Expeditionary Force Blog Tour: Columbus Day by Craig Alanson

 

 

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About Audiobook #1

Author: Craig Alanson

Narrator: R.C. Bray

Length: 16 hours 23 minutes

Publisher: Podium Publishing⎮2016

Genre: Science Fiction

Series: Expeditionary Force, Book 1

Release date: Dec. 13, 2016

 

 

 

 

Synopsis: Nominee, 2018 Audie Awards — Audiobook of the Year

We were fighting on the wrong side of a war we couldn’t win. And that was the good news. 

The Ruhar hit us on Columbus Day. There we were, innocently drifting along the cosmos on our little blue marble, like the Native Americans in 1492. Over the horizon came ships of a technologically advanced, aggressive culture, and BAM! There went the good old days, when humans got killed only by each other. So, Columbus Day. It fits. 

When the morning sky twinkled again, this time with Kristang starships jumping in to hammer the Ruhar, we thought we were saved. The UN Expeditionary Force hitched a ride on Kristang ships to fight the Ruhar wherever our new allies thought we could be useful. So, I went from fighting with the US Army in Nigeria to fighting in space. It was lies, all of it. We shouldn’t even be fighting the Ruhar; they aren’t our enemy. Our allies are. 

I’d better start at the beginning.

 

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An extraordinary story that made me feel transported into the cosmos! In this case, the planet Paradise with the Ruhar and the Kristang alien species. The sheer depth of each chapter is remarkable and almost seems like a story in themselves. Narrator R.C. Bray delivers, of course, adding another level of entertainment. I didn’t know how funny this until I got into it. The interactions between the UN Expeditionary Force and the ancient Artificial Intelligence, “Skippy”, is hilarious. Good springboard for the rest of the series. 

 

 

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INTERVIEW WITH NARRATOR R.C. BRAY

 

When did you know you wanted to be an audiobook narrator?

When I heard Frank Muller for the first time (The Dark Tower, Book II: The Drawing of the Three).  I always thought a narrator just “read” the book. When Frank started doing character voices and acting and just all-around engaging me as a listener, I knew that with my background it’s what I’m supposed to do.

 

How did you wind up narrating audiobooks? Was it always your goal or was it something you stumbled into by chance?

My last job before becoming a full-time narrator, was as Senior Producer and Voiceover for a company owned by a wonderful guy named Mark Kaplowe who was the voice of HBO, Butterfinger, Zest, and other big businesses in the 90s.  When his son was born, he wanted to eliminate traveling into NYC so he could be around him as much as possible. So he combined his love for automobiles and voiceover prowess, and began an ad company for local car dealerships. His big thing was “growing his business” and he loved audiobooks that were related to just that.  Since I had a commute of about 45 minutes (both ways) he wanted me to listen to them as well. I listened to countless business audiobooks before I decided to try a fiction title – The Dark Tower, Book I: The Gunslinger by Stephen King seemed like a good, short place to start. George Guidall was an outstanding introduction to audiobooks (Fiction), but it wasn’t until Frank Muller that I actually made an effort to find out more about becoming a narrator.

 

Did you find it difficult to “break into” audiobook narration? What skill/tool helped you the most when getting started?

I had two great champions get me through the door: Pat Fraley and Scott Brick.  Bringing my years of acting experience to narration impressed them enough to make suggestions, introductions, and continued support.  Also, ACX was launched the same time I got into narration. Being able to use that as a means to navigate the process (along with many patient authors, rights holders, and independent publishers), was a godsend.  Several of the titles I did via ACX garnered attention from bigger publishers and off I went.

A lot of narrators seem to have a background in theatre. Is that something you think is essential to a successful narration career?

It’s not essential, but it does help.

 

What type of training have you undergone?

I was a CTA (Communications/Theatre Arts) major in college that performed Off-Broadway and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  I also attended the Connecticut School of Broadcasting where, because of my theatre background, I excelled during the voiceover portion.  It was my abilities in voiceover that was a catalyst to getting the job at Kaplowe Studios.

 

 

 

CRAIG ALANSON 

Craig Alanson is a NYT best-selling author. His first audiobook ‘Columbus Day’ was one of five finalists for Audiobook Of The Year 2018 Visit www.craigalanson.com for FAQs, blog posts, merchandise.

 

 

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Blog Tour: The Condition Trilogy by Alec Birri

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About Audiobook #1

Author: Alec Birri

Narrator: Jonathan Keeble

Length: 6 hours 32 minutes

Publisher: Essential Music Limited⎮2018

Genre: Medical Thriller

Series: The Condition Trilogy, Book 1

Release date: Jan. 17, 2018

 

Synopsis: The first in a dystopian trilogy based on the author’s command of a top secret government unit.

What if all brain disorders were treatable? Few would lament the passing of dementia or autism, but what if the twisted mind of a sex offender or murderer could be cured too? Or how about a terrorist or maybe a political extremist? What if we could all be “corrected”?

It’s 1966, and RAF pilot Dan Stewart awakes from a coma following an aircraft accident into a world where nothing seems to make sense anymore. Not being able to recall the crash might be expected, but what about the rest of his life? And what’s stopping him from taking his medication? Is it brain damage that’s causing paranoia about the red pill, or is Dan right to think something sinister is going on?

His horrific injuries don’t make any sense either – a post-crash fire caused him to suffer almost 100% burns. How is it even possible to survive that? Are the hallucinations and strange dreams trying to tell him something? They are, and he’ll soon find out what, but not before his doctor’s sure the shock won’t kill him.

 

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I loved this book. The writing combined with the excellent performance of narrator Jonathan Keeble made it great book. The Condition is a psychological medical thriller of its own kind. Author Alec Birri does an exceptional job of unraveling his plot, compelling point of view, and drawing headlong into the story. It seemed like one domino lead the next one, and so forth. Very entertaining with lots of suspense. Can’t wait to start book two!

 

 

 

 

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What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?

Horses for courses. It’s just a different experience. Having said that, it would worry me if no one read at all.

 

 

 

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How did you celebrate after finishing this novel?

Celebrate? I’m the original mister grumpy – the word doesn’t exist in my vocabulary! I carry on writing. There’s a running joke in the military, usually spouted by someone when morale is at its lowest: ‘Never mind, lads – the sooner this job is done, the sooner we can start another one.’ 😀

 

 

 

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In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of writing a stand-alone novel vs. writing a series?

I think a series works better than a stand-alone when it comes to the business side of things, as the first can be given away, but that’s not how Condition started out – when it became too big for one novel I split it into two and then, as the words mounted, three books. I’m 25k into my current work, and have no idea if the word count will end up being 40k or even 400k. I write the story and stop when it’s told.

 

 

 

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What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Seek out danger. Nothing like a near-death experience for freeing the imagination! Seriously though, get out of your comfort zone. There’s a good reason why the likes of Frederick Forsyth have visited war zones or risked crossing deserts just as hostile. No money to do that? Then hang out with your local ambulance crews, paramedics, police and get the experience second-hand. Anything that brings you into contact with the uncomfortable.

 

 

 

 

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Alec Birri_

 

 

 

Alec Birri served thirty years with the UK Armed Forces. He commanded an operational unit that experimented in new military capabilities classified at the highest level (Top Secret Strap 3) and it is this that forms the basis of his novels. Although semi-autobiographical, for national security and personal liberty reasons, the events and individuals portrayed have to be fiction but are still nonetheless in keeping with his experiences.

 

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