Tag Archives: spies

Working with a Voice Artist by Jessie Clever ~ Historical Romance: To Save a Viscount

I am especially pleased to introduce today’s guest. I have had the pleasure of working with Jessie Clever, proofreading and editing some of her work. Her books are fantastic! Historical is not my preferred genre, but her stories definitely kept me engaged. Her characters and premises are unique and compelling. She has a knack for bringing you into the story, the setting, and makes you want to keep turning pages.

Today, she is sharing an interesting article about working with a voice artist on an audio book. I had the experience myself, and it was quite an adventure. Please help me welcome Jessie with her take on the process….

The Voice in My Head: Working with a Voice Artist to Bring Your Story to Life 

As an author, I jumped on the audio bandwagon with unstoppable glee.  I could not wait to turn my Regency romances into audiobooks in order to reach the voracious audio listeners I knew I was missing.  My main goal in writing has always been to share my stories with those who crave them, and romance readers are an exceptional bunch.  We are always looking for more, and audio has allowed me to reach even more wonderful readers.

So when I first approached this business of audio recording, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  I used an online service called ACX that allowed me to audition voice artists for my manuscript.  Now, I’m sure like many of you, when I read something, a certain voice appears in my head.  Depending on the book.  Depending on the genre.  Or depending on my mood at the time.  The story has already taken on a voice before someone reads it aloud.  So the auditions became something for which I was not prepared.

None of the auditions sounded like what the story sounded like in my head.  They got it all wrong!  That was not how Jane sounded.  She was not a cranky old lady.  She was very much a debonair, refined lady of the ton much like Maggie Smith’s performance on Downton Abbey.  Nora was not whiny and weak.  She was demure and controlled.  Her very voice spoke to her struggles as a character.  My unstoppable glee was quite quickly, well, stopped.  I didn’t like the “sound” of this business at all.

And then I received one more audio file from a voice artist outside of London.  (That is the magic of the Internet, isn’t it?  We creatives get to collaborate with folks from around the world while sipping coffee in our bathrobes.)  I reluctantly clicked the play button on this audition, steeling myself to hold back the disappointment that I knew would be coming in waves.  But then—What was that?  That clear, concise voice.  Those softly rounded consonants.  That contrasting crisp voice of authority and surety that said nothing more than dignified.  That.  That right there was the voice!  That was Nora.  That was Jane.  That was even rascally Alec, the Earl of Stryden.  Yes!  Finally, I heard it.  The thing I didn’t even know I was looking for.

The very voice in my head.

The one that had tripped along silently as the Black family spun their tales of espionage, war, and romance.

How could it be?  How had this amazing, talented person “heard” what I heard?  How could she have interpreted these characters so precisely as I had?  It didn’t seem possible.  But as I finally came to understand, this is the mark of a truly talented voice artist.

I immediately accepted the audition of this brilliant artist, and so began a journey I will treasure as a very special part of my writing endeavor.  Rachael Beresford took on the Black family and their many misadventures, their trials and tribulations, their passions and joys.  She took these characters that until then had only existed in my head and pulled them out, fluffed them up, and made them like real, tangible things.  Now when I heard my stories performed back to me, it is as though I could reach out and give Jane a hug.  (And oh, what a wonderful thing that would be!)

Once Rachael completes the narration, I receive the files for review.  That is one of my favorite times as an author.  I covet that time.  I treasure it.  I curl up in said bathrobe, steaming cup of coffee in hand, and click play.  And Rachael reads me a story.  A story completely unlike the one I wrote.  That, too, is the magic of a talented voice artist.  The story becomes something else.  Something more.  It is no longer the black and white text you’ve carefully created on the page.  It’s suddenly alive and three-dimensional.  The characters shape the sounds that until then had only been black lines on a page.  And that’s just it.  They’re sounds.  The characters are suddenly human.

While I relish reaching the end, I’m saddened to no longer have the anticipation of discovering the story again through Rachael’s performance.  I usually listen to her narration all in one sitting, because I cannot bear to interrupt it.  Once approved by me, the files are whisked off into the ether of the web, and Audible and iTunes suddenly have a packaged audiobook ready for hungry readers.  It looks so mundane, that thumbnail of the final product.  But beneath that quiet exterior, magic awaits.  And more, as a reader, you know it’s there.  Waiting.

That is the power of a talented voice artist.  That is the magic that only a true narrator can weave.   As an author, I would advise other authors not to settle on the first audition if it doesn’t seem quite right.  Somewhere out there is the right narrator for your story.  You need only wait and listen.

To celebrate the release of the final book in the Spy Series on audio, I am giving a copy of the audiobook of the first book in the series, Son of a Duke, to a random commentor on this blog post.  Just answer this question: audiobooks – do you love them or hate them?  And if you love them, what is an audiobook that you fell in love with instantly and forever just from the sound of the artist’s voice?

 

Blurb:

When an assassin threatens England’s spy network, Lady Margaret Folton must find the killer before it’s too late. Hardened from being forced to witness the murder of her British spy parents by French revolutionists, Margaret approaches this mission like any other, with steely determination and a resolute focus on the necessary outcome at the cost of all else.

Commodore John Lynwood, newly returned from the Mediterranean, finds himself granted the title of viscount in honor of his service during the war. Plagued with a string of good luck throughout his life, the title serves as another reminder that Jack has done nothing to earn the glory and prestige that comes with his position, and he’ll be damned if he’ll enjoy such an honor.

But when Jack is accidentally granted a title meant to be used as bait to lure the assassin into the War Office’s trap, Margaret must face the tragedy of her past and decide which is more important: the assignment or love?

The books in the Spy Series:
1/2. Inevitably a Duchess (A prequel novella)
1. Son of a Duke
2. For Love of the Earl
3. A Countess Most Daring
4. To Save a Viscount

Excerpt:

London

August 1815

He had grown so accustomed to the sound of gunfire that he did not hear the shot that was meant to kill him.

This would have worried Richard Black, the Duke of Lofton, if he had had time to think on it.  But as the situation inherently required immediate action, prolonged and abstract thinking on the subject was neither prudent nor wise.  So he refrained.  Instead, he wondered whom it was that smashed into him at incredible speed, sending him tumbling backwards off the walk along the Thames and into the bitter, black water below.

He had been meeting his contact there along the water at an unholy hour, and darkness had lain all about him.  The exchange had gone as planned, and he now held the knowledge that he knew would prove key to his current assignment with the War Office.  But as the inky water of the Thames closed over his head, he wondered if he would ever get that information to the necessary people.

And then as the last of the light disappeared, he thought of Jane, his wife.  His Jane.  He did not think of her in specific instances or certain memories that lay in his mind.  He thought of her in pieces.  Her smell.  Her laugh.  The sound her hair made as she brushed it at night.  The way she always laid her hand on top of his whenever they should find themselves sitting next to one another.  Her amazing talents with chestnut roasters.

He would have laughed if such an action would not speed up the inevitable drowning that suddenly became all too real, flushing thoughts of Jane from his mind.  His arms began to push against the water as his feet began to pulse, driving him toward the surface.  Only he did not move.  Whoever it was that had slammed into him still held him about the waist, dragging him deeper into the water.  He began to struggle, the need for air and life and Jane surging through his veins in a way he had never felt before.

And then a hand brushed against his cheek, and slender fingers came to rest across his mouth.  He wanted to open his eyes, but he knew it would do no good in the black water.  But he let the feeling of his attacker’s hand brush against his skin, the shape of it press into his face, the narrowness of limb and the delicate arch of bone.

It was a woman who held him beneath the water.

And he stopped struggling.

 

Goodreads Link:

http://bit.ly/1mUg1km 

Purchase links:

Now available on audio!

Also available at these etailers –

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1tddN6P

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/YXK6dd

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1zHa0gJ

Nook: http://bit.ly/1otXb34

iBooks: http://bit.ly/1pjfhe7

Google Play: http://bit.ly/10FAmFc

Smashwords: http://bit.ly/1qCRsu2

About the Author:

Jessie decided to be a writer because the job of Indiana Jones was already filled.

Taking her history degree dangerously, Jessie tells the stories of courageous heroines, the men who dared to love them, and the world that tried to defeat them.

Jessie makes her home in the great state of New Hampshire where she lives with her husband and two very opinionated Basset Hounds.  For more, visit her website at jessieclever.com.

Connect with Jessie…

Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1foelMH

Twitter: http://bit.ly/1IM6UPJ

Instagram: http://bit.ly/1HYaQdM

Pinterest: http://bit.ly/KZQ4TQ

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1fge8x9

Amazon Author Page http://amzn.to/2kKoZcH

Get a free book when you sign up for Jessie’s Newssheet http://eepurl.com/cpHMa1

 

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Author Interview with Kryssie Fortune – New Release: Sex, Scandal, and the Sheriff

Please help me welcome Kryssie Fortune, with a fun interview and a HOT new release…

Firstly, I’d like to thank Alicia for letting me drop by.

I’m Kryssie Fortune, writer of erotic romance. I retired last year, leaving much loved friends behind on Emmerdale, Britain’s best TV soap. I’ve moved from Leeds to Bridlington on the Yorkshire coast. When I’m not writing, I’m walking on the beach with my husband or attending the local literary group. It’s good to study classic books occasionally, but I’m sticking to writing about shifters or sexy Doms.

Last summer Loose id put out a special call for three linked stories. My mind went instantly blank. Six weeks before the deadline, I had an idea for my Heroes of Westhorpe Ridge series. I’ve never written so fast in my life. Thankfully Loose id liked my stories. The first book, Marriage, Mobster’s and the Marine came out at the beginning of December. The second, Sex, Scandal and the Sheriff was released on my birthday December 19th. It’s a stand-alone romance featuring the Sheriff from book one. Book three came out on Valentine’s Day.

I knew from the start that my heroes would all be ex-military. Since they all handle guns, the books needed to be set in the USA. That made things hard for me as I’m a Brit who has never left Europe. Fortunately, most of my Facebook friends live in America, and they put up with my constant questions. The only way I could imagine Westhorpe Ridge was to mentally move the Yorkshire town of Whitby to North Carolina. Although I often write paranormal, this time I left Bram Stoker and Dracula behind.

 

What do you want readers to come away with after they read Sex, Scandal, and the Sheriff?

I’d love a reader to finish my books and be half in love with the hero. There’s no deep message, just hot and steamy romance tied to a story that hopefully my readers can’t put down.

What actors would you cast in the main roles of your book if it were made into a movie?

If Sex, Scandal, and the Sheriff were made into a film, I’d love Owen Wilson to play my sheriff hero, Sean Mathews. Owen’s mix of blond good looks and cheeky charm make him perfect for the role. My heroine, Jazz, actually says she wants Jennifer Lawrence to play her in a movie so that’s an easy pick. Besides, Jennifer Lawrence is a natural beauty with a smile sweet enough to hook Sean at the soiree that descends into an orgy.

What genre have you never written that you’d like to write?

I’d love to write a complex, Dan Brown style mystery. I’ve got a few ideas, but I’m letting them grow at their own speed.

What is your favorite quote?

“I would rather be happy than dignified.” Charlotte Bronte in Jane Eyre

If you could be a character in any of your books, who would you be?

Mandy Devlin. She pops up in all three Heroes of Westhorpe Ridge novellas, but her story is told in Desire, Deceit and the Doctor. Mandy’s had a hard few years, but she’s kind hearted, hardworking, willing to give any one a helping hand and a great mom. When killers target her and her son, she gets a second chance of love.

Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

A bit of both. I start off thinking what makes them unique then think of someone who fits them. For example, one of my reviews compared the hero of one of my books to Indiana Jones.  I wasn’t surprised since that’s who I thought of when I wrote him. Of course, my characters usually take on a life of their own and refuse to fit in any boxes I’ve assigned them.

What do your friends and family think of your writing?

My son’s a stick-in-the-mud banker. He has no imagination and he’s horrified that I write erotic romances. My daughter is proud of me, but won’t be my Facebook friend in case my posts embarrass her. Since she’s a deputy head teacher, I quite understand. My husband is amazingly supportive and very proud of the things I’ve achieved. I couldn’t have a better cheerleader.

 

 kf_sexscandalandthesheriff

Starting over in Westhorpe Ridge wouldn’t be easy, especially since she’d already enjoyed a spanking and a one-night stand with the sheriff.

Blurb

Jasmine Stewart (Jazz to her friends) falls for the blond stranger when he spanks and seduces her at a Washington soiree. Later, when she discovers her flatmate is trying to draw her into a spy ring, she goes to the authorities. The ensuing publicity costs her her job, her security, and her future. Starting over in Westhorpe Ridge is her only option.

Sean Mathews, former SEAL and Westhorpe Ridge’s sheriff, can’t forget the woman he spanked when he visited Washington, but he thinks she’s a spy. When she turns up in Westhorpe Ridge, he tries everything to make her leave town. Despite their misunderstandings, though, they can’t keep their hands off each other.

As Year’s Eve looms, the spy ring resurfaces. Jazz will need all of Sean’s SEAL prowess to survive. But because his wounded leg cost him his speed in the water, will it be enough?

  • Note: A stand-alone romance this is the second story in The Heroes of Westhorpe Ridge series, featuring Sean Matthews from Marriage, Mobsters and the Marinesand Jasmine Stewart (Jazz to her friends).

 

Buy links

Loose id            http://www.loose-id.com/sex-scandal-and-the-sheriff.html

Amazon.com    http://amzn.to/2iOBqn1

Amazon.co.      http://amzn.to/2inBoBE

Kobo                http://bit.ly/2igip8T

Nook               http://bit.ly/2iGigfP

 

Excerpt 

“New start. New life. New ambitions,” she told herself as she drove away from her dream of being a teacher.

By the time the winter sun crept over the horizon, she’d passed the halfway point between Washington and Westhorpe Ridge. She made good time, but fifteen minutes from her destination, the car handling changed. Praying nothing expensive had happened to her trusty vehicle, she pulled over to take a look. She got out the car, walked around to the rear passenger side, and sighed when she realized the tire had blown out. Damn, my spare’s in the trunk, beneath my suitcases and bedding. Shaking her head, she heaved her first suitcase onto the grass verge. It hadn’t felt so heavy when she’d packed it.

A police car pulled up. “Sheriff Mathews, ma’am. Can I be of assistance?”

His voice flowed over her like molasses, rich, thick, and so sweet she wanted to taste its owner. Instead, she panted slightly but kept moving. “I’ve had a blowout, but my spare tire’s under all my stuff. Don’t worry. I can manage, thank you.”

When she turned back to the car, Jazz’s eyes widened. The man in the uniform looked enormous, blond, and way too familiar. Handsome didn’t come close. In his long-sleeved fawn shirt and standard-issue brown trousers, he looked like a sex god come to earth. And are those handcuffs dangling from his belt? I can find a way to put them to good use.

Given their history, drooling over him felt wrong. Despite what the doctors had told her, traces of the spies’ lust drug must still linger in her system. Her heart beat faster. Even breathing seemed hard around him. “Ethan Mathews? I thought you were a scientist involved in some hush-hush stuff, not a sheriff. Why are you in Westhorpe Ridge? I thought you were some high-flying scientist. And isn’t impersonating a police officer a criminal offense? Shit, you’re driving a real police car. Are you really a sheriff?”

He did a double take, glowered right back at her. “Jazz Stewart? What the hell are you doing here? Have you jumped bail? Keep your hands where I can see them while I radio in and run a check on you.”

Jazz shivered despite the winter sunshine. Everyone except the CIA had made her out to be the bad guy, her former employer included. The damn sheriff was treating her like a criminal, but he’d been at that damn party too. Judging by the way he’d climbing on his high horse, he probably believed everything he’d read about her in the papers. Out of everyone she knew, she’d wanted the man she’d been dreaming about since the soiree to be on her side. He’s even sexier than I remembered, but what’s with this running a check on me? Surely he knows the truth by now. She hated the way he smirked at her, but she couldn’t resist taunting him. “So, Sheriff, spanked any other females lately?”

Kryssie is active on Social media and would love to hear from you

Facebook      –  https://www.facebook.com/KryssiesFortune

Twitter         –  https://twitter.com/KryssieFortune,

Blog             –  http://kryssiefortune.blogspot.co.uk/

Website       –  http://kryssiefortune.wixsite.com/kryssie

 

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Filed under Author Blog Post, New Release