Tuesday, July 16, 2013

ONE BRIGHT MORNING, the audiobook! 

(but not until after you read the blog)

I’m so happy that my very first book, ONE BRIGHT MORNING, is now available as an audiobook through Audible and Amazon. And I’d really like to thank Denice Stradling for narrating the book. She’s wonderful, and she makes the book sound good. Not that it isn’t or anything, but if I’d had the time to do it over, I’d edit the heck out of it and probably eliminate about 10,000 words. But that’s neither here nor there.
One of the main reasons I wrote ONE BRIGHT MORNING is that I used to suffer terribly from migraine headaches. That probably sounds odd, but it’s true. Anyway, I got to thinking about headaches one day. Headaches aren’t a modern problem. They’ve been around for millennia. People in ancient Egypt got headaches. People in ancient Roma got headaches. So that probably means that people living in what we fondly call the Old West also got headaches.
So . . . what might happen if a poor (and I do mean poor) widow woman with a daughter to rear, in a cabin, in the middle of the Sacramento Mountains near Lincoln (that’s where Billy the Kid did his thing), in the middle of the wild and woolly New Mexico Territory, in the late 1800s, woke up one morning with a migraine headache. No Excedrin Migraine for her. No doctor-prescribed medicaments available. She’s stuck. With a headache that makes it difficult for her to stand up, much less function in an environment that has absolutely NO conveniences, modern or otherwise. Heck, the woman had to chop her own wood and pump her own water, you know? And wash her baby’s diapers. By hand. On a scrubbing board. In water either freezing cold or that she had to heat in a cast-iron kettle over a fire. Heck, she even had to make her own soap. And milk her own cow.
And then, just for fun, what might happen if a gunshot stranger showed up at her door and she had to rescue him? And then, why not? what would she do if a Mescalero Apache Indian showed up in her kitchen. This was in the late 1800s, and relations between Native Americans and white folks weren’t exactly warm and fuzzy.
Yes, I burdened poor Maggie Bright with all of those problems. And those were only the physical hazards of her life. I also saddled her with the results of a miserable childhood during which she learned that she was stupid and couldn’t do anything right.
          I’m not usually a mean person, but . . . well, poor Maggie. And then, when I read the first line of my book to the folks gathered at the South Pasadena Public Library (having been invited to do so by Meredith Brucker, my very favorite teacher in the world at the time), everybody laughed. What’s up with that?
            But never mind. That’s how ONE BRIGHT MORNING hit the light of print. And now I’d like to ask Denice Stradling her thoughts about the book, since she had to read the thing, bless her heart.
Oh, Alice. how you make ME laugh . . . and (ahem) . . . I think I laughed, too, when I first read ONE BRIGHT MORNING to get ready to narrate it. C'mon . . . that first line is funny! And if you who are reading this blog want to know why, well, you'll just have to read—or listen to—the book!
A little history is in order here, I think. I first met Alice quite a while back, when she still lived in Southern California, and I was writing then. I still do, but have been focusing most recently on audiobook narration—I have such a passion for it, and find it the perfect way to blend my love of reading with my 25+ year acting background. She was a featured speaker at a Romance Writers of America meeting. Fast forward to now, when I saw that she was auditioning for some of her books on Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX). I jumped at the chance . . . what could be better than telling the story of a good-hearted, loving, yet strong-willed and strong-backed heroine and her handsome, sexy, and—okay, I'll admit—stubborn, willful, and sometimes clueless—hero! She selected me to narrate ONE BRIGHT MORNING, and as Rick communicates to Louis at the end of “Casablanca”—it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship!
          There are many strengths in Alice's story-telling, but one of the things I love in ONE BRIGHT MORNING is the Native American/cowboy relationship. No typical stereotypical characters here. Whatever the political/social climate of the times, the relationship between Jubal and his “brothers”, Four Toes and Dan Blue Gully, was one of love, devotion, and support. They were all men of honor, and I loved how that was communicated in this story.
Another thing: this is truly a lesson in how our past sometimes just doesn't let go, but we CAN move on from it, if we choose. It was only when Jubal brought Maggie up short about her strengths and the lies that she had been fed about herself, which fueled her image of herself, that she was able to move forward and accept that she was a good person, a smart person, a loving person. (Another reason that I'm still harboring a secret crush on Jubal!)
Do you know how sometimes when you're in the middle of reading a really good book, it just stays with you? You go about your day, running your errands, taking care of business, just being in the busy-ness of the day, and then the great book you're reading will just kinda come filtering through into your thoughts? The characters, story arcs, and ambiance of the book will sort of meander through your mind, and for a few seconds, you're with it again, your world drops away, and you can't wait to get back to it? That's how narrating this book was for me. I loved the characters, the story line, the history. Maggie's tiny farm was a reality to me, as was Jubal's beautiful Texas spread. I just love when that happens!
Oh—and did I mention that this is a real tear jerker? There were times when I was recording, when I would just have to stop and grab some tissue, or drink some water to “clear the tears” out of my throat.  Not necessarily good for a narrator, but it sure makes for a yummy story!
Thanks, Alice for this great opportunity—I SO look forward to our next journey together!
Thanks, Denice! The nice folks at ACX have made five FREE COPIES of ONE BRIGHT MORNING available, so if anyone wants a free audio copy of my very first book, narrated by the multi-talented Denice Stradling, send me an e-mail (alice@aliceduncan.net) and I’ll stick your name in a jar from which Bam-Bam, my winner-picking wiener dog, will choose winners.
Thank you!


Anonymous said...

Hurray for ONE BRIGHT MORNING hitting the audio trail!

Although I enjoy all your books, this is my absolute favorite. I've read it so many times (and again just last month!) that my first copy fell to pieces.

Suffering from migraines myself for most of my life, I didn't think the first line was funny - I thought, Oh wow, someone I can identify with!

But I have to confess, many of the subsequent lines amused me greatly. I encourage anyone who hasn't read this yet, to do so. It's an incredible portrait of the hardships and simple joys experienced by people not that long ago, in an intriguing setting and with fascinating characters and plot twists.


Jacqueline Seewald said...

It sounds like a wonderful novel, Alice. Congrats on making it available to readers in another media form.

Alice Duncan said...

Thanks, Lynne! I'm so glad you like OBM. And, everyone, Lynne is about the very best plot-helper in the entire universe. If it's any comfort, menopause pretty much took care of my migraines :-)

Alice Duncan said...

Thanks, Jacquie! I'm so excited about having my work come out in audiobooks. The more arthritic I get, the more audiobooks I listen to.

Sheila Deeth said...

Oh, I should love to listen to this. And how lovely to read about the story from two points of view.

(I wish menopause would take care of my migraines too :) )

Alice Duncan said...

Good luck with the migraines, Sheila. I HATED them! And I was always missing work because of them. Blech.

Carole Price said...

I'm hooked. Love the story behind it. FYI...I have migraines too. Not so bad since I've gotten "older."

Alice Duncan said...

Interesting, Carole! I still get headaches sometimes, but nothing like the killer headaches I used to get before menopause. I have to say that, while getting old generally sucks, this is one benefit thereof. No migraines and not have to shave my armpits. But that's probably too much information, huh?

pennyt said...

I thought I had read all your books, but I somehow missed One Bright Morning. I know folks who suffer with migraines and I can't imagine having them back when we didn't have the medications we have now. I already feel sorry for the heroine.

Alice Duncan said...

Thanks, Penny. Yes, indeedy. Poor Maggie was in really bad shape when Jubal showed up at her door and nearly died in her arms. But it all turned out all right :-)

Patricia Stoltey said...

How did I miss the publication of One Bright Morning? I guess I wasn't paying attention. Just added it to my Kindle, Alice.

Alice Duncan said...

Thank you, Patricia! It was my very first book and was published in 1994, so you'd probably never have heard of me yet. Not many people have heard of me until now, actually. But I don't want to get depressed now :-)

Ramon said...

This is awesome!

Alice Duncan said...

Thanks, Ramon!