darkemeralds: Photo of a microphone with caption Read Me a Story. (Podfic)
I signed up for [community profile] podfic_bingo, probably in a moment of insanity following the completion of Restraint. It's my first fandom bingo of any kind, and [personal profile] paraka, who is very clever, has generated this code for me.

Here's my card. Wow! What row should I do? )
darkemeralds: Jared Padalecki in Regency attire (Restraint Tristan)
Chapter 42 of Restraint is almost ready for beta. It took me weeks to find a hand-hold in what seemed like a sheer cliff face of storytelling, but I think I've found it, the segue to the already-written ending. I hope to have the remainder of the novel posted by Sunday night, depending on [personal profile] kis' availability to look it over with her usual eagle eye.

(If you're one of the people still following the story, I've got one word for you: Kleenex.)

I feel so strange contemplating the End of the Story. I don't know when another story will come. Restraint is one of the biggest things I've ever undertaken, and it's going to leave a huge hole in my life when it's done.

At the same time, I'm ready to move on. I'm pretty completely engaged in this weight-losing project, which I think will occupy most of 2011. There's not that much to it--eating less isn't very complicated--but I'm operating at such a different level than I have in any previous attempt, with information that's new to me, and tools that didn't exist even five years ago, that it's taking up a lot of mental real-estate at the moment.

Enjoyable things )
darkemeralds: Photo of a microphone with caption Read Me a Story. (Podfic)
I'm getting so much out of John Walker's The Hacker's Diet that I decided to record it.

Though the book is available freely online, it is copyright, and not with a Creative Commons license, so my pod(non)fic of it is completely illegal strictly for my personal use. I'd be glad to share it on a personal basis with anyone interested.

Cut for some weight loss talk. )
darkemeralds: Fraser's uniform on a green wall (Due South)
Kowalski is Bleeding, by Speranza
Fandom: Due South
Pairing: Fraser/RayK, Vecchio/Stella
Rating: Adult
Read by [personal profile] darkemeralds, with Spanish language sections by [livejournal.com profile] vampirefan
For [personal profile] ratherastory, Podbang 2010
Running time: Just under 7 hours

MP3 here
M4b podbook here

This is one of my favorite stories in fandom. It has a beautiful woven structure, a terrific plot, and Speranza's usual great characterizations. I hope I've done it justice.

Thank you to the wonderful mods at [community profile] amplificathon for running this show and zipping up the files to the archive, and to [personal profile] general_jinjur for providing the archive space.

Podbang!

Dec. 20th, 2010 01:34 pm
darkemeralds: Photo of a microphone with caption Read Me a Story. (Podfic)
Yay! Podbang 2010 entries are being revealed now! It's so exciting! My contribution isn't posted yet, and I haven't seen my gift yet either, so needless to say I'm refreshing the page like a fiend.

Lots of great longer stories are being posted. Moar podfic! \o/
darkemeralds: (Cat)
Despite having had to work for a couple of hours yesterday, I've had a lovely weekend, with lots of checkmarks in my "Time With People" goal-box on Joe's Goals. It's practically a social whirl for me: I had a mojito with my buddy Darrell from work on Friday night, then dinner last night with the ever-gracious [livejournal.com profile] serenity_valley and [livejournal.com profile] sr8tontilmornin (conversation compelling, house delightful, food excellent, as always); then coffee with my mother this morning.

I've lost just under 20 lbs--that was a nice Sunday morning treat. It's weird how avid I am to weigh myself each day, after having spent 30 years avoiding knowing that number.

Bike errands today included buying a 2.5 quart Crock-Pot (influenced by the aforementioned excellent food chez [livejournal.com profile] sr8tontilmornin), in which a shoulder of pork is currently slow-cooking in a Chinese style char siu sauce--whisky, honey, star anise, fennel, Sichuan pepper, cassia bark, cloves, garlic...The house smells wonderful. I've never had a Crock-Pot before. I think I'll get good use out of it.

Just finished re-recording the first three chapters of [livejournal.com profile] lovesrain44's Blue Skies From Rain because Audacity swallowed up some bits and I thought I could improve a lot on others. I've got chapters 1 through 10 done now, and I think I'm pleased with it. Only 19 more to go! :D

And speaking of chapters, I finally broke through the Chapter 42 barrier of Restraint. It's not done yet but it's well underway, and everything after it--the Epilogue and the Afterword--is pretty much complete. I plan to post all three pieces at once, the grand finale of a project that has occupied me for well over two years. It will be both wonderful and sad to be done with it.

And, in conclusion, chart!

Tracker detail
(Detail from my tracking spreadsheet. It all means something--mostly "Yay!"--but I like the look of it as a design.)
darkemeralds: Heart-shaped raindrop on the lens, captioned with "Raining in my heart" (Rain)
Boy am I glad I have a sound roof over my head today. It's pouring and hasn't stopped for close to twelve hours. From what family members tell me, the local TV news people are having a field day with terms like "biblical proportions". I can attest that water pouring off my roof is making a steady pounding noise in the downspout nearest the corner where I record, and preventing me from making any podfic today.

I managed to tap away my enormous food cravings last night after a week of significant work stress (augmented, frankly, by the endless rain), and opted for a long magnesium-rich bath in the BToR instead. Watched Misfits while in there. (Kelly rules, especially now that I'm beginning to understand what she says, and I'm so glad I wasn't a complete perv when I thought that Simon was kind of hot even in his creepy oddness because, yowza.)

Cut for exponential smoothing and other Quantified Self geekery )

In other news, [personal profile] kis just this minute emailed me with a brilliant (I mean, brilliant) suggestion for cracking the impenetrable wall that Restraint Chapter 42 has been presenting to me for more than a week now. I'm so excited that I could almost start writing.
darkemeralds: Manga-style avatar of DarkEm with caption Hee (cartoony me)
What a splendid birthday! )

Not exactly a party animal, I know (well, I never was), but I had a lovely, lovely day from start to finish, and I hope everybody else's birthdays will always be as nice as mine was yesterday.
darkemeralds: Poster image of farm-fresh food (Eat Food)
I had a real sandwich today for the first time since I went gluten-free back in February. There is such a thing as GF bread but it's not very good, on the whole. The best of the commercially made stuff does not hold up to the real picking-up-and-biting required of a good sandwich.

But I think I may have had a breakthrough. I baked up a loaf of Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Hearty Whole Grain Bread Mix today, and it came out fantastic: a high, full-sized loaf, springy and moist and chewy, that slices beautifully and makes a sturdy, delicious sandwich. I am a happy clam.

See? )

I just sent Restraint Chapter 41 off to [personal profile] kis for her usual brilliant beta, and when she can lift her nose from the end-of-NaNoWriMo grindstone, she will surely have some great things to say that will allow me to get it ready for posting very soon. (After that, there really is only one full, long chapter left, then the Ending and the Epilogue. Seriously, I'm frightened of the impending emptiness.)

My Podbang entry is due in just a few days, and I'm happy to say that I finished all the recording several days ago and have been making good progress on the editing. I'm...fairly pleased with it, I think.

I'm also working on another super-long recording, [livejournal.com profile] lovesrain44's Blue Skies From Rain, one of my favorite Sam/Dean stories ever. I've made some significant improvements to my recording setup and techniques, and I expect to actually finish this and go on to make more podfic.

Oh, and I exceeded my calorie limit on Thanksgiving by a negligible, margin-of-error 21 calories. I was quite pleased with that, because it wasn't difficult or white-knuckle-y, and I ate ALL the food, including making a mashed potato Crater Lake featuring butter AND gravy. I just measured everything and wrote it down, and kind of skipped the other two meals of the day.

And, apropos of nothing in partic, CAT! )
darkemeralds: Manga-style avatar of DarkEm with caption Hee (cartoony me)
The barometer is, evidently, skyrocketing and the shower scene music from Psycho is a fairly apt representation of the way my inner ears feel right now.

And speaking of the shower scene music from Psycho, is anyone else loving Scott Caan in Hawaii 5-0? He's just such a banty rooster. I like the show way better than I thought I would, mostly because of him. Which is strange because little stocky blond cock-of-the-walk attitude guys usually aren't at all to my taste.

And speaking of taste, I made a gluten-free lime pound cake yesterday, mostly while listening (again) to [personal profile] pandarus' fabulous The Student Prince. (Really, some of the most stand-up-and-cheer fiction I've ever read, fan- or otherwise! Highly, highly recommended.) The cake came out yum, and now the limey deliciousness reminds me of the terrific payoff scene where Arthur grants the interview, which I was listening to while applying lime glaze.

And speaking of payoffs: I just watched episode 12 of Rubicon. Wow. Just, wow. That show! I've never encountered that kind of slow-building, totally controlled long-arc story on television before, and holy crap, did it ever pay off in this latest ep! It was a brilliant, dark climax to the arc, and will be the starting point for a scary and exciting new arc. Amazing writing and acting.

And speaking of writing, Restraint chapter 39 is almost done at last.
darkemeralds: Painting of a nun, with caption OMFG. (OMFG)
When, in the pursuit of quiet for podfic recording, you unplug the refrigerator, remember to plug it back in.

D'oh! I had to dump a carton of milk this morning. It could have been considerably worse.
darkemeralds: Photo of a microphone with caption Read Me a Story. (Podfic)
I just recorded the first section of my Podbang entry. Can't say too much about it, since it's secret and stuff, but here are some things I've worked to improve on from last time. I've already said a lot of this to [personal profile] pandarus, from whom I learned it, so thank you Fayjay!

Notes to Self:
  • A simpler recording set up means a vastly greater likelihood that you will actually do some recording
  • Slow the heck down
  • Slow down some more
  • Now take your time...
  • ...and relax! Breathe!
  • Use more of your vocal range
  • No, you're not an actor, but what the hey, act a little--go on, you know you want to
  • A nuanced reading is more important than a perfect recording--way more important
  • Practice first

There are probably some more things, too, but it's really cool what a vast difference slowing down makes. There's more room to glance ahead and micro-plan the next line, more room to breathe and relax. I made far fewer mistakes than ever before, just by that one trick, and the mistakes I do make are MUCH easier to edit out because there will tend to be some space around them.

So, the plan for now is to record half an hour per evening, then practice-read the next half hour.

Then work on the next chapter of Restraint. It's just fic all the way down around here!
darkemeralds: Jensen Ackles in Regency Attire (Restraint John)
This is so strange and cool! I'm listening to Fayjay's podfic of Restraint, Part III.

I've listened to Parts I and II several times because they're wonderful and I love them. Part III is every bit as good, and maybe even better, if you can believe that, and I love podfic, and audiobooks, and I listen to a lot of both, and Fayjay is right up there with the professionals.

What's weird and wonderful is that, unlike Parts I and II, I don't really remember writing most of Part III, so I'm about as close as I can get to having an outsider experience of my own work.

When I say I don't remember writing Part III, I mean that I wrote much of it faster, with less obsessive rereading and rewriting, than I was able to lavish on the first parts, so I don't know it by heart, and there are whole sections that I'd almost forgotten till I heard them being read back to me--and brought to life--by Fayjay.

I'm laughing and grinning and tearing up and surprised in various places. I can actually begin to judge the writing on its merits, because it's coming to me almost completely bare of remembered context.

This is giving me all kinds of thoughts about getting better at writing, and writing faster, and having more confidence in the outcome, even if I don't know every word by heart before I release it into the wild.

PODFIC!!!

Jul. 17th, 2010 10:22 pm
darkemeralds: Jared Padalecki in Regency attire (Restraint Tristan)
[personal profile] pandarus/Fayjay's podfic of Restraint, Part III, is up on the archive!

Oh, and I'm hard at work on Chapter 36. I thought it was done, but my wise beta hinted that I might want to rethink that position a bit, and she was right. So a bit of a remodel is taking place (seems to be the theme of my life), and it will be a few more days.

So meanwhile, I wholeheartedly and with tremendous squeeing recommend everyone to go listen to Fayjay's fabulous podfic of Part III.
darkemeralds: Photo of a microphone with caption Read Me a Story. (Podfic)
[livejournal.com profile] pandarus (aka Fayjay) has just uploaded her podfic version of Restraint, Part II to the Audiofic Archive.

Her own post with the links is here.

It is excellent. There's no way that I can be objective, of course, and it's possible that I'm a little biased as to the text, but consider how biased against a reinterpretation I might be, and adjust your goggles accordingly.

Fayjay tells me--in fact, I think she said publicly--that she began recording the story for her own enjoyment immediately, on first reading, and so for the first six chapters or so she was still finding the voices. By the time we get to Part II (starting with chapter 11), she has hit a kind of full-tilt, actorly stride, with the characters, the period, and the rhythm of the narrative firmly in her grasp.

Her reading is classy, funny, nuanced and emotional. Her pacing is just right for the period tone of the piece: unhurried, with all the breathing room necessary for those long, long, long sentences that I channeled Jane Austen to write. Seriously, I tried recording some of it myself and I can tell you that it's no small feat just to speak them, let alone to make them sound as if real people are actually saying those things.

The most wonderful aspect of it for me is that it is giving me the experience--unique so far in my writing life--of approaching my text from the outside. I'm enjoying it as a reader/listener. It's remarkable.

Podfic is opening worlds of creativity in fandom that would have been unimaginable even ten years ago. It's really exciting to be part of it. I can't say whether Restraint is the kind of story for anyone in particular, but I can say that if you enjoy a slashy historical romance and like audiobooks, get this one. It's fantastic.
darkemeralds: Photo of Downtown Portland, Oregon USA in twilight (Portland)
It's a story about transportation. A story about service. A story of the limits of technology and the boundless nature of kindness, and it is the story of the thing that rarely happens happening at just the wrong time. It is a tale of podfic, and a Dutch German woman, and and a boy called Jeremy.

It is the story of my Saturday, and it goes like this:

Read more... )

Now it's 1:30. I have my wallet. My devices are charging. I'm getting on a bus in a few minutes and going to get Clyde, who will carry me in a lovely, newly-gear-adjusted, impact-free manner back to Clever Cycles, where I will purchase my accessory items before they close, and then...

Then I think I'm gonna stop at an all-day breakfast place and treat myself to some bacon. Because I totally deserve bacon.
darkemeralds: Photo of an empty room with caption "Imagine an Empty Room" (Empty Room)
I spent my 15 Minutes For Kis today as planned, clearing off the side table in the kitchen where a lot of staple foodstuffs had taken up residence.

I'm not finished yet, because of course putting (or throwing) all that stuff away meant cleaning some other stuff. It's the Way of Decluttering. The hipbone's connected to the thigh bone, etc. Right now my kitchen's in an uproar. But that's what podfic is for--cleaning the kitchen.

So I'm downloading Queensguard right now. Yay podfic!

Next up: finish the table and then (aaauuuggghhh!!!) tackle the Old Trunk Full of Keepsakes that lives underneath it.

Whew

Mar. 16th, 2010 10:24 pm
darkemeralds: Jared Padalecki laughing, with text MIAEL, Mine Is An Evil Laugh. (Laugh)
It's been a mad four-day weekend, mostly involving writing. I think I burned out a few brain cells on Restraint, because [livejournal.com profile] pandarus recced it the other day and suddenly the hit count at AO3 started soaring.

What's even cooler is that [livejournal.com profile] pandarus wants to podfic it.

She podfics as Fayjay and if you like podfic and have even a glancing familiarity with any of the fandoms she records in, I cannot recommend her work highly enough. One day, a couple of months ago, I was listening to her recording of "Old Country," the you-can't-believe-it-will-work-but-it-does Harry Potter/Supernatural crossover by Astolat, and I thought, "It would be so cool if that reader could podfic Restraint, because she has exactly the right British accent for it and she's fabulous and would be my second choice after, like, Stephen Fry. Or Alan Rickman."

But then I thought, "Naah--she's a BNF and I could never ask her."

It will come as no surprise to the reader to learn, therefore, that when she emailed me and volunteered to record my story on the strength of the first four chapters, well, a) I said yes about twenty seven times, and b) the pressure to push ahead and keep writing was suddenly on! (And I've ended up having a lovely email conversation with her, so that was a huge plus.)

So I poured on the steam and got a hell of a lot written by my glacial standards, with [personal profile] kis betaing the same chapter at least three times, bless her patient spirit, but now my brain is fried. I was up till 3:30 a.m. last night, and dreamed of the story all night long when I finally did get to sleep: spinny dreams, thoughts chasing each other around. And kittens.

Not that restful.

I took my nephew out this evening for fish and chips and a beer (well, he had root beer--he's only 13) to fill the protein gap left by four days of insane writing-based malnourishment. Came home and watched "Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle" and laughed my ass off. I needed the break.

And now I must sleep. Gah! Look at the time. It's an hour later than it is.
darkemeralds: Jensen Ackles in Regency Attire (Restraint John)
For certain podficcing purposes, I'm looking for a sad, minor-key, Romantic (yes, capital R) piece from the mid 19th century. Something slow, something intensely romantic (both r and R)--music to make a person weep.

Piano, orchestra, cello...cello would be awesome.

NI know a lot of my flist/circle are way more conversant in classical music than I am, and I would love some suggestions!

TIA everybody.
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
Story: Real Worlds, by Salieri
Reader: [livejournal.com profile] luzula
Fandom: Due South
Length: 5 hours, 9 minutes

[livejournal.com profile] luzula is a prolific reader who makes podfic in an interesting range of fandoms of which Due South and its C6D branchings are the most mainstream. There's an emphasis on the mythic and the fantastic in her work (she has made Gilgamesh and Watership Down podfic!).

This story is one of only two pieces by [livejournal.com profile] luzula that I've heard, and it's a story I haven't read and wasn't familiar with, so I'm reviewing it outside the context of her or the author's body of work. I note only that its posting date of September 2009 makes it one of the most recent in a long line of contributions stretching back into podfic ancient history, August 2007.

I establish all this to make it clear that I, a podfic n00b, am reviewing the work of a highly original and very experienced veteran. So, cum grano salis, everybody.

Review of 'Real Worlds' as read by Luzula )

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