GOOD NEWS! The next Victoria Square Mystery has a publication date. December 6, 2016. (I'll share more news as I have it!)
This is my concept of what the cover should look like. What do you think? (Who knows what marketing will come up with. There will probably be a cat on the cover, which will bear no resemblance to the cats in the book. That's been the trend so far.)
My character, Noreen Darby, used to ride on a regular basis, but she doesn't have time now that she's part owner of the Bay Bar on Beautiful Lotus Bay. She wants everyone to remember to stay safe by wearing their helmets and leather -- and for motorists to look twice for motorcycles.
Here's a little cheesecake shot from the good old days!
I've been hinting about it ... but the truth is I've had a hard time writing the next Booktown Mystery. It wasn't that my characters weren't cooperating, it was just that I had so much on my plate that writing wasn't my top priority for the past nine or ten months.
I feel terrible that I turned in my book six months late, but my editor is a terrific guy. I assured him that I would have it to him in a time frame that would still work and he trusted me to deliver it.
I sent the book in last week, and I anticipate feedback and/or a copy edit in December.
The second piece of good news is that Title Wave won't be coming out with "the pack" on the first Tuesday in June, but a week later on June 14th. What does that mean? Maybe nothing ... maybe something good. I'll just have to wait to see how it flies. But I love the story and I've seen the pencil sketch of the cover and I have a very good feeling about this book. (And I hope you will, too.)
The Cozy Chicks realized that tea was such a perfect complement to cozy mysteries that we decided to write a book about it. Not only does Tea Time with the Cozy Chicks have delicious recipes, but it also includes themed tea menus, fascinating articles, fun facts, curious quotes, and helpful hints on how to host the most memorable tea parties ever! And for an extra treat, a few of us have included excerpts of our work as well! Read, cook, drink tea, savor, and most of all enjoy!
I thought it might be interesting for readers (hey, and me, too!) to find out a little bit about what it is to be a spoken-voice performer. Let me introduce you to Steven Barnett. He has read not only the Telenia books, but also is the voice of my character Jeff Resnick. (At least for the last 6 titles. We'll be re-recording the first three in the not-too-distant future.)
Steven and I recently talked and here's a portion of our conversation.
How does one becomes a voice artist? I'm not sure there is one generic way to become a voice artist. I started as a vocalist in college, learning to sing opera, but I've always been a talented mimic. I loved to imitate cartoons, famous people, anything I could for a laugh. I did voice-over work when I was in film and tv work and kind of just branched off from there.
Do you read the whole book first? It depends on the length and type of the book. If the book is fairly short, say on the order of 80-90000 words, I will generally not read beforehand and just work things out in recording. If the book is longer, or has a large number of speaking characters and voices and things, then I'll read the book first and try to get a sense of the characterization beforehand, especially if the book has alien or foreign characters and languages.
Is the dialog the hardest because you have to switch voices? How do you know which voice to use? Do you color code them on your script? For me, dialog between males isn't so difficult, mostly because I'm used to imitating character dialogue. What's hardest for me is dialog between a male and a female. Doing a feminized voice requires a lot of tuning in the musculature of the mouth and vocal folds and it's difficult sometimes to switch between them rapidly. One of my earlier projects involved two main characters, one of whom was a teenaged boy from modern-day Philadelphia and the other was a teenaged girl from 18th century Scotland. That was terribly difficult at first.
What's the hardest part about narrating a book? The hardest part is consistency. Making sure that when you flub a line, you go back and re-read that line precisely as you read it before. Making sure that if you're recording a book and it's going to take more than a day, that your mic placement and your settings are all the same as they were when you started. Making sure your editing process is smooth and that each chapter matches the others in timbre, volume, and emotion is also a big part of that.
How did you get into this kind of work? By accident, like many others have, I'm sure. One of my good friends is an author and he stumbled across the Audiobook Creation Exchange website, or ACX, where authors and narrators of audiobooks can come together. He sent me the link and off I went.
What kinds of stories have you narrated? I've narrated quite a few kinds: cozies, sci-fi fantasy, superhero stories, erotic fiction (boy, are THOSE difficult to read...), romance... I have a preferred genre I like to read personally, but I'm pretty much a mercenary when it comes to recording. I don't like to limit myself to one genre or another just because it's not what I'd read at home on my own time. In fact, one of my favorite books I've done is a book I'd never have read on my own in a million years-- a Southern romance story with some erotic scenes. It's a sweet love story and I highly enjoyed doing all the characters.
Do you have a favorite genre to read? I prefer to read genres where there are lots of distinct characters, so typically fantasy and sci-fi novels. I'm a huge fan of urban fantasy, so I tend to want to get those novels more, but the more and more I work, the more into mysteries I am becoming.
What are your future plans? Right now, my plan is to keep doing what I'm doing, but more of it, you know? More titles under my belt, more recognition. I'm working toward being named an Audible-certified Producer, which is a certification that tells authors and producers that I am a narrator of high-quality and able to deal with more expensive, high-level projects. It opens more professional level doors, let's say. But I'll work with anyone, regardless of budget, if the book is quality. In the future, my goal is to broaden my voice skills and perhaps do cartoons. I love character voices and comedy, so cartoons are right in my wheelhouse. I'm a huge voice-acting nerd, so it would be a thrill to work with guys like Rob Paulsen, John DiMaggio, Maurice LaMarche, Laura Bailey, Grey DeLisle, Jennifer Hale... the list goes on. That's my future.
Where can we find you online? Well, I don't have a professional website yet. Too busy to make one, I suppose, though I'm working on it. Right now you can find me on Twitter @PlasmatixUltra. I also have a Facebook page for me as a professional, and you can find that at http://www.facebook.com/letmetellyouastory . I can also be reached via email at email@example.com and a list of the books I've narrated is available on Audible.com . Just click this link. And, of course, you can always find me at your favorite audiobook retailers: Audible, Amazon, and iTunes!
And so I have FINALLY (after about a bazillion years) finished the next Booktown Mystery (just working on the recipes before I hand it in) and I need to start writing either a Jeff Resnick or Lotus Bay book ... but my Tales of Telenia characters are SCREAMING at me to work on their story. I've been putting it off for over two years, and they've just about had enough.
I lost a lot of sleep during the last months of my mother's life and would lie in bed during the wee hours distracting myself from thoughts of death by plotting the story. Yesterday I wrote most of the first chapter longhand (while engaged in another pursuit), Of course, then I remembered that I'd already WRITTEN part of the first chapter back in August. So now I've got to merge the two because they're both pretty good.
I love these characters. I love the stories and yet THEYDO NOT SELL, and I have not been able to convince my cozy readers to give them a try.
It's not smart to write something that doesn't bring in income, because let's face it: writing is my job. I couldn't afford to take time away from a day job to do something like this. So I guess I'll have to make it a hobby piece that can only be worked on AFTER I write something that brings in grocery money. (Did I mention I had to have my brakes replaced last week???)
It's okay, Mandy ... I haven't abandoned you (and Dohmas). It's just going to take a while longer until I can tell the rest of your story.
One of the best things about being an indie author is you can change things up. I decided to change the cover on Recipes to Die for. I wanted it to reflect Katie's dream of opening the English Ivy Inn ... something that probably will never happen. Still, this is what she would have wanted.
Katie Bonner and the rest of the locals from Victoria Square invite you into their kitchens to share tantalizing recipes and intimate stories about food, family, and life. So tie on your apron and sharpen your knives, because Recipes To Die For is chock full of culinary treasures such as Andy Rust's Cinnamon Rolls, Vance Ingram’s Barbequed Ribs, and Sweet Sue’s Toffee Squares. And you don't want to miss Aunt Lizzie’s Cream Scones.
My friend Mary Kennedy and I are celebrating because we've both got new books out. As this is my blog (tee hee), I'll go with mine first. My readers asked for it, and I've delivered. A Jeff Resnick Six Pack features all six Jeff Resnick "short" stories. (Some are a lot longer than others.)
This collection of short stories bridges the gaps between the Jeff Resnick novels of suspense and intrigue.
When The Spirit Moves You: Does Jeff believe in ghosts? Bah! Humbug: Christmas with his girlfriend Maggie’s family is anything but merry. Cold Case: A small boy is missing. Can Jeff find him? Spooked!: A malevolent spirit visits for Halloween. Crybaby: Have diaper bag—will travel! Eyewitness: Jeff can’t move ahead in live until he finds out who murdered his wife.
And second in the Hollywood Nights series from Mary Kennedy ... MOVIE STAR!
Jessie Phillips and her friend, Tracy, go Hollywood when a film company chooses Fairmont Academy as the setting for a sizzling thriller. Sparks fly off and on the set as the teens become embroiled in a mystery fit for the big screen, and things heat up for Jessie when the film’s star Shane Rockett takes a shine to her. Will Jessie score more than her fifteen-minutes of fame?
(This novel won an award and grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for "artistic excellence in literary fiction.”)