Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Creating an Impressive Web Presence



The sponsors of Voice Acting For Dummies are offering this guest blog post that I thought would be helpful to actors and writers. Enjoy! 


An effective Internet marketing strategy is one of the keys to a successful voice acting business. Your business needs a multi-pronged approach to ensure positive results. One of the first things any voice actor needs to do before jumping in full force to self-market is to build a website. This website can be a traditional one or it may be having a profile on a voice-over marketplace. Most people have both. In the following sections, we focus on how you can build your web presence with a personal website that you can be proud of, how you can utilize social media, how you can maximize how people can locate your presence, and how you can advertise online. (We discuss a marketplace site in the “Utilizing a Voice Acting Marketplace Website” section in this chapter.)

Building a personal website

When you modestly invest in securing a domain name and hosting a website for your business, you’re able to use this virtual real estate to maintain an aesthetically pleasing and up-to-date website that promotes your voice. In other words, you have a place to hang your hat and show people who you are and what you’re about.



Many voice actors prefer to brand their websites using their name, while some take a more creative approach with how they are branding themselves. When picking your domain, you need to factor in availability, how easy it is to spell/type, and also how well the domain name reflects your brand. Even if you aren’t a computer genius, you can find innovative ways that beautifully reflect your business while giving you the ability to update your content easily using a content management system such as WordPress. Look on websites like NetworkSolutions, Yahoo!, and GoDaddy to see if the domain name you want to buy is available.



After you know that your desired domain name is available, secure the name by purchasing it and perhaps even extending your ownership by more than just the one-year option. You also need a web-hosting package. In the event that the company you bought your domain name from doesn’t provide a web-hosting package, you can find several good web-hosting companies out there, including www.hostgator.com, www.rackspace.com, and www.1and1.com.



After you have a web host, one of your first orders of business should be to install a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress. A CMS gives you the flexibility to update your content as often as you want. You don’t need to know about computer programming to have a beautiful and functional website. These platforms allow you to change the graphics and text of each page using a WYSIWIG editor (“What you see is what you get”) that also helps you to rank higher in the search engines.

Wondering what you should write
On your website, highlight and promote your abilities so clients know what you can do. You’re the only one who knows exactly what you are great at, so make sure you prominently and honestly feature those skills.



Along the same lines, your spelling, grammar, and choice of words definitely impact your audience. If you write in the third person (he, she) rather than the first person (I), you can use your name in the body of your profile and increase your visibility in the search engine. Whichever you choose, use it consistently.

Telling customers what you can do for them
Clients require your services because you can do something for them that they can’t do for themselves. As a result, you want to write text for your website that addresses their needs while respecting the fact that they need something specific and have limited time to find what they’re looking for. Some needs that someone requiring your services may have include artistic and technical needs.
The customer expects that most voice actors can also serve as audio engineers to a degree, meaning that you can record your own voice, make edits, and also present the best audio quality possible. Some may even expect that you can include music or sound effects, or you can draw upon the talent of other voice actors when producing their project.
Refer to the later section, “Filling out your profile” for more help. That section focuses on using a voice acting marketplace website, but the same premises apply about how you can write compelling text about yourself and your abilities for your website.

Marketing on social networks
These days it’s not just about who you know, it’s about how many people you know that matters. Social media now plays such an important role in getting more friends — and thus more business prospects.
With social media, virtual friendships have increased the number of friends and potential networks you are connected to. You can have similar interests and business goals with those friends, which in turn allows you to share opportunities and successes in your voice acting career.
The three main social media sites that we suggest you use to market your voice acting include Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.



Avoiding social media burnout
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by social media and social networking, you may find that maintaining too many profiles on social networks may become one more thing on your to-do list or the straw that breaks the camel's back. Having several profiles on social media can also become addicting if you’re constantly updating, tweeting, or reading what others are doing instead of actually doing anything yourself. Social media has a lot of noise, so be careful and spend your time social networking wisely.



Understanding how to build a web presence including more on social media, search engines and advertising is important. Are you ready to learn more about voice acting?  To discover more about this exciting field and the book, visit VoiceActingForDummies.com.



About The Authors
Stephanie Ciccarelli and David Ciccarelli are the founders of Voices.com, the largest global web hub for voice actors. Over the past 9 years Stephanie, David, and their team have grown Voices.com from the ground up to become the leader in the industry. This article was originally published in Voice Acting For Dummies and has been republished with permission from John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


The Book Blogger Fair Continues! Today we have a synopsis of Hiding The Smile By Charlie Boucher.


Tammy has managed to survive Dame Arlington-Aird’s Academy so far by pretending to be mad. It’s made a refreshing change and has certainly helped keep the school bullies at a distance. Tammy has learned that if there’s one thing school bullies don’t like, it’s unpredictable behaviour in their victims.

When Cole joins the school, however, things change. Tammy finds in the new girl a person who is as much an outsider as she is, and who is prepared to make an effort to befriend the school lunatic.

School has become a more bearable place until Tammy discovers in Cole a madness that goes much deeper than mere disguise. And suddenly it’s not just school that makes Tammy feel alone and hunted. Cole is working up a desire for blood as well as friendship, and if Tammy can’t give her one, then she’ll have to give her the other.

If the revelation that Cole is a vampire weren’t enough to deal with, the school bully, Juliana, is determined to put Tammy in her place. Belinda, a girl with a penchant for gambling, has discovered Cole’s secret and is attempting to oust Tammy from the position of Best Friend by becoming a vampire too.

A brutally frank policeman is asking uncomfortable questions about dead schoolgirls, and one of the school secretaries is taking far too much interest in Tammy’s personal life. Tammy’s father, the one constant object of hatred in her life, might turn out to be the one person she can trust. If Cole doesn’t get to him first.

Hiding The Smile is available at Amazon now.
Hiding The Smile news can be followed at www.facebook.com/tammysintrouble
Charlie Boucher’s author page is at www.facebook.com/bouchercharlie

Hiding the Smile by Charlie Boucher


The Book Blogger Fair Continues! Today we have a synopsis of Hiding The Smile By Charlie Boucher.


Tammy has managed to survive Dame Arlington-Aird’s Academy so far by pretending to be mad. It’s made a refreshing change and has certainly helped keep the school bullies at a distance. Tammy has learned that if there’s one thing school bullies don’t like, it’s unpredictable behaviour in their victims.
When Cole joins the school, however, things change. Tammy finds in the new girl a person who is as much an outsider as she is, and who is prepared to make an effort to befriend the school lunatic.
School has become a more bearable place until Tammy discovers in Cole a madness that goes much deeper than mere disguise. And suddenly it’s not just school that makes Tammy feel alone and hunted. Cole is working up a desire for blood as well as friendship, and if Tammy can’t give her one, then she’ll have to give her the other.
If the revelation that Cole is a vampire weren’t enough to deal with, the school bully, Juliana, is determined to put Tammy in her place. Belinda, a girl with a penchant for gambling, has discovered Cole’s secret and is attempting to oust Tammy from the position of Best Friend by becoming a vampire too.
A brutally frank policeman is asking uncomfortable questions about dead schoolgirls, and one of the school secretaries is taking far too much interest in Tammy’s personal life. Tammy’s father, the one constant object of hatred in her life, might turn out to be the one person she can trust. If Cole doesn’t get to him first.

Hiding The Smile is available at Amazon now.
Hiding The Smile news can be followed at www.facebook.com/tammysintrouble
Charlie Boucher’s author page is at www.facebook.com/bouchercharlie

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Free E-Book by Tuan Ho



Tuan Ho offers a free copy of The Oldest Man in the Universe as part of the Book Blogger Festival.

Synopsis:

Carlos Ricardo Miccapo is the oldest man in the universe and he's experienced all that life has had to offer. When there is nothing left to explore and experience - is life worth living? His closest friends from across countless galaxies will find out as they gather for one last time at the edge of the universe.

The Oldest Man In The Universe is guaranteed to be one of the most profound and imagination-expanding short stories you'll read in your entire life.

Download your free Copy of The Oldest Man in the Universe by Tuan Ho at http://amzn.com/B00AYSMSTE

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Guest Post from Doug Ten Rose


Day Two of the Book Blogger Fair Features a Guest Post by Doug "Ten" Rose


Defeating the Bait-and-Switch

You may be asking, “What is the old psychological bait-and-switch move?” I’ll tell you. It’s the oldest trick in the book. It is often done without the awareness of the perpetrator. More often than not the perps aren’t even in touch with themselves enough to realize they’re doing it. (Occasionally, it is a more malicious and intentional form of manipulation.)
Let’s say that you are Party B. A fellow staff member—or even your boss, or a co-worker who wants to climb the ladder of success over your dead body, your mother, teenage son, or whoever—is Party A. (If you are already saying, “Hey I’m the A. Let that other pain-in-the-butt be Party B,” then your chances of avoiding the pitfalls of the psychological bait-and-switch are very good!)
You are a nice, friendly, kind, and cooperative person. Party A is a nasty, sarcastic, wired-up type who loves to screw and manipulate people. Party A people are warped, frustrated, and believe that since they have no happiness or sense of self-worth, neither should anyone else. They love to pull your chain, wouldn’t climb off your back if you bought them a diamond-studded rope ladder to do it with, and they live to annoy.
As usual, you are trying to be nice to everyone. You speak to Party A as you would to anyone else—intent on a happy and harmonious relationship. But Party A doesn’t know how to handle this. The rip in the fabric of this person’s reality tells him or her that it’s an either-me-or-you, dog-eat-dog, take-advantage-before-being-taken-advantage-of world where being aggressively defensive is of paramount importance. These attitudes usually result in behavior that is nastier than a pickled egg fart collection in an airtight room. Day after day you try to be nice to this person in the hope that your goodness will prove contagious. Mr./Ms. A stays deaf to your most cordial approaches and continues to dump bucket loads of irritating drama into your life.
Sooner or later it happens. You lose it. After what seems like eons of dealing with this situation in a civilized manner, you just can’t take it anymore. You give Party A a rebate on the ration of shit that he or she has been shoveling in your direction for so long. After a good ten minutes of yelling at each other, you stomp away with your blood pressure raised and your day ruined. You’re now as stressed out, aggravated, and miserable as A has always been. You’re soured and angry.
220Defeating the Bait-and-Switch
This is you now! The attack on your peace of mind is no longer singularly directed from an external, defensible source. It now has an internal base that’s a lot more dangerous to you. The nastiness of A, formerly a minor influence outside of your psyche, has now eaten away slowly but steadily at your patience and compassion until it has succeeded in boring a hole right through your previously harmonious state of mind. Your structural integrity has collapsed and is now being eaten by your newly acquired chemical imbalance, which is a direct result of your newly acquired psychological imbalance. Your stomach may hurt, your head may ache, and your happiness is in pain.
As this happens to folks like us, Party A people will be laughing their asses off! They may have had a conscious plan to do you in, but more likely they’re so out of touch with themselves that they don’t even know what they did. They’re happy anyway.
A subconscious mind can be a dangerous thing. That’s why so many of Earth’s most famous wise folk have spent so much of their time moving their subconscious depths to the conscious surface.
So now A is happy and B is ragged out. Anyone walking into a room where both A and B are present would be fooled. It would appear that Party A was a B and that Party B was an A—and in fact, until B regains composure and simple sanity, that indeed has become the truth of the situation! Every time A comes into the room, B gets nervous, aggravated, and apprehensive. Party A’s job of making B a lesser human is completed. B has now effectively taken over the job that A was doing. B is now busting his or her own chops and getting on his or her own nerves. Party A doesn’t even have to be around! B will still be nervously concerned with what A might do or say next.
Party A, thoroughly satisfied with the success of this process, is now more B-like in demeanor—relaxed and happy. Party B, on the other hand, is now suffering a self-engendered attitude attack as well as the real attacks on his or her peace of mind that Party A may still be generating. In addition, B has to deal with the degree of self-loathing and embarrassment caused by losing composure in public and embracing an inferior mind set.
The bait-and-switch is complete.
Maybe the rest of the staff will outsmart Beryl. Maybe they will snap back into happiness, realizing that what they want to be is more important than what any negative external influence wants them to be.
The only way to win this game is to not play.

*ALL AUTHOR PROFITS SPONSOR WISDOM PROFESSIONALS AND THEIR EFFORTS *

Once you accept the universe as being something expanding into an infinite nothing which is something,
wearing stripes with plaid is easy.” Albert Einstein


Reincarnation Through Common Sense is a book of stripes and plaid in the most entertaining sense of Einstein’s words. Westerners have written many books about living in Asian temples. None are like this true story.
The rural Buddhist Monks and Nuns of a forest temple in Asia adopt a very troubled soul from Brooklyn, New York. He can’t speak the language. No one there speaks English. He is penniless, has no intention of studying spiritual discipline, and is amusingly psychotic. He writes to future readers in order to tame his comic insanity. This is not a book by a theology student! The author is nonetheless given access to the ancient roots and spiritual wings that define the Wisdom Professionals who have rescued him. He redefines life and reports the details in a manner so intimate and natural that you’ll think you are having coffee on a barstool in the temple with him. You may laugh a lot on your way to Nirvana! You may say “Ouch!” a few times, too.
Magic is redefined as objective reality and common sense. Spirit is presented as a functional friend, without the fairy dust. Moods run from adventurous psychosis through enlightened bliss as writing styles run through ancient prose to the most erudite modern internal rhyme. The main character’s life runs through death into reincarnation without ever leaving his body—and he describes this process to us in living color.
This down to earth treatment gives a clear view in simple terms of truths that we more often find fossilized within concretized symbols beneath rusting metaphor. For an experience unique in comedic drama, spirituality, adventure, and sheer creativity, start reading Reincarnation Through Common Sense from the beginning.
http://fearlesspuppy.org/m_reincarnation.htm $21 in print e-book $5.75 ISBN#978-0-692-01952-8
direct links from our website to Amazon print and Smashwords e-book
Fearless Puppy on American Road This amazing true story reads like a fantasy. Fearless Puppy is a transfictional self-help book. It is both comedic and dramatic—a butt kicking, page-turning adventure story that makes deep spiritual impressions.
Within this book you will meet several saintly Tibetan Lamas. You will also meet a man who is his own uncle, specialists in smoke, mirrors, and invisibility, spirited sex, oxygen orgasms, heavenly Hell’s Angels, phony preachers, domestic violence/domestic solutions, racist killers in America, Canadian race wars, Native American wise men, a bit of Christian ethics and Jewish ritual, angelic witches, benevolent heroin addicts, magical birds, an all-lesbian band playing a rock concert for the deaf, the musician raised by multi-ethnic golden-hearted prostitutes, martial artists battling neo-Nazis, the modern-day Robin Hood, and many other strangely wonderful people.
Buckle your seatbelt tightly, take a deep breath, and enjoy the ride. Fearless Puppy runs on rocket fuel!
*Please forward this through your contact and friend lists, and to anyone you think might be interested. Help us raise funds through book sales to sponsor Wisdom Professionals. Your effort is important! Thank you.
$21 in print e-book $5.75 ISBN#978--0615781181
________________________
Doug “Ten” Rose may be the biggest smartass as well as the wisest and most entertaining survivor of the hitchhiking adventurers that used to cover America’s highways. He is the author of Fearless Puppy on American Road and Reincarnation Through Common Sense, has survived heroin addiction and death, and is a graduate of over a hundred thousand miles of travel without ever driving a car, owning a phone, or having a bank account. Ten Rose and his work are a vibrant part of the present and future as well as an essential remnant of a vanishing breed.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Leather to the Corinthians by Tom Lucas


The Book Blogger Fair is Underway!  Guest Post from Tom Lucas
  • Give Me My Salvation!

An Apocalyptic War between Fast Food and Free Will Arises!

Synopsis
Gather round all you tattooed, lost soul wandering, Wi-Fi/Lo-Fi mutants! Come! Come
listen to the hypnotic beat of my drum! Join me on trip to the Village, a strange and
surreal place, where an epic battle will determine the fate of the human race! The
GENERAL is determined to win this war as the insane clown insurgent wants to settle
a score! He’s got a bone to pick with his nemesis the KING, the mad ruler of the
Village who only cares about celebrity status and bling! You will meet a young
SOLDIER, who fights to survive the melee, as he loses his humanity along the way!
Leather to the Corinthians is an absurd postmodern fable that defiantly flips a middle
finger at modern American life. Through the perspectives of its multiple characters, it
explores the absurdities of organized religion, the military, big business, fast food,
advertising, sex, and the media. Witty, with bitter undertones, its story possesses a
satirical spirit as it plays with traditional story structure, phrasing and cultural
references. Its multiple layers encourage return visits as its characters have many
more unique tales to tell.
Learn more about Tom Lucas by visiting his blog: www.readtomlucas.com
Paperback: 6x9 Pages: 284 ISBN-10: 0988526107 ISBN-13: 978-0988526105
LCCN: 2012919854 Language: English List Price: $12.99
Copyright 2012,Tom Lucas; First Edition BISAC: Fiction/ Science Fiction/Apocalyptic &
Post-Apocalyptic; Fiction/Science Fiction/Military; Fiction/Dystopian; Fiction/Satire
Release: December 2012
Excerpts
The King untied his cheesy cape and removed his fake beard. Strangely, suspenseful music began playing through the castle's public
address system. Stripping down to his fresh underwear, the King then bolted down the dimly lit hall to the escape pod at its end.
Popping the pod's stay-fresh seal, the King snuggled into its cockpit. Years of preparation led him through the launch procedures and
soon the pod was airborne, flying through the hazy sky.”
With the high holiday of Yeaster quickly approaching, Father Everhard contacted his publicist in order to promote his latest production
of The Passion Play of the Red J. As the highest ranking local representative of the faith, it was Everhard's job to create big
attendance numbers for a stellar performance…. Father Everhard stood up in the green room of the Village's favorite religious squawk
shows, From Nuts to God. Each week several handfuls of viewers tuned in for redemption and other valuable prizes.”
ConPollo held a meeting with his new team. As he sat before his troops, he pondered the mission that they were about to
undertake…The screaming throng of actors who, of course, really wanted to direct, stormed off towards their target. ConPollo sprinted
after them to keep up. It was all he could do to follow his highly energized method actor army.”
The Soldier was now truly sentient...His brain was flooded with sensory information. His eyes viewed an H.U.D. that provided him
with layer upon layer of information….His mind seemed to move more quickly, its ability to analyze stimulus was far beyond its normal
scope. In what would have taken minutes to sort out before, occurred in milliseconds for him now.”
The Sixth and final Seal is the big doozy, the ultimate kick in the pants: the Take-Me-Away-Born-Again Rapture Fiesta. At this point
nothing matters— steal a TV…return your movies late…eat fatty foods…act like Scott Baio in the morning… the President will
announce full disclosure…there is a freaking meteor about to hit Earth and life expectancy has gone from 74.5 years to roughly ten
minutes or so.”
Praise for “Leather to the Corinthians”
" A perceptual Pandora's Box cracks open as one gets a sense of being transported into a surreal, video game-like, sci-fi
world where consumption and confusion rule...A cerebral roller coaster ride that keeps readers on their temporal toes!" -
Between the Lines
"Hunter S. Thompson meets Monty Python meets the Marx Brothers meets Naked Lunch...A punning pastiche of the
verbal kitsch of late twentieth/early twenty-first century America" – IndieReader
"Leather to the Corinthians is a relentless and sprawling metalingual allegory reminding us to step back and examine our
fast-food culture, and insta-grab reflexes." - Z. Massad
"Leather to the Corinthians" is like a slightly more coherent and tightly structured Naked Lunch, infused with the same
kind of surreal satire and black comedy that William Burroughs so brilliantly employed.” -M. Seminara
"Leather is an all-purpose tome for the jaded, overworked, underpaid, and exhausted members of society…. An
interesting mix of sci-fi and satire makes this a book that could become the next cult classic!” -V Janik
About the Author
Leather to the Corinthians is my response to an insane world. I was not born into an influential family. I am not a
member of the Star Chamber. I don't have many opportunities to directly create change. I do have my voice, and that is
what I have chosen to use. If you are fed up with the ridiculousness of big business, politics, mass media, fast food,
organized religion, et al...if you enjoy underhanded satire, science fiction, fantasy, the surreal, comic books, video
games, and a good laugh -- you'll dig my book.” -Tom Lucas
Official Websites:
Blog: www.readtomlucas.com
Twitter: @readtomlucas
Facebook: Tom Lucas (author)
Fan-Demonium: www.churchofthebigredj.com
Videos & Multimedia:
Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/Room1331
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/readtomlucas




Friday, July 19, 2013

Book Blogger Fair Participants



An impressive line-up of authors will be sharing their thoughts with readers of Adele Park's Quirky Audio Books Blog during the upcoming Book Blogger Fair. Readers can learn about new authors and even win some free stuff. Make sure to join the fun July 22-26 http://www.bloggerbookfair.blogspot.com/

Monday, July 22
Tom Lucas Leather to the Corinthians: http://amzn.com/0988526107
Tuesday, July 23
Doug Rose Fearless Puppy: http://www.fearlesspuppy.org
Wednesday, July 24
Tuan Ho The Oldest Man in the Universe: http://www.thenoifmatrix.blogspot.com/
Thursday, July 25
Charlie Boucher Hiding the Smile: http://www.thenoifmatrix.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Book Blogger Fair



Writers from all around the world are poised to participate in 2013 Book Blogger Fair happening July 22-26. This event provides authors with a wonderful opportunity to share ideas and promote their work with other writers. Unlike some virtual book tours, the BBF is a free service coordinated by Kayla Curry and her associates, Fel Weitzig and Pereza Thompson http://bloggerbookfair.blogspot.com/p/about-blogger-book-fair.html.

The Book Blogger Fair pairs up authors within specific genres. Participants write blog articles germane to their work and exchange them with other writers during the fair. Additionally, the BBF offers a number of events including contests, Q & A sessions with authors and give-aways. Some of this year's events include an Art Fiction Gala and a Flash Fiction Challenge http://bloggerbookfair.blogspot.com/p/events_5.html.

Writers who participate in the BBF are automatically entered into the Readers Choice Awards. Readers can vote for their favorite books, with the winner receiving a button for their blog and an Amazon link for their book posted on the BBF website for one year

The Book Blogger Fair also benefits readers by offering free product from numerous writers as well as a $.99 sale offered for specific works. Readers are encouraged to take advantage of all the action during the annual Book Blogger Fair http://bloggerbookfair.blogspot.com/p/about-blogger-book-fair.html.

In celebration of the BBF, I will be offering free copies of Yikes! Another Quirky Audio Book to any interested listeners July 22-26 http://www.yikesaudiobook.com. If you would like to receive a free copy during the BBF, please e-mail quirkyaudiobooks@infowest.com.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Jackie, Ari and Jack -- The Tragic Love Triangle by January Jones



In Jackie, Ari & Jack – The Tragic Love Triangle, author January Jones blows the lid off Jacqueline Kennedy's image of being a meek woman who was a victim of tragic circumstances. People interested in the Kennedy Family saga will enjoy this new take on assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Jones lays out a theory which involves Ari Onassis as the architect of the murder. She suggests that even if Jacqueline didn't know about it before hand, she may have helped in the cover up.

Jones theorizes that Jacqueline made a full scale effort to marry a wealthy man, believing it was her destiny to be rich and powerful. To her chagrin, Jacqueline discovered the Kennedy Family kept a firm grip on the purse strings, prompting her to seek out other means of financing her expensive tastes. Ari Onassis, with all his wealth as a shipping magnet, seemed to fit the bill perfectly.

Jones suggests that Jacqueline and Ari were involved in a love affair prior to the shooting death of JFK. While the late President's sexual affairs were common knowledge, it's possible Jacqueline was engaging in extra marital relations as well.

What did Ari get out of the deal? In addition to being seen with a beautiful woman on his arm, Jacqueline delivered power, prestige and connections that Ari wouldn't otherwise have had. Jones notes that Ari had been an overnight guest at the White House on many occasions before the murder. The night JFK was shot, he flew to Washington to be at Jackie's side.

The idea of Camelot is examined at length in this book, naming Jacqueline as the author of this modern day myth. Jones believes Jacqueline was so concerned with her image that she concocted a fairytale scenario which the American public was eager to buy.

I would highly recommend Jackie, Ari & Jack – The Tragic Love Triangle by January Jones to all Kennedy aficionados. At the very least, this book will provide a fresh theory for the mysterious murder of JFK. If Camelot exists, it probably doesn't match the colorful fantasy concocted by the late Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Audiobook Review of "Life" by Keith Richards



There are two things that stick out about the audio book, Life, by Keith Richards. One: it's 22.5 hours long. Two: it's worth the listen. Oh, and it's also a great value. Life is a cross-country drive's worth of entertainment for $39.98. Put another way, one hour of solid rock legend costs less than a cup of gas station coffee. If you're craving a wild trip without any consequences, Life is a magnificently cheap thrill.

The Rolling Stones have authored so many chapters in the annals of rock-n-roll history you'd have to be living in another dimension not to know something about the band. Musicians come and go, but the Stones have been cranking out tunes people still want to listen to for the last 50 years. It's hard to argue with the staying power of a band like this.

Life opens with an amusing antidote about Richards and Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood being pulled over for drugs in the redneck backwaters of Arkansas in 1975. Jail time was avoided but the judge (rumored by Richards to be highly intoxicated at the time) confiscated his hunting knife and insisted they pose for pictures. In 2008, Presidential hopeful and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee tried to shed his nerd image by masterminding a pardon for Richards. Such is the charmed life of one of the most notorious rock stars the world has ever known.

Life is loaded with intriguing tales about Richards' outrageous lifestyle, but also catalogs an obsessive devotion to his craft. A picture emerges of a man more concerned with creating music than being a member of the rock-n-roll aristocracy. Fame and fortune come off as being an accidental perks.

Naturally, there are scores of women, but again, this isn't presented as a primary goal. Richards appears to gravitate toward women with extraordinary personalities and talent such as Anita Pallenberg. Later, he marries Patti Hansen, a successful American model. Between the two women, Richards fathers five children, one of whom dies as an infant while Richards is out on tour.
And then, of course, there are the drugs. Who can resist such a voyeuristic peep into someone else's private hell? Richards recounts his heroin addiction and the legal problems it caused in frank detail. He looks upon the ordeal almost like a neutral third party, neither bragging about it nor engaging in the sanctimonious disapproval of someone who has since discarded a bad habit.



Also tantalizing are the juicy bits concerning Richards' numerous spats with Mick Jagger. Reality TV has nothing on this group. Their relationship, spanning more than 50 years, begins with them living together in a filthy flat, stealing food just to stay alive. They'll go on to sleep with each other's girlfriends and sling not-so-subtle jabs through the press. Richards displays an undying amount of respect for Jagger's music writing and entertainment abilities, all the while maintaining an annoyance with the man himself.

In general, the audio book version of Life is narrated in a very compelling manner. The listener is drawn in and made to pay attention to even mundane details. The only thing that doesn't quite mesh is the changing of the guard with the narrators. Speaking in first person for Richards, Johnny Depp voices the first five discs and then abruptly stops. From there, Joe Hurley picks up the narrative and continues until Johnny Depp suddenly re-emerges on disc ten. Richards puts in a few words himself, providing comments on the front end of the audio book, and carrying the torch for the last disc and a half.

Life can be described as one long Keith Richards song minus the guitar riffs. If Richards is to be envied, it shouldn't be for the trappings that come along with supreme notoriety. What this cat nabbed was the ability to follow his passion. Those who aren't fascinated by Keith Richards before hearing Life certainly will be afterwords.