Speaking of Audiobooks: July Releases and Jacquelyn Frank Giveaway (Contest Closed)

GideonAs Audiobook Month winds down, Speaking of Audiobooks is featuring its third special event for the month.  We kicked off with our first annual Favorite Romance Audiobooks Poll followed by last week’s special edition of an All Reviews column.  Now we’re finishing with a giveaway featuring two sets of the first two audiobooks in Jacquelyn Frank’s soon to be released Nightwalker series.

Favorite Romance Audiobooks Poll Ends June 28th

But first things first – only one day remains in our Favorite Romance Audiobooks Poll.  All ballots must be submitted by midnight eastern standard time Tuesday, June 28th.   So, if you have yet to submit your ballot (here), it’s time!  Let us know your favorite romances in audio!

Jacquelyn Frank Giveaway

Jacquelyn Frank’s popular Nightwalker series will soon be offered in audio format and we are giving away two sets of Books 1 and 2, Jacob and Gideon respectively in our latest giveaway courtesy of Tantor Audio.  Since the release dates are currently scheduled 3-4 weeks apart, the two winners will receive their copy of Jacob first followed by a separate mailing of Gideon upon its release some weeks later.

A quick look at the rules:

Place your name in the hat by commenting on this column by 11:59 p.m. eastern time on Sunday, July 3rd.  Due to the cost of postage, the giveaway is open only to listeners in the U.S. and Canada.  We encourage multiple comments, but you will only be entered in the contest once.  If you review for another Web site or blog, please refrain from entering.  The winners will be notified by email on Monday morning and will have 48 hours to respond (due to the July 4th holiday).  Another winner will be selected on Wednesday morning if a winner has not responded and will have 24 hours to respond.  Audiobooks will be mailed to winners after Jacob’s and Gideon’s release dates.

The Nightwalkers is a paranormal series that brings to life the Nightwalker races – ancient yet proud beings that thrive in the dark and are hunted by menacing humans.  Tantor Audio has scheduled the release of the first five in the series by September 19th as follows:

Jacob 6/27

Gideon 7/18

Elijah 8/15

Damien 8/29

Noah 9/19

Narrator Xe Sands provided us with an inside look at her preparation for Jacob and Gideon:

Welcome Xe to Speaking of Audiobooks.  In Anne Stuart’s Fire and Ice, I was captivated by your ability to bring to life the Japanese culture as well as the myriad of accents.  As listeners we often don’t realize the background work necessary for such an effective performance.  How did you prepare for the Nightwalker series?

You know, this was such a delicious challenge for me, as a narrator.  My standard preparation methods of reading the book, contacting the publisher and/or author with any questions, simply fell short of what was needed to do Nightwalkers justice. After reading Jacob, it became clear that Frank was building not only a lush world for the reader, but also deep cultural connections for her characters, and revealing them over the course of the series. As such, input from the author was critical in helping me to map out the accents and vocal mannerisms for each character/group of characters in a way that was both actionable and true to her intent. After our discussions, I began working with a dialect coach in order to develop the first of several accents required for credible characterizations of the main clan of demons we meet in Jacob, and several additional pivotal characters introduced in Gideon. What began as trepidation quickly became exhilaration as I began truly inhabiting characters with their respective accents, developing a natural speech pattern for each, listening back, revising, until the characters truly came into their own, sounding as if they were “in their own skin,” so to speak. Accent work is worthless if the characterizations are lifeless…after all, the characters are just speaking how they speak – they aren’t trying to affect an accent.

In a series like this, is it necessary to vary your research for each book?

Yes. Unlike other series I’ve done, I’m finding that because each book delves into the backstory of several characters and then carries those bits and pieces both forward into following books and backward into prior books, the actual characterization of some characters is spread over the life of the series – meaning that some small bit of characterization for Jacob might not appear until we get to Damien, or some such. As a reader, this felt perfectly organic – the joy of discovery regarding beloved characters; however, as a narrator, it is akin to reading one, 2,000 page epic to glean all the characteristics for the main character of the first 350 pages . In order to most accurately represent a character, especially the romantic leads in each of the books, I’ve read quite a bit ahead in the series, trying  to ensure that whatever inflection/voice/accent seems appropriate in Jacob or Gideon will still ring true in each of the following books, as peripheral characters take their turn in the lead roles. In addition, because several different accents are used, I will continue to work with a dialect coach to develop the requisite accents as they arise in the series.

Thank you Xe!  Knowing there is such attention to detail, I’m definitely planning on listening to Jacob upon its release.

Audiobook Romances on Sale in July

Includes new formats of existing audiobooks

The Secret MistressUnabridged

Balogh, Mary – More Than a Mistress Narrated by Rosalyn Landor

Balogh, Mary – No Man’s Mistress Narrated by Rosalyn Landor

Balogh, Mary – The Secret Mistress Narrated by Anne Flosnik

Coulter, Catherine – Hemlock Bay Narrated by Sandra Burr

Day, Alyssa – Atlantis Redeemed Narrated by Joshua Swanson

Day, Alyssa – Atlantis Unmasked Narrated by Joshua Swanson

Delinsky, Barbara – Escape Narrated by Cassandra Campbell

Delinsky, Barbara – Secret of the Stone Narrated by Nell Geisslinger

Duvall, Dianne – Darkness Dawns Narrated by Kirsten Potter

Eden, Cynthia – Deadly Lies Narrated by Justine Eyre

Frank, Jacquelyn – Gideon Narrated by Xe Sands

Frank, Jacqueline – Seduce Me in Flames Narrated by Coleen Marlo

Graham, Heather – Sacred Evil Narrated by Luke Daniels

Harrison, Thea – Dragon Bound Narrated by Sophie Eastlake

Henry, Christina – Black Night Narrated by Coleen Marlo

Jackson, Lisa – Devil’s Gambit Narrated by Gayle Hendrix

Johansen, Iris – Blue Velvet Narrated by Renee Raudman

Johansen, Iris – Quinn Narrated by Jennifer Van Dyck

Mallery, Susan – Accidentally Yours Narrated by Therese Plummer

Mallery, Susan – Only Mine Narrated by Tanya Eby

Palmer, Diana – Merciless Narrated by Phil Gigante

Quinn, Paula – Tamed by a Highlander Narrator unknown

Robards, Karen – Justice Narrated by Angela Dawe

Roberts, Nora – Temptation Narrated by Alyson Silverman

Roberts, Nora – This Magic Moment Narrated by Ashley Adlon

Rowen, Michelle – Bloodlust Narrated by Cynthia Holloway

Singh, Nalini – Branded by Fire Narrated by Angela Dawe

Singh, Nalini – Hostage to Pleasure Narrated by Angela Dawe

Singh, Nalini – Mine to Possess Narrated by Angela Dawe

Steele, Danielle – Happy Birthday Narrated by Angela Dawe

Stuart, Anne – Shameless Narrated by Susan Ericksen

Warren, Christine – The Demon You Know Narrated by Kate Reading

Woods, Sherryl – Flirting with Disaster Narrated by Tanya Eby

Abridged

Coulter, Catherine – Bride CD Collection 1: The Sherbrooke Bride, The Hellion Bride, The Heiress Bride Narrated by Anne Flosnik

Coulter, Catherine – Split Second Narrated by Paul Costanzo and Renee Raudman

Lindsey, Johanna – A Loving Scoundrel Narrated by Laural Merlington

Peterson, Tracie – Shadows of the Canyon Narrated by Sandra Burr

Roberts, Nora – Dance Upon the Air – Narrated by Sandra Burr

You Belong to MeRomance Audio Reviews

You Belong to Me – Karen Rose

Review by Diana

Narrated by Marguerite Gavin

Karen Rose’s romantic suspense has been setting the bar high for tightly plotted, realistic police procedurals with an organically woven in romance, and her latest is no exception.  You Belong to Me kicks off a new series set in Baltimore and as anyone who is familiar with her style knows the tension starts with the discovery of a murder victim and the action doesn’t let up until the last page.  Medical examiner Lucy Trask and homicide detective JD Fitzpatrick literally meet over the body and team up to solve what turns into a series of brutal murders.  Soon it’s apparent that the victims all hail from a nearby small town on the Eastern Shore, which just happens to be the home town Lucy left behind as a teenager.  JD knows that getting Lucy to spill the town’s secrets is the key to stopping the murders, but as much as she wants to help, Lucy is as much in the dark about what turned someone into mad killer as the detectives are.  Reluctantly returning to the place that holds dark memories for her, Lucy and JD work together, get their man, and fall in love.  Above average for the mystery and the romance as well.

Narrator Marguerite Gavin is well-suited for fast paced (the story takes place over 3 days), nail-biting suspense.  She reads fast and punches it up as the tension mounts. Her character voices are well-delineated.  I always knew who was speaking despite the large and diverse cast of secondary characters.  Gavin is very good at natural sounding male/female dialogue and I wanted to applaud as I listened to exchanges between Lucy and JD.   How does one have a conversation with oneself in two different voices and genders?

However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention an aspect of the narration that was a frequent and baffling distraction.  There are long passages where Gavin speaks with a pronounced lisp and words are slurred.  I wasted time wondering if she hadn’t done warm-up exercises or if her mouth was dry or she was tired or whatever, because the majority of the narration contains no lisp or slurring. In any case the listener shouldn’t have to worry about it and when a problem such as this occurs, the affected passages should be rerecorded. Gavin is capable of perfect diction as evidenced by her fine reading of most of the book. For the unevenness, the narration is a C+.

Kiss of Snow – Nalini Singh

Review by Brenda

Narrated by Angela Dawe

Having come to the conclusion that Angela Dawe read this series, decided to join Silence, and is now a Psy is the only way to explain the huge difference I’ve found between her vivid multi character performances of past audiobooks and the narration of the Psy/Changeling series. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed them. It’s just not what I expected when I read the narrator announcement for the series.  Once I put the performance I know she’s capable of out of my head to listen to Kiss of Snow I heard the finer nuances she imbues the narration with.  She catches almost everything, in a low key way, with the glaring exception of humor or excitement. This leaves the narration a bit flat unless you listen to the words closely or know the books well.

Kiss of Snow is the tenth book in Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changeling series. The seeds were laid for Hawke and Sienna’s story in the opening book of the series. We’ve seen glimpses of the heat between them grow as the series progressed which built up expectations for this book as did the development of Hawke’s character. The angst over his “mate” having died when they were children (thus he’d be alone forever) that has run through the series makes him an ultimate romance hero for many.

Never having had a problem with the 15 year age difference between Hawke and Sienna, I was still impressed with how Singh closed the gap, making them equals in life experience, if not age. Sienna was still young in some actions while having grit and determination on her side. The “mate having died block” was removed in the way I expected though not soon enough for me. I was at the get over it stage, or at least ready for a shift in focus much sooner, especially with the revealing of Sienna’s unique talents. Learning the details of Sienna’s X Psy abilities and how she dealt with the consequences added something new and interesting to the story line. There were several other angles to follow as well. Walker and Lara’s side story was a nice addition as was the inclusion of the Lucas and Sascha moments including the birth of their baby.

Hawke and Sienna provided excellent entertainment. She kept pushing at him to make a move and when he did; his slow seduction of her was sweet, then hot! However I needed more Alpha couple with Pack interaction to make their HEA truly convincing. The war with Pure Psy is now in the open and we’ve met more distinctive characters to further the series. I’m looking forward to the wrap up of this arc as well as the series’ future direction.

Time for Your Thoughts

Do you have any questions or comments for Xe on her narration prep?

What new releases are you looking forward to?

Do you know of a new romance release that didn’t make the list?

Have you listened to Kiss of Snow or You Belong to Me?  What were your thoughts?

And, as always, what are your latest audio successes or failures?

Ending Notes

We now have a list of all our Mini Reviews from our Speaking of Audiobooks columns over at our Goodreads group.  You don’t have to be a Goodreads member to view this list so check it out.

I’m announcing new romance audiobook releases and other audio tidbits on Twitter – look for LeaAAR.

For those new to our Speaking of Audiobooks column, be sure to check out our audio archives for further recommendations and discussions.

Our Speaking of Audiobooks Goodreads group keeps growing and we now have 129 members!  It’s easy to join and it’s a great place for discussion in between our columns.

Our next column features the results of our Favorite Romance Audiobooks Poll.  Don’t forget to cast your ballot!

Enjoy your listening!

- Lea Hensley

58 thoughts on “Speaking of Audiobooks: July Releases and Jacquelyn Frank Giveaway (Contest Closed)

  1. Please enter me in the nightwalker giveaway. I’ve heard great things about this series, but just haven’t found time to read any yet. And I love audio books! I really enjoyed the interview with narrator Xe Sands. Very interesting. A lot more than just opening a book and reading the words.

  2. Great interview questions in regards to narrating an established multi-book series.

    And the perfect responses IMO. With Tantor being on a great roll with getting the audio rights to many well loved and established series I like knowing that a narrator realizes the importance of getting an overall feel for the series so that the characters stay consistent. I thought this …

    “the actual characterization of some characters is spread over the life of the series – – - it is akin to reading one, 2,000 page epic to glean all the characteristics for the main character of the first 350 pages.”

    …. must be too much to ask for after experiencing some where you can tell this type of preparation wasn’t done. You can even tell with single titles for that matter.

    I’ve often wondered if it was up to the narrator … or a producer of some sort … to try for this type of continuity. I’m guessing now that the end results are about how much a narrator wants to put into the preparation of a book and especially a series of books.

    So, I have to say, I love your dedication to the art Xe!

    • Thank you for your thoughtful and kind comments, Brenda!

      I’ll admit that there is a bit of pressure and anxiety when I’m handed a series that has been widely read and loved for years…something I don’t face with a simultaneous audio/print release of the first in a series – LOL! I knew going into this that fans of the Nightwalkers series have Jacob’s (and all other characters) voice in their head – and I wanted to imbue my performance with something that, even if it couldn’t be an exact match, would completely embody him (them) in an authentic way. Tall order! Proof will be in your collective ears and responses, really…

      I think the indepth examination started because of the accent work, and need to make sure accents called out in NOAH (where Noah’s is first really called out) were present as necessary in JACOB (where “Noah” first appears)..and morphed into greater attention paid to characterizations overall.

    • Brenda: Oh, and I can’t wait to get my ears on all the accents in Jacob!

      Just saw this comment :) It’s mostly a slight NYC for Isabella and her sister, and varying degrees on the Eastern European/Croatian/Hungarian/Romanian accent developed for the demons in JACOB. You’ll hear those all again, and also start to hear a bit of slanting toward Russian in GIDEON (when Siena is introduced). :) Fun!

  3. I enjoyed reading the interview. I know some narrators take great pride and go to great lengths to narrate a book ‘just so’. I have often wondered if, after starting to narrate a book with a particular accent you decide that it just doesn’t work and then want to go back to change it. Do you do that? Can you do that?

    I absolutely love the idea that more books are coming out in Audiobook. For those of us who do a lot of commuting these are a perfect way to reduce road-rage. Who cares if the traffic is slowing, that just means I have more time to listen to my story!

    Dorothy
    For Books – http://alaskanbookie.blogspot.com/
    For Chocolate – http://alaskanchocoholic.blogspot.com/
    For Both – http://twitter.com/AkChocoholic

  4. Please enter me in the contest. I am always looking for new authors and narrators.
    I love listening to audiobooks. I can still “read” a good book and do the things that I need to do.

  5. I would love to be entered in the giveaway for the Nightwalker Audio Books, I have Jacob in paperbook but don’t have much time for reading, however I ususally get to go thru 2-3 audiobooks a week since I spend so much time driving

  6. Enjoyed the interview with Xe Sands. I was wondering, Xe, how do you keep track of the voice for each character?

    • MaryC: Enjoyed the interview with Xe Sands. I was wondering, Xe, how do you keep track of the voice for each character?

      Great question! It’s something I’ve always wondered as well!

      I love hearing the work that goes into making an audiobook. It’s something that I only thought of recently. I’ve tried changing voices for just my kids picture books and I don’t do nearly as good as I’d like. So hats off to you, Xe!

      I wish more people knew how amazing audiobooks would be.

  7. Sally – that’s exactly how I used to consume many audiobooks! With my daughter to/from school/work. Only thing I miss about commuting is having a built-in venue for listening.

    MaryC – great question! Two-fold answer. On a practical level, I’ve got sound clips of all characters that I can refer back to if they disappear for a while and I need to get them back into my head. On a “connection” level, each character usually has a physical tick or way of “holding my body” while I voice them. Sometimes I even have a prop I use to develop the voice…so if I’m losing one a bit, I might grab the prop or drop into the physical “tell” of the character. For Jacob, the hardest part was keeping his accent consistent…I had a particular visual/auditory snippet of Goran Visnjic in my head and would repeat it like a mantra with his mannerisms until the accent slipped back into place :)

  8. I would like to be included in the drawing for the audiobook giveaway of Frank’s Jacob and Gideon books. I love having someone read to me, and would be particularly interested to hear Sands’ narration after reading how much background research goes into it! I always wondered how a narrator could so seamlessly go back and forth between voices-I’ve tried it with kids and grandkids and found it almost impossible to do!

  9. We’ve been receiving ballots for the Favorite Romance Audiobooks Poll at a higher rate today. I guess it’s partly due to the reminder in today’s column and partly due the fact that it is coming down to the wire – many of voter’s favorite time to submit their ballots.

    Just wanted to say that many categories are running neck and neck. Your vote could literally make the difference for your favorite!

    Now back to all this fascinating discussion about the intricacies of narrating!

  10. I had no idea that so much background work was required before recording an audio book. It certainly will give me a greater appreciation in the future.

    I review books and audiobooks on my own blog, don’t know if that discounts me from this contest. If I’m still eligible, please enter me.

    Thanks for introducing me to a new author and a new reader.

  11. Lea – great news on the poll!

    Attack & Karen – Trust me, sometimes the back-and-forth is a difficult feat to accomplish! Ah the beauty of the “retake” LOL. I have joked that I should make a blooper reel after each project. Would kill the mystery though ;)

    Karen -here’s to the listening experience living up to prep!

    Heather – I’m often stunned myself how much goes into each project, although not until I think about it later. You know how it is when you’re immersed in something you love…you don’t notice the time you’re spending (or the laundry that is breeding on its own in the corner. Ahem.). Glad to “meet” a new listener!

  12. I’m looking forward to the Nightwalker series on audio – the visual of Goran Visnjic as Jacob certainly doesn’t help!!! :)

    I’m listening to Just the Sexiest Man Alive at the moment and it’s not working that well for me unfortunately (although I appear to be an outlier). As an Australian, I am particularly sensitive to accents given to an Australian character and the Aussie (narrators please note this is pronounced Ozzie) in this book sounds like a cross between a New Yorker and a Cockney – nothing like an Australian. Maybe those not familiar with an Australian accent won’t be bothered by it. Also, the pacing is slow and, to me, the characters come off sounding superior and not that likeable. The narrator did a great job with the female POV of Raziel but this one, for me, not so much. I know Brenda loved it though so maybe it’s me! :)

    • Kaetrin: I’m looking forward to the Nightwalker series on audio – the visual of Goran Visnjic as Jacob certainly doesn’t help!!! I’m listening to Just the Sexiest Man Alive at the moment and it’s not working that well for me unfortunately (although I appear to be an outlier). As an Australian, I am particularly sensitive to accents given to an Australian character and the Aussie (narrators please note this is pronounced Ozzie) in this book sounds like a cross between a New Yorker and a Cockney – nothing like an Australian. Maybe those not familiar with an Australian accent won’t be bothered by it. Also, the pacing is slow and, to me, the characters come off sounding superior and not that likeable. The narrator did a great job with the female POV of Raziel but this one, for me, not so much. I know Brenda loved it though so maybe it’s me!

      It is the fact that the characters SOUND superior in the beginning that makes this work for me. I heard the change in their characters as they softened. Here is a quote from my SOA review.

      “Jason’s character sounds a little too bigheaded in the beginning but it works well as you hear the bighead evolve into someone far more sensitive as the story moves along. In the same manner, White perfectly portrays Taylor’s attitude towards Jason.”

      The book was an A for me both in print and audio but the audio started just a little slow for me because of the superior attitudes. In the end, as you now clearly know, I was won over!

      I have point of reference for Australian accents but on other points, I encourage you to keep on!

      • Lea AAR:
        It is the fact that the characters SOUND superior in the beginning that makes this work for me.I heard the change in their characters as they softened.

        Isn’t that just so delicious when that is successfully conveyed by both author and narrator? I love it when that happens – it’s the good kind of being surprised by characters.

    • Kaetrin: I’m looking forward to the Nightwalker series on audio – the visual of Goran Visnjic as Jacob certainly doesn’t help!!!
      I’m listening to Just the Sexiest Man Alive at the moment and it’s not working that well for me unfortunately (although I appear to be an outlier).As an Australian, I am particularly sensitive to accents given to an Australian character and the Aussie (narrators please note this is pronounced Ozzie) in this book sounds like a cross between a New Yorker and a Cockney – nothing like an Australian.Maybe those not familiar with an Australian accent won’t be bothered by it.

      I really appreciate hearing about the pitfalls of the Australian accent – one I find difficult to emulate! Accents are so tricky and always a risk because of exactly the issue you experienced. I actually try to avoid them unless they are specifically called out (as they are in Nightwalkers).

  13. Geesh – that was supposed to read “I have NO point of reference for Australian…”

  14. Please enter me in the drawing for the Nightwalker books. I’m really enjoying the looks into how audiobooks get put together. I do have a burning question that I don’t recall seeing asked/answered before. On the books that have both a male & female narrator who decides whether the narrators do a POV reading like with Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooter books or a more normal reading with “her” doing all the female voices/pov and “him” doing all the male voices/pov? My thought is why have 2 narrators if she’s going to be doing male voices and he’s going to be doing female voices in addition to their own gender?
    Xe, I haven’t listened to any of your books yet but I’m really looking forward to starting with the Nightwalkers. It sounds like I’m in for an exciting experience. :)

    • Diane: Please enter me in the drawing for the Nightwalker books. I’m really enjoying the looks into how audiobooks get put together. I do have a burning question that I don’t recall seeing asked/answered before. On the books that have both a male & female narrator who decides whether the narrators do a POV reading like with Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooter books or a more normal reading with “her” doing all the female voices/pov and “him” doing all the male voices/pov? My thought is why have 2 narrators if she’s going to be doing male voices and he’s going to be doing female voices in addition to their own gender?Xe, I haven’t listened to any of your books yet but I’m really looking forward to starting with the Nightwalkers. It sounds like I’m in for an exciting experience.

      Diane – I’ve wondered the same thing and usually when I listen to a Brockmann. It makes no sense to me why I, the listener (and the consumer), should have to recognize two voices for each character. I mean, I CAN do it – it just makes it less of an easygoing experience. I will say, however, that I just finished Hot Pursuit and it really didn’t bother me as much after a couple of hours. But why can’t they give male roles to male narrators and vice versa?? My guess is that the producer makes this decision and it is their vision of how it works best.

      I’m hoping we hear from others who may know more. And, of course, for those of you who love these Brockmann books just as they are, please speak up as well!

  15. Diane – I always wonder that as well and am not entirely sure how they make that decision. Having done one such project, it was very odd having to try and match the male narrator’s performance of his character during the chapters I narrated.

  16. Diane – hit “Submit” button too soon! So glad you’re excited about the series and that we’ll have a chance to “meet” through the Nightwalkers audio.

  17. I have just listened to Hard Bitten by Chloe Neill; the first in the series was released a while back; at first the voice of the narrator surprised me but now I love it.

    I am looking forward to Nalini Singh’s older books being release.

    I have ordered Kiss of Snow and it’s on it’s way now; I loved the book and I’m sure I will enjoy the audio just as much.

    Nalini’ Singh’s first 3 books in her Psy-Changeling series.

  18. lease enter me in the Nightwalker giveaway.
    I have read Jacob and have started Gideon.I would love to listen to these books and hear if they sound like I imagined.This is a great series so far.

  19. Elaine – I welcome your impressions once you’ve heard my interpretation them!

    S allen – thanks – definitely my intent :)

  20. I am one who likes the dual narrators speaking from different gender POV – I loved it in The Time Traveller’s Wife, and all the Brockmanns I’ve listened to. I think the male narrator, even reading the women’s voices, give the thoughts and POV a different perspective than a female does and vice versa. The one time I heard a book where a man just read the men’s speaking voices and a woman read the rest, I thought it was weird. I go to the theater for theatrical productions where each character speaks his/her own lines and their actions speak the POV, without a narrator. I listen to audiobooks for the story, where the author has gone to a lot of trouble to create the actions and emotions through words. Plays and books are very different creatures.

    I especially appreciate it in Brockmann because she uses different language patterns for her characters – it’s that “Deep POV” thing she does. I guess many authors do that, but her narrative is less a third person telling it as they see it, and more being inside the character’s head, hearing their thoughts, seeing what they see. You’re not hearing Eden speaking, you are filtering Eden speaking through Izzy’s brain when in his POV. I have never had any trouble knowing who was talking.

    That being said, Xe – how does one pronounce your name?

  21. oh – and about Just the Sexiest Man Alive – Kaetrin, I really don’t remember the Aussie in the mix (was it Scott, the younger rival actor?), I just remember laughing like a loon throughout the book at the clever banter and ripostes. I don’t even remember it being slow. Sounds like a future dueling review in the making!!

    (do loons laugh?)

  22. Missed a couple of you earlier – sorry!

    Carrie, Nichole – so glad you’ve entered! We can discover the series together :)

    Lisa – Glad you’ve entered, too…and yes, audiobooks are fab because you can read while doing things that might otherwise preclude reading print (dishes, laundry, jogging, etc).

    Melinda – My name is pronounced as if you were spelling it aloud: EX-ee, with the emphasis on the first syllable. Colleague recently cited it as, “Eck-see” which is also a good way to think of it :)

    Now as for the fabulous question regarding the whys and whens of publishers choosing to cast dual narrators for a book that employs a shifting POV…

    I actually threw the question open to several publisher contacts on Twitter and let them run with it. Take a gander at the feeds for @dogearedcopy and @mitzpa to get a nice view of the discussion (with several other of us involved).

    Seems to come down to needing a perfect mix of narrator skill and matched casting, expert direction and author intent. Haven’t heard a specific “why” yet, save for the obvious: that they believe it works best for the storytelling. As a listener, my personal preference with first-person that shifts POV between male/female characters is to have a set of narrators who are not only perfectly matched to the content, but also to each other. But it can be disconcerting if they have to do the other character’s dialog within their own sections.

  23. @ Melinda and Lea – I finished Just the Sexiest Man Alive today. No LOL moments for me and I didn’t get the improvement in the characters throughout the book – I expected snappy and quick dialogue but the pacing was slow for me throughout. And yes Melinda, the Australian character was Scott Casey. Like I said earlier, it seems I am an outlier on this one, it was just okay for me.

    @ Xe – well I’ve been saying your name wrong in my head (Zee instead of Eck-see) and I’ll have to fix that now! :)

    @ Melinda – I agree with you regarding the dual narrators for the Brockmann’s – it works very well I think (even though I have only actually listened to Breaking The Rules). In the last 2 books of the Shadowfever series, Natalie Ross (as you know!) did everying except the male voices which Phil Gigante did – it worked okay but I was just as happy with Joyce Bean doing the lot in the first 3, frankly.

    • Kaetrin: I finished Just the Sexiest Man Alive today. No LOL moments for me and I didn’t get the improvement in the characters throughout the book

      I guess that’s just a case of different strokes – I’ll have to listen to it again to refresh my memory about why I recall being so amused! Did you think it was the narrator’s delivery or the story itself that made it “just okay”? Just curious.

  24. Count me in. I’m looking forward to starting the Jacquelyn Frank series. Have 3 of the books on my TBR shelf.

  25. I would like to be included in the drawing for the audiobook giveaway of Frank’s Jacob and Gideon books. Thanks.

  26. Please enter me in the giveaway. I love these books. I got a indle for Christmas and I “listen” to my books on my commute with Text to talk, bt, as my daughter says it is ind of a weather gy voice, I wold love to hear how a real narration sounds.

  27. Gale, Paul – Great Gale – audio is a great way to move through books on your TBR shelf.

    Melinda – looking forward to Kaetrin’s response as well – always interested in what makes a mismatched audio experience for the listener.

  28. @ Melinda & Xe – sadly it was the narrator’s delivery which made it just okay for me. I read the book and enjoyed it (I thought it was about a B- read) but I’d rate the audio version as a C-. I feel bad about it because the narrator seems really nice and she’s friended me on Goodreads and everything but I have to be honest about my reaction. Like I said though, she did a great job on Raziel but this one didn’t work for me so well.

    • Kaetrin: @ Melinda & Xe – sadly it was the narrator’s delivery which made it just okay for me. I read the book and enjoyed it (I thought it was about a B- read) but I’d rate the audio version as a C-.I feel bad about it because the narrator seems really nice and she’s friended me on Goodreads and everything but I have to be honest about my reaction.Like I said though, she did a great job on Raziel but this one didn’t work for me so well.

      Kaetrin – I understand completely, both about feeling a bit badly and about liking a narrator on one project, but not on another. As a listener, this happens to me, too! I’ll listen to someone’s work and love it, only to listen to something else, not love it, and then have to be honest about that. As a narrator, I know that as much as I want to be everything to everyone and be perfect for each project from the listener’s standpoint, that just isn’t going to happen. As a performer, it’s hard to accept this, but it’s reality – my style isn’t going to strike everyone the same way – which can be both a blessing and hindrance :) Thanks for being honest in your feedback. Above all else, narrators really do want to know how the performance worked for listeners…although I’ll add that polite and constructive feedback is definitely preferable (like yours, Kaetrin – all very nicely and constructively offered)!

  29. #1) I voted in The Favorite Romance Audio Poll even though I’m new to audio books (except the Outlander series) and I don’t feel my input is worth the same value as a long time audio listener.

    #2) I would love to be entered into your contest for the 1st two books in the Nightwalker contest. I’ve not listened to any books yet by Xe Sands, but judging from this interview and her style of narration I will like it fine….My biggest complaint with audio books I’ve listened to thus far is the lack of accents & vocals for different characters.

    #3) I just finished listening to an older novel by Linda Howard titled “A Lady of the West” narrated by ‘Natalie Ross”. This was my 1st Linda Howard audio book and I really liked the story. It’s a long novel (13 hours audio) & I think typical of older (more descriptive/wordy) romance books. The narration by Natalie Ross was very good, but I would have preferred a better variety of vocal variations for the different characters, especially the H & other males in the story.

  30. Mitzi – I don’t think someone has to be a long time audio listener to take part in the poll so thanks for participating! Hopefully you will have many more audiobooks under your belt next year (with our help) when the poll rolls around again.

    I think the more you explore the world of audiobooks you will find those narrators who are just right for “you”. As I tabulated ballots from our poll, I was once again impressed with the fact that we HEAR things differently. Someone’s favorite narrator is another’s “can’t stand them.”

    I’m also wondering if narrators aren’t perfecting their art. The older books I loved years ago seem without much variation in voice or over-the-top with too much melodrama.

  31. Mitzi – so glad you entered! As a listener, I share your frustration with the lack of character differentiation – my personal DNF in audio is an unexpressive read, after all, the author certainly felt something when they wrote it – let it come through! Hopefully, you’ll find my characterizations fit with your expectations.

    Lea – I think we are, as a performing “species” perfecting our art. Over the past decade, there definitely seems to be a shift away from the more traditional, flat (or overly subtle) read and characterizations to something a bit more natural…away from reporting the story and toward storytelling. That’s my take, anyway, and my hope as that the kind of read I crave as a listener.

  32. Please enter me in the give away. I’ve been borrowing audio books from the public library for a couple of years, but I’m new to getting them from any other source. I absolutely love Young Adult literature and helping my students to explore the richly built characters, and their challenges. Thank you so much.

  33. Eva – the library is such a wonderful resource, including for audiobooks! Because you mention YA, I just want to make sure you are aware that JACOB and GIDEON are not YA in any sense of the word, though. Figure you are making a comment on YA in general (which is excellent in whatever form), but thought it best to clarify.

    Also, seems that a comment from one poster was evidently eaten – but I received it via email so will answer her question of “…after starting to narrate a book with a particular accent you decide that it just doesn’t work and then want to go back to change it. Do you do that? Can you do that?”

    The answer is a resounding YES to all parts of that question – at least for me. If I feel something isn’t working, regardless of where in the recording process I am, I will find a way to correct it if at all possible. Sometimes, something that seems like a good idea at the outset, just doesn’t play out well in application. Usually, I figure this out during initial character studies, but every once in a while, it takes a bit – until I’ve gotten into the rhythm of the character in relation to those around him/her to work through accent or characterization issues. And once I realize it, almost impossible to be at peace until I’ve rectified it.

  34. Thanks for answering my question. Hopefully it is okay to ask one or two more..
    Do you have any upcoming projects that you are really, really excited about?
    If I were going to listen to one of the audiobooks that you narrated, which do you think give me the best overall view of your talents?

    Thanks again
    Dorothy
    For Books – http://alaskanbookie.blogspot.com/
    For Chocolate – http://alaskanchocoholic.blogspot.com/
    For Both – http://twitter.com/AkChocoholic

    • Dorothy: Thanks for answering my question.Hopefully it is okay to ask one or two more..
      Do you have any upcoming projects that you are really, really excited about?
      If I were going to listen to one of the audiobooks that you narrated, which do you think give me the best overall view of your talents?Thanks again
      Dorothy

      So very strange, Dorothy – your comment did not show up (at least for me) until this morning, although I see that you posted it on June 30th! So sorry for the delay in responding to you.

      There are actually two projects that while recently completed, I’m very excited about. The first is the upcoming release of “Step on a Crack” by Mary Anderson, which is my first YA title, and was a wonderful, introspective emotional first-person read (my favorite kind!). The second is one that I *just* completed, “Another Kind of Dead” by Kelly Meding, which will release on 8/2, simultaneous with the print version. I’m thrilled about that one because it was the third book in a series and I really connected with the character, got comfortable in her skin. This book was a culmination of the previous two and was a difficult book to narrate in places, but it was so satisfying…as was the relationship I developed with the author during the recording of the series. Very sad to no longer have “Evy” buzzing around, swearing inside my head.

      As for your second question, that is difficult to answer because they are all quite different. I think I’m going to cheat and recommend three, b/c of the different genres and skills they represent:

      1. Another Kind of Dead, by Kelly Meding (UF) -because by book three, the character and I were truly fused, the rhythm seamless, and there are a smattering of creatures and genders to give a sense of range. It’s also first-person, stressed and in places emotional, which I adore narrating.

      2. Step on a Crack, by Mary Anderson (YA) – although few characters, this story is so poignant and introspective – and the main character, who narrates the story in first-person, is not my natural vocal range…so that was an interesting challenge to meet and surpass.

      3. Gideon, by Jacquelyn Frank (PNR) – if you are a romance genre fan, because it demonstrates third person narration, male/female dialog, range of male and female voices, and heavy accent work.

  35. Kaetrin your comments on accents here and previously make me really glad I live in the “no accent” north west of the US. I may not know if accents are being done properly, but they nearly always sound good to me. I count that as a plus in my listening.

    Downloaded Jacob first thing this morning, although I’ve only made it an hour into the book I can say it sounds wonderful to me Xe. I’m loving the narration and the “voices” used for each character up to this point.

    I knew it was possible to “hear” laughter just by the way the word is said! :D

    • Brenda: Kaetrin your comments on accents here and previously make me really glad I live in the “no accent” north west of the US.I may not know if accents are being done properly, but they nearly always sound good to me. I count that as a plus in my listening.Downloaded Jacob first thing this morning, although I’ve only made it an hour into the book I can say it sounds wonderful to me Xe. I’m loving the narration and the “voices” used for each character up to this point.
      I knew it was possible to “hear” laughter just by the way the word is said!

      So glad to hear that you are enjoying it, Brenda! And as a listener, I too am glad that most accents work for me…as a performer though, oh the pressure is on because I’m aware that there are listeners out there who know exactly what a particular accent should sound like! Always a shame to find out that an accent used took the listener out of the story.

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  37. I would love to be entered in the Jacquelyn Frank Giveaway! I love audiobooks!! They are my preferred method of reading.

    My email address is darlenesbooknook at gmail dot com.

    Thanks so much for the giveaway!

  38. Pam of Flint Knits has a really, really freaking cute new pattern out, Willie, a little kid sweater with an adorable weiner dog wrapped around the bottom.  Willie came into

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