John Lindermuth submitted this story back in July. For once, I got ahead on my introductions and checked out a book on Blackbeard from the library. I brought it to the beach to read. No one knows were Blackbeard’s treasure was hidden so I could easily imagine that it was very near me there on Topsail Island, North Carolina, where our friends have a beachhouse. The story John sent me did not have that much to do with the pirate himself, but a lot to do with the treasure. I thought a little about Blackbeard’s (aka Edward Teach, aka Tech) life would be interesting. It was certainly fascinating to me.
This one was fun to read and since I live in North Carolina where the story plays out, I didn’t feel like I needed to put on much of an accent. When I listened to the recording there were times when it may have been confusing which voice I was doing, Tommy’s or the narrator’s but I find that whenever I redo a story, it is never as good the second time and I end up going with the first reading anyway. The Tempting of Tommy
True to form, I have failed to keep up with notes and now have to remember what was going on at the time. The was not the first story Warne had sent me, but for some reason or another it was the first one I decided to publish. He said that it was based on real events, not experienced by himself, but told to him by a friend. When authors send in stories, I try never to read the introductions they give, just like I never read the forward to a book. I don’t want to be influenced ahead of time. If the story or the book is good, then I go back and read the introduction and preface and all that stuff. And if I don’t like the story, and then find out that the writer had cancer and this was their dream to get published on Tales of Old, it is too bad, because I have already made my decsion. That has never happened by the way, the cancer thing, thank goodness.
I liked this story because it did seem real to me. They problem was that since Warne is Australian, I felt really self concious about trying to narrate the story, either with my southernish American accent or some horrible fake Australian accent. So I put the call out to my friend Kevin Harty, who lives in New Zealand. For some reason I had forgotten that he is actually from England. He was a little leary about doing an Australian accent, but I impressed upon him that it would be better than anything I could come up with, and he did it in his usual great style.
Poor Kevin, the first story I gave him was the Friendship of Monsieur Jeynois, which was terribly long, lots of voices, and difficult vocabulary. We were still working out the kinks then. I hate to think what he went through doing that one. Harry
Spoiler alert if you haven’t listened to Ice Sailor yet!
When Laird Long sent this story in to me, I confess I did not even finish reading it before I had accepted it. Only later did I go back and read the whole thing, which is pretty irresponsible for an editor. Often a story starts well, but it is the ending that kills it. That is for stories that are pretty good. Some stories start bad and they pretty much remain consistent. But I think my gut feeling did me right this time. I liked the whole story. There have been a few stories in the past where the guilty party was allowed to go free because the detective agreed with his motives. I know there was at least one Sherlock Holmes story like this. But I can’t remember another story where the assumed murderer is cleared, but then you wish that he had been convicted because he was guilty of something worse. Wait, “Witness for the Prosecution” was pretty close to that. In case you haven’t seen it, I’ll say nothing more.
I had hell narrating this story. Not sure what was wrong but I was having fits getting the episode together. Sometimes you just can’t read a sentence right. But I think the finished product was pretty good. My biggest fear is that an author will be enraged by how I treated the story. That’s why you should listen to the podcast before submitting. So you know what you’ll be getting into. Most authors are quite pleased I am happy to say. It makes the late nights worth it.
I was sitting by my parents’ the pool on an early morning trying to get some responses out to people when I read Ed Fraser’s submission “They Called It Mametz.” I decided to take it on the first read, then I looked at Ed’s credentials. I always try to do that, read the story first, so I won’t be swayed by who the author is. This is impossible when I’ve seen the author a lot of times before, but it often works. When I saw that Ed was a podcaster I was intrigued and listened to the first episode of his The Thirst podcast right then and there. It was a discussion with his friend Rob about predestination. I think I disagreed with their conclusion, but I agreed with their interpretation that in the end it doesn’t really matter, because we don’t know what we are predestined to do.
I asked Ed to narrate the story because he is English. He declined at first, then got Rob to do it, and in the end wanted to do it himself. So that is what we got, although I would love to hear Rob’s version too. Check out their podcast. Rob has a great voice.
I feel like I know Rowan (aka P.D.R.) Lindsay as well as I know any of the authors on the show. I’ve accepted three of her stories for the show. She only sent in one that I didn’t take and that was only because it was too realistic and grim. My friend Jack wrote to me and said don’t do any more stories like “Coming Home.” He was driving while listening and it made him cry so much he had to pull over. Wow, I call that a good story! But I do love a happy story. Strawberry Fool is just perfect, a simple little story that is real, poignant and uplifting. I fear that Rowan will not like my rendition of it though, with my American narration and sad attempt at British accent when the characters speak. Of course she knew the risk when she submitted it. I hope she sends more my way. In the mean time I need to go back to England and learn how to talk that way again. I was only a kid when I lived there.
Woah, I’ve got to post more often. I can’t believe I left that Submissions Closed post sit on top of the blog for so long. By all means send them in.
For some reason it usually takes me about a month to get back to people, unless you are lucky and you sent your submission in just as I’m doing a big push. I think my main procrastination is the pain of rejecting people. I know how much work goes into writing a story and the cruddy feeling of having it rejected. Even though it may make it worse, I try to give me rationale for why I didn’t take it. I am no literary genius, but I generally know when I like something or when I don’t.
But I will probably take your story so send it in!
For Christmas I drove with my wife and kids down to New Orleans (about 900 miles) to visit with my parents and other relatives passing through. I brought my podcast equipment down, fully intending to put out a Christmas episode. I recorded the story late at night after everyone else had gone to bed, which is pretty difficult since we have a few night owls, but I made so many mistakes that it took me forever to edit. Then I was unhappy with the recording. So I started again, making even more mistakes, and finally giving up. Five kids running around, lots of visitors and no quiet rooms all conspired against me.
My parents’ house is full of amazing books about history and everything else. They are generous lenders so I had to pull myself together not to take away more than I could possibly read in a year. I had borrowed Will Durant’s The Life of Greece so many times that I finally broke down and bought it for $1 on Amazon.
When I first started the podcast I figured I would do about one third of the narrations, getting people with British accents and women as needed when the stories required it. I found some great narrators through a website called StarNow, and they did a great job. The problem is that I sort of thought I would be getting donations to defray the cost of buying the stories and hiring narrators. That, with three notoble exceptions, has not come to pass. (Big thanks to those three though!). I lived in England when I was a kid so I may be able to learn to do British accents, but I’m not up for doing the women yet. I guess I’ll go back to my top three female British voice talents and give that to myself as a Christmas present. All three of them rock!