Thursday
Sep042014

Survey for the Podcast Audience + Sketches for Artbook

Hey, guys!

First of all, I have some important questions for listeners of the podcast, reguarding the direction you would like the podcast to go. I talked about it in the podcast episode I just posted, so maybe listen to that first. If you're interested in the content of the podcast, please follow the link and vote. If the survey fills up, you can respond in the forums, but please please don't do that unless the survey is full and won't admit more responses.

Secondly, I thought you all might enjoy the new sketches for 2 of the additional illustrations for the art book. As I predicted, Rah altered the composition for a couple of them. The first is Thess meeting Silveo (one of the illos you folks chose by vote), and the second is Gerard finding Silveo with the hunti. There are two versions of that second one, and I chose "A" (that's the illo that I personally commissed even though it wasn't one of the top 3, so I felt that I got to pick which version.)

Enjoy!
  

 

 

Sunday
Aug242014

Hunters Unlucky in Paper

Hello, Readers!

I am proud to announce that Hunters Unlucky is available in paper. This is the largest single title that my designer and I have attempted to fit between two covers, and I'm pleased with the way it came out. The paper book has some artwork not available in the ebook. It also has a different cover, in which we took advantage of the greater detail visible on a physical page.

 


People on my mailing list get a 25% discount when purchasing any of my paper books from Create Space. If you're not on the mailing list and you're interested in that, you can sign up on the right. The mailing list gets a heads-up whenever I release anything new and occationally when I need their feedback.

The audio for this title is almost 50% finished. It should be done before the end of the year. :)
Monday
Aug182014

P.G. Holyfield

This morning, I woke up at 5 am to go to work and saw a confusing, but ominous facebook post. When I had time to follow-up on it, I learned that P.G. Holyfield has been diagnosed with aggressive, late-stage cancer. The here-today-gone-tomorrow kind of cancer. Days-to-live kind of cancer. Sudden-massive-organ-failure kind of cancer.
 
This is wretched beyond words.
 
P.G. Holyfield is the author of a podcast novel called Murder at Avadon Hill. It was either the first or the second fullcast podcast that I ever heard (I found Avadon Hill and T. Morris's Billibub Baddings at about the same time). Before Chris Lester or Dan Sawyer, there was P.G. Holyfield, creating wonderful sound-scapes with casts of voice actors. P.G.'s work had a direct influence on how I chose to produce Cowry Catchers. I also found Beth Quist's music by following also-listens from the music that P.G. had used. I had this mental imagine of P.G. sitting in a castle-studio with ethereal music wafting around him, turning mysterious nobs and pressing buttons (that was before I actually did any fullcast production).
 
Later, I asked P.G. to do a cameo in Cowry Catchers. He was the voice of Leopaard Maijha, Gwain's father, in Book 2. His voice work was swift and professional, and he was unfailingly kind and friendly in emails.
 
I met P.G. for the first time in real life at Dragon Con 2010, about the same time that I met Norm in real life. I've since seen P.G. at just about every Balticon and Dragon Con I've attended. He was usually kitted out in dapper steam-punk attire and always had a crowd of people around him. It will be bizarre and sad not to see him at conventions anymore.
 
P.G. has three children who have been blindsided by this. His family and friends have started a GoFundMe campeign to offset medical costs and help care for his young kids. If you can spare a few bucks and want to say thank you for the ways in which he's influenced my work, go here.
 
P.G., if you get a chance to read this, thank you so much for the inspiration and entertainment you provided. Thank you for lending your lovely voice to Cowry Catchers. Thank you for putting beautiful things into the world. Whether you step off the stage tomorrow or beat all the odds and stick around for years to come, the things you’ve made will outlive you. They will continue to be bright and beautiful long after you’re gone. Thank you.
Monday
Aug112014

Additional Artwork for the Cowry Catchers Artbook

For the last few weeks, Cowry Catchers fans have been voting on 3 additional illustrations for the Cowry Catchers Art Book. There were two rounds, once among 30 sketches that were created but never finished, and then another vote among the 8 favorites from that set.

The votes were impressively even in their distribution. I'm tempted to do one final round, but I think we do have clear (though narrow) winners. They are 1-1, 2-8, and 5-1. You can view the eight finalists and winners here.

So Rah will be finishing these pieces for the artbook. One will be watercolor and the other two ink. I will leave which ones to her judgement. In addition, I am going to purchase 3-2. It's an important scene, and I originally had it illustrated by another artist, whose style is so different from Rah's that it wouldn't make sense to include it in the book. Consequently, there's a gap in the illustrations at that point.

Composition of these pieces may evolve and change as Rah works on them. This happens frequently, and I hope no one will be upset if angles and such get shifted around as the sketches evolved into finished pieces.

I did want to ask one question. I completely understand why 1-1 and 5-1 were chosen, but I am mystified as to why so many people wanted 2-8. It's a very sad, very dark point in the story. Composition for that piece is nothing spectacular. You can't even see anyone's face. I suspect this is an image that Rah will want to re-arrange. Those of you who voted for it - can you tell me why? Is it just that you wanted to see that particular moment illustrated (the broken windchimes that remind Gerard of Thessalyn's death and haunt him for the rest of the story), or was there something about the specific composition of that image which appealed to you? I'd like to keep the element you voted for, so I need to know what it was!

Wednesday
Jun252014

Cowry Catchers Complete Series Available on Audible.com!

Audible
Amazon
iTunes

Cowry Catchers re-mastered audio is finally live!!

I've spent most of my 30's working on this project, so I'm super-excited to complete this step. Unlike Prophet, Cowry Catchers had fairly extensive re-mastering before uploading to ACX. You would definitely notice if you listened to the podcast and audiobook back-to-back, although you probably won't notice if it's been a while since you listened to the podcast.

Only a handful of lines were actually re-recorded. Mostly, the touch-up involved noise-removal, a little added music, and adjustments to the levels of music and sound effects. Books 1-2 needed the most touch-up. Book 3 also had a fair amount of remastering. Books 4 and 5 are pretty much as they were.

In addition, Audible requires that each chapter fade to complete silence at the beginning and end. This is an obvious problem for musical bridges and certain kinds of sound effects, so I spent many hours editing the files so that they can fade up and down between chapters without being too disruptive.

The voice actors were paid, and all the music was licensed.

The audio book is the entire 5-book series as a single download with no intros, outros, or story-so-far's. It's 32 hours long. Audible has priced it at $29.95 for non-members. If you're a member, it's on sale for $15, and of course you can get it with a single credit (about $12). I think you also get a discount if you go through Amazon. iTunes has it listed for $26.95. Links at the top.

You can only review an Audible.com title if you own it. So if you purchase Cowry Catchers, please considering leaving a review. Audible.com listeners pay attention to those reviews for hints about the quality of the listening experience in addition to the story itself.

I hope those of you who get to hear this version find it shiny, fluffy, cuddly, and sharp.

~Abbie