Expeditionary Force Blog Tour: Columbus Day by Craig Alanson

About Audiobook #1

Author: Craig Alanson

Narrator: R.C. Bray

Length: 16 hours 23 minutes

Publisher: Podium Publishing⎮2016

Genre: Science Fiction

Series: Expeditionary Force, Book 1

Release date: Dec. 13, 2016

Synopsis: Nominee, 2018 Audie Awards — Audiobook of the Year

We were fighting on the wrong side of a war we couldn’t win. And that was the good news. 

The Ruhar hit us on Columbus Day. There we were, innocently drifting along the cosmos on our little blue marble, like the Native Americans in 1492. Over the horizon came ships of a technologically advanced, aggressive culture, and BAM! There went the good old days, when humans got killed only by each other. So, Columbus Day. It fits. 

When the morning sky twinkled again, this time with Kristang starships jumping in to hammer the Ruhar, we thought we were saved. The UN Expeditionary Force hitched a ride on Kristang ships to fight the Ruhar wherever our new allies thought we could be useful. So, I went from fighting with the US Army in Nigeria to fighting in space. It was lies, all of it. We shouldn’t even be fighting the Ruhar; they aren’t our enemy. Our allies are. 

I’d better start at the beginning.

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An extraordinary story that made me feel transported into the cosmos! In this case, the planet Paradise with the Ruhar and the Kristang alien species. The sheer depth of each chapter is remarkable, and almost seems like a story in themselves. Narrator R.C. Bray delivers, of course, adding another level of entertainment. I didn’t know how funny this until I got into it. The interactions between the UN Expeditionary Force and the ancient Artificial Intelligence, “Skippy”, is hilarious. Good springboard for the rest of the series. 

INTERVIEW WITH NARRATOR R.C. BRAY

When did you know you wanted to be an audiobook narrator?

When I heard Frank Muller for the first time (The Dark Tower, Book II: The Drawing of the Three).  I always thought a narrator just “read” the book. When Frank started doing character voices and acting and just all-around engaging me as a listener, I knew that with my background it’s what I’m supposed to do.

How did you wind up narrating audiobooks? Was it always your goal or was it something you stumbled into by chance?

My last job before becoming a full-time narrator, was as Senior Producer and Voiceover for a company owned by a wonderful guy named Mark Kaplowe who was the voice of HBO, Butterfinger, Zest, and other big businesses in the 90s.  When his son was born, he wanted to eliminate traveling into NYC so he could be around him as much as possible. So he combined his love for automobiles and voiceover prowess, and began an ad company for local car dealerships. His big thing was “growing his business” and he loved audiobooks that were related to just that.  Since I had a commute of about 45 minutes (both ways) he wanted me to listen to them as well. I listened to countless business audiobooks before I decided to try a fiction title – The Dark Tower, Book I: The Gunslinger by Stephen King seemed like a good, short place to start. George Guidall was an outstanding introduction to audiobooks (Fiction), but it wasn’t until Frank Muller that I actually made an effort to find out more about becoming a narrator.

Did you find it difficult to “break into” audiobook narration? What skill/tool helped you the most when getting started?

I had two great champions get me through the door: Pat Fraley and Scott Brick.  Bringing my years of acting experience to narration impressed them enough to make suggestions, introductions, and continued support.  Also, ACX was launched the same time I got into narration. Being able to use that as a means to navigate the process (along with many patient authors, rights holders, and independent publishers), was a godsend.  Several of the titles I did via ACX garnered attention from bigger publishers and off I went.

A lot of narrators seem to have a background in theatre. Is that something you think is essential to a successful narration career?

It’s not essential, but it does help.

What type of training have you undergone?

I was a CTA (Communications/Theatre Arts) major in college that performed Off-Broadway and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  I also attended the Connecticut School of Broadcasting where, because of my theatre background, I excelled during the voiceover portion.  It was my abilities in voiceover that was a catalyst to getting the job at Kaplowe Studios.

About the Author: Craig Alanson

Craig Alanson is a NYT best-selling author. His first audiobook ‘Columbus Day’ was one of five finalists for Audiobook Of The Year 2018 Visit craigalanson.com for FAQs, blog posts, merchandise, etc.

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The Anna Blanc Mysteries Blog Tour: The Body in Griffith Park by Jennifer Kincheloe

“The most entertaining historical mystery.”

 

 

About Audiobook #3

Author: Jennifer Kincheloe

Narrator: Moira Quirk

Length: 11 hours 42 minutes

Publisher: Jennifer Kincheloe⎮2019

Genre: Historical Fiction Mystery

Series: Anna Blanc Mysteries, Book 3

Release date: Dec. 2, 2019

 

 

 

 

Synopsis: 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.

 

Buy Links for Audiobook #3

 

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I absolutely adore what Jennifer Kincheloe has created with the Anna Blanc mystery series. It’s the most entertaining historical fiction in my opinion! Just when you think you’re up for a little romance with detective Joe Singer…a body is suddenly found in Griffith park. I know, shocker right? I loved how this mystery plays out when Anna’s family gets involved in the case. She’s forced into an impossible dilemma between Joe, defending a family member, and solving the case. Great plotting. Laughed out loud several times! 

Narrator Moira Quirk is the perfect voice of Anna Blanc. I couldn’t imagine picking another person. Her characterization of Anna Blanc is spot on. When I’m listening to it I feel like I’m transported back in time. Moira Quirk is the best!

 

About the Author: Jennifer Kincheloe

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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About the Narrator: Moira Quirk

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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Audiobook Blog Tour: Cradle to Grave Kay Hunter Book #8 by Rachel Amphlett

About the Audiobook

Author: Rachel Amphlett

Narrator: Alison Campbell

Length: 7 hours 56 minutes

Publisher: Saxon Publishing⎮2019

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

Series: Detective Kay Hunter, Book 8

Release date: Oct. 15, 2019

Synopsis: When a faceless body is found floating in the river on a summer’s morning, Detective Kay Hunter and her team are tasked with finding out the man’s identity and where he came from.

The investigation takes a sinister turn when an abandoned boat is found, covered in blood stains and containing a child’s belongings.

Under mounting pressure from a distraught family and an unforgiving media, the police are in a race against time – but they have no leads and no motive for the events that have taken place.

Will Kay be able to find a ruthless killer and a missing child before it’s too late?

Cradle to Grave is the eighth book in the Detective Kay Hunter series by USA Today best-selling author Rachel Amphlett and perfect for listeners who love fast-paced murder mysteries.

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Coming back to book #8 in the Kay Hunter series was like meeting up again with old time friends. I always enjoy a good crime thriller, or police procedural, especially one based in the UK.  Author Rachel Amphlett writes a tight plot that’ll keep you guessing until the very end. 

 

About the Author: Rachel Amphlett

Before turning to writing, Rachel Amphlett played guitar in bands, worked as a TV and film extra, dabbled in radio as a presenter and freelance producer for the BBC, and worked in publishing as a sub-editor and editorial assistant.

She now wields a pen instead of a plectrum and writes crime fiction and spy novels, including the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the Detective Kay Hunter series.

Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel cites her writing influences as Michael Connelly, Lee Child, and Robert Ludlum. She’s also a huge fan of Peter James, Val McDermid, Robert Crais, Stuart MacBride, and many more.

She’s a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold sold to Fanucci Editore’s TIMECrime imprint, and the first four books in the Dan Taylor espionage series contracted to Germany’s Luzifer Verlag.

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About the Narrator: Allison Campbell

Alison Campbell is an actress based in Bristol, U.K. She has lent her voice to 50+ audiobooks, cartoons, documentaries and dramas. She can be found treading the boards across the country, in everything from Shakespeare to hip hop kids adventures. On screen she has appeared in dramas and science documentaries, her most recent co star was a CGI elephant. She can also be found performing the Natural Theatre Company’s award-winning surreal brand of interactive comedy around the globe.

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Audiobook Blog Tour: Beyond The Gates by Jason D. Morrow

About the Audiobook

 

Author: Jason D. Morrow

Narrator: Stacy Gonzalez

Length: 8 hours 39 minutes

Publisher: Jason D. Morrow⎮2019

Genre: Post-Apocalyptic; Science Fiction

Series: The Starborn Redemption, Book 1

Release date: April 20, 2019

 

Synopsis: The Containment Zone is a 500-mile radius surrounded by mountains and closed in by gates. No one can leave, and anyone who tries will die. Within are lawless bandits, corrupt soldiers, and once-human greyskins that hunt down people to spread the virus. Some say the Containment Zone is where the greyskin virus originated. Others say the people inside are little more than lab rats being studied by the nefarious Screven government.

When 12-year-old Skylar and her father, Liam, are caught trying to escape, they are taken to Vulture Hill, a government prison camp no one has ever left alive. Inside the prison, Skylar learns that the facility is little more than a testing site for finding people of a certain bloodline – the Starborn. These are people with special powers that manifests in various spectacular ways, and Screven wants to exploit them.

Skylar has always known there was something special about her family. For years, her father has had the ability to completely numb pain with just a thought. Lacerated skin, broken bones, they can all be ignored with enough concentration. Learning that her father is a Starborn means Skylar is probably one too, placing them both in extreme danger.

Now, father and daughter must do the impossible and break out of a prison known for killing so many. But Liam has leverage the government may be willing to buy – the cure for the greyskin virus.

The first two books of The Starborn Redemption are set 40 years after The Starborn Ascension and 17 years before The Starborn Uprising. Each Series can be listened to independently.

 

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This book was BETTER than expected. Don’t you love it when that happens? YES. Author Jason D. Morrow does an excellent job ushering you into the point of view of the main characters; Father and daughter tandem Liam and Skylar as they navigate prison Vulture’s Hill. I was impressed with narrator Stacy Gonzalez with her ability to breath life into the characters. 

 

Interview with Narrator Stacy Gonzalez

 

What are the first things you do as you prepare to narrate a book?

Very first–read the book. A lot of people ask that question, and, yes, I read the book. After reading it, I try to think through the characters. I put either a person I know or a celebrity as sort of the touchstone for each character. Beyond that, I don’t really do too much. I like to jump into the narration once I’ve read the story and thought through the characters.

 

Does the author help you with voice creation, or is it up to the narrator?

I usually do it all myself, unless I have any specific questions. Or unless an author has something very specific in mind. However, in most cases, the narrator is left to create their own artistic take on the characters.

 

How do you keep the characters straight in your head as you read through the text? 

I usually keep a little mp3 with a snippet of that character voice. Sometimes, there’s a word or phrase that I have to say to key me in to that character. There was a character in a book I did under my romance pseudonym where I had to pause the recording and say a really angry “F**K” to get in to that character. He was an angsty sort of neo-nazi. 

 

Do you have a method for characterizing, or portraying each character?

Once I get the voice down, I just let the story guide me. My method is just to let the author’s words tell the story.

 

How do you feel about being a medium through which readers can access a story?

I just love doing this. As an avid listener myself, there is nothing better than the feeling of not being able to stop listening. I hope that I can give listeners that feeling. I love when I’m listening to a book while running or cleaning–both of which, for me, can be activities that are hard to keep on doing past a certain point–and I HAVE TO run or clean longer because I just cannot turn the book off.



What do you want readers to know about narrating audiobooks? 

I hear a lot of non-listeners say that they like to hear the story how they hear it in their own heads. I would just want to say that listening to the book does not take away from that experience. You still use your imagination as a listener in a very similar way that you would as a straight-up reader. And listening can enhance the experience in different ways.

 

About the Author: Jason D. Morrow

Jason D. Morrow is the author of more than 15 books in the Science Fiction and Fantasy genres, including The Starborn Uprising, The Starborn Ascension, The Starborn Redemption and Prototype D.

 

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About the Narrator: Stacy Gonzalez

Stacy Gonzalez is a Chicago based narrator and commercial voice actor. She is feisty, bright and expressive. Stacy specializes in YA, self-help and romance, especially when the narration calls for a good handle on comedy, wit and sass. Audiofile Magazine has praised her pace and her ability to create bold characters. Stacy, who is half Colombian, speaks conversational Spanish. She has a great love for Old Hollywood—watching the movies and listening to audiobooks about any and every aspect of it! Follow her on Twitter at @stacygonzalezvo or visit her website at stacygonzalezvo.com.

 

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Audiobook Review: Runaway by Peter J. Thompson

About the Audiobook

 

Author: Peter J. Thompson

Narrator: Gary Tiedemann

Length: 8 hours 51 minutes

Publisher: Peter J. Thompson⎮2019

Genre: Suspense

Release date: Jan. 30, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis: A corrupt corporation. Ruthless assassins. Will the family that runs together… die together?

Fifteen-year-old Zach Monaghan has a target on his back. In the witness protection program for his father’s whistleblowing, he’s now run away, back to his old home in Chicago.Zach wants to get back to his friends and to Lindsey, the girl he’d met right before being whisked off in the middle of the night. But escaping his fake identity won’t last long if two contract killers catch up to him…

Big Joe Gorski has climbed the ladder from street thug to tycoon. Now he’s got it all–riches–status–police, and politicians in his pocket. But life at the top is suddenly unsteady and one slip can bring it all down. With a scheming partner, politicians who won’t stay bought and Feds breathing down his neck,Gorski has to move carefully. But being careful goes against his nature. He’s a raging bull and he’ll do whatever it takes to keep what he has … let the bodies fall where they will.

As the ruthless killer draws closer to Zach, surviving the greedy corporate plot may force the whole family to get their hands bloody…

The Runaway is a fast-paced thriller with dizzying twists and turns. If you like non-stop action, high-stakes tension, and large casts of compelling characters, then you’ll love Peter Thompson’s gripping novel.

 

 

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Great book and entertaining read. I laughed out loud several times! Hilarious.  The writing was good, but the narration adds a certain quality that otherwise would be missed. Narrator Gary Tiedemann plays it perfectly. His characterization was spot on. From clueless teens, mob bosses, eastern European crooks, and goofy goons–It all made for a very entertaining experience. I assure you I would’nt had the same experience without the audiobook. Excellent. Keep your eye on author Peter J. Thompson. Enjoyable characters, creative plots, juicy suspense and point of view. Definitely recommending. 

 

 

 

About the Author: Peter J. Thompson

 

Peter Thompson grew up on the east side of Chicago, in the shadow of the steel mills where the air was sooty and smelled of sulfur. His life wasn’t always so gritty, but the grit and realism finds its way into his thrillers. He has always loved stories of every kind, and one of his joys is finding a way to get inside character’s heads, seeing the world as they see it and feeling their triumphs, pain, and fear. He visualizes his characters when he writes, and they are larger than life in the big screen of his imagination.

 

Before pursuing his passion and becoming a full-time author, he tried his hand at everything from factory work, breaking cement in a construction crew, running his own pizza shop, and he was a well-regarded presence in the mortgage industry for nearly thirty years. When he isn’t writing, Peter loves, spicy food, live music, and exciting and thought-provoking books and movies. He is a fitness buff who loves to spend time with his grown sons and is looking forward to traveling the world and seeking adventures with his lovely partner.

 

About the Narrator: Gary Tiedemann

 

Gary Tiedemann is a full-time voice-actor and narrator of audiobooks, with over 60 unabridged titles narrated and counting. He has voiced countless commercials and multimedia productions in addition to spending over 10 years on stage performing improv, sketch comedy and original works of theatre. Gary is a graduate of Tulane University in New Orleans. He currently splits his time between Florida and Chicago. See more at http://www.garytiedemann.com

 

 

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Blog Tour: Bridge To Burn by Rachel Amphlett


 

 

 

 

 

 

When a mummified body is found in a renovated building, the gruesome discovery leads Detective Kay Hunter and her team into a complex murder investigation.

The subsequent police inquiry exposes corruption, lies, and organized crime within the tight-knit community – and Kay’s determination to seek justice for the young murder victim could ruin the reputations of men who will do anything to protect their business interests.

But as Kay closes in on the killer, tragedy strikes closer to home in an event that will send a shockwave through her personal life and make her question everything she values. Can Kay keep her private and professional life under control while she tries to unravel one of the strangest murder cases of her career?

Have you discovered the Kay Hunter British detective murder mysteries yet?

 

 

 



It’s always great crime and detective fiction in the Kay Hunter series. A body is found under bizarre circumstances, leaving Hunter and her team scrambling to find answers. Lies, cover ups, deception, family drama–Detective Kay Hunter has her hands full!  This series is full of creative plots that won’t disappoint. 

 

 

About the Author: Rachel Amphlett

Before turning to writing, Rachel Amphlett played guitar in bands, worked as a TV and film extra, dabbled in radio as a presenter and freelance producer for the BBC, and worked in publishing as a sub-editor and editorial assistant.

 

She now wields a pen instead of a plectrum and writes crime fiction and spy novels, including the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the Detective Kay Hunter series.

 

Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel cites her writing influences as Michael Connelly, Lee Child, and Robert Ludlum. She’s also a huge fan of Peter James, Val McDermid, Robert Crais, Stuart MacBride, and many more.

 

She’s a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold sold to Fanucci Editore’s TIMECrime imprint, and the first four books in the Dan Taylor espionage series contracted to Germany’s Luzifer Verlag.

 

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Audiobook Review: Zoo by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge

Zoo image

 

 

In James Patterson’s pulse-racing thriller, violent animal attacks are destroying entire cities-and two unlikely heroes must save the world before it’s too late.

All over the world, brutal attacks are crippling entire cities. Jackson Oz, a young biologist, watches the escalating events with an increasing sense of dread. When he witnesses a coordinated lion ambush in Africa, the enormity of the violence to come becomes terrifyingly clear.

With the help of ecologist Chloe Tousignant, Oz races to warn world leaders before it’s too late. The attacks are growing in ferocity, cunning, and planning, and soon there will be no place left for humans to hide.

For 36 years, James Patterson has written unputdownable, pulse-racing novels-and Zoo is the thriller he was born to write. With wildly inventive imagination and white-knuckle suspense that rivals Stephen King at his very best, Zoo is an epic, non-stop thrill-ride from “one of the best of the best” (Time).

 

Audible | Goodreads

 

 

 

 

Highest level of performance concept, 3D rendering

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIY MFA Radio: Writing Strong Female Characters – Lisa Gardner, Jon Land, and Karin Slaugther

Powerful confident woman flexing her muscles.

 

 

DIY MFA Radio Episode #213

 

Writing Strong Female Protagonists Live from ThrillerFest 2018 – Lisa Gardner, Jon Land, and Karin Slaughter.

 

 

This podcast originally appears on diymfa.com on August 15, 2018. Duration: 56 min.

 

Old Wooden Radio Design

 

 

diymfa.com

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karinslaughter.com

thrillerfest.com

 

 

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Audioboook Review: The Bone Collector by Jeffery Deaver

Bone Collector Audio image

 

 

 

In his most gripping thriller yet, Jeffery Deaver takes readers on a terrifying ride into two ingenious minds…that of a physically challenged detective and the scheming killer he must stop. The detective was the former head of forensics at the NYPD, but is now a quadriplegic who can only exercise his mind. The killer is a man whose obsession with old New York helps him choose his next victim. Now, with the help of a beautiful young cop, this diabolical killer must be stopped before he can kill again!

 

Audible | Goodreads

 

 

 

Highest level of performance concept, 3D rendering

 

 

 

NARRATOR PERFORMANCE: 7/10

 

  • Narrator-Story Connection:  10/10

I could tell narrator Connor O’Brien was fully enveloped in the story throughout this book. It makes it that much easier to enter into the story as a listener.

 

  • Voice Creation/Switch Over:  9/10

I have to give honor where honor is due. The voice creation, narrator voice and switching back and forth was stunning, professional and creative. The only thing I’d say here is some of the characters sound less intelligent. For instance some of the law enforcement officials sound like they’re “dumb” when they shouldn’t. It resembled some of the goons that the bad guys have at times.

The Voice of Lincoln Rhyme I thought was perfect. Somewhat stoical, nerdy,  with a nose for facts. Good fit. Emelia Sachs was also beautifully portrayed, especially for a male narrator. She was simple, innocent, yet firm and compassionate.

 

  • Pacing 8/10

It took me some time to get used to the narrator’s pace, but it was no problem after that.

 

  • Emphasis 10/10

Brilliant here. Each character was made more realistic by skilled emphasis.

 

  • Reader-Story Connection  10/10

I believe each narrator is a medium through which we see the story come alive–or not.  This narrator did a great job all said and done because I loved the story!

 

  • Sound Quality: 10/10

Publisher:  Penguin Audio

Excellent sound production.

 

  • Overall Performance: 8/10 

Connor O’Brien is a skilled narrator who knows how to bring a story to life. Admittedly, it took me some time to get used to his narrative voice, but this was no problem in the end. Great story and performance.

 

 

 

Happy young woman with headphones

 

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