It's official -- both The Markhat Files and Mug and Meralda's adventures are coming to audiobook format.
The first book in the Markhat Files, Three Mean Streets, will be appearing on both Audible and iTunes in September. The new Paths of Light book, Every Wind of Change, will be released to the same markets shortly thereafter.
The rest of the titles will follow.
And to answer the first most obvious question -- no, none of them will be narrated by me. Three Mean Streets is being produced by Archieboy Studios. I've heard and signed off on the first 15 minutes. It's amazing what a talented voice actor with the right audio equipment can create. Connor, the voice actor, nailed Markhat's sardonic with, and brought Mama Hog to grumpy life as well.
The Paths of Light books are being narrated and produced by another gifted voice actor, Nila Hagood. I loved her Mug on the audition tape, and her Meralda captures just that hint of perpetual exasperation I was looking for.
I never thought I'd hear an audiobook of my own titles. But fortune smiled -- by mistake, I assume -- and contracts have been signed. Work is underway.
I'm a grey-headed dinosaur, so I still do my reading by text. But after hearing someone read a book aloud, I understand the appeal of an audiobook. You can just close your eyes and relax, free from every distraction as you focus on the book. Unless you're driving. Then you need to watch the road. The Mississippi Highway Patrol was most emphatic on this point. Sorry about those gas pumps, guys.
If you're an author (my deepest sympathy) and you'd like to know more about how all this came about, email me at franktuttle at franktuttle.com. It's an option I should have explored a long time ago. Keep in mind I have the usual author's production budget of three corroded pennies and an old Bic pen filled with ink that dried in 1992. That doesn't matter; I'm not paying for this gig.
So that's my big news. I am of course still working on the new Markhat, The Devil's Horn, and Darla keeps telling me to hurry so I can get back to work on her book.
And now for something completely different.
DOGS AND COTTONFIELDS
My paternal grandparents, Henry and Beatrice Tuttle, moved from Chicago to this plot of land in Mississippi in 1939. They started farming cotton in the same fields that surround my house. I grew up on a cotton farm, which meant working the farm every summer.
We chopped the cotton fields by hand. Chopping cotton involves taking a hoe and cutting down anything that isn't cotton. Morning glories, cockleburs, Johnson grass -- those were the adversaries of my childhood. It's hot work, and it never really ends. Oh, you've finished chopping all the fields? Time to start over, because everything you cut down came back, with friends.
Did I mention it was hot? There's no shade in a cotton field. The sun blazes down, relentless and untiring.
We stopped growing cotton in the late 1970s. The fields have laid fallow since then, until the last couple of years. We lease the land to a neighbor, who has this year planted cotton in this dirt for the first time in 40 years.
Here's a photo of the front field:
It's chest-high on me and already starting to bloom. You can see a rain building to the south, and that will suit the thirsty cotton just fine.
If you've ever wondered what the first stages of cotton look like, here is a new bloom, just showing the first hint of the fiber most of us are wearing now.
That bright white clump in the center is an embryonic tuft of cotton fiber. Soon, the plant will be covered in blooms, and soon after that the cotton will fill them.
No one chopped this cotton. Chemicals control (mostly) other plant growth. A machine will pick the cotton, roll it into enormous round bales. Human hands won't touch it.
I, for one, am relieved I won't be involved. That was hard work.
Dogs! I promised you dogs, and here are two of our resident canine staff. First up is Lou Ann, our elder shepherd mix.
Lou had a rough start. She was a stray in Memphis who wound up at a shelter in Southaven. A friend of ours who fosters dogs told us about her, and we got her. She's enjoyed the country life ever since.
Lou's been a good watchdog. She's currently napping a few feet away, her feet moving as she runs in some doggy dream. I hope it's a good one.
And here is Daimos, our (relatively) new dog. We've had him since last summer, and he hasn't stopped moving since. According to the DNA test, he's a mix of Dachsund, border collie, and a few other breeds too. He's with me too, destroying a plastic water bottle and emitting potent odors.
WILD WILD WEB
Time for this week's Wild Wild Web link!