Introducing Audio Forensics

listen to music (+clipping path, xxl)

 

 

I’m happy to announce a brand new series deemed Audio Forensics! It will exclusively be about audiobooks and everything related to them. News, reviews, interviews from the latest and the greatest. Some will go here and others will go to my other site at Mystery Thriller Week. I’ll mix it up and try to keep things interesting. It should be epic fun! There’s more interesting things I’d love to say about Audio Forensics but I’m much too pooped to say more. Another day I promise!

If you would like to do a guest post in relation to this drop me a line in the comment section. The more the merrier.

The growth of audiobooks has been steadily booming the last several years and bound to only get better. Time to give them some lovin’.  I listen to about two per week so this will be a nice outlet for what I’ve experienced.

 

 

So, on that note let us introduce my favorite audiobook of 2016. And the winner is….

 

Drumroll….

 

 

 

 

drumroll

 

 

 

 

 

CRYPTIC LINES

 

 

 

cryptic-lines-audiobook

 

 

 

Written by Richard Storry

Narrated by Jake Urry

Length: 4 hrs and 13 mins

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date: 03-16-16

Publisher: Richard Alan Storry

 

 

 

Goodreads

Set in a sprawling gothic mansion in a remote coastal location, somewhere in the British Isles, the elderly recluse Lord Alfred Willoughby is deciding what is to become of his vast fortune after his death. Whilst his head is telling him to leave nothing at all to his wastrel son, Matthew, his heart is speaking differently. After much deliberation, in a last-ditch attempt to try and show to his son the importance of applying himself to a task and staying with it to the end, he devises a series of enigmatic puzzles cunningly concealed within the lines of a poem – the cryptic lines. If he completes the task successfully and solves the puzzles he will inherit the entire estate; but if he fails he will receive nothing. However, from Lord Alfred’s Will it emerges that Matthew is not the only interested party. The mysterious old house holds many secrets, and nothing is as it first appears

 

 

 

 

My rating

 

 

 

 

Five golden stars isolated on white background

 

 

 

 

Performance: Narrated by Jake Urry

 

Jake had the perfect voice to go along with this story. Absolutely perfect. He has that creepy, eerie, mysteriousness to his of voice that really brings out the story to the fullest degree. His performance was off the charts in my estimation.

 

 

Story: by Richard Storry

 

This story was amazing! I honestly didn’t expect it to be as good as it was, but was pleasantly surprised. It kept me on the edge of my seat the entire book. That’s probably what I enjoy most about it. The SUSPENSE was brilliant. The plot twists toward the end are even better. This one had it all. Out of all the audiobooks I’ve listened to this year, this one resonated with me the most.

 

 

 

Listen to an audio sample: Cryptic Lines

 

Have fun! Thanks for ridin’ the train folks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

train-old-fashioned

 

 

 

 

 

 

Up for a challenge? Join the Book Hoarders Bucket List Reading Challenge  (Join the Goodreads group here)

 

 

A Challenge for Book Hoarders Like Me at SallyAllenBooks.com

 

 

Don’t miss the inaugural powerhouse event of 2017!! Check out Mystery Thriller Week on my other site: Mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

 

 

waving-by

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.thewritingtrain.com

 

 

 

 

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Meet Multi-talented Author Kristen Twardowski

 

 

kristen-twardowski-headshot

 

 

 

Everyone I present to you Kristen Twardowski!

 

She’s works in marketing and data analysis within the book industry, an avid blogger and author of a new psychological thriller, When We Go Missing.  Kristen is also participating in the inaugural launch of Mystery Thriller Week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

when-we-go-missing

 

 

 

 

 

According to Goodreads

 

Once, Alex Gardinier was a successful physical therapist and a happy wife. Now she is trapped in a crumbling hospital room. Seven years ago Alex’s ex-husband, Nathan, was convicted of murdering five girls, and he has been rotting in prison ever since. Except the doctors say that Nathan isn’t in prison. In fact, they don’t believe that he is a criminal at all. According to them, Nathan is a devoted husband who visits her every week. But Alex can’t recall ever seeing him at the hospital, and the last time they met he was holding her hostage on a boat.

Maybe the doctors are right – maybe these memories of his crimes are her own personal delusions – but if they are wrong, then Nathan somehow escaped from prison. If they are wrong, he has trapped Alex in a psychiatric ward.

If they are wrong, he is hunting her sister

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

welcome-on-board

 

 

 

 

Where are you originally from?

I’m originally from a cornfield in Illinois but have lived in several different places across the Midwest. I’ll always have an attraction to the flatlands because of it.

Yay! The Midwest is awesome. Plenty of cornfields here! 




What did you study in college?


As an undergraduate, I studied history and art history. When I finished my graduate degree, I studied gender and the history of Imperial Germany.

Wow. This is rather impressive. I took an art history course once and it was pretty difficult. 





Did you used to be a librarian?

Though I worked at several libraries, I never held the position of librarian. Most institutions want to hire people who hold library degrees for those roles. Instead, I held customer facing positions in an undergraduate and business library. There, I did things like organize events for speakers and authors, help manage the acquisition of journals and magazines, and do reference work, which involved helping people find the reading materials that suited their research needs.

That sounds very intriguing and not to mention good work experience. 





library-1




What do you do exactly in publishing?

Currently I am a sales and marketing research coordinator for a small press. This means I perform several different functions that have to do with data and book promotion. In terms of data, I do analyses to see where we have opportunities to expand our books and journals programs and make suggestions about how to package our products. This also means that I pay a lot of attention to how money flows through the press. Though I don’t directly do design work, I help to write marketing copy for items and give input on promotional materials like posters, emails, and information on our website. Prior to my current position, I briefly worked in the acquisitions department of a different publisher. While there, I helped edit manuscripts, assess submissions, and write rejection letters.

This is amazing. You have an amazing, well rounded skill set!







skills




What do you love most about fantasy? 

 

Fantasy is my great passion. It’s the genre that I was raised on and the one that I always return to. Because they tell stories that are a step away from the real world, fantasy novels often get to the heart of what it means to be human. They delve into our strengths and weakness, our hopes and fears, and they let us dream. What if the world was different? What would we do then?

Some authors that represent the best of fantasy are Diana Wynne Jones, Melanie Rawn, Peter S. Beagle, Jan Siegel, and a dozen others. Oddly, my first novel, “When We Go Missing”, doesn’t deal with fantasy at all – it is a psychological thriller – but the feel of fantasy, the arc of its stories, the texture of its language, bleeds into my writing.

 Nice. I still think it’s impressive that you can write a psychological thriller even though it isn’t your passion. I believe it’ll make you a better writer in the end. 

 

 

 

 

“Fantasy is hardly as escape from reality. It’s a way of understanding it.”-LLoyd Alexander

 

 

 

 

 

How has reading affected your writing? 

 

I just finished some research on how reading affects writing. It turns out that reading materials alter the syntax and writing level that people use. For example, people who spend their time reading a lot of Buzzfeed articles write much simpler sentences than people who read pulp fiction, and people who read pulp fiction write less complex sentences than folks who read more literary books.

Of course complexity isn’t always best. I’ve had to undo some bad writing habits because I have spent a lot of time reading scholarly theorists and academic texts. Fiction requires a very different style. And no one wants to read a sentence that is the length of an entire paragraph.


 That’s so interesting. You’re blog posts tend to be more on the scholarly side. I admire your style. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

writing-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why did you write a psychological thriller for your first book?


I ended up writing When We Go Missing through sheer luck. I am a fantasy author at heart, but When We Go Missing was a story I felt like I had to tell. Over the past several years, I have become more and more aware of the ways that people, especially women, really do go missing in America and the way that society deals with those disappearances. It was fascinating and horrifying realm to discover, and I wanted to explore the whys behind it a bit more. The story turned into a psychological thriller because that was the best way to tell the story without completely breaking my heart about the subject.

 

The premise for your books is mesmerizing. The theme behind it is also powerful. 

 

 

 

 

 

Tell us how you developed this idea into a novel. 

When We Go Missing was a writing experiment for me. I had different ideas about how I wanted to talk about women who vanish and decided that I needed to bite the bullet and write the book.

In July of 2016, I gave myself the goal of publishing this manuscript – I didn’t even really know what the plot was back then – in December of 2016. This meant I had to buckle down and prioritize my writing. I ended up finishing the rough draft in September and spent October and November revising it. I do not encourage anyone to follow my schedule. It meant working a lot of high density hours on a single project, and I always suggest that people give themselves more time to reflect during the editing process. Having said all of that, the contracted schedule was a great decision for me because in my heart of hearts, all I want to do is continually edit my books. Historically that prevented me from publishing any of them. I had to push myself to get over my perfectionist tendencies, and I am excited to share my final result.

 

Nice. Perfectionism can be a problem for sure. But I’m glad you pushed through it! Impressive. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

hard-work

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you love most about reading books?

I love that books allow me to step outside of myself. Through novels, I can experience the world from a different perspective. I’ve learned a lot about myself and about others that way.

 Very true. It’s an amazing experience isn’t it? We get tour another world, life, viewpoint, struggles and victories of another. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Name 3-5 top pet peeves as a reader. 

 

Most of my bookish pet peeves relate to characters, how they act, what they say. I can’t stand:

  • Stilted dialogue
  • Character decisions that make no sense
  • Obvious author fantasies (self-inserts, idealized romance, etc.)

Basically I need characters to feel real. They should have their own motivations, weaknesses, and logic. I need to be able to convince myself that they could exist outside of the pages of the book, and if the author can’t portray that well, I struggle to stick with a novel.

 This is great info here. I love seeing what different authors say about this subject.  I see authors fantasies as well, or an idealized trait that’s totally cliche.

 

 

 

 
Does When We Go Missing employ any themes?

 

When We Go Missing deals with several major themes. These include trauma, love, family, resilience, and, most importantly, what we do to survive. There is no single way that people react when terrible things happen to them or their loved ones, and in the book, I really wanted to explore the range of those reactions.

 Sounds like a great thriller to me! A really deep one at that. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

eyes-brown

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is this a standalone or will you write more psychological thrillers?

 

Though When We Go Missing will likely not become a book in a series, I do have several other ideas for thrillers that are floating around in my head. My next project is a contemporary fantasy book, but I imagine that I will return to the realm of thrillers sooner or later. It provides a fantastic sandbox for authors to play in after all, and I don’t think I’ll be able to resist it.

Good. Don’t resist it! I can’t wait to see what you come up with. 






Thanks Kristen, you’re awesome!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Up for a challenge? Join the Book Hoarders Bucket List Reading Challenge  (Join the Goodreads group here)

 

A Challenge for Book Hoarders Like Me at SallyAllenBooks.com

 

 

Don’t miss the inaugural powerhouse event of 2017!! Check out Mystery Thriller Week on my other site: Mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.thewritingtrain.com

Watch “Favorite Book Characters of ALL TIME!” on YouTube

IT’S TELEVISION TUESDAY FOLKS!

 

 

 

 

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Who’s your favorite character? Tell me in the comments!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Up for a challenge? Join the Book Hoarders Bucket List Reading Challenge  (Join the Goodreads group here)

 

 

A Challenge for Book Hoarders Like Me at SallyAllenBooks.com

 

 

Don’t miss the inaugural powerhouse event of 2017!! Check out Mystery Thriller Week on my other site: Mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.thewritingtrain.com

Watch “30 Movies That Are Going To Blow Everyone Away In 2017” on YouTube

IT’S TELEVISION TUESDAY

 

 

 

 

tv-couch-potato

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Which movie are excited about? Tell me in the comments!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Up for a challenge? Join the Book Hoarders Bucket List Reading Challenge  (Join the Goodreads group here)

 

 

A Challenge for Book Hoarders Like Me at SallyAllenBooks.com

 

 

Don’t miss the inaugural powerhouse event of 2017!! Check out Mystery Thriller Week on my other site: Mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.thewritingtrain.com

Watch “Big Bang Theory Bloopers & Gag Reel” on YouTube

SMILE IT’S TELEVISION TUESDAY!

 

#HILARIOUS

 

 

 

 

green-tv-1639240_960_720

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you seen all the episodes of the Big Bang Theory? Tell me in the comments!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Up for a challenge? Join the Book Hoarders Bucket List Reading Challenge  (Join the Goodreads group here)

 

 

A Challenge for Book Hoarders Like Me at SallyAllenBooks.com

 

 

Don’t miss the inaugural powerhouse event of 2017!! Check out Mystery Thriller Week on my other site: Mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.thewritingtrain.com

Watch “Jim Carrey Pulls Off A Wicked Matthew McConaughey” on YouTube

IT’S TELEVISION TUESDAY!

 

#Hilarious

 

 

 

 

tv-couch-potato

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you laugh? Tell me in the comments!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Up for a challenge? Join the Book Hoarders Bucket List Reading Challenge  (Join the Goodreads group here)

 

 

A Challenge for Book Hoarders Like Me at SallyAllenBooks.com

 

 

Don’t miss the inaugural powerhouse event of 2017!! Check out Mystery Thriller Week on my other site: Mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.thewritingtrain.com

 

Watch “Top 10 Smartest Celebrities” on YouTube

IT’S TELEVISION TUESDAY

 

 

 

 

television

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I really enjoyed watching this. Which actor surprised you the most? Tell me in the comments!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Up for a challenge? Join the Book Hoarders Bucket List Reading Challenge  (Join the Goodreads group here)

 

A Challenge for Book Hoarders Like Me at SallyAllenBooks.com

 

Don’t miss the inaugural powerhouse event of 2017!! Check out Mystery Thriller Week on my other site: Mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.thewritingtrain.com

 

Watch “7 Steps to Write Your Novel. Plus How to Write a Novel in a Year” on YouTube

IT’S TELEVISION TUESDAY

WEBINAR WITH JOANNA PENN

 

 

 

 

 

 

television-148223_960_720

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you inspired to write? Tell me in the comments!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Up for a challenge? Join the Book Hoarders Bucket List Reading Challenge  (Join the Goodreads group here)

 

A Challenge for Book Hoarders Like Me at SallyAllenBooks.com

 

 

Don’t miss the inaugural powerhouse event of 2017!! Check out Mystery Thriller Week on my other site: Mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.thewritingtrain.com

 

 

Great Interview with Marc Rainer Author of the Jeff Trask Crime Series

 

Prosecutor job title on nameplate

 

 

 

Everyone Please Welcome

Marc Rainer Author of the  Jeff Trask legal thriller series

 

 

 

 

 

welcome-home

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author:


Marc Rainer is a former prosecutor in the federal and local courts of the District of Columbia, and a former circuit prosecutor for the U.S. Air Force’s Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps. A graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, he has more than thirty years experience in the prosecution of major cases. He is married to a former Air Force OSI Special Agent, and lives in a suburb of a major American city.



A Winter of Wolves will be available via Amazon and in select brick-and-mortar retailers as of October 2016.




 

winter-of-wolves

According to Goodreads

Federal prosecutor Jeff Trask and a team of investigators are on the trail of what they believe is a lone wolf terrorist who is murdering law enforcement officers in the nation’s capital. Their investigation leads them into a firefight with a cell of radical Islamic terrorists who have something much more terrible in mind. If successful, the terrorists’ plan will threaten the entire eastern seaboard of the United States. The fourth book in Marc Rainer’s Jeff Trask crime drama series is a contemporary historical novel incorporating issues associated with many current events.

A Winter of Wolves is also the 4th volume in the series.  Check out the first three volumes on Goodreads.



          Let’s begin….

          What led you to become a writer?

          After 30 years of service as a federal prosecutor, I had collected hundreds of professional “war stories” from cases. Told correctly, these are also known as “plot lines.” My wife kept saying, “You should write a book,” so I did.

          There’s no better fuel than life experience. Excellent!




          Which authors inspire your writing the most?

          If any served as inspiration, it would be the W.E.B. Griffin  father-son team and series, since it showed me how characters could be developed over the course of a series of novels. I also love the way Michael Connelly writes.

          Haven’t heard of W. E. B. Griffin, but I also love Michael Connelly. Great source of inspiration! 




          inspiration




          What’s your goal in becoming a writer?

          I honestly just wanted to see what I could do. Nothing beyond that. The modest success (about 40,000 sales as a self-published author) has been a pleasant surprise.

          Wonderul. I believe it’ll only get better. The reviews are great!




          What three things have hindered your writing?

          I don’t have three. The only obstacle before I retired was the day job; in other words, having enough time. Since then, the retail bias against self-published authors may have hindered sales, but not the writing itself.

          Having enough time is always a struggle. 




          time-clock




          What keeps you motivated?

          I just like to write.

          That’s good enough motivation for anyone.





          “Good writing is clear thinking made visible.” -Bill Wheeler




          What is my antagonist?

          I don’t allow those, don’t have one.

          Oh, I love that attitude. Excellent.




          Compared to my previous work, what’s it like being a writer?

          First, I like my boss a lot more. Second, since I was a career prosecutor, I miss the cops and agents – real-life heroes – with whom I had the pleasure of working for years. Third, my schedule is my own now, and being comfortably retired, there’s no pressure. I’m very fortunate in that way.

          This sounds like a very sweet experience. I wish I had it! 







          home




          What would I say to a writer who has given up?

          Find something you believe in enough to NOT give up on. Examine yourself. Why did you give up on writing? Lack of financial success? Self doubt? One can be overcome with perseverance. The other is a sign of some deeper issues. Identify them and start to deal with them.

          Perseverance is the name of the game. I needed to hear this myself. 





          What are the key elements to a legal thriller?

          I try very hard to avoid formulas. In real-life legal work – especially in solving criminal cases –  formulaic approaches can lead to “tunnel vision.” By that, I mean that if you approach a case the same way every time, trying to solve a case using the same method that happened to work the last time, you can miss a lot of clues, make a lot of serious mistakes. Each case involves different people with different motivations. Some criminals act without rational motivation at all; they are creatures of impulse. A crime-based legal thriller by definition has to involve a crime, or series of crimes. After that, I climb on board with my characters for the investigative “ride,” to see where that leads. The solution can occur in or out of the courtroom.

          I agree wholeheartedly. Formulas can be quite boring.  






          justice





          Introduce us to the Jeff Trask series.

          Trask is my fictional alter-ego. A lot of my plot lines are based upon actual cases, and I use trial transcripts from actual cases in the books, with the usual name changes “to protect the innocent” (and guilty). While Trask and I share a lot of experiences, he probably learns faster on the job than I did. I strive for realism. There aren’t any Hollywood gun fights where the good guys snapshoot someone off the roof of a building a hundred yards away with a handgun, then outrun a string of machine gun bullets. I also try not to use the hackneyed lone, tortured soul, alcoholic detective approach. Complex crimes are not solved by rogue superheroes acting alone. They are solved by teams of good people – cops, medical examiners, forensic specialists, and then prosecutors and their staffs – all working together. I’ve been fortunate enough to earn praise from professionals in these fields who say,  “Finally, somebody got it right.” Some critics have said that Trask is “too perfect,” in that he is NOT the typical tortured hero. We all have some demons, but I don’t seek readers who have to look down on a character in order to feel better about themselves. I don’t write literary fiction, and don’t have to apologize for that. The series is about how real teams solve real cases, facing criminals or criminal organizations posing real threats. It also has a lot of dark humor in it, which is also real, in that the guys and gals who do this work for a living have to have that sense of humor to do their jobs without going nuts.

          I love the whole team idea to solving crimes. Not conforming to the typical hero complex is a great way to step outside the box. 





          Outside the box.jpeg





          What are the chief characteristics of Jeff Trask?  

          Smart. Occasionally a smart-ass, in fact. He does not, however, talk down to anyone or use his brain for anything other than finding solutions. He loves classic rock, and always has a jukebox playing in his head, usually providing a theme-based tune to any situation in which he finds himself. For example, in one book, he encounters a crime scene with about a dozen victims – gang members – shot to hell by a rival criminal element. Oingo Boingo’s “Dead Man’s Party” starts playing in his mind. Trask works well with others as long as they are interested in being part of the solution and not the problem.

          The characteristics of the protagonist help readers fall in love with them. 





          Any planned releases for 2017?

          The next book in the series has already started to take shape in my head. It will find its way to a keyboard some time next year.

          Looking forward to it! it’ll give me some time to catch up in the series.





          coming-soon-1604663__340





          Favorite quotes:




          “Government’s never react well, but they over-react superbly.” Robert Lassiter, Trask’s fictional mentor.





          Connect with Marc Rainer

          Facebook | Goodreads | www.marcrainer.com | Amazon




          Thanks Marc!

          Begin 2017 with a challenge. Join the Book Hoarders Bucket List Reading Challenge.

           

          Join the Goodreads group: Book Hoarders Bucket List Challenge.

           

          A Challenge for Book Hoarders Like Me at SallyAllenBooks.com

           

          Don’t miss the inaugural powerhouse event of 2017!! Check out Mystery Thriller Week on my other site: Mysterythrillerweek.com

          Thanks for ridin’ the Train folks!  Come again!

          toy-train-2

          Benjamin Thomas

          @thewritingtrain

          http://www.thewritingtrain.com

          Watch “10 Popular Actors With Serious Martial Arts Skills In Real Life!” on YouTube

          SMILE IT’S TELEVISION TUESDAY!

           

           

           

           

          television-clker-purple-2

           

           

           

           

           

           

           

           

           

           

           

          Which actor surprised you the most?  Tell me in the comments!

           

           

           

           

          Up for a challenge? Join the Book Hoarders Bucket List Reading Challenge

           

          A Challenge for Book Hoarders Like Me at SallyAllenBooks.com

           

          Don’t miss the inaugural powerhouse event of 2017!! Check out Mystery Thriller Week on my other site: Mysterythrillerweek.com

           

           

           

           

           

           

          Benjamin Thomas

          @thewritingtrain

          http://www.thewritingtrain.com