Tag Archives: audio book

The Fall of 2018, The Rise of 2019

Hi everyone,

I usually finish up the year with a ‘looking back, looking forward’ post, and this, the last Sunday of the year, is no different…except this time, it is.

Nothing has been the same this year, and it’s been one of the best, and one of the hardest.  I think I said something similar at the end of last year…little did I know how aptly that would describe 2018.

It began with loss.

In the beginning of 2018, my mother passed away.  We knew it was coming, we had known for a long time, but nothing could have prepared me for how it would hit me, or how it has stayed with me throughout the year.

Even now, with Christmas, my birthday, and New Years, even when I’m not thinking specifically about her, I feel this immense, pervasive emptiness.

And perhaps the most frustrating part about it is that this should be one of the happiest years of my life.  This was the year I got married to my Starshine!!

Photo by Danielle Lirette

The saying often goes, your wedding is one of the happiest days of your life, and for me, it truly was :)  I don’t think I ever actually relayed the full story of our geeky, fun-filled, beautiful wedding.  The weather was perfect, the venue was fantastic, our hotel was great, and it was a perfect turnout, a small wedding like we’d hoped.

She is my squishy!

Then came the honeymoon, which was a mixture of good and bad.  We’ve already decided we need a do-over!  But despite the bad that happened, I hold a lot of fond memories from that week and a half, and for some reason today especially, I’ve been thinking a lot about our adventures in Orlando :)

By far, Disney World was the best!!  It was my first-ever Disney experience, and despite how bad the weather was most of the time we were there, it was a blast!  And exhausting, but in a good way :)

This was one of many trips I took in 2018, beginning with the trip to NM for my mother’s funeral, then Orlando for our Honeymoon.  Next came a trip to Los Angeles for my best friend’s birthday, and also my second ever Disney experience since we went to Nick’s favorite place, Disneyland!

While I definitely prefer Disney World due to its size and scope, our adventure at Disneyland was just about perfect!  The weather was great, there were surprisingly few people despite it being a Friday before a holiday weekend, and we barely waited 15 minutes in any line!  Topped by an amazing dinner in a restaurant overlooking the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, the food was fantastic and the company even more so :)

And then not long after came my fourth trip, a work-related trip that took me to Huntsville, Alabama.  Little did I know how much NASA stuff was out there, and being able to stand beneath a fully-erect Apollo rocket was an awe-inspiring moment!!  I only wish my wife could have been there with me for that experience.

To top off this eventful year, I ended things by publishing three novels at once!  What started as an attempt to refresh my work turned into a much longer, multi-year effort to rebrand the Sword of Dragons, and while I still am far from my goal of making a living off of writing, I’m happy to say that this venture has brought me a lot closer than I was before!

Now we come to it, the end of a truly roller coaster year (with lots of actual roller coasters!)  I look back, and realize why I feel so exhausted, and why my emotions are so crazy right now.  So much good, so much hardship.  Even my holiday from work for the Christmas and New Years holiday has been tumultuous.

What do I want for 2019?  Relaxation.  Am I likely to get it?  Well…

Looking Ahead to 2019

2019 may very well be another year without me publishing a new novel.  I’ve been working on book 3 of the Sword of Dragons series, and as of writing this, I’m 7 chapters in.  But Kailar’s story has been fighting me and I’ve basically scrapped my original plan for her in book 3.  Which means I’m kind of making it up as I go for her chapters.

I also don’t want to rush it.  I have a title and even a cover set to go for it, but I want to write the best story that I can, and I want to make sure it is as polished as possible.

What I AM happy to report is that I’m headed back to the convention scene, at least for one time.  My wife and I have officially been accepted as vendors in the 2019 Whimsy Con in Denver!  Our favorite Steampunk convention, and a worthy successor to the former Anomaly Con where Beck and I met, this will be our first table together, with me selling my books, and Beck selling her jewelry and her first book.

Yes, you read that right, Beck’s first novel will be available by Whimsy Con!  :D  Click here to head on over to her blog to find out about her latest adventures with her book, and her planned release no later than March 1st!

Shortly after that, comes perhaps our biggest move yet since we met each other – we’re planning on buying a house!  Mostly because we’re tired of dealing with sub-standard apartments in the Denver area.  Truly, there are inadequate protections for renters in Denver and property owners get away with a lot of inky moves.  We even ended up getting the FCC involved in our dispute regarding exclusivity enforcement by CenturyLink in our current apartment complex, only to discover that our apartment complex had  been lying to us about it.

So we’re done with apartments in Denver.

Beyond that?  I’m not entirely sure where 2019 will take me.  It probably greatly depends on where we land with a house.  I don’t anticipate any big trips this year, since we need to conserve money, so probably just hunker down and focus on writing and voice acting.

Did I mention that yet, voice acting?  I’ve decided to move forward with recording audio books, and depending on how that goes, I may try my hand at other related ventures.  I’m also slated to be the MC for the Whimsy Con costume contest this year :)

So, now it’s just time to take in a deep breath, and plunge into 2019.  Here’s hoping for a great year!

Thanks for reading, thanks for staying with me, and thanks for your encouraging words through the hard times.  I really appreciate all of you!!  (PS: I just noticed, 205 followers!!  We passed 200!!!!  :D )

-Jon Wasik

The Voice of the Writer – Recording Audio Books

Hi everyone!

I apologize for skipping a couple of weeks in blogs, life has a way of getting away with our time.

Last weekend, I had a book release/book signing party, and for the first time at such a party, I read a passage aloud from my newest book to an audience!

Truth be told, I thought I’d done horribly.  I was so nervous that I forgot to read it in my ‘voice actor’ voice,.  I just read it in my normal speaking voice, felt like I rushed some areas…

And then I received overwhelmingly positive feedback!  Some that day, and then more and more in the days that followed.  If you’re curious to see video of it, click here!

Furthermore, I have been repeatedly asked if there will be an audio book released.  Many folks have told me over the years that, as busy people, they don’t have time to read, but they can listen to audio books when they, for instance, are commuting to and from work.

So I’ve made a decision: while I’m still going to spend several hours a day during my holiday writing book 3, I’m going to also spend time working on getting the released books into audio!  I probably won’t release them all at once like I did in November, but rather one at a time…you know, to save my sanity ;)

Relearning the Voice

When you can’t afford a recording studio, improvise!

Not having funds for a professional studio, I took the same approach from my last false-start: I setup recording in a closet.  As I started and re-started recordings on Rise of the Forgotten’s prologue, I realized that I had to re-teach myself how to read for audience.

It’s easy and it’s hard all at the same time.  As I learned years ago when my friend Wayne voice-coached me, what I feel is over-the-top comes out as really good, and anything less is bland.  So I have to remember every time, don’t hold back.

I might feel silly, and given the ultra-thin barrier between the apartments above and below us, I’m sure our neighbors are wondering what the heck’s going on, but I think the results will be worth it.

The even stranger sensation is that I feel embarrassed as I read aloud over-the-top, even though there’s no one around.  Do you ever feel second-hand embarrassment when you see someone say or do something very awkward on TV?  It’s kinda like that, except that I’m embarrassed by how my own voice sounds as I’m recording.

And then I hear it play back and it’s good.  Based on those results and the encouragement I’ve received from dozens of people, I’m looking forward to releasing my books in audio format!

Thanks for reading!  Until next week, dear readers, and the annual “Looking back, looking forward” end of the year blog :)

Merry Christmas!
-Jon Wasik

Writer’s Presence – How We Tell Our Stories

Hiya everyone,

I started thinking about it the other day, and I began to wonder just how much of a writer’s personality starts to show through in their writing.

There are the obvious cases where a writer actually puts part of their personality into characters.  I would say that most writers do this to some extent no matter what, because we are, after all, supposed to write what we know.  On the other hand, I’ve also read that it is a bad idea to model a character completely after ourselves.

However, what I’m referring to in this article is more than just making a character like them.  And here some of you may or may not think I’m a bit on the crazy side, but novels themselves have personalities.

picard-incredulous

I’m serious.

spock-skeptical

Stop looking at me like that.

oneil-wacko….

Think about it, though.  Those of you who read dozens of novels or more per year probably know what I’m talking about.  One novel can be very cerebral, make you focus a lot on the technical aspects, or focus on how things happen in them.  How a person walks.  How an exosuit walks.  How a warrior fights.

Others might focus more on the emotional aspect.  The the primary purpose of actions are to create emotional reactions in the characters and the readers.

There are countless variations, and so just like people, countless ‘personality types’ for novels.  Not to mention a writer’s style can have a big impact on how all of this is presented and ‘feels’ in a story.  Short, bursts of sentences, or long, drawn out sentences?  Choosing 1st person vs. 3rd person PoV.

How much of this is a reflection of the writer’s personality?  How much of it is their voice?

The Narrator as a Character

It’s easy to identify most of the characters in a novel.  They usually have dialogue, descriptions of their actions and reactions, and most importantly, goals and desires, something to drive them forward.

…but what of the narrator?  In a 1st person PoV, that’s easy, it is whomever the PoV is from.  But in 3rd person, we often forget about the narrator.  It’s just text describing what’s going on, right?

I used to think so.  Until I started practicing for recording an audio book.  And as I have now read through the prologue of The Sword of Dragons about a dozen times, I’ve come to realize that the narrator IS a character.  He or she has their own voice, their own syntax and cadence, most often very different from when the characters speak dialogue.

And it’s funny that we forget about it, because if you think about it, their voice is the most important voice in the story.  The narrator is the one telling us what is going on, who is doing what, and why, and where it is taking place.  They are the ones telling us about these characters.

campfire-story-tellingThink about it.  You’re sitting around a campfire somewhere, and someone starts to tell a story.  Of course, whether or not the story is interesting might be debatable.  But how the person tells that story will ultimately determine if everyone else will listen or not, and whether or not they will enjoy the experience.  Perhaps a tradition that goes back thousands of years, to when the hunter-gatherers sat around fires describing how they caught that evening’s dinner.

So to all of my fellow writers out there, I challenge you to think about this, and to even read your own stories out loud, even if it is only to the wall, or your dog or cat or bird.  Listen to how you read the narrator’s lines.  What voice is it you hear when you read it silently?  Is it the same voice when you read it out loud?

And is that voice yours?

To all of the novel readers out there, let me ask you a similar question: do you hear a separate voice in your head when you read narration in a novel?  Is it yours?  Read it out loud, and then tell me what you hear.  Is it different?  Or is it as unique as one of the other characters?

In this light, I truly now believe that the narrator is their own character.  Perhaps we as writers should focus more attention on that.

Just a thought :)

Thanks for reading!
-Jon Wasik