Listen to my latest short story "The Forest Trail"

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Breaking Bad | TV Show Review


Breaking Bad was an interesting show. It was an amazing show. It was also a show that took a while to grow on me despite everyone saying it's the best drama show to ever air on TV. I was laughing a ton and found the characters to be really interesting, but I just didn't want to watch a show about drugs. Now that I've seen every episode I must say it was one of the best shows I've ever seen and yes, maybe the best. Seeing the main character Walter White change so much from the first episode to the show finale was a spectacular thing to witness. I think this show has also made my wife and I stay up late more nights in a row then any other show. Once we hit season 4 anytime the kids were in bed we were breaking bad.



This show does something I'm trying to learn how to do, pushes the character through some extraordinary circumstances. This show gets crazy, and the further into it you go the crazier it gets. Seeing extreme things happen to characters you love really puts you through the paces as the viewer. Okay so a lot of shows do that, but Breaking Bad keeps going and really shows you how these things effect the characters. Things that happen several episodes back are many times still effecting the characters.

There were a lot of moments in the show were I thought, now what? How the heck are they going to get out of this? How could this possibly be solved? Many times it was solved in a way I didn't expect the characters to try because it was so extreme, but it always seemed to be their only option even as bad as those options were. Seeing these "good" characters start to do some of these things helped show us moments where the characters were changing. Making critical decisions that changed the course of their lives. They had to face up to some harsh realities and deal with them. They had to do things they never would have imagined themselves doing before. They had to step up, which sometimes meant doing some despicable things.


I think any good story is one where you really care about the characters, even if that means a villain you love to hate who you want to see die.

Breaking Bad is a show like no other. It had my wife and I thinking about it all day as we waited to play with our kids and tuck them in bed at night so we could sit next to each other and hit play. I finished the last episode a week ago and the show is still lingering in my mind. I'm still thinking about it.

Well done Vince Gilligan and crew. Brilliant show. I can't wait to see what you and the actors from the show work on next. I have found listening to the Insider Breaking Bad Podcast helps with that whole feeling of is it really all over? Vince Gilligan (Breaking Bad's creator) and Kelley Dixon (Breaking Bad editor) host a weekly conversation with the cast and crew of AMC's original series Breaking Bad - so you get some great insights from people who helped make Breaking Bad. It's like listening to a commentary for each episode. It's pretty great.

Have you seen Breaking Bad? Did you love it? Hate it? Best show ever? Don't know what all the hype is about? Sound off in the comments, and thanks for stopping by.

Monday, November 25, 2013

8 O'Clock Coffee | Coffee Review


It all started with this tweet:

One of my favorite authors Nathan Lowell was being interviewed by Chris Moody on the podcast PodioMedia Chat. In what are some of my all time favorite sci-fi books, Trader's Tales from the Golden Age of the Solar Clipper, coffee plays a part in stories. Chris asked Nathan what some of his favorite coffee is and Nathan mentioned 8 O'Clock Coffee. At which point I shot off the tweet above because as you can see in my Twitter bio, I'm a coffee addict. So they sent me a free whole bean bag of their Central Highlands dark roast. I couldn't just give it a try and send off a thanks tweet back so instead I of course recorded myself opening it, making it, and giving it a try. It tasted wonderful. Listen for yourself:


Download the .mp3

Thanks for stopping by and thanks 8 O'Clock Coffee!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Dinosaurs: 51 Fabulous Facts is Online!


The audiobook "Dinosaurs: 51 Fabulous Facts" by Lucy Wilson is now available on Audible.com, Amazon, and in iTunes!

This book was so fun to record! My first love is fiction, but who doesn't love Dinosaurs? I think it's important to read both fiction and non-fiction even if you only write fiction. Go grab your copy today and listen to me tell you 51 fabulous, fun, and cool facts all about Dinosaurs. Have a road trip coming up during the holidays? Well here you go. Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

I Signed the Contract to Narrate my 3rd Audiobook!


This time I'm really excited because I'm getting to narrate a collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy short stories. Those are my favorite two genres, a fact you already knew because you've totally checked out my awesome header at the top of my site right? Anyways - I absolutely love audiobooks and narrating them is at least as fun if not more fun than listening to them. Narrating a book that's well written and in my favorite genres is like the chocolate dipped cherry nestled nicely on top of a rich chocolate frosted cupcake complete with three white sprinkles. Okay, I may have used the image I found at the awesome website UnrestrictedStock.com to get some inspiration for that but seriously - I'm so excited to be the narrator for this title! It's called: Intriguing Science Fiction Short Stories and Tributes: Thrilling Adventures in Fantasy by James M. Lowrance and you can snag your copy now at Amazon. The eBook version is only $2.99 and judging from the audition script I got to read and the 4 and 5 star reviews for it on Amazon it's an awesome read. I can't wait to share James's great stories with the world.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Wattpad Emailed Me Today.

A little website I like to call Wattpad sent me an email today:
So that's super cool! I have all of my stories up on Wattpad because it's an awesome place to share them and get feedback and read other people's stories and become part of an awesome community! I love Wattpad. It's also cool because as a reader you can read a story in your browser, or snag the app for every device you have and keep reading there. I have found some other writers on there and lots of great people who love to read and actually comment on your story. It is very hard to find that elsewhere. It's also quite difficult to find a place where so many people will read your work. Even if you don't get comments you can see how many people have read each chapter. You can use that as a tool, like if you have tons of readers but they all drop off at a certain chapter, maybe there's some revision or rewriting that needs to take place there. 
I can't take credit for being a most followed user. I still think that happened because Ivan Yuen, one of the founders of Wattpad, read a couple of my stories, voted for them, left positive feedback on them, and followed me. I blogged about it here. Ever since then I've seen many of my stories get into the charts. That has mostly died down now but I have noticed the novel I'm currently writing as gotten near #100, gone back into the #700s, and as I write this is #439. I happen to think it's the best novel length work I've written yet, but that's easy to say because I haven't finished it yet and I've trunked my other three full novels :) Still I continue to be excited about having my work on Wattpad and it was a nice treat to get this email today. It's really easy to get discouraged about your writing because it's something that takes a very long time to get good at. I've been learning that writing well is one thing, but writing a great story is something else. I've blogged about this before. It has lead me to a search on how I can write a better story which brought me to learning about story structure. Check out the links under Storytelling Tools on the right sidebar of my site by scrolling down... or I could just paste them in for you right here:

Storytelling Tools

Below is the cool little widget Wattpad gave me for being one of the most followed user so of course I've got to share it with you! You can actually start reading my novel right in the widget. How cool is that? Give it a shot. I already have 9 chapters up there and more are on their way. As always thanks for stopping by!

Monday, November 11, 2013

I'm Reading Dune

I'm reading Dune. You may have heard of it. If you look it up on Wikipedia you'll see that it is the world's best-selling science fiction novel. Here's a little something I snagged from its book description over at Amazon:
A stunning blend of adventure and mysticism, environmentalism and politics, Dune won the first Nebula Award, shared the Hugo Award, and formed the basis of what it undoubtedly the grandest epic in science fiction.
And here's a little line taken from the Editorial Reviews section From Library Journal:
Dune is to science fiction what The Lord of the Rings is to fantasy.
So of course I have wanted to read this book for some time. When I found a version of it on Audible with one of my favorite narrators, Scott Brick, on the list of voice actors in it I jumped on the chance to use my monthly credit and get my copy.

The book surprised me, and then it surprised me again.

I was very surprised to find that the book was incredibly boring. I have heard from friends that it's amazing, but I just couldn't get into it. I actually stopped reading it three separate times. I wanted to like the book so bad, but I could barely stand it. Up until a certain scene that is a ways into the story all you get is people talking. There are a couple scenes where some things happen, but mostly they're not doing anything. They are sitting or standing and talking. Talking about the world, its society, economy, philosophies, environments, prophecies - on and on and ON! I couldn't take it anymore so I stopped reading the book. Three times.

Then I picked it up a fourth time.


Lucky for me this fourth try reading Dune lead me to an awesome scene where some pretty intense action takes place. I've been reading the book for quite a while since then and I'm really enjoying it. The pacing has stayed at a better clip. When it does slow down I'm finding myself intrigued rather than bored. There have been many more awesome action scenes. I really like the characters now and I feel like I'm finally starting to understand the world. Now that I like the characters and want to know more about his crazy desert planet of Dune called Arrakis I'm enjoying the rich detail Frank Herbert put into his writing. So I was quite surprised to find myself enjoying the book after putting it down three times out of boredom. I was surprised to find myself thinking about it and wondering what the rest of the story holds over the weekend when I didn't have commute time to listen to more of the story.

Have you read Dune? Did you stop reading it out of boredom or did it have you from page one? Is it your favorite book or one you don't care for much but respect for laying the way for future science fiction books you love? Join in the conversation in the comments! I'm always curious of what other people have to say about stories and why they do or do not like them. Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Second Audio Book Narrated in the Books


Today I received an email letting me know that the completed audio book I narrated and produced was accepted by the rights holder. It was really fun to record and it's called "Dinosaurs: 51 Fabulous Facts," by Lucy Wilson. In about three weeks it will hit all the online stores and my name will then be listed as a narrator for two audio books on audible.com, amazon.com, and in iTunes! That is so exciting to me! I previously had the privilege to record the novel "A Life Worth Dreaming About" by Nicholas Dettmann. So now I have one fiction title and one non fiction title under my belt. 

I absolutely love audio books. I have been avidly listening to them for years and now I'm finally doing it - I'm narrating them! I can't wait to land the next gig and bring someone else's beloved novel to life in people's ears. My goal is to narrate 25 audio books, continue to have a blast and pour my passion into it, and then apply to become and audible approved producer. You can't do that until you've narrated 25 titles for ACX but then you get a special icon next to your profile so people know you're an experienced and approved narrator. I want this to become a thriving career and something I'm posting about all the time. I can't wait to fire up the microphone for the next project!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Dust by Hugh Howey | Book Review

I really enjoyed this novel. It was an awesome conclusion to all of the fantastic storytelling and great characters Hugh Howey has given us with Wool and Shift. It was all over far earlier than I would have liked it to be, but then I was dreading finishing this book even as I started the first chapter. It probably went by so fast too because I was enjoying it so much. I didn't want the Silo Saga to end because I have had such a great experience surviving with its characters for some time now. Wool is still my favorite but I enjoyed reading Dust much more than Shift. While shift did a great job of revealing to me how this crazy world came into being Dust returned to having more dramatic and exciting things happen in the story like Wool. There were a lot of scenes that were very gripping and kept me glued to my iPod to hear each and every new word.

I won't give anything away but I will say when I read the ending I was so happy to be with those characters in that historical moment for them and for their world. It was really moving and I was smiling the whole time I read it. It wasn't all sunshine and rainbows for every character though, and I really enjoyed seeing characters I have come to love go through more intense and trying situations.

I felt that Hugh did a good job of ending his series and keeping a good balance with all of the characters and silos in the story. By the time you're reading this book there are many characters and silos Hugh had to juggle to finish out his awesome saga. It didn't feel like that though. Yes there was a log of switching between silos and characters, but everytime the viewpoint character or setting switch I was just instantly right with them or right there that it never felt like a big back and forth. It just felt like one cohesive and awesome story. I highly recommend this book. I loved it.

Have you read any of Hugh Howey's books? The first of five parts of Wool is free on Kindle. Go check it out! It's the story that his fans demanded to have more of and now here we are with Wool, Shift, and Dust. It's been an amazing journey.

Links:
Dust (Silo Saga Volume 3)
Shift Omnibus Edition (Silo Saga Volume 2)
Wool Omnibus Edition (Silo Saga Volume 1)
Wool - Part One (Free) on Kindle