Audiobook Tour: Jesse’s Girl by Tara September

Audiobook Tour: Jesse’s Girl by Tara September

Author: Tara September

Narrator: Verla Bond

Length: 3 hours and 37 minutes

Publisher: Plus it Up

Released: Sep. 6, 2019

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Successful Texas lawyer, Reade Walker, curses that damn song every time it plays, all too aware of the irony of its lyrics. After all, he has been secretly and painfully enamored with Jesse’s girl, Gwen, for nearly a decade. It was love at first sight for him, but sadly she’s not his girl. She belongs to the one man who betrayed him and knows Reade’s hidden family secret. Yet, Reade can’t seem to love anyone except the one woman he can’t have. Or can he make her mine?

When Gwen Clark’s senator husband runs off with his intern and all their money, the ensuing scandal turns her life upside down. Deserted, penniless, and desperate to provide for her six-year-old daughter, Gwen has no one to turn to but Reade Walker. The one man her heart desperately wants, but her pride dreads having to ask for help. Despite welcoming them into his home, it seems like Reade can barely stand being in the same room with her anymore, let alone under the same roof – in the same bedroom. But Gwen is determined to get her life back on track. It is past time to rediscover her own dreams…if only she can keep her aching heart from breaking all over again.

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Tara September is an award-winning… and losing contemporary romance writer living in Southwest Florida.

Tara is proud to be the world’s most okayest mom to clones (identical twin boys). When not writing out her daydreams, she blogs over at When Tara Met Blog @tarametblog, a lifestyle and parenting blog of 14 years.

Holding a master’s degree in journalism from NYU, she previously was the Corporate Communications Manager at WWE and PR Manager for The Walt Disney Company, Consumer Products.

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Narrator Bio

Verla Bond is an American actor, improvisor, and storyteller, who makes her home in Los Angeles, California. She enjoys performing on the stage and screen, but especially loves recording audiobooks, where she gets the privilege of playing all kinds of diverse characters, such as British vampires, Irish leprechauns, and Southern gentlemen.

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Q&A with Author Tara September
  • Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook. How did you select your narrator?
    • It was a lot of fun actually. I got to listen to auditions and hear professional voice actors read my script. Although, at the same time it’s weird to hear someone else outside of my own inner voice read my words. There is no way I could have done as good as a job though. I’m way too nasally, lol. Still, I didn’t love some of the samples that I received. One made my hero sound too feminine, others took the southern setting a bit too far with their twang. So, I personally contacted my final narrator Verla Bond asking if she wished she had Jesse’s Girl. Luckily, my subject line didn’t scare her off and she agreed to the project.
  • Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
    • No, I never thought my book would be published and read by others, never mind available in audiobook format. It’s pretty surreal and totes exciting!
  • How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process? Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?
    • No, I figured she was the professional in this department not me. Luckily I barely had any edits for her. The only direction I had provided was that I’d like for the heroine’s voice to get stronger as the story progressed, to reflect her own transformation from victim to having control of her life again.
  • Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
    • Not my personal life, but I did base Jesse’s Girl off of the 80s pop-song by Rick Springfield and the love triangle he sings about. The current political climate and untrustworthy candidates also set the stage for the beginning of the novel. However, thankfully politics isn’t the focus. The heroine Gwen is also a former reporter like me, so I added in some of those background details.
  • Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
    • Yes! I l love listening to audiobooks while driving or traveling. Nothing like multi-tasking to make the trip fly by.
  • What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
    • Insert eye roll. That’s annoying, after all, to each is own. Everyone is busy and audibooks are a great way to get in a good read while going about your day. Definitely, better than not reading at all or just having music or a show on in the background.
  • How did you celebrate after finishing this novel?
    • By drinking!! At the start of this adventure, I purchased a bottle of Irish whiskey appropriately called Writers Tears (IG photo) with the intent of opening it after I published my story. So, there it sat aging on my shelf for three years. Kinda like me, lol. The day it released, I poured a glass of the amber liquid and savored each sip. I poured another glass at the release of this audiobook and will do so again after my next manuscript is completed, etc. It’s still half full.
  • What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
    • Be sure and join a local writing group or an online membership focused on your genre. I’ve learned so much from the talented authors in my local Romance Writers of America chapter, SWFRW from craft to marketing tips and overall moral support when I wanted to quit.
  • What’s next for you?
    • My manuscript Mine to Five is in my editor’s hands now. It’s an office romance set around the holidays in Manhattan and Connecticut. I’m hoping to have it out before Thanksgiving, but I also said that last year, lol. It’s looking quite feasible this time around though. The heroine has a temper and is quite sassy. The hero is burned out at work and needs love along with the holiday season to reenergize him. Fortunately for him, the heroine knows just what he needs, even if it is against office policy.

Dream Cast

Tara September’s Casting Picks for Jesse’s Girl

When I read books, I’m often casting actors and actresses to play the different characters. However, when asked this question about my own book, it wasn’t as easy. Likely because I truly see Gwen and Reade as real people with their own features and characteristics. But…

  • Jennifer Aniston or Emma Watson as Gwen Gallo (an attractive, girl next door type that could be both a senator’s wife and a mom in yoga pants)
  • Henry Cavill or Richard Madden as Reade Walker (a loyal handsome man that you can trust, a strong and steady Clark Kent)
  • Ryan Gosling as Jesse Clark (Charming all-American southern boy look, but with a hidden darkness who can pull off jeans and a cowboy hat or black-tie attire.)
  • A young Jennifer Garner as family lawyer Danielle Dixon, former tom-boy turned bombshell.
  • Chris Pratt as Hunter, the former high school football star who fled town due to Jesse’s manipulations and is now returning home for the first time

Giveaway

Giveaway: $50 Best Buy gift card & Jesse’s Girl audiobook

Jesse’s Girl Giveaway: $50 Best Buy gift card & Jesse’s Girl audiobook
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Oct. 10th:

The World As I See It

Viviana MacKade

Oct. 11th:

Reading for the Love of Books

4 the Love of Audiobooks

Oct. 12th:

Valerie Ullmer | Romance Author

The Book Junkie Reads . . .

Educated Book Freak

Oct. 13th:

From the TBR Pile

Locks, Hooks and Books

Oct. 14th:

Jazzy Book Reviews

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Oct. 15th:

Nesie’s Place

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Oct. 16th:

What Is That Book About

The Book Addict’s Reviews

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Audiobook Series Tour: Ship for Brains by Brian David Bruns

Audiobook Series Tour: Cruise Confidential by Brian David Bruns

Author: Brian David Bruns

Narrator: Gary Furlong

Length: 9 hours 44 minutes

Series: Cruise Confidential Series, Book 2

Publisher: Brian David Bruns

Released: Oct. 12, 2018

Genre: Travel Humor

Cruise ship crew have it hard. Cruise ship rock stars have it harder! Bruns is back to expose the high seas art world. In this hilarious sequel he vividly describes his ship life highs and lows, misadventures, mis-flirtations and, through it all, his astute insights into human nature.  

Buy LinksBuy on iTunes

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CiszF1QYAw

Brian David Bruns has adventured in over 60 countries to gather material for his bestselling books and won dozens of literary awards, including the USA REBA Grand Prize. He has been featured on ABC’s 20/20 and was anointed Sir Brian by Prince Michael, Regent of the Principality of Sealand (yes, really). 

 Sir Brian writes of his global experiences with a self-mocking wit and an astute insight into human behavior. His historical fiction seamlessly blends his love of travel and adventure with the fantastical–a sort of Indiana Jones meets Bram Stoker. 

He is devoted to veterans organizations, such as Operation Homefront and Wounded Warriors Project, to which he’s donated thousands of his books.

After several years residing in Dracula’s actual hometown (yes, really), he and his Romanian wife now live in Las Vegas with their two old rescue cats, Julius and Caesar.

WebsiteAmazon

Narrator Bio

Originally from Ireland, Gary Furlong worked a teacher in Niigata, Japan; a puppeteer in Prague; an improv artist in Memphis, and a festival performer in Ireland.  

A naturally-gifted mimic, Gary began narrating audiobooks for a living in 2015 and hasn’t looked back.

Gary specializes in accents and dialect, with fluency in Irish, British RP, and Standard American.  

In four years of working full-time with audiobook production, Gary has narrated over 100 audiobooks spanning Fantasy,Thriller, Romance, YA, and non-fiction for world-class publishing houses and independent authors.

In 2018 Gary won a much coveted AudioFile Earphones Award and the Independent Audiobook Award for Romance.

He now lives in Texas with his wife and their golden retriever called “Gansey,” which means “Sweater” in Irish Gaelic.

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Guest Post

Brian David Bruns’ Perks of Being an Author

I am a ninja. Good authors are. There are many reasons for this. I’ll prioritize two:

Organization isn’t a sexy topic. Satisfying? Oh yes. But not sexy. Writing a book forces you to use your gray matter, which is something we all can benefit from. It’s much-needed practice in taking time to put things where they belong. That makes good habits of being efficient. More importantly it teaches you how to look for commonalities, teaches you to analyze things and people and situations to find their roots. 

More sexy (perhaps, depending on your past) is introspection. Authors write about situations with which they are familiar. Always. Your book’s about intergalactic Znarfus invading Earth? Sure, there’s imagination at work, but what about character interaction? Character background, experiences, desires, hopes? That’s all based on familiarity, and that takes some inward analysis. 

Self-objectivity is not easy, but worth the effort. Perhaps you will surprise yourself on just how awesome you really are. Maybe you’ll discover you’ve been blaming others for every bad thing you’ve done. If you take the time to identify such things you are better able to recognize what’s up when situations pop up in the future. Self-awareness and objectivity is powerful stuff. The stuff of ninjas. Be a ninja.

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Giveaway: $100 Amazon Gift Card

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Audiobook Tour: The Hands We’re Given by O.E. Tearmann

Audiobook Tour: The Hands We’re Given by O.E. Tearmann

Author: O.E. Tearmann

Narrator: Kirt Graves

Length: 13 hours and 16 minutes

Series: Aces High, Jokers Wild, Book 1

Publisher: Amphibian Press

Released: Jun. 28, 2019

Genre: Technothriller; Cyberpunk; LGBT

Sex. Drones. Rock and roll.

Aidan Headly never wanted to be the man giving orders. That’s fine with the Democratic State Force base he’s been assigned to command: they don’t like to take orders. Nicknamed the Wildcards, they used to be the most effective base against the seven Corporations owning the former United States in a war that has lasted over half a century. Now the Wildcards are known for creative insubordination, chaos, and commanders begging to be reassigned.

Aidan is their last chance. If he can pull off his assignment as Commander and yank his ragtag crew of dreamers and fighters together, maybe they can get back to doing what they came to do: fighting for a country worth living in.

Life’s a bitch. She deals off the bottom of the deck. But you play the hands you’re given.

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O.E. Tearmann lives in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, in what may become the Co-Wy Grid. They share the house with a brat in fur, a husband and a great many books. Their search engine history may garner them a call from the FBI one day. When they’re not living on base 1407 they advocate for a more equitable society and more sustainable agricultural practices, participate in sundry geekdom and do their best to walk their characters’ talk.

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Narrator Bio

Kirt Graves has 20+ years of experience as a stage actor & vocal performer. His first audiobook was featured as an Audible Five-Star Fave.

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Top 10 List

O.E. Tearmann’s Ten Reasons To Listen To This Book
  • Listen because Kirt Graves absolutely rocks. No, I mean it. As a narrator, Kirt has done a fantastic job of nailing everything from the somewhat shifting voice of Aidan, a trans man, to Janice, a former agricultural worker whose scathing drawl can skin a donkey. He nailed the voice of a tiny woman with a stutter, a baby and a ten-year old. And they were all absolutely perfect.
  • Listening to this book will give you hope. It was begun as a response to the disheartened apathy of 2016. It felt as if everyone was assuming that we were going downhill, and that the erosion of America was inevitable.
    • Okay, fine. Then let’s write the darkest incarnation of America we can envision if the country continues down this road. And then let’s write characters who take care of one another, fall in love, and laugh in spite of it.
    • That’s the Wildcards: an eighteen-man unit in a force fighting to overthrow the Corporations that run America and restore democracy to the country. They are fighters. They are dreamers. They are a family. And they are going to kick the world’s ass together.
  • Listen for the laughs
    • One of my influences for this series was the classic show MASH 4077, and I’ve drawn on it as a reminder that humor helps people survive dark times. The Wildcards are very smart, sometimes bored, and always up for a laugh. On this base, there are puns. There’s pranks. There’s overwriting one another’s personnel files to make jokes. There’s innuendo and a betting pool on who’s going to fall in love with who. There is some of the funniest cursing you’ve ever heard.
  • Listen for a love story you don’t see every day.
    • As Aidan and Kevin perform a slow and sometimes awkward courtship, they trip and stumble more than once. But they also work to understand and support one another. They both act with compassion. And they give each other the gifts of their truths. This highly inclusive LGBT story showcases romance between people who society too often ignores. These stories are worthy of being heard.
  • Listen for the sex.
    • Oh, yes. There is sex. Very fun, very queer sex.
  • Listen for the drones.
    • Things get pretty crazy in this climate changed version of Colorado. If dodging attack drones and stealing shipments from Corporate overlords is your thing, this is your book.
  • Listen for the rock and roll
    • Kevin is a hopeless history geek. Living in 2155, he adores the 1980s. Get ready for screwy references and hollered Bon Jovi lyrics.
  • Listen for a different kind of hero, and a different kind of leadership.
    • Aidan isn’t the leader you expect. He’s quiet. Self effacing. He doesn’t give many orders, and he doesn’t do much shouting. But his quiet presence draws his people into the tight knit unit that they need to be, and his kind of leadership showcases a different, less harmful way to be a leader.
  • Listen to the warning of America’s future
    • Between climate change, the for-profit nature of American society and the mind-numbingly pervasive ads on the city Grids, the version of America in these books is not a fun place to live. How it ended up there is discussed. I wrote this as a warning. Let’s not end up there.
  • Listen to the dreams
    • This world may be grim, but it lays out a path forward that we can follow. Together, we can rise. Let ‘The Hands We’re Given’ prove it to you.

Guest Post

Genetic Testing

Genetic testing.

Gene tailoring.

Helping humanity.

Or…not?

Genetic tinkering is something I play with entirely too much in The Hands We’re Given and its sequels in the Aces High, Jokers Wild series. The possibilities of gene tailoring sound great…until you realize that every genetic flaw will become a moral failing. When perfect becomes possible, imperfect becomes criminal. We see it already: I’ve caught myself thinking ‘wow…didn’t your parents care about that?’ when I see an adult with crooked teeth. We extoll clear skin and lustrous hair. Thousands of trees have died for magazines that tell us that we just have to drink more water, exercise, and eat our vegetables to get smooth skin…they don’t talk about how much money the ladies on their covers spend to get it, though.

We confuse moral worth with physical perfection. And in an era when genes can be edited, that may get a lot worse. Those who can’t afford or don’t want to improve their children will be listed as criminally negligent. And you have to wonder what it’ll do to our sense of humanity.

Well, some people have to wonder. I have to write  
In The Hands We’re Given, I’ve loved playing with the power, the costs and the downfalls of genomic tailoring. In 2155, drugs are tailored to your personal genome, which improves their effectiveness many times over. But your genome is also used against you.

For example, the medical Cavanaugh Corporation, which has publicly stated that its aim is to perfect humanity. Genetic ‘aberration’ is treated as a punishable offense by Corporation-contracted workers: after all, they’re removing future profits by producing children that will have lower productivity. ‘Aberrant’ children with preventable genetic issues (and the list of preventable issues is very, very long) are listed as cases of neglect. Babies born ‘aberrant’ to mothers who could not afford gene optimizing are removed from the home, under the Aberrant Progeny Policy.
For the company’s upper management, gene optimizing is compulsory. I explore these issues in writing the character of Kevin McIllian. Kevin was born into a family belonging to the upper echelons of Cavanaugh’s management structure, and his genome was designed to the specifications of a Corporate board. His brain chemistry and function should have been optimized in vitro as well, but his parents bribed the technicians to leave his mind alone. He treasures the flaws he bears as a result of the incomplete optimization. They’re his only proof that he is still human; that he still has free will and his own choices to make. He hates the fact that he was designed to meet the standards of a Corporate blueprint. He proudly calls himself ‘aberrant’, and wears the glasses that show off the fact that he’s nearsighted as a small, daily gesture of defiance. He detests the fact that he’s been manipulated since he was conceived by a Corporation that intended to use him. That anger acts as a fuel, pushing him on.

And then, of course, we get into the fact that every technology has some mistakes. What legacy will the first genomic experiments leave? Will we get children who are genetically perfect in our first trials? Or will they appear perfect until they begin to have children of their own, and spliced genes begin to mix into the germ lines in unexpected ways?

But on the flip side, if we could remove Cri-du-Chat, Parkinson’s, and bad teeth from the gene pool, shouldn’t we? Is refusing to remove a gene for cerebral palsy or cystic fibrosis tomorrow any different from refusing to vaccinate a kid today?

Gene editing is a fascinating and terrifying area to look into, because it walks a fine line: on the one hand, the prevention or removal of preventable suffering. On the other hand, the pathologizing of untold numbers of issues. What will end up on the list of ‘preventable genetic disorders’. That’s my greatest question. And, perhaps, my area of most intense interest as a writer.

The morally grey area of whether we should genetically modify our children or not can be seen as three intersecting planes.

Let’s call Plane 1 the Access Plane. Who has access to these changes? Who is compelled to be changed? I think in our popular imagination we see the “designer baby” trope played out: class and social power are linked to genetic alteration.On the other side of the coin, we see lower class colonists genetically adjusted for their new worlds in the Spin State novels. In my book, poor countries were incentivised to have their children tailored in order to require less food and water.

Plane Two, we’ll call the Biological Politics plane. Who gets to determine what needs changing? Is it a democratic choice? Is there a bureaucracy? Is there state intervention when there is a perceived danger to a society? And what’s the danger, exactly? We already see some of these issues around the world. For instance: what do you do in a country that wants more boy children than girls? And what do you call a ‘disease?’ In Russia, being gay’s on that list. If we start getting involved before the children of the future draw their first breaths, things could get…unpleasant.

Plane Three is the Plane of Consequences. Beyond looking at the implications of such societies, what are we saying as creators/fans/curators of speculative fiction when we engage with the idea that things like sex/gender/orientation are things that can be tinkered with using genetic technology? Today, academic and medical institutions usually act in ways that perpetuate our current structures of power. It’s the water they swim in. If people could change genomes in the future to suit ‘society’, would they genetically manipulate the population to make sure that men are more intelligent than women? Will they unravel and then erase the genetic triggers for stepping out of the gender binary? And what would that make us, as people? As a writer, it’s my job to ask these questions. I need to hold a mirror up to our society and ask it to look itself in the eye.

Like so many things, I don’t want us to label this technology as wholly evil, as writers. Let’s not get out the tar-and-feather kit, as people are already doing for GMO crops. But let’s use our writing to remind people, again: scientific techniques are amoral. They arrive in a box labeled ‘ethics not included’. We have to supply those. Let’s use writing to remind our readers that we must use gene-tailoring tech with the greatest possible breadth of fully experienced life and the least harm as the goals. We don’t need humanity to be perfect. We need it to be as human as possible.

Right now I’m working on Book 3 in the series, tentatively titled ‘Raise the Stakes’ and scheduled for a July release. In that book, two of our genetically modified characters face what it means to be what they are. If this sounds like the kind of rabbit hole you’d like to dive down, come hang out at @wildcards1407 on Facebook or follow me on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/O.E.-Tearmann/e/B07J62VX9W

Giveaway

Giveaway: Writer’s Tears whiskey with signed set of books

The Hands We’re Given Giveaway: Writer’s Tears Whiskey with Signed Set of Books
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Oct. 6th:

Valerie Ullmer | Romance Author

Nesie’s Place

Oct. 7th:

The Book Junkie Reads . . .

Nyx Blogs

Always Love Me Some Books

Oct. 8th:

Dab of Darkness Book Reviews

Turning Another Page

Oct. 9th:

Eileen Troemel

4 the Love of Audiobooks

Oct. 10th:

Jazzy Book Reviews

Oct. 11th:

The Bookworm Lodge

Oct. 12th:

The Book Addict’s Reviews

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Audiobook Series Tour: Cruise Confidential by Brian David Bruns

Audiobook Series Tour: Cruise Confidential by Brian David Bruns

Author: Brian David Bruns

Narrator: Gary Furlong

Length: 9 hours 20 minutes

Series: Cruise Confidential Series, Book 1

Publisher: Brian David Bruns

Released: Mar. 31, 2016

Genre: Travel Humor

National Best Seller

ForeWord Humor Book of the Year

Benjamin Franklin Awards Humor Book of the Year

In Cruise Confidential, Brian David Bruns spills the dirt – or, in this case, the dirty water – on those romantic, fun-filled vacations at sea. His hilarious chronicle of the year he spent working for Carnival Cruise Lines takes listeners down into the areas where the crew works and lives, leaving listeners gasping with laughter as they’re assaulted nonstop with events that range from the absurd to the utterly bizarre. Stewards fighting over food. Cutlery allowances and other nonsensical rules. What the crew calls those onboard (no, it’s not passengers). And, of course, the sex. An abundance of ready, willing, and able bodies eager for action on a vessel replete with nooks and crannies leads to love in some mighty strange and seemingly impossible places.

Breezy, entertaining, and informative, Cruise Confidential is essential listening for those planning a cruise or for anyone who just needs a good laugh.

Buy LinksBuy on iTunes

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CiszF1QYAw

Brian David Bruns has adventured in over 60 countries to gather material for his bestselling books and won dozens of literary awards, including the USA REBA Grand Prize. He has been featured on ABC’s 20/20 and was anointed Sir Brian by Prince Michael, Regent of the Principality of Sealand (yes, really). 

 Sir Brian writes of his global experiences with a self-mocking wit and an astute insight into human behavior. His historical fiction seamlessly blends his love of travel and adventure with the fantastical–a sort of Indiana Jones meets Bram Stoker. 

He is devoted to veterans organizations, such as Operation Homefront and Wounded Warriors Project, to which he’s donated thousands of his books.

After several years residing in Dracula’s actual hometown (yes, really), he and his Romanian wife now live in Las Vegas with their two old rescue cats, Julius and Caesar.

WebsiteAmazon

Narrator Bio

Originally from Ireland, Gary Furlong worked a teacher in Niigata, Japan; a puppeteer in Prague; an improv artist in Memphis, and a festival performer in Ireland.  

A naturally-gifted mimic, Gary began narrating audiobooks for a living in 2015 and hasn’t looked back.

Gary specializes in accents and dialect, with fluency in Irish, British RP, and Standard American.  

In four years of working full-time with audiobook production, Gary has narrated over 100 audiobooks spanning Fantasy,Thriller, Romance, YA, and non-fiction for world-class publishing houses and independent authors.

In 2018 Gary won a much coveted AudioFile Earphones Award and the Independent Audiobook Award for Romance.

He now lives in Texas with his wife and their golden retriever called “Gansey,” which means “Sweater” in Irish Gaelic.

WebsiteTwitterFacebook

Q&A with Author Brian David Bruns
  • Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook.
    • I feared the challenges of finding a narrator were too great for this book. Sure, I could find someone to just read the text, but I wanted to convey the feeling of being abroad. Accents can be tricky things because many people, Americans in particular, are not exposed to too many of them. So you don’t want to put anybody off. But when you are living below the waterline in a crew cabin of a cruise ship, every single person you meet reminds you that you’re far from home with every single word they say. I thought that was important. 
  • Do you believe certain types of writing translate better into audiobook format? 
    • I think any story can and should be shared audibly. Perhaps this is because I’m a natural storyteller who insists upon sharing audibly every single thing to every single person I meet. It’s amazing I have any friends left at all. That being said, I am a visual creature too. I love the look of the printed word and take pains to make my writing visually engaging. That’s more of my fiction, though. My narrative nonfiction, such as in Cruise Confidential, is much more like us sitting down over a beer and sharing experiences. 
  • Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing? 
    • The narrative voice of the book is entirely my own, but I didn’t have a hope or a prayer of handling the extreme linguistics of so very many “characters” from so very many nations. After a decade I finally mustered the courage to actually seek somebody who might be able to give it a shot. It was a daunting task.  
  • How did you select your narrator?
    • With 60+ nationalities and subsequent accents, selecting a narrator was no mean feat. I searched through copious numbers of samples from many excellent narrators. But really, how realistic was it to find one person who could do accents ranging from all places Asia to all places Europe and North America to boot? Behold: Gary Furlong. He was an Irishman who had lived in Japan who I found by way of Ohio. His mastery of so many accents that one hears living on a cruise ship was so complete I suffered flashbacks. 
  • How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process? Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters? 
    • Narrator Gary Furlong is a consummate professional, so any word he doesn’t know how to pronounce he knows how to learn. That said I through him for a loop once or twice with some Native American names. The man’s from Ireland, so you have to give him a break. Certainly I’d be lost if he showed me some Gaelic! It was important that the narrative voice was a Midwestern standard American accent because that is what I speak, and where I’m from is fundamental to the plot. It was also important to convey my manner of storytelling, which is often grandiose but in a tongue-in-cheek manner. Transcripts of my dialogue can strip out my presentation and sometimes make me out to be a superlatively arrogant man. In fact I’m only very arrogant. 
  • Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing? 
    • Contrary to the naysayers, every word of this book is true. When peeling back the veneer of a beloved pastime such a cruising, there is bound to be resistance. I’d imagine anyone writing a tell-all about working in Disney World would encounter the same thing. But what I experienced was absolutely shocking and I felt the story needed to be told. That it had a happy ending was in no way assured and is honestly more a matter of attitude than objectivity. 
  • Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you? 
    • I love audiobooks. I was a marathoner for most of my life and would listen to lots of books. They made the long, painful miles enjoyable. Well, at least somewhat enjoyable! I am particularly fond of narrators who can do multiple voices. It’s by no means a requirement, but I enjoy the theatricality of it. As I branch into narrating some of my own books I understand just how impressive such skills are!
  • Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format? 
    • The accents are incredibly powerful. I think the audiobook is orders of magnitude better than the print.  
  • If this title were being made into a TV series or movie, who would you cast to play the  primary roles? 
    • This book has nearly been made into a TV show on several different occasions, once getting all the way to step 20 of 20 before not making the cut. That was disappointing, as you can imagine. If I had a time machine I would have done anything to get Bruce Campbell to play the narrator (me). If anyone wants to know what it’s like hanging out with me, just watch Evil Dead 2. Looks, personality; we could be twins. Well, barring the chainsaw hand and the misogyny. 
  • What’s next for you?
    • I am learning to narrate my own books for release in 2020, as well as release a series of historical fiction thrillers. My true love isn’t being abused on the high seas, but in fact more akin to something you’d find in the X-Files or Bram Stoker. Travel and history do go hand in hand, and a good historical fiction can be very educational. That’s where my real passion lay. 

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Audiobook Tour: Liberty by Kim Iverson Headlee

Audiobook Tour: Liberty by Kim Iverson Headlee

Author: Kim Iverson Headlee

Narrator: Lillian Rachel

Length: 13 hours and 45 minutes

Publisher: Pendragon Cove Media

Released: Aug. 2, 2018

Genre: Historical Romance

How hard would you fight for a chance at impossible love?  

From the critically acclaimed, award-winning pen of Kim Iverson Headlee comes the thrilling, poignant tale of love across a vast social divide.  

Winner of the 2015 International BooksGoSocial Best Book.  

Betrayed by her father and sold as payment of a Roman tax debt to fight in Londinium’s arena, gladiatrix-slave Rhyddes feels like a wild beast in a gilded cage. Celtic warrior blood flows in her veins, but Roman masters own her body. She clings to her vow that no man shall claim her soul, though Marcus Calpurnius Aquila, son of the Roman governor, makes her yearn for a love she believes impossible.  

Groomed to follow in his father’s footsteps and trapped in a politically advantageous betrothal, Aquila prefers the purity of combat on the amphitheater sands to the sinister intrigues of imperial politics, and the raw power and athletic grace of the flame-haired Libertas to the adoring deference of Rome’s noblewomen.  

When a plot to overthrow Caesar ensnares them as pawns in the dark design, Aquila must choose between the Celtic slave who has won his heart and the empire to which they both owe allegiance. Trusting no man and knowing the opposite of obedience is death, the only liberty offered to any slave, Rhyddes must embrace her arena name, Libertas – and the love of a man willing to sacrifice everything to forge a future with her.

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Kim Iverson Headlee lives on a farm in southwestern Virginia with her family, cats, goats, Great Pyrenees goat guards, someone else’s cattle, half a million honey bees, and assorted wildlife. People and creatures come and go, but the cave and the 250-year-old house ruins—the latter having been occupied as recently as the midtwentieth century—seem to be sticking around for a while yet. Kim has been an award-winning novelist since 1999 (Dawnflight first edition, Sonnet Books, Simon & Schuster) and has been a student of Arthurian lore for more than half a century. Her novel LIBERTY was a 2007 HOLT Medallion finalist for its first edition (HQN Books, Harlequin, 2006; writing as Kimberly Iverson), and its second edition won the international BooksGoSocial Best Book award in 2015.

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Narrator Bio

Born in the United Kingdom, Lillian grew up in East Anglia and moved north to Durham before marrying my US military man and Atlantic hopping between Europe and North America, with many side trips to far flung countries along the way. She’s now settled in the Washington D.C. area. 

​After reading thousands of hours of literature-based lessons with children, and leading a range of adult education classes, her passion for storytelling and training continues. Lillian now performs behind the mic in projects as diverse as audiobooks to eLearning.  There’s not much she loves more than telling your story in the most engaging way.

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Name: Marcus Calpurnius Aquila

Age: mid-20s

Gender: male

Birthplace: Rome, Italia

Profession: politician in training

Marcus has the body of a football quarterback: muscular but not overly bulky. In present-day terms he tops 6’ in height, 220 pounds, and has a fading tan from having spent the past two years living under the paler northern sun of Britannia Province. He has some minor scars from his arena bouts, but nothing specifically mentioned in the book as being an issue for him.

Q&A with Kim Iverson Headlee about Marcus Aquila
  • Who is the significant other in your character’s life?
    • The woman who empowers his soul is Rhyddes, a gladiatrix-slave whom he knows by her arena name “Libertas.”
  • Tell us about this significant other character, please.
    • Libertas is the first woman Marcus has ever known who does not swoon over his wealth, charms, or looks. She sees him for who he is: a man struggling to free himself from the bonds of duty, and he comes to appreciate that very much. He recognizes in her a kindred spirit in that regard, for she is oath-bound to obey her masters too. Although her beauty attracts him to her, it is her unconquerable spirit that ultimately leads him to want to sacrifice everything to win her love.
  • How does your hero dress?
    • In a toga on the Senate floor, and in scanty armor on the arena floor. He prefers the scanty armor, and so do his legions of female admirers.
  • Is the character book-smart, self-taught, widely-experienced?
    • Marcus has had all the educational privileges offered to Rome’s aristocratic citizens, so in that regard he possesses a fair degree of “book smarts,” but he is also widely experienced because of his arena exploits… and the epic after parties.
  • What is your character’s viewpoint on wealth?
    • Unlike most Roman aristocrats, Marcus believes that his wealth and status should be used to help people rather than to control and exploit them.
  • On what special skills does your character rely?
    • Although his being an aristocrat exempts him from fights to the death, he is a highly skilled swordsman in his own right—and he would never have believed that this skill would save his life and the life of the woman he loves.
  • Are any of his skills a source of pride or embarrassment, and if so, which ones and why?
    • His predilection for arena combat is an extreme source of embarrassment for his family, particularly his father, Governor Agricola. In fact, it becomes a major point of contention between them, and Marcus’s desire to consort with Libertas further widens the rift.
  • Is he close to family?
    • Marcus enjoys a very close relationship with his mother, Lady Loreia, who in the way of all mothers understands him better than he understands himself at times.
  • Can your hero keep a secret (why or why not)?
    • Marcus must keep his budding relationship with Libertas a secret, for to do otherwise would cause him to be banned from polite Roman society. He doesn’t care about that so much, but he knows it would stain his family too, and he has no wish to inflict that pain upon them.
  • What is your character’s biggest need at the beginning of the story?
    • Marcus needs his father to accept him for who he is, not for how he can enhance Agricola’s political career.
  • If your character could make any one thing happen, what would it be?
    • Once he decides that Libertas is the woman with whom he wants to spend the rest of his life, he will stop at nothing—even sacrificing all of his wealth and power—to make marriage with her possible.
  • To honor the person who chose to share your story, please answer the following questions.
  • Why do you think your writer chose to write about you? 
    • She chose to write about Libertas—Rhyddes. I am merely a facet of Rhyddes’s story.
  • What do you wish your writer had not told others about you?
    • I wish that she had not gone into such detail about my strained relationship with my father. That is a sensitive personal matter for me, and one I do not readily share with anyone.
  • What other character from your book do you think your writer should write a book about, and why?
    • I would like to know more about Rhyddes’s brother Owen. Of all her brothers, Owen is the closest to her in age and spirit, and I imagine his story is a fine one too.
  • Why do you think your writer loves to write?
    • Who can say? But if I were to venture a guess, it would be that she must love to entertain people with her words, much in the same way that I love to entertain people with my swordplay.
  • Is there anything you’d like to say to your writer?
    • Thank you, Kim Iverson Headlee, for rising to the challenge of presenting the story of Rhyddes’s life in such a faithful and poignant manner.

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Audiobook Tour: The Judge’s Demon by K.M. Pfeifer

Author: K.M. Pfeifer

Narrator: Gerard Marquez

Length: 8 hours and 8 minutes

Series: The Demons Inside, Book 1

Publisher: K.M. Pfeifer

Released: Jul. 9, 2019

Genre: Historical Thriller

The Hunchback of Notre Dame meets The Handmaid’s Tale and YOU in this twisted rendition of history.

Claude is stricken by tragedy, and all fingers point at the Gypsies as the nation divides, and an empire falls. He is the king’s best man and has been given orders to rid France of all their problems.

He promised peace.

Amidst his role in a barbaric hunt and corrupt justice system, Claude finds himself drawn to a young girl of this minority race and consumes himself with her and his own ideas of who she should be for him.

They gave him power.

Paranoia and twisted delusion begin to bind Claude’s double life as a charming official, able to justify his every crime to his followers, but also a criminal narcissist with a blood obsession.

Now their new world must be paid for.

Will his desires for the girl soften his heart? Or will the Judge’s Demon of hatred add fuel to the fire in his search for the leader of the rebellion rising against him?

Warning: graphic violence including torture, abuse, and rape.

Pfeifer once lived on a school bus! Well, she still does, but she had so much fun with that building project that she’s doing it again, only bigger! From buses to quirky bookshelves to words on paper, Khris loves crafting things together with passion and creativity using whatever tools are on hand. Her personal experiences working with the elderly and ill in their final months has also taught her so much about history and the human mindset. She has mixed those timeless narratives with a unique perspective that walks a line between thriller and mystery with a dash of romance to reach the largest audience possible in her writings, and hopes to share that experience with everyone that needs to hear these views and stories.

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Narrator Bio

Gerard got his start at an early age, performing with various Opera companies and teams throughout Australia. After moving to America as an adult he made the transition into musical theater, and voice-over. Gerard has worked with various Opera and Musical theater companies throughout southern California and LA. Gerard has been working as a narrator and voice actor for the last few years now, and can’t wait to help bring the listeners in to K.M. Pfeifer’s dark Parisian world.

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Q&A with Author K.M. Pfeifer
  • Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
    • Not at all. My fear was that I would have to record it myself. I don’t have the kind of range to do multiple character voices, especially male voices. I assumed that audiobooks were always read by either the author or some big shot studio that only worked with traditionally published books. It never once occurred to me that this would be possible when I first wrote the book. It wasn’t until a long while after I published that another self-published author put out a blog post about his process, giving resources and links to show how it’s done, that I even dreamed of the possibility.
  • How did you select your narrator?
    • I had a few friends to help me. We all listened to the auditions, but one of my best friends is an avid audiobook listener, so I trusted his opinion the most. He told me that even though my book is not the type of book he ever really listens to, Gerard’s audition piece made him consider giving a new genre a chance. That’s how impressed he was. Based on his reaction, I knew we were done listening to auditions; the choice was made.
  • How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process?
    • Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters? I had given Gerard a pretty good list of what I wanted before we started, so during the recording phase, I just let go and trusted his work. After he sent me his first round, we emailed frequently and kept in good contact about any adjustments or tweaks that needed to be done, but overall he did a good job and was very responsive to any changes that were made.
  • Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format?
    • Yes. My book has some very dark scenes in it that I think Gerard managed to make even more emotional when you hear it and experience it through his voice than you do when you simply read it on paper. Hearing the fear in a victim’s voice, or the passion in a fight, I think, is much more resonating to a listener.
  • Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
    • I fell in love with audiobooks when I realized I could “read” what I wanted without stressing about finding time to actually sit down and open a book. I have had long commutes to work and audiobooks have really helped with the drive time. I can also do my other work while still enjoying a good book.
  • If this title were being made into a TV series or movie, who would you cast to play the primary roles?
    • For Claude I had originally pictured Alan Rickman because my idea of Charles was Timothy Spall. And they worked well together. But I guess I will have to really think hard on a new dream actor for Claude. I pictured Helena Bonham Carter as Rosa from the very beginning (still do), Zachary Quinto as Nikolais Quinn, and for Marie I imagine someone like the lovely Naomi Scott. She is a British-Indian actress, and Marie is a British-Indian cellist. So they fit hand in hand.
  • What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
    • I’d give them the cliche “don’t judge until you’ve walked a mile in that person’s shoes.” There are a million different reasons why people choose audio over “real reading.” Maybe they struggle with their sight and can’t see the words, or maybe they can’t hold a physical book or e-reader because of a condition. Maybe a person doesn’t have the ability to stop and sit down to read like they used to, but they really want to know what happens, or maybe it’s just an overall preference. Whatever their reason is, iIt still requires a level of imagination to get into the story and picture who is doing what, what a character looks like, and the general scene.
  • How did you celebrate after finishing this novel?
    • I put away my computer for a week, and made myself forget about the actual process of writing. I traveled a bit and just played with stories in my head while hiking a few mountains, and then relaxing on the beach for a few days. I retreated and reset myself to get ready to finish the next book.
  • Do you have any tips for authors going through the process of turning their books into audiobooks?
    • Work WITH your narrator. Be a team. Ultimately the success is on both of you, especially if you choose a royalty share option. So make sure when they send you back their work, listen to every minute of it. Mistakes happen. Just like you had mistakes that an editor caught and corrected for you, they will have little mistakes here and there, so make sure you pay attention. Be kind, they’re your partner in this journey, but make sure the book is the best it can be. Nothing is more annoying as a reader when you’re taken out of the story because of a repeated sentence that could have been caught in editing, or the pronunciation of a word/name keeps changing.
  • What’s next for you?
    • Currently I am finishing up the second novel in this series and getting it to an editor soon. I’ve already shown the narrator bits and pieces of it, and we can’t wait to get started. Then I will really be getting to work on the third, it’s still in a very rough first-draft phase, but I am working diligently on getting it ready as well.

Dream Cast

K.M. Pfeifer’s Casting Picks
  • Claude- I had originally pictured Alan Rickman (Snape) when I wrote this years ago, but a good second would be Paul McGann (Queen of the Damned)
  • Charles- Timothy Spall (Peter Pettigrew)
  • Joseph- Sam Riley (Maleficent)
  • Rosa- Helena Bonham Carter (Everything awesome)
  • Marie- Naomi Scott (Aladdin)
  • Nikolais Quinn- Zachary Quinto (AHS, Star Trek)

Music Playlist

Not very popular songs, but each of these inspired a scene or piece of the novel, but that would involve a few spoilers to tell which 🙂 -K.M. Pfeifer

  • My Enemy- Hans Zimmer
  • The Wolf- Fever Ray
  • To Feel Alive- IAMEVE
  • Stampede- Alexander Jean
  • Mad World- Jasmine Thompson
  • Carol of the Bells- Lindsey Stirling
  • Safe and Sound- Taylor Swift
  • Hysteria- 2Cellos
  • Paint it Black- Ciara

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Audiobook Tour: The Fire Prophecy by Megan Linski & Alicia Rades

Audiobook Tour: The Fire Prophecy by Megan Linski & Alicia Rades

Authors: Megan Linski & Alicia Rades

Narrators: Jennifer Jill Araya & Graham Halstead

Length: 15 hours and 3 minutes

Series: Academy of Magical Creatures, Book 1

Publisher: Tantor Audio

Released: Jul. 24, 2019

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Fire and water don’t mix.

Sophia: I’m Sophia Henley, your typical college freshman. I never expected a lion to be stalking me, nor for fire to come shooting out of my hands to protect my sister. Next thing I know, a drop-dead gorgeous guy shows up on my doorstep to sweep me away to a magical school, where I’ll learn to control my element and bond with a powerful creature called a Familiar.

I don’t believe I’m the savior of an ancient tribe, or the missing piece of a prophecy that’s more myth than reality. Worst of all, I’m forced to enter the Elemental Cup, where I’ll either earn my place in this society…or die trying.

Liam: The night I met Sophia, I didn’t think we’d form an undeniable connection. But I’m from the Water tribe, and she’s fire. I’m forced to push her away even as I’m falling for her.

I lost everything, yet Sophia makes me whole again. Our world is fixed on keeping us apart, but we’re in this tournament together. We have to keep each other alive at any cost – or I’ll give my life for hers.

It’s pretty clear. If I continue to play with fire, I’m going to get burned.

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Megan Linski and Alicia Rades are two best friends and the authors of the Academy of Magical Creatures series. Both are USA TODAY Bestselling Authors and award-winning novelists for teens and young adults. Megan Linski is a disabled author who loves laughter, adventure, and fantasy worlds. She is a proud member of Koigni House. Alicia Rades is a mother who enjoys exploring paranormal realms and trying new recipes. She is a champion from Toaqua House. Both girls love nature, animals, sexy romances, and eating cheese.

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Narrator Bio

Jennifer Jill Araya has been listening to audiobooks since she was a young child, and the fact that she now gets to narrate audiobooks for a living is a dream come true. Jennifer’s training as an opera singer and orchestral cellist lend a musicality and depth of understanding to her narration that help bring her authors’ stories to life. She loves nothing more than giving life and breath to the printed word. When she’s not narrating, Jennifer can be found hiking, biking, running, or generally exploring her home city of Cincinnati with her husband Arturo (aka “Partner in Crime”) and their two children.

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Narrator Bio

Two-time Audie Award winner and recipient of five AudioFile Earphones Awards, Graham Halstead has narrated 180+ titles for Audible, Recorded Books, Penguin Random House, Macmillan, Hachette, Harper Collins and many more.

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