This is May and the flowers are springing.

I have also been reminded that it is time for cleaning.

So, out with the old stuff and in with the new thing.

I am turning over not just a new leaf, but a whole new garden. In the meantime, I will be messaging you all once a month. I promise this to be true – I cross my heart and hope never to lie again.

This will be a good exercise to keep me focused, and oh, boy, do we writers need to stay on target.

By the way, many people ask me what my workplace is like.

Normally, I work in my office at home where I do most of my writing (see attached picture).

My Desk
My Desk2

My heroine gazes upon me from her bed as I write, while my favorite pet dog watches over me from a hillside in Yorkshire. Here in this office, I can work in the early morning or late at night.

I do work in different locations, for instance, I used to like going to the local library. But now that the weather is nice, I will cycle to Lake Natomas and sit on my favorite park bench, with a small picnic, a bottle of wine, and a nice view of the lake. I will sit in the shade and write as best I can.

The real knowledge is not where I write, but – is it ready? Is my brain in gear?

There is some good news! Book 2 of Girl Electric is now in first draft status. That means I must run through the whole thing, fix all the plot holes, check a shedload of other stuff, and then make sure it’s presentable to my editor. She is the last stop before publication.

Oh, wait. I also need a book cover.

Girl Electric had (in my opinion) a good cover, but I need something special for Girl Electric 2.

For this new cover, I think I need 2 girls, because Girl Electric 2, has 2 electric girls. I’m sorry if I’m confusing you but wait until you read this.

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With book 2 nearly finished, and publishing only a step away, I have something burning on my mind.

Audiobooks are supposed to be the big thing these days. I’m looking into this, but I want more than just a simple audiobook. All audiobooks have a single narrative voice, this voice will speak the narration and speak all the different characters. I want to do an audiobook where each character has a different voice.

Hiring one person to narrate a standard novel is not cheap.

For Girl Electric I must have a young female voice, to reflect Adara Banks.

For Orzel, it must be an English-speaking male, but with a Polish accent.

If I can find the correct 2 voices, then I could have 2 audiobooks.

BUT – what can I do if I want multiple voices for different characters?

What I would like, is to animate my audio novel with a voice for each character, male/female, young/adult. This is available now with current online AI systems.

In part – and I do stress in part – I have found this capability in the AI voice-over systems that are available. I can select an AI persona and provide a script for that AI to speak.

For instance, I have tested the narrative parts of my work using various AI voices, and that seems to work really well. That’s just the narrative part.

On the other hand, transcribing written dialog into automated AI spoken dialog has proven to be disappointing at best. I have access to online tools that claim to do dialog well. They even have the ability to highlight words, phrases, or whole lines of text and apply a given emotion. Yes, I have seen this work, but I have not managed to get it working in a practical way. It always sounds kind of bland and unconvincing.

You see, a human narrator is best. I can tell them: “You need to cry more when you speak that part.” Whereas a sadness scale of 1-10 may not suffice on the AI crying part.

But I am still working on the AI possibilities.  The AI is affordable, but the human version, although expensive, is MUCH more applicable. I just need a bunch of affordable voice actors. If I want multiple (human) voices for each character, then I have to pay for each one. If I were to pursue this approach, I doubt I would make any money.

Multiple voices sound like a radio program or an online play. This is something I want to pursue, not radio plays as such, but a full in-depth, multi-character, audiobook, with a separate voice for each character. This is seriously on my scope! How it comes to reality, I’m not sure yet.

You first heard it here!

Any volunteers for voiceovers?

In addition to AI voices, I have also been experimenting with AI avatars. The YouTube link below is my first dabble in this technology. This is an example of Girl Electric. Yes, I know this is cheesy at best, but we must learn how to crawl before we can even walk.

Running comes later, but someday I dream we can all fly!

As always – keep learning, stay afloat, and play nicely with everyone else.