Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Ghostly Breath of God

Sometimes the fog in La Honda starts in the valleys and weaves its way uphill. One day I was climbing just a few steps ahead of the fog, rising, racing, until finally I got far enough ahead to turn around and take this picture. The fog was blowing upwards from the right hand side of the photo. At the top of the ridge where you see a white, leaning, spindly telephone pole (bottom left corner of the photo), the fog dropped like a waterfall of vapor into the canyon below. It was creepy and wonderful to behold, like being chased by the ghostly breath of God. In another minute, the fog had caught me, blowing cold and wet against my flesh. By the time I walked home, I was soaked, shivering, and felt I had beheld a miracle.

Applejack's, Apple Jack's, AJ's.

Bars come and go in La Honda, but Apple Jack's endures like the redwoods that tower over it. Sometimes it's spelled Applejack's, sometimes we just call it AJ's. I posted another photo here.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


I'm deeply honored to announce that Babcock and Boone Barnaby have both won the Founder's Choice Award given to the best book podcasts of 2009. (Clear Heart won the same award in 2008.)

Equal credit for these awards goes to my award-winning team of voices: Susan Walker, Michael Minard, Caroline Graham, Peter Wing, Aidan Wing, David Rock, and to the voice and music of Will Fourt. Thanks everybody! I couldn't have done it without you - and your voices are now being downloaded, appreciated, enjoyed, perhaps even swooned over, by your fans all around the planet.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Sound and Screen Combined

Mark Coker discusses the future of ebooks on GalleyCat.

Here's my two cents:

In all the prognostications about the future of ebooks, nobody seems to mention the obvious: Sound. Sound and screen combined. The audiodisc (formerly the audiotape) will be just as quaint as the printed book. Instead, the print and sound will converge into one. You can read the story, or you can listen to the story, or you can do both at the same time—on the same device.

Authors and publishers haven’t realized the implications of this convergence. As an author, I’m just beginning to figure it out. I stumbled into this intersection when I embraced podcasting a couple of years ago and, more recently, started converting my titles to ebooks. Two years of podcasting my novels has taught me how to use my voice dramatically, how to adapt my writing to the best features of my voice, and—perhaps the most exciting—how to integrate music into the story. I’m not talking about background music. I’m talking about music that is an integral piece of the plot.

In my first two podcast novels, Clear Heart and Boone Barnaby, I used music as an intro and outro to each segment. For my third podcast novel, Babcock, I continued the intro and outro music but also found a few opportunities to use music within certain episodes. I could do this because it was the story of a rock band, and their songs were part of the plot. I like the result, but I’m also frustrated by the fact that I wrote the novel in 1992 with no awareness that I might one day be singing parts of it to an audience, so it is written for the printed page, not taking full advantage of the possibility of musical drama.

I’m now writing a new novel about blues musicians. For the first time I’m creating a story with an awareness of how the music will be integrated into the podcast. I hope more authors try this. Soon I hope to post a rough draft of a sample chapter so you can judge for yourself.

(By the way, I'm sorry about the lack of posts to this blog recently, but as I said, I'm writing a novel. It takes all my time.)