Sweet Words to My Ears: Why I Love Audio Books

A few years ago a friend suggested I listen to audio books. Like many, I was skeptical. Really? Listen to a book? Seeing as my life was in the throes of wrangling busy young children (and it still is…), I gave it a try. I had started and stopped reading The Fiery Cross (Diana Gabaldon’s 5th book in the Outlander series) countless times. Her books are long tomes and at the rate I was going, I would never finish the series…I did a lot of driving in my car, so why not?

Game changer!

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Davina Porter’s narrating blew me away. I listened in the car on drives to work, on long stretches to stores, and during errands around town. Granted, once my youngest picked up on his name in the dialogue (one of the book characters has his name), I decided, okay, no listening with kiddos in the car! At least not those books (btw, Harry Potter as audio book is fabulous!). I flew through the rest of the Outlander series, then devoured a few of the novellas (so good, btw!). I now read across genres on audio.

Now audio books are my go-to.

As a writer, I do prefer holding a book in my hand. However, audio books save me time, whisk me off to a distant place, and help me actually get reading done. Authors spend so much time reading and writing their own words that the hobby of reading goes to the back-burner. Not with audio books! My least preferred method is e-book reading, but I do plenty of that, usually to read and review other authors’ books. So I dabble in all: print, audio, and e-book.

So if I’ve not yet won you over, how about a list of reasons to listen to audio books?

  1. Multi-tasking! Driving, housework, whatever. Great to listen while doing other things. Fills those long commute times.

  2. The art of narration. Most producers are voice artists trained to do this for a living. Some are mind-blowing.

  3. Libraries carry them. Audible and iTunes are not the only places to dig up these lovelies. My first go-to for a book club I attend: check the library (thank goodness for inter-library loan!). I never feel bad about reading a library book. I support the author (it was a purchase to the library), write reviews, keep the library in business, and recommend the books. Future post idea: why I love libraries!

  4. It can be (but not always) quicker than reading. I am a slower reader. Average novella length is 4-5 hours of listening. A typical 350-page book: ten hours. Granted, Outlander is way longer than that. Like 20 hours? Even so, bleary-eyed at night makes for slower chunks of reading for me at least. Before you ask, yes, non-fiction books are in audio book formats, too! The audio book industry is booming.

  5. Gives your eyes a break! As an author, my eyes need breaks!

  6. It can be BETTER than the print book. My historical novels can be a tough read for those not used to reading historical. I’ve had more than one person say they loved the audio-book…easier to understand and keep going. We run busy lives and are tired, and sometimes reading works our brains.

  7. You learn interesting pronunciations and accents. I did mention the narrators/producers/voice actors are artists, right? Admission: I do thorough research for all my books. Dot the i’s, cross the t’s, then do it all again. However, I did NOT know that Caoimhe, an Irish/Gaelic name (a character in A Hundred Breaths), is pronounced “Kee-va.” My narrator for the book series is amazing and did her homework. I also provided her pronunciations of Gaelic words (thanks to my editor’s Gaelic-speaking mother), and she relied on a Norwegian friend for the Norse words for the current book she is producing, A Hundred Breaths. I just finished reading a book that had a host of accents: British, American, and Scandinavian. It was great.

  8. More accessible. For those with reading challenges, audio books have opened doors!

Have I listened to a bad audio book? You bet. Like print books, reading (listening) is subjective. Quite often if I’m not digging a book in print for whatever reason, I give the audio book a go.

How do you get your hands on my books?

GOOD NEWS! I have few free Audible codes to give away for A Hundred Kisses.

Even better…this fall, the other 3 books will be released on Audible/iTunes…and I will have free codes!

If you are interested in listening for free, in return for an honest review (on e.g. Amazon, Audible, and Goodreads), please drop me a comment below or email me. If you’ve not yet done so, feel free to join my newsletter I distribute quarterly (so as to not flood your inbox) which has deleted scenes, interviews with other authors, giveaways, and sale information and bunch of other fun tidbits.

Happy reading…or should I say listening?

Do you listen to audio books? If so, tell me your favorite reasons why!

Exciting news...

When an author says "exciting news" it usually means a great thing...either we've found an agent, landed a publisher, or have signed a new contract. In my case, my fabulous news is that I just signed the contract for my next historical romance with The Wild Rose Press!

This latest novel takes place thirty-years before A Hundred Kisses, in 1263, and serves as a prequel (though each can be stand-alone novels). There will be much more coming from me over the next year...a back cover blurb, cover art (oh, I can't wait!), excerpt, and release date. Plus I'm working on a few more novels...

But for now a few teasers to hold you over.

First hint:

Ahhhh Vikings...and Viking ships! Our trip last spring to see the  Draken Harald Harfagre  was misty and mystical in Mystic, CT. I asked lots of questions and stared in awe as I was in research mode. The kids got to "steer" at the steer board and we learned a lot about Viking (Norse) ships. The Draken impressed me to no end: 115-feet long, 26-feet wide, and built with 10,000 planks. Oh, and the hull was filled with rocks!

Ahhhh Vikings...and Viking ships! Our trip last spring to see the Draken Harald Harfagre was misty and mystical in Mystic, CT. I asked lots of questions and stared in awe as I was in research mode. The kids got to "steer" at the steer board and we learned a lot about Viking (Norse) ships. The Draken impressed me to no end: 115-feet long, 26-feet wide, and built with 10,000 planks. Oh, and the hull was filled with rocks!

Another hint...

Eilean Donan Castle, Scottish Highlands. This was a beauty to visit! It is the seat of Clan MacKenzie (and Clan MacCoinneach from my novels).

Eilean Donan Castle, Scottish Highlands. This was a beauty to visit! It is the seat of Clan MacKenzie (and Clan MacCoinneach from my novels).

Hmm, here's one more:

Dryburgh Abbey, Scotland, former home to the Premonstratensian order of canons/priests. Though now in ruins, the building and grounds were awe-inspiring  and eerie to visit.

Dryburgh Abbey, Scotland, former home to the Premonstratensian order of canons/priests. Though now in ruins, the building and grounds were awe-inspiring  and eerie to visit.

A summary of hints:

Norse warriors...

a final battle for Scotland...

the mystical powers of the Ancients of Uist...

a vengeful Scotsman and a merciful Healer...

and a journey to heal body and heart.

I really enjoyed writing this novel, especially my research into Viking/Norse culture and my continued journey of Scotland and medieval history.

I'll leave it at that for now. More to come soon! I'm very excited for this prequel to be released in the next year!

In the meantime, if you've not read the other book, hop over to Amazon! Like trilogies? Never fear...if all goes well, I am writing the sequel to A Hundred Kisses as well.

p.s. Like audio books? A Hundred Kisses will be released later this year via Amazon audible! Stay tuned!

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A Hundred Kisses - Releases May 17th!

I am excited to announce that my book, A Hundred Kisses, is set to release on MAY 17th! Pre-orders of the e-book and print book are available now on both The Wild Rose Press and on Amazon.

A Hundred Kisses is a historical Scottish romance, with a hint of magic.

1296

Two wedding nights. Two dead husbands. 

Deirdre MacCoinneach wishes to understand her unusual ability to sense others’ lifeblood energies…and vows to discover if her gift killed the men she married. Her father’s search for a new and unsuspecting suitor for Deirdre becomes complicated when rumors of witchcraft abound.

Under the façade of a trader, Alasdair Montgomerie travels to Uist with pivotal information for a Claimant seeking the Scottish throne. A ruthless baron hunts him and a dark past haunts him, leaving little room for alliances with a Highland laird or his tempting daughter.

Awestruck when she realizes that her unlikely travel companion is the man from her visions, a man whose thickly veiled emotions are buried beneath his burning lifeblood, Deirdre wonders if he, too, will die in her bed if she follows her father’s orders. Amidst magic, superstition, and ghosts of the past, Alasdair and Deirdre find themselves falling together in a web of secrets and the curse of a hundred kisses…

 In the meantime, how about an excerpt?

Happy reading!

She sensed no colors in the murky, lifeless water, and it was freeing. All breath escaped her. Muted visions passed before her eyes—her mother, her father, Gordon, and Cortland. Just a moment longer, she thought…

Suddenly, a burst of warm light invaded her thoughts as air filled her lungs. Red-hot hands burned her shoulders and ripped her from her icy grave. She breathed life into her body. She coughed, gagging on the change.

Muffled words yelled at her.

Oh, God, so hot. His fingers were like hot pokers. Her head pounded as she slowly returned to the present. Heat radiated from her rescuer. Somebody had pulled her from the water.

“Wh—?”

“Hush, lass. You nearly drowned.”

His voice was as soothing as a warm cup of goat’s milk on a winter’s day. A red-hot glow emanated from his body. Never before had she felt such a strong lifeblood, and it nearly burned her. She struggled in his arms to get free. She blinked, only seeing a blurry form before her. “Release me!”

She splashed and wriggled, and he did as told. She clambered to the shoreline. Numb and shaken, she began to dress. It wasn’t easy as she fumbled with slick fingers to put dry clothes over wet skin. She instantly regretted her naked swim. She pulled on her long-sleeved white chemise first.

She faced the forest, away from her rescuer. He quietly splashed to shore. His lifeblood burned into her back. He wasn’t far behind, but he stopped. She refused to look at him until she was fully clothed, not out of embarrassment of her nudity, but for what had just happened. He released a groan and mumbled under his breath about wet boots. His voice was not one of her father’s soldiers.

When she put the last garment on, her brown wool work kirtle, she squeezed out her sopping hair and swept her hands through the knotty mess. She fastened her belt and tied the lacings up the front of the kirtle. Blood returned to her fingertips, and she regained her composure. Belated awareness struck her, and she leaned down and searched through her bag for her dagger. She spun around.

She gasped as she saw the man sitting on the stone-covered shoreline, his wet boots off. Confusion and the hint of a scowl filled his strong-featured face. She staggered back, caught her heel on a stone, and fell, dropping the dagger. Dirt and pebbles stuck to her wet hands and feet, and she instinctively scrambled away from him.

His glower, iridescent dark blue eyes, and disheveled black hair were not unfamiliar. Staring at her was the man she had seen in her dream—it was the man from the wood.

:) - J

Available from  thewildrosepress.com  on May 17th!

Available from thewildrosepress.com on May 17th!