Dirty Dozen Author Interview – De Kenyon – Bundle/Fantasy/Horror/Kids – Blood Moon Bundle

Welcome to De Kenyon

What first prompted you to publish your work? Jealousy.  An indie author started publishing his work, and rather than hate him forever 😛 I decided to follow suit.

How did you become involved in book bundles? Would you recommend it? I got invited.  It’s fun and I very much recommend it.

Are you a ‘pantser’ or a ‘plotter’? I vary.  Sometimes I pants, and sometimes I plot.  Sometimes I’ll even write up a full synopsis first (most writers hate them!).  But I rarely stick to whatever plan I came up with in the first place!

What is your favourite mythical creature? Why is this? The Fae.  I’m the kind of person who always wants to see behind the stage, under the basement, and the other side of the mirror.  The fae are always sneaking around, slipping through the cracks between worlds.  That speaks to me.

If you had to pick 5 books to take to a desert island which 5 would it be? How long am I going to be stuck on this desert island, anyway?

Assuming that a) they have to be paper books, and b) that I don’t want to use one of my choices as something like How to Survive on a Desert Island, today I’m going to say:

  • The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox by Barry Hughart, because that’s my go-to book for terrible days.
  • Journey to the West, the bawdy tale of a monk’s journey toward enlightenment, because it’s super long (2500 pages) and I’ve been meaning to read it.
  • St. Augustine’s Confessions, because I hate that book and would gladly use it to start fires, for toilet paper, etc.
  • Can I put the Internet in a paper book?  No? Okay, then the collected works of William Shakespeare (Riverside Edition).
  • The collected Anne of Green Gables series, or, if I can’t get that (it’s not available in a single collected edition), H is for Hawk.  Both of them are nerdy comfort reading.
  • And, finally, a blank book and a beeeeg box of pencils, which I will sharpen on rocks…

My favorite books are the Alice in Wonderland books by Lewis Carroll, but I think I could probably write them from memory!

If you could have dinner with any literary character who would you choose, and what would you eat? I don’t want to eat with a literary character.  I want to have dinner with Edgar Allan Poe and get the scoop on exactly how he died!  Okay, literary character…I’m going to pick Hannibal Lecter.  He doesn’t kill indiscriminately, after all, and he’s a gourmet.  A lot of my favorite characters would be real pills at the dinner table, they’re such picky eaters.  What would we eat? Whatever M. Lecter wanted…

Sort these into order of importance:

Good plot

Great characters

Awesome world-building

Technically perfect

 

How much research do you do for your work? What’s the wildest subject you’ve looked at? I try to do a lot of background research for historical pieces, and fairly similar amount for sci-fi elements.  I grew up reading a lot of folktales and mythology, so most of the time when I draw from those elements, I just need a refresher.  My big thing lately is about researching real-life homicide detective procedures for some of my adult mystery stories (under another pen name).  WOW.  I don’t really even want to say some of the things I’ve researched for that.  It gets gruesome.

Tell us about your latest piece? “Beware of the Easter Moon” is a short middle-grade creepy adventure story about a boy who discovers that his family isn’t exactly normal.  It was inspired by me suddenly realizing, completely out of the blue, that Easter always falls on or just after a full moon.  The reason the Easter celebration moves around so much is that it’s the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the spring equinox.

So…obviously there needed to be werewolves.

What’s your next writing adventure? My next adventure as De Kenyon is going to be London in the 1880s, infested by cats, rats, and tentacled things coming out of the sewers!

With the influx of indie authors do you think this is the future of storytelling? How about a future of storytelling?  It’s not like indie authors are the future of storytelling if they’re happening now.

The interesting question is, to me: what happens after this?  If indies bring a major challenge to the big publishers, and they do, how do the big publishers respond?  Do they shrink?  Do their corporate over-bosses force them to shift course?

And what about collective groups of indies, or indies organized under other indies?  I ghostwrite for some indie authors (who shall remain unnamed) who seem to be making the shift from indie authors to indie publishers.

Will the big publishers start trying to buy out those indie publishers?  I mean, I would.

Are indie/self-published authors viewed with scepticism or wariness by readers? Why is this? We are, but less than we used to be.  I think it helps that readers are noticing that big publishers aren’t doing the level of editing that they used to do, and have stopped assuming that traditionally published books are perfect.

I think it also helps that it’s easier and easier for readers to pick indie books with a reputation for quality behind them, by both recommendations and algorithms, so they tend to end up with the better books now, instead of a deluge.

Is there a message in your books? If I have a message, it’s “Beware of bullies! They aren’t always obvious.”

Blood Moon Bundle.

When the sun has set, when the moon is full, the shapeshifters gather—wolves, cats and totemic creatures, nightmares and revelations.

Seeking answers, seeking revenge, seeking a cure to affliction, seeking blood, seeking answers or seeking love—a gathering of beasts abounds. Dare you walk beneath the moonlight?

Blood Moon Box set

https://books2read.com/BloodMoonBundle

https://bundlerabbit.com/products/detail/beware-easter-moon

De Kenyon.jpeg

Dirty Dozen Author Interview – Mandy Eve Barnett

Name: Mandy Eve Barnett

Please tell us about your publications. As a multi-genre author, I have published works in a variety of styles and genres.

My first book, Rumble’s First Scare is a children’s picture book. It tells the tale of a young monster going above ground on his first All Hallows Eve to scare the beings that live there. My other children’s book, Ockleberries to the Rescue, is a chapter book for older children (or perfect for bedtime stories); it is the story of two magical woodland sprites and how they help their forest animal friends. Each chapter is a different animal.

I have one YA novella published entitled Clickety Click, which tells the story of a young orphan, whose guardian’s have a secret identity, which she discovers and why they must protect her until destiny calls.

Currently, my published adult books are The Rython Kingdom, a novella set in medieval England and relaying a troubadour’s adventure’s when he is invited to the King’s court. He aids the King and a lovely and mysterious young woman in saving the kingdom from a vengeful witch. The second novel is The Twesome Loop. A romance with a reincarnation twist set between England and Italy. It is in two time periods 1874 and 2000. The four main characters’ stories overlap in both eras.

Rumble

What first prompted you to publish your work? I am extremely fortunate to have a wonderfully supportive writing group, who encourage me to write and one member is a publisher. So after some persuasion from everyone, I let Rumble into the world. Once I felt the sheer joy of someone telling me they enjoyed my story there was no stopping me.

Are you a ‘pantser’ or a ‘plotter’? Most certainly a panster, once an idea forms, I let the story flow in whatever direction it wants and edit and revise later. I tried to plot using the ‘romance formula’ once and it was the one and only time I suffered writers block. Never again!

How influential is storytelling to our culture? As a species, we have always relayed stories and I don’t think that will ever change. We have a multiple of mediums to utilize for story telling now from spoken word, to books, to television and film. Even games have storylines. Telling tales is a way to preserve history, be it personal or cultural and, of course, they are the most wonderful entertainment.

Sort these into order of importance:

Great characters

Awesome world-building

Good plot

Technically perfect

 

How much research do you do for your work? What’s the wildest subject you’ve looked at? There is quite a lot of research in my books, although some is personal knowledge gained from past interests, such as reincarnation and the natural world, others are ‘new’. One in particular was intriguing. I read about a body being found in a USA motel five years after the person was murdered. Yep, let that sink in! It was too good a circumstance not to use, so I incorporated it into a manuscript, along with two other unusual real news stories. I then had to research how a body can mummify and what conditions are required for it to do so.

What’s the best advice you’ve received about writing/publishing? Not to expect to be a best seller – it is a pipe dream for the vast majority of authors and you will only be unhappy reaching for an unrealistic goal.

If you could be any fantasy/mythical or legendary person/creature what would you be and why? Oh this is hard as I have always been fascinated with the magical realm. As one of my passions is the protecting of the natural world, I think I would want to be a protector of all animal life and be able to shapeshift in order to save threatened animals.

Is there a message in your books? I actually spent quite some time trying to pinpoint the basis of my writing a while ago. Every story has a basis of love, magic and mystery – without these life is dull and boring so embrace your inner child and love unconditionally.

What is your writing space like? I recently moved and have arranged the master bedroom that I inhabit to my liking. I have a writing space at one end of the room with an L-shaped writing desk in one corner, a multi drawer storage unit full of notebooks, pictures, promotional material etc. and a large sofa chair for reading beside it. A reading lamp has dual purpose for reading or writing as I can swivel it back and forth. I still have to put up my inspirational board and a personal letter from Stephen King (my literary hero).

Tell us about your latest piece? I have just submitted my second YA novella, Creature Hunt on Planet Toaria, to my publisher for editing and am working with an illustrator for the chapter headers. The narrative is set on another planet and tells of four friends battling a large alien monster.

Once I have completed a freelance writing project this month (fingers crossed my client keeps delaying), I will immerse myself into an old manuscript I have left alone for far too long, entitled Life in Slake Patch. It is a speculative fiction story set in an alternative matriarchal society and told by a young man living in this realm, who becomes the catalyst in dramatic changes and conflict.

What’s your next writing adventure? I have two other manuscripts that I plan to publish next year (again fingers crossed). One is a western romance, Willow Tree Tears with a barrel racer caught between two men vying for her love and the other, The Giving Thief is a thriller/suspense, following a young man’s story after he murders someone.

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/Mandyevebarnettcom/

www.mandyevebarnett.com

@mandyevebarnett

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6477059.Mandy_Eve_Barnett

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01MDUAS0V

 

amazonfullcovertwesomeloop.jpg

 

Bio (short version)

 

Mandy Eve-Barnett is a multi-genre author writing children’s, YA and adult books. Her passion for writing emerged later in life and she is making up for lost time. With five books published since 2011 and five more in progress, she indulges her Muse in creative as well as freelance writing.

Mandy regularly blogs: www.mandyevebarnett.com, where she encourages support and networking for all writers. She is also prolific on social media. As Secretary of her local writers group and President of the Arts & Culture Council she lives her creative life to the fullest.

Mandy currently lives in Alberta, Canada but is originally from England. Her background is diverse and gives her rich experience to utilize in her writing. Mandy has been a nursing professional, a business owner, and a sort after administration expert. She has traveled throughout Europe, parts of America and Canada and was born in Africa.

Mandy is passionate about writing to the point of obsession and she succeeded in becoming a published author in record time. Mandy’s venture into freelance writing has been successful and she and regularly contributes to the Never Been Better page in the Sherwood Park newspaper as well as several anthologies.

Mandy has a new YA novella, Creature Hunt on Planet Toaria coming out in the first half of 2018 and is revisiting and editing a speculative fiction novel, Life in Slake Patch in the second half of 2018. (hopefully to be published in the fall 2018). Other manuscripts in the ‘pile’ are a thriller/suspense, The Giving Thief, and a western romance, Willow Tree Tears. With several requests for a sequel to The Rython Kingdom it has been added to the pending pile.

Narrator Interview – Andrew J Pond

Name: Andrew J Pond

*Tell us a bit about yourself: I’m a professional actor and drama teacher with over 20 years experience. I also have an eclectic set of skills, such as accents, Muppet voices, magic, juggling, balloon artistry, and Elvis impersonation. I also have a degree in philosophy so I can sound smart at parties.

How did you become involved with audiobook narration and production? I’ve always loved reading, and the sound of my own voice, so…

Is this your day job? It’s one of several. As an actor, you cobble together multiple jobs to avoid the 9-5. I am hoping it becomes lucrative enough to take the sole position.

Do you have a preferred genre?  Do you have a genre you do not produce? Why is this? Authors of Science Fiction/Fantasy seem most responsive to me. This is a genre I personally enjoy reading, so that’s helpful. I think it’s because of the fact I have a facility for character voices and, as an actor, storytelling is something that’s second nature to me.

What are you working on at present/Just finished? I’ve just finished a wonderful book for young people called Jinx and the Faerie Dragons by Victoria Zigler. It’s a great adventure for young readers. Lots of fun characters. I’m presently recording The Waters of Nyra by Kelly Michelle Baker, which is also about dragons. I’m sensing a theme…

*Tell us about your process for narrating?  (Be as elaborate as you like.) I’ve built what is essentially a blanket fort in my office to help with acoustics, because I am a giant child. I like to read through the chapter I’m going to record to make sure I’m aware of any difficult to pronounce words or names, as well as figuring out voices for characters I’ve not recorded yet. So I do spend a good amount of time talking to myself. Then, once I’ve gotten a rough idea, I sit down to record. If I make a mistake, I don’t stop, I snap my fingers and then repeat what I messed up. This makes editing later one much quicker.

What aspects do you find most enjoyable?  The performance, honestly. Especially if I have a bunch of dialogue with multiple characters, which allows me to switch back and forth between voices quickly.

What do you find least enjoyable? Editing. Not because it isn’t interesting (I love learning new skills) but mostly because it’s tedious.

Have you ever found an author you couldn’t continue to work with? How was this resolved? Luckily, no.

Do you consider royalty share when looking for books to narrate? If not why is this? I do consider it. It’s great if you feel confident the book will sell well, and of course, that means passive income. The only times I don’t consider it is if the book is exceedingly long or technical, because it means the amount of work is significantly higher. For that kind of job, I like to get payment at the end of the job.

Do you listen to audiobooks? I used to listen to them all the time, on cassette, which shows just how old I am. I used to have a job that required a lot of driving, and they were awesome for that. I am a bit old-fashioned and like having books in my hands, but I have started listening to audiobooks again, and it really is a lovely way to experience books.

*With many people owning MP3 players do you think this is the future of storytelling? At this point, I wouldn’t bet against anything online or digital. I have an embarrassing history of not understanding technological trends…

Why do you think audiobooks are becoming so popular? I think it’s a combination of ease of use, since everyone’s so on the go, and free time nowadays is limited (not to mention everyone lives on their phones), and the performance aspect. People enjoy hearing a book performed.

Has ACX/Audible fulfilled your expectations? (such as earnings, ease of use, workload etc.?) It’s definitely fulfilled my expectations as far as amount of work. I’m amazed by the selection.

Have you ever had a negative experience producing a book? Thankfully, no.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve had? The technology isn’t that hard. You can do this. Anything that deals with the tech side of it was always intimidating, but the entire recording/editing process turned out to be surprisingly simple.

If you could narrate any book you wanted which would it be and why? Watership Down, by Richard Adams. It was my favorite book as a kid, and I read it multiple times. It’s an incredible adventure story, and has a plethora of opportunities for voices. That or Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Love that title.

Please tell us a silly fact about yourself. I watched Sesame Street daily until I graduated from college.

Where can we learn more about you? http://www.andrewjpond.weebly.com

Social Media links: www.facebook.com/andrew.j.pond

Instagram: @thadhel1

If you would like to learn more about Jinx and the Faerie Dragons look here:

Audible: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Children/Jinx-and-the-Faerie-Dragons-Audiobook/B079NMXF6R
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/447528
Barnes & Noble:
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/jinx-and-the-faerie-dragons-victoria-zigler/1119744836
iBooks https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/jinx-and-the-faerie-dragons/id890071985
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/audiobook/jinx-and-the-faerie-dragons-unabridged/id1347211105
Amazon UK: Amazon UK
Amazon US: Amazon US
Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/Jinx-Faerie-Dragons-Victoria-Zigler/dp/1512360074/
The Book Depository:
https://www.bookdepository.com/Jinx-Faerie-Dragons-Victoria-Zigler/9781512360073
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22460426-jinx-and-the-faerie-dragons

Jinx And The Faerie Dragons Audiobook Cover

Audiobook Narrator Interview – JD Kelly and Spotlight for Cubby and the Beanstalk

*Name: JD Kelly

*Tell us a bit about yourself: This is always a tough question to answer. I am a full-time voice actor,  however, I’m also the lead singer and rhythm guitarist for a rock and blues band, as well as well as writing and recording my own solo music.

When I’m not using my voice for singing or acting, I try to share as much as possible on my YouTube channel, where I play Video Games and go to conventions across the country. See my answer to the ‘silly fact’ question below for one of my achievements!

Having my own YouTube channel also gives me the opportunity to film and edit video, as well as photography. I love meeting people in cosplay at conventions to create montage videos, I’ve also filmed music videos for bands and solo artists too.

One of my more recent interests is running, I’d never considered myself a runner before but now I’ve completed two half marathons (one was at Disneyland Paris) I think it’s safe to call myself a runner. In all honesty, I use it as a great way to get out into the countryside, a change from my recording studio!

How did you become involved with audiobook narration and production? Before becoming a full-time voice actor, I worked in the industry part-time working on radio productions and audio plays. A friend of mine actually runs a production company so after working with them on a couple of small projects and really enjoying it I discovered ACX/Audible. I started to complete short projects in my spare time and immediately loved it, I quickly realised I wanted this to be my full-time career.

Tell us about some of the titles you’ve narrated. Do you have a favourite amongst these? I really enjoyed ‘Norse Mythology by Matt Clayton’ it was fun finding out about the myths and legends. ‘Summary of “The Happiness Advantage” by Shawn Achor’ was great too as Shawn Achors TED Talk was a huge influence on me, his book on positive psychology is fascinating!

But I am really looking forward to the next chapter of ‘The Fall Of Centuria by James A. Harris’ it was great to do the first book in this fantasy series!

Do you have a preferred genre?  Do you have a genre you do not produce? Why is this? I love narrating Fantasy novels, it’s a genre I read often. Sci-Fi is great too but I guess because the first book I really got into was The Hobbit, fantasy novels have kind of stuck with me.

I don’t produce erotic fiction, I don’t mind some raunchy romance tales but, when it gets too explicit, I can’t keep a straight face.

What are you working on at present/Just finished? I’m currently working on Alice In Wonderland and the third book in a series called 101 SNES Facts!

I have just completed Cubby and the Beanstalk an adorable kids book! (see links below)

*Tell us about your process for narrating?  (Be as elaborate as you like.) I’m very lucky that I have a recording studio set up home so it makes it really easy for me to get stuck into a project. The process begins with my audition, I look for roles that interest me, books about a subject I’m interested in and other projects in genres I’ve perhaps not worked in before, I love to challenge myself.

The audition is usually a few lines or the first 5 minutes of a longer project – this is usually enough to give me some insight into the writing style so I can adapt my tone as needed. I sometimes record a couple of versions so the end producer or author has some choice.

Once hired, I then like to get some direction from the client, writers often have a tone of voice in mind for a character and it’s important to me that I stay true to that. This is also a great time to confirm any unusual pronunciations or dialects – which happens quite often in fantasy books!

Once I’ve recorded everything, I then use various programmes to edit my takes and upload them as a final audio file.

What aspects do you find most enjoyable?  The thing I find most enjoyable is becoming the character, it keeps my job diverse and interesting. One day I can be playing the role of a Military Commander, and the next a Welsh Polar Bear cub! I enjoy portraying these different characters, knowing that the end listener will use this to help paint the images in their mind while they listen to the books.

Do you consider royalty share when looking for books to narrate? If not why is this? This really depends on the project and the length of time involved. Royalty shares mean I get paid after the work is completed, when the project makes money. This can work well for shorter projects where I can complete the work fairly quickly, but for longer projects, I do charge a ‘per finished hour’ rate.

Do you listen to audiobooks? Sometimes for non-fiction I’ll listen to an audiobook, but I can’t quit the written word when it comes to fiction. I suppose I like to hear the voices in my head using my imagination.

*With many people owning MP3 players do you think this is the future of storytelling? I think it is a storytelling media that will continue to become more popular as time goes on.

However, do I think that physical books (Digital too) will become extinct? Not really, I think we will find some kind of equilibrium.

Why do you think audiobooks are becoming so popular? With media/work taking up so much of people’s time these days, and people looking for ways to continue learning and being told stories I think it allows people escapism and learning on the move. During travel, in the bath and at night before bed seem to be good moments for most people.

Can you remember the first audiobook you owned? The first audiobook I owned was The Hobbit, I had it on cassette tape when I was about 8 years old, I remember getting it when I was living in America and I listened to it countless times. I’m not sure where the cassette is now, however, I recently went on holiday to stay in some hobbit huts in the UK and downloaded The Hobbit on iTunes – listening to it while sitting next to the fire brought back some great memories from my childhood.

If you are an author, do you produce your own audiobooks or do you prefer to look for an independent narrator? Why have you made this choice? I am not an author…yet. But I think in the future it would depend on the project, and if my voice would be suitable. I hope that I have enough humility to keep perspective and make a good casting call on whether my voice is right or not.

Has ACX/Audible fulfilled your expectations? (such as earnings, ease of use, workload etc.?) Oh definitely, it’s a system that has allowed me to forge a career out of a hobby!

Have you ever had a negative experience producing a book? Only one I can think of, the script I had received was not that well suited to audio production, so I just did the best I could with it. It is extremely rare that this happens but sometimes you just have to make the best of a script you are given.

Each difficult project you get teaches you something new, lets you know what your strengths and weaknesses are and allows you to get better!

Please tell us a silly fact about yourself. I have held a Guiness World Record for the Longest Marathon Time Playing Minecraft, I live-streamed it on my YouTube Channel raising over £2500 for Cancer Research UK!

Where can we learn more about you?

www.JDKelly.info

Social Media links:

https://www.facebook.com/JDKellyVA/

https://twitter.com/jd_kelly

https://www.youtube.com/themajikelone/

Cubby and the Beanstalk is available at the following retailers.

Audible: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Children/Cubby-and-the-Beanstalk-Audiobook/B078THHWBL/
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/459061
Barnes & Noble:
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cubby-and-the-beanstalk-victoria-zigler/1120001996
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/cubby-and-the-beanstalk
Chapters-Indigo
:
https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/cubby-and-the-beanstalk/9781310906428-item.html
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/cubby-and-the-beanstalk/id902823470
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/audiobook/cubby-and-the-beanstalk-unabridged/id1333112178
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/Cubby-Beanstalk-Victoria-Zigler/1512360104/
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/d/Books/Cubby-Beanstalk-Victoria-Zigler/1512360104
Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/d/Books/Cubby-Beanstalk-Victoria-Zigler/1512360104/
The Book Depository:
https://www.bookdepository.com/Cubby-Beanstalk-Victoria-Zigler/9781512360103
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22798929-cubby-and-the-beanstalk

Cover art atatched.

Cubby and the Beanstalk Audiobook Cover

Audiobook narrator interview – Jerry Fischer

 

*Name:  Jerry Fischer

*Tell us a bit about yourself:

How did you become involved with audiobook narration and production? Studied voice-over technique with Ginny Tyler (voice of Minnie Mouse), Joanie Gerber (voice of one of the Smurfs & various commercials), & Julie Kliewer (voice of Robecca Steam in “Monster High”); was an elementary public school teacher for over 28 years & always read to my students utilizing different voices; past reader for The Learning Tree (Hollywood production studio for reading for the blind)

Tell us about some of the titles you’ve narrated. Do you have a favourite amongst these? Fairview Felines (written by Michele Corriel, exhibiting 20 different voices), Ulrike’s Christmas (MY FAVORITE, written by Victoria Zigler), Hokey Pokey Pirates (written by Peyton King, Kristi King-Morgan), Why Are There Bullies … (written by Rich Linville)

Do you have a preferred genre?  Yes, Kids!    Do you have a genre you do not produce?  Yes, Adults. Why is this? The books are too long and boring

My preferred genre is: Of course, Kids

What are you working on at present/Just finished? Just finished Home Squeak Home (another wonderful book written by Victoria Zigler)

*Tell us about your process for narrating?  (Be as elaborate as you like.) It takes tremendous patience and practice, practice, practice. A voice-over artist is always honing his/her skills. Knowledge of various software programs and mics is a must, along with clear diction, high energy, and a vivid imagination. And, for sure, a love for reading!

What aspects do you find most enjoyable?  Getting into the characters and becoming “them” as I narrate. Being able to bring the books “alive”.

Do you consider royalty share when looking for books to narrate?  Yes, it tends to be much better than price per hour. That is, if you have a great writer and publisher who promotes and networks.   If not why is this? NA

Do you listen to audiobooks? Used to, more in the past than present, since I’m busy with narrating and producing, now that I’m retired (well, from teaching).

*With many people owning MP3 players do you think this is the future of storytelling? Perhaps; however, my grandson encouraged me to stop narrating for anyone over 12 years old, because most teens don’t want to sit down today and listen to an audiobook. Sadly, many adults don’t seem to want to take the time to listen to stories anymore either. I really think we still need to hold onto the old-fashioned style of live storytelling.

Why do you think audiobooks are becoming so popular? Maybe people would rather listen to books that are recorded as they drive in their cars or do things around the home. Sitting down and reading has basically become a thing of the past, even in public schools. Although every year I’m asked to return to my last school and read to different aged students for a special day of reading.

Can you remember the first audiobook you owned? It was a Christian fictional book, This Present Darkness, by Frank Peretti.

Has ACX/Audible fulfilled your expectations? (such as earnings, ease of use, workload etc.?) Earnings, not yet… Ease of use, definitely. Workload, you betcha, and I’m thoroughly enjoying the children’s books.

Have you ever had a negative experience producing a book? Yes, my first one, which cost me money. The writer was horrible with his grammar and I was continuously correcting the manuscript. Having been an elementary school teacher sure came in handy with all the corrections. Unfortunately, the experience caused me to doubt the validity of continuing as a narrator. Yet, I persevered and came into my own, especially with the last books written by Victoria Zigler. I really can’t say enough about this prolific children’s writer. “Mother Goose” move over!

Please tell us a silly fact about yourself. My grandchildren think I’m the silliest Grandpa in the world and I love it! They can’t believe it when I walk up to little children and start having a conversation with my “Donald Duck” impersonation.

Where can we learn more about you? Ask my grandkids or friends, or go to Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX), or Facebook, or see me as “Cowboy Jerry 1” on YouTube (Yes, I’m even a prestidigitator.)

Social Media links: Facebook

Jerry has recently narrated – Ulrike’s Christmas

Ulrike's Christmas Audiobook Cover.jpg

Audible: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Children/Ulrikes-Christmas-Audiobook/B076KWWL6Y/
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/689169
Barnes & Noble:
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ulrikes-christmas-victoria-zigler/1125333618
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/ulrike-s-christmas
Chapters-Indigo:
https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/ulrikes-christmas/9781370858835-item.html
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/ulrikes-christmas/id1186265503
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/audiobook/ulrikes-christmas-unabridged/id1299897702
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ulrikes-Christmas-Victoria-Zigler/dp/1541259998/
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Ulrikes-Christmas-Victoria-Zigler/dp/1541259998/
Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/Ulrikes-Christmas-Victoria-Zigler/dp/1541259998/
The Book Depository:
https://www.bookdepository.com/Ulrikes-Christmas-Victoria-Zigler/9781541259997
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33358687-ulrike-s-christmas

Narrator Interview – Danny Letham

*Name: Danny Letham

*Tell us a bit about yourself: Raised on a Scottish moorland farm, I spent much of my adult life in various Scottish and English cities and now live near the North Wales Coast.  My work background is software development and systems analysis, specialising in commercial, financial, and manufacturing systems. Born into a musical family whose other stock-in-trade was teaching, I was a mobile deejay in my teens, and these days I can gossip for Britain about many musical genres.

How did you become involved with audiobook narration and production? While I’ve always liked to talk, the impetus came in the form of the usual story: suggestions from friends and relations. I was very aware that merely being the “natural” that those good folks suggested was not enough, and indeed the well-intentioned encouragement might not even have been true. So, from about 2012 onwards I researched and self-trained with the help of Patrick Fraley’s tutorials and a few other sources. Meanwhile, before my wife’s death in 2016 I had gradually withdrawn from the world of I.T. to become her full-time caregiver, and since then I have reinvented myself as a narrator, video maker, and digital artist. I first encountered ACX through Mr. Fraley.

Tell us about some of the titles you’ve narrated. Do you have a favourite amongst these? You’ll have worked out from the foregoing that I have only just taken the plunge. So, for the time being I don’t have much to say here. I have a computer full of material that will never be seen or heard in public, kind of like those early Beatles recordings made in Hamburg. (Dream on, Danny!)

Do you have a preferred genre?  Do you have a genre you do not produce? Why is this? I’m a non-fiction kind of a guy really, who aspires to biography, history, the education sector, and corporate reads. I have a high regard for the better fiction narrators and am not averse to characterisation, but not every title is an Agatha Christie mystery and although I have my moments and can run the gamut of SATB timbres (baritone and mezzo are my best) I’m not quite in the same league as David Suchet. What folk tend to overlook, though, is that within the vast tract that is non-fiction there is every bit as much of a need for nuance and sense of scene. Which isn’t to rule out the right novel, of course; never say “never”. That said, I am minded to avoid so-called “Adult” material but I’d not reject an otherwise suitable title just because it had some adult content; however it would have to be very good read. On the other hand, given that I have a well-developed avuncular style for kids’ books there is an obvious conflict, so “Adult” is not a market I would target.

What are you working on at present/Just finished? I have just arrived on Audible as narrator of a kids’ title written by Victoria Zigler, called “Eadweard: a Story of 1066”. That title attracted me partly for its historic interest but significantly also because of its ethic; as a lad who never wanted to be a soldier myself I identified with its busting of the myth. The ten-year-old Danny repulsed by the “It’s a Man’s Life” TV recruitment campaign would have loved that book.

Eadweard - A Story Of 1066 Audiobook Cover

Ongoing, from a business perspective I am looking at ethical advertising both in sound and on video more so than audiobooks, but additionally in the medium term I have my eye on a couple of older works which are now in the Public Domain and for which I would assume the role analogous with rights holder as well as that of narrator.

*Tell us about your process for narrating?  (Be as elaborate as you like.)  Step One is, sample it and improvise reading one or two previously unseen passages. See how it FEELS. That instinct is important, and I try to carry it with me throughout the creative process at the same time as balancing it with self-directing. Next, read the thing end to end; if you don’t do that you can paint yourself into a corner either with a wrong characterisation as the plot unfolds or, in non-fiction, with a compromised counter-argument. Try a few more passages as you go along, and revisit former ones. Note how different the passages you improvised feel when they are re-encountered. Rehearse. Mark the text with cues and emphases while progressing, considering any surprise inflections that might work to keep the audience engaged. Rehearse again. Set milestones. Go on the mic, for no more than half an hour at a time; after that amount of time mistakes will multiply. Avoid becoming a slave to the punctuation, especially if that punctuation is mechanised. Repeat whole sentences or at least clauses where you notice at the time there has been a blooper, without pausing. Then get technical with NR, EQ, and all that stuff. When editing bear in mind that sometimes it’s better to splice than merely to cut. Sometimes there is no option but to overdub, but don’t do that yet. Open a list of overdub requirements. Listen back, repairing any pops or clicks etc, while identifying any more overdubs. Listen again, following the text closely looking for misreads. Rely on it; there will be some, and consequently more overdubs. Each overdub is a miniature run of the “mic NR EQ pop click etc.” cycle.  Cry, scream, and yell, when the sound palette of the overdub doesn’t match the main body of your narrative. Rinse and repeat. FINALLY (um, not really finally) submit your Thing Of Beauty. Cry, scream, and yell, some more when the rights holder sends a list of …. overdub requirements! Rinse and repeat. Oh, and that other chap who waves his arms? Me too.

I didn’t mention mixing just now. I always record vox in mono but where music or SFX is involved I will decide based on the specifics of the case whether or not to mix in stereo. If it’s narration only, it stays in mono unless I need to emulate physical activity. However, they never needed a stereo mix in the days of Steam Radio, did they? We have lost a lot these days, with the “live” imperative supplanted by all this tech, and yet I am mindful of babies and bathwater. I prefer to use Adobe Audition. Some freeware is absolutely magnificent, but Audition’s visualisations and its brush and lasso repair tools in particular are all but indispensable. In the end you get what you pay for.

What aspects do you find most enjoyable? In a sentence? I like the sound of my own voice! No, in all seriousness, performing is the buzz; I can’t say that I love the technical aspects. I did discover recently when invited to do a live reading that the dynamic is entirely different from studio work, so now I am looking to add that to the repertoire on a permanent basis.

Do you consider royalty share when looking for books to narrate? If not why is this? I certainly do. I think it unwise to dismiss either royalty share or finished-rate. Every project has its own business case. It depends on what balance you need to strike from time to time between visibility, prestige, and cash flow.

Do you listen to audiobooks? Not very often because in my limited leisure time I tend to read, looking for performance material! I spend more time listening to podcasts online. The audiobook that I have enjoyed the most – ever! – is David Suchet’s reading of “Death on the Nile”. Such characterisation! He is especially able when “doing” the women, and then there is all that over-the-top emoting, and excellent timing resulting from the great sound editing and audio engineering. What’s not to love? It is a lesson in the proper use of tech to give an enhanced performance experience. One of my bugbears is that the unavoidable pauses in “he-said-she-said” dialogue passages go unedited because of production time constraints. And people have been trained to like it, even to consider it best-practice. For me, while it’s fine in a live situation on a recording it just jars.

*With many people owning MP3 players do you think this is the future of storytelling? Yes and no. It’s unfortunate in some respects that the old way is almost extinct, of Wise Old Heads occasionally reading from a book but frequently improvising around a detailed memory. There is nothing quite like a live performance in which the narrator responds to the audience’s cues and maybe interacts with them. The best stories can be retold with near-infinite variation – consider how folk music works. In my dreams at least, I foresee that style of performance returning as ordinary people’s reading comprehension skills continue to diminish – which I believe they are doing regardless of the A-level statistics. For now, though, as a society we are going through a “more of the same” loop in which hearing the same story repeatedly in exactly the same formulaic way is the “four legs good” of our era, and whether we like it or not the playback device is king. Equally, the playback device is an ideal medium for disseminating listen-once material, superior to radio because of its on-demand nature. In that context word-of-mouth, social media ads, and the Infernal MP3 Machine are the narrator’s best friends. Just as the phonograph paved the way for excellence in musical performance we must hope the MP3 does the same for narration, although in my view we aren’t quite there yet.

Why do you think audio books are becoming so popular? The commuter lifestyle has a lot to do with it. The world of the past that I have described has largely been mechanised out of existence, and indeed that is the case even away from the urban cycle – in agriculture, for example, productivity demands shackle us to our tractors and our milking machines more than ever before. Changes in the popular music scene have made recorded music significantly less attractive to many than it has been previously, so the advent of affordable and – importantly – portable technology with which to hear something interesting is bringing the audiobook to the masses just like the Dansette did popular music half a century ago.

Has ACX/Audible fulfilled your expectations? (such as earnings, ease of use, workload etc.?) It’s too early to say as regards earnings, but actually, I think it more realistic in my situation at least to seek prestige and visibility than it is to expect Big Bucks directly. It is an easy platform to use in the technical sense, while in another respect it falls somewhere in between an effective hiring fair and a useful additional networking tool, not so much with peer-to-peer networking (to steal an I.T. term) as in the wider literary community. Having said that, I think the signal-to-noise ratio in terms of networking opportunity is less than ideal.

Have you ever had a negative experience producing a book? Every experience is a learning opportunity. If you don’t see it that way, that is a negative in itself.

Please tell us a silly fact about yourself. People perceive me to be fearless but… while obviously, I wouldn’t choose to do so I would wrestle a Rottweiler (and probably lose), and yet I have an irrational fear of chickens.

Where can we learn more about you?

Website with onward links is here: http://www.thevoiceofdaniel.com/

For repertoire and samples , go straight to soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/dannyletham

If you want to check out Victoria and Danny’s work – please use the links below.

Audible: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Children/Eadweard-A-Story-of-1066-Audiobook/B0778V7XDC/
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/652726
Barnes & Noble:
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/eadweard-victoria-zigler/1124182601
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/eadweard-a-story-of-1066
Chapters-Indigo
:
https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/eadweard-a-story-of-1066/9781370587865-item.html
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/eadweard-a-story-of-1066/id1137551399
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/audiobook/eadweard-a-story-of-1066-unabridged/id1313336363
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Eadweard-Story-1066-Victoria-Zigler/dp/1539534472/
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Eadweard-Story-1066-Victoria-Zigler/dp/1539534472/
Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/Eadweard-Story-1066-Victoria-Zigler/dp/1539534472/
The Book Depository:
https://www.bookdepository.com/Eadweard-Story-1066-Victoria-Zigler/9781539534471
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31199382-eadweard—a-story-of-1066

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

 

Narrator Interview – Joseph Batzel

*Tell us a bit about yourself:

My name is Joseph Batzel. I live in a small community in Utah by the name of Brigham City and have lived here since 1980 when I moved from Florida. I have been married for 44 years to my wife Alice who happens to be a writer.

We have two sons Marco ages 43- and Matthew 42, and five lovely grandchildren.

I have a Master’s degree in Film and Theater from Brigham Young University. My emphasis was acting and directing.

I have been an educator for the last 40 years of my life and have taught middle school, high school, and presently teach at Utah State University as a part time faculty.

In working at my vocation as an educator, I began my avocation as a professional actor and director for stage, film, and TV. I have 250 credits in the performing industry. I have travelled throughout the US presenting workshops in acting and voice over. I love helping people nurture their talent in these fields of interest.

How did you become involved with audiobook narration and production? I became involved with audiobook production early on in my career as a professional voice over artist. I have at least 150 credits in the voice over industry including radio, TV, animation, and audiobooks.

Tell us about some of the titles you’ve narrated. I narrated an educational CD Titled “Great American Speeches” and did the voice of Abraham Lincoln, and also a family audiobook CD titled “Tales From Davy Jones Locker “Quetzalcoatl” where I was the Grandfather (narrator)

Do you have a favourite amongst these? I must say it was an honor to play Lincoln and read one of the most famous speeches in American History “The Gettysburg Address.”

Do you have a preferred genre? I love to narrate uplifting material. There is too much anger and hatred in the world. I enjoy material that inspires and motivates people to do positive things in life.

Do you have a genre you do not produce? As I previously mentioned, genres that are filled with gratuitous profanity, sex, violence, etc. I have no desire to be involved in those types of projects. Why is this? I have certain personal and religious standards, values, and principles that I don’t want to compromise.

What are you working on at present/Just finished? I’m working on a motivational religious book. I just finished a five book children series, with an excellent author from England, Victoria Zigler, titled “Toby’s Tales.”

*Tell us about your process for narrating? (Be as elaborate as you like.) I have studied professional voice over training with some of the best professional voice over artists in the business. I also had an agent by the name of Linda Bearman that taught me the technique of voice over. I am very detailed in my approach. 1. I read over the script numerous times for content, meaning, characters, etc. 2. I take the script or text and break it down into paragraphs for narrating purposes. 3. I read through the script this time highlighting the character or character voices I’ll be recreating. 4. I mark where each voice changes and label each voice in my text. I use simple codes such as N for the Narrator T for Toby etc. 5. I read through the text practicing the voices aloud.

I go through the text numerous times until I am satisfied with my voice choices.

I do practice recordings until I feel comfortable with my choices. 8. Begin my recording sessions until it is close to perfect.

Edit the final draft.

Submit the work to the author, client, etc.

What aspects do you find most enjoyable? Working and recording the character or character voices.

Do you consider royalty share when looking for books to narrate? Much of it depends on the popularity of the author or if their books are doing well in the various markets available.

Do you listen to audiobooks? I love audiobooks but you can imagine what a critic I am to narrators of the books.

*With many people owning MP3 players do you think this is the future of storytelling? The market for audiobooks is booming for several reasons: 1. Technology 2. Availability of technology ex. I-Phones, laptops, I-Pads. Etc. 3. People are transit and travel more than ever on mass transit, cars, etc. 4. People would rather listen than read in this fast-paced world.

Why do you think audio books are becoming so popular? Answered above!

Can you remember the first audio book you owned? My first and most favorite audiobook was the Harry Potter series narrated by James Dale. Mr. Dale did every character with such precision and professionalism, I listened to the whole series in less than two weeks.

Has ACX/Audible fulfilled your expectations? (such as earnings, ease of use, workload etc.?) ACX provides unique opportunities for voice over artists to enter a simple profile, submit a demo, and bid for author’s titles by a submitting a short sample audition. Very smooth and professional.

 

The options of profit share and per hour rate are left up to the talent. That works for the talent and provides time for the narrator to research and find out about each author, and what their sales are on various marketing outlets.

The production end has been efficient and professional with adequate feedback from the author and the ACX production staff. The momentary rewards are yet to be determined.

Have you ever had a negative experience producing a book? NO!

Please tell us a silly fact about yourself. I do a great impression of Elvis Presley “Thank you thank you very much.”

 

Where can we learn more about you? Facebook

Social Media links: Facebook, twitter.

Book 1 – Toby’s New World
Audible: http://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Children/Tobys-New-World-Audiobook/B074P7FV1M/
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/229561
CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/5519989
Barnes & Noble:
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tobys-new-world-victoria-zigler/1113041202
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/toby-s-new-world
Chapters-Indigo:
https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/tobys-new-world/9781476234342-item.html
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/tobys-new-world/id562790799
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/audiobook/tobys-new-world-tobys-tales-volume-1-unabridged/id1270858515
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tobys-New-World-Tales/dp/1512358908/
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Tobys-New-World-Tales/dp/1512358908/
Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/Tobys-New-World-Tales/dp/1512358908/
Book Depository:
https://www.bookdepository.com/Tobys-New-World-Victoria-Zigler/9781512358902

Book 2 – Toby’s Monsters
Audible: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Children/Tobys-Monsters-Audiobook/B074SZ9BJX/
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/247103
CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/5519996
Barnes & Noble:
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tobys-monsters-victoria-zigler/1113744687
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/toby-s-monsters
Chapters-Indigo:
https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/tobys-monsters/9781301157921-item.html
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/tobys-monsters/id574780594
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/audiobook/tobys-monsters-tobys-tales-volume-2-unabridged/id1272267691
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/cka/Tobys-Monsters-2-Tales-Victoria-Zigler/1512358975
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/d/cka/Tobys-Monsters-2-Tales-Victoria-Zigler/1512358975
Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/d/cka/Tobys-Monsters-2-Tales-Victoria-Zigler/1512358975
Book Depository:
https://www.bookdepository.com/Tobys-Monsters-Victoria-Zigler/9781512358971

Book 3 – Toby’s Outing
Audible: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Children/Tobys-Outing-Audiobook/B074W95DRX/
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/251587
CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/5520007
Barnes & Noble:
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tobys-outing-victoria-zigler/1113846045
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/toby-s-outing
Chapters-Indigo:
https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/tobys-outing/9781301643264-item.html
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/tobys-outing/id577001695
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/audiobook/tobys-outing-tobys-tales-volume-3-unabridged/id1273856055
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tobys-Outing-3-Tales/dp/1512359041/
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Tobys-Outing-3-Tales/dp/1512359041/
Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/Tobys-Outing-3-Tales/dp/1512359041/
Book Depository:
https://www.bookdepository.com/Tobys-Outing-Victoria-Zigler/9781512359046

Book 4 – Toby’s Games
Audible: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Children/Tobys-Games-Audiobook/B074WCT1W4/
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/271594
CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/5520032
Barnes & Noble:
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tobys-games-victoria-zigler/1114302957
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/toby-s-games
Chapters-Indigo:
https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/tobys-games/9781301441082-item.html
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/tobys-games/id595641562
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/audiobook/tobys-games-tobys-tales-volume-4-unabridged/id1274236264
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/Tobys-Games-4-Tales-Victoria-Zigler/1512359262/
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/d/Books/Tobys-Games-4-Tales-Victoria-Zigler/1512359262/
Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/d/Books/Tobys-Games-4-Tales-Victoria-Zigler/1512359262/
Book Depository:
https://www.bookdepository.com/Tobys-Games-Victoria-Zigler/9781512359268

Book 5 – Toby’s Special School
Audible: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Children/Tobys-Special-School-Tobys-Tales-Volume-5-Audiobook/B0756Q5KB1/
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/281507
CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/5520068
Barnes & Noble:
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tobys-special-school-victoria-zigler/1114473423
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/toby-s-special-school
Chapters-Indigo
:
https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/tobys-special-school/9781301489220-item.html
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/tobys-special-school/id600171798
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/audiobook/tobys-special-school-tobys-tales-volume-5-unabridged/id1277169221
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/Tobys-Special-School-5-Tales-Victoria-Zigler/1512359335/
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/d/Books/Tobys-Special-School-5-Tales-Victoria-Zigler/1512359335/
Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/d/Books/Tobys-Special-School-5-Tales-Victoria-Zigler/1512359335/
Book Depository:
https://www.bookdepository.com/Tobys-Special-School-Victoria-Zigler/9781512359336

You can also find the books on Goodreads.

Book 1: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15992610-toby-s-new-world
Book 2: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16098832-toby-s-monsters
Book 3: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16127032-toby-s-outing
Book 4: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17209761-toby-s-games
Book 5: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17314257-toby-s-special-school

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

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