Monday, October 27, 2014

My latest recording now available on Audible!

My recording of the book Dust by Emanuel Haldeman-Julius and Anna Marcet Haldeman-Julius is for sale on Audible.

This book is truly a little gem.  A classic American story set in the pioneering era in Kansas.

In the 1870’s, Jacob and Sarah Wade travel with their three children in a covered wagon to lay claim to land in Kansas to call their own and scratch out a living. The book follows three generations of the Wade family although it concentrates mostly on the relationship between Martin Wade, the oldest son of Jacob and Sarah, and the woman he chooses to marry, Rose. The hard existence of farm life takes a toll on all involved and affects each person differently. This novel was a best seller when it was published in 1921 by the husband and wife writing team of Emanuel Haldeman-Julius and Anna Marcet Haldeman-Julius. It was considered an example of the new writing of naturalism and realism being published at the time. “Painfully gloomy as it is,” the New York Times noted, “Dust must be classed among the 'big' novels of the year.”

This was a pleasure to narrate.  If you are interested in listening to a sample or purchasing the book, you can check it out here

If you like to go back and forth between listening and reading, Dust will be part of Amazon's Whispersync program very soon.  The Kindle version of Dust is here.  Once you see this message on the Kindle page or the Audible page for this book -- Whispersync for Voice-ready --  you can purchase the Kindle version and get a deep discount on the audio. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Friday Estate Sales and Halloween Hairbands

Yesterday morning, Duane and I headed to two estate sales that were in her neighborhood.  Linda had a doctor's appt. so she caught up with us a bit later.  The main sale we were interested in was another one of those experiences where you find yourself walking into the past.  In this case, the house hadn't changed since the '70's and these people had really taken decorating from that era to the max.  The carpet was all sculpted shag and the living room was sunken.  I remember some builders in the '70's referring to those rooms as 'conversation pits.'

As soon as we walked into the front door, we were met with a very strange floor plan.  Just ahead, and I really mean right in front of us, was a small recessed area with all of these funky light fixtures hanging from the ceiling.They were made of a lot of plastic and beads.  This wasn't just funky.  It was 'funk-ay.' The statuary pictured in the first photo was in various places throughout the house.  The second photo shows part of a wall mural in the dining room.  These people obviously liked to entertain because they had a large built-in bar with a number of sets of liquor glasses and decanters.  They also had a lot of serve ware.

The bedrooms were '60's and '70's matching bedroom sets that were more plastic than wood.  In fact, the French Provincial style in one of the bedrooms was a dead ringer for the Sears furniture that my sister Pam and I had in the room we shared together during that time.  (And thought was ever so cool.)

Once again, the master bath was the highlight of the sale.  That's actually happened several times but this time I didn't feel comfortable taking photos because the room wasn't that big and there were a lot of people in and out.  The house had one of those step-up half-round soaking tubs and, yes, the bathroom had the same sculptured shag carpet found in the rest of the house.  The carpet was cut away from the bottom of the toilet though.  The floor was simply cement around it.  Probably helpful in case of leaks or (no, please!) overflows.  The jewel of this bathroom was what I first thought was a set of glass sliding doors flush up to the tub and covering the wall on that part side of the bathroom.  It was what was behind the glass that brings back that word 'funk-ay.'  The rectangular 'room' behind the glass was decorated like a tropical jungle.  Lots of plastic flowers and greenery and even plastic animals.  Drat!  I wish I had gotten a photo.  We might not see one of those again.

Duane got lucky at this sale and found a really pretty piece of Delft porcelain.  Unusual, too, because it's not the blue and white or any of the other types she's come across before.   The third pic showing the contents of a china cabinet shows the Delft pieces on the third shelf down.  The porcelain area is a mixture of green and tan and the metal is either brass or gold plated.  Duane bought one of the smaller vases.  Very striking.  She also found a nice large divided glass serving platter.

The second and last sale we went to was at the house of an elderly lady who continuously has 'estate' sales and also has the house up for sale.  She seems to bring her prices down a little each time she has a sale.  We're not sure she actually lives in the house because you never see a car or anyone there unless she's having one of her sales.  Judging from the variety of items she has, I'm pretty sure she was a dealer -- either with her own shop or at a flea market.  Duane did find a really pretty framed fashion print this time.  Linda and I went home empty-handed but Duane had a pretty good day.

We went for coffee and treats as usual and discussed events coming up in the next few weeks that we want to check out.  Lots going on with the holidays coming up.

Duane's finds.

The Delft vase.

Speaking of holidays, Halloween is next Friday and I made my usual little gifts for my three nieces for the occasion.  This year I used a really soft, fine black yarn with gold thread running through it to make the girls hairbands.  I crocheted the hairbands and then found these large jack-o-lantern buttons at Jo-Ann's.  I sent them to the girls ahead of time since these are definitely seasonal.  Naturally, I included Halloween M&Ms with the little gift.  Now I have to get back to working on Christmas items...


Wrapped and ready to go.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Friday church sale, yard sales and a visit to an artist's studio/shop

Yesterday morning, Duane, Linda and I decided to hit some 'lower-down-the-scale' sales since, lately, we had been hitting estate sales almost exclusively.  The first sale was being held at a gay church near where Duane lives.  We went to this sale last year but hit it on the second day so this year we got in earlier.  Everyone at this church is really nice and they have a big book selection.  Linda and Duane both bought books.  I bought a never used rain gauge for my backyard and a vintage celluloid hair receiver.  I've looked at these a number of times and I've always been intrigued by them.  For 10 cents, I couldn't pass this one up.  It has a few dark stains on the lid which I discovered were usually caused by contact with perfume and/or body oils from the hands of the lady using it.  Otherwise, it's in great shape -- no chips, cracks, etc.  The bottom has the words 'French Ivory' embossed into it.  That's what celluloid was called when it was invented because it was made to resemble ivory.  When I went to pay, the guy who took my money told me it had belonged to his grandmother.  He was surprised (and pleased, I think) to discover that I knew what it was. 

Between the church sale and a couple of yard sales, Duane also bought a number of other items.  A wicker tee-pee/bed for her cat, Jasmine, a mint condition set of matching bathroom items (soap dish, lotion dispenser, toothbrush holder, etc.) and a pair of nice wood shelves complete with plate grooves that she plans to paint comprised the rest of Duane's finds.

We finished hitting the church and yard sales early enough that we decided to stop in at Susan Gott's studio Phoenix Glass.  We've shopped there before and Susan was having a 'make your own glass item' day along with refreshments and a little Halloween decor.  Check out her website if you've never seen her work before.  Beautiful things.  She does have some items available for purchase there, too.  We all bought gift items so, sadly, we can't show them in the picture.  That shopping bag you see that says 'American Craft Council Show' was one of our bags from her shop/studio.  Susan is a very nice and warm person and welcomes you as you come into her shop.  She's going to be participating in the 'Shop Small' business Saturday after Thanksgiving with some great deals so we plan to go back then.

After our haul from Phoenix Glass, we hit the coffee shop for our usual treats and had a nice long gab.  It's always fun to see what we end up with on these outings. 

Our purchases.

Closer look at smaller items.

Some of the beautiful paperweights available from Susan Gott's Phoenix Glass Studio.

Courtesy of Susan Gott's website.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Recording update

I have two books in post-production that should be available for sale on Audible within the next few weeks.  One is literary fiction --  Dust by Emanuel Haldeman-Julius and Anna Marcet Haldeman-Julius.  I'm very happy that I narrated this book and hope more book-lovers will become aware of it due to my recording.  It's in the vein of American classics such as John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath.

The second book is another classic short children's book. This one is a good one for the holidays for very young readers.  It's called Pumpkin Pie ABC Book and was produced by the McLoughlin Bros. publishing company.  Written in short rhymes, it takes the reader through the alphabet as everyone gathers around the holiday table before being allowed to have a slice of pumpkin pie.  A good one not only for beginning readers but also for listening for children who haven't quite begun to master the printed word.

Next up is a classic short story in the horror vein by Arthur Machen.  The Novel of the White Powder was suggested by my publisher and I'm glad I decided to record it.  Although I had heard of him, I wasn't familiar with Machen's work until now.  He's another writer who wrote stories and novellas considered to be 'weird' fiction along with Algernon Blackwood.  (I recorded Blackwood's story The Woman's Ghost Story available here.)  I'll post more here when the Machen story is closer to publication.

On a very different note, I plan to record a classic children's Christmas story which I'll post more about later, too.  It will be out in plenty of time for Christmas.  This brings me to my news that two of my closest friends, Duane and Linda, will be collaborating with me on a project that will eventually end up as a book narration.  Linda has been my official proof-listener for some time now but Duane (other than listening to and/or reading books I've narrated) will be joining us for an upcoming project.  I've chosen a children's book that I plan to publish myself.  The book is in the public domain so I will be making some slight revisions and Duane will be providing new illustrations for our new edition.  After we have the Kindle version up, I plan to record the book and have it linked from Audible to Amazon in their Whispersync program.  Duane has been busy with preliminary sketches and I'm looking at what I'd like to do in terms of character voices, etc.

We're all excited about this project since Duane is an artist and it will be nice to have some of her work out there for children to enjoy along with a great story.  Here's a peek at two paintings that I own that Duane gave me as gifts.  The first is painted on wood and the second is on canvas.  Enjoy!