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Author: Chelsea Campbell

How I Chose the Perfect Narrator

Six years ago, when I’d just started self-publishing the Renegade X series, I decided I wanted to make an audiobook. Books 1 and 2 came out pretty much at the same time (book 2 actually came out about a week before book 1, but who’s counting?), and they were doing well enough to support taking a chance on something new.

But I was nervous about actually hearing someone voice my characters, especially Damien, because I already had an idea of how they sounded in my head and I didn’t want to risk ruining that. Not only did I need to find the right voice for Damien, but I also needed somebody who could pull off all the humor and get the timing right. And I’m super picky about narrators. The point is, I had to find someone who was just right, or else I wasn’t going to do it.

So I put up a request for auditions on ACX. I got a lot of of them, but it wasn’t until I went looking around at available narrators myself that I found someone. Phillip Russel Newman was really versatile and could pull off a variety of voices. I asked him to record an audition, and he agreed. And then I went to his website and saw that he had a business where people could pay him to go sing songs to their loved ones in public and embarrass the hell out of them. I mean, embarrassing the hell out of them wasn’t explicitly stated, but you could see just how embarrassed people were in the sample videos.

And that’s when I knew, before I even heard him audition, that he would be the perfect Damien. Because what’s more Damien than that? And of course when his audition came in, it was flawless, and his voices for everyone were spot on and hilarious. (The audition scene was from fairly late in book 1 when Damien’s on the phone with Kat, and Amelia’s getting ready for her party, and Gordon comes in and asks Damien if he put worms in his shampoo, which we all know he did.)

If you’re wondering why I chose now to tell this story, it’s because I have a kickstarter going right now to produce the next audiobook in the series, The Betrayal of Renegade X. We’re at 29% with just under three weeks left to go! But if we don’t hit the finish line within that time, the project won’t get funded and the audiobook won’t get made. So if you’ve enjoyed the first two audiobooks, please consider preordering book 3 through the kickstarter to ensure that it will exist, both for you and for future listeners to enjoy!

And if you’re new to the audiobooks, books 1 and 2 are already available in audio if you want to check them out or hear a sample.

Where I’m at on Book 5

I hit 25k on book 5, The Rivalry of Renegade X! Which just also happens to be the 25% mark, assuming this book ends up being the 100k I have planned. It’ll be a bit shorter than the last few books, but all my books have been coming out a bit shorter these days, so I thought I’d roll with it.

But I’ve already had my freak out where I get to about 1/4 – 1/3 of the way through the book and decide I need to delete everything and completely start over, only to realize a few days later that I’m insane and everything I had was great and exactly what it needed to be (and also hilarious), and then put everything back to normal and move on. This happens every freaking time with Renegade X books, and I have no idea why! Sometimes at this point in the book, I really do need to reassess where it’s going moving forward, and sometimes that means going back and adding things in, but I rarely end up cutting anything, and certainly not the whole thing. Geez.

I do remember in book 2 having to rewrite that scene where Damien goes over to Sarah’s and they’re working on the personality enhancer, like, a million times. It was originally about something completely different! I’m pretty sure Riley wasn’t even there! I hadn’t figured out what the book was really about yet or, more importantly, what the characters really wanted from each other, and once I did, it all clicked into place.

Anyway, I’m loving working on book 5. It’s hilarious and fun and full of crazy hijinx!

After ruining the annual Tines family barbecue by retaliating against one of his stuck-up superhero cousins—who totally deserved it, no matter what anyone says—Damien just wants an easy summer. One that involves him and his friends hanging out and going on the occasional superhero mission. He doesn’t need his “good twin” from another dimension where he was raised by Gordon showing up and making a mess of everything, and he sure as hell doesn’t need him living at his house, doing chores without being asked, and generally being the perfect superhero son his family’s always wanted.

And as if that wasn’t bad enough, his good twin refuses to lie low. He’s obsessed with doing good deeds and even volunteers to be his dad’s sidekick on his lame kids show. Damien soon has his hands full just trying to stop this guy from making him look like one of the stereotypical douchey heroes he’s always hated. And when his good twin starts to win over all his friends, it’s the last straw. Damien knows there’s only room for one of him in Golden City, and he’s more than ready to get rid of this guy.

But when Damien’s attempts to send him back home backfire and an “evil” version of his half brother Xavier shows up—as if Xavier could get any worse—the two Damiens will have to find a way to work together despite their differences. That is, if they want to stop Xavier’s evil plans and make sure there’s still another dimension to go back to.

Let’s Make an Audiobook!

A.k.a. THE KICKSTARTER IS LIVE!

I have so many awesome things to tell you about this kickstarter that I don’t even know where to start! This is my fourth kickstarter, and it’s also the one that’s taken the most prep work. The other three only took a couple weeks to get ready, but this one took more like 10! And it’s basically my dream kickstarter from a backer’s standpoint – a variety of items that make you feel like you’re part of a fictional world.

And by that I mean that the kickstarter is back-to-school themed, complete with school paraphernalia, and you choose whether you’re going to Heroesworth or Vilmore. You don’t just get to feel like you’re part of a fictional world, you get to make choices about your place in it!!! I can’t tell you how happy that makes me!

Speaking of bringing fictional worlds to life, you can also get a recording of a short, customized message read by Damien! Or any of the other Renegade X characters! Basically, everything I talked about in this post is there.

If you’ve been waiting for the next audiobook, this is your chance to make it happen! If you can pledge, that’s great, and if not, please help spread the word! (Actually, please help do that anyway!) Let’s make this the best Renegade X kickstarter yet!

Go check it out!

On Sale Now – The Persistence of Renegade X!

The latest installment in the Renegade X series, The Persistence of Renegade X, is here! Grab all three novellas for only .99 cents each for a limited time!

This novella takes place between books 4 and 5.

Watching Damien’s two favorite siblings for the night—and stealing his sister Amelia’s title of “best babysitter”—should be easy. It shouldn’t involve his mom calling and begging him to watch his awful half brother. And it shouldn’t involve having to go rescue his two best friends from a superhero mission gone wrong. And it definitely shouldn’t involve getting stranded in downtown Golden City with all the kids he’s supposed to be watching. Especially not when the night’s almost over, and it’s a race against the clock if he wants to get everyone home before his parents and, more importantly, Amelia find out anything ever went wrong.

Available now in ebook and paperback!

Coming Soon to a Kickstarter Near You

I’ve been skeptical about doing a kickstarter for the next Renegade X audiobook (which is book 3, The Betrayal of Renegade X, for those of you just tuning in), but you guys have been asking for it, and the idea’s lit a fire in my brain and won’t let me go, so you guys are going to get the chance to make this happen.

And maybe I shouldn’t be skeptical about it – after all, we raised enough to produce the book 2 audiobook during the kickstarter to publish book 3 (which is still one of the most awesome things that has ever happened, so good job, guys!), so I may have underestimated how well an audiobook kickstarter will do. Though it’s still a lot of money to raise in just a short time, which is always nerve-racking!

One of my goals for this kickstarter is to have incentives for everyone, not just the audiobook fans. So even if you haven’t been listening to the audiobooks, there’s something for you here. It’s going to be back-to-school themed – the only question is… will you be attending Vilmore or Heroesworth? >:)

Possible incentives include:

  • The Betrayal audiobook, obviously!
  • Maybe the audiobooks for books 1 and 2. There might be a way to include them, but I need to talk to ACX first and find out.
  • A mention on a thank-you page on my website.
  • Vilmore and Heroesworth school supplies: keychains, notebooks, T-shirts, and blankets.
  • A special ebook omnibus that includes all four main books, plus the novellas, including the one I’m currently working on that doesn’t have a title yet but is basically Renegade X meets Adventures in Babysitting, plus some yet-to-be-determined bonus content.
  • A recording of a short, personalized message of your choice read by Damien (or any of your other favorite Renegade X characters). This could either be completely custom, as in written by you, or I can make something up for you.
  • A diploma from the school of your choice, either Heroesworth or Vilmore, with your choice of specialty/major. (Or for those of you obviously going back to school, what with your notebooks and your T-shirts and whatnot, this is, like, a pre-diploma. Something to put above your desk as a motivator to get all your villain homework done and stuff.)

Let me know what you think in the comments or if there’s anything I’ve left out! All of the physical items are things I can get through Zazzle, which has a shipping program where you pay $10 and have free domestic shipping, which will mean free shipping for you guys, as long as you’re in the US (international backers will still have to pay extra for shipping, unfortunately), and more of the money raised will be able to go toward funding the audiobook.

And if you haven’t tried out the audiobooks yet, you can start here. (<—- I get a bonus if you use this link to sign up, just FYI.) If you’re new to Audible, they give you a free audiobook for signing up, and then you don’t have to stay subscribed if you don’t want to. And if you’ve already bought the ebooks for book 1 or book 2 on Amazon, then you can get each corresponding audiobook for only $7.49, even without being an Audible member.

Anyway, I am super excited about this and I hope you guys are, too!

 

Upcoming Sneak Peek!

Just a heads up–newsletter subscribers are getting a hilarious sneak peek at The Rivalry of Renegade X next month! If you’re not signed up, you can do so here: https://www.subscribepage.com/e7w5g1. (I’m always paranoid that I’m going to spell it “sneek peak,” but looks like I made it through. *phew*)

Also, you may have noticed, if you’re viewing this on my site, that the website has a new look. I loved the old theme, but it had some issues, like not showing the drop down menus properly and layering the heading so it was on top of literally everything. So, at least for now, I’ve switched to something cleaner and easier to deal with. Though I find it kind of hard to read, but I find everything hard to read, so I might just need new glasses. My Scrivener files are all turned up to 175% right now…

No audiobook news yet. The contract I was waiting for (unrelated to the audiobooks, but that would have paid for the next book) is still maybe happening, but it’s been a year and a half, so I’m not holding my breath on that one. But the audiobooks are still really important to me, and it is still happening, I just don’t know when. I keep coming back to the idea of crowdfunding it somehow, but it’s a bit tricky because I can’t give away the existing audiobooks, due to exclusivity rights, and I’m not sure a kickstarter for it would be successful (I’d need to raise at least $2500, not including paying for incentives and fees). Patreon is a possibility, but I keep talking myself out of it, because I’m not sure what I could offer or how it would work to do a big project like that on there. I just picture it taking months and months and still not making it and then everyone hating me forever. Anyway, opinions/suggestions on this are welcome!

Honorbound – Cover Reveal and Pre-Order

It’s here! I am so excited to show you the super gorgeous, amazingly shiny cover for Honorbound! I’ve seen it a bunch of times now, and every time I’m still like, “Whoa.” This cover was created by the uber talented Fiona Jayde of fionajaydemedia.com. If you’re an author looking for an artist, I wholeheartedly recommend her! She was great to work with, her prices are more than reasonable, and her artwork is crazy awesome!

Anyway, not only does it have a cover, but Honorbound is available for pre-order! I listed the release date as May 29th to give myself plenty of wiggle room, but the book is close to being done and I plan to have it out by the end of April, sooner if possible. It will be part of Kindle Unlimited, and there will be a paperback release to follow. I am really hoping to also do an audiobook version, but I haven’t talked to the narrator yet, so I don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up (including my own). Plus, as you all know, I am woefully behind on the Renegade X audiobooks, so this one will have to go to the end of the queue. (And yes, those audiobooks are still happening.)