IT’S TELEVISION TUESDAY
The Writer’s Cookbook: Recipes for Author Success – (The Self Publishing Show, episode 254)
Author: Craig Alanson
Narrator: R.C. Bray
Length: 15 hours 53 minutes
Publisher: Podium Publishing⎮2017
Genre: Science Fiction
Series: Expeditionary Force, Book 3
Release date: May 23, 2017
Synopsis: While the crew of the starship Flying Dutchman have been trying to assure people that hostile aliens do not have access to Earth, the UN Expeditionary Force has been stranded on the planet they nicknamed “Paradise”. The Flying Dutchman is headed back out on another mission, and the UN wants the ship to find out the status of the humans on Paradise. But Colonel Joe Bishop warns that they might not like what they find, and they can’t do anything about it without endangering Earth.
Good story development in this one. I’ve grown accustomed to hearing Skippy’s snarky remarks on Joe Bishop as they embark on another wacky journey across the universe. R.C. Bray really gets into character “as usual” with several “LOL” moments! The fact that someone can craft something like this is remarkable. The strong narrative and dialogue make you feel part of the adventure.
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.
How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for narrating?
I keep from burning out by thinking of my past jobs. I don’t ever want to have to go back to doing any of them. The thought of that lights a massive fire in me.
Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
I used to listen to them nonstop when I was a commuter.
What are your favorite and least favorite parts of narrating an audiobook?
Unless it’s really brilliant writing, my least favorite part is when I get to the middle and realize I’m only halfway done. My favorite part is being exposed to books I would likely have never picked up.
Is there a particular genre you feel unsuited for? Have you ever declined a project because you didn’t think you were right for it?
I’d love to be suited for children’s/YA novels, but I’m afraid my deep voice doesn’t jibe well with them.
How closely do you prefer to work with authors?
Enough to get certain information but definitely not so much they start to direct. You wrote it, now let me read it.
Who are your “accent inspirations”?
Frank Muller, Paul Michael, Scott Brick
What types of things are harmful to your voice?
No idea. I’m not a vocal warm-up kind of guy. I just go for it. Pneumonia sucks though.
Has anyone ever recognized you from your voice?
No, but after I tell people what I do (only if they ask, I don’t like bringing it up) they inevitably “hear it now!”
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 craigalanson.com for FAQs, blog posts, merchandise, etc.
From an early age Audie, Earphones, and SOVAS Voice Arts Award-winning audiobook narrator R.C. Bray despised reading. Truly hated it with a passion.
And audiobooks? Even worse. Those were for people too lazy to read (not to be confused with those like himself who didn’t want to read to begin with).
R.C. eventually got older and wiser (he was always good-looking) and eschewing his capricious convictions fell head-over-heels with reading. Not just to learn words like “eschew” and “capricious” so he could use them in a bio line, but because someone was actually going to give him money to do it.
Note: R.C.’s gorgeous wife and three beautiful children begged him not to make this his official bio. Clearly he misunderstood.
Podium is an industry-leading independent audiobook publisher built upon the foundation of successful partnerships with self-published authors and narrators. With deep share of voice in the genres of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Romance, the company has enjoyed quick commercial and critical acclaim, releasing almost 1,300 audiobooks, numerous best-sellers, winning an Audie Award and 13 Voice Arts Awards. Podium is best-known for supporting, nurturing and discovering independent authors and narrators from the U.S. and around the world. The company gained international notice when it took a risk on one-time unknown author Andy Weir (The Martian) and turned his e-book into the largest audiobook seller in the world.
Author: Jennifer Anne Davis
Narrator: Kim Bretton
Length: hours minutes
Publisher: Reign Publishing⎮2019
Series: Knights of the Realm, Book 1
Release date: Oct. 11, 2019
Synopsis: Reid has spent her whole life pretending to be a man so she can inherit her father’s estate, but when a chance encounter threatens to expose her lie, she is forced to risk everything.
In the kingdom of Marsden, women are subservient to men, and land can only pass from father to son. So, when Reid Ellington is born, the fifth daughter to one of the wealthiest landholders in the kingdom, it’s announced that Reid is a boy.
Eighteen years later, Reid struggles to conceal the fact she’s actually a young woman. Every day, her secret becomes harder to keep. When one of Marsden’s princes sees her sparring with a sword, she is forced to accept his offer and lead her father’s soldiers to the border. Along the way, she discovers a covert organization within the army known as the Knights of the Realm.
If Reid wants to save her family from being arrested for treason and robbed of their inheritance, she will have to join the knights and become a weapon for the crown.
To protect her family, Reid must fight like a man. To do that, she’ll need the courage of a woman.
This is the first book in a new fantasy series from best-selling author Jennifer Anne Davis
The Realm of Knights is a gem! I was very delighted to find this book via Audiobookwormpromotions.com. The premise, plotting, characterization is excellent. Reid Ellington is faced with a dilemma at every turn that forces her to comply and keep her family secret. I thought the writing was brilliant. It kept me turning the pages!
How often do you write?
I write five days a week, 8-10 hours a day. I usually set a goal for myself, and I’ll work until I reach that goal. When I’m writing a first draft, I try and write 5,000 words a day. Then when I’m editing, I usually try and edit 10 pages a day.
Tell us a little bit about the characters in Realm of Knights.
Realm of Knights is centered around Reid Ellington. She’s an 18 year old young woman, and the fifth daughter of Duke Ellington. Since land and title can only pass from father to son, the duke tells everyone Reid is a boy when she’s born. So Reid has grown up wearing boy clothing and playing with boys. It has made her fiercely independent and she views the world differently than those around her. There are a few other characters of importance in the book. Her best friend, Harlan, helps her out. He’s the sort of guy that’s always there, fiercely loyal, and he respects Reid even when he learns she’s a woman. Then there’s the princes—Ackley and Gordon. They’re brothers and best friends. Ackley is tall and lean. There’s a fierceness to him that he manages to keep hidden. Gordon is the commander of the army. He’s shorter and stockier than Ackley, he’s fairly quiet, and he’s a little stubborn.
How do you balance other aspects of your life with your writing?
It’s hard to balance everything. I treat writing as my full-time job (because it is). It allows me the freedom to be there for my kids when they need me. However, when I’m on a deadline, it can be rough revising when I need everything to be quiet around me. Thankfully, my family is very supportive and we make it work.
What makes a great story line?
Interesting characters that the reader can connect with, an obstacle the main character has to overcome, a fantastic villain, and a unique love interest.
What is the hardest thing about writing a book?
Revising. Writing the first draft is the fun part. Revising—which is basically rewriting the entire story—is difficult for me. I want to make sure that everything I’m thinking and feeling in my head is exposed on the page. It usually takes me about 25 min to revise one page.
Do you have any people who help you with your story lines as well beta reading and such?
Yes. I have two people that read everything I write. They’ve both been with me for years, and I couldn’t write without them. One started out as my biggest critic and now is my biggest cheerleader. The other is a pro at finding plot holes and inconsistencies.
How did you choose your narrator?
For Realm of Knights, I wanted a female voice with a British accent. It was important to me that the narrator have a youthful voice since Reid is only 18. However, I also wanted her to have a maturity to her that hints at the hardships Reid has faced over the years. When I was listening to auditions, the second I heard Kim’s voice, I knew I’d found the perfect narrator. I was so excited when she agreed to take on the project, that I had her sign for all three books in the series. She is the perfect person for these books, and I couldn’t be happier.
Jennifer Anne Davis graduated from the University of San Diego with a degree in English and a teaching credential. She is currently a full-time writer and mother of three kids, one weimaraner, and a tortoise. She is happily married to her high school sweetheart and lives in the San Diego area.
Jennifer is the recipient of the San Diego Book Awards Best Published Young Adult Novel (2013), winner of the Kindle Book Awards (2018), a finalist in the USA Best Book Awards (2014), and a finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards (2014).
Publishers Marketplace listed Jennifer as one of the best-selling indie authors in June 2017. She has also been ranked among the top 100 best-selling authors on Amazon.
Kim is an accomplished and award winning actress and director with West End/Broadway theatre credits. Kim has narrated over 35 audiobooks and counting. She is also an in demand voice over talent in the commercial and corporate arena and owns her own class A recording studio in Nashville. Kim is from the UK but has lived in NYC, L.A. and now Nashville TN. She continues to work in Theatre, Film and TV as an actress and a director alongside narrating audiobooks and commercial voice overs.
They bound me without consent.
I moved with the weight of the world upon my shoulders,
each extremity shackled like a slave.
Hunched like a frail elderly man; I attempted to move about,
all the while under the suppression of guilt,
shame, and condemnation.
Shackled by wounds, I writhed in agony
as they brought me down to the pits of darkness, a land of creeping shadow.
It was there where I was blind to their desire to devour me.
Fallen prey to the animalistic appetite to consume every shred of hope—
Until I came into the light.
Under the shining of the light, I was appalled at their stronghold against me.
The illumination of their strength was all too unsettling.
I couldn’t bear the sight of them.
They surrounded me like a wild forest of Oaks, mocking my every step.
A multitude of tears sought urgent release, to spring forth,
evade the depth of my unconsciousness–but I could not allow them.
Yet there in the light was my salvation.
There in the light, their power over me would heal.
It was there I welcomed glorious liberty.
One like I’ve never experienced before.
The rays of jubilee were before me.
No wild forests to cast a shadow,
pits of darkness of oppression.
No shackles, bonds, or crushing burden.
Only life, light and liberty.
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