Friday, December 30, 2016

Let's Celebrate the Small Things one last time!


We're nearing the end of 2016!!! Now, I know some of you aren't so pleased with this last year. . .I'm wondering about several of the events too. . .but that doesn't mean it was all bad. Since when is life full of only warmth and goodies? And that's what this hop is all about.

This weekly blog hop is sponsored by the amazing Lexa Cain, and co-hosted by L.G. Keltner from Writing Off the Edge and myself. 

What exactly are we celebrating?

Every week, wonderful things happen, tiny things, which make us smile. But as time grabs us up, we forget all about these moments as if they never existed at all. This is the chance for us to reflect back on those and remember that there are tons of things worth celebrating.


This week, I'm celebrating. . .

1) Quiet time with the family. I love having the kids home (as many of you know). We received several card and board games for Christmas as well as some puzzles, so we've been eating tons (and I do mean TONS) of snacks while battling each other for the win.

2) ARCs! I have gotten my hands on some awesome up-coming books! I am SOOOO excited to dive into them.\

3) An awesome present from my son! Usually, I'm not one to focus on gifts, but my son hit the mark this year. He gave me a notebook which makes my little writer's heart go pitter-patter. It's real leather, hand-bound, has metal latches and hand-made paper. Oh, and there's a beautiful, blue opal in the center. Honestly, I don't know what I'm going to write into it. My normal book thoughts are seriously not worth of such a paper. I have been playing with the idea of using it as a type of grimoire...you know, placing recipes for herbal poisons (*bwahahahaha*), ancient healing concoctions, myths and the such. It would fit something like that and make my future grandchildren and great grandchildren really wonder about what this silly ancestor was like.


That wraps it up for this year! Here's wishing all of you a fantastic weekend and may the new year send man blessing your way!






Friday, December 23, 2016

Celebrate the Small Things - Have a Merry Christmas, Everyone!

I'm making this super simple today and will simply wish all of you. . .




Have a Happy Holiday weekend, and we'll see you next week!





This weekly blog hop is sponsored by the amazing Lexa Cain, and co-hosted by L.G. Keltner from Writing Off the Edge and myself. 

What exactly are we celebrating?

Every week, wonderful things happen, tiny things, which make us smile. But as time grabs us up, we forget all about these moments as if they never existed at all. This is the chance for us to reflect back on those and remember that there are tons of things worth celebrating.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Guest Post with Laura Duncombe and Books Banish Bullying

Last week, a very special woman with a lovely idea reached out to me. Her mission - to bring quality books to more children. . .something she's decided to start up all on her own. Not only am I always impressed by people who see a problem and are ready to do something to change it. But as a children book blogger/writer, there was no way I could glance the other way! 


So, please welcome Laura Duncombe!




Thanks so much for having me. One of my favorite things about the internet is getting to e-meet wonderful people who I may have never crossed paths with otherwise. I’m honored to be guest-posting on Tonja’s blog.

My story starts with books. Since I was a kid, I have always loved being read to and later, reading to myself. A good story does more than entertain—it can shape your life. We all remember a book we read as a child that has stuck with us for years and years. My mother read me so many wonderful books that taught me to respect all people and cultures, take care of the earth, and think outside of the box. Those lessons made me into the adult I am today. Now that I have a child, I am very careful about what I read to him because I know that the words and stories he hears will have a huge impact on what kind of man he becomes. Simply put: I believe with all my heart in the power of books.

So, 2016 has got me pretty bummed. There’s a lot of fear and anger and hatred in the political sphere and plenty of tragedy at home and abroad. I got really tired of weeping over the evening news wishing I could build a really big bubble and shield my loved ones from any pain,  so instead I decided to do something about it. I started Books Banish Bullying with the idea that books can change lives, and that a good children’s book is really a seed for a better future. I knew that there were school libraries all over the country desperate for new books and small children who have not yet learned it’s “uncool” to love reading. If I could connect these kids and libraries with beautiful, vital books, then I would be doing my part to make sure that the future will be dominated less by hateful rhetoric and anger and more by acceptance and understanding. That’s our mission—to spread creativity, earth stewardship, and love through books.

We have a website, www.booksbanishbullying.com. On it you can find our story, as well as the list of books we are collecting. This changes often due to what’s available in hardback and suggestions from friends and readers. There’s a link to our Amazon wish list, which sends the books straight to me, as well as to our paypal site (which is used to pay shipping costs.) That’s it! It’s really easy to send us a book—just a few clicks on Amazon.

Right now we are a pretty small operation. It’s just me and my spare bedroom, which I use as an office while my baby naps. We are in the process of getting our 501.c.3 nonprofit status from the IRS, which is a fun legal jumble of paperwork. I hope we will continue to grow and grow, because I have spoken to librarians all across the country and heard their stories and I want to just shower them in books. As we evolved and develop, it has been truly amazing and awe-inspiring to see the books come in. The postwoman calls me “the book lady,” which is the best nickname ever.
To anyone out there thinking about starting a nonprofit, just go do it!! I’ve never done anything like this before but I just felt so strongly that I had to do something. If you’re feeling that in your heart, do it! I believe in you. This is your sign from the universe that now is the time.


Thanks again for having me! And thanks for all you do to share the magic of books. Book bloggers (and writers, like Tonja) are my heroes. 



Friday, December 16, 2016

Celebrate the Small Things


Happy Friday!!! It's time to celebrate those small things!

This weekly blog hop is sponsored by the amazing Lexa Cain, and co-hosted by L.G. Keltner from Writing Off the Edge and myself. 

What exactly are we celebrating?

Every week, wonderful things happen, tiny things, which make us smile. But as time grabs us up, we forget all about these moments as if they never existed at all. This is the chance for us to reflect back on those and remember that there are tons of things worth celebrating.


This week, I'm celebrating. . .


1) Cool, quiet mornings! When I go out to feed my cows, there's a beautiful calmness in our small valley. I love just walking around and breathing it in.

2) Fuzzy blankets, socks and sweaters! It's snuggle time!!! With temperatures dropping fast and frosty mornings, everything warm, soft and fluffy gains bonus points in my book.

3) COOKIES!!! Okay, I really have to stop celebrating these as much as I do. The biggest downfall...blessing???...of being at home is the huge stack of chocolates, cookies and Christmas treats constantly within arm's reach on the kitchen table. Nibbling, snacking, with tea...in a fast grab. Oh those blessed pounds are coming, and what delicious ones they are! 


What about you? What put a smile on your face this last week? Did you go o' caroling? Find the perfect gift for someone? Join in another special family moment? Get a surprise at work? What are you celebrating this week?



Friday, December 9, 2016

Celebrate the Small Things


Happy Friday!!! It's time to celebrate those small things!

This weekly blog hop is sponsored by the amazing Lexa Cain, and co-hosted by L.G. Keltner from Writing Off the Edge and myself. 

What exactly are we celebrating?

Every week, wonderful things happen, tiny things, which make us smile. But as time grabs us up, we forget all about these moments as if they never existed at all. This is the chance for us to reflect back on those and remember that there are tons of things worth celebrating.


This week, I'm celebrating. . .


First, I need to apologize. I missed IWSG this month . . .again! I could kick myself because that means two months in a row, and I really, really, really wanted to hit it this time. So I'm circling the date for January in my calendar in bright red. See if that does the trick.

Now, on to celebrations!

1)  My son bought a Jeep! He changes vehicles faster than I switch shoes. This is the main reason I missed IWSG too. He took a friend's advice and purchased one through an online auction...a 4 1/2 hour drive away. This friend was supposed to drive down with him to pick it up but backed out. So I got pulled in. It was a long but lovely drive (9 hours). We even went through a small snow storm.

Yes, he bought me a nice, big dinner too.

2) Christmas decorations are all up! Cookies are baked too. Now, I just have to get those cards written, packages sent off and last presents bought. Then it's time to kick back and relax. Yeah right.

3) Eggnog with a shot of rum. Yum. Yum.


What about you? What put a smile on your face this last week? See some pretty lights? Find a good book? Try something new? What are you celebrating?

Thursday, December 8, 2016

X Dare and the Keys to Nin by PK Hzero

I'm excited to help spread the word about a wonderful author's (PK Hrezo) newest release! It's a middle grade fantasy perfect for gamers, adventure and anime fans.

Ready???

Here it is!!!




X DARE AND THE KEYS TO NIN
by PK Hrezo
Middle Grade Fantasy
340 pages





IN THE GAMING WORLD YOU CAN ALWAYS POWER OFF. IN THE WORLD OF NIN, POWER IS FOREVER. 

Soon the be ninth grader, Xavier Dare, is convinced there is no video game he can't master. When a mysterious tattooed man loans him an outdated gaming system, and game called, The Keys to Nin, he gives X real-time access to a world on the brink of turmoil. Nin's Big Boss is like none X has ever encountered, with a secret that X will have to come to terms with if he wants to keep his own world safe. If X doesn't level up inside the seven magical yet primitive realms of Nin, he may just find himself doomed to roam there forever--that is, if he can manage to stay alive.

This is one game that's about to get real. 






MY TIDBITS


Packed full of action, this novel takes tween readers on an amazing ride into a gaming world and leaves one begging for more.

Xavier Dare is about to enter the ninth grade. While his friend is excited about the new batch of girls awaiting him, Xavier only has his head in games. And rightly so. There isn't a game, which he can't defeat in record time. When a strange man with tattoos, follows Xavier out of the arcade and offers him to stop by his gaming store, a game begins which even Xavier might not be able to handle.

This is a must read for gaming, anime and action fans. Xavier is a character which grabs from the very first page and demands attention the entire way through. He's got a great head on his shoulders, is actually more cautious than one might assume, but is a hero to root for. His attitude, decisions and actions are understandable and as realistic as the kid next door. And the friends he meets are intriguing too.

The world is described with just enough detail to draw in without ever bogging down. The imagination takes flight as Xavier tackles this unknown realm. There's never a dull moment, and surprises await around every corner. Although 350 pages can be intimidating for some readers, this book will grab the interest especially of tween guys as it pulls them into an adventure many gamers only dream of.



PK Hzero has written several lovely stories. My personal favorite is her time travel series:


But you can find everything about her:

http://www.pkspixies.com/

Friday, December 2, 2016

Celebrate the Small Things



Happy Friday!!! It's time to celebrate those small things!

This weekly blog hop is sponsored by the amazing Lexa Cain, and co-hosted by L.G. Keltner from Writing Off the Edge and myself. 

What exactly are we celebrating?

Every week, wonderful things happen, tiny things, which make us smile. But as time grabs us up, we forget all about these moments as if they never existed at all. This is the chance for us to reflect back on those and remember that there are tons of things worth celebrating.


This week, I'm celebrating. . .


1) Disney Parades! Did I get to go to Disney World??? Don't I wish. But my daughter is there this weekend marching in the parade. She was chosen to be apart of a special 'American Cheerleaders' group and perform this weekend. She has a lovely, Christmassy uniform and is enjoying the sun. I'm really happy for her.

2) My first youtube book review! Awhile back, I mentioned that I had received a scholarship for a booktubing seminar, and it's running full swing. I'm still not sure about it (so much work, so little time). Plus, I still have a ton to learn. But you can see my first attempt: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKJZqpCQh_Q

3) Christmas tree is up! I'm putting the finishing touches on this weekend, and then I'll snap a picture. Our tree is always a mish-mash of whatever ornaments have managed to survive the years as well as a collection of the wonderful ones the kids have made. So it's always fun to put it up.


What put a smile on your face this last week? Get buried in snow? Go ice skating? Take a plunge in a wave at the beach? Get a massage? What are you celebrating?






Friday, November 25, 2016

Celebrate the Small Things


Happy Friday!!! It's time to celebrate those small things!

This weekly blog hop is sponsored by the amazing Lexa Cain, and co-hosted by L.G. Keltner from Writing Off the Edge and myself. 

What exactly are we celebrating?

Every week, wonderful things happen, tiny things, which make us smile. But as time grabs us up, we forget all about these moments as if they never existed at all. This is the chance for us to reflect back on those and remember that there are tons of things worth celebrating.


This week, I'm celebrating. . .


I'm celebrating a wonderful Thanksgiving with family! And that's why I'm super late with today's post too. We had so much fun that we decided to spend the night and carry on through this morning. Since they have no internet, it was unplugged relaxation pure!


Hope each of you had a wonderful, blessed Thanksgiving as well!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Crystal Collier and Creating Deep Characters


Welcome Crystal Collier here today to share her new book and some writing tips!

In 1771, Alexia had everything: the man of her dreams, reconciliation with her father, even a child on the way. But she was never meant to stay. It broke her heart, but Alexia heeded destiny and traveled five hundred years back to stop the Soulless from becoming.

In the thirteenth century, the Holy Roman Church has ordered the Knights Templar to exterminate the Passionate, her bloodline. As Alexia fights this new threat—along with an unfathomable evil and her own heart—the Soulless genesis nears. But none of her hard-won battles may matter if she dies in childbirth before completing her mission.

Can Alexia escape her own clock?

BUY: Amazon | B&N

5 Tools for Creating Deep Characters

Thank you Tonja for having me here today!

Do you have an epic story, but people aren't sold on your characters?


Characters are the music, and plot is what you see happening in a movie. Take a train wreck scene and put rock music behind it. Take the same scene and put a slow symphony underneath. We have the same action, but the mood is completely different.

The characters are the filter through which we see the story, and thus their view of the world is what establishes the reader's interpretation of what's happening.

So you've got your basic character. You know their name, appearance, history, place in the world, etc. But do you KNOW them?

To create intense characters, you have to be inside their heads. Deep inside. You have to walk the steps of their early childhood with them. You need to see what they fear. What they treasure. What makes them cry. When you know the answers to these, you know how they will react to different situations and why.

But sometimes you don't. Sometimes, although you've met a character, you can't quite understand what their deal is. They're still a mystery. In this case, you need to get to know them. How about some tools?

Source
1. One of my favorites is the scenario game. Take a random situation, like being mugged in the streets of New York, and imagine step by step how your character would respond to the situation. But go beyond that. Figure out the WHY. What in their past or psychology prompts them to react that way? Do this with a number of situations and you'll get to the heart of your character. I did this with Alexia while getting to know her. She was born in the mid 1700's, but I placed her in modern day America to see what she'd do.

2. The personal essay. Your character is applying to college (or some similar institution), and has to write a personal essay about their favorite possession, or pet, or a situation that changed them forever. Sit down and write this essay for them. The prologue of SOULLESS (MoT book 2) is a letter from Alexia to her missing aunt. It was a fun way to sum up everything that had happened in book one, but to see it completely from Alexia's eyes.

3. Figure out who this character is based on in your life. You'll be surprised the insights this gives you into their psyche. I was shocked to learn Kiren's character was based on my father. Beyond shocked. Let me explain. My father was a doctor and at work 90% of the time. He was distant and mysterious all my growing up, but the most compassionate person I knew. I struggled after realizing Kiren possessed so much of him (because let's face it, that's my dad!) until I accepted that it made the character stronger and helped me understand how he responded to situations. Kiren is totally a creature of my imagination, but he shares my father's core values.

4. What's their culture, and how does that change perspective? I'm not talking about JUST their ancestry. Have you moved around much? I have. Language varies from location to location, even while speaking the same English. Etymology (the study of language) shows us that any language will place emphasis on aspects that are important to the daily life of a region. For instance, a mountain village where they raise sheep may have twenty terms for types of sheep and their young. They may have fifteen terms for wool. Their metaphors and thinking would evolve around their way of life--the raising of sheep, the seasons, the harvest, the weather. It would jade EVERYTHING. To be true to a character, immerse yourself in their culture. This was the biggest trick in switching between time periods & social standings for my latest release, TIMELESS. I had learned the culture of an aristocrat and the working class in the 1770's for the previous two books, but I had to acquire an understanding of a lord in the mid 1200's, along with knights, clergy, and the poor for this book.

5. Speaking patterns. You gave the character a stutter or accent. Pat yourself on the back. This isn't what I'm talking about. I'm talking about speech patterns. You have a way of formulating sentences. It's different from everyone else's. In order to really create an individual, try listening to YouTube videos and seeing how people structure their sentences. It's pretty eye-opening how different we all are. Now formulate your character's own way of speaking, and see if you can make it different from your own.

In the end, you can spend as much or little time on characters as you like, but it's to your advantage to make them so real that they live off the page in people's heads.

What tools have you found helpful for forming deep characters?

Crystal Collier is an eclectic author who pens clean fantasy/sci-fi, historical, and romance stories with the occasional touch of humor, horror, or inspiration. She practices her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, four littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese.

Find her and her books online HERE.



(Email address is required for awarding prizes.)

Friday, November 18, 2016

Celebrate the Small Things


Happy Friday!!! It's time to celebrate those small things!

This weekly blog hop is sponsored by the amazing Lexa Cain, and co-hosted by L.G. Keltner from Writing Off the Edge and myself. 

What exactly are we celebrating?

Every week, wonderful things happen, tiny things, which make us smile. But as time grabs us up, we forget all about these moments as if they never existed at all. This is the chance for us to reflect back on those and remember that there are tons of things worth celebrating.


This week, I'm celebrating. . .

1) A lovely week! This might sound pretty general, and it is, but I thought it was worth celebrating. This week has simply been nice. No big problems or harsh surprises, although it hasn't been quiet either. Just busy in a life flowing kind of way. And that's nice.

2) Deer. Now, I know not all of you are probably huge supporters of hunting, but here in southern Missouri, the folks are extreme in this area. Deer season started last weekend, which means the whole town and everyone in it goes camo. Literally. It's quite the sight. Even the bank signs spew blinking messages of 'hunters be safe' and 'good hunting'. But my news--my husband landed his two deer in the first two hours of the season and was done. My freezer is now happily full (yes, this definitely helps that grocery bill) and winter can start. Oh, and I should mention that my brother was able to land a 20-pointer yesterday...and the best on that one--he's taking us out for a celebration dinner this weekend.

3) Christmas bread! It's baking time. Already. The German Weihnachtsstollen needs to mature for 2-4 weeks to reach yummy perfection, which means early baking for me. I just set those raisins in rum this morning.

4)  Almost done with wood splitting! I'll have to take a picture next week just to show my massive pile. I'm very proud of myself for getting it done (and yes, my oldest does help me split the biggest logs and cuts down the trees.)

5) Our anniversary yesterday! It's not a big one (21 this time), but it'd be awful not to celebrate every single one.


Well, that's my list for this week. Rather farmy sounding this time. Hmmm.
So what put a smile on your face this past week? Get a new jacket? See that big moon? Run into a nice stranger and have a nice exchange? What are you celebrating this week?

And to all you giveaway mice, don't forget to take a peek at my Giveaway tab above. There's always a list of things to sign up for.




Friday, November 11, 2016

Timeless by Crystal Collier and Celebrating the Small Things

Today, I'm celebrating. . .

1) Perfect, Fall temperatures! It's great for walking through the leaves and simply letting the sun warm the face.

2) Pumpkin soup! Need I say more?

And I'm also happy to help Crystal celebrate the final book to an amazing series!



Welcome Crystal Collier here today to share her brand new book!

Title: TIMELESS
Series: Maiden of Time, #3
Author: Crystal Collier
Pages: 253
Publication: November 1, 2016
Publisher: Raybourne Publishing
ISBN: 9781629830056

TIME IS THE ENEMY.

In 1771, Alexia had everything: the man of her dreams, reconciliation with her father, even a child on the way. But she was never meant to stay. It broke her heart, but Alexia heeded destiny and traveled five hundred years back to stop the Soulless from becoming.

In the thirteenth century, the Holy Roman Church has ordered the Knights Templar to exterminate the Passionate, her bloodline. As Alexia fights this new threat—along with an unfathomable evil and her own heart—the Soulless genesis nears. But none of her hard-won battles may matter if she dies in childbirth before completing her mission.

Can Alexia escape her own clock?
Buy: Amazon | B&N

What reviewers are saying:

“A magical, fast-paced, romantic adventure…” --T. Drecker, Bookworm for Kids

“A story of love...true and forbidden love. There's mystery…tension, action...everything.” –Chrys Fey, author of Ghost of Death

"SWOON." --Sherlyn, Mermaid with a Book Reviewer


Alexia had assumed his home was a hut in some local village. “Where is it you came from?”
Deamus motioned upward.
Alexia followed his aim to the warming sky, stars fading. “From the stars?”
Both hands disappeared behind his back as he considered her closely. Something in his stare solidified, and he leaned forward, lifting an arm and pointing. “There. Out beyond those lights waits another earth, one where…where we live without fear. Only those with Passionate blood dwell there.”
The idea whirled her head like a top he was spinning just to watch her grow dizzy.
Amos stepped between them. “Tell me about this place.”
Deamus backed away, gaze shifting shyly to the ground.
Alexia touched his arm. “Tell me.”
“The other land was created long ago by a powerful man. There has never been a man more powerful.”
To create an entire world… Alexia still couldn’t quite fathom it. Only God possessed that kind of power.
“When humanity began destroying…the Passionate, he knew he had to stop them.” He brought his fists together and pulled them apart to illustrate. “It would mean separating two worlds. He studied and gathered and worked for decades to make his dream a reality, and at last, he did it.”
Alexia gave him a skeptical frown. “Separated two worlds out of one?”
“I heard me somethin’ like this story before.” Regin scratched his chin. “Weren’t there two sons and some kind of battle?”
Deamus stilled and shifted away as if he’d forgotten about his larger audience.
“Do continue,” Alexia urged.
“A bridge was erected, a bridge of light that allowed our kind to pass over, but the cost of channeling so much power was the man’s life.” Deamus bit his lip. His chin shook and he looked away. Quiet accosted them. Alexia wondered if he would continue when he straightened his shoulders, lips puckered in a frown. “He left two sons.” He gave a quick nod at Regin. “Both studied his arts and followed in his path, but one was tempted and drawn into dark powers, the kind that consume the soul.” A line appeared between his eyebrows. “The other watched over and protected the Passionate—mostly from his brother.”
Alexia glanced up at the disappearing stars and shivered, feeling suddenly very small. “And how do you know of this other world?”
Deamus’s head tilted, hope shimmering in his gaze. “It is my home.”


Crystal Collier is an eclectic author who pens clean fantasy/sci-fi, historical, and romance stories with the occasional touch of humor, horror, or inspiration. She practices her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, four littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese.

Find her online HERE.

(Email address is required for awarding prizes.)

This weekly blog hop sponsored by the amazing Lexa Cain, and co-hosted by L.G. Keltner from Writing Off the Edge and myself. 

What exactly are we celebrating?

Every week, wonderful things happen, tiny things, which make us smile. But as time grabs us up, we forget all about these moments as if they never existed at all. This is the chance for us to reflect back on those and remember that there are tons of things worth celebrating.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

So You Want to Make an Audiobook Part III with Paula Berinstein

The past two days, the wonderful Paula Berinstein has been kind enough to share her experience with creating an audiobook. . .as a self-published author.  If you missed out, you can (and should) go back and read:
Part I here
Part II here

I don't know about you, but I can't wait to see how her journey continues!

Thanks, Paula!


So You Want to Make an Audiobook, Post 6: Post-production
The Amanda Lester, Detective Odyssey with Paula Berinstein

Recording an audiobook doesn’t end on the last day in the studio. You have to edit and check listen, both detailed and time-consuming jobs.

In order to comply with ACX’s technical requirements, you must submit each chapter as a separate file. You also have to create files for the opening and closing credits and provide a sample of up to five minutes, all governed by requirements such as decibel range, compression, and so on. It’s fiddly stuff! Add to that the fact that it’s easy for the actor to misread something or the editor to forget to chop out a cough and there’s a lot to do.

As the team was going through the files, they discovered a few problems. Chris told me that Allan would have to come back into the studio and re-record some stuff. He was scheduled to return for another project in a few weeks. Did I want him to come in specially for my project or could I wait? I could wait.

About three weeks later Allan rerecorded the passages and David Griffiths, the editor (who did an amazing job!), took over. The next thing I knew I had thirty-something audio files (actually sixty-something if you count both the .wav and .mp3 files) in my Dropbox folder. I was scared to death. My shiny new audiobook was waiting for me and I was afraid to listen.

I needn’t have worried. Allan had worked such magic on Amanda that I barreled through the whole thing, stopping only to exclaim, “OMG, that is brilliant!” about a thousand times. I found only one problem: he had repeated a line. I asked Strathmore to fix it (easy peasy), and then it was time to upload my files to ACX, where I’d established a DIY account.  

I logged into my account and started the uploads. Ugh, what a dummy. I was in such a hurry I started the upload for every file at the same time! A few of them actually completed and then the whole thing froze. Well of course it did. I had overloaded the system. I cancelled everything that hadn’t completed and uploaded thirty-something files one by one. Then I uploaded the beautiful cover Anna Mogileva had completed a few months before and sat back to wait up to three week for a verdict.

I was lucky: I heard back in about a week. By that time the book was already listed on Audible. It popped up on Amazon and iTunes a couple of days later. There was a bit of an issue with the age range in the target audience categories, but we got that resolved quickly. (Audible had put it in the five- to seven-year-olds section. You can now find it in the 11-13-year-olds section, which they consider teens).

I just found out that you can also get the audio Whispersynced to your ebook (which means you can switch between the text and the audio without losing your place), and that that version of the audiobook costs waaaaaaay less than the standalone one. I mean like $3.47 as opposed to $24.95! You can get that on Audible and Amazon but not on iTunes. I guess that makes sense since Audible and Amazon are so well integrated.  

As a result of my project, I have discovered that listening rather than reading allows you to experience a book in an entirely different way. How something is said is so important. A line you might interpret as angry or whiny when you read can come across as mellow, tongue in cheek, or dry when said aloud. A crisis can be magnified or played down. You might hear things you never realized were there. It’s amazing.


But from an author’s standpoint there’s more. When I heard Allan read my book something happened that changed the way I write. I realized I had inadvertently written the book in a way that sounded good when read aloud. I hadn’t meant to but somehow it turned out that way. Perhaps it’s because I hear my text in my head and automatically adjust the words so they flow well—I don’t know. But that got me thinking: what if my other books weren’t so audio friendly.

As we were winding up the audiobook I just happened to be making a final pass through Amanda Lester and The Red Spider Rumpus, the fifth title in the Amanda Lester, Detective series, and with Allan’s voice fresh in my mind I looked at that text in a whole new way. I imagined Allan reading the words and realized that some passages didn’t work. They were rhythmically wrong.

There was no way I was going to let them stand so I sharpened my pencil (I was editing a physical proof at that point) and nudged that puppy into shape. Sometimes I had to read the words aloud to make sure they worked. That isn’t something I would have done before, but I will now.

When you think about it, creating an audio version of a book is a lot like producing a play. Different directors interpret a text in their own ways. One director’s interpretation of Richard III (which was set in Nazi Germany when I saw it with Ian McKellen in the lead) will differ from another’s. One version of a movie is different from another. It’s up to the actors and the director to bring their vision to life. And that’s just what happened with my audiobook.

The way Allan reads the story is different from what’s in my head. I don’t just mean that my Editta is English rather than Scottish. It’s that he sees story and character in a whole other light—a light that illuminates the text in ways I never could imagine. And that’s the real beauty of an audiobook: you get to experience your creation as someone else does. What could be better than that?


Listen to a sample of the audiobook here on Soundcloud




AMANDA LESTER AND THE PINK SUGAR CONSPIRACY
Amanda Lester, Detective #1
 Written by Paula Berinstein Narrated by Allan Corduner Length: 10 hrs and 47 mins MG Mystery/ Detective 



A reluctant detective, a criminal mastermind, and sugar? Amanda Lester wouldn't be caught dead going into the family business. Her ancestor, Sherlock Holmes's colleague Inspector G. Lestrade, is a twit. Nevertheless her parents refuse to see his flaws, and she's going to a secret English school for the descendants of famous detectives whether she likes it or not. When Amanda arrives at the dreaded school, she considers running away - until she and her new friends discover blood and weird pink substances in odd places. At first they're not sure whether these oddities mean anything, but when Amanda's father disappears and the cook is found dead with her head in a bag of sugar, they're certain that crimes are taking place. Now Amanda must embrace her destiny and uncover the truth. The only snag is that arch-villain Blixus Moriarty, a descendant of Holmes's nemesis Professor James Moriarty, might be involved, and he doesn't like nosy little girls interfering in his business.
You can find Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy on Goodreads You can buy the audiobook of Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy here: - Audible - Amazon - iTunes Listen to a sample of the audiobook here on Soundcloud


All about. . .


Paula Berinstein is nothing like Amanda. For one thing, she’s crazy about Sherlock Holmes. For another, she’s never wanted to be a filmmaker. In addition, compared to Amanda she’s a big chicken! And she wouldn’t mind going to a secret school at all. In fact, she’s hoping that some day she’ll get to build one. You can find and contact Paula here:

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