Born with Wings

Visionary Fiction – Book Review

Book Review: Born With Wings by Bianca Gubalke

“I recently finished the incredible work of visionary fiction by author Bianca Gubalke.
It’s one of those rare books that starts off immediately in the spiritual realm. From start to finish, this is visionary fiction at its finest and most bold. Swept up in the tale of incarnation, life, struggle, and purpose we follow the beautifully drawn characters as the author weaves a wonderful tale. An injured gosling and a little girl come together in lush and magical South Africa. There’s a call from ancestors and a drive for purpose, and danger’s never far away.
It’s a captivating tale, a journey of emotions through life, death, and rebirth.”

Book review by Ellis Nelson on Amazon – 18 April 2018

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New Audiobook on Audible

Recording your first Audiobook

Once my visionary fiction novel “The Immortal Life of Piu Piu” was published, both in print as a paperback version and as an ebook on Kindle,  the next step was to add the audiobook version.

Why an audiobook?

Obviously, people who are blind benefit greatly from audiobooks, but there are more and more individuals who like to listen not only to music when they drive or commute, go for walks, cook or just want to close their eyes and relax – but also to audiobooks. It’s still a growing market – and an exciting one!

NEW RELEASE: Audiobook "The Immortal Life of Piu Piu"

How to record your first audiobook

Would you want a professional team to produce your audiobook start to finish – or do you consider narrating it yourself? What are the options?

As I have a background in filmmaking, I know what a good narrator, music and the whole technical setup and the production itself costs – and it still does today. There are many reasons for this. Think of your favourite movie. There is no separation between images and sound, meaning, both are equally important. That’s how crucial sound is, respectively, the music or the spoken word.

A very strong consideration for me was – and still is for the future – that the right choice of professional narrators adds another layer to my story through their personal interpretations. It becomes alive . . . it becomes fuller, bigger, grows beyond what it has already been. Yes, I’d LOVE to see that happening one day with “The Immortal Life of Piu Piu”!

That’s why I was very excited when reading about Audible on Amazon and the vast online audio production possibilities offered through ACX – from technical expertise to great narrators, including the option of a royalty split. All sounded great – until I understood that this option was not available for those of us who do not live in the US or the UK. Duhh . . . again! Big disappointment!

My journey into alternative ways started. Local productions with actors. Online possibilities. These were soon no option due to escalating exchange rates to the U$ of over 1:15. Various avenues promising to get one’s work onto Amazon that did not really convince me and seemed risky. Long story – and to make it short, I decided to narrate my story myself. Many readers prefer to listen to the author narrating their own work – it’s a way of bonding that I can resonate with. I enjoy listening to authors whose work I love and respect. After all, their voice, their emotions, their breathing is part of them. Frankly, who knows more about the content and finesse of a book than its creator?

Besides, I’ve done interviews and other recordings in the past and, while I’d love my favourite actors to narrate my book for the exact reasons I mentioned before, this beautiful dream won’t happen just yet. So I decided to learn how to record, edit and produce the audiobook myself!

Once that decision was taken, I flew off to the races, set up my little ‘audio studio’ as per instructions, learned how to use Audacity and recorded, edited and converted my Audiobook within about 6 weeks of hard and highly concentrated labour!

Fiction or Non-Fiction

There is a huge difference between recording non-fiction of say 180 pages, or fiction of 358 pages with different characters, suspense-driven moments and times where you just float.  As a narrator, you’re in that other world but you have to ensure that your reader follows you and enjoys the journey.  You want to give it your everything – right from your solar plexus . . .  where you have to carefully control your breathing.  Thank Heavens for my yoga and meditation practice! Then, you have to be energetic all the time – if you’re not, it means a break. You’ve got to stop and refuel. And you do get tired. And you do make mistakes. Everyone does. It means repeats . . . sometimes a whole number of them until it just sounds right. Have others listen into your recording and give you honest and constructive feedback – that really helps, builds courage and confidence . . .  to get through it all! It’s a BIG task!

Besides, to be eligible for Whispersynch on Amazon – meaning that brilliant way where you may read the book on your Kindle and then, later, continue via the audiobook, it will be pick up exactly where you stopped reading before . . . which means that each word has to be exactly as in the book. Utmost perfection, word per word. And no music . . .

NEW RELEASE: Audiobook "The Immortal Life of Piu Piu" Audiobook

Technical specifications of an Audiobook

As you may have gathered, I finally found an experienced and trustworthy audiobook publisher. This allows me to get onto Audible, iTunes and many other audiobook platforms legally while living outside the US and the UK – against a fair share of my royalties. I converted my audio files into mp3’s, which were then mastered – according to exact technical specifications – by a professional sound engineer. After that, all had to be uploaded following a specific protocol, together with the digital bookcover, a description and other details.

After careful quality checks, the book was – and still is – “Pending our review of your content” for various audiobook platforms.

I wondered how long that would take? I was told: “Up to six weeks.” Oh no, that’s almost Christmas then??

The Immortal Life of Piu Piu available on Audible

Imagine my joy when my Audiobook appeared on Amazon (Audible) after just a few days!!! I’m looking forward to seeing it on Whispersynch as well, which means that it would be eligible for Kindle readers at a discounted upgrade price! So exciting!

Pricing of audiobooks

Talking of prices for an audiobook. These differ from retailer to retailer, but the defining factor is the length of the book – in my case a whopping 10 hours and 49 minutes! You really get value for your money . . . including a magical journey into another world . . .

Here are a few pricing guidelines:

  • Less than one hour: U$7.00 and less
  • 1 to 3 hours: U$7 to U$10
  • 3 to 5 hours: U$10 to U$20
  • 5 to 10 hours: U$15 to U$25
  • 10 to 20 hours: U$20 to U$30
  • Over 20 hours: U$25 to U$35.

At the end of the day, a maximum of 25% of the retail price go to the rights holder (the author/narrator). That’s for non-exclusive distribution.

Need Help?

It takes courage to go on this journey alone – so it’s great to have advice from experienced authors or guidance from experts in the field. Yes, I know – it’s a jungle. I’ve been there. If you need that help or some orientation, do leave a note for me in the comments box. I gladly help!

And if you enjoy a special story, consider my debut audiobook and leave a review! That would be sooo special!

 

 

 

 

 

Author Interview by Zoe Brooks

Zoe Brooks interviews Magic Realism Author Bianca Gubalke

Zoe Brooks is a British novelist, an award-winning poet and blogger, who reviews one magical realism book per week, since July 2012. Her list of magic realism books currently comprises a staggering 700+ books. Below is her Interview with Bianca Gubalke:

Author Interview with Bianca Gubalke 2016

 

  • Who are your favourite magic realist authors and why?

As far as I can think back, my main interests, besides my love for Nature, were always the Arts and Spiritual Healing. This lead to studies of Shamanism following teachers like Michael Harner, where we naturally worked with another ‘reality’ – which was something I knew from the San people in the Kalahari of South Africa.

At that time, I was also drawn to the fascinating work of Carlos Castaneda. Here, the ‘magic’ in form of a search for power came in. It stunned me as it was not in synch with what a true shaman – who is a healer – aspires to. It appears that real insights were drawn from other sources and traditions, but Castaneda knew how to write and package the message, and he did something else: He put himself into the story!

Much later, my film editor gave me a small book to read that was so special, that I went all the way to London to get the adaptation rights. The author was a Nigerian writer: Amos Tutuola. It may be my African heritage – although my cultural roots are also firmly grounded in Europe – but this vivid, extraordinary writing with its special rhythm immediately resonated with me, and I still enjoy it today!

Of course, I could not resist Joanne Harris’ strong and sensuous  ‘magical woman’ (‘magical mother’) and her culinary temptations, blown by the wind into a rigid little French town, where she opens – of all names – ‘La Céleste Praline’!  Played by my favourite actress, Juliette Binoche, this was an absolute treat. As a magical realism story, ‘Chocolat’  has much more depth than it seems.

 

  • What is your all-time favourite magic realist book?

Bearing in mind that there are many books I still want to read, so far, my all-time favourite magic realist book is: The Palm-Wine Drinkard by Amos Tutuola.

 

  • Why do you write magic realism?

I did not set out to write a magic realism novel. I see it rather as visionary fiction – but this category does not exist – yet – on Amazon.

I wrote my story for a special young girl who deeply cares about Nature and its survival, bearing in mind that everything is a reflection. And I wrote it for baby boomers, who are too busy on treadmills to stop and reflect on life’s most important questions, who now panic as their own transition draws closer. In the end, my mission is always to heal.

As a hypnotherapist, we work on different levels with each patient. While always aware of the ‘here’ and ‘now’, we work with the subconscious. We’re here and there – whereby ‘there’ is like a gap between thoughts. It’s a natural process; the patient is always in control. This can be taken much further during past life regression, where one moves beyond the death experience into other lives and even existences that are a far cry from what we consciously know. While this process takes place in our known world, our so-called ‘reality’, it has a perceived ‘magical’ component for some, that is exploited on stage in a misleading way.

Lastly, all my creative work as a screenplay writer or filmmaker included different ‘realities’ – and so does my debut novel. Life’s mundane fabric contains many strings of magic – not as a mere decoration, but as a part of it. So when my editor suggested ‘Magical Realism’ as the appropriate genre, it immediately made sense.

 

  • Can you give us your definition of magic realism?

I’ve read many definitions for magic realism, none of which I truly resonate with. Maybe it’s because I cannot imagine a reality without magic?

The following thought – based on a quote from the Bible, John 17:14-15 – is an attempt to express what I feel:

“In magical realism, as a literary genre, we play with the notion that ‘we are in the world, but not of it’. This awareness can lift or defeat us; it can be used to harm or to heal.”

 

Set in a land of shifting realities – the Western Cape coast of South Africa, between Nature’s paradise and a ruthless world – and based on the heartbreaking true story of a human-animal bond, this magical journey reveals how a young girl and the wild creatures who are her constant guides, join in the ultimate adventure: to reveal the mystery of life after death.

MAIN CHARACTERS

Pippa
A natural born leader who joins forces with wild creatures and natural scientists, long dead, to unlock the mystery of the invisible world.

She seeks KNOWLEDGE.

Piu Piu
An experiment, a catalyst – and the happiest Egyptian goose on earth until the Unthinkable happens and destroys her world.

She seeks FREEDOM.

Charlot
The shadow, hunter, killer – he’s always there, right behind you! So be warned: He’s ruthless in a ruthless world.

He wants . . . FOOD. At least, it seems so . . .

ABOUT THIS NOVEL

We all know about the surge of interest in the survival of consciousness after death as millions of baby boomers face their own mortality. All this is reflected in popular TV shows and movies, as well as trailblazing videos on the Web. The fact is that life’s fast pace and our personal fears often keep us from addressing the most important of existential questions, which can cost us our emotional wellbeing, happiness and health, and we may not pass on the right message to our children. This is where this enchanting tale – with its touching human-animal bonds, that awaken a sense of care and guardianship for the Earth – fills the gap.

As you follow the hero’s journey of self-discovery, spiritual awakening, personal transformation and healing, discover how your feelings are the key to your eternal soul:

“What you are not the vibration of remains invisible to you.”

 

‘The Immortal Life of Piu Piu’ is Part 1 of the Trilogy ‘Dance Between Worlds‘.

 

Please feel free to comment below!