<![CDATA[A. L. GOULDEN - author - Blunt Blog]]>Thu, 20 Jul 2017 12:18:29 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[3 Simple Steps To A Great AudioBook Cover]]>Wed, 19 Jul 2017 13:30:00 GMThttp://author-algoulden.com/blunt-blog/3-simple-steps-to-a-great-audiobook-cover
So far my experience with ACX (the production side of Amazon's Audible.com) has been great. Their instructions are very clear and easy to find. I uploaded my test script on a Friday afternoon and by Sunday I had 7 auditions to listen to. I recommend you take your time to make the final decision and listen to them all a few times, but once I was sure of my selection the rest went just as smooth. We negotiated a rate, exchanged emails regarding pronunciation ​and character, then dove in to the process.
​Since Audible requires you make a special cover for your new Audio Book, I thought I'd share with you how I quickly made mine. I used the same cover from my book but made a few simple adjustments.
I took my original photograph and cropped the best ​composition for an eye-catching image. Think about how your cover will look as a tiny thumbnail since many people look at audio books on their phones.

Then I laid in the Title graphic large enough to fill the square. Remember that thumbnail... being able to read your title is the most important part. This is the same as when you design your book covers. 
Then lastly I added Matt Haynes' name to the top in a coordinating font and color that reads. Remember that your narrator is now a collaborator in the presentation of your audio book and they may have a following that listeners recognize and love. You may find that someone listens to a sample of your book solely on the person that narrated it if they liked other titles they've done. 
ACX Audiobook Requirements:
  • Overall Size of the graphic should be 2400 x 2400 pixels
  • JPG, PNG, or TIF file format only
  • Images must contain both the name of the title and author(s)
  • It is customary to include the Narrator's name as well 
  • The resolution of these images can be no smaller than 72 dpi.
  • Images must be RGB, not CMYK.
  • Images must be squared. The squared cover must be a true squared cover and cannot be rectangular with colored borders on the side.
  • Images should be at least 24-bit. Images cannot refer to physical CD’s or media other than the audio presented.
  • Jewel cases, promotional stickers, and cellophane are not allowed.
  • Images should not be stretched to fit the required dimensions. Via Rights Holders.
That's it. Can you believe it? I hope you'll check out my new audio book July 31st and download a copy to escape to a surfer's summer paradise and fall in love. 
<![CDATA[Sexy Spots You Must See In Seattle]]>Tue, 18 Jul 2017 14:00:00 GMThttp://author-algoulden.com/blunt-blog/sexy-spots-you-must-see-in-seattle
Portland isn't the only northwest city that knows how to have some kinky fun. Seattle has a few great spots you should try next time you're in the Emerald City. And if you know of more Northwest fun, give me a shout and let me know. I'll add your suggestion to this list too!
Hit up Babeland (address and info)
First Hill
Not your average sex toy shop. They host events like Blow outs and BJs to adult toy giveaways, Babeland is the go-to place for sex-ed and sexy goodies. The staff is friendly but they'll give you space to browse on your own. Located smack dab in the heart of Capitol Hill, you’ll find all the sexy time doo-dads from your wildest fantasies and more. No worries... from Pecker Patch Sour Gummies to things that go bump in the night, you’ll find it here.
The Pink Door (address and info)
Who doesn't love a glittery burlesque show and late dinner at The Pink Door in Pike Place Market? On Saturday evenings at 11pm, the intimate space becomes the canvas for pasty-adorned dancing queens to strut their stuff. Arrive early because seats tend to fill up quickly... especially the ones under the trapeze... yep, you heard me. Doors for shows on Saturdays open at 9pm.
The Palms spanking group
Various locations
This adults-only spanking group, ThePalms, meets bi-monthly for dinner and a good ol’ fashion paddling. If you’ve been naughty, this group is the place to turn over to. You have to be invited to join the banquet-style dinners and subsequent parties but you can find more information here. Bon appetit!
Get your freak on at FreakNight in the WaMu Theater (address and info)
The name alone makes this a MUST for those adventurous souls who want to let their flags fly. FreakNight only transpires once a year so mark your calendars. Don't miss the scantily clad performance artists, pyrotechnics, some of the world's biggest DJs, and thousands of costumed party-goers out for two of Seattle's wildest nights.
<![CDATA[Better Note Taking for Better Writers]]>Mon, 17 Jul 2017 14:30:00 GMThttp://author-algoulden.com/blunt-blog/better-note-taking-for-better-writers
Sometimes I get ideas for stories in the strangest places or I come across photos or news articles that spark a character idea or blog post like this one. That's why taking notes and saving relevant information right away is important. Our lives are filled with constant information, some good, some junk, but you never know where the next big idea will come from.

I used to be one of those people who accumulated Post-Its and little black notebooks all over with scribbled websites or thoughts I hoped to come back to later. The problem was that I'd lose those little colored papers, or not be at my desk when I finally had time to spend with the information. We all know there are a thousand programs and apps out there to "help" us, but who has time to research them, much less extend the extra cash to invest in them. 
​Then I found the Evernote app to keep all of my random information at my fingertips-anywhere for FREE!! I thought, "I've found my own personal assistant. A mobile thought organizer. I'm finally going to rule the world (at least my little world.) Then they stripped some of the Free app capabilities and jacked up the subscription price which had me wondering if I should sign up for another monthly cost. Fear not. There are plenty of other options that may fit your lifestyle and help you become the best writer you can be.

Note taking apps that can make you a better writer

There's a reason it costs for this powerful tool. It has far more bells and whistles than any other app I looked into. You can add text, images, audio, and files to notes, then organize them into notebooks. Everything is tied together with the ability to search words no matter where the info is. You can even take handwritten notes and it will translate them into text. How cool is that? My favorite feature, though, is its browser extensions. Just like pinning to Pinterest, Evernote allows me to highlight and save text or even a whole page into my files.

Evernote Price: Free for basic features and up to 60MB file uploads per month; from $34.99/year Plus plan for offline notebook access, email integrations, searching inside files and more
Microsoft OneNote
This is a note-taking app that feels a bit more like a paper notebook. It's linked to the Microsoft Office Suite, which means you may already have it and not know it. The section tabs will make you want to keep things organized. For those who love binders, this is the app to replace your 3-hole punch. Plus, you can drag in images and file attachments, then add highlights, notes, to-do lists and more anywhere on your page. You can even include audio, sketches, and videos in your notes.

OneNote Price: Free for basic features; from $69/year for Office 365 for Microsoft Office including the full version of OneNote
Google Keep
I'm a Google gal so this completely FREE app is of special interest to me. For Chrome & gmail users especially, it makes information easy to access as part of your Google collection of apps. At first it looks a lot like the Google+ interface mixed with a sticky-note quality, but it's actually a full-featured notes app to jot down ideas, create checklists, and much more. It's stripped down compared to Evernote and OneNote, but that might be just what you need to keep you efficient. Plus my inner Post-It lover was doing flips at the similar feeling it gives to my old ways. You can write new notes then preview them without having to open each note. If you want to take one further, there's a “Copy to Google Doc” feature, which turns any note into an editable Google Doc. And if you write down something you can't afford to forget, Google Keep's location reminders can refresh your memory when you're in a certain area. Keep's most useful feature is audio transcription. Record your thoughts with its recorder and Google transcribes the text and records the audio. You'll never need to transcribe a conversation again.

Google Keep Price: Free
A clutter-free, no frills space for typing notes. You can't add images or attachments, but you 
can quickly write notes and search through your entire collection. The handy History feature ensures you never accidentally delete important information and you can share a note to a friend or coworker to help collaborate on a project. This could be great if you're co-authoring or working with a writers group on brainstorming. 

Simplenote price: Free
Zoho Notebook
Part of the Zoho productivity family, which I was unaware of and am now falling for, this is an aesthetic, feature-rich note-taking app. It makes organizing your notes fun by throwing out menus in favor of notebooks with trendy designs, or customize with their own cover art. The menu bar gives you five unique "card" types, all with their own displays and options: Text note, voice recording, image, checklist, or handwritten notes, including recordings, images, and checklists. Notebook automatically syncs your notes to the cloud.

Zoho Notebook Price: Free, without ads or premium features.
Apple Notes
Like Google's Keep, Apple provides an app you may already have if you're a Mac user and it works with Siri. The bonus is that android users can use it too. You can bookmark sites, draw sketches, write notes with a pen, and create simple to-do lists. Hit the Share button in almost any app on to share over email. Apple Notes will also sync to other apps like Google and Outlook to help keep your world together.

Apple Notes price: Free with an Apple device; extra iCloud storage from $0.99/month
Hackpad is a collaborative, cloud-based notes app designed to organize anything you need to write down, with powerful features tucked into into its simple interface. Each “pad” is a blank slate for collecting your notes and thoughts, but its collaborative tools are the real game-changer. You can write text notes, drag in images, and format text with simple headers, list styles, and more. Then organize notes into collections, adding one note to as many collections as you need to keep related notes together. Add an @ symbol followed by a pad name, and Hackpad will turn it into a wiki-style link or a brand-new pad where you can continue your thoughts. Then bring your team together and edit the same Hackpad at the same time. This is a fun way to work with your writers groups on brain-teasing exercises. Everyone takes notes in the same page at the same time. Each contributor is identified on the left, headers are automatically turned into a table of contents, comments are displayed inline and links to sites like YouTube and Google Docs turn into rich media. It's a digital whiteboard that's perfect for collaborative work. Wow, right?

Hackpad Price: Free for public workspaces and private workspaces with up to 5 users; $2/month per user for additional users on private workspaces
No matter what you use, don't try to rule your world alone when there are helpers out there to keep your thought bubbles organized and accessible.
<![CDATA[WIP Update - Title Change]]>Fri, 14 Jul 2017 12:00:00 GMThttp://author-algoulden.com/blunt-blog/wip-update-title-changeOrdinary Chances is now Fate of the Unwilling
It may go unnoticed to most of you but I have changed the name of my next novel. Why, you ask? After reading my first draft the story felt different than I was originally planned. It's not a bad thing, in fact I love it more, but the original title didn't fit anymore. 

So what do you do when you get through your story and it doesn't end up where you wanted? Well, there are two ways to go. If you're like me, you celebrate the organic nature of writing and look for ways to improve the story you ended up with. But if you're set on driving your story through a specific plot, there are things you can do to.
.I'm not a Panster. Starting out with a plan is a key for me to even write the first word of my novels, but after four books I've learned that plotting is only a guideline to get through the story I want to tell. It's okay to step off that path when inspiration comes. Often times when I build characters, as with real people. the longer I'm with them the deeper understanding I have of them. When you get to know a character you're able to determine reactions or dialog that you may not have planned. And that's great. Writing with an authentic motivation in mind is part of the fun and truth in good writing.

Now if you get to the end and find that you really deviated from where you wanted to go, you may need to consider a big rewrite. Don't panic. It's better to learn and live through the setback than try to make a story work that you don't want. Remember, a first draft is a long way from a final book. If you don't love that book enough to live with it through 3, 4, or even 5 drafts more...? Then go back through and figure out where the story turned. It's often very easy to find, and in most cases you probably already know. Fear not. The more you write, the easier it is to loosen those fingers and let yourself see the bigger picture. The whole story. 

So now my next Romantic Thriller is going to be called Fate of the Unwilling, because the sinister destiny of these people will be taken to the brink of truth whether they like it or not. I can't wait for you to sink into it. I'll be posting tidbits here in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for a tease.
<![CDATA[Why Was The Fifty Shades Darker Unrated Version So Much Better?]]>Fri, 02 Jun 2017 14:00:00 GMThttp://author-algoulden.com/blunt-blog/why-was-the-fifty-shades-darker-unrated-version-so-much-betterPicture
I wasn't a fan of Fifty Shades Darker when it was released in theaters, which was a huge disappointment since I felt the first movie exceeded my expectations. I walked out of the theater convinced the change of director and screenwriter was the problem. What a shame.

Then when the pre-order was announced for the DVD, I wasn't sure I cared. I was borderline offended by the choppy nature of the film and it's unsexy boob shots that felt forced (and overtly male). They took away the sensual aspects of the first film and made the sexy somehow less sexy. But I kept thinking, what if the Director's Cut is better? So I ordered it, and wow... am I relieved. 

Relief may sound odd, but when I think of the money and time the studio and all of those filmmakers put into this franchise, it would be terrible if all they had to show for it was that theatrical release. They could kiss the last opening for Fifty Shades Freed goodbye for me. My girlfriends too. I wasn't the only one in our party of eight who hated it. But I believe the DVD just might had saved them. 

When I saw there were 13 minutes missing from the big screen version I thought there was no way that could only be sex. I was right. From the very beginning there are small tidbits that weave throughout the film that tell a very different story. A story closer to the text. Although important characters from the book like Dr. Flynn are still missing from footage, Ana's mother is there, which gives emotional depth to Ana's story. Simple situations like the casual dialog between Christian and Ana on the boat or the heated kiss in the alley show these two people navigating between their lust and their love. Without that dynamic, there is no way to believe Ana would put up with the amount of crap thrown at her. You have to believe that he's making the effort to change because he's fallen in love. 
As the title suggests, this book had a darker tone, but the overly loud pop music under half of the scenes, mixed with jarring quick cuts and nipple close-ups left that tone out. In the extended version there are quite a few new scenes to love. Fans have pointed to the pool table scene as topping their lists, but as a filmmaker I look at the story first. Don't get me wrong, the playful and sexy nature of the pool table scene was a must in keeping the tone, but there were plot issues in the theatrical release that can't be fixed from losing a sex bet. 
The brief scene with Christian's family after he returns from the crash has more impact on the film than any other scene. The big screen version chopped that whole plot line (which will be important later) to the point of being ridiculous and completely lacking any real emotion. There was no time to digest that he survived. It felt like everyone was gathered to support one another and then the minute it was announced on the news that they survived the crash he walks in and kicks his family to the curb. It was so abrupt and odd that I almost walked out. Did I mention I'm not a huge fan of the books? Yes, I read them. And yes, they were entertaining, but I am in no way one of those readers who rereads the books and then analyzes why the movie sucked because it wasn't exactly the same. No. If the filmmakers could figure out a way to convince the audience of the same feeling as the book, they've adapted the story to the medium. I cannot understand how they thought the theater version worked.
What I find equally insane is that no fan would refuse to buy a ticket because the film was 13 minutes longer. So why cut it? Why is there an arbitrary rule set on certain films to hit the 120 minute mark and not others? It's not a rule in American films by any means. In fact, the average length of films since 2000 has been 129 minutes. So why did they work so hard to bring a film under 2 hours to the big screen? I can't answer, but my guess is that some executives in charge at the studio gave the mandate and that's it. Shame. Not only would fans have returned to the theater to see Darker more than once (as they did with Fifty Shades of Grey which stayed in theaters 12 weeks vs. the 7 weeks Darker barely eeked out) critics wouldn't have been as hard on the film in reviews. Sure there would be film haters who would bash the film no matter what, but overwhelming critical response to Fifty Shades Darker was negative in comparison to the surprised or mixed reactions to the first film.
I still feel there is something lacking without the female eye Sam Taylor-Johnson and Kelly Marcel gave the material, but Dakota and Jamie managed to pull off a miracle in this trilogy by giving more interesting life to these characters. I predict Fifty Shades Freed DVD will outsell previous sales, and the theatrical release will decline because the audience will wait for the full story. They want the sex and the jokes and the awkward conversations the first time. After waiting years to see what could have been released already, many women will wait a little longer and just get the DVD.
<![CDATA[Who Do You Work For?]]>Fri, 05 May 2017 14:00:00 GMThttp://author-algoulden.com/blunt-blog/who-do-you-work-for
Even if you work for the largest company in the world, who are you really working for? Are you punching a clock to feed your kids? Are you showing up to fulfill the career you chose when you were twenty? Are you collecting hours in a retirement bank that you hope is enough for the path you're on? Who are you working to please or win over now? And if it's only for yourself, is there an imbalance in that?  
My father would answer, "I do what I do because that's what I do." As I get older that reasoning isn't working for me. I don't want to work this hard and feel like I can't give a better answer than him. 

I'm not lazy. And I'm very good at what I do. For most people, that challenge would be more than enough. At it's core, I still love what I do. I just find that the reasons I had to drive down this path have changed. And I'm okay with it, even when others look at me funny. If I'm not
pursuing the passions that mean the most to me, what's the point? Counting the days until I get a pension is the most depressing thought in my mind. Yet, believe it or not, even in the film business there are people who do just that. I'm in a unique profession that awards with unique perks like meals and excellent healthcare, but it's not the end-all be-all that I thought it would be when I dreamt of it. So now what? What do we do when we hit this new fork in the road?
I imagined this new path, barely visible under the forest's growth. It has sharp pebbles and tricky vines that can trip a newcomer. It has muddy patches and thick walls of the unknown blocking a clear view. It's dark and damp in the unknown. No wonder people look back and remember that old path fondly. The one you spent years marching down. The one you cleared of obstacles and could probably take with your eyes closed. You can remember how that path smells and feel the rut in the dirt that fits your shoes. That old path isn't scary. It runs smooth and tilts to a comforting decline. It had good money. It has good benefits. Established power and authority. Comfort. All of these are great reasons to turn back... but how will you ever find out what's down the new path if you don't clear it? Eventually you'll kick all rocks aside, and clear the way for a new ease. It may be uphill at first, but running downhill all the time is bad for your knees.

​My tax accountant said. "Everyone quits their career at least once. But they usually return."

Plenty of people change careers or have more than one at a time. For those restless spirits out there like myself we find other avenues to drive down. I've always been a restless creature when it comes to settling in one thing. One niche. I'm working for me. And I'm not a one niche kind of gal. So I choose to write. And design. And paint. And build. And grow in all directions.

<![CDATA[Improving On Improvement]]>Wed, 21 Sep 2016 15:00:00 GMThttp://author-algoulden.com/blunt-blog/improving-on-improvementPicture
"You can not make a spoon that's better than a spoon" - Umberto Eco

Eco's profound ideas about books and writing as an extension of the hand make me wish I were a sponge. His words make me thirsty. He described writing as "almost biological in it's evolution. It is the communication tool most closely linked to the body. Once invented, it could never be given up… Our modern inventions — cinema, radio, Internet — are not biological." 

​Stories and storytelling are within us all as humans. We communicate and express ourselves through story to connect with our emotions and purposes. We use story to ask questions or defend beliefs. Man has been telling stories for as long as we've existed. And because of that, he invented the portable way to transport these stories easily from one place to another. Man created a mobile item that can be hugged, torn, borrowed, and sold... and it is perfect. So the idea that books, whether they be in paper or on digital devices, cannot ever be improved, can be daunting.

For me this concept is not discouraging. It presents a challenge to me as an author to strive for. I don't try to create something "new", I try to create something worthy. Stories worthy of the greatness of the book itself. In that effort, I work towards an
unimprovable story within me. I have not found it yet... but I do love challenges.

"One of two things will happen: either the book will continue to be the medium for reading, or its replacement will resemble what the book has always been, even before the invention of the printing press. Alterations of the book-as-object have modified neither its function nor its grammar for more than 500 years. The book is like the spoon, scissors, the hammer, the wheel. Once invented, it cannot be improved. You cannot make a spoon that is better than a spoon. When designers try to improve something like the corkscrew, their success is very limited; most of their “improvements” don’t even work. Philippe Starck attempted an innovative lemon-squeezer; his version was very handsome, but it lets the pits through. The book has been thoroughly tested, and it’s very hard to see how it could be improved on for its current purposes. Perhaps it will evolve in terms of components; perhaps the pages will no longer be made of paper. But it will still be the same thing."​ - Umberto Echo

Grab a copy of A.L. Goulden's latest release, Chasing Swells
Amazon - https://goo.gl/c2r0ob
Barnes & Noble - http://goo.gl/NkIuLV
iTunes - https://goo.gl/FfpMxr
Kobo - https://goo.gl/3KYEeD

Add the companion novella, Chasing Dreams on your To-Read shelf, too.

Amazon - https://goo.gl/ShNcxj
Barnes & Noble - ​http://goo.gl/VM2ESH​
iTunes - https://goo.gl/Rndr1M
Kobo - ​https://goo.gl/wwr9ha
<![CDATA[Tips For Better Internetting]]>Tue, 13 Sep 2016 14:30:00 GMThttp://author-algoulden.com/blunt-blog/tips-for-better-internettingTips to prove you understand how to use the internet with respect. Picture
  • Don't hit 'reply all' to an email unless you have a really good reason. 
  • Breathe three times before you hit send. You can't take it back once that email is out there.
  • Don't type in all caps. Shouting with text is never helpful.
  • Don't buy anything on the phone (or by email) from a stranger for anything having to do with your small business, your computer, your Google listing or a charity. Just hang up.
  • Everything you click on, surf on, or do online is being recorded somewhere. Keep it in mind.
  • Backup your data. Even if nothing bad has ever happened. You'll be so thankful when it does.

  • When in doubt, restart your computer. If that doesn't work, visit duckduckgo and type in your question. You'll be amazed at how many people have had the problem you're having.
  • To become an expert in something, you're going to need to read more than the first link that comes up in a search. And before you forward something you're not an expert in, check Snopes.
  • Offer help on something you're good at to the community at least three times before you ask that community for help. Make your mark count.
  • Don't believe everything you read online. In fact, don't believe most of it.
<![CDATA[Less Is More - Tablets Replacing The Laptop]]>Wed, 07 Sep 2016 14:30:00 GMThttp://author-algoulden.com/blunt-blog/less-is-more-tablets-replacing-the-laptopPicture
I'm searching for less. Not more. Less weight. Less stress. I traveled to Europe twice this year and discovered how wonderful it is to not carry my laptop. I'll admit that I'm annoyed by the slight inconveniences of it's "bulk". Hassled by removing it at security. Weighed down by the heavy AC adapter. And the wear and tear of travel puts the valuable computer at risk of even getting there with it in tact at all. I find myself constantly babying the backpack or case it's stowed in to ensure it's not banged around or smashed. It seems the portable laptop device that was once the must have is now, like most technology, becoming obsolete for it's original purpose. Of course we need laptops and continue to use them, but they're replacing desktop towers and finding more permanent nests in our offices. This transition means the portable information recording device is now the tablet. 

Since the invention of the iPad, users were predicting tablets would replace the laptop, but for professional writers and designers, the tablet and its programs were still too light on memory or speed to be able to function as the central instrument. But now with tablets like the Surface and advances in the software available for Android and iPad, we can write and design graphics anywhere on these smaller devices. I sync up a small keyboard to my Samsung Galaxy and the whole world is at my fingertips. My only wish is that Scrivener will make their software available for portable devices, but in the meantime, using Word to write is an acceptable compromise. I'd rather have creative freedom and less weight on my back.

<![CDATA[August Fog 2nd Edition Giveaway!]]>Wed, 31 Aug 2016 14:00:00 GMThttp://author-algoulden.com/blunt-blog/august-fog-2nd-edition-giveaway
Take a chance and ENTER to WIN the 1st SIGNED copy of the 2nd Edition release of August Fog.

"I will be counting down the days, hours, and minutes until the next book comes out. A.L. Goulden may have just written my all-time favorite series." - Cheryl for Readers Favorites
Monica Waters is reluctantly passing through her thirties in a damaged marriage to the love of her life, Alex. Her body is broken. Her job as a television editor isn't stable. Her daily routine is beyond dull. And her sad sex life is all of the above. So when an artist named Quinn Matthews moves in next door, all of the fire she's learned to suppress flares an obsession into a scalding and dangerously secret relationship. Quinn invigorates her lust for art, flesh and a life she hasn't been living, and forces her to make the most difficult decision of her life. Will she clench to her commitment and history with Alex or be swept away by the life and lust she used to dream about with Quinn?

31 days to choose between the love of her life and her soulmate.