Music Monday: Deadlift Lolita Pump Up JAPAN

Everyone has those off days. Where they wake up and even doing the bare minimum seems like an impossible mountain to climb. I’ve been there myself. All my life, I wanted to be a writer, and now I’m living my dream and working to grow my business and writing each and every day, but I still have those off days. Those days where nothing matters. Getting a handle on publishing and marketing and writing seems pointless in a world where there is just so much content competing with your work.

The feeling is not permanent. It’s not insurmountable. Those off days are just a chance to reinvigorate yourself. Pick yourself up, get to work, and pump up, Japan.

Look, I know. It’s all sorts of bizarre. Here’s this huge muscle dude prancing around in a bikini top and skirt while all these other costumed guys flex and lift giant stuffed animals. Then you have the gorgeous Reika, who’s a beast all her own.

What, you may ask, are you looking at?

This song strikes at Japan’s stagnating economy and overall ennui, but it’s a call for the whole country to not give up and to keep going. I like to focus on a single line.

“For now, it’s time to get to training. Get your footing, and restart!” This song is pure 100% motivation.

Also, the blond guy in the American flag one piece has so much fun with this video. He does not fail to keep it sexy. That’s an entirely different message, right there.

I’ve liked Ladybeard when he was with Ladybaby and I like him now with Deadlift Lolita. I’m glad he’s still doing his thing, despite setbacks and obstacles. I’ll keep going too.

Animal Profile: Spaghetti

Age: 8

Likes: Paper towel rolls, red rubber balls, dog food, your food, cat poop, Luma’s poop

Dislikes: Male dogs

The veterinarian dressed her up.

The veterinarian dressed her up.

Spaghetti the dog is a pitbull/triceratops mix. She was born the runt to a runt, making her smaller than most pitbulls. What she lacks in size, she makes up for in tenaciousness. And derpitude.

I remember her first winter. She was just a baby puppy. I let her out in the back yard to do her business, and I was right there when she saw her first snowfall. She wrinkled her little head as she stared up to the sky and I thought What a magical moment.

Then she proceeded to bark at the snow.

Then spring came. She figured out what tulips and bees were by eating them. When the back yard was full of dandelions, she treated them like they were villainous, intrusive snow and barked at them. They must have sinned greatly because she ate each and every one of them.

And then she vomited up a horrible green and yellow loaf.

And then she vomited up a horrible green and yellow loaf.

She’s all grown up now, and so far she’s eaten two couches, a whole stack of printer paper, table legs, plenty of action figures, the cover of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, a whole roll of wrapping paper, drain scum, rocks, dice, the Kittens in a Blender card game, two Magic: the Gathering goblin decks, and she would have eaten the Christmas tree if I hadn’t gotten there in time to stop this devourer of worlds.

Not much has changed. Even as her muzzle turns gray, she still learns about her world by what will fit in her mouth. I took her for a walk the other day, and she found half a rotisserie chicken just laying in the road (because my neighborhood is bizarre). In a second there was nothing left to pry out of her mouth.

In a way, I’m proud of her. But not right now. I can hear her horking up in the other room so I have to go now.



Upcoming Events

The snow has come and gone hopefully for the last time.

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So that means it’s time for local events! If you live in the central Illinois area, stop by to either of these.

Bartonville’s Old State Hospital Bazaar
May 18th 10AM-4PM

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This will be far more than just a quiet book signing event. It’s more like a fun family fair that I’ll just happen to be at. Selling my completely unrelated books. Whatever. I’m glad they let me attend. And hey, haunted insane asylum!

GeekFest
June 29th 5:30PM-10:00PM

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Aww, yeah. This is more my thing. Panels, vendors, exhibitions and swag. I’ll be sure to show up in costume, too, even though it won’t match my book.

I hope to see people at these events. Stop by, give me a high five, and snag a bookmark. And then go and have fun at all the other tables and activities.

Site Redesign

I realized something very important at about 3:30 this morning. It was frightening, bewildering, and a little bit liberating.

I won’t be writing the Dusk Eternal series forever.

I mean, it’s going to take me a while to finish, but I plan on writing other books and series. And not all of them are going to take place in a pseudo-ancient Egyptian-Roman setting. I need to change the look of my website to reflect that scary, wonderful future. And that’s going to take some time.

Maybe a lot of time. Better make another pot of coffee.

Maybe a lot of time. Better make another pot of coffee.

But it’s not just the look of the site I want to change. I want to add some features, like a book review page, maybe just a page for my dumb dogs. I don’t know quite yet, but it’ll be cool.

I guess what I want to say is that I’m figuring things out as I go, and thank you for sticking around.

6 Tips for Recording an Audiobook

Venomous is in the process of being beta-read. I’m hoping for an August release, but I don’t want to rush it. In the meanwhile, I’ve been working on the audiobook for Vessels. I’ve already recorded all of Part One, and at this pace, I should be done by the beginning of May.

Now, editing it all together is a different story. But I’ve learned some things about narrating that I’d like to share with you all.

Pictured: completely not my studio

Pictured: completely not my studio

1. Warm Up Your Voice

Your vocal cords are muscles too. Just like you wouldn’t wake up and perform a super-heavy deadlift right then and there, you shouldn’t go into a recording without warming up your voice. I take some deep breaths and then say this weird stream-of-consciousness.

Eat each green pea. Aim straight at the game. Ed said get ready.
It is in Italy. I tried my kite. Oaks grow slowly.
Father was calm as he threw the bomb on the dock.
An awed audience applauded Claude.
Go slow Joe, you're stepping on my toe.
Sauce makes the goose more succulent.
Up the bluff, Bud runs with the cup of love.
Red led men to the heifer that fell in the dell.
Maimed animals may become mean.
It's time to buy a nice limeade for a dime.
Oil soils doilies.
Flip a coin, Roy, you have a choice of oysters or poi.
Sheep shears should be sharp.
At her leisure, she used rouge to camouflage her features.
There's your cue, the curfew is due.
It was the student's duty to deliver the Tuesday newspaper.
He feels keen as he schemes and dreams.
Much of the flood comes under the hutch.
Boots and shoes lose newness soon.
Ruth was rude to the youthful recruit.
Vivid, livid, vivifying. Vivid experiences were lived vicariously.
Oddly, the ominous octopus remained calm.
The pod will rot if left on the rock.
Look, you could put your foot on the hood and push.
Nat nailed the new sign on the door of the diner.
Dale's dad died in the stampede for gold.
Thoughtful thinkers think things through.
Engineer Ethelbert wrecked the express at the end of Elm Street.

2. Do a Dry Run

I would advise reading the paragraph once before you even record. That way, sudden instances of alliteration or a weird word doesn’t trip you up. You’ll have a better understanding of what’s coming up if you just read the passage out loud without bothering to record yet.

3. Work Small

Don’t think you can do a whole chapter in one take. They’re just too long. Break up your chapter recording into paragraphs and save after each one. You can cut out any long pauses between sentences and paragraphs easily enough in any recording software (I use Audacity. It’s free!)

4. Go Slow

You can’t clearly enunciate if you’re too busy trying to be a lyrical rapper. Take your time and speak as if you’re saying a prayer or giving a speech. You want everyone to understand you. After all, they paid to hear your words!

5. Take Breaks

Audiobooks are marathons, not sprints. Yeah, I know it’s just reading out loud, but you’re putting on a performance with every word. You have to put verve and vigor into it, and that can get downright exhausting. And then you become hyper-aware of how clumsy your stupid mouth is and that’s the point where you just need to walk away.

6. Sample Your Background Noise

So you’re ready to go, but when you hit ‘Record’ your levels are spiking! And you haven’t started speaking! Sometimes the microphone can pick up unexpected and unwanted sounds. A noisy computer, a passing car with a crappy muffler, or a neighbor mowing his lawn can all mess up your recording. If you don’t have a super decked-out studio with audio foam on all the walls, there’s not a whole lot you can do but wait.

GMCFOSHO has ruined my recording and he doesn’t even live anywhere near me. #swag.

Vessels Trailer (and a YouTube Channel!)

I made a short book trailer for Vessels. Watch it here!

I decided to start a YouTube channel. I put the trailer there and it’s the only video so far, but I plan on doing a weekly post. It’ll be about my writing, books I’m into, my animals, and probably just some random stories. We’ll see where it goes.

I just put Vessels on Smashwords. What that means is that it’s finally available to most ebook distributors and it’s only 99 cents. Sure, you can still find it on Amazon, but also Barnes & Noble Nook, Apple Books, Kobo, Scribd, and a mess of other places. Check it out!

And be a rad dude. Leave a review.

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Projects and Planning

Venomous is finally complete! I’ve sent it out to the beta-readers and I look forward (dread) to what they have to say. I don’t want to rush anybody, so I have to be content to wait.

In the meantime, I have plenty of things to work on. From various book fairs and festivals, to making a book trailer and putting together the new cover, I can keep plenty busy while I wait.

Also, this.

behold its shiny magnificence

behold its shiny magnificence

I got this bad boy in the mail the other day and I’m proud to finally say that production of the audiobook of Vessels is underway. I’ve worked with narration and editing audio, so this is actually possible for me. The hardest part is going to be working around my hyper-alert dogs and my incredibly noisy neighborhood. Still, I’m excited for the future.