Weekly Update #310, the lull before another busy month...


Welcome to my Weekly Update where I post my blog's schedule for the week!

I'm linking up to The Sunday Post, hosted by Kimba @ The Caffeinated Book Reviewer, and to Stacking the Shelves, hosted by Tynga's Reviews and Reading Reality.

This past week was a little less hectic than the past several months have been. It was still busy, but a more relaxed busy. We will be remodeling our kitchen and just finalized what that will entail. The materials are ordered and we'll be doing the work ourselves, so the next month will be back to busy.


I didn't have a lot of reviews for tours last week and that continues into this week, which is good. I need some space to get back ahead and also to read some books for the Whitney Awards (and hopefully finally get to some books I was supposed to review before). There are still some great books I'll be featuring...

This Week


Books I still need to review that hopefully you'll see sometime soon:

Last Week

A YA SciFi retelling of Les Misérables... Sky Without Stars by Jessica Brody & Joanne Rendell (Interview & #Giveaway)


This is a book I've been anticipating reading for some time. I LOVE Les Misérables
and I love Sci-Fi, so it's a pretty perfect premise for me. Check out the fun pre-order gift
 and a fabulous interview with the authors below that you should definitely read - makes me
even more excited about this book and the sequel! There's also a tour giveaway as well...

Sky Without Stars
YA SciFi, Retelling
Hardcover & ebook, 592 Pages
March 26th 2019 by Simon Pulse

Summary

A thief.
An officer.
A guardian. 

Three strangers, one shared destiny . . .


When the Last Days came, the planet of Laterre promised hope. A new life for a wealthy French family and their descendants. But five hundred years later, it’s now a place where an extravagant elite class reigns supreme; where the clouds hide the stars and the poor starve in the streets; where a rebel group, long thought dead, is resurfacing.

Whispers of revolution have begun—a revolution that hinges on three unlikely heroes…

Chatine is a street-savvy thief who will do anything to escape the brutal Regime, including spy on Marcellus, the grandson of the most powerful man on the planet.

Marcellus is an officer—and the son of a renowned traitor. In training to take command of the military, Marcellus begins to doubt the government he’s vowed to serve when his father dies and leaves behind a cryptic message that only one person can read: a girl named Alouette.

Alouette is living in an underground refuge, where she guards and protects the last surviving library on the planet. But a shocking murder will bring Alouette to the surface for the first time in twelve years…and plunge Laterre into chaos.

All three have a role to play in a dangerous game of revolution—and together they will shape the future of a planet.

Power, romance, and destiny collide in this sweeping reimagining of Victor Hugo’s masterpiece, Les Misérables.

(Affiliate links included.)


Pre-order a hardcover of SKY WITHOUT STARS by Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell from a participating indie bookstore* before March 26, 2019 and you’ll receive an exclusive Sky Without Stars Gift Pack, including the following:
  • A limited edition two-sided 12”x16” poster featuring the ONLY available colored version of the book’s world map
  • A Sky Without Stars bookplate, signed by both authors
  • A Sky Without Stars postcard
  • A Sky Without Stars bookmark
The gift pack will be included with your book when it is shipped or picked up in store.

*Click here for participating stores.



Interview with the Authors

Welcome, Jessica and Joanne, to my blog today!

How did you two end up meeting?

Joanne: Jess and I actually met on the phone! And not even a cell phone. A good old landline, back in the day! I was just about to launch my first novel and Jess ran a successful book promotion website called Free Book Friday. She was interviewing me for the site and we were supposed to talk for ten minutes max. I think we ended up talking for over an hour! Something just clicked between us – perhaps our love of British pop music, or maybe it was the long discussion of the best kinds of tea. Whatever it was, we pretty much didn’t stop talking after that! We soon became great friends and started working on writing and teaching projects together soon after that.

What inspired you guys to write SKY WITHOUT STARS?

Jessica: Back in 2014, I sat in on a retellings class taught by authors Christina Farley and Vivi Barnes. They handed us each a worksheet. On one side they told us to write down any and every classic story we’ve ever loved. Among many, I wrote “Les Misérables”. Then on the other side, they told us to write down a list of interesting settings. Among many, I wrote, “space.” (See picture below.) I literally drew a line between the two and a shiver ran through me. Les Mis, set in space? It felt like too big of an undertaking to do alone so years later when my best friend Joanne Rendell told, randomly, that Les Mis was one of her favorite classics, I knew she was the one I had to write it with! And SKY WITHOUT STARS was born!



What parts of the story did each of you write?

Joanne: Before we started on Sky Without Stars, Jess and I spent a lot of time together planning and tightly plotting the novel. We then drafted chapters on our own – Jess took Chatine’s, I took Alouette’s, and we fought like cats over who got to write the first drafts of Marcellus’s chapters! Then, once we had drafts of the chapters finished, we handed them back and forth, editing and tweaking. Jess is the queen of dialogue and plotting, while I love to “illustrate.” In other words, I enjoy going to town on all the descriptions of the planet, tech, architecture, and people in the book. We make a great team, and luckily we’re both good at being flexible and letting go of “our darlings.” One rule we established early on, and that we’ve successfully stuck by, is the following: “If the other person is not happy with a word or sentence or scene, you must tweak and change, not insist it can’t be changed.”

Would you tell us a little more about these characters?

Jessica: Of course! Chatine is inspired by Eponine from Les Mis. She’s a thief and was born into a family of con artists. Her only dream is to steal enough to get off this miserable planet (see what I did there???). But she soon finds her plans derailed when she’s recruited to spy for the most powerful man on the planet, who also happens to be the grandfather of a young officer named…

Marcellus is inspired by Marius from Les Mis. He’s an officer who is living under the shameful shadow of his father, a traitor to the Regime. His father was incarcerated when Marcellus was very young and so he was raised by his grandfather, General Bonnefaçon, who is grooming him to become commander. But Marcellus starts to doubt the Regime he’s sworn to protect when his father dies and leaves him a cryptic message written in the Forgotten Word. And the only person who can read it is…

Alouette, inspired by Cosette from Les Mis. She is a Guardian who lives in a a secret, underground Refuge, built to protect the last surviving library on the planet. She was raised by a group of intelligent, mindful women, the Sisterhood, who have made it their life’s work to protect the histories of the planet and the First World which died centuries ago. She hasn’t seen the above-ground world in twelve years. But that is about to change…

What is your favorite aspect or part of this story?

Joanne: I love the world we have built! Sky Without Stars is set on the planet of Laterre, a very divided place where the rich live in luxury in a climate-controlled dome and the poor live in the leaking and rusting remains of 500-year old space ships. There are terrifying Police droids, ruthless cyborg inspectors, and rain that constantly falls from the sky. It’s a tough place for the poor and inside the climate-controlled “Ledôme,” it’s a playground for the rich. It’s been so fun conceiving of this world together. I think two minds brainstorming together has made it so much richer than if we’d been working alone.

Jessica: You might know that I’m a plot person. I even wrote a book on how to plot a novel called SAVE THE CAT! WRITES A NOVEL. So I’m super proud of the plot we’ve woven together for this book. Plotting a story with three main characters is an extra challenge because they have to have their own journeys and transformative arcs but they also have to weave together in a believable and dynamic way so that they are all part of each other’s stories as well. It was a master puzzle that took a lot of effort to piece together but I’m so happy with the result!

What has been your favorite part of writing together?

Joanne: Years ago, a writer friend told me she loved writing fiction because it was like getting to play dolls as a grown-up. With a co-writer, it’s like getting to play dolls with a friend, a friend who knows all the characters’ names, the backstories, and who is as excited about coming up with new plot ideas as you are! But, at least for me, writing with Jess hasn’t just been about getting to play dolls – which is incredibly fun, I admit. I’ve also learned SO much from Jess. She’s prolifically published in the YA genre and she taught me so much about plotting, character arcs, and the book business along the way.

Jessica: I loved having someone else to go to when the plot problems appeared. Every project has its obstacles and challenges and problems and normally, you’re sort of on your own to solve them. Sure you can talk them through with other writers or family members or friends, but they will never fully understand the story like you do. When you’re co-authoring, you have a built-in partner who not only knows the story as well as you but is just as passionate and determined to fix the problem as you. It made the whole process so much more enjoyable!

What's one piece of advice you’d give to aspiring authors?

Joanne: Just keep writing! I’ve realized that the people who finish their books, their stories, and who eventually get published are the people who just keep at it. You have to have fun with your writing, but you should also be single-minded and unstoppable! Write every day, don’t doubt yourself too much, and don’t fear rejection or criticism (all writers have been rejected at some point, even J.K. Rowling!).

Jessica: Don’t be afraid to write badly. All writers have awful first drafts. That’s why they’re called first drafts. Sometimes you have to just get through the story before you can make it pretty. I think a lot of new authors quit halfway through the book because they’re afraid that it’s not good. The first draft won’t be good. Accept that and keep going! Just finish it and fix it later. The hardest part about writing a book is getting to that last page. Or, like I always say, “Don't be afraid to write crap because crap makes great fertilizer.”

When you want to escape into a book, what genre do you read?

Joanne: I have to confess, I am a super-fan of the EPIC literary classic. The bigger and older the book, the better! Name them, and I’ve read them: War and Peace, Anna Karenina, Middlemarch, Hard Times, Moby Dick, and of course Les Misérables. Our book Sky Without Stars is a reimagining of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables and I’ve read the 1300-page book three times! I just love being lost for days, sometimes weeks and months in the other worlds of these epic books and even though they were often written in very different eras to our own, I feel there’s so much wisdom to learn from the likes of Hugo, Tolstoy, or George Eliot!

Jessica: When I need an escape, I always turn to contemporary fiction. I’m obsessed with Sophie Kinsella, Emily Giffin, and Liane Moriarty. They are my must-reads and auto-buys. They all deliver tightly plotted novels with complex characters I can root for and moral dilemmas that make me think. If they would just each write 10 books a year, I would be in heaven! So, let’s go Sophie, Emily, and Liane, make it happen! 😊

Are there any shows or movies that you’re excited for or currently enjoying?

Joanne: Well, of course, I’m beside myself with excitement for the new BBC adaptation of Les Miserables that airs in the States on PBS in April! I love any kind of costume drama based on the classics and cannot tell you how many times I’ve watched the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. I also recently went to the movies and saw a 7-hour film version of War and Peace by the Russian director Sergei Bondarchuk made in 1968. It was EPIC in every way! When I’m not geeking out over adaptations of the classics, Jess and I are both hooked on the TV show Younger. It’s hilarious and set in the publishing industry, which makes it especially fun to watch!

Jessica: Younger! YESSS!!!! Also my husband and I are totally late in the game but hooked on The Americans. Dang, that show is good. Sometimes I want to throw things at the screen, but good.

What are you working on next?

Jessica and Joanne: We are about to dive into the revisions of book 2 in the trilogy, BETWEEN BURNING WORLDS. That book caused us a LOT of agony and stress (as sequels often do) but in the end, we’re very happy with where it is now and can’t wait for everyone to find out what happens next on planet Laterre. And yes, as the title suggests, it’s pretty explosive!

About the Authors


Jessica Brody is the author of more than 15 books for teens, tweens, and adults including Addie Bell’s Shortcut to Growing Up, A Week of Mondays, Boys of Summer, 52 Reasons to Hate My Father, and the three books in the sci-fi Unremembered trilogy. She’s also the author of the Descendants: School of Secrets series, based on the hit Disney Channel original movie, Descendants. Her books have been translated and published in over 23 countries and Unremembered and 52 Reasons to Hate My Father are currently in development as major motion pictures. She lives with her husband and four dogs and splits her time between California and Colorado. 

Visit her online at JessicaBrody.com. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram @JessicaBrody



Joanne Rendell is the author of three novels and holds a PhD in English literature. She teaches fiction writing to teens and kids and is a board member for the youth Shakespeare company, New Genesis Productions. With her husband and son, Joanne divides her time between New York City, and New Paltz, New York. Visit Joanne at JoanneRendell.com.


Tour Schedule
Tour-Wide Giveaway

Win a copy of SKY WITHOUT STARS by Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell (US Only)
Ends April 2, 2019


Have you read this yet? Will you be? Any thoughts on the interview?

New Releases/#Free & Bargain Books for March 18th - March 24th #freebook #booksale #booklinkup #booklinky


Here are the New Releases / Free & Bargain Books, hosted by
Sharon over at Beck Valley Books, for this week! Check it all out below...

Authors please feel free to add your own books.
Readers please free to add your own finds.
(any genre except erotica welcome)

This weekly link up is hosted by Beck Valley Books & these awesome book loving blogs...

For Pre-orders post - PRE-ORDER / genre / title /author
For New Releases post - NEW / genre / title / author
For Free Books post - FREE / genre / title / author / end date 
For Bargain Books post - SALE / price / genre / title / author / end date
(Strictly no Erotica please.  Steamy romance is fine but watch those covers people, incase any underage child is viewing it!)

Here is this weeks awesome selection!


By adding your link, you acknowledge that the information you provide will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy and transmitted to Inlinkz in accordance with their Privacy Policy.

Would you like to share our linkup on your site? click here
Would you like to become a weekly host? sign up here

Come back and check out the new selection every week!

The Gate to Eden by Cathy McDavid (Grand Finale & #Giveaway)

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Audiobook Tour Grand Finale for
The Gate to Eden
By Cathy McDavid

We hope you enjoyed the tour! If you missed any of the stops
you'll find snippets, as well as the link to each full post, below:

Launch - Note from the Author

...I thought for this launch post I’d tell you about why THE GATE TO EDEN is such a favorite of mine. To start with, it’s a historical western, a genre I loved writing but, unfortunately, has a limited market. Come on now, aren’t cowboys one of the best romance book heroes? I agree, which is probably why I started preening contemporary westerns, a genre I also love 🙂. THE GATE TO EDEN print book was also an Amazon top 100 bestseller with an average 4.3 star rating and has won several awards. Lastly, I wrote the book during a difficult time in my life, and it became a testament to my courage during adversity.

I hope you’ll come along with me on this blog tour. I’ll be sharing not only excerpts from the book but also some the interesting and fun process of turning a print book into an audiobook.

— Cathy

Becky on Books - Review

"Ms. McDavid, a new-to-me author, did a great job of ratcheting up the tension and conflict in this story. Maddie and Scott are both very sympathetic characters, and though they have some solid chemistry, it’s hard to imagine for much of the book that they could really end up together in the end. . . . Fortunately Ms. McDavid succeeded, giving us an ending that put a smile on my face.

I enjoyed the narrator–he had a great voice that really helped to transport the reader to the old west setting."


Wearing only his long underwear, he walked to the door of his sleeping quarters and knocked. “Are you all right, my dear?”

His only answer was a soft scuffling sound.

“Hello.” He knocked again, and the brass knob twisted. Thaddeus smiled and moved away from the opening door. “There you are.”

“So, I am.”

The door swung wide, and the smile on Thaddeus’s face died as the end of a Colt revolver was jammed into his protruding gut.

Hallie Reads - Review

"Take a trip to the Old West with Cathy McDavid’s new audiobook The Gate to Eden. With a female Robin-Hood-like character falling for the man trying to put her behind bars, it’s a story full of drama, danger, and excitement. . . . The Gate to Eden is a fun story, and the audiobook is well done."

Beck Valley Books - Guest Post

The Long and Winding Road

I’m absolutely delighted to be here and talking about my western historical book, THE GATE TO EDEN. It’s one of my favorites for many reasons, so I thought I’d share the somewhat involved history of this book and how it eventually became my first audio book...

E-Romance News - Excerpt

He was disappointed not to see Maddie by the canned goods on his way out. When had she left? But then he spotted her standing by the door, dusting a display.

Once again, their gazes connected. Scott's reaction was more sudden than before and every bit as intense. Surprising himself, he paused and held out the paper sack. "Here. Take this home to your daughter."

Her chin lifted ever so slightly. "Thank you kindly, but I can't." She spoke with a hint of Southern accent.

"Please. It's only a rope of licorice."

"I know what it is."

Wishful Endings - Guest Post

From Print to Audiobook

Next to seeing one of my books turned into a movie, having an audio version was my biggest dream. Let me start out by saying I love, love, love my traditional publisher Harlequin and hope to remain with them until the very distant day that I choose to stop writing. But, being a realist, I know it’s unlikely one of my series books with them will ever become an audiobook. If my dream had a chance of becoming gaining wings, it would be up to me...


Scott didn't so much as blink, yet Maddie sensed his rising excitement. Her plan was working, and she nearly went limp with gratitude. Maybe he would even go so far as to travel to the Vista Linda Mine and check out this fictitious Rory O'Shea. That would buy the council several days in which to plan their next move.

But then, assuming he did visit the Vista Linda Mine, what would he do when the wild goose chase she'd sent him on didn't pan out? Would he return and confront her for lying to him? She could always claim a faulty memory, she supposed. Miners did come and go with regular frequency.

Colorimetry - Guest Post

The Appeal of the Cowboy Hero

Cowboys have long been a popular hero for genre fiction. I’ve given workshops in the past on the appeal of the cowboy hero and would ask the participants to call out words that describe him. I always hears ones like: strong, capable, loyal, protective, resourceful, determined, moral, honorable, brave, trustworthy, and, of course, handsome...

Andi's Book Reviews - Audio Excerpt

Listen to an excerpt here.


"...they did have some good chemistry. The characters and their world were well built. I could envision it easily. This was an entertaining story. The narrator's style reminded me of William Shatner at times which added a bit of fun as well."


"I give The Gate of Eden a well deserved five stars. I recommend to readers who enjoy fun and romantic historical fiction. I look forward to reading more by this author in the future. "

Don't forget to enter the giveaway at the end of this post, if you haven't already...

The Gate to Eden
By Cathy McDavid
Historical Romance, Western
Audiobook, 10 Hours and 33 Minutes (also in Paperback and ebook)
January 12th 2019

Expert crackshot Maddie Campbell will do whatever it takes to survive in this female Robin-Hood-of-the-Old-West story - including evading bounty-hunter-for-hire Scott McSween who's intent on bringing her in.

Not your ordinary thief, widow and mother Maddie Campbell likes to think her wealthy victims are merely "donating" to herself and the hundreds of other widows and children left abandoned by the mining company after a devastating accident took the lives of their menfolk. Maddie's secret excursions are quite successful...until ruggedly handsome former lawman Scott McSween arrives in Eden to investigate the recent string of crimes.

Despite her efforts to throw him off track, they can't resist each other. He knows she's somehow involved and is determined to draw out all her secrets in the most exquisite ways - with soft caresses and passionate kisses. But when finally confronted with the truth - that Maddie is actually the thief he's been hired to hunt down and bring in - will Scott choose the woman he loves or his duty to the law?


About the Author

As a sophomore in high school, NY TimesUSA Today, and Amazon bestselling author Cathy McDavid won a local writing competition with her self-illustrated children’s book. Who knew that small triumph would eventually lead to a career writing contemporary romances with over 1.3 million books sold? With forty-seven titles to date, Cathy is also a member of the prestigious Romance Writers of America’s Honor Roll. This “almost” Arizona native and mother of grown twins recently married her own real-life sweetheart. After leaving the corporate world four years ago, she now spends her days penning stories about good looking men who ride the range or fight fires or hunt creatures all while sweeping the girl off her feet. It’s a tough job but she’s willing to make the sacrifice.


Tour Giveaway

Western-themed basket with goodies, including a $25 Amazon Gift Card
US only
Ends March 27, 2019

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Grab Our Button!

Silver Star by Lisa Swinton for First Line Fridays


I'm joining in First Line Fridays today, hosted by Hoarding Books.

Silver Star
By Lisa Swinton
Adult Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 308 Pages
May 1st 2018

Summary

Her cowboy might just be another broken-heart ballad waiting to happen…

Country superstar Sara Silver has it all: fame, fortune, and a mantel full of Grammys. She also has a string of chart-topping heartbreak songs to go with them—all based on her miserable love life. Now her manager says Sara doesn’t sing with the heart she used to. If she doesn’t come up with another hit album soon, then her label will move on to the next big thing.

Sara heads to a ranch in Wyoming to get back to her country roots and rediscover herself. To keep the press away, she hides her identity and is determined to let nothing distract her. Then she meets Cal: tall, brooding, and all cowboy. Sara falls for Cal and the quiet ranch life, but with each song she writes her time there draws to a close.

Sara will have to choose between the country stars of Nashville or the glittering stars of a Wyoming sky…unless she can find a way to have both.

(Affiliate links included.)

First Line

Sara gazed at the mirror, ignoring her reflection, and waited for Roger's image to appear in the hallway behind her.

Does this first line grab you? Is this book on your list to read? I'm currently reading it as it's a finalist for the Whitney Awards, among four other books in its category.

Read an exclusive excerpt from The Certain Hope by E. C. Jackson (Excerpt & #Giveaway)


On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Welcome to my tour stop! Read an excerpt and enter the tour giveaway below...

The Certain Hope
(Hope Series #3)
By E. C. Jackson
Christian Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 318 Pages
December 5th 2018

Summary

Love at first sight. It’s every girl’s dream. But Tara Simpkins is finding out it’s not as easy as it seems. Is this truly the man God sent to be her husband, or is she just desperate to escape her loneliness? The recent loss of both parents has left her reeling, and close friends don’t think she’s in any position to make major life decisions. She and her new-found love are convinced they can live happily ever after in the home of their dreams. His family thinks he’s moving way too fast and might disappoint the kind-hearted woman he’s fallen head over heels for. And then there’s Leah. Leah is supposed to be part of his past, but what if she decides she’s his future? Tara’s match made in Heaven may be over before it truly begins.

(Affiliate links included.)

Excerpt

Tara frowned at her reflection in the tri-fold mirror, then added a splash of color to her face. The image staring back proved less than pleasing.

Something else is needed. Got it!

Taking off her sweater, she tied it around her waist. Next, she sat on the tub’s edge, untied her sandal laces from around her ankles, then wrapped each one over her jeans just below the knees. Ruby earrings were swapped with dangling gold hoops she carried in her purse. Verdict?

That ought to do it. Who cares if it doesn’t?

When she opened the door, Luke almost toppled into the bathroom. He righted himself, pointing at the doorknob.

“There’s no peephole. I couldn’t peek if I wanted to.”

“Your sad eyes don’t sway me.” Her hip butted him out the way. “It’s too late to show remorse. You set me up.”

Luke raised three fingers. “Scout’s honor. I had no expectations either way. The choice was always yours.” His voice softened as his gaze caressed her face. “Beautiful as always.”

Tara steeled herself against the compliment. Real facts deserved more than a passing remark that missed the point.

Other Books in the Series


About the Author


E. C. Jackson began her writing career with the full-length play Pajama Party. For three and a half years she published the Confidence in Life newsletter for Alpha Production Ministries, in addition to writing tracts and devotionals. Teaching a women’s Bible study at her church for eleven years naturally led to her current endeavor of writing inspirational romance novels and teen and young adult fiction. Her mission: spiritual maturity in the body of Christ through fiction.

A note from E. C. Jackson: “The Write Way: A Real Slice of Life” is the slogan on my website and Facebook author page. If every person reading my book feels connected to the characters, my job is done.


Tour Schedule


Tour-Wide Giveaway


One winner will receive a $25 Amazon eGift Card
Open internationally
Ends April 3, 2019



A dream come true... The Gate to Eden by Cathy McDavid (Guest Post & #Giveaway)


On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Welcome to my tour stop! Check out a guest post from the author and the tour giveaway below...

The Gate to Eden
By Cathy McDavid
Adult Historical Romance, Western
Audiobook, 10 Hours and 33 Minutes (also in Paperback and ebook)
January 12th 2019

Summary

Expert crackshot Maddie Campbell will do whatever it takes to survive in this female Robin-Hood-of-the-Old-West story - including evading bounty-hunter-for-hire Scott McSween who's intent on bringing her in.

Not your ordinary thief, widow and mother Maddie Campbell likes to think her wealthy victims are merely "donating" to herself and the hundreds of other widows and children left abandoned by the mining company after a devastating accident took the lives of their menfolk. Maddie's secret excursions are quite successful...until ruggedly handsome former lawman Scott McSween arrives in Eden to investigate the recent string of crimes.

Despite her efforts to throw him off track, they can't resist each other. He knows she's somehow involved and is determined to draw out all her secrets in the most exquisite ways - with soft caresses and passionate kisses. But when finally confronted with the truth - that Maddie is actually the thief he's been hired to hunt down and bring in - will Scott choose the woman he loves or his duty to the law?

(Affiliate link included.)

Guest Post: From Print to Audiobook

Next to seeing one of my books turned into a movie, having an audio version was my biggest dream. Let me start out by saying I love, love, love my traditional publisher Harlequin and hope to remain with them until the very distant day that I choose to stop writing. But, being a realist, I know it’s unlikely one of my series books with them will ever become an audiobook. If my dream had a chance of becoming gaining wings, it would be up to me.

Having received the rights back to several of my older books with pre-Harlequin publishers, my first decision was which one to pick. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, THE GATE TO EDEN is a personal favorite. Item one checked off! The next step was how to go about getting the audiobook produced. I did a lot of research and talked to numerous authors who’d already gone through the process. I learned I could either produce the audio myself (hire a voice artist, handle the distribution, etc.) or work with a company who would do all that for me.

Knowing nothing, I opted for #2. In my opinion, there were only two companies worth considering: Audible (Amazon) or Findaway Voices. Last summer, I went to the Romance Writers of America National conference and met with representatives from both companies. Findaway Voices impressed me, and I really liked their business model. On a side note, there are big differences when it comes to how the two companies operate. Any author considering independently releasing an audiobook would be wise to dig deep and make an informed choice. Meeting face to face with the reps helped enormously.

Last November, I finally started the process. Next came selecting which narrator to use. With Findaway Voices, I filled out detailed forms about what I was looking for in a narrator (man or woman, deep or light voice, etc.), the book genre, level of sensuality, any accents, and on and on. They then sent me a dozen audio clips of narrators they determined matched my requirements and those narrators’ finished hourly rate. Using headphones, I opened up each narrator’s audio clips and listened with my eyes closed. While I liked several of them, one’s person’s voice gave me immediate chills. I submitted a 750 word excerpt from my book and requested an audition from him. Had I been interest in more than one narrator, I could have requested additional auditions. If I wasn’t satisfied, I could have asked to hear more narrators. It proved unnecessary. The moment I heard Hugh’s audition, I knew he was the one.

And, trust me, he didn’t disappoint. He was enormously easy to work with, making the process as easy as possible. With me being a complete newbie, the process might have been a disaster. Instead, he walked me through every step, even offering advice for some minor changes. He would upload completed chapters to Findaway Voices and, once I’d listened to them, I’d email him any changes. It was absolutely seamless.

And the joy I felt hearing the finished version of my book can’t be described. I hope to release another audiobook, maybe next year. We’ll see. Now, I’m just trying to promote this first one, which is another brand new learning curve for me.

About the Author

As a sophomore in high school, NY TimesUSA Today, and Amazon bestselling author Cathy McDavid won a local writing competition with her self-illustrated children’s book. Who knew that small triumph would eventually lead to a career writing contemporary romances with over 1.3 million books sold? With forty-seven titles to date, Cathy is also a member of the prestigious Romance Writers of America’s Honor Roll. This “almost” Arizona native and mother of grown twins recently married her own real-life sweetheart. After leaving the corporate world four years ago, she now spends her days penning stories about good looking men who ride the range or fight fires or hunt creatures all while sweeping the girl off her feet. It’s a tough job but she’s willing to make the sacrifice.


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I Can't Wait for... Romanov by Nadine Brandes (Can't-Wait Wednesday/Waiting on Wednesday) #CWW #WOW


Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted here, at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine. If you're continuing with WOW, feel free to link those up as well! Find out more here.

This book has been high on my list since I first saw it. I love historicals and this time period and area is so rich with a lot of contrasts. I can't wait for this to come up in my reading list! It's my pick this week...

Romanov
By Nadine Brandes
YA Historical Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Hardcover & ebook, 352 Pages
May 7th 2019 by Thomas Nelson

Summary

From the author of Fawkes comes a magical take on the story of Anastasia Romanov.

“I am obsessed with this book! Romanov is a magical twist on history that will have Anastasia fans wishing for more. I loved every detail Brandes wrote. If you love magic and Imperial Russia, you want Romanov on your shelf!” —Evelyn SkyeNew York Times bestselling author of the Crown’s Game series and Circle of Shadows

The history books say I died.
They don’t know the half of it.

Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov was given a single mission: to smuggle an ancient spell into her suitcase on her way to exile in Siberia. It might be her family’s only salvation. But the leader of the Bolshevik army is after them, and he’s hunted Romanov before.

Nastya’s only chances of saving herself and her family are either to release the spell and deal with the consequences, or to enlist help from Zash, the handsome soldier who doesn’t act like the average Bolshevik. Nastya has only dabbled in magic, but it doesn’t frighten her half as much as her growing attraction to Zash. She likes him. She thinks he might even like her.

That is, until she’s on one side of a firing squad . . . and he’s on the other.

(Affiliate links included.)


Will you be reading this one?

A secret that she can't let go of... Between Before and After by Maureen Doyle McQuerry (Review)


I'm a huge fan of this publisher and have generally liked just about every book they release.
This newest from them is set slightly in the past and asked some interesting questions...

Between Before & After
By Maureen Doyle McQuerry
YA Historical, Split-Time
Hardcover, Audiobook & ebook, 304 Pages
February 5th 2019 by Blink

Summary

“The carnage began with the roses. She hacked at their ruffled blooms until they dropped into monstrous drifts of red on the parched yellow lawn … Only two things kept my mother grounded to us: my uncle Stephen and stories.”

Fourteen-year-old Molly worries about school, friends, and her parents’ failed marriage, but mostly about her mother’s growing depression. Molly knows her mother is nursing a carefully-kept secret. A writer with an obsession for other people’s life stories, Elaine Donnelly is the poster child of repressed emotions.

Molly spends her California summer alternately watching out for her little brother Angus and tip-toeing around her mother’s raw feelings. Molly needs her mother more than ever, but Elaine shuts herself off from real human connections and buries herself in the lives and deaths of the strangers she writes about. When Uncle Stephen is pressed into the limelight because of his miracle cure of a young man, Elaine can no longer hide behind other people’s stories. And as Molly digs into her mother’s past, she finds a secret hidden in her mother’s dresser that may be the key to unlocking a family mystery dating to 1918 New York—a secret that could destroy or save their future.

Told in dual narratives between 1918 New York City and 1955 San Jose, California, Between Before and After, by award-winning author Maureen McQuerry, explores the nature of family secrets, resiliency, and redemption. This is an historical coming-of-age Young Adult story about the complex bonds between mothers and daughters.

(Affiliate links included.)

My Review

BETWEEN BEFORE AND AFTER is a Time-Slip story set during a difficult time in history where a daughter faces some tough realities of life, and then at another time in history when life is a little simpler but where there are still prejudices and another daughter also faces her own difficulties. It reads more like a Women's Fiction story, and almost like reading a journal account of the prior time as the reader gets flashes and snippets of what happened in the past as the other storyline takes place. Those who love historical novels and memoirs, heavy on the hardships and historical aspects, may enjoy this one.

The writing was very well done. I didn't have any issues following along or get confused about which time period I was in. The characters were also quite complex. There were some interesting lessons or questions that the story brought forward and I appreciated that the author didn't really tell the reader what to think, but presented them in a way that it just makes you think.

I'll just honestly say that this was one of those stories that jarred me. I was expecting something completely different than what I got and it was hard to reconcile my expectations and the actual story. I also didn't particularly love any of the characters or even relate to them, although I did relate to some of the situations and one of the time periods. It's hard to read something like this that isn't necessarily pleasant to read in the first place, it be something you weren't expecting, and then not really like the characters. I also love Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities and was expecting to really love this, but I just didn't see as many connections... or maybe it just lacked the sweet moments and characters I loved that Dickens brought to his story.

In the end, was it what I wished for? If you love Women's Fiction, Memoirs or YA Historicals that are just telling the story of a woman and her daughter, then give this a try. It just wasn't for me.

Content: Some references to abuse and pre-marital relations.
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through JustReadTours, which did not require a positive review nor affect it in any way.

Is this on your list to read? Did you already read it? Any thoughts on the book or my review?