Saturday, October 26, 2013

Rish performs "Derai" (Dumarest #2) on

So, the second Earl Dumarest book by E.C. Tubb just became available on Audible.  And here I am to plug it.  Coincidence?

In his second book, from 1968, Earl Dumarest continues going from world to world, hoping to find someone who knows about his long lost homeworld.  He meets a girl, Derai, heir to the House of Caldor, on the planet Hive.  He agrees to protect her on her way back to her world, and ends up stranded there, in the middle of scheming noblemen and giant killer bees.  Somewhere along the way, his feelings for Derai become something greater.

I've spoken a lot about these books, and I really do try to give them my all.  They're well-written, and the action sequences in particular tend to be pretty thrilling.  Hopefully, listeners think so too.

Here is the link:

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A little overdue

Audiobook Adventures: Chapter 27

Not much to report this time around.

I finished recording "Toyman," the third book in the Dumarest series.  I thought I had till a certain day to turn in the completed reading, but in checking today, I discovered I have five days less than I thought I did.  Even if I edit one whole chapter each day (which is unlikely), I won't make the deadline.  I don't know why I can't be a bit more diligent about recording these things; if I just made a point to record the whole book in, say, a week, then I would better remember the character names and their voices, and I could take my time to edit the recordings, which is the worst part about doing these things anyway.

On that note, I haven't taken on any new projects, at least not for Audible.  I've got the three remaining Dumarest books on my contract, all due before the end of the year, and then I can think about the future, Eckhart.

But that's not entirely true, as I, just a couple of days ago, saw that a Ray Bradbury story was looking for auditions.  I thought about it, and figured I may never again get the chance to be the official narrator for a Bradbury project, and that it would be great to say I did that one day, so I went ahead and sent in my audition.  If I say nothing about it, I guess you'll know I didn't get it.

"Toyman" was a really solid book, and it feels more episodic than the last one, where at least Earl Dumarest fell in love.  In this one, he does get one more step toward his goal, but it's a little step, with a heck of a lot of work to get there.  Once again, Tubb did that thing I complained about in my last post about this stuff, except that he did it twice in "Derai," and once in "Toyman," and even then, at the very end of the book.  There is an action scene, it abruptly ends, and then, afterward, the character tells the other characters what happened.  I'm not at all sure why you'd tell a story this way*, but it must be something Tubb enjoys doing, much like when Stephen King will say, "They went their separate ways.  It was the last time Alex and Amanda would ever see each other alive."

In the last book, I chose for all the characters on the Planet Hive to have English accents, except for the villainous Cyber, who had a nasal American one.  In this book, I decided every citizen of the planet Toy would have American accents, and so, gave this particular Cyber a snooty English one.  There have been a Cyber in each of the three books I've read, and instead of giving all three the same voice--which might have been the way to go--I tried to make them each unique.

I also, for some inexplicable reason, chose to pronounce "laboratory" the other way at one point early in this book.  Then, to my horror, I discovered that later scenes actually took place in the laboratory.  Damn my dialectic creativity.

I also had our thirteen Halloween marathon episodes to edit, and that took a huge chunk--a positive, enjoyable one, though--out of my available edit time.  I wonder, is it better to have too many irons in the fire, or too few?


*The only real reason I can think of is if it's a children's story you're telling, and by having the narrator alive and well, and looking back on a life-threatening experience, it reassures the listeners that he did, indeed survive.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Rish Outcast 3: Beyond the Fence

Rish is back with his brand new edition.  Will he ever stop?  Yo, I don't know.

In this, Rish presents "Beyond the Fence," probably the shortest story he'll ever do on the show, then talks about its (and his own) shortcomings.  It first appeared here on his blog (in the week where he tried to write a story a day).  He also describes a new story idea he had completely forgotten about by the time he typed up this summary.

Right click HERE to download the episode, select Save Link As, and save the file to your hard drive.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

If You Can’t Love Yourself . . .

You know me. You know my sense of identity, and how the loudest Rish Outfield detractor will always be me. I’m not one of those guys who can go on and on about how great I am, or how dead-on that impression was, or how the narration for our latest episode was so awesome it really elevated the material (even if I feel that way).

There are people out there who can do that, though, and they are probably more successful than me. If you can say, “Hey, I wrote a story called 'Arse Assault,' and it’s the deepest, best Period Adventure Comedy you’ll ever read, a true bargain at £8.88!” you have to be more likely to sell a copy than my typical, “I don’t know if it’s any good, but I worked hard on it.” And even that is beyond me, since I’d probably add, “Actually, I could’ve worked harder, but I knew I’d never release it if I kept polishing it every time I went to sell it.”

I wrote a story a couple of years ago that I think is really scary, but I’m too afraid to say that in a blogpost. Is that irony?

I mention this because, I’m currently editing a reading of my story “Office Visit” that Bryan Lincoln narrated last January when we were at the New Media Expo. We got together in Abbie Hilton’s room, set up a bunch of microphones, and recorded for ninety minutes on my story. While I’m sure I mentioned it in my blog back then, it was quite an honor to have such a group wasting thei—er, spending their time performing my work. Renee Chambliss and Lauren Harris voiced the main characters, Marshal Latham was the villain, Big Anklevich voiced the love interest, and Abbie and I voiced the rest of the characters.

I finally started putting it together, and when you’ve got everybody live in a room, the editing process is pretty easy. At first, I was somewhat embarrassed by it. The story seems extraordinarily long, and seems to take forever getting started. I wanted to hit the Rish Outfield from a decade ago for writing two pages of exposition before anything happens, and was embarrassed for the Rish Outfield of months ago for sitting in the room there, all too aware of that fact.

But then, something strange happened. Renee and Lauren started in on their characters, best friends on the cusp of adolescence, and suddenly, the story started coming to life. I don’t know if they were trying to one-up one another (and if so, it was surely unconscious), but they brought excitement, humor, and humanity to those two girls, and just as suddenly, I started grinning, telling the ghosts looking over my shoulder, “Wow, this is really good stuff, isn’t it?”

The ghosts did not contradict me.

The story gets funny, and then it gets scary, and hopefully exciting before the end, but I can’t get over how lucky I was to have all these talented people taking time out of their trip to work on my story. For free.

I remember being in college, running auditions for student films I had written, listening to people read the lines I’d given them, and every once in a while, someone would speak them, and they sounded Really Really Good, as though somebody better than me had written them, as though these were real actors in a real movie. It was an exciting feeling, and it never failed to make me feel talented and proud of my work when it happened.

Now I'm older, and somehow less confident in ways than I was then, and am literally incapable of saying, "I wrote something for so-and-so contest, and I think it's really good." Even that sentence was hard to put down (I ended up substituting "so-and-so" for the name of the contest I entered yesterday).

It's sad, really, and just a part of my messed-up personality. I think some of the stuff I write is not only good, but actually pretty somewhat very good. I just can't say it. I can barely accept thinking it. I don't know where that comes from or how to overcome it. But, if in the near future, you see me write a blog post, talking about a story I wrote that I think is really scary, maybe you can nod and say, "That middle-aged boy is making progress."

Rish Outfield, Fan of Frogs

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Rish Performs "Stomping Mad" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch on Audible

Another of the short stories I've recorded is available for sale. This one is "Stomping Mad (A Spade Conundrum)" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. The man known only as Spade has an unpleasant encounter with the woman who's known as the Martha Stewart of Sci-Fi, a woman he despises, but someone else (apparently) despises even more.
Stomping Mad: A Spade Conundrum (Spade/Paladin) | [Kristine Kathryn Rusch]

I believe I mentioned how much easier the last Spade/Paladin story, "Pandora's Box" was to produce than the first one.  Well, this one seemed to be even easier than that.

This is the first story Ms. Rusch wrote (or published) with the Spade character in it, a sort of SF convention detective who solves mysteries in the unique environment of fan conventions.  The story was published in 1997, and I picked up on that as I was narrating it, but when I got to the copyright at the end, it said 2013, so I may not understand the intricacies of copyright law.

I have recorded (and nearly finished editing) one more of these stories, and Ms. Rusch has apparently written a fifth one that is forthcoming.  With a little energon and a lot of luck, I'll be recording that one in the not too distant future.

Check it out here:

I hear from some of my podcasting buddies about the hijinks and joys to be had at small conventions, where drinking and mingling are a greater priority than watching movie footage, buying t-shirts, and getting Power Rangers' autographs.  If I had the personality and finances to go to some of those, it might be pretty memorable.

The subculture of conventioneers and convention attendees is actually quite interesting, and when I lived in L.A., there were a couple of familiar faces I'd see every time I went to a convention (include an albino man who sold bootlegs at the Shrine Auditorium).  I became friends with a fantastic artist who I only ever see at conventions, and gave him three hundred dollars this year, which is a record.  I keep meaning to write a short story taking place at a comic book/Sci-Fi convention, and I nearly achieved it this year, but discovered a flooded basement the night I came home, and still haven't repaired all the damage.  If I had the personality and talent to actually write down my story, it might be pretty memorable too.

Rish Outfield, Convention Defective

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Audiobook Adventures: Chapter 26 (or Buh +1)

Part One

Nothing new to report this week. I finished my Kristine Kathryn Rusch story, and within two days, had been given another (presumably my last). I've been given a month to do it, so I oughtn't procrastinate, but since this is probably it, I'd sort of like to savor it and do it after my next novel is in.

Speaking of which, I came to the two-thirds done level of recording the next Dumarest book, but when I went to edit, I discovered that, somehow, I hadn't recorded two chapters. I guess I pressed the button, and it didn't start recording. Then, when I got to a character who hadn't appeared since the second chapter, I stopped the recording to go listen to how I did him the first time (I hadn't written it down). Well, THAT'S where the recording starts, with me going to the old files and listening.*

The chapters in this book are massive, about a half-hour long when edited. To lose two of them was pretty damning when it comes to meeting my deadline . . . which is a mere five days away. But ah well.

Part Two

In the end, I focused solely on that book, and got it finished the day before the deadline.  I worry, though, that there were two chapters where you could hear the damned crickets outside (normally, I'd say "the lovely, romantic calls of crickets," but in this one case, they be damned), and it might be too noticeable, despite my attempts to mask them.  This room gets so hot in the summer, because of all the electronics and sexual frustration, and though I often close the windows and turn off the fan when I record, on one night, I guess I forgot.

As I've mentioned, I signed up to do the first five books in the Dumarest series, and when I looked at how much time I have to do the third book, I discovered (to my horror) that the first fifteen minutes was due the same day as the finalized second book was due.  So, no rest for the wicked, I sat down and read most of the first chapter of "Toyman" by E.C. Tubb, only stopping when it was after three in the morning. 

I edited it the next day, and got it in only a day after it was due.

Oh, and let me briefly complain about something.  For some reason, Tubb's chapters are insanely long.  They are broken up in little sections, which gives you time to breathe, but each edited chapter ends up about half an hour long (which is, what, two hours work for each?), and that always makes me think I've made absolutely no progress on the book.

As it stands, I've done two recording sessions on the new book, and all I have done is the credits and the first chapter.

I complained to Big about a strange tendency in Tubb's writing that bothered me to no end in the second book, and has already continued in the first chapter of the third.  He starts his narrative after major action has already taken place, and has characters talk about it, or sums it up himself.  There was some exciting action and strong dramatic moments in "Derai" that happen in between chapters, that I would guess were due to editorial excisions, except that he does it in the OPENING of the third book.  I think I could probably do a whole post about it, because I just don't get it.  I consider myself a pretty experienced writer (whether that makes me good or not, I won't venture to guess), but I can't understand why the man would make the choices he makes, in describing the buildup to a big disaster, then cutting to its aftermath and having Earl Dumarest explain how everybody else was killed.**

I just read yesterday a screenwriting expert instructing that you want your story to begin as late as it possibly can, and that lengthy prologues or backstories are bad screenwriting.  I thought--as I always do--of STAR WARS, and how it begins with the Imperials having tracked down the Rebels, and that there would be "No escape for the Princess this time."  That certainly seems to follow that, and it made me think of my recent story "Unreleased," and how I cut out the entire first section (basically a prologue) to make it closer to the length requirement of the podcast that ran it, figuring me telling how the old man gets the bottle back was less important than what he does with it once he's got it.  I am 94% ready to put that story up for sale (I'm going to try Smashwords first on this one, then Amazon), but that the longer version of the story breaks that screenwriting rule . . . and may be weaker because of it.

I say may be.  I don't know for sure.

THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK starts with the Imperials releasing probes, then cuts to the planet Hoth, where Luke and Han are already out patrolling on their tauntauns.  Luke talks to Han and is immediately attacked.  I suppose you could easily have begun with Luke, Han, and Leia in the Echo Base, and General Reikkan asking for volunteers to go out on patrols.  But they didn't.

Conversely, RETURN OF THE JEDI originally began with Luke on Tatooine, putting the finishing touches on his new lightsaber, and inserting it into Artoo's dome.  Vader, communicating via the Force, tells Luke that he a) is his son, and b) must turn to the Dark Side.  This scene was shot, edited, and even scored by John Williams before George Lucas ultimately cut it, deciding to simply show the droids on their way to see Jabba the Hutt.  Obviously, Lucas was trying to start the story as late as possible, though the screenwriter might suggest he could've cut the journey to Jabba's palace and simply started with Artoo and Threepio arriving at the big gate.  I don't know, but now I'm paranoid about my writing.

I need to just post this, because once I start talking about STAR WARS, forever will it dominate my destiny.  Consume me, it will.

The point is, E.C. Tubb has a strange habit of cutting out the expensive action sequences and focusing on the cheap conversation afterward, which is totally understandable if you're a low-budget filmmaker.  Not that he is.

And now I'm outright criticizing, which was not my intention.  The man's writing is really strong, and I do feel honored to be able to read (at least) these first five books.  And that reminds me, I really ought to get to work on that, if I'm to finish the whole book before Halloween.

Rish Outfield, Audiobook Reader

*I guess it's fortunate, in retrospect, that I stopped the recording for that, or all of the sixth chapter would've been lost, instead of just most of it.

**I remember that Rolling woman doing something similar in "Harry Potter 7," where the battle is ended, and suddenly both Lupin and Tonks lie dead, having been killed while she was describing other action.  I understand that it's Harry's story (and secondarily, Ron and Hermione's), but when interviewed, Jo Rolling stated exactly who killed Lupin and his new wife, and how they died, leading me to think it was a deliberate decision not to include it.