mexican hat
audio, books, Professor Groovy, Writing

If At First

Heck, you can fill in the rest of that quote. I am also a big fan of ‘perseverance furthers” from the I Ching. Yes, I will stick with something until I get it done, whether it is digging a ditch, writing or publishing. My aim is for a successful conclusion. That is especially true these days.

I wrote a little while back about trying to record an audio book for Professor Groovy and Other Stories. The editing was a killer. Even so, I didn’t like the end result. So, I pulled apart my office-turned-studio and took a weeklong break. In the meantime, I did more research about breathing (yeah, you gotta breathe, but just do it naturally) and other related stuff like drinking Throat Coat Tea beforehand. It’s amazing what is available on blogs and YouTube.

As for GarageBand, I found the settings I need via the very helpful Rob Dircks, who wrote Where the Heck is Tesla. I’ve never met the guy, but he’s very generous with his help. Find info in the blog section of his website Gold Finch Publishing

Then, Friday night, I brought every piece of foam (like the seats from the couch), pillows and blankets we have into the office. Now, it looks like the bedroom some of my kids had when they were teenagers. Ah, but there’s no echo.

Saturday morning I was ready to roll. I set up tracks with the right settings. I did a few practice runs. I did better on the breathing so I didn’t sound like I was gasping at the start of each sentence. A couple of the tracks came out great, the others, not so great. I checked and found the problems in the settings.

So, on Sunday — I told you I’m persistent — I did new recordings and redid the unsatisfactory ones from the day before. I haven’t started the editing yet, but I can tell after listening, this will be a breeze compared to the first time I tried this.

And this round, I not only found I could read longer, I had done this so many times, I could recite parts of the short stories by heart, especially the start of Professor Groovy. “The sixties came just in time for Professor Edward Burke, who was meandering through middle age while everyone around him was fresh and young… ”

What else is a do-over these days? A Kindle Countdown. I tried one in May for Peace, Love, and You Know What, but got the dates mixed up so I wasn’t doing promotion until the end. Well, that was a waste, but a lesson learned.

But guess what? Another Kindle Countdown starts Wednesday, Aug. 24. The digital form of my 80,000-word novel goes on sale for 99 cents for two days — the same price as the Kindle version of Professor Groovy and Other Stories. Then, the price bumps up a buck in increments until it’s back to its normal price of $4.99 on Aug. 31. Here’s the link: Peace, Love, and You Know What

No, I don’t make a lot of money on this. But my goal is to attract readers.

Thirdly, an update on another do-over: reading my novel The Sweet Spot backwards. It is slower-going than reading it forwards, but I highly recommend it. I find that I concentrate simply on the words in that paragraph and not the plot. I am pleased at what I’ve found so far, not a lot of changes, but significant ones.

Lastly, another reading of Peace, Love, and You Know What is in the works for Sept. 17 at Brodsky Bookshop in Taos. My friend Andrew is playing The Beatles on his bassoon and, yes, there will be brownies. More later …

ABOUT THE PHOTO ABOVE: I snapped this shot of Mexican hat flowers growing in the front yard. They grow wild here.

 

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desk
audio, Professor Groovy

Just For The Record

Where have I been the past week? Holed up in my office-turned-recording-studio to create my first audio book — Professor Groovy and Other Stories. How am I doing? I’m getting very close to the end.

Recording Professor Groovy has been time-consuming, especially the editing part. Hence, no posts and only minimal activity on Facebook, except to see what my digital friends are up to and to signify likes, happy birthdays, plus encouragement ProfGroovy_Coverwhen needed. I have been out of the house on errands, my neighbor’s birthday party, and a friend’s house. (I brought my computer so she could hear what I’m doing.) I do try to take walks and spend some time in the vegetable garden.

My office studio remains awash in foam. The curtains are drawn. The windows are shut. The door is shut too so the cat doesn’t jump on stuff although she is allowed inside during the editing process.

As for equipment, I have the book on my iPad so I don’t have to rustle paper. The microphone has a pop filter and a cord leading to my computer. I do have to take breaks when the hot water heater on the other side of the wall fires up. But other than that, it’s a workable environment.

This has been a learning experience, recording and editing on GarageBand. I downloaded the newest version, used the recommended settings, and had a go. There were lots of practice sessions and false starts.

When I record, I stand in front of the microphone. I drink a lot of water at room temperature. I gargle with mouthwash. I avoid certain foods like dairy before recording. Still … I never thought I was a person with a mouth full of spit but there it was. Once I read to hold off drinking coffee before a recording because it is dehydrating. Well, that didn’t work. Besides I am not an opera singer.

(Meanwhile, I read a story in the New York Times that audio books are hot. Okay!)

I started with the shortest story — Ripple in the Jungle — then worked my way up in length.

That is the fastest part. The longest is editing out all the gulps, gaps, and booboos. I learned how to cut out the lousy sections and leave an appropriate amount of space between each. Luckily the internet offers lots of useful info. (Thanks especially to Rob Dircks.)

I listened to the stories this afternoon. Three sound great. Alas, Professor Groovy needs to be re-recorded. I’ve tried and tried to fix things, but I have come to the realization it’s time to cut my losses and make a do-over. It just doesn’t have the same quality. Don’t ask me why. I am still new to this.

ABOUT THE PHOTO ABOVE: My desk set up for recording.

LINK: Thanks to those who have read my books. Here are links to Amazon.

Peace, Love and You Know What

Professor Groovy And Other Stories

 

 

 

 

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garden flowers
audio, books, Publishing

Listening to My Own Voice

My new experiment: audio. It’s part of my effort to get my writing out to as many people as possible. I’ve done digital and hard copy versions of my first release, Peace, Love, and You Know What. Oh, why not audio?

A friend recommended a microphone to go with my Mac. I’ve read a lot about the process. And I have a relatively easy project for starters: the very-soon-to-be-released Professor Groovy and Other Stories on Kindle.

To backtrack a bit, Professor Groovy is a collection of four stories that have the same characters as Peace, Love, and You Know What. I wrote them before I was inspired to write the novel. Actually magazines picked up versions of two of them. My hope is that people who read or listen to Professor Groovy will want to do the same with Peace Etc.

I decided to do audio for Professor Groovy first for a practical reason. The word count for the four stories totals 10,000. Peace, Love, and You Know What is much heftier at 80,000. I will tackle that one soon along with the first in the Los Primos bilingual series (with my collaborator Teresa Dovalpage).

Then I had to learn how to do it. I am using the GarageBand program so, of course, I had to play around with it. After some small issues (had to put reverb at zero to eliminate an echo), I think I’ve got it down in my practice sessions.

The funny part about this project is listening to my voice. I’ve learned that readers, or in this case, listeners, like to hear authors read their work. I know I did when I was listening to books “on tape” when I commuted Back East. And frankly, I don’t have the bucks yet to hire a narrator.

So what’s my voice like? When I play back the practice sessions, I believe I’m listening to a pleasant one. It isn’t professional or a nice radio voice.

I still use R’s in the odd ways people from New England do. (My former newsroom staff thought my pronunciation of words like “idea” hilarious. Of course, idea needs an R at the end.)

I’ve used my voices in various ways: public speaking, talking on the phone, one-on-one conversations, group settings etc. There are my inquisitive, persuasive, and calming voices.

I would say this is my reading voice, the one I used to tell my six kids, and now my granddaughter, a story. I wanted to make my voice interesting so they stayed with the book, but not corny. This isn’t Dr. Seuss after all.

PEACE ETC.: Thank you to everyone who has bought my novel Peace, Love, and You Know What. Here’s the link on Amazon for those considering it: Peace, Love, and You Know What

ABOUT THE PHOTO ABOVE: That’s a bit of the flower garden inside the fence. Note the sagebrush on the other side and my neighbors’ homes on the hill.

 

 

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