Sunday, March 24, 2013

"Dead End Street" Available on Audible.

So, my first audiobook reading is available over at I figured I'd say a few words about it (and each subsequent release) on this blog, and maybe on the Dunesteef, and maybe over at the 'steef forums. I haven't decided, though, whether I should be pretty terse and restrained on the Dunesteef, and go into a lot more detail on here.  I even considered engaging in a sort of "confessional" Q&A on the forums, spilling all my frustrations with each project, and what I thought of the piece and my work on it.

But I'm torn.  Y'see, these posts should really should be a kind of advertisement, encouraging (strongly?) fans of the Dunesteef (and my work) to go over to Audible and buy the recordings as they appear. Except for the book I finished yesterday, I get paid only if people go there and buy them, so it does me no good to say, "Hey, stay away from my production of 'Only Angles Have Vaginas' by Veronica C. Tobler, as it's a terribly-written story, I half-assed my way through it, and she spells 'Angel' as "Angle.' Also, I have it on pretty good authority that some large mammals do indeed have vaginas."

In the four years of doing the Dunesteef, Big and I have disagreed about this point, and I understand his position: if you've worked long hours on something, and it's your own name out there, it's counterproductive to say it's not good. I think my pal Jeff would say to call a spade a spade, but my friend Merrill says it's bad pool to criticize the work you're paid to do, like when Shia Unspellablelastname said that INDIANA JONES 4 was shit. 

But I have found it interesting--at least to me--to, if not criticize, at least critically examine, the stories we've recorded, at least for other podcasts. There was that one in the second person, that made me sit up and think about what exactly you're saying when you use it (see what I did there?), and I frankly wanted to talk about it.  Also, there was one story that was so morally objectionable, that I wanted to do an episode about where you draw the line, and if you can put your name on something deplorable, but not get any of the ichor on you.*

We record stories for other shows for free, using our own time, but yeah, I can see the editor of Podrapist saying, "Oh, they didn't like the story I deigned to give them, did they? Well, see if I ever let those bastards perform on House of Rape ever again."

There may be no correct answer, but I have found that I've learned things working on movie sets with bad directors, just as I learned what works with good directors like Sam Raimi, and as a writer, I think my talents benefit from reading books and stories that don't work, just as long as I recognize WHY they don't work.

There needs to be a middle ground between only trying to shill the books and outright bashing them, and I hope that someone out there appreciates that.  As an audiobook reader, I still give the best performance I can, even if I don't love the work I'm doing, and I think it's fair to say that a good actor can elevate a bad movie, or at least the scenes he's in.  That's just my opinion, though.

So, first out of the gate is "Dead End Street," written by Rick R. Reed. The man seems to have built quite a career for himself writing LGBT Erotica and Mysteries, but this is a straightforward YA horror book that reminds me, most of all, of a certain lad named Outfield, who digs writing about teens going to ordinary places and encountering creepiness.**

"Dead End Street" tells the story of five childhood friends, three boys and two girls, who as teenagers decided to meet weekly in the local reputably-haunted house, telling a scary story apiece. But their visits do not occur unnoticed.

What drew me to the story, as a reader and especially as a narrator, is that each kid tells their own story, and I could do it in that character's voice. That was probably my biggest challenge in this piece: deciding on a voice for each, and then keeping them straight.  For Pete, I chose a younger version of my own voice, for Dan, I chose a scratchy arrogant drawl, for Roy, the text says his voice has not yet broken, so he got a sort of irritatingly-high child voice. The two girls were harder, since I wanted them to sound different from one another. I did my typical female love interest voice for Erin, who's described as really attractive, and tried a snarkier girl voice for Marlene, who is the smart one, and pretty much ends up the main character of the story, so I hope she doesn't annoy anyone.

I ran my choices by Rick before starting, unsure how much back and forth there was supposed to be between the writer and the reader, but it seems the results vary depending on the writer. There have been a couple who are really hands-on and want every little thing their way, and there are a couple who have never said a word to me throughout the whole process.

The recording was fairly uneventful, and though the sound quality is not quite as clean as the stuff I'd do today was, it was a far cry from the first short stories that I edited without headphones (where you can hear every single breath and lip thaspk.***

It's not a long book (the reading ended up just over four hours), but I got to do at least eight different voices, and it's a good representative of what I do. Check it out, if you feel like it.  Yeah, I make money if people buy the book, but it'll get really old if I come on here every couple of weeks to try to get people to buy the pieces. 

The thing is, I enjoy talking about writing and recording as much as I enjoy writing and recording, and if the stats are true, there's only five people other than me who have ever even read this blog, and one of those was a piece of shit lawyer looking for a way to get me fired from yet another job.  The blog is for me, to talk about my experiences (hopefully in an entertaining way), and works as a journal that just happens to be publicly-available.

Having said that, I hope you enjoy it too.

Rish Outfield, Book Guy

*That conversation was never recorded, but strangely, the story itself never saw the light of day either, as the podcast I recorded it for seems to have gone the way of the that beautiful green frog from Las Vegas.  My guess is (and this is Not a joke) that the editor heard my recording of it, and felt exactly as I did when narrating (and editing) it.

**I wrote a story "New Year's Day" a while ago, that has a similar premise (of high schoolers going into the local haunted house), but I don't think it's similar at all.  With Horror, you can get a lot of mileage out of as simple a premise as "Girl is possessed," "House has ghosts," and "horny teens run afoul of psychotic albino."  

**No, thaspk is not a word, but is there a word for the smacking/slurping sound that a mouth makes when it opens? Of course, if that mouth is Emily Van Camp's I imagine the word is different than when, say, the Rancor's or my mouth makes it.

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