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Soundbooth Theater Live!
with Jeff Hays
"The Wayward Bard" by Lars M!
"Daniel's guide to early retirement:
- Intercept illegal money transfer from mafia boss.
- Hide out in super-exclusive full-immersion virtual reality game until the heat is off.
- Roll a bard. Max out charisma. Live it up.
With all the pesky planning out of the way, Daniel set out to realize his ultimate dream: gaining enough money to buy a tropical island and spend his days playing the violin and RPGs. What could possibly go wrong?
Disclaimer: There shall be no harems in this series. Overpowered, perfect protagonists will not be tolerated, and excessive cursing will result in donations to the swear jar.
The Soundbooth Theater team for this production:
- Justin Thomas James - narration, music direction, editing, mastering
- Laurie Catherine Winkel - female characters
- Jeff Hays - Gillem Drizzlefog, Greck, and other supporting characters
- Dalton Lynne - proofing, editing"
We're particularly excited about this one, and we hope you'll check out the Soundbooth Theater Live! version.
"Fortress of Shadows" by Carrie Summers!
"Fortress of Shadows" by Carrie Summers! (Book Two in the Stonehaven League Series)"During her first weeks in the deeply immersive VR game, Relic Online, she’s hacked out a home from a choking jungle, gathered a tribe of loyal followers, and earned a wisp stalker who insists she’s some kind of champion.
But Relic Online isn’t some wussy kids’ game, and there will be no easy-street cruising for Devon. Like a monk racking up combo points, the system opens a fresh offensive by crippling her most powerful ability. Following through, it strangles the village food supply, sends demons bursting through rifts in the earth, and delivers a final, devastating throat punch by exploiting Devon’s worst fear.
The players have discovered Devon’s home. Now everything changes."
War Aeternus 3: The Culling" by Charles Dean
Lee is back in Augustus's game world, and though he's trying to get Satterfield back into shape, and incorporate his new following in Kirshstein, yet another herald has come to threaten him and his followers. Maedhbh, the leader of a group of shifters known as the phouka, has mobilized her terrible army! She intends to cleanse the populace to make way for the strong, and she wants Lee to join by her side.
This series has been so much fun, and it just keeps getting more intense. Lee develops even more incredible powers, his domain widens, and his faith increases. We're introduced to an instant classic character, Jade, herald of the goddess of blood, Mary. And Annie Ellicott returns as Brigid, the Leprechaun general, and a wide range of great new characters, including our new villain, Maedhbh.
The Last Warrior of Unigaea: Box Set By: Harmon Cooper
A crimson sky. A plague approaching. Violence on the horizon. A world in desperate need of a warrior. Oric Rune must rise to this challenge or lose everything he’s ever held dear.
Joining him on his journey are his large black wolf, a mysterious female solar mage, a scholarly giant, and Sam Raid, the woman who might just hold the key to saving Unigaea.
The audiobook series that started it all for Soundbooth Theater is now available in one audiobook! This is Annie Ellicott’s debut role and the first multicast performance released by this burgeoning production house. The gruff narration of Jeff Hays blends with Annie’s sweet yet commanding delivery to perfectly set the tone for this heartfelt tale set in a harsh world.
The Land of the Undying: Dark Elf Chronicles Book 1 by Dave Willmarth
"The Land of the Undying: Dark Elf Chronicles Book 1" By Dave Willmarth is now available on Audible!
Shari and Mace are survivors of a zombie apocalypse, and the only way to keep themselves sane and survive is to dive into Elysia Online. There, Mace is playing a Dark Elf, while Shari is playing Light Elf, and despite playing characters from enemy cultures, they strive to find each other in much the same way they did IRL.
This was a challenging audio book to produce, as not only did Justin Thomas James and Laurie Catherine Winkel do a dual narration, but they also interspersed their dialogue into each others' chapters, along with my own voice for characters here and there. But Dave Willmarth's story made everything worth it, and we can't wait for you guys to finally experience this book in audio!
Goblin King: A LitRPG/GameLit Adventure (Monster Slayer Online, Book 1)" by R.R. Virdi
"Goblin King: A LitRPG/GameLit Adventure (Monster Slayer Online, Book 1)" by R.R. Virdi is now available on Audible! Virdi has written a crazy, dark and action-packed LitRPG novel, and it was my honor to produce it for him. There were tons of great characters for me to voice, including terrible and epic monsters everywhere, as well as a lot of opportunities to go a little bit further with sound effects and... even music!
It's been an honor working with R.R. Virdi, and this was a great introduction to his work. We will be collaborating even more in the coming year, so if you like this one, keep your eye out for more audio books from him and Soundbooth Theater!
"Trust" by Pippa Dacosta
"Temple of Sorrow" by Carrie Summers
This is the second book narrated by Annie Ellicott. With Jeff Hays playing the male characters, including Uruquat, my favorite ogre in all of Gamelit, Annie delivers yet another wonderful performance that brings Carrie Summers's world of Relic Online to life and will keep you hooked into this story filled with fast-paced action and methodically crunchy crafting and town building.
Sorry, bad video, but the audio is still good!
"Supers: Ex Heroes" by Jamie Hawke
"Supers: Ex Heroes" by Jamie Hawke is now available on Audible!
Chad is convicted of a murder he didn't commit, but on his way to prison, someone shoots his bus with a rocket launcher. The next thing he knows, he's waking up naked in a metal cell and being told by a strange voice in his head, being fitted into a biotech suit, and pushed into a mission to break out of this prison for supervillains. When Chad meets the absurdly sexy Charm and Twitch, he discovers, through science, that he's actual able to absorb their powers... by having sex with them. No super has ever had a more convenient power, and in order to save the universe from a powerful villain with a nefarious and epic plan, he needs to absorb as many powers from as many other supers as he can, and Charm and Twitch are determined to help him do so!
This is yet another Super Harem adventure featuring the entire Soundbooth Theater cast, and this one is very, very naughty. Led again by the smooth talking Justin Thomas James as Chad, backed by the sultry voices of Annie Ellicott and Laurie Catherine Winkel as Twitch and Charm, and myself as the bad guy, Ranger, this audio book will make you laugh almost as much as it makes you sweat!
WARNING: If I didn't already make this blatantly obvious, this books is for adults only!
"Cherry Blossom Girls 2" by Harmon Cooper
Harmon has turned everything up for book 2 of this meta AF harem story. More titillation, more action, more crazy powers, and more interesting characters to add to the mix. Gideon's nonfiction mystery scifi... or whatever, "Mutants in the Making" hit huge, and now he and the girls are heading out to take down more of the secret government facilities that are creating these supers. But the supers who are working for the private military are now on full alert, and they're coming after Gideon and the Cherry Blossom Girls.
Yet another installment of the first audio book series to feature the entire SBT cast, I can't wait for you guys to hear it. So proud to have such a roster of talent, *sniffle* you guys ROCK. Justin Thomas James, Laurie Catherine Winkel, Annie Ellicott
We're jumping on CBG 3 as soon as we can, but for now I hope you enjoy book 2 in its ultimate audio form!"
Lee is back in the strange game of the gods, and now he's committed to growing his congregation. But when he discovers a new ability to make divine beer by simply adding the necessary ingredients to water and wiggling his nose in the wrong town, bad people take notice. Racist people.... Bad, racist people who all sound kinda like Arnold Schwarzenneger. Drama and action ensues, and Lee eventually finds himself captured and forced into a tournament. Without weapons, he must discover new powers within himself to get out of this mess, and come back to Kirshtein to purge the racist element from the once great city.
"Reapers and Repercussions: The Feedback Loop Series, Book 4" by Harmon Cooper
"Reapers and Repercussions: The Feedback Loop Series, Book 4" by Harmon Cooper has just hit Audible. If you've already listened to the first 3 books in the series, then you've been waiting for this for a LONG time! I missed it as much as you did, and I can't wait for you to hear it!
Quantum is getting over the loss of his digital love, but also back in the saddle to avenge her against the man who brought her down, Strata Godsick. In this installment, Quantum and the Knights of Non Compos Mentis have to win a tournament in Polynya to gain access to the third island in Tritania, Ultima Thule, while IRL they plot to capture Strata's son, who has been stuck in the Proxima galaxy while his body lay dormant in a VR vegetative state.
Gun Meister Online: Adult & Uncensored by Noah Barnett
Gun Meister Online: Adult and Uncensored" by Noah Barnett is now available on Audible! This is a raunchy Gamelit, meant for ADULT LISTENERS ONLY! Imagine an immersive VR game in which players treat their guns like people... because they act like people! To be more precise, the majority of them are beautiful women with the hots for their meister. Charlie is a used car salesman looking for a more exciting life, and Gun Meister Online delivers that in spades. Join him and his odd group of other player friends, as they work to rank up and collect more weapons for their gun harem. This is Annie Ellicott’s first full narration. Her performance is nothing short of provocative and brilliant. She juggles a wide range of characters, an ability to command attention during intense gun battles, and a sultry tone in steamy sex scenes. Supported by Jeff Hays as the male cast and Justin Thomas James as the Civil War enthusiast Montgomery, Annie completely knocked it out of the park with her debut narration.
Dungeon Lord: Otherwordly Powers by Hugo Huesca
"Dungeon Lord: Otherworldly Powers" by Hugo Huesca is now available on Audible! This one is action packed, funny, and full of new fun characters. Many of them were performed by the lovely Ms. Annie Ellicott, but she's also replaced me as some of the familiar characters from book 1, and in my opinion they're made better for it!In this installment, Ed begins to settle into his role as Dungeon Lord, and the Dungeon building begins. But of course, he won't be able to do it in peace. Murmur has plans, and Ed has to figure out how to stop them instead of being duped into doing exactly what he wants. A tricky thing to do when dealing with a dark god!
Fantasy Online: The Runestones of Tritinakh by Harmon Cooper
"Fantasy Online: The Runestones of Tritinakh" by Harmon Cooper is now available on Audible! And, since a certain character from The Last Warrior of Unigaea shows up in this one, we decided to have the wonderful Ms. Annie Ellicott reprise her role, and a few others in this installment! What a ride this series has been, and I hope that Harmon's success with Cherry Blossom Girls will have an impact on sales for his other brilliant works, like this one! If you haven't listened to the rest of the series, you can atone for that here. Fantasy Online is full of action and humor.
"Dante's Immortality: Beginnings" by Antonio Terzini, AKA idlefiber, is now available on Audible! It's already doing very well on Kindle, and it has been a smash hit on Royal Road Legends, already having reached more than 4,000 followers, while Antonio has only been writing it for just over 4 months! When he approached me about working on his book, I was eager to see what the fuss was about, and I wasn't disappointed. Dante's Immortality is a gorey, action packed Gamelit fantasy full of political intrigue and all the loot and level gains a person can take.
Cherry Blossom Girls by Harmon Cooper
"Cherry Blossom Girls" by Harmon Cooper has just been submitted to ACX TODAY! I can't fickin wait for our very first audio book to include the entire SBT cast to hit Audible! With Justin Thomas James leading the way as the meek and slightly pathetic Gideon, Annie Ellicott and Laurie Catherine Winkel play Grace and Veronique, two fierce government experiments who will make a man out of him yet. And as the cherry on top, I of course play the creepy AF villain, Angel! We hope you enjoy this Tour de Force, and we look forward to bringing you more like it!
Fizzlesprocket ,Everybody Loves Large Chests Vol. 2 by Neven Iliev
Fizzlesprocket has arrived on Audible! Everybody Loves Large Chests Vol. 2 by Neven Iliev was one of my favorite audio books to produce. If you can believe it, it's even funnier than the first book, and it also begins to weave a REAL story out of the Boxxy insanity. Fizzie as a character adds something else that the first book didn't have: SYMPATHY! But don't you worry, it's only there so Boxxy can swallow it...
Life Reset: Environment Vs. Player
"After defeating the hobgoblin threat, Oren is now faced with an even more tenacious enemy: the players themselves.
His old guild have discovered his village's location and a deadly strike force is closing in. With time running out, Oren must build up his clan and recruit an army of monsters if he's to have any hope of withstanding the coming attack."
Click the cover image above to hear the SBT Live version while you wait.
Dragon Seed, the first in the Archemi Online series, will be narrated by Justin Thomas James, with additional voices by Jeff Hays. Hector, the book's protagonist, is dying from a virus threatening humankind with extinction. He has three days to live. When Hector’s brother contacts him after years of hostile silence, Hector goes to try and make peace. But his brother has an offer even more unbelievable than reconciliation: the chance to cheat death by joining him in Archemi, a full-immersion fantasy VR-RPG videogame. The Kindle version is available on Amazon, and James Osiris Baldwin joined the guys for a particularly lively Soundbooth Theater Live!session.
Better Narration Strategies
Written by Michael Soileau
I'm an avid audio book listener, as are many fans. I'm a computer programmer by trade, and after staring at computer monitors all day, I don't feel like looking at a computer screen. Audiobooks help me to get my reading in without actually having to read.
However, audio narrators are in a unique position. A good audio narrator can elevate a mundane book into a work of art. A bad narrator can transform an awesome book into a mundane or unbearable one.
The latter situation is more dire, because many indie authors struggle in the early portions of their novel, and if the narrator can't carry the reader through, the book won't get the reviews or the attention that it deserves.
Breaking it down, there's a few key points that a good narrator should do.
- Be able to narrate. This means carry the book even when a character isn't speaking.
- Be able to fit the voice to the character. That is, an average narrator can do a voice. A great narrator can do a voice that fits the character. Amongst those who really nail a character's voice, Andrew McLeod for Sandman Slim, Jeff Hays for Conor Night, and James Marsters for Harry Dresden.
- Be able to perform both sexes voices in a way that doesn't sound like a bad impression.
- Be able to vary tone and inflection.
- Be able to perform appropriate ages and builds of characters.
- Be able to perform accents and know when to perform those accents.
- Be able to clearly distinguish characters in a scene.
We'll look at these in turn, starting at the second point. Because if you can't narrate, then your career as a narrator will be short-lived.
One of the big takeaways here is that proper narration is more than just picking a narrator. It has to be the right narrator for the right part. Some of the narrators listed below do great in certain settings, absolutely dreadful in others.
Fitting the voice to the character.
A great example of fitting voice to character is Armen Taylor's Osmark from James Hunter's Viridian Gates Online. Osmark's character is someone who looks down on the regular people, believing himself to be above them. He's a tech genius and the literal savior of everyone in the virtual game. In this conversation, he's talking down to Jack, the protagonist of the series.
Armen does a great job of giving him both a subtle sophistication and a bit of a sneer towards people under him.
This is very different from how he portrays the voice of Jack, who is the everyman character thrust into a World much bigger than he is.
Other problems are just from choosing the wrong narrator. Dick Hill stands out as a terrible narrator for the Repairman Jack series in By the Sword.
First, Repairman Jack is described as a man in his early 30s, who works out everyday, of average height and a slightly more muscular than normal build. He wears loose clothing to conceal his build.
Dick Hill sounds much older than Jack, and has a heavy man's voice. This makes him good for doing Jack Reacher, (a lot of Jack's going around), who is described as a man in his 40s to 50s and weighs in the 225 - 260 lbs. range, but makes him terrible for doing Repairman Jack.
Even ignoring that he sounds nothing like the titular character should, his accents are terrible.
His Repairman Jack is also nasal with a bad Boston/New York style accent.
The Secret History is narrated by the author. The result is not good.
Performing both sexes
This one is from Sunset Strip, the narrator is doing a male voice. It's very hard to distinguish between the male voice and the female voice, and the attempted accent isn't working.
So why? Part of the problem is that the narrator is trying to imitate the voice for James done through the previous books. He has a European accent designed to make him sound sophisticated. Unfortunately, she can't pull it off and he sounds neither sophisticated nor masculine.
Of course, no one beats Ice T doing a female moon elf.
Performing younger or older characters
I have already listed Dick Hill as an offender here, but it's a common theme in stories that feature protagonists that are young adults being narrated by someone far older. They often sound too old.
Another distinguishing feature of older people and younger people is that older people generally talk slower. Young people are far more likely to speak quickly than old people. This is because the vocal chords can actually move faster when you're young.
There's also pitch shifts that occur. Older men have higher pitched voices, older women have lower pitched voices.
There's one other gotcha to this. Old people talk like they're from a different era, and that's a choice of both the author and the narrator. This post isn't about book reviews, but I've criticized authors in the past for not knowing how to distinguish the voices of their characters by education and upbringing.
Several narrators get this one wrong, but the worst offender is again, Ice T.
No matter what he's reading, it goes at the same pace and cadence, making the story boring to listen to.
Be able to perform accents
It's not just being able to perform accents that matters. It's also knowing when to deploy them.
Bernard Setaro Clark’s performance of White Plume Mountain: Dungeons & Dragons: Greyhawk is very good, but he has one weird piece to it. He gives one of the characters, a fairy, a Jamaican accent. He doesn't do it for any other characters.
There's nothing wrong with it, but it calls attention to itself. Compare with Peter Kenny's performance in The Witcher series, where he uses a variety of accents based upon the different regions people are from in the book.
This is one of those basic characteristics of a good narrator, but it's important to be able to distinguish characters. This is especially important if the dialogue is similar to Hemingway's Sun Also Rises, which features long dialogue sequences without any sort of break up like "Bill said" or dialogue tags.
🗒 SBT News
GameLit Society is creating GameLitRPG Site
Blaise Corvin, author of the Delvers LLC series and overseer of the RPG Gamelit Society on Facebook, has started a new website for aggregating the opinions of Gamelit readers and listeners, and providing a space for the community to basically come together and hang out! I thought this was a fantastic idea, so when Blaise started a Patreon for the project, I jumped right on board. If you listen to my audio books, there's a good chance that you'd be interested in this website and what we have in store for the Gamelit community. So please, if you have a little scratch to spare and want to see this website succeed, check out the Patreon page here.
And that concludes the news for today! There's a LOT more to talk about, but I don't want to flood you guys with info. I will be sending out more newsletters soon, perhaps on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, until we've caught you up sufficiently. Then you can maybe expect 1 to 2 newsletters a month.