122 Rules by Deek Rhew

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

KD Proctor - Meet Me Under the Stars

Meet Me Under the Stars

by KD Proctor Publication Date: July 18, 2017 Genres: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance

When ratings for her popular DIY show start to circle the drain after the sudden death of her sister, Charlotte “Charlie” Conti has only one mission—to plan a comeback. But her sister had other plans. As part of the will, Charlie must work with *him* to create a memorial scholarship in her sister’s memory. The same *him* Charlie fell in love with three years ago while working at a summer camp. 

The same *him* she dumped, to protect his heart.

Sexy, British player, Nate Walsh, has sixty days to find a new job or he’ll be deported back to England where he’s no longer welcome. He doesn’t have time to work on a memorial scholarship with *her*. The same *her* who shattered his heart without explanation or warning.

The same *her* he’s never gotten over. Unable to agree on the specifics of the scholarship, Nate and Charlie challenge each other to a winner-takes-all competition. They both know the only way to win is to turn up the heat and tempt one another with the one thing they both want: each other. But as sparks fly, their true feelings resurface. Nate and Charlie must decide if their love is worth the effort and if they can overcome their disastrous past mistakes to spend forever together.

About KD Proctor

KD Proctor loved college so much that when it came time to graduate, she didn’t want to leave. Trading in her textbooks for student handbooks and policy manuals, she began a career in College Student Personnel and she fulfilled her wish to stay on a college campus forever. She always joked that one day she’d write a book about college students, never expecting that to come true!

KD lives in West Central, Minnesota with her husband and fur-kids. She likes to write fun twists on the usual tropes that we all love. Her characters are smart, funny, and always swoony. And yes. They always get their happily ever after. Before being accepted for publication, MEET ME UNDER THE STARS (formerly titled IF YOU’RE EVER IN TOWN) was the 2016 YARWA winner for the New Adult category.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

How to Create an Audiobook - Part 4

Welcome back! This is the final installment of my How to Create an Audiobook series. If you haven't already reviewed the previous posts, check them out:
 * Part 1
 * Part 2
 * Part 3

By now, you have recorded your first chapter. Woop! Congrats! Let's see if we can make it even more interesting by adding in a bit of intro music. There are several places to get free clips you can use, but some of my favorites are:
  * Sound Bible
  * Zap Splat
  * Free Stock Music

Make sure your clip isn't more than 7-10 seconds long. This is an audiobook, not a musical. Once you've found your intro, create a new track.

For the Input type, choose No Input and click Create.

From Finder, drag your file to the new track.
My file is called Intro-Wind-Mark (see the image).

Replicate the Chapter 1 track and create an introduction for your book. All that will go into the introduction is the name of the book and your name.

Here are the first few paragraphs from Norman and the Demon complete with intro.

I didn't have a lot of time to create this chapter and when I go to make the final version, I'll do a couple of things differently. First, notice there's a lot of popping. This is because I'm too close to the microphone. Next time, I'll move it away a bit. Also, there are a couple of times I munged words. When this happens, pause, and reread. The munged words can be edited out.

Nothing quite like examples of what not to do! :-)

Okay, intro, music, and chapter 1 complete. Time to upload!

ACX
ACX manages the audio content that is sold on Amazon, iTunes, and Audible.

Create an ACX account:
Go to www.ACX.com and enter your name or ISBN into their search bar:


 With a little luck, they'll find your books:

Choose your book and click This is My Book, then click I already have audio files for this book, and I want to sell it.

You will be prompted to log into Amazon. After that, complete the ACX registration. I was prompted to choose my book again, and I had to re-choose I already have audio files. Select your distribution preferences.

After that the site walks you through uploading your book.

Congrats, my friends! You now have a published audiobook!

I hope this tutorial has been helpful. Let me know if you have any questions.

Adventure on,

Deek

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

How to Create an Audiobook - Part 3

This is the second post in my "Creating An Audiobook" series. If you haven't read Part 1 and Part 2, start there.

In the previous post, we got most of GarageBand set up. There are still a couple of steps, then we are going to create some tracks and record your first chapter!

Chapter 1
At this point, there should be an Audio 1 track and a Master Track in your GarageBand project. Double-click "Audio 1" and change it to "Chapter 1."

Rename the default track from Audio 1 to Chapter 1
In the controls section at the bottom, there are three buttons:


 Turn off Master so that the button are shaded like this:


This will open up a whole new controls section:

Under Recording Settings, check:
  * Feedback Protection
  * Noise Gate
  * Master Echo
  * Master Reverb
Click on the Compressor button too. When you are done, the settings should look like this:

Next, change the Compressor, EQ, and Sends to the following:

Woop! Okay, our chapter is ready to roll!

In Part 4, we're going to walk through uploading your audio files to ACX. Let's make a couple of quick settings changes as per their requirements.

Click the Master Track, and click the Limiter button. This will bring up the limiter settings.

Change the Gain to +2.0dB and the Output Level to -3.0dB. This will limit the peaks of your recording. Close the Limiter menu.

Next, click the right-side of the Exciter button so the type menu pops up.

Choose Dynamics-> Noise Gate

Click the Noise Gate button and change it to -65dB (ACX requires -60 at least, so we'll go a little above and beyond. Click the power button next to Factory Default so that it is highlighted:


Alright, let's do this thang!

Recording
In Part 1, we discussed practicing recording and listening. Here are a couple of more tips and tricks:
  * When whispering, try leaning into your microphone
  * When yelling either pull back or look off to the side.
  * If you need to, practice reading through the chapter before recording. Be sure you can pronounce all the words (names can be especially tricky).
  * Speak clearly
  * Try to make as few mistakes as possible.
  * Try and limit your breath and lip-smacking sounds. These will need to be edited out.

If you make a mistake, it's not a big deal. Don't stop. Pause for a couple of seconds so that the mistake is obvious in the recording track, then try again. Mistakes will happen. That's what editing is for!

Okay, you're ready to roll. Click Chapter 1, hit the record button!


Editing
Woop! You've got your first track down and now we're going to make it purty!
Un-click the equalizer button and choose the editing button (the little scissors).

When you first see the track, it'll look like this. Kinda squished and difficult to see what's what.

Fortunately, you can spread the track out. On the right-hand side, this little slider bar will let you expand and contract your view.

Make it nice and wide, so you can see the nuances of your recording.

This is the beginning of my recording where I was opening the beginning of Norman and the Demon. Highlight this section and delete it.


Drag the track, so that the audio starts at the beginning of the timeline. Now, listen to the track and find, and remove, inhalations, smacking, so forth.


Here's an example of me taking a breath. With this tool, add or remove blank space between words, adjust volume levels, remove mistakes, so on.

That's it for this section. If you're ready, move on to the final tutorial.

Have fun and adventure on!

Deek

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

How to Create an Audiobook - Part 2

This is the second post in my "Creating An Audiobook" series. If you haven't read Part 1, start there.

As I said before, I'm walking through how to do this on a Mac, and the recording software is GarageBand. So, let's get GarageBand all set up!

Create a new project:

Open the app, choose File -> New and choose Empty Project as the type of project.

GarageBand - Project


On the next screen, choose Create.


GarageBand - Create Project

GarageBand will start with a single sample track.

GarageBand - Sample Track

From the Track menu, choose Show Master Track.

GarageBand - Show Master Track

From the View menu, choose Show Smart Controls.

GarageBand - Show Smart Controls


Click the music note / metronome icon, and choose Time.

GarageBand - Show Time

Turn off each of the repeat, tuning fork, etc. buttons.

GarageBand - Controls

Click the Mix menu and choose Show Automation.

GarageBand - Automation

At this point, the top half of your screen should look like this:

GarageBand - Ta Da!



Settings:

Okay, let's start messing with the settings.

Click the i to show the Smart Controls.

GarageBand - Smart Controls

Click the Master Track and click the Effects button.

GarageBand - Effects

For now, set the Time, Repeat, Color, and Volume to the above settings.

Next, click the Output button.

GarageBand - Output

For now, set the Squeeze, Bright, so on, to the above values. By default, the Compression and Limiter switches are turned off. Turn them both on.


Ready? Awesome! Let's do some sampling!

Sample Recording

The rewind, fast-forward, stop, play, and record buttons are at the top of the screen.

GarageBand - Control Buttons

Plug your microphone into your computer. Click Audio 1, and then click the Record bubble. Say a few words into your microphone and click Stop.

GarageBand - Laying Down a Track

Wut the wut? Did we just lay down a bit of track? Oh, heck yeah! Plug in your headset, drag the record needle back, and click Play.

Woop!

Okay, now comes the fun part. Start tweaking the different levels until your voice sounds just right. You'll need to practice making your voice louder or softer too. Just be sure that anything you do during practice, you can repeat when you are recording your audiobook.

Delete what you recorded and now record a short passage from your book. Give yourself 30-60 seconds or longer of track to play with. Restart the record needle, and click the Master Track. Now start the playback and begin monkeying with the settings. Keep going until you are happy with the sound of your voice.

Also, try speaking at different speeds. Pay attention to the details and listen and re-listen to the track. Record a whole chapter and practice being the different characters. You don't have to overact, in fact, don't. Just don't. Change your inflection and tone, but unless you are a practiced actor, don't do any more than say the words as you hear your characters say them.

Alright, next we're going to add some intro music and record your book! If you're ready, move on to Part 3.

Until next time, adventure on!

Deek


Monday, May 8, 2017

How to Create an Audiobook - Part 1

Welcome to Part 1 of my step-by-step guide on creating an audiobook. This will be a multi-part series where I will demonstrate creating an audiobook using my short story, Norman and the Demon.

Set Up - What You Need

I'll admit that I'm Apple-biased. Our home computers are Macs, and we use iPhones. The hardware is solid, the computers work great, and the phones play really well with the computers. So, needless to say, this post will be centered around Apple products. Not saying you can't follow it using a PC, but you'll have to make some adjustments.

Also, I'm not a professional sound technician. I'm not going to tell you to make a sound booth or get a thousand dollar mic. Most of what you need you should have at your home already. Since we're on the subject, let me reiterate, I'm not a professional sound technician. Just an author who wants to record his own audiobooks and sample chapters and spent a bit of time figuring out how to do it.

Okay, now that we have that out of the way, let's begin!

Microphone

Though you can spend $$$ on a microphone, there are other options that give really great results too. When I recorded the first chapter of 122 Rules (see the 122 Rules Home Page for the sample chapter I recorded), I borrowed a mic. I was so happy with the quality that I bought one of my own.

The Miracle Sound Deluxe Lapel Mic is inexpensive and delivers high-quality sound.

Miracle Sound Deluxe is a Miracle Mic!


Computer

As I said in the beginning of the post, I'm a Mac guy through and through. So, if you can afford it, drop a little extra now and save yourself a ton of time and frustration. A couple of years ago, Erin was using my Windows Notebook. Updates and patches and failures and hardware problems had this saintly, patient woman climbing the walls. Finally, we bought a refurbished Mac with a one year warranty and AppleCare (in case something went wrong).

Mac Rocks!

Erin's frustrations vanished, and she never looked back. We got Word for Mac, which is completely compatible with its PC cousin, so she could run her editing business and write.


Software

The Mac comes with GarageBand for free which is designed to do things like create audiobooks.

Garage Band - Free With Mac
This software is awesome! When we get going, you'll see why it's the one I chose.

Headset

You will need a good pair of headphones for editing your tracks. Pops, snaps, breaths, and so forth will all need to be edited out, but that's impossible without being able to hear them. I tried it with just a standard pair of iPhone earbuds, and if you're in a pinch, they can work. But I recommend something a little meatier.

There are some great headsets out there, but Sony makes a super decent pair for a little bit of $.



Location

Most people I know don't have a sound recording booth just laying around. So look around your home, and then get into the closet! We have a small walk-in closet, and the clothes make an amazing sound dampener. If you have a carpeted living room, you can even give that a shot. What you are after is someplace that doesn't allow the sound to echo and that will filter out ambient noise.

Recommendations:

* Turn off your furnace/AC, dishwasher, etc. The microphone will totally pick up these background noises.
* Stay away from external walls and windows where the noise from cars, dogs, neighbors, etc. can spoil your recording.
* Avoid rooms with hardwood floors where the sound will echo.


That's it for part one. Get all your stuff set up, and in Part 2, we'll discuss getting Garage Band ready to record your masterpiece.

Ready to keep going? Part 2!

Until then, adventure on!

Deek

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

First Editing Letter for Xtractors

I'm back! I've been hiding in the Creative Writing Cave for the last two and half months writing the first draft of a new sci-fi novel, Xtractors. At this time I can't give very much away, but it's a futuristic thriller and includes virtual reality, video games, drones,



robots, self-driving cars, politics, super moguls, and dragons.


Wut?

Yep! Frigging dragons. How cool is that?

Okay, so when can we get our hands on this thang? Well, unfortunately, not for a while. The rough is just the rough, and I still need to edit the heck out of it. I was lucky enough to get to write a post for Touchstone Editing's blog about editing from the author's point of view. Besides my brilliant and stunning bride, Erin RhewAnya Kagan (who works for Touchstone) was the other editor for my novels 122 Rules and Birth of an American Gigolo.

For each of these books, Anya wrote me an initial editorial letter. So to kick off the Xtractor editing process, I decided to write myself one!




Yes! I figured I would try and get ahead of the process.

Okay, so what's in the letter? So far, it's a page and half of plot holes, plot development, character development, character motivations, conversations that came up short, and nuggets of information that I figured out later that need to be sprinkled in throughout the story.

Also, there are a ton of scientific notes.


I've always wondered about the brilliant minds, such as Erin's, that can build entire worlds. I cannot image being able to create people, religions, and lands. However, in this book, I found myself doing nearly that.

In future we have an entirely different set of problems. So I found myself which groups of people would protest and why? How would they would react to changing situations? What the shifting political winds would they whisper about? What would day-to-day life be like when technology has advanced by several decades?

Hint: It's


Anyway, I have another week to finish the editorial letter to myself, and then I begin filling in the pieces of the story. After that, months of rewriting and filling in the blanks will ensue.

The story is starting to take shape. I have the basic bones of it cleaned off, and now I'm off to keep on refining, molding, and shaping.

Look out world, here comes Xtractors!

Until next time, peeps. Adventure on!


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Katie L. Carroll - Pirate Island Cover Reveal!


PIRATE ISLAND
by Katie L. Carroll (katielcarroll.com)
Cover Illustration by Susan Tait Porcaro (susantaitporcaro.com)
Coming October 2017!

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PIRATE ISLAND blurb:
A thrice cursed island, a legendary pirate treasure, and one not-so-brave boy. What could possibly go wrong?

For centuries, the whereabouts of Captain William Kidd’s lost pirate treasure has remained a mystery. When Billy’s best friend, Andy, proposes they look for it on nearby Pirate Island, Billy thinks it’s just another one of their crazy adventures. It’s usually Billy who ends up in trouble as a result, but he goes along for the ride…like always. The more he delves into the life and death of Kidd, the more he thinks the treasure is real and that it might be buried on the small island in Long Island Sound. Billy—nope, call him William—becomes obsessed with the captain of the same first name. He even believes he’s possessed by Kidd’s restless soul. Now he and the spirit of a long-dead pirate are leading the crazy adventure on Pirate Island. And what they find is far bigger than the treasure they imagined.



About the Author:
Katie L. Carroll always says she began writing at a very sad time her life after her sister Kylene unexpectedly passed away. The truth is Katie has been writing her whole life, and it was only after Kylene’s death that she realized she wanted to pursue writing for kids and teens as a career. Since then writing has taken her to many wonderful places, real and imagined. She has had many jobs in her lifetime, including newspaper deliverer, hardware store cashier, physical therapy assistant, and puzzle magazine editor. She works from her home in Connecticut that is filled with the love and laughter of her sons and husband.

In addition to PIRATE ISLAND, Katie is the author of the YA fantasy ELIXIR BOUND. Find Katie on her websiteTwitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Ye Olde Colonial Williamsburg

This weekend, Erin and I took a weekend off from the cray of everyday life and headed back in time to Colonial Williamsburg.

I LOVE American history. In Oregon, every kid gets to visit Oregon City and the End of the Oregon Trail, walk along part of the trail of Lewis and Clark, see the house of Dr. John McLoughlin, and visit Fort Vancouver just across the Columbia river in Washington. Though these are amazing landmarks and feats of human endurance and tenacity, it all started on the east coast. In school we studied Washington DC, Jamestown, the home of Martha and George Washington, Kitty Hawk, NC, and the original colonies, but didn't actually get to see any of these historical landmarks. Fortunately, Erin has is willing to go and visit, or in some instances, re-visit these landmarks.

Also, suddenly everything became Ye Olde xxx. For instance Ye Olde Convenience Store, Ye Olde Starbucks, Ye Olde Hotel, Ye Olde Rider Truck, so on. Fortunately, Erin rolled with my cray and laughed along with me. Is she amazing or what?

Take a pictorial tour of one of the oldest cities in the United States!


All good adventures begin with coffee. :-)

Headed out for a weekend of fun! 
Scored some 'bucks to go too.


We ate at Shields, the oldest tavern in Colonial Williamsburg (est. 1745). The tables were lit by candles and the employees all dressed in costume. We got lucky. On the night we went, a 1700's cover band played hit songs of the times.
Live Cover Band at the Shields Tavern

We stayed in the Williamsburg Lodge. Great rooms, good service, jazz club, and a colonial feel.
I don't smoke cigars, so held my banana for an Rico Suave moment

 Harkening back to our roots in the Game of Thrones, Erin is the Mother of Dragons.
My beautiful bride, the Mother of Dragons

We strolled the majestic halls of the oldest school building in the country. William and Mary was chartered in 1693 by King William II and Queen Mary II. The only older school in the country is Harvard.
William and Mary School room

This is a life-sized painting of Queen Mary. How they could create such regal buildings back in the 1600's is beyond me.
William and Mary School room from the other direction

Getting a little smooch in before we head out. #LuckyFella

Aaaaaaaaah!!!

Exploring the grounds at the hotel, found this gorgeous woman among the lights

Fire! Fire!

When the king's representative visited, he needed a place to hang. So they built him a small cottage in the country.
Evidently it pays well to be the king's representative


Because every hotel needs a crest

We dined at the oldest tavern in Williamsburg: Shields Tavern Established 1745!

OMG! My gorgeous date!


The Shields didn't even having working lights

The school is open for wanderers and explorers such as ourselves. Erin and I found a debate room. Erin is holding court.
Leading the class, Erin Rhew!

Class clown!

Debate Hall at William and Mary

 Time to hold a meeting of the council. Ms. Rhew, presiding.
Head of the GoT table

When Ms. Rhew is not available, the Hand of the Queen will step in.
Hand of the queen

Crest in the Chapel

LOL! Always a few minutes to goof off.

I think I was totally surprised by how much I dug the Scottish wear in this store. Normally I'm a t-shirt and jeans kinda guy, but there were great shirts and jackets I totally dug. Sorry, no matter how much my Scottish roots call to me, I can't do the kilt thang. I think most of the world is grateful I don't try and pull this off.
Found a place that speaks to my Scottish roots
 Erin's Irish roots are calling!
Erin Go Bragh!

What tour of a colonial town would be complete without a tour in a carriage?
Erin and I tour the grounds in a vintage carriage

This was so incredibly funny, just couldn't pass up snapping a pic.
If Michael Jackson and Gus Rhew had a love child...

Aw dang. We got busted!
Busted!

Partner in crime

Seriously busted now!


George Washington married the richest widow in town! Martha was not lacking for luxury.
Martha Washington's House

 Wut the wut? This is where they held Blackbeard's men before finding them guilty and hanging them!
The jail where they held Blackbeard's men

Nope. Not getting out of there!

This is like they have in Vikings. Great defense!
 This gorgeous tree was a common meeting place for the town.
Community Tree

My beautiful bride at the community tree



Defend the City!
Load the cannons!

We can take 'em!

Posing dramatically at the entrance to the castle.

Erin Rhew on the castle grounds

Deek Rhew on the castle grounds

Deek and Erin Rhew

King represent!

Look at the little white streak in the sky. That's a jet. Here you have two things built almost 300 years apart, yet together.
Notice the 20th century plane in the sky above the 17th century castle

Erin and I ran across this love tree while exploring the grounds of William and Mary.
Deek and Erin by the Love Tree
There's this amazing little bridge on the back side of William and Mary. The legend goes: If you walk across the bridge hand-in-hand, you will be together forever. If, for any reason, you split up. You have to walk back across the bridge in the opposite direction, then whomever is wronged (assuming that one of the two people in the relationship screwed up), gets to throw the other into the river.
Deek and Erin creating a heart
Erin found this amazing bridge by William and Mary

Found this moment at the school to a soldier Todd William Weaver. The freedoms we enjoy did not come free.
Price of freedom

I'm so lucky to have gotten a chance to go back in time and visit one of the places where our country started. And I'm blessed to have gotten to do it with my best friend and soulmate. Erin made the trip, as she does all things, fun and memorable. There's nothing like spending the weekend 300 years ago with your best friend.

Now, I've got a story knocking on my forehead, trying to get out!

Take care peeps and adventure on!

Deek

About the Author
Deek Rhew
Deek Rhew is a transplant from a rainy pocket in the Pacific Northwest. Deek now lives in a sultry corner of the US of A where the sun shines bright, the sweet tea flows, and the hush puppies are hot and delicious.

He and his brilliant, but stunning author bride, Erin Rhew, live a simple life with their writing assistant, a fat tabby named Trinity. They enjoy lingering in the mornings, and often late into the night, caught up Erin’s fantastic fantasy worlds of noble princes and knights and entwined in Deek’s dark underworld of the FBI and drug lords.

He is the author of two books:

122 Rules

A federal assassin grows a conscious just when he's about to pull the trigger.

He has decision to make: Finish his assignment, or follow his gut and save his quarry.


Read #122Rules to join the fray.


Birth of an American Gigolo

If you've even been betrayed.
If you've ever been cheated.
If you've ever wanted to serve up a can of whoopass on someone that desperately deserved it
but never got the chance...
​It's time for you to get the revenge you so truly deserve.

A Husband.
A Mistress.
A #WifesRevenge

Get your revenge.
Read