Tag Archives: Red Hot Steele

The Complete Guide to Home Audiobook Narration and Production

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a long time. Like, a seriously long time. I think I first mentioned the idea to some friends on Facebook back in April. But I got sidetracked with a book release, and then I got sucked into the writing of a new novel, and so on and so forth. But today I finally submitted my self-produced Red Hot Steele audiobook to ACX for review, and so I figured it was a perfect time to finally write this.

And so, without further ado, I give you: The Complete Guide to Home Audiobook Narration and Production. I think it’ll be a good reference to those of you at home hoping to narrate and produce your own audiobooks (and I bet I’ll refer to it on more than one occasion myself).

One note before we get started: This guide should help you produce audiobooks for any vendor, but I’m specifically focused on producing audio for ACX (Amazon’s subsidiary that uploads to Amazon, Audible, and iTunes). ACX is really the only game in town for indie audio, so it makes sense to focus on them.

OK, first things first. ACX has a series of five videos in which they discuss many of the basic elements of home audiobook production. I HIGHLY encourage you to watch them before you begin here. Seriously. I’ll wait.

Ok. Are you done? Good. Now we can discuss some of the things they mentioned—specifically how to get audiobooks done cheaply and efficiently but professionally. And I’ll give you specific advice on mastering, which the folks at ACX don’t go into.


Let me be blunt. If you don’t have a quiet room in your house that can act as a recording studio, you might as well not even try to record your own audio. This is the most important part of the entire process. If you record in a noisy room, your final product will sound terrible, no matter how hard you try to fix it.

Luckily, many of us have one (and only one) room in our homes that can work.

A walk-in closet.

You see, the key to good audio recording is to do it in a ‘dead room.’ This simply means a room in which sounds don’t bounce around off walls and furniture and play havoc with the audio recorded by your microphone. While professional recording studios will line walls with noise-cancelling foam, it turns out clothing (which is mostly fabric and air) does much the same thing.

My ‘recording studio.’ Note the copious piles of clothes. I have my wife to thank…

I’ve attached a photo of my own recording studio (ie. closet). As you can see, it’s filled with clothes—my wife’s, mostly, but this is how you want it. More clothes means more dampening material. And though you can’t see it, the door to the closet is to the right. When recording, make sure to close the door and drape a thick towel over it. Hard surfaces like doors reflect sound, and you want to avoid any echoes you might get from them.

To see if your closet can work as a studio, you’ll have to try, and we’ll get to that. But first, I want to point out a few things you may have gleaned from the ACX videos. First, be aware of your surroundings as you record. If you can hear dogs barking, birds chirping, children playing, or loud trucks driving by when in the confines of your studio, chances are your microphone will detect those sounds too. Most of the time, you can simply pause your recording if you hear these things and start up again once they’re done.

One thing you must check is to see if your closet has a vent for central heating/air. If it does, I highly recommend you turn it OFF (the entire system, not close the vent) for the length of your recording session. The sound of air forcing through a vent will show up on your recording, and it doesn’t sound good.

And one more point: check to see what kind of lighting you have in your closet. Chances are there’s a fluorescent bulb in there. Those are terrible and make tons on noise. So just bring a small lamp in with you, and make sure to put an LED bulb in it, as LEDs are whisper quiet.


The ACX guy lists a whole bunch of tools, computer equipment, and software that you should get to optimize your recordings, but quite honestly, the list is excessive, and you don’t need to spend a fraction of what he says you do to produce a quality finished product.

There are really only a few things you need, and I’ll list them here:

Pop Filter and Mic
My mic setup. I use the small (but excellent quality) Samson Go Mic.

1. A mic. I recommend a simple USB mic like the Blue Yeti, but even that might be more than is really needed. I use the compact but excellent Samson Go Mic, and it produces great quality sound.

2. A pop filter and a mic stand. Yes, you really do want a pop filter as it noticeably improves sound quality on certain consonant sounds, and a mic stand is critical for optimum positioning. I use this filter and this stand. They’re not expensive.

3. A computer to connect your mic to, preferably a laptop with a solid state hard drive. Why? Because solid state hard drives don’t make noise. Thankfully, I already had a Macbook Air, which is perfect for this sort of thing. (Note the ACX guy says you need a backup hard drive. You don’t. This is purely in case of computer crashes…but it is smart to back up your audio files after every recording session.)

Computer and Kindle
My computer, running Audacity, and my Kindle, which I use for my readings.

4. Headphones (in ear or over ear). You’ll need these connected to your computer to avoid having the computer use the standard speakers for output (which will mess up your recording).

5. Something to read your book from. The ACX guy recommends a script stand with a printed script, but you know what I found that I really like? I used my Kindle. It’s backlit, lightweight, and I can switch pages on it faster than I could on a mic stand anyway.

6. Audio recording software. Again, ACX guy says to use Pro Tools, and you could, but it’s expensive. Audacity, on the other hand, is free, it’s available on multiple operating systems, and it works like a charm. In the rest of this guide, I’ll assume you’re using Audacity.

Recording & Narration

You’re now ready to start narrating and recording. First things first, you’ll have to familiarize yourself with Audacity. It’s pretty simple. Just play around with it some. You’ll learn more later at the editing and mastering stages.

There are only a few things you really need to check at this stage, and I’ll refer you to the screenshot I’ve taken.

Audacity Screenshot
The Audacity interface. Note the red numbers 1, 2, and 3.

See that red number 1 in the lower left corner? Make sure it is set to 44100 Hz. This is the recording rate you’ll want.

See the number 2 at the top right? Make sure you’ve selected the mic you’ve attached via USB, and make sure you’re recording in MONO. Also make sure your headphones are selected.

See the 3 in the top middle? Click on that section to monitor the background noise in your studio. Ideally, you should be at -60dB, but if you’re close, don’t fret. I find that if you’re below -52dB or so, you’ll have no problem editing the background noise out in post processing.

That’s it. You’re ready to record. Just be sure to leave ~20 seconds of silence at the beginning of each chapter you record (you’ll need this for noise reduction purposes later).

Now, let’s talk narration. This is actually one of the hardest parts of the process, as you may not be experienced as a narrator. But you are familiar with your own work, which is a big plus.

Here’s my advice: Practice, practice, practice.

Speak to yourself in a quiet room, at least until you can recite multiple lines of your own work in a row without stutters, stammers, or ums. Don’t worry about flubs during the recording. Just start over at the beginning of a sentence, and keep going. And stay hydrated. A well-lubricated throat is key to precise pronunciation.

A note on character voices: They are essential components of audiobooks, as they give the listener cues as to who is speaking. I can’t give you any advice here other than practice them often, and listen to your own work to make sure they are consistent and unobtrusive (ie. not annoying).

Finally, one last piece of advice. READ SLOWLY. Way slower than you think you should be reading. It takes a lot longer to absorb auditory information than it does to absorb the written word. Go too fast, and your finished product will come across as a blur. Trust me. I had to re-narrate my entire first attempt at Red Hot Steele because I read too fast.

Editing & Mastering

We’ve made it to the last step, which is arguably the trickiest. Editing is simple, but extremely time-consuming and tedious (you’ve been warned!). Mastering is tricky because you probably don’t have any idea how to do it, and it’s easy to mess us the finished product if you’re not careful.

Now, I’m going to say something that will probably make audio engineers cringe, but I like to do the mastering before I do the editing. Why? Because if you edit first and master later, you’ll end up amplifying all sorts of weird, breathy mouth noises and have to go back and edit those out later. So save yourself time and do the mastering first.

Mastering for audiobooks is comprised of (at minimum) three basic steps: noise reduction, compression, and normalization.

Noise reduction removes the background noise from your audio recording (assuming the noise floor is already low). Compression reduces the dynamic range of the audio, so that the loud parts are quieter and the quiet parts are louder. This makes for a more uniform listening experience and makes it so the listener doesn’t have to play with the volume knob often. Normalization limits the maximum loudness or amplitude of a track.

Here are the mastering steps you should take to get a professional finished product that will satisfy ACX submission requirements:

  1. Noise Reduction
    1. Select ~10 seconds of silence at the beginning of the audio recording.
    2. Click on Effect > Noise Removal and click on Get Noise Profile. Hit Ok.
    3. Select the entire audio recording.
    4. Click on Effect > Noise Removal and click Ok.
  2. Compression
    1. Select the entire audio recording and click on Effect > Compressor.
    2. Set the following parameters:
      • Threshold: -25 dB
      • Noise Floor: -40 dB
      • Ratio: 7:1
      • Attack Time: 0.2 s
      • Release Time: 1.0 s
      • Make up gain for 0 dB after compressing checked, Compress based on Peaks unchecked
  1. Alternate Compression (I find that this compresses more and better than step 2 above. Use it instead of step 2 if you decide to go this route.)
    1. Select the entire audio recording and click on Effect > Compress Dynamics (must have optional plug-in, Chris’s Dynamic Compressor, installed. Download it here).
    2. Set the following parameters:
      • Compress Ratio: 1.0
      • Compression Hardness: 0.75
      • Floor: -40.0 dB
      • Noise Gate Falloff: 0
      • Maximum Amplitude: 1.0
  1. Normalization
    1. Select the entire audio recording and click on Effect > Normalize.
    2. Check remove DC offset.
    3. Check normalize maximum amplitude and input -3.0 dB.

Once done, you can check the RMS volume of your audio track. Select your entire recording, click on Analyze > Contrast, and then click Measure selection (foreground or background, won’t matter in this case). For ACX, your audiobook track should be between -23dB and -18 dB. If it isn’t, click on Effect > Amplify and play with the values until your track is in the right range.

If there are any wonky spots that are too loud (you’ll see them on the spectrum if they’re there), select them and decrease their volume using the Amplify tool. Then, select all and renormalize.

If you find any spots in your recording that are too quiet, just select them and amplify them individually.

If you’ve gotten this far, that means you’re ready for the editing. It’s simple, really. Just go through your entire recording, deleting bad takes and flubs, silencing any weird mouth sounds or background noise that made it through your noise reduction step, trimming or lengthening pauses between phrases (if necessary), and playing with volume (again, if necessary).

Final Notes

I congratulate you if you’ve made it this far, and hopefully everything I’ve collected here will be of use to you in creating your own audiobooks. But there’s a few final points I wanted to add that didn’t fit in anywhere else, most of them specific to ACX requirements.

  • Remember to record each track in MONO format at 44.1 kHz.
  • Record separate opening and closing credits (see this ACX page for more information).
  • At the beginning of each track, record a chapter header after your initial ~20 second pause, and be sure to leave some room tone (0.5-1.0s at start, 1.0-5.0s at end) in your final finished product.
  • Export to MP3 format at 192kps, Constant Bit Rate (CBR) in MONO (as long as you record in MONO, Audacity should export in MONO).
  • Be sure to give all your finished MP3 files a proof listen. Chances are, there will be a few mistakes you’ll have overlooked.

Alright, I think that’s it. Best of luck with your audiobook endeavors, and be sure to check out Red Hot Steele in audio at the following vendors:

Red Hot Steele Audiobook: Amazon | Audible | iTunes

The Three Month Published Author Introspective

A couple months ago I wrote a One Month Published Author Introspective post, where I tried to share some of the insights I’d gathered in the brief month during which my first two self-published books had been available for purchase. I think it was a useful exercise, both for me and for others, so here I am with the three month update. I might also do the same thing at six months and a year, depending if I have worthwhile information to share. In the first installment, I used an unorthodox approach, describing things I was excited and disappointed about. Here, I’ll take a more traditional approach and discuss things I’ve learned along the way.

1) It can be done.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably an author, maybe an indie-published one, or you aspire to be, and you’re thinking, is self-publishing worth it? Can you really find success that way? Can you make it in the current environment?

Yes. You can.

I wondered the same thing when I started. I mean, there’s over 3.2 million books for sale in the Amazon Kindle store. How is someone going to find yours, and why would they buy it? But you’re not just selling a book. You’re selling your book, and your book is unique, isn’t it?

The one that started it all, Red Hot Steele.
The one that started it all, Red Hot Steele.

Take Red Hot Steele. It’s not just a book. It’s a mystery—a fantasy mystery, in an urban environment. That’s different. But there’s more. It’s not a typical urban fantasy, rather a mystery set in an urban setting with fantasy elements, if that makes sense. And it’s filled to the gills with humor. And elements of noir. And even some sexual tension. Now we’re talking. It’s not a book. It’s my book. And if it’s the sort of thing you’re looking for, you won’t find it anywhere else.

Why does that matter? Because most people who are searching to buy a piece of fiction are looking for an experience, and if you can offer them an experience they can’t get anywhere else, they’ll come back to you for more. And they’ll tell others about you, too.

I think word of mouth, to a large degree, has helped me achieve success so early on. And I’m not going to lie—it’s come very quickly. In the two weeks of October that my books were available, I sold 60 copies, which I didn’t think was particularly good, but other people might see it differently. Then my books sold quite a bit better in November. And they sold much, much better in December. And they’re doing even better so far in January. If things keep going the way they have been, I’ll make a living wage from my writing this year, maybe a really good living wage. But, I don’t want to count my eggs before they’ve hatched, which brings me to my next point…

2) Visibility is key.

There’s a lot of reasons I think my books have done well, first and foremost being that they’re really well written—by which I mean, in this case, funny, interesting, and exciting, right off the bat. Great characters, great plot. I also have a fantastic cover that makes people want to click on it when they see it, and I wrote, in my humble opinion, a really engaging sales blurb that makes people want to see what the fuss is about.

Cold Hard Steele
Book #2, already a #1 best-seller!

But I can’t stress enough the importance of visibility to readers in my success, and here I mean placement on Amazon lists. I put Red Hot Steele, and later Cold Hard Steele, on a fairly small Amazon list—Psychic Mysteries. That let Red Hot Steele get visibility right away, first on the Psychic Mysteries Hot New Releases list, and later at the tail end of the main list itself. People saw Red Hot Steele and started to buy, and bit by bit, it rose up the list, until, sure enough, it got to the number one spot. And the number one spot of an Amazon list, any list, no matter how small, means good sales. Really good. Honestly, anywhere in the top three means really good sales.

I realized this, and so I rejiggered my book’s categories so that it would show up on two lists—Psychic Mysteries and Psychic Suspense—and sales rose even further.

I’ll say it again: visibility is key. If you can, place your book in an Amazon list where it will get some.

Of course, the fact is, if you don’t have a great book with an awesome cover and an enticing blurb, your book won’t sell well enough to get visibility. So doing all that is a given. But on the bright side? If you do all that well, and your book sales slowly improve, it’s really hard to lose visibility. Amazon’s algorithms have a long tail, meaning they take into account past sales to a fairly large degree. If your book sales grow organically, you’ll be hard to displace by someone else who, say, has a 99¢ book promo and sells a tons of copies over a few days.

3) Don’t Sweat the 30 Day Sales Cliff

I mentioned this is my one month post, the idea that sales drop off a cliff after thirty days. I suppose it must be true for some authors otherwise the myth wouldn’t exist, but the only reason I can think of must be that for these folks, their only real visibility on Amazon comes from the Hot New Releases list, which lasts for thirty days. But if your only visibility comes from those lists, chances are you’re probably not selling particularly well anyway.

Once more, with feeling: visibility is key. Find a category, somewhere, where you’ll get some—just be sure that category really is a fit for your book, otherwise readers will be upset with you.

4) It’s True What They say About Book Two

There’s an adage that nothing sells book one like book two, and even with a book like Red Hot Steele that had quite a bit of success early on, this has been absolutely true. It took Red Hot Steele two months to reach the #1 spot on its first Amazon list. It took Cold Hard Steele a week to do the same. They were even both #1 on separate lists at the same time. Still are, in fact. And the release of Cold Hard Steele boosted Red Hot Steele, which had been flagging slightly, higher on the Amazon best-sellers lists than it had ever been.

RHS and CHS Both #1
What’s better than an Amazon #1 bestseller? Two, of course.


The fact of the matter is, people love series, but many people aren’t willing to dive in until there are multiple books available. For one thing, you need to convince people that you’re not a one shot wonder—that you really will write a book two and a book three, and that they’ll hold up to the first. And people love to binge read. When was the last time you read a great book one and immediately bought the rest of that series?

So don’t worry if your book doesn’t take off right away. It might be frustrating, but there’s time. Each book you release will help the profile of the ones before it, which brings me to my last point.

5) The Launch Doesn’t Matter

It may be hard to convince yourself of this point if you release a book into the wild and it bombs, but it’s true. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s great if you can have a successful launch. You should try and drum up support for your book by any means possible: through social media, by sending an e-mail blast to your mailing list (you have one, right?), and by talking to people in person (a time forgotten art, I know).

But even if you don’t sell any books right away, remind yourself: it doesn’t matter. In this day and age, with e-books and print on demand, your book is eternal. There is no such thing as a new book—just a book that a reader hasn’t read yet. You have all the time in the world. So sit back, relax, work on your craft, write another book, one that’s better than your last, and hope that somewhere along the line, people start buying your stuff.

Well, that’s all I’ve got. Hope it was of use to you. If you have any questions for me, please feel free to start up a conversation in the comments.

The World of Daggers & Steele

So Daggers & Steele 1, Red Hot Steele, continues to do great (more on that in an upcoming Three Month Author Introspective post). Success of course comes from sales, and with those sales, I’ve gotten a number of reviews on both Amazon and Goodreads. (Thanks for those, by the way!) I’ve even gotten some fan correspondence through Facebook and Twitter, which is awesome! Keep it coming, friends!

Of course, I’m also seeing that there are a few recurring questions regarding the world-building elements for Daggers & Steele. I’m not sure how many of my fans read my blog, but I figured I’d try to answer the three questions I’m seeing the most of.

1) So, um…what’s up with the world?

I’m seeing this a lot. Some fans are confused about whether Daggers & Steele takes place in a 1940’s-ish noir setting or a traditional medieval one. I think it’s somewhere in the middle. I picture New Welwic, the city in which the stories take place, to be the equivalent of an early to mid 1800’s New York, but that’s not a perfect comparison.

The world of Daggers & Steele is just at the cusp of the industrial revolution. There’s water power, and as I mention in Red Hot Steele, coal has recently been discovered, but the implications of being able to burn coal for energy haven’t been discovered yet. Things like steam power and electricity are just being discovered and haven’t been implemented yet (although you’ll see some of these new discoveries appear in book three of the series, so keep your eyes peeled).

Because of the presence of magic, some scientific and technological fields are less advanced than they were in our society at similar periods in history. Physics and chemistry aren’t quite as advanced as they were in our world in the mid 1800’s, but other things, like medicine, perhaps are a little more advanced. And some technologies haven’t been invented at all, which brings me to the next question…

2) Why aren’t there any guns in the world?

Honestly? Because I liked the idea of a world without them. That’s the honest truth. Yes, I know guns were invented in our world long before the mid 1800’s, which is my self-imposed historical analog. But this is a made up fantasy world, and I get to make the rules.

Now, I know there’s some technological advancements in the first Daggers & Steele novel, stuff related to gunpowder (no spoilers, here…) that would make you think that guns would have been invented, but as I said, technology has progressed differently in this world than in ours. I mean, honestly, the idea of using a controlled explosion to create a burst of pressure that’s used to propel a missile down a rifled tube at high velocity isn’t exactly trivial, no matter how much we take that for granted nowadays. And finally…

3) Wait…in our world, Technology X existed way before Technology Y, and in your world, Y exists but X doesn’t! Explain that.

I kind of already discussed this above, but yes, there are anachronisms in my work—if you think of it as trying to be historically accurate. But it’s not. I mean, there’s elves and trolls and magic. Daggers & Steele isn’t trying to be perfectly accurate to our world, because it doesn’t take place in our world.

I should note, however, that I’m not the biggest fan of world-building in general. I much prefer character- and plot-driven stories, so that’s what you tend to get with my books. If you find a blatant error related to world-building in any of my books, though, please share it with me over on my contact page. I love to hear from my fans, including when I get things wrong.

Hopefully, the answers I’ve posted here will help solve some of the questions you guys are having about Daggers & Steele. Book two, Cold Hard Steele, will be out very soon, so keep your eyes peeled.

Red Hot Steele Hits #1

I joked about it a few days ago, but I didn’t think it would happen. Not this fast. But it did.

Red Hot Steele hit #1 on Amazon’s Psychic Mysteries list.

I'm #1! I'm #1! The day this was posted anyway.
I’m #1! I’m #1! The day this was posted anyway.

This is exciting on so many levels, but I find it really amazing that the book is doing so well given that I’ve done zero publicity and marketing for it. Seriously. None. I told my friends on Facebook and Twitter about it, posted about it here on my blog, and told my real life, flesh-and-blood friends and family about it, and that’s it. No promotional sales on Bookbub, ENT, or the like. No ads on sites. No blog tours. No local or national media exposure (though that would be great—call me journalists!). Red Hot Steele has thrived off organic growth and landed at the top spot in one of its two main categories in less than two months.

Now, I’m not going to get into the nitty gritty of sales numbers or strategies—I’m saving those for my three month published author introspective in January—but I can offer a little insight into why I think Red Hot Steele has done so well.

1) I wrote a great book, one that’s exciting and funny and engrossing right off the bat. No modesty here. I did. And as much as people want to overlook this part of being a bestselling author, it’s the most important and the hardest part.

2) I got a great, and I mean fantastic, piece of cover art. It’s unique and eye catching, but it still fits the genre and theme of the book. Thanks Damon Za!

3) I wrote a really snazzy blurb. It makes you want to read the book—like, right now. This makes a difference. If your blurb is boring, chances are the book is boring, too.

And that’s it. Seriously. I didn’t necessarily believe it before I started, but if you write a great book with a great cover and a great blurb, people will find it and buy it. It might take a few days or a few years, but it will happen.

I can also offer another piece of advice to keep the party going. Write a great sequel—which I did. Cold Hard Steele will be available in January. Stay tuned.

Red Hot Steele Release Party Festivities

So as all of you who follow my blog know, my first two novels, Red Hot Steele and The Genesis Allegory, were released in the middle of last month. When some of my friends and neighbors learned that the date had finally arrived, of course they encouraged me to have a release party, and I was more than happy to oblige. Unfortunately, various factors conspired to make it so that we couldn’t have my release party until almost a month after the actual release of my books, but have it we did.

Now, I won’t bore you with the details: we ate, we drank, I sold some books. Fun was had by all. But I thought I’d do something a little different for both the party and this blog.

The fun thing for the party was that, in addition to snacks and a make your own pizza bar, we decided to do themed drinks based on the characters in Red Hot Steele: homicide detective Jake Daggers and his sexy, half-elf partner Shay Steele. Daggers is a surly, grizzled detective, so of course he likes whiskey sours, but he also has a thing about apricots, so we worked that into the drink as well. Steele, being an elf, is a bit more flowery and effeminate, so we concocted a drink for her out of pear and elderflower, but just like her, it’s got a bit of a kick, too.

The different thing for the blog is that I decided to turn my normally writing, science-fiction, fantasy, and heavy metal-based blog into a food blog (at least for a day). I thought it might be nice to branch out with my blog posts, and at the same time give my wife an opportunity to stretch her photography skills.

So, without further ado, gaze your peepers upon some of our delectable creations, and, in case you’re interested in the drinks, we’ve got the recipes available next to each. Full-sized photos are available upon clicking.

Fried chicken in a biscuit. My wife made 115 for a party with about 30 people, and almost all were gone by the end.
Fried chicken in a biscuit. My wife made 115 for a party with about 30 people, and almost all were gone by the end.
Mini spice cakes, with cardamom and powdered sugar. We thought this would be more interesting than brownies or cookies.
Mini spice cakes, with cardamom and powdered sugar. We thought this would be more interesting than brownies or cookies.
The Shay Steele Collins—flowery, effeminate, but delectable and with a decent kick.
The Shay Steele Collins—flowery, effeminate, but delectable and with a decent bite.




Recipe for the Shay Steele Pear Collins:

1.5 oz Gin

1 oz Pear Simple Syrup

0.5 oz Elderflower Liquor

0.5 oz Lemon Juice

Pear Simple Syrup: Peel and chop 4 pears. Combine with 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar.  Boil until sugar is dissolved and pears are soft.  Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth.  Strain and discard solids.





The Jake Daggers Sour—it's got quite a kick, more from the lemon than the whiskey, though it is strong.
The Jake Daggers Sour—it’s got quite a kick, more from the lemon than the whiskey, though it is strong.



Recipe for the Jake Daggers Whiskey Sour:

2 oz Whiskey

2 oz Lemon Juice

2 oz Apricot Simple Syrup

Apricot Simple Syrup: Combine 1 jar apricot preserves and 1/2 cup water.  Boil until preserves are melted.  Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth.

Red Hot Steele and The Genesis Allegory in all their real, physical, papery glory.
Red Hot Steele and The Genesis Allegory in all their real, physical, papery glory.