For those who haven’t tried audio, it is one of the fastest growing segments of literary options, ideal for busy people who still want to enjoy a good book, so you really should. I’ve been blessed with several great narrators, with books in a variety of genres – although I consider myself primarily an epic fantasy writer – finding the right narrator has had it’s ups and downs.
I use ACX/Audible because it gives you the option to do a royalty share, a combination of share and pay up front or paying the narrator their stated fee. I do a royalty share because it gives the narrator and me a stake in the success or failure.
Choosing a narrator, for me, is a matter of matching the audition and voice to a given project, finding if your styles mesh, and the narrator’s interest in the project. Two of my narrators give me different voices for different characters, and another changes the timbre of voice. Make certain you discuss expectations – not just for time, but how it will be delivered. One narrator recorded several chapters, didn’t post them for my review, and had to go back to clearly delineate what character was speaking. Communication is important, in both directions. One gives me his ‘raw’ version – mistakes, flubs, pronunciation errors or questions – and sometimes he’s really funny. And, periodically he sends me his ‘blooper’ reel which is a riot.
It wasn’t a new experience for me, many of my books are in audio, but hearing another interpretation of what I’ve written has been a fascinating experience. In at least one case, the voice for a favorite character is now the narrator’s interpretation, another caught the characters’ accents perfectly (and his voice is like melted butter, smooth, warm, and rich).
Both Director’s Cut and Fire Season are in production for the audio versions so I can’t attach the retail samples yet, but they are both out in print.
A Paranormal Reverse Harem
Excerpt from Fire Season…
The wildfire consuming the forest had a voice all its own. Each did, Ari had found. He listened to the hungry, angry roar, the crack of tree limbs giving way, the small explosions as burls within the trees’ boles burst. The sound surrounded him, spoke to him. Ari kept half an eye on the rapidly spreading inferno. The canopy of leaves and pine needles above him and his people was still intact but in the near distance he could see licks of flame swirling around trunks, reaching higher. The tops of other trees burned like torches. Another ignited even as he watched.
The heat of the blaze, the parched air, baked him within his gear. He could barely breathe, despite his air bottle.
On this part of the mountain the rough, uneven terrain worked against them, kept them from using the tanker and trucks – the vehicles were too far away, the hoses couldn’t reach – so they were fighting the fire hand to hand.
His team worked hard and steadily, cutting some trees, digging up turf, shoveling the debris and dirt and tossing them aside. All they could do was hope to create a firebreak wide and long enough to stop the flames from advancing. At least to hold for long enough to allow them to fight the blaze itself. Even as he worked alongside his people, he kept an eye on them. He anchored one end of the line, Jase the other. Every one of them knew their job but, focused on the task at hand, even as experienced as they were, they relied on him to keep the line straight and true so they didn’t need to shift their attention from what they were doing.
Nor were they alone. Just beyond Jase was a team from the local firehouse doing the same thing – cutting a firebreak. Other teams from the local department’s two firehouses were scattered over the mountain, using their equipment where the land allowed.
Like him, that team leader worked hard, wielding a chainsaw like a sword, shouting instructions he couldn’t hear over the blaze to her people and department over the radio, keeping everyone apprised.
Something about that one, their stance, the way they carried themselves, and their short stature told him the leader was a woman, rare among firefighters.
The way her people responded to her instructions and orders, swiftly and without argument, told Ari she was good at what she did and respected.
Not for a moment did he allow his attention to wander for more than the second needed for that brief appraisal. It was too dangerous.
Ari sensed the wind shift even as the leader of the other team went stiff and looked up. The roar changed, hungry for fresh fuel as the fire turned. She saw it even as he did. Embers blew above them, past them. The fire, hungry for fuel, hungry for air, and powered by the strengthening breeze, leaped from one tree to another…toward them.
“Out, out, RUN! The wind shifted. GO! GO! GO!” Ari shouted, and he could hear an echo of his words as he signaled to Jase at the end of their line. The other team leader had her radio keyed even as she shouted and gestured to her people.
Amidst the raging blaze, the sound of one tree falling into another to topple against a second was hardly noticeable. The movement wasn’t.
Branches showered from above, some ablaze, falling even as Jase echoed Ari’s words, then turned to run and so didn’t see the danger. Like Ari, the other team leader was doing a headcount, making sure all her people were on the move, no one left behind.
A large falling branch sent Jase sprawling, and knocked his helmet, mask, and air bottle askew.
Even as a second branch, larger than the first, cracked, ready to fall, Ari was moving. As fast as he was, he knew he wasn’t fast enough to reach Jase in time.
The other team leader, closer, with her own people already on the run, did see and didn’t hesitate. She threw herself over Jase and turned turtle, tucking her chin in close to Jase’s vulnerable neck so her helmet and air tank would take the impact as she tried to cover as much of Jase as she could.
When the branch struck, Ari winced. At the very least, she would have cracked or broken ribs, if not worse, and Jase as well. As long as luck was on their side.
The fire was closing. They didn’t have much time or else find themselves trapped by the flames. It was no small branch, and they had to move it quickly, both for the sake of the two pinned beneath it and their own.