Posted by: Karen | December 4, 2017

HOME FOR CHRISTMAS by Holly Chamberlin

Available now from Highbridge Audio.619FDN1PY8L._AA300_

From the Publisher:

“At first glance, Nell King’s cozy home in Yorktide, Maine, seems a step down from the impeccably decorated Boston house she shared with her husband. But in the six years since he abruptly left to marry another woman, Nell and her almost-grown daughters have found real happiness and comfort here.

Twenty-one-year-old Molly has never forgiven her father for walking out, though she worries about sacrificing her independence the way her mother did. Should she stay in Maine with her dependable boyfriend, or move to the city and prove herself? Felicity, meanwhile, is torn between loyalty to Nell and wanting to spend time with her glamorous, ski champion stepmother. Nell is eager to cement the bond with her daughters by making this holiday picture-perfect. But there’s a complication—and an opportunity . . .

Nell’s first and greatest love, now a successful novelist, has arrived in town for a book signing. As the two rekindle their friendship, Nell confronts the choices and compromises she once made in the name of stability. And as the coming days unfold with revelations and unexpected gifts, this Christmas promises to herald a bright new beginning.”

My recording experience: It’s always disconcerting to record Christmas books because it gets me ready for snug and cozy feelings of the holidays but then I have to wait four months for the actual time of year to arrive! Now that they’re here I am excited to give away a copy of this sweet and heartwarming story.

Listen to a sample here:

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.  Mary is the randomly selected winner and the CDs will be mailed out to her as soon as I get her address.  Thanks to all for entering!  I give away lots of books – to find out about them in the future, please consider following this blog, or my Facebook page, or on Twitter. Oftentimes, you can also enter there!

Posted by: Karen | November 9, 2017

The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash

AudioFile Earphones Award Winner.

Available now from Harper Audio. 9780062682024

From the Publisher:

“The New York Times bestselling author of the celebrated A Land More Kind Than Home and This Dark Road to Mercy returns with this eagerly awaited new novel, set in the Appalachian foothills of North Carolina in 1929 and inspired by actual events. The chronicle of an ordinary woman’s struggle for dignity and her rights in a textile mill, The Last Ballad is a moving tale of courage in the face of oppression and injustice, with the emotional power of Ron Rash’s Serena, Dennis Lehane’s The Given Day, and the unforgettable films Norma Rae and Silkwood.

Twelve times a week, twenty-eight-year-old Ella May Wiggins makes the two-mile trek to and from her job on the night shift at American Mill No. 2 in Bessemer City, North Carolina. The insular community considers the mill’s owners—the newly arrived Goldberg brothers—white but not American and expects them to pay Ella May and other workers less because they toil alongside African Americans like Violet, Ella May’s best friend. While the dirty, hazardous job at the mill earns Ella May a paltry nine dollars for seventy-two hours of work each week, it’s the only opportunity she has. Her no-good husband, John, has run off again, and she must keep her four young children alive with whatever work she can find.

When the union leaflets begin circulating, Ella May has a taste of hope, a yearning for the better life the organizers promise. But the mill owners, backed by other nefarious forces, claim the union is nothing but a front for the Bolshevik menace sweeping across Europe. To maintain their control, the owners will use every means in their power, including bloodshed, to prevent workers from banding together. On the night of the county’s biggest rally, Ella May, weighing the costs of her choice, makes up her mind to join the movement—a decision that will have lasting consequences for her children, her friends, her town—indeed all that she loves.”

From the review in AudioFile Magazine:

“Narrators Karen White and Elizabeth Wylie use pacing and tone to bring characters to life in this novel about Ella Mae Wiggins, a forgotten heroine of history. For the bulk of the story White’s capable voice projects desperation and hope as Ella Mae struggles to support her family amid deplorable working conditions that lead, finally, to her commitment to strive for fair treatment. White gives unique voices to mill owners, union organizers, and Ella’s fellow workers. Wylie is the believable elderly voice of her daughter Lilly, who writes a letter to Ella’s grandson 79 years later to share the heroism and tragic consequences of those efforts. A powerful look at a dark chapter in our history when desperate people fought for equity and respect.”

(You can also listen to the review as well as a different sound clip here.)

My recording experience:

Although we live in the same town, I met Wiley at the Virginia Festival of the Book several years ago. Since then I’ve run into him many times. Everywhere from various cultural events here in Wilmington to Wake n’ Bake donuts where we both happened to be treating our daughters. When he asked if I’d be interested in recording his third book, I didn’t have to be asked twice. I had loved his previous novels and knew the material would be filled with local characters and a story I could sink my teeth into.

I wasn’t disappointed, and not just because it was the most fun I had with an author in the prep phase – which you can hear about in our podcast at TuneIn.com (there’s a taste of that in the video below.) This book is a must read (or listen), important issues of our time despite the fact that it’s based on a story that took place almost a hundred years ago.

Listen to a sample here:

Finally, many thanks to Wiley, for entrusting me with his book and then having the good graces to say this about my performance:

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Posted by: Karen | November 6, 2017

The Featured Voice Podcast

 

 

22792463_1719165304769888_8425751045243869742_oLast week I was happy to be the Featured Voice on Jocq’s podcast series for The Audio Flow after meeting her at an APAC social event last May. We had a great time talking about romance audiobooks as well as changes in the audiobook industry and production since I started waaay back in 1999. Listen for free on Spreaker!

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Posted by: Karen | October 27, 2017

NEVERTHELESS, WE PERSISTED

Tales of Loss, Love, and Finding Your Own Power.21949774_1644467735627638_2454907516442949877_o

Available now from Blunderwoman Productions at Audiobooks.com and Amazon.

From the Publisher:

Nevertheless We Persisted is a special audio-first anthology of poems, essays, and stories that explores themes of loss, love, and finding your own power. It’s an astonishing collection filled with heart, tears, laughter, and ultimately hope. This collection was created from writers across the United States and also in Australia, England, India, and New Zealand. Each piece is performed by a talented narrator. Music by Jennie Knaggs and Nick Shillace of Lac La Belle.

Pieces include:

A woman’s journey fleeing Iraq with her children and how it made her stronger.

A man recovering from his experience in Vietnam and learning empathy.

A journey with cancer as posted on Facebook that ends not with a prayer…but a blessing.

A 25-year-old talking about being a millennial and feelings of gratitude.

A mother getting through Taco Night at her home without drinking. For once.

A mother losing her husband whose children become the thread that pulls her through.

Poems that are sensual and beautiful.

Words on faith and hope.

A first kiss, a chance encounter on an airplane, letting go of a loved one, the sense of loss in losing a parent. The hope and joy and madness of being a mom.

An woman talking about how she’s judged for her brown skin.

A poem about dancing in the rain.

A poem about ordinary objects and thoughts of love.

Finding joy in making love with a partner as the years pass and their bodies age.

Looking for the silver lining, conquering white water rapids and fear, a young woman and her relationship with a gambling addict that made her question love and find her strength.

A middle-aged woman who falls in love with another woman and the struggle she has to embrace her true self, honor her husband, and live an authentic life.

A call for women to rise up and speak.

And my piece is included that is dark and tough and deals with sexual violence by giving voice to the young woman in Lolita.

I’m sure I’ve forgotten some, but it’s a really beautiful and strong collection from everyday people.

This is a piece to listen to, to discuss, to share. Ebook is coming out soon.

Writers include: Amy Oestreicher, Cat Gould, Charlotte McKinnon, Christa Lewis, Christina St Clair, Danielle Daney, Deepti Gupta, Echo Aspnes, Gina Dawe Weaver, Gracie Greenbaum, Jack Arkel, Jacqueline Pick, Janina Edwards, Jerrianne Hayslett, Karen Randall, Karen White, Kass Hillard, Laura Schmidt, Lauren Ezzo, Lily Schmidt, Mark Blickley, Martha McSweeney Brower, Nancy Wagner, Rodney Vaccaro, Sandy Logan, Shahana Kumar, Sue Pitkin, Tanya Eby, Tamara Hansen, Tammy Scott, Tricia Lowther, and Viiji Chary

Narrators include: Amy Landon, Amy McFadden, Bailey Carr, Cat Gould, Christa Lewis, Deepti Gupta, Emily Beresford, Emily Sutton-Smith, Erin Bennett, Erin Mallon, Gina Dawe Weaver, Gracie Greenbaum, Julie McKay, Lauren Ezzo, Lauri Jo Daniels, James Patrick Cronin, Janina Edwards, Karen White, Kate Rudd, Nancy Wagner, Nicol Zanzarella, Mark Kamish, Paul Heitsch, Sarah Mollo-Christensen, and Sue Pitkin

 25% of the proceeds (after publication costs) will be donated to Planned Parenthood.

From the review in AudioFile Magazine:

“This powerful volume of life-affirming poetry and prose is narrated by a variety of feminist voices. As the narrators perform their own pieces and, at times, those written by others, the quality of the delivery remains constant. The variety of narrators works together as a sort of contemporary Greek chorus, encouraging listeners to give voice to their experiences of triumph and trauma. It’s a volume you might want to start and stop at various places throughout the week. The sweetly somber tone of the works is especially suitable for a morning walk or an evening soak in the tub. For those in need of an uplifting listen, this will become a fast favorite.”

For my recording experience, check out my post on it.

Listen to a sample here:

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.  Mary and Sally are the randomly selected winners.  Thanks to all for entering!  I give away lots of books – to find out about them in the future, please consider following this blog, or my Facebook page, or on Twitter. Oftentimes, you can also enter there!

 

 

Posted by: Karen | October 16, 2017

I won!

Woke up this morning waaay earlier than usual to fly home from a family wedding – which, by the way, was much more affirming than the one that my main character attends in this book – to learn that I was the winner of the Put Your Heart in a Book Contest in the Contemporary Romance Series category!

Thanks for all the good luck y’all sent my way!

PYHIAB-2017-winner

I will eventually be starting a new site for my writing adventures, but for now, your support here is so appreciated.

Right now, I’m seeking representation and/or a publisher, and am happy to say that a few agents and editors have already asked to read the manuscript.

The Way You Make Me Feel is set in 1988 in Boston and is the first of a trio (that’s the plan right now, anyway). Each book will feature a different couple; the connection is a fictional theater company called Shakespeare Boston.

I’d love to hear what you think of the setting and time period!

 

Posted by: Karen | October 9, 2017

Wish me luck?

I’ve been dropping hints about my new writing path, which has slowly but surely been gaining momentum. Right now I’m nervously awaiting the results of the New Jersey Romance Writers’ Put Your Heart in a Book Contest, where my first (not yet published) romance is a Finalist in the Contemporary Series category.

PYHIAB-2017-finalist

Since we’ll be at a family wedding Saturday, October 14 – the day of the conference where the results will be announced, I’m not sure exactly how I’ll find out the news, but I’ll be sure to share it as soon as I know.

Meanwhile, please keep your fingers crossed for me on this, and as I travel the road toward getting this baby published!

 

Posted by: Karen | October 6, 2017

NOMADLAND by Jessica Bruder

Available now from Highbridge Audio.61UZVE2F9+L._SY498_BO1,204,203,200_

From the Publisher:

“From the beet fields of North Dakota to the wilderness campgrounds of California to an Amazon warehouse in Texas, people who once might have kicked back to enjoy their sunset years are hard at work. Underwater on mortgages or finding that Social Security comes up short, they’re hitting the road in astonishing numbers, forming a new community of nomads: RV and van-dwelling migrant laborers, or “workampers.”

Building on her groundbreaking Harper’s cover story, “The End of Retirement,” which brought attention to these formerly settled members of the middle class, Jessica Bruder follows one such RVer, Linda, between physically taxing seasonal jobs and reunions of her new van-dweller family, or “vanily.” Bruder tells a compelling, eye-opening tale of both the economy’s dark underbelly and the extraordinary resilience, creativity, and hope of these hardworking, quintessential Americans―many of them single women―who have traded rootedness for the dream of a better life.”

My recording experience:

This is one of those books that will stick with you, despite the barrage of news that fills the airwaves and interwebs daily. At least it did for me. Bruder’s writing based on immersive reporting experience opened my eyes to a new reality for so many Americans. A reality that’s both inspiring and scarily dystopian.

For an example of what I’m talking about, check out this video I found when I was trying to find out the correct pronunciation of “Kiva”:

Or, if you want the other side of the coin, here’s a link to CheapRVLiving.com where you can find out how to make this lifestyle your own.

Listen to a sample here:

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.  Johanna is the randomly selected winner and the CDs will be mailed out to her as soon as I get her address.  Thanks to all for entering!  I give away lots of books – to find out about them in the future, please consider following this blog, or my Facebook page, or on Twitter. Oftentimes, you can also enter there!

Posted by: Karen | October 1, 2017

CHASING CHRISTMAS EVE by Jill Shalvis

A Heartbreaker Bay Novel.61Kt3+R0NjL._AA300_

Available now from Harper Audio.

From the Publisher:

Meet cute…

Run for the hills-temporarily. That’s Colbie Albright’s plan when she flees New York for San Francisco. Wrangling her crazy family by day and writing a bestselling YA fantasy series by night has taken its toll. In short, Colbie’s so over it that she’s under it. She’s also under the waters of a historic San Francisco fountain within an hour of arrival. Fortunately, the guy who fishes Colbie out has her looking forward to Christmas among strangers. But she’s pretty sure Spencer Baldwin won’t be a stranger for long.

Make merry…

Spence’s commitment to hiding from the Ghosts of Relationships Past means he doesn’t have to worry about the powerful-okay, crazy hot-chemistry he’s got with Colbie. Just because she can laugh at anything, especially herself… just because she’s gorgeous and a great listener…just because she “gets” Spence immediately doesn’t mean he won’t be able to let Colbie go. Does it?

…and hope for a miracle.

Now the clock’s ticking for Colbie and Spence: Two weeks to cut loose. Two weeks to fall hard. Two weeks to figure out how to make this Christmas last a lifetime

From the review at AudioFile Magazine:

“Colbie Albright is running away from her demanding family and, by mere chance, ends up on a plane heading to San Francisco. Once there, she gets caught up in a romance with Spencer Baldwin. Narrator Karen White provides distinctive voices for the cast of characters. Although San Francisco is a large city, the close-knit community created by Spencer and his friends gives the story a small-town feel. White conveys the mixed emotions that Colbie feels when trying to deal with her family from a long distance. Colbie has promised to return to them by Christmas Eve, and White builds the tension as the deadline approaches. One one can almost see the lights twinkling in the courtyard of Spencer’s building.”

From The Geeky Blogger’s 30 Days of Thanks post:

“Today (Day 27) I am spotlighting Chasing Christmas Eve by Jill Shalvis/Narrated by Karen White. Anybody who is a fan of this series has been looking forward to Spence’s story and Jill did not disappoint us. I liked Colbie and felt she was such a good fit for him. The romance was fun and sweet and HOT!”
My recording experience:

This series just keeps getting better! All I can say is that if the cooler weather is beginning to make you think about the holidays, then this book will get you in the Christmas spirit! Also want to share that last year’s holiday Heartbreaker Bay novel, The Trouble with Mistletoe, is getting the red carpet treatment and will soon be available on romance’s new streaming platform Passionflix. You can check out the film’s stars on Jill’s blog.

Back to Spence and Colbie, they are the best wounded geeky couple ever, so don’t miss their story.

Listen to a sample here:

Posted by: Karen | October 1, 2017

TURKEY TROT MURDER by Leslie Meier

A Lucy Stone Mystery.51SNbh6bofL._AA300_

Available now from Dreamscape Audio.

From the Publisher:

“Besides the annual Turkey Trot 5K on Thanksgiving Day, Lucy expects the approaching holiday to be a relatively uneventful one – until she finds beautiful Alison Franklin dead and frozen in Blueberry Pond. No one knows much about Alison, except that she was the daughter of the wealthy investor Ed Franklin and struggled quietly with drug addiction. Police blame her death on an accidental overdose, but Lucy can’t understand what terrible forces could have led the privileged woman to her watery ruin.

Alison’s funeral service is just as puzzling. Many believe Ed’s young – and very pregnant – new wife, Mireille, divided the family, leaving Alison to wither on the vine. Did Mireille truly adore her stepchild as Ed claims, or did she pit father against daughter for personal gain?

As a state of unrest descends on Tinker’s Cove, Lucy is thrown into a full-scale investigation. Now, in a race against time, Lucy must beat the killer to the finish line – or she can forget about stuffing and cranberry sauce.”

My recording experience:

I always love how Leslie Meier incorporates social justice issues into her stories. She dives right into our current political climate with this book. In fact, violence was erupting in Charlottesville as I was recording it, making real life echo the plot in a chilling way. Parallels are drawn clearly between reality and fiction but as always, Lucy observes the dilemmas with empathy and complexity. And there’s a difficult-to-solve mystery thrown in to boot!

Listen to a sample here:

Posted by: Karen | August 29, 2017

YOUNG JANE YOUNG by Gabrielle Zevin plus Giveaway

Available now from Highbridge Audio.129022

From the Publisher:

Young Jane Young’s heroine is Aviva Grossman, an ambitious Congressional intern in Florida who makes the life-changing mistake of having an affair with her boss—who is beloved, admired, successful, and very married—and blogging about it. When the affair comes to light, the Congressman doesn’t take the fall, but Aviva does, and her life is over before it hardly begins. She becomes a late night talk show punchline; she is slut shamed and considered a blight on politics in general.

How does one go on after this? In Aviva’s case, she sees no way out but to change her name and move to a remote town in Maine. She tries to start over as a wedding planner, to be smarter about her life, and to raise her daughter to be strong and confident. But when, at the urging of others, she decides to run for public office herself, that long ago mistake trails her via the Internet like a scarlet A. For in our age, Google guarantees that the past is never, ever, truly past, that everything you’ve done will live on for everyone to know about for all eternity. And it’s only a matter of time until Aviva’s daughter, Ruby, finds out who her mother was, and is, and must decide whether she can still respect her.”

From the review at AudioFile Magazine:

“Narrator Karen White animates five perspectives in this story of Aviva, a young intern who has a disastrous affair with a congressman. The story is told by three generations of women, with their narratives advancing the story over 13 years. White excels at using accents, intonations, and emotions to create believable portrayals of primary and secondary characters. With equal aplomb, she portrays Aviva’s protective Jewish mother, Aviva herself after she’s reinvented herself as the witty Jane Young, Jane’s 13-year-old smart yet innocent daughter, and beleaguered Embeth, the congressman’s wife. Just as smoothly White transitions between the novel’s various literary devices, which include Ruby’s emails and a second-person “choose your own adventure” format. White captures relationship dynamics and irony with a light touch that reveals darker themes of sexism and the unforgiving nature of the Internet.”

My recording experience:

Besides the fact that I got to voice yet another parrot (you know I’m always up for that and am thankful to Jill Shalvis and the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books for providing prior experience) this book was full of interesting narration challenges, from the variety of characters to the nature of each voice, as described in the review above. On top of that, the issues the book tackles resonated with me as a woman. A couple of quotes that really had me ruminating: “to take care of something is to love it” and “a bad marriage was one that hadn’t had enough time to get good again”. Zevin‘s writing is smart and emotional – Young Jane Young would be a fantastic book club read as she gives us lots to think and talk about.

Listen to a sample here:

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.  Ila is the randomly selected winner and the CDs will be mailed out to her as soon as I get her address.  Thanks to all for entering!  I give away lots of books – to find out about them in the future, please consider following this blog, or my Facebook page, or on Twitter. Oftentimes, you can also enter there!

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