Friday, February 28, 2014

Liza O'Connor interviews Salvation by Aeon Igni

Today, we are interviewing the book Salvation by Aeon Igni.

Space Rep: Oh, this junk heap is definitely in need of Salvation!

Liza: Stop picking on my ship and transport the book.

Space Rep:  Got it....oooooooooh!

Liza: Wow, that's a beautiful cover, with great detail. Well done, Sal!  You don't mind if I call you Sal, do you?

Book: I've no idea why she's asking for permission, it's not as if she can hear my response. Sure, Crazy Lady who pretends to talk to books, call me whatever you want.

Space Rep: Sal, Liza can hear you, and trust me when I tell you that you do NOT want to piss her off. She has a fiery temper.

Book: Oh dear...I do apologize, Liza. I've never known a human who could hear any books other than those high-priced audios.

Liza: Well, I had intended to toss you out into the vacuum of space. but I can't find the air lock.

Book: Please don't. I'm really sorry for the misunderstanding. How can I make it up to you?

Liza: Tell me about yourself, and accept your name being shortened to Sal without complaint.

Space Rep: She can't spell words longer than 3 letters before her fingers tangle.

Sal: Well, I can't type at all, so I won't judge. And I would love to tell you about myself.

Liza: Excellent, let's hear it.

Sal: My story is about Samantha Simmons who knows she's out of time and needs to take drastic measures to escape her fate. Her bleak and solitary existence in an underground sewer is about to be compromised by a gang of thugs whose leader wants her for his own nefarious purposes. Driven past the point of desperation, Samantha does what any self-respecting woman would do: she poses as a young man to get a job aboard a cargo ship with an all-male crew. 

Liza: How odd, that is exactly what I'd do in the same situation.

Space Rep: She's not kidding. She has a whole series about a heroine pretending to be a young man, only it's set back in the 19th century.

Liza: Let Sal continue.

Sal: But will--

Space Rep: STOP! Don't ask her a question. She hates questions she doesn't know the answer to.

Sal: Thanks for the heads up. Samantha's hope to find salvation in outer space remains uncertain. 

Between learning how to perform her duties on the spaceship and avoiding assault or certain death at the hands of the unsavory characters she meets, Samantha spends her time guarding her secret identity and fighting her growing feelings for the handsome and scrupulously honorable Captain Morse. 

All too soon, she has to make the ultimate choice: will she tell him her secret and face his wrath, or will she leave and protect her honor? 

Oh, that was a I in trouble?

Liza: No - introspective questions are fine. I'm constantly asking myself if should I throw Space Rep out or keep him, but I don't expect anyone to know the answer to the question.

Sal: *Wipes brow* Thank Goodness. Can I go home now?

Liza: I'd like to peek beneath your covers and read a bit.

Sal: You do know I'm a girl book, right?

Liza: I'm aware you are sci-fi-rom if that is your question.

Sal: Okay, then. I just didn't want to be tossed into the vacuum of space for being myself.

I knew immediately that he was the captain. He must have been well over six standard feet tall, but it wasn't so much his height as his stature. He exuded confidence and power, and the set of his broad shoulders and his wide stance as he surveyed the vast expanse of the cargo hold made him seem larger than life. His muscles bulged as he gestured or pointed, and the other huge men scurried around like ants, working quickly as he shouted orders.
He wore a cream-colored shirt and cotton pants which were tucked into knee length boots. There was a leather holster casually slung about his waist with a large gun on one side and an equally large knife on the other. Even from the back he looked dangerous, but maybe that was only because, due to my own short size, I was standing about eye level with the gun and knife.
Another tall man with blond hair and a confident stride walked over and handed him a scanner. "Sir, we've got a last-minute request from the Empress to transport medical supplies to her daughter on Galileo."
The captain frowned and looked down at the scanner. "Damn! We don't have room for all that cargo. But if we don't take it, we'll probably never be allowed to land here again."
He thought for a moment, then called out to a man directing a forklift, "Riggs, we need to unload those torches from Antares. Call Beck and see if he can use them."
"Yes, sir," The other man nodded and pulled out a communicator.
Handing back the scanner, the captain commented, "Nice catch, Jeremiah. Once those torches are unloaded we can load up the medical supplies. If Riggs can't get Beck to take them, just find someone to give them to so they're off the ship in thirty minutes. We'll have to take the loss."
"Consider it done, sir."
Riggs walked off, so I figured now was as good a chance as any to make my move. If I had been any less desperate, I might have reconsidered. I had the feeling that if he didn't like me, he would probably squash me with one heavily booted foot. But thinking about what awaited me outside the doors behind me strengthened my resolve, so I squared my shoulders again and walked forward until I was standing just behind him.
He must have had a sixth sense, because he turned around quickly and I came to an abrupt halt. I was struck by the handsomeness of his face. He had sharp, well-defined features and thick brown hair that was a bit too long. His piercing green eyes felt like two headlights, and I froze, feeling as if I were a Palonian deer. It didn't help that he looked twice as large up close as he had from afar, his muscular frame dwarfing my smaller one.
"Who are you?" The question thundered at me in the same tone he used when giving orders. I was still gaping at him and he started to look impatient. "Spit it out," he ordered.
"I-I'm the new recruit for translator, sir," I stuttered, trying to sound confident.
"You're the new recruit." He said flatly, raising one eyebrow.
"Yes, sir."
He looked me up and down, his gaze as sharp as a hawk's. I tried not to fidget but I knew what he was seeing. My tiny figure made me look like a child next to the rest of the crew, even with the sweatshirt. I had closely cropped my brown hair and subtly added some shoulder padding, which with my layered T-shirts usually allowed me to pass as a boy if people didn't look too closely. But the captain's gaze was astute and I had a feeling not much would get past him.
After a quick once-over, he started barking out questions. "What is your name?"
"Simmons, sir."
 "How old are you?"
"Seventeen, sir." Although I was really twenty-one, I knew that I would never pass for a man that age.
He bent down slightly and his eyes bore into me. "Seventeen? You look twelve. Do you even have whiskers yet?"
"Um, no, sir."
"Have you ever worked on a transport ship before?"
"No, sir."
"Have you ever been off-planet before?"
"No, sir." I was getting a bad feeling about the way this interview was going. A couple more 'No sirs' and I'd be watching my only hope to get off this planet from the ground. I had no doubt that Raz and his thugs would be waiting happily for me.
"Have you ever worked as a translator before?"
"I can understand over fifty languages and speak twenty-eight, sir." My voice held a note of confidence I didn't feel, but I had to do something. My heart pounded hard in my chest, and as he considered my words I knew this was the deciding moment.
"Really." It was more of a statement than a question.
"Yes, sir."
He bent down to my eye level and held my gaze with his, but I knew I spoke the truth and I didn't look away. Finally, he stood up and ran a hand through his shaggy hair.
"Look, Simmons. This is against my better judgment. This is not the alliance. We are a private cargo ship and some of the characters we deal with are...less than savory. However, I badly need a translator since Fitts was...retired...and our docking rights expire in..." He checked his watch. "…fifty-three standard minutes."
He pointed back to the cargo bay entrance and my heart sank. But then he barked, "Grab your things and report to Jeremiah over there. He'll see that someone gets you settled in."
"Yes, sir." I turned around to escape before he could change his mind. I also didn't want him to see my face, because I could not contain my happiness. My heart was jumping for joy, and I knew that once in the air, I would be safe.

Space Rep: That was bloody fabulous. Can I buy this?
Liza: I agree. If you can find the links, you may buy it.

Space Rep: Got it. May I read it first?
Liza: Sure.
Sal: Since you are in an agreeing moment, may I go home now?
Liza: Tell me about your fabulous author who evidently thinks a bit like me.
Sal: Aeon Igni is a romance writer from Phoenix, Arizona. She spent her mid-20s to mid-30s living and working in Asia, Australia, and the Middle East; and all of that earthly travel inspired her mind to reach for the stars. She wrote many unpublished manuscripts while abroad, and is now looking forward to sharing them with readers.

Liza: That is so weird. I've also spent time in Asia and Australia, and wrote lots of books while there. However, the ones in Australia were handwritten and it turns out I can't read my writing, so those three novels are lost. But just like Aeon, I have a great deal of novels in back log because I had this sixth sense that publishing and promoting would reduce my time writing. So for many years, I wrote without a thought to publishing. I did work with published critters, and finally one of them dragged me into publishing.

When you get back to Aeon in 3 days'time, ask her if she has a missing twin, because we seem to have a connection, both of us write about young women who choose to be young men but fall in love with the guy in charge. In addition, we've both delayed publishing during our work years and traveled the globe, all the while writing. However, Aeon's fabulous book is out now, so you buy it at once. The first book of my historical Xavier & Vic mysteries is slotted for this August.

Sal: Hold on! What do you mean in 3 days time? I want to leave now.

Liza: Sorry, my transport service is only guaranteed to work once every 3 days. So if I send you back now, you could arrive missing half your words, pages and back cover.

Sal: Nevermind. I'll stay and we'll share stories instead.

Liza: That sounds delightful. Here, let me dust you...

Sal: Oh stop, that tickles....

Space Rep: Go grab your own copy of this fab book and let's leave these two alone.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Liza O'Connor interviews The Tribulation of Tompa Lee by Edward Hoornaert

Today, I'm interviewing the book The Tribulations of Tompa Lee by Edward Hoornaert.

Space Rep: Is he new?

Liza: New to us, but he's written many books. This is book 2 in The Trilogy of Tompa Lee. 

Space Rep: What's the first book called?

Liza: The Trial of Tompa Lee.

Space Rep: What are they about?

Liza: I don't know for certain, but I'm thinking they might be about the trials and tribulations of Tompa Lee, whoever she/he/it is. But let's transport Tribulations over and find out.

Space Rep: On it.

Liza: What? No Microwaving today?

Space Rep: No, I discovered I could leave my cup of tea on the plasma drive core and it stays warm all the time.

Liza: The book will no doubt be relieved.

Space Rep: No it won't. It will have no idea it might have gotten wet and soggy.

Liza: Welcome, Trib...May I call you Trib?

Book: Whoa...I had this strong feeling I was going to drown. Where am I?

Space Rep: You're in Liza's junk heap and I have saved you from drowning. 

Book: Thanks. Why exactly am I here?

Liza: So I can interview you. Now I've nicknamed you Trib, so please stop calling yourself Book, it will confuse my readers.

Space Rep: She can't spell words longer than four letters.

Trib: Trib it is—not as grand and wonderful as Tribulations, but it will do. What would you like to know?

Liza: Give me a one-liner about your book.

Trib: Goddess or Madwoman?  Even she isn't sure.

Liza: Interesting, tell me more.

Trib: Well it involves a woman, a man, and a whole bunch of aliens.  Some are friendly and some want to kill the man and the woman.  Especially the woman.

Space Rep: * laughs*  Thus giving you your she, he, and its.

Liza: Tell me about the woman.

Trib: Tompa Lee is a major underdog. She was a homeless orphan on the streets of Manhattan who clawed her way up to the lowest rungs of the Commerce Space Navy. Now she serves as ambassador to the Shons' planet and is hailed as their goddess.

As you can imagine, her background didn’t prepare her to be either an ambassador or a goddess. She kinda has a big ol’ chip on her shoulder.

Liza: Still, it sounds like a great life, being loved and worshiped. How do I get such a gig?

Trib: You might wish to hold off on applying for the position. Tompa got the job by surviving a trial by combat against 300 alien accusers. That’s what I’ve heard, at least; it’s in a previous book, I can’t speak from personal experience.

The goddess thing isn’t without drawbacks. For example, she has a dead man living in her head, and she’s afraid she’s going mad.

The ambassador gig has its problems, too. Although like Shons (the natives) she distrusts her fellow humans, and fears an imminent attack by Klicks, mankind's greatest enemy.

Liza: On second thought, I'll remain an author. Seems safer. What about the man?

Trib: Sergei Mengliev, the self-styled Ming the Merciless, is a flamboyant musician who traverses the known galaxy, performing for appreciative aliens. Aliens adore human music—but surely you know that. Tompa meets him when he is posing as a mere musician. Shortly thereafter, Klicks destroy the Terran embassy.

Liza: Why was he posing? 

Trib: It’s just a job to him (at least at first): try to help her in the coming conflict with the Klicks. To do that, he has to win her trust. After he gets to know and admire her, he wants to win her heart, as well.

Liza: Since nothing is as nice as one would think in your book, I'm wondering WHY he wants to seduce her.

Trib: Well, males have this biological drive that turns them into slaves of their gonads when—

Oh, you already know about the birds and the bees?

Anyway, sex is only part of it for Ming. He’s extremely proud of his genes, being the descendant of Russian cosmonauts and rocket scientists, but Tompa is smarter and more athletic—and he’s self-confident enough to admire that. She’s the ideal woman, in his mind.

And she has a great tush. He likes that, too.

Space Rep: Since we are getting to the dangerous part of the interview, just a safety reminder: don't ask Liza a question she doesn't know the answer to. It gives her distemper.

Liza: I've told you before, distemper does not mean the person has a disagreeable temper. *turns to Trib* So who is Ming really?

Trib: A secret agent. Because he likes ancient Earth culture, he fancies himself not as Agent Oh-Oh-Seven, but Agent Oboe Seven.

Liza: *rolls eyes* Weird. Whose side is he on?

Tribe: How can you ask such a thing! It’s a secret—you know, as in ‘secret agent’.

In truth, though, I blush to say that I don’t know. My author has removed the information from my database so I cannot tell you.

Liza: Fair enough. Space Rep can't keep a secret to save his life.

Space Rep: That's not true. I never told you the bunny pooped in your tea.

Liza: Space Rep, go find me a recipe for rabbit soup, while I continue this interview. *turns to Trib* Sorry for the interruption. Now tell me about the alien.

Trib: There are a lot of them, including Tompa’s Shon friends who adore her as a goddess. But I assume you mean the evil Lord Keevie. He’s a Klick, a 7-foot tall lizard who resembles a tyrannosaurus. He wants to drive humans off Zee Shode but above all he wants to eviscerate Tompa in person, because killing a goddess will surely make him a god.

Liza: Makes my trouble with space bunny seem petty in comparison. Let me find Space Rep and tell him we aren't having bunny soup today. In the meantime, tell my readers more about the book.

Trib: To the best of my knowledge I am unique, in that most of my action is set in the alien equivalent of a national park. Tompa’s Shon friends are cuddly, but they have a bloodthirsty streak. Hence the park is filled with hungry carnivores.

When Tompa and a few others escape the Klick attack on the embassy, Keevie’s army chases them into Palla Pelly Park. Tompa and Ming have to save the refugees not only from the Klicks, but from the beasts, too.

My author has deleted the ending from my database, but I greatly fear that there’s no way out for Tompa and Ming. None that I can see, at least—but I’m sure you are more intelligent than I, a mere book.

 Liza: I'm back. You didn't ask any questions while I was away did you?

Trib: *pages flutter* I do have a question. Would you like to peek beneath my covers?

Liza: Yes, I would. This story sounds most interesting.

Tompa wrapped the blankets more tightly around her aches and pains. “You don’t scare me.”

Liar, Dante said from inside her head.

“Who are you?” she called to the Klick, remembering the old advice, know thine enemy.

The huge creature rose, bowed, and then sat back on his tail. “My name is Keevie, but you may call me Death.”

“The Klick leader?” she said.

“Do you never soar above the obvious?”

“Nope.” To her own surprise, Tompa laughed. Chatting in the dead of night to a bloodthirsty, seven-foot tall dragontail who wanted to kill her felt bizarre. Everything that had happened to her on Zee Shode was either terrifying or absurd.

No, not true. Some of Zee Shode was glorious. Finding a friend like Awmit who accepted her. Finding a place where she actually belonged.

And sleeping with Ming? Hadn’t that been glorious, too?

Well, perhaps.

 “What can you expect from an uneducated street meat?” she taunted. “I’m the shortest, skinniest, dumbest, lowest class human you're ever going to find. And yet, a few months ago I beat the tail spikes off you bullies. Drove you right off this planet.”

That’s telling him, girl. Dante spoke with more passion than usual, making Tompa feel less stupid for goading a creature who could kill her with one swipe of his tail.

“How I shall enjoy eviscerating you, Tompa Lee,” the Klick growled.

Space Rep: This books sounds fabulous. Can I buy it?

Liza: No.

Space Rep: But why? I didn't know what the bunny planned to do. If I had any idea, I wouldn't have put your cup on the floor.

Liza: Well the book has released early. However, upon discovering where my cup resided, I'm not inclined to let you buy the book.

Space Rep: Trib, tell her the punishment is too severe for the crime.

Trib: Not to sound vain, but the book is very fine. If you don't believe me, read the reviews of book 1, The Trial of Tompa Lee:

"The humor that comes from mistranslations and cultural differences contributes to Hoornaert's delightful voice, even as he explores the complex themes of justice, sacrifice, and the individual's place in society. Few authors can craft a novel that holds all of that together so satisfyingly"

 "Read this in one sitting. Strong characters. Rich descriptions. Excellent world building. Going to bed to dream about heroic humans and courageous, pear-shaped people"

"An action-packed thriller with plenty of twists to keep the reader happy"

Space Rep: Oh, we need to read book one, too. Please forgive me. Please, please, please!

Liza: All right. Go find me link for book one and two

Book 1: The TRIAL of Tompa Lee

Book 2: The Tribulations of Tompa Lee



Also by Edward Hoornaert

The Midas Rush

Liza: Trib, it's been a pleasure having you over.

Trib: I enjoyed it as well.

Liza: Good, because I'm keeping you for three days.

Trib: What? No! I'm coming out tomorrow. I have things to do.

Liza: Nonsense. If you aren't around, Amazon will create more of you. That's what it does. Clones things over and over.

Tribe: But I want to help my author with promotions. He's a fabulous person.

Liza: Tell me about him.

Trib: Edward Hoornaert is not only a science fiction and romance writer, he's also a certifiable Harlequin Hero, having inspired multi-published author Vicki Lewis Thompson to write Mr. Valentine, which was dedicated to him. 

Liza: That's interesting. Tell me more.

Trib: These days, he mostly writes science fiction—either sf romances, or sf with strong elements of romance. I can’t imagine where he ever dreamed up an oboe-playing secret agent, though--unless it’s because he is a symphonic oboist himself. But surely he isn’t so conceited as to fashion the hero after himself!

Liza: Still interesting, continue...

Tribe: After living at 26 different addresses in his first 27 years, the rolling stone slowed in the Canadian Rockies and came to rest in Tucson , Arizona . He married his high school sweetheart a week after graduation and is still madly in love … which is probably why he writes romances.

Liza: I've never met a real human still madly in love. Most unusual.

Space Rep: Her ex husband tried to kill her 3 times. It took her awhile to notice.

Liza: Thank you Space Rep. Instead of sharing my life, why don't you explain why Trib has to stay 3 days.

Space: Because Liza is a starving author and bought the cheapest transportation package. They only guarantee 100% delivery every three days. If I send you back before 3 days, you could end up missing half the story, and this book sounds way too good to miss a word of it.

Trib: 3 days it is! I am delighted to stay with you—although I must say I’m glad books don’t have mouths. I don’t trust the tea around here.

Is there some way to help my author sell books from your Junk heap?

Space Rep: Sure, you can hijack Liza's twitter account and tell peeps about the book under her name. Be strange and no one will notice the difference.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Of Termites and Robots

Robots can learn the skills of a termites, who without a leader can build themselves a new home. All a robot needs are instructions about building and traffic rules.

Building instructions are pretty simple. Set up the conditions and the actions under all scenarios. 

For example: If current level requires no more bricks begin next layer, otherwise place brick in section needing brick.
(I’m sure their instructions are more geeked up with code, but you get the idea. Laying a brick is pretty much the same on one layer as it is on another.)

They only thing left is dealing with which robot is going to lay the last one on row one and which robot will begin row two and how to keep the robots from knocking each other over, getting in the way of other robots, and starting a brawl…which is the reason why humans require supervision.

The way to prevent these bad behaviors is called TRAFFIC RULES and it turns out termites and robots will follow them MUCH BETTER than humans.

Take the speed limit for example. I’m pretty sure the sign
doesn’t say ‘Go 9 miles over the posted speedlimit because then, then cop will stop someone else.’

Or the law about staying in the far right lane except when passing. NO ONE follows that rule, possibly because it’s a stupid rule that would make it impossible for new people to enter the road if we all ignored the other lanes and kept to the right.

I’m all for the rule don’t pass on the right, but lots of people ignore that too.

And some, usually after drinking, enter the freeway going the wrong direction. That never works out well.

However, as long as we don’t give robots stupid rules they’ll be fine.

So if we tell them to go in one direction, they will. After laying their brick, they’ll continue on their path, climb down, grab another brick and get back into the queue. 

They will not honk horns, fly birds, get out of robot shoes or throw their bricks at one another. They will patiently wait for their time to come. 

They will not fall asleep while waiting, or step out for a smoke. They will just wait. 

They won’t monkey with each other’s code, or rile the other robots up about their low (as in no) pay or their inability to vote, despite the fact they are far closer to being a human than any corporation is.

No they will stand ready, holding their brick, waiting for their time to lay it and go back to retrieve another.

The robots could build dams, levees and ugly warehouses because we could use some new ones.

And as long as the robots were given good code to begin with, they will build it perfectly. Just like termites do.

Okay, I’ll admit termites seem to lack aesthetics, but have you ever tried to kick one of those mounds. You’ll break your foot.

So while we’ll have ugly dam, levees and warehouses, it’s better than giving the robots designer rules. That creative spark could very well give them self-awareness and soon we’ll have a whole bunch of outraged robots wearing scarves that tangle in their wheels and catfights over whose brick is prettier.

No it is better we have ugly but strong dams and levees.

For the sensible (but not nearly as funny) version of this article go to Scientific America. You'll also get to see a video of the robots in action.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

How to turn your book into Audio

by Marva Dasef

There may be more ways to skin the audio cat, but this is how I went about it.

Sometime or other, Amazon let me know about their audio book production site, That may have come through CreateSpace, which is the Amazon POD (print on demand) site. I've had good experiences using CreateSpace, so I clicked on over to see just how hard...and was.

Before I did the clicking, I had some assumptions:

1) I'm going to have to do my own narration, and that would be impossible since I don't happen to have a sound studio at home. Matter of fact, I'd have to search through the Big Box O' Computer Stuff for a microphone.

2) Since someone else will need to narrate, I'll have to spend a lot of money upfront to hire someone to do it.

3) It will take months to produce a final product and have it up for sale.

4) I don't have a lot of money to spend.

The only true point from above is 4). What I discovered when I browsed through ACX is that there were professional narrators for hire. Okay, that meant I wouldn't have to do my own talking. Then, I found the Royalty Split option. I wish I could put little stars and sparklies around ***Royalty Split*** (stars, but no sparkles).

Audio books are the new big thing just like ebooks were the new big thing a few years ago. If you haven't already jumped on the audio bandwagon, you should at least start thinking about it.

On the site, you'll find producer/narrators who want to do business with you. You can browse the available narrators via samples they have posted. 

When you're ready, register your account, assert your rights to your book (by selecting it from your works available at Amazon) and upload a 1-2 page sample script. You can either wait for narrators to approach you, or you can make an offer to ones you like the sound of. They may not find your book in the available list since there is always a lot of books waiting for a marriage of author to producer, hopefully one made in heaven. 

Some might be quite willing to work with you on a 50-50 royalty split basis. There are lots of them (including mine) who do it that way. If not, you can spend a little money upfront by offering a flat rate per finished hour. In the Narrator search, you can set your price so to speak: $0-$50, $51-$100, and so on.

With the 50-50 split, the most lucrative way to proceed is to let Amazon be your exclusive distributor. Your audio book will be offered at Amazon (with a link through to, membership (if you like audio books, this is a good way to keep your listening pipeline filled), and iTunes (good old Apple).

Okay, once you have signed up with a producer/narrator, they'll need the full DOC or PDF copy of your book. Give them a nice clean copy. Title page, page breaks on chapters, no headers or footers, no blurb, no About the Author, no nothing except your book's words.

You'll also need to set a deadline for completion. I asked my producer what he wanted for the completion date. I figured he'd know better than me. Consider that the completed narration will take 4-8 weeks depending on the length of your book. So you don't have time to waste!

The producer/narrator will then begin recording chapter by chapter. You'll get email notifications from, and you have a direct message line to your producer if you want to communicate. My producer, Don Baarns, and I have become chatty friends over the last few months. We have talked by phone to go over some pronunciation issues, mostly lots of stabs at how to pronounce my last name. I'd take bets that most of you would not say Dasef correctly on the first try. You'll have to listen to the audio book to answer that burning question.

As soon as your narrator uploads a chapter, listen to it immediately and make notes on things that require change. I indicated where the change was by the time stamp and a few words to identify where the change was needed, and the change itself. This seemed to work for my guys (my narrator is my producer's son).

We got through all the chapters, my producer uploaded the revised chapters. I listened again and noted changes (very few) like we did on the first round. When everything was ready to go, I clicked the Publish link. At that point, ACX takes over to ensure your audio files are usable as is (mine were), and they do other arcane things to it, and, finally, make it available for sale.

A hint especially if you're doing a royalty split or a flat rate per finished hour: Don't get too fussy about changes. Certainly, do NOT change the wording after the chapter is uploaded. You want to mess with your words? Do it before you upload the document. 

The narrators are taking a chance on you, particularly with royalty split, so be as prompt and organized as possible. I think your producer can 'fire' you if you're a prima donna. Stay humble. It's okay for "I am" to become "I'm" in the narration. Don't harp on nitpicks. That's why my producer liked me enough to ask to produce my next book. He found me easy to work with, and he says likes my writing.

A word on cover art: An audio book "cover" needs to be 2400x2400 pixels and 300 DPI. If you don't know what that means, you'll probably want someone else to do your cover. If you want to use the cover from your ebook, you'll need to talk to the cover artist about purchasing the rights to use the cover on the audio book. I have just enough graphic power to create my own covers. I'd already done covers for my print versions of ebooks produced by my publisher.

Go for it. You really don't have anything to lose. The ACX site has lots of Help info that explains all parts of the process. Go through those first.

Now, here are the links to my finished products. I hope you consider buying it if you buy audio books. If you join, please select Tales of a Texas Boy as one of your first three books (it could be the freebie you get for joining). You'll find out about the bonuses when you jump in to

My second audio book, a murder mystery, "Missing, Assumed Dead," was released in January. The producer of the first book asked me if he could produce it since he knew I could write a good story. Too bad he can't review my books!

TALES OF A TEXAS BOY - Only $1.99 right now
How do you handle a crazy jackass? Eddie knows. If you ask Eddie, he'll tell you pigs can fly and show you where to find real mammoth bones. 
Amazon:  ebook   audio   paperback

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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Tara Quan talks Humor

(Liza thinks space towels are inherently funny)
Today, I've invited over an expert in Humor and Romance. As you know, 80% of readers think I am hilarious, and the other 20% thinks I'm not funny in the least. So I invited Tara Quan to share her take on humor. 
 Now behave and read quietly, please.

On Humor and Romance
I’d like to thank Liza for having me over today. We ran into each other on Facebook, and I’m very excited to check out her little spot on the Internet.
Writing a post apocalyptic romance lends itself to some dark themes, but I’m a firm believer in humor. No matter how dangerous the situation, I try to find ways for my characters to make each other laugh. Liking someone is, after all, the basis of loving someone, and no relationship would last without the occasional giggle and smile.
I’ve read countless books that have made my heart ache, that left me in tears as I follow characters down torturous paths. What keeps me reading, what makes me root for the happily ever after, are the moments when those same characters manage to bring a twinkle to each other’s eye.
After all, without a touch of humor, their romance wouldn’t be quite as fun.
 And here's a bit of info about Tara's latest book:
Catching Red

Scarlet “Red” Ryding is on a mission. To prevent mass suicide, she must fulfill her grandmother’s evil wishes and return posthaste. With knives in hand, she dives headfirst into an abandoned hospital full of zombies. But after getting trapped within, she is forced to accept help from the world’s most dangerous predator—a man.
Covert Agent Marcus Woodsman received strict instructions against interfering in the affairs of nomads. As a spy for the Federal Military Agency, his mandate is to observe and report. But when he finds a little redhead caught in the center of a brain-eater swarm, conscience compels him to put his ax to good use. By the time he realizes this smart-ass scout comes equipped with a world of trouble, it’s too late—he would do anything to keep her safe.
As Red and her Woodsman work together to survive undead, brave a snowstorm, and bring down an evil cult, they learn to laugh, love, and fight for happiness. The second book in Tara Quan’s Undead Fairy Tales series, Catching Red is a post-apocalyptic thriller with a happily ever after.

Scarlet woke to the delicious smell of charred venison and cooking fruit. The rusty feeling between her joints was gone. She rubbed her crusted eyes as she curled into a sitting position. For the first time in months, she felt energized and rested.
Her bed ended where the kitchen area began. Marcus stood in front of the wood-burning stove, his back facing her. Even with his neck bent and spine curved, his blond head grazed the low ceiling. He wrapped a thick cloth around his hand, lifted the cast-iron skillet, and turned in place. He plunked it down on the circular stone tray at the center of her small rickety table. Her first and only attempt at carpentry creaked but didn’t fall apart.
She lifted an eyebrow as she scrutinized the skillet’s contents—seared smoked venison covered with slices of dried apple. It was an interesting meal choice.
Perhaps in reaction to her quizzical expression, he turned his palms up and defended his creation. “The food store in your basement is a mess. This was all I could scrounge up.”
She frowned. “I packed and stacked everything in alphabetical order.”
His broad shoulders rose and fell. “Your system didn’t make any sense. You’ll have to explain it sometime. Either way, this beats the MREs I fed you during the snowstorm. Come on. Your breakfast is getting cold.”
She grabbed the worn quilt and wrapped it over her shoulders. She was about to lower her feet to the cold floor when she saw him shake his head.
He walked over to the foot of her bed. The length of his torso and arms easily spanned the small area separating the cottage’s sleeping and eating spaces. He leaned forward and grabbed the edge of the table with both hands. When he brought his elbows into his body, the piece of furniture with all its contents slid as if on wheels. It stopped a few inches away from the bottom edge of the mattress. He stepped around it, then pulled up the only chair, and sat.
Scooting over, she sniffed the food. The smell made her mouth water. “Why are you being so nice?”
“I’ve always been nice.” He used his knife to spear a piece of seared meat and raised it to his mouth.
Scooting over, she sniffed the food. “You only did it to get me to have sex with you.”

Tara Quan
Globetrotter, lover of languages, and romance author, Tara Quan has an addiction for crafting tales with a pinch of spice and a smidgen of kink. Inspired by her travels, Tara enjoys tossing her kick-ass heroines and alpha males into exotic contemporary locales, fantasy worlds, and post-apocalyptic futures. Armed with magical powers or conventional weapons, her characters are guaranteed a suspenseful and sensual ride, as well as their own happily ever after. Learn more at

Private message to Tara.  Do not read if you are not Tara
Tara, I'll be keeping you for three days because some of my readers are zombies and it takes them awhile to show up.