Audiobook Review: 4/5 The Lover’s Portrait by Jennifer S. Alderson

 

Introduction:

I must be on a cozy mystery kick. Ended up with like 3 in a row. That’s cool.

The Lover’s Portrait by Jennifer S. Alderson 4/5 Slow start but Great End

Summary:

A split story (part in the past, part in the present). (In the past) A Dutch art dealer struggles to keep his friend’s priceless collections out of the clutches of greedy Nazi hands. (In the present) An art history student, Zelda Richardson, tries to impress the project managers for a museum exhibit of lost art (stuff that went unclaimed since WWII).

 

Additional Comments:

– Zelda’s a believable amateur sleuth. She’s kinda just nosy and stubborn and ends up finding trouble.

– The beginning requires a lot of setup. Even as an audiobook, that got taxing, but the payoff in the end is worth it.

– Characters are pretty well developed in here. Zelda’s friend is a nice guy. The bad guy is dedicated to his role.

– Even though this is book 2 in the series, it’s easy enough to know who’s who and what’s what.

 

Conclusion:

Enjoyable cozy mystery. I enjoyed it.

 

<h2>Associate links to follow…</h2>

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Amazon Prime

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Free Kindle Reading App

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Audible – If you buy some of my audiobooks with your first credits, I’ll pay the first month’s bill (beyond the free ones). (Terms and conditions: must have proof of purchasing my books, like a screenshot. Will also have to have paypal.)

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Audiobook Review: 4/5 The Golden Hour by MK Graff Narrated by Nano Nagle

 

What’s new?

After a pretty long hiatus, I am back with reviewing audiobooks. Let’s start with a cozy British mystery.

Summary:

Nora Tierney gets caught up in a complicated case of international terrorism.

Additional Comments:

– Loved the narrator’s voice. (Nano Nagle’s performance is strong.) British accent is usually charming.

– Nora and Declan’s relationship seemed contrived at points, but it’s still a feel good type story.

– Honestly, Nora annoyed me at points. (She seemed superfluous.) I think that might be a pitfall of cozy’s in general – she’s not a detective so her involvement with the case has some pretty shaky threads.

– This isn’t the first in the series, but catching up was pretty easy. The series as a whole would likely be more enjoyable from the beginning though.

– The book started very strong but kind of dragged in the end.

– The plot’s kind of complicated but I really enjoyed the terrorism angle.

Conclusion:

A well-narrated cozy mystery.

 

Associate links to follow…

Amazon Prime

Free Kindle Reading App

Audible – If you buy some of my audiobooks with your first credits, I’ll pay the first month’s bill (beyond the free ones). (Terms and conditions: must have proof of purchasing my books, like a screenshot. Will also have to have paypal.)


Author Interview with Nix Wittaker Author of Model Serenity

Author Interview:

Hey, join me in welcoming Nix Wittaker today. Hope you’re all having a lovely weekend.

Tell me a little about your background.

I was born in South Africa on the east coast. Mosquitos and green mamba rather than lions and giraffe Africa. I left when I was a young girl and moved to New Zealand with my family. And traded snakes and sharks with earthquakes and volcanoes.

 

What do you do for fun?

Reading and looking after kittens. I’m a foster mom for the RSPCA and hand rear week old kittens or help tame feral kittens.

 

Who or what inspires you the most?

My grandfather believed in collecting useless information. I do the same and that is where I get most of my ideas.

 

 

About your writing:

What got you into writing?

I’m dyslexic but when I was growing up no at school figured that out because I’m also a smart cookie so they suggested I read books. I read a lot. Talking about 3 digits and so I ran out of books to read and started writing my own.

 

What is your writing process?

I am not a pantser I always plan out the book. Not in detail. I plan it out start writing and then pause when I get a feel for my characters and go back to put more detail into the plan. Then I write the exiting bits and figure out why the rest isn’t interesting. Once I figure those out I start having others start reading chapters and giving me feedback while I tweak and polish.

 

When do you consider a work complete?

Never. I like to go back over and over. I usually publish though after I spend the cash on an editor. My mother is an artist and she is the same. She usually sells her work or paints over it as it never seems perfect. At least with writing you can forever tweak it.

 

About your book:

Are there any deep themes or messages in the book the readers should be aware of?

My book is set on another planet where some crazy scientists have played eugenics. The same stuff the Nazi were trying during WWII, I wanted to show that our racism in this day and age is insidious and everywhere.

me: That’s a great theme. I’ve got a series with crazy scientists too. (I’m a chem teacher too…so I get the appeal of going nuts with science.)

 

What gave you the idea for this book?

I’ve had this idea for a long time. But the original was a fantasy but I find I write Sci-Fi better and when I changed it to science fiction the story became something new. There are a few things that came over from the fantasy version like the names of the caste systems.

 

How long did the book take to write?

Longer than usual. My first novel took 3 months, to write this one it is already at a year but I have managed to knock out the next book in the series in that time as well. I thought I would write the whole series before I published.

 

Who designed the cover?

I design my own covers but don’t take that as permission to make your own. I am also a digital designer and sell covers professionally. If you are an author let the designer do their job, it is what you pay them for in the first place. I cringe when an author wants you to change everything or add in too much on the cover.

Me: Ha, yes, I can understand that. Wow, if I were a digital designer that would save me a whole heap of money :-). I’ve only ever made my nonfiction covers b/c they’re mainly text. (It is a very cool cover.)

Do you write in other genres?

I have another series in Steampunk with dragons so in my mind it is alternative history slash fantasy. Though technically it still falls under Science Fiction.

 

Tell us about one other book or series and why it’s important to you.

I’ve another series and this one is set a little in the future after the world has survived global warming. Usually when you have dystopias it is awful but my world isn’t. Humans are amazing and can adapt and that is exactly what they do in this book.

Random:

What animal do you most relate to?

Cats. Who wouldn’t want to lie in the sun and sleep all day.

 

What’s one thing very few people know about you?

What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream? Triple chocolate. I have a distinct soft spot for anything chocolate. Add anything with nuts to the chocolate and I am in heaven.

 

What are you non-writing hobbies or interests?

Art. I’m a decent artist but I realised at a young age that I couldn’t be a great artist. So I thought I would become great at something else.

Conclusion:

If you’d like to learn more about Nix, please visit her website.

Website: www.nixwhittaker.com

Associate links to follow…

Amazon Prime

Free Kindle Reading App

Audible – If you buy some of my audiobooks with your first credits, I’ll pay the first month’s bill (beyond the free ones). (Terms and conditions: must have proof of purchasing my books, like a screenshot. Will also have to have paypal.)

Narrator Interview: Moira Todd – Ember Burning , YA Fantasy

Introduction:

Hey all, thanks for joining us this week. I must be on a narrator kick.

Please welcome Moira Todd, the voice behind the new audiobook Ember Burning (Trinity Forest Book 1) (You can find the link below). The story follows a grieving teen as she ventures into a forest teeming with urban legends of witchcraft and disappearances and then once there, she finds she must face the truth behind her parent’s death or lose herself to the forest forever. The second book in the series, Oshun Rising, will be available on Audible in February.

Cool. Let’s meet the lady.

How did you get into audiobooks?

I auditioned for an audiobook production company and they pointed me toward ACX, where I can be my own producer, which is really great.

How many audiobooks have you produced?

I’ve produced 8 titles now, including Playing with Fire: A #Hacker Novel by Sherry Ficklin, and Why Can’t My Life Be a Romance Novel by Melinda R. Cordell. I also have three in various stages of production.

Why did you choose to work on Ember Burning?

I love working on books with female protagonists and I think Ember has a really fun voice.

What was your favorite part of the book?

My favorite is the end when everything really comes to a head and the suspense is at its highest.

What was the hardest part of working on the novel?

The hardest part is actually scheduling. I have to balance audiobooks with acting and teaching. So if I get a cold or something, and can’t record for a few days it can really mess up my production schedule.

What’s involved in the process?

Well, it starts with reading the book. I like to read it once just as an audience and write down my thought on the story as a whole so that I can remember that experience when I’m listening to myself read one sentence over and over. I then read it again an make notes of character descriptions, words I don’t know how to pronounce, and any major tone or pacing shifts in the story.

Me: That’s a lot of reading.

Then I’ll take a chapter or so at a time, and mark it up. This means writing in the best way to make the story clear, like which words to emphasize and when to breath. I take my marked up section into the studio and record it. Any time I mess up, I just go back and read it again. So what I’m left with is a big long recording with lost of repeated sections. I have to use editing software to delete the mess ups, and any big long breathes that sound weird, and make sure the pacing is effective. This then gets given to the author to approve, and eventually put on sale on audible.

How long does it take to create a chapter?

Typically it takes me 10 hours to produce one hour of finished narration.

Me: Oh my goodness.

What is your favorite part of being an audiobook narrator/producer?

My family is pretty spread out, so I love being able to share audiobooks with them, and it’s like were back at home and I’m reading a book to everyone in the living room around the fire.

What’s been the hardest part?

Keeping myself on track to meet deadlines is the hardest part. Because it’s just me, I have to hold myself accountable so that I don’t end up with a week left and half the book to finish.

What’s your favorite audiobook you’ve listen to? Why?
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy narrated by Rob Inglis. I listed to all three on a road trip across the country last year, so it just brings me back to those awesome memories.

What is ahead/next for you?

Are you working on any interesting projects? Do you have anything planned or in the works now? (Other books you might recommend?)

Yeah, I’ve got a few projects in the works. Right now I’m recording Killing Her Softly, a romantic suspense novel by Barb Warner Deane. And in the new year I’ll begin production on the next book in Jennifer Alsever’s Trinity Forrest series Book 2, Oshun Rising.

What do you do when you’re not working on audiobooks?

I’m in rehearsal for a show, or teaching theatre classes, or maybe going on a hike in the Potomac valley.

What do you expect to happen in the audiobook market?

I’m not sure. Podcasts have certainly exploded in recent years. Audiobooks seem like the prefect medium for commuting. People spend so much time in cars or trains or buses these days, why not be listening to a story at the same time.

Conclusion:

Thanks for joining us, Moira. We appreciate you taking the time to chat.

 

Associate links to follow…

Amazon Prime

Free Kindle Reading App

Audible – If you buy some of my audiobooks with your first credits, I’ll pay the first month’s bill (beyond the free ones). (Terms and conditions: must have proof of purchasing my books, like a screenshot. Will also have to have paypal.)

Narrator Interview: Reuben Corbett

Introduction:

Hey all, I’d like to introduce you to a very special guest today. A few weeks ago, I had a fit of insanity and posted 5 casting calls for narrators for a variety of projects. I’d pretty much settled on a narrator for The Golden City Captives, when at the very last second, I got one more unsolicited audition. Upon hearing that short audition, I absolutely fell in love with this guy’s rich voice. Please welcome Reuben Corbett. He’s a relative newcomer to the audiobook scene, but I’ve no doubt you’ll be hearing more from him in the near future.

Let’s start off easy. Tell me a little about your background:

I grew up in Grand Junction, Colorado. I always liked performing, so I started playing the cello when I was 9 years old. I played all the way through college, where I was a cello performance major. A couple years into college, I realized there wasn’t a lot of money in music, so I became a welder of all things. 5 years and like 12 different jobs later, I still hadn’t found anything I really enjoyed. I had always been told by people that I had a great voice. I also loved reading and listening to audiobooks. I decided that I would be really good at narrating books! I did some research, found acx, and the rest is history!

What do you do for fun?

I narrate audio books!

(Me: I shoulda seen that one coming.)

About this Work:

What brought you to working on this project?

I found it on acx, auditioned for it, and Julie picked me for the part.

(Like I said, squeaked in under the wire. I was sending out proposals as his audition came in.)

What was the hardest part of bringing this story to life?

It really wasn’t too difficult. Julie’s writing does most of the work. The most difficult part is becoming the characters.

Do you have a favorite character voice from the project? Why/ why not?

My favorite voice to do was Lord Ewald. Coming up with his voice was just fun, and it just seemed to really fit the character.

(Me: That it did.)

Do you have a favorite chapter from the project? Why/ why not?

My Favorite chapter is chapter 5. A lot happens in the chapter, lots of action. A very dramatic chapter.

About your other works:

How many other works have you narrated?

I have only narrated one other book, so far.

Can you recommend any of your other titles for us? What about the work is appealing?

My only other title is called Simplify: How to Declutter, Get Organized, and Stay that Way. It is a short self-development book about being organized.

(Sounds like a useful title…less fun than a fantasy one though :-))

Which work are you most proud to have been a part of? Why?

The Golden City Captives, because it is my first fantasy genre book!

What drew you to voice acting?

Well, I have been told all my life that I had a great voice. One day the idea occurred to me, and I decided to try and make it a reality.

Is this the only acting you do? If you do other forms of acting, which is your favorite and why?

I also do YouTube videos. I prefer to do audiobooks, but I still enjoy doing videos.

Do you have a process when you approach a work? Please describe it for us.

First I read the book to try and dive into the story, get to know the characters and so forth. Then I practice voices for the characters, and try to figure out the tone for the overall book. Feedback from the author is definitely a necessity.

If you could only leave 1 lasting impression on the world, what would it be?

I would want people to remember me as an example of being loving and kind.

Do you get to read for fun? Do you have a favorite genre to read for fun?

My favorite genres are science fiction and fantasy.

What kind of movies do you enjoy?

I love movies that are clean and uplifting.

Where can we find out more about you?

Website: https://frcorbett1011.wixsite.com/reubencorbett

Social Media Links:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIayBxVOF0JuBVam1NDTQlw

https://www.facebook.com/reuben.corbett

Conclusion:

The Golden City Captives will release soon. It’s in the approval stage from ACX. I can’t wait to share this lovely project with everybody. Leave a comment and I might pick somebody at random to win a free copy of the audiobook.

Associate links to follow…

Amazon Prime

Free Kindle Reading App

Audible – If you buy some of my audiobooks with your first credits, I’ll pay the first month’s bill (beyond the free ones). (Terms and conditions: must have proof of purchasing my books, like a screenshot. Will also have to have paypal.)

Audiobook Reviews: Introducing Gertrude, Gumshoe by Robin Merrill

Introduction:

Something flavorful for cozy mystery fans.

Summary:

Meet Gertrude. She’s an eccentric, cat-loving, cranky, coot with mild kelpto tendencies who toddles around with a walker and finds plenty of trouble.

Additional Comments:

– We don’t really know much about Gertrude or how she got to be where she is in a tiny trailer park. Maybe more of her past comes out in future story. I only mention that because she’s occasionally delightfully and occasionally eye-brow raising sort of naïve. (i.e. stars in a Thai restaurant, existence of P.I. licenses, etc)

– She’s willful, opinionated, and nosy, but she cares. While that might rub some readers the wrong way, I think it’s part of her charm.

– The cranky part of her character manifests as rude at times, but there are parts where her better nature shines through.

– I heard the audio version. The narrator handled voices superbly, but her normal reading tone sounded pretty robotic.

– The salt shaker collection’s a tad weird.

– We don’t actually see much of her cats, which is odd given she has so many of them.

– The side characters are intriguing but could be fleshed out more. I’m assuming there will be some recurring characters throughout the series.

Conclusion:

It’s a solid start to a cozy mystery series. There’s a definite flavor here. Many will find it amusing.

Associate links to follow…

Amazon Prime

Free Kindle Reading App

Audible – If you buy some of my audiobooks with your first credits, I’ll pay the first month’s bill (beyond the free ones). (Terms and conditions: must have proof of purchasing my books, like a screenshot. Will also have to have paypal.)

Audiobook Company Comparison: ACX vs Findaway Voices

Publishing through Findaway Voices
Publishing through ACX.

Part 1: Production

Introduction:

Recently, I had the unique opportunity to test the audiobook creation process of two different companies for creating audiobooks: ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange) and Findaway Voices. It’s not a true experiment because there are too many variables, but I happened to have two short stories to produce simultaneously.

 

The Contenders:

ACX – Audiobook Creation Exchange

Besides being around a while, it has become the behemoth to beat simply because it’s an Amazon company. By default, that means it’s got major moving power when it wants to. On the flip side, it’s a massive company, therefore some things can fall by the wayside.

Major advantages: They have access to a lot of narrators. You as an author have way more control over the narrator selection process. Pacing’s ultimately up to you and the narrator you choose.

Hint: Try to find somebody who’s reliable and great with communication. It will make a world of difference in the long run.

Major flaw: They’re business practices kind of stink. In short, they’re out for the bottom line, not really you as an artist. To be fair, part of this problem stems from them being so big. Must be difficult to be so popular.

 

Findaway Voices – Draft to Digital Associate

This company’s a relative newcomer to the audiobook creation scene (at least to me).

Note: You can’t use them with Kindle Select titles because those have to be exclusive to Amazon.

Major advantage: They publish to far more platforms than ACX. Their customer service is top-notch, and they walk you through the audiobook process. Your share of the royalties will be much greater than with ACX (80%, I think).

Major flaw: By default, they’re a “middleman.” Everything takes longer when you involve more people.

 

Note: These will cover the Author side because that’s where my experience lies.

 

The ACX Process:

Step 1: Authors decide they want to publish an audiobook. Yay.

Step 2: Authors create an ACX account (basically, sign in with your Amazon.com account) and assert their rights to a title.

Step 3: Choose an excerpt and decide whether you want to do Royalty Share or PFH (pay per finished hour).

Step 4: Wait for auditions. Guess this one can vary a bit, but I’d recommend browsing narrators and sending the top 10 an invite to audition.

Step 5: Choose a narrator and offer them a contract. They accept!

Step 6: Review the audiobook files with the manuscript as the narrator uploads them to ACX. Send the narrator time-stamped corrections and any other directions within reason. Review the revisions!

Step 7: Review the whole audiobook, hit approve, and wait for it to pass quality assurance. Note: this is sound quality assurance not editing for mistakes. This typically takes 2 weeks.

Note: PFH offers attract a LOT more auditions.

Second Note:

Royalty Share is a double-edged sword and rarely outright profitable for the narrator. Essentially, the narrator accepts the responsibility for creating the audiobook and splits the royalties with the author. On the other hand, with ACX’s push for Bounties over royalties, getting a bunch of small RS projects might be profitable.

 

Findaway Voices Production Process:

Step 1: Author decides they want to publish an audiobook. Sweet.

Step 2: The book has to be published through Draft to Digital, as far as I can tell. Easiest in anyway. I’m sure you could go to the company directly, but they’ll probably want it available through D2D because the platforms they intend to publish on are those available through that company.

Step 3: Click on the “Create an Audiobook” button. You may have to search for it by clicking on the “Other Formats” button.

Step 4: Fill out the paperwork for your tax information, cover, book manuscript, and such while you wait. In a few days, they say 1-7, they’ll get back to you with a selection of 7-ish narrators.

Step 5: Browse the narrators by listening to their samples. Choose a few to invite to submit an audition.

Step 6: Wait some more. The rep from Findaway Voices will let you know when they have some auditions for you to compare.

Step 7: Choose a narrator and wait for the first 15 minutes. This is where I’m at right now. It should take another 3-7 days to get this.

Step 8: Review the files and give feedback through their commenting system. Review the updated files. Approve.

 

Which Company is Better for You?

The answer depends entirely on your personality and financial situation.

Some things to consider …

Findaway Voices is only available for PFH. That means, if you have no budget for this process and must go RS, they’re out of the race and ACX is your winner.

If you hire a narrator through ACX, you have to be exclusive to Amazon companies and ones they negotiate special deals with, like iTunes. In terms of choice and freedom, Findaway Voices wins hands-down.

If you’re a control freak, ACX probably edges out the competition here. You have direct access to your narrator every step of the way.

If you’re somebody who likes to be guided and helped along the way, Findaway Voices can fulfill that mentoring role. They’ve got a lot of experience at this.

If you’re really good at selling people Audible subscriptions, ACX will be more profitable.

If you’d like a bigger piece of the pie you made, Findaway Voices is your answer.

ACX provides you with codes to help promote your book. Findaway Voices offers your book in WAY more places.

 

Conclusion:

I’m probably going to continue using both companies. They fulfill different niches. The PFH model means that you have to shell out more money at once, but you can probably find a “cheaper” narrator through Findaway Voices because they will help you keep to people in your price range. I’ll have to see how sales do on multiple platforms vs. Amazon exclusive. Shorter projects will likely end up with Findaway Voices. Jury’s still out on whether longer projects will work that way.

 

New to Draft2Digital? Check it out. (Note: this is a referral link. It will basically tell them I sent you.)

 

Associate links to follow…

Amazon Prime

Free Kindle Reading App

Audible – If you buy some of my audiobooks with your first credits, I’ll pay the first month’s bill (beyond the free ones). (Terms and conditions: must have proof of purchasing my books, like a screenshot. Will also have to have paypal.)

Random: Forge of Empires Review and Negotiation Tutorial

Introduction:

Thousands of games suck up countless hours. Some feel like a waste of time because they feel like they’re going nowhere (i.e. Island Experiment), while others keep things interesting by providing long term and short term challenges. I’ve not played Civilizations, though I’m told it’s similar to Forge of Empires.

 

Rating: 4.5/5

It’s not perfect. Plundering is the single most annoying aspect of the game. My personal policy is to fight people for the tournament points but not bother plundering. You don’t need the goods if you build a few resource factories. It mostly just ticks your neighbors off.

Taverns:

Cool new edition (within the last year or so) to the game. You get to visit the taverns of your friends. When they visit your tavern, you earn silver. This silver can be spent on bonuses. The single most useful thing you can buy is a 4th round for negotiations. The second most useful item I’ve found is the City Shield. You get new neighbors every two weeks or so, but it’s inevitable that sometimes you’re going to be paired with those super-annoying people who have all day to fight and plunder people.

Neighbors:

The majority of people in the game are there for fun and don’t bother others. Like in real life, exceptions to this exist. Sometimes, it helps if you kindly ask them to stop plundering you. Other times, it makes matters worse because they’re miserable, vindictive human beings. Go with the flow. Use a City Shield as needed but also do things like schedule when you can collect your goods the second they pop up.

Guild Expeditions:

One of the best aspects of the game is the ability to join a guild and participate in Guild Expeditions. Every week, starting on Tuesday at 8:00 AM server time GE starts. I fight my way as far as I can. Typically, that means the middle of the third round. A few months ago, the game designers added a harder 4th level with better rewards. After that, I negotiate.

How to Win at GE Negotiations:

Step 1: Go to your tavern and activate the 15 minute 4th turn. It’s third down on the left in the Resources Boost tab of the Tavern Shop. (You could get 30 minutes, but 15 is typically plenty. Remember, you only get 8 turns unless you win some as prizes.)

Step 2: Use process of elimination. By that, I mean choose everything. If you have 10 things to test, do the top five and the bottom five. Your goal here is to find out what’s NOT a choice. Every wrong guess will be marked with red. Every correct guess will be green, and every correct item in the wrong slot will be yellow. These are what you’re looking for.

Step 3: Once you know what is a part of the negotiation for that round, randomly place the yellow ones in slots that are different from the one they showed up in yellow. Here’s where you want them to turn green.

Step 4: Use process of elimination to continue placing the remaining yellow ones into new slots. If you do this well and get a little lucky, you will be able to guess a few of them then easily place the remaining ones.

Step 5: If you have to, use 10 diamonds to get a 5th round of guesses only if you’re reasonably certain that you can get it in that last round.

Notes about Negotiations:

  • If you happen to hit 3 of the green ones in your first random guess, you might want to cut your losses and start over. (It’s really difficult to do process of elimination with only two slots available to test new items.)
  • Diamonds initially can cost some real world money, but now with GE, you should be able to win enough at random through the rounds you can fight through to at least get a start. I’ve never gone negative overall because several of the higher rounds offer 50 or 100 diamonds as the prize.
  • Wait and start this method when you have 7 or 8 attempts so you can get the farthest. With the limited number of attempts, there’s usually no reason to go for the 30 minutes.

Conclusion:

It’s a game. Have fun. Enjoy yourself. Be nice to people.

Associate links to follow…

Amazon Prime

Free Kindle Reading App

Audible – If you buy some of my audiobooks with your first credits, I’ll pay the first month’s bill (beyond the free ones). (Terms and conditions: must have proof of purchasing my books, like a screenshot. Will also have to have paypal.)

Author Interview: Tony Gavin – Author of The Kill Shot

 

Introduction:

Guess I’m sort of on an interview kick. Got a ton of other articles to write, but it’s nice to talk to real people sometimes too. Today, we get to meet Tony Gavin, author of The Kill Shot. I’ve not yet experienced this book but I’m looking forward to reviewing the audio. Welcome, Tony.

 

What do you do for fun?

Until a recent spinal injury robbed me of the pleasure, I enjoyed competition shooting, horse riding and archaeology. Since then, writing has become the prime pleasure in my life. I still accompany my wife (A professional archaeologist) on archaeological digs and adventures and have travelled extensively around the world with her over our 35 years together.

Who or what inspires you the most?

Without a doubt I would not be writing today if it were not for the inspiration received during a chance encounter with Jenna Miller of ‘Ravenna old and new west vestures’ fame. She was my riding partner and wrangler on a dood ranching vacation and she just oozed western spirit and enthusiasm.

About your writing:

What other writers/people do you consider inspirational? If they’re authors, what about their work captures your interest?

I enjoy books by Ken Farmer as well the late Max Brand and Louis L’Amour. They bring the wild west to life in a way that I can only aspire to achieve.

What got you into writing?

My writing began only five years ago with a script for an independent movie production company. Born out of necessity (Keeping down the cost of the short) I wrote the script myself after studying and learning the required skills online. The experience was successful and more importantly enjoyable. Therefore almost immediately I re-wrote that story as a full length book. From there I have progressed to producing number of books, e-books, audiobooks, digital braille books, stage plays and screen plays. All with varying degrees of success.

What is your writing process?

For me the hardest decision is which project to complete next. I still work full time so my time for writing is limited, which is not the case with my ideas. There must be 15 to 20 outlines for various scripts and books just waiting in line. I tend to rotate between the different writing disciplines unless a deadline is looming near.

When do you consider a work complete?

I tend to finish a project and then set it aside for a month or two and come back to it. It’s surprising how many faults that are found when you do this.

About your book:

Are there any deep themes or messages in the book the readers should be aware of?

In “The Kill Shot” in particular, what is little known and appreciated is the amount of research that has gone into the book. The characters in the book are mostly real people. Camillus Fly the famous photographer of the time for example. Even the lesser throw away characters such as Louis Souc the check in clerc, Gus Westcamp the porter and Mary Tack a housekeeper were all real people working in the Occidental Hotel in 1883. I use them in a fictitious manner of course but I like to imagine that their lives were as exciting as I make them.

What gave you the idea for this book?

I noticed the vast number of photographs of dead people taken back in the 1800’s and researched the reason for this macabre subject. A photographic record was a less stinky means of proving a bounty hunters kills to the authorities to collect a reward than delivering a rotting corpse in person. Hence the title “The Kill Shot.”

How long did the book take to write?

Off and on, just over a year.

Who designed the cover?

I went for a different design for the audiobook cover from that on the paperback just to set them apart. It was created by a good friend of mine, Gavin Rymill.

 

About Other Books:

Do you write in other genres?

Yes. I use the pseudonym Pastor Pat Lalor for the “Godly Law” series of Christian based books for younger people.

 

Tell us about one other book or series and why it’s important to you.

The Dictionary of the American West by Win Blevins has been invaluable to me for finding words and phrases used in the 1880’s.

 

Random:

What’s one thing very few people know about you?

I was born in England, UK.

What are you non-writing hobbies or interests?

In addition to the hobbies listed above I am a follower of Cowboy Mounted Shooting. The fastest growing equine sport in the USA right now.

(Me: Sounds like fun.)

Conclusion:

Thanks for joining us today, Tony. Please tell the readers how to get in touch with you.

Social Media Links:

https://www.facebook.com/MicroMovieStudios/

https://www.facebook.com/PastorPatLalor/

 

Associate links to follow…

Amazon Prime

Free Kindle Reading App

Audible

Audiobook Edge Interviews: Rachel Jamieson – Music Composer

 

Introduction:

Let’s try something a little different and chat with a lady who love music. Rachel Jamieson isn’t the author or illustrator for Mandy and Mitch and the Big Brave Boots. She’s the musician.

First, let’s meet the lady.

About this Work:

What brought you to working on this project?

I was approached by a friend of mine who is a director and with whom I have worked on a number of short films in the past. She had a new project on the go which turned out to be a children’s audiobook written by a friend of hers. The intention of the audiobook was to use a fun story with relatable characters to help children begin to talk about things like anxiety. I loved the whole idea of the project and knew it was something I wanted to be involved with.

 

What was the hardest part of bringing this story to life?

As the composer for the project, my role was to bring the story to life through music. The story is all about emotions, so the fundamental purpose of the music was to help convey the emotions that Mitch experiences. This was probably the hardest part, trying to really conjure up how it feels to be scared or feel brave through the music. That said, it was also the most enjoyable aspect of the project because it was very rewarding listening to the music transform alongside Mitch.

What would you say to someone who thinks music gets in the way in audiobooks?

I do understand that some people feel music can be a distraction in audiobooks and so it is the composer’s responsibility to handle the music sensitively and know when music is needed and when it isn’t. If done well, music can add so much to an audiobook because it provides instant atmosphere. Also, a strong score can be a unique selling point for an audiobook that really makes it stand out.

 

About you:

What drew you to writing music for audiobooks?

I grew up listening to audiobooks, everything from the BBC Narnia series to Malory Towers. In the Narnia audiobooks, in particular, I experienced how powerful music could be in audiobooks and how it could really add an extra dimension. So, I loved working on an audiobook because I knew how effective music could be and wanted to write music which would help create the world of the story.

Do you have a process when you approach a work? Please describe it for us.

I listen to the audiobook and talk to the director about their vision for the audiobook and what they want from the music. With ‘Mandy and Mitch’ I knew, right from the start, I needed to produce a strong melody that would capture Mandy and Mitch’s personalities. In addition, I wanted music that could be easily adapted to convey the emotions that Mitch experiences. So, I guess the first step is getting to know the characters and deciding what the overall sound of the music should be.

From there, it’s also very important, especially with music for audiobooks, to work out how much music is needed. Deciding where music is needed and where more space should be left for the narration can be key. With ‘Mandy and Mitch’ the director wanted music throughout, which meant I had free reign to really have fun with the music.

Random Questions:

What’s one random thing people don’t really know about you?

That’s a tricky one, maybe that I can juggle and one of my favourite things to do is go to a park and play catch!

If you could only leave 1 lasting impression on the world, what would it be?

Maybe that we should all just be nicer to each other. We could make so much difference if we all just took the time to be kind and go out of our way to help others.

Do you have other hobbies? What do you do to relax?

I used to play a lot of table tennis when I was younger, but I love pretty much all racket sports. Playing a sport helps me unwind and take my mind off things.

What kind of movies do you enjoy?

I love dramas. When I watch a film, I want to be moved by it and feel something for the characters. My current favourite film is ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ because of the acting and incredible true story basis. Plus, I love the soundtrack, which is a bonus!

Is this the only composing you do? If you do other forms of composing which is your favorite and why?

I have been a composer for a couple of years now. It awesome and varied work. I have worked on lots of short films, three feature films and a number of commercial projects. I love writing for feature films in particular because one of my favourite aspects of composing is creating melodic themes. The length of a feature film gives me space to develop that and use that development to tell a story.

Do you get to read for fun? Do you have a favorite genre to read for fun?

I studied English Literature at university so have always enjoyed reading. I like reading lots of different genres but one of my current favourite books is ‘On the Road’. When I read a book I want it to really take me somewhere, so any book that does that in whatever genre is good for me.

How do we get in contact with you?

Come visit my website: www.racheljamieson.com/

Or find me on Social Media:

https://www.facebook.com/racheljamieson.music/

https://soundcloud.com/racheljamiesonfilmmusic

Conclusion:

Very cool. It was nice to meet you, Rachel. Thanks for sharing your passion for music with us.

 

Associate links to follow…

Music only:

Amazon Prime

Free Kindle Reading App

Audible