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Finally heard back from ACX. Two issues came up. I didn’t leave enough “Room Tone” (silence) at beginning and end of every chapter. They want .5 to 1 second of silence before first word spoken, then 1-5 seconds of silence after last word spoken. Easy fix.

The other issue, I included the closing credits and the last chapter in one file. They wanted them separated, another easy fix.

Otherwise, they had no other problems with the files. Volume, clarity, technical requirements of the audios themselves, all of that was fine.

I will be making these corrections, if I haven’t already dealt with them on my own. After that… still going to follow our own path at this point and make CD’s and downloadable MP3’s from our websites.

and

Why?

Because Audible has an “exclusive” clause that says only they get to produce the audios, and they do not make CD’s. They only produce Audible versions, and as we’ve been told by others NOT everyone can afford the monthly Audible charges every month.

Will our path be an easy one? Not really. But we’re hoping that people will spread the word once we have the audios up for sale. We’ll have to promote ourselves, which would still be true if we went with Audible. Oh the books would be in their catalog along with 100’s of others, so what would be the difference?

Reviews? Reviews can be left at our website under the comments section for each product.

A lot of people think that just because they got their book/audio on a big company’s site that they are set and don’t have to do anything else. But that’s the BIGGEST mistake one can make. No matter where your works are for sale, YOU still have to do most if not all the promoting to get the word out. Or hire someone to do your marketing. In this day and age “If you build it they will come…” is seriously overrated. YOU have to put in the work to get people to find out about your work.

And that is exactly what I’m doing here and now. Letting people know the CD’s and MP3’s are coming. I’ll be creating a “Store” button here on this site very soon and populate it with CD’s, downloadable MP3 files, PDF’s, and the option to order a signed print copy of any of our books.

ALSO… I will be continuing the “Adventures in Audio Recording” Series, in order that those who still wish to create audios can succeed in making Audible quality files ready for submission to ACX or other audiobook outlets.

Until next time, take care and keep writing and recording my friends.

After our last entry asking about making other options available such as CD’s and downloadable MP3 files of our books for audio, we’ve learned that if we go with Audible they have the “Exclusive” right to produce the audio. It also clearly states in the agreement that neither we, nor anyone else, can create audios of the books in ANY format.

                                  

And this does not just apply to us. At our local library we found some of Jim Butcher’s “Dresden Files” on CD. However, it seems they were all made before the books were transferred to Audible. Since then no new CD’s have been made. Allan even went as far as to check on Amazon and found the only  CD copies available are used ones for the earlier books. There do not appear to be any CD’s for the more recent installments of that series, only the Audible version.

So what does that mean for us? That is where the tough decision is being made. After much researching, Allan has learned how to make MP3 Files for sale and download from Helen’s web page. She is still in the middle of constructing the store for that website, but we will keep you all appraised of how it is coming along and when things will be available for sale.

Her first novel “Forever’s Too Long” is already recorded and up to ACX/Audible standards. However, we both want to add a few new touches to the files, like adding some intro and closing music, as well as the occasional sound-effect here and there where it just seems appropriate (like someone bumping their head – without giving any of the plot away, it just seems appropriate for the particular scene in question, trust me on this).

The MP3 downloads will be in Zip File format, and if this is a problem for anyone please let us know.  (NOTE: We will be experimenting with non-Zip MP3 Files as well, just in case some people need that style.) 

Payment Options:

-Payments will be accepted at Helen’s on-line store through PayPal (which takes credit cards these days).

-Personal checks will also be accepted in which case the file(s) will be e-mailed to you as soon as the check is received and deposited.

 

What will be available at the online store?

                                   

CD’s

MP3 Downloads 

Signed Trade Paperback Copies

And finally…

PDF’s for those who don’t do Kindle/Nook


*NOTE: Kindle/Nook/Kobo and other e-book versions will still be available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble, Kobo, other online outlets. 

 

But what about the Para-Earths Books?

We will also be slowly setting up a store here on this blog to cover our Para-Earths Series which of course includes: 

            

*NOTE: Signed paperback copies and PDFs will be posted shortly.*

Audiobooks in the forms of CD’s and dowloadable MP3’s are already under way, starting with the our anthology “The Vampyre Blogs – One Day At A Time” (of which 5 of the stories have already been recorded and edited) and “The Bridge”. Voices have been lined up for many of the characters, while others have yet to be cast so please bear with us.

And rest assured that all new Para-Earths tales are on the way as well.

As of today “The Door” is weighing in at over 60,000 words and still growing.

We are also pleased to let you all know that “The Vampyre Blogs – Family Ties” novel, is also under way and is currently sitting at 6000 words. This story will be a full-length novel taking up a couple of weeks after the events of “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home”.

A third novel “The Misty Mountains” will feature Jonathan Cloudfoot and his girlfriend Michelle (who both made their 1st appearances in “The Ship”) will be teaming up with “The Professor” (aka Otto from “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home”) is also in the works. This adventure will be taking place in the hills of Santa Cruz California.

So we have a lot going on here and much more coming your way. As always we thank you for your support and patience while we bring all this and more to you.

Until next time, take care and keep writing everyone!


While waiting for Audible to approve/reject our submission, we have heard back from a number of people who say they don’t do Audible. Some prefer CD’s because they cannot afford Audible’s monthly charges.

So this got me and Helen thinking about offering CD’s, even if Audible accepts our books. We are also considering the fact that some people do not have a convenient CD Player these days, or may prefer audio files for storage. For them, we are thinking about selling MP3 audio files that people can order from this site so they can download the entire book into their own device of choice.

So please take a moment and let us know which of the following options that would be of interest to you. We are simply seeking feedback which would be a huge help to us in deciding what path(s) to take as far as making our audios available to people, so your responses are VERY important to us.

NOTE: you CAN vote for more than one option from the list below:

 
A – Audible?
 
B – Audiobook on CD’s?
 
C – MP3 audio files that you can download to the device(s) of your choice?
 

Please leave your votes in the comment section so we can see your responses, and as always we thank you all for your continued support for this blog and our works.

Keep writing everyone!

 

Audio Options

CAN YOUR HEAR ME NOW?

Everyone knows that typing in all caps means the person is yelling/screaming at you over the internet. Naturally, most folks will tell the user to please lower their volume/tone as no one likes being screamed at. This is even more true when it comes to a person listening to an audiobook. If the narrator telling the tale is too loud or too soft it can really take the listener out of the story and annoy them to no end. And don’t expect good reviews on Audible either. I’ve seen reviews that praise the story but tear into the performance with a vengeance. This in turn can ruin your chances to be hired to do audios of other peoples’ books. 

So today we’re going to get into volume and consistency in our recordings. Now if you’re renting studio space and have someone else doing your editing, you’re probably going to be okay. But if you’re like me and doing your recording in the comfort of your own home/studio, as well as taking care of the editing afterwards, you have your work cut out for you.

Recently I was burning some CD’s (using CD-R discs and Windows Media Player) for my mom who is not a computer user, thus she cannot go the Audible route. But she does love her CD’s, so being the dutiful son I went to work burning her a copy of Helen’s solo novel “Forever’s Too Long” (Available at Amazon at this link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07RSGKTDF). Now this audio is not yet available in Audible because it is still going through Audible’s “Review Process” (a topic for another entry in the “Adventures in Audio Recording Series”).

After making sure all the files were in MP3 format (an Audible Submission Requirement), I burnt (copied) them onto CDs and then began running the discs through my CD player to make sure they were working. To my delight they worked beautifully, to my horror the volume levels between chapters was…

Yeah, the volume levels from one chapter to the next was shall we say NOT exactly even. Mind you I’m not saying they were off the scales or anything. Mind you I wasn’t blowing anyone’s hair back or anything like that.

But the volume was varying enough that at times a listener would need to adjust the volume up or down to hear properly. And let me tell you, if I were the listener I’d be getting damned annoyed if I kept getting caught up in the story and then pulled out to adjust the volume every so often.

So here was a new problem I hadn’t counted on. While technically each chapter met Audible’s technical requirements, this varying volume level from one chapter to the next was definitely going to be a problem. A problem that could easily get the book rejected by Audible. So there was only one thing to do, I had to fix this problem. But how? I’m still quite the newbie when it comes to recording audiobooks. The answer was simple, it was time to hit YouTube once again for advice on how to adjust the volume on each individual chapter so they lined up just right.

TO BE CONTINUED….


New Year’s is a time for reflection and looking ahead… or so I’ve been told. My first thought was “I didn’t really get that much done this year. I don’t have much to say or show for it.” Then at the urging of Helen I pulled out a pen and paper and started making a list. The results surprised me.

                   

I created not one but three book covers. This is the most art I’ve done in one year in I don’t know how long. Two of them were of course for Helen’s new The Forever Detective Series. The other was a new cover for “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” which we re-released as the first Young Adult (YA) installment of our Para-Earth Series.

Speaking of Helen’s new series, we created not one but two book trailers, one for each book.

 

 

This was the first time I’d ever made a book trailer and it was a blast. Helen wrote a short script for each and also found a bunch of images she wanted used in them. I not only supplied the expertise in turning it all into a video, but also the voice-over.

Now all this voice-over work, as brief as it was, led to yet another new project. At the urging of many others, I started looking into creating audiobooks. I spent a couple of months researching equipment and software and how to use it all. Eventually, I finally started recording a couple of our short stories from our anthology “The Vampyre Blogs – One Day At a Time” and got some seriously positive feedback, as well as some solid tips.

Here’s one of them:

I’ve recorded several more in the meantime, with the hopes of eventually having the entire anthology recorded in the coming months.

This leads me back to my efforts to get into creating full-scale audiobooks. In spite of all my research and blogging about all the technical aspects of creating an audiobook (there are seven entries in this blog already with a few more to come) I still wasn’t sure I was ready to fully go for it. Then in early November I went to a class about voice-over work and got the reassurance I needed from a pro. As she told me in an e-mail “You’ve got the chords for this…”

With this in mind I’ve been fully throwing myself into completing the audio recordings of Helen’s first solo book “Forever’s Too Long”. To date 20 of the 22 chapters are recorded and edited. I have re-record two more and get them edited. Once their done and meet with her approval (I had recorded them earlier but neither of us were happy with the results hence the do-over) we will be submitting the entire set to Audible. We’re hoping this will happen no later than the end of this month (January 2020). From there I intend to continue recording more stories from the anthology as well as begin turning her second book “Forever Haunted” into an audio, as well as “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” in which Helen will be lending her vocal talents to bringing those characters more to life.

Some of you may be wondering why I haven’t started turning “The Bridge” or “The Ship” into audiobooks, instead of jumping to “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” and “TVB – One Day At a Time”. The answer is simple, length. Both “The Bridge” and “The Ship” are much longer than any of the other books I’m tackling and will take a great deal more time to record. Plus, I still have to come up with voices for all the various characters in those two books. So until I’ve nailed down voices for everyone, those are on the slow track for now, but they will be happening.

But getting back to 2019, with all this artwork and recording, did I get ANY writing done? The answer is of course I did. Some of it was on the long-awaited sequel to “The Bridge” and “The Ship”.

“The Door” is fully under way, and will hopefully finally see the light of day by the end of this year if not sooner. As this book is a major turning point in the Para-Earth Series, I really want to get this book completed as much as people want to read it. However, some of it’s progress will depend on another writing project with my other collaborator Rich Caminiti.

“The Pass” has been one of the most ambitious projects I’ve worked on to date. It is also the only book I’ve worked on as a long-distance collaboration, which has involved trading off chapters and as well many, MANY Skype sessions. But Rich and I are closing in on a finished 1st draft and then the process of creating a 2nd cleaner draft will begin in another month or so. So I will have much to do on that front. After the 2nd draft, it will be sent to beta-readers and an editor for further clean-up. Our hopes is to have the book out by the end of the year, but we will see what happens. We refuse to rush the book without getting it as clean and exciting as possible. And on a side note, the 2nd installment of that tale is also under way as I write. So more on that will be coming in future blog posts.

Also on the writing front I completed 3 brand new short stories for our other site “The Vampyre Blogs – Private Edition”. Two of those tales were rather lengthy and took several months apiece to complete. Yet in spite of their length, they are still considered short stories and not novelettes or novellas.

So that covers most of 2019.

What’s in store for 2020?

Well, I’ve already covered the fact that I’m close to releasing a complete audiobook, which I hope to follow with at least 2 more before year’s end. As I mentioned earlier, one will be “The Vampyre Blogs – One Day At a Time” anthology, the other will be Helen’s 2nd book “Forever Haunted”. I’ve got voices prepared for both titles and depending on how things go I may get “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” under way as well.

When it comes to my own writing getting “The Pass” into a finished 2nd draft and sent to beta-readers and an editor are the top demands. Rich and I would like to see it reach readers by the end of the year, but I know from experience that there’s still so much to do before that can happen. But we will see.

I’m already planning several new short stories for “The Vampyre Blogs – Private Edition” as well as beginning preparations to put together and 2nd anthology with several never before seen stories included.

“The Door” of course is another priority for me. I’d really like to see that finished and prepped for release this year. With luck, and patience, I hope to make that actually happen.

And of course, I’ll be making new book trailers as well as helping format Helen’s next two books in her Forever Detective series.

So that’s what’s been and what is coming. There’s a lot on our plates, but we’ll keep bringing you new posts regarding all these projects and more so stay tuned. Please accept this late wish for a HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all and as always keep writing.

Gifting E-books…


This entry may seem to be a repeat but every year I get asked about how to gift e-books to someone. So here you all are and I hope everyone takes advantage since giving someone a tale they will love can be priceless sometimes…

Okay gang, the big day is drawing near and you still want to get a few more gifts but don’t know what to buy, or don’t want to go out into the stores which have already pulled down half of their displays and are lining up Spring stuff. What to do, what to do… how about giving someone a good book to read on their Kindle? It’s fast, easy, and you can have it delivered on Christmas Day and know it will arrive on time…


Didn’t know you could do this? Neither did I for the longest time. I only found out a couple of years ago when we released “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home”. I found myself rewarding some of our beta-readers with a free copy of the finished product in whatever form they wished (trade paperback, Kindle, PDF).  Most requested a signed trade paperback, but a couple asked for the Kindle version.

So I headed over to Amazon, got into my account, and pulled up “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home”.  Once there I quickly found the “Give As A Gift” button and clicked it.  From there I was taken to another screen which asked me to sign into my Amazon account, which I did.  From there I was taken to a final screen

This screen asked only for the e-mail address of the recipient I was sending this book to AND what day I wanted it delivered.  It was the option of a delivery date that really caught my eye.  Now some of you might be thinking, “Duh, you never noticed this before?”  And the answer is “Obviously, I didn’t.  I rarely gave e-books as gifts to anyone before, even though I’m one of the authors.  Most of my readers buy the books for themselves and hardly anyone in my family owns a Nook or Kindle.”  So yes, this was  new to me and very exciting.

So now I have this huge new avenue for last minute holiday shopping before me, which I thought it important to share these options with all of you. Some of you may have known about all this, but for those (like me) who didn’t you now have more options when it comes to shopping for gifts.  I personally love the idea of having a book to place in someone’s ‘Cyber Stocking’.

So for anyone who didn’t know about this option, now you do.  And the best part is you can do that kind of shopping right now.  The e-book will not arrive before the date you set.

Of course, being an author I’m going to shamelessly promote our books by providing links below so you can visit our author pages on Amazon, where all our books are listed and you can choose whichever one(s) you’d like to gift to the readers in your life.

Here are the links for our Para-Earth Series:

US KINDLE USERS:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07KT9C559?ref=series_rw_dp_labf

UK KINDLE USERS:

CANADA KINDLE USERS:

And for fans of Helen’s new “Forever Detective Series” which blends noir mystery and the supernatural here are the links to those books:

Thanks for tuning in and don’t be afraid to leave suggestions or ideas about gifting books that I overlooked in this post, in the comments section below.  Until next time, take care and keep writing.

Helen’s latest book is out and here’s your chance to grab your own copy of this growing 5 star series…

Forever Detective

Just in time for the Christmas season, a good old fashion ghost story is the theme of the second installment of the Forever Detective Series.

The year is 1947 and private investigator Rafael Jones has already learned the hard way that the supernatural is all too real. Having been turned into a vampire, he’s trying to continue his work as a detective, while attempting to adapt to and understand his condition. 

Now he has a new case to deal with. A friend has asked him to prove a mansion he’s inherited is NOT haunted. Unfortunately, it is… and the ghost needs Rafael for help and justice.

Can our hero find answers and evidence a 20 year old cold case no one knew about? Can he find the Prohibition gangster who murdered the young flapper? These things are harder than you’d expect them to be with a view of the murder…

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Just in time for the Christmas season, a good old fashion ghost story is the theme of the Helen’s second solo book…

The year is 1947 and private investigator Rafael Jones has already learned the hard way that the supernatural is all too real. Having been turned into a vampire, albeit one who has no problems with holy objects, he’s trying to continue working as a detective. While back on the continent his Interpol love, Clara Thomas, is using her considerable “occult” contacts to find a way to help him.

In the meantime he has a new case to deal with. A friend has asked him to prove a mansion he’s inherited is NOT haunted. Unfortunately, it is and the ghost has reached out to Rafael for help and justice.

Can our hero find answers to a 20 year old cold case no one knew about? Can he find the Prohibition gangster who murdered the young flapper? And can our boy survive the fact that he’s not the only one who knows about supernatural beings and how to deal with them?

Find out in “Forever Haunted” available December 1st in Trade Paperback and Kindle:

 

 

*LINKS for Trade Paperback, Nook, Kobo, Smashwords coming soon*

Adventures In Audio Recording VII


Okay now that we’ve covered as much of the technical that I’m aware of, let’s move on to a new topic, namely doing the actual reading aloud. Now the first thing I’m going to say is please do not make yourself sound like Ben Stein. Unless of course your book is about curing insomnia, in which case then you might make a bundle on the open market.

People do not want to hear a lifeless dull monotone performance. You put a lot into your work to make it come to life on the written page. Now you have to bring that same life into your reading. Mind you I’m not saying you have to put together a full-fledged performance complete with sound effects, mood music, and an entire cast. But you do need to give your listeners an interesting and gripping experience. Try to get them caught up int he moment with your voice and delivery. But equally as important you have to make sure your speaking clearly, not too fast, nor too slowly. You need to enunciate properly so they don’t get hung up on a badly pronounced word and are now falling behind as the rest of the story continues, while they’re trying to figure out what you meant to say.

Now if you’ve already done loud readings and have entertained people with them, you’re off to a great start. In my case I took a theater class back in the day and have been part of Toastmasters, so I have a lot to fall back on to help me. Plus I’ve read aloud to many people and have been complimented on my ability to make the characters come alive for the audience.

Now if this sounds like more than you can handle, you might want to look into some training or hiring someone as a narrator. Even with my experience, I’ve been having a hard time with my recordings and making sure they come across as professional as possible. I’ve been able to give a lot of technical information here, but actually delivering a good reading is a whole other ballgame for me. I’m very demanding of myself and want to produce a really top-notch product. So far, those who’ve been listening to the chapters I’ve already recorded and edited are very pleased with the results. Some, who listen to a lot of Audible books, have told me I’m as good if not better than a number of narrators they’ve listened to.

I think that may be partly because I not only read but give each character a different voice and wind up with a narration/performance recording. But while I do so I am trying to pay attention to a number of factors like:

– Pacing: I have to struggle not to get too caught up in the performance that I don’t rush through a scene no matter how exciting I find it.

 

 

– Pausing: Remembering to actually leave a pause at periods and commas. This is a bit of an issue for me, so keeping pacing in mind helps a lot. So in my case the two go hand in hand.

 

SIDENOTE: Why yes I am a big fan of the muppets, how did you know?

– Emoting: Okay this goes back to my earlier comment about Ben Stein. Remember the listeners cannot see you, so you have to let your voice carry the day when it comes to emotions or giving the audience a sense of urgency, anxiety, worry, passion. You don’t have to go overboard like this guy…

But just let some feeling into your voice to give the audience a feel for the moment.

 

– Emphasis: This area can be tricky. Luckily if you’re the author or the author is someone close who can help coach you on this part, you’ll be in good shape. Deciding where to put emphasis (making a certain word/part of a sentence) can be simple or not. In my case I recently had an occasion where I was doing a voice-over on a book trailer for my wife Helen’s latest solo novel. She had created a sentence that was a bit long, but technically correct from a writing standpoint. However, I was having trouble finding where to put the emphasis on certain sections within the one sentence. I’m putting the trailer just below so you can see and hear it. The area in particular is about halfway through it where  I start talking about “The shadows of Prohibition…” It took me a couple of takes to get this line just the way she wanted, but the result was spot on.

I feel we’ve covered a lot today so I’m going to leave our discussion here for the moment, partly because I’m going to a class on Voice-Over work on Monday.  Hopefully I’ll have more things to share with you all in my next entry in two weeks. I do hope this and the previous entries regarding Audio Recording has been helpful to you. There’s still probably a couple of more entries to do before I finish this topic… and even then I might do more down the road as I finally prepare myself to actually submit an audiobook to ACX/Audible. That will probably be an adventure in and of itself, so stay tuned.

 

Until next time, keep writing and recording my friends.


 

New book means new book trailer! Allan does the narration. Enjoy.

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