Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Relevance of Irrelevance

Seven of Nine from Star Trek: Voyager is arguably my favorite Borg. She has an attitude about her that doesn't allow for nonsense, and she's a little rough around the edges, too. This holds true especially for her social interactions, in which she makes her fellow shipmates visibly uncomfortable on more than one occasion. (Her attempts at wooing male members of the crew are strong evidence of this.) She questions the rules when they don't follow her Borg logic. If something's irrelevant to her, she will make that known, too.

For me, the struggle between what's relevant and what isn't is a great one. I often find myself chasing after topics that may not interest anyone else. You need not look much further beyond the blog to find that I've drifted a considerable distance away from relevance. Ever since I shifted gears from traditional to self publishing, I can't help but wonder if I still am relevant to my author friends who've stuck with the traditional route. Don't get me wrong. I have plenty of author friends who self-pub and wouldn't dare dream of breaking into traditional publishing these days. I just have to wonder if I still have something to offer those who are still sending out query letters and receiving rejections.

What it boils down to is the concept of mattering. We as people want to matter so badly. It's not something new to us. Ever since the formation of clans and tribes in the wee morning hours of civilization, we have wanted to belong. We want to think that what we do on this planet makes a difference. When NASA goes and finds an astounding 715 new exo-planets beyond our solar system, we tend to think we don't matter. That we're irrelevant.

The best way to make yourself matter is to be proactive in your work. Whether it's housework, a job, writing, creating art, or anything else that can carry a purpose, to avoid becoming irrelevant you must do the work. Wishing for great things to happen to you but never doing anything about it won't make your feelings of irrelevance go away. It'll only make them expand like the Borg collective assimilating everything in its path.

Do the work to make yourself matter. And know that the resistance to hard work being a measure of your success is indeed futile.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Announcing My Fourth Novel, Interstellar Dad!

You know, it's dawned on me that I've gone three weeks without posting a word here on the blog. Typical Beesler stuff. But I hope some may sympathize with how it is. You write a book. You edit a book. You send the book back and forth between yourself and your beta readers. You gut as many mistakes from the book as you possibly can. Then you realize that it's just time to let go of the book.

Now, when I talk about letting go of the book, there are some authors out there who will throw their story into the trash. Not me. I've worked so hard on Interstellar Dad that the only fair thing for me to do is to put it out there in the world and let the chips fall where they may.

So without further ado, I'm proud to bring you an all-new story, filled with science fiction, fun, and hopefully what has turned out to be a compelling tale about a guy, Andrew Skyes, who yearns to be a dad but must grapple with his own infertility. Could there be a solution from beyond Earth's orbit for Andrew? You'll have to read Interstellar Dad to find out!

You can find Interstellar Dad at these venues so far, with more to come. Also, I will be holding a blog tour next month, a one week event starting February 17th and running through the 21st. If you'd like to assist me on the tour by hosting me, by all means let me know in the comments section! Have an awesome weekend, my friends!

Where to find Interstellar Dad so far:

Amazon
Smashwords

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Optical Osmosis: The Giveaway Continues!

Happy New Year, everyone! I trust your recovery from all the festivities is a rather speedy one. Myself? I've had to work through the holidays, although I rather did enjoy having the first day of the new year off.

But I'm a writer. As such, there is no such thing as time off. Even if I'm not actively getting words down on the page, I'm still reading, studying the craft, blogging, marketing, editing, publishing, and doing all of those wonderful many tasks that being an author now entails. I'm not kidding you when I say that 2014 is shaping up to be a busy year for me. I'm aiming to release three books this year, one in each of the genres I represent. I'm hoping to have the science fiction entry, Interstellar Dad, done and posted within the next week or so. We'll see how that goes.

In the meantime, great news for those of you who didn't win a copy of Optical Osmosis during Milo Fowler's 'Tis More Blessed event. The support team at ACX, the company with which I've made my first audio book, has recently sent out 25 promotional codes for the audio book. So far, I've given out ten copies via Facebook and Twitter. But I know there are some folks who exclusively blog, and so I cannot deny them their chance at winning copies.

So this is how it'll go down. For the next 24 hours, leave a comment here on my blog to be entered for the win. I will have five copies readily available, so if I get five or fewer comments on today's posting, it'll mean everyone who comments will win. I'm not expecting a lot of comments to be honest. Even so, if there are more than five comments, your chances are still high. In the event of six or more comments, I'll use Random.org to pick the winners. You have until this time tomorrow (from the exact instant this post goes live) to enter. Good luck, and may you be a lucky recipient of the audio book!



Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My Plans for 2014 (And Giveaway Winner Announced!)

Farewell, 2013. We hardly knew ye. You were a good year for some, a horrendous year for others, and yet you kept marching on. Your next of kin, 2014, has been notified of your pending demise at the end of the day this New Year’s Eve. It’s almost a shame that you years have such short life spans. Even the leapers among you die exactly one full day later.

But 2014 is already here for people to start making plans, myself included. Here’s what you can expect to see from me in the coming year.

From Science Fiction: This January will bring a kicking start to the new year with the release of my fourth novel, Interstellar Dad. I’m closing in on the halfway point of the final read-through to my fourth novel. Then it’s just a matter of cleaning up the final glitches, getting the cover art together, and releasing it into the internet wild. I’m trying to get this done by the 7th. Later in the month, I’ll do a five-day blog tour to help spread the word of Interstellar Dad. I haven’t sent out the request for help with Interstellar Dad, so if you want to help me out with the tour, by all means let me know.

From Fantasy: By far the prequel to Spell of Entrapment, my debut fantasy novel, will be my biggest release of the year. A Mage among Trolls takes a look at the back story behind one of the most mysterious characters in Spell of Entrapment. I’m aiming for a May/June release time frame for this one. I always set a high bar for all of my stories, but this one may have the highest bar yet as it will be the first time a second entry into a series work is added.

From Horror: I’m an author who writes science fiction, fantasy, and horror. It wouldn’t be fair of me to publish books in the first two and neglect the last one altogether. Once A Mage among Trolls is out there, I’ll switch gears and round out the year with a horror novel involving vampires. Yes, I decided to tackle them despite their possibly dwindling popularity in an overly saturated market. Don’t worry. I’ll make my vampires differ from what’s out there. And my vampires won’t sparkle.

Aside from these releases, I plan to delve deeper into audio books with 2-3 releases there. I’ll eventually get around to putting my work out in print. It’ll just take a while still to get there.

Before I close out this post, I still have the matter of picking the winner of my Optical Osmosis giveaway from the ‘Tis More Blessed event this past Friday. Congratulations to Michelle Wallace! I’ll be in touch to get that copy of Optical out to you.


So what are your plans for the New Year? I hope you make it a safe and happy one!

Friday, December 27, 2013

2013: My Year in Review (And A Giveaway!)

Can you believe we're in the final days of 2013? Time keeps marching on, even as I try to pound as many keystrokes as I possibly can to get the words flowing. 2013 has been a relatively quiet year for me. I've only had the one book published, Optical Osmosis, which is where my energy in the first half of the year has gone. Then of course the second half of my year has been spent dedicated to Optical Osmosis, the audio book edition. I know, the whole year has seemed to revolve around the one book, has it not? There are great things ahead for 2014, but we still have one last detail to work out.

You see, maybe it's my fuzzy memory, but I don't ever recall offering a free copy of Optical Osmosis at any point throughout the year. And now that Optical Osmosis has hit the audio book shelves, it may be time that I finally stop hoarding this title and give an e-copy away to someone.

So here we go. All you have to do for an entry into the contest is to comment on this blog post. I'm doing the giveaway as part of Milo Fowler's #TisMoreBlessed event, which has been running through the whole month of December. There are a lot of talented authors involved in this event, and I hope you take the time to check out some, or better yet all,  of them!

I'll pick the winner on Monday via Random.org. In the meantime, stay tuned for 2014. There are a lot more books coming your way from me in the coming year!


Thursday, December 5, 2013

My Interview with Robert Neil DeVoe, Part 2

Hey, gang! Yeah, I know it's been a long time since I posted twice in one week, much less on back-to-back days of the week! Life for the indie author is quite the busy one, I assure you! Without further ado, here comes part 2 of my interview with Robert Neil DeVoe!

4. What would you say are the advantages of an author hiring a professional narrator/voice actor to narrate a novel as opposed to the author narrating the story themselves? Any drawbacks?

The biggest advantage I would imagine is that the narrator will add something to the story that the author may not have thought of. What I mean by this is, I imagine you (Jeff) didn't imagine Flint sounding like a surfer dude valley girl when you wrote it, but because I gave it that twist, it adds another bit of flavor to the story that you might not get otherwise.

The other advantage I would say is that it's time saving. Making audio books is an unbelievably time consuming project, and that's time an author could spend working on new projects. I'm about 85% of the way done with the book in terms of recording and editing as of this interview, and I've easily put in over 50 hours of time in it.

Lastly, you also get an additional layer of spell checking!

5. What would you tell someone who’s interested in becoming an audio producer/narrator?

I would say that you should go on project gutenberg, find a book that you like, and do an audio book version of it as practice before you try to do it professionally. You would need to practice producing the same voice day in and day out with little variation - something that is a lot harder than it sounds. Also you'd need to get used to the process of editing and such, which takes hours and hours of work for every finished hour of audio. When you are done, you can use your gutenberg audio book as samples to get more work and auditions. I was able to get three narration contracts through this method.

Lastly, I have read through a number of guides on how to narrate, and many narrators recommend that you read the entire book before you start so that your character voices will sound right. I could not disagree with this any more. I think that you should read about 3 chapters ahead of your recording. I believe that a characters voice needs to evolve and change with the story, especially if the story is partly or entirely about how a character grows or is destroyed through the process of the plot. I think that as a narrator, your voice will portray the characters naivety and their unawareness of the future, which in turn makes it more real. I guess everyone needs to find their own work flow, and this is just how I do my reads.

6. Other than Optical Osmosis, do you have any projects, past or present, of which you’re particularly proud?

There is a project that I am just starting now and will be working on exclusively for a few months once Optical Osmosis is complete. It's a Sci Fi classic from 1989 that's being re-released as an eBook and for audio for the first time. It's really quite humbling to be working on a book that was written while I was still in elementary school. The book is called Habu and it's by James B. Johnson.
 
7. Lastly, you do realize I’m going to ask you to narrate more of my work in the future, right?

I was hoping you'd say that!

Thanks for stopping by, Robert! Be sure to check out the Optical Osmosis audio book when it comes out. It should be ready by Christmas Eve, and will be available for purchase on Amazon.com, Audible, and iTunes.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

My Interview with Robert Neil DeVoe, Part 1

Howdy there, Blogosphere! Today I have a special treat for you. But first a quick update. I've begun working on the final draft of Interstellar Dad, which I'm hoping to have done by January 7th. We'll see how it goes. I'll make sure to keep you posted!

Second, my audio producer and I have completed the production of the audio book for Optical Osmosis. We're just waiting for ACX, the company we've gone through to produce the audio book, to validate Optical so we can have it on sale. The site says it'll be upwards of 14 to 20 business days. Based on this, it looks like it might be ready in time for Christmas Eve. If not, well I guess Interstellar Dad will have an audio cousin joining it on the promotional circuit come the start of 2014.

Now for that treat I mentioned! Recently, I sent a few questions to my audio producer, Robert DeVoe. For length purposes, today will be the first of two installments. So without further ado, here's Robert!

1.  Thank you for taking the time to do this interview, Robert. How did you get become an audio producer?

You're very welcome, Jeff! Well, I started out my acting career doing an indie film in Seattle that ended up being somewhat successful and that encouraged me to pursue acting to a level somewhat beyond just a hobby. Fast forward a few years and I was doing a lot of acting for television in Singapore and Malaysia. I was most well known for a role I played in the 2011 drama series "Love Thy Neighbour" on Singapore's Channel 8 network. The role was entirely in Chinese and it was pretty difficult for me, but it was also a lot of fun. After that I started getting interested in voice work, and I did the voices for a couple of iPhone and iPad games. That got me interested in audio books, being the avid reader that I am.

2. Describe the process you take when approaching characterization in the material you’re presented with. Have there been any characters that have proven challenging for you?

I think that for starters, when I read a book, I always hear a voice in my head. That could be either the narrator voice, which of course is usually my own voice, or a character voice with specific speech traits. When I'm doing an audio book, what I do is first read through the material to get a feel for it, and through that process I just sort of "hear" the voices in my head, and then reproduce them.

For Optical Osmosis, it was very easy for me to choose voices for Greg and Serenity. It was clear from the start that Greg was an out of work construction worker who lives his life coffee cup to coffee cup, and has a sort of loner mentality at least towards people outside of his social circle. As such, I put together a voice that was deep and strong but also careless and passive sounding, which really doesn't change much until later in the story when he needs to do more to take charge of his life. Serenity would be this sort of husky, breathy, mystical woman who takes her own words very seriously and speaks a little like she imagines she is royalty.

The voice I enjoyed doing the most for Optical Osmosis was definitely Flint. For him I built an arrogant surfer dude hipster mixed with an 80's valley girl accent to give his voice that bite that just makes you want to punch him after every single word he says. Now when I hear recordings of myself reading in Flint's voice, I have a hard time even thinking of it as something that came out of my own mouth. I had a little trouble coming up with the voice of Butri. I figured I had no chance of really making a believable Thai accent, so I just came up with this voice that had these really odd cadences and speed shifts and was kind of sing-songy, and oddly enough it came out really good!

As far as the hardest voice I ever did, I recently did a book called The Nacogdoches Trail, which is a Western that takes place in Texas. As you can imagine, it was full of Texas accents. I needed to voice a character named Morris Birdwell, and it took me quite a few days of experimenting to give him a voice that sounded tough and strong, but also loveable and friendly, and most importantly, Texan! The other issue was that he needed to sound distinctly different than any other voice I had done for the project. I solved the problem by talking out of the side of my mouth, which made the character sound a bit more weathered and experienced. My author was from Texas, so he was able to approve my accents, so at least that made me feel better about getting the accent at least mostly right.

3. Okay, I’ve just got to know this. What was it about Optical Osmosis, or any other book for that matter, that made you audition to be the narrator for it? 

What attracts me to a book is simply this: If I saw it in a book store, would I pick it up and look at it more closely? I thought the catchy title, as well as the great cover art by S.A. Hunt (Whose novel I'm reading now in my spare time) just makes a great combo to get people interested in it, including myself. Once I'm sufficiently interested, then I'll go into the actual audition text to get a feel for the writing style and see if it fits with how I like to read, and that it's not loaded with mistakes.

Stay tuned for the second part of my interview with Robert, coming up tomorrow!