Wednesday, October 16, 2013

PK Hrezo's BUTTERMAN (TIME) TRAVEL INC. Cover Reveal and blogfest

Without further ado, I give you the epic cover of the soon to be released (soon, as in on 11/12/13) book by PK Hrezo.

If you don't know PK, you damn well should. She's extremely talented, smart and fun. And I can prove it. First, look at the cover - so fun, right? It's got a epic, you're going on an adventure feel to it. And here's a little about the book to whet your appetite:

Welcome to Butterman Travel, Incorporated
We are a full service agency designed to meet all your exclusive time travel needs. Family-owned and operated, we offer clients one hundred years of time travel experience. A place where you can rest assured, safety and reliability always come first.
Anxious to attend a special event from the past? Or for a glimpse of what the future holds?
You’ve come to the right place. We’re a fully accredited operation, offering an array of services; including, but not limited to: customized travel plans, professionally piloted operations, and personal trip guides. *Terms and conditions do apply
Conference us directly from our Website. Our frontline reservation specialist, Bianca Butterman, will handle all your inquiries in a professional and efficient manner, offering a tentative itinerary and free fare quote, so you can make the most of your time trip.
We look forward to serving you at Butterman Travel, Inc., where time is always in your hands. 
Where can you find PK Hrezo?

Amazing concept, isn't it? I mean, who wouldn't want to go back in time to see a specific event, be a witness to history?

Um. Me.

So when I signed up for this blogfest, I thought I'd have trouble narrowing it down to one place and time. And, being the total pantser I am, I figured I'd just come up with something last minute.

But at the last minute I realized that all the times and places I want to go back to are tinged with sadness. I want to see my grandmother again. I want to see my friend Jenny again (and I wrote about that here, last time I thought about time travel.) Because they've passed, they are truly irretrievable - except in my memory. So assuming Butterman's is very expensive (and I think they must be, because I've seen their business cards and they are pretty fancy.) I couldn't go back in time to, say, be a flapper (GREAT GATSBY, THE DIVINERS) or late 19th, early 20th century New York (THE ALIENIST, TIME AND AGAIN - which is about time travel BTW.) though those would be my first picks, because I'd be too tempted to see some very missed loved ones again.

Anyway I've got a severe weakness for nostalgia, so it's probably a good thing that Butterman's fees are too dear for me. I will stick to the time machines I have at my fingertips - my stacks of books.

Where would YOU go if you could travel in time?

This is a blog hop, so please visit others on the hop!


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Why Voice is Important

Voice. The way your writing speaks. It's what agents all say they want. An authentic, strong voice. But how do you 'get' voice? How do you learn to imbue your writing with voice?

I don't have a clue.

I've been told my writing has a strong voice, and I'm happy about that, because to me voice is like being told you have pretty eyes. Thanks, dude, but they showed up when I did. I didn't have to go looking for it. (Now, plotting and pacing? I'm out looking for those guys every day.)

So, can voice be taught? And what's the difference between good voice and bad voice and weak voice? Again, I'm so not helpful here. It's one of those things I know when I see it/hear it. (Like, in the movie Reality Bites, when Winona Ryder is on a job interview and she struggles to answer the question, What is irony? She says she knows when she hears it. Crap. Just dated myself.)

But in my other, copywriting life, I've been working on explainer videos and this has given me insight to voice. An explainer video is exactly what it sounds like, a video that explains what a company does. This video is uploaded on to the company's site or Youtube and hopefully generates enough buzz to help get the word out and eventually get sales.

Below are two explainer videos for products that I think are successful all because of voice. They are both hard sells: Disposable razors and (I swear it's true) deodorant you spray into your toilet so your poop doesn't smell (so many issues with this product, so many ways it is wrong.)

Disposable razors are cheap and easy to come by - so why mail order them? This video answers that question.

A product called Poop-Pourri. In a sanitized world, we now have to sanitize our poop? This product is not for me...however. This explainer video made me curious, and more importantly it made the ridiculousness of the product funny - like I was in on the joke. It's really effective.

So, how do you work on voice in your writing?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Listen to the Sound of My Voice (Audiobooks that are Aural Candy)

Well, don't. I actually hate the sound of my voice. But lately, I've been recording myself reading my WIP (on my iphone, with voice memo) and playing the excruciating music back. Why? Because I trust my ears.

This is probably not new advice to you. I heard "read your work out loud" a lot at my first writers conference. It seemed a bit gimmicky, you know? And I did that anyway, with any sentence that was giving me trouble. I'd read it a loud and hear the clunking word right away, fix it and move on.

But since I've been listening to a lot of books lately - I have an Audible subscription - I realize that words read out loud are a lot less forgiving than words read on the page. There are books I won't listen to as audiobooks because I can't get lost in them. I get stopped by repetitive phrasing, by too many dialogue tags, too may 'sighs.'

So listening to books is a kind of litmus test. There are books that I want to read (and enjoy reading) that will go directly to my Kindle. Other books, usually books that I've been waiting to read and want to hold in my hands and ONLY concentrate on reading, I buy, then wait twitchily until the kids are asleep and I can delve. And there are some books that I know are going to be best as voices in my head.

When you can read on your phone, on an e-reader, via your car stereo and more, how do you decide which way you'll read a book?

Below are some of the best audiobooks I've read lately.

CODE NAME VERITY - Elizabeth Wein
Like the book wasn't genius enough. The two actresses who trade off the narration are brilliant. They are able to slip in and out of spot on accents and go from the dizzying heights of flying a plane to the horrific lows of being tortured by Nazis. All without a drop of self indulgence. I would listen to this again in a heart beat because it's so rich.

THE HANDMAID'S TALE - Margaret Atwood
I read THE HANDMAID'S TALE in college and liked it fine. But hearing Clare Danes read it made me love it. She imbues the narrator's story with so much depth and realness, that I easily slotted myself into her oppressive, mundane life. It made the story much more terrifying.

Another story I read in book form when I was younger. Now, hearing it I have the amazing feeling that I'm in the story, I'm 'watching' Bastian as he watches Atreyu and the unfolding story. It doesn't matter that I know what is going to happen, I'm happy to be along for the ride.

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