“Yes, the world is ablaze, but I am holding the torch. My fellow bluebirds will understand.”
What happens when a man drinks a gallon of rum per day for a year? Many things.
He falls in love with a bar. He befriends the homeless. He goes broke. He ends up in jail. He convinces himself that the world is burning. He turns into a bluebird. Most importantly, though, he laughs. He laughs because he has to, because it’s the only way to fight off the truth
It's audiobook release week for this wonderful new book written by Matt Gibson. It's a sardonic exploration of grief, solitude, addiction, and friendship in the underbelly of Southern California. My favorite character to develop throughout the book was a gentleman named Pancake, an unhoused schizophrenic who is hilarious, tragic, slightly dangerous, and at all times deeply human. Something about him made me think of Donald Merwin Elbert (A.K.A. Trash Can Man) from The Stand by Stephen King. Less fascinated with fire but still willing watch the world burn.
Part J.D. Salinger—part David Sedaris—part Hunter S. Thompson—this book had me in tears in the booth and was a joy to read. Listen to it with a glass of something cold that clinks. Then be sure to drink some water and go hug the people you love.
Find it on Audible and be sure to check out Matt's other work while you're at it!
We've been neck deep in rehearsing this wonderful adaptation by Catherine Bush for the past few weeks and are finally getting ready for an audience.
This will be my third time working with Cleveland Play House and (spoiler alert!) my third time dying on the Allen Stage (Death by scenery strikes again!). Returning to this rehearsal room was like stepping into a different world. CPH has gone above and beyond in investigating and exploring new ways to change the traditional power structure within the rehearsal room. I hope to see more of this approach spread out across the regional theatre scene.
Working with this phenomenal ensemble has been such a gift. Laura and Rod went out of their way to seek out actor combatants who can handle the heightened language of the piece and both the text and fights throughout shine as the story gallops along.
If you find yourself in the Cleveland area between now and May 22nd, come join us!
Whoa. Look at the date!
It's been a good long while since I posted an update and while things slowed down for a bit, the past few months have been anything but fallow.
Troy-Bilt is continuing with their AskTroy campaign and brought me back for a few different slots. The Muck Boots were the highlight of the shoot and just yesterday morning I threw them on to run out in the snow and grab the Sunday paper.
Also, last week I hit “submit” on two audiobook projects. One was a political theory book that asks the question, “What happened to the lost art of compromise?” and the other was a Sci-Fi adventure and my first time crossing paths with Findaway Voices. More on both of them to come!
Tomorrow marks my first time back in the rehearsal room since last summer. Very much looking forward to returning to Cleveland Play House for what looks to be a rollicking good time! More on that to come.
Also next week I'll be on set shooting a national commercial for a brand that I'm very excited about. This will be my third time working with this particular production company and I'm pumped to be back in the room with this team. Much more on this to come as well!
So lots happening!
"After being separated from his family, Franklin becomes an independent cat, until he meets a goofy dog named Chester. Chester is a service dog to his person, a boy named Gus, and Chester knows just the girl to be Franklin’s person—Gus’s classmate, Amelia.
Amelia loves cats, but has a harder time with people. Franklin understands her, though, and sees how much they have in common. When Amelia gets into some trouble at school, Franklin wants to help the girl who’s done so much to help him. He’s not sure how, yet, but he’s determined to try.
This sweet and moving novel demonstrates how powerful the bond between pets and people can be, while thoughtfully depicting a neurodivergent tween’s experience."
So, I tend to narrate lots of serious stuff. Biographies. Nonfiction. Blood, War, Disaster, and the like...
But having grown up on Ranger Rick, Patch the Pirate, and Children's Adventure Hour, I'm so excited to have the opportunity to tell a story to kids. This is an endearing tale about animals learning to work together to help their humans become the best versions of themselves. At the heart of Cammie's wonderful story is a cat named Frankie in search of a family (even if he doesn't know it). Through hardship and humor, Frankie goes on a journey that will test him, teach him the value of friendship, and allow him to find hope and happiness even in the shadow of loss and uncertainty.
This was my first time working with the wonderful team at Bee Audio and Harper Collins. I have another (very serious) project in the works with them and I look forward to many more.
I love Frankie and I loved getting a chance to tell his story.
Now on Audible!
It's audiobook release day!
“A brave knight wakes up and is surprised to be in the middle of an enchanted forest, with no memories of the previous night and only a bunch of mysterious herbs as a clue to what the evening consisted of.
That brave knight is you.
Try to escape from the forest while piecing together what you did last night. On your journey you will encounter a raft of strange inhabitants, including dwarves, elves, goblins, pixies, the Green Man and, of course, the Black Knight, who's a real piece of work. Perfectly narrated, all you need is a quill and ink to get started.”
This project was a fun one and unlike anything I've worked on before.
Sam has created an interesting world filled with a diverse and bizarre set of characters and circumstances. This is my first time narrating a game-book. As each chapter is it's own contained adventure that often spills over into a series of connecting chapters, I initially found it tricky to pick out the over-all arc of our hero until I began to understood that he is just surviving chapter-to-chapter. Each time we jump to a new section, he is happy to be alive and adjusting to the new challenge at hand. He is just as lost as we are and is becoming increasingly frustrated and entranced by the magical forest around him. All while dealing with the hangover to end all hangovers.
If you find yourself on a road-trip and are looking to plow through something a little more adventurous than your typical audiobook, this is just the ticket for you.
Listen to it on Audible and be sure to check out Sam's other work while you're at it.
Now on Audible!
"Caught between two worlds, Erik must resist the temptations of his beloved-turned-succubus while protecting his family, his people and his world from the encroaching grasp of Arawn, Lord of Annwyn, Ruler of the Dead, Elder God of the Mabinogion. In this journey to regain his soul, the knight must find a way to strike the fatal blow against a resurgent primal darkness."
Having grown up on King Arthur stories and Celtic mythology, I jumped at the chance to work on this lovely story. Michael Eging and Steve Arnold have created a rich and vibrant world that walks a balance between romance and horror. Excited to see where this story is headed next.
Check it out on Audible!
NOW ON AUDIBLE!
"Jackson Ruck travels to the Verlorland Islands to retrieve his wayward older brother, Henry. But just as Jackson arrives, Henry's farcical career as a British private detective gets a serious boost when he lands the case of a murdered German woman with a massive estate.
Unable to watch his brother fail, Jackson joins Henry's investigation into the strange Henbit family. The dead woman leaves behind a contentious will, angry relatives, and a life full of secrets that Henry must unravel. When a second body appears, it becomes clear that more than Henry's career is at risk."
This was the first opportunity that I've had to work with Northern Lake Audio and I jumped at it. Cozy murder mysteries are a longtime favorite (here's looking at you Father Brown) and I immensely enjoyed getting the chance to explore this world. Micah Kafka has done a phenomenal job of creating an interesting world, keeping the reader constantly on the hook, and investing in the colorful ensemble of characters that pop up throughout the story. I can honestly say that I was more than a little surprised when the big reveal occurred.
One of the interesting challenges that this project presented me with as a narrator was voicing the character of Henry Pets. He's an American living in a Scandinavian-esque country who is unsuccessfully pretending to be an English detective. The other characters are very aware that he's not in fact an English detective so finding a balance between a believably (and intentionally) bad accent and something that is still listenable for the audience was a fun little tight rope act to walk.
Another fun challenge was the language of the Verlorland lslands. Micah was incredibly generous in helping with the pronunciation of this fictional language which, as he put it, is a language that was created to be read but be impossible to speak.
For me, this has been a enjoyable foray into the murder mystery genre and I can't wait to see how audiences respond to Micah's inventive world!
Working on this audiobook with Penguin Random House was a phenomenally rewarding experience. The life that Lt. Gen. Lewis B. Puller led is one of the more fascinating and colorful lives I've ever come across. A hero from Guadalcanal, Cape Gloucester, and the disastrous campaign at Peleliu, he went on to lead the Marine forces during the Korean War, saving countless lives and materiel as he oversaw the strategic withdrawal after the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir. Often referred to as "The Marine's Marine", he is one of the most decorated Marines to ever serve his country and to this day, nearly fifty years after his death, Marine recruits still end their days by chanting "Good night, Chesty, wherever you are!"
Because so much of the book takes place in the South Pacific, there was a tremendous amount of research put in by the author, my director (Art Insana of Insana Media), and myself as we tackled military jargon and island names that many of us had never heard before. It developed a love in me for military memoirs and I hope to pursue more work like this in the future.
As always, working with Penguin Random House is a wonderful experience and I can't wait for people to get a chance to hear this book and learn more about this amazing human being!