Saturday, July 27, 2019
And so it begins, dear friends. Here is my first full-scale attempt at doing an audio recording of one of the short stories from our anthology "The Vampyre Blogs - One Day At a Time".
The purpose of doing this short story is of course to start preparing for turning the entire anthology, as well as it's predecessor "The Vampyre Blogs - Coming Home" into full-length audiobooks. Helen and I will also be turning her new solo novel "Forever's Too Long" (another vampire tale, set in 1947 NYC) into an audiobook as well.
For some time many readers and friends have been urging me to try my hand at doing audiobooks saying I have a good voice for reading aloud. Helen readily agreed as I have spent many evenings reading aloud to her from books we both wanted to read at the same time, and this seemed to be the simplest solution.
However, I was completely unsure how one even began to make an audiobook. I do not consider myself all that well versed in technology. Furthermore, until the last couple of years, our finances were very tight so trying to rent time at a professional recording studio. Plus, I would then have to pay someone to do all the technical cleanup of the recordings to make them presentable for Audible, over on Amazon.
But after having helped create the trailer for Helen's book "Forever's Too Long" (which I have shared here before but in case you missed it here's the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNoPA_ytUvc), I found my confidence increasing in my vocal skills. The responses to the trailer and the praise I received at her release party where I did some live reading in the voice of her main character, was the final nudge I needed. From there I downloaded Audacity (the program Audible uses for audiobook submissions) and did some serious reading up on audio recording. I also watched a number of YouTube videos which taught me how to get the best sound quality while recording inside our own home, instead of renting space at a studio. I also invested in some equipment...
I won't go into all the technical details of how I made the recording here, because I'm covering that topic in a series of entries over on our blog about writing at:
There will be more audios coming to this site in the near future for your enjoyment, leading up to the release of the complete anthology on Audible. When that date will be, I do not know as I still have a lot of recording to do. However, we will keep you all apprised of our progress. In the meantime, please enjoy the audio provided above and know that this blog will still be sharing brand new tales about Nathan and his friends as usual.
I also want to let you know that progress is being made on "The Vampyre Blogs - Family Ties". My main regret is that it's taken so long, but there have been health and family issues over the past year that slowed things down on that front. But the book is still under way and will see the light of day. Hopefully, late next year.
In the meantime, besides the audios, I am working on a new cover for "The Vampyre Blogs - Coming Home" as it will be getting a new home under the Young Adult section over on Amazon. It will also be getting released to Kobo, Barnes and Noble (Nook form), PDF and other formats later this year. So, as you can see, we got a lot happening with Nathan and company, and there are many more adventures and stories to tell, so please stay tuned.
Until next time, happy reading (and listening) dear friends...
Saturday, July 20, 2019
Meanwhile, Nadine stared into her now empty cup, apparently without realizing it. Something was still weighing on her mind. Glancing down I saw my cup was empty as well. "I could use a refill, how about you?" I asked.
Nadine blinked. "Huh... oh, more hot chocolate? That sounds good."
I started to get up, but she got to her feet first saying, "I'll get it. You take it easy. I'm keeping you up, I can at least play hostess."
For a moment I was going to remind her that my little guy was really the one who'd kept me up already, but I held my tongue. I was starting to feel a bit tired, but I wanted to know what she hadn't told me yet. Whatever it was, it had troubled her up something fierce, and that bothered me.
I guess it must've shown in my face because I saw the look of worry in my friend's eyes as she served up the hot chocolate.
"Are you getting tired?" she asked gently. "I know I've been keeping you up even later than your son."
"I'm all right," I smiled, "But I am worried about you. When you came in tonight, you looked 'troubled' more so than if you'd simply had to put up with wolf-whistles and catcalls."
She nodded and sat down again. "I guess I'm still trying to wrap my head around what I saw... and what I almost did."
The tone in her voice as she spoke those last few words, sent a chill down my spine.
"The evening started out as usual. I went out to dinner by myself and got the usual questions about why someone so beautiful was on her own. Was I waiting for someone? Would I like some company? Mind you I almost said yes once, but thought better of it."
That piqued my curiosity. "Oh? Was he that good looking?"
"Oh, yeah," she nodded with a wistful look, "She was."
"Ooo... attracting girls now are we? You should have taken her up on it, you might've had a good time," I smiled.
"I kind of wish I had," Nadine sighed and fell silent.
At that point I knew I was getting to the heart of whatever happened that upset her so much. A part of me didn't want to push things any farther, but something told me she needed to get it out of her system. So I reached across and took one of her hands saying, "Hey, I'm here for you, tell me what happened. Please? I can't stand sitting here watching as it eats at you."
That earned me a small but uneasy smile. "Are you sure you want to hear about it? It wasn't one of my better moments."
"How so?" I asked.
"I think... I know, I came pretty close to breaking every bone in some asshole's fucking body."
I almost asked if she was serious, but I already knew she meant every word of it. Finally, I said, "Tell me what happened."
She nodded. "After dinner I decided to go catch the new all-female Ghostbusters movie, which was great, by the way. I loved it. Totally hilarious, and Chris Hemsworth was a riot. The man is great at comedy, let me tell you. Anyway, I was just coming out of the theater when I spotted Lisa and Marisa standing in line to get tickets and quickly did a U-turn. Unfortunately, they'd already spotted me and started calling out to me."
"Busted!" I teased, fearing she was going off on a tangent. As it turned out, she wasn't.
Meanwhile she sighed, "Yeah, I was and I knew it. Turning around, I smiled and started coming towards them when I spotted a girl I knew Marisa wasn't too thrilled about standing just a few people behind them. She was rolling her eyes in their direction, not that they could see, and I quickened my pace in the hopes of preventing any trouble. But as I did so, some guy a couple of years older than her stopped and said something to her, which she totally ignored. Next thing I know..." here she paused and shook her head.
"He what? Did he grab her or something?"
"He punched her in the face," Nadine snapped, while balling her own hands into fists. "No warning, no raised voice, he just went ahead and belted her in front of everyone."
Even I had not been prepared for that. I was expecting an argument or the guy grabbing her by the arm. But not this.
Nadine was starting to shake with anger as she continued, "And that wasn't the worst part. I heard him saying she deserved it. You see he'd complimented her looks and she didn't even so much as smile or say thank you."
I barely kept myself from yelling "Say what?" out loud and waking up my little guy. But I managed it somehow, and just hissed the words instead.
"Yeah," Nadine nodded taking a deep breath before continuing. "He'd punched her for 'disrespecting' him. At that point I didn't care if anyone saw or not, I used my speed and got between them. My first instinct was to grab his hand as he started to try and take another swing at her. But I knew if I did, not only would I catch it, but I would start squeezing."
"Squeezing?" I repeated. That didn't sound all that bad.
"As in I wasn't going to stop until every bone in that hand was broken, along with the rest of his arm," she replied quietly.
"What stopped you?" I asked, feeling a little sick at what I was hearing.
Nadine looked at me and said, "The expression on your face, it's the same one I saw on both Marisa and Lisa's. If they hadn't been there..." she shook herself. "Anyway, I caught his next punch and went all Bruce Lee on his ass instead. But even as I did, a part of me still wanted to hurt him a whole lot worse than I did. The resentment I felt from all the crude catcalling, ass slaps, and gropings was screaming for me to not only beat his ass, but rip his throat out. Literally."
"But you didn't," I pointed out. "I know you. You didn't let it get that far."
"Barely," she sighed.
"Then what happened?" I asked.
"I looked up and saw Marisa and Lisa were helping the girl who'd been hit. It turned out to be Diane, the one who was pissed at Marisa for not choosing her to be the new head cheerleader. She was looking awfully grateful for their help as well as mine. As for the asshat, a couple of his buddies had apparently started to try and pull me off him. Only the rest of the crowd, most of them women had blocked them. And then the police showed up. Of course, the jerk's friends started giving them a bullshit story."
"Naturally," I nodded.
"So I released some mist and got them singing like canaries about how their friend started all the trouble by assaulting Diane. Of course, I got the creep to confess as well and that was all the police needed to take his ass away."
"He's not going to forget," I told her.
Nadine smiled, "I made sure of that. You see I gave him and his buddies a special suggestion. One that will keep all of them from disrespecting any woman ever again."
"Good for you," I smiled, but her face was still troubled. "What?"
"I really wanted to hurt that guy," she murmured.
"But you didn't," I assured her. "You're better than that and them."
"I know, but I came so close..."
"I know, but I came so close..."
"Welcome to the human race," I cut in. "With all the powers you have, you're still a person. A good one at that. Don't ever change."
That made her smile. "Thanks. But, I have to know. Everything I've experienced lately as a woman, is it always like that?"
"Not always, but more often than it should be," I told her honestly. Then I eyed her curiously and asked, "Are you thinking about going back to just being a guy?"
She shook her head. "No. Isabella's growing. She'll need someone to help her navigate this world. It's very different than the one she remembers."
"She'll have me, Lisa and Penny," I pointed out.
"Thanks," she smiled, "But I think 'Nadine' will be hanging out with you all from time to time as well. Someone needs to watch all your backs as well sometimes. Girls have to stick together."
"Indeed we do," I smiled. As if on cue, I heard my little guy begin fussing again. "And there goes the rest of my night," I said standing up.
But once again my friend beat me to the door saying, "No, you and Richard get some sleep. I'll take care of him. He'll need to get used to seeing Aunt Nadine hanging around every so often. And I'm more of a night owl than the rest of you."
I was too tired to argue and headed back to bed. It's morning now and sure enough both my guys got a good night sleep after all. Nathan was back and thanked me for the hot chocolate and the talk. I thanked him for being willing to walk a mile (and them some) in high heeled shoes.
Saturday, July 6, 2019
“Needless to say I learned all to quickly that my experience back that the bar was not uncommon,” Nadine sighed.
“Sad but true,” I commiserated. “Let me guess, it started with the whistles and the ‘Hey, Baby, you lookin’ good’ routines.”
“Pretty much,” Nadine nodded, “At first I was tempted to steal from Bender in Futurama by saying something like ‘Shut up Baby, I know it!’.”
I tried not to laugh, but she did the voice of the robot so perfectly I couldn’t stop myself. Still I quickly pointed out that I hoped she hadn’t said that. Sometimes talk like that could lead to confrontations. Some guys did not like being talked back to and could get pretty aggressive.
“Or it could get a badge flashed in your face,” she replied shaking her head.
“Oh dear, Lord,” I muttered aloud while leaning back in my chair. Having actually been a prostitute I knew that routine all too well. Depending on the officer, you’d have to talk your way out, get arrested, or ‘come to an arrangement’. The few who preferred that last option, were always more than eager to pull out their ID whether or not you’d been soliciting. If they already knew you were in the ‘biz’ that was all the excuse they needed to harass you.
Now it was my turn to shake my head again. “So, one of the cops around here actually thought you were soliciting?”
“No, that happened on one of my first outings over in Charleston,” she told me. “I’d decided to hit the mall over there in order to expand my wardrobe since I was starting to go around like this again.”
“Didn’t want to be seen in the same outfit more than once?” I teased. As much as I hate to say it, I was starting to really like having girl talk with someone closer to my age, so to speak. I love Marisa and Lisa to pieces, don’t get me wrong. But they have a lot to learn about life still, whereas Nadine had experienced way more than even me. But I felt more comfortable talking this way with her, even if she was still learning what it meant to be a woman in this world.
While all that was going through my mind she answered, “Something like that. I knew I could borrow clothes from you, Lisa or Marisa, but... I didn’t want anyone to know what I was doing just yet. I knew the girls would insist on going everywhere with me but I felt that might defeat the purpose.”
I knew exactly what she was saying. “They’d try and shield you by going places they felt more comfortable going,” I nodded.
“Exactly!” she smiled.
“And you didn’t tell me because...?” I prompted.
“I would’ve asked you to show me all the bad stuff and I didn’t want to drag you back down that path,” she replied.
I knew what she meant. The two of us had had many talks over the last two years. As Nathan, he probably knew more about my life than even Richard did. Not that I was keeping anything from my man on purpose. He didn’t like prying into areas of my past I wanted to forget. But with Nathan, it was like having a big brother or favorite uncle you could tell anything to and know you’d never be judged.
“Well,” I said after a while, “If you decide to keep going around like that, I wouldn’t mind heading out with you once in a while. I like a bit of a girls night out once in a while, you know. Not that I don’t like going out with Lisa and Marisa, mind you...”
“But they’re still on the youngish side,” Nadine finished with a nod. “There are certain places they’re still not old enough to go to.”
“Plus, they’re young enough to attract even more attention to us,” I added.
That got me a raised eyebrow from my friend. “Considering what I’ve seen these last two months, you’d attract just as much attention as those two put together.”
That made me laugh because I knew it was true. Not that I’m being too full of myself. It’s just, a lot of what we’d been discussing was still happening to me. In some ways it was flattering, in others... it was disconcerting. Having been in ‘the game’ as long as I had been, I’d noticed a certain trend growing among some of our clientele. A certain ‘aggressiveness’ had been emerging, more so than what I’d seen in the past. Oh there’d always been certain men who liked to play rough, but this kind was different. It wasn’t just play, there was a darker edge to them and I was seeing it more and more in younger as well as older men and that was worrying.
I began to wonder if Nadine had noticed such a trend or was it just me?
TO BE CONTINUED...
I began to wonder if Nadine had noticed such a trend or was it just me?
TO BE CONTINUED...