Audio

Even if I don’t say it, I’m here

Let me tell you a little about the podcast listener, reader, and audiobook listener I used to be.

I didn’t read, I devoured.

I would stay up until 11:30 pm and then went “well…I can just get the next book and like read the first chapter” and then it was 3 am and “well, I’m not going to sleep now so I might as well get the next one”…and then go to work and sneak off on every break I can to read and then do it until I finished the series. (I have now had to ban myself from reading novels during the work week or I will miss work.) I ruminated. I would spend days thinking about the world, the implications, and how it changed my life to have read that book. I totally wrote fanfic in my head (though I didn’t really call it that because I didn’t know). I would occasionally spend Sunday brunches rehashing all of that would a good friend.

I loved books. Books helped me survive breakups, job loss, and deaths. Books comforted me when I couldn’t get out of bed. Books were my friend when I felt utterly alone.

Podcasts and audiobooks?

I wasn’t just a listener. I never work out without them. Frankly I don’t know that I could leave the house without earbuds and something I’m looking forward to listening to. Every walk I’ve taken, every trip to the gym, every time I took the long walk home from work…It was always a podcast or audiobook.

Rethinking work? Planning a novel? Need a new organization strategy? A new to do app? Want to learn…anything? It was always podcasts and audiobooks. The amount I have learned and the ways I have changed my life thanks to podcasts and audiobooks is immeasurable.

Something missing?

But you might notice something is missing from how I interacted with those things. I never joined a Facebook group, emailed, joined an email list, visited a website*, or tweeted. I never interacted with the authors, creators, hosts, producers, narrators. I honestly never even thought about it for a moment. I never had any interest in connecting. I absolutely thought of those people as real, I would often see or hear their journies in ways that I could follow very closely. I never reached out to tell someone that they made a tremendous difference in my life. I never conveyed that someone helped me get out of bed when I felt like I was too depressed to get up. I never told an author, a podcaster or a narrator that they made me feel like I could do it, that they gave me the confidence in myself, that I stand taller because of them.

But they did. All those things. Authors, podcastors, narrators, creators. You did that.

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person like this. Because people like this (me) don’t speak up and tell you they exist. Not everyone engages. Some just consume. We quietly download, buy, listen, and love. We cherish, adore, rage, and admire. Even though we never engage on social media.

I retreat

When I am stressed, busy, tired, sad, whatever…I retreat to this position. Consuming, so much consumption. But not so much engagement. Because it’s something I don’t understand. It’s not intuitive to me. Consumption is intuitive.

I just wanted to let people who feel like only the engaged consumers care…others are out there. We just…are different.

 

*I have occasionally check show notes to follow a link to a story or paper, but usually just went right to google myself and only went back to the show notes when I couldn’t find it on google myself. And I would be more likely to give up than go to the show notes.

Save

Writing Prompt: Unusual Were-Animals

I love werewolves and the other very common variations. But I also think there is a lot of other under explored were-animals.

My Smokejumpers series explores a few of these, peregrine falcons (my favorite), jaguars (pretty common), mountain lions (also on the not unusual list), stags and much more. What is the most unusual shifter you’ve read? Written? What would you like to read?

I’ve been listening to the Varmints podcast and I’ve been thinking about which of these would make good shape shifters.

Varmints!

One Year of Podcasting

It’s been a whole year! I’ve now got one year of podcasting complete. There are 52 episodes of 600 Second Saga! 53, because there was a bonus episode in there.

Have a listen!

It’s been a great year. I’ve read so many amazing stories. I cannot thank the amazing authors who have been a part of this year enough. Thank you to everyone who has given me the opportunity to share their stories.

Thank you to the amazing listeners. I love hearing from people who listen to the podcast. I know as a podcast listener that most people who listen never say anything, so to those of you who listen and haven’t said anything, I get it! To those of you who have, I really appreciate it. (And so do the authors.) The reason I do this is to share amazing stories with listeners like you. Thank you.

Hiatus

We will be taking a short break before Season 2. I’ve managed 52…53 episodes, so we are going to take a little break between seasons here. It’s only a couple weeks to make a few changes and upgrades to gear and set up to make things better. All of the back episodes are there and will continue to be there. We won’t be taking down old seasons so you can always listen. Go back and relisten to your favorites, discover new favorites, and tune back in soon!

Season 2

We’ll be back at the start of April and moving from Friday release to Wednesday release. You’ll be able to listen on your way to work Thursday mornings!

M L Moos who has done some amazing pieces for us will kick off Season 2 with a great new story on April 5th.

I am still looking for submission for Season 2. And the offer to give feedback on pieces is still open, just let me know if you are interested in feedback and I’m happy to help.

I’m looking forward to an amazing Season 2 and many more.

If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

Giveaway!

Audiobooks Giveaway!

I’m giving away 5 audiobooks for winter. You can pick which of my audiobooks you’d prefer. All you have to do is tell me your favorite episode and you are entered for a chance to win. Fill it out below, share, and listen.

In case you don’t remember the episodes, here they are. Enjoy.

I’m going to fail at NaNoWriMo

I’ve never failed at it quite like this, but wow am I going to fail.

Frankly? I’m not even trying anymore. Which super isn’t like me. 

I know what the problem is. I’m recording a novel. This…might be something I do very little of going forward. A big part of it is just how I operate, how my brain works. The project isn’t due for months, literally months. But I cannot handle having it hanging over my head so I’m pushing everything else aside it work on it. 

It gives a weirdly false impression of how I work when I do this. And I’ve done a bunch of novellas, but primarily novellas and projects that are 2 weeks of work or less.  I can get them done and have the feeling of accomplishment. (Which I super love.) But they aren’t hanging over me until I finish them (well they are, but they are much easier to be done with).

I’m working with an author I think is great and I trust to do all the right stuff or I wouldn’t be working on another novel (that wasn’t mine!) at all. But even still? I’m going to be more wary. 

So…a note to future me

This feeling of panic happens, you have to set aside all other work and record as long as you can and then edit during the week and you leave no time or brain space for other creative endeavors. It is ok to do it, but know that until you finish the project, nothing else significant will happen. Accept that.

For current me?

It’s ok to focus on getting this done. But then no excuses, buckling down to try to get this edit finished. I’ve got a good plan. I’ve got a good start. A good strategy. Good characters added. Good characters removed. (Appropriate maybe…they aren’t all …good…) But I don’t have words that aren’t “good” right now. So finish. Get the editing done. Get the last recorded. Get the changes recorded. 

Then sit down in December and January and hammer out Jenna’s story. Take the chisel and really work that draft into something worth sharing. 

And write a short or two in the meanwhile. 

No more excuses.

Art is important. 

So yes, I’m going to fail at NaNoWriMo, and it’s not great, but it’s ok. I’m learning something important. Hopefully I’ll actually take the lesson to heart this time. If not, future me, knock that shit off!

My Approach to NaNoWriMo

I’m going to talk a bit about my approach to Nanowrimo this year…

It may be TMI? Maybe? I’m trying to share. I was talking with someone recently about how much I love Mur Lafferty’s I Should Be Writing podcast. She’s so open and honest. (Or appears she is at least.) I like the ones where she just tells you how she’s feeling and what’s happening even more than the interviews. Like oh, she can do it, not every day is awesome, I can have a bad day and still come back and do ok. I can freak out and panic inside and that doesn’t make me a bad writer or bad whatever. I can keep going.

I’m nervous. I’m stressed. I’m panicked.

A problem

So my first problem is that I’ve been slacking on creative/fiction writing lately. I’ve been writing blog posts, I’ve been editing things, I’ve been critiquing, supporting, I’ve worked on some monstrous writing focused projects at work that have taken a lot of my creative and writing brain and by the time I get home I’m pretty burned out.

So I’ve been slacking on the fiction. I finished up a project nearish the start of October and haven’t bitten off a full new project since then. I’ve made notes on a couple of new projects that I want to work on post NaNo (yay more Smoke Jumpers stuff) but I didn’t start because I wanted to keep my focus on the NaNo project.

Strategy

Um…Just do it?

I can’t wake up any earlier because I’ve been getting up super early to go into work and get extra stuff done. But I’m hoping that lightens up a bit by the middle of this week, then I’ll just keep getting up early and spend that extra first hour working on the novel.

I already have (good) plans for the 1st, but I’m going to carve out at least one hour a night the rest of the week. It might not be enough, it might not be enough to even make it. But I think it should be a good start.

One hour means one hour. Not 15 minutes while doing this or that. It means 4 solid, focused blocks of 15 minutes of writing, which should be entirely doable. I’ll do 4 sprints a night.

Podcast?

I’m set and scheduled for all of November, so I just need to keep up the promotion and other things I do, but hopefully I can let the hunting new work/opportunities slack a little. (I do have some amazing authors with some wonderful stories coming up through the month!)

Project?

I’m doing Jenna’s first book. It is a full rewrite. I normally go into NaNo with a pretty solid idea and usually some planning, that often goes out the window. This time I have basically a really bad outline and an end. Which is what I consider this book to be. The book isn’t bad, it just doesn’t work well…maybe a little bad. Not good…I’m rewriting because I think it has a lot of potential, I just think I left a lot of that potential behind the first pass. I have the second book in the trilogy written and so I know where I want to point my character, and I want to follow a lot of the same path as the first book, but basically not at all…if that makes sense. So I feel both more prepared and less than I ever have.

When/If I Fail

It’s ok.

It’s ok.

It really is ok.

I still have my day job. I still have my home. I still have the wonderful podcast. I still can keep writing it AFTER December 1st.

I know for some people it helps to have hard deadlines and impending doom to finish projects. But I’m already freaking out about failing something I haven’t started yet and have a good track record of finishing despite obstacles and stresses larger than what I anticipate this year.

I know that accepting the consequences of failure make me more likely to succeed.

Why NaNoWriMo?

I’ve been thinking more about NaNo lately and if it is still right for me? I like having a month dedicated/set aside for/focused on novels. Partly because while I usually do a lot of writing I am more often writing shorter pieces, flash, short and novella length stuff for different projects. I like those a lot. But I also like the novels. Having some space carved out for writing those novels is really helpful.

Having the NaNoWriMo community can be helpful. (It is part of why I wanted to try out Scribophile, so see if that could work, I’m still testing that.) A good place to go for support or questions. A good place to go and help someone and feel better because I’ve helped and supported someone else and so yes I can do this. (Yes, knowing I can/am helpful to others makes me feel better about my own chances of success, brain weird.)

So I think that for this year at least NaNoWriMo is still for me because it gives me a chance/a reason to stop and focus on just one novel project.

Next year though I think I’ll shift and maybe give myself a cheat of the weekend before to help prep even if some prep means some writing. I’m too much of a stickler for the rules for my own good sometimes.

If you stuck through all of that, what does NaNo do for you? Problems? Writing? Anything? Can I help you somehow to feel better about my chances of success? Did I mention my brain is weird?

Good luck!

Book and iPad Pro

Lots of good things! A book (a novella really) comes out on Friday and I got my iPad Pro.

iPad Pro

I love it. Oh it is so nice. I have a few small things to work out still. But I can do all the updates for what happens after an episode goes live on the iPad Pro. This means I don’t have to be at home every single Friday night. I have to be at a connection to do all the “It’s Now Live!” stuff. The keyboard is great. The pencil is super natural. I keep sticking it in my hair and grabbing it out which it does well. It is smooth and a great weight.

It has all the features that I wanted, I’ve got a lot of things installed. I really feel like I’ve got it set up well. I still might have to reorganize the screens a bit to make it feel natural for what each screen is for. It works well to write in the spots I need to write. I can post and social media and all the things.

I still of course need the workhorse to record and edit the podcasts, but I can manage the rest from the iPad Pro.

And I got a fancy decal and case with the 600 Second Saga logo!

Book: Oak Stream Hollow

It officially releases on Friday, and there will be a podcast episode as well. But it is out early in audiobook so you can check it out on Audible now. If you’d prefer ebook format your usual purveyors like Amazon should all have it for preorder now.

Heather lost her job, her house is in foreclosure. All she needs now is a huge medical bill. But when Heather finds herself transforming, will she find anything in the world worth keeping?

This urban fantasy novella was a lot of fun to write. It is a single stand alone novella. Not one of a series (which I also enjoy and will have some of coming out next year) or something that will be a novella companion to a novel (which I’m going to hopefully have in an anthology later this year). But just a story. I like stories. I like telling a wide range of them and sometimes that means letting a story be over. Sometimes that means digging deeper and deeper into the world. I hope if you pick up Oak Stream Hollow you enjoy reading (or listening!) as much as I enjoyed writing.

Finding a narrator on ACX

I’ve been…putting off my next real authorly project which is to do the recording on a book I’ve had sitting on the shelf for a year and a half or so. Instead I’ve picked up a couple of jobs on ACX, and I’ve read a ton of descriptions. So I thought I would put it off some more and give some tips on finding a narrator on ACX.

I’m not really an expert, I’ve only been doing it for about a half a year and I’ve only got a handful of books to my name and pen names.

These comments are really focused at authors looking for royalty share. Which means that the narrators aren’t getting paid anything up front and only make money when they author makes money.

Recording isn’t easy, treat your narrators well!

First some really good things I’ve seen authors do.

Do’s

  • show that you are marketing (things I like, say that you have an email list, or are active on social media, whatever – if you are planning to do ads, you have another book coming out and will be promoting this one? All great things! Authors who put a brief marketing plan? Oh yeah, so much awesome.)
  • tell narrators what you are looking for
  • tell narrators if there is adult content (and a little idea of what kind of adult content is awesome)
  • explain that it is a series and you’d like the same narrator for the whole series (a timeline is super bonus for this)
  • think through if you want a male or female narrator (a female narrator for a male 1st person pov is a little odd, I can do a husky masculine voice, but I mostly think you aren’t paying attention – if you explain it, this is fine)
  • say that you already have a narrator
  • say up front if you have a goal date (new book release, signing, whatever)
  • respond, thank the narrator even if you don’t select them, especially if your book has been sitting for over a month, you want to build potential relationships here
  • reach out to narrators if you have a shorter deadline, you don’t have to just sit there and wait, a proactive author is a good thing here

Soon. I will start recording Dangerous Metal soon. But first, one more quick project!