Friday, October 28, 2011

Three very different new offerings from Iambik Audiobooks

Iambik released three new audiobooks yesterday.  First up is Couch by Benjamin Parzybok and narrated by the pleasantly deep-voiced Greg Margarite.  Described by the publisher as "a novel. An odyssey. An epic furniture removal. A road trip. An exuberant and hilarious debut in which an episode of furniture moving gone awry becomes an impromptu quest of self-discovery, secret histories, and unexpected revelations."

Next we have The Bee-Loud Glade by Steve Himmer and 
read by the ever-popular Mark F. Smith.  This is Himmer's debut 
novel and is characterized as a "charming story of a decorative hermit who lives and works on a billionaire’s estate, and whose daily experience is shaped  by his employer’s whims. The book combines a darkly comic commentary on modern work and wealth with a postmodern pastoral landscape. It brings a playfulness more commonly found in urban fiction to an outdoor setting."

The third new release is a crime novel called Sweet and Lowdown
by Lise McClendon and is narrated by Mark Douglas Nelson.  This
book is the second in the Dorie Lennox Mystery series.  (The first book, One O'Clock Jump, is also available on Iambik.)  Mark gives voice to this gritty story set in Kansas City during World War II.  Described here as "Nazi bombers are hammering London. Wendell Willkie is giving Roosevelt a run for his money. In Kansas City, Dorie Lennox and her partner Amos Haddam are trying to keep the blond and beautiful Thalia Hines from destroying herself. It's not easy. The girl has every reason to escape the cold stone mansion where her mother lies dying. Eveline Hines  is a decorated war hero during the First World War. Now she's struggling to protect her only daughter from men who lust over her inheritance even more than her curves. In the rich milieu of a bygone time, an America preparing for war provides color for the intimate portrait of a powerful woman bearing witness to the destruction of all she loves. For the Hines family, nothing will ever be the same in this powerful story of maternal love and family secrets, and the disastrous attempts to mingle them."

Mark narrates both of the Dorie Lennox mysteries.

Three new and varied tales to listen to from Iambik.  As always, the complete first chapters are available for listening on the Iambik site and are unabridged at $6.99 each.  The books will also be available on Amazon, Audible, and iTunes within 6-8 weeks.

It's been drizzling and dreary here all day -- perfect for listening to or, in my case, editing a good audiobook.  My choice for some atmosphere is from the UK's Massive Attack.  This is called "Paradise Circus" and features American singer Hope Sandoval on lead vocals.  Hope you enjoy...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

No! No! No! Not the street guys!!!

Just as I was about to start recording a very long chapter in my current LibriVox project today, I heard the unmistakable sounds of city workers beginning street resurfacing of my neighborhood.  Argh!   This means we'll have to drive on one side of the street only as they pave the other side.  That I can handle.  It's the noise part I can't take.  I can hear that truck and bulldozer (or whatever they call it) inside my recording studio/closet.  When the windows and house rumble -- that's a problem.

The chapters for A Yellow Journalist have all been pretty long but this one, chapter 12, is 30 pages.  I wanted to wrap this book up because I have two children's books that I found in a used bookstore that was  going out of business that are not listed on any of the usual places online.  (That store was a goldmine.)  Both books are pre-1923 so I can record them for LibriVox and then donate the books to Project Gutenberg to be scanned and added to
Not me but pretty close.
their online full-text printed books collection -- free for everyone.

Today's events and the days coming up have put a kink in my plans.  I finished the short story for a crime collection that's being produced by Iambik but, right now the only books available for audition are all for male narrators.  So I thought this would be a good time to work on my LibriVox projects before I have another chance at some auditions for Iambik.

I am not a happy camper today.  I know these guys are just doing their jobs but, nevertheless.  I guess it's a good excuse to watch the last episode of BBCA's "Luther" on demand.

Here is my response to the noise.  I feel like blasting it from my front window but they might actually like it. From one of my favorite divas -- Karen O.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Mrs. Peel visits a cottage estate sale

Duane and I hit an unusual estate sale yesterday. 
Cottage behind bungalow.
This one was in a small cottage located behind a bungalow in an older part of town known as Hyde Park.  As always, Duane guided Mrs. Peel, my Mini, and we found it without too much trouble.  The bungalow in front was very nice but the cottage was just adorable.   It was one nice sized living area but also included a full bath, a small walk-in closet and some kitchen appliances along one wall of the main room.

Lots of art and ceramics at this sale.  I found a large piece of 
Some items outside the cottage.
Hull pottery in my favorite white matte finish for $12. Believe me, that's a good price currently for a piece of this size. I love the scalloped design on this one. Very different from other pieces I own.

After we finished looking at this sale, we hit two more in the south part of town and Duane scored a ton of cookbooks for next to nothing.

My latest find.

Then, of course, it was time for some refreshment so we decided to stop at my favorite bakery, Kalupa's, for coffee and a snack.  Mmmm... Not only does Kalupa's make my favorite cakes but they sell tons of yummy pastries and goodies. My dog, Sammy, loves their special dog biscuits, too.

After our refreshment, Duane suggested we check out the Tuesday Morning store since we were on the south side of town.  I had never been to this particular TM but it was a huge store.  Much bigger than the one on the north side where I usually shop.  Spent quite a bit of time in there and we both found a few things we needed/wanted.  After we left TM, we decided to head back to the Seminole Heights area for lunch.  We both had the tuna melt at one of our favorite places to eat -- Mikey's Cafe & Bakery.  After that we both waddled home with our finds and had to fight wanting to nap the rest of the day.

Mrs. Peel.  Mission accomplished.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Our time at Chize

This weekend my mother asked me if I'd mind listing an old tapestry on eBay since she no longer cares about keeping it.  She bought it in 1959 during a three year period when we lived in France.  My father was stationed at Chize and we lived in the countryside in a little row house.  She bought the tapestry from an Algerian man who was selling them door-to-door.  That wasn't unusual then, that's also how she bought her Rosenthal china.  Between the door-to-door salespeople and the travelers or gypsies, it seemed like someone was always knocking on the door.

Our street.
Mom also gave me some old slides that were taken then since I have a slot for slide scanning on my scanner.  I was able to scan them but I probably should have let George do it since he has a Nikon scanner that's strictly for slides.  There's a lot of discoloration and fading on the slides but it's definitely us.  These have my mother, neighbors, my sister Pam and me in them. 

My mother is second from left.
I have no idea why I'm wearing that bodacious scarf -- that's me in the scarf and plaid skirt with the great legs.  Pam was wearing a scarf, too. We probably just wanted to wear them because my mother often did -- they're huge on us.  Mom probably bought those from someone at the door, too.  We really weren't near anything other than the base where we lived.  I know that it was a pretty long trip to Paris.

 I do remember a few things from our time there since I was 5 when we left.  I recall visiting the Eiffel Tower although we couldn't go past the second level because there was restoration/maintenance being performed.
Me on my bike.

I remember our babysitter, Madame Blondeaux (sp?).  She was an older lady who used to bike to our house from her farm.  She and her husband raised chickens.  They had a son named Jean-Paul. Pam and I were crazy about Blondeaux. My parents hired her to do some light housework and as a babysitter for us when they wanted to go out.  It was very hard to say good-bye when we left. 

Goldilocks (aka Pam) on her trike.

I was hoping one of the slides had a pic of our car -- a pale blue Simca
-- which was pretty popular over there because it was so cheap.  We brought ours back to the states with us but my parents switched back to Chevrolet pretty quickly.  I did find a picture of one that is pretty similar to ours. 
A Simca -- similar to ours.

Often I wish I had been older when we lived there so that I would remember more.  (I've been back to the UK but not France or Germany.)  My father had already traveled all over Europe before he met my mother.  However, this was her first time out of the U.S. and it was a little scary for her.  One day we came home, Mom and Pam and I, to discover a young gypsy woman inside our house.  Every door and window was locked from the inside and it freaked my mother out because she couldn't figure out how she had gotten in.  Obviously, this lady found a way in but my mother never discovered how she did it.  Score one for paranoia. 

Mom did give the French high marks for their pastries, though.  She became addicted and, since she was a picky eater herself, insisted that she practically lived off them for those three years.  Whenever she sees any European style bakery she always likes to check it out.  I feel the same way about European pastries.  That's a habit I picked up from her that I could probably live without but I'd rather go light on a meal and have something scrumptious.  Vive la France!

A friend, me and Pam.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Most of all, I miss the stuff

I have to admit that as much as I've liked being a librarian, I don't miss my job.  I would miss my friends I made at work but since I still keep in touch with them and see them at least every two weeks, that doesn't apply.  One of the things that I think about around this time of year though is the conferences.  The trips with friends and colleagues to different cities (where we always tried to squeeze in some time for sight-seeing) and also catching up with the various vendors (sales reps) that I might only see every few years, otherwise.

Various items I have in my home office
But, I have to admit that I mostly miss the stuff.  By stuff, I mean the free stuff that the vendors give out from their tables set up in the vendor hall.  The big conference for us (medical librarians) was always the southern chapter (ranging from South Carolina down to Puerto Rico) of the Medical Library Association.  It's always held in either late October or, less frequently, early November every year.  Which means it should be coming up shortly.

The last one I attended was held at the Peabody Hotel (yes, the one with the live duck march twice daily in the lobby) in Memphis, Tennessee.  It's nice that it was not only a good conference (two colleagues and I presented a poster) but it was in a great city to explore.  The vendors like having it in a fun place, too, since they have some down time and also like to look around.  The pictures at right illustrate just a few of the types of things that vendors give out at these events. The biggest freebies are pens.  We usually came back with more pens than we could use and distributed them to other staff members and even family in order to spread the wealth.  Also, there were items like flash drives, stress or squeeze items, pins, keychains, notepads, tee shirts, caps, pencils, hand sanitizing liquid (that was a fairly recent one), tote bags, etc.  I'm sure you get the idea.  Of course, all items are emblazoned with the company name and/or logo.

I heard one librarian once refer to it as adult trick or treating.  Good analogy since this conference usually comes up just before Halloween.  Oh, I forgot to mention candy and mints.  They had those, too.  The Memphis conference actually ran during Halloween which made it a bit of a problem for anyone attending who had small children at home who expected to go trick or treating.

While in Memphis, Linda and I actually managed to squeeze in a trip to Graceland.  At first we thought it would be kind of a corny thing to do since neither of us was a huge fan but after we went, we were glad that we did.  It was actually kind of cool seeing Elvis's Grammys and costumes, etc.  We both admitted that we  enjoyed it a lot more than we thought we would.  They take your picture in front of a fake backdrop before you get on a bus to go across the street to the actual house and grounds complete with the gravesites of Elvis and his parents.  We also managed to take a tour of the Gibson guitar factory (very cool) and I ran out at the end of one of the day's events (around 4pm) to walk though the Rock 'n Soul Museum which was within walking distance of the Peabody.  They had a lot of interesting items like the original bandstand that Dick Clark stood behind and the piano that Ike Turner learned to play on.  Also, lots of costumes donated from various artists including more Elvis Presley clothing.

Beale Street was interesting -- neat shops and barbecue places.  I was probably the only person in town who doesn't care for barbecue but I did have some good meals there.  That's another thing that's fun to do is check out places to eat.  Did a lot of that when we had the conference in Charleston, S.C. and Savannah, GA.  Atlanta wasn't too shabby in the eats department, either, and I had the best chicken and yellow rice I've ever eaten in old town San Juan when we met in Puerto Rico.  San Juan also gets points for the best bakery (I have an unbelievable sweet tooth) which was, unfortunately for me, directly across the street from the conference hotel.   Too many trips there but I met an awful lot of very nice people.  The Puerto Rican people were some of the friendliest and warmest people to chat with that I've come across.  

Ahem, now for the places that weren't so great -- for various reasons.  Only two really stand out.  One was in Mobile, Alabama.  The hotel was downtown and very nice but I made the mistake of deciding to spend the afternoon (after attending a CE course in the morning) exploring downtown Mobile.  This is something I enjoy doing -- often on my own -- to explore the city if it's within walking or public transportation distance of my hotel.  Yikes.  This was  a few years back but there were a lot of homeless men on both sides of the street going back to the hotel.  A number of them seemed unconscious but I ended up walking almost down the middle of the street.  Luckily, due to the dearth of traffic there I was in no danger of being hit. 

The other town I didn't care for, despite it's being very pretty, was Greenville, South Carolina.  I should admit that the fact that I was sick with a horrendous migraine for two days while there did color my opinion of the town but there really wasn't much to see other than an old historic cemetery near the hotel.  I guess it was as good a place as any to have the migraine from hell.  I stayed in my room for two days with the curtains drawn in the dark.  I ordered room service for every meal.  I had to look scary -- I felt like Vampyra with my hair loose and dark circles under my eyes.   Luckily, this was the only time I was ever sick during a conference.

So, this year I won't be collecting any pens or other items for the first time in a very long time.  Sniff.  Yes, I'm that shallow.

One nice thing about my second career though is the ability to set my own hours.  I've always been self-motivated so that's not a problem for me.  I've found that I do need to get out more than I used to to see other people (George and the dog don't count).  Also, I've gotten into a terrible habit of keeping George's hours which involves staying up very late at night and, naturally, sleeping late the next day.  I think he's trying to turn me into George 2.0.

Enough nostalgia for now, I need to get into my recording booth to finish up a crime short story for a book for Iambik.  I have to kickstart myself (and my week) into gear.  This is some early Reef from the UK.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Two new releases for romance lovers

Iambik Audiobooks released two new additions to their romance collection today.  The first is called Storm's Heart by Rachel Lyndhurst.  Narrated by author E.J. Newman.  When Greek lawyer Andreas Lazarides and bistro-manager Kizzy Dean clash over the executing of his mother’s final wishes, he takes matters into his own hands and Kizzy back with him to Ancient Greece. Tension runs high on the sun-baked Greek Island of Rhodes amidst the ancient myths and alleyways of Lindos village.

This one is a super-sexy, sophisticated romance with a dark, brooding centre.

The second romance is Trencarrow Secret by Anita Davison.  Narrated by the wonderful Ruth Golding, this one is a magnificent Victorian love story filled with dark family secrets and intrigues.  A more genteel romance in which, the heroine, Isabel, discovers that her parents' marriage is one of convenience.  Is she willing to settle for that, too?  Or does she have the courage to pursue true love?  There's only one way to find out...

Both books are available on the Iambik website for $6.99 each.  Or you might have a chance to win one or both of them by entering into Iambik's one year birthday giveaway bash. Check out the rules and how to enter (easy-peasy) here.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Win some audiobooks!

Iambik turns one!
Iambik Audiobooks, in honor of it's first birthday, is having a book giveaway bash.   There are multiple ways to enter and here is what you can win:
  • Grand Prize (1 winner): Your choice of any 10 books from our catalog.
  • Second Prize (1 winner): Your choice of any 5 books from our catalog.
  • Third Prize (5 winners): Your choice of any 1 book from our catalog.

This contest will run for two weeks, so you have until October 19, 2011 – our birthday – to collect entries.  Winners to be notified on October 20, 2011.

Visit our blog here for all the details and good luck!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Group project coming up on Iambik, etc.

Although we've had at least one book recorded at Iambik that involved two narrators, we're getting ready to try something we haven't done before.  Las Vegas Noir is a collection of crime stories by different authors.  Some of the stories feature male narrators and others feature female so we decided (with the editors' blessing) to match our voices with the various stories.

Very excited about this for several reasons.  This will be my first 'crime' read for Iambik and I think the idea of a group project for this is a great one.  Anyone purchasing the book will be able to hear a pretty good sample of many of our narrators.  I'll post later when I know which story I'll be reading.   

Right now I'm plugging along on my latest LibriVox solo, A Yellow Journalist by Miriam Michelson.  It's been awhile since I've read chapters that are as long as 53 minutes -- that's the longest one so far.  Each of the 14 chapters details a different 'story' that the reporter is covering.  I'm enjoying the book (luckily, so is my proof-listener) but I am really ready to come out of my studio/closet by the time I finish each recording.  I've also been keeping up with the weekly and fortnightly poetry readings on LibriVox, too.  It's so easy to forget how much great poetry is in the Public Domain.

Also, I'm so bummed that BBCA's The Hour has finished -- at least until series two.  Really loved that show.

Apropos of nothing, I was listening to Florence Welch earlier and I suddenly thought of Kate Bush.  Welch's voice reminds me a bit of Kate Bush.  Flashback time...

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Good food, good friends, great music

Met some friends at Skipper's Smokehouse for dinner and a concert last night.  Great weather for it!  Finally starting to cool down in the evenings here.  My friend, Linda, is a big fan of singer Eilen Jewell and her band and talked us into going to see her perform.

Skipper's is known for their seafood and we all pigged out on their fried shrimp, hush puppies, fries and cole slaw.  Of course, there was some imbibing as well. Two bands opend for Eilen Jewell's band.  The first was Barren River Trio, a local band, then The Nouveaux Honkies.  Nice bands for the lead-up to Eilen.  She and her band put on a terrific show.  Her guitarist is incredible.  Linda and Duane got their CDs signed by Eilen Jewell after the show.   Happy campers.

Eilen autographed Linda's CD

Here is Eilen and her band performing Warning Signs.