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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Interview with audio narrator Paula Slade

I'm very excited to interview the narrator for my book "Waiting for You". I was thoroughly delighted in the way she played my characters in the story. And I'm very happy she agreed to do this interview!

REVIEW on Audible.com
Overall
Performance
Story
"Lovely Story!"
I have both the ebook and paperback copy for this story...the audiobook copy just made it complete. A 
lovely paranormal story! Beautifully written and narrated. Will definitely be re-listening! :)

Listen to a sample of the audiobook - click here




Me:
Briefly tell me about yourself. What makes Paula Slade tick?
Paula:
My family, my friends, a house full of pets, and the day-to-day pleasure of enjoying a life filled with creative possibilities!

Me:
What made you want to become a narrator?
Paula:
Audiobook narration has been a natural evolution for me. Most of my working life has been involved in the entertainment industry. Before beginning my career on radio, I majored in music at the American Conservatory in Chicago, studying voice and opera performance. Over the years, I’ve done everything from on-camera television and film, to theatre, plus behind the microphone, recording voice-overs for commercials and industrial training modules.  I was also fortunate to be able to create programming (writing/producing/directing) for radio/crossover television. And, along the way there were reporting stints for newspapers, magazines and online sites. Seeing the burgeoning audiobook market take hold in the last few years was the impetus

Me:
I'm so impressed with your credentials! Do you always enjoy narrating stories? Was there ever a time you became frustrated with this career?
Paula:
For the most part I love it!  I get to exercise my acting and storytelling skills, plus learn something new almost every day.  The only frustrating part is finding the right book, that is well written and is a good fit as far as marketability and personal interests. 

Me:
I think it would be hard to narrate a book that wasn't well written. I'm very happy you agreed to do mine! So tell me of a fun experience you had narrating a story.
Paula:
Actually, it was when we were recording your wonderful book “Waiting for You.”  I love ghost stories, and I also love comedy. (Some of my theatrical training was at Second City in Chicago, and I don’t often have much of a chance to use comedic timing.) Your character “Vanessa” was so much fun to interpret! Her comedic interludes interspersed with a beautifully moving love story made it fun.  Also, there was one scene in particular (possible spoiler here) where Nick is embracing Abigail (who is a ghost), and a policeman comes along and knocks on their car window to find out what he’s doing.  I laughed so hard and had so many retakes on that scene, but it was fun, fun, fun!

Me:
I'm thrilled that you enjoyed the humor in my story!! And I'm glad you laughed at that part. When a reader climbs into my characters shoes, they need to know how they are feeling, and I'm glad you did.
How do you create such compelling voices? What goes through your mind when you’re recording different characters?
Paula:
Before I begin recording, I do a total read-through, and along the way I find myself getting in sync with the author’s style, character development, and intent of sub text in the dialogue.  Once the reading process is done, I have a full mental image of each of the characters as well as the storyteller.  When it comes time to say, or act out a line, I envision (in my mind’s eye) myself as the character or the storyteller.  This is quite a fascinating process, as sometimes it takes several days to shed different personas.  (Last year, I had to come up with the voice for a talking Chihuahua in Jeff T. Bauer’s “Sadie Sapiens,” and I still anthropomorphize one of our dogs.) 

Me:
I would imagine doing this very thing, too! When you narrated, “Waiting for You”, there was a special trick you did in the story when my hero was on the phone. Can you explain how you did that?
Paula:
Ah, we thought it would be fun to try something new for “Waiting for You.” We loved the first comedic scene so much we were looking for something unexpected that would draw the listener in even further.  Our company’s senior engineer and all around techie, Barry Gillogly (who is also my husband) came up with the idea of using an FFT filter with customized settings.  It worked out so well that we’ve employed a similar technique in later books and the authors seem to love it!  It was a fun creative choice that worked. 

Me:
I feel so privileged that you tried this on my story first. It was amazing!
Do you have a website where other writers can find you if they want to hire you as their narrator?
Paula:
Yes, through our company, Artistic Media Associates, Inc. in the greater Boston area and online at www.artisticmediaassociates.com. , Or, through my personal website Paula Slade: Audiobooks at www.paulaslade.com , which has links to all my social media sites. Well, this has been so much fun Marie. Thank you so much! 


Me:
Paula, thank you so much for the interview. I feel as though I know you better now. I hope you'll consider recording another one of my stories in the future. I would be one lucky author if you agreed.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Interview with audiobook narrator, Stevie Zimmerman

I thought it might be fun to get to know the awesome narrators of my audiobooks. So today, I've intereviewed Stevie Zimmerman who narrated "Falling in Love Again".

1st review for audiobook:

"Romance par excellence"
All the elements of a complete romance. Pirates, spies, highwaymen, period detail. Fantastic.
The narration Stevie Zimmerman delivers is amazing. All the characters come to like - even the hero who is TWO people. Sexy and fun and enticing performance.



Me:
Briefly tell me about yourself. What makes Stevie Zimmerman tick?

Stevie:
Other than family (two almost grown kids and an almost grown husband) my first love is the theatre. I wanted to be an actor but didn’t have ‘it’, so I tried directing and loved it. That’s where I feel most at home. I direct whenever I’m asked pretty much, and have had some real successes in the DC area. I’m from England originally but have been living here for almost 23 years. Both my children were born here. But I must admit, my heart is still in England and I get back whenever I can, although I try to travel as widely as possible and have a bucket list of places way longer than I have years left to live.  My other great love is our perfect puppy Charlie who is reminding me it is past supper o’clock so I better get a move on!



Me:
Well, that's probably why you've done such a great job with the British accents in this story - you're from England!  So, what made you want to become a narrator?

Stevie:
I guess it is a bit of a return to acting in a way. A few years ago someone suggested that my British English accent might have a niche in the voiceover world and I started doing some local commercials. That developed into a little business doing some longer narrations for companies, e-learning and such. And then I thought I’d see if I could get into the audiobook world. The ebook self publishing boom has been a boon for narrators too as there are so many more books on the market.

Me:
I agree with you on the self-publishing boom. There are a lot of ebooks now. Do you always enjoy narrating stories? Was there ever a time when you became frustrated with this career?
Stevie:
I do really enjoy it, even when the book itself isn’t one I might pick up and read myself. I love finding different voices for different characters, and even though most of the books I have voiced have been period romances of one sort or another, it is always fascinating the way different authors develop the characters and spin the tales out.


Me: 
You are really good at what you do!  Tell me of a fun experience you had narrating a story.

Stevie:
Well, one of my earliest books was not quite as ‘romantic’ as I had thought when I took it on. It was rather more risquĂ© than lovey dovey. I found myself a little shocked, and also shocked that I was shocked -  I’m not a prude! I ended up putting it out under a different name, not because I was embarrassed to have done it but I didn’t want it to damage any of my ‘cleaner’ authors’ sales by association.  But of all the books I’ve done, that’s the one my husband likes to tell people about!


Me:
That's funny about your husband! How do you create such compelling voices? What goes through your mind when you’re recording different characters?

Stevie:
Well, firstly – thank you! I try to have a picture in my mind, usually helped by the authors’ descriptions. And I try to imagine them on the stage, if I were directing. I don’t read the books ahead of time, so I have to hope that I’m not going to give them a voice that turns out to be inappropriate later. I did have a situation recently when an author didn’t give me any notes going into the narration and it wasn’t until the fourth chapter that she mentioned that the main male character was Australian, so I had to go back and get that accent in there. But generally, I don’t want to know if someone is going to turn out to be the bad guy, and give that away in my voice too early. I want to go on the same journey as the listeners.


Me:
That's a good way to do it, I think. Do you have a website where other writers can find you if they want to hire you as their narrator?

Stevie:
I do. Although I’ve been so busy narrating recently that I haven’t got it up to date. Which is a nice problem to have. You’re not on there yet for example.
Anyway it is:
http://steviezim.wix.com/stevie-zim-voice


Me: 
I really hope you get my book on there soon, though (winks), but I'm happy to know you are kept busy. You are very good at what you do, and I'm glad this has been successful for you!

Thanks so much letting me interview you, Stevie.  I know I told you this before, but "Falling in Love Again" is one of my personal favorites, and it was awesome listening to your voice make my characters come to life!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Hello, my name is Marie. I have an addiction...

Hi, ya-all. My name is Marie Higgins and I have an addiction. I'm totally and completely addicted to...

ROMANCE COVERS!!!!!

I know...I know.  It's sad when you really think about it. When I see an awesome picture from one of my favorite websites - Period Images - I fall in love with it and I think that eventually I'll buy it because I'll definitely have a story idea to go with that picture. Then, my wonderful and amazing cover artist, Sheri McGathy, reads my mind (really, I don't know how it works, but she does) and I see the same couple / pose I found on Period Images that she has already made into a book cover. Usually, I react right away because I want to get it before anyone else buys it and uses it.

What's wrong with me? (no, don't answer that yet. lol)

Sometimes I think there needs to be a new addiction group created just for romance writers like me. Because I can't be the only one! Please, tell me I'm not the only one...

So I was looking through my flashdrive of the covers I still have that I haven't written a story for - or I have started the story and haven't completed. So many stories...so little time.

This story is 3/4 of the way finished
No idea for a plot on this one...
I've written three chapters on this story.

I've written seven chapters on this story - still working on it...
Wrote two chapters before stalling...
Just started on this one. I'll probably trade back and forth between this one and "Champion".
I wrote eight chapters before stalling on this one.


Sunday, November 15, 2015

GRATITUDE GIVEAWAY HOP

I'm excited to be part of this Gratitude Giveaway Hop that will go from Nov. 15th to Nov. 30th.


The story I'll be giving away is my Christmas Romantic Comedy, "Dreaming of You" (Kindle version or PDF file). If you'd like to enter this contest, all you have to do is follow me on this blog and leave a comment stating you are following me.




(NEW COVER as of 11/10/15)

Katelyn Palmer never believed any harm could come from using her college crush as the hero in her first romance novel—the novel that jumpstarted her writing career.  However, when Shane Hunter storms into town, demanding to meet the writer who used his identity Katelyn is confronted with more than her long, silent emotions.  If Shane takes her to court for invasion of privacy, her career would be over.

Shane doesn’t know how to act when his ex sister-in-law accuses him of having an affair while he was married—and then shows him the romance book as proof.  Now he wants to know who this author really is and why she used his name, and most of the events in his life for her story.  Desperate to know the truth Shane befriends Katelyn but he does not expect to be attracted to her, even more unexpected is the joy he finds watching his twins fall in love with the woman who is stealing his heart, too...



To find other giveaways, 

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

New face-lift!

I know I might need one, but giving my book covers a new face-lift is MUCH cheaper!! lol

This is the old -



And introducing the new Christmas version....



And here is the cover I use for the other seasons -

OLD...

NEW...


Katelyn Palmer never believed any harm could come from using her college crush as the hero in her first romance novel—the novel that jumpstarted her writing career.  However, when Shane Hunter storms into town, demanding to meet the writer who used his identity Katelyn is confronted with more than her long, silent emotions.  If Shane takes her to court for invasion of privacy, her career would be over.

Shane doesn’t know how to act when his ex sister-in-law accuses him of having an affair while he was married—and then shows him the romance book as proof.  Now he wants to know who this author really is and why she used his name, and most of the events in his life for her story.  Desperate to know the truth Shane befriends Katelyn but he does not expect to be attracted to her, even more unexpected is the joy he finds watching his twins fall in love with the woman who is stealing his heart, too...





Purchase Kindle - http://amzn.com/B00A6G5JO0 

Purchase Paperback

Audio - coming soon!!!