NEW BOOK!

I just published my first book! It’s called Big Blue—and other Poems about the People and Animals of Alaska-The Last Frontier. You can find it here:

https://www.amazon.com/Big-Blue-animals-Alaska-Frontier-ebook/dp/B07L2HQFSG/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1545513710&sr=1-1&keywords=big+blue+by+bill+burrows

It contains fifteen original poems that I wrote in the style of Robert Service—The Bard of the Yukon—author of such works as The Spell of the Yukon and The Cremation of Sam McGee. I also illustrated the book with pen and ink drawings. Please, check it out. It’s available in Kindle eBook and audiobook but I hope you’ll want the paperback version so you can better appreciate the illustrations. To hear me perform all of the poems, here is the link to the audiobook on Audible.com:

https://www.audible.com/pd/Big-Blue-And-Other-Poems-About-the-People-and-Animals-of-Alaska-Audiobook/B07LC38857?qid=1545514556&sr=sr_1_8&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_8&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=P1TN8B768EA7HVV58RXA&

My Father's Birthday

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This blog is supposed to be about my voice over work--commercials and audio books.  But it is my blog so if I want to deviate a bit, that's my  prerogative, right?

The picture is of me and my youngest grandson, Parker George Burrows.  His first name is the same as my father's middle name, John Parker Burrows.  Today is my father's birthday.  He was born on this day 108 years ago.  No, he is no longer with us--he passed away in 1982.  But I can't not think about him every April 10th.

He lived long enough to see the beginning of my career in broadcasting, both on radio and TV.  I started anchoring the evening news on the local CBS affiliate in 1978--the same year I got married.  By that time, a stroke had limited his ability to speak clearly.  But he still had a deep, resonant voice which I had inherited--a trait that made my announcing career possible. Nowadays, you hear all kinds of voices on the radio--it's more about personality.  But back in the early '70s, it was still an advantage to have a classic, deep announcer's voice.

As a voice talent doing audio books and auditioning for commercials in the Phoenix market, sounding like a classic announcer is more of a disadvantage.  I have to work really hard to sound more like a normal person. 

What has helped me more in narrating fiction has been my acting experience on stage.  And sadly, that's something my father didn't get to see much of.  I think he came to see one play.  But her never got to see what I consider to have been the highlights of my stage career--like the two times that I played the iconic role of Professor Harold Hill in The Music Man.  The first time was in 1984--two years after my daddy died.

So, today, I think about him.  I think about how I need to work hard to stay healthy and live as long as I can---so I can still be around to witness the life accomplishments of Parker and of all of my  grandchildren.

This Book Spoke to Me

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Most of the books I narrate are works of fiction, usually in the mystery genre.  But I think a lot audio book fans like to listen to books from which they can learn something. So, I have done a few nonfiction books and plan to do more.

In the self-help realm, I recorded How to Talk to Anyone by Steve Robinson.

This book struck a chord to me since I started out life as a very shy person with a stutter.  I had few friends and couldn't talk to girls at all.  Ironic that I would end up working in broadcasting. But what most people misunderstand about being a radio and TV announcer is that you spend most of your time not in front of people but alone, talking into a microphone.  That's especially true about my early years as a radio disk jockey.  I'd spend four, five or six ours a day all by myself in the on-air studio--then the rest of my work shift alone in the production room "cutting" spots.  (that's radio jargon for recording commercials).

Even when I moved on to being a TV news anchor, it was still just me and a handful of people in the studio--the camera operators, co-anchor, weather guy, etc.

One could say that a life time of broadcasting didn't help me much in being good talking to people--it made be very good at talking at people.  My standard ice-breaker that I'd use with clients when I was in sales was "I think I'm a good listener; the problem is what I like to listen to most is the sound of my own voice".

As for that stuttering problem; you may wonder how someone with a stammer could end up as an announcer and voice-over talent.  Simple.  I discovered that when I spoke like an announcer--with that rolling cadence most old time announcers used--I didn't stutter!  It's the same as country singer Mel Tillis; he stuttered so badly he could barely talk at all.  But when he sang, the stammer went away completely.  I think James Earl Jones had a similar story.

Those are my tricks for learning to talk to people.  For a lot more, listen to the audio book How to Talk to Anyone by Steve Robinson. 

Time Flies

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I can believe Derelict by LJ Cohen was 26 books ago!

This fantastic space adventure story--the first of a trilogy--was the very first audio book I narrated after discovering ACX.com.

I used my old PowerMac and my old software that I used in my television production company up in Alaska along with my Mackie mixer board and my original ElectroVoice RE20 microphone. 

It all worked just fine--except that old computer had what is now a "derelict" hard drive and two fans which made too much noise for me to record in the same room!  Re-recording mistakes was a bitch!  And there were a lot of mistakes.  Thank God Ms. Cohen was so great to work with.

Now it's all so simple with a dead quiet laptop.  I finally had to replace my old RE20 just a month ago with----wait for it----a brand new RE20!  For my money (and it IS my money) it's still the best microphone on the market.  If it's good enough to be Rush Limbaugh's "Golden EIB Microphone", its' good enough for me. 

(Point of clarification: I DO NOT listen to Rush Limbaugh,  Rachel Maddow is more my style these days).

Anyway, even though it has been almost three years and 26 books ago, Derelict is still one of my favorites and one of my best sellers!  Check out Ithaka Rising (the sequel) too.

Out of the Closet

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It's not what you think.

I mean literally out of the closet where I was recording the last few days and back into the sun drenched front room of my house. 

I have to admit; the acoustics are better in the closet!

Just finished editing another great chapter in This Giant Leap--a collection of short stories.  Next up, another chapter in Brandywine's War--a humorous/serious book about the Vietnam War.

This process of doing three different books simultaneously is actually kind of fun.  I don't feel so bogged down.  It keeps each book fresh.

Time to quit for the day--the pizza is here!

Temporary Studio

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We have a daughter and two grand kids visiting so my "studio" is temporarily being used as a spare bedroom.  So I am having to do my recording in our walk-in closet! Acoustics are actually pretty darn good!

I can't stay here too long, though.  As we head into summer here in the Phoenix area, the AC will be kicking on a little too frequently and this closet is right under the AC unit in the attic--making this "studio" a little noisy.

The Advantages of Being a Semi-retired Voice Talent

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What does a Southern White Rhinoceros have to do with narrating audio books?

For me, everything....today.

I try to spend anywhere from two to five hours a day working on whatever book or books I am currently producing.  But some days, life gets in the way.  Which is OK, if, a) you are retired and b) your daughter and two grand kids are visiting and want to go to the zoo with my other daughter and two other grand kids.

So we did.

Not only was it a great day at the Phoenix Zoo where I got some great pictures of Mr. Rhino, but it also gave my voice a well-needed rest.  In the voice over business, all work and no play can lead a strained voice. 

I'll be rearing to go tomorrow.

PS: Hearing on the news that the last wild Northern White Rhino died last week, spending some quality time with one of his Southern cousins was rather poignant.

 

One of My Favorites

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Today, I wanted to talk about one of my favorite authors. 

I've narrated two books for John C. Dalglish in his Detective Jason Strong series.  Shadow of Doubt is the 15th in the series, and the first one I did.  The other one I did was Fatal Affair--the 16th in the series.  (I only wish John I and I had found each other sooner!) 

These books are police mysteries that not only very good stories but also very well written.  And I love narrating well written books!  As I like to say, a good writer makes a good narrator sound great!

Mr. Dalglish's niche is he writes what he calls "clean mysteries".  But don't let that fool you!  These are very adult stories with adult characters acting and speaking very believably.  There is just no gratuitous sex or overly coarse language. 

Always remember, when I am self promoting, that you don't have to take my word for it!  Read the reviews on Amazon and Audible AND listen to the FREE audio sample.  And, if you are signing up for Audible for the first time, your first book is FREE!

Thanks for checking in.  More tomorrow.

 

New Books in the Works and More!

It's time to start blogging!  Actually, way past time.

I have been narrating audio books for two years and have completed twenty six books!  And, at the moment, I'm busy working on THREE new books simultaneously:

The Sacred Vault: Book 2 in the Atlantis series by Rick Jones

     This is my SIXTH book that I have done for Rick Jones.  He must like me.

Brandywine's War by Robert Vaughn

     What Catch-22 was for WWII and MASH was for the Korean War, Brandywine's War does for     the Vietnam War .

This Giant Leap by Edmund R. Schubert.

    This is a fascinating collection of short stories spanning the genres of horror, sci-fi and fantasy.

Please take the time to check out the twenty six other books in my collection of completed works.  There is a five minute sample of each one that you can listen to for FREE!  Right now, my best seller is Introduction to Conducting Private Investigations by Phillip A. Becnel IV.  If it sounds like a textbook, it is--the official required reading (or listening) to get a Private Eye license in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  But it is written in a style that makes it quite enjoyable for anyone.  It includes a number of "case studies" that each read like an episode of CSI or Bull or Perry Mason.  I highly recommend it. 

Happy Easter everyone--more tomorrow.