Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Latest audiobook released!

My latest narration has just been released on AudibleTiaras & Texans: A Presley Thurman Mystery by Laina Turner.  This is book 5 in the Presley Thurman series.   Presley wins a bet with her boyfriend, Cooper, who owns a security firm.  She gets an assignment as an investigator with his company.  However, when Presley discovers it involves covering a beauty pageant where pranks had been played on the girls the previous year, she's less than thrilled at the idea of hanging around a hotel with a bunch of beauty queens.  But things start happening to the girls and Presley's job becomes a lot more interesting... 

The book can be purchased here.

I'm just finishing up another mystery called Kudzu by Kathleen Walls and I've started recording a sci/fi dystopian comedy called Exponential Apocalypse by Eirik Gumeny.  Then it's on to a 'fish out of water' story.  I love variety!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Estate Sale Saturday -- Beaucoup Yarn!

Duane and I hit several estate sales this morning.  Linda wasn't with us today -- she has company from out of town AND today's her birthday.  Happy Birthday, Linda!  (We'll be celebrating her birthday later this week or next weekend.)  Duane and I both found a few things at the first couple of sales but the last one was the best.  HUGE amount of yarn along with knitting needles and crochet hooks.  We'll be sharing our spoils with Linda when we see her and there's plenty for all three of us plus lots of yarn to send with the skeins we already have set aside for The Humble Stitch

First up are the items we found that were NOT yarn.  Duane's grandson has begun working for Home Depot and she came across a Home Depot picture frame (no kidding -- it's orange with the logo, etc.) and bought it to place a picture of her grandson in his uniform in it.  Then at the next stop, I found a beautifully framed and signed rendering of a building in Bonn-Bad Godesberg from Germany.  The couple having the sale had spent years going back and forth between the U.S. and Europe due to the man's work with U.S. Customs.  I'm going to do a little research to see if I can figure out the artist's name.  It's difficult to read the signature.  I also found a copy of a book that I'd like to eventually record for LibriVox It's a 1908 reprint of a book published in 1903 and hasn't been recorded yet for the LibriVox catalog.  It's going into my pile of 'books for LibriVox when I get a break from paid recordings.'  I with I could do both at the same time but I've found that it's discombobulating to go back and forth between books.  I prefer recording one at a time.

Our last stop was the best.  The lady who had lived in the house had quite a few books and, lucky for us, did a lot of knitting and crocheting.  We filled the trunk of my Mini with bags of yarn, crochet thread and needles and hooks.  It's going to be fun for the three of us to sort it all out and decide what each of us wants to work with.  Duane also found several books so we left the sale with a number of bags.

Afterwards, we headed back to Duane's part of town to hit Starbucks for some coffee and a snack.  Bummer alert!  Due to a problem with the city water system that occurred yesterday, Starbucks was open but had a sign up stating that they could only sell bottled items and prepared foods.  So we had to skip our coffee and substitute bottled water with a treat instead.  There was a big printed sign on the door of Starbucks and another sign (along with today's newspaper headline regarding the water fiasco) sitting on the counter where you place your order.  While Duane and I were having our treats with water, a local news team drove up and took a close-up shot of the sign on the Starbucks door.  Guess a lot of people went without their coffee today.  Supposedly the 'boil water' alert will end after tomorrow.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Estate sale in a country barn

Early yesterday morning, Linda and Duane and I met at a house located on several wooded acres in a small town nearby.  You couldn't even see the house or other buildings from the road due to all of the trees and foliage plus the house was pretty far back from the road.  The owners were having an estate sale.  There were some items available on the screened porch on the back of the house but the vast majority of the sale was being held in a big barn farther back from the house and just as invisible from the road.

This place looked like it had been there for some time.  It also looked like it had been well-maintained for the most part.  Lots of lush shrubbery that someone had planted and tended.  The barn was wild.  Many people had enough foresight to bring flashlights with them.  The only one of us with a flashlight was Linda.  It was a little one that I had given her that she keeps on her keychain.  You really needed all the light you could get because the lighting in the barn was very dim and not much came in from the entrance.  The picture of the barn shows the entrance but the barn was rectangular and went back quite a bit.  It looked like the family had used it to store not only the usual things (tools, lawn items, etc.) but also boxes and boxes of items they were now selling.  Everything from movies (mostly VHS) to tools to housewares were for sale including guns.  I heard a guy asking about the guns and he was told that they had one left.  They started with six and had sold them before the official sale time (8am) even began.

I managed to cut my finger by plunging it into a box that I didn't realize had some things with sharp edges in it.  It was a small cut and I figured it wouldn't bleed much but I was wrong.  Linda came to my aid with some kleenex and also some alcohol pads that she had in her car.  Good thing our nurse was with us. 

Duane and I both found several small items.  Stuff like that pictured were for sale along side hoes and rakes with really long handles on them.  I guess long handles are a good idea with that much nature around.
After I dribbled blood here and there (before Linda came to my aid), I found a few small items, too.  I really like the little crest charms.  I'm going to clean them up and then figure out what I want to do with them.  The thimbles with scenes from Tarpon Springs on them that Duane and I both bought are from the 1950's.  I also found a saint's medal that I hadn't come across before along with an Olympic pin.  Linda bought two items.  She bought a large signed picture that she liked and also got a terrific deal on a piece of 'Made in Occupied Japan' figure.  It's a traditional blue and white and is in mint condition.  Hard to pass up -- especially for a quarter.  She's not sure yet where she'll put him but it's a cool little piece.

Nice buys for an old barn filled with so much in the way of tools, plumbing supplies, etc., and having to find our way around in the dark.  There were some very nice sewing machines for sale on the back porch of the house but none of us is in the market for one.  Whoever bought them got a good deal, though.

Linda and I met for coffee afterwards.  Duane couldn't join us for that part but was glad she made it to the sale.  All three of us hit a couple of smaller sales this morning and we came across skeins of yarn that we'll be sending to The Humble Stitch to be made into hats, scarves and gloves for the homeless.  Linda kept one purple skein to knit some items herself.  Duane and I both have so much yarn in our stashes that we didn't see a color that we wanted/needed to keep.  Right now I'm working on two different projects.  One is a hat for The Humble Stitch and the other is a 'scarf-lace' out of trellis yarn for myself.  That's going a bit slow since I find that trellis yarn tends to be a little slippery.

It was back to recording both yesterday and today when I got home.  I'm currently working on a book called Kudzu by Kathleen Walls.  Then I have three more lined up after it.  I had a setback when I developed an 'echo' in my recordings.  I went nuts trying to figure out the cause and it turned out to be my mic placement.  Somehow, despite the fact that it's housed in a padded box and has a metal pop filter attached, I managed to lower the mic forward on it's stand.  Instead of speaking into the part of it I normally do, I was actually speaking almost down into the top of it.  Bad idea.  Easily fixed once I found it had been moved but what a waste of precious time!  Good to go now, though, so it's back to work for me.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

We're not in Kansas anymore, Toto

I've gotten hooked on the PBS series Market Warriors which features four antique experts (in various fields) and has them compete each week to see who can bring in the most money at auction for items they purchase at flea markets.  The flea markets have varied from city to city but some are well-known -- The Rose Bowl in California, Brimfield in Massachusetts, etc.  So I've been jones-ing to go to a flea market for some time.  There is one in a town near us called Oldsmar that's been around for years.  I have to confess that I hadn't been there in a very long time.  It's been over 20 years.  Linda had never been to it and Duane hadn't been in several years so they were up for it. 

It isn't that far, distance-wise, but it seemed world's away in some ways.  Lots and lots of pick-up trucks in the parking lot which is a big field next to the market.  They have a nice fresh produce and plant market but we were looking for old and used vintage/antique items.  The first thing I noticed when we entered was that there were lots of signs for guns and I noticed a few Confederate flags (see pic).  We plunged ahead stopping to look at any stalls that offered older items.  Those were mostly clustered in an area referred to as the antique village.  There were some dealers who had very fair prices and others who had their items really overpriced for what they were and where they were selling them.  No doubt some of these people may have shops, too. 

The not-so-good part was all of the new junk items.  There was even a 'dollar store' selling items that you would expect to find in a dollar store although this one billed itself as a 'New York' dollar store.  Hmmm...  I will say that the items and services offered spanned a broad spectrum.  There was a golf shop that sold new sets of clubs, golf carts, etc.  A couple of places where you could receive a psychic 'reading' and plenty of costume and/or silver jewelry vendors.  Oh, and a massage room, too.  There were many people walking through pushing their dogs in doggy 'strollers' and we noticed that there were quite a few booths that sold only dog-related items.  Lots of books to look through along with DVDs for good prices but it was a little too crowded to really search them. 

It was time for lunch when we had decided that sitting down for awhile with some refreshments sounded good.  We found a stall that served pizza slices and decided to eat there.  They had long picnic tables spread through the aisles and this was in a covered area which was nice.  I had forgotten that this flea market has always had some sort of entertainment.  An older man was the entertainment of the day and he played guitar and sang country music songs.  Not our cup of tea but he was a proficient guitar player.  Oldsmar bills itself as the 'mightiest' flea market in the south and uses a cartoon of Mighty Mouse.  Someone really needs to correct the spelling of 'mightiest' on the sign.  Yes, we're the kind of people who notice things like that.

I was the only one who bought something but it was a nice little 'find' for my matte white pottery collection.  I don't care about the maker, etc.  I'm more interested in the shapes and design and prefer fairly plain or slightly abstract patterns.  I picked up the square planter pictured for $4.  Good deal. 

It would have helped to have had a map before we started wandering around but, of course, we never do things the easy way.  Now we each have one in case we ever decide to come back.  Otherwise, there are so many signs hanging everywhere and I do mean everywhere that it's easy to become distracted or completely turned around and not sure where you're going.

Despite my find, this was a disappointing flea market since there were so few stalls with the types of things that we like to peruse/purchase.  We're going to try a few others that are farther away but probably offer more of what we're looking to find.  Oh, I should mention that one of the gun sellers had a cut-out of a woman dressed in an actual cloth camouflage bikini with an American flag sticking out of her bikini bottom.  I really wanted to take a picture of it but I was too chicken to ask if it would be OK.  Oh well.  C'est la vie.  

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Gearing up for Valentine's Day

It's become a custom now for me to make a little something for my three nieces, ages 6, 5 and 3, for the various holidays.  Last up was Christmas where I made them each an Amigirumi Santa ornament.  With Valentine's Day coming up next week, I got busy early and finished knitting three 'hanging' hearts last week.  It was nice to knit something instead of crocheting for a change but there seem to be a lot more patterns for cute crochet items.  This knitted heart pattern is knitted and purled and the 'purl' side is actually the 'good' side on these.  I added some white satin ribbon so the girls can hang them in their rooms and also chose a little pewter charm for each one.  The pattern for these hearts can be found here.  Instructions are given for different sizes.  I went with the 'medium' which measures approx. 4" by 4" when finished.

George will be getting his usual chocolates that he can't live without and I suspect he'll get me something in the jewelry area.  That's our usual Valentine's Day MO.  I've told him NO chocolates for me because I don't want/need the temptation although I usually end up eating a few pieces of his.

As for my recording, I just finished up a book and had started another project when I ran into technical problems.  I'm so bummed I don't even want to go into it.  If I can't find the source very soon, I'm going to have to call someone in.  Ack.  More on this later...

Friday, February 1, 2013

More new titles from Iambik Audiobooks!

Iambik has recently produced six new audiobooks.  Three of them are in the science fiction/fantasy category, one is a collection of 'dark' genre short stories, one is a classic and one is for young adults.  A little something for everyone. 

I'll start with the young adult book, Mik Murdoch: Boy Superhero written by Michell Plested and narrated by Anthony St. Pierre.  From Mark Leslie Lefebvre: "This delightful romp brought me right back into my own nine year old shoes. I was right there with Mik, thirsting for a way to become a super-hero and protect the people of my small home town."

Next up is Monstrous Affections by David Nickle and narrated by Robert Keiper.   This collection of 13 short stories veers to the dark side.  From Cory Doctorow, author of Little Brother: "David Nickle writes 'em damned weird and damned good and damned dark. He is bourbon-rough, poetic and vivid. Don't miss this one."

The first of the three sci/fi/fantasy books is called
From Mountains of Ice by Lorina Stephens.  This one is recorded by Diana Majlinger.  A story of love, endurance and the meaning of honor. From Sara Messina, reviewer at Mind Fog Reviews:    "Stephens’ tale takes her reader through an exploration of the bonds between love and hate, darkness and hope, and the power of resilience that leaves an impression as lasting as Simare’s “mountains of ice."

The second sci/fi/fantasy release is titled Machine by Jennifer
Pelland.   Narrated by Bev J. Stephens, here's what the B&N Bookclub had to say:  "Science fiction, at its very best, fearlessly challenges readers and compels them to look at the world around them in a different light – and that is exactly what Jennifer Pelland’s brilliant debut novel Machine does in grand style."

Iambik's third new sci/fi/fantasy book is called Stealing Home
by Hayden Trenholm and is Book 3 of The Steele Chronicles.  The ever popular Mark F. Smith recorded this one.  From Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo Award-winning author of WAKE:  "Steel Whispers is an edge-of-your-seat amalgam of police procedural and razor-sharp science fiction. The streets of Calgary never seemed so mean! Fans of Dashiell Hammett and William Gibson both will love this; a great novel from one of Canada's fastest rising SF stars.  Hayden Trenholm doesn't just steal home — he knocks the ball out of the park with this stunning conclusion to one of the best SF/Crime crossover series ever written. Bravo!"

And last, but certainly not least, the recording of  a
classic piece of literature written by Charles Dickens.   "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." is a phrase that most people recognize as the opening of Great Expectations.  Narrated here by the wonderful Irish voice of Tadhg Hynes.  This one is a coming-of-age novel set around an orphan boy named Pip.  If you've never experienced this story or would like to 'hear' it again, this is the perfect opportunity.

All 6 of these books are currently for sale via the Iambik site with the full first chapters for each book uploaded for free listening before purchase.  If you decide to purchase, you'll be taken directly to Audible to complete your transaction.