ACX Success Story: Falling Into You – Part 1

Over the last couple of weeks I have been exploring the world of audiobooks, thanks to the folks at ACX – who recently opened their gates to Canadian authors. I’ve got at least four of my books currently in production as audio books and I intend to pursue this avenue further.

How many of you folks listen to audiobooks?

How many of you writer-types have audiobooks of your own?

Audiobook Creation Exchange Blog (ACX)

We’ve got something special for this edition of ACX Success Stories. Author Jasinda Wilder, narrator Piper Goodeve, and engineer Pete Rohan are here to share the story of how ACX brought them together to produce the audiobook of Jasinda’s wildly successful “Falling Into You.” The origins of this unique partnership stretch as far back as the launch of ACX in 2011.

Engineer Pete Rohan:

I was working at Audible as an audio engineer when they announced the launch of ACX with great fanfare.  There was a big company meeting were they presented the new site.  I was immediately intrigued with the opportunity to produce audiobooks from home.

Piper ACX Narrator Piper Goodeve

Narrator Piper Goodeve:

I was recording a series at Audible, with Pete as my engineer, in the spring of 2011. We hit it off really well and had a great time on those books…

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The Stranger In The Woods – A Book Review

Stranger

 

I grew up in the woods in Northern Ontario. I was a young fellow being raised by my grandparents and I spent an awful lot of time where I was basically hiding out in the woods. I found a kind of peace out there in amongst the rocks and the trees – so I have always had a kind of fascination for this whole “hermit” scenario.

Like the author, Michael Finkel, my actual experience with true solitude were highly limited – but nevertheless a part of me always wondered what it would really be like.

So I picked this book thinking that I would find the hint of an answer in its story – but, like so many things in life, answers are as hard to find as true solitude.

I chewed through this book, fascinated by the story that it told. I read it in about two days flat. I just wanted to get to the end and see how things turned out.

There are still a lot of things I don’t know about this story that I just read, but that doesn’t bother me. When you are talking about other people you are ALWAYS going to be on the outside looking in, so the fact that Finkel is only guessing at the true nature of the hermit makes perfect sense to me.

This is one of those books that begs to be reread and I expect to read it a few more times.

That, to me, is the mark of a good book – one that demands and expects to be reread.

Still, I will warn you unwary readers that you ought not to go into this book expecting to come out with the complete life story of the hermit. You won’t get any sort of “Well I was born and grew up and then some mystical voice spoke to me…”

This isn’t that kind of a book.

This is more akin to a book of cryptozoology. Finkel shows the reader a few blurry snapshots of his “sasquatch”, the hermit.

We are left with a dim impression of what makes this hermit tick – and that’s how it should be. We really aren’t supposed to come away from a book like this knowing exactly how this fellow thinks. He is a mystery without any sort of possible solution in sight.

I enjoyed this book.

I’d recommend it highly – but not for impatient folks who are looking for spoon-fed wisdom. This is a book that will make you think.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

*********

On the other hand I do really want to have a look at TRUE STORY, a 2015 movie based on the true story of a killer who stole Michael Finkel’s identity. I think it’s on Netflix. I’ve got to go and have me a hunt.

Cut Corners Vol. 3 – Kealan Patrick Burke, Bryan Smith, and Ray Garton

Three great horror authors here. Kealan’s work is always so layered, haunting and lyrical. Bryan Smith is always fun and Ray Garton is classic!

The Horror Bookshelf

BOOK INFO

Length: 102 Pages

Publisher: Sinister Grin Press

Release Date: April 22, 2017

Review copy provided as part of Cut Corners Vol.3  Blog Tour

Since starting up The Horror Bookshelf, I have been lucky enough to discover a ton of quality small presses that are releasing quality horror and helping to keep the genre alive and well. I have a host of favorites, but one press that has been catching my attention as of late has been Sinister Grin Press out of Austin, Texas. I think the first time I discovered them was through reviewing Jonathan Janz’s stellar Children of the Dark . They host an impressive roster of authors – many of whom I consider among my personal favorites – and are one of those types of presses where I know I will love anything they release.

Cut Corners Vol. 3 is the latest installment in Sinister Grin Press’

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The Joy and Terror of a Book Release

My friend and fellow Kindle Press author, Linda Cassidy Lewis, has just started a blog.

Why don’t you follow along with her?

Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Source: The Joy and Terror of a Book Release

Mother’s Day Mow-a-ganza Madness!

lawn mower

Okay, so it’s Mother’s Day.

I have already been to two different Mother’s Day Craft Festivals, last weekend and this weekend, with my travelling book table trying to sell enough books to pay the bills.

So, in a way, Mother’s Day has been kind of going on all week long – except during the weekdays I spent my time at my day job as a cubicle dust monkey.

dust bunny 3

All right – so go ahead and sue me, because I couldn’t find a picture of a dust monkey…

But I had today off and I wasn’t scheduled to be at any public appearances and the weatherman had said it was going to be warm and the grass in my backyard was beginning to resemble the Serengeti veldt, so I decided that I was going to mow the lawn.

So I went out to my back shed – which is basically just four sheets of corrugated aluminum held together by a roof and some rust and I dragged the old lawn mower out to see if it would work again.

This is the third or fourth lawn mower that I have been through in the ten years that we have owned this house.

Well, actually we don’t really own this house, we are renting it from the bank, on a bet that we can keep up our mortgage payments long enough to actually own the damn place. I call it the Freedom 75 plan.

Don’t get me wrong. I really do love this place and I wish I’d bought it sooner – but man, this property is hard on lawn mowers. Our first mower was a push mower. I wanted to be all ecological and get some exercise and not make a lot of noise and then I hit the mutant Kentucky Fried bluegrass that is going out back, amidst the herb garden of creeping thyme that got up and walked out of the little bed that the previous owner had planted it in and proceeded to dominate the entire backyard. It really smells nice when I mow it down – kind of like the breath of a French chicken – but it is really hard to mow.

The next thing I bought was an electric mower, which turned out to not have all that much power at all. Next I bought a low-end gas power mower which lasted a whole summer before it ran over a chunk of kryptonite and lost all of its power. Then I picked up this mower which is the fourth best gas mower, second in from the third cheapest that I could afford to buy and it has lasted the last five years.

Well, I brought it out and yanked the pull cord and it roared into life for about two and a half seconds and then promptly died. I fiddled with it some, making sure all of the connections were rusted on tight enough to hold and then I jiggled the spark plug and gave it another yank. It roared and died in about three more seconds and then I frigged with it some, cursed it a little and on about the sixth good yank it roared into life and held.

At this point in time some of you more handy types are feeling the urge to drop some sort of a comment about how a real man knows how to maintain his power mower and want to talk with me about how I need to be using a better grade of gasoline and maybe changing the oil more than every three years and other such foolishness but let me head your impulse right off the bat.

Don’t do it.

You give me some sort of helpful homemaker how-to-be-a-real-man hint of a comment and I am show up at your front door tomorrow with my roaring lawn mower and mow you off at the knee caps.

I mean what I am telling you.

I don’t know a thing about a handyman, but I am awfully good at homicidal mania.

Remember, I am a horror writer.

Anyway, I got about two-thirds of the back mowed when I ran over the one single piece of litter that I had missed when I had done my initial pre-mow pick-up of the litter. The next thing I knew, the mower had coughed and gagged and made a sound like a man gargling sulfuric acid and then stopped cold.

I tipped the lawn mower on its side and carefully unwound the plastic that had wound around the hub of the blade rotor and then I tipped it back and fired it up again. Of course, tipping a gasoline mower on its side results in a lot of gasoline running around the inner workings and this great gout of black smoke gouted out of the air filter.

That’s great, I thought. All I have to do is to run inside and grab me a blanket and I can send up some smoke signals and maybe some wandering lawn mower mechanic will ride to my rescue on a ride-on mower.

I let the smoke die down and I gave the cord another yank. I hadn’t been keeping count of how many times I yanked this mower but I figured if I yanked it a few more times that mower was going to have to buy me a romantic evening out on the town.

The mower coughed up in a rattling sort of a noise that sounded a little like a jackhammer trying to dance himself an honest to Michael Flatley Irish jig.

Goofy

All of this was accompanied with more black smoke. I let it cool off and gave it another yank and there was more jack hammer death rattles and then all of a sudden the mower made a sound like a fat man farting through a tuba in an echo chamber, and a chunk of rubber flew out from out of the center of the air filter and shot halfway across the lawn. It turned out that when the mower had bumped over that plastic it had chewed off a chunk of that rubber flap that drags behind the mower to prevent you from hit by back flung debris.

Well, after that the mower started working again and I finished up the lawn and the sidewalk verge and I rolled the mower back into the shed and said a small prayer of thanks to the spirit of Red Green and I went aside and phoned my mother to tell her a Happy Mothers Day and then I ran the tub and climb in for long hot soak.

Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Writers in Cars, Drinking Coffee

I’ve decided to take a page from Jerry Seinfeld and start my own series – Driving for Coffee with Writers.
 
Only problem is, I need to learn how to drive first.
 
And, the conversation would probably be pretty one note.
 
Steve – “You really ought to buy my book.”
 
Other Author – “Of course, after you buy my book first.”
 
Steve – “That’s a good thought. Have I told you about my book that you really ought to buy?”
 
Other Author – (who probably isn’t worth buying a book from anyway) “Bye”.
 
…as they jump out into moving traffic with a hot cup of coffee in one hand and a BUY MY BOOK sign in the other…
 
yours in storytelling,
Steve Vernon

1000 True Fans – New Subscriber Email Sequence

One of the things that ALL indie authors need to truly master is the fine art of building a mailing list. I’ve got one for my newsletter, but I am a LONG way away from “mastering it”. In fact, I kind of suck at it, but I am going to have to learn how, one of these days.

Let me just procrastinate on that for awhile.

While I sit here and fart around, why don’t you take a look at how author Joynell Schultz is tackling this problem for her own self?

Joynell Schultz

operation_ (18)

Moving forward in this 1000 “True” Fan blog series, I’ll be focusing on converting mailing list subscribers into TRUE Fans. I’m changing the formats of these posts to be a bigger project each month, rather than lots of little ones.

May’s focus is creating a mailing list subscriber sequence.

The other day, I had a brilliant epiphany. I know, the information is out there in magical internet-land, but for some reason I was missing the BIG PICTURE.

Your mailing list serves MULTIPLE purposes, and you need to leverage it to meet the intended purpose.

First, it’s a great way to communicate with your fans. Keep them entertained, let them know about new releases, and to interact. (This was what purpose I had saw in my mailing list up to his point.)

BUT, it has a few more purposes too.

  1. Gathering a list of active readers and informing them of who…

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