Synopsis: Los Angeles, 1908. In Chinatown, the most dangerous beat in Los Angeles, police matron Anna Blanc and her former sweetheart, Detective Joe Singer, discover the body of a white missionary woman, stuffed in a trunk in the apartment of her Chinese lover. Her lover has fled. If news gets out that a white woman was murdered in Chinatown, there will be a violent backlash against the Chinese. Joe and Anna plan to solve the crime quietly and keep the death a secret. So does good-looking Mr. Jones, a prominent Chinese leader who has mixed feelings about helping the LAPD and about Anna.
Meanwhile, the Hop Sing tong has kidnapped two slave girls from the Bing Kong tong, fuelling existing tensions. They are poised on the verge of a bloody tong war that would put all Chinatown residents in danger.
Joe orders Anna out of Chinatown to keep her safe, but to atone for her own family’s sins, Anna must stay to solve the crime before news of the murder is leaked and Chinatown explodes.
Poor Anna; born with too much ambition and curiosity for her own good. After listening to the first book in this series I fell in love with the spunky, intelligent and witty Anna Blanc and the way this author brings her to life. I will admit to wanting to smack her upside the head sometimes but I think in this case it is a true testament to how well this character was created. I can only imagine how frustrating it would be for a woman like Anna, to be held by the constraints of social norms for the time.
Given the nature of historical fiction, it is easy for authors to spend massive amounts of time on info dumps. There is nothing I abhor more. Kincheloe does a flawless job of educating the reader without distracting from the entertainment value. This story, and the other one The Secret Life of Anna Blanc, are just fun to listen to or read. It is easy to picture myself as a fly on the wall and observe everything that happens in the story. I believe that is another testament to how good this book it. The conflict between Joe and Anna adds a nice romantic twist to this story. Listening to this book added a nice treat because the narrator did a great job bringing the characters to life. The voices are unique enough to not confuse the characters.
Jennifer has been a block layer, a nurse’s aid, a fragrance model, and on the research faculty at UCLA, where she spent 11 years conducting studies to inform health policy. A native of Southern California, she now lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband and two teenagers. She’s currently writing book three in the Anna Blanc Mystery series. Book two, THE WOMAN IN THE CAMPHOR TRUNK, is coming out in Fall of 2017 from Seventh Street Books.
Moira grew up in teeny-tiny Rutland, England’s smallest county, which is fitting as she never managed to make it past five feet herself. Moira’s work spans the pantheon of the voiceover world: plays for BBC radio, plays for NPR, video games, commercials, television promos, podcasts, cartoons, movies and award winning audiobooks. She’s won Multiple Audie Awards, Earphone Awards, as well as Audible’s prestigious Book-of-the-Year Award. She has lately set foot in front of the camera again, appearing in “Pretty: the Series” and the Emmy-winning “Dirty Work.”
I was hooked on this book from the very beginning. The narrator instantly brought the story to life. Which was very easy to do considering how well crafted this book was. The characters are vivid enough to picture each of them in my mind. Whether the reader has Greek heritage or not, everyone will be able to relate to the family drama. However, the author did a nice job of sharing about the Greek culture without sounding like a travel brochure or a lecture. At times, I found myself talking to the characters in my head even when I wasn’t listening to the book. In looking at the book, I think the different character voices made it a little easier to understand the multiple POVs. I really didn’t want this one to end.
The narration felt perfect for this story. The narrator did a good job a varying the voices enough to keep everyone separate.
This Greek American family saga follows a multigenerational story of love, loyalty, and culture. An emotional novel about family bonds and the difficult pull between home and heritage.
In the year 1956, Anastacia Fotopoulos finds herself pregnant and betrayed, fleeing from a bad marriage. With the love and support of her dear friends Stavros and Soula Papadakis, Ana is able to face the challenges of single motherhood. Left with emotional wounds, she resists her growing affection for Alexandros Giannakos, an old acquaintance. But his persistence and unconditional love for Ana and her child is eventually rewarded and his love is returned. In a misguided, but well-intentioned effort to protect the ones they love, both Ana and Alex keep secrets – ones that could threaten the delicate balance of their family.
The story continues in the 1970’s as Dean and Demi Papadakis, and Sophia Giannakos attempt to negotiate between two cultures. Now Greek-American teenagers, Sophia and Dean,
who have shared a special connection since childhood, become lovers. Sophia is shattered when Dean rebels against the pressure his father places on him to uphold his Greek heritage and hides his feelings for her. When he pulls away from his family, culture and ultimately his love for her, Sophia is left with no choice but to find a life different from the one she’d hoped for.
EVANTHIA’S GIFT is a multigenerational love story spanning fifty years and crossing two continents, chronicling the lives that unify two families.
Effie Kammenou is a believer that it is never too late to chase your dreams, follow your heart or change your career. She is proof of that. At one time, long ago, she’d thought that, by her age, she would have had an Oscar in her hand after a successful career as an actor. Instead, she worked in the optical field for 40 years and is the proud mother of two accomplished young women.
Her debut novel, Evanthia’s Gift, is a women’s fiction multigenerational love story and family saga, influenced by her Greek heritage, and the many real life accounts that have been passed down. She continues to pick her father’s brain for stories of his family’s life in Lesvos, Greece, and their journey to America. Her interview with him was published in a nationally circulated magazine.
Evanthia’s Gift: Book One in The Gift Saga was a 2016 award finalist in the Readers Favorite Awards in the Women’s Fiction category. Waiting for Aegina: Book Two in The Gift Saga is Kammenou’s latest release.
Emily is an actor and writer passionate about bringing stories to life. Her greatest strength as a performer is her ability to bring herself to the role, creating a wide range of emotionally resonant performances that leap off the page, stage, or screen. Her favorite characters are complicated, conflicted, and still searching for their inner truths. Emily’s passion for her work is complemented by her persistence, resilience, and inexhaustible work ethic. She’s narrated more than 160 audiobooks, half of which were USA Today or New York Times bestsellers, and has also worked in film, television, and theater. Born and raised in New York, Emily moved to Los Angeles shortly after receiving her BFA in drama from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She also had the privilege of living in London while studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA).
Emily’s greatest loves are acting and reading, so narrating audiobooks is a dream come true. Her other passions include traveling, LARPing, aerial circus, and chocolate.
This was the next book in the series and I think I like this one even better than the first. Though I will say the first one was dynamite. The reason I liked this one better had to do with character development. I knew these characters now. They have become part of my fantasy book world. I do think a reader could start with this book and still understand the series. But as with any series, starting with book one gives you a greater appreciation for the story.
The plot for this book was fast-paced and it drove me to keep listening. I didn’t want to be interrupted. The author added a new character and developed one a little more from the first book and it helped create a nice ensemble cast. There is one twist with this book, and I really can’t say too much but it involved a really big cat.
The narrator continued to do a phenomenal job with each of the characters. Their voices were unique and helped me visualize them even more in my head.
Witches used to be the only game in town.
Fresh from solving an occult serial murder in Louisiana, Detective Paige Whiskey returns to her home in Denver to discover the killer she freed in exchange for Dexx’s life is continuing his murderous rampage. However, in true Sven fashion, he’s killing people to show Paige things she never knew.
He’s showing her a world that had been hidden from her, a wider world of the paranormal.
To protect the shifters he’s targeting, she must break the treaty between shifters and witches, endanger her job, and risk her life.
Will Paige save the shifters, finally catch Sven, keep her job, and maintain a lid on this war?
Or will she lose it all?
Frankie lives in beautiful Montana with her Darling Dork, his two part-time girls, and their cat, Tesla. She enjoys creating with her wonderful husband, doing everything from crochet, to sewing, to art, and, of course, writing. She’s lived a pretty colorful life, giving breath to her stories.
She’s dated vampires, werewolves, sorcerers, weapons smugglers, U.S. Government assassins, and slingshot terrorist. No. She is not kidding.
Kalinda Little is a 28-year-old web developer who started playing around with audio and never stopped. Currently based out of Portland Oregon, she has spent time all up and down the West Coast, including several years is Ashland where she worked backstage at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. She is a chapter leader for the Nine Bridges Writers, a nonprofit that aims to assist and support writers in all genres, by providing resources and critique.
While she only started recording professionally in April of 2016, she had over two hundred hours of amateur recording and editing available before that point. To date, she has narrated 27 books, with another 3 set to come out before the end of 2017.
Synopsis: Detective Paige Whiskey comes from a long line of witches. They may not all be the most powerful, but they are outspoken and supportive of their community. She alone has no gifts. She can’t summon fire, can’t read minds. She knows the arcane. She’s studied it. That, along with her connection to the Whiskey Witches, lands her some pretty strange cases. Like the sacrificial murders of St. Francisville, Louisiana. There’s a killer on the loose, choosing people in a vain attempt to raise a demon. Not just any demon, though. A man born long ago, made a demon in order to protect the Gate to Hell. Together with demon hunter, Dexx Colt, her kitchen-witch grandmother, and her paranormal investigator brother-in-law, they unravel a conspiracy far bigger than a few simple murders, and re-discover Paige’s gift. She’s a demon summoner and she’s key to the killer’s plan.
Frankie lives in beautiful Montana with her Darling Dork, his two part-time girls, and their cat, Tesla. She enjoys creating with her wonderful husband, doing everything from crochet, to sewing, to art, and, of course, writing. She’s lived a pretty colorful life, giving breath to her stories. She’s dated vampires, werewolves, sorcerers, weapons smugglers, U.S. Government assassins, and slingshot terrorist. No. She is not kidding.
Kalinda Little is a 28-year-old web developer who started playing around with audio and never stopped. Currently based out of Portland Oregon, she has spent time all up and down the West Coast, including several years is Ashland where she worked backstage at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. She is a chapter leader for the Nine Bridges Writers, a nonprofit that aims to assist and support writers in all genres, by providing resources and critique. While she only started recording professionally in April of 2016, she had over two hundred hours of amateur recording and editing available before that point. To date, she has narrated 27 books, with another 3 set to come out before the end of 2017.
This book was one of those get-in-buckle-up-and-hold-on kind of books. It starts fast and stays fast. I loved it. There were no boring scenes and now wasted dialog. Yet, the author did a great job of creating a complete world that was totally believable. I liked Paige. She was a messed up soul who wanted nothing more than to just get her life together and do the right thing. I can so relate to that. All the other characters felt real and served a unique purpose to pushing the plot. I completely enjoyed the role reversal for the angels. (Not too much of a spoiler, but…) The angels in this story are not the gooddy ethereal beings that seem common. The author did a great job incorporating the setting as an important detail in this story. Many authors disregard the setting as not being important. I felt the heat of the bayou while listening to this story.
That narrator did a great job making each character (and there were a lot) an individual. She did a fantastic job with both the female and male characters. I was also impressed with the different accents the characters had. She brought this story alive and made it easy to “see” it in my head. I am such a visual person so this is utmost to me with audiobooks.
A funny side note- When Paige met her first demon, my phone shut itself down. I have no idea why it did that because it has never done that before or since. I guess it’s just things that make you go hhmmm 🙂
GUEST POST FROM THE AUTHOR
An Author’s Superpower
Authors have a superpower that oftentimes gets overlooked. They write stories that touch the hearts and minds of people. They have the ability to shift a reader’s perception, a way of thinking, or the way they feel about a topic.
That might seem common-sense, and it is, but when you talk to authors about their stories, it’s amazing to see how many don’t realize the power they hold in their hands.
I was helping a fellow author edit her book the other day, and she was discussing a topic that was very important, but she feared it was controversial. So, instead of dealing with it, she pushed it under the rug and felt as though the character handled it poorly. It felt really immature to me.
So, I mentioned that to her, and she told me why she handled it this way. She didn’t want to upset people.
Okay. Great. Understood.
However, here’s the thing. As a reader, you’ve invited me into your mind, your heart, and your soul–if my writing is good enough to penetrate all those layers. I show you, through my characters, how you could handle a situation. I allow you, the reader, to experience things you’ve never lived through. I allow you, the reader, to take charge of your life, to say what you always wanted to, but felt powerless to do utter out loud. I allow you to fight back, to stand up, to take charge. I allow you to dole out the hard love.
And then, if I’m good enough, I empower you, the reader, to do that.
That’s a pretty incredible super power, if you ask me.
The big crisis in Whiskey Witches is something that we all see happening, but no one really talks about, and that’s custody battles. The “losing parent” is always seen as a bad guy, and if the mother loses her kid, she…did something unspeakably horrible.
But what isn’t talked about is all the horrible, emotional, brutally horrific things that happen outside the courtroom. The winner isn’t always the “good guy.” Sometimes–a lot of times–they’re just the bigger bully. And the loser is shamed into silence. When we don’t talk about an issue, we empower the other side.
Now, some parents lose their kids for very valid reasons. They do. They are the reason there are custody battles in the Courts of Law in the first place. But…not all do deserve that, and none of them talk about it, and it hurts like hell. These parents often lose visitation rights–though they could push it through the courts, it harder on the kids and then the kids don’t want to see the other parent, so it’s a lose-lose situation. They lose phone call privileges, hugs, kisses, I love yous, calls on your birthday, the ability to talk to them on their birthday. They lose holidays–or are bullied into “having the holiday that’s easier to deal with” because that’s always a great idea.
We authors have the superpower to discuss hard-line topics like this in a safe place. Fiction. The setting is fake. The characters are fake.
But the lessons are real. There’s real power in a book. Even a fiction one.
Complicated plot lines always intrigue me because it challenges my brain to remember everything. And when done right, it’s awesome. The story line for this book was done right. It was an intense action pack story about dragons and warriors. Right now, I’m on a dragon kick, so this book came along at the right time. The author’s world building is well-developed and it was easy to see the story unfold as if I was watching a movie. I think listening to the story helped with that because the narrator gave the story and even more intense level. I enjoyed the characters and the narrator did an outstanding job making each one of them unique. I was not expecting some of the twists this author wrote since my first impression was this book was going to lean heavily on testosterone. The female lead was just as strong and I am always very impressed when a male narrator does a great job with a female character. Overall the marriage of this story and the audiobook worked well and I still think about it even though it’s been weeks since I finished it. Books like this continue to challenge my writing ability and inspire me to be a better writer.
Greatshadow is the primal dragon of fire, an elemental evil whose malign intelligence spies upon mankind through every candle flame, waiting to devour any careless victim he can claim. The Church of the Book has assembled a team of twelve battle-hardened adventurers to slay the dragon once and for all. But tensions run high between the leaders of the team who view the mission as a holy duty and the super-powered mercenaries who add power to their ranks, who view the mission primarily as a chance to claim Greatshadow’s vast treasure trove. If the warriors fail to slay the beast, will they doom mankind to death by fire?
James Maxey’s mother warned him if he read too many comic books, they would warp his mind. She was right. Now an adult who can’t stop daydreaming, James is unsuited for decent work and ekes out a pittance writing down demented fantasies about masked women, fiery dragons, and monkeys. Oh god, so many monkeys.
In an effort to figure out how Superman could fly, James read a lot of science, books by Carl Sagan and Stephen Jay Gould and Stephen Hawking. Turns out, Superman probably wasn’t based on any factual information. Who would have guessed? Realizing it was possible to write science fiction without being constrained by the actual rules of science proved liberating for James, and led to the psuedo-science fiction of the Bitterwood series, superhero novels like Nobody Gets the Girl, and the steam-punk visions of Bad Wizard.
In 2015, James was honored as the Piedmont Laureate by the United Arts Councils representing Orange County, Durham County, and Wake County. This is almost certainly a sign of the ongoing cultural decay gripping the nation.
James lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina with his lovely and patient wife Cheryl and too many cats.
Jake Urry has been narrating and producing Audiobooks since February 2016, and in that time has released 17 titles, including The Cryptic Lines by Richard Storry, White is the Coldest Colour by John Nicholl, and the PI Harlan Ulrich series by Ambrose Ibsen. His narration work is often dark and suspenseful, and he developing a reputation for Mysteries, Thrillers and Horrors. In 2017 Jake will be working on more work by John Nicholl and Richard Storry, along with a sprinkling of Fantasy adventures.
I love dragons, but I haven’t read many books with dragons. When I saw this one I knew it was a book I would enjoy. Yes, I know we shouldn’t judge books based on covers, but look at the cover! It’s beautiful. This story is as beautiful as the cover. The author created a completely new world with such detailed description I wanted to book a vacation to this mysterious land. His combination of Victorian, steampunk, and fantasy images brought the setting alive to the reader. The action was developed in such a way that sometimes I felt like I was watching a movie and not listening to a book.
One of the things that impressed me was his description of Dragon Aranya. I think of dragons as being very masculine. Secchia created a fierce dragon that was very feminine but just as strong as any warrior. All of his characters were such real people I wanted to meet them.
The narrator does a fantastic job with the various voices. Each character had a unique voice and it was always easy to determine the different people. I think her interpretations only added to the richness of this great story. She even did a good job with the sound of arrows and fires.
Chained to a rock and tossed off a cliff by her boyfriend, Aranya is executed for high treason against the Sylakian Empire. Falling a league into the deadly Cloudlands is not a fate she ever envisaged. But what if she did not die? What if she could spread her wings and fly? Long ago, Dragons ruled the Island-World above the Cloudlands. But their Human slaves cast off the chains of Dragonish tyranny. Humans spread across the Islands in their flying Dragonships, colonising, building and warring. Now, the all-conquering Sylakians have defeated the last bastion of freedom–the Island-Kingdom of Immadia. Evil has a new enemy. Aranya, Princess of Immadia. Dragon Shapeshifter.
Marc is a South African-born dragon masquerading as an author, who loves writing about dragons and Africa, preferably both at the same time. He lives and works in Ethiopia with his wife and 4 children, 2 dogs and a variable number of marabou storks that roost on the acacia trees out back. On a good night there are also hyenas patrolling the back fence. He’s the author of 21 fantasy books in 3 languages (2 more languages coming this year – watch this space!), including 8 rip-roaring dragon fantasy bestsellers. Dragonfriend won a Gold Award for Fantasy in the 2016 IPPY Book Awards. Look out for Whisper Alive, his latest release. The 4th tale in the Dragonfriend series, Dragonstar, is coming soon! When he’s not writing about Africa or dragons Marc can be found travelling to remote locations. He thinks there’s nothing better than standing on a mountaintop wondering what lies over the next horizon.
A native of London, England, Shiromi Arserio is a stage actor, voice talent and audiobook narrator. She holds a B.A. in Theatre from Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance. In addition to narrating dozens of audiobooks, her voice can be heard in documentaries, e-learning projects and video games such as Nancy Drew: The Shattered Medallion. Shiromi currently resides in the Seattle area with her husband and her two furbabies.
I’ve read about your background on your blog, but can you please tell my readers about living in Africa and why you chose the myths and legends from here to be the background of your stories?
I think there’s a generation of readers and fans who have grown up with Euro-centric and Tolkeinesque paradigms in fantasy. That’s all well and fine, and some truly excellent work has been produced. But I also feel those tropes are now somewhat overused and under-represent the diversity (to pick one example) of the world around us. I choose to draw from African traditions, mores and values because firstly I connect with those best, but also because there’s a great unexplored world out there that I’d love to draw readers into. I think there’s something beautiful about the African values of humanity and community which I would love to communicate and celebrate.
For myself, I grew up in Cape Town near the ocean and now live and work in Ethiopia. I resonate with the richness and diversity of the African histories and societies which surround me, and I deliberately chose to come back (from the UK) to work in Africa because I wanted to give more or give back to the continent where I grew up. Africa has a magical quality which gets under your skin. Yes, there is poverty, but there is also an extraordinary opportunity if people would give Africa and Africans a chance.
Addis Ababa, where I live, is a city of some 5-6 million persons, always growing and thriving and bubbling from dawn to dusk. Early in the morning you’ll hear the Orthodox churches worshipping and dogs barking and the night is thick and velvety. During the day, the city explodes with busyness. There are people everywhere. Cars dodging donkeys. Sheep. Street vendors. Sights and smells to take in. It’s a joyous, vibrant place where you cannot walk down a street without being greeted or even invited to share a meal, no matter how small. That’s what I love about Ethiopia – much hospitality, and many smiles.
You obviously spent a lot of time world building for your series. How did you get started, what did you use for reference, and is this world static or is changing when you need to add something new?
I love landscapes and situations that play into and shape a story and the characters that move within that world. Also, I think fantasy fans enjoy the unusual. I started worldbuilding when I was in my teens, misspending English lessons dreaming up fantasy worlds – but usually it starts with concept, say, what about a world above the clouds? How would that work?
I tend to draw up broad principles before I start but then allow my imagination loose in the world and adapt and add details as I go along. I try hard to stick within the bounds of physics (for example, how high can a dragon fly before falling over from hypoxia?) but if those need to be stretched a little then so be it. So we have supersonic dragon flight, for example, space-faring whales and a world that is comprised entirely of canyons beneath a scorching surface.
Describe your writing process.
I have a story idea or I dream a story – I’ve always found this the easy part, as I’ve far more ideas than time to write them. I write a synopsis, just a few lines or words about what will happen, right the way through to the ending (that’s so I don’t meander). Then I separate it out roughly into chapters and scenes to form a framework, before fleshing out that framework starting from the top. I’ll separately brainstorm the characters to build in a few quirks and think about how they’ll interact. Each character gets a brief sketch beforehand but I like to throw them into the story and see what happens.
If I’m uncertain about a writing idea I’ll file it for later. But generally speaking, that’s the process – I try to write 3 – 5,000 words per day, usually mornings from early (5am).
What is your favorite snack while writing?
I don’t snack a whole lot while writing, but if I do, it would be to pause for a Ferrero Rocher chocolate. Coffee is my morning addiction.
What is it about dragons that fascinate you?
Dragons are Fantasy’s most majestic creatures. I like my dragons served up awesome, magical and as full of character as any person you’d wish to meet, the kind of person you’re almost compelled to spend time with or watch. I’m a fan of Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern as well as her other writings. It was her viewpoint of fully-formed dragon characters, the telepathic communication between Dragon and Rider, and the possibilities of Human-Dragon interaction which shaped my early fascination with dragons as creatures and characters.
Dragons can fly anywhere. They spread their wings and soar into the realms of the possible. That’s why they’re so rewarding to write.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always wanted to become a writer. I was the kid who when we were asked to produce a haiku, I’d write an epic haiku series in 16 parts. I know because when I write and create, something in me comes alive.
It took 8 books to find any kind of success in writing. For me, while success wasn’t the point, it was a watershed moment when I thought, ‘I love this, but I could also do this for a living’. There’s something awesome and humbling about realising that you could make art for a living. What a privilege.
What are your writing plans for the future?
Firstly, finish all these series I’ve started. I’ve made great headway but there’s a ways to go yet. I’d love to sell a film deal. Back in real life, I’ve many other ideas that I’d like to bring alive. As long as the love of reading and writing is there, I think I’ll continue.
I will take you and any author or character of your choice out to lunch. Who’s coming with us?
Goodness, you do like your tough questions don’t you? Ok, I’m going to pick a certain Mister Tolkien because he is my all-time favourite author, and the breadth and depth of his imagination are simply dazzling.
What are you currently reading or have recently finished?
Tragedy tore Wynter and Sam apart before he could tell her how he felt about her. Twelve years later, fate dropped her off on his doorstep, widowed, desperately broke, and very pregnant. Sam has spent his entire adult life trying to forget Wynter, and here she was, ready to collect on a promise he’d made when he was young and in love. His sense of honor dictated that he take her in when she needed him most. It was only temporary, after all. But living under the same roof quickly led to old feelings resurfacing. Now the one person he’d wanted to leave behind is the one person he can’t let go. She knew seeing her reminded Sam of everything he’d lost, but Wynter had no choice. If she were going to make it back to Scallop Shores to raise her baby, she needed his help. Only she hadn’t counted on the long winter nights, getting reacquainted with a childhood friend she’d loved like a brother, a friend who’d grown into a man she found herself wanting to get to know on a whole different level. Delivering Wynter’s baby at home during a fierce snow storm forces Sam to fill in as temporary dad. It’s a role he’d gladly make permanent. Too bad the one place Wynter is determined to raise her daughter is the one place Sam swore he’d never step foot in again. Had he gotten a second chance to tell her he loved her only to lose her again? Or is this time for keeps?
Jennifer DeCuir is the author of the Scallop Shores series, set on the coast of Maine, where she grew up. Now living on the opposite side of the country, she’s busy raising two kids and a husband. Her life resembles a sitcom, but that means endless story ideas. Coffee and chocolate keep her productive. Wine keeps her sane.
Gabrielle has narrated over 150 titles specializing in fantasy, humor, and audiobooks requiring extensive foreign language and accent skills. Her “velvet touch” as an actors’ director has earned her a special place in the audiobook world as the foremost choice for authors and celebrities. She grew up in London and Rome with her wildly cinematic Oscar-winning father. She is the creator of two successful Kickstarter campaigns for audiobooks this past year. For the past 3 years running, she has had finalists in the Audie EXCELLENCE IN PRODUCTION category. She is co-founder of Audie, Grammy and Hugo winning Skyboat Media located in L.A.
Before we begin, I have to thank Terri (my fellow “Carolina girl”) for the opportunity to be featured on #CarolinaReads!
First and foremost I have to ask why audiobooks? What draws you to this format?
Primarily, the convenience. I grew up with a voracious appetite for reading, but as I got older, it dwindled. Life got in the way. I became busier and began to accept that reading was a luxury I didn’t have time for anymore. I’m sure this is something a lot of folks can relate to.
My seemingly incidental introduction to audiobooks re-opened a door I thought had been shut forever. I’m not being dramatic, I genuinely thought that part of becoming an adult meant that I wouldn’t have time for a luxury such as reading. Audiobooks not only allow me to fit reading into my schedule but now I’m able to consume more books than ever!
Do you think every book lends itself to the audio format? Why or why not?
No, I don’t. Most do, but some still translate better than others. That’s not to say, however, that I don’t think all books should be translated into audiobooks. Every book deserves an audiobook!
But a lot of times, audiobooks are afterthoughts for authors. Something they don’t even think about until the book is well underway, if not already finished. That’s completely understandable because writing a book and getting published are hard.
Sometimes, a book is written in a manner that’s just meant to work best on paper.
Two popular examples come to mind: Rainbow Rowell’s Attachments and Taherah Mafi’s Shatter Me. Both are excellent novels but seem (to me) to work better when visualized rather than heard. Attachments is written as a series of emails between coworkers. The novel was formatted in a very unique way to resemble email attachments. In audio, the novelty of this formatting doesn’t come across as well as it should. In Shatter Me, the protagonist constantly strikes through her words as she writes journal entries. Again, I love this idea, but the only way to convey it in audio was to use a scratching sound effect to mimic the protagonist’s writing utensil striking through a word. It took me a good portion of the novel to understand what was happening there.
How do you fit listening to audiobooks into your schedule?
Listening has become a habit to me now. I always have an audiobook playing. Luckily, I work from home, so I’m able to listen continuously and at whatever volume I want!
There are so many daily opportunities to listen. Think about all the times you have music playing. That’s when I play an audiobook.
In the car
Working in the yard
Falling asleep at night
At the beach or swimming pool
Anytime I’m performing a mindless task (something that doesn’t require a lot of concentration), I listen to an audiobook.
When I listen to a book, I find it even easier to picture the whole story in my head. How does listening to the story enhance the experience for you?
Oh, absolutely. I love relaxing in bed at night when listening to an audiobook. I can close my eyes and see the story play out in my mind. It’s effortless.
It’s also fun to create mental images of the characters. I love casting the characters of the audiobooks I hear. I ask myself “If this story were being made into a movie or television series, who would I want to play the parts?”. That takes the visualization to another level.
Tell us a little about your company. How did it start? What services do you offer?
It all happened in a very kismet sort of way. I began looking for blog tour companies to work with as an audiobook blogger. After applying to several of them, I was politely told that there likely wouldn’t be many opportunities for me to participate because audiobook blog tours weren’t very popular.
I thought that was odd because I was getting several review requests a week from authors, narrators, and publishers. Why weren’t these people approaching tour companies about promoting audiobooks? This felt like a gap in the book marketing world that needed to be filled.
Shortly after that, I was approached by an author about coordinating an audiobook blog tour for his audiobook that I had previously reviewed. My first instinct was to say “No, I can’t do that.”, but then I thought “Hey, maybe I could do that…” , which eventually turned into “ I can do that!”.
A little over a month later, Audiobookworm Promotions was born. I explicitly cater to the audiobook community, of which I am proud to be a part. I believe that, with a little creativity, audiobooks can be marketed just as effectively as traditional books.
Audiobookworm Promotions seemed like a natural progression from The Audiobookworm. I’m excited to be unveiling a new website for Audiobookworm Promotions in a couple of weeks. I’ll also be gradually expanding my services. Right now, I offer blog tours, review tours, graphic design and web design services, as well as a number of other brand management and marketing services.
I organize virtual tours for all genres and I’m always looking for tour hosts. Anyone interested can sign up here! There are also a number of audiobooks available for “adoption” on my Adopt-An-Audiobook page.
What is the first book you remember reading?
That’s tough because I’ve been reading from a very young age. Like most of my generation, Harry Potter was my childhood.
It’s much easier to recall my first audiobook. The first audiobook I heard was Stephen King’s 9/22/63 and it remains my favorite to this day.
What are you listening to right now?
I’ve gotten to the point now where I can’t just listen to one audiobook at a time. Maybe it’s a commitment thing. I like having several options available to me because of my listening mood changes with the wind.
I currently have about 30 minutes left in Night Broken, the 8th installment in Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series. That series is a must-listen for paranormal fans. Lorelei King (the narrator) is doing an amazing job.
I’m also listening to Mary Roach’s Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers and it’s every bit of what it sounds. Although, I’m having to hear it in stages and never while eating.
Why did you choose that story?
I started the Mercy Thompson series after it was recommended by too many people to ignore. I love the paranormal genre and this series (as well as its spinoff) has become one of my all-time favorites.
Whenever I’m in a listening slump, I temporarily switch over to podcasts for a day or so. That’s how I came across Mary Roach’s TED Talk, which sparked my interest in her writing. I highly recommend her work (and her TED Talk), but not to those with weak stomachs!
Who is an author or book character you would like to meet one day and why?
I feel like Stephen King and George R.R. Martin are the obvious answers here, but they’re also pretty far-fetched (probably). Now that I’m thinking about it, I’d love to have a conversation with Mary Roach. After hearing her TED Talk, I immediately searched for more of her interviews because I found her work so fascinating. She seems very down-to-earth and to have a great sense of humor, which is evident in her writing. Dinner with her would be fun and informative, although we’d probably have to set some parameters about what could be discussed at the table (for my sake!).
You can only have five books on your bookshelf. What would they be and why?
I believe you can tell a lot about a person by what’s on their bookshelf. Physical book are pretty scarce around my house, but I have hung on to a few:
What Is My Cat Thinking? This is probably my most referenced book (unfortunately). I have three cats and anyone who follows me on Instagramknows which one of them makes me pour over these pages.
The Lady of the Rivers– It’s about Jacquetta of Luxembourg (my 18th-great grandmother). I love doing genealogy and having such a popular book written about one of my ancestors excites me. This will be neat to pass down a future generation one day!
The Everything Dreams Book: What Your Dreams Mean And How They Affect Your Everyday Life– I’ve had this since I was 12. It may be the oldest book I own.
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Ed.– From my grad school days. I still reference it occasionally and it’s handy to have around.
Gone with the Wind– I read this every summer between 8th and 12th grade. Even though time has significantly changed my view of the story, I can’t bear to give up my tattered copy.
I read Mr. Maggert’s series, Halfway Witchy. I couldn’t read those books fast enough. This series has a completely different type of characters so I wanted to see if he could do it again. I was not disappointed. This book deals with a heavenly war between the angels. That alone fascinated me. He created an angelic world which felt like a complete universe inhabited by ancient beings. So many stories I read with angles create an illusion of differentness. I really liked that these angles felt like people capable of a wide range of emotions and very human actions. Just as in his other series, the plot drew me in fast and I couldn’t get through the book fast enough. Unlike the other series, this book switches back and forth between points of view. Well, not really pov more like it switches back and forth between realities. His reason for doing this makes complete sense by the end of the book. My only complaint is he destroys the stereotypical happily ever after ending. I’m a huge sucker for those. It makes sense, and I don’t want to give away any of this great story, but I’m having a hard time being patient for book two. Moonborn will be out at the end of June.
The narrator of this book absolutely nailed it. She was so easy to understand and did a fantastic job going back and forth between the characters.
About the Audiobook
Author: Terry Maggert
Narrator: Julia Whelan
Length: 6 hours 20 minutes
Publisher: Terry Maggert⎮2016
Series: Heartborn, Book One
Release date: Oct. 3, 2016
Synopsis: Her guardian angel was pushed. Keiron was never meant to be anything other than a hero. Born high above in a place of war and deception, he is Heartborn, a being of purity and goodness in a place where violence and deceit are just around every corner. His disappearance will spark a war he cannot see, for Keiron has pierced the light of days to save a girl he has never met, for reasons he cannot understand. Livvy Foster is seventeen, brave, and broken. With half a heart, she bears the scars of a lifetime of pain and little hope of survival. Until Keiron arrives. In the middle of a brewing war and Livvy’s failing heart, Keiron will risk everything for Livvy, because a Heartborn’s life can only end in one way: Sacrifice. Fall with Livvy and Keiron as they seek the truth about her heart, and his power, and what it means to love someone who will give their very life to save you.
Born in 1968, I discovered fishing shortly after walking, a boon, considering I lived in South Florida. After a brief move to Kentucky, my family trekked back to the Sunshine State. I had the good fortune to attend high school in idyllic upstate New York, where I learned about a mythical substance known as “Seasons”. After two or three failed attempts at college, I bought a bar. That was fun because I love beer, but, then, I eventually met someone smarter than me (a common event), and, in this case, she married me and convinced me to go back to school–which I did, with enthusiasm. I earned a Master’s Degree in History and rediscovered my love for writing. My novels explore dark fantasy, immortality, and the nature of love as we know it. I live near Nashville, Tennessee, with the aforementioned wife, son, and herd, and, when I’m not writing, I teach history, grow wildly enthusiastic tomato plants, and restore my 1967 Mustang.
Julia Whelan is an actor, writer, and audiobook narrator. She is perhaps most well known for her acting work on ABC’s Once and Again and her award-winning narration of over 200 audiobooks (including Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl). Her debut novel is forthcoming. After a healthy career as a child actor, Whelan attended Middlebury College and Oxford University, graduating with a degree in English and Creative Writing.
I reviewed book two yesterday and this is book three from this series.
This has become one of those series where I could read fifty more. This was my favorite of the series. Sadly, there have been no more since 2012 when this one was published. The ending of this book left me with a “WTH” feeling. It was such a cliffhanger. I did not see it coming. What I liked the most about this book is Cade really seems to come to some kind of understanding that he is evil and always will be evil, but that is his role to play. He and only he can do do it. This was another audiobook and like with the other two Bronson Pinchot does a great job.
“This is not a man. In almost a hundred years, I have seen it shot, stabbed, drowned, burned, decapitated, dismembered, and buried. And in almost a hundred years, there’s only one thing that’s ever been able to kill it…Me.”
The campaign trail, 2012: A political operative of the incumbent president and a party volunteer are brutally murdered while in a compromising position. A message has been written in their blood…
“IT’S GOOD TO BE BACK”
A centuries-old horror has returned to taunt Nathaniel Cade, the President’s Vampire. Under constant threat of exposure—and with enemies old and new at every turn—he and his handler Zach must stop the one monster Cade has never been able to completely destroy. And they must do it before the creature known as the Boogeyman adds another victim to his long and bloody list: the President of the United States.
Christopher Farnsworth is a novelist, screenwriter, and journalist. He is the author of FLASHMOB, KILLFILE, THE ETERNAL WORLD, and the President’s Vampire series, as well as the comic book 24: LEGACY — RULES OF ENGAGEMENT. His books have been translated into nine languages, published in more than a dozen countries, and optioned for film and television. His writing has also been published by the Los Angeles Times, the New York Post, The Awl, and The New Republic. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and daughters. You can find out more at www.christopherfarnsworth.com.