Sunday, January 31, 2010

Podiobook Episode Length Disclaimer

A month or so ago, I became aware that podcast novel listeners prefer the episodes of the novels to which they subscribe to be all approximately the same length: from 20 minutes to 40 minutes. Well, I internalized the 20 to 40 minute part of that, but not the all roughly the same length part.

Dreaming of Deliverance has episodes that range from 12 minutes long to almost 50 minutes.


Now I'm trying to keep them more consistent. But being stubborn, I'm not going to hold so fast to that guideline that I break them up in ways that don't work for the story. When I was editing Episode 18, I realized that the episode I'd planned--which consisted of all of Chapter 21--was going to end up being almost an hour. So I decided to cut it into two episodes, dividing it at a point that seemed both logical and suspenseful, and also happened to be halfway through the chapter.

The episode I just posted is the first part of Chapter 22. It's going to be shorter than the second half, but from a story perspective, its ending point is a more logical (and again, suspenseful) place to put in a break.

Anyway, I'm hoping that from Episode 18 on, the episodes will all be more consistent in length, not perfectly consistent, but better than what's come up to that point.

Huge apologies to anyone who was bugged by the length variety earlier on. What can I say? I'm still learning!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Boom Effect

A couple of weeks ago I logged onto Twitter and read some shocking news. Tee Morris's wife Natalie had died unexpectedly. Now I don't know Tee personally, but I certainly know of him. He is the first person to podcast a novel (Morevi). In addition he is one of the founders of, and co-wrote (with the other founder, Evo Terra) Podcasting for Dummies, which I've relied on heavily ever since I decided to try my hand at podcasting.

So without Tee Morris, there probably wouldn't be so many novels being podcasted. There certainly wouldn't be a podcast novel version of Dreaming of Deliverance. He's a founding father in the podcast novel world.

But more importantly, he's also a real father: of a 5-year-old girl whom he refers to online as "Sonic Boom."

When you become a mother, you have to face many new fears. One of the biggest I've faced, is the thought of what would happen to my kids if I died. They have many people who love them, and I know that ulitmately they would be okay, but no one wants their children to have to deal with even the smallest hurt. And what could be more devastating to young children than the loss of their mother? I really can't allow my mind to go there and imagine the pain and loss they'd experience. It's too scary.

But Sonic Boom is living that reality. Her mother is gone. And her dad, Tee, is now faced with the prospect of raising her alone.

When the podcasting community learned of this tragic situation, they responded in a big way. You know how when someone you care about is dealing with a big loss, you wish you could do something to make it easier for them? Well the podcasting community is doing something. They set up a "Chip In" account to help Tee with funeral costs, and enough was raised that the excess was placed into a trust fund for Sonic Boom to help with her college expenses someday.

Now Phillipa Ballentine, my favorite podcast novel author, is orchestrating a fundraiser called "The Boom Effect", where lots of great and sometimes one-of-a-kind items will be auctioned off on line on February 27th. The proceeds will go into Sonic Boom's trust fund.

I'm donating a signed copy of the print version of Dreaming of Deliverance. So if you've been listening to the podcasts, and don't want to wait to find out what happens (we're about 1/2-way through with the story now), you can bid on DoD. Or if you were considering ordering a copy anyway, bid on it at the auction. I will pay to ship the book anywhere in the world.

But there's much more available. Definitely go and check out all that everyone has donated. I'm sure you'll find something that you'd love to bid on. It won't give Sonic Boom her mother back, or return Tee's wife to him, but you could end up with something really special, and by participating in the Boom Effect, you will help make things somewhat easier for Tee and his little girl during this terrible time.

Thanks so much.

Friday, January 15, 2010

I'm testing my voice...

...this week. I recorded every day while the kids were at school. Both for Dead Hunt, and for Dreaming of Deliverance. I think I need to look into the proper way to read aloud, because my voice is feeling a little strained. But I don't think I'll be able to record much next week because Monday is a holiday and I'm subbing Tuesday and Wednesday, so I wanted to get a lot done while I could.

I'm really enjoying narrating Kenn Crawford's novel. And I'm REALLY enjoying only recording, and not having to do the audio editing! He gets to edit out all of the retakes, loud intakes of breath, and lip smacks. You never realize how many extraneous noises you make until you have to listen that closely to yourself. Although, there's something to be said for reading your own words and knowing how to pronounce everything. Dead Hunt takes place in Nova Scotia and the names of the various locations in the story don't exactly trip of the tongue of this west-coaster. I've even been forced to learn how to pronounce a Gaelic phrase. That was interesting!

But I'm still not writing, and that sucks! I've got to figure out how to squeeze it in!

Monday, January 11, 2010

I'm going to try to get better...

...about updating this blog! So here are a couple of quick items:

  • If anyone is anxiously awaiting episode 17 of the Dreaming of Deliverance podcast, it's coming! I'm sorry it's late but it should be up tomorrow. Thanks for your patience!

  • I am going to do the narrating for Kenn Crawford's podcast novel, Dead Hunt. I'm really excited to do it! It's quite a story--super exciting and scary! Listen to this creepy promo! Yikes!

  • Finally, I'm really wanting to get back to writing regularly again. It keeps getting pushed to the end of my super long to-do list, and I have to move it up to the top. As I mentioned in my last Unpublishednotdead podcast, writing helps me feel more centered about life in general. Plus, I'm starting to get some questions about the sequel to Dreaming of Deliverance. It's in progress, and will happen, but not soon enough, especially if I'm not working on it!

That's about it for now. Remember, you can follow me on Twitter: @reneechambliss

I'll be back soon!