Wednesday, December 31, 2008

7 facts about me that you probably don't care about

OK Evo Terra, this one's for you. The founder of tagged me in this meme (not sure how to pronounce that) and I felt obliged to play the game, so here it is.

1. I was, for a short time in the late 80's, a popular stand up comic in Fairbanks Alaska...till the bar owners discovered I was only 19. I got noticed by a Seattle agent but had already enlisted in the USMC and had to decline his offer to play a few clubs in the lower 48.

2. I play hand percussion. Yep, bongos, congas, djembe, even the Bodhran. I have a 'Mother-Djembe' with a 24 inch head that I can make sound like a rolling thunderstorm...seriously cool for the right song. I love jazz and ‘new-age’ style music and will sometimes sit in my living room improvising on my drums with the tunes coming over the stereo or just jamming with my teen son, who plays a mean bass. On a few occasions I was at a location where music was being played and I had no official drum so I played a guitar case, a metal stock pot, and even a cardboard box.

3. I am a pretty organised guy, and very diligent at my work and play, but for some reason I have never been able to fathom, have a serious issue with showing up to my regular day job on time every morning. I'm not terribly late, just ten or fifteen minutes...but it's every day. I can't explain it. I am on time, even early, for everything else I do, but that one baffles me. Even if I leave in plenty of time something happens on the way and I am fifteen minutes late. Thank heavens for Flex Time schedules.

4. I love the smell of lilac. Really love it. I love flowers in general, but lilacs in particular. I know, it doesn't sound manly, but it’s true. Don't give me a hard time though, 'cause I might just use the lilacs as a camouflage for my ghillie suit and plug ya from a thousand meters.

5. I once won a tactical pistol shooting competition with a revolver. In a six target quick draw speed shooting competition against guys with 13 shot semi-autos I won with a six-shooter Smith&Wesson Model 19 Police Revolver. That mean's I hit 100% of my targets without having to reload during the thirteen straight elimination rounds. I'm still proud of that day.

6. I can't stand people leaving things on the floor, shoes directly in front of the door or not hanging up their coats in the closet. I tend to walk through the house without turning on the lights (which in Alaska means total darkness at 4pm during winter). I really hate it when I take a step and then turn my ankle on a shoe, purse, or etc left on the floor in my den or garage, or the really pisses me off. The other four members of my family have no problem with it though, they merely take issue with my "bad habit" of walking around in the dark and blowing my temper when I trip over their stuff when all I had to do was turn on a light.

7. Several times a year, in front of a couple hundred teens and college students, I transform into an entire cast of characters from the Bible or from History and play all of the parts of an event. These hour long one man plays are performed for my church youth association. I have done Elijah the Prophet, Dietrich Bonhoeffer (a German pastor who took part in a plot to kill Hitler), Patrick of Ireland, King David, Samson, and a whole slew of others. I do it with very few props or costume (typically I have a walking stick, a chair, a grey wool blanket, and on occasion a sword) and use the description, acapella song and a bit of pantomime to convince the audience of the set. I try to do it as much as possible in the style of the old story tellers of long before TV and Radio, and for the most part, have more fun than a person is allowed to.

Well, there you have it Evo, et al. Seven things about me that you could probably care less about, but describe me nonetheless.

But before I go, the rules of this engagement require me to tag seven others:

• Kathryn Lilley

• Clare Langley-Hawthorne

• Michelle Gagnon

• John Gilstrap

• Joe Moore

• John Ramsey Miller

• JJ Cooper

(Sorry folks, but I don’t have too many other friends with their own blogs and you all are the ones I enjoy talking with most often.)

I then am to post the rules for this meme.

1. Link your original tagger and list these rules in your post.

2. Share seven facts about yourself in the post.

3. Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs.

4. Let them know they’ve been tagged.

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The Best Kind of Flattery: Basil's earns his first official podcast award

Wow! I've just received my first official Podcast Award from Evo Terra at
Check it out:

2008 Founders Choice Awards

This year’s five Founders Choice Awards for excellence in serialized audiobook production for titles here on go to:

Joe Cottonwood for Clear Heart
Nathan Lowell for Double Share
Basil Sands for Faithful Warrior
Scott Sigler for Infected
Peter James Froning for Letter from China

Honorable mention goes to:
Bill DeSmedt for Doctor Jack’s Soapbox Seminars
Barry McArdle for I Sold The Moon! (A True Story)
Derek Gilbert for Iron Dragons: Book 1 - The Saramond Quests
Mur Lafferty for Playing for Keeps
Christiana Ellis for Space Casey

Here’s to 2009!

About the Founders Choice Awards

The Founders Choice Awards are given annually to serialized audiobooks of impeccable quality.

I'm flattered, and I also recommend you check out these other great podcasts available at
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Monday, December 22, 2008

A Piece of Advice for Audio Book Wannabes

I’d like to offer up a piece of advice for new and existing authors and readers / actors of audiobooks. Don’t take it personal, unless that is you are really looking for something that will help your career in acting / audiobook recording.

A very large number of my own listeners and listeners to other serialized audiobooks have stated the same common disappointment with a high percentage of the free versions of these works that often has turned them off to the whole serialized audiobook and podcast media. In a nut shell they wish that more of the folks who make them would:

Learn how to read.

Now I am not of course saying this in the literal sense of grammar and alliteration. I am referring to stagecraft. When to breathe, when to pause. When to raise the tension in your voice or suddenly drop to a whisper. How to bring your listener to the edge of their seat and make them lean at an odd angle or cry out on the subway because your story telling has convinced their sub conscious mind that they are actually seeing what is happening in the story. To make it, as one listener said:

"A movie in my head.”

How do you do that? Well, with twenty years of experience on stage as a public speaker and small time actor the best advice I can can give as to the way to get it into your brain is quite simply to listen to pro’s who are already doing it and then emulate them.

Some of you try to make your story sound great with special effects or fancy back ground sounds. While that can work to enhance some stories, those effects and sounds cannot tell a story in themselves. No matter how masterful the production or well written the manuscript if the story telling sucks, the audiobook sucks and it won’t grow.

On the other hand, the majority of best selling audio books have no sound effects or back ground music whatsoever. They are also usually voiced by an individual reader who is acting all of the characters themselves.

So my advice, pick up a few copies of best selling audio books recorded by professional actors and readers who make a living doing it and see what makes them tick. Then do what they do.

Here are a few recommendations I would suggest that can help you get an idea of how the best do it, and to learn the trade.

US Voices:Dick Hill (Lee Child’s Reacher Series)
George Guidall (over 650 audio books including Alex Berensen, Stephen King, Neil Daiman)

UK Voices:
Robert Powell (Frederick Forsythe’s the Afghan)
John Lee (Ken Follett’s World Without End)
Josephine Bailey (Ken Follett’s Whiteout)

If you like a full cast story, try the Martin the Warrior series of children’s fantasy. These are very well done, and even though they are kids stories, I found them extremely entertaining.

Well, that's my two cents on the topic. Work hard at perfecting your craft and you will make an impact that will be noticed.

Basil Sands
Happy Holidays
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