Audiobook Narrator Interview – Suzan Hennen

Audiobook Narrator Interview – Judith Bareham

*Name:   Judith Bareham

*Tell us a bit about yourself: I am  British born,  married to Jonathan (a Brit also) and mom of three children –( a daughter 23, and two boys 20 and 15) who moved to the USA in 2000.  Now I live in Charlotte NC and until recently was a stay at home mom, who home-schooled my sons for three and 8 years respectively.   Until now,  I didn’t have the capacity to pursue being a voice actress but the time was right this year to step into it fully and embrace it!

How did you become involved with audiobook narration and production? Well last year I began training with a voice acting coach and decided this was now or never to pursue

That dream.  I want to pursue other voice acting realms too, but I think narration will always be the solid foundation of what I do.

I have always narrated for as long as I can recall, from High school back in the day to amateur dramatics in plays, and I was asked to narrate because I was a good storyteller.

I have always loved acting but love being behind the mic as well as on stage.

Way back, I read newspapers for the Blind, near where I lived in the UK as I believe it’s vitally important that there are great resources available. And of course, audiobooks fit that brilliantly.

I began with Audible this year and auditioned for titles which interested me and were a good fit and here I am.

Tell us about some of the titles you’ve narrated. Do you have a favourite amongst these? Well, as I have just started out I don’t have a long list to my name yet, but I completed Mathamagical in the spring which was a brilliant rendering of a teenage boy who is struggling with math and generally down on his luck. Until he discovers a magical world of math and is able to succeed in solving problems along the way.

I am working on a “how to book for teachers”  which although is not a story, is motivational in style and I am finding I really enjoy this style of book too – I like to solve problems and help people so I feel a passion for what I am reading.

I volunteer for the Library for the Blind in Washington DC too, when they have titles for me and as time allows.

*Tell us about your process for narrating?  (Be as elaborate as you like.)

A book with multiple characters like Mathamgical (there were 19) I have to think about how they would sound of course, but I begin to imagine how they would move, what they would wear, their characteristics – are they snippy or patient, do they zip through life or are they moody or grumpy about life?

This helps me tap into the voices better and help them become believable.

In the case of Lilie, she just fit a Scottish voice because of her breed but I have a dog Nelson, who I believe is very human in his responses so I took facets of him too and applied that to her voice.

Prior to the recording I spend time editing and looking for any misprints or issues which might cause me a problem as the narrator, so I try to fix those before recording.

That’s harder for a long book but it saves headaches down the road!

Then I begin recording and that’s the fun part.

What aspects do you find most enjoyable? Definitely doing accents and dialects and acting in my booth.

I love it when I can really get into a part

What do you find least enjoyable? Editing – it’s a beast.

Why do you think audiobooks are becoming so popular? I think they always have been popular but increasingly so in the age of people being more mobile and able to access great content more easily.

It used to be incredibly expensive to buy a hard copy of an audiobook on CDS and you were limited to what your library had perhaps.

But now there are hundreds of titles made accessible – we can listen anywhere, anytime.

Can you remember the first audiobook you owned? Black Beauty and I wore it out

If you could narrate any book you wanted which would it be and why? Oooh that’s tough.  Specific titles are hard ………

I love Maeve Binchy novels because the Irish accent is one of my favorites to do

And I love the lilt and pace of it.

But equally children’s’ stories with trolls, knights, pirates, or woodland creatures – I love mice, rabbits, badgers and live in a world in my head where animals talk – a combination of any of those would be fun to do!

Please tell us a silly fact about yourself. I am pretty competitive and so I have this hang up from childhood,  where my brother and I used to outwit each other by being the last person to have sweets or chocolate left from Easter or Christmas.  He beat me every time. So to this day,  I still have little stashes of chocolate and sweets I haven’t eaten yet,  in the house – it drives my family insane! They’re just jealous they don’t have the same will power…….

Where can we learn more about you? My website – Judith Bareham tells a little more about me.

I have a blog which I write approximately every other week and you can access on my site.

Social Media links:

Instagram

Facebook – Judith Bareham

Twitter

Linkedin

Pinterest

***

Judith is narrating Where’s Noodles? by Victoria Zigler. Check out the links here:

Audible: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Wheres-Noodles-Audiobook/B07JKBT76W
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/880958
Barnes & Noble:
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wheres-noodles-victoria-zigler/1129141679
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/where-s-noodles
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/wheres-noodles/id1415553711
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/audiobook/wheres-noodles-unabridged/id1439954293
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1724843222/
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1724843222/
Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/1724843222/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40890298-where-s-noodles

Where's Noodles Audiobook Cover.jpg

Series Spotlight – The Kero’s World Series

Title: The Kero’s World series

Author: Victoria Zigler

Narrator of audio editions: Giles Miller

Genre: Children’s stories – animals/pets

Main character description (short). Kero is a West Highland White Terrier, which is a little white dog with pointed ears.

Kero Goes Walkies Audiobook Cover

Synopsis: This is a seven book series that provides a semi-fictionalized view of the life of the author’s own dog, with events described as they might appear through the dog’s eyes.

 

Brief Excerpt 250 words:

“Are we going walkies?” Kero asked in his most excited sounding bark.  But, of course, the human didn’t understand him and only heard “bark, bark, bark.”

“Hush Kero,” the human said.  “You’re coming, but please stop barking.”

“I’m coming? Horray!” Kero barked, jumping up and down excitedly, his tail wagging as fast as it possibly could.

“You have to wear your coat,” his human told him.  “It’s cold out.”

That was fine with Kero, just as long as he got to go.  Besides, he liked his coat.  It was blue and green and made of a soft material that felt good against his fur.

Kero tried very hard to stay still while his human put his coat on him, but he was so excited he just couldn’t stay still for a moment.  This meant it took ages to get his coat on him, but they got there in the end.

“You have to calm down so I can put this on you,” the human said, holding Kero’s harness and lead out to him.

Kero tried to calm down.  He really did.  But he was so excited about going for walkies that he couldn’t stay still.  But his human was used to this, and eventually she managed to get his harness on him.  Once that was done it took only a few seconds for his lead to be clipped to the metal loops on the harness.

At last, they were ready to go.

Why should readers buy this book (50 words max)? If you want to see the world from the point of view of a little white dog, this book is for you.

Links etc.

Book 1 – Kero Goes Walkies

Kero Goes Walkies Audiobook Cover

Audible: Kero Goes Walkies

Smashwords: Smashwords

CreateSpace: Createspace

Barnes & Noble: Barnes and Noble

Kobo: Kobo

Chapters-Indigo: Chapters-Indigo

iBooks: Ibooks

iTunes: Audio Itunes

Amazon UK: Amazon UK

Amazon US: Amazon.com

Amazon Canada: Amazon Canada

Book Depository: Book Depository

 

Book 2 – Kero Celebrates His Birthday

Kero Celebrates His Birthday Audiobook Cover

Audible

Smashwords

Createspace

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

Chapters-Indigo

 I-books

I-tunes

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

Amazon Canada

Book Depository

Book 3 – Kero Gets Sick

Kero Gets Sick Audiobook Cover

Audible

 Smashwords

Createspace

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

Chapters-Indigo

I books

I tunes

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

Amazon Canada

Book Depository

 

Book 4 – Kero Celebrates Halloween

Kero Celebrates Halloween Audiobook Cover

Audible

Smashwords

Createspace

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

Chapters-Indigo

i-books

I tunes

Amazon Uk

Amazon.com

Amazon Canada

Book Depository

 

Book 5 – Kero Goes To Town

Kero Goes To Town Audiobook Cover

Audible

Smashwords

Createspace

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

Chapters-indigo

I-books

i-tunes

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

Amazon Canada

Book Depository

 

Book 6 – Kero Celebrates Christmas

Kero Celebrates Christmas Audiobook Cover

Audible

Smashwords

Createspace

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

Chapters-Indigo

I-books

I-tunes

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

Amazon Canada

Book Depository

 

Book 7 – Kero Crosses The Rainbow Bridge

Kero Crosses the Rainbow Bridge Audiobook Cover.jpg

Audible

Smashwords

Createspace

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

Chapters-Indigo

I-tunes

Amazon UK

 Amazon.Com

Amazon Canada

Book Depository

 

You can also find the books on Goodreads.

 

Book 1: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17881737-kero-goes-walkies

Book 2: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17974626-kero-celebrates-his-birthday

Book 3: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18052712-kero-gets-sick

Book 4: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18052730-kero-celebrates-halloween

Book 5: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18052750-kero-goes-to-town

Book 6: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18052768-kero-celebrates-christmas

Book 7: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22919083-kero-crosses-the-rainbow-bridge

 

***~~~***

 

About the author:

Victoria Zigler is a blind poet and children’s author who was born and raised in the Black Mountains of Wales, UK, and is now living on the South-East coast of England, UK. Victoria – or Tori, if you prefer – has been writing since she knew how, has a very vivid imagination, and spends a lot of time in fictional worlds; some created by her, others created by other authors. When she remembers to spend some time in the real world, it’s mostly to spend time with her hubby and pets, though sometimes to indulge in other interests that capture her attention from time to time. To date she has published 8 poetry books and more than 40 children’s books, with more planned for the near future. She’s also contributed a story to the sci-fi and fantasy anthology Wyrd Worlds II.
Author links:

Website: http://www.zigler.co.uk

Blog: http://ziglernews.blogspot.co.uk

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/toriz

Facebook author page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Victoria-Zigler/424999294215717

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/victoriazigler

Google+: https://plus.google.com/106139346484856942827

 

Narrator Interview – James Watkins

*Name: Hello, my name is James Watkins

*Tell us a bit about yourself: I live in sunny San Diego California, which has been my home since 2011.  I took a long time to find my home in voice work, but this year has seen the completion of my home studio, and I’m never looking back!  I love reading, singing and writing songs, hiking, and playing in the ocean.

How did you become involved with audiobook narration and production? I am a lifelong lover of reading.  I really enjoy being able to explore through words and ideas.  Because I am a bit of an amateur musician, I ended up with some simple recording equipment at home.  When it first occurred to me to combine reading and recording it seemed natural and perfect.  I am so glad to be living in this time where I am able to bring these things together in such a simple way. I have had a learning curve, too, but it’s a good thing that I also love to learn new things!

Tell us about some of the titles you’ve narrated. Do you have a favourite amongst these? I recently narrated a series of four short books for kids, called “Degu Days”, written by Victoria Zigler.  They are short but wonderful tales written in the voice of pet degus.  They are small South American rodents who are amazing jumpers, and extremely charming little creatures.  Victoria Zigler is a talented writer whom I think is well worth reading.  Her stories beautifully capture the simple perspective of the young, but there are serious matters she deals with powerfully in the space of a very short story, too.  Degus are cute fuzzy little creatures, but a lot of kids learn some of their earliest lessons in caring for a pet from small animals like these, and are even introduced to their first experience of what death is through living with these lovely, innocent animals.  A lot of people say that reading stories really helps develop children’s capacity for empathy, and seeing things from another perspective, and Victoria has a nice touch with this stuff. Her books are true literature, aimed at meeting children where they are, and gently, kindly, lovingly helping them to grow and understand.

Do you have a preferred genre?  Do you have a genre you do not produce? Why is this? Being able to do lots of different stuff is a big part of what keeps things interesting!  I like to do kids stuff, science fiction and fantasy, history, business, self-help, Christianity, medicine and life sciences, earth sciences, criticism, meditation.  These are just some examples of things I’ve worked on recently.  What’s really important to me is good writing.  Good writers are a treasure, and I am excited to be able to help take something great and bring it to a wider audience.

What are you working on at present/Just finished? I’m pretty excited to be putting together a podcast of spooky stories right now, called the bonefire.  The first episodes are going to be ready to go in the next few weeks.  It’s exciting to have my very own project.

*Tell us about your process for narrating?  (Be as elaborate as you like.) First, I’ve got to read and understand.  I take notes, use a highlighter, draw little pictures and maps, so that I have a really strong sense of the voices, the arc of the story or the structure of what is being written about, and what the tone of the writing is.

Then it’s time to read and record.  I like to read in the later part of the day.  For some reason my voice gets more and more limber as the day goes on.  I like to be active when I read, and probably look very silly waving my arms around.  Taking lots of little breaks is important, too.  Focusing and refocusing, so that I’m always fresh. Between what the writer has done and what I can do, there’s a lot of life you can give to a piece of writing.  It’s important to pay close attention to that aspect, and give it what it really deserves.

The last step is editing, taking out any mistakes or things that don’t sound right.  Then I process the signal.  There’s not much processing an audiobook reader has to do compared to what some other kinds of voice artists have to do.  This work is technical and procedural, but the truth is that it’s more about finesse than anything. It’s all about trying to get the best sound you can.

What aspects do you find most enjoyable? So many things!  I have the attitude of a craftsman.  The pursuit of perfection is what really gets me excited more than anything.  Making something well is time well-spent, and being engaged with great material inspires me.  Being able to read and really explore other people’s ideas and stories is pretty wonderful, too.

Do you consider royalty share when looking for books to narrate? If not why is this?Of course I consider royalty share!  Like anybody else, I’ve got to pay my bills and make money.  But if a project comes along that I really want to do, and I believe in it, then for me, it’s worth it.  I’m doing a job, and work is not all about fun and games.  But I’m blessed to be able to do a job that gives me the opportunity to do a wide variety of things that I can get excited about, and to make choices about what kinds of projects I take on.

Do you listen to audiobooks? I started listening to audiobooks at the same time I realized how much is becoming available, how many great books there are being produced in audio format, which was also the same time I decided I wanted to do it myself.

*With many people owning MP3 players do you think this is the future of storytelling? It certainly is an exciting storytelling form today.  And I think it will be even more interesting tomorrow.  There is a lot of room for growth and development in audiobooks, and we are just starting to scratch the surface now.  Human beings will always find new and exciting ways to tell stories.  It’s what we do.

Why do you think audio books are becoming so popular? It’s easy to understand why on a practical level people like them so much.  We like to have something that engages our minds when our hands are busy.  We have the opportunity to learn, to be engaged, and entertained while we are driving, or doing chores, or working, or we want something to keep the kids’ attention.  But it’s also great to realize that as this art form emerges, we are hearing better and better storytellers all the time.  The audience that writers can reach is a lot bigger, and the narrators who produce these books are honing their craft.  It’s an art form that has a lot of room for creative people to really show what they can do, and people love to be engaged by something that fits into their lifestyle.

Can you remember the first audiobook you owned?  I sure can!  It was The Death and Life of Great American Cities, by Jane Jacobs.  I knew my love affair with audio books was going to be a long one, and I thought it was only right to start out with a classic that I had been meaning to read for a long time.  I have lived in a number of different cities, and had a lot of things to compare as I listened to Jane Jacobs eye-opening insights into urban planning.  Donna Rawlins was such a fantastic narrator for this book.  From the beginning, I was listening to it thinking, “I want to do this”, so I listened very carefully to her consistency, her tone, the cleanliness of her enunciation and production.  I chose my first audiobook carefully.

 

Has ACX/Audible fulfilled your expectations? (such as earnings, ease of use, workload etc.?)  Well, I’m not making a living from it (yet?) but I have had really nice interactions with everybody I’ve dealt with from authors to the folks at ACX.  They have created an effective and well-made interface that puts authors together with narrators.  There is a range of quality that is available, but it puts tools in the hands of people, allowing them to create something for their audience. It’s a lot of work to produce an audiobook, but it’s hard to imagine that there’s anything ACX/Audible could do to make it any easier!

Have you ever had a negative experience producing a book? Nope.  I’ve found myself overwhelmed, certainly.  But so far it’s been all positive.

Please tell us a silly fact about yourself. I have a tuxedo cat named Clarence who workshops my voices with me.  Every new voice I try gets run by him first of all.  He doesn’t give much feedback, but he’s a great listener.

Where can we learn more about you?

Social Media links:

Coming soon!  Homemade, chilling and scary audio stories!  Keep your eye on thebonefire.com for the first ones to appear in the near future!

If you are interested in having your project narrated and produced by James Watkins, you can find my profile on acx.com or email jameswatkinisvo@outlook.com

 

Book Spotlight – How to Trust Your Human – Animals/Kids/Social Issues

Title: How To Trust Your Human

Author: Victoria Zigler

Genres: Children’s Stories – Animals / Children’s Stories – Social Issues – Death And Dying

Main character description (short).

“Buddy is a degu, which is a kind of rodent closely related to guinea pigs, with an appearance that resembles a furry-tailed rat.”

Synopsis:

“Losing a sibling is hard. Losing three of them is even harder. Repairing a broken bond of trust is harder still.

After his three brothers disappeared, one after another, gone to a mysterious place known only as The Rainbow Bridge, Buddy the degu is all alone in his cage. Confused and frightened, he knows only one thing for certain: he last saw his brothers in the hands of the human caretaker. That knowledge breaks the bond of trust forged between Buddy and his human in the years since he was a pup, and leaves him convinced that letting her get her hands on him will mean he disappears too. Somehow, she has to convince him he’s wrong, and earn back his trust.

Based on actual events that took place in the life of one of the author’s own degus, and told from the point of view of a degu, this is the story of how patience and love taught a confused and terrified rodent how to trust again.”

Brief Excerpt 250 words:

“I was starting to relax, and no longer running to hide when my cage door opened.

Then, one day, one of the human caretakers held her hand out in my direction, and appeared to be waiting for something.

As you might imagine, I was immediately suspicious – not to mention back to being absolutely terrified – so I rushed off to hide, watching the hand closely, even as I cowered behind the wheel at the opposite end of the cage.  I was literally trembling from nose to tail, wondering what she was up to, and if it was finally time for them to make me disappear like my brothers.

I thought the hand would follow me, and at least make an attempt at grabbing me.  But it didn’t move even the slightest amount.

I watched and waited for a very long time.

Still the hand didn’t move.

My trembling stopped, but I continued to stay in my hiding spot, watching the hand to see what it was going to do.

Nothing happened; the hand still didn’t move.

After a while, my curiosity got the better of me.  Look, I might have been terrified, but we degus are curious creatures, and there’s only so long I could resist the urge to find out what the hand was doing.  So, I cautiously crept closer, ready to bolt back to my hiding spot at the first sign of danger.”

Why should readers buy this book (50 words max)?

“It’s a story about how a little love goes a long way, and how pets have feelings too.  If you’re an animal lover, or you have children who love animals, this book is for you, especially if you’re in a situation where you have a pet who is suffering after losing his or her furry companion.”

 

Links etc.

Find the book on…

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35160154-how-to-trust-your-human

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/724848

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/how-to-trust-your-human-victoria-zigler/1126412328

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/do/book/how-to-trust-your-human/id1237703591?l=en&mt=11

Available in paperback soon!

 

Author bio:

Victoria Zigler is a blind poet and children’s author who was born and raised in the Black Mountains of Wales, UK, and is now living on the South-East coast of England, UK. Victoria – or Tori, if you prefer – has been writing since she knew how, has a very vivid imagination, and spends a lot of time in fictional worlds; some created by her, others created by other authors. When she remembers to spend some time in the real world, it’s mostly to spend time with her hubby and pets, though sometimes to indulge in other interests that capture her attention from time to time, such as doing crafts, listening to music, watching movies, playing the odd figure game or roleplaying game, and doing a little cooking and baking. To date she has published 8 poetry books and more than 40 children’s books, with more planned for the near future. She’s also contributed a story to the sci-fi and fantasy anthology Wyrd Worlds II.
Author links:

Author’s Website

Victoria on goodreads

Facebook page

Twitter

How To Trust Your Human Cover 1 - 1600x2400

Review – Judy: A Dog in a Million – Damien Lewis – Military History, WWII, Animals

Review- Judy: A Dog in A Million

Damien Lewis

5 stars

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Judy-Million-Runaway-Worlds-Heroic-ebook/dp/B00HVBK15U/

The impossibly moving story of how Judy, World War Two’s only animal POW, brought hope in the midst of hell.

Judy, a beautiful liver and white English pointer, and the only animal POW of WWII, truly was a dog in a million, cherished and adored by the British, Australian, American and other Allied servicemen who fought to survive alongside her.

Viewed largely as human by those who shared her extraordinary life, Judy’s uncanny ability to sense danger, matched with her quick-thinking and impossible daring saved countless lives. She was a close companion to men who became like a family to her, sharing in both the tragedies and joys they faced. It was in recognition of the extraordinary friendship and protection she offered amidst the unforgiving and savage environment of a Japanese prison camp in Indonesia that she gained her formal status as a POW.

Judy’s unique combination of courage, kindness and fun repaid that honour a thousand times over and her incredible story is one of the most heartwarming and inspiring tales you will ever read.

 If you only read one book in your life read this book. And have the tissues to hand, as you’ll need them!

A puppy born in Shanghai started her life of adventure and courage by running away from her siblings, mother and human carers. Judy was finally rescued and adopted by the Royal Navy as a ship’s mascot on HMS Gnat, and then patrolling the turbulent and dangerous waters of the Yangtze river, during the China/Japan conflicts.  She fought pirates, gave early warning for hostiles and increased the morale on board. Later assigned to HMS Grasshopper Judy and her crewmates were engaged in warfare against the Japanese in World War Two and in 1942 the ship was torpedoed. Not only did Judy survive this but she pulled men to safety, found water on the largely hostile island the survivors of HMS Grasshopper and HMS Dragonfly found themselves and fought with local wildlife to protect her companions.

Judy and the soldiers trekked hundreds of miles – hoping to reach safety in Sumatra (then a British protectorate). They were too late, as it had fallen into Japanese hands.

Taken to a POW camp in Northern Sumatra the sailors, Judy included, were taken to the very pit of hell. One particular man shared his meagre rations with a starving dog and a life-long and incredibly close friendship was born.  Smuggled out of one camp and into another via a sack on the back of her human (which saved Judy’s life) she again was a rescuer when the ship transporting the captives was torpedoed, with great loss of life.  She dragged men towards what little floating wreckage there was, and pushed wood towards others when she was too exhausted to drag anyone else. The death count would undoubtedly have been higher that day if Judy had not been there.

The men were forced to work on the Pekanbaru Death Railway, and again Judy was there to keep soul and body together (such as there were then) and would even steal food from under the noses of the captors in order to help feed the starving, emaciated men she loved.

Primarily this is her story, but it’s also a story of human survival and the enormous capacity for love between humans and dogs. She kept man and mind together in the darkest days, with her love and her loyalty. More than one man is quoted in the book that they would not have survived those terrible months and years without her. Lives were risked by men and dog every day in the fight to survive, and the fight to stay together.

Awarded the Dicken Medal (the animal VC) for bravery the citation stated -“For magnificent courage and endurance in Japanese prison camps, which helped to maintain morale among her fellow prisoners and also for saving many lives through her intelligence and watchfulness.”

The author, clearly, has researched this book well, speaking to some of the remaining survivors of the terrible camps, and terrible days. She truly was ‘a dog in a million’.

For more information about the Dicken Medal – go here: https://www.pdsa.org.uk/what-we-do/animal-honours/the-dickin-medal

https://www.forces-war-records.co.uk/the-dickin-medal

For more info on Judy’s remarkable life please see the links below.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/judy-the-dog-who-became-a-prisoner-of-war

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judy_(dog)

http://www.pekanbarudeathrailway.com/judy-prisoner-81a-gloergoer-medan

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/05/140518-dogs-war-canines-soldiers-troops-military-japanese-prisoner/

For more information on the Pekanbaru railway (believe me it’s not easy reading). http://www.pekanbarudeathrailway.com/

 

Smashwords Sale – Victoria Zigler 2

Tori Zigler has over 50 books! 50!!!!!

They are  half price in the Smashwords Sale. If you like kids books about animals, fantasy and adventure check out her mighty collection and snap up a bargain.

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/toriz

Use the code SSW50 at checkout for 50% off.

Home Squeak Home

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/526960

 

Isabelle’s Runaway Racehorse 

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/507356

 

Rodent Rhymes and Pussy Cat Poems

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/502320?ref=ALB123

 

Yua and the Great Wizard Hunt 

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/492449?ref=ALB123

Author Interview 108 – Mary Ellen Quire

Welcome to Mary Ellen Quire

Where are you from and where do you live now? I’m from Kentucky and have lived there all of my life.

 

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. I have been plucking away at writing for quite some time.  Sheldon’s Diary is my most recent book.  I guess you could put in the young adult genre, although it does pretty well in Women’s Fiction.  The stories are a mixture of action, adventure, light-hearted comedy and suspense.  The entire book can be summed up by the burning question many animal lovers have had running through their mind, “What do they really do while you’re away?”

 

Are your characters based on real people? All of the humans in Sheldon’s Diary are based on real people and I would say that probably fifty percent of all the critters in the book are real.  The other fifty percent come from a wild and woolly imagination.

 

Sort these into order of importance: Great characters; great world-building; solid plot; technically perfect. Can you explain why you chose this order? (Yes I know they all are important…) Great characters, without them you have nothing but an empty map.

Solid plot, readers need this as motivation to keep reading and as a reward for having travelled the journey with you.  Writer’s need it because it’s probably the only bit of order that can be found in a mind swimming with possibilities.

Great world-building, it’s third because it can make for an awesome story, but for me as a writer I don’t believe it is absolutely essential.  Many great books have been written with the background tucked nicely away in the background.

Technically perfect, is there such a thing?

 

In what formats are your books available? (E-books, print, large print audio) Are you intending to expand these and if not, what is the reason? Sheldon’s Diary is available in paperback and in the Kindle version.  I would love to see it in Nook, but that will be later.  Audio may also come in time.

 

Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? I do self-edit, not because I’m an English whiz or anything, but because professional editing is very costly to me right now.  Occasionally, I’ll have a friend do a once over for a manuscript to catch things I have missed.  Do I believe a book suffers without professional editing?  Sometimes, but I’ve read many books that have hit the shelves over the years, professionally edited, that still have mistakes.

 

Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be? Unfortunately, I do think there is a stigma place on indie/self-published authors.  It’s one that seems to say, “Hey, you just weren’t good enough to publish with a real publisher, but you were definitely vain enough to pay for it.”  What people do not realize is that books are rejected by traditional publishers for a number of reasons, not just because the story was inferior.  For example, the publisher may have all of that type/genre of book they can handle at the time or they might not be able to make it sell.  Publishing is a business after all, so you have to hit the right one with the right thing at the right time.  It’s a crap shoot.

 

Do you read work by self-published authors? I’ve found several really good books/series through self-published authors.  It just goes to show you that just because it trickles away from the traditional doesn’t mean it sucks.

 

What experiences can a book provide that a movie or video game cannot?  Mostly I believe the book is always better then the movie/video game because you are allowed to really delve down deep into the character(s).  You’re in their brains, mulling around in their thoughts and feelings, and you get a better sense of who they really are.  You cannot do that in any other type of media.

 

What are your views on authors offering free books? I love the idea.  I think it’s an awesome way get readers take a chance on your book and see if they not only enjoy that particular one, but the author’s style of telling a story.

 

Do you have any pets? Right now, I have four.  Two of them are cats, Sir Sheldon and Sir Cheddar.  One rat, Templeton.  And then there’s my 15 year old Ball python, The Wheezer.

 

Book links, website/blog and author links:

www.maryellenquire.com

www.facebook.com/sheldonsdiary

Sheldon's Diary Cover Pic

Character Interview Number Twenty – Kero the Westie.

Name(s): “My name is actually Keroberous, but my human and I decided to just write it as Kero for my books.  We figured it would be easier for people to say if they were reading it out to someone.  It’s what I get called most of the time anyway; unless I’m in trouble.”

 Age: “I’ll be ten years old on May 23rd 2014.”

Describe your appearance in 10 words or less. “A small white dog with pointed ears.”

Do you have any relationships you prize above others? Why? “I love my human more than any other human or animal in the whole universe! I’ve known her since I was a tiny puppy with my furmama and we have a strong bond.  Being with her makes me feel safe.”

 Do you like other animals? Do you have any pets/animal companions? “I love all other animals.  Well, all except birds.  I always try to make friends with any animals I meet in my day to day life.  I’ve had several adopted siblings of different species over the years: a budgie, cats, degus, other dogs, fish, gerbils, a guinea pig, hamsters, and a rabbit.  I’ve loved them all, though I’ve gotten on better with some than others.  Charlie – the budgie – I only tolerated though; if there’s one kind of animal I don’t like, it’s birds.  I might not have had bird issues, but after a scare I had thanks to Charlie, I really don’t like birds much.”

Do you have a family? Tell us about them. “I’m from a litter of 3 males and a female, but I don’t really remember my biological siblings and my Furmama that well.  I haven’t seen them since I was a couple of months old, and all I know is that my Furmama’s name is Serena Snowflake and they’re all Westies like me.  I don’t remember my Furpapa at all.  Since I was a couple of months old I’ve lived with the human I live with now, except for one time when I was with someone else for a lot of sleeps for a reason I don’t understand.  As I said, we’ve had several other animals in the house in that time too; some stayed only a very short time, others stayed for a few years.  Right now my adopted siblings are all rodents, and all male.  I’ve got four degu brothers named Jacob, Jasper, Jenks and Joshua, and a pair of gerbil brothers named Bilbo and Baggins.  The degus have a couple of books called ‘The Degu Days Duo’ if you want to read a bit more about them.  The gerbils don’t have any books out yet, but I heard they’d like to have one at some point in the future.  They’re all just copying me; I’m famous and they want a part of it.  But that’s how it always goes, isn’t it? One family member gets a bit of fame, and the rest want a bit of the action!”

 Do you have any phobias? “I’m afraid of a lot of things.  My biggest fear is being alone though; I suffer from severe separation anxiety.  I’ve suffered from it since I was a puppy, and any time my human has to go somewhere I have to have a doggysitter.  Even with the sitter though, I’m always terrified my human won’t come back, and so relieved each time she does.  My biggest phobia is that one day she won’t come back.”

Please give us an interesting and unusual fact about yourself? “I’m a terrier, and terriers are supposed to be rodent catchers, but I’m friends with rodents; I always look out for my rodent siblings, and have never attempted to harm one in my whole life.  Even when one of the hamsters got out of his cage once when I was a puppy all I did was stay near him and yap for the humans to get them to come and get him.  In fact, I never even tried to hurt the rat one of the cats brought home and let loose in our place once.  I’m a good boy!”

Please give us a little information about the world in which you live. “My world is your world, but viewed from a lot lower down.  I’m only a foot high at the shoulder, and the world looks a lot different from down here!”

Do you travel in the course of your adventures? If so where? “I go for walkies most days; though not if it’s raining, because I don’t like to get wet.  We go to the park, to the beach, and in to town.  Sometimes the humans also make me go to the vet, which I really don’t enjoy.  You can read about some of the places I visit in ‘Kero Goes Walkies’ and ‘Kero Goes To Town’ if you want.  There’s also a bit about one of those vet trips I hate in ‘Kero Gets Sick’ if you want to read about that.”

What form of politics is dominant in your world? (Democracy, Theocracy, Meritocracy, Monarchy, Kakistocracy etc.) “I don’t know what any of those are, but as far as I’m concerned I’m in charge.”

Does your world have different races of people? If so do they get on with one another? “We see lots of different races of people around where we live; most of them are nice.  I try to be friends with them all, and my human will willingly talk to any of them who are interested in talking to either me or her.  I hear a lot of people in the world don’t try and be friends with everyone though, which sounds strange to me; I think everyone should be friends! There’s a lot of wildlife around too.  Some of our neighbours are foxes, squirrels and badgers, not to mention the giant birds that live around here; my human says they’re called seagulls.”

What is the technology level for your world/place of residence? What item would you not be able to live without? “My world is your world, so I have access to the same technology as you.  I can’t use it, but it exists.  The thing I couldn’t live without is the fridge-freezer, because that’s where the meat and cheese live.”

Within your civilisation what do you think is the most important discovery/invention? “The most important invention is cheese! I have no idea who came up with the idea of making cheese, but that person deserves a medal! I love cheese!”

 

***

 

Author notes:

Book(s) in which this character appears plus links:

Kero’s World, book 1: Kero Goes Walkies – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/312873

Kero’s World, book 2: Kero Celebrates His Birthday – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/319037

Kero’s World, book 3: Kero Gets Sick – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/324875

Kero’s World, book 4: Kero Celebrates Halloween – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/342194

Kero’s World, book 5: Kero Goes To Town – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/344560

Kero’s World, book 6: Kero Celebrates Christmas – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/344566

 

Author name: Victoria Zigler

 

Website/Blog/Author pages etc:

 

Website: http://www.zigler.co.uk

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/toriz

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/toriz

Blog: http://ziglernews.blogspot.com

Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Victoria-Zigler/424999294215717

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/victoriazigler

 

Character Interview – Ghost Horse – Fantasy

Something a little different today, we get to meet not only a brave animal but one who has lived and died and lived again.

Welcome to Ghost Horse, from the Sacred Band Books.

Tell Us About Yourself

Name (s):  Ghost-horse; the bay.  If you can hear me, you’ll know it.  I have no name in the way you mean.

Age:  thirteen years, interrupted by death and resurrection.

Please tell us a little about yourself:  A war-horse am I.  Strong and brave.  Straton’s horse am I, once found, then lost, then found again.  Of all the Sacred Band of Stepsons, Ace called Straton alone now rides me.  When he’s astride my broad back, nothing is impossible.

Describe your appearance in 10 words or less:  Sixteen hands, blood bay war horse, broad backed and strong.

Do you have a moral code? If so what is it?  A moral code?  Bear my rider whence he must go, forever.  Run far and fast.  Bring my rider’s battle to his enemies.  Charge boldly; never falter; never hesitate; refuse no challenge.  Feel the love, hear the words of my human partner…

Would you kill for those you love?  I do.

Would you die for those you love?  I have done so.  And been brought back to life for my human partner’s sake thereafter.  Now nothing harms me, no metal cuts me; in any battle, my blood never spills. Nowadays I do not die for love; I live for love – the love of my human partner, Straton.

What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses.  Carrots and sugar-beets, those my weaknesses, which I dearly love.  Running over green grass, into battle, finding the safest path to victory for my rider, protecting him and all his Sacred Band:  these are my strengths:  As the only ghost-horse of the Stepsons, my place is always in the forefront:  with Straton I forge new ground; I bear him everywhere, unflinching.  Such service we have seen, such places far and wide, as few horses ever see.

Do you have any relationships you prize above others? Ace called Straton, the right rider for this broad back; the right partner for my battles.

Do you like animals? Do you have any pets/animal companions?  Do I like other horses?  As with men, some horses are brave, some cowardly; some generous, some churls.  I was bitten in the throat by a man who attacked me as if he were a dog, once.  So dogs are not my friends.  Sometimes a cat will bide with me, in this stall or that.  I like cats:  they give loyalty when deserved; they are rightly cautious.

Do you have a family? Tell us about them.  I have been a cavalry horse since I was two, and chosen from a band of captured bachelors.  Straton has brought me up; he is all I trust, all I love; he is my family.  Sometimes he finds me a mare or two, but battle is my greatest passion:  in war, Straton and I find our greatest joy.  Sometimes we run for the sheer bliss, over vast plains and through forest, with no enemy in sight.  Straton’s lover, Ischade, resurrected me after the dog attacked me, after the battle in which I was mortally wounded. She loves Straton; I love Straton, so Ischade is, in some ways, under my protection.  Up behind Straton she sometimes rides me, and then no place is too far, no goal to loft, for us three

Can you remember something from your childhood which influences your behaviour? How do you think it influences you? I remember the day Straton chose me, the look in his eye, the apple in his hand.  He sent me to other men, to teach me the ways of war, and got me back again.  We have thundered into so many battles, even the Battle of Chaeronea together.  With Straton astride me, I never doubt, I never fear.  Wherever he wills to go, I can carry him, be it to hell itself and back again.  This I believe because Straton knows it:  whatever my rider thinks, I know to be true.  Wherever he wants to go, I will take him.  Whatever he needs, I try to be.  So Straton gives me the wants, the needs, the courage of a man, and I show him the wants, the needs, the courage of a horse, and together we are indomitable. A horse wants to fight or flee, as does a man; deciding which is my rider’s task.  Making his wishes real, that is mine.

Do you have any phobias?  Dogs and the men who become them.

Please give us an interesting and unusual fact about yourself. I have a spot on my withers where men can see into hell itself, and a spot on my hip where they can see into nothing at all.

Tell Us About Your World

Please give us a little information about the world in which you live:  The world in which I live is wherever my rider, Ace called Straton, wishes to go.  I have fought on Wizardwall, against the black mages of Nisibis.  I have fought on the battlefield of Chaeronea; I have fought in mystical Meridian.  Since I was foaled in Syr, I have been adventuring:  first among the other horses, until the mares cast us bachelors out; then in the high steppe country, and at last as a war-horse of first Straton and then the greater Sacred Band.  We fight in the forefront; we travel by cloud conveyance from war to war.  We have numinous allies to take us any place in space and time.  Except for my rider and the witch who loves him, all I care for is contained in Tempus’ Sacred Band.  And someday, Straton has promised me, we three will ride forever, away from witchery and angry men, in the green fields of the gods.

Does your world have religion or other spiritual beliefs? A horse believes what he can see and feel, and is bred to tell what he can trust.  We have our gods, you know:  Epona, Poseidon, Hekate, and the war gods before them:  a war-horse gives his life into his rider’s hands, and that rider gives all to the gods.  My world is full of enemies, who’d eat a horse as soon as kill a man, and those enemies have rival gods.  So we war-horses fight on the side of right, as our riders see it.  And that will never change, has been the same since the first gods were foaled.

If so do you follow one of them? I follow the gods of Ace, called Straton.  As long as he lives, that will never change.

Please describe (briefly) how this affects your behaviour:  I am a war-horse, so I go to war.  With Ace called Straton astride, I do the needful, all his gods command, since his gods are also mine.  I am a peace-keeper, so I ply angry streets.  I am an explorer, so I lope where no horse has ever gone before.

Do you travel in the course of your adventures? If so where?  I go where Ace called Straton needs to go.  I fight for him, with him, beside him.  I keep him safe whether we are in this world or another.  Anyplace a horse can go, I take him – even a world away.  I have spun in whirlwinds unto foreign lands, even Thrace and Scythia and on from there.  Not future or past or anywhere is barred from the Sacred Band of Stepsons, so in ranks we sortie.  Even Tempus, the Riddler, has commended me in public for my bravery, when I have fought in dimensions some horses never tread, and more farther realms lie just ahead….

Name and describe a food from your world.  Salt hay, tender and tan, bluest grass bitten right from the earth, roots and dirt and all; fat oats, steamed until their hulls break open; corn and molasses and flaxseed mashed.  My favorites though, are carrots with their green and lacy tops, and chunks of tender sugar-beet.

Does your world have magic? If so how is it viewed in your world?  Magic is the necromant who resurrected me, gave me a chance to come back to this world for the rider whom I love.  Some think magic is aught than natural; I say magic is the wind in your mane, yielding turf underfoot, and a rider on a mission.

What form of politics is dominant in your world?  Politics are for mares and men, not for stallions.  I will walk upon my hind legs to strike any enemy of my rider or my mares and foals.  I will trample jackals and lions and feral dogs.  I believe in giving one warning squeal, and a bellow of promise; then I strike, unashamed, to defend what is mine:  that is the extent of politics for me.  The rest is clacking of jaws and whistles on the air.

Does your world have different races of people?  We have humans of every color and belief and shape and size, just as we have horses as diverse.  In a herd of horses, as in a crowd of people, those who are alike band together against those of different nature.

Name a couple of myths and legends particular to your culture/people.  In ancient times, Zeus gave two horses to Tros, king of Troy, to console the king after the god had taken Ganymede for his young lover.  From those great horses, the best, the strongest, the fastest horses are sprung.

What is the technology level for your world/place of residence? We have chariot with metal-bound wheels and axles fitted with scythes.  Some of us wear armor, felt or scales of metal.  Some of us have iron shoes upon our hooves.   What item would you not be able to live without?  My rider.

Does your world have any supernatural/mystical beings? Please tell us about some.  This world is full of gods, mages, shape-shifters; and demi-gods, and elementals – even a demiurge or two and creatures who spawn weather gods and fashion fates.

Within your civilisation what do you think is the most important discovery/invention? Horsemanship, so that we and our riders can be better partners.

Name three persons of influence/renown within your society and tell why they are influential (Could be someone like Christ/Mandela/Queen Elizabeth or a renowned figure from a non-human/fantasy world.)  Hekate, goddess of race horses.   The Hippoi Athanatoi, the immortal horses of the gods themselves, offspring of the weather gods themselves; and all the Hittite god of horses, Tarhun, in and of himself a storm god.

Author notes:

Book(s) in which this character appears plus links

The Sacred Band  http://www.amazon.com/Sacred-Band-Janet-Morris-ebook/dp/B00AMLKJAI

The Fish the Fighters and the Storm God  http://www.amazon.com/Fish-Fighters-Song-Girl-Sacred-Stepsons-ebook/dp/B007VQIJFY

Author name: Janet Morris and Chris Morris

 

Website/Blog/Author pages etc.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sacred_Band_of_Stepsons

https://www.facebook.com/TheSacredBand

https://www.facebook.com/JanetMorrisandChrisMorris

https://www.facebook.com/JanetEMorris

https://www.facebook.com/christophercmorrissings

https://www.facebook.com/fishfightersonggirl

https://www.facebook.com/SacredBandBeyondTriolgy

https://www.facebook.com/PerseidPublishing

Front Page

http://sacredbander.com/

http://www.amazon.com/Janet-Morris/e/B001HPJJB8/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janet_Morris

http://www.amazon.com/Chris-Morris/e/B008L41JNO/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_2

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Morris_(author)