Romance Fans! For a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card in addition to ten signed paperback plus assorted author swag, all you have to do is fill out the form in this link, which will sign you up for the participating authors’ newsletters. (You can unsubscribe at any time, of course.) Entries close September 23rd and the winner will be announced September 25th, so enter now! Just click this link to enter: http://bit.ly/LENB082020
I tried to get this to work yesterday but it was a failure. So trying again today. Here we go: So, I have a confession to make. I thought that all my new blog posts were being automatically emailed to subscribers, but for some reason that has not been happening for awhile. It’s taken me some time and (for me) a whole load of mental gymnastics to navigate the maze of RSS feeds and other gobbledygook to figure all this out, so forgive me if you received an email yesterday with no content. And please have mercy on me for blundering through all this in the midst of multiple national crises. This will probably end up in your spam folder. But if it doesn’t, if you’re still with me, before you actively unsubscribe, I do have some big news. My first novel releases June 23. You can find it in this nifty list of new releases linked here (and I appreciating you clicking through as that gives me credit on this promotion): https://books.bookfunnel.com/junenewreleases/qq10knllle Also, I’ll be reading from my book at the virtual event NOIR AT THE BAR on Thursday, June 11 at 7pm EST. (My book is not a mystery but the organizer, Edwin Hill is an author I record for who has kindly invited me to read anyway. I’ll also be reading a bit from one of his Hester Thursby books. It’s free and doesn’t require an app but you do need to sign up to attend here: https://www.crowdcast.io/e/virtual-noir-at-the-bar-4 Plus, Please save the date for another virtual event coming Thursday, June 25 at 8pm EST. More on that coming soon…but, (hint, hint) it includes EIGHT audiobooks narrators! Finally, Between now and June 23, if you want to help me get word out on my novel, I have a whole “secret” page set up where you can find links to follow me on my new author social media sites, download images and copy and paste posts. ANY help from this page is very much appreciated. Thanks for your support and feel free to unsubscribe if you no longer want to receive emails about Karen White audiobooks, Karen Grey books, articles on Creativity, recipes and/or cute pet photos. Actually the latter are mostly on Instagram and Pinterest. Like this one:
or, SOCIAL DISTANCING AND YOUR READING LIFE Since we are all grappling with the changes that prescribed social distancing is bringing to life at the moment, I thought it might be a good time to share some ideas for ways to keep reading and listening without all the money going to one monopoly of a company, even if you can’t leave your house. Have you seen a bookmark like this on the counter of your local bookstore? If you have, that means they are a partner store with Libro.fm. I’ve been a fan of audiobook distributor Libro.fm since I first learned about the company. In fact when I did, I emailed the man who started the company and said, “You stole my idea!” Now, Mark Pearson couldn’t have stolen my idea since it only existed in my head, but years ago I did think it’d be a great idea for someone to figure out how independent bookstores could sell audiobooks. My local bookseller had explained that it just wasn’t cost effective for them to stock audiobook CDs. Even Barnes and Noble tends to stock only a small display of audiobooks. Meanwhile, Mark Pearson founded Libro.fm. Here’s how it works: When you sign up for your Libro.fm account, you get to choose your partner bookstore and every time you purchase an audiobook, that store gets a percentage of the profit. If you don’t choose a specific store, that percentage goes into a pot that benefits all member bookstores. In this way, even if you don’t leave your house, you can support your local economy. “But,” you might say, “I have a subscription and I download a book or two a month from a different company.” Here’s the thing. You may or may not know this, but the company you’re mostly likely talking about is owned by a much larger company. A company that not only owns online retail but actively squeezes profits from publishers and authors by using books as loss leaders. If you’ve studied any economics, you’ll know that it’s not healthy for most markets if one company holds a monopoly. So if we want authors to be able to afford to write and publishers to publish, we need to push back against the monopoly. One way to do that is to buy elsewhere. Here’s the awesome thing. You can get the same exact subscription at Libro.fm with almost** the same selection of books. I’m such a fan, I talked Mark into letting me share an incentive. If you try out Libro.fm with the code KARENWHITE, you get THREE BOOKS FOR THE PRICE OF ONE. https://libro.fm/redeem/karenwhite You won’t lose the books you’ve purchased from other companies. You’ll just listen to . . .
Home for the holidays, my daughter was describing some issue with her roommates or her classes or her job. Honestly, I can’t remember what she was talking about, probably because I wasn’t listening carefully. What I did do, was jump in with my opinion about what was happening. After I’d held forth for a few moments she stopped me with, “I don’t need you to solve my problems, Mommy.” What she didn’t say was, “But I do need you to listen to me.” I heard it all the same. And that’s my word for 2020. Listen. I’m worried about what’s happening in the world, about the high levels of acrimony and anger. My impulse is to fix things, but these issues are so deep and complicated that I don’t even know where to begin. I’m also aware of my position of relative privilege. I’m female, but I’m white, well-educated and grew up without hardship. My health is good and my family is well (at least at the moment–avaunt evil spirits). I live in a city that has a history of racial violence, is currently affected by the opioid crisis, but in my neighborhood it’s easy to avoid all of that. I volunteer at the homeless shelter, give money to various causes, but I’m hesitant to wade it to the larger problems because they seem so complex. Meanwhile, I do my best to live lightly upon the earth, raise my girls to be good people, take care of my critters and do work that helps, or at least doesn’t hurt people. None of this seems like enough, but I’m aware that problem solving from a POV of privilege is not useful, whether it’s gang issues in my community or my kid’s problems at school. I think the best thing I can do right now is listen. To as many people, from as many different backgrounds, as I can. So that’s my word for 2020. What’s yours?
I wrote this article for Readerly Magazine back in 2015, but it’s been brought to my attention that it’s no longer findable online, so I’m reposting it here, with a few edits for clarity. Jen Karsbaek wrote (way back in 2015 in her blog Devourer of Books) an article to kick off Audiobook Month with what I thought were wonderfully practical tips on getting started as an audiobook listener. Her first three suggestions: using audiobooks to re-read books and choosing books which are engaging and fast paced but not overly complex. These make a lot of sense to me. In our current age, we take in information primarily through our eyes and in short bursts. Audiobooks demand that we take in information only through our ears, concentrating for long periods of time. In Shakespeare’s day, 400+ years ago, it was the opposite. People talked of going to hear rather than see a play. A written sentence at that time averaged over twenty words in length. When I was studying all this as a teaching artist twenty-five years ago, the average sentence’s word length was seven. Today, I imagine it’s even shorter. All this is to say that our brains are certainly capable of the kind of concentration that audiobooks require, but many of us may never have developed these neural pathways. But they are there for the using, and many devoted audiobook fans report that building up this particular muscle is relatively painless and worth the effort. The reward is receiving an intimate performance that is like no other. And that brings me to Jen’s final suggestion: listen to the best narrators. As a narrator myself, I hope I can give you a backstage peek as to what skills and talent are involved in creating an excellent audiobook performance, and why it makes a difference. I have been privileged to serve on a few panels on the topic in the past few years. In April 2015 a group of narrators recorded a chat for the AudioGals blog moderated by Lea Hensley and in May a group of nine narrators, led by the indomitable Johnny Heller, taught a workshop to a group of more than eighty narrators in New York. I learned a few things from my colleagues, but also realized that there are values we all share in our work. Audiobook narration is a subset of the acting profession. While some non-actor narrators may get away with innate storytelling instincts, having a solid base of actor training is considered the professional standard. Learning to break down a script into playable actions, studying a wide variety of genres, and training one’s body and voice so that they are as expressive as . . .
Available now from Blunderwoman Productions in audio, ebook and paperback formats. From the Publisher: A collection of sweet, tender, poetic, beautiful, heart-wrenching, sensual, love stories. These stories share a common theme of love, set in a time period before cell phones and social media. “Second Best” by Brenna Aldrich 1944. The South. Can a heartbroken young woman learn to love again? “Didn’t It Rain” by Kathryn Burns 1964. Manchester. A teenager realizes her love for music…and for a girl. “The Painted World” by Cassandra Campbell It’s 1959, New York and Tennessee. Will a young woman choose the life she’s meant to live or the life she longs for? “Adele” by Tony Healey A couple who’s been married for decades. A secret shared. And a love that shows the beauty in supporting a partner when they share their authentic self. “Purple Roses” by Christina Thompson A quiet farmhouse. A lifetime love, lost. A message sent from beyond that restores faith, hope, and blessings for a new love. “She Screams” by Jacob Strunk 1940s. A smoky bar. Jazz. Where love and lust seduces like a song. “Can’t Get Used To Losing You” by K.E. White (aka Karen White) It’s the 1980s. First love. Young love. But is it a forever love? “To Love Is To Burn” by Amanda R. Woomer 1871, Peshtigo, Wisconsin. A deadly wildfire and the love that rises from the ashes. These stories make us swoon, make us laugh, cause tears and sighs. The world needs more love, and we are excited to share it. From the review at AudioFile Magazine: “In this audio story collection, the characters’ relationships range from developing love to instant attraction. All but one of the stories is narrated by a single voice, while “Can’t Get Used to Losing You” is performed by Mark Turetsky and Tara Sands, who alternate chapters. The mix of long and short stories is set in a time before email, the Internet, and cell phones. Each exudes a charm of its own, tugging at your attention and passions. The final, unforgettable, story, “She Screams,” is performed by J. Rodney Turner, whose deep voice croons like that of an enthralled lover reciting poetry. These love stories, with themes as old as time, are worth listening to again and again.” My WRITING experience: I’ve been working on a romance series for the past year and half or so. I’d been doing a lot of backstory writing for the second book in the series and I wasn’t sure if it really fit in the novel. When I saw the Blunderwoman call for submissions for this collection, I decided that I needed to turn those scenes into a short story. Even though I’d never written . . .
Available now from Tantor Audio. From the Publisher: When it comes to women, I know what they want. And all day long, I give it to them. Dark, broody, and sexy? You got it. Need to laugh? I’m your guy. Desperate for something to put you in the mood? You’ve come to the right place, kitten. Every morning when my library opens, there’s a line around the block, the ladies flocking to me in need of their next book boyfriend. I’m that dude. The one who knows his way around the romance section. And if you think that hasn’t gotten me plenty of action over the years, you’d be wrong. But I made a slight miscalculation at work, and now my reputation has my job in danger. If I can’t prove to my boss that I’m more than a playboy who recommends romance in the hopes of getting some hanky panky in the stacks, I’m headed for the unemployment line. Enter Parker Elliott. She rocks a mean guitar, she has no idea how sexy she is, and she’s in need of a temporary fake boyfriend. Best of all? She doesn’t have a library card. I couldn’t have found a better fake fiancée if I’d written her myself. Contains mature themes. From the review at Geeky Bloggers Book Blog: “Karen and Joe—what to say other than they both brought the sassy sexy. Yes I said that right cause both of these characters were super snarky, sassy, sexy, and tons of fun. I highly recommend this on audio.” From the review at Books of My Heart: “Karen White is well familiar to me. I enjoy her so much as she nails this type of heroine who has some insecurities. Joe Arden was new to me but I liked his kind of raspy voice – oh yeah, perfect for sexy. I listened at my usual 1.25 speed. The performance really brought out all the feels.” From the review at That’s What I’m Talking About: “The narration for this story is nearly perfect. Right from start I love both narrators. Joe Arden captures the cocky, f-u attitude of Knox. Karen White hits the frantic/panicky neuroses of Parker. They nail the main characters. I enjoyed Joe’s supporting characters a bit more than Karen’s, but both do a good job of providing unique, well-suited voices for the side characters. The narration added to the overall ambiance of the tale.” My recording experience: Loved working with both Pippa Grant and Joe Arden for the first time – hope y’all find it a winning combo and that we get to do it again! Listen to a sample here: THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. Christine is the randomly selected winner. Thanks to . . .
Available now from Highbridge Audio. From the Publisher: “The first comprehensive history of Hollywood’s high-flying career women during the studio era, Nobody’s Girl Friday covers the impact of the executives, producers, editors, writers, agents, designers, directors, and actresses who shaped Hollywood film production and style, led their unions, climbed to the top during the war, and fought the blacklist. Based on a decade of archival research, author J.E. Smyth uncovers a formidable generation working within the American film industry and brings their voices back into the history of Hollywood. Their achievements, struggles, and perspectives fundamentally challenge popular ideas about director-based auteurism, male dominance, and female disempowerment in the years between First and Second Wave Feminism. Nobody’s Girl Friday is a revisionist history, but it’s also a deeply personal, collective account of hundreds of working women, the studios they worked for, and the films they helped to make. For many years, historians and critics have insisted that both American feminism and the power of women in Hollywood declined and virtually disappeared from the 1920s through the 1960s. But Smyth vindicates Bette Davis’s claim. The story of the women who called the shots in studio-era Hollywood has never fully been told—until now.” My recording experience: This book was provocative in terms of seeing what ground has been gained and lost for women over the years in Hollywood. A must for avid fans and students of cinema history, it seems that J.E. Smyth has unearthed facts ignored by previous (male) historians. Not only did I have a good time doing the research on this one (to find name pronunciations of many of the lesser-known actors, editors, designers, etc that are mentioned, I watched a LOT of YouTube videos including ancient Oscars telecasts and episodes of What’s My Line) I also learned some random facts, for one, that the Republican Party was the first to support the Equal Rights Amendment. Listen to a sample here: THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. Lee F. 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!
In the past few month I feel lucky to have recorded several non-fiction titles that have given me new insights into today’s troubled times. Two of these books, The Middle of Nowhere by Mary Pipher and Witnessing Whiteness by Shelly Tochluk, were actually published years ago but have received increased interest due to what’s happening in our country right now and are thus getting published in audiobook form for the first time (both from Tantor Audio). Both are usefully, but somewhat sadly, even more relevant now than when they were first written. If you, like me, want to have a deeper understanding of the cultural currents in our society, I highly recommend them both. Over the past decade, Mary Pipher has been a great source of wisdom, helping us to better understand our family members. Now she connects us with the newest members of the American family—refugees. In cities all over the country, refugees arrive daily. Lost Boys from Sudan, survivors from Kosovo, families fleeing Afghanistan and Vietnam: they come with nothing but the desire to experience the American dream. Their endurance in the face of tragedy and their ability to hold on to the virtues of family, love, and joy are a lesson for Americans. Their stories will make you laugh and weep—and give you a deeper understanding of the wider world in which we live. The Middle of Everywhere moves beyond the headlines into the homes of refugees from around the world. Working as a cultural broker, teacher, and therapist, Mary Pipher has once again opened our eyes—and our hearts—to those with whom we share the future. Witnessing Whiteness invites listeners to consider what it means to be white, describes and critiques strategies used to avoid race issues, and identifies the detrimental effect of avoiding race on cross-race collaborations. The author illustrates how racial discomfort leads white people toward poor relationships with people of color. Questioning the implications our history has for personal lives and social institutions, the book considers political, economic, socio-cultural, and legal histories that shaped the meanings associated with whiteness. Drawing on dialogue with well-known figures within education, race, and multicultural work, the book offers intimate, personal stories of cross-race friendships that address both how a deep understanding of whiteness supports cross-race collaboration and the long-term nature of the work of excising racism from the deep psyche. Concluding chapters offer practical information on building knowledge, skills, capacities, and communities that support anti-racism practices, a hopeful look at our collective future, and a discussion of how to create a culture of witnesses who support allies for social and racial justice.