The Quite Place

 

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It was pretty stressful last week/weekend. What with being told to shelter in place, watching flames burn down the mountainside toward the building, and the constant whirr of helicopters and sirens.

For the rest of the week, we’ll be hanging out at the quiet place.

 

 

Published in: on May 7, 2013 at 3:58 PM  Comments (1)  
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2.5 Hours Later . . . .

Doing business taxes late at night is unbearable,
thank heaven there’s Turbo Tax.

Although, when you’re Number 330 in the TT Support Team’s chat que . . .

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Oswa-a-a-a-a-ldo!

Where’s that double-expresso!

Published in: on February 26, 2013 at 12:56 AM  Leave a Comment  
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The Voice of an Angel — or something like it

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This week we’ve been searching for a voice over artist. We’re putting Lily Does Sweden out as an audiobook, so audiobook narrator required. We’re going ACX.

ACX, for those of you that don’t know, is the Audio Creation Exchange. They are a partner of Audible.com and a wing of Amazon. ACX connects publishers (or authors) to VO talent.

Anyone can sign up as a narrator and apply for a project by submitting an audition — feel free to audition, the script is on ACX — but authors and publishers can also use ACX to invite narrators to audition too.

ACX has over 10,000 voices to sample. They have a sorting system to cut down the crush, but don’t get your hopes up.

  1. Many ACX demo reels are of poor sound quality. We eliminated over 100 people because we thought they didn’t have the technical know how to produce an audiobook based on their poor quality reel.
  2. Good quality VO reels, but it’s several commercials strung together. This type of reel tells you nothing about how well a VO artist can narrate a book. So they don’t get chosen.
  3. One or two good reels, but the work doesn’t demonstrate a wide range of abilities. The reels don’t display the sort of voice or style you’re looking for, so you have to assume they can’t do what you need. That’s more talent passed over.

We narrowed our invite list down to 21 voices — all female.

From there we did a second round of listening (combined with looking at their various websites to find out more about each potential candidate — sometimes there are more demo reels on an artist’s website). We weeded out nine people completely this way. Problems included:

  • Too young/old sounding (no reel demonstrating they could do any other vocal age).
  • Too girlie-sounding (no reel demonstrating any other vocal style),
  • good voice, but no comic ability or poor reading of text.
  • good voice, but no demo reel showing they could do comedy,
  • great voice, but stopped taking projects,
  • great voice and comic timing, but poor with accents, gendered voices, etc.
  • great voice, but doubtful they’d do the content based on their website information.

We of the 11 left, we invited a couple people to audition right away because they seemed ideal in every way.

Then we sorted through the list a third time.

  • Two people we really liked we set aside because everyone agreed they both had an obvious regional accents (NY and Midwest) in every reel they did. That wasn’t a bad thing, it was just the wrong regional accent for our project and they had no reel to prove they could shed the accent. Many people don’t realize they have an accent.
  • One person was put aside because, although she had loads of VO experience and a perfect voice, she delivered every line like a radio announcer and had no reel to prove she could do otherwise.

We then had seven people left and you’d probably be surprised by who they are. Among the top VO artists were a Latina from the Deep South, a white American from Germany, an African American from New York, a Canadian, and a Japanese American from California. They were all of various ages too!

Lily Does Sweden has many parts, but all very White and mostly adults over 30. However, a great VO artist isn’t locked into his or her natural ethnic, regional or even gendered accent. That’s why they are great VO artists.

In fact, we realized very quickly that finding the right person is a matter of simply closing your eyes and really listening. And that’s your Valentine’s Day tip! Now, go and listen for your Angel.

Published in: on February 14, 2013 at 12:50 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Fiscal Cliff Dive Into A New Year Giveaway

Tomorrow Only

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Dec 31, we’re giving away the adult romcom murder mystery book, Lily Does Sweden, in our Fiscal Cliff Dive Into A New Year Giveaway.

Also, post a review of your giveaway book and we’ll send you The Extra Man (Bk 3) as a thank you gift. Yep, we’re that nice at the holidays!

If you’re interested in free ePubs, jump over to the giveaway page for all the juicy details.

The Christmas Day Reason To Live Giveaway

Tomorrow Onlygoosekindle Dec 25, we’re giving away the Christmas murder mystery book, A Goose Is Cooked (Bk 2), in our Christmas Day Reason To Live Giveaway. The book is part of a series, but it can be read as stand alone also!

Also, post a review of your giveaway book and we’ll send you The Extra Man (Bk 3) as a thank you gift. Yep, we’re that nice at the holidays!

If you’re interested in free ePubs, jump over to the giveaway page for all the juicy details.

Stick around till Dec 31, and join in the fun of the Fiscal Cliff Dive In A New Year Giveaway! The book will be Lily Does Sweden. 

The Apocalyptic Solstice Giveaway

Tomorrow Only
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This year were giving away 4 different ePUBs as a way of saying thanks to all.

Friday, we’re kicking off with the Apocalpytic Solstice Giveaway on Dec 21st. The book will be A Seat At The Feast (Bk 1).

On Dec 25, we’ll be giving away a Christmas book, A Goose Is Cooked (Bk 2), in our Christmas Reason To Live Giveaway.

On Dec 31, the Fiscal Cliff Dive In A New Year Giveaway book will be Lily Does Sweden.

Plus, we’ll send you as a thank you The Extra Man (Bk 3), if you post a review of one of the giveaway books by Jan 15.

If you’re interested in any or all of these free ePubs, jump over to the giveaway page for the juicy details.

Stuck in Barnes & Noble’s PubIt! Processing Hell? This way out!

 

As you may recall, we ran into some issues with Barnes & Noble selling the Nook version of our new book Lily Does Sweden. Notably the B&N stated “24-72 hour” processing time to put the book on sale extended to . . . one week, two weeks, three weeks . . .  and counting.

 

At first we thought it might be the content. However, after a bit of a research, turns out a lot of people were having their books stuck in processing limbo for weeks on end.  Not something B&N really wants the world to know, so not something they posted prominently.

The recommendation from B&N on the Support Boards was simply to go in and redo the setup and upload of the title as if it were a brand new book.  According to a few people, who have had success with redoing the title, the redo seem to make the B&N system kick the first version out for sale.

We know. So weird!

Lily Does Sweden was “redone” today. (No, we never stop working!) So, with any luck, it will be up for sale as a Nook this coming week. We’ll keep you all posted as to whether this method really works or not.

 

In the meanwhile, if you’re on Goodreads, sign up for the Lily Does Sweden book giveaway. We’re giving away two autographed and personally inscribed trade paperback copies this month. There you can also download and read the first two chapters of the book.

Or, drop over to Indra’s WP site A Seat At The Feast and check out the TOC and the first chapter, which is on the Lily Does Sweden Page. If you like what you read, $1.99 on Nook, Kindle, or other epub retailers. Trade paperback ($14.99) is already available on B&N and Amazon as well as other retailers.