Thursday, July 28, 2011

New releases from Iambik Audiobooks

We're changing how we release books at Iambik. Although we'll continue to release groups of books by genre, we will also be publishing books more often as they become available in various subjects. Today's new releases include a romance, a young adult book and our first 'classic.'
The titles are: The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford (classic), Around the World in Stilettos by Natalie-Jane Revell (romance), and Step on a Crack by Mary Anderson (young adult).  If you haven't signed up to be notified of new releases, you can do so by subscribing to Iambik's mailing list here.  Top right on the masthead.  Of course, I'll continue to post about new releases here, too.

Also, enter the code “rulebreaker” at checkout for an additional 25% off your purchase(s).

Monday, July 25, 2011

Born in the Fifties

A shout out to my friend, Barbara, who is celebrating her birthday today.  She's also my 'almost twin' since we were born one week apart.  We were, as the title states, born in the fifties -- smack in the middle of the baby boom.  More fifties baby boomers include my sister, Pam, and a number of friends, including Linda, Becky S. and John O.

The Police sure looked good when they produced this song.  Blonde on ice.  The first video shows them as they were in the late '70's and the second video was put together by someone who liked the song and wanted to evoke the era.  Not a bad job.

This video is for all of us but with a special Happy Birthday to Barb! 

The lyrics for the entire song are displayed on the Youtube page with this video:

In the swim...

Despite having so many beaches, we have swimming pools in Florida. Lots and lots of them. Although I didn't grow up here, I knew that we would eventually move back to Florida -- my parents met here and wanted to settle here -- so they insisted that my sister Pam and I take swimming lessons. Because of moving around so much, we didn't get around to the lessons until I was either 12 or 13 and Pam would have been 10 or 11. We had just moved to Texas and Randolph, the base we lived on, had a really nice family pool just a few blocks from our house.

Pam and I started in a beginner's class with a bunch of kids much younger than we were. Our instructor was this pretty blonde named Karen who used to wear tiny bikinis to our lessons. She was probably around 20 or so. The worst part for me (well, actually, there were several 'worse' parts) was not being able to see well under water. I wore 'coke bottle' glasses before I switched to contact lenses when I was 14. Also, I couldn't stand water going up my nose. And, yes, it did go up my nose despite the fact that I was holding my breath.

Pam and I made it through the beginner's class without too much of a problem. Karen taught in the shallow end of the pool and we were cool with that. The only memorable thing I can recall from those lessons was when one of the little boys was swimming to Karen and reached out and grabbed one of her boobs. This wasn't too hard to do because they were pretty prominent and the poor kid had his eyes closed. (I think.) Karen turned beet red and the rest of the kids, including us -- the two big ones, were snickering.

After we received our little Red Cross pins for passing the beginner's class, we enrolled in the advanced beginner's class. Some of this class took place in the shallow end but we also used the center of the pool which was the deepest part. The pool was one of those Olympic style ones, rectangular with shallow ends leading to a deep center section which had these rope/buoy lines running from end to end. Our instructor for this class was an older lady who looked like she'd spent a LOT of time in the sun and water. Leathery skin and short bleach-y blond hair. I can't remember her name but Pam and I privately referred to her as "Army Sergeant" because of the way she'd yell, "LISTEN UP!" and "EVERYONE IN THE WATER!" After the young soft-spoken Karen, this was going to be different. Army Sergeant wasn't mean -- just kind of brusque.

Pretty soon she had us swimming the width of the pool between the buoy lines. Now, I hate deep water. Even after taking swimming lessons. So when it was my turn I always slowly curved over until I was pretty much swimming along beside the buoy line on the left. Apparently this wasn't lost on Army Sergeant. Pam said that one day while I was swimming across, Army Sergeant told her that 'your sister sure does curve around when she swims.' Sheez, you'd think she would have figured it out. The last day of class we had to do what I had really feared. Jump off the diving board. We didn't have to actually dive although we had been taught to do that. I practically had to be pushed as I held my nose and jumped. I honestly thought I was drowning. Pam was trying to get Army Sergeant's attention when I discovered (the hard way) how to dog paddle. That's how I got to the surface and over to the ladder. I was both scared to death by my near-death experience and exhilarated by learning to dog paddle. I still hate diving boards and never dive in. I always jump feet-first while holding my nose. Diving gives me a headache. I could actually swim pretty well under water with one arm while holding my nose.

After passing both sets of lessons, Pam and I were allowed to go to the pool on our own. It was great -- we went almost every day during the summers we lived there.  We'd put on our suits and flip flops, grab a beach towel and some change for snacks and then peddle to the pool on our bikes. Ah, it felt like pure freedom. Sometimes we either met or ran into friends from school there or we'd just entertain ourselves.  Although we both turned pretty tan, we preferred staying in the water as much as possible.  We'd play 'Marco Polo' or take turns diving for a penny on the bottom of the pool.  Shallow end, of course.

Hanky's wardrobe
There was this lifeguard who was always there.  Every once in awhile it would be someone else but usually it was this guy who was really tan.  Plus he had dark hair and eyes.  We never knew his name so (of course) Pam and I came up with one for him.  Because he always wore the same tiny scarlet red Speedo type swim suit, which we thought was about the size of one of our dad's handkerchiefs, we came up with  Hanky-Panky which we eventually shortened to just Hanky.  Hanky wasn't particularly friendly.  I guess being older than most of the kids at the pool (he was probably around college age), we weren't very interesting.  Once every hour, Hanky would blow his whistle and that was the signal for everyone to get out of the pool so that he could cool off with a swim.

Hanky always spent his entire 15 minutes swimming the length of the pool, back and forth.  He preferred the  breast stroke.  He was really muscular -- almost to the point of looking like a body builder.  Just those swims probably helped keep him in good shape.  After his 15 minutes were up,  he'd blow his whistle again to let us know we could all get back in the water.

We used to take our small transistor radios with us (AM in those days for music) because we didn't always like what was being played over the speakers.  For some reason, maybe it was the number 1 hit during that time, it seemed like "Spinning Wheel" by Blood, Sweat and Tears was constantly on.  I've never cared for that group but, to this day, hearing that song makes me think of our summers at the pool.  That time on our own was our first real bit of independence and Pam and I loved it.  We also loved the fact that Carol and Heidi, our two younger sisters, were way too young to go with us.  Carol was only around 4 or 5 and Heidi was a baby.  Ah, paradise!

I think Carol eventually took some swimming lessons while we still lived there but didn't complete learning to swim until after we'd moved to Florida.  She and Heidi both learned to swim at much younger ages than Pam and I did.  We moved to a tiny city, almost a suburb of Tampa, called Temple Terrace.  By the time Heidi was old enough for lessons, she took them during the summer with other kids around her age.  There was a small private college in Temple Terrace that offered lessons at their pool during the summer.  I remember Pam and Carol and I going with our mother to watch her swim.  At first I felt a little embarrassed for Heidi because every time there was any sort of race in the pool, she was last.  Dead last.  Not only that but it didn't seem to bother her.  She was going at her pace and didn't care what anyone else was doing.  She grew into a really strong swimmer, too, particularly after my parents had a pool installed in the back yard.  Come to think of it, Heidi is still that way.  Her way or the highway. 

Heidi goes for the gold!


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Antiquing and good food

Duane and Linda and I decided to hit some of the local antique shops in Duane's neighborhood yesterday.  Seminole Heights is a great place for antiquing with the shops, great little restaurants and cool bungalow houses.  Duane lives in a bungalow that she has lovingly restored and it has charm by the truckload.  We stopped at an estate sale in a beautiful old house that was being sold.  Unfortunately, the sale was in it's second day so it seemed that every piece Linda looked at (mostly side tables) had SOLD written on the tag.  Bummer.                   

Our first real stop was at the mid-century store Kaleidoscope.  We love looking through this beautifully decorated and carefully curated store.  I found this cool aqua ceramic hanging light and Linda found a lovely rug for her home office in the colors she's using for that room.


Then we headed over to an antique mall just a couple of blocks over      
and Linda and I both hit pay dirt.  I found another piece of matte white pottery for my collection (still to be blogged about -- with pics -- at a later date) and Linda, the tea drinker, found an English Brown Betty teapot.   We were happy campers!

 We were all hungry for lunch by then so we stopped at one of our favorite places, Nicko's Fine Foods or, as we call it, Nicko's Diner.  Good breakfast food and sandwiches.  On the weekends you can get breakfast all day.  Nicko's has been around forever -- it's supposed to be the last steel diner in Tampa.  They have a booth there called the 'Elvis booth' because Elvis Presley ate there after he performed in Tampa in 1956.  We actually got to sit in the Elvis booth yesterday.  There's a little plaque and there are some pics of Elvis above the window of the booth.   Kind of adds to the southern diner ambiance.


After lunch, we were all feeling ready to hit some more shops so we headed to one that Duane told us about that none of us had been to before.  Small but well curated -- very nice lady owns it.  Duane REALLY struck gold there.  She found this really fab light turquoise formica table with white painted metal legs to put in her kitchen as a breakfast table.  Duane also scored a set of 12 vintage Vera cloth napkins.  The store was having a 25% off sale so she did quite well.  The three of us decided that one of our next missions is to find the perfect chairs or stools for Duane's new table. I'm sure we're up to it.

After taking a swing through Sherry's YesterDAZE Vintage Clothing & Antiques which is always crammed to the rafters with items from clothing, jewelry, furniture, household items and antiques, we were pretty pooped.  Sherry has a website where she also sells some of her items online here.

Her store was written up in The New York Times and is definitely worth a visit if you're into anything vintage.
I suggested one last stop for an afternoon dessert before we headed back to Duane's house.  (I always have room for dessert!)  We decided to stop at  The Front Porch Grill (below).  It's located in a large old house that is supposedly the oldest house in the area -- built in 1900.  I had the chocolate ganache with whipped cream and Duane and Linda both decided on the chocolate creme brulee (also with whipped cream).  Then I couldn't pass up adding the grill's homemade french vanilla ice cream.  Duane had some, too, and Linda (who was trying to be good) tasted it.  REALLY good.  We decided that since we had been very bad girls with our shopping, we may as well finish off the afternoon in sinful decadence.

Friday, July 15, 2011

New Crime Fiction collection released by Iambik

Iambik Audiobooks released it's second collection of crime fiction today.

The new titles are: Hard Cold Whisper by Michael Hemmingson, Listen to the Dead by Randall Peffer, Richmond Noir by Various authors, The Painted Messiah by Craig Smith, The Vaults by Toby Bell, and Thought You Were Dead by Terry Griggs.

The books are $6.99 each or you can purchase the entire collection of six books as shown at right Complete Crime Collection No.2 for $29.99.
Enter the code hot-summer-nights at checkout for 30% off all orders at  Code expires Friday, July 22.

Commit crime vicariously with this great collection of books!

Friday, July 8, 2011

My narrator interview

The wonderful Miette at Iambik Audiobooks has been doing a great job of getting the Iambik 'brand' out there on the Iambik blog. One of her projects has been conducting interviews with the various narrators on Iambik. It was my turn to answer her questions and the results are now posted on the blog.

Back to work for me. I'm currently editing the 5th chapter of Nanny Behaving Badly and need to spend some time on my current LibriVox project, The Mystery of Mary, too.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Another one in the catalog...

Finished Three Girls in a Flat for LibriVox and it's now in their catalog.  (See my solo list for a link at the bottom of this page.)  For my next LV project, I settled on a mystery.  This one's called The Mystery of Mary by Grace Livingston Hill.  A beautiful young woman is running away from something and begs a man at a train station to help her.  He's immediately taken with her beauty, her manner, her fear and agrees to help her despite the fact he knows nothing about her --  her name, where she came from, etc.  Lots of twists and turns in this one so it will be an interesting book to alternate with the romance Nanny Behaving Badly that I'm starting for Iambik this weekend. 

Iambik just received some more crime books for recording so I threw my hat in the ring with an audition for one of them.  You never know what an author is looking for in a narrator so it keeps things interesting.  Hoping any rain this weekend will be in the morning and at night since the afternoon is prime recording time for me.