I’m so pleased to announce that the audiobook Wild Oats by Pamela Morsi has launched! It went live on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes (search by title) around June 1 and almost 30 copies have sold to date. It’s off to a good start!

This project was such a fun one for me. I appreciate Pamela’s writing and story weaving. Plus I get to use my own dialect for a change! The characters are down to earth yet interesting. This story drew me in quickly. I’m not usually a historic romance fan necessarily but this one caught my attention because the setting is my old stomping grounds, Oklahoma, just before statehood.

The background story Pam talked about in her launch day newsletter added a whole other layer of interest too. I always love to hear about an author’s story inspiration. Turns out that for Wild Oats she was trying to break the romance genre by creating a story with the anti-romance-book-hero as the hero. LOL! That plan makes for some not-so-suave moments that are endearing and funny.

Listen in and be sure to pick it up soon if you like it. Enjoy!

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June is audiobook month! This is a great time to try out an audiobook if you haven’t already. Of course many of you have as Audio Publisher’s Association annual report highlighted another year of amazing growth in audiobook sales for 2016, up another 33%.

You may find audiobooks featured in your local library this month and there are lots of activities online, of course. There is an audiobook blog tour going on throughout June. By visiting the links to the blogs featured in the blog tour, you’re sure to find some great listens!

Audiobook narrators are being featured a lot this month too. Warren Adler is doing a narrator feature for audiobook month and I was lucky enough to get interviewed there as narrator of two books in his Fiona Fitzgerald Mystery Series. As luck would have it, this is also the month I was featured in Pamela Morsi’s newsletter for the release of her new audiobook, Wild Oats.

As for myself, boy do I love audiobooks! I have almost 300 audiobooks in my collection and I’ve been listening for years before I started narrating. I savor the times of the day when I get to listen, like when I’m doing laundry or cleaning or exercising or driving.

The number of awesome audiobooks out there to enjoy can be overwhelming for sure. Especially when you may be learning to listen from your phone at the same time. Let me tell you an easy way to get started. The good news is you can try Audible and get two free audiobooks. Then download the Audible App to easily listen on your phone, tablet, or computer.

Maybe you will like one my top five recommendations below and maybe one that I narrated?

#1 Dark Desires After Dusk by Kresley Cole

#2 The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin

#3 The Case Against Sugar by Gary Taubes

#4 Karma by JC Andrijeski

#5 How to Bake Pi

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I am just back from an event I’ve been looking forward to for a while. I went to Charlottesville, Virginia for the Men of Romance Audiobook Narrator Panel moderated by Andi Arndt. It was a presentation in the very well organized Virginia Festival of the Book. The men on the panel were: Aidan Snow, Will Damron, Luke Daniels, Derek Perkins, and David Brenin.

The room was packed and I spoke with many women in the audience who were only attending this session at the Festival of the Book event. Some were very excited to meet the narrators of audiobooks they love but most weren’t big audiobook listeners yet.

Many self-published authors were there too. They had questions about how to hire one of these guys. And several people expressed interest in learning to narrate themselves.

I loved the comment on the romance genre in general to begin the panel.

Why on earth would you be critical of such a successful genre. ~Derek Perkins, Audie Winner, on the romance genre, a billion dollar industry

The most ear-catching info I heard is that Aidan Snow told me he logs 15 hours of finished audio a week! Sure wish I could go that fast. Course he doesn’t do his own editing and or proofing. He learned quickly to hire that out so he could move on to more books. Will Damron also stated he hires out for the editing. They might have 3 editors at a time working up their material for submission. Of course, all these guys are freelancers mainly seeking per project deals rather than royalty share deals.

Andi Arndt did a fabulous job moderating the discussion. My only complaint is that it ended too soon and I would have loved to hear more of her insights.

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Self-Taught Documentary

I’m sticking my head up from audiobook deadlines to drop you a line about an unschooling-related documentary called Self-Taught currently seeking funding via Kickstarter. There are five days to go and still a little over $2500 to get it fully funded.

I’m a believer in the Self-Taught project for several reasons but most of all because the first film by Jeremy Stuart, Class Dismissed, was very well done. It is an interesting and fair portrayal about how parents can facilitate learning in a different way for their children. That film touched on the history of the development of the education system in the United States. It speaks to the logistics of removing kids from the conventional school system and the courage required to do so. The film demonstrates the day-to-day activities of one family and their journey into the homeschooling lifestyle too.

For me, as a new unschooler for the past year, a big piece has been missing. Unschooling has been around for decades now through individual families and schools like Sudbury Valley School in Framingham, Massachusetts yet it’s still difficult to conceptualize outcomes. Like how do unschooled kids turn out and make their own way? Would they recommend unschooling approach to others as they look back from where they are now? And how does the self-directed approach to life and learning serve or hinder those kids who are now adults?

This new film, Self-Taught, will seek to address that idea of what happens next. I hope this project gets fully funded as I am looking forward to seeing what Jeremy Stuart produces this time. If you have any interest at all in alternatives to the conventional educational system, please consider pledging to support this project on Kickstarter today.

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Narration Bloopers and Miscues

I’ve started gathering some of my bloopers on Soundcloud and thought I’d share them here for your listening pleasure. Sometimes when narrating words get all confused up and I just can’t get it all to work together smoothly. I got the idea from RC Bray’s outtakes reel. I should really learn to ham it up like him…but no, these are funny too and they don’t take too much time from what I really want to be doing which is producing those audiobooks!

There is some bad language here, if that is a problem for you do not press play. 😉

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It can be discouraging how much a mom tends to miss out on that she would like to do or in many cases what she needs to do to fill her own bucket. Part of it is just the sacrifice of being a parent, sure, and in the great scheme of things this sacrifice is only temporary. Kids don’t need us constantly for very long.

Moms do need to recharge and rejuvenate on a regular basis to do their best work, just like everyone else. One strategy is to put boundaries around yourself for what you require, getting help from family or hired people if you can. Another strategy is to get creative about how to rejuvenate quickly with some regular activity: early morning exercise or meditation, or late night bath and reading. Those kinds of things.

Most helpful to me when I get stuck choosing to stay behind is to ask myself if my kids are still my highest value. That confirmed, then I convince myself to be patient because this precious time of being with my young kids will not last forever…though parenting is a marathon and some exhaustion is to be expected.

Oh also, could be nice to be opportunistic about the one who stays back with a parent. Great chance for one-to-one time with that one.

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The Kindle ebook edition of Bliss or Bust: Uplifting Thoughts is free this Labor Day weekend.

The book has been out since February. The way it came about is a little interesting. I basically gathered little impressions bit by bit over a few months a couple years back. I sat at my computer for half an hour first thing in the morning and asked for a positive message to share. I was using the tidbits in a weekly email and I wanted a simple uplifting thought that took only a small amount of time to read but which hung with the reader in a good way for the rest of the day, maybe longer.

As I moved away from internet marketing and my attempt to build a personal development membershipsite, I still wanted to share these little bits. I received good feedback from readers that the messages really were uplifting. People often commented that each time they opened the email, they got an idea that they really needed to hear, something that gave them relief. I wanted to provide a way for that to continue.

Pulling the pieces together into an ebook was easy enough. Once that was done I wanted to keep up a head of steam and so I put the paperback together the following month. And for the third month, I wanted to get it out in audiobook. It was actually the process of prepping to release my own book in audiobook format that led me to narrate for others and I’m having fun with that now.

Anyway, I hope you’ll go grab a free copy of the ebook for yourself this weekend. And I hope you find it uplifting too!

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