Friday, June 24, 2011

Catching up with LibriVox and prepping for another Iambik book

After finishing my third book for Iambik recently, I have a few days to return to my LibriVox projects. I'm in the process of completing my current solo Three Girls in a Flat.   I also managed to sneak readings for the current Weekly Poem and latest Fortnightly Poem.  I can't pass up a great poem so I check each week to see what LibriVox has up for recording.

I'm also going to have to write an introduction to this book because I haven't been able to find anything I can use on Wikipedia or even bookstores where the book can still be purchased.  Generally, I use info from those sites on their own (with credit, of course) or I may add to them or present the information in a completely different way.  No luck with this one so I'm going to have to start from scratch.  I suspect that this book was somewhat autobiographical.  There are three girls sharing a flat, one of whom was a sculptor.  There are  three women credited as authors and, you guessed it, the first woman named, Enid Yandell, was a sculptor.  The book is episodic and takes place in Chicago around the time of the World's Fair in the early 1900's. 

I'm prepping for my next Iambik project.  This one is a romance called Nanny Behaving Badly by Judie Jarvie.  After recording three rather serious books (although they were not without humor), this should be a fun read.  As you can see from the cover, there's nothing 'buttoned up' about this young lady...

Friday, June 17, 2011

Terrific shop --- Great video!

My friend Barbara's daughter, Margaret (aka Madge), has an enviable job as the Manager/Buyer for the Scottish Rite and Egleston Gift Shop at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. Margaret gets paid to buy items for the store. (I'm incredibly jealous!) Among other duties, including managing and setting up displays for the shop, she gets to attend shows with sellers displaying their wares from around the world who would just love to have her choose their items for the shop. Here's a pic of some of the displays Madge and her co-workers put together last Christmas at the shop.

Margaret and her co-workers made a music video of the store showing off items along with what they do. Margaret/Madge is the adorable little blond!  If you're ever in the neighborhood (2 locations in Atlanta), stop in and check out the 2 stores.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Iambik Audiobooks releases third Literary Fiction collection


Iambik Audiobooks released their third collection of literary fiction today. There are six new titles available for purchase. The six titles are: Amphibian by Carla Gunn, The Painting and the City by Robert Freeman Wexler, Then We Saw the Flames by Daniel A. Hoyt,  How They Were Found  by Matt Bell, The Autobiography of Jenny X by Lisa Dierbeck, and With or Without You by Lauren Sanders.

I narrated With or Without You and found it to be compelling reading.  It begins with the arrest of 18 year old Lillian Speck for the murder of a soap opera actress for whom she had developed an infatuation.  Most of the book is written in the first person so the reader is privy to Lily's thoughts and actions as she looks back over her childhood, her time in prison leading up to her trial, and her relationship with her wealthy parents.  Some sections are devoted to a third person account of the life of the young actress, Brooke, through the eyes of Brooke's mother.  There are some very intense scenes and some violence.

The titles are $6.99 each or you can purchase the collection for $29.99 from the Iambik website. Use this code #jiam2011 at checkout on for 50% off all titles through the end of June 2011.


Friday, June 10, 2011

The ice cream man cometh

...just as I'm starting to recordeth.  Sigh.  First my headphones pick up the slightest sound of tinkly bells.  Then I can hear the actual music emanating from the truck of our local ice cream man as he roams through the neighborhood.  It's always the same tune - "Do Your Ears Hang Low?"  Although, when I was growing up, we used to sing variations of this song that I'm sure are still around -- "Do Your Boobs/Balls Hang Low?"  -- depending on your gender.  Ah, memories of childhood.

Back to business.  Due to the growing number of suggestions and pictures I've seen of other audiobook narrators and their recording set-ups, I've been slowly improving mine.  A number of people have purchased or made foam boxes similar to the one I made to house my mic while recording.  Here's one that a fellow narrator, Clive, made himself which I found interesting.  He actually used wood for the outer housing and a couple of different types of foam to block/absorb noise.  Notice how the box is also raised so that any vibration from the table is minimized.  Clive reads from his laptop which is visible in the photo.

Unless you own a Whisper Booth or some other type of home studio, you are going to have to deal with noise.  In Clive's case, he lives in a very remote area where he doesn't have many of the noises I have but then I don't have to deal with a rooster (which Clive named Gregory Peck) in my neighborhood.  A rooster crowing is right up there with lawn services, pressure washers, delivery trucks, school buses, etc.

I'm actually considering doing what many of my fellow narrators on Iambik are already doing -- recording in a closet.  The closet I would use is in the room where I record and is a very small walk-in.  First I'd have to clean out a lot of stuff (I keep most of our Christmas decorations in there) and then shift it to another closet in the house.  Also, this closet has the attic opening in the ceiling where our ac/heat unit resides which means that I would need to be able to clear it out pretty quickly if we had to have the unit serviced.

The one thing I don't have in this closet is clothing which would actually be beneficial since it's a pretty good sound barrier.  I'm thinking of moving some of my cooler weather clothes upstairs and storing them in it.  If I push them to the sides, that would help and then I can use egg crate foam for the back of the closet.  Since I read the text from my netbook (I can't get close enough to my desktop because my mic picks up the fan noise), I'll even have a light source -- the netbook -- although I may need to take a small lamp in there with me.  So, besides the clothing and sound-proofing foam, there's just enough room for me, my mic in it's sound box and my netbook.  Oh, and my enormous bottle of water that I have with me at all times when recording.

Closet (before) with all items removed.
One of the folks at Iambik posted a link to a site where a guy made his own soundbooth from a closet.  He did all of the work himself and it only cost him around $600-$700.  Not too bad since booths that you purchase run in the thousands.  I've included 'before' and 'after' pics of this guy's soundbooth. 

Outside of booth after renovation.

Very impressive!  If you would like to see photos of the inside of his booth, just check out his step-by-step instructions with photos here . Gee, I wonder if he rents himself out for this kind of work?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

June is Audiobook Month!

Audiobooks are more popular than ever and the month of June is officially Audiobook Month.  According to the Audio Publishing Association (APA), 25% of Americans had listened to an audiobook in the last year.  Audiobook listeners tend to be avid readers who listen to audio when they are not able to read.  In fact, 94% of audiobook listeners had read a book in the past year vs. 70% of non-audiobook listeners.

More 'fun' facts from the APA -- most people listen in their cars but people are also listening while they are exercising, cooking, gardening -- and even at work.  (Shhh!  We won't tell.)  And the average audiobook listener spends about 5 hours a week listening.

I've been a narrator (and listener) at LibriVox for over 4 years. Just a few of my favorite narrators there are Karen Savage, Elizabeth Klett, Cori Samuel and Andy Minter. I would recommend any of their solos. As for solo titles I've recorded, I would recommend Edna Ferber's Dawn O'Hara, The Girl Who Laughed, Miriam Michelson's In the Bishop's Carriage and The Other Side of the Door by Lucia Chamberlain. Remember, all the content at LibriVox is free and you often have more than one 'choice of voice' as we call it if you would like to listen to a classic.

While most people obtain their audiobooks via sites like Audible, please remember that Iambik Audio offers a great place to find those little gems from small and independent publishers. While our titles are available through Audible, it's less expensive if you purchase them directly from the Iambik website.

Iambik will be rolling out our third set of literary fiction in a couple of weeks. Of course, I'll post about that here but in the mean time, keep listening!