I’m only a so-so fan of HP Lovecraft. I guess I’ve read as much of him as I have more out of a sense of allegiance to the horror genre than a sense of loyalty to his literary acuity.
Which is why I was somewhat surprised when I found myself selecting Jonathan L. Howard’s CARTER & LOVECRAFT the other night when cruising my Overdrive app looking for an audiobook fix for which to fall asleep to…
Which, to me, is the primary purpose of audiobooks – literary lullabies.
And most of the audiobooks I listen to do a great job of it.
In fact, they do such a great job of it that most audiobooks I listen to, I don’t finish because each night I always have to go back to the last point in the book I can remember before drifting off to sleep the night before, which is, more often than not, only a minute or two after I started listening.
And the books I do manage to get through before the loan ends I often only remember in sketchy patches…
Okay, I’ve never been one of those hardcore Gaiman fanboys* that you see following him with blind, whole-body, fervor on twitter but I sure do have a whole lot of respect and admiration for what he’s accomplished in his life – and mine. Beginning with The Sandman series oh so long ago, Gaiman seems unable to be unsuccessful at whatever it is he does. Googlify his name and you will find that he has won so many major awards, some of them more than once, that if my mom had seen my face screw up in shock and awe after first seeing the significantly long list she would have warned me immediately that if I keep making that face someday it’s gonna stay that way.
Point being: the dude is pretty awesome.
And we can add one more awesome point to his long list of awesome points: Recently I downloaded the audiobook version of his short fiction collection Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances to one of my favoritest apps, Overdrive. And of course I find that the book is read by none other than The Man himself. And of course I find that I’ll be both god and buddha damned if he also isn’t one of the best god and buddha damned “voice performers” I have ever heard. Sheesh – what a wonderful voice he has to listen to.
I mention all of this more than slightly awkward author/guy crush worship thing of mine only because I too am now in the audiobook recording business. For, as I have mentioned here before, I am trying (key word: trying) to record a “performance” of my novel The Sea Trials of an Unfortunate Sailor.
It is very hard, this recording stuff – you know, with the intimidating microphones, and the confusing software, and with the dogs constantly barking in the background…
But the hardest part of all is coming to the realization that I don’t have the greatest of reading voices, especially since the book is narrated from the point of view of an insecure eighteen-year-old whom I would have to guess came late to the puberty game. So me trying to read in a voice that might pass as even barely authentic to the story has been both very hilarious when hearing it during playback and even more discouraging.
So far I have managed to record an introduction to the book, as well as all the novel’s front matter whatnots that include the dedication and acknowledgment (and which have been uploaded to my app). But those I was able to read in my own voice, which may not be the most pleasant to listen to but at least I don’t have to contort my diaphragm around my voice box in order to speak with it.
So yeah, I’m still working on finding (rediscovering?) that insecure eighteen-year-old voice of mine…
It’s a tough gig, but I shan’t give up for I have a sure-fire strategy for voice recording accomplishment and success:
Each time I run into a rough spot while recording I’ll simply stop, take a deep breath, look upward to the sky in humility and veneration and ask to the Literary Gods On High…
If your guess was yours truly then you are a very gooood guesser.
That’s right, I am now in the latest, most hip virtual space – the software application market – and you can carry me around with you in your purse, in your pocket, or in your… – nevermind, I don’t even want to consider where else you might be carry things – conveniently located and readily accessible to the touch of your command on that smartphone of yours that you love and worship so much.
Screenshots of the App:
In addition to what we see here with the screenshots:
We have a photo stream of most of the photographs found on this site, as well as many, many more that are exclusive to the app (via Flickr, that is).
We can access the entirety of this site, as well as PROSOCHĒ, my Literary Consultancy site.
You can contact me directly through the app.
There are games!
And the feature that I’m most excited about: An audio recording of my novel The Sea Trials of an Unfortunate Sailor as performed by the author – and that would be me. I’ll be recording and uploading new chapters of the book to the app regularly.
Pretty cool, right?
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that the app is a little quirky. For instance, the audio player in the app starts the sound file over again each time the player is paused. And, if the phone goes to sleep, then the player stops. At least on my Android phone anyway. I’m not sure about iPhones. I’m not cool so I don’t merit one of those. But those of you who are cool, please let me know what you think.
Another quirk is that when you open up either this site or PROSOCHĒ, you have to double tap the screen to get it sized correctly.
But other than those things it seems to work well enough, as far as I can tell anyway. But hey, you get what you pay for right and for this app you don’t have to pay a dime. Just as I didn’t have to pay a dime to create it. I used a free app building service found at appsbar.com. The site is pretty good but it has its own quirks. Contact me if you want a more thorough feedback of my app building experience than what you find here.
While building the app is free, there are costs associated with its distribution. To get the app into Google’s app store I had to pay a $25 developer fee. The process in setting up the account and getting the app reviewed and accepted was pretty easy. All in all it took about an hour or so. They say it can take several days to get the app approved but my approval came back within a couple of hours and voila it was in the store and ready to go.
The best part about the appsbar service is that any update you do through them automatically updates the app in Google. Although I had to find out about this the hard way – by myself. Before I submitted the app I was wondering how updates are handled because it didn’t discuss it on its FAQ. I submitted question after question but never got any response, other than a reply from them to one of my emails, but their email didn’t have any text in it (yeah, weird). Finally I just went ahead and published the app. And, of course, as soon as it was published I realized that I needed to make changes. So I made the changes via appsbar and happily found that it is an automatic process all the way through Google.
The only negative about it all being automatic is that you will not know when I update that app. So that means you all better be checking that sucker on a regular basis…
Can you dig?
Anyway, as far as how the Apple process goes… I’m not there yet. It costs $100 for their developers account and I’m not ready to commit that kind of coin to it yet.
In the interim, you can scan the QRC image (found below and on the sidebar) and, according to appsbar, it will load an HTML5 page onto your iPhone that is just the same as downloading it through the iTunes store. Again, I’m not cool so I don’t have an iPhone so I don’t know so if you are cool and if you try it please let me know how it goes so I will know, despite my uncoolness.
Okay, so how about that? I’ll be finishing up with the first chapter of my novel soon so get your app installed and on standby. And if you do install that sucker, hit me up through either the “Info Request” or “Contact Kurt” feature of the app and let me know what you think.