Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

Happy new year, listeners! While I wait for the champagne corks to start popping, I've been putting together a Youtube playlist of easy listening classics. I did this because I was at a friend's house recently and we felt the need for some easy listening. On checking Youtube for a playlist I discovered that there was nothing that hit the spot. Therefore, on returning home, I determined to make one myself. So, here it is, just in time for you to ease in the New Year.

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL5-LHp-dUytj7Nbeb3Y_GQVRIihWa0Ngn

Chillax! (as the young people say ... or used to say - I have no idea what constitutes cool-speak these days, I lost track after "Ace!" back in the seventies).

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Monday, December 22, 2014

Festive Sometimes Posted!

Yuletide greetings, Listeners! 

My latest podcast offering hits the podosphere tonight as Sometimes Dec 2014 goes live. However, due to iTunes' new quality control settings, it may be a while before it reaches your iTunes inboxes (if you use them, that is ... obviously). They say in a recent email:"From Monday, December 22, through Monday, January 5, 2015, new podcast submissions will require additional time for review and processing. During this period, you will be able to submit new podcasts. You also will be able to publish new episodes to existing podcasts. New episodes may require additional time to appear on iTunes Store."

Sometimes Dec 2014 features HP Lovecraft's classic tale of weird horror, The Statement of Randolph of Carter. My reading of the story also features my dodgy American accent - apologies in advance to sensitive American ears.

The podcast also throbs with music from The Elves of Heaven, a news bulletin, a trip to see What's in My (Festive) Fridge, and all this to the uncanny goings on in the Bennett household that unfold when Mr Yip returns with his Karaoke machine - apologies in advance to sensitive ears everywhere. Download it here, or if you're an iphone user, wait patiently for iTunes to do their thing.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Sick

Sorry for my silence but it's been a sh*tty month, and to top it all off, I'm ill. I won't bore you with the details because they are many and confusing. I've been to the doctor twice this week and on both occasions I've come away with a medicine that hasn't worked. So, I guess I'll be going back to the doc's on Monday. No other news, I'm afraid. I'll post something next weekend (if not before). Until then, pip-pip. M

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

New Podcast! Meanwhile 01

"Meanwhile" - it's a news show in which I basically explain what's been going on in my writing and audio production world (or the lack thereof) for the last season or so. Also features news of Free Ebook of The Month and a five minute sample of Disturbing the Devil. It's in iTunes now, or you can listen direct here ...

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Disturbing the iPhone Devil

iPhone users: Listener feedback confirms that you can't download Disturbing the Devil to your iPhone, so don't even try. Download it to your computer, connect your phone to the computer, then drag and drop it to your phone on the iTunes interface thingy. Samsung users seem to have no problems, but I'd always advise downloading to the home computer first, just so you have a rock solid copy in your possession to do with as you will :-)

Friday, October 31, 2014

Disturbing the Devil

Happy Halloween! Here it is, Disturbing the Devil. 

Blimey, but I've had a frightful time trying to get this damn thing online. It took the usual millennia to write and record, but on completing it today, I discovered that my struggle had only just begun. I thought I'd just produce it as I would a podcast audio file, upload it to a host, and that's it! Oh, no. Getting an audiobook onto Audible is murder. Figuring out Gumroad is easy, but the whole US-UK tax hell is, well, hell. In the end I went with Payhip. They've let me price it a price I think is reasonable for you, and also good for me (if I sell enough ;-) You'll see a UK £ price of £2.50, that equates to $4.00 US. I will get it onto Audible in the next few days, but when I do, it'll be over $7.00 US (their pricing, not mine) so if you're on a budget, Payhip might be the best way to go. You'll need a Paypal account and then they'll send you a download link.

I haven't been able to test it because I'm both vendor and buyer, and paypal doesn't like that. There's also a possibility that buyers outside the UK £ region may be told that the vendor doesn't accept your currency (I do, but Paypal might not) I don't know, I'm hoping everything will work for people outside the UK, but if not, I'm afraid you'll have to bear with me until I can get things sorted out better, but right now, my brain is broken and there's steam coming out of my ears; I can't think anymore, I've been at for 6 hours straight and I'm done for the night.

If you want it on iTunes, that'll have to wait for my Audible set up to finalise. Other phones and apps, I have no idea, probably the same - Audible will deliver via your network somehow. But for me, for now, I'm knackered: I need a drink ... or two ... or three ;-)


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Cover.

Designed by M.J. Hahn and using an authentic 1860s drawing, this is the cover of Underwood and Flinch: Disturbing the Devil. Release still on course for Friday evening.


Monday, October 27, 2014

Title

Today's new U&F story preview. 

The story is called, "Disturbing the Devil". 

Good News!

Yes, good news - I've now completed the first half of the pay-to-download story (almost). I've completed the first 25 minutes of what's now looking like a 70 minute audio story. I'm determined to get it out for Halloween (Friday), and barring act-of-God type scenarios, I should be able to do so. Stay tuned to this blog as in the run up to release I'll be releasing more information, sneak peaks, audio samples, etc.

In other news, after a period of total writer's block, I'm now back to work on Blood and Smoke. It's now looking like there will be more than one more episode. I've finished the first draft of Episode 7, and I'm currently writing Episode 8 (though, of course, because I'm now working all-out on the pay-download story, the writing of Episode 8 has stopped again - temporarily).

Now the bad news. Blood and Smoke will be my last free podcast. I'm giving up the noble art because I want to devote my time exclusively to writing. I only have so much time left on this Earth, and I've got a lot of stories I want to get written before I go. Two novels a year is my target. At this time, I don't plan to make audio versions of them because the process takes such a terribly long time (and always completely derails the writing process, making it very hard to get started again).

My first writing project after Blood and Smoke will not be a U&F story. I want to write something totally different, and this story - a novel - will be just that. More than this I can't say.
Will there be more U&F? Yes, almost certainly, but for now, I need a complete break from all things fanged.

That's it for now, amigos. As I say, stay tuned to this blog as I'll be releasing more stuff on the p-t-d story as we countdown to Halloween.
Trick or treat?
Treat, I promise ;-)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Pay-to-Download Story Update.

Update on the p-t-d story. I work on it for about 90 mins a night. There's a lot of editing to do, even though I finished writing it a while back, listening to the audio often throws to light little (and large) things that need to be adjusted / re-written / re-recorded. So far, I have 8 of 13 pages recorded and edited (finished). Ultimately, the finished audio adventure could be anything from 60 - 90 mins long, so it'll be quite the little epic. The story shines light on a hitherto untouched period of Underwood's past (late 1800s) and features a new Flinch. I'm also considering selling it via Audible as well as via my sites. Blood and Smoke is sitting on the back burner until this is finished. As soon as p-t-d goes live, I'll get back to work on the final episode of B&S. After that ... well, it depends on how p-t-d sells, but I'd like to go straight into a long writing process of U&F Part 4: not a novella like B&S, but a full-size novel. Stay patient, friends; the reward will be worth the wait.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

I'm Working - Look, Here's Proof ...

Here's a picture of me taken at my desk working on the audio of the pay-to-download story (you can see the audio file open on the laptop in front of me). On the wall is a map of the London Underground, next to it are two smaller pictures - covers of projects I'm working on (but not all that I'm working on). So, here you have it: proof, if proof be needed, that just because nothing is appearing anywhere for your immediate consumption, I am working - and now you have an insight into some the things that I'm working on ;-)


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Hardback and Paperback Now Available to Buy.

OK, here it is, for everyone who doesn't want the two individual ebook volumes of U&F at $2.99 each, I present the paperback and hardback all-in-one volumes.



The hardback is the high-end luxury product, with the paperback as the more affordable option. Yes, they aren't as cheap as stuff you see on Amazon, but remember, there are two novels in one volume, and that's a lot of paper. If U&F were in the hands of a "real" publisher, the books would be edited down to a fraction of the size.

The hardback is priced as it is so I can make a modest profit from any Amazon sales (because Amazon want their cut, too). The paperback is priced as it is because I've kept it OFF Amazon in order to keep the cost down. For this reason, only the hardback has an ISBN (international standard book number, which is what retailers need to sell it in their stores). For both books, discounts exist ONLY at Lulu, and that's where I urge you to buy.

Here are the links ...

Hardback: http://www.lulu.com/shop/mike-bennett/underwood-and-flinch/hardcover/product-21742664.html

Paperback: http://www.lulu.com/shop/mike-bennett/underwood-and-flinch/paperback/product-21746569.html

Once again, my huge thanks to all the U&F Fundraisers for helping to make this happen. Your names adorn the dedication pages!

NB: There's a printing and delivery time of over a week - I know, not ideal, but that's self-publishing companies for you.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Half-way through the recording

I'm now half-way through the recording. There have been various re-writes over the weekend (yes, still re-working sentences and phrases) and I was also busy with other stuff, namely preparing the hardback of U&F for print release. That's ready to go, but it's going to be expensive. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Four Pages Read

Four pages read. Multiple takes and various different character voices experimented with before settling on an all-London cast. The text is tight and didn't need many revisions. All in all, a good session. Story flows well, it's tight, and I for one am gripped - and I know how it ends!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Back in the Saddle!

I can't edit the text any longer, I have to begin recording. Anything that's wrong with the text will come out in the reading process as I record.

And so I began this afternoon - and yes, I found lots of little snags, so much so that I only got ten minutes of it recorded (and much of that will no doubt end up on the cutting room floor), but still - I've started, and that's a major hurdle overcome. Getting back in the saddle, as they say, is the hard part. Tomorrow I shall continue (but in the bedroom, as there's less traffic noise in there). That's when I'll go for the big run at it; I'll try and get at least half of it recorded, if not all. However, that might be a bit difficult as, at over 8,000 words, it's technically a "novelette".

Meanwhile, in other news, I've been in contact with a museum library in London trying to buy the rights to use a particular picture as the cover artwork. They have now agreed (at a modest price) to permit me to use the image and are sending me a scan of the picture through the post. MJ Hahn is on board to turn that scan into the finished artwork, and I'll share it with you just as soon as I enter the final stages of audio editing.

From now on, I'll try and post progress on the recording regularly here on my blog.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

U&F Pay to Download Story

I imagine you've been wondering WTF is going on with my output of late, am I right? Not only is there no new U&F episode, but neither is there any word on any of my sites as to what's going on. Forgive me, I've been working, and I've been in a constant hope of finishing the object of my work and getting it out to you, but due to sh*t happening, the finish line keeps getting put back. Let me explain.

The reason my work is slow in coming - as you may be aware - is because I have to work a day job. However, if I could make my writing and audio output my sole means of earning a living, a day job wouldn't be necessary; I'd be a self-employed writer and audio book producer.

So I decided to put out a pay-to-download story that would never be available as a free podcast. This story would need to become available before the end of Blood and Smoke, because from past experience I know that when a podcast is over, 80% of my listeners drift away. Therefore, to reach that 80% before they go, I need to get the story out before B&S ends.

I'd hoped to get it online in June, but it didn't happen; I wrote a full version, but had to start over because there were too many things I wanted to change. I then wrote a second version, which I much prefer, and it is this that I'm currently in the process of editing. Of course, this is taking time as it's a big story (I feel it'd have to be to justify putting a price on it) and a lot happens in it. There are also the historical details to get right, so there's been a lot of book-reading and swotting up to make sure everything has the stamp of authenticity. However, for all this sound reasoning, I know that you must be getting slightly peeved (to put it mildly) wondering where Episode 7 is. And so, I'm bringing you into the loop. I'd hoped to be able to surprise you with the new story, but at the rate I'm going, it's more likely that I'd just lose you before I get it finished.

So, here's my pledge to you. I'm going to get this story written and in its final version by the weekend. I'm then going to record it, edit the recording, and - assuming I can get all the pay-to-download cashcart stuff set up on my site, I'll get the story online before the end of July.

After that, I'll get to work on Episode 7.

Who knows, if the p-t-d story makes enough money, I may just be able to go pro next month! Then the combination of having the time to do the work, and the need to put food on the table, will mean that U&F production will go into overdrive. A novel every year for the next three years will be guaranteed, plus p-t-d short stories every now and again will appear in order to keep my head above water.

It's an exciting plan, and I hope you'll help me make it become a reality when the p-t-d story goes live. If it does, everybody wins! HUZZAH!!
 


Friday, May 23, 2014

QR Code. But Does it Work?

I don't have a smartphone, so I don't know if this works. It should take you to a free documentary movie that I want to promote. QR Code

Thursday, May 22, 2014

From Rough to Finished.

Hear me shed my mystique on this recording that reveals I'm far from a one-take-perfection kind of guy. Quite the opposite, in fact...

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Fracking is Coming to You

63% of the UK is now in danger of being fracked. This is no longer something people can say they don't mind as long as it's not near them: it will be near all of us. Even if you're not geographically affected by the resultant pollution, our water and farming - and so the food you eat - will be. Watch this and learn what the government and the BBC don't want you to know. No, seriously, do watch it.

Monday, May 19, 2014

A Weekend of Birthday-ness

Yesterday was my birthday, so it's been a weekend of small but enjoyable celebrations. On Saturday, my wife and I went up to visit the London Transport Museum. I've been meaning to visit it for ages, partly for U&F research, partly because I like museums and I've never been to this one. We (or I at least) had a fabulous time looking at old trains, buses and trams. Look, here's a Routemaster ...


We then went on to meet some chums for a meal and a few beers, which was equally fab.

Then on Sunday - having been sung "Happy Birthday" and 'liked' the many kind birthday wishes I received on Facebook (for which - if you left one, I thank you), I sat down to tackle the recording of Episode 6. After about 90 minutes, it was done. Phew! Of course, this isn't the end of the process, it's only the beginning. And talking of the beginning, here it is - the first minute, just so you know I'm not lying.
https://soundcloud.com/mike_bennett/first-minute-of-blood-and-smoke-episode-6

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Good news! I finished writing it today!

Episode 6 is now officially written. It's good, I like it. It took a lot of fussing and cutting and re-working to get everything sounding as it should, but the finished result is on par with the rest of the story. I'll record it tomorrow than I'll edit it and get it out as fast as I can. Huzzah!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Still Writing Ep 6

I'm still writing it. I cut a few chunks of speech today because I felt they added nothing and perhaps over-complicated things. I'm about half way through this current edit. As you know, it doesn't always take this long, but this one is - I'm not sure why - taking longer than other chapters. I think a lot of my difficulties stem from the way this story is told - an audio recording which has no visual clues: I can't go into characters' heads and see what they're thinking, I can't see what they're doing etc etc. But anyway, I endeavour to rise to the challenge. I write on ...

Friday, May 9, 2014

Ep 6 Update

I'm still working on the text. I've finished the second draft, but I'm now going through it again and doing a third draft. I'm halfway there. Of course, when I record it, I'll be creating a fourth re-write as I go along. That always happens. And then, when the audio is finished, that'll be the finished product. Drop by again on Sunday, when I should hopefully be well into the recording process.

I realise it's late; I tried getting some unpaid time off work to finish it and other U&F jobs I have to do, but he can't get anyone to cover my classes. Bear with me. I'll get there.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Episode 6 Update

I've noticed the daily views on this site are rising - as they always do at this time of the month - so I'm posting this update on Episode 6 to keep you in the loop.

Episode 6 is still being written. I'm almost finished, but this week at work (day job) has been very busy and I haven't been able to fit writing into my daily routine since Tuesday. I'm going to do some more tonight and I hope to have it completed by the weekend (which will include a visit from friends who are staying over with us, so that also takes Saturday out of the writing schedule).

In an ideal world, I'd be like James Caan in Misery and go book myself into a little hotel half way up a snowy mountain until the book was finished. But I can't, because unlike Caan, my success doesn't generate money, so I have to have a day job. You might think I make a lot of money from ebooks, but I actually make virtually nothing.

So, based on the prediction that the writing will be completed by the end of the weekend, the audio recording won't start till early next week, and will take at least a week to complete. I'm not saying it'll be released next weekend because I don't know what my day job workload will be next week, but I can at least say that you don't have to keep checking this site every day for the next seven days. Episode 6 is coming, and it will it arrive, but not in the next seven days.

Now, due to the difficulties of providing a monthly episode and the annoyance I know it brings to many of you, I've decided to split Blood and Smoke into two books, rather than struggling on with this difficult schedule. Each one will be a 40,000 word novel in itself (30,000 words of which are now done on the first part). So the current podcast will most likely end with Episode 7 or 8. I will then write Part 2 without making a monthly podcast (which cuts a whole week out of the writing schedule every month), and I'll write the book to completion before resuming any audio production. My current plan involves making all of Part 2 available as a pay-to-download audio book (though a podcast version will be available too). And if that works out, who knows, maybe I'll be able to afford to book myself into a little snowy mountain hotel and write the next U&F title in the seclusion it deserves :-)

Thank you for your continued patience. You are gentlemen and ladies, all.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Expanding The Chronicles.

I've spent this month writing a new, stand-alone addition to the Underwood and Flinch Chronicles. This adventure is a self contained story that has no connection to anything I've ever written before. It features a previously unknown Flinch and is set in a previously uncovered time. I can't say any more than that, but I can say that it's now made the jump from "short-story" to "novelette" in terms of word count (over 7,500).

I love it. My wife loves it. You'll love it too. Coming to you as a pay-to-download only presentation in May 2014. Fang-Tastic!!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Five is Live!

For those of you whom I know keep coming back to check the site every day, I have good news: Episode 5 has landed!! Hit the pic for a direct download or to listen live ...

http://traffic.libsyn.com/mikebennett/UFBS_05.mp3
click the pic for a live link to Episode 5

It's bedtime here, so Good night, Britain / Ireland; good morning, Australia / NZ; and good afternoon USA / USA. I hope you enjoy it.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The U&F Test Paperback Copy Arrives!

I took time out of editing the audio of Blood and Smoke Ep 5 to open (with the help of my friend Terry) a parcel from Lulu Publishing. This video shows you the book, but it also highlights a few language items for my students (two birds with one stone ;-) Thanks again to MJ Hahn for the fab artwork!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

UFBS 5 - A Taster

Yes, Episode 5 late, but trust me, I have a very good reason. The full episode is about 1/3 finished and should be with you in a few days, until then, please accept this as a tasty little appetiser 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Big, Hard, and Totally Awesome!!

It arrived early this afternoon. Four years in the writing and another two in the editing, formatting and publishing. Finally, the single biggest achievement of my life lands on my desk - and it's gorgeous! Thanks to M.J. Hahn for the cover artwork, Jason Oh for the author photograph, my wife for her help with proof-reading and formatting, and the gallant contributors to the U&F fundraiser! Huzzah!! Underwood and Flinch rises!!

 


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Blood and Smoke 04

Blood and Smoke 04 is now in your iTunes download queue!!

For a direct download link, click here: http://traffic.libsyn.com/mikebennett/UFBS_04.mp3 

Forgive the short blog post: I have to go to bed, I'm Being "observed" in class tomorrow, which is technical for "my boss is going to watch me and decide whether or not I'm worth employing". Sleep is needed ;-)


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Ooops!

Damn! Spent 90 mins recording B&S Episode 4 only to discover afterwards that my microphone hadn't been plugged in to the PC!! The internal mic had recorded me instead and it sounded awful. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to do it again tomorrow. Such a pity; it was a good read :-(

Sunday, February 16, 2014

First Look at the Hardback Cover by M.J. Hahn

Here it is, a first look a the cover of the hardback edition of Underwood and Flinch, as designed by the sublimely talented M.J. Hahn. Like the first podcast, this book will contain both Volumes 1 and 2 of the U&F Chronicles. Neither book nor cover are finished yet, but this is essentially what the cover will look like when it comes out later this year.
I can't say when it'll be out yet; not only is there still work to be done on this cover, but I'd like to release a paperback at the same time to give you a choice of which edition you'd prefer. Hey, maybe you'd even like to get both :-)

My huge thanks to M.J. Hahn for all the hard work he's put into this - and the other covers he's designed for my ebooks. If you haven't heard his wonderful podcast works, then do check them out today, right here: M.J. Hahn's Latchkey Tales.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Get Salvation for free - and get another book too!

Hey, when you pick up your free Kindle copy of Salvation and Other stories, be sure and grab another free title while you're there. Check out the Dark Fantasy top 20 in the States (I'm at number 15) and get another free book or two with Salvation ...
http://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-Kindle-Store-Dark-Fantasy-Horror/zgbs/digital-text/157062011/ref=zg_bs_fvp_p_f_157062011?_encoding=UTF8&tf=1

And in the UK, grab another title from the Horror chart (I'm at 55) ...  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Best-Sellers-Kindle-Store-Horror-Fiction/zgbs/digital-text/362283031/ref=zg_bs_fvp_p_f_362283031?_encoding=UTF8&tf=1 This not only enriches you, but it helps to get me into the "people who bought this also bought that" system ;-)

Free Ebook of the Month - Salvation and Other Stories

Yes, it's free ebook of the month time again, and this month it's the turn of Salvation and Other Stories (those other stories being The Green Man and Night Crossing). The promotion runs until Friday, so grab your copy today. Oh, and if you'd be so good as to leave a few kind words and stars in the wake of your Amazon visit, I'd be mucho grateful!!

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00A3SVMVA#reader_B00A3SVMVA


UK link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Salvation-Other-Stories-Mike-Bennett-ebook/dp/B00A3SVMVA

USA link: http://www.amazon.com/Salvation-Other-Stories-Mike-Bennett-ebook/dp/B00A3SVMVA

For those of you jonesing for the next episode of Blood and Smoke, good news is that the first finished draft is now written and I'll be editing it and recording it this week. I'm also hard at work on the novel that follows it (let's call it U&F 4). Oooooh yes, my friends - the Chronicles will be rolling on for at least 5 books, probably more. So do your bit for the cause - download Salvation and Other Stories and share the link to the store with your Facebook and Twitter pals! I thank you!!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Blood and Smoke: Episode 3. Now Online.

Episode 3 is now live. Underwood and Matthias reach Kingston, Jamaica. Underwood sets out to hire a ship and finds there's a more in the shadowy alleys than just doxies and nightsoil.


Here's a direct download link: Blood and Smoke Episode Three