Tag Archives: fantasy adventures

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 4: Guarded Portal

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 Freesound.org.  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: Guarded Portal

Seems like so long ago now, but my first real-for-true outside author who hired me for narration work– Gilbert Stack had me for the Legionnaire series but he’s a cherished friend and colleague– was M. R. Matthias for his series Fantastica. He liked some of the sounds I installed (and asked me to drop others); I’m sure I learned a lot from helping to tell this epic tale over the course of four books (now available as a bundle).

Briefly– there’s a chamber filled with tomes of lore, the entrance guarded against entry by evildoers (the innocent can pass through freely). When the bad guys try to enter, the magical ward goes off, with fatal results.

Here’s the sound, Guarded Portal:

How It Sounded

With regret, I threw together FX in the early days without careful notes on which contributor to Freesound were the authors. But I’m fairly sure there were two sounds here, one of several Lightning sounds and another having to do with Electric/Zap. The challenge with these short FX is to insert something that’s evocative without interrupting the flow of the tale. The story is always, always first and foremost about the words the author wrote. I tried to put this in so that the listener might jump a second, and thus become more fully immersed in that tale.

How It Looks

Yeah, no. Google doesn’t have much in the way of a lightning-like flash that goes off when someone tries to cross a portal. But there is a company called Zap that makes garage door openers! Fantasy with its magic and monsters exceeds our experience– that’s really the point, isn’t it?. So the listener must just imagine that moment when the evil sorcerer gets an also-evil but unsuspecting thug to try and cross the portal.

The Fantastica series is available in all formats on Amazon and Audible. It remains one of the best selling volumes of my narration collection.