I'm a little late in posting this to my blog, but spring is here and I'm just finally getting a chance to catch up on a lot of things. In case you feel like you've been deprived of the opportunity to hear me talk about my novel, you can now click on this here link to check out the interview I did with Jason Pettus of the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography, which is a real powerhouse of indie publishing here in Chicago.
The interview was a wide-ranging discussion of life, literature, and Chicago. And I had a lot of fun doing it. So if you've got a few minutes and want to hear me talk a bit more about The Last Good Halloween, or about writing in general, head on over and give it a listen.
For those of you who were unable to make it to my reading this past weekend, we were lucky enough to have Ryan Singleton of WordPlaySound on hand to document the whole night. If you're not familiar with WordPlaySound, they're basically one of the premier literary podcasts in Chicago. So it's an honor to be part of it.
Also, it was an honor to appear with kickass Chicago writers: Joseph Peterson, Mark Brand, and Ben Tanzer. Pretty doggone heady company to find yourself in, I must say. As if that wasn't enough, the event took place at The Book Cellar, which is one of my favorite bookstores in all Chicago. So there's that!
If you're curious and want to hear which chapter from The Last Good Halloween I read, you can follow this link and listen to the evening on your browser, or you can go to iTunes and subscribe to WordPlaySound's podcast, which would be well worth your time.
As the publication date for my novel approaches, things are starting to snap into fast-motion, where once they seemed to mosey along without a care in the world. The biggest item thus far has been settling on a cover. We've gone through many iterations and had some great suggestions, but I think we're finally zeroing in on a coherent idea. There are still a few changes that'll need to happen, but here is the prototype:
From here on out, the rest of the work will center around launching and promotion. Stay tuned for an announcement regarding the launch party and for upcoming interviews/reviews. For now, I can tell you that I've already recorded an interview with the good folks at WordPlaySound. They'll be coming out with a special episode close to our publication date which will also include a recording of me reading an excerpt of The Last Good Halloween.
That's all for now. Surely more to come soon.
I'm happy to report that my new audio-fiction story is live on the WordPlaySound website. You can now go there and listen to it through your web browser, or you can download it as a free podcast from the iTunes store. The story, My Beloved Monster, is an old one that I originally wrote back in graduate school. Over the years, I'd open it up, take a look at it and tinker for a bit. It wasn't until this past winter that I felt like I finally got it to a semi-finished state. Then, when Ryan Singleton, the editor of WordPlaySound, contacted me about recording a story, I figured this would be a good candidate. The results… well, you can listen to them now.
I just got word that the audio short story I recorded for WordPlaySound has been accepted for publication next month. Actually, I'm not sure if publication is the proper term for a recording… Maybe I should say my audio short story drops next month. Anyway, the upshot is that people will be subjected my superfluously enunciated podcast diction and my nascent audio mixing skills. Should make for an interesting listen.
A while ago a friend who runs the audio literary journal WordPlaySound asked me to try recording a story of mine and last week I finally had the time to sit down and give it a shot. Here are a few of the takeaways from the experience:
1. Garageband, which is the program I used to mix the audio, is incredibly complex but once you get a feel for it, it's also maddeningly addictive. The more I toyed with using different tracks and inserting sample loops and varying the volume on the individual tracks, the deeper down the rabbit hole I fell. Then, once I'd learn some other new trick or doo-dad, I'd want to go back and add it to all the previous stuff I'd recorded. The final mix ended up being kind of a Frankenstein's monster, which likely got better sounding as it went along.
2. It's super disorienting to record your voice. As a kid, I always thought my voice sounded strange when I'd hear it played back. Such instances were usually limited to home movies of birthdays and Christmas mornings, so at least they were a natural representation of my voice. It's a different ballgame when you're recording yourself for the purpose of being played back. I found myself weirdly over-enunciating certain syllables to a point where I sounded like I was talking in this absurdly affected British accent.
3. If you want to improve your writing, read it out loud. This is something I say to my composition students all the time and one of the tricks I use when I'm tutoring developmental writing students in the writing lab at school, but it applies just as equally to advanced fiction and nonfiction writers. Something about hearing yourself read your own writing helps cut right through the most wooden-sounding dialogue and spotlights the weakest turns of phrase. I can't recommend it enough.
This is a repository for all my semi-filtered thoughts on... blah, blah, blah.