Book News, Tour Dates and Passover

BOOK NEWS: For the past year and a quarter, I’ve been working on The Bark Minder Project, a collection of edgy work for adults. As part of that, I created a novel that was initially serialized on Spotify. 

Last week, I finished the umpteenth draft and began sending queries to agents. I’ll keep you posted as news develops. 

Mark Binder at the Audies
I got a medal!

Loki Ragnarok
It was an honor to be nominated for the 2019 Audie Award for Original Work. I went to New York to the glitziest event ever… And we didn’t win. They picked a production with a broadway cast. Oh well. It’s available on Audible.

TOUR DATES 
This Saturday (April 13) at 3pm, I’ll be performing at the New England Folk Festival in Mansfield, MA. It’s been a few years since I’ve been at NEFFA, the site of my first live recording. If you haven’t been, they take over the entire Mansfield High School and fill it with dancing, music, and of course storytelling. Fun for families, couples and singletons. Check it out at https://www.neffa.org/

Only TWO open studios left for this spring. Stop by to say hi and check out my books and audios at my office on Saturday April 13 from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm (Leaving early for the gig) and Saturday April 20 from 9:30 to 1pm. The address is 1005 Main Street, Pawtucket RI, 02860. I’m on the second floor (go up either staircase from the Main Street entrance.

On Saturday, April 27 at 4:00pm, I’ll be bringing “Life in Chelm” to Congregation Beth El, 183 French Street, Bangor, ME. This is my second visit to this congregation, and I’m looking forward to it. This is an all-ages event, free and open to the public. Arrive early to get a good seat. (There’s also a young person’s program on Sunday morning at 10:30)

Passover is Coming
Did you know I wrote a collection of Passover stories called Matzah Mishugas?
It’s true! These are eight enjoyable stories of Matzah, matzah, matzah and… love. Get a copy on amazon (https://geni.us/matzah/) or find out more at https://markbinder.com/chelm#matzah/

Thanks so much for your support. I really appreciate knowing you’re there.

Who ate the first clam?

I often wonder about the origin of human interests. Who was the first scientist?

Usually, I find that it begins with Og, the caveman. Og is a hapless protagonist who makes a lot of mistakes.

In this story, Og stumbles on the secret to a happy marriage, and finds a new source of protein. Feel free to share the story and link!

And, if you’d like to buy more like it, this story and others are available on my TRANSMIT JOY! Audio Storybook – https://lightpublications.com/books/transmit_joy/

QUESTION: What else do you think Og stumbled across?

Gala Audie Awards 2019

Audio book narrators really know how to throw a party. Yesterday’s Audie Awards was a glitzy snazzy gala held in New York City at Gustavino’s expansive hall underneath the 59th Street Bridge.

It was very purple!

The weather, traffic and parking gods all aligned to make this trip as smooth as it could be. Even though I awoke to a foot of snow (and an hour and a half of shoveling) by the time I hit the highway the road was clear and sped down to New York in just over three hours. Finding free on-street parking a block from the venue was the next big win! Walked off to have dinner with an old friend. 

 I’d never been to a gala event like this, and a month ago when I tried on my tuxedo I found I’d shrunk out of it. So I went to Franklin Rogers, an old-school men’s store in downtown Providence and got kitted out with a shiny chianti-colored suit and my first pair of pointy-toed shoes. 

After dinner I still had an hour to kill, so I went into a nearby Bistro and ordered an espresso. (My fifth of the day!) Drinking espresso never takes me as long as it does Europeans or Italians. Fortunately, the bistro had a big restroom and I hogged it for ten minutes to change  out of my driving/schlepwear into my new shiny suit.

Outside Gustavino’s there were sparkles and spotlights. Inside, a line of servants (ahem) waited attentively to collect coats and bags. Despite my dawdling, I literally was the first one there to pick up the heavy silver medal that signified LOKI RAGNAROK (and me) as an Audie Finalist.

Me on the red carpet!
Yes! Red Carpet

Then it was off to the red carpet. The photo here was taken with my camera and blurrs the medal, so when the “official” one comes through I’ll repost it.

More servants (waitstaff, actors with day jobs) waited with glasses of wine or champagne. I stuck to the water, knowing there was a long drive home. 

Then I mingled, introducing myself to anyone who was standing alone. In short order I met a literary agent who was accompanying a client’s spouse, a young fellow who said he wanted to direct movies but was there with his boss who was a “paymaster” for audio book narrators, and Kate Reading, who was lovely to talk with. (I actually had listened to and enjoyed a number of her books, but didn’t realize it until this morning.)

Me, Kennedy Phillips and Levar Burton
With Kennedy Phillips and Levar Burton

It also seemed that the “Original Works” folk attracted each other. Kennedy Philips of the Magus Elgar book and I went over and asked Levar Burton for a selfie. Bonus factoid: The last time I went to New York for a big award — the World Ebook Award for Cinderella Spinderella, Levar Burton was also there and presenting. (He didn’t remember 😉

Eventually we all went upstairs, where I was seated at the table farthest to the back of the room with some of the other peons. 

Award ceremonies are weird. They hired a celebrity (Tan France from the Netflix reboot of Queer Eye) as the host. He spoke for a few minutes and then introduced the people who were going to announce the awards. Unlike the Oscars and Grammies, the presenters didn’t read the winners, instead it was pre-recorded narration, so it sped by like a freight train. 

Meanwhile, I poked at the chocolates and fruit “desserts” which were tasty but not truly delicious.

Time passed quickly with award after award zipping by with applause. Why do they say, “And the award for Most Words in An Audiobook goes to…” and then the name of the publisher? 

Finally, it was our turn. Drumroll. The announcement of the title. There’s my name on the screen! The moment of suspense and…

The winner was… Spin, the audiobook that had a full cast of Broadway stars. Sigh. 

LOKI RAGNAROK - Audie Finalist (and Silver Medal) Winner for Original Work!

I’m sure they deserved it, but dang, I wanted it. Oh well. At least they gave me a medal!

The ceremonies finished, I got my coat and bags. Grabbed another selfie on the Red Carpet. Quick walk to the car. On the road by 10 and in bed by 1am.

All in all not a bad day.

Stop Playing the Reality Election Game Show

Almost every day during the winter, someone would look at the sticker on my puffy down parka and say, “I voted for Bernie.” or “Still hanging on, huh?”

I’d slapped it on a billion “news cycles” ago, because I supported Bernie over Hillary. Over and over back then, people would tell me, “He can’t win. He’s unelectable. It’s her turn.” Yep. These were many of the same people who told me, “Trump could never be the Republican candidate. He supported abortion. He’s paying off prostitutes!” Yep.

“Do you think he’ll run again?” they asked me of Bernie. Rather than say, “How the hell do I know?” I’d shrug. Yeah, he’s kindof old, but I know from personal experience that politics is addictive.

I noticed that the sticker was getting pretty ratty after I shoveled the three inches of global warming snow and rain the other day, so when the announcement came yesterday that Bernie was officially throwing his hat into the ring I had mixed emotions.

On the one hand there was that whole electability and the we-need-to-destroy-Trump thing combined with the “overcrowded field of progressive candidates” thing.

On the other hand, though — and this was the one that stuck in my head — here is a guy who I would have voted for last time, who I HAD voted for. No, I’m not sure he’s the best girl on the field. But yes, I would want him to be President.

The good news is that I don’t have to decide right now. I can listen to all the candidates. Pay some attention to their speeches and their stances. Watch what shakes out and who drops out. Who plays the game with a combination of style and ruthlessness? Who can dodge the smears?

The one thing I won’t be doing is playing the Reality Show Game — constantly second guessing strategies, talking about electability, using the word “base”. All those things detract from the goal of an election — to field the best candidate for the job. Absolutely winning the election matters, but that’s what the Republicans did last time, and look whose souls they sold out. The man is giving nuclear secrets to the Saudies.

Yeah, Bernie’s old. He’s not perfect. Is he the best? We’ll see.
Is he electable? Hell yes. I’d still vote for him.

Award News! LOKI RAGNAROK Nominated for 2019 Audie Award

February 4, 2019. New York
LOKI RAGNAROK, written and narrated by Mark Binder has been nominated for a 2019 Audie Award for Original Work! The audiobook was published by Light Publications, and is available on Audible, GooglePlayAudioBooks, Scribd, and many other platforms.

Considered the audiobook Oscars, the Audie Award ceremony is presented by the Audio Publishers Association, and will be held on March 4, in New York City.

They broke into his home. They kidnapped his children. Left his wife bound and gagged on the floor, where she choked and died. He had once helped them, been their friend and blood brother.

A well-told tale of the Norse gods… told not from the point of view of the heroic Thor or Odin, but through the eyes of Loki, the trickster… As Binder says in his introduction, this is not for children. But the stories are well-told, both in their writing — Binder adapted them from the Norse poetic and prose sagas called the Edda — and in their performance. Binder’s voice swoops and soars, now angry, now gleeful and now mocking, as Loki tells these stories of the gods run amok.

—Providence Journal

Originally conceived as a spoken-word performance, LOKI RAGNAROK is a darkly humorous revision of Norse mythology. This is not a child-friendly Marvel Universe story.

The story of Loki echoes the cycles of violence and revenge playing out across our world. Told with a blend of poetry and prose, humor and horror, it offers no solution — but a glimmer, perhaps of understanding and compassion.

Mark Binder is the author of 16 books and audio books for adults, families and children. At Columbia University, he studied mythology with T.E. Gaster and David Damrosch, and storytelling with Spalding Gray. He tours the world as a performance storyteller, sharing traditional and original tales with listeners of all ages.

Bark Minder Project Novel Draft 18 Complete!

Some of you know that for the past year I’ve been working on a novel under the nom de plume of “The Bark Minder Project.”

I created this alter-ego as a way of developing new material that might be edgy or “inappropriate” for children. (Don’t worry, I’m still doing work for families and young people!)

For example, we experimented with releasing serializations from the novel as audio on Spotify and other platforms. I’ve written a few dark and political pieces. And had the pleasure of performing and recording some distinctly non-family material in Amsterdam.

What next?

Now the book is done with the draft stage, and getting ready to move into the next phase. We’re going to be pulling the materials from Spotify, etc shortly. These are old/second draft versions, and the material has improved considerably since.

I’m engaged in the process of looking for an agent and an adventurous/traditional publisher — if you know ANYBODY who might be interested (or know someone who knows someone) — PLEASE drop me an email.

This is an awesome book, about a bunch of high school seniors who are trying to survive their senior year, when everything goes wrong. I’m not going to tell you any more just yet.

In the meantime, if you’d like to become a sponsor and get advance notice and previews, please consider becoming a Patron .