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I rarely read with my ears. Audio is just not my thing, which is a bit strange, since for many years I made my living listening to people's stories. Or maybe that's why--I needed a vacation from listening when I sat down to read.


After To Drink from the Silver Cup was published, folks kept asking if there was going to be an audio version, especially people who do most of their reading that way. "I doubt it," was my usual reply. I didn't think my publisher would invest in having an audiobook made, and that pretty much ruled it out for me.


Then came a day when I changed my tune, when I began to actively want an audio version to happen. I was in Bellingham, Washington, on the second leg of my tour with Silver Cup. I was in sudden, tremendous pain that I mistakenly thought originated in my shoulder and would later turn out to be caused by herniated discs in my cervical spine. The second form of treatment I sought was massage, which brought relief for about twenty minutes, through no fault of the massage therapist. In fact, she was gifted, perhaps the best I'd ever been to. She was a young woman who was legally blind, due to juvenile macular degeneration. I learned from her about living with blindness proactively, including her choice of profession. At some point we talked about why I was in Bellingham, and she became very interested in my book. At the time, she still could read visually with an assistive device, but it was a great strain for her to do so, and she could only read a little at a time. Also, she had a boyfriend who'd had a similar religious upbringing to mine and was still struggling with the aftereffects. She wanted him to be able to read it. That was when I began to want to make an audio version, but the financial wherewithal didn't exist.


Enter two very good friends in Grand Rapids, Michigan, one of whom continued to gently poke at me about making an audiobook. Moreover, she offered to help with the cost. I procrastinated and procrastinated, thinking there would still be a cost to me and dreading dealing with the contract with my publisher--silly of me because that turned out to be a piece of cake.


Another author published by Terra Nova had done an audiobook, and I got the names of a couple of producers from her. Finally, the day after Thanksgiving I called the one who had the most experience with ACX, the online distributor for Audible, iTunes, and Amazon. We set recording dates for early in January, and the two women in Grand Rapids sent me a check for what would cover all or most of the costs. The producer told me his charges--$40 an hour to record and $20/hour for mixing and editing.


Even though I'd read many excerpts from Silver Cup on my tours, I had never read the whole book since publication. Chris, who would become my producer, recommended practicing, which naturally made perfect sense. I ended up reading a little more than the first third right away, in my enthusiasm, then abruptly stopped for no apparent reason. I picked back up a few weeks later, and found myself marking up the copy much more than I had in the beginning--where to emphasize certain words, where to pause, commas to ignore and ones to pay attention to, inserting phrases like "she said" where the visual cues for a quotation would not be present, and adding pronunciation guides I hadn't needed when I wasn't reading words like "Guarani" aloud. I decided I needed practice reading the begininning of the book once more, making additional notations and refreshing my familiarity with the text.


After that it was a matter of waiting and repeatedly checking weather predictions.



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