- I’m one of a set of identical twins – yes, she’s a girl (that’s fraternal twins), we live far away from each other and don’t look that much alike anymore.
- I can’t tell my right hand from my left. No, none of the tricks work, it’s how my brain is wired – a form of dyslexia. If I try to tie a bow behind my back I have no idea what my hands are doing. I get lost a lot. Sometimes that’s been fun. *grin*
- I have Attention Deficit Disorder, spend five minutes around me, and you’ll know that. *grin*
- I read very fast, about 365 wpm when I was clocked at 13.
- My IQ is pretty high, too, but I couldn’t get into Mensa until after they ditched the shape tests. Then I didn’t want to.
- I’ve been married four times.
- I suffer from Post Traumatic Stress disorder from the first one. It’s gotten better than it was.
- I’m a sucker for birds with broken wings… we have two dogs we rescued (one who goes psycho with deliverymen), a one-eyed cat named Pi, and a stray I picked up name Tango – who had a broken jaw and cut whiskers, along with frostbite. He’s much better now.
- Writing ‘labels’. What box? I don’t need no stinkin’ box. Don’t try to put me in one. I’m a multi-genre writer, I like following my muse wherever he leads, although I consider myself primarily a fantasy author’
- I have tattoos on both forearms -the Four Pillars of Elven Philosophy from The Coming Storm series – Knowledge balanced by Wisdom, Justice by Compassion, overseen by the clear crystal light of Reason, but above all else, Honor.
That’s how it is for me in all my books, I want to immerse the reader in the whole human experience. I want them to understand, really understand, the stakes involved. When the heroes, their loved ones – loves and friends – are at risk, I want the reader to experience the journey of love, loss, threat, fear, with them. Every detail is necessary and nothing is gratuitous. If two people love each other, they’ll express that in the ways that people do. Finding those people who care about them on the deepest levels, the risk of losing those precious lives, are tied to the memories of them at the most intimate moments, when they can express themselves heart to heart. Friends will remember the times they spent talking over breakfast, lunch, or dinner, laughing sometimes, or being there through the struggles of life. Lovers will remember those moments when they shared their love for each other, held each other, curled up around each other to talk, to solve the problems of the world, sharing joy, or easing each other’s sorrow. That’s what it’s all about. That’s what makes life worth living, for the people in the book, and those who are reading it.Read More »
I really don’t want to go back to the 1950s and 60s with their prudishness over sex. Lennon and G. R. R. Martin were and are right. It’s madness that we can’t show love in all its facets but we can show violence with abandon.
With the advent of women’s erotic romance we saw a rise in the acceptance of women’s sexuality. Go, us! It was and is a beautiful thing. We can finally say that women do like sex, and we always have.
Think about your own romance, wasn’t it great and wonderful to look at the person you love and crave their touch? To not only want hugs and kisses but to jump their bones at any time? It’s reality. When we love someone, sex is a part of that. To deny it is to deny ourselves. I love reading Nora Roberts/J. D. Robb because her characters openly love each other in all the permutations of love – including sexuality. Her characters sometimes squabble, sometimes disagree, and sometimes try to figure out the rules of this whole love/romance thing. But they also make love with abandon, with respect for each other, giving each other pleasure. That’s a beautiful thing. And she’s not the only author who does that.
If I do have a problem with some romance or erotic novels it’s the ones that harken back to old, bad references. The ‘bad boy’ who reforms in novels rarely does in real life. Tolerating bad behavior renders it acceptable. There is a truth to the statement that if Grey from ’50 Shades of’ had been some guy living in a trailer, he’d have been arrested for stalking, at the least. That, though, is the decision of the author.
Oddly, though, in the face of the ‘me, too’ movement – about saying we wouldn’t tolerate abuse – once again the backlash is on us. There is a movement toward ‘clean’ romance, a discomfort with our sexuality. Why? And why is it on us? We’re not the ones who did anything wrong. What in the world is wrong with saying that you love someone so much that you want to enjoy all the parts of a relationship, including sex. Let’s not let anyone push us backwards with the excuse of the bad behavior of some men.
Instead, let’s be honest about it – most of us love sex, when it’s done right. There’s nothing wrong with it. So let’s write about it done right.
In many of my books, my characters are falling in love. Do they have sex? You betcha. My characters love each other with abandon, completely, but also with respect. My women are tough and competent, my men are strong enough to love them. Both may fight internal battles, or external ones, but their love holds true.
I’m not going backward, I’m going forward.
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Okay, to be honest, I never considered myself to be an audio person, although I know a lot of people who use audiobooks for traveling to and from work or on vacation. I had my reservations about doing that (more on that later) but as with many authors I love my readers, so, as with print and e-books, I wanted to give those who liked audio the chance to hear my books.
So, a few years back I took the leap into audiobooks. I was excited, but I had trepidations. ACX/Audible was available through Amazon, so I set it up through them.
The process isn’t difficult, you choose the book you want to be narrated, give the blurb and basic information about the characters (what type of people were they), choose the type of narrator you want (male/female or both) and what kind of voice you wanted for it. (My advice to writers: think about that carefully.) Then put it up for audition.
I was really curious about the process – but remember those trepidations? Like all writers, I was protective of my work. Was the narrator going to do justice to it? Since this was the first book I was doing in audio, I wanted to dip my toes in, rather than go all out, so I put one of my novellas up. In the end, I was glad I limited that narrator to one story. (I like the new one much better, more on that later.)
Not surprisingly, since it wasn’t a full novel, I didn’t get a lot of requests for auditions, but I picked the one who seemed to fit the best and sent him a section of the book which contained all the main character but was focused mainly on one.
The audition didn’t set me on fire, but I wasn’t certain what to expect, the narration seemed good, so we set up the contract.
All readers bring their own stuff to books – that’s a truism all writer/authors need to learn. I had one reader complain that all the characters in one of my books were beautiful when only one – as I’d written him – qualified. (And the character hated it.) She clearly brought her own expectations to my book. It was also true of that first narrator, and I wasn’t experienced enough with audio production to know what I should and shouldn’t object to. It hadn’t been an issue in the audition since it was only a short reading. Now it became one. For some reason – too much of the Lord of the Rings movies, perhaps – he felt all the elves in the books had to have ‘British’ accents. All in all, though, it was about what I expected from audio. He was so satisfied that he asked to read some of my other books. The novella I’d sent him was a prep to the epic fantasy. It was a character-driven story about the genesis of a friendship between three men – a wizard and two elves. The epic fantasy, though, wasn’t the one he wanted to read, surprisingly – and now I’m glad. He requested to audition for another book but didn’t feel comfortable with some of the content, so he requested another. Nope. And another. None of them suited him. In the end, we parted ways.
All those failed auditions, though, seemed to discourage others from trying, and so for a time, I gave up. I hadn’t been enthralled with the first rendition, and it had been more than a little discouraging to me, too.
Recently, though, one of my books was nominated for an Indie book award. I was floored. I hadn’t done anything; someone had recommended it to the magazine.
Excited, I wanted to capitalize on the nomination, and so I decided to try audio again.
It was scary. Once more I was going to put one of my books into someone else’s hands. They say you should what scares you, especially in writing. Challenge yourself. So I did it.
This time I received more auditions. One was close, but another…
Wow. Just wow.
It was brilliant. His voice was exactly what I wanted and conveyed what I hoped.
So, we set up the process, and he began the narration. When the first chapter came back for me to listen to, I was enthralled – at my own writing! He brought the characters to life for me in a whole new way. And we worked well together.
Bless him, I’d hoped to have the complete first version by my birthday, but I’m not a complete newbie and know there is a process, so I accepted that might not be possible. But he did it, bless him, pushing himself to get it done. When I got the complete version for correction and approval I downloaded the lot and found I couldn’t stop listening.
I was stunned and flattered to learn I was one of his first narrations. And, given the quality of his work, I want to have his marvelous voice out there more.
I know that some authors have narrators they love to work and who love to work with them. Part of me wants that (actually part of me wants to keep his talent all to myself for a little while to do my other fantasy series *grins*) but he also deserves to have the opportunity to narrate for others. So, I hope this book and any others he chooses to narrate for me give him that springboard. He’s thoroughly converted me to the world of audiobooks.
So, for Indie/self-published and other writers, should you do audiobooks?
My obvious answer would be yes, but for reasons other than just this. Today print, despite what some traditional publishers believe, is not the be all and end all – it’s just another arrow in your quiver. Readers come in all kinds; e-book or print readers, or audio listeners. Some will read the book on an e-reader and then purchase the physical book. Some will only listen to audiobooks. You should serve all your readers. With the option to share the profit, it couldn’t be easier on all levels, and unlike print which pays pennies, with audio, you can split it fifty-fifty. So there’s every reason to do it and few reasons not to.
There are a few sites for audiobooks that are usually available through your publishing site of choice. Most will help you get started.
Here are a few suggestions –
- Be patient. Don’t settle. Listen to a lot of auditions and hopefully, you’ll find a voice that will make your story shine.
- Understand your narrator/producer’s process, recording, editing and re-editing, and that they have the same demands on their time that you do – home, family, day jobs. Things happen.
- When you get your book back, listen to it carefully. Make sure it conveys what you want. If there’s something you want to be changed, don’t be afraid to tell the narrator so they know. That’s what the process is for. As with editors, a good narrator will read the book, a great one will make it shine.
(Thank you, Zac, for making mine shine.)Read More »
Once before I dallied with the idea of doing audiobooks, starting with one of the novellas in The Coming Storm series – Setting Boundaries – a prequel to the series.
At best the result was ‘meh’.
The narrator was okay, but he was convinced fantasy had to be read with a ‘British accent’ – I’m not sure why. And his accent wasn’t really British. It wasn’t horrible, but there was just something… that wasn’t quite there.
I had wanted to have the whole series on audio with the same narrator but he wanted to try some of my other books. One after another, though, didn’t work out for him – he had problems with some scenes. Unfortunately, he bid on them, then turned them down, and then I couldn’t go on to other narrators.
So, I admit that I was a little leery about trying again.
This time I decided to try with my standalone fantasy, Song of the Fairy Queen. And, to be honest, I was scared whether anyone would be able to do the story justice.
I’m soooo glad I did. The narrator – Zak – is brilliant, he brings depth to the characters, energy to the story, and his voice is perfect. Listening is weirdly wonderful, I’m constantly caught off guard by the idea that I wrote those words that he is bringing to life. I can’t wait until it’s finished.
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When did manners become a bad word? When did behaving well turn into a bad thing? When did political correctness become a pejorative? Has the general negative attitude of this country permeated to all levels? When did it become more right to be cruel than to be kind?
There has been a ‘debate’, and I use that word very loosely, about a certain situation on Facebook that degenerated into name calling, unkindness, and worse. Bullying. The person involved was ganged up on by a large number of people. Even worse, since it was semi-public, a comment indicated it confirmed for some that Indies are the undisciplined writers so many assume us to be.
Now, you have to understand that I was in a similar situation. I paid a great deal for work to be done from a good, reputable site, and was shocked when it was brought to my attention that someone else had the exact same cover, created after mine was. Did I bad mouth them on Facebook, send nasty messages, etc.? No. I’m a professional. I contacted them in private, and they offered me a new cover at a discounted price. (And it’s an even better cover!)
Now, don’t get me wrong, I know most artists work from stock art, but I also know a number of those artists have a competition to use a single image to show off their skill at making their covers look different. It’s amazing how different they are. So, it can be done.
I’m a moderator of a 12,000 member informational writer’s group. We have two rules that result in instant banning – no promotion and absolutely no bullying, bad-mouthing, rude or unkind behavior. You’re professionals. Act like it.
What the person did was wrong – no question – so how do you behave?
Don’t recommend them.
Warn others – in private – about them.
If you see a duplicate, warn the author, and they can deal with it.
But for heaven’s sake, it’s cover art, it’s not life and death. This is not an episode of Mean Girls, it’s real. Anyone who advocates that another do themselves harm is not a nice person. Call them on it. Tell the moderators of the site, have them delete the comment. It’s not worth someone’s life. Covers can be replaced, sometimes with something better. People can’t. Let them, and you, live and learn.
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