Friends and fans, I need your help. As you may know, I have written my first novel and am in the process of getting it published. It’s a nostalgic story about love and career set in Boston in 1988. I’m hoping you’ll all read and/or listen to it! Before we get to that point, have a problem that I need to solve and I’m requesting your assistance. Here’s a symptom of the problem: This was uploaded by a listener to Twitter. It’s a screenshot of my bio page on Hoopla (one of the services that lets listeners borrow digital audiobooks from public libraries). The photo is of author Karen White, who writes mysteries and women’s fiction while the words are about me. She I are often mixed up already on Twitter and Facebook. If I publish using the name Karen White, things will only get more confusing. So, I’m going to change my name. Just kidding. I’m going to adopt a pseudonym. Here’s where you come in. Below is a list of names I’m considering. The first two are variations on my name (Mase is my husband’s last name.) The following six are combinations of roles I’ve played in Shakespeare’s plays and places I’ve lived and/or locations in Boston. (One main character in each book is a member of a fictional Shakespeare theater company not at all based on any of the companies I worked with in the 1980s in Boston, of course.) K. E. White Karen Mase Elizabeth Charles Celia Ratcliffe Lucy Richmond Diana Grey Julia Lenox Helena Somerville I’ve checked that none of these names are already in use by other authors – you are welcome to suggest variations if you like but I can only consider them if they aren’t already taken. In the comments below, please vote for your favorite. Or favorites, if you really can’t choose. On my birthday, December 31, I will tally up the votes and make a decision. Everyone who has commented will be entered into a random drawing and the winner will get to name one of the characters in the first book – your name or one you make up. Thanks for your help and Happy Holidays! Update: K.E. White was a clear winner if I tally up the votes. While you all made some good arguments, pro and con, for choosing a name that connects to Karen White, I think keeping a connection to my real name will be more useful than trying to distance myself from the other author. I will have to figure out how I’ll be addressed when I go on those talk shows, though! 🙂 Thank you to you all for your thoughts and support. . . .
Available now from Highbridge Audio. 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!
AudioFile Earphones Award Winner. Available now from Harper Audio. 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.” . . .
Last 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!
Tales of Loss, Love, and Finding Your Own Power. 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, . . .
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! 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!
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. 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!
Available now from Highbridge Audio. 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.” From the Library Journal Starred Review: “Karen White’s clearly enunciated, steady-paced narration nicely relates this densely packed information that is essential for all public libraries, especially those in communities experiencing this phenomenon.” From the review at Every Day I Write the Book blog: “I listened to Nomadland on audio. It was narrated by my friend Karen White, who gave it just the gravity it needed. Her precise delivery, verging on alarmed, conveyed the substance and urgency of the topic, yet she handled the book’s wry and humorous moments just as well.” 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, there are articles at Nature Sport Central and 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!
A Heartbreaker Bay Novel. 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: Featured in Tease: Holiday Listening: “In CHASING CHRISTMAS EVE, White introduces listeners to Colbie Albright, who heads to San Francisco to avoid her own family drama and ends up with Spencer Baldwin — did I mention that he rescues her from an unfortunate encounter with a fountain? White creates Shalvis’s close-knit community in this holiday countdown romance.” My recording . . .
A Lucy Stone Mystery. 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: