Tuesday, September 7, 2021

All About Audiobooks

 



                 

Can I get a show of hands? How many like to hold their books in their hand and hear the crisp turning of the pages? How many prefer ebooks, where you can change the font size to adjust to your aging eyes(guilty!)? How many of you like an audiobook, where you can escape into another life while commuting, housecleaning, or performing other mundane tasks? 

Today, I'm celebrating the audiobook. As an author, I had no idea what went into the making of an audiobook, until two of my books were made into the spoken word. It's a heady experience as an author. Simply put, a narrator can pick from a vast amount of novels. If they see one they are interested in, they do an "audition." The author gets these auditions, in my case from the Wild Rose Press' marketing department. I get to listen to them and pick from those auditions the one I think would suit the book well. Then, as the narrator finishes the chapters, I get to listen to them and check for errors. I was very fortunate to have the talented Rebecca McKernan narrate Mercy of the Moon. If you'd like to have a listen, click the link below:   

https://www.amazon.com/Mercy-Moon-Rhythm/dp/B079Z9D1X3/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=mercy+of+the+moon+audiobook+jennifer+taylor&qid=1631036213&sr=8-1

Rebecca did an amazing job telling the story of a midwife who carries the world on her shoulders, finds love, and fights superstition in an 18th Century harbor town. Her emotive, heartfelt reading and talent at creating voices for each character took the book to new heights. I never thought anything would be as exciting as holding my own book in my hands, but listening to my book spoken by a talented actor is equally as thrilling. 

I'm happy to report that on September 1, my second audiobook, Heartbeat of the Moon, was released. I never thought it possible that a man could narrate a midwife's story, but this is very much a man's story too. The talented Howard Green narrates this tale. It's about friendship between men, a twist on a very popular horror theme, and the torment my main character, Ian faces when confronted with his personal demons. And it's a story about love and loyalty. 

Mr. Green did a phenomenal job with my characters, creating different voices and accents, able to give the women a voice as well as the men. You may know that Ian is a musician and uses music to calm and entertain the people in King's Harbour. Howard Green sings Ian's songs. Sings them, I tell you! His voice lends well to the frightening aspects of this story as well as the humorous parts. All in all, he has elevated the story to a new dimension. I'm hoping he'll be narrating Echoes of the Moon. Take a listen, if you like:

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=heartbeat+of+the+moon+audiobook+jennifer+taylro&ref=nb_sb_noss

Whether you like traditional books, ebooks, or audiobooks, sometimes it's fun to shake things up. Experience a story in a different format. You have a lot to choose from. 

Most of all, enjoy every moment of your day. 

      


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
 










Thursday, July 29, 2021

Folding Research Into Fiction

 


Flossie Benton Rogers here to talk about folding research into creative fiction, a vital aspect of writing. It must not be done in a ham-fisted manner, but rather gracefully and sparingly. If you are a writer who loves to meander off on research byways and tempted to include all the fascinating tidbits, that’s fine, but the revision process will be crucial in tightening up your prose. If your writing style involves jumping right into the story and fiddling with the details later, that’s fine, too. At some point, though, you’ll have to dust off your investigative skills to enrich and ground the story. Research can be viewed in four parts: identify, investigate, organize and store, and sprinkle it in.


IDENTIFY

To recognize where research is needed, brainstorming can be used as a planning tool. One method involves a blank piece of paper with a key word or picture in the center, and then quickly drawing lines to add related ideas and sub-thoughts. In considering and mulling over the ideas, or their scarcity in some cases, topics that need further study can be pinpointed. If you are already busy writing the story and want to flesh out details later, it is useful to tag sections that need further exploration with a searchable symbol such as ?R.

 

INVESTIGATE

Expand your research by using numerous approaches, including interviews, books, the internet, libraries, online libraries, novels set in your time period or genre, YouTube documentaries, movies, museums, Pinterest, and by visiting locales similar to your settings. For my book Time Singer, maps of ancient Ireland were especially valuable in enabling me to visualize and track the movements of the characters.

 

ORGANIZE AND STORE

Research can be organized and stored in many ways, including electronically with Scrivener or Microsoft One Note, etc., or by means of a basic binder. If you are a writer that uses both methods, make sure to categorize them in the same way with the names of folders or topic headings. This simply makes life easier.

 

SPRINKLE IT IN

Include only as much research as is necessary for the richness of your story. With regard to avoiding info dumps, writer Jake Wolff champions an intriguing method—two truths and a lie, or adding one creative lie for every two facts. Many writers tend to do this naturally, as I did in my book Time Singer. An example involves the hero, Aedar. A key figure in Time Singer is Nuada, the first king of the Tuatha de Danaan (research truth). Nuada’s arch-enemy is the Firbolg leader, Sreng (research truth). My fictional hero, as the grandson of Nuada, is half Tuatha and, as the son of Sreng, half Firbolg (creative lie).

 

Highlighting research-based sections in red will allow you, during the revision process, to determine whether you have been too heavy-handed. If you remove something, put it in a special file and save it for the future. You never know when it may come in handy for another story or for promo purposes.


We have considered research in four parts: identification, investigation, organization and storage, and sprinkling it in. For readers, how do you gauge whether an author has done due diligence? For writers, what is your fact-finding process? Time Singer was such a fun book to research. The process even took me back to the ancient Scythians. I hope you enjoy this short passage. 



As Etar and two attendants led them into the further recesses of the sithen, where the king had his quarters, Seraphina reflected on the reality around her. Although she had prayed to become a Time Singer, she never in a million years had expected to meet a fae warrior prince and fall in love with him. Such things didn’t happen to a simple Wytchfae like her. She had to refrain from pinching herself.

 

King Nuada’s suite reflected his station, with masculine accoutrements situated amid a comfortable seating area. Although he greeted his grandson with pleasantries and granted them audience, his weathered face showed restraint. Seraphina’s pulse raced as she realized the urgency and importance of this meeting. Not only their personal lives, but also the future of the Tuath and Firbolg, and her own Wytchfae line, depended on the outcome of tonight. A swirl of firefae caught her attention, and she feasted her eyes. Its dance generated brilliant light in a hundred shades of blue, from lapis and azure to mist. She splayed a hand over her chest. Her skin tingled at the realization of how a long lost chant had thrust her in the middle of such a ripe historical moment.

 

Cheers on behalf of Pen Dames!

Flossie Benton Rogers

 

 

 

 

Monday, July 26, 2021

Peter Pan Can Really Fly-Yes, No, Hmm?

 

Do You Believe Peter Pan Can Fly?

Hello, readers, Loretta Rogers coming at you live on a dark and stormy day. As I’m writing this, thunder is vibrating the house. I’ve taken precautions and unplugged my laptop to avoid getting zapped by lightning. However, it’s not the weather I’d like to discuss rather it’s a writing term called, “suspending disbelief.”

Suspending disbelief is temporarily allowing oneself to believe something that isn't true, especially in order to enjoy a work of fiction.

An example would be, knowing that Superman cannot, in reality, fly – and then pretending that you don't know he can’t. The storyteller tells the audience that, in this story, a man can fly. The audience suspends its disbelief and goes along with that premise.

In other examples, such as in the fantasy Lord of the Rings, we set aside the reality that such magical creatures do not exist so we can enjoy the movie while munching on popcorn. Let’s not forget the wonderful Disney characters that we’ve come to cherish such as Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, and Bambi. We know these characters can’t, in reality, talk, but for the sake of enjoyment, we willingly set aside this fact for a couple of hours of entertainment.

What does all of this have to do with my post? Recently, I tuned in to a FB conversation where readers were vehemently complaining that authors, and yes, they lumped all authors together, needed to fire their editors, hire professional editors, or perhaps stop writing altogether because they (the authors) needed lessons in writing. The complaint stemmed from the fact that readers were frustrated because in certain novels heroines could cook dinner, feed the kids, get them to bed, then dress for a party, and get it all done in twenty minutes. One reader went on to say that these type heroines made her feel inadequate as a woman, and a failure as a mother. WOW! So sad.

Some of the reader’s comments were much harsher than what I’ve shared. But, as an author, the comments did make me think twice about whether or not I am making sure that the setups in my novels are relatable; because as Samuel Tylor Coleridge said, “The key to making someone believe the unbelievable is to include human interest and a semblance of truth.”

I hope you enjoy this excerpt from FATAL PASSION, book #1 of my new Doc Holliday Mystery series. I’d really appreciate if it you would answer the question at the end of this passage.

            Grandmother sighed when she tossed the remaining three donuts in the trash. “If I were a betting person, I’d put my money on Beverly Rakestraw, and she had good cause. Apparently, Forest couldn’t seem to keep his pants zipped. Still infidelity is never a justifiable reason for murder.”

            I handed dad copies of the file. He cautioned me to stay alert, and I promised. I wrapped my arms around grandmother and whispered, “I’m sorry for making your angry.”

            She kissed me on the cheek. “It’s the situation that made me angry. Not you.”  She hesitated. “I’d almost forgotten. There’s another name to add.”

            Dad and I each gave grandmother an incredulous look. Together we said, “Who?”

            Dad quirked his mouth to one side. “Is this more gossip?”

            “Not exactly.” Grandmother’s voice was hushed as if the walls were listening. “I went to church to do my weekly confession, and before I went inside the confessional, I heard someone sobbing. It was Luanne. I must have caught her at a really weak moment because you know what a sour puss she is.” Grandmother heaved a dejected sigh. “I asked if I could be of comfort and that’s when she told me about her and Forest.”

            I nearly choked. “Luanne Sterns…the priest’s sister…that Luanne?”

            Grandmother nodded. “Luanne said in a weak moment she allowed Forest to visit her on more than one occasion, and sometimes they’d have a secret rendezvous at a secret location.”

            “Grandmother, she isn’t even remotely attractive. What would entice Forest to sleep with her?”

            “Only he knows that and he’s dead. Anyhow, apparently Forest said all the right things about loving her and them having a future together, and made a bunch of false promises, all to get inside her bloomers, and then he laughed at her, called her ugly, and said he bedded her because she was always mooning over him and he felt sorry for her. She needed to confess her sins but couldn’t at least not to her brother. So, in a moment of desperation, I became the substitute.”  Tanti glanced around. “Here’s the thing, after spilling her beans, Luanne got bull stompin’ mad and the things she threatened to do to Forest, well, let’s just say, were pretty drastic. Of course, I didn’t take any of it seriously. She was a woman scorned and blowing off steam.”

There you have it dear readers, did I set up the scene so that I suspended disbelief to your satisfaction? Under the circumstances, would Luanne, or any woman, confess her sins to someone she barely knew, other than her priest, especially if she were overly distraught?

Thanks for dropping by. I’d love to hear your comments.



Loretta C. Rogers, Pen Dames

By the way, grab your copy of FATAL PASSION, available in print or Ebook at Amazon.com in the US and UK, as well as other online stores.

 

 



 

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Connecting Branches in the Family Tree


 

Have you traced your ancestry? Discovering our lineage is popular in the U.S. Everyone wants to know where we came from and what our forbears were like. The process is easy. Register with one of the websites or send in a sample of DNA, and in a few weeks, you learn your history.

When I was young, these sites didn’t exist. (Neither did the internet, LOL.) If someone wanted to find out about their predecessors, a genealogy chart was constructed using county records, bibles, and newspaper archives. One of my great uncles developed an interest in researching our clan before I was born. He followed many generations back, compiled all his work into a thick book, made numerous copies, and sent them to all the branches of the family. My mother had one, so I grew up hearing stories about the famous (and infamous) people from our bloodline. When I was old enough, I was allowed to access the book. It’s dry, with fading mimeographed pages and small, arcane symbols, but if read with imagination, the past comes alive.

One of my ancestors was Susannah Martin, who was hanged in Salem in 1692. Another was Cotton Mather, the magistrate who presided over the Salem Witch Trials. When I realized that I am descended from both a woman executed for witchcraft and the judge who sentenced her, my fantasy took flight.

What if this happened to a book protagonist who was a descendant of both accused and accuser? What would she be like? What would make her unique, and what would cause her trouble? What would be the repercussions of the merging of the lines?

The idea became Witch Trial Legacy which releases October 11. The heroine, Sybilla Sanborn, is descended from both the condemned woman and the man who denounced her.

Sybilla has the gift of healing touch from half her heritage. From the other, she receives a curse. She sees visions of future tragedies, but when she tries to warn people, no one will believe her.

Then, she discovers Cassadaga, Florida, home to mediums, psychics, and spiritualists. A medium reveals the source of Sybilla’s problem was transmitted through the generations.

Sybilla must find a way to convince people to heed her warnings.

But when she learns what she will have to do, the cost may be too great.

Everyone has interesting roots. I would love to hear about your antecedents. Respond to this post with a few words about some cool characters from your family tree. Or some terrible ones you wish you weren’t related to.

I’ll pick one person who comments and gift you with a $10.00 Amazon card. C’mon. Brag a little! You know you want to! (Contest closes at midnight July 25, 2021.)

Thank you for joining us on the Pen Dames blog! We appreciate you!


                                                                                                                               

If you would like more info about me or my books, please visit my website at: http://katherineeddingersmits.weebly.com/ Subscribe to my newsletter, and I’ll send you a free short story exclusively for subscribers. Newsletters come out once or twice a month and always include contests, freebies, and fun. Unsubscribe any time by clicking at the bottom of all newsletters.

 

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Book Storms and Other Conflicts

 


Greetings, everyone! 

I'm a resident of southwest Florida, and as you probably know, we're in hurricane season. We just experience tropical storm/hurricane Elsa, who is heading up to torment the Carolinas. I'm fervently hoping everyone will be safe and sound. 

Okay,  I hate destruction, but I love rain. Those of you who live up north will think I'm nuts when I say there is such a thing as too much sunshine.  Those of us of a certain age will remember the 1973 movie/musical Lost Horizons.  There's a song called, "The Things I Will Not Miss," by the great Burt Bacharach. 

 A group of people end up in Shangri La, a perfect place like heaven where there is no conflict and only sunshine, etc. One of the women who arrived there is talking to one of the women who lives there, and they want to change places. Here are a few lines:

Shangri La woman: "On the list of the things that I will not miss is too much sunshine."

Visiting woman: "Can there be too much sunshine?"

Yes, in my opinion, there definitely can be. 

My wonderful imaginative childhood friend, Diane Lee, and I used to play the soundtrack from this awesome musical and play the parts in Every. Single. Song. Hours and hours and hours. It probably kept us out of a lot of trouble. That song was one of our favorites. A special thank you to Diane, a friend who helped make me the writer I am today. 

Floridians are no strangers to storms.  Neither are fiction writers. Here's the thing: All good stories need a storm or two. What do I mean? Conflict. Personalities clash. Bad things (dark moments) happen, and the characters have to figure out how to solve the problem. As my mother was fond of saying, "Life isn't all Guns and Roses." Rainbows and lollipops are great and all, but a steady diet would be a bit boring, wouldn't it? They-and happy endings-are the rewards that we get to receive after accompanying the hero and heroine through their trials.  

I have some good news. I'm currently reviewing the audio files of my 2nd book, Heartbeat of the Moon. It's one of my favorite parts of being an author. It's a combination romance/horror story/historical experience of a book. The narrator is male this time, and his voice is suited for this twist on a popular horror theme.  I'm excited to let this audiobook loose on the world.

My main character, Ian, carries within him a considerable amount of angst. But as he battles his condition, he uses humor and music to buoy himself up and resolve conflict around the town as well. Our characters may carry with them angst that is always there, but they find ways to soften the edges of their trials.

As we battle the storms of life, may we find comfort and distraction in romance and fiction. And please don't forget to leave a review. 

I have a request: Please share in the comment section your favorite movie, musical, or book. I love to hear what inspires others.







Thursday, July 1, 2021

Summer Spirits

 

by Jill Wellington, Pixabay

Hello from Flossie Benton Rogers! Here in the south we’re heading into deep summer. My family has been enjoying the pool for a couple of months now. It’s clear they inherited my husband’s hot blood rather than my chilled blood, or maybe it’s a sign of my getting older. Whatever the reason, I’m basically miserable hitting the water until late July and August.  However, I can join them by lounging poolside with my feet in the water, as the girl above is doing, enjoying the spirit of summer while sipping a Summer Spirit.

With our passion to be faithful to a keto eating plan, though, we’ve had to adjust our cocktail recipes. Skinny Syrups has a keto bar collection that includes keto lime juice, keto simple syrup, and keto grenadine. The little ones love cherry cola mocktails: cola or cola zero over ice with keto grenadine added. Several syrup brands have fruit-flavored keto syrups that are on point. We all have different taste buds for cocktails and mocktails. I love a crisp gin concoction such as the iconic gin & tonic. Here is a delicious keto version. Omit the gin, and it makes a refreshing mocktail.

KETO GIN & TONIC

Ingredients

One jigger (1.5 ounces) Nolet’s silver gin or your favorite brand

Cup or more of diet tonic water (my absolute favorite is Publix diet)

Teaspoon of keto lime juice

Directions

Add ingredients to a chilled glass, stir, add plentiful ice, and enjoy.


It’s always interesting to see what beverages book characters go for. In my fantasy romance, Lord of Fire Wytchfae #5, the hero visits an underground club called Slice that deals in selling trafficked beings. Slice stays hidden by situating itself in an alternate dimension, as well as two years into the future. The hero, known as The Hawk, is trying to blend in as he searches frantically for the kidnapped heroine. He knows a Wytchfae would be a prize for an unscrupulous buyer. While waiting to see if Garnet appears, The Hawk imbibes a few cocktails.

 

“What can I get you to drink?”


“Bring me a Scotch Inferno, neat, black not red.”


As the server bobbled off toward the shiny onyx mirrored counter, he lent his intense scrutiny to the cavernous room with its many privacy booths and secluded crannies. His attention fell on the stage area. There appeared to be three platforms, and the curtains were closed. The swirling spotlights told him something special was about to take place. He remembered the shows here, tame compared to some of the other bars in the hotel. There had been music and other things. Usually metal or other forms of rock, designed to stimulate and excite.

 

The server set his drink in front of him on the table. One of the side curtains opened to reveal a group of four young male musicians, fronted by a slick-looking emcee in sharkskin and gooped up hair. The speaker mimicked a Cockney slang. “My name is Levi, and I’m here to welcome you to Slice. Punks and ponies, it’s time for some Nineteen Seventies vintage punk. Give a finger and a whistle for The Crash!”

 

The band’s energetic music blared out in the arrhythmic discord of dissatisfied youth. Hell, they might even be straight from the 1970s if things still worked the same around here. The angst-ridden twang of the lead guitar revved louder and spiraled the room. The vibration thundered through his veins. By the time the set was done, so were two Infernos.


After several more acts and performances, including that of a female lamia transforming into a giant snake, the hero finally catches sight of his woman.



The drumbeat accelerated once more, signaling the entrance of another thrall. "Prepare for a delicious treat indeed, gents and ladies. This rare gem comes to us from the human world. She is a Wytchfae extraordinaire. Put your hands together for the luscious Garnet."


Although he had been expecting it, the announcement of Garnet’s name half gutted him. The Hawk knocked back the dregs of his Inferno and squeezed the glass until it broke in his hand. The audience clapped in sync with the drum.

 

The curtain shimmied open once more. Her head held high, her expression stony, Garnet stood in the middle of the center stage. Her luscious body shimmered beneath the sensuous stage lights.  The crowd’s excited roar bounced off the walls. Whistles and catcalls pierced the air.

 

Can Garnet and The Hawk escape from this predicament with their lives intact? I don’t know, but—fingers crossed--I’m trusting in the power of true love and happily ever after!

Dear Friends, relish your summer. Spend lots of time with precious family and friends. Enjoy one or two cocktails, mocktails, or Summer Sprits of your choice along the way.

 

Thanks for stopping by!

Flossie Benton Rogers for Pen Dames


Monday, June 28, 2021

Never Squander Your Book's Release

Hi, Loretta C. Rogers here! You’ve written your first novel and whether it’s published through a traditional publisher or indie-published, pre-selling your book is important. So, here’s the question, “How do you pre-sell your book?”

Pre-selling is like training for and running a long marathon; it’s a process that requires planning. When I was a beginning author, my book marketing budget was almost zero. In addition to limited funds, I discovered that many successful authors were not inclined to share their marketing strategies. Trying not to get discouraged, I set about thinking of different ways to market my book without spending a lot of money. I began paying special attention to television ads, newspaper ads, and billboards—what drew me in and what turned me off. This is what works for me. Please note that I make no guarantee that these techniques will bring you success. However, feel free to grab a notepad and jot down these ideas.

One: A social media presence A) build a webpage using free sites such as Weebly, Wix, Wordpress, etc. B) Create pages on FaceBook, Goodreads, Instagram, etc.

Two: Create promotion each week to help build buzz about your book A) do a cover reveal ( use sites such as Canva, or Microsoft Power Point to make books ads.)

Three: Link up. Always include your social media-links with all of your emails and social media updates. (This makes it simple for readers to find your book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, KOBO, and other web retail sites.

Four: Contests. Hold contests, do chapter reveals, conduct giveaways, and host your own blog tours.

Five: SWAG. People love free stuff. Swag is a good author marketing investment in general. With some smart planning, Swag doesn’t have to be expensive. Once you have it on hand, you’ll be amazed at how many ways you come up to use it, which will enhance your marketing efforts on multiple levels. Set a budget. Google sites such as Vista Prints, Earthly Charms, Ninth Moon, 4imprint and others.

Six: Join book promotion sites. Check FaceBook for book promotion groups. (Always check to see if book promo sites are free or charge a fee i.e. BookBub, Fussy Librarian)


Seven: And most important—BUSINESS CARDS! You need these. They’re small, they’re inexpensive, and they’re savable. You can make them personal and focused, and they will point readers to your author website. Business cards should include your name, contact information i.e. your website, Facebook, Twitter, and other media sites. They should also have your tagline or compelling brand. Keep them with you at all times. You hand business cards out like mad. Everyone gets one. People save them. Writing is a business. Cards are necessary.

There are times when I’ve felt like running out in the middle of the street and yelling buy my book! While you can’t bribe people into buying your books, like I said in my June article, the thing that sells your books is that you’ve written a great book, a terrific book. And now you need to get readers buzzing about it.

Just keep in mind that whether you’ve chosen the traditional or self-publishing route, nobody will be a bigger champion for your book than you. Never squander your book’s release.

And speaking of book releases, I’m excited to share that FATAL PASSION book #1 of my new mystery series makes its debut June 21st.

Grab your copy of FATAL PASSION.

Loretta C. Rogers for Pen Dames


All About Audiobooks

                    Can I get a show of hands? How many like to hold their books in their hand and hear the crisp turning of the pages? How ...