Angel has this week's Stuff We Like with a little of something old, something new...
When I was little, my parents would take us to the library and encourage us to pick out not only books, but also records to borrow. Our library had a wonderful section of vinyl narrations, you see, people with wonderful voices reading stories. The expressiveness of these narrators captivated me, allowing me to hear dialogue in different ways, to paint mind pictures I wouldn't have on my own.
We don't outgrow the desire to have stories read to us. You just have to look at audio book sales these days. But I have to be honest - a bad narrator can just kill a story and sometimes you just can't get past the first five minutes because of a flat, uninflected reading. Recommendations and reviews of narrators have become just as important as the reviews of the books themselves.
When you find a good narrator? Holy crumbs and crusts, it's almost better than Death by Chocolate. Or sex. Or sex with Death by Chocolate. In my rambling way, this is me saying that I like good narration and finding the perfect narrator for a story. For Shax? That person turned out to be Vance Bastian, our amazing narrator for Hell For The Company. Vance not only manages an incredibly fun range of voices for the characters, he gets the voices right for the scene. Shax - sometimes vain and roguish, sometimes a bit freaked out. Verin - from vaguely irritated to really pissed off. Ivana - from snark to sweet. Ness - from completely flummoxed to finding his feet. Heck, Vance even managed the perfect voice for Benny, which makes me want more Benny scenes so he can read them.
Look for Vance's work on Hell For The Company on audible and ACX, and here's hoping he agrees to do more. 'Cause we do like being read to and we most assuredly like Vance.
Vance Bastian can be found at: http://www.vancebastian.com/
Hell For The Company: Brimstone 1
Audio edition narrated by Vance Bastian
For today's Stuff We Like, our wandering SFF author, Angel Martinez, is back for a post :)
Hi all! It's summer. Yeah, I know, officially that's not for a number of days yet, but let's face it - the kids are done or almost done school. The beach traffic has already begun. We've had out first heat wave. And...
Farmers' Markets are back.
I think everyone has some version of Farmers' Market near them. Some of them are year-round, and not quite like the old markets where individual farmers trucked stuff in for the weekends and some are seasonal, from the roadside stand to the large, annual market spaces. It's one of the few things I like about summer, because you can actually find local, fresh-picked produce, so much nicer than the shipped in, force-ripened stuff from the wintertime.
We have several different sorts of markets around us here. Delaware and the nearby counties in Pennsylvania have a lot of farms still and thriving Amish/Mennonite communities. We get a lot of farm stands along the old state roads. The Amish stands always have seasonal fruits and vegetables, but a lot of them also have yummy jars of pickled items and honey from their own apiaries. Wonderful stuff.
We also have seasonal Farmers' Markets all up and down the state where vendors large and small bring produce, canned and bottled goods, crafts, art, and thingamajigs during the growing season. Local strawberries are the best. Local anything in the summer is wonderful. But there's nothing like the fruit picked for just that day. Even if you don't go to buy, it's so much fun to go and look. Pic on the right is from the one in Rehoboth Beach - one of the bigger ones - but they crop up all over.
Then we have the year-round markets, too. These are sometimes more indoor flea market than traditional farm market, but it's usually kind of a mix. The one we have nearest us is half Asian market, half Supermercado, with the produce section smack in the middle. No, not everything is local, especially not in the winter, but it's a heck of a lot cheaper than the supermarket and you can find whatever you need for any dish imaginable. Ginger root, Thai peppers, whole sugar cane, jaggery, persimmons, mangoes of all sorts, whatever you need, they have it. There also happens to be a Korean restaurant inside the farmers market, which does a food festival annually where they serve food to the community for free. They had to move it outside this year because it's gotten too big. Other year round markets have some of the best baked goods in the area and various specialty vendors. In the summer, most of them have outdoor flea markets in the parking lots/ grassy areas where you can browse for all sorts of wild stuff, from handmade jewelry to antique car parts.
Summer's sticky here. It's hot and generally yucky. But at least we have the Farmers' Markets - that helps make the rest bearable.
Hi everyone! Angel Martinez here with today's Stuff We Like :)
We're often asked what our favorites season is. It's sometimes difficult for me to say, though I can always tell you that I hate summer. The heat and I do not get along and it's just miserable. I like winter, so long as it doesn't overstay it's welcome, and I love fall, maybe because of the relief from summer, though I love the colors and the holidays.
But this time of year? I'll tell you that I love spring best. I could talk about renewal and rebirth, the resurrection of life, so on and so forth, but really it's about the garden. This is when all my favorite flowers start wake up and bloom, all those bulb plants and perennials that make me happy. Mine aren't blooming quite yet. It was a rough winter and they've had a late start. By Easter weekend, they should be.
We have daffodils galore. This isn't my garden, but mine grow like this, in a naturalized way, allowed to spread as they please:
Tulips, just a few. They're some of my favorites though, the red ones that come up in the front yard:
Hyacinths, purple - they come up next to the tulips:
I even love the scraggly wild forsythia that no one actually planted that grows near the woodpile.
It's the exuberant explosion of color after the white and grayscale of winter that makes my heart leap. Yes, there's a lot of cleanup to do. Yes, the street robins are back in their "we don't care that you're driving here" gangs. But I love spring. It does feel like new beginnings.
We here at MCB have been moving along steadily, and wanted to share some updates.