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.

A Survivor’s Guide to Narcissistic Abuse

I’ve spent quite a bit of time since the beginning of the year in preparing, recording and processing my latest audiobook – The Vampire Hunter’s Field Manual – A Survivor’s Guide to Narcissistic Abuse. It’s written by Matt Davis, with a Foreword by actor Gemma Oaten, who are both survivors of narcissistic abuse.

Matt’s approach is not only based on his own experience but is rooted in psychology theory and other academic disciplines. He’s combined a matter-of-fact approach with an element of humour that gives permission and hope for survivor’s to laugh again. Even during recording, I found bits of it very funny (had to edit my laughs out though).

I’ve been sending over chapters to him as and when they’re finished and I’m glad to say he’s pleased with the results so far, and he loves the ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ feel of the audiobook. Here’s a short sample:

To give a brief overview, the book covers:

  • The Mind of the Vampire
  • The Vampire’s Attack Cycle, Weapons and Tactics
  • Drama and the Drama Triangle
  • How Vampires train their Targets
  • The biological, psychological and emotional effects of narcissistic abuse
  • How Targets may become Survivors and the Key Skills they can acquire

I’m hoping to get it completed by the end of February and it should be on sale on Audible and iTunes by the middle of March. If you would like to receive a free copy for review, please email me at wallender1957@outlook.com and I will send you details on how to download it.

Here is the link to Amazon if you wanted to get a paperback/Kindle copy. I hope you enjoy it and that you find it helpful – it’s certainly taught me a lot.

 

 

 

A different kind of Vampire…still not very nice though

 

Audiobook narration part 3

Some people have been getting into a flap about the latest interpretation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, broadcast on the BBC over the Christmas break. Whilst not actually shedding blood over the subject, this mini-series (if three 90 minute episodes meet the definition) has driven a stake between those who love it and those who…don’t. Claes Bang’s performance as the eponymous Count has been met with pretty much universal acclaim, but issues over the writing and, in my view, mangling of the story have seen some critics going for the jugular over this seasonal gore-fest. Van Helsing’s a nun? Harker is a zombie? Such liberties with the original source provide a rich vein of controversy that some cannot resist getting their teeth into, but as has been said many times before, fangs ain’t what they used to be…

Sorry. I can’t keep it up. Having got your attention (I hope), what I really want to say is that I have just started work on my latest audiobook – The Vampire Hunter’s Field Manual: A Survivor’s Guide to Narcissistic Abuse, by Matt Davis.

Matt gave the green light to the first 15 minutes last week and I have already submitted the introduction and the first chapter for his approval. It’s a tough subject but his style is very accessible and the book is proving to be a pleasurable task, as far as narration goes. It’s my longest project so far, coming in at 106k words and will finally be a 11+ hour listen.

He writes from personal experience and, combined with an academic background in psychology, he breaks down and explains a surprisingly common phenomenon. He examines those who, in their personal and intimate relationships, prey on others as a source of narcissistic supply due to having a disordered personality (rather than a personality disorder). Such individuals he describes, justifiably, as Vampires.

The book is essentially written for those who have survived or are undergoing an abusive relationship and will fall into the self-help category, but I would recommend it to anyone. The Forward is written by actor Gemma Oaten who, as UK readers might know, starred in ITV’s never-ending soap opera Emmerdale.

I hope to finish this project by the end of February so, all being well, the audiobook should be on sale in March, at which time I will be back, encouraging all and sundry to CROSS Audible’s palm with SILVER and add to the growing COUNT of audiobook fans…

No, that really is it.

The Last Roundhead – Great feedback!

There has been some feedback on Twitter from a distinguished source. Doctor Robert Lyman has listened to the audiobook and has said:

Doctor Lyman is a military historian and has acted as consultant on the BBC show ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ Here’s a link to his website:

Home

If you would like a copy of the audiobook for review, please email me at wallender1957@outlook.com

Or, if you are new to Audible, please use this link:

https://www.audible.com/pd/B0821X8QD9/?source_code=AUDFPWS0223189MWU-BK-ACX0-174243&ref=acx_bty_BK_ACX0_174243_pd_us