Take the Book Quiz; Win Stuff

So, this is gonna be a super short post.

Go here: http://www.litring.com/giveaways/ and answer a few simple questions to grab some freebies and enter to win some great stuff.

The concept is pretty cool. These questions will help you narrow down from a bunch of different genres to get you a focused list of books aimed at your likes and passions.

Go for it. You’ve got nothing to lose.

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Meet Julie Hinton – the Voice Behind Malia’s Miracles

KEY:
Julie Hinton’s Comments

My Comments

About this Work:

What brought you to working on this project? I’m a YA fan, and I really liked the idea of these special teenagers making a difference.
(Cool. Hope you get a chance to check out the whole series. I’m eager to see what you can do with book 4.)

What was the hardest part of bringing this story to life?  Finding enough character voices that were distinct and identifiable.  A lot of people run through this story!

Do you have a favorite character voice from the project? Why/ why not?  Malia’s was my favorite voice to do.  It was easy to find and she sounded so different from the rest.  Having said that, her chapters were also the most frustrating to narrate because she speaks so slowly …

(She became one of my favorites to listen to.)

About your other works:

How many other works have you narrated?  This is my seventh audiobook.

What was the most challenging other work you’ve voiced? Easiest? Most fun? What made it hard, easy, fun??  The easiest was my first production, Me Before You: A Summary and Analysis.  It was basically a Cliffsnotes of JoJo Moyes; best-selling book.  I didn’t have to do character voices and it was quite short.  It is also the most popular of my narrations, so the best of all worlds!  

My favorite moment was probably in More Fables & Fantasies.  One of the stories there is a fractured fairy tale, and I got to voice a lot of fun fairy tale voices.  I think that section is in the Amazon audio sample if you’d like to take a listen.  As far as the most challenging, in most novels (like this one) I get the same feeling of panic towards the end when I worry that I’ve run out of distinct voices, and then I see another character pop up.  The solution to each situation is slightly different, but it’s a great opportunity to stretch just a little more each time.

Can you recommend any of your other titles for us? What about the work is appealing?  I don’t know that I can recommend just one as they’re all so different.  The Me Before You summary is great for cheating in a book club and still hearing a fantastic love story.  Heartless and Prestigium are both paranormal novels about women discovering new worlds they can make a difference in.  More Fables & Fantasies is a fun collection of 5 very different short stories – a perfect length for many commuters.  Glistens is a fairy story ideal for pre-teens, and The Dripping Wet Yellow Rubber Gloves (on iTunes) is a children’s story written by a good friend of mine perfect for the whole family.  My favorite part of narration is bringing these characters to life.  

About you/random ques:

What drew you to voice acting?  I got a degree in acting.  I love it, but not too many of us have the ability to do it full-time.  I started doing voice acting on the side and now do it more regularly than “regular” acting.  In audiobook narration, I get to play all the parts, not just one! 

Is this the only acting you do? If you do other forms of acting, which is your favorite and why?  Most of my early experience was on stage.  I found myself starring in musicals and Shakespeare productions.  Both of these genres prepared me for voice acting since the voice (both singing and speaking) is a tool needing to be worked out and shaped.  In recent years, I’ve been doing more short films, and I anticipate feature films to be my next step down this road.  You can see my resumes, production photos and some of the short films on my website, www.juliehinton.net.

Do you have a process when you approach a work? Please describe it for us.  I start by reading the manuscript cover to cover just for the reading pleasure.  I try to store my reactions and responses away so I can reclaim the fascination, joy, sorrow, and other emotional reactions to use in my performance.  Then I decide on voices for the main characters and work with the author until they get just right.  Finally, I get started in the narration process.  I try to stay in contact with the author as I go so we can make any decisions together that arise, such as pacing changes, new voices, etc.  I usually produce my own recordings at my home studio which has its pros and cons.  It’s nice to be able to work at my own pace and schedule.  It’s also nice to have a director to collaborate with as I make moment-to-moment decisions.  Once I come to the end of a recording, I forward it to the author who makes any final decisions, and then send it to the publisher for production.

What’s one random thing people don’t really know about you?  I don’t have a middle name.

If you could only leave 1 lasting impression on the world, what would it be?  I think entertainment is so important.  We all have crazy lives, and often it is best to be able to leave them aside for a few moments to refuel our reservoirs.  I consider myself fortunate to contribute to some good entertainment that brightens people’s days and gives them those moments of escape.

Do you get to read for fun? Do you have a favorite genre to read for fun?  I read all the time in a bunch of genres – thrillers, YAs, mysteries, fantasy, science fiction, and more.  As long as it’s fiction and not too serious, I’m usually game.

Do you have other hobbies? What do you do to relax?  Read!  I watch a lot of TV and try to do various projects with my hands while I’m doing it so I feel productive. I’m also a screenwriter and musician.

What kind of movies do you enjoy?  Those with happy endings 🙂

If you could meet one person from history or present time, who would it be and why.  I don’t really have an answer for this one.  I prefer to watch from afar, and worry that anytime I might actually meet someone I idolize I’ll just make a huge fool out of myself and never be able to look at them again …

Thanks for stopping by to answer some burning questions.

Malia’s Miracles is currently being offered for FREE on Audiobook Boom! Comment here or drop me a line at Devyaschildren @ gmail.com (you’ll need to remove the spaced to prove you’re human and let me know you’re interested in listening to the story. We’re looking for people willing to review but in line with amazon’s new TOS we’re not demanding feedback. A review is simply you telling the world what you think of a story. Of course, we’d love for you to enjoy the story, so if you enjoy it, please share your thoughts on Goodreads/amazon/your blog, etc

Links:
Julie’s facebook page.

Julie’s audiobook page from her website.

Link to Malia’s Miracles on Amazon.com.

***If you’re willing to review if you like the story, email with a link to your audible or amazon reviewing platforms. We have a limited number of free codes for this endeavor.

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Fantastic Creatures Anthology Release and Scavenger Hunt!

Introduction:

Good morning (or afternoon or evening). Today we welcome Bokerah Brumley and her insights into the Fantastic Creatures Anthology. I’d never heard of a Hum-Fairy, have you??

Bokerah’s Words of Wisdom:

Good things are on their way
When a Hum-Fairy Comes to Stay.

When the idea for A Fellowship of Fantasy Anthology: Fantastic Creatures was suggested, I knew I had to participate. Mystical, magical creatures are some of my favorite things to write about, and I had just the thing.

I’d like to introduce you to a Hum-Fairy. It’s sort of a cross between these two images. Hummingbird-like creatures, Hum-Fairies are sentient, self-aware beings that communicate through telepathy. In the Fae world I’ve created, they’re considered a good omen. And similar to fairy houses that real people put together for their garden, the Fae build houses for the Hum-Fairies and invite them to stay as long as they like. Hum-Fairies eat little and often travel, so they don’t usually stay for long. In the Fae Kingdom, it’s illegal to trap a Hum-Fairy.

In Ishka’s Garden, Seesha has just returned from New York where she had been visiting. Seesha and her mate have lived as Ishka’s companions for some time, always returning to Ishka’s Mergone tree.

I hope you enjoy the story of friendship in Ishka’s Garden, one of many mythical creatures in A Fellowship of Fantasy Anthology: Fantastic Creatures.

Thank you to the wonderful Julie C. Gilbert for allowing me to guest post. (:

Thanks for sharing. (I got to read the story before it launched. It’s pretty awesome, and everybody should read it.)

About the Author:
Bokerah Brumley is a speculative fiction writer making stuff up on a trampoline in West Texas. She lives on ten permaculture acres with five home-educated children and one husband. In her imaginary spare time, she also serves as the blue-haired President of the Cisco Writers Club.

Her work can be found in Havok Magazine (July issue), Southern Writers Magazine (Summer 2016 issue), Echoes of Liberty (The Clarion Call Book 2), The Stars at My Door (April Moon Books), A Fellowship of Fantasy Anthology: Fantastic Creatures, and three more upcoming anthologies.

She was awarded First Place in the FenCon Short Story Contest, Third Place in the Southern Writers Magazine Short Story Contest, and Fifth Place in the Children’s/Young Adult category for the 85th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. More recently, she was selected as a 2016 Pitch Slam! finalist.

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Blog

Check out the book we’ve been babbling about:

Here be dragons … and selkies and griffins and maybe even a mermaid or two.

Twenty fantasy authors band together to bring you a collection of thrilling tales and magical monsters. Do you like to slay dragons? Or befriend them? Do you prefer to meet cephalopods as gigantic kraken or adorable tree octopuses?

Each story focuses around a fantastic creature from folklore or mythology, and they range from light and playful tales for the whole family to darker stories that may make you wish to leave the lights on. Also, all stories carry the Fellowship of Fantasy seal of approval. While our monsters may be horrifying, you won’t stumble into graphic sex and constant swearing.

Perfect for the fantasy lover who can’t get enough of mythical beasts.

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And just in case you were wondering, my story is called The Golden City Captives. Check out all 20 excellent, fantastic stories.

Giveaway:

Now, enter the Contest to win awesomeness:

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Click here or on the image above to go to the Rafflecopter.

Scavenger Hunt Stops:

Kandi J. Wyatt

Bokerah Brumley

H. L. Burke

Lea Doué

Jessica L. Elliott

Caren Rich

Julie C. Gilbert

Nicole Zoltack

D. G. Driver

Intisar Khanani

And finally, here is your scavenger hunt clue:

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10 Reasons a Reader Might Hate Your Fiction Book …

And what that says about your story.

Introduction:

Hate might be a bit too strong for my meaning, but it was much quicker than saying “dislike/loathe/have an aversion to/ can’t connect well with/ grew bored with/ etc.” These are in no particular order within their groupings, but I believe there are neutral, bad, and good reasons people don’t connect to your story.

Bad Reasons:

  1. Too many grammar mistakes – Oddly enough, poor grammar doesn’t bother everybody. The writer in me cringes at that notion. Since I’m guessing a lot of you are writers too, I think we can all understand this one. Typos are often the bane of our literary existence. Yes, they happen to pretty much everybody, but that’s why there are advanced readers, editors, and conscript-able family members. That said, be cautious relying solely upon the last one unless your significant other is an editor or a writer. Lay family members also have a vested interest in remaining on your good side, so they may not be able to offer an unbiased critique of what can make the story better.
  1. Confusing plot – There’s a difference between “complex” and “confusing.” Complex is good. As writers, we strive to create a world that’s intricate enough to enthrall the reader. In many genres, part of that entails keeping the reader guessing what will happen next. It follows that confusing is bad. There are definitely times to lead readers on fantastic journeys to far-off lands, but you don’t want to leave them stranded there somewhere with no idea how to return. Strive for detailed, but don’t lose the reader.
  1. Blah characters – This is a tricky one because every reader comes with their preconceived notions of what makes a character interesting. For me, the key lies in the question: does this character contribute to the overall plot? Is s/he useful? For example, it annoys me when a princess is a cardboard character who only exists for the purpose of being rescued. Give her some personality. If her life being threatened is integral to the plot, then you’ve got to make us care about her first.

Stock characters have their places. There’s simply not enough time or page space to make every character a main one, but choose the few you flesh out wisely.

Neutral Reasons:

  1. Style preference: first person vs third person – If I had to guess, I’d say the vast majority of fiction works are written in the third person style. Third person generally allows the author a little more leeway with revealing details. It’s easier to be omniscient in that style. First person usually allows one to really get inside the head of the main character and/or the narrator. Often the narrator is the main character but that’s not always the case. I’ve done both styles, and I think they work well in the respective series. Yet, I completely understand not liking first person narration.

The main question that comes up subconsciously is: “Do I believe in this character’s voice?” That question is closely followed by: “Do I like this character’s voice?” In a book told in the first person, the reader’s going to be trapped inside the head of the narrator for all two-three hundred pages of your story. If the reader doesn’t particularly like the voice they’re hearing that whole time, it’s a tough thing to overcome.

  1. Writing style: general – As a reader, I just don’t connect well with how some people write. That’s the nature of the beast. I’m filing this under neutral because this reason is nothing you should automatically seek to change or question yourself about. Chalk that up to “you can’t win ’em all” and move on.
  1. The genre isn’t the reader’s favorite – This is probably one of the most common reasons I can cite when I identify a book I’m not connecting well with. You might ask why I’d bother reading a book in a genre that’s not really my favorite. It’s a fair question. The answer usually is that I was asked to read the book by the author. Also, I’ve read plenty of great books in genres I don’t consider my favorite. Every book is different, and you won’t really know unless you’ve tried it.
  1. Tone – Some people love humorous books, but often, when things veer into the ridiculous, I turn off as a reader. I love when there’s a lighthearted tone even about serious situations, but if everything’s a joke, then I can’t take the story seriously. The same could be said for a story being too gloomy. I don’t do well with tragedies on the whole.

Good Reasons:

  1. Characterization is so good that the reader ends up annoyed because they hate the bad guy. – While I’m sure we’d all love every reader to absolutely adore the story we’ve poured our heart and soul into, there is such a thing as making something too realistic. I know I’ve watched movies and read books that I mostly enjoyed but disliked because one character drove me crazy with their cruelty, injustice, or stupidity.

In an odd way, it’s a testament to your skill, but it’s also something to be aware of as you craft your next antihero or villain. Does the villain have any redeeming qualities? Is there something respectable about the antihero?

I guess one should be cautious that the characterization isn’t just bad, but then again, there are real villains in the world who ought to be hated and/or feared. I’m not saying you should congratulate yourself for annoying your reader, but I wouldn’t worry too much if one or two people cite this as a reason for not enjoying the story as much as they would have liked.

  1. Tone – Some people love humorous books, but often, when things veer into the ridiculous, I turn off as a reader. I love when there’s a lighthearted tone even about serious situations, but if everything’s a joke, then I can’t take the story seriously. The same could be said for a story being too gloomy. I don’t do well with tragedies on the whole.
  1. Outrage over a plot point/ ending – I think this one could easily cut both ways, as in be a good thing or be a bad thing, but I’m going to focus on the good here. If you can evoke very strong emotion in a reader, you just might be doing your job. Hopefully, you’ve intended for the reaction and aren’t being blindsided by people freaking out unexpectedly. Although this could be another sign of your skill as a writer, be cautious. You want readers to be on your side. Evoking emotion is good, but provoking a reader beyond reason is not good. Try to find that nice balance point.

Conclusion: Writing is an art and a skill. One of the aspects that I love most about writing is that it can be improved over time with practice. Some writers are afraid to share their work, but if you want to make it the best it can be, you’re going to have to let other people critique your baby along the way. If they truly have your best interests at heart, the people who critique the work will be open and brutally honest. Some of what they say may sound harsh, but take it with good grace. Remember, it’s not an attack on you. I’ll share more of my thoughts on what to do with constructive criticism later.

Thanks for listening.

-Jules

Let’s Try Blogging – Take 8

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Let’s see, it’s been about a decade since I first started blogging. I think my number of posts is still well below 100. I wonder how long this kick will last. So far, I like wordpress a little more than blogger, but it could just be the “new toy” glow that has yet to fade.

Oohh, look, the picture thingy works. Great. I would put up a new cover, but I might have already asked somebody to do a cover reveal for me.

Stay tuned.