Wednesday, January 23, 2013


  An audio version of this post can be found at:

   Eb looked at my treadmill. "Do you actually use that thing?"
   "Shut up, Eb," said Hank, "I'm trying to listen."
   "I'll just play it to the end of this chapter,"I said.
   "I'd like to hear more," said Clara.
   "I'll stay here all night if Cheryl keeps bringing down the beer," said Uncle Billy.
   "I'd didn't plan on playing the whole thing," I said, "I just wanted you to get an idea of Headwind as an audio book."
   I turned up the volume and the little crowd around my computer quieted as Elliot Walsh's voice breathed life into the character, Tony Boccaccio."... I'm going to shoot those sonsabitches next time."
   Uncle Billy smiled. "That's what I'd do to those junk yard dogs."
   "Shsssh," said Clara.
   "... do you have the trucks and drivers lined up or what?" The nasally Brooklyn accent of Sheldon Issacs asked.
   I grinned proudly. "He really nailed Sheldon, don't you think?"
   "Do you want us to listen to this or hear your commentary?" asked Billy.
   I nodded at the screen.
   The narrator continued with Tony, saying, "... no problem with the drivers ... plenty of guys out there looking to moonlight ..."
   "Boy, I'll bet that's true," said Eb. "Especially in this economy."
   "I don't know if this will work, Chris," said Hank. "But I think we get the idea ... it sounds great."
   I sighed and clicked the pause button on the player. "You're right, Hank ... I tell you what ... I'll pay for a download for each of you so you can play it at ... well anywhere you want, whenever you want."
   Billy set his empty beer bottle on the desk. "Does that mean the party is over?"
   "No you can all stay if you want ... I just don't think we can listen to the audio book as a group."
   "You're probably right," said Clara. "But from what I did hear, it sounds like the narrator did a terrific job ... what did you say his name is?"
   "Elliot Walsh ... he has a production company called Spoken Arts," I said.
   "Yeah, I really like the voice he gave that Tony character," said Eb.
   "Tony sounds like an interesting guy," said Billy.
   "You didn't know that, William?" asked Clara.
   "How the hell would've I?" said Billy. "I would've had to read the book."

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Pump up the Volume

 An audio version of this post can be found at:

 "Isn't that Spike Jones and his City Slickers?" I asked over the satirical strains of Cocktails for Two.
   Uncle Billy put the plate he was drying in the cupboard. "You need to ask?"
   I looked at the ipod nano docking station on his kitchen counter. "Did you get your 78's digitized?"
   He shut the cupboard door and draped the dish towel over the oven handle. "Hell no ... I just downloaded his Greatest Hits disc from Amazon."
   I nodded vacantly. "Of course ... what else?"
   "Why would I spend the money, time and effort to digitize some scratchy old 78 records when I can get a clean digital download of the Master's best stuff?"
   "Amazing isn't it?" I listen to the song for few seconds. "Is there anything they don't have?"
   "Nope ... I've just downloaded Doctor Demento's Twentieth Anniversary Collection ... wanna hear it?"
   "I'd love to ... but we've got to go ... my car is in the shop and Cheryl needs hers back by five."
   Billy shrugged, "Your loss." He reached over to shut off the docking station just as Hawaiian War Chant was starting.
   I picked up Billy's coat from the back of the chair and held it out for him. "You know Amazon has a new audio book outlet called Audible dot com?"
   Billy took the coat from me. "What's that?"
   "It's a site that you can get pre-recorded books."
   He slipped on the coat. "You mean like the audio books I get from the library?"
   I followed Billy out the of the door. "Exactly ... only these are downloadable ... just like your Spike Jones music."
   He locked the door and looked up at me. "No kidding? I wonder if I could download Mad Magazine's Bathroom Companion?"
   "I don't know ... but I know you can get Headwind." I smiled slyly.
   "Your book? Why would I want that?"
   I sighed as we walked down the hallway. "I just mentioned it because Headwind has been professionally narrated and is now available on Audible dot com."
   "Professionally narrated. By who?"
   "Whom." I corrected. "Elliot Walsh of Spoken Arts."
   "Never heard of him."
   "He's a pro ... did a great job."
   "Well, I'll have to take your word for it."

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Jacking Up Book Sales

 An audio version of this post can be found at:

 Clara set down her coffee cup. "So, when can I see it?"
   "See what?" I asked.
   "William's inheritance ... the car you boys drove half-way across the country."
   I smiled. "Oh yeah ... that. It's in my garage ... you can come over anytime."
   "You seem amused."
   "Uncle Billy wasn't happy about the condition of the car his friend willed to him."
   "Oh, so it wasn't the prize William dreamed about?"
   "No ... but it's still pretty cool ... we're going to restore it."
   "You and William?"
   "Sure ... it'll be fun."
   "You really think so?"
   "Well, Uncle Billy is a little reluctant ... but I think once we get going on it, he'll come around."
   "William is not known for his ... how should I put it? ... follow through on projects."
   "I know ... the men in our family have short attention spans ... but he's always dreamed of owning a Jaguar XK120 ... and this one is not a total basket case ... I really think we can do this."
   "Well, I'm anxious to see it ... maybe I can stop over this afternoon after my speaking engagement at the YA for Adults Reader's Club."
   I leaned back and sighed. "How do you keep getting these gigs?"
   "I don't know ... it just seems that the higher I go up in the Kindle KDP author rankings, the more offers I get."
   "How high are you these days?"
   Clara flushed slightly. "Well, I've gotten into triple digits ... but it fluctuates a lot."
   "I know ...  in December I made it all the way one-hundred and thirteen ... thousand that is ... but I'm back to three-hundred and thirty thousand this month."
   "Well, see," said Clara, "you jumped two-hundred thousand spots in one month."
   "Yeah, but going downhill is easy."
   "Well if you can do one month, you can do again."
   I scratched my head. "If I only knew what I did ... it all seems so random."
   "You just have to focus your book marketing campaign a little more."
   "You're right ... unfortunately, that requires a lot of 'follow through'."
   Clara grew serious. "Chris, if you can restore a car, you can market your books."
   "Well, I haven't restored a car ... yet."

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Look What Dragged in the Cat

An audio version of this post can be found at:

   Hank pulled into the driveway behind the Jag. Cheryl came into the garage from the house and gave me a hug.
   "I'm glad to see you made it safe and sound," she said.
   "Me too," said Uncle Billy. "It was touch and go."
   Cheryl looked at me. "Really? Was it dangerous?"
   I smiled. "It wasn't dangerous ... but it was ... um ... an adventure."
   Hank got out of my car and walked up. "Man, I didn't think it was legal to go that slow on 696 ... oh, hi, Cheryl."
   "So, you had to bring up the rear, eh, Hank?" asked Cheryl.
   "I've been sucking fumes from that beast all the way from Minneapolis."
   Cheryl looked at the ancient vehicle, the hot engine clicking and popping as it began to cool. "So, this is it?"
   I nodded. "It needs a little work, but it's a classic."
   "A little work?" said Billy. "The bumpers need to be jacked up and a new car installed in between."
   "I can tell you're a little disappointed with your inheritance," said Cheryl.
   Billy sneered. "I had no idea that Bernie was clever enough to play such an elaborate practical joke on me."
   "Bill's just upset because it wasn't the pristine show car he was dreaming about," said Hank.
   "Really, Uncle, you should be grateful that you have a classic to work on," I added. "You'll be thanking Bernie when we get this fixed up."
   "We?" said Billy. "Who's the we in this equation?"
   "Me and you," I answered. "And maybe Hank and Eb when we need a little help."
   Hank backed away slightly. "Oh, no ... not me ... I'm not getting involved in a project like this."
   "See?" said Billy. "No sane person would try to make this sow's ear into a silk purse."
   "Come on, Uncle ... it'll be fun."
   Cheryl kept her gaze on the paint chipped, rusting hulk. "What I want to know is where is this restoration going to take place?"
   "Here of course," I said.
   "Oh, no you don't ... you're not going to deprive me of a garage for the next four of five years."
   "First of all, it won't take four or five years ... one year max ... and second, you can keep your car in here ... I'll park mine outside and we'll keep our work area confined to just this side."
   Cheryl laughed. "You're going restore this rolling junk pile in one year?"
   "See what a smart woman you married?" said Billy, "She's a good judge of automobiles."

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Hard Wired

Oh, man, are my circuits throbbing! I should have never have tried celebrating new year's eve in 24 different time zones ... what was I thinking? You know, I think I'm actually going to glad to have the meat sack back in control next week ... I need to rest my electrons!