Free Audiobooks! No, really…

There is a great site run by voice artist Jeffrey Kafer, one of Audible’s most prominent narrators, where anyone can get hold of codes that entitle them to free audiobooks from Audible. Go to freeaudiobooks.com and have a look. There is an 18+ age restriction, as a small number of books are of, ahem, an adult nature but most of the books aren’t. Maybe you might come across some of mine (but not in the ‘adult’ section, I hasten to add).

Happy listening!

 

A Slight Delay

There seems to have been a delay in the publication of my latest audiobook ‘The Vampire Hunter’s Field Manual – A Survivor’s Guide to Narcissistic Abuse’, by Matt Davis. It was submitted well over three week’s ago and is still up for ‘audio review’ by ACX/Audible. It must be a sign of the times and I’m not going to be chasing this one in the circumstances we find ourselves in. However, the paperback/Kindle versions are on sale and here are edited highlights of some of the reviews so far:

*****Essential read for anyone one in or who has left an abusive relationship. Buy without hesitation.

*****A shocking but easy to understand manual of the worst kind of relationship possible!

****A strong and insightful look at the dark side of relationship

*****The perfect gift I found for a friend who has ‘lived experiences’ of the situations and people described in this book. She told me that this book was like reading her own life! She loves it.

I hope I have done justice to Matt’s book and that it will be on sale soon.

 

 

 

 

Self Isolation and what to read

As an audiobook narrator, spending considerable lengths of time alone and in confined spaces is something you get used to. It’s self-imposed and related to work, but entirely optional – it is currently my chosen profession and working at home is not going to be a problem. During the current crisis, it seems that changes to how we live and relate to each other are becoming mandatory, in some areas, and it will be interesting to see if they have any long-term effects. Although neither myself nor any family members have (yet) been affected by coronavirus in terms of health, it has today denied me the opportunity to audition for a touring production of Antony and Cleopatra. The tour has been cancelled due to concerns over infection. It would have been unlikely that any audience for the production could honestly be described as a ‘mass gathering’ (but you never know). It’s a shame, as I had put a lot of preparation into the audition pieces, but definitely NOT a disaster for me.

Perversely, I discovered a very old (1963) copy of Albert Camus’ ‘The Plague’ on my bookshelf, that I must have bought decades ago, as it had ’60p’ inscribed on the inside cover. Its original retail price was ‘3 shillings and sixpence’ – pre-decimal money for non-Brits. I haven’t read it in years, but will do so again as I find Camus’ style (or this translation’s) sublime. With an economy of words, his narrative is full of strong images, believable characters and a gripping story – I only wish my French was good enough to be able to read it in the original language.

The Plague

The book describes events in the Algerian town of Oran in the 1940’s, before, during and after a visitation of the plague – probably bubonic – and its effects on the inhabitants. With themes related to materialism and community, combined with a subversive attack on fascism, it has lessons for us at this difficult time. I cannot recommend it more highly.

The Narcissist and the Vampire Hunter – progress so far…

Last weekend, I finished the final chapter of Matt Davis’ book: The Vampire Hunter’s Field Guide – A Survivor’s Guide to Narcissistic Abuse – after 150 hours of recording, editing and processing.

 

If you’re interested in how audiobooks are made (that is, those not done posh studios, but in home studios like mine), the narrator is very often the producer and has to acquire and develop a new set of skills, in addition to those required for actually reading the book. Some narrators are able to sub-contract the editing/processing side of things, but I am nowhere near that stage – yet. The mechanics are as follows:

  • Reading the book – to gain an overall understanding of its story/themes/plot/characters/structure
  • Marking-up the script – this assists the recording process as a means of inserting pauses, taking breaths, changes of mood or the introduction of various characters
  • Identifying and creating the narrator’s ‘voice’ and the voices/accents of other characters, if any
  • Getting properly hydrated – drinking plenty of room temperature water, at least two hours prior to recording, so that the mouth, larynx, vocal cords etc. are properly lubricated. It also reduces mouth noise and clicks – which only add to the processing time when they have to be removed. No caffeine, no sugary drinks and definitely no booze
  • Warming-up prior to recording – this is vital. It allows the narrator to relax and to ensure consistency over several sessions, if the recording is done over a period of days
  • Recording the script – often done in manageable chunks, as reading for hours on end can kill your vocal cords
  • Processing/editing – apart from removing fluffs and distracting breaths, this can involve the removal of weird mouth noises (no one likes a stranger making slurping noises in your ear while you’re trying to concentrate on something else – well, some people might). It’s basically knocking the recording into shape, prior to treatment with the audio software
  • Finally, the application of equalisation/compression/normalisation that will ensure the product meets ACX/Audible’s standards on uniformity of recording and a comfortable listen for the customer

I was fortunate to receive regular feedback from the author, which was handy with a long book such as this (approx 12.5 hours), as it allowed for corrections to be made ‘on the fly’, rather than a whole load when the book was finished. To cut a long story short (no pun intended) Matt approved the final product on Tuesday and we are now waiting for Audible/ACX to review the audio files prior to their approval – then it should be headed to retail in 2-3 weeks.

We intend to have a launch party/occasion/event, as Matt never had a formal launch of the paperback when it was published in March 2019. We’re hoping to get the actor Gemma Oaten involved, as she wrote the forword and was personally affected for many years by the issues the book investigates and discusses. It falls into the category of ‘self-help’ and would also be suitable for recommendation by counselling practitioners to their clients.

If any readers would like a copy for review, please message me or email me at wallender1957@outlook.com and I will arrange for you to receive a free copy of the audiobook.

I’ll be back when the Field guide is available on Audible/iTunes, along with news of my next two productions: the first of a short series of novellas from Jemahl Evans, about the early life of Thomas Becket:

 

 

And a series of short stories from Indonesian author Dimas Rio – here is a review from bestsellersworld.com:

Who’s There?: A Collection of Stories by Dimas Rio

Until then, happy listening.