“Technical Fiction” Panel Discussion

Hey everyone,

I’m back! My plans for blogging far exceed my actual blogging:) I try to write two posts a month, but…I haven’t been so disciplined lately. My last post was four months ago!

About two months ago now, Small Publishing in a Big Universe published a podcast I participated in, a panel discussion on “Technical Fiction”.

I was one of four panelists, all of us former or current technical writers. Other panelists were Steven D. Brewer, Vanessa MacLaren-Wray, and Steven Radecki. We had a lively discussion on the challenges and strategies of transitioning from technical writing to fiction writing.

The podcast is about 25 minutes long. Not surprisingly, many technical writers aspire to write fiction. We talked about how we came to fiction writing and how were able to strike a balance between the technical and fiction side of things. Interestingly, we all agreed that technical writing immensely helped our careers as fiction writers.

I’m retired now, but remember well the daily challenge of turning my mind from fiction to technical, technical to fiction. It wasn’t always easy. During the work week, I’d get up early and try to squeeze in some fiction before heading to work, where the office atmosphere made it easy to sink into documenting programming languages, debuggers, or B-2-B interfaces. Yikes! I can barely remember it all now! Interestingly, I have been in a fiction slump (though I have been working on a story recently), and somedays wonder if it’s because I don’t have the pressures of limited time at my back. Have to think about that one.

So check out the podcast when you have a few minutes to spare.

In my next post, I’ll be reviewing the latest addition to the Truck Stop collection, a story by Vanessa MacLaren-Wray called The Smugglers.

Until next time,


Interview with Small Publishing in a Big Universe

Hey everyone,

Check out my interview with the folks at Small Publishing in a Big Universe! It was a pleasure to talk with host (and prolific author) L.A. Jacob about books, writing, and publishing. It’s fairly short; just about 20 minutes – you can listen here or get it on your favorite podcast app.

In celebration, the ebook editions of the Shelby McDougall Mystery Series are on sale this week and through the weekend, April 13th – 17th for just 99¢ each!

Or, click below for purchase options:

Book 1: Due Date

Book 2: The Stork

Book 3: The Found Child

In the next couple of weeks, I’ll be doing a post for the Paper Angel Press monthly blog theme, so stay tuned!

Until next time,


Podcast with Jenn Broda

Hey everyone,

Earlier this month, Small Publishing in a Big Universe interviewed audiobook producer and narrator Jenn Broda. She has produced many titles in the Paper Angel Press catalog, including the Shelby McDougall series as well as the Shelby McDougall short story Treasure Hunt. I couldn’t have been happier with how she brought my characters to life.

I knew that narrating and producing an audio book was much more than just reading the book out loud. But I didn’t know how much more! In the podcast, Ms. Broda goes into detail about what’s involved: the preparation, the narrating, the editing, the re-editing, the technical requirements.

One piece that I never thought about was the emotional impact of being an audiobook narrator: what if you don’t like a character? Or the story? Or what if some aspect of the story resonates deep within, touching on something personal? As a reader, you can just put the book down and let it go. But as a narrator, you have to stick with it, put your own feelings aside, and continue with the job ahead.

Another thing I didn’t know was that each hour of audiobook can take six to eight hours of production time. Wow! And I thought writing required a lot of editing and re-dos! First, the producer has to study the novel to understand the characters, plot, and setting, likely taking a lot of notes about a character’s age, vocal tone, and how a character acts in relationship to other characters. Once the initial narration is complete, the producer has to review the audio, listening for glitches or external noises or mispronounced words. Then, there’s the review by the rights holder, followed by narration changes and a second round of review. And finally , the producer has to actually create the audiobook, conforming to required technical specifications for each platform the audiobook will be distributed on.

I was astonished by the the amount of work involved and the number of roles an audiobook narrator and producer has. I also loved the backstory of how Ms. Broda got into the audiobooks narration and production business. Listen to the interview here to find out for yourself.

I’ll be interviewed in an upcoming podcast, so keep your eye on Small Publishing in a Big Universe to find out more.

Until next time,