I’m now working on narrating and producing my sixth audiobook! I am shocked to also report that it is a fiction book.

I thought that I might eventually get into fiction narration but was planning on it being later…maybe much later. After listening to the great Robert Petkoff narrate my favorite paranormal romance book series, I was just a tad bit intimidated. I’ve never had acting classes and haven’t played much with making different voices or anything like that. Still, I thought it would be so fun to narrate fiction audiobooks too, maybe someday after more preparation.

Well, later was what I was thinking but a neat opportunity came my way. I was invited to audition to read a book in Warren Adler’s, Fiona Fitzgerald Mystery Series. He is the one who wrote The War of the Roses and Random Hearts.

After doing a little research and reading the Amazon sample of the book they asked me to read for, I decided, “What the heck?!” The writing was so good and I loved the main character right away. I figured it would be fun to try it out anyway. It was fun, and a little scary.

As it turned out, I got the gig! I’ve already started the project. Today I am reading chapter four and producing chapter two. Only twenty more chapters to read and twenty-two more chapters to edit and produce. The deadline is June 1 so I have to hustle. It seems to be going very well so far, even with the addition of a new microphone which I’ll write about more in a later post.

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Women’s Pro Soccer

I discovered the NWSL channel on YouTube and I am hooked. The games stream live and are archived there.

Watching the success of the Women’s National Team in the 2012 Olympics and in the 2015 World Cup got me hungry for more so I sought out the pro league and which teams have my favorite players. There are many talented players and I’m finding new ones to root for all the time. I love watching Alex Morgan glide down the field, Meghan Klingenberg hustle and strategize, and Lindsy Horan muscle her way in. The ladies are winning fans with their skill, personality, and heart. It’s all very cool to see.

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Unschooling Field Notes 1

We are five months into our unschooling journey, and life is much improved. Dare I say superb. The freedom I feel in each day is refreshing. Our schedule has totally opened up, and we are all experiencing more free time as well as an abundance of quality time together. The learning going on with no effort at all to plan for it is just astounding. They are leading the way, and I love it.

At first, it felt like long tentacles from a ginormous black octopus were beginning to recoil away. Those tentacles threaded into cracks and crevices throughout our lives. They were dragging us down. As they receded, we discovered the ability to breath unrestrained again just like summertime. We feel the freedom and creativity of being ourselves and simply enjoying life with no deadlines or schedules except the ones we set for ourselves. We are enjoying realization of a whole new existence where we are calling the shots. It is, quite simply, liberating.

Still, at the edge of my consciousness is a somewhat annoying persistent thought about the upcoming proof of progress we must file with the school administration by August. Sometimes I catch myself imagining that black octopus is just bidding time to pounce and wrap us all up again. I know it sounds dramatic, and I know it’s just a fearful thought, one that I consciously I kick out. Many times I’ve soothed myself away from the scary idea that we’ll be challenged for trying to get away with something and then be required to justify ourselves. It seems like a ridiculous thought since previous generations have won the fight for the right to homeschool for many of us.

Lucky for us in Virginia it seems pretty easy to homeschool. The trickiest part seems to be proving educational progress annually. There are a couple of ways outlined as options to demonstrate educational growth and progress. Families can do good enough on a nationally normed standardized test of their choice (place in or above the fourth stanine) or have an evaluation letter from a qualified individual (a licensed teacher or someone with a master’s degree). If progress is not found to be good enough, the homeschooling family gets a year of probation to continue homeschooling then try again next year to prove adequate progress. If progress is still not good enough, there will be intervention and the kids will have to go back to school. I have been advised by local homeschooling gurus to “just test out” because they say it is the easiest and most objective way to jump through the required hoops. I have a problem with that because standardized testing is one reason I wanted out of the school system. Also, having done more traditional homeschool with my son in the past I know how quickly learning time turns to rote memorization and uninspired lectures while running through a checklist of what to learn so as to do well on the test…a frustrating waste of time for me and my kids to be sure.

So I have settled into the idea that we will show progress with a letter that I write reporting on the progress of each of my kids for this first year. The reason I can write the report is because I have a master’s degree and regulations do not stipulate that the evaluator cannot be the child’s parent. This seems a bit risky but I’m sure it will all work out. After all, I am with them all day every day being continually astounded by their questions and creative ways of thinking. As a supplement to the report, I am also keeping an Evernote portfolio about each kid and their interests and activities throughout the year. Those Evernote portfolios will likely become their portfolio blogs as they advance. The kids are very interested in building their own portfolios already. They love that we are collecting photos, videos, links, and audio recordings of what they are focusing on and creating. So do I. The portfolios will serve a purpose similar to a scrapbook too. The kids enjoy looking back at what they’ve done even now, and it solidifies their learning as they do so.

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Sports, Integrity, Life

Sports teaches you character, it teaches you to play by the rules, it teaches you to know what it feels like to win and lose —it teaches you about life. -Billie Jean King

Billie Jean King has it right regarding sports teaching about character and life. The player has the opportunity to face the anxiety (aka fear) and respond with integrity (aka love). Doesn’t mean they will but it also doesn’t mean they won’t learn to respond with integrity eventually even if a hard fall is required first. People are always learning even if they don’t mean to. Life is one big experiment that way.

Sports aren’t the only places to learn to face the fear and respond with integrity, of course. Lessons come for everyone through one life arena or another: family, school, health, relationships. We can choose to be authentic in our daily interactions and activities. There are opportunities on a daily basis for each of us to choose integrity and good reasons for doing so even if it means “losing” in the interim. The biggest reasons for doing so are to know your true self, to stretch your own personal limits, and to live the whole-hearted beauty of an authentic life.

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Now Narrating

I just delivered my first audiobook production project, and it feels great. I think this is the start of something awesome!

As it happens, I was just following my nose as usual. I published my ebook in February this year. Then I published it in paperback in March. In preparation for releasing the audiobook in April, I set up a profile at ACX. ACX has been on my radar since listening to Joanna Penn’s podcasts. She has several about turning your book into an audiobook with all the why’s and how’s. Joanna peeked my interest especially since I already have experience with audio from doing my own podcast. Also, I’ve been an Audible customer for a while, and I just love it, so I figured, “Why not?” By the way, click my affiliate link to ==> Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks.

I knew I wanted to narrate my book which authors sometimes do especially in nonfiction. So I set up a profile on ACX. While there, I learned that narrators had a separate profile area. Because I’d recently started to think that narrating audiobooks would be a real cool gig, I set up my narrator/producer profile there too. I added a couple of one-minute samples from my podcast and left it at that. I thought I would visit again after publishing my audiobook to figure out how to get a deal to narrate books for others.

As it turned out, within two days I received an offer to produce an audiobook! I could not believe it. Later, within a week or so, I found three audiobooks I was interested in producing so I auditioned. The process was so easy if more than a little scary but I was feeling bold. In a couple more days time, I was offered all three deals! Each project is only going to be about an hour long, so very small audiobooks. I think they are perfect projects to begin with. vAll four audiobooks will be completed and delivered by the end of the month. This is going to be so much fun!


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In the past ten years, I haven’t taken comments on my blog. I’ve researched it and thought about it several times. I think I’ve even turned them on for a day or two, then gotten uncomfortable and turned them off again real quick like…that sounds familiar. Maybe it’s an introvert thing or maybe it’s something else.

You may be thinking, “It seems like a blog should have comments. It seems like that’s one of the essential things that make a blog, well, a blog. So what’s your problem, Stevie?”

Mainly three things.

The first thing is that I don’t want to deal with spam. It’s a deterrent. Until bloggers can launch a counter attack at spammers with warrior code like the one Holly Ashwin develops in Kresley Cole’s paranormal romance, Dark Desires After Dusk, I just don’t have the inclination to be a sitting goose.

The second thing is that my posts probably wouldn’t generate many keeper comments. I don’t have much traffic. I also don’t tend to write in a way that encourages comments since that’s not the purpose for my writing, and I don’t want it to be. I don’t want to change my style or my choice of topics to generate comments. That feels too much like playing to the audience while I want to strive for authenticity and being my weird self. I can’t do that too well when I’m anticipating comments.

Thirdly, and this is the weird one, I don’t like people coming to my workspace and putting their post-it notes on my computer screen. Guess I’m territorial like that. I just like my space the way I like it. Also, I really do like to encourage people to create their own space. I think it can be a very good thing for most people. I like having a home base from which to share my perspective. Maybe you would too?

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A New Start Again

I’ve had a blog since 2006. That’s ten years now! I’ve started over numerous times…too many to count and still feel good. The thing is, I still want one. I want to communicate and share information. I thrive on being a source of it (a nod to my 10th house Gemini Moon).

My motivations have changed, though. In the past, I was building a portfolio, marketing an info product, and always wanting very much to help others. I’ve been strategizing for years about how to best be of service while making lots of money and how to do it without disrupting my family at all. It’s been a puzzle that tied me in knots and limited my progress. I still haven’t figured out that puzzle, but I’m ready to give up on it in favor of savoring each moment without a sophisticated plan or goals in mind.

That’s where my new start with this blog comes in at this Aries New Moon. I want to post more often about what I’m doing and learning. I want to tell my own story more often. I want to keep it simple and authentic. I’m going to do it because I enjoy it, no other reason.

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