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Winterdream Audiobook Blog Tour

Audiobook Blog Tour: WinterDream by Chantal Gadoury

Author: Chantal Gadoury

Narrator: Anne Marie Lewis

Length: 10 hours 22 minutes

Publisher: The Parliament House

Released: Dec. 31, 2019

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

This Christmas Eve, no creature was stirring, except, maybe, a mouse. At long last, can true love break the Nutcracker’s curse? For Clara Stahlbaum, this Christmas means the end of her youth. A daughter of the aristocracy, Clara is expected to give up her dreams of adventures and the extraordinary for more normal days as the wife of a cruel viscount. But when magical Uncle Drosselmeyer returns with his wondrous, dancing contraptions and one special gift for Clara, she is beckoned to the land of Winter Dream, where she is thrust into the greatest adventure of her wildest dreams. But will she be able to break the Nutcracker’s curse? Uncle Drosselmeyer’s apprentice Anton is handsome as he is mysterious. But what is it about him Clara finds so alluring? Winter Dream is a phenomenal retelling of The Nutcracker from the eyes of Clara Stahlbaum with all the magic of the Holiday season. If you loved S. Jae-Jones’ Wintersong, you’ll fall in love with this stunning tale of love, war, redemption, and Christmas magic. Listen to it now!
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Amazon Bestselling Author, Chantal Gadoury, is a 2011 graduate from Susquehanna University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing. Since graduation, she has published The Songs in Our Hearts, and The Songs We Remember, with 48Fourteen Publishing. Allerleirauh, Between the Sea and Stars, Blinding Night and WinterDream with the Parliament House Press. Chantal first started writing stories at the age of seven and continues with that love of writing today. For Chantal, writing novels has become a lifelong dream come true! When she’s not typing away at her next project, she enjoys painting, drinking lots of Iced Coffee, and watching Disney Classics. Chantal lives in Muncy, Pennsylvania with her Mom, sister and furry-‘brother’ Taran.
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Narrator Bio
Singer and actor Anne Marie Lewis has enjoyed a richly varied and long career in the performing arts. She has performed across the globe from Carnegie Hall to Boise to Little Rock to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula as well as in Canada, England and Scotland. Chicago area credits: My Fair Lady, Peter Pan, Into the Woods (Music Theater Works); 1776 (Porchlight Music Theater); Midnight Cowboy (Lifeline Theatre); Northanger Abbey, The Skin of Our Teeth (Remy Bumppo); Love, Loss and What I Wore (Oil Lamp Theater); bare (RefugeTheatre Project); Graveyard of Empires (16th Street Theater); Jake’s Women (Spartan Theatre); The Scullery Maid (Idle Muse Theatre); Moon Over Buffalo (Jedlicka Performing Arts Center); The Diary of Anne Frank (Metropolis Performing Arts Center); The Merry Wives of Windsor (Fury Theatre); Fancy Nancy, Elephant and Piggie (Northbrook Theater); Little Red Riding Hood, Camp Wonderland (Theatre at the Center), Don Giovanni, Shining Brow (Chicago Opera Theatre); Pride and Prejudice, The Sound of Music, Hansel and Gretel, Persuasion, Cosi fan tutte (Chamber Opera Chicago); Gianni Schicchi (DuPage Opera); La boheme, Die Fledermaus, Don Pasquale, Don Giovanni, Carmen (Opera Studio Highland Park). Regional credits: Die Fledermaus, Le nozze di Figaro (Pine Mountain Music Festival), Little Women (Lyric Opera Cleveland), La boheme (Quad Cities Opera, Arkansas Symphony, Battle Creek Symphony); Mozart Requiem, Schubert Mass in G (Carnegie Hall). International credits: Persuasion (Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Camden Fringe Festival, Buxton Fringe Festival, Victoria, BC). Anne Marie, a Pittsburgh native, is a proud graduate of the University of Notre Dame and Northwestern University. She maintains a private voice studio and has recently entered the wonderful world of audiobook narration and production, with fifteen titles to her credit.
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  I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Chantal Gadoury. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.
Q&A with Author Chantal Gadoury
  • Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?:
    • At the time of writing “WinterDream,” I think I probably hoped that one day I’d hear it read aloud. The idea of someone your writing to the world is both exciting and slightly terrifying too!
  • How did you select your narrator?
    • Anne actually was the narrator to “Hook and Crown,” and I had really loved the way she told the story. When she auditioned for “WinterDream,” I was just captivated by the way she read Clara and brought her to life. I knew I wanted her to read “WinterDream” the moment I heard it.
  • Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
    • There’s always something real behind my writing. Even in this fantastical Christmas story, with magic and Nutcrackers – there are elements of Clara that are entirely me. The story behind the reason why I wrote this novel, is that as a young child I used to love to perform to these songs. I’d been a little ballerina, dancing around the living room with my Mom’s nutcrackers. She used to take me to see this show every Christmas, and it was a story that continued to live in my heart as I grew older.
  • Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?:
    • I am an audiobook listener! I love just having someone read to me, when I might not have the time to read something myself. It’s a great thing to have on long car rides, or when you can’t sleep (but don’t want to chance having a book fall flat on your face.)
  • Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format?:
    • I think the intimate moment of The Nutcracker and Clara sitting in front of the fire in Mother Ginger’s Inn. They’re talking to each other about their lives, and the curse and themselves, and it really struck me as I listened to it. It felt so much deeper; I could feel Clara really starting to allow herself to trust him. And I think the ending was really resonating – I can’t say why without giving it away. So you’ll have to take a leap of faith, and take the journey with me!
  • If you had the power to time travel, would you use it?
    • Oh boy, would I? Yes! There are so many places I’d love to time travel to.
  • How did you celebrate after finishing this novel?:
    • Sometimes with a glass of wine, or an Iced Coffee — sometimes a movie that I’ve been wanting to watch. It’s strange, but when I finish a novel, I don’t really celebrate. I suddenly just feel really sad, or empty. It’s never easy letting go of a world you’ve just spent so much time in. I remember it being hard to let go of the world of WinterDream when it was over.
  • What’s your favorite:
    • Food – Eggrolls, and Burrito Bowls from Chipotle.
    • Song – Right now, my favorite song is “Lover” by Taylor Swift or “Forever” by Lewis Capaldi
    • BookIt’s a tie between “A Court of Thorns and Roses,” “The Beholder” and “A House of Salt and Sorrow.”
    • Television showOutlander.
    • MovieEver After
    • BandMaroon 5, Civil Wars, BTS
    • Sports teamI honestly don’t have one.
    • CityHands down, my favorite city will always be Denver, Colorado
  • Are any of those things referenced in appearance in your work?
    • Not in “WinterDream,” but I have mentioned or referenced a few of my favorite things in my other books!
  • What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?:
    • My advice is usually always the same. To never give up. To always write! But to also approach the idea of publishing a bit more realistically. It’s hard and rare to get a huge book deal that provides the sort of compensation that one could live off of. Don’t go into writing for money – write to share your message. It’s wholly yours, which makes it unique. Build a good group of people to share your work, and have fun!
Top 10 List
by Chantal Gadoury
When writing “WinterDream,” – a retelling of the Nutcracker, there were a lot of things that inspired me to create the world and the characters! I’ll give you a glimpse into what helped bring “WinterDream” to life!
  1. The Nutcracker Ballet: Of course when writing about the Nutcracker, one would be inspired by the ballet, first commissioned in 1891. It’s been a part of our holiday traditions for decades, and it’s a story that many of us have heard, know, and love. Without the story of Clara (or Marie) and her Nutcracker, “WinterDream” never would have existed!
  2. The Nutcracker Music: I remember as a little girl, I used to dance around my living room as I listened to “The Nutcracker” ballet. There was something always so whimsical and magical about the music, and the love for the classical score traveled with me as I grew older. The song that speaks to me the most, and what started the idea of “WinterDream” was actually: The Nutcracker, Op. 71, Act 2: No. 14 Pas de Deux. When you hear this song, you’re hearing the entire novel in about 5 minutes.
  3. The Nutcracker in the Movies: I might be dating myself a little, but back in 1990 there was an Animated feature of this holiday tale, entitled – “The Nutcracker Prince.” As a child, I remember seeing it on the Disney channel, and I fell in love with the Prince, with Clara – and their magical dancing scene. It remained in my memory for years – and was one of the stemming pieces in which inspired “WinterDream,” – and all the characters, including Uncle Drosselmeyer and the Mouse King. In 1993, Warner Brothers released a version of George Balanchine’s “The Nutcracker,” famously starring Macaulay Culkin. (And I remember eating that movie up!) In doing my research for this book, I watched several versions of the ballet, and there are so many to choose from!
  4. Christmas at home: You can’t have “The Nutcracker” without the magic of the holiday. It’s true that the Nutcracker is centered around the holiday of Christmas – because without “Christmas Magic,” the wooden toy wouldn’t come to life! I actually started writing “WinterDream” right in front of my Christmas tree. There’s just something about being at home, during Christmas, with a tree and lights and feeling the love. All of that and more helped to fuel what I imagined for Clara and her family during the opening scene at her family’s party!
  5. Queen Victoria and Albert: It’s no secret I’m a sucker for romance. I’d just started watching “Queen Victoria” on the BBC, and really loved the romance between Queen Victoria and Prince Albert (which also led me to watch “The Young Victoria” over and over again. As I watched, I wanted to sort of capture this royal romance in Clara and the Nutcracker. I’m not sure if I did that entirely, but – they did stand as an influence in the way I wrote the two characters together.
  6. Beauty and the Beast: Every fairytale has some sort of twist to it, to make it all the more interesting. Cinderella has to leave the ball by midnight. Rapunzel must keep her Prince a secret from the witch. Snow White must be kissed by her True Love in order to awaken. For the Nutcracker, in “WinterDream,” I needed there to be a spell – something to free him from his wooden bonds, and to give Clara a reason to be sent to WinterDream, and to fight for what she loved. Beauty and the Beast and the spell that Beast is placed under played a role in the way I viewed the Nutcracker – and a little of the struggles that he faced. He might not have been a fury beast, but he did have his own obstacles he had to face as a wooden soldier.
  7. Mrs. Weasley: Mother Ginger was entirely based on the movie version of “Mrs. Weasley” from Harry Potter. I loved her spunk and her whit – but her kindness, and her willingness to place food in front of someone and make them feel at home. She just makes you want to stay forever, and bake in her kitchen.
  8. The Princess Bride: The Nutcracker has these lines of dialogue that are very resonant of “The Princess Bride” – more important, Wesley. As he’s fighting against the Mouse King with a sword, he’s throwing out insults that are just as whity and beloved as the ones we hear in the classic ‘80s movie. I think anyone who reads this, is definitely going to get some Wesley vibes.
  9. War and Peace (2016 Miniseries): I love anything that I can find on the BBC if it has to do with historical drama, and romance. And I was so intrigued by the idea of a miniseries of “War and Peace,” (starring one of my favorite actresses, Lily James.) After having seen the show, and listened to the score, I felt as though I was able to see an older side to St. Petersberg, and how society of the past had been. Having already been familiar with the story of the Romanovs (and having watched a ton on the family and the history) – along with classic movies like Doctor Zhivago, I knew I wanted to give a nod to the Russian Ballet origins. Traditionally, The Nutcracker is a German tale – but began as a Russian Ballet. I felt it only right to bring Clara and her Nutcracker to Russia – and used influence from War and Peace to make it happen!
  10. Girl Power: It might seem a little cliche to say, but girl power was something I really wanted to bring to “WinterDream.” We all love a strong heroine/hero. I’m all about writing characters (and in this case, women) who are strong, independent, brave – but most importantly – real. We all have our moments of weakness; those times when we’re unsure of how to go on – if we can go on. . . but have the willpower to try. Clara finds herself in a few situations of battling against mice and facing unexpected villains – and doing so with her own sort of bravery.
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My Review: https://willowwritesandreads.com/2020/02/17/winterdream-by-chantal-gadoury-book-review/

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Jane Austen’s Dragons Book 3 Audiobook Blog Tour

Audiobook Series Tour: Jane Austen’s Dragons by Maria Grace

Author: Maria Grace

Narrator: Benjamin Fife

Length: 9 hours 40 minutes

Series: Jane Austen’s Dragons, Book 3

Publisher: Maria Grace

Released: Jan. 31, 2020

Genre: Epic Fantasy

Elizabeth Bennet thought she was prepared to do anything to make the Dragon Conclave accept her beloved young dragon Pemberley into the Blue Order, but she had not anticipated it would leave her banished from her ancestral home and betrothed to none other than Mr. Darcy. But before Elizabeth and Darcy wed, they must find a dangerous rogue dragon before it provokes a war amongst the dragons and brings the fragile peace between dragons and mankind to a catastrophic end. Nothing written in the annals of dragon lore has prepared Elizabeth to manage a dragon not governed by the Blue Order. Dragons have always loved her, but this one finds her arrogant, selfish and insensitive to others. With only her instincts to guide her, she must convince the rogue of her good intentions before the Blue Order loses patience and decides on more drastic measures. Called away to the other side of the kingdom, trying to settle the dragons’ unrest, Darcy learns the nature of the force poisoning the rogue dragon against Elizabeth. One nearer and dearer than they could have imagined. Can Elizabeth and Darcy convince with rogue dragon to cooperate before darker forces turn it against them, without destroying the fragile bonds uniting the couple?
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Five time BRAG Medallion Honoree and #1 best selling Historical Fantasy author, Maria Grace has her PhD in Educational Psychology and is a 16-year veteran of the university classroom where she taught courses in human growth and development, learning, test development and counseling. None of which have anything to do with her undergraduate studies in economics/sociology/managerial studies/behavior sciences. She pretends to be a mild-mannered writer/cat-lady, but most of her vacations require helmets and waivers or historical costumes, usually not at the same time. She writes gaslamp fantasy, historical romance and non-fiction to help justify her research addiction.
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Narrator Bio
Benjamin Fife has always had a passion for learning. With a mind that remembers all sorts of numbers and useless trivia, he regularly wins local radio shows and enjoys confusing people with sci-fi quotes. Fife grew up in Southeast Idaho. He attended college at Idaho State University, where he met his future wife in their music theory class. They have been married nearly 20 years and now have six children and a whole menagerie of animals. When their oldest daughter was three or four years old they started reading aloud from novels every night at bedtime, and have continued the tradition ever since. The family loves exploring various worlds and topics through Fife’s wonderful reading skills, which get better every year. They all have his Christmas Carol voices memorized (and the older kids are known to quote along with portions), since he has read it to them every December. Benjamin enjoys all kinds of sci-fi and fantasy – both books and shows, is an extreme eclectic music lover, and prefers his chocolate to be of the 90% cocoa variety. Above all, he loves to be with his family. He loves recording audio books, and is delighted to tell people, “I’ve finally found what I want to be when I grow up!”
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  I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Benjamin Fife. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it. Guest Post
Behind-the-Scenes with Narrator Benjamin Fife
I got into narrating because I love literature. I personally have listened to or read the complete works of Charles Dickens. I love Austen too. I was first introduced to Pride and Prejudice nearly 20 years ago about 3 months before I met my wife. I was spending time with a longtime friend who was getting over a bad breakup. Watch this movie with me–said she. I didn’t realize it was a 6 hour production. As you might guess, I fell hard for her while we watched it over the next week, one installment at a time. She still thought of me as just a friend. She prophetically said that come 2 months later I’d meet some cute freshman & I’d be just as happy as Lizzy & Darcy at the end of it all. Now two decades down the road, she married the guy she had broken up with, I wed that adorable freshman, and both marriages now boast 6 kids apiece. Starting when my oldest was about 6, we started taking turns picking what book to read as a family every night. With a handful of exceptions, I’ve been the voice for all the books ranging from Jane Eyre to Hank the Cowdog; from Lord of the Rings to Louis Lamour. I had often thought about turning my passion for reading aloud into more than that. In February of 2018, I dove in. As I’ve looked for books to audition for and connected with authors, I’ve loved what I’ve learned from each book & each writer in the production process. But there is no other book or series that has brought me as much satisfaction to voice as Maria Grace’s Jane Austen’s Dragons.
The Road to Becoming a Dragon Narrator
Earlier this year when I saw Pemberley up for audition, I had to try! I adore Austen & I adore dragons! What could be better? When I auditioned, I did 2 takes for Maria – one with a “straight read,” and one with “effects.” I’ve used a little bit of effects on my voice in previous books, but by volunteering to not only voice each dragon differently, but then alter the audio to a more ‘size appropriate’ voice, I was jumping in with both feet. (I had a sense this was going to be a big, complicated project from the get go, but I really didn’t fully realize it until we got started on it all!-mg) Let me give you a rundown of the whole Audiobook production process:
  1. Find a Title/Author you want to work with
  2. Read the audition material & plan your characterizations, accents etc
  3. Record the Audition (click to have a listen!)
  4. Edit the Audition
  5. Get selected for the book
  6. Read the whole book & plan characterizations, accents, etc again.
  7. Communicate with the author about their wishes.
  8. Record the whole thing, redoing any line you make any kind of error on. And sometimes that means 5 times. Not often ,but sometimes, there’s a tongue twister (You try saying “the courtship twas by your world rules” in a thick Scottish accent complete with rolled r’s– not from Maria’s book.
  9. Listen to the whole thing and edit out any outtakes, errors, mouth noises, dog barking, wife scaring the *&% out of you in the middle of a chapter, etc…
  10. Master the file so it can pass muster for QC of an audio book
  11. Send it to the author/publisher to listen to.
  12. Fix any additional errors and performance issues to the satisfaction of the author & yourself.
  13. Repeat the last 4 steps as many times as needed.
  14. Send it to Audible to sell
  15. Promote the heck out of it.
So it’s a bit of a production to begin with. You add in needing a different effect for a dozen different characters & you can imagine what that does. Still, I love it. Maria & I both hope you love what I’ve done to bring her world to life. Midway through production on Pemberly, I messaged Maria to ask if she could send me the whole series so my family could read it too. My wife & 2 oldest daughters had it finished before I had a chance to finish recording Pemberley. Maria’s writing is superb. I love how true she is to the original characters, while changing it up enough to make it a delightfully new story. Some of my favorite moments in the series are when she takes Austen’s original dialogue, or sometimes back narration & gives it to a different character to say. In book 1 (Pemberley), she sticks pretty close to Austen’s original plot fairly closely up to Netherfield ball. In the remainder of the series, there are similarities to the original, but the plot veers off course considerably. I loved it. When Maria got my initial recording of Pemberly’s voice at the end of book 1, Maria thought it sounded like Audrey II (Little Shop of Horrors). I wasn’t very sure about the voice I had selected either, so I had no problem redoing it for her. Now what we’re going for is a little closer to Littlefoot (Land Before Time). When she initially released a preview of the Pemberley audiobook on her website, one of her followers thought I was Richard Armitage (North & South, Thorin Oakenshield from Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit). As an Idahoan who has never even left North America, I was flattered. I guess I must be doing something right. In the middle of recording Chapter 8 of Longbourn, I heard a vague tapping at the window of my recording booth. I was in the middle of a rather fraught with emotion section & I thought in the back of my head vaguely that I’ll push through to a good stopping place & see what it was. Then I glanced up. It was 9:30 at night, dark outside, and a pair of eyes were staring at me in the window. I uttered a cry of terror quite possibly unlike any other shriek I have ever uttered. Once my non-primal brain woke back up, I realized it was that adorable freshman I fell in love with peeking in at me & I started laughing in a breathy-recovering-from-terror kind of way. And now its recorded for posterity complete with my love’s delightful giggle as she entered my booth to make sure I wasn’t dead. I took a ten minute break with her, sprayed my throat with some magic stuff & finished the rest of the chapter. Never a dull moment. In producing Longbourn, voicing a conversation of Fairy Dragons & getting their voices to pass muster with both myself & Maria is somewhat maddening. Senseless little bits of fluff. Some of my other favorite things are reading the reviews on the audiobooks for Pemberly on Audible and finding out I’m now one of someones 3 favorite narrators. Aww, thanks. My very favorite dragons to voice in the series are Walker, Longbourn (even though he’s a brat) Drew, Cait & Rosings, and Chudleigh. It also might interest listeners to know that for Lady Catherine, Rosings & Cait, I use the exact same voice & similar inflections & then speed them up or slow them down for the character. In looking forward to more books in the Jane Austen’s Dragons series, I’m excited that Maria is branching out to Persuasion & Northanger Abbey. I can’t wait to see what she does! I’d still love it if she expanded the universe even more – you know, Victor Hugo’s Dragons… Jack London’s Dragons… But she can only write so fast. 🙁 I also love the idea that Pemberly is still alive & kicking today. My theory is that she runs the Westminster Dog show with whoever her current keeper is. Thank you so much Maria for letting me be a part of this universe you’ve created, and thank you readers & listeners for all your feedback on our audiobooks. I hope you love Jane Austen’s Dragons as much as I do! Top 10 List
Narrator Benjamin Fife’s ‘Top 10 Reasons to Listen to This Series’
  1. Dragons
  2. Jane Austen
  3. The writing is Great – Maria Grace knows her stuff & has researched it.
  4. With 62 ratings on Audible so far, it’s sitting at 4.7.
  5. You want to hear my performance for all the different dragon species.
  6. The 2 ish somewhat negative reviews are such that you just have to hear for yourself to decide if they’re right.
  7. You love Pride & Prejudice, but there were some things that you just wanted to yell at the characters. The Dragons do that for you.
  8. Because It’s either this, or Moby Dick. Drat the File & Drat the Bone!
  9. You just finished listening to the Mueller Report & want to listen to a book that doesn’t have the word “Redacted” anywhere in it.
  10. Because it’s AWESOME!!!
Giveaway
Prize: Custom Statue of the Dragon ‘Pemberly’
Jane Austen’s Dragons Giveaway: Custom Statue of the Dragon ‘Pemberly’ https://widget.gleamjs.io/e.js
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My Review: https://willowwritesandreads.com/2020/02/10/netherfield-rogue-dragon-by-maria-grace-book-review/

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Chemical Reaction Audiobook Blog Tour

Audiobook Blog Tour: Chemical Attraction by Christina Thompson

Author: Christina Thompson

Narrator: Gary Bennett

Length: 10 hours 3 minutes

Publisher: 48fourteen

Released: Dec. 26, 2019

Genre: Romantic Thriller

 
Working in nanotechnology, Madeline Pierce, a dedicated scientist, has pain in her heart from an abusive relationship. She hides in her research. Charismatic yet brooding, Joe Roberts searches for an instant chemistry with his soulmate, the one person who will love him for his faults not in spite of them. Dr. Pierce teams up with Agent Roberts to uncover a criminal network within her medical research facility in West Michigan. Feeling an undeniable attraction, they struggle to stay professional while they determine the degree of company involvement. In the nearby farming town, animals violently attack the residents. Someone is experimenting outside the laboratory. Are human test subjects next? With the help of Joe’s sister Eva, a physician assistant at the local hospital, and her husband Chief Matt Connor, Joe and Madeline hunt for this new bio-weapon before the death toll rises in this gripping third book of The Chemical Attraction Series.
Christina Thompson has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from Nazareth College in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She is a certified massage therapist from the Health Enrichment Center’s School of Therapeutic Massage in Lapeer, Michigan. She also has a Diploma in Traditional Chinese Acupuncture from the Midwest College of Oriental Medicine in Racine, Wisconsin. Her background in biology gave her a love of science and an insight into the physical realm of the body. Her holistic understanding of Traditional Chinese medicine taught her that the mind and spirit affect the body in powerful ways. As a former holistic practitioner with over 20 years of knowledge, experience, and service, Christina now enjoys writing about the physical science, the emotional workings of our mind and heart, and the spiritual energy that taps into our passions. She is the author of the romantic thrillers in The Chemical Attraction Series, which include Their Rigid Rules, The Kindred Code, Chemical Attraction, Chemical Reaction, and an anthology of short stories, Searching for Her. She has also written the romantic adventures, The Trucker’s Cat and The Garden Collection.
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Narrator Bio
Narrator Gary Bennett is a SAG-AFTRA audiobook narrator. He was born and raised in California and then in Bozeman, Montana, and is the oldest of 4 children. He now calls the greater Seattle area his home, and he’s a huge fan of the Seattle Seahawks He’s always been passionate about not just telling a story, but telling it well! From reading bedtime stories with his children to performing in front of the microphone, bringing a story truly to life is one of his greatest joys. Gary has pursued his career in audiobook narration with zeal, investing in not only personal coaching from some of the best in the field, but in also some of the best equipment for his professional home-based studio. There are few things he enjoys more than stepping into his StudioBricks home studio and recording his favorite books! Gary is also a licensed electrical engineer and a private pilot, loves to listen to and play music and is an avid outdoor enthusiast.
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  I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Christina Thompson. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it. https://willowwritesandreads.com/2020/02/16/chemical-attraction-by-christina-thompson-book-review/ Guest Post Hello Everyone! I’m Christina Thompson, the author of Chemical Attraction, a romantic thriller. I’m joining you today to promote Chemical Attraction’s Audiobook narrated by Gary Bennett. I’ve had many jobs over the years … math tutor, lab animal caretaker, biology assistant, massage therapist, acupuncturist, wife, and mother. I’ve added parts of these experiences to my stories. The worst job I had as a teen was de-tasseling corn in the stifling hot fields and unending rows of corn. In Chemical Attraction, high school senior David Connor and his buddies have that job. Why? I thought my misery would love their company. As a parent/writer, I wanted my children/characters to know what it was like to do a job I had…even if those children are my fictional ones. What’s the WORST job you’ve ever had? Thanks for stopping by. You can find the audiobook of Chemical Attraction on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Chemical-Attraction-Book/dp/B0833H7YSV/ Learn more about Author Christina Thompson at ChristinaKThompson.com, Instagram.com/christinakthompson, and Facebook.com/TheChemicalAttractionSeries Learn more about Narrator Gary Bennett at GaryBennettReads.com, Instagram.com/theactualgcb, Twitter.com/TheActualGCB, and Facebook.com/GaryBennettNarrator   Giveaway
Win a $20 Amazon Gift Card
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The Anna Blanc Mysteries, Book 3 Audiobook Blog Tour

Audiobook Series Tour: The Anna Blanc Mysteries by Jennifer Kincheloe

Author: Jennifer Kincheloe

Narrator: Moira Quirk

Length: 11 hours 42 minutes

Series: Anna Blanc Mysteries, Book 3

Released: Dec. 2, 2019

Publisher: Jennifer Kincheloe

Genre: Historical Fiction Mystery

Los Angeles, 1908. Anna Blanc is a former so-so socialite, a flailing police matron, and a killer detective. Ex-heiress Anna Blanc is precariously employed by the Los Angeles Police Department, reforming delinquent children and minding lady jailbirds. What she really wants is to hunt criminals and be alone with Detective Joe Singer – both no-nos that could get her fired. On a lover’s tryst in Griffith Park, Anna and Joe discover the body of a young gambler. Anna can’t resist. She’s on the case. As her murder investigation stalls, and her police matron duties start piling up, strange floral arrangements begin arriving from an unknown admirer. Following the petals leads Anna to another crime, one close to home. Suddenly pitted against Joe, Anna must examine her loyalties and solve the crimes, even if it means losing the man she loves.
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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.
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Narrator Bio 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.”
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    I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Jennifer Kincheloe. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it. Giveaway
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The Anna Blanc Mysteries Book 2 Audiobook Blog Tour

Audiobook Series Tour: The Anna Blanc Mysteries by Jennifer Kincheloe

Author: Jennifer Kincheloe

Narrator: Moira Quirk

Length: 10 hours 52 minutes

Series: Anna Blanc Mysteries, Book 2

Released: Dec. 6, 2017

Publisher: Jennifer Kincheloe

Genre: Historical Fiction Mystery

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.
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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.
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Narrator Bio 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.”
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    I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Jennifer Kincheloe. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.
Q&A with Narrator Moira Quirk
  • How did you wind up narrating audiobooks? Was it always your goal or was it something you stumbled into by chance?
    • A director I work with on plays for BBC radio introduced me to a producer who was looking for a young, female British narrator, so it was serendipity meets preparedness really.
  • A lot of narrators seem to have a background in theatre. Is that something you think is essential to a successful narration career?
    • I don’t think there are any real rules in performance. Just be good, or be compelling, preferably both. Obviously, you get better by doing, so be it theatre or improv or stand-up or reading out loud every day, just keep doing that.
  • What type of training have you undergone?
    • My degree is in English and Drama, so kind of the perfect degree for an audiobook narrator. I also attended Central School of Speech and Drama, and then went on to perform in theatre, improv, and stand up. I hosted for Nickeleodeon in my twenties and then went into animation and videogames and the voice-over world. Then I found my way in to plays for BBC Radio and LA Theatreworks… and then audiobooks.
  • How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for narrating?
    • I’m fortunate in that I have quite a varied voice-over career: cartoons, videogames, radio plays, film and TV, in addition to audiobooks. Also, and I don’t quite know how, but I have managed to always go to a studio with at least an engineer with me to record books. The digital age is great and everything, but it means that so much is done remotely, or in home studios. It can feel a little isolated this brave new world. Yes, I know everyone says, “You can go to work in your pajamas!” I just don’t know if I rate pajamas that highly.
  • What are your favorite and least favorite parts of narrating an audiobook?
    • It is the absolute worst when you are sick and coughing or blowing your nose at the end of every paragraph. It is the best when you are flying through the pages because you really get the author’s rhythm and syntax and characters.
  • What would you say are your strongest narration abilities?
    • I love characters! And I really love characters with accents! Accents have always been my bread and butter.
  • How did you decide how each character should sound in this title?
    • The simple part is just going off the author’s description. Then I decide, based on the author’s style if I’ll give a “full character” or an idea of the character- am I creating a play where I play all of the characters, or am I a narrator giving an idea of the cast? Then you get into logistics. If you have a group of characters of a similar age and demographic how do you differentiate them? What is sustainable? What is distinct? What is truthful? And how might the character’s sound change depending on their arc? This is all part of my decision making. Also, as a female, I have to decide how to approach the male voices. For me, I generally try to initially establish the ‘maleness’ but really emphasize their character, so that as I continue I can focus on making them interesting and truthful with an idea of maleness and avoid that full basso profundo which always reminds me of that scene in The Life of Brian: “Are there any women here?!”
  • What types of things are harmful to your voice?
    • Screaming. Yelling. Using unusual placements of the voice. Talking out loud for unnaturally long amounts of time… Wait? What?
  • Has anyone ever recognized you from your voice?
    • Yup
  • How does audiobook narration differ from other types of voiceover work you’ve done?
    • a) It’s way longer
    • b) It’s way, way longer
  • What’s next for you?
    • I have a couple of YA titles coming up. I am hoping I have a Jane Austen set in the very near future because I do love lit-er-a-ture. Very Good, Jeeves should be airing soon for BBC radio where I play Stiffy Byng. I adore Wodehouse.
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My Review: https://willowwritesandreads.com/2020/02/14/the-woman-in-the-camphor-trunk-by-jennifer-kincheloe-book-review/

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Something Wicked This Way Comes Audiobook Blog Tour

Audiobook Blog Tour: Something Wicked This Way Comes by William Todd

Author: William Todd

Narrator: Ben Werling

Length: 5 hours 35 muntes

Publisher: William Todd

Released: Nov. 14, 2018

Genre: Horror

August 1888. Jericho Mannion is the captain of an old, cash-strapped steamer named the Orion. He’s been steadily losing money to his competitors, the railways. When he finds out from his first mate, Tal MacTavish, that the next passage across Lake Erie has only a few passengers, his hopes sink of ever getting out of debt. But Providence has smiled upon him. Though the passenger list is small, they have almost a full cargo hold, thanks to William Ross and the university he works for. Ross is the team leader of a university archeology dig tasked with retrieving the debris from a meteorite crash in western Ohio. He is quite anxious to get his find back to the university for study and is willing to pay Jericho double the fare for his team and cargo for a straight shot across Lake Erie from Toledo, Ohio to Buffalo, NY. Jericho becomes suspicious when Ross refuses to divulge the contents of his cargo and the haste in which he wants to cross. Desperately needing money, Jericho reluctantly agrees when Ross finally offers him triple the fare; he will take him and his cargo on the nonstop 14-hour trek across the lake. But what few people on the ship know is what was initially thought to be a meteorite crash turned out to be an alien craft. The crates in the cargo area hold the remains of the ship. And what no one knows, not even the university team, is that something in those crates is still alive. Now, in a growing storm, alone in the middle of the lake, people are turning up dead. Who will survive the crossing when something wicked this way comes?
I have been writing online since the early 2000’s, primarily writing horror stories in the style of Poe and Lovecraft. I was the 2nd most popular author on the website storiesbyemail.com for two years before moving on. I had my first book, a Victorian era horror compilation called Bumps in the Night, published by Mystic Moon Press just a week before they closed their website and never saw my hard work pay off. Afterwards I took publishing into my own hands, became an Indie author and haven’t looked back. My first self-published book was Dead of Night, another compilation of Victorian horror stories, published September 2016 by Createspace and on Kindle by KDP. After its publication I left my comfort zone for mystery and wrote a short story about Sherlock Holmes in the Conan Doyle style. I loved it so much I then did a longer story A Reflection of Evil, both published in 2017 through Createspace and KDP. I have just release Beyond the Gossamer Veil, another compilation of both Victorian and modern supernatural/horror stories and am in the beginning stages of my third Sherlock Holmes installment.
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Narrator Bio Ben is an award winning actor and voice over professional, who has performed all across the United States. From Shakespeare to Neil Simon, he has displayed a versatility and diversity in the characters and dialects he has portrayed. Ben received the Joseph Jefferson Award for Leading Actor as abusive talk show host Barry Champlain in Eric Bogosian’s TALK RADIO, and was nominated for Best Supporting Actor as Prosecutor Villeforte in Alexander Dumas’ THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO, also in Chicago. He has worked with an extensive list of theaters in Chicago over the last three decades: Steppenwolf, Bailiwick, Famous Door, Next, A Red Orchid, Raven Theater, First Folio, Writer’s Theater, Buffalo Theater Ensemble, as well as Utah Shakespeare Festival, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Indiana Repertory, Madison Repertory, and Allenberry Playhouse in Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania. He is an Ensemble member of Shattered Globe Theater in Chicago. For almost a decade he was the voice of the Adler Planetarium, hosting live shows and pointing out the stars, planets and constellations on the big dome. Ben has an eponymous weekly vlog on YouTube, that he films, produces, edits and narrates. He lives in Chicago with his wife Amy, two dogs and three cats.   I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by William Todd. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.
Q&A with Author William Todd
  • Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook.
    • I never used to even think about how a book would sound as an audiobook…until I finally had one done. Now, I do. The story is most important, whether read or heard. I a bad story is a bad story. But I am more cognizant now when I write with how a phrase might sound read aloud. I think my audiobooks now are much easier on the ear then my first ones because of that. And my narrator, Ben Werling, I’ve used on every story. He’s great and has a wide vocal range. He makes turning a book into audio so much easier on me. I think we’re a good team. I basically give him my manuscript with some simple directions as to accents, maybe weird words that might pop up, since I write typically late Victorian era material, and he does the rest. He does a chapter at a time and sends them to me to okay. We rarely have to redo anything. I am truly lucky because the process, at least for me, is very simple with Ben at the helm.
  • Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
    • Because audiobooks are so prevalent and getting more and more popular by the day, I think you have to be conscious of it becoming an audiobook while writing, especially if you plan on using that format. And I think an author is selling himself short if he doesn’t at least consider putting his creations on audiobook. It is another channel to garner readers and followers…and revenue.
  • How did you select your narrator?
    • I put up three pages of my book for narrators to “audition”. I listen to each audition and pick the best one. But because Ben and I have such a good working relationship, ultimately, he gets my jobs. It is not only because he is such a good narrator. I write Sherlock Holmes and gothic horror. At least for the Holmes stories, I prefer having the same Holmes and Watson in each of my stories. Ben has been hands down the best Holmes and Watson I have found so why would I switch? I don’t think my readers would like that, and I know they would hear the difference.
  • Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
    • I am. Until I land on the best-sellers list or get a movie deal, I have a job to pay bills and raise my family. I drive 45 minutes one way. Sometimes, that hour and a half is the only time I have to myself, and the perfect way to spend that time is listening to audiobooks. There are just times in this hustle and bustle life where cracking open a paperback is not possible. But your ears are always available to listen.
  • Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format?
    • I might have to say all of it, but there’s a reason. Well, okay I’ll narrow it down to the final scenes of the book during a storm. But the reason I say all of it is because Ben employs subtle sound effects in the background much like the old radio stories. There is one part of the story where there is a storm, and the thunder and lightning in the background of the narrations lends itself perfectly to the feel of the scene.
  • How did you celebrate after finishing this novel?
    • I usually don’t. I breathe a sigh of relief, take a few days off to unwind, then jump right back in. I usually have several ideas floating around in my head or jotted down on paper. I’ll pick one, let it percolate then start the process all over again. Being an indie author and all that entails, you rarely have down time. I’m a bit OCD. Just like Monk on the TV show who has to touch things as he walks by them, my fingers have to constantly be tapping on a keyboard. I’ll celebrate when I’m dead.
  • What gets you out of a writing slump? What about a reading slump?
    • For both it is the same–just do it. It is very easy for life to get in the way of writing. And it’s also very easy to fall out of the habit of writing. Mowing, cleaning, doing things with family, work, prepare for holidays, just plain being lazy (guilty as charged), etc. You have to make the time. This just happened to me where I wrote nothing for over two weeks, and I have deadline to have a Holmes story written by the end of the year for a publication next year. I had been under the weather and busy with life on top of that. There were times where I could have written but didn’t. The good habit of writing almost daily had been broken. But for me, all it took was forcing myself to sit at the lap top and writing a few sentences. Those few sentences ended at ten pages. Same with reading. Even if you have to force yourself, do it. If you love to read and love to write, just the mere act will set you right again. At least it does for me.
  • Have any of your characters ever appeared in your dreams?
    • That is where I usually get impetus for my stories, so yeah. Many characters I’ve come up with have appeared in my dreams. The trick is finding the story in which they will appear, especially when I might be working on more than one story at a time.
  • Do you have any tips for authors going through the process of turning their books into audiobooks?
    • Be picky in who you choose. The narrator is 50 percent of the audiobook, the other 50 percent being the story itself. I have heard many good stories butchered by bad narration.
  • What’s next for you?
    • I am finishing up a compilation of Sherlock Holmes stories that should be out sometime in the first half of 2020.
Dream Cast
Author William Todd’s Picks For Something Wicked This Way Comes
  • Jericho Mannion – Ryan Gosling
  • Tal MacTavish – Sam Heughan
  • Claire Mannion – Jayd Johnson
  • Charlotte Gordon – Emma Stone
  • Charlotte’s son Benny – Gavin Warren
  • Billy – Noah Jupe
  • William Ross – Gary Oldman
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Something Wicked This Way Comes Giveaway: $20 PayPal Cash https://widget.gleamjs.io/e.js Feb. 9th: Dab of Darkness Book Reviews The Book Junkie Reads . . . A Wonderful World of Words Feb. 10th: Audiobook News Blog Locks, Hooks and Books Books, Tea, Healthy Me Feb. 11th: Bookmark and Fork Eileen Troemel I’m Shelfish Feb. 12th: Jazzy Book Reviews Super Booked! Krit’s Book Reviews Feb. 13th: eBook Addicts Willow Writes and Reads T’s Stuff Feb. 14th: The Clipped Nightingale 4 the Love of Audiobooks Texan Girl Reviews Feb. 15th: Nesie’s Place 2 Girls & A Book

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Jane Austen’s Dragons Book 2: Longbourn Audiobook Blog Tour

Audiobook Series Tour: Jane Austen’s Dragons by Maria Grace

Author: Maria Grace

Narrator: Benjamin Fife

Length: 9 hours 38 minutes

Series: Jane Austen’s Dragons, Book 2

Publisher: Maria Grace

Released: Dec. 4, 2019

Genre: Epic Fantasy

Darcy thought his problems were over when Pemberley hatched and successfully imprinted on humans. But baby dragons prove far more difficult than any dragon lore prepared him for. Only Elizabeth Bennet’s notes offer him any help. When his imperious Aunt Catherine takes matters into her own hands, things take a turn for the worse and Pemberley’s life hangs in the balance. He desperately needs more of Elizabeth’s help, but she ignores all of his requests. Elizabeth, though, has problems of her own. After the Bennet family dragon sent Pemberley away, life at Longbourn was supposed to return to normal and Elizabeth get on with the all-important business of marrying the heir to her father’s estate. Except that he is the last man in the world whom she could ever be prevailed on to marry – a bumbling, addle-pated dragon-hater who demands she gives up the dragons she lives for. Can she, with the help of her dragon friends, find her way back to Pemberley before they both suffer their fate from the Dragon Entail? Jane Austen meets Anne McCaffrey’s Dragon Riders of Pern. A must-listen for Pern fans.
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Five time BRAG Medallion Honoree and #1 best selling Historical Fantasy author, Maria Grace has her PhD in Educational Psychology and is a 16-year veteran of the university classroom where she taught courses in human growth and development, learning, test development and counseling. None of which have anything to do with her undergraduate studies in economics/sociology/managerial studies/behavior sciences. She pretends to be a mild-mannered writer/cat-lady, but most of her vacations require helmets and waivers or historical costumes, usually not at the same time. She writes gaslamp fantasy, historical romance and non-fiction to help justify her research addiction.
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Narrator Bio
Benjamin Fife has always had a passion for learning. With a mind that remembers all sorts of numbers and useless trivia, he regularly wins local radio shows and enjoys confusing people with sci-fi quotes. Fife grew up in Southeast Idaho. He attended college at Idaho State University, where he met his future wife in their music theory class. They have been married nearly 20 years and now have six children and a whole menagerie of animals. When their oldest daughter was three or four years old they started reading aloud from novels every night at bedtime, and have continued the tradition ever since. The family loves exploring various worlds and topics through Fife’s wonderful reading skills, which get better every year. They all have his Christmas Carol voices memorized (and the older kids are known to quote along with portions), since he has read it to them every December. Benjamin enjoys all kinds of sci-fi and fantasy – both books and shows, is an extreme eclectic music lover, and prefers his chocolate to be of the 90% cocoa variety. Above all, he loves to be with his family. He loves recording audio books, and is delighted to tell people, “I’ve finally found what I want to be when I grow up!”
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  I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Benjamin Fife. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.
Q&A with Narrator Benjamin Fife
  • When did you know you wanted to be an audiobook narrator?
    • Going way back to 8th grade (‘92?) – in my speech class we were required to do a read aloud from a book for the class. I chose the novelization of The Empire Strikes back & did the iconic scene where Darth Vader reveals (SPOILER ALERT) he is Luke’s father. I did it complete with a jar for the Vader echo. Still love that scene. Fast forward a few years & when I met my wife, we started reading aloud to each other. I started thinking about doing it then (early 2000’s), but life was busy happening. We had our first kid in 2003 & from about the time she was 5 or 6 years old, we’ve taken turns picking what we wanted to read as a family every night. We’ve read silly, serious, Fiction, non fiction. I found it somewhat maddening when I read Jane Eyre to the kids – The oldest couldn’t have been more than 11 or 12 – and the two oldest girls were able to guess the plot points before they happened. Right down to (Spoiler alert) “I Bet his wife will jump off the Roof.” Though we do sometimes take turns, I’ve probably read 4/5ths of the books at least. I didn’t really know how to get into doing audiobook narration, but I knew it was something I wanted to do.
  • How did you wind up narrating audiobooks? Was it always your goal or was it something you stumbled into by chance?
    • Almost exactly 2 years ago, I got home from work one day & my wife said, “Hey, you should check out this ACX thing.” That night I set up my account. The next day I attended an uncle’s funeral. When one of my cousin’s I hadn’t seen for probably a decade asked me what I’ve been doing, after the normal update of job, kids etc, on a whim I said “And I narrate Audiobooks.” My first official audition was for one of his books (Prior to the conversation, I didn’t know he was an author). For the record – My audition was abysmal & he thankfully went with a different narrator – however, next month I’m recording Walls of Glass for him (J.W. Elliot) My audition for that one he said was head and shoulders above anything else he got.
  • Did you find it difficult to “break into” audiobook narration? What skill/tool helped you the most when getting started?
    • Short answer – No, not really. I would say the best tool & skill that has helped me to move forward continually & exponentially, is passion though. I LOVE narrating. I LOVE storytelling & bringing books to life. My wife told me I should put on here years & years of practice as well.
    • A lot of narrators seem to have a background in theatre. Is that something you think is essential to a successful narration career?*
    • I took Drama for 3 years in High School & I’ve always had a dramatic flare. I’ve never been cast for more than a bit part though, but it’s also not something I’ve ever tried to actively pursue. The acting ability of a narrator is essential however, and now that I am narrating, I’m using a lot of the skills I developed in Kay Jenkins’ Drama class more than 20 years ago. I’ve also always enjoyed improv games that I initially learned in that class. There are 2 main schools of thought I’ve found in audiobook narration – That of the “Strait read” or that of the “Characterized Read.” I’ve listened to both & by far I prefer the latter, but my imagination can fill in the blanks on a strait read as well.
  • What type of training have you undergone?
    • Aside from my 3 years in drama studying dialects & the 12 guideposts, I sang in choirs in college at Idaho State University & University of Idaho – both under some brilliant conductors – Scott Anderson (ISU), Rager Moore (U of I), and Dan Buckvich (U of I). Scott & Rager’s rehearsals were more of a group vocal lesson. Dan’s was in a VERY large jazz choir & he was amazing at getting hundreds of people to enunciate incredibly clearly. Years later, my wife & I ran a music store and I had a number of private lessons with Paul Harms, who had been principle tenor of the LA opera theatre for many years. Paul was a very nuts & bolts vocal instructor.
  • How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for narrating?
    • I haven’t gotten incredibly burned out on anything yet. Sometimes I get a little bored in the editing process. If I do find myself getting burned out on something, I’ll take a break from it. I also find a good way to keep my skills up & enthusiasm up is to keep auditioning for new titles. The downside of that (sort of) is that if I get selected for all of them, I’ll be booked for a decade or so. But I also don’t audition for something unless it interests me at least a little.
  • Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
    • ABSOLUTELY! When my wife & I were in college, we delivered newspapers ridiculously early & would frequently check out books on tape from the library. I’ve gone up & down with listening, much more UP of late. My day job is a 40 minute commute, so it’s perfect for listening. When I can the dayjob, I’m going to be healthier though, because I still want my listening time so I’ll be walking for that time each day instead. I’ve listened primarily to classics on Librivox up until recently (in the last 2 years I’ve listened to or read the complete works of Charles Dickens). I now am trying to listen to an audiobook a week from a newer narrator/author. I try to review everything I read & listen to, so I listen to at least some of it at 1x speed. If it’s non-fiction, I’ll pump the speed up to about 1.9 & if it’s fiction I listen at about 1.3.
  • What are your favorite and least favorite parts of narrating an audiobook?
    • I hate waiting. (Inigo, Princess Bride). Waiting to find out if I get picked for the book, waiting for my schedule to free up so I can get to the one I REALLY want to narrate, waiting for the author to get me back any changes, waiting for ACX to approve it & make it live, waiting to see if anybody likes it.
    • I pretty well love everything else though. But I’m not incredibly fond of when an author is Uber picky in the editing process. I did one (no disclosure here as to what it was/ who wrote it, etc) that if I read “Said [character]” instead of “[Character] said,” they wanted me to fix it. In that book the author gave me basically one correction a minute, some of which were due to their writing errors. Not gonna lie, I got burned out on that title. That being said, I think my accuracy has improved from the experience.
  • What would you say are your strongest narration abilities?
    • I’m a really good storyteller. I love doing it & creating characters with the author. One thing I like to do with authors is kind of assemble who they would cast as such and such a character. With this series, we just kind of went with the BBC production cast & created the dragons as unique characters – Though come book 3 – Thalia is kind of channeling James T Kirk a little. One of my favorite minor characters I ever voiced in a book was Rabbi Wheaton in Father of the Bride of Frankenstein. He was Ben Stein as a Rabbi. Feel free to check it out.
  • What’s next for you?
    • Preserve, Protect & Defend – by Cameron Taylor
    • Their Greatest Game – Chronicles of Theren book II by C.D. Tavenor
    • Gather the Children (Book II from Earthbound) by Mari Collier
    • Walls of Glass by J.W. Elliot – This is by my cousin & is a great book designed to tear down barriers.
    • A Proper introduction to Dragons (Jane Austen’s Dragons prequel)
    • The Fringe Candidate by Bradford Swift
    • Those are the ones I’m currently under contract for at least. I’m definitely looking forward to Maria Graces dragon treatment of Persuasion that will be coming out this spring we hope. I might push a project or two down the line to squeeze it in when she’s ready. There’s a lot more in the pipeline beyond that too. Currently in talks with one author about doing a 12 book series he wrote 30 years ago.
    • And the other thing that is on the “what’s next for you” horizon. Quitting the Dayjob. That’s been my goal from 2 years ago & in the last year, I’ve waffled a bit about how soon, but I’m on the sooner rather than later side of things & I’m blessed with a partner who is incredibly supportive of me in this. A little over a year ago, I was feeling a little down because I hadn’t landed anything new recently & I got my royalty check from one month for like $5. I asked her if she was really ok with my still going with it. She told me she’s never seen me happier, so even if I never make anything with it, I’d better stick with it. She’s awesome.
  • Bonus question: Any funny anecdotes from inside the recording studio?
    • Speaking of Ms. Awesome… In the middle of narrating Longbourn – as Lizzie is fleeing Hertfordshire – I was rather into the narration at about 9:30 pm. My studio is a converted prebuilt shed outside our home (If anyone can guess why I call it Rex Iter studio, let me know & I’ll send you a free code to ALL of my books that I still have codes for). It has one little window right off of where I stand to record. So, emotionally fraught chapter, dark & quiet outside. My studio is not quite soundproof, so I’ll hear the occasional thing happening outside. I heard a couple of little bumps or something. So my subconcious brain is going, “If it affects the audio, I can do a retake, but I’m doing really well with this part and will just push on through.” Then I hear the bump-tapping again & look up. Ms. Awesome with Gowron Eyes watching me in the window. Normally, I scream like a girl when startled. What got recorded is a cry of utter terror, followed by her coming in & laughter. Enjoy. This just sums up our relationship. https://soundcloud.com/user-29643215/lonbourn-blooper-reel
Top 10 List
Narrator Benjamin Fife’s ‘Top 10 Reasons for Voicing Jane Austen’s Dragons’
  1. I love being able to do British accents.
  2. I love Jane Austen
  3. I love Classics
  4. I love Dragons
  5. I love stories that mash 2 things together that wouldn’t normally be found alongside each other.
  6. I frequently will use “head Canon” to explain in my brain how many things that are traditionally thought of as fiction, could in fact be fact. Stargate. Star Trek. Wizarding World. The Free Kingdoms. Dragons. The Force. All True. Pemberly is still alive & runs the Westminster Dog show with the Darcy’s Descendants.
  7. Maria Grace’s Writing is Superb.
  8. I blame Sherilynn. She introduced me to Jane Austen.
  9. Timothy Zahn hasn’t called me yet to record his books.
  10. Being able to voice Dragons is positively delightful. How can anyone resist?
Giveaway
Prize: Custom Statue of the Dragon ‘Pemberly’
Jane Austen’s Dragons Giveaway: Custom Statue of the Dragon ‘Pemberly’ https://widget.gleamjs.io/e.js
View the full 21-day schedule here!

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My Review: https://willowwritesandreads.com/2020/02/10/longbourn-dragon-entail-by-maria-grace-book-review/

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The Delving Blog Tour

Audiobook Blog Tour: The Delving by Aaron Bunce

Author: Aaron Bunce

Narrator: Matthew Berry

Length: 10 hours and 3 minutes

Series: Overthrown: Chronicles of Denoril, Book 1

Publisher: Autumn Arch Publishing

Released: Dec. 24, 2019

Genre: Fantasy

 
It rests deep in the ground, they say, an ancient burial treasure of unimaginable wealth. Riches to humble even the most prosperous men, locked away from time itself. But the Council’s edict was clear – keep the tombs of the ancient dalan closed. Keep the past sealed. But where there is wealth, there is greed, and nothing stays buried forever. Thorben Paulson is an ordinary man, trying to raise his family the honest way. Unfortunately, the Council’s tax collectors demand more and more each thaw, taking in both coin and food. For a branded man like Thorben, his checkered past means the burden is always greater. With hungry mouths to feed and winter on the horizon, Thorben’s desperation grows. A visitor appears unexpectedly in town, a man from his past, carrying a map and a promise – enough coin to feed his family for the foreseeable future, in exchange for a single job. Not just any job, however. Thorben must delve once again, leave the sun behind and enter the underground crypts, the realm of the dead, and find priceless dalan relics. And yet, more lies in wait than things that sparkle and glimmer, and in Denoril, some things never truly die.
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Author Aaron Bunce started his academic career in criminal justice, but eventually connected his life-long love of literature with his passion for writing. He attended and graduated from Southern New Hampshire University’s English and creative writing program. His first novel, The Winter of Swords, is an introduction to his lush and dark fantasy world, Denoril, and the first entry in the six-part series, Overthrown. The second and third installments, Before the Crow and A March of Woe are now available, with the fourth, The Prince of Orphans due next. 2019 marked the release of The Delving, the first book in an all-new supplementary series, helping to build the lore and world showcased in Overthrown. Beyond fantasy, Aaron also introduced readers to his new science fiction horror series, NecroVerse. Detailing the struggle of miners extracting ore from the asteroid belt, Unleashed (August 2019), and then Exodus (December 2019), tells a delightfully dark story, weaving together strands of rich science fiction, gruesome horror, and adventure along with some beautiful, kick butt ladies. The third novel in this science fiction series, Titan, is due out first quarter 2020. Besides writing, Aaron is constantly searching for a portal to other worlds, working to keep his two daughters from taking over the world, and supports his wife’s desire to vacation in Skyrim. Check out his website http://www.aaronbunce.com for information on current books, series, as well as news on upcoming releases.
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Narrator Bio Matthew E Berry began his audiobook career in 2017. “The Delving” is his 12th audiobook performance. His recent credits include “Lovesick” by Jon Athan, “Dreamscape Adventures Inc.” by C.A Gray, and “Trail of Blood” by Keith Latch and Steve Wands. Check out www.mattheweberry.com for all current information.
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Q&A with Narrator Matthew E. Berry
  • How did you wind up narrating audiobooks? Was it always your goal or was it something you stumbled into by chance?
    • I had no idea I wanted to do this until I did. I wrote a novel 15 plus years ago that should really never see the light of day. About 5 years ago I began another novel that I wrote half of and never finished. I have a very hard time working on things as ADD apparently has my mind constantly changing courses. However, the half written book was a touch better than my first and I wondered if I had it published in book format, what the process was for turning it into an audiobook. Investigating that information, I found ACX. When I found out I could audition to narrate a title and be involved in the world I desperately wanted to be a part of, without my fingers sitting on a keyboard and not typing, I knew I had to give it a try.
  • Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
    • Most definitely! I love audiobooks and if I am not performing them, I am likely listening to them. I love the power of words and a good story. As my life began to get busy and my time to read grew less, something had to give. Unfortunately, reading for fun is what was given up. With audiobooks, I get that back as I can listen to the story told by amazing performers while I perform other tasks that typically are boring and/or monotonous.
  • What would you say are your strongest narration abilities?
    • I would say I am strongest whenever performing a character. I really delve deep into the lives of my characters and try to bring them through with my performance. I don’t have the “golden” voice many narrators have and honestly think that’s where I can use the most improvement. However, I love my characters…. Often a little too much as I start speaking in their voice or mannerisms at times… I’m not crazy, just a narrator.
  • Is there a particular genre you feel unsuited for? Have you ever declined a project because you didn’t think you were right for it?
    • At this point in my career, I am not sure how suited I really would be at non-fiction titles. I have been offered several non-fiction projects that I have not taken yet as I prefer titles that allow me to jump into character and create a life through my performance. While that is still possible in non-fiction, I just don’t know if I could bring the same “love and passion” to my performance. Perhaps as my narration career grows, so will my desire to perform non-fiction titles.
  • How closely do you prefer to work with authors?
    • This business is a bit funny when it comes to working with authors. I prefer to work directly with my authors to ensure a final product that “They” are proud of. However, once you begin to work with major publishers, the narrator may never discuss one thing with the author and authors often have very little say in the direction of the production themselves. I feel as though the consumer is going to get a much better product if I deliver the performance when I have had a chance to discuss with the authors about their ideals and directions to character.
  • How did you decide how each character should sound in this title?
    • The first thing I usually do is discuss character accents or mannerisms with the author. I typically ask for a casting sheet if they were to cast these characters for a movie, who would they pick. That doesn’t always transfer over well, but after I go through the first read of a book, I usually get a good feeling as to who these characters are and how they should be represented. It’s not always perfect, which is when closely working with the author pays off. Aaron was terrific with offering guidance on the characters and when the right voice is found it truly is exciting.
  • What types of things are harmful to your voice?
    • There is likely a large list of things including caffeinated beverages…However, the main things that seems to stop production for me is allergies and asthma. Both medical issues really change the way your voice is perceived and maintaining the same caliber of production in either case is usually a fruitless endeavor.
  • Do you read reviews for your audiobooks? If so, which ones stand out to you most, positive or negative?
    • I make it a point to read all reviews of my performances. The negative reviews can be helpful in some cases, but in others I don’t understand what happened in people’s lives that they think they have to troll other people to feel good about themselves. I couldn’t ever imagine leaving a 1 star review, as I refuse to be that person. I will always find something I like about other people’s artistic endeavors, even if I don’t like everything as a whole. Regardless though, all the positive feedback and reviews stand out so much more! It makes being involved in the business very rewarding. I love my fans and really appreciate when they reach out to let me know how much they enjoyed my performance.
  • Who is your “dream author” that you would like to record for?
    • There is this really great author by the name of Aaron Bunce…. Oh wait… just a sec….. Other than Aaron and some of the other fabulous authors I have already gotten a chance to work with, I would really like to work with Brandon Sanderson and/or Stephen King as I am a big fan of both.
  • What’s next for you?
    • I am currently finishing up the 4th book in the Stephen Moorehouse Mystery Series, “The Monarch Graveyard” by James R Nelson. Once that is complete I will begin production of Jon Athan’s novel “Maneater”.
–Thorben Paulson–
Born and raised in Yarborough, Thorben showcased a quick mind and knack for mechanical components from an early age. As a child, Thorben’s father took him north to Klydesborough, the Provincial seat, where his delicate fingers and uncanny knowledge of small, moving parts made him an invaluable asset to the Earl’s armorers. Times would change, however, as political conflict would force King Algast to increase the demand for taxes. As a young man, Thorben was introduced to an exotic goods broker, the promise of wealth for his tax-burdened family a siren song he ultimately could not ignore. Not graced with exceptional size or strength, Thorben’s quick wit and problem solving abilities quickly earned him renown as a delver, and by his second winter thaw, he had earned the title of Owl (a delver whose mind sets them above a laborer (Mule) or an artifact collector (Mouse). Successful winter thaws of delving brought good fortune to Thorben and his family. They expanded their house and land, paid debts, and acquired some status within the community. But one fated day changed his fortunes forever. Caught leaving a tomb, Thorben was shackled and declared guilty of Delving. He was branded and thrown into a prison mine, where he toiled and labored night and day. Thorben was a changed man after his release, both physically and mentally. The mines broke his body, while the brand (forever marking him as a criminal and man without honor) broke him emotionally. His family fell into disgrace, both of his parents sliding from health and eventually dying from sickness. As a single, branded man with little to no prospects, Thorben met Dennica, the unwed daughter of fisher folk from the middle-boroughs. Fiery and independent, Dennica took a liking to Thorben, even when her family forbid her from courting him. Thorben’s brand didn’t scare Dennica away, like it did with others. She insisted that it was a mark of character, as “most men do unscrupulous things no one knows about. At least I can pull up your sleeve and see yours.” Against her family’s wishes, Dennica wed Thorben. They went on to welcome seven healthy children–six boys and an unsurprisingly fiery and free-spirited girl. They struggled through each winter thaw, living, supporting one another, and earning their way honestly. But all changed one fated day, when the tax caravan rolled into town, and a mysterious character from Thorben’s path appears. A man with an offer that will both test and threaten everything Thorben and Dennica have built together.
–Iona–
A man of illicit prestige, Iona recruited Thorben, and many other young men and boys, into the world of crypt delving. He is a man of small stature, with dark hair and eyes, carrying the physical traits, accent, and sun-kissed skin of the Ishmandi settlers from across the Kartherous Sea. He is blessed with a silver tongue and disarming nature…one responsible for both talking high-born into buying reclaimed and banned relics for piles of gold, and convincing young men and women into procuring them from deep, underground tunnels and chambers…at any risk. Iona’s appearance in Yarborough, and his motivations, are both shrouded in mystery.
Jez
Jez is a mouse, a delver granted distinction by her small stature and slim build. Mice are prized for their ability to fit into the small, usually cramped underground spaces that mules and owls cannot enter. Jez has dark, unruly hair, large, intelligent eyes, and a quiet, almost unfriendly nature. She is quick with a quip, incredibly observant, and at times hints that she might care more than she initially admits. Although her presence is not surprising, Thorben struggles with the idea of her introduction into the life, due in part to her similarity in age to his own children, and his desire to prevent her from making the same mistakes he did.
Gor
The largest and most physically imposing of the mules, Gor is a mountain of a man. He has short, sand-colored hair, a wide flat nose, and close-set eyes. His teeth are rotten and his breath smells of sour, rotten cabbage. He commands the other mules and gives Thorben the suspicion that he is more than just a hired laborer. Gor harbors terrible secrets, and attributes his action and direction to a religion of fate, where a man’s life or death hinges on the simple flip of a coin.
Hun
Shorter than Gor, but taller than Renlo, Hun is a man of foul tempers, fueled by a barely concealed urge for violence. His thinning, shortly cropped hair and poor evident hygiene speaks of a low-born man, while his visible scars and crooked nose further supports a penitence for brawls and violence. Hun is an unpredictable wildcard; whose motivations and urges make him someone Thorben fears–a man he will not willingly turn his back to.
Renlo
The shortest of the three mules, Renlo has dark, medium length hair, light brown eyes, and a rather wide face and brow. He is sturdily built and carries himself with confidence. Renlo follows Gor’s lead and appears to be a man both familiar with taking orders and used to a life of hard, honest labor. Unlike Gor and Hun, Renlo doesn’t appear as comfortable with the idea of violence, but more so resolved to its occasional necessity. He is firm but fair, repeatedly hints at a more cultured upbringing than his counterparts and leads Thorben to believe that he is a decent man trapped in a less than ideal circumstance.   I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Matthew E. Berry. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it. Feb. 6th: 4 the Love of Audiobooks DelightingDelilah The Book Junkie Reads . . . Feb. 7th: Viviana MacKade T’s Stuff I’m Shelfish Feb. 8th: Eileen Troemel Audiobook News Blog Books, Tea, Healthy Me Feb. 9th: Momma Says To Read or Not to Read AC Squared Book Blog Krit’s Book Reviews Feb. 10th: The Clipped Nightingale Bookmark and Fork Super Booked! Feb. 11th: Jazzy Book Reviews Nesie’s Place Willow Writes and Reads Feb. 12th: Teatime and Books Notes from ‘Round the Bend

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My Review: The Delving

Thank you for Reading!

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