Not to much new to say. My book Alice Zero – my greek mythology story and Alice in Wonderland mashup is live. You can purchase it here on Amazon.
Quite a few thank yous to mention here. Colleen Anderson, first and foremost. She made me write this, and to my surprise I loved the concept I came up with. Without you I never would have tried writing something like this, let alone, let myself walk through the doors I did with it. So thank you.
Kenzie Carr, you made me better. Much like the majority of the collaborators I choose, I’m lucky to have them and they make me better. Kenzie is one of the most enthusiastic people I’ve had the privilege of collaborating with and I can’t wait to do it again.
Vanessa Farkas-Brahmakshatriya for giving me some great ideas on the greek mythology mashup of this. It gave me thoughts not just for this book but the next one as well.
Miranda Krogstad for that workshop this year. She made me realize there was another character that needed to be in the story. I get better writing when I attend her stuff, and I appreciate it greatly that she helped.
Finally, I want to thank Heather Ans, who this book is dedicated to. If I hadn’t met the girl with the gorgon tattoo in real life, I never would have come up with the Gorgon Knight or the Greek Mythology angle at all.
So today is the day ladies and gentleman. The Just Joshing Talk Show begins. As stated on tonight’s podcast, the new format begins after tonight. Take a listen to episode 450 if you want to hear me talk about all the specifics of the new format, just listen to it.
I wanted to take this moment to thank Kayseas Redsky. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t have gotten here quite so quickly. I started the audio business. I’m still available for narration, and would do it again in a heartbeat. But I don’t love it. I love podcasting. I love talking to people and hearing their stories.
That’s what I’m going to do. I take it to the next level starting tonight.
I’ve been streaming on my Youtube for the last two weeks. I’ll be going live on my Twitch tomorrow. My guest is the great Jennifer Gordon. We had a heck of a conversation two weeks ago, and I can’t wait to see where we go from here. My guest list includes Kurt Zauer who did a great chat with me already while I was counting down with 101 Tales. I follow that up with William Holland this thursday (Happy Thanksgiving America!). William is my first new guest. It’s going to be exciting to chat with him. He’s just a dynamic comic creator.
Friday is going to be very special. I’m doing my first ever Drink and draw. Podcasting on video should be more visual and I want to bring on some great illustrators. I’m a comic book guy at heart. I want to see more illustrators appreciated for the work they do. So every friday I will draw (not well I admit) with someone that draws and we’ll chat and learn things art like.
Storytime will not disappear. I will continue to read Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass on the weekends. Other authors will read from their wares as well. I’ve had an impressive collection of people read. Swati Chavda is my latest reading. I can’t wait until she debuts next year as a guest. She’s someone I’ve talked to for years.
The readings are going to be the only remnant to the audio only. I’ve enjoyed seeing my inner CS Lewis come to light. I’ve been astounded at watching people tell their stories through my podcast and want that to continue.
Patreon, Twitch and Youtube
Now the podcast will still have it’s audio translations for the podcast. But there will not be an opening monologue. Instead, we’ll be going right into the interviews. There will be an outro, especially as new projects come out, and I couldn’t stop “Josh, Shush” from being part of the show. But things are changing and for the better. Can’t wait to start today.
Each week I’ll announce the schedule for the shows. Jennifer Gordon, Kurt Zauer and William Holland start at 9pm EST. Anh Vu is 11pm EST. I will try my best not to be jealous of the fact that Anh is in Hawaii.
The Patreon is a work in progress, but I’m thinking Wednesday may be the home to exclusive shows, like making a podcast and teaching Audiobook creation to people. I’ll be making some more exclusives available shortly.
But I do hope you subscribe to me in one form or the the other. The Youtube is nearly at 100 subscribers, and I’m just getting started in other places. Hopefully the strategy will work. But either way, I’ll be doing what I love, and I won’t be so hard on myself no matter what. This is about what I want to do.
Life’s short. I realize that I could spend the rest of my life making other people profit off my time, or maybe that I can try. I hope my love for what I’m doing translates. I’m nervous, scared and not sure what the future holds. But I feel all of us are there right now. In the blackest of nights, it’s important we shine our lights in the sky. We need to be reminded that we’re not alone. That we together can come out of this better.
This is how I shine. I hope to see you there.
Episode 455: Just Joshing Episode 455: Alice in Wonderland Chapter 6 Featuring Deven Kane –
It’s been a wild week. Last week I did lots of streams, I got interviewed and I’m slowly winding down the Podcast and evolving it to the next level. First things first, I got interviewed by the great Mark Leslie for his Stark Reflections Podcast . I talk bravery, chocolate chip cookies and more. Check it out.
So about a month ago JD Estrada introduced me to Mog Park. Mog in turn invited me to attend her convention 101 Tales.
I said yes.
Anh Vu is amazing. She did that above. Incredible talent. I will be reading four stories on my evening. In one hour I’ll be reading from my two current releases, Alice Zero and The Cloud Diver. With Alice Zero I’ll be reading from the first three chapters. I’m excited about that.
Two special previews follow after. I read about an eyeball from my current novel in progress. And finally, I read my comic script dialogue for the first ten pages. I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity to do this with so many great creatives. Mog Park, Anh Vu, JD Estrada, GO Turner, Kurt Zauer. Joshua Pantalleresco.
Wow. People know who I am.
I can’t wait to read in front of you.
I’ve had a lot of cool interviews to promote the event and I’ll continue to promote them. I had an incredible conversation with Elsa Garagarza about her dream animation job. I got to talk AVATAR with her.
I’ve been doing interviews on my youtube channel to work out the bugs for my show and interview great guests. GO Turner is coming up on the channel this Thursday. It’s my final stream while at 101 Tales and before I go into my strategy for Twitch and Youtube.
Michael Oden is my final two parter for the audio only edition of the podcast. Part 1 is up and Part 2 is going up soon. I have had some delays but you will see a lot of audio in the next week as I go to 450. An audio version of 101 tales is my FINAL episode of the audio only era. It’s going to be fun and amazing.
So a lot has happened since I wrote Under Your Nose…
I still can’t believe I talked to Chuck Pineau about Canadian towns and metal for about an hour. Unreal conversation, but so much fun.
I’ve done other videos as well, but the whole thing is getting this new formula down. Transferring the podcast to this has been a process. But I think I got it all down. So then, my readers and listeners, what is the master plan going forward.
The interviews will not stop as you can see above, but now there will be more of them. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday are going to be interviews like the ones above here. I might talk about heavy metal. I might talk about chocolate. I may talk about glitter. I don’t know – that will be completely dependent on the guest and where they go. This has always been the way it’s done that works, and I won’t change. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday will be my usual interviews.
Friday is going to be interesting though.
Drink and Draw
I want to feature more illustrators and comic book creators. My show is moving into the visual realm and the visual should be highlighted somewhere. Every friday I will feature an comic book creator or visual artist to come on the show and do their stuff. It’s still going to be a bit of an interview, but I’m moving to a visual format. I want there to be a visual format.
I’ll be looking at some things on twitch, but I’m hoping to do some good things in the future with friday’s show. I have some big ideas for it. As is, my first two guests are incredible.
Weekend Readings Will Continue
There will be an audio only podcast on weekends. I’m going to continue reading Alice in Wonderland, Alice Zero, and my next release soon enough. That will be just a weekend only thing and I’m hoping that authors continue to come out and read. That will still be an audio only experience each weekend.
I Need Your Help
So I got my Patreon Page up and running, and hope some of you will help me there. I also got my Youtube Channel to start up. Click the subscribe and tell people about it. I’ll be contacting more people and already am getting more interviews than I ever had before. I want this to be a listener supported podcast, and I’m hoping you guys who root for me are willing to help.
I’ll also be launching a twitch channel. What will you get? To dictate my Panel shows which will air on Wednesdays when I do them. (They won’t be every week, but I do some ideas.)
This is what I want to do with my life. I love telling stories but nothing inspires me like hearing people talk to me about the things that matter to them. Shooting the shit and just loving life with the people I have had the chance to chat with is incredible. I don’t want to do anything else.
I’m moving towards the life I want and it is amazing. No matter what happens, this has been an incredible ride. I want to keep going wherever it takes me.
That’s the short version of the plan. What do you think? Anything you’d like me to do? Feel free to let me know.
Episode 455: Just Joshing Episode 455: Alice in Wonderland Chapter 6 Featuring Deven Kane –
Freelancing is all about your niche. You have to make the decision to find a path. If you scatter yourself to write about every little thing you will not grow. Being a jack of all trades doesn’t really serve you. That doesn’t mean you can’t writer/produce anything, but a specific place is a great way to start getting noticed. My advice has always been to find what you love. Nothing else is going to work the same way.
Of course, It’d help if I did that now wouldn’t it?
My Big Dreams
I’ve been a big fan of Larry King for a long, long time in terms of how he did interviews. Other people I’ve admired are Joe Rogan, Tom Snyder and Jian Giammeshi (before the scandals). I like intimate conversations with people because to be honest, that’s the best stuff. Sure we’re selling stuff when we’re talking on the air, but really it’s the conversations we remember that get sense of who the person is. Sales ultimately is about relationships. We support who we know, or endorse who we know.
That’s my philosophy when I interview people. When Morgan Shamy and I do a psychological session about how her discipline made her the ass kicking author she is today, or if I am talking about how K. Lynn Smith is going to take my lunch money, you get a real sense of the person I’m talking to. I’m great at that.
I want to turn the podcast into a talk show. Everything I’ve done this year has been to set this up.
Then last week it hit me. Why wasn’t I just doing this all along? To be honest, I don’t have a good answer to this.
Hidden in Plain Sight
Sometimes we just miss the obvious. I’ve been so set in doing it the way I’ve been doing it for so long, it never occurred to me to make the next leap myself, until I realized this IS my niche. Without being too hyperbolic, I do interviews better than just about anybody. I’ve talked to literally all walks of life about anything and everything. So why not turn it into a show.
So why not do it myself now? It’s not like I don’t know people that won’t do this?
The biggest mistake we make is that sometimes we seek approval before we take the leap of faith. We never should wait for what we know will work in our hearts. I felt like I created a breakthrough barely trying.
Because I have always done this. And that’s the key. This will be seemless.
Test, Test, Test
This is just a test for the future. I want to thank Annas for being awesome. We had that great intimate discussion about who she is, and you know what? She’s amazing. Single mom, comic writer, juggling a career to boot. She is the definition of amazing and I was thrilled to have her.
When I get going I’m buying this. Honest, her comic is amazing and I think you should definitely take a look at supporting it here.
This is a glimpse of the future. And I need to address the present.
What Happens Next
I interview people every day. I air episodes on Twitch at a somewhat regular basis, and do highlights on Youtube. Everyday I will have a guest as great as Annas (I admit that is a tall task. Annas is incredible.) and have conversations like these. I’m building an amazing line up to start and we’ll see where it goes.
The podcast will still have an audio component to it. Audio episodes of the show will air nightly. It’s going to expand and I’m going all in. This is what I’m supposed to do. So I’m doing it. And I think it’s going to succeed.
For those wondering, the audio show will continue as well, but be much more regular. There will be a reading only podcast on weekends. The rest of the week will be interviews, and great ones.
What if it fails? I’ll go back to school and take broadcasting. It’s what I’m supposed to do and I will continue to do it. It doesn’t matter if it works out completely different than I envision.
But a better what if to ask is this…what if I succeed? Here’s why I feel this is going to work in case you are wondering. No butterflies. I feel like this is going to work, it can work, and will work.
Stay tuned. Announcements are forthcoming.
How you can help me.
I have a patreon page. Click and support is the easiest way. Subscribing to my stuff like my Youtube Channel would be a big help too. Spread the word. Don’t worry; more books are coming too. But anything you do you here, would be appreciated. I promise you a great show and great people worth believing in. You will hear their story.
Episode 455: Just Joshing Episode 455: Alice in Wonderland Chapter 6 Featuring Deven Kane –
Kitsune Windsor found me on facebook and she has been nothing but a band of merry mischief. You may know her as the amazing comic creator Foxy and Wolfy. I know her as the merry prankster that makes awesome burgers, who accuses me of reading hentai (I can neither confirm nor deny this allegation.)
She’s such a wonderful, amazing human being that I asked her to go on the podcast. Her unique circumstances make that impossible. However, I still wanted to interview her. So for the first time in years here is a written interview. I hope you guys dig it, as I did. Oh, and did I make pirate noises or did I actually sound like a baby seal? You decide.
Joshua Pantalleresco: So my first question is always this. If you have anything incriminating you’d like to say, make it good.
Kitsune Windsor: I eat tons of cheese and pass out
JP: That’s an impressive superpower.
JP: Did your superpower come naturally or with practice?
KW: I also sleep 5 hours and I was 190 lbs at 10 years old. 55 lbs at 16
JP: Hormonal, diet or stress? That’s very extreme.
KW: Got sick. had multiple surgeries and cardiac arrest
JP: You’ve overcome a lot! Was there a root cause? Or one thing on top of the other?
KW: muscular dystrophy and injuries and some hits. I had great misfortune as a kid
JP: I see that. Sounds like you were forged in fire.
KW: and burgers!
JP: I hope it has become easier. What kind of burgers?
KW: No , but more fun. Bacon, cheese and egg burger.
JP: Yum *looks around to see if said burgers are nearby. When did you start to draw and tell stories? You’re very good at it. *glances around for burger some more
KW: lol.. I role played since 10 and watched tons of adult cartoons and kids shows. no classes ever
JP: So self trained. You have a great sense of design.So what was the show that made you believe you can do this?
KW: 3 shows.
JP: Which three?
KW: All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku, Sailor Moon, Ranma 1/2 and others
JP: So talk about your comic. You went from reading them to doing them. What made you make the leap?
KW: I was always in to anime and role play, I would doodle and write random stories my entire life. I started making Foxy and Wolfy after my entire adopted family died off. To make something that would make the world brighter . Also to portray disabled characters as very normal people equal to non disabled.
JP: Are they a tribute to them?
KW: not exactly , but to just bring some joy like they did
JP: Ah. So who came first?
JP: Yeah. Who did you see? Usually one character comes to me when I write.
KW: Well, Misaki is based on my more innocent years where I suffered from being too trusting and suffered abuses from . Misaki is strong and fierce but occasionally says dumb things.
JP: Ah. So Misaki was first.
JP: So she your favorite character to draw?
KW: Roza by far.
JP: She looks fun.
KW: She is what I wanted to be after my darkest days of pain.
JP: I was about to ask. She reminded me of you.
KW: she’s very high intelligence , flirty and loves attention.
JP: That does fit you.
JP: At the very least, you’re playful.
KW: She is too!
JP: I believe it. So how long have you been doing foxy and wolfy?
KW: About 7 years from first concept.
JP: What have you learned? Also, kudos. Seven years is a long time.
KW: To just make your dreams a reality , no matter how difficult or stressful . be positive and always improving. ty.
JP: I needed to hear that from someone. Thank you. I realize that wasn’t for me. But I just quit everything to chase my dreams. Sometimes I think I am crazy.
KW: Are you happy?
JP: Yes. But you wonder sometimes.
KW: good then.
JP: I have published two books, over 100 podcasts and did my first audiobook for a client
KW: you should be very proud.
JP: I am. As should you.
KW: here is a song you should understand somewhat. And catchy.
JP: I will. Right now I am listening to this:
KW: I know that one!
JP: I really dig the show and that’s an amazing translation. Pumps you up.
KW: That’s amazing.
KW: last book page. wip.
JP: Nice. I start drawing mine next week.
KW: good luck to you
JP: Thank you. So you ready for the last question and then we do the plug?
KW: Never! Okay. yes.
JP: Are you saying that with a pirate accent? Just wondering.
KW: ok ok. ;p
JP: I am keeping that in the conversation. Pirate talking is always a plus. But anyway…
KW: sure. 🙂
JP: What’s next for your dynamic duo. And where can I find them?
KW: We are releasing volume 1 of the updated and semi rebooted Foxy and Wolfy Digitally on Halloween and the 400 pg print version February or March. Sooner if we sell 200 digital.
Just like that, Kitsune was gone, leaving my stomach grumbling. I really, really wanted that burger. She really draws magic doesn’t she? I’ll have to have her back here on a future blog so she can enrapture us with more tales, and just herself.
So I was interviewed today, and my interviewer, correctly pointed something out about me. I tend to look at the things that terrify me, and think about how to do them, and I must confess, drawing terrifies me.
Not Good Enough
I have lousy hand co ordination. My chicken scratch of writing made me not too confident when it came to drawing and it showed. My lines are squiggly, (maybe even jiggly) and nothing I did was good.
I let it stay that way for decades. Decades is a long time. You get used to how you perceive yourself in that time very easily. I always joked that my stick figures would revolt if I drew them. (and they did. One day soon though…but I digress.) \
COVID is an interesting blessing for all of us. It is the opportunity to change things and directions in a heartbeat. I decided that I would teach myself to draw.
Only I didn’t. I wasn’t good enough. Moreover, just the thought of picking my pen up created a lead lump in my stomach. I didn’t want to move. I was that terrified, which is very unusual for me.
About five years ago, the last time I took a class was in Lethbridge, Alberta. Scott McCloud is one of the best minds in comics. He understands the medium in ways few people do and I strongly suggest anybody serious about the craft of comics read this book. It’s required. Seriously. Read now.
I was the only writer in the group. I met an amazing lifelong friend in that class, but I remember just how out of depth I was compared to anyone else. Yeah, I’m a writer in a sea of artists but man, that stuff was amazing. What can I do?
To his credit, not only is Scott a great teacher but he encouraged to take what I learned and do something with it. It was the first time Mr. Zippy came to my head.
It’s Now It’s Never
“…that word good was up for grabs. Always had been, always would be. Even if the man using it was maybe a thousand years old and could shoot like Buffalo Bill, that word was still up for grabs.” Stephen King, Wizard and Glass.
Why was I so terrified? Because I care. I love comics. I have ever since I picked up my very first issue of Green Lantern. I’ve always wanted to do them. The hardest thing about creating comics is the cost of entry. World class illustrators deserve their money. I’ve worked with several. They are incredible people and have spent years working on their craft. I cannot match that talent overnight.
This seemed so daunting.
Then I remembered Blaine the Mono and Eddie. That quote above hit me about a week ago. Good enough is foolish. What is good? How do you define good? I mean we know what gifted, and talented is. We know when we see something magical. But there is magic in many things. My book may never be pretty, but it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes the real magic is in the doing, and will it be good? Maybe. Maybe not.
But it will be the best I can do. And isn’t that in itself magic?
Happiness isn’t about comparing yourself to others. It’s about being happy with what you do. Now, I won’t promise to do more than one issue (I am cheating a little too. See below.) But I promise to try, and for two issues I will do my best. After that? We’ll see.
Zippy The Dragon
Zippy the Dragon an art critic baby dragon making fun of its creator for drawing stuff. He both encourages me and is critical of me, in the best ways. I don’t pretend to understand how comics work, or that my drawings will be good. They will start one dimensional, and grow from there. But this comic is about facing my fears. One panel or page a day will appear on my Instagram page. Will I print it? Probably. I’m not one hundred percent sure, but probably.
All I really promise is that I’ll try. The first issue will not have a lot of drawings, as I realize that the first issue is about my deepest fears. And I have to start a comfortable place, to get to an uncomfortable one. The first line is two words. I feel all of us will understand it when it comes out.
I hope to learn so much, and I hope you’ll read along with me as I discover what’s underneath my fears.
No matter what, I’m certain it will lead somewhere.
No Dragon Pictures…Yet
This is mostly on purpose. There is fear, but it’s also because it’s not final. The first little bit of this comic is about me finding my voice in pictures. I don’t know for sure what it will look like when it’s over. And no doubt, it’ll keep evolving. But the beauty of this is that I am allowed to explore. The thought excites me.
And is absolutely terrifying.
Down the road, I’ll write about what I learned from this. In the meantime, I ask you…what are you afraid of? Maybe the best way to deal with your fears is to tackle them head on. There are always things to be afraid of. Maybe life is simply about confronting the limitations we believe we have, and seeing what happens when we stretch ourselves beyond our confinements.
Episode 455: Just Joshing Episode 455: Alice in Wonderland Chapter 6 Featuring Deven Kane –
So I’ve been sending out random notes of kindness to random (and not so random) people. People I believe could use it and see it and enjoy it. Here’s a sample of one.
What do you offer that no one else has? You. There is only one and only will ever be one. Your thoughts and feelings and life passes through just once. It makes you invaluable beyond measure. May you be surrounded by people who treat you like you are worth that.
Cool huh? Here’s my favorite.
Believe in your story. I know the world is a scary place right now. We’re not sure where we’re going or if it will all end well. Facebook reminds me that there are so many voices out there. A lot I don’t know or fully understand. You all have incredible stories and are amazing human beings. You can be the biggest bad asses in the world. It’s there. It’s your story. You overcome incredible odds just being here. The world is unfair and bad things happen to all of us all the time. The fact that you’re still here, doing what you’re doing, in the face of all this, is amazing. Never forget how resilient, brave, bold and wonderful you all are. You can do anything and be anyone you want to be.
How It All Started
I was sick of the shit I was seeing on social media. Everybody and their mothers arguing about masks, COVID, how serious it is, politics, who’s going to be president, blah, blah, blah. And the kicker is the formula is the same. People all wound up about how serious or not serious it is, threaten others, get angry, and after awhile burn out. I realized people needed to grieve, and I encourage letting the emotions out, but there was a period of about two months where that was practically all I was seeing. I had enough of it.
So I decided I was still going to build people up. because now seemed like a good time. Neither of those up there took long to write, and I meant every word. I never expected the impact I got with so many people, especially with the second one. I watched people just let stuff out. It’s great to be a part of that.
I can say my opinion but at the end of the day I can’t control what is. What I control is how I react. I can inspire people. I know this because even before all the insanity started, people seemed to like my daily inspirations for the days. I do them everyday and have since I got nominated for the Aurora. It’s a consistent thing for my mindset, and I thought I’d do it to certain people specifically.
I Appreciate You
I started by doing a 5 person at random I appreciate you thread. I said that I appreciated a person and gave them a personal message why I did. In some instances I used that to put closure with people I hadn’t spoken to for years. Life has often taught me that most of us take each other for granted with the time we have with each other. It’s important to say the things that are important. Even with people who weren’t friends anymore, I got to say some nice things and thank them for a friendship.
I was sorry it was over but happy it happened. That was the first reward. The second was the thank you. I didn’t expect that. Lots of people responded back. Whether it was people I hadn’t met yet or talked to, or someone I hadn’t heard from for years. Some of them were quite surprising. Thank you random number generator for making this possible.
Believe In Your Story
This was the coolest one for me. I got a lot out of this. I got to talk and make great connections with some incredible people, including a friend I hadn’t talked to in fifteen years. I just sent out that note to this person with no real expectations and lo and behold, I discover we’re both in the same city at the same time. Sylvia Maniscalco is a lifelong friend of my family and it was a pleasure to get a chance to catch up. She has become an incredible human being and I got the chance to see the person they became.
Sylvia, if you happen to read this, thanks for making this so rewarding. You were the nicest surprise doing this. As was everything else. I’ve done nothing but connect with people that are eager to talk. In this time I’ve made more connections than I started with. When I started this was around 1300 friends on facebook and 2500 Twitter followers. I’ve met 1400 new people in this.
That didn’t mean I batted a thousand. I ended some friendships and let people go as well, but that’s not a bad thing. Nothing lasts forever in this life. And to those that were silent, it’s not like I did this expecting anything.
Build Each Other Up
Honestly, there are things on both sides of the COVID mask issue in North America that bother the hell out of me. This has been an ugly, terrible mess of bad ideas, one on top of the other no matter how you slice it. I know the virus needs to be taken seriously, but those who are on the side of science seem naive to the money side of this. I will remember 2020 as one of the cruelest years I’ve ever seen. When this is over, I think that more than anything is what I’ll remember about this time.
But I’m not going to change that being angry or bitter or worrying about the things I can’t control. It does me no good. Being afraid does me little good. People have either been that or silent.
In times like this, I’m going to be kind. It puts me in a great mindset. I can dismiss petty politics and just focus on the people I’m talking to as people.
And you know what? It works. I’ve connected to more people and walks of life than I ever had in the past. I’ve talked to people across the world from Pakistan to Ghana to England to all over North America. I’ve been blessed to meet and interact with people I probably wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for this time.
I’ve taken advantage of my opportunities. I got more to do too. If you are reading this, my challenge to you if you are fighting people over how you believe the world should be, instead try to just talk to people. We don’t need to agree to get along.
This was an opportunity to reach out, be thankful and rebel against the onslaught of 2020. I was reading about Job from the bible and there was a question of why he was always praying to God and being humble when his world was falling apart around him. It turns out that gratitude is a way to fight despair.
Even now, with nothing to my name, I have a lot to be thankful for. That thankfulness has kept me sane (ish) in this time. I wanted to spread that around.
So to those that responded, thank you. To those that didn’t, thank you. If I made your day, thank you. If I didn’t, that’s cool too. I got plenty of rewards for this. I will continue this for as long as I can.
I will be kind. We’ll see where it goes. Stay kind and true to yourselves out there.
This weekend on my podcast I will be debuting myself as a narrator. I narrated and finished the audiobook for Brad C. Anderson and his novel Duatero. I’ll be reading from chapter 9 of the story, and I promise you It’ll be a ride of a lifetime. I’m nervous, but I worked my ass off on telling Brad’s amazing story, and this chapter was incredible to read. It’s one of my favorites in the story. I think it will be yours too after.
I hope you listen and if you are an author searching for someone to tell your story, I’m your guy.
Episode 455: Just Joshing Episode 455: Alice in Wonderland Chapter 6 Featuring Deven Kane –
I’m not quite done the book yet. It’s really the last listen, editing out the little pieces and making sure I’m clear. a 90000 word novel is a lot to go through. But this process has been an amazing one for me. I got to really look at what I do with audio and get better and I learned some things in the process.
Lesson number one: I need to represent myself better
This has been easily the most detail I’ve ever done on an edit. A 90k novel with multiple languages was an interesting challenge. The important thing was to be as clear as possible. Each page was a few different takes. The chapter I worked hardest on was chapter 9. It’s a very emotional part of the book and I wanted to hit on how vulnerable the main character was in this situation. He wasn’t used to the powerlessness, and the strength his mother showed in this scene was emphasized.
It got me thinking about my podcast. I do three episodes a week and I do a lot of what I do automatically. I’ve done hundreds of episodes. It’s easy to get caught in your process, and this assignment forced me to re-evaluate my work for myself.
It’s easy to take yourself for granted. I find we tend to sell ourselves short and I’m not different than anyone else that way. I looked at why I worked so hard at this to make it perfect. Now if I want to be a little bit truthful, but not quite accurate, it’s that I don’t like having my show perfect. Just Joshing is an eclectic show and I don’t want it to feel fully professional. I’ve interviewed people in bars, casinos, coffee shops and I keep those details in on purpose.
That’s my work. Audiobooks are my work, but they’re not about me. It’s about representing the story as best I can for my clients. And that means going deeper and going for as professional sounding quality as possible.
So my goals are different. What are the things in my current assignment that can I incorporate to make my other stuff better?
We can always get better, and this has made me rethink the whole podcast.
Lesson Number Two: I click a lot
I see this little line in the audio file and I know now it’s my tongue clicking with my mouth. I’ve heard it on every page I’ve read. I had no idea it was that much. I’m talking a lot more in the readings than I do on my podcasts, so this happens. I stay more hydrated now. Lesson learned.
Beware the vertical dashes.
Lesson Three: You Bring A Lot to the Story
My admiration for voice actors went through the roof doing this. I look at a show like Fairy Tale or Stein’s Gate with a whole new level of respect. The actors and actresses on the show project emotions into the images on the screen. They add life to a character and give them a depth and dimension that wouldn’t otherwise be there.
I had to do the same thing here. I had to take my main character, a knight templar variant, and give him gravity. I found there was a quiet sadness to him. This was a man coming to terms with the fact that he couldn’t solve the problems of his world with his own two hands, and he was reminded of it over and over again. The more he tried to assert himself, the more mistakes he made.
You experience the character’s journey when you read. That’s why books are awesome. We hallucinate about new worlds and empathize with what we read on the page. I brought my own imagination to it. My favorite character was Talia. Talia was trouble and reminded me of many women I’ve loved in life. There was a vibrant quality to her. She was mischievous and very tragically vulnerable. She was the main character’s conscience and I felt her frustration at the end.
My job was to project those feelings I felt, and let the reader feel what I felt. It was my way to contribute to the story. I’m not as good as a voice actor, and won’t pretend otherwise, but I hope my parts add something to the story told.
Lesson Four: My Client is a great writer
I’ll reveal who it is in a week or so. That said, He’s really good. He wrote an old school science fiction and it was amazing to read. I like science fiction stories that force tough choices in my characters, yet also makes flawed, relatable people. I liked who the author wanted me to like, and despised who he wanted me to despise. This is a great book.
I have to do better with my own products. I have to treat mine as if they are someone else’s. I can’t dismiss my work.
I know the tongue click whenever I see it
My respect for voice actors and other narrators are through the roof
I add something to a story with my own voice
The author that wrote the book is incredible
This was a great experience. I hope to do it again. And if you want me to be the one to tell your story, click here and let’s talk. I’m looking for my next client. Let me help you tell your story the way it deserves to be heard.
So, I’m writing this because everyone is talking about the nightmare that was the political debate. (Note: I am SO glad I live in Canada.) When you guys do sober up and realize that yes, these are the nightmares you must deal with, I offer you a little into my own insight, and maybe, just maybe, it’ll help you with your choices. I’m just a schmuck, but I figure in me telling you how I measure people, that you will in turn, do the same, and come to your own conclusions.
What Collectible Card Games taught me about people
I used to play magic the gathering. I still love collectible card games and enjoy the sheer mathematics of it. Cards in these games are balanced with numbers. What’s important to understand in a game like Magic is that the important numbers are the cost of an ability and the advantages those cards give. The plus ones of asserting control of the board and making decisions impact the game. The numbers are important.
In real life, I suppose you could equate this to the facts. Truths are truths and facts are facts. You can’t deny certain things. Up is up. One day you will die. You need oxygen to breathe. Stuff like this. There are undeniable truths. When I play a card, like my favorite ball lightning, I am trying to hit you for a lot of damage. Ball Lightning is simple. Pay 3, deal 6 damage. I’ve won many a game with that card.
But much like the numbers in the game, that’s only a portion of the battle. The other portion is the opponent themselves. Magic in particular is about anticipating what the opponent has based on the information given to you by the opponent. The kind of land they are playing, the cards they are playing, when they are playing them. Why they are playing them.
Because if you understand that, you can sometimes anticipate player movements. Due to the nature of the game, certain cards lead to certain combinations, and I can counter them sometimes with a few simple moves. Sometimes I don’t and the game is over. But if I know what you’re going to do, based on the your history of what you’ve done in the past, I can prepare myself for you.
This doesn’t just apply to games. It applies to people too.
Image Isn’t Everything
We have this tendency to skim. How many of you are reading what I’m saying I wonder, or just skimming because I’ve shown the magic card Ball Lightning? Are you really paying attention to what I’m saying? I’m not trying to insult you. Rather, we just tend to gloss over text and details. What’s the point?
And that’s why image sells. It’s the heart of beer commercials and politics alike.
Everything you see on television is by and large, calculated. Politics especially creates a certain reaction. Donald Trump is a master of television. You have to give it to him. The people that love him speak of him softly, but the people that hate him talk about him non stop. Don’t believe me? All I have to do is look at my facebook feed. Howard Stern’s listeners in his heyday primarily were the people that hated him. Understand this, and you get some of what he is doing. His biggest peddlers of his information are the people that hate him most.
Think about that for a second.
It’s why I don’t talk about him much. Donald Trump is the Howard Stern of politics.
Biden is a familiar face. I saw him as vice president. He seemed a little bit eccentric around Obama, but he’s far less polarizing than his opponent. He feels more like a classic politician from not too long in the distant pass. Each of them project an image.
Advertising is the nature of what we all do. We do it by telling each other stories. We know the story of Trump. We watch it unfold every day on the news. We know the story of Biden. We watched it when he was in the white house as a vice president.
What’s the reality?
I really don’t care what they say. All you have to do is read their social media feeds, and you get their message loud and clear. Again, that’s the story they are telling. But what are they doing? What’s their game?
When I interview people on my podcast, I listen to what people tell me. I do the same thing with my clients. Information is key to how I’m going to respond. If for example with a client I ask for information and I don’t get it, I will not be able to get the result I desire. So then the question is why?
When I ask questions on my podcast, it’s all about listening to what my guest is actually talking about. I do the back and forth but I want to get to their heart, so by listening I figure out what they care about. Once I do that, I can cut away at the image presented to me and see the person I’m talking to. That’s what I care about. That’s where I form my opinions on a person.
I do the same thing with any issue. I try to look as much of the picture as I can. I look at the person’s history, whether it’s Bill Gates or it’s anybody with a message on television, telling their story. Who are they? What do they want? Why are they here? What will they likely do? Because the truth is, they’ll likely do what they’ve always done.
Show, Not Tell
Every single one of us gives our game away. What we say, and more importantly, what we do paints the whole picture. One of the biggest pieces of advice I’ve ever had with my writing is show, not tell. People don’t want to be told what to see, show them. It’s the best way to tell your story.
Did you learn anything different about the people in the debate tonight you didn’t already know? Probably not.
But you will learn something when you do some research. Biden has a track record. He was vice president. He did things. Trump has a record as president. He’s done things. The least interesting thing is what he says, but it’s easy to be distracted by it.
And honestly? With everything out there, that’s the real danger. We get distracted by everything. We are told to fight over issues and we fight over issues, whether it’s a mask or who our next leader is. We don’t look at ourselves honestly. We don’t ask ourselves why we let things happen like having our children going back to school in a pandemic. What does that say about us? Are we really concerned about the virus? Or are we hypocrites? Does a government that cares about its people allow this?
Our actions are the real narrators in life. It doesn’t matter what it is, it’s what we do about the issues involved that matter.
We have the internet. We have Youtube. We have Duck Duck Go, Google. Pick your search engine. You can follow what people say and do just by what they post. It’s actually easier than ever before. People show you all the time. The trick is just to pay attention.
So do that. Look at everything in life right now. Look at your politics, look at COVID, look at your place of work. Everybody everywhere is telling you exactly what matters to them, every single day. Look at what they do.
That’s the real story. Once you learn that, you can figure out where we’re going from there, and what you can do about it.
I have learned in this life to believe people’s actions. Words are easy to come by. Take it from me, who cobbles them together on a regular basis. People talk. We communicate. We tell everyone stories.
Most people never fail to forget that what we do is what People’s actions tell me exactly what each and every person is. I’m not much into the whole perfection thing.
Perfection freezes people. It’s an unattainable standard and if we’re honest, shouldn’t even be an ideal. We fall short, and that’s life. That doesn’t mean we can’t go for excellence however. Excellence is a skill and a trait we can all shoot for. Sometimes we fail, but other times, we succeed.
How do we get to excellence? The simple answer is practice.
Practice fricking sucks. Really, that’s the challenge of it. It’s not glamorous, nor does it give you a sense of accomplishment, because that is the internal struggle. Getting up and doing something over and over again.
It’s a pain in the ass. The truth is that everyday we practice however. If we hear the alarm clock every morning and we hit snooze, and we do it each and every day, that’s practice. That’s creating a habit, and if there’s one thing to work on for me, it’s this. I just hate getting up early. Quite a few of us do.
There are other habits we form. Do you go outside and enjoy the day, or do you sit there, doing nothing? Do you work on that manuscript or do you sleep? Or eat? Or Watch television?
Some habits are easier to develop than others. The easy path I have found in life only has one requirement, and that’s doing absolutely nothing. Doing nothing is the easiest thing in the world, and changes you the slowest.
I have habits I’ve formed for my life. Some of them are good, but if I’m honest, some of them are terrible. And if I want to change the course of my life, I have to look at my choices with the same scrutiny I would when I write something. For you see, excellence can be a habit.
The best in the field work towards this objective. And if you want to get somewhere, you should too.
Discipline Comes From Within
What do you want?
The biggest secret I’ve learned about people is that they will do exactly what they want to do. So, be honest with yourself. If you want to be successful at freelance writing, what are you doing everyday to make it happen? Are you applying for freelance jobs? Are you contacting places to pitch? Or are you doing nothing?
Excellence must become a habit and that means doing the stuff that you feel is hard or unfair. In short, practice.
My podcast is an exercise in practice. I book interviews, I do them when it’s convenient for my guests to the best of my ability, I do the interview, I take the raw stuff, I edit it, produce the show and deliver. Some weeks it’s freaking fantastic. Some weeks I don’t do as well as I’d hope. I’ve done 419 episodes as of this writing. Every time I think I do a better interview, and every time I (hope) do better with the technical end.
The more you do, the more you realize you don’t know. When I was younger my biggest fear was being tiny. As I get older and realize I know less and less, I realize that this is a good thing. It means there’s always room for me to grow and change. And that’s awesome.
You’re never going to know all there is to know. There will always be new challenges. Technology may change, or there are new techniques. SEO is not a new thing but a lot of us are trying our best to master the skills required to be better.
I’m good, but I want to be great. That means each and every day that I have to put effort in. My creative writing is one of the biggest differences. I’m learning new techniques all the time. And I’m thinking more about how to tell the story that needs to be told. I want the emotion and resonance of what I’m writing strike home each and every day. The details of what happens aren’t important. HOW it happens and what emotions I’m trying to convey are what matter.
So now I know enough to look at a scene with that kind of critical eye. Because I’m thinking about it in those terms, I can imagine the story in greater detail and nuance. It creates depths I never considered before. I didn’t get to that level without the practice I had.
Talent can make things easier, but the most dangerous thing you can believe is that you are just good at something. It’s my biggest mistake, because I know what I’m doing, right?
The best advice I ever got from my teacher is that “Things come easy to you. You’re going to have to teach yourself when things get hard.” He was right. Thank you Mr. Stewart for that sage advice. Talent makes things come to you easier, but when you want to make the leap from good to great, sometimes that little step is elusive. Because the line is inches. Sometimes, talent gets in the way of you making that leap.
Sometimes we need to take a step back and look critically at where we struggle. It keeps us humble in a good way. By eliminating that we are good (or bad, that’s just as terrible) and just take the subject at hand objectively and measure out our shortcomings, we can become great at something.
The last thing we want to be is Michigan J. Frog. Michigan J. Frog could have been a legend, IF he had ever been able to handle a crowd.
Excellence is Habit
To create that habit, just practice, and be open to learning. We can always be better at what we do, even the things we are good at. When we meet the best, they never forget to be humble about their strengths, because they know they can still get better.
But it’s up to you. What do you want? Because at the end of the day, you do it. Be conscious of your habits. We all carry them.
Thanks for reading. If you guys have a minute, Check out my latest release Alice Zero, my epic poem that mashes up Alice in Wonderland and Greek Mythology. If you want something a little more traditional, check out The Cloud Diver. It’s my love letter to video games and science fiction adventure.
My latest podcast features JD Estrada. We talk about anything and everything here and here. Finally, if you like what you hear, check out my audio services page. Keep Surfing the chaos out there.