Schmiggly’s Stories now available on iTunes and Amazon.com!

Simply because I got a pretty big kick out of seeing this, I just had to share it here.

While checking iTunes – just to see if they’ve maybe put up the audiobook production of Swan Place for sale there yet (and no, they haven’t…still waiting, but should happen soon…I’m just getting antsy…) – I happened to come across something else attached to my name! And here it is:

Schmiggly’s Stories: Mini-Stories & Songs, Volume 1 is now available on both iTunes and Amazon.com!!

So. Fun. 😀

As always, thanks for checking in! And have an excellent day. Cheers!

A Quick Update

And now back to voiceover stuff.

I’ve been so focused on keeping up my Facebook artist page, that I’ve sorely neglected posting here! My apologies for that. I do, happily, have some very good things to report:

Preschool Pond, a wonderful new kids’ iPad app (that features loads of fun character voices and narration…by yours truly) 😀 is soon to be available in the app store! Will definitely post details when that happens.

My audiobook production of Swan Place has been approved and is headed to retail! Providing it passes the final quality control check, it will very soon be available on Audible.com, Amazon.com, and iTunes! Can’t quite find words to express how excited I am about that. Again, will most definitely post details when it’s available!

Schmiggly’s Stories are still going strong on Huntley Radio. And I’m loving my role as Miss Penny just as much as ever! The storyline, the characters, the dialogue, and the overall concept of the show continue to make me smile – especially when I see the smiles on my own kiddos’ faces when they listen to it! 😉

I’ve recently been in conversation with a wonderfully talented author who writes in the Jane Austen variation genre, and who has asked me to narrate one of her lovely Pride and Prejudice variations. And I’m thrilled about it! I’m currently in the process of fleshing out some of the character voices, etc. (which include – but are, of course, not limited to – a few very dastardly pirates!!), and we should be able to get the ball rolling on production very soon, indeed. Check back in for more information on all of that in the very near future!

I’m hoping to keep these posts much more up to date from here on. Thanks for your patience. And, as always, thanks for reading!

Why My Four-Year-Olds Make Me Smarter: Segment 2, “The Art of Playing”

The other day, after finishing loading the dishwasher for the second time that day, I looked out into the living room to check on the kids. They had been laughing for some time, and seemed to have invented some sort of new incarnation of a common game I’ll simply refer to here as “jumping from the couches onto piles of cushions.”

As I watched the goings on, my son proceeded to climb up into a standing position on the living room love seat. This didn’t bother me at all, since the kids are always climbing up and jumping off of the living room furniture onto piles of pillows. It really is their rainy-day playground.

What I was not prepared to see, however, was my son launching himself purposefully through the air, and crashing right into my daughter, who was standing on the pile of pillows strategically placed right in the middle of the living room floor. As he hucked himself off the couch, I heard him exclaim a rather familiar, “Aaaaaa!!!” that sounded a bit like a squawk. I stood there stunned for a second, until I realized that both kids were laughing hysterically and picking themselves up off the pillows. Not knowing what to think of this, I shook myself out of my momentary shock and asked, “Woah! What in the world are you doing, dude?! You just crashed right into your sister!” I then turned my attention to my giggling daughter, “Sweetie, are you okay?”

“I’m fine, Momma!” laughed my little girl. “We’re just playing!”

“Yeah, Mommy, we’re playing!” said my son, very matter-of-factly.

“But what are you playing? You’re launching yourself off the couch and crashing right into your sister and knocking her down!”

“But, Mommeeeeeee…We’re playing ‘Angry Birds’!” He grinned at me. “Watch this!”

And I just stood there, watching my son clamber up onto the couch again, my eyes just blinking for a few seconds, before I totally lost it. I don’t think I’d laughed that hard in a very, very long time.

They were playing Angry Birds. Literally.

I don’t know if this means that we as parents are doing something right?…or if it is simply further proof that the kids’ iPhone time must be kept to an absolute minimum. 😉

Either way, I just have to rejoice in the workings of a child’s way of creative thinking. Truly, truly amazing stuff.

“Aaaaaa!!!”…

Why My Four-Year-Olds Make Me Smarter: Segment 1, “And Out Come the…er…Legos!”

It seems we have very few true recognized rights of passage in our modern western culture today. This is something my husband and I have lamented and discussed periodically, recognizing that rights of passage help an individual find and internalize personal identity, dignity, strength, sense of belonging, and value. Within the separate spectra of religion and spirituality, education, certain elements of individual cultural heritage, and age landmarks, we do have some. And a few very unofficial rights of passage in daily life, as a whole. But quite often, I believe, we actually experience certain very common, rather subconscious rights of passage, without really recognizing them as such.

This morning, after realizing that things upstairs had been rather quiet for a while, I went up to check on the kids. As I stepped into my son’s room, my eyes were immediately drawn to the expanse of his carpeted floor. Covering pretty much every inch, were brightly-colored Legos. Tons of Legos. A massive amount of Legos. And my son was standing in the midst of it, with the biggest smile stretched across his little precious four-year-old face. He grinned at me, big blue-green eyes wide like saucers and crinkling at the edges, and he said, “Mommy! Look what I built! It’s a spaceship…well, actually it’s a superhero turtle that’s also a spaceship…‘cause, look, it carries it’s home on it’s back, right here…and also it can fly through OUTER SPACE!” Infinitely creative, this kid.

“That’s so cool, buddy! Wow! Way to use your imagination!” I responded, and he then went on to explain a bit more about his superhero-turtle-spaceship. “And who’s this guy, then?” I asked a few moments later, as I reached down to inspect another creation involving a little Lego guy, pieced together – in true Frankenstein’s-Monster fashion – out of various parts from a motocross figure, an alien, an astronaut, a sheriff, and a couple of different Star Wars characters, and was apparently wielding a gun/sword/lightsaber thing and standing on some sort of ship.

“That’s Aragorn, Mom!” said my little boy, in a voice that told me I might just be a little slow on the uptake for not knowing that automatically. “Because, Mom, look…(and here he let out a little huff with a very tiny hint of exasperation)…I’ll show you,” and he began to take a step toward me. Then he suddenly stopped and looked down at his bare feet. After a moment or two of consideration, he oh-so-cautiously resumed his forward movement, very carefully picking his way across his floor on his toes, finding any little inch of bare carpet. I didn’t think this venture would end well, but my son soon surprised me by deftly managing to avoid the classically catastrophic results of a pointy-edged Lego coming into direct contact with a bare foot. And at that moment I was struck by a thought: This is a right of passage. Legos. Walking across a floor covered in Legos. Seriously. In some small way, it’s our culture’s kid-version of fire-walking. Pour out the Legos on the floor, and…GO! If you can make it across without massive and incapacitating pain, you win. And you then get to continue making bigger, better, and more complex inventions out of thousands of tiny plastic interlocking pieces.

Pretty much every kid – and every parent – just has to step on a Lego at some point. We’ve all done it. It’s a common and uniting experience. Even a nostalgia, of sorts: (and I quote) “So how bad is the pain? On a scale of 1 to stepping-on-a-Lego…”

So I smiled at my son as he explained all the things that his “Aragorn” character could do. Apparently he and the spaceship-turtle were both superheroes who were chasing the bad guys through space…and Aragorn was the turtle’s dad…or something along those lines. And this made perfect sense in the vast expanse of a four-year-old mind… Of course.

All that said, Hooray, Legos! We’re thankful for you…even for all the pointy edges. Though I’m pretty sure I’ll stick to wearing shoes when my son calls me up to his room to check out his latest creations. 😉

Audiobook In Production: Swan Place by Augusta Trobaugh

And here it is, folks! The audiobook I currently have the honor of narrating and producing is Swan Place, a lovely work of Southern fiction written by much-lauded author Augusta Trobaugh.

And here’s the scoop – as far as plot goes – in a nutshell (from Belle Books, Inc.):

“Dove, Molly, Little Ellis and Crystal are runaways with nowhere to turn and no one they can trust until they arrive at a secret sanctuary called Swan Place, where they are taken under wing by a remarkable group of women.”

The novel has received impressive media reviews. Here’s a bit of what’s being said about Swan Place:

“[Augusta Trobaugh] streamlines her rich Southern style and creates a narrative as delicate as a line drawing” – USA Today

“Both inspirational and down-to-earth.” – Publishers Weekly

“The powers of religion, family, and love work together to combat racism while offering hope.” – Library Journal

“A touching story of people finding sanctuary and kindness in unlikely places when they need it most.” – Booklist

And now for a bit about the author. Augusta Trobaugh holds a Master of Arts from the University of Georgia, with a concentration in American and Southern literature – and her expertise definitely comes through in her writing. It is almost melodic at times, the kind of writing I would describe as (in a differentiation – concerning works of fiction – that I’ve always tried to make clear for my English and writing students over the years) not simply fiction, but literature. And I’m certainly not alone in that opinion. Her work has received funding through the Georgia Council for the Arts, and in addition to Swan Place, her other acclaimed titles include Music From Beyond the Moon, The Tea-Olive Bird Watching Society, Sophie and the Rising Sun, Resting in the Bosom of the Lamb, and Praise Jerusalem!, which was a semi-finalist in the 1993 Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Competition. For further info on any or all of these titles, please visit Trobaugh’s author page at Belle Books, Inc.

In recent correspondence with the very helpful and supportive Audio Management contact for Belle Books, Inc., I shared that this production has truly become a labor of love. As a writer, I am familiar with how characters can become very much like real people, as they are – in a rather mystical sense – brought to life through the creation of a story. As a voice actor, I am also familiar with how characters brought to life by a great writer can then be given breath and a living voice that brings them into the tangible world. I am thoroughly excited about being the one to give that breath – and those voices – to the wonderful cast of characters and beautifully woven storyline brought to life through this touching novel.

As always, dear readers, thank you so much for journeying along with me.

More updates to come!