Hey Tennis Shoes Fans!
The audio recording of Drums of Desolation is complete. It's always a monster to record a book of this length and complexity.
Fortunately, I was able to pull together all the familiar voices from recent volumes. Summer Naomi Smart plays "Steffanie." She also performs "Sakerra"--the same character that she played in the movie Passage to Zarahemla. Summer is a very successful stage actor/dancer/singer in Chicago these days, so I managed to catch her during a brief visit to her family early in June.
My sister, Carlyn Blake (sometimes I have her name printed as Carlyn Heimerdinger Blake so folks know the relationship), also reprised her role as Meagan. She also reprised her role from Sorcerers and Seers as young Rebecca. Carlyn's talent is miraculous to me. Few people realize how hard it is to find someone who can narrate a novel. The trick is to do so without sounding like you're reading. The second trick is to be able to do it with some fluidity--reading for at least a few paragraphs without making a mistake and having to restart the same sentence. So the fact that I've been able to utilize my sister for all these years has been wonderful. In her "normal" life she's an entrepreneur for a non-profit company, so narrating the "Tennis Shoes" books has been a fun change-of-pace for her.
Lastly, I managed to talk Dave Walker into reprising his role as Marcos--a character that has a fairly substantial part in this audio book. For those who have purchased other audio books from Covenant Communications over the years, Dave is probably a familiar voice. The trouble is, he had to quit narrating a few years ago for financial reasons. Honestly, the gig doesn't pay very much money, and Dave found a more lucrative way to support his family. Nevertheless, his talent is undeniable. He's the only one who attempts to do different voice characterizations besides me--also not an easy thing to achieve.
Years ago I listened to Jim Dale's narration/dramatization of the "Harry Potter" series and I was blown away by his talents and versatility. Ever since I've tried to match the number of voices and personalities he is able to generate. I'm certain I fall short, but I do my best. Not many authors can even read their own books (most publishers won't allow them to) so I'm grateful that I have this opportunity. It allows me to offer just the right nuance to characters and emotions. Who'd know better than the author, right?
SKIP AMAZON AND ORDER FROM ME!
Over the years I had managed to sell one audio for every four books. However, because Deseret Book used inferior downloading technology (or else didn't make the audio book available at all) those numbers fell off somewhat. Deseret Book is now promising that by year's end they will have a brand new App for downloading audio books. Honestly, I've been hearing this for a number of years, so I'm not holding my breath, but I do have a secret hope that this time it may actually happen. Otherwise, the best quality for the audio is still to purchase the CD set and then, if desired, transfer them one at a time to your computer or audio device for listening. So, with any luck, DB will catch up with new technologies before the end of 2014. (Please, please.)
HOWEVER, I've noticed that many folks pre-ordering either the book or audio for Drums of Desolation are still doing it through Amazon. I put it up on Amazon because I recognize that for some buyers it may seem more convenient, but Amazon "do take a chunk" of the retail price, so I encourage those who pre-order to ORDER DIRECTLY FROM ME! Just call 801-870-2070.
I realize that some people are frightened by the prospect of speaking directly with the author. And I admit there is anecdotal evidence that authors have been known to swallow their victims whole. But for the most part we're harmless creatures who love talking with our readers. I have a secure Merchant Account for Visa or MC, so don't be afraid to call me directly. You can also ask me any question you've ever wanted to ask, such "How come you've taken so darn long to finish this series??!!" I doubt anyone could come up with a question I haven't already heard, so feel free.
Remember, you can still get a free item for the next couple weeks--either a DVD of the movie Passage to Zarahemla, a book of Passage to Zarahemla, a CD of the album of 9 songs I wrote for the movie called "Whispered Visions", a book of Escape from Zarahemla or--finally--a discount of the audio book of Escape from Zarahemla for $10 (normally $27.98). Pay only $3 dollars extra in shipping for the freebies.
I try to keep my phone with me all day, but if I don't answer, send a text and I'll call back ASAP.
Oh, and here's the best news of all! I can now begin work on Thorns of Glory--the next and last installment of the series. (Well, at least it'll be the conclusion of the story that began with Warriors of Cumorah. I suppose I can always conjure new adventures for the Tennis Shoes characters.) In any event, I promise that the wait for the next volume will be significantly shorter. No projects in between. My goal is a year. We'll see if I can make it. :)
Stay close to the Lord!