My latest short story "The Night the Lights Came On"

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Narrating "Dinosaurs: 51 Fabulous Facts"

As I stood in front of my microphone narrating Dinosaurs: 51 Fabulous Facts I started to run into some fun challenges. There was a fact in the book which listed a ton of different dinosaur names, including the longest dinosaur name: Micropachycephalosaurus. That's right if you pick up the audio book in a month or so and give it a listen you'll hear me pronounce that word casually with perfection. :) That was just one of many names I had no clue how to pronounce correctly until narrating this book. Thank goodness for the internet.

Narrating non fiction is much different than narrating fiction. Instead of going into different character voices and narrating with a bit of dramatic flair I'm going for a fun and energetic voice. I love a good story, but I also love dinosaurs. Who doesn't? This book is proving to be a blast to narrate because as I read I learn lots of cool facts about them, many of which I did not know. I can't wait for people to be able to stick this book in their cars on family road trips or on their iPods for their commutes or chores. It should prove to be a very fun listen.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, October 28, 2013

I'm Narrating Another Book & NaNoWriMo!

It's almost November so I should be gearing up for NaNoWriMo, but right now I'm excited about something else. I just landed my second audiobook narration gig! This one is nonfiction but it's still going to be very fun. No why? It's about dinosaurs! Who doesn't like dinosaurs?

As I read the short audition I already had lots of fun and learned quite a few things about dinosaurs. It's going to be a blast to narrate this book and I know listeners will have a great deal of fun as well. This book would be perfect for my family. Say we're going on a road trip - the kids could sit in the back and hear all about dinosaurs with fun facts and funny little asides. That's this book and I can't wait to narrated it.

As for NaNoWriMo I plan on writing the same way I did when I won and got 50K words a few years ago. I will either record myself talking in my phone and transcribe it later, or just do straight up speech to text transcription. I did it on my old blackberry and it worked pretty well but my iPhone 5 works so much better with speech to text and I'm pretty excited about it. I should be able to get quite a few words to and from work. Also I'm not working full-time at the moment so I should have some time during naptime as well, but this will only come after I'm done with the audiobook because that comes first. It won't take me too long to produce this one as it's a children's book. It's going to be really fun and it gets me one step further to my goal. Once you have narrated 25 books for ACX you can try and become an Audible approved narrator. Then you get a special little logo next to your name when people are searching for narrators for their book. It tells them that you've been around the block and have some experience narrating audiobooks. It is my goal to become an Audible approved narrator and start doing much more narration. I really enjoy narrating and producing audiobooks. Listening to them has always been a passion of mine, and producing them is now a new passion for me.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Short Stories of DanDanTheArtMan 13 - The Staring Stranger

Download the .mp3

A podcast flash fiction story written and read by me inspired by the flash fiction challenge on Chuck Wendig's website

The creepy bum is always there, staring at me. Every time I ride the subway he's there. No matter what terminal I get off at, he's there. I can't escape him and I'm starting to lose it.

Rules for writing this story challenge:

You know the drill: Random number generator or d20. Roll it. Grab a setting from the list below and go forth and write yourself around 1000 words of fiction set in that location. The list, then, is:
(I got a 12 for my random number) 
12. The NYC subways
Download the .mp3

Music was "Dirt Rhodes" by Kevin MacLeod:

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Notes on my Novella

A good friend of mine Michell Plested gave me the honor to have first dibs on creating a book cover for him. I jumped at the chance, especially when I heard what he wanted the cover to be. Check it out! It's for his awesome novel Boyscouts of the Apocalypse that you can read for free on Wattpad. Michell knows the scouts because he is involved with them as a cub and scout leader. He volunteers his time to go on cool outdoor trips and things with his scouts which includes his son. I think that is awesome. My oldest is 5 but I can't wait to see all the things he gets involved with as he gets older and I can't wait to be a part of them. So go check out Mike's book Boyscouts of the Apocalypse.

Here's where I get to my novella. When Mike asked what I'd like as payment for his book cover I asked if he would be interested in reading my novella and giving me feedback on it. I really respect Michell and look up to him as a writer. I'm so thankful he agreed. He has given me some very honest feedback on my novella which is invaluable to me. I first found Mr. Plested online by searching for writing podcasts and found his fantastic Get Published podcast. You get to hear about his writing journey and listen to laid back and insightful interviews he does with other authors. Mike jokes around with his guests but also gets a lot of great writing advice out of them. Since he started the podcast he got published. You can pick up his debut novel Mik Murdock, Boy Superhero now published by Five Rivers Publishing. I bought it and had a blast reading it. It would also be great for your kids to read. I bet you'll hear them laughing as they turn the pages and ask you when the sequel is coming out once they've finished it.

So Mike read my story a couple times and then went through about the first 60% making notes for me and then stopped. He suggested I rewrite and tighten up the story before he goes on to finish his feedback for me. After reading his notes, which I found to be dead on, I whole heartedly agreed with him. I'm also thankful he didn't just get through it and hand it off to me. I can tell he cares. He wants my story to succeed. I really hope to meet Mike someday at a convention or something because he is a class act. He made a ton of notes pointing out a lot of things that could be changed in my story. I read through them last night. He made A LOT of really great points and I'm so glad he didn't worry about hurting my feelings and tell me it was a great story that was ready to publish.

He was very nice but as he put it "didn't pull any punches." I'm so thankful. That's exactly what you want as a writer when you're getting feedback on your story from beta readers before you go and publish it or send it off. I reworked the story quite a bit and changed a lot of it on my own, but that was as far as I could take it and I needed some help seeing the flaws. There are a lot of them. I still have much to learn. After getting Mike's notes though, I'm not disheartened. I'm excited! I have the chance to see things, lots of things, that are wrong with my story that I couldn't pick out on my own. Now I can fix those things before putting my name on the thing and making it available for sale online. I have a lot of work to do, but I think it will be work that will really improve my novella.

I bet I will learn a lot rewriting, hacking, and revising this novella with the help of Mike's notes. That in itself will be really valuable to me. I will blog about the things I learn that will help me write a better story the next time around as I go through this next draft of my novella. If you want to read the thing in it's current state, its just under 30K words, click the big banner at the top of this website and you can read it now for free on Wattpad. Pretty soon I'll be posting up new versions of the chapters as I work my way through it and you can follow along there.

Have you received feedback on one of your stories? Did it help you? Make you curl up in the fetal position? Anger you, or encourage you? I'd love to hear about it! Go ahead, leave a comment - and as always thanks for stopping by!