Category Archives: Author Spotlight

Master of Music

Long-Awaited Release

The most involved and ambitious audiobook project of 2023 for me is finally hitting the digital shelves. I can’t wait for you to sample the Bardic Isles Book 1, Master of Music.

Marla Himeda has composed (and I mean that quite literally) such an original story–fantasy without swords or dragons or races–yet there is strong conflict within the major characters. There are elements of mystery, suspense, and humor (as with any good fantasy) in a tale for anyone from 6 to 96. The tone is much like Taran Wanderer by Lloyd Alexander, but the author deals with adults, their thoughts and worries just as deeply and capably as the protagonist who’s barely a teen. A mentor and his student, learning about maturity as much as music.

All this goes to a fine fantasy book, and that’s… fine. But the music.

You Heard Me. Music!

Here is a book actually-factually stuffed with music. Musicians are the main characters. The magic in the world comes from music. There are flowing, wonderful descriptions of flutes, pipes, harps, trios and ensembles including voices. And, see, there’s music too. You can hear it.

Because Marla Himeda, as we were working on the project, decided she would compose it all.

She worked instruments and voices into the descriptions she had previously written, in a seamless match between what I read aloud and what you can hear alongside it. It’s truly a unique listening experience. We went over portions of this word by word and beat by beat, syncing to the eighth-note and to every decibel of volume.

I have had the privilege to work on scores of books in my narration career, for dozens of authors besides myself. This has to rank as one of the most memorable, and I think enjoyable pieces yet. Very few projects I’ve worked on come up to this level. Hard to say for sure, but maybe none of them.

If you’re looking for hours of entertainment, strictly at 1.0x speed, I would recommend Master of Music. The author has gone “wide” and it’s available at all the major outlets, below are just a few. I am honored to have been asked (therein hangs another tale!) and I look forward eagerly to the sequel, as much as a reader as narrator.

Try the Sample, you won’t regret it.

At Amazon

At Barnes & Noble

At Kobo

At Chirp

At Google

At Libro FM

At Spotify

Sounds of the Season 6: Bringing it Together (Men’s Room!)

Because Sometimes Only Hearing is Believing

I’m featuring sounds from my recent audiobook projects, just for fun, and I hope that this feature of my narration work will resonate with authors and listeners. Here are some of the others.

Many times my FX are drawn from a marvelous website called  I cut, slice and alter them using effects found in the Audacity tool (also free to download and use). Sometimes I create the sound myself, using my voice or things to hand.

Featured Sound: Men’s Room

I’ve been doing really short sounds recently, and wanted to go to the other side of the spectrum, something longer and showing how the sounds ideally can fit into the background and enhance the listening experience. Enter DL Ashmore, one of my most faithful and enthusiastic author clients, who is continually crafting new ads for his “Business” series available both on Amazon and Audible.

When he sent me his first in the series, Unfinished Business,  I thought “ah, police procedurals”. I’m starting to record his fourth book today, and my sense of the genre has sharpened a bit. I now call it “ex-military pseudo-vigilante porn”. There are good cops, who’ve been raised right and know how to enforce the law, including creatively at times. Bad guys abound, but they generally get theirs, as in the clip below about an arrogant young gun who has vulture-capitalized a children’s hospital and plans to fire all the staff to finance his dissolute lifestyle. Yeah, like that’s going to happen.

Here’s the sound, “Men’s Room” from Taking Care of Business (linked to his Facebook post, might have to scroll down a bit to see it):

Excerpt from “Taking Care of Business” (DL Ashmore)

How It Sounded

The sounds here are all pretty mundane; opening and closing the heavy bathroom door, unzipping pants, and then the semi-limp body of a vulture capitalist hitting the tile floor. The trick was to keep them slotted tightly into the narration (without long beats between the words, and so forth) so that the listener might feel really there. At the end of the clip, the venue actually shifts in and out of the men’s room, from the ladies’ conversation to the dope’s last thoughts.

How It Looks

Women may wish to avert their eyes. It’s the row of urinals that makes a men’s room unique. I only found about a thousand and six pictures that would do the trick. Here’s one from iStock:

Bathroom for men, especially clean, spacious

The Business series by DL Ashmore is available at both Amazon for e-book and paperback, as well as on Audible for the a-books. The fourth audiobook in the series, Ugly Business, is at Amazon now and will be out on audio later this fall.