Monday, August 27, 2007

Do you have Da Voice?

I have found that podcasting is much like radio. To have any kind of success, you need Da Voice.

If you don’t have it, I won’t listen.

Many who have podcasts have some experience in the world of broadcast radio, and they tend to be the ones worth listening to. That’s not to say you ‘need’ radio experience.

Just that it helps.

A lot.

They have Da Voice. The ‘Dr. Johnny Fever’ or, EZ Rock voice. You know what I mean: Smooth, confident, deep: "Hey, it’s a beautiful morning in the big city, be careful on your drive to work and thank you for listening to WKRP." That kind of voice.

Again, it’s not essential, but it helps.

This is probably the main reason I won’t do a podcast. That, and the fact I have nothing to add to the podosphere. If I had a larger body of work, I might give it some serious thought, but right now, I just don’t have Da Voice.

Or Da Cash.

Joking. Sort of.

Anyway, an interesting way of getting around Da Voice is to change the format of your podcast.

That’s what C Mack has done with his, Children of the Gods, choosing to create a serial play in the world created by the movie, Independence Day." Though the aliens are the same, the world is far into the future.

Humankind has learned its lessons from the original attacks on the earth, but over the years have become complacent. Naturally, this is when the aliens choose to attack again, virtually destroying the human fleet.

But not quite.

The Vengeance, a Battlestar Galactica type ship, is still kicking, and its compliment of space fighters, still packs a punch.

Children of the Gods is, as I’ve said, a serial in the vein of the old radio plays. It is also an amateur production. If you’re anal about voice acting, don’t come here. C Mack and his crew are not professionals. They are, however, passionate about the project and that more than makes up for any flat voice acting.

C Mack, like the show, is evolving. Taking on the bulk of the work, he’s is constantly setting a new bar with his production and sound effects, and his writing is getting crisper and finally changing from past tense to present so that the narration stays with the action.

Most importantly, the story is very good. Each chapter ends on a bit of cliffhanger and so far, he is taking the plot in directions I wasn’t expecting.

What I don’t like about Children of the Gods is the release schedule. No doubt, the real world has gotten in the way of the show's production, but I think the bigger problem is simpler. C Mack has bitten off way more than he can chew. Writing, (I assume as he progresses the show), sound effects, organizing the various characters’ dialogues, plus the day job slows everything down. Children of the Gods has been on for almost a year, and the show has only produced seven shows. I almost gave up on it, but one day I was bored and surfed some old sites I had bookmarked and say a new show posted.

(yeah, yeah, I should subscribe, and have since, but back then I couldn't find the feed address to paste so I downloaded from the website)

This, as you can imagine, isn’t good.

Either C Mack delegates the workload, or he comes out with a doable schedule. If it takes a month to do one show, then put it down in writing and stick to it. I’ll come back every month. I just want to know if the show is still on.


Because I like it. I want more and I want it now. For me this is a bit BSG and a little bit of Wing Commander (the game, not the movie). Give it a listen. You’ll like it, too.

AKA MetaMan

Look up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! No, wait, it's a bird

Sorry I’ve been gone awhile, but I’ve been waiting to turn into a superhero. I drank some radioactive iodine to take care of my seriously enlarged thyroid. Yep, I’m actually radioactive. So, I figure some attribute of mine will be enhanced and I can go on to be some kind of superhero.

I’m hoping it’s something to do with my metabolism, maybe the ability to control it. Think about it, I could eat, eat, and never gain weight!

"Stand away from that cheesecake, Fat People. I will save you by eating it myself. Have no fear, calories cannot harm—MetaMan!"

For those concerned, I’m fine. The dose of radiation I took was small, and there is no documentation of any harmful effects to patient or those around them. I do have to avoid long term physical contact, just to be on the safe side. And no swapping spit.

Anyway, onward and upward.

Congratulations to Stephen Kotowych for winning this year’s Gold Award from the Writer’s of the Future Contest. The award comes with a huge statue, $4,000 US, and some extra attention from agents and publishers.

My friend Tony Pi was also there to receive his award, and has told me that he’s had the time of his life.

I hate them both.

Getting a steady stream of rejections. Blah.

That’s about it. Working on a review for a different kind of podcast, Children of the Gods. Stay tuned.


Friday, August 17, 2007

Kids and Dragon

Had to watch the neighbors kid again, and it’s hard to think with so many kid in the house, so I didn’t get much work done.

Next up, Dragonhearth by Tracy and Laura Hickman. At first I didn’t like this podcast by these two Fantasy giants. I liked the gimmick, sailing the stars aboard the good ship Dragonhearth, but I found Tracy (he’s a guy) sounding a bit like a hick--man, and on the first show he sang a song he had written for his wife.

Overtime, however, it was these very things that I liked about the show. Like most authors, Tracy and Laura use their podcast to promote their works, answer emails, and let their fans know what’s going on in their lives. But there are more little things that make this show special with high production values, with music and sound effects.

Like Tracy recording his book signings with writing partner Margaret Weiss and interviews with voice actors from the upcoming animated feature on their first book, Dragons of Autumn Twilight, the first book of the famous Dragonlance series.

Though Tracy and Laura are Mormons, they don’t push their religion. Only once did he bring it up, by offering a free copy of The Book of Mormon, signed by him. It was the only time he ever mentioned it.

I noticed something about religious people. They tend to be more open about their talents, singing aloud, joining a choir, etc. Perhaps the rest of us, non-entertainers have become too cynical of too self-conscious, afraid others might think we’re not cool.

Or maybe we just have really bad singing voices.

Anyway, Tracy and Laura answer emails and sometimes even take the show solo when one or the other is too busy. Tracy offers his own insights into writing. I especially like the soundtrack music he listens to for certain scenes.

I admit, this is one of the shows I look forward to, only because the schedule is a bit inconsistent.
Well, they are writers who actually make their money from their craft. I guess they can be forgiven.

Try Dragonhearth for a well-done show.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Bios from the couch

So, now we come to another one of my favorites, "Starship Sofa." Hosted by Tony and Ciaran, this offering from the UK gives something different from what I usually listen to, author biographies. The show’s format is based on British comedian’s Ronnie Corbett’s rambling style of joke telling, so don’t be surprised if in the middle of things, either Tony or Ciaran take a tangent on some reminiscence, or personal history. It gives the show a relaxed homey feel and it becomes immediately obvious that they love what they are doing.

And they are well read.

I suspect, for the most part, they get their information from Wikipedia, not that it matters much. I’m sure they have other sources, including tidbits from fans. Their comical delivery covers for that. Besides, these are just two blokes who decided to do a podcast about their favorite authors. It’s not like they have a staff or fact checkers.

Stephen Donaldson thinks they do a fine enough job, so much so that he gave them a short story of his and did an interview, not a common occurrence since most of the people Tony and Ciaran cover are usually dead.

I’m sure they began their show focussing on their favorite authors, but soon branched out to others, including TV shows like ‘Red Dwarf", and have done a few specialty shows such as Religion in Science Fiction.

They do long shows, for a podcast, and sometimes if you marathon their shows, well, let’s just say they can be overwhelming.

Keep in mind that they are British, and therefore believe Douglas Adams should have been canonized, and love ‘Red Dwarf".


I can’t truly say I hate Red Dwarf because I have yet to understand it. You see, I come from an Eastern European background. I can understand almost any accent from the Continent, but anything beyond clipped Oxford dialect and I’ve got problems. Not the light stuff of course, but the real thick ones. I’ve given up talking to Scots. I’m fine with Monty Python and most other shows, but Red Dwarf, is a constant, "What? What did he say?"

So, there. I don’t care for Red Dwarf. Sue me.


The only true problem with the show is, at the rate they’re going. They might run out of authors. Most contemporary authors don’t have the biographical information of, say, Issac Asimov.

Anyway, give them a listen. You might learn something you didn’t know about your favorite writer.

That's all. So, it's goodnight from me, and it's goodnight from him.


Thursday, August 09, 2007

And life goes on.

Got a rejection from a magazine that loved the story.

Go figure.


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Dodging a big bullet

Well, it’s been a hell’uva week. Actually let’s go further back. All spring and summer I’ve been losing weight. Well, actually started last summer, but then I had changed to diet pop. Anyway, here I am losing pounds blithely going through life thinking I was living right. Then I started to pee at night. Like 4-5 times, and still losing weight without doing anything to deserve it.

Soooooo…on kat's loving insistence, I went to the doctor, who sent me for a blood test. Now, my doctor will only call you if something is wrong. If nothing is wrong, she leaves you hanging until you either break down and make an appointment to see her, or just continue living.
Well, guess what? Her secretary called yesterday to make an appointment for today.

Oh shit.


Well, you get the idea.

After some time to think, I figured on diabetes. It runs in the family and I’ve had way more than my share of sweet products in my life. It would explain the peeing, and weight loss. It had to be diabetes. It could not be cancer.


Kat, bless her, took the day off work and the whole family went to see the doctor, and a somber procession we were.

So we waited. And in comes the doctor and surprises me by talking before consulting her charts (she always consults her charts first), and she smiles.


Not great, but a hell of a lot better than the other options. So, I have to see a specialist, but the good news is by that time I’m sure I’ll loose a few more pounds.

Kat was a rock through this, and I’ll love her forever.

And as far as the Hyperthyroid Diet Plan goes, I don’t recommend it.


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The Mighty Mur

Mur Lafferty.

Sometimes called the Grand Dame of Podcasting, mostly by Tee Morris, and though it’s a compliment, if I were a young woman, I’d tell him to shut it. Mur has two podcasts, I Should Be Writing and Geek Fu Action Grip. I’ll be discussing the former.

I Should Be Writing is a podcast that discusses her views on different aspects of writing, has interviews and the occasional guest host. But the over all theme of the show is in the title.


Now, or soon.

Don’t talk about it.

Think a little about it.

Do it.

The main flaw in Mur’s podcast is that there are too many long pauses. Sometimes she is searching for the right word, or considering her answer before speaking, but there are times when I think the ‘cast had ended prematurely and I check my mp3 player. This is not a criminal offence, but bugs the hell out of me.

Mur also uses the podcast as a live ‘blog’ and updates her life in writing. She is an editor of a podcast magazine, and does some non-fiction work. She has written a series of books about two friends who have died and gone to heaven, but they don’t like it and search the afterlife for something better, which she reads on her other podcast.

I like Mur’s podcast because she is much like myself, a writer still trying to get that big break, though she has done more to achieve her goal than I have.

Hmm. Perhaps I Should Be Writing.


Friday, August 03, 2007

The Mystical Power of a Good Rant

Well, I had had enough and phoned Ted Rogers.

Ted: Hello?
Me: Hey, you old bastard, how are you?
Ted: Mike, you miserable son of a bitch, what's up?
Me: Can't get my email. It's been two days and the spam is gonna hit the fan.
TED: I hear you. I'll get it fixed up right away. Uh, can I interest you in a cell phone plan?
Me: Fuck you, Ted. Give my love to the wife.

And an hour later my email was fixed.

Well, that's what happened in my mind. It was pretty freaky.



For reasons as yet unknown, **cough** hacker **cough** my provider cannot provide my email.

I called them yesterday and again today. After slogging through their automated voice menu horseshit, (for customer convenience), I got through to an operator who is always, always, always on another call. Instead of playing some commecial for Rogers crap, they had a message stating there is a problem with email and other services in a number of cities they serve.

Well, when you got a monopoly on cable, yeah, that includes about everyone in the province.

To put life in perspective, Rogers Cable has so much money they bought a sports stadium, just to rename it Rogers.

I have nothing against Ted Rogers. He is obviously a shrewd businessman, and might even give to charities when he can. He has declared a "Roger's Day" where the corporation will host a picnic in a park and you can choose the music played via cellphone by texting. Didn't mention if the texting was free.

But that's neither here nor there. For the most part Rogers provides good service, for a monopoly corporation. Heck, Blogger is a service provided by them. Cool. Way to go.


And get rid of that stupid automated shit. If you can buy a crappy stadium, you can pay some English speaking university student in India to take my call. Better yet, hire them right here in Ontario.


Thursday, August 02, 2007

Another fine show

Another interesting podcast is Shaun Farrell’s Adventure in Scifi Publishing. Shaun is an aspiring actor/writer with a love for Science Fiction and Fantasy. Living in San Diego, he also has an advantageous connection with local bookstore, ‘Mysterious Galaxies’. Being a genre specific bookstore, it’s a favorite of touring authors to do readings and signings, and Shaun records those readings when he can, and gets interviews with some of the biggest names in the business.

I too, had a signing at ‘Mysterious Galaxies’ for the Writers of the Future XXI, along with the other writers in the anthology AND judges such as Jerry Pournelle, Ann McAffery, Frederick Pohl. So, imagine my surprise when no one wanted to interview me. ;)

Anyway, Shaun also reports on news in the industry and sometimes gives his opinions on items he feels strongly about.

The show is growing, with a new co-host, Sam Wynns, and ‘Ask the Pro’ pieces with Lou Anders and Tobias Buckell.

The thing I hate the most about the show is there is nothing to hate. Shaun and Sam make a good team, and as always the interviews are professional and interesting. Perhaps if I listen more I can pick on something. Meanwhile, Try Adventures in Scifi Publishing at:


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Galactica and Patton

I watched a re-run of Battlestar Galactica, (BSG) the other day. It was the one where Tom Zarek made his big power play for the vice-presidency and got out-maneuvered by the President Laura Roslin, or the Cylons. Near the end of the show Zarek and Roslin had a conversation, dialogue lifted right out of the film, "Patton."

I thought it a curious homage since in "Patton," the conversation was between General Patton and Field Marshal Montgomery. I guess it was the humor of the exchange that prompted the BSG writers to include it.

I’m watching my neighbor’s kid for the next three days. So, now I’m responsible for a 9 year old, and 8 year old, and a 2 year old. What the hell am I thinking?
Anyway, production is going down for the next while.