Tag Archives: audiobooks

Hidden Gems of Indie Audiobooks Cont.

Hidden Gems of Indie Audiobooks

Happy fall, everyone! ‘Tis the season for falling leaves, warm sweaters, and… pumpkin spice EVERYTHING. I myself just had my first pumpkin-flavored beverage of the year yesterday. Delicious! Or overdone, depending on your worldview, I suppose. This month I’m featuring an author writing cozy mysteries, perfect for listening while snuggled up with your favorite warm beverage, pumpkin or otherwise. I’m also introducing a wonderful LGBTQ romance author, as well as the memoir of a former drug addict turned successful entrepreneur. Without further ado, let’s jump right in!

 

Bella Falls – Moonshine & Magic (Cozy Mystery)

Bella Falls has lived all over the world, but her paranormal cozy mysteries take place in North Carolina, right where she grew up. As a result, the down-home Southern setting of her books feel entirely natural, from the sweet tea and delicious comfort food to the main character’s extremely insincere “Bless your heart.” In the first audiobook of the series, Moonshine & Magic, Charli is a witch returning home to Honeysuckle Hollow after leaving her fiancé and family without a goodbye. She’s hoping to lie low for a while, but when she stumbles on a dead body her first night back, she’s drawn into the middle of a magical mystery that threatens not only her but her entire community. Can she use her unique magic to solve the case and save her town?

This series is narrated to perfection by Johanna Parker, who you may recognize from the wildly popular Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Mysteries, the basis of the HBO tv series True Blood. This experience puts this new paranormal Southern story is very much in Parker’s wheelhouse. If you enjoy Moonshine & Magic, you’ll love the sequels, Fried Chicken & Fangs and Sweet Tea & Spells!

 

Eden Finley – Fake Out (LGBTQ Romance)

Eden Finley is an up-and-coming contemporary romance author who writes MM (male-male), MMF (male-male-female), and MF (male-female) romances. Her MM romances have been particularly well-received, tearing up the Amazon and Audible charts. Her first audiobook, Fake Out, follows Maddox, a man who pretends to be gay to get away from the pressure to marry his female childhood sweetheart. When he agrees to attend her wedding, he needs to find a man willing to pretend to be his boyfriend to keep up the charade. Damon reluctantly agrees to act as Maddox’s plus-one in exchange for an important business introduction. Amid wedding-weekend shenanigans and ridiculous misunderstandings, unexpected sparks fly!

This is the first in Finley’s popular Fake Boyfriend series and has been described as light, hilarious, and sexy. Narrators Alexander Cendese and Iggy Toma are perfectly on point in this listen, bringing to life the sparkling dialogue and crackling heat between the two main characters. If you love Fake Out, be sure to check out the sequel, Trick Play!

 

Khalil Rafati – I Forgot To Die (Memoir)

If you’re looking for a rags-to-riches story, look no further. Khalil Rafati’s I Forgot to Die is a memoir of addiction and recovery, following his descent into drug addiction and hard-fought rise to becoming an extremely successful business owner. It begins with his abusive childhood, and his subsequent escape to Los Angeles, where he slips from a good job cleaning the cars of Hollywood stars to a life of heroin and cocaine addiction and homelessness. After nine overdoses, Khalil entered a rehab center, got clean, and began to work hard to turn his life around. His particular interest in vegetable and fruit juices eventually led to the launch of his popular juice bar business, Sunlife Organics. Today, he employs several hundred people through six Sunlife Organics locations, a recovery center, and a yoga studio.

I Forgot to Die has been acclaimed in the New York Times, the BBC, and numerous tv spots. The author narrates his work, a fact which reviewers have loved, and does an excellent job of bringing an unflinching, real voice to his life story.

 

By Elizabeth Sylvia

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Hidden Gems of Indie Audiobooks

By Elizabeth Sylvia

There are tons of great new audiobooks coming out every day. With all these titles to choose from, it can be hard to decide where to start when you’re searching for something new to listen to. Audiobooks published through big companies often get most of the attention, but there are plenty of amazing independent authors creating wonderful books who fly under the radar. To help you find the best of these hidden gems, every month I’ll be writing about two or three awesome indie authors, and I’ll make some suggestions about their best audiobooks to try.

Ruby Dixon is probably best known for her Fireblood Dragon romance series (the first book is Fire in His Blood). The series begins with an earth that has been decimated by invading shape-shifting dragons. Set in this dystopian world, the main female character of each book must find a way to survive through “taming” a dragon. But even as men, these shape-shifting dragons have no interest in being tamed! The series comprises five books, each of which can be listened to as a standalone, but which take place in the same world with returning characters.

 

Chris Sorensen – The Nightmare Room (Horror /Thriller)

You might recognize this name if you’ve listened to audiobooks such as Waking the Tiger or Empires of Light. In addition to working as an actor, playwright, and screenwriter, Chris is the vocal talent behind over 200 audiobooks to date, and has received four AudioFile Earphones Awards for his work. As impressive as that is, today I’m writing about his narration of his own book, The Nightmare Room. Though he’s written fourteen plays for the stage, this is Chris’ first novel, telling a story of an audiobook narrator, Peter, and his wife, Hannah, who move from bustling New York to small-town Midwest. (Talk about writing what you know!) However, strange things start to happen in their new home – a house purchased by Peter’s father years before. Strange voices mar his audio tracks, mysterious shadows darken the house, and a malevolent presence appears. Can Peter face these threats and save his family?

It’s an extra delight to hear Chris voice his own novel as a professional narrator, bringing fine and detailed characterizations to this creepy tale.

 

Ruby Dixon – Fireblood Dragon and Ice Planet Barbarians series (Paranormal Romance)

Ruby Dixon is an extremely prolific New York Times and USA Today bestselling author (35 books and counting!), best known for her paranormal romance. For any of you who might be new to this fast-growing subgenre, paranormal romances frequently take place in a sci-fi or fantasy setting and often involve relationships between humans and shapeshifters, vampires, ghosts, or aliens. Despite the unfamiliar environment, these books remain relatable, with the focus on heroines and heroes who face challenging and sometimes desperate situations, while fighting attraction to each other in the face of clashing cultural expectations or norms. What makes these romances fun and escapist are the exotic settings and imaginative characters.

If you’re looking for something cool and alien, rather than fiery dragon romance, try Ice Planet Barbarians, the first book in Dixon’s alien romance series of the same name.

 

Jevan Pradas – The Awakened Ape (Self-Help)

Ever wondered if you are living your life to its fullest? Author and researcher Jevan Pradas attempts to answer this question in The Awakened Ape: A Biohacker’s Guide to Evolutionary Fitness, Natural Ecstasy, and Stress-Free Living. Much like the intriguing title of his book, Jevan is not your average self-help guru. He lived for a time with hunter-gatherer tribes in the Amazon and studied the evolutionary foundations of health and mental well-being. He currently works as a Brain Trainer, which he describes as similar to being a physical therapist for those with cognitive disabilities.

Jevan advocates for a lifestyle similar to those of the nomadic hunter-gatherers he met in South America, with splashes of Buddhist meditation thrown in. Some examples of topics in his book include:

  • how to meditate
  • how to train your attention span
  • how to live like a caveman in the modern world
  • even how to properly use the restroom!

The Awakened Ape was a finalist for the Health and Wellness category of the 2018 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.

 

Who are your favorite indie authors?

 

 

 

A Q&A with Steve Matchett

Many of you know Steve Matchett the Grand Prix mechanic, T.V. Broadcaster and writer. With the release of his new audiobook, The Mechanic’s Tale, we wanted to take a closer look at Matchett the narrator.

Tantor: Can you tell us the challenges of transitioning from being an F1 mechanic to being a writer, and later, a broadcaster?

Matchett: In both broadcasting and nonfiction writing, the biggest challenge is finding a way to explain a complex issue in a way that will appeal to a wide audience. Not all motor racing enthusiasts are engineers – but all are interested in learning more of the technology, learning more of race strategy et al. Orwell’s lesson is invaluable with this: share your knowledge with your audience, never preach to your audience.

Tantor: Did you always know that you wanted to put your books on audio? What was it like listening to it for the first time?

Matchett: The publishing landscape is changing by the day. Audiobooks are the future of publishing. No question about that. Personally, I’m keen to narrate my own works because my readership is already familiar with my voice from my twenty years of television broadcasting. It seems only natural for that same audience to hear my books narrated in that same voice.

Tantor: Tell us about narrating your own books. Has it been the experience you thought it would be?

Matchett: A very pleasant experience. The main difference twixt television announcing and book narration is one of pacing – audiobook narration allows me to tell the story without any time constraints. Typically, a television feature lasts no more than four minutes. The Mechanic’s Tale audiobook runs for thirteen hours. The pacing of the delivery, the cadence, the rhythms of audiobook narration are entirely different.

Tantor: How did you prep for a day in the booth?

Matchett: I removed my shoes.

Tantor: What would you say is the best part of narrating your own book?

Matchett: No one knows an author’s intent like the author. The memories of the episodes are all firsthand; the emotions revealed in the voice are, therefore, all perfectly genuine. An audience senses this; will always sense this.

Tantor: What do you love about audiobooks?

Matchett: A good audiobook narration envelopes the listener, the whole story, every nuance takes on an intimacy. The voice of the narrator, the inflection and cadence of the voice carries the story along – there is no need to reread a line of printed text to understand the author’s intent – the narration does that automatically, and so the story effortlessly carries itself along from chapter to chapter.

Tantor: What can we expect to see or hear from you in the future?

Matchett: I’ve just published my latest work, These Desired Things, a collection of short stories. The book has been very well received, and this title will be my next audiobook project.

Tantor: When you are not writing or recording your own books, what are your go-to genres and favorite authors?

Matchett: I’m a fan or Orwell, and a Hemingway enthusiast.

Tantor: What book could you read over and over and why?

Matchett:  Nineteen Eight-Four – Orwell. This book introduced me to literature, enthralled by it from the first time I read it in high school. Forty years later I still find time to read it once, twice a year. Entirely gripping. Especially the sections on Newspeak, where Orwell describes a dystopian world where information is constantly being stripped from the English language, making the populace less able to express themselves. Lamentably, I see and hear examples of just this every single day. Over and over, the tragic themes of this unendingly pessimistic novel have proved truly prophetic.

 

Listen to the audiobook today: http://bit.ly/2zpMq3R 

Teacher Misery: Helicopter Parents, Special Snowflakes, and Other Bullshit

By Elizabeth Sylvia

Teacher Misery: Helicopter Parents, Special Snowflakes, and Other Bullshit

Written by Jane Morris

It’s that time of year again. Trees are green with leaves, flowers are springing from the ground, and winter coats and boots have been banished to the back of the closet. In schools across the country, teachers and students alike are counting down the days (hours? seconds?) until the end of the school year. After a long ten months, summer vacation is almost here! What better way to celebrate than by kicking back and listening to Teacher Misery: Helicopter Parents, Special Snowflakes, and Other Bullshit by Jane Morris?

This book is a frank, funny, and at times frightening account of the day-to-day life of a teacher working at a school located just outside a major American city. Be forewarned: this book will raise your blood pressure and make you fear for our future! But don’t let that scare you away, this is a highly entertaining book, and impossible to put down. Everything the author writes about seems so ridiculous, I had to keep listening to find out what else the students, parents, and administrators at this school could possibly do to top what she’s already described. And top it they will – every story is crazier than the last!

The occurrences she records range from the hilarious (classroom exchanges about highly inappropriate student questions), to the infuriating (helicopter parents haggling endlessly over grades), to the downright horrifying (cyberbullying and threats). In one memorable instance, Morris writes about a student who sells drugs in her class, and who tries to convince Morris that this would be a good way to supplement her teacher’s salary. On top of this, the student admits to plagiarizing a research paper. The student received no consequences for either infraction!

Narrator Amy McFadden provides wonderful wit, sarcasm, and sincerity in her delivery, bringing life to the unbelievable experiences of the author. This book was written by a teacher, but you don’t need to work in a school to appreciate (and commiserate with) the crazy, heartbreaking, and infuriating happenings that come with education in the 21st century. Download your copy today!

ROAD TRIP!

By Deborah Fleet, Audio Proofreader (MLIS)

National Park Service Photo
National Park Service Photo

Summer has arrived, and I am thinking about traveling, and all the travel I have done. What about you? Amazingly, I have gone cross country in an old beat up van, crossing from Southeastern Massachusetts and doing my version of the Oregon Trail winding up in Butte Falls, Oregon, where my brother lived 3 miles in off a dirt logging trail. On said trip we mostly boondocked – slept in the van by the side of the road, or at rest stops along the way. This was the early 70’s. Said van suffered a cracked windshield and collapsed roof, as well as losing the universal joint on the Fourth of July! There were bee stings in Chicago, running from tornadoes in Iowa, and the transmission let go in Yosemite. But I also saw Devil’s Tower made famous in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”, prairie dogs, geysers and hot pots, ‘Old Faithful’, smelled sulfurous odors, and saw magnificent waterfalls. I was also asked by my traveling companion, while we were somewhere out in Wyoming at Yellowstone, “Hey, why don’t you get a photo of that moose and her baby!” Okay, I was not too bright. I got the picture, but was certainly glad that mama never got caught of my scent along the way. This was an enlightening road trip to see the National Parks. Those were the days before audio books were available, I am not even sure if we had an 8 track player in the car. I know we had a CB radio, and lots of static on the car radio.

Continue reading ROAD TRIP!

TantorGives! Walk to End Homelessness

By Deborah Fleet, Audio Proofreader (MLIS)

As a kid, I remember pouting when not getting my way,  tying up some cookies, and small toys in an old bandana and tying it to a long stick, pretending to be a hobo and “running away.” I played outside a long time, then when I wanted to go back in the house, my mother had locked me out.

“I thought you were running away?” my mother said.

“I was just playing.” I said.

She unlocked the door, and let me come back home.

artformastheadNLHHSFor many, the door is closed. Homeless people are standing outside the door, and most often, nobody is letting them in. Locally, the New London Homeless Hospitality Center is opening the door for those who need it most. TantorGives! is partnering with them to help stamp out local homelessness, and lend a helping hand.

The mission of TantorGives! is to provide opportunities to give back to the community through fun, charitable initiatives, and to foster a spirit of teamwork and volunteerism among Tantor employees. Last year we held bake sales, gathered school supplies, and holiday gifts for needy children, supported individual causes and joined many other events.

Team Tantor is comprised of employees and family members who join together for various causes. This time, it is to fight homelessness. We invite you to join TantorGives! logoTeam Tantor at the 9th annual Walk to End Homelessness on Sunday, April 24, at 2 p.m. in New London. The walk benefits the New London Homeless Hospitality Center. Last year, the event had 250 walkers and raised more than $9,000. It’s a 2-mile walk over easy terrain. Consider joining us at Team Tantor, and help raise funds for this important cause.

Follow this link to support Team Tantor and the 9th annual Walk to End Homelessness 2016.

Continue reading TantorGives! Walk to End Homelessness

Bon Appétit: Great Chef Memoirs

By Jennifer Eschrich

On February 1 the culinary world was shocked with the loss of one of its stars, chef Benoit Violier, in an apparent suicide. Violier was the executive chef of Restaurant de l’Hotel de Ville, which had been given three Michelin stars (the highest honor Michelin grants), and was recently designated by La Liste as the best restaurant in the world. The recent tragedy has brought attention back to the issue of mental health in the restaurant business. The long hours, pressure to perform at perfection level, and lifestyles of many chefs (including drug and alcohol use), make the restaurant life a breeding ground for mental illness that is ignored because of the “toughness” that is expected from its workers. A reoccurring comment in this growing conversation is how, in the age of blogs and Yelp, people are so quick to critique the food they eat without realizing the amount of work that the person behind the food put into it. So here are a couple of stories about the chefs behind the food:

Continue reading Bon Appétit: Great Chef Memoirs

10 Productive Things to Do While Listening to Audiobooks

By Sarah Barning

There are many things you can do while listening to audiobooks and you can double your productivity. With the New Year starting, people set goals. Here are some achievable goals that would be easy to reach while listening to an audiobook.

One Year to an Organized Life cover# 1 Clean your house or your living space. This is a task that few people enjoy. If you are concentrating on a juicy love triangle, or a suspenseful journey, you won’t care as much that you are cleaning the fingerprints off of your stainless steel appliances. You will be so wrapped up in the story, that time will pass, and a boring task won’t be so bad. Just blast it on some speakers throughout your house, and you are in cleaning heaven. Before you know if your place will be spotless and you will be caught up with your favorite latest novel. Continue reading 10 Productive Things to Do While Listening to Audiobooks

An Interview with Narrator Karen White

By the fans of Ellery Adams

Writing All Wrongs Cover
Writing All Wrongs. Audiobook available now!

Last week we brought you an exclusive interview between narrator Karen White and author Ellery Adams. This week we bring you a twist on the interview with the fans of Ellery Adams asking Karen White some questions!

Ellery did a Facebook post asking her fans for questions about audiobooks.  Several people asked similar questions, so we grouped those together in the post.

Laura, Terry and Donna all had questions about how Karen got started as an audiobook narrator:
When and how did you decide that narration work would be something you wanted to do? How did you get started?
Do you consider yourself to be a performer or actor and did you “plan” to be a narrator? I think this interview will be fun!
How did you get into this business?

Continue reading An Interview with Narrator Karen White

Ellery Adams and Karen White Discuss the Books by the Bay Mystery series

 

By Karen White

Karen White, narrator of Ellery Adams Books by the Bay series, recently had a few questions for the author. Read on to find out some interesting facts about the author, her processes, the series, and even her take on audiobooks!

Author Ellery Adams
Author Ellery Adams

Dixie! What a character!  Is she completely sprung from your imagination or was there a human inspiration?  You describe her movements so clearly it makes me feel like you must have seen someone of her stature skate around inside a diner somewhere!  (And I was kind of sad she was not around for most of this book – though I made her voice a little bit difficult to do, so I was also kind of relieved.)

Dixie is totally fictitious (though there are times she seems so real to me that I can imagine her skating around my kitchen). I was a big fan of the movie Xanadu when I was a kid and later, of the play, Starlight Express. Dixie brings all the flair and color of those stories—and on roller skates!

You mix some real life events into these books. For instance (p.11) a crewman on the ferry to Palmetto Island tells Olivia about the lady that was killed in a boating accident at the Quarantine Pad. I remember when this happened a couple years ago, since I live quite close by.  How do news events like this work their way into your stories? And might there be some shark attacks coming in future books since they were the big news in coastal NC this past summer?!

Continue reading Ellery Adams and Karen White Discuss the Books by the Bay Mystery series