Audiobooks?

Not from me. For me, lol.

I work in a lab, and these days I spend a lot of time mounting bugs and worms on slides.  Yum, I know.  Anyway, it’s not exactly mind-consuming work, and the guys insist on listening to NPR all day.  This was fine for a while, but I swear if I have to hear anymore about bailouts, health reform, Iraq, terrorism, and anything else remotely political, I might toss the radio across the room.

I was listening to music, which is fine, but I’ve been trying to keep the old (songs in alphabetical order) iPod in the car and the new one with me, and when I listen to playlists or albums, I always get to the end and go, “What now?”  And I’m finding it harder to answer that question.

Then Glee last week was awesome (the Madonna ep, yeah), and so I downloaded that episode.  I’ve listened to it twice at work.  This reminded me that it’s lots of fun to listen to tv (I mean, when you can’t actually watch tv), so I’ve been going through my Studio 60 eps.  But… I’m going to run out of them soon.  They’re only 45 minutes each, and it’s an 8-hour day (and I’ve listened to the best ones already anyway).  So that just leaves me with 45 minutes of Dr. Horrible, and I’ll be out of videos.  Those take up a lot of room on my iPod, so I wasn’t looking to download more episodes of things unless they’re really special. 

But, I thought, what about books?  I mean, I could knock out a late Harry Potter in three work days (according to the time iTunes tells me it would take).  And Harry Potter’s totally something I could listen to, and I’ve heard the narrator is good.  So I looked it up. 

Wow.

It’s like $50 on iTunes to get a late Harry Potter audiobook.

In fact, most the audiobooks appear to be at least as expensive as a hardbound book, if not more.  I’m seeing lots in the high teens and twenties.  I’m looking at the second Percy Jackson book right now, and it’s 8 hours long and $23.  That’s right.  For one work day’s worth of listening (I mean there’ll be some overflow ‘cuz of other work stuff I’ll have to do, but basically one day), I’d have to pay $23.

So now, I’m really reconsidering this audiobook thing. 

Someone recommended Audible.com, but I’m not sure if that’s a better deal.  The books look about the same price, unless you do their membership.  They have different memberships, but I’m not sure any of them will actually be worth it.  Partly this is because I don’t know how listening to an audiobook will really work out for me.

One difference between listening to Studio 60 vs. listening to NRP (other than, yanno, the fictional plots and scripted dialogue) is that the story is told with many different voices, that keep my mind active and engaged.  I’m worried that one voice talking for so many hours in a row is going to let my mind wander a little more.  I’m worried I won’t like the narrator and their voice will get on my nerves after a while.  I’m worried that because I see words better than I hear them, I’ll have a hard time following a story I don’t already know or one full of dense narrative or a complex one.  (Otherwise, I would have downloaded an Agatha Christie novel already and tested it out–but, no, there’s no way I’m going to catch all the clues this way, which is half the fun ;))

So I’m looking for audiobook recs.  Is there anything anyone’s listened to that they thought was done really well?  Any websites you really liked that had them?  Maybe some place not toooooo expensive?  Let me know.

Currently on iPod: The Devil in the Wishing Well by Five for Fighting

Lots of love,

Sage

ETA:  Oh, yeah, I forgot?  Do you like the new background.  I’m trying it out.  I didn’t like that my links were at the bottom and there was so much wasted space on the sides.

Update: I ended up getting Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Levithan and John Green, just to try out this audiobook thing.  On iTunes, it’s about the same price as the actual book, and it’s the length of a work day, so if it doesn’t work, I’ll know tomorrow.  I listened to the preview and the guy who reads the first chapter sounds excellent.  So much voice.

Voicerific

The wonderful ladies at the GotYA blog have an awesome contest going on.  The beautiful Hannah Moskowitz is judging the contest.  Also if you go read her teaser on her blog, well, I beta’d that novel.  Aren’t you jealous?

But I digress.  She is the Queen of Voice, and therefore she is judge of the GotYA contest.  All you need to do is post 200 words, overflowing with voice, on the contest link above.  Or, yanno, this one. 

The winner gets a critique on the first 30 pages of their manuscript by the lovely (I know, I know, so many adjectives) Taylor Martindale of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.  She’s interviewed in that very blog post, so you can get a good idea of what she’s like and also how to query her.

I may enter.  Or maybe not.  The trick is, will you know?  😉

Currently on iPod: December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night) by The Four Seasons

Lots of love,

Sage

Tueser Teaseday

Oh, you know what I mean.

So I only wrote a scene and a half of Hero/Villain this week because I spent my time editing other projects and betaing for someone else.  So instead, I’m going to post the shiny new scene I wrote in AFTRLYF, which was a good call because it made me look at it and realize I wrote it in the WRONG TENSE.  Oops.  Well, hopefully that one mistake doesn’t land me a rejection from the person who has the full novel right now….  It’s in chapter 9, so hopefully the 8 chapters before will prove that the novel’s pretty polished.

I fixed it, but if you see any problems, let me know.  I mean, it.  The ego-boosting stage with this novel happened back in 2007, lol.

Context: Tia’s an angel of death.  One touch from her kills humans.  There’s a serial killer taking out angels, including her brother Sam’s girlfriend, who they just found.  Penny’s human and doesn’t know Tia’s an angel.

No sooner was Sam out of my sight than I was off to Del Rio High School.  I could have called or texted Penny, but seeing that she was safe would make me feel better.  The killer hadn’t taken out any humans–at least as far as I knew–but I was still anxious to make sure my one friend was safe.

I walked into the high school like I belonged there, which I looked like I did.  High school was something I’d never get to experience.  The Academy was totally different.  We spent 200 years there and only matured up to middle school in that time.  From what I knew about humans, middle school wasn’t fun for anyone.  And it wasn’t really that fun for us, even when I was top of the class.

Let’s see.  I had only been here once, and I could sort of remember where Penny’s locker was.  The nice thing about San Diego high schools was that there were no halls, and the lockers were set up between the buildings.  I took a right at the gym, went past the first set of lockers, then leaned against building E, waiting for Penny to show up and trade books.  The bell rang and students trickled, then gushed into the halls.  I hoped I could see her in the crowd.  I wasn’t sure which exact locker was hers.

A guy walked by and checked me out.  I couldn’t help but smile.  Something told me I’d like high school just fine if I wouldn’t kill any boy that dared to kiss me.

But I caught a glimpse of Penny and remembered why I was here.

I ran up to her.  “Hey.”

She almost dropped her books, but shoved them into her locker instead.  “Tia, what are you doing here?”

I shrugged, nonchalantly.  “Playing hooky.”  This was poor planning on my part.  What was I supposed to do?  Say, “Hey, there’s a crazy angel killing people.  Be safe, please”?  Somehow I didn’t think that would go over well.

“Just thought I’d come visit,” I finished lamely.  “Oh, and tell you that I can’t hang out tonight.”

She frowned at me.  “But I told Ray we’d go to Maestro’s and keep him company.”

“I’m sooooo sorry.  I really thought that I’d be free, but I have to be with Sam tonight.”

“Sam’s thirteen.  He can take care of himself.”

“Not tonight, he can’t,” I whispered.  “Just… let me off the hook tonight?  Please?”

Something in my voice must have hinted at how upset I was because she nodded.  “Okay.  But you owe me, all right?  Want me to play hooky with you?”

I shook my head.  “No, I have to get back before my teachers notice I’m gone.  I just wanted to check in with you.”

She didn’t have time to question that before I was running off to find somewhere to teleport back to Celestia and wait for Sam.

Currently on iPod: Daydreamer by Adele

Lots of love,
Sage

I Just Read…

13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher.  I’m not going to do a review of the book, which I enjoyed.  It definitely is a page-turner, and it helps in satisfying that mystery craving I’ve been having.  I know that some people love this book, and some people hate it.  I can see some good things and bad things about it.  But I read it overnight, so I was very into it.

Thanks to this book, I have spent the evening watching the end of first season of Veronica Mars, “A Trip to the Dentist,” which I thought about the entire second half of 13 Reasons Why, and then “Leave it to Beaver,” because that ep is creepy and awesome.  Now I’m watching “Help” from Buffy the Vampire Slayer because I completely pictured this girl as Hannah, probably because they think she’s suicidal for half of the episode. 

And that’s what I’ve been doing all day.

Currently on my iPod: (Dar Williams -) When I was a Boy

Apparently most of my Dar Williams songs are in my iPod with “Dar Williams -” before the title, which explains why I haven’t heard most of them where they were supposed to be, like this one and “Alleluia” and “The Blessings,” etc.  But I know some of them are on with their titles just fine, like “The Christians and the Pagans,” so since I’m about to finish this huge batch of her songs, I can look forward to the rest of the ones without her name before them.

Lots of love,

Sage

Music High

I’m so on a music high.  This is partially thanks to last night’s excellent “The Power of Madonna” episode of Glee.  Yes, I downloaded the music last night during the episode.  Yes, I listened to it in the car and therefore used my iPod touch to download the episode itself.  Yes, there’s a good chance I listened to the music five times… and the episode once during work (I couldn’t watch the ep because I was looking into the microscope, but this was not an issue).

The iPod Touch is a tiny bit dangerous.  I can download music (and videos) right onto the iPod, which means that if I want to listen to a song right then, it wouldn’t require me to turn on my comp (if it wasn’t on), download the song, hook up the iPod, wait for it to sync, then detatch it.  And sometimes I wouldn’t hook up the iPod until I had several songs or a major playlist update.  Now, I can just wait for it to download and listen right away.  I don’t even need headphones.

I’m a little more impulsive.

The other day I woke up, checked my e-mail (on the iPod, which is faster than starting up the compy), and being bored turned on iTunes just to see if anything exciting was there.  And I saw that a group called Straight No Chaser, whose “12 Days of Christmas/Africa” mash-up I downloaded and loved on December, had a new cd.  I previewed it, and on the iPod speakers, I was only wowed by a few songs, especially the “I’m Yours/Somewhere Over the Rainbow” mash-up.  So I downloaded the four songs that most appealed to me. 

 Then I went back to the iTunes music homepage and noticed the free download of the week.  I was booooored.  So I checked it out, which is not something I normally think to do.  And loved it.  So I downloaded it, and I still love it. It’s “Something Good Could Work” by Two Door Cinema Club.  For some reason, it reminds of some song I heard somewhere else–a commercial, a tv show or movie?  I’m not sure.  But it’s peppy and makes me happy.

Then on the way to work, on my car speakers, I listened to those Straight, No Chaser songs and they sounded way better than on the iPod speakers.  Dangerous iPod Touch, remember?  I downloaded the rest of the album as soon as I was at work.  I was a little worried I wouldn’t like the others as much, but it turns out that I loved a lot of them more.  The one that most surprised me was Coldplay’s “Fix You.”  I never liked the Coldplay version.  Listening to the SNC version with headphones on was like having a religious experience, lol.

Meanwhile, I’m making up my Hero/Villain playlist.  Nothing official yet, but the songs on the temp one so far are:

  • Christina Aguilera – Keeps Getting Better
  • Verve Pipe – Villains
  • Scissor Sisters – Almost Sorry
  • Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog – My Eyes
  • Motion City Soundtrack – Capital H
  • Radiohead – Creep
  • Darren Hayes – Creepin’ Up On You
  • Shonen Knife – I’m a Super Girl
  • Fall Out Boy – The Take Over, the Break’s Over
  • Jason Mraz – Common Pleasure

And finally, I will leave you with my agent song of the week: Michael Buble’s “Haven’t Met You Yet.” 

Except that I can’t forget:

Currently on iPod: Cuba Libre by Gloria Estefan

Lots of love,

Sage

Teaser Tuesday – Ace, yay :D

Did I forget to blog all week?  Yes.  Not from lack of topics, just from laziness, lol.  Actually, I was trying (and sometimes succeeding) to keep my momentum going with Hero/Villain.  So here is an excerpt from Acey’s POV. 

I can give my characters cute pet names if I want to.  Especially the villains.  Don’t look at me like that.

<snuggles Ace>

Okay, but seriously, here’s the excerpt.  Things you should know.  Um, Ace is crazy, in love with Evie (the superheroine MC from the last post), he’s a supervillain with the power of invisibility, and we know that his dad (who thinks his son is dead) is the main superscientist for the superhero League and is building a teleporter.

I walk over to the fridge, and pull out a vial of a dark red liquid.  I click my fingernail against it and watch it slosh against the sides.  “Shall we see if I got the mixture right this time?”

On my dining room table, I’ve set up a mini-workshop.  I’m careful to lock everything here away on Fridays, when I allow housekeeping to clean the penthouse, but the other days I have it all out for experimentation.  Dad’s not the only scientist in the family.

Using the plans for the teleporter, I have built a miniature version.  Obviously I can’t teleport a human the way Dad plans to, but I can experiment with other animals.  I take a ladybug from a jar, its wings still thanks to the drugged aphids I fed it this morning, and lay it on the floor of the teleporter.

With a syringe, I pull out some liquid from the vial and inject it into the fuel line of the teleporter.  Dad’s using pure gasoline.  Fool.

The wires on the machine light up when I turn it on.  I put in coordinates–back into the jar–using my keyboard, then press enter.

The ladybug disappears.

“Yes.” I punch the air.

Of course, it doesn’t mean anything if it doesn’t reappear in the jar.  I check the jar, but nothing.

And then, no, wait, there it is.  It appears about like I do when I’m standing in front of a mirror making myself visible.  The process is fast, but noticeable, you can see through my features, and then I’m less see-through-able, and then I’m totally solid.  The Ace everyone knows and loves.  Ta-dah.

I quite enjoy becoming visible again, actually.  I don’t think there are many supervillains who love watching themselves stop using their powers as much as I do.

But that’s not what’s important right now. What’s important is that beautiful ladybug that rematerialized in its jar.

“I did it.  You didn’t think I could.  But you were wrong.”

I turn to the open closet, where a kid with spikey blond hair sits, tied up and gagged.  He’s a little younger than me, but that doesn’t gain him any sympathy.  His face is about as gaunt as Morgan’s, though he lacks her lips.  Must remember to feed him sometimes.

The kid glares at me.  His name is Jonah, but he’s more famous as the Firefly.  He tried to tell me over and over that I had the wrong guy, but, duh, not that hard to figure out.  What did he think, glasses instead of a mask and spiked hair instead of smooth, then we’d never see the similarities in his body and face?  Ridiculous.  My computer matched up about 100 points of similarities from pictures taken from my camera phone.  I’m not talking superscience to figure it out here.

There’s my first Ace excerpt.  Can you believe it’s almost 20K words away from that Evie excerpt?  Haha, makes me sound productive this week, but really most of it was written in the weekend before that first excerpt.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy.  I actually like one other Ace scene better than this one, but I was being true to the spirit of Teaser Tuesday and excerpted what I worked on this week.

Currently on iPod: CrushCrushCrush by Paramore

Speaking of music, I had a very Hero/Villain-y mix yesterday on my iPod, now that I’m in the “Cr”s.  I started my drive to work with Radiohead’s “Creep.”  Soooo Ace/Apollo.  Then the next song (naturally) was Darren Hayes’ “Creepin’ Up on You.”  Now I have to tell you, this song beats out “Every Breath You Take” as the #1 creepy romantic song.  It is freaky.  Of course the scary stalker song is going to Ace.  The very next song was Fiona Apple’s “Criminal.”  I’m not sure if this song is going to completely apply to the book.  I have considered Evie toying with her best friend’s emotions while she loves Ace/Apollo, and I’ve also considered Ace pretending to date another model to make Evie jealous, but I don’t know if “Criminal” quite works for it.  On the new iPod, I had Scissor Sisters playing at  work, which is always a delight.  “I Can’t Decide” (whether you should live or die) might work well for H/V, but I’m already using it happily on DownLoad’s soundtrack.  However, “Almost Sorry” is so Evie to Ace, it’s ridiculous.

Okay, I’m done talking about music, really. 

Lots of love,
Sage

My First Hero/Villain Teaser Tuesday :)

I have to admit.  I’m a little excited about this book.  Granted, that’s easy when you write 16K of it in 3 days, but I know well that that doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll love the novel.  I’m totally into the characters, especially Ace, and I have lots of plot already figured out for this.

So here I go into the 16K I wrote this week to find a tease.  Wish me luck, lol.

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Okay, I went for an early scene that nobody’s seen.  Much as I wanted to use an Ace excerpt (that I’ve excerpted in Friday Night Writes on AW), I’m going with Evie.  Here’s the sitch: Evie is in a cemetery tracking some graverobbers.  She’s a shapeshifting superhero and is currently a cat.

Rule number five?  Don’t let the minions get what they’re looking for.  Yes, it’s tempting to find out why they want what they’re looking for or even to find out what it is they’re looking for when you don’t know, but more often than not, they’re not going to drop a hint no matter how long you wait.  And then you risk the Big Bad ending up with the thing because you want to play detective.  It’s much too easy to fall for this trap.  So when Digger breaks open the coffin with the edge of his shovel, I jump onto his face, claws extended.

He screams.  “Shit.  Get this cat off me.”  I claw at his eyes, but Loungey has gotten off his butt and grabs me by the nape of my neck off his co-lackey’s face.  My claws reach for his hands, but he tosses me off into the tombstone.  I manage to roll myself in a ball before I hit, so my back hits, not my head.

Still.  Owwwwww.

“Quick.  Get it.”

I’m still reeling too much to get up, my vision spinning as I see Digger throw his hand into the coffin and grab something.  Never let them get it, but I did.  That’s okay, I can still stop them.  I get up and steady myself, then transform into a hawk.  That’s right.  A hawk.  The wind is sufficient, and after a brief run, stretching out my wings, I take to the air.  I want to reach them before they get in their car.  I fly over them, then dive towards Digger, who’s holding something small in his right hand.  I screech and grab for his hand with my talons. 

“Holy shit, there’s a hawk attacking me.  What is this? Pet Sematary?”

He drops it, and I reach for the object, but he swings the shovel at me, and I have to swerve to avoid it.  Loungey picks the object off the ground and runs into his car before I can reach him.  Digger’s in right after him.  Shit.

I follow the car close, soaring on the wind.  Despite my failure so far, the feeling is so freeing.  I love flying.

They stop at a stoplight, and here’s my chance.  I get right above them then…

BAM.  I crash onto the hood of their car, my weight significantly heightened now that I’ve turned myself into our bulky quarterback… if he had put on another twenty pounds.  Ugh.  Hurts my ego to be this big and ugly, but it succeeds in scaring the baddies.  The car lurches forward, and then Digger stops the car short to avoid ramming us into the semi that was heading down the cross-street.  Thank you very much.  I wasn’t looking forward to ramming into that thing.

I show my thanks by smashing the window.  I transform back into the spry girl I had started as, long hair and all, and peek over the edge of the hood into the car.  Loungey and Digger are staring at me with wide eyes and gaping mouths.  “Hey, guys,” I say.  “Sorry for screwing up your car.  I’ll take that.”

Hope you enjoyed.

Currently on my iPod: Closing Time by Semisonic

Lots of love,

Sage