The Magic Shop Audiobook Edition

The Magic Shop Audiobook Edition

The Magic Shop Audiobook Edition

After a failed attempt with my first narrator, The Magic Shop is finally going to come to life in audiobook form, and I couldn’t be more ecstatic! The talented Steve Barnes, my narrator for The Codex, came back for another go with The Magic Shop. I just finished listening to and approving the whole production, and I am just astounded at all the character voices Steve was able to pull off (this includes various magical creatures.) It’s surreal listening to someone else not only read, but act out your writing. I know that sounds cliché, but that’s how it truly feels. This is an especially

 

steve barnes

Steve Barnes, Narrator

satisfying moment for me because I tried to bring the book to life once before, and when the narrator abandoned the project, I thought it might never see the light of day.

But we persevered!

According to Amazon, the audio version of The Magic Shop clocked in at 11 hours and 29 minutes. That’s a whole lot of listening time. Apparently that’s what 512 pages translates to. 🙂

Below I’ve included a retail sample of The Magic Shop for you to listen to, and the table of contents so you can get a sense of the book contents. Here’s a link to the Goodreads page in case you want to read some of the reviews.

The audiobook should be out on audible within the next couple of weeks. It’s likely that I’ll be running some contests for free download codes, so keep your eyes open if you’re interested!

(Let me know what you think in the comments.)

 

 

The Magic Shop Audiobook

by Justin Swapp | The Magic Shop Audiobook

 

The Codex Audiobook will contain the following content:

  1. Opening Credits
  2. Issues
  3. Mental
  4. Blue Room
  5. The Magic Box
  6. A Strange Sale
  7. Full Circle
  8. A Strange Visit
  9. Heist
  10. Aftermath
  11. Elba’s Test
  12. The Crypt Keeper
  13. The Catacombs
  14. A Gypsy and a Bottle
  15. The Great Faustino
  16. A Promise is a Promise
  17. Reservation
  18. A Matter of Time
  19. The Keeper
  20. The Kabbahl
  21. The Summoning
  22. The Shrieking Forest
  23. The Gnarliguts
  24. Their Uncle, Caleb
  25. Nevada State
  26. Homecoming
  27. The Brimlets
  28. The Fall of the Kabbahl
  29. Closing Credits

Some Fan Art

Writing Podcasts for Writers

Writing Podcasts for Writers

Improve Your Writing and Productivity with Podcasts and Audiobooks

As a writer, I’m always looking to improve my workflow and channel extra productivity from somewhere. I added a commute for work a few years ago, and I started to stream writing content to listen to in order to get more out of my drive time. 

Outside of audiobooks, podcasts have really become a go-to move for me. There’s a ton of fresh, free content that surfaces regularly. Here’s a list of my favorite writing podcasts. I was going to try to order them by my preferences, but man, the top 3-4 podcasts are really close. In my opinion, these are the best out there:

1. Writing Excuses

This is a superb podcast consisting of four writers with vast / varying writing experience across different genres (even comic strips.) This really comes out in their writing tips and techniques. They’re pretty good to keep the episodes to 15 minutes, even though I wish it went longer. Their humor, experience, and real interest in helping the writing community shines through in this podcast.

This year’s theme is particularly interesting as they are going over “elemental genre” by breaking down and defining genre expectations in a way I’ve never heard before, exactly. This is an amazing podcast. It’s always easy to listen to.

Here’s the link: Writing Excuses

2. The Story Grid Podcast

The goal of this podcast was really an experiment of sorts. Could you take a serious veteran of the publishing industry in Shawn Coyne and pair him up with an amateur fiction writer in Tim Grahl, and make his writing a hit? This podcast is hosted by two writers, veteran author Shawn Coyne and amateur writer Tim Grahl. Their goal? Help writers create great stories. The twist? These hosts put their own work up for critique.

This podcast truly covers A—Z as they brainstorm his book and get to work. Shawn gives him amazing feedback. If you’ve ever wanted to be a fly on the wall for a conversation between a professional writer and an amazing agent, this is the closest thing to that out there. This is an absolutely fabulous podcast. I could literally listen to Shawn Coyne non-stop. His feedback and insights are stellar. 

Here’s the link: The Story Grid podcast

3. Odyssey Writing Workshop

This podcast consists of excerpts from an exclusive, annual writing workshop. The frequency with which they post these podcasts is only once or twice a month, which is far less than I would rather, but the quality is stellar, and there is a huge backlog you can download with whatever podcast software you use.

The authors and topics covered on this podcast are vast, and without fail, each one I’ve listened to has been useful many times in its own right. The quality is A +.  

Here’s the link: Odyssey Writing Workshop podcast

4. Helping Writers Become Authors

K.M. Weiland is has produced a high quality, buttoned-up podcast on all things writing. After listening to an episode, I often find myself wondering how one person can put together such great content, and produce it with such high quality at such a high rate.

Like the podcasts mentioned above, it’s just top-notch from a content perspective, but she also produces them frequently.

Here’s the link: Helping Writers Become Authors

5. Grammar Girl Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing

Grammar. There, I said it. Every writer has to deal with this at some point, and this is probably one of the longest running, most popular podcasts on the subject. Short, and to the point. High quality. Is what it says it is.

Outside of having a wicked name, Mignon Fogarty delivers useful tips about grammar and the art of storytelling, 

Here’s the link: Grammar Girl

Honorable Mentions

 

 

What are your favorite podcasts?

Did I miss a great podcast? Post a link in the comments and give us the 411, por favor.

 

The Codex Audiobook Edition

The Codex Audiobook Edition

The Codex Audiobook Edition

 

I couldn’t be happier this evening. Recently I decided to give the audiobook market another college try after my first partnership didn’t work out. I reached back out to the original narrator that I was going to go with, and after we caught up, found out that he has gone on to narrate a ton of books, and that he was interested in narrating some of my fiction. I listened to a few samples, and he sounded great. 

steve barnes

Steve Barnes, Narrator

So, Steve Barnes will be narrating The Magic Shop this fall. It should be completed by the end of September.

Once I sent The Magic Shop off to Steve, he asked if he could narrate some of my shorter fiction between now and when he would start hunkering down on The Magic Shop. So, after discussing what I had out there, he thought The Codex sounded interesting enough to start there. 

Today, I’m pleased to announce that Steve turned in his final draft of The Codex, which will include the origin story, “Failed Crusade,” by Patrick Tracy and Paul Genesse (they were gracious enough to allow me to include it.) I just got done listening to it, and I have to say that I am totally impressed with what Steve was able to do with all the characters, and the gritty nature of the stories. I can’t wait for you to hear it.

Oh, wait… Here’s a sample!  The full audiobook version of The Codex will run almost 3 hours, and should be available within the next 30 days. I’ll probably be running some contests for free download codes, so keep your eyes peeled!

(Let me know what you think in the comments.)

 

 

The Codex Audiobook

by Justin Swapp | The Codex Audiobook

(The sample above is from “The Transition” listed below)

The Codex Audiobook will contain the following content:

  1.  Opening Credits
  2.  Preface
  3.  Failed Crusade, Part 1
  4.  Failed Crusade, Part 2
  5.  Failed Crusade, Part 3
  6.  Failed Crusade, Epilogue
  7.  The Transition
  8.  The Merging
  9.  Club PK2
  10.  Closing Credits
Casting Call for The Shadow’s Servant

Casting Call for The Shadow’s Servant

In preparation for the launch of The Shadow’s Servant, I thought it would be fun to do a “casting call” for some of the characters in the series. What’s a “casting call?” It’s when the author shares his vision of the characters in his book as portrayed by actors. So, here is my casting call for The Shadow’s Servant, book 2 of the Shadow Magic Series. It’s due to launch this spring. You can bookmark it here on Goodreads.

I actually collect pictures as part of my writing process. I think more and more writers are doing this. For me, great pictures help inspire my writing, or, at a minimum help me articulate a feeling I have about a character or a place. Here’s the link to my The Shadow’s Servant Pinterest Board if you want to check them out.

Marcus Fith

I’ve always envisioned a younger Freddie Highmore as Marcus Fith, the main character of this series. Marcus impetuous, and curious, but more than anything, very brave. He makes a lot of mistakes because it’s the only thing he can see doing to save the day. Sometimes he’s blinded by his need to take action.

Ellie Fith

A young Dakota or Elle Fanning would fit the role of Ellie just fine. Ellie was actually named after my daughter (I’ve told my children that I will include one of their names in each book that I write.) Ellie’s character is very smart, quirky, and a bit of a know it all. There is more to her than meets the eye. She has a good heart, and where she doesn’t play as present a role (on camera) in The Shadow’s Servant, she’s sorely missed.

Winston Fith

Winston Fith is Marcus and Ellie’s grandfather. He’s old, eccentric, and quite powerful. I’d envision Sir Ian Mckellen, perhaps my favorite actor ever, to play this iconic role. Sir Ian McKellen has a way of bringing out little details in the parts he plays. It would be fun to see what he would do with Winston.

Charlotte Fith

Charlotte, Marcus and Ellie’s grandmother, is very strong willed, yet loving—in her own way. She’s the backbone of the Fith family. There is more than meets the eye with her.  I would love to see Julie Walters play this part.

Caleb Fith

Uncle to Marcus and Ellie, and husband to Anabell, Caleb Fith was almost destroyed by Sol at one point. He went through quite a transformation in The Magic Shop. He’s gallant, and chivalrous, and will do anything for his family. Richard Madden would make a fine actor for this role, I think. He has a quiet, but strong vibe about him.

Anabell Fith

Aunt to Marcus and Ellie, and wife to Caleb, Anabell Fith has sacrificed much for her family. She’s deceivingly and uniquely beautiful, but sort of ordinary and simple in her way, at the same time. Like the rest of the Fiths, she’s strong, and, when it comes to things that matter, she’s a little impetuous, like Marcus. She takes action. Uma Thurman would portray Anabell’s quirky style, and unique beauty well.

Elba

Elba is one of my favorite characters of the series. My favorite thing about her is that you never quite know who’s side she’s on. She plays a critical role in the events in The Magic Shop. Lucy Liu would be so fantastic in this role as she would bring out Elba’s mysterious side, without overpowering her shrewd or capable sides. She can be beautiful, and yet haunting at the same time.

Sol

Sol is a critical character throughout the Shadow Magic Series. I don’t want to give away any plot points, but a younger Anthony Hopkins would be masterful at portraying this complicated character. Sol has many priorities competing for his attention, and some of them are noble, and others are maniacal. Anthony Hopkins could bring these complexities into line, and make this character accessible to the reader.

Mirella

Mirella is yet another complicated character, and I believe that Catherine Zeta Jones could do her justice. Like Sol, Mirella finds herself caught between injustices shown her regarding that which is rightfully hers, and a larger plot to which she is a critical element. In her way, she’s loving and caring, and in another way, the author of many evil deeds. 

Gunnar

Gunnar is a relative that comes to visit Marcus under unfortunate circumstances. After getting to know each other a bit, and overcoming a strange start, they learn to get along, and eventually help each other— seemingly, anyway. Gunnar is a bit of a teenage rogue, and I think Kit Harington could do a bang up job of portraying this bad boy.

Exum Payne

Exum is a sort of pirate, or transporter for hire. I guess you could call him a smuggler. He’s Marcus’s way into the new world in The Shadow’s Servant. Idris Elba, another one of my favorite actors, would do a great job portraying this chracter

Erasmus

Erasmus is, well, Exum’s pet, or, as he would prefer you to say, his partner. He’s more than just a monkey—he can speak after all. I can’ think of any famous monkies I’d have play his part, but I’m sure there are many of them out there.

 

dividing line

There are plenty of other characters I could mention here, but I figured that this post was getting a bit long. Perhaps I’ll do a part 2 at some point. For now, this hopefully serves as a fun way to bring to life some of the characters from The Shadow Magic series.

I Am Number Four Book Review

I Am Number Four Book Review

I Am Number Four

by Pittacus Lore

I’d give I Am Number Four 4.5 Legacies out of 5

I Am Number Four Summary

Ihad been wanting to get to this book for a while now. I know, I know… I’m late to the game. This book came out back in 2011 or so. At some point, I had listened to a portion of the audiobook, which I did find enjoyable, if not intriguing, but for some reason, I didn’t continue with it. I’m usually listening to and/or reading several books at a time, so my guess is that another book jumped ahead of the rest of my stack at the time, and took over my attention. This isn’t abnormal, per se. So, I Am Number Four merely got leap-frogged, I suppose.

 

It might be that, around that time, I had also seen the movie. The movie wasn’t great, which may have deterred me a bit. The acting, particularly from the lead, wasn’t fantastic. The bad guys were also kind of, well… chumps in black cloaks. They are much scarier in the book. For those that judged this book based on the silver screen—the book is much better than the movie. We should now that by now, though, shouldn’t we? So, if you have passed judgment on the book because of the movie, you might want to reconsider. The characters are accessible and relatable, and the story is well written.

At some point, I finally got around to reading the book. I think I had seen enough positive reviews that I just made it a priority. I’m glad I read it.

I Am Number Four is a fun, modern sci-fi story bent toward the teenage market. I love the writing style. Its clean, simple, and present, literally. More than just being written in the 1st person, it was super engaging. I can always tell a book tracking to be good if it has “gravity.” If I’m away from the book and I find myself looking for ways to get back to it, it has gravity. I’m happy to report that I’ve already gotten around 30% through book 2. So, now the series has “gravity” for me.

The book revolves around a small group of humanoid aliens that left their home planet of Lorien as it came under attack by a ruthless breed of aliens known as the Moggadorians. Once they arrived on earth, the Lorien’s were separated, and as they became aware of each other, sought each other out. The Moggadorians followed them to earth, and sought to hunt them down. Only, there’s a catch. The Moggadorian’s can only kill them in a particular order. If they kill them out of order, the Moggadorians pay the price.

The book starts out with an action scene on Lorian that changes pace quickly, and sets the setting and tone for the book. Then, it transitions to high school. Yup, you gotta get that teenage angst in there, right? There is a hint of a love triangle. Good girl, humanoid alien that’s just trying to find a place he can stay, and ex-boyfriend turned jealous when good girl’s attention turns to the new boy at school, who happens to have super powers. The boys fight a bit over the girl, and you can guess who wins that fight. Fortunately, the writing, and the storytelling far make up for any of those typical mechanics. 

While all this teenage drama is happening, of course, the real bad guys, the Moggadorians, are closing in. Ultimately, John Smith, our alien hero-boy, and owner of the most generic name he could think to give himself, befriends someone at school, and they band together to thwart the Moggadorians. 

If you want more details, you’ll need to go get the book 🙂

I really enjoyed this book. The characters are fleshed out well, and the pace is fun. If there was one part of the book I would have watered down, its the teen romance. There’s nothing too over the top here, but once it revs up, it seems like its constantly there. I never put the book away, so it wasn’t THAT bad, but I was aware of it constantly being in my face, so it was annoying a bit. Have you read the book? If so, comment and let me know what you thought. In the mean time, I’m back to book number two. 

Where should I send your checklist?

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