Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Perchance to Scream

Today is the 14th of October.  We are a hair over two weeks from Halloween, one of the spookiest days of the year; and one day past that is the start of Nano, which is an even scarier prospect, but we will save that for another post.

Today is also the day that a brand-new ebook appears on bookshelves, called Perchance to Scream, which contains 13 stories and one poem--which, by some strange and unusual cosmic coincidence, also add up to 14.  Yes, fourteen spooky items, presented for your enjoyment, on the 14th.

It's got a haunted house, bloodsucking feathers, ancient evil entities with unpronounceable names, cybernetically enhanced zombies, mutant human-dragonfly hybrids, and a particularly nasty breed of psychic eel.  Being scared has never been so much fun!


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

New Voice Work: World War I

I am happy to announce that two more of my voiceovers are now available:

World War One and the End of the Bourgeois Century by Ryan McMaken

For a complete list of all of my voice projects to date, check out the last section in my Online Resume, and please check out all of the latest additions to the Mises audio and video library.  And, as always, comments, critiques, and criticisms are definitely welcome.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Teller of Tales

I was in Boy Scouts growing up, and living in Arizona, one thing we did every year was a week at summer camp. Camp Geronimo. in Payson, Arizona; I think I lived there a grand total of seven weeks or so, spread across six years. This would have been in the age of Star Wars--late seventies, early eighties. There was a man there, a camp counselor, who had long wild hair and wore a dark cloak. I never found out his real name...I only knew him as “The Teller of Tales.” He was the camp storyteller, if his title didn’t make that obvious. At the end of every campfire, as the bonfire was burning down to coals, he would come striding through the smoke, stand between us and the fire, and regale us with a story of some kind, purely from memory. He held us captivated. That was the first time I ever heard “The Most Dangerous Game” and “The Monkey’s Paw.” I think there was another one, about a gorilla trained as a servant by tormenting it with an alligator, and over seven trips, I have no doubt I heard him tell other stories, but these are the ones that still stick to my brain. I remember being fascinated by his ability to mesmerize us with words. No papers, no script, no dramatic flair or wandering around the campfire...just standing there, leaning on a walking stick, telling the story...letting the words do the work. One time I worked up the nerve to approach him. I think he was judging the Big Splash competition, and during a break, I walked up, introduced myself, and invited him to our troop campfire. He was friendly, and gracious, and happy to show; I introduced him myself, and I think that was when he told “The Monkey’s Paw.” Like I said, I never knew his real name.

A couple of weeks ago, our church asked me if I would like to read a children’s story. The church service starts with music, greetings, a song--and then a story for the kids. After the story, they go off to their Sunday School activities while the adults move on with the regular service and sermon. I volunteered to read the occasional story to the kids months ago, but this was the first time they took me up on the offer. “What would you like me to read?” I asked. “Oh, we can give you seven or eight minutes, do you have something you would like to read?” Well...I had this children’s book I wrote a few years ago, called “Quinn in Trashland.” I did a test reading and came up with over twelve minutes, obviously way too long. I warned them that it was a bit long, but that I would cut it down as requested. “Quinn” would be my story to the kids. MsQuill and I sat up late into the night, carving pieces out, trying to bring it down to the requisite time...and failing miserably. We were starting to cut out pieces that I thought were critical to the fun of the story. Finally, I decided, I wasn’t going to savage my story just to make it fit their timeframe. I was going to just *tell* it. I threw out all the papers. I got rid of the script. I sat down in front of the podium, right down there with the kids, and I told “Quinn in Trashland” straight from memory. Oh, I have no doubt I left out some stuff. Possibly some of the good stuff, but I doubt it; I think I managed to get all of the important stuff in there. The kids laughed at all the right spots...heck, the adults laughed at all the right spots. I think I kept it down well under ten minutes, rough guess, but I didn’t time it. And they didn’t record it; about the only real complaint was that they didn’t take the time to put a microphone on me. They record all of the services for people who are at home sick and can’t make it, and my story was too quiet to be picked up, so there’s a large hole in the recording for that stretch. Not having a script in your hands *helps* with telling the story. Your eyes aren’t trapped. You can look out at your audience, make eye contact, make a connection...especially with the kids. One little boy kept inching closer and closer as the story went on, until by the end he practically had his head in my lap. After the service, several people complimented me on the story, and one person actually used the words “Teller of Tales.” At that moment, something clicked. I remembered the *original* Teller of Tales, thirty some odd years ago at Camp Geronimo...how he held us spellbound just by telling us a story. And at that point, I realized that this is something I need to do more of. -=ad=-

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Writer's Resume

Everyone needs some kind of resume, some way of saying "hey, this is what I do."

Hopefully, it also says "this is what I'm good at," too.

I think every writer should have a "here's everything I've published so far" list handy and available, preferably online.  I started putting my own together a while back.

I was pretty surprised, actually...I mean, an article here, a guest blog post there...throw in a couple of fanfiction stories...and my Writer's Resume is actually more extensive than I would have thought.

So, besides having a place where you can tell people to go (no, not like that), you could also consider it an ego-boost--a reminder that, even when you feel like you're not making much progress, you just might be making more than you think.

This is what I've done so far.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Welcome to the Neighborhood - Revisited

My last LewRockwell.com article, "Welcome to the Neighborhood," was picked up and reprinted by Bob Livingston's Personal Liberty Digest.

Welcome to the Neighborhood

Check them out...let me know what you think.


Voice Work

I've been reading stories to my kids for, oh. at least ten years now.  We started with Dr. Seuss, proceeded to Hardy Boys and Magic Treehouse, and very quickly graduated to young adult.  We've read Artemis Fowl, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, and the Hobbit/Lord of the Rings series, back to back to back to back.

My kids like when I read to them.  I try to spice things up, add some energy to it, apply voices--when I can get away with it, anyway.  ("Daddy, why does Dumbledore sound SO much like Gandalf...?").

Sometimes I overdid it just a bit...like when the six year old ran and hid when the Balrog stepped out of the shadows...*sigh*

But, anyway, I've been told by more than one person (and by more than one person, I also mean more than one person not actually related to me or married to me) who seem to think I know how to read out loud and tell a decent story.  I did high school drama; I worked as a radio DJ for a year or two.  I understand how people don't want to listen to a steady dull boring monotone when someone is reading to them or telling a story.

The new job has a bit of a perk...there's a recording studio onsite.  So, I asked if there was any chance I could, maybe, someday, come in on weekends, and read my own stories, so I could set them up as audio books some time...

...not only did they say yes, they asked if I would be willing to record some things for them, too.  Officially, no less.  "Voiceover work" has been added to my job duties; I get to hide in the recording studio once or twice a week and record essays written for the Mises Institute.

For all of the latest recordings, drop by the Recent Uploads section of the site.  For some of my own most recent work, check out "Even the Feds Admit Minimum Wages Cause Unemployment" and "You Didn't Consent To Be The State's Victim."

Comments, critiques, analysis, suggestions, all welcome...and, of course, should you *need* someone to record your story...*wink*


Friday, May 30, 2014

Welcome to the Neighborhood

I have an article accepted and published at LewRockwell.com today, "Welcome to the Neighborhood."