A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments and often have guest bloggers. All our authors can be contacted separately, too, using their own social media links.

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Audible: The Journey, Part 2

Join the authors and friends of Not Your Usual Suspects for an occasional series of posts about their world of reading, writing and publishing.

Short and sweet, hopefully both informative and entertaining - join us at I-Spy to find out the how's and why's of what we do.

TODAY'S POST: Audible: The Journey, Part 2

I left you with a cliff-hanger so I’ll get right to the answer. The apple is for clicking. If you speak for long periods, your mouth gets sticky and little sounds come out that you don’t want to be there. I was told the granny smith apple helps with that but I’ll tell you another secret: When I clicked, and yes, I clicked, I just drank some water. I never sliced open my apple. It seemed like too much trouble. <G>

I felt more confident on day two, but for some reason on day three, I was nervous again. Probably because my voice still hurt from day two. I was worried it would show on the recording. (It didn’t.)

We started a little later in the day and ended up going later in the evening. The director could tell when I got tired because my “Texas” came out. I tended to drop the ed or ing at the end of words.  We also had a ton of stops and starts because it was trash day and the vibration from the garbage trucks was loud enough to hear even in my sound proof booth.

Oh, and day three marked the beginning of all the sex. Up until now (as far as sex went), I’d only had to read a couple of kissing scenes. Honestly, I didn’t really think about it or get embarrassed until I made a mistake at a particular point and had to go back and re-read it. Yes, I felt myself blush bright red when Paul (the director) told me, “Take it back to where she’s wet and wanting him.” OMG. I think I just flushed again. Anyway, he liked that I didn’t have gratuitous sex. (Uh… not me specifically, but in the book. LOL.) Trust me, after that, most of it was a cake-walk.

Occasionally during the day I’d hear Paul laugh and my heart would thump faster at having written something he thought was funny. It would distract me for a few words, but I just kept plowing forward. Of course the thoughts in my head would be something akin to, “Wait! Which part was funny?” But I never asked.

By the end of day three, my throat really hurt. I was sucking down tea all day and having soup for dinner. In general, I stayed away from foods that might affect my speech. Like dairy. That was tough since I’m a cheese fiend.

The last day in the studio was the shortest of all at five and a half hours. I felt as if I had a more difficult time starting. The more mistakes I made, the more I thought about the poor editor who had to piece it all together. I thought that this far into the book, I wanted it to really sparkle. Not that I didn’t want the top to sparkle, but I was more aware of certain things and therefore got more anal as the process wore on. And, because I knew I had extra time since I was reading fewer pages, I took advantage of it.

I asked Paul to rate my performance on a scale of 1 – 10. He gave me a 7. I was okay with that since this was my first book. I can only get better. He gave me some pointers on what to look out for in the future. (Mainly my Texas accent when I got tired or not careful.)

The closer I got to the end the more melancholy I felt. I couldn’t believe it was all over so fast. I had let my baby out in the world once more, be it good, bad or ugly. And, now I’m faced the tough issue of having not only my story critiqued, but my performance as well. But like everything else in my life, I’ve gone into a business that is extremely subjective and I can handle the critics. I won’t please everybody all the time and I know that. I can only please myself with the material I put forth into the world.

I am happy to say that so far my Danger Zone ratings have been very good and since I try to learn from my mistakes, I gave myself a note before narrating Dangerously Close: SLOW DOWN.

Which leads me to my second session and my second narrated book.

I finished Dangerously Close in three days. The book was smaller than Danger Zone (coming in at 106K), but I had more characters with points of view, which meant I had more voices to mark in my head.  I was lucky enough to have Paul back to direct so I wasn’t nearly as nervous when I started on day one. I read slower which led to less error. I dropped my page average by about a minute.  The toughest hurdle for me on this book was singing two songs I wrote. I’m a shower/car singer so when the recorder goes on, I tend to get nervous and hit every note except the one I’m supposed to. God bless, Paul. At the end of the last day he let me record (at my request/begging) the two songs again so the editor could stick them in the book where they belong. I was having a tough time so he told me practice for a few minutes. When I was ready and told him to record, he smiled at me said, “I got it already.” The sly dog recorded on my rehearsal. Love that man. (I also had to record “talking” the songs and I won’t know until I listen which version they used.) In the end, he told me I’d improved 100% since the last time. Yes, that made me smile.

In conclusion, I can tell you that I worked my butt off for both books. Not only in the studio but in preparation for the studio. If you think narrating a book is an easy job, think again. Committing to each character is a ton of work. But it’s been some of the most rewarding work I’ve ever done. I know I’m lucky to be able to bring my books to life and hope people enjoy them as much as I enjoyed writing/narrating them.

So that's the story. I know I asked your thoughts yesterday, but after hearing about both sessions, do you have any other thoughts or comments about the process? Ask away... I'm all ears. 


Dee J. Adams has been writing romantic suspense for over a decade. Her Adrenaline Highs series is published through Carina Press and her debut novel, Dangerous Race was a finalist for Best First Book in the 2012 Golden Quill Awards. The third book in the series, Dangerously Close, was released 7/23/12. She's been married to the love of her life for 23 years and has one remarkable daughter.


FUTURE POSTS will cover:
Kindlegraph / the art of research / writing male/male romance / rejection and writer's block / building suspense / writing love scenes / anti-piracy strategies / audio books / interviews with editors and agents / using Calibre.
                                         We welcome everyone's constructive comments and suggestions!


Maureen A. Miller said...

What an incredible experience. I think it's wonderful that you got to do this, because after all, the author is the one person who knows what their characters 'sound' like. Now watch you start writing novellas so that you can save your throat! :)

Dee J. said...

Hi Maureen,
LOL. You might be right, except I love my big books. You hit the nail on the head... I love that I can deliver my books the way I want people to hear them. I'm very lucky. Not taking it for granted either.

JB Lynn said...

I loved getting this behind-the-scenes glimpse, Dee. Thanks!

Dee J. said...

Hi JB,
You're welcome! Glad you enjoyed it! And thank you for the tweets!

Marcelle Dubé said...

Dee, thanks for sharing your experience. It was most interesting.

Dee J. said...

Hi Marcelle,
Absolutely! Glad you liked it.

Shelley Munro said...

I'm full of admiration. Thanks for sharing because I found the process fascinating.

Dee J. said...

Hi Shelley,
You're sweet. And you're welcome! i'm glad you liked it. :)

Toni Anderson said...

Loved these two posts. Willlink them on sidebar as soon as brain reconnects :)

Toni Anderson said...

And I am so impressed. Good job!!

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