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A Little Ragnarok Does My Soul Good

So, yeah. This is gonna be kind of long. But I'm excited! And a little bit proud. So hopefully you won't mind.

About four years ago, I read a book. It was a book by Greg Van Eekhout called Norse Code. I first met Greg through the Viable Paradise mailing list, and LiveJournal, and had gotten to hang out with him at a few conventions. I had heard several of his stories at Escape Pod and PodCastle, and I loved them all. So, when Norse Code - his debut novel - came out, I was pumped. I'd heard Greg talk about it, liked the idea of Ragnarok and a little known beach bum of a Norse God. It sounded like good times.

I bought the book, took this picture of Claire "reading" it and posted it to LJ, then went to Hawaii for vacation with my family. I always take way too many books on vacation. Even now, when I can read eBooks, I take hard copies too. That trip was no exception, and Norse Code ended up being the only book I actually managed to read.

I enjoyed the hell out of it. It was way more fun than I thought Ragnarok could ever be.



When Anna and I first came onto PodCastle, one of the stories we bought was Greg's "Wolves Till the World Goes Down." It was another story featuring Norse mythology, and some of the same characters as in Norse Code. Buuuuuut it was like an alternate reality of Norse Code. The characters don't follow the same path, and Hermod, the protagonist of Norse Code, is thought dead in the short story, etc. It was a great story about thwarting destiny, and in the end, I got lucky enough to read it for our audience myself. (You can listen to it for free now, if you want.)

The funny thing is, I wasn't sure how that would play. I live in L.A. This is Norse mythology. I felt a little bit out of my depth, but Anna was like, "Dude, people love the readings you've done so far, it'll be fine." So I tried to figure out how to pronounce some of the Norse names, and recorded it, and I ended up feeling pretty good about how it came out, particularly the climax. The audience really flipped out for it when it went live, and some of them liked my reading which was great. But what made my year was the email Greg sent me. "That was just a phenomenal reading. I am not shitting you when I say I actually got shivers."  And on and on. (Yes, I looked the email up just now, and it made me smile all over again. Maybe it changed my life a little bit. Maybe that story did?) Anyway, I never know how an author's gonna react to hearing his story read, so like I said, that made my year.

A little while after that, when I really started listening to audiobooks, Greg was one of the first writers I looked up. I was utterly bummed out I couldn't find his books at Audible, or anywhere else. I told Greg this, and he made some flippant comment about how I should record it. I laughed.

And then I thought about it.

And then I emailed him.

And then I tried to figure out what that would actually take.

Here was the issue: Greg didn't have the audio rights - Random House had bought them, but never exercised them*. ACX had just started up around the same time, and I decided to write Greg's editor, and say, Look, I love this book. I do a podcast. I want to see it come to audio, and I would love to read it. Please?

I got passed on to a lot of people, and eventually, someone got back to me. It took a long time for the process to progress after that. A loooooooong time. I'd get an email from RH, and they'd say it sounds like a great idea, and they'd get back to me soon. But I kept pestering them, and they (surprisingly) didn't get super annoyed with me. Eventually, after about 9 months, I got put in touch with Audible who were in charge of making it all happen. Once Audible got involved, things started moving pretty quickly.

And so, I polished off my Norse pronunciations, and recorded Norse Code, and now there's an audiobook of Greg's super fun story that people can buy, and listen to me read it to them!!! That is so freaking cool!

It was a blast - and the story and characters were even more fun than I remembered it being. Hermod, one of the protagonists, is a Norse god whose ditched Asgard for Midgard, and has been seen recently bumming around Venice Beach. I got to read that part, and it was CRAZY FUN.

Thanks, Greg, for writing such a fun story. Thanks for trusting me with it, and believing in me, and encouraging me. I tried following a dream, and this time I managed to catch it.

I hope people get a chance to listen to Norse Code, and that they enjoy it, and that it makes them smile. Because it was a hell of a lot fun to read.

So, yeah. I really like recording audiobooks. I am recording another audiobook now, and it's a lot of fun. I hope I can record a lot more, and chase down a few more dreams, and defy a few more prophecies.

(Thanks to my buddy Graeme Dunlop for doing the production on the audiobook.)

*Something I've learned over the past couple years: Authors, please make sure you know what your publisher plans to do with the audio rights. It SUCKS when they buy them, but don't do anything with them. This has happened to us a couple of times at PodCastle with other authors, and it's always a bummer for all involved).

Comments

( 6 eyeball kicks — kick me )
jongibbs
Jan. 26th, 2013 10:11 am (UTC)
I think someone has a future in showbiz :)
sartorias
Jan. 26th, 2013 02:04 pm (UTC)
Love the photo!
Dani Parlatore Daly
Jan. 26th, 2013 02:27 pm (UTC)
So excited to listen to this!
I'm a big fan of your narrations and can't wait to listen to this! I am getting my next Audible credit in 9 days and THIS is where it's going!
samhenderson
Jan. 26th, 2013 05:12 pm (UTC)
SO AWESOME!
And how great that you were able to pursue this and get it accomplished!
That never occurred to be about audio rights, and is a very helpful heads-up.
gregvaneekhout
Jan. 26th, 2013 05:49 pm (UTC)
Like I said on Twitter, I'd love this entry even if you weren't talking about my book. Getting the attention of people at a major publisher and actually getting action was a feat worthy of Valhalla. You are a rock star.

The thing about audio rights, is publishers often just want them and aren't willing to give them up. In those cases, you just have to hope they exploit them. With my later contracts, I've either kept them or gotten a reversion clause, so that if they don't use them, I eventually get them back.
tinaconnolly
Jan. 27th, 2013 01:14 am (UTC)
This. Is AWESOME. (And I love the picture too.)
( 6 eyeball kicks — kick me )

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