

In related news, it's true! I am happily available to narrate your fiction or non-fiction for the purposes of audio distribution, and can supply you a quote if you tell me the word count. My email address is at the top of the About page and examples of my narrations are on the Podcasts page.

I'm still actively applying for full-time work, but in the mean time, I would like to explore all revenue-generating opportunities.

What else is going on? I've been struggling like crazy to finish writing a new short story. I don't know why I'm having such a hard time, but on Sunday, I'll be taking a one-day workshop about working through creative blocks. So that's good.

Happy Tuesday.