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Sundance

Having read the first of this series “Soul Taker” I knew we were being introduced to new worlds and adventures and looked forward to the next installment. And I can safely say this second book in the series did not let me down. If anything I felt it really helped things take off even more.

Where in “Soul Taker” we were introduced to an existing angel who gets promoted from Soul Taker to Guardian, this time we see the beginnings of a angel’s rise. Born to parents who made a deal with God for a child, if even for only a short seven years, we watch young Cara grow not only in the mortal world, but in the next one as well. In Heaven she is given the name Sundance, and begins to learn her strengths and grow in skills to the point of being welcomed into another rank of Angels a “Warrior”, one of the first in a very long time.

But for all her skills and abilities, which have impressed even the Archangels, she still has much to learn. Her first assignment will take her back to Earth where she will experience not only pain, but love with a mortal. Is such a thing allowed?

You’ll have to read to find out the answers to that. But there is much more awaiting both the reader and Sundance. For her powers and skills have been noticed not only by higher authorities, but ones below as well. And soon she finds herself the focal point in a dastardly plot from the netherworld.

The author has done a brilliant job with this book in many respects, including uniting both her first and second books with a brief, but satisfying meeting between our former Soul Taker, and this new Warrior Angel. I very much look forward to more of this series which is just beginning.

Available now at:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07VT2GFQ7/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i1

Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/953202

Kobo:

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/sundance-8

Barnes and Noble:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sundance-aurora-jean-alexander/1132911746?ean=2940163306251

 


Okay, continuing with my adventures in recording audios, I left off last time with the image above. Now what you are seeing are the Blue Yeti Microphone, which had a huge amount of reviews over on Amazon. It’s a very versatile microphone in the respects that it can give you several options for picking up sound. It can do 360, if you want a room full of people involved (or to pick up background sound effects), it can do 2-way where you’re on one side of the mic and someone else is directly opposite you, while filtering out the sides somewhat. It also has a setting called Cardioid which is the one I use for audios, this allows you to not have to be directly in front of it at all times, so if you like to move a bit and perform as you record a scene, it catches everything you’re saying. These will plug into your computer’s USB port, so no special attachments. Also, the cord is very long (about 6-7 feet) so you have some freedom of where to set up to get away from your computer and not pick up sound from it.

Now I warn you in advance, this microphone costs at least $90-100+ depending on several factors. Number one are you buying a package deal where you also get a pop filter/professional foam windscreen that fits on top of the Blue Yeti for further filtering of noise. If you’re just getting the microphone go through the color selection. Believe it or not, which color you get it in can raise or lower the price a fair amount. Because I chose this blue color, I got mine for just under $105 instead of being charged $120 if I’d taken the Black or Silver.

Don’t ask me why color matters I have no idea. I just went with what was cheaper and it kind of reminded me of the color of the Tardis in Dr. Who… one of my all time fav shows.

Also, I warn you that this is NOT a small microphone. In its stand that comes with the microphone, this puppy is a full 1 foot tall and almost 3-4 inches wide at the base. The microphone itself can be  removed from the base and attached to a swing arm, but make sure the arm can handle the weight and stay in position. There are swing arms designed for the Blue Yeti, but that’s more money so go with what your budget will allow. Personally, I just keep mine on a bureau in a quiet corner of my room and record while standing and performing. Now when I say performing, I mean reading not singing. I like to add silent gestures as I record which allows me to get more emotion and emphasis to come across in the readings.

Next you’ll want closed over the ear headphones. In my case, they plug directly into the bottom of the Blue Yeti Microphone. This is a big plus in my book, because I could hear exactly how I sound over the mic as well as hear background noise that is being picked up. This in turn allowed me to turn things off, re-position the mic to cut down a lot of the noises it was picking up. And believe me, even in Cardioid mode, that mic will pick things up so pay attention to what you’re hearing. I don’t have a specific brand of headphones to recommend I’ve had this pair for 2 years already and with the way technology keeps changing, they are probably obsolete. But they’re great for my purposes.

Now comes the biggie, what audio recording system to use. In my case, I went with Audacity which is a free download (here’s the link: www.audacityteam.org/download/).

I highly recommend getting fully acquainted with this software and its many features. And believe me it has a lot! Now, if you’re like me (who is a complete audio neophyte) you may want to go over to YouTube and look up some videos to learn how to navigate and use Audacity to its fullest before launching into full-recording mode. If you’re already well-versed, I salute you and wonder where the hell were you when I was looking for advice.

I will go much deeper into the specific functions I use with Audacity in another post, but for now I wish to focus on the equipment I’m using. But one thing I will say about Audacity is that it has one particular function I’m very excited about.  Along the toolbar at the top of the screen of Audacity is a button titled Analyze. When you click on that, a pull down menu appears and one of the options is ACX Check, which will become your best friend/enemy. When you’ve got your recording done an think it’s ready to go, you will click on ACX Check and it will analyze your work and tell you whether or not it meets the technical sound requirements to be moved onto Audible.  If your recording doesn’t meet the standards, it will tell you why and what needs to be improved.

Now all of what I’ve covered today is strictly for recording inside your own home. If you can rent studio space, they’ll have all the equipment and soundproofing already covered (hopefully). I’ve never been to one, so I cannot say much on that front. But, recording audios in your own home can be done, but it will take some effort. I’ll cover what I did to prepare and get cleaner sounding recordings in the next two-three installments of this blog.

Until then, take care and keep writing/recording my friends…


As many of you have learned from my last post, my great adventure in audio recordings has begun. So far I have recorded only the one short story “Wolves and the Northern Lights”, which comes from our first anthology book “The Vampyre Blogs – One Day At a Time”. But simply recording one story is a far cry from turning a full-length novel into an audiobook. However, that is indeed my long term goal. At this point, I’m keeping things simple for myself as I still get used to the equipment both for recording as well as editing to get the best sound quality for listeners.

To keep things manageable for myself, I’m planning on recording the rest of the 25+ stories from the anthology, as well as slowly begin recording it’s predecessor “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home”.  Like the anthology, that novel is mainly comprised of blog, e-journal, and e-diary entries from various characters in the book.  And I plan on doing different voices for the authors of each entry, in an effort to bring the entire story and cast more to life for you all.

I have already started compiling what I call my “Voice Library”, which currently contains over 140 different voices (most based on actors and characters from movies, television, and even cartoons). I’ve always been a vocal mimic since childhood, and am taking great joy in finding a constructive outlet for all those years of trying to amuse myself and friends. I may share some brief recordings here, featuring some of the voices so you can get a better idea of just how versatile I can be.

But with all that said, the main topic I’d like to share with you all how I’ve been able to make all this happen. I know many of you might be wondering if I rent time at a local recording studio, or did I set up my own inside my home? If I’m doing it at home (which I am), how much special equipment did I have to buy? Did I have to soundproof an entire room? Who is doing the editing of my recordings? Will they be available through Amazon’s Audible program? If they will be available through Audible, how did I submit my work to them? What are their requirements, etc.?

Okay, let’s begin with how I got started down this particular path. As I’ve mentioned in a post last August when I first began thinking about this, I had been asked many times if any of our books were available in audio. Whenever I said I’d been thinking about it, but couldn’t decide on a reader I would be told “You should do it yourself! You’ve got a great voice…” So that of course got me thinking.

I did wind up trying a few samples back then, but I wasn’t happy with the quality of the recordings and kind of went off the idea a bit.

Then Helen not only began but finished her first solo novel. Besides listening and helping beta-read for her, I wound up doing the cover art for her. Then we had to focus on marketing the book to build up interest. So besides promoting the book on blogs, FB, Twitter, etc. but I wound up creating my very 1st book trailer. Anyone wanting to see the results can click on this YouTube link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNoPA_ytUvc.

While not 100% perfect, I was quite happy with the results, especially the voice-over you hear in the trailer. Shortly afterwards we held a book launch party for her novel “Forever’s Too Long”. During the party I did something I’ve been thinking about for some time but never tried, namely loud readings using the voices of character’s appear in the scene for those who attended. Their responses were much more positive than I’d expected.

As a result, I finally decided to go ahead and begin doing audio readings. But first I had to start gathering the right equipment for such an undertaking.

TO BE CONTINUED….


Okay, here it is folks. My first full-scale attempt at doing an audio recording of one of the short stories from our anthology “The Vampyre Blogs – One Day At a Time”. 

This particular tale features our vampyre Nathan, talking about Alaska and what it’s like to have shape-shifting powers.

*NOTE: Do not click on this image, link to audio is provided further down*

Please feel free to leave some comments below or at YouTube to let me know how I did. I’m hoping to fine tune my skills before trying for a full-scale audiobook version of the anthology and our full-length novels in the future.

FYI, I’ll be putting together a rather lengthy blog entry in the near future (possibly complete with videos including Blooper outtakes) demonstrating what lengths I go to get a good sound quality within the confines of my own home. I think I’ll be able to give you all a few good chuckles as well as useful information.

Just click on the link below to begin listening:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Mxg1nIibXI&t=32s

In the meantime keep writing my friends.

Hello, world…


Authors like to get to know their readers…

Forever Detective

No, I’m not coming out as a computer simulation of a writer. I just want to directly and specifically welcome people to comment or email me, with their questions, comments, etc.

I know I was very shy about writing to writers I liked. Many writers have day jobs. The ones that write for a living have deadlines, contracts, pitches to make, queries to send, and so on. I worried that asking them to take time to respond to one person was impertinent and intrusive.

Now, I’m on the other end of the pen, as it were, and I can tell you– it can feel kind of lonely! When you’re on stage before an audience, you get continuous real time feedback from multitudes. When you paint, you do art shows and get to peek at people’s reactions as they look at your work. Sometimes they come over and tell you what…

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sometimes-youve-gotta-take-a-step-backwards-to-move-a-few-steps-forward-quote-1

Every so often we come to a realization that something we’ve been doing hasn’t been working as well as we’d hoped. Admitting you didn’t do something right the first time is not a sign of weakness, it actually shows growth. Learning from your mistakes is just as important as getting things right the first time.

Recently, during a book release party (for someone else) a mutual friend who is a librarian started talking to me about the Para-Earths series. She’s watched trends and keeps a close eye on what’s popular in the industry and she pointed out to me that the Para-Earths might actually do better aimed at a Young Adult (YA) audience. This would still make the books quite available to the adult crowd of course, while opening the series to more readers.

I gave this a lot of thought, especially after several others readily agreed with her. So I spent the next week or doing some serious research into YA books. To my surprise, what I found there really made me rethink my marketing strategy when it came to part of our Para-Earth Series.

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In “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home”, two seventeen-year old girls who played a very big part in the story. Now the entire story is told in the same style as Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” where various characters tell part of the story, allowing the author to use the first person perspective, while giving multiple points of view at the same time.

However, the fact that we had two young characters did not necessarily qualify the book itself to be considered YA, did it? Well, when I went back over the book and carefully looked over the number of entries by each character I found that those two young ladies made up a large majority of the entries.  Plus their experiences carried most of the story as well. I then checked with several other readers who loved the book who confirmed that they felt the story was mostly centered around Lisa and Marisa (the young ladies in question).

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This left me with a lot more thinking to do. Despite receiving 4 and 5 star reviews, both “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” and its companion anthology “The Vampyre Blogs – One Day At a Time”, have not performed as well as “The Bridge” and “The Ship” in overall sales. So the question for me now became “Have I been marketing these incorrectly the whole time?” The answer seems to be a resounding YES!

So what to do about this? Was it too late to try and re-market the books as YA instead of simply a mature audience?

TO BE CONTINUED…


Well, maybe you don’t ask. But now you want to know, because once you fall in love with a book, you want more like it.

Review it! Many online stores and book sites allow readers to post reviews. A person is more likely to take a chance on a book that 50 people say they loved than 5 people say they do.

Recommend it! Readers have friends who read, and you likely have an idea of their tastes. A recommendation makes a person more likely to find out more about an unknown book. Some authors, such as J.K. Rowling, got further by word of mouth recommendations and kids buying it for their friends, than by traditional marketing methods.

Gift it! I’ve been running a special– the book retails at $12 each, but I’ve been running a 2 for $20 special via direct sales. It encourages people to either buy an extra as a present for a friend or talk them into buying one too and splitting the savings. And I’d never ask this, but two of my buyers spontaneously paid extra, so that someone who wanted it but couldn’t afford it could have a copy.

Speaking of buying direct– when I purchase a crate of books and sell them directly to people at list price, I get more of a share than the royalties if you buy from retailers. I imagine it works the same way for other authors. So don’t think you’re shorting us if you want a signed copy.

You’re also not wasting our time if you contact us with questions or wanting to share your thoughts. Art is about communication, and as FUN as it is for me to write Rafael Jones, I’m not just doing it for myself. Hearing from readers is very motivational. There’s a button to send me an email, or just use the comment area. I love you so much just for being interested enough in my work to come here.


The first installment of “The Forever Detective” series now available in Trade Paperback and E-Book formats

And the review are just starting to come in…

5.0 out of 5 stars  “Clever writing without being campy

“This genre mashup of 1940s detective/vampire novel must have been a challenge for Helen Krummenacker to write, but she pulled it off beautfully….”
 
“Had so much fun reading this book…”
You can read the rest of the reviews by clicking on the link below:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07RSGKTDF


Helen just got interviewed over on by author Aurora Jean Alexander’s blog “Writer’s Treasure Chest”. Come check it out…

Writer's Treasure Chest

Welcome!

1. When did you start writing?

I can’t remember a time I wasn’t writing. Even as a very small child, I wrote short stories and poems. They were just the sort of thing a child would write, of course, but I kept at it and kept getting more sophisticated. Then, in the 90s, after a couple of years of trying to go professional with it, I ran the numbers on how much it cost to buy paper, use the printer, and post my best works to magazines that paid half a cent per word and decided in disgust that if I couldn’t even break even, I should just write fanfic for my own amusement.

After years of neglecting my writing, my husband, Allan, decided he had some ideas he wanted to turn into a novel. He did the writing, but I helped out with planning, character development, scientific premises…

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What a tense time. Will it sell? Will people review it? I know the book is good,  but making a splash when there are so many forms of entertainment out there isn’t easy.

This is the part where the audience keeps the writer in suspense. But don’t worry, I’m good at waiting: in fact, I’ll start right now.

On sale now at:

Nook:

     

Amazon: 

      AmazonUK:

      AmazonCA:

      AmazonAU:

     Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/938589

Signed trade paperback copies are available upon request. Simply leave a comment in the section below, or e-mail me at: 

helenkrummenacker@gmail.com

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