Category: Rated R

The Making of a Book Cover 2.0

Honestly, I don’t remember why or when I decided that Ben Porter needed to be an underwear model a la Marky Mark in the 80’s Calvin Klein ads. Maybe it was just so I could do the research. Very arduous research, as you can imagine. But, to the cover. This time around I knew my genre–Romantic Comedy– and I didn’t have to find a designer because Lana at Bookcoverology did such an amazing job with the cover for WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR. And I had a slightly better idea of how the process should go. For instance, I now know how useful a Pinterest board can be. For book one, I emailed her folders of images. This time I could just collect them on boards. (I know people have been doing this for years but I’m not a particularly visual person so I never got the Pinterest thing. Now, I get it.) In addition to the actor/model Ben Porter, FORGET ABOUT ME is about Lucy Minola: an Italian-American vet tech with a gorgeous full figure. She wears scrubs at work, of course but her curves come out of hiding when a co-worker helps her find a vintage red dress to wear to an opening night party. Then there’s the dog that brings them together. If you’re not an animal person, you’ll probably hate this book. Between the dog training and the veterinary hospital scenes, animals are all over it. Puck–the stray that shows up on page one–is especially important, so of course he needed his own board. Benji from the movies series of the characters’ childhoods was an inspiration, then I just went nuts pinning expressive terrier mix faces. Another important element is the mixtape. When Lucy was a carefree teen, she was obsessed with mixtapes and making them for Ben was a key feature in her seduction of him back when he was just her big brother’s best friend. (You can get that story in the FREE ebook SIGNED, SEALED & DELIVERED by subscribing to my news or joining my FB group Wicked Smaht Retro Romcom Readers). Finally, for some reason the image of the Coppertone ad where a dog is pulling on a girl’s bathing suit would not leave my mind, so that went in an inspiration board, too. Then I sent that all to Lana and came up with this first sketch. I loved a lot about this. Probably top of the list was how Lana incorporated the Coppertone image idea by having Puck tug on Lucy’s sexy dress. There were a few small adjustments like making Lucy’s hair curly and switching locations of the tag line and sub-title. My PR advisor suggested a more intense yellow . . .

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Voice Arts Awards Winner 2019

You have to scroll waaay down through all of the Society of Voice Arts and Sciences 2019 winners (where only a small fraction of the narrators are credited) to Audiobook Narration – Biography, Best Voiceover category winner. There you’ll find a book I co-edited and for which I wrote and narrated an essay. Nevertheless We Persisted #MeToo was a courageous labor of love for all of us and I was proud to be a part of yet another important production from Blunderwoman Productions even before this award. If you choose to purchase the book, know that “half of the proceeds are being donated to https://www.rainn.org , a national sexual violence prevention and support resource. The other half of proceeds will be used to produce future BWP anthologies, allowing more writers to share their stories.” (from original Go Fund Me campaign)

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On Creativity with Erin Nicholas

Author Interview and Giveaway Books 1 & 2 of the Just Everyday Heroes, Day Shift series by Erin Nicholas from Tantor Audio ON CREATIVITY with Erin Nicholas A big thank you to Erin for her willingness to kick off my new series on the creative process. As someone who spends a great deal of time living in imaginary worlds (of my own and others’), I’m intensely curious about how creative minds behave, evolve and thrive. For these interviews, the victim, er, subject, had a long list of thirty questions to choose from regarding his or her process. I hope you find the answers as inspiring as I do. Me: What drives you to tell stories? Erin: I’ve been a story teller as long as I can remember. My parents tell stories of me making up elaborate pretend games for my friends and sister and I was writing stories long hand in notebooks from the time I could write. My dad tells about me being on family vacation road trips and missing all of the scenery because my head was bent over a notebook. I can’t imagine not telling stories. It’s a part of who I am and when I feel the most me. Me: What’s the part of your process that you savor? Erin:  I love when I find myself thinking about my characters and their story as if they are real and I’m waiting to hear the latest from their love story. Many of my heroines end up feeling like “friends” that I want to call and ask “How’s it going with that guy?” 🙂  That’s when I know I’m on the right track with the story! Me: What’s your favorite way to consume stories? (books – audio or print? podcasts? movies? TV?) Is that different from how you end up consuming most of the time? Erin: All of the above! 🙂 I read a lot and love audiobooks. I’m also a TV and movie junkie. I use podcasts mostly for “real life”… business and news…but I tell people that I love to hear/ read other people’s stories after spending my days telling my own. Me: Do you read books in the genre in which you write? if so, is there a part of your process when you avoid doing so? Erin: I absolutely do! And I never have to avoid it. I’m very good at switching between being a writer and a reader. I read to be entertained and have no trouble not over-thinking or analyzing or editing! 🙂 Me: What’s your earliest or favorite reading memory? Was it someone reading to you or you reading by yourself? Erin: My dad reading to me. Every night we read a chapter . . .

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Vintage Love Stories, by me and seven other fabulous people

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 . . .

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Stud in the Stacks by Pippa Grant

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 . . .

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ABOUT THAT KISS by Jill Shalvis

A Heartbreaker Bay novel. Available now from Harper Audio. From the Publisher: When love drives you crazy…. When sexy Joe Malone never calls after their explosive kiss, Kylie shoves him out of her mind. Until she needs a favor, and it’s a doozy. Something precious to her has been stolen, and there’s only one person with unique finder-and-fixer skills that can help – Joe. It means swallowing her pride and somehow trying to avoid the temptation to throttle him – or seduce him. the best thing to do…. No, Joe didn’t call after the kiss. He’s the fun-time guy, not the forever guy. And Kylie, after all she’s been through, deserves a good man who will stay. But everything about Kylie makes it damned hard to focus, and though his brain knows what he has to do, his heart isn’t getting the memo. is enjoy the ride. As Kylie and Joe go on the scavenger hunt of their lives, they discover surprising things about each other. Now, the best way for them to get over “that kiss” might just be to replace it with a hundred more. From the review in AudioFile Magazine: “White brings the spunky Kylie to life. The listener will chuckle as Kylie and Joe argue about her joining the investigation. White allows the listener to envision Kylie in her variety of disguises and brings out the sorrow she feels at the loss of her penguin. Listeners will especially fall in love with Kylie’s dog, Vinnie.” From the review at Books of My Heart: “Karen White was most enjoyable in this narration. I felt Kylie’s frustration at not being included and Joe’s total cluelessness as to having a relationship. She really does well with the male voices, better than one would expect.” From the review at Geeky Blogger’s Book Blog: “I love the Heartbreaker Bay series and was really happy with Joe/Kylie story. The great thing about this series is it balances humor and serious very well. Karen as always did a great job with the narration!” My recording experience: Kylie and Joe were such a lovable pair – both vulnerable because of life’s damages but still kicking ass and taking names, each in their own way. The “crime caper” element of this story was a lot of fun, too. Elderly Mrs. Winslow gets one of the best lines, per usual: “It’s all fun and games until somebody loses the handcuffs” but my favorite line was Kylie’s, “And I’m not a pretty puker, either.” Listen for these! Pretty sure I edited out my laughter… Listen to a sample here: THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.  Teresa is the randomly selected winner.  Thanks to all for entering!  I give . . .

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CHASING CHRISTMAS EVE by Jill Shalvis

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 . . .

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THE THING ABOUT LOVE by Julie James plus GIVEAWAY

Available now from Tantor Audio. From the Publisher: “FBI agents Jessica Harlow and John Shepherd have a past. The former lawyer and cocky Army Ranger clashed during their training at Quantico and gladly went their separate ways after graduating from the Academy. Six years later, the last thing either of them expects is to be assigned to work as partners in a high-profile undercover sting. For both of them, being paired with a former rival couldn’t come at a worse time. Recently divorced from a Hollywood producer and looking for a fresh start, Jessica is eager to prove herself at her new field office. And John is just one case away from his dream assignment to the FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue Team. In order to nail a corrupt Florida politician, they’ll have to find a way to work together—a task that becomes even trickier when they’re forced to hole up at a romantic beachfront resort as part of the investigation. Suddenly, the heat behind their nonstop sparring threatens to make the job a whole lot more complicated . . .” From the review at Reading Between the Lines Book Club: “Karen White is one of my favorite narrators. I’m ecstatic that she’s narrating this series. Not surprisingly, she aces every aspect of The Thing About Love! She nails the personality of both main characters with authentic, consistent and realistic-sounding male and female voices. Her pacing couldn’t be better. The end product is polished and professional. I literally could not put this audio down and I’m sure those around me on a pedestrian bridge that I frequently walk wondered what was going on as I burst out laughing at the hilarious banter throughout. I further confess to listening to some of this audio in my hot garage because I didn’t want to hit stop. Karen’s performance, without a doubt, added to my enjoyment of this read. If you are an audiophile, I would highly recommend that you elect to listen to The Thing About Love. Julie and Karen are a pairing made in heaven!” From the review at AudioGals: “Of course, I can always count on Karen White to deliver – her natural pacing, where it’s like she’s sitting next to you, just spinning a good yarn, makes listening to this a pleasure. She gives the Jacksonville mayor a good-old-boy Southern sound, without turning him into a cartoon, while both John and Jessica, as well as their parents, siblings, and friends, have no noticeable regional accents. She still manages to differentiate well without accents, so that it’s clear who is speaking when John and his buddies are talking together, and she has a believable contrast between the male and female characters. . . .

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HER REBEL HEART by Jamie Farrell plus GIVEAWAY

The Officers’ Ex-Wives Club, Book 1. Available now at Audible.com From the Publisher: This sexy military pilot is about to meet his match in an unpredictable physics professor! Kaci Boudreaux is every Southern mama’s nightmare, including her own. This former Miss Grits would rather tromp around in boots shooting off potato guns – and her mouth – than dress pretty and play nice with the boys. Especially her chauvinistic fellow professors, her ex-husband, and those military cargo pilots she accidentally started a war with. Lance Wheeler is every Southern belle’s dream, except his ex-fiancée’s. After being left at the altar, he’d love to take his C-130 and fly far, far away. But since his bird technically belongs to Uncle Sam (as does he), a distraction in the form of a feisty fireball of a physics professor will do while he’s waiting for his next deployment with the Air Force. He’s into her for the fun. She’s into him for the challenge. But when their secrets and fears start slipping out, their hearts – and even her job – will be on the line. She needs roots. He wants to see the world. What will they do about needing each other? My recording experience: Before recording any of the Misfit Brides series for Jamie, I read Southern Fried Blues (after reading a review at Dee’s Book Blog) and fell in love with Jamie’s writing, especially the way she captures the south.  This series has a complicated ordering, though, which Jamie explains in a blog post.  I hope you’ll check it out – it’s a completely different world from Blissed. The characters and scenario aren’t quite as quirky, but there’s still a good deal of humor. And quirk. But the real life challenges of being a military spouse as well as those faced by women working in a man’s world are both addressed, in mostly serious ways. With a grumpy cat thrown in for fun… Listen to a sample here: THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.  Janie M, KTBee, Jackie W., Dawn F. and E. Robbins are the randomly selected winners. I will be emailing Audible download codes to the 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! (If you’d like to buy a copy, using this link, I’ll receive a small percentage from Amazon through their Associates program. Narrators don’t earn royalties, so this is a way I can be compensated for marketing the book.)

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ACCIDENTALLY ON PURPOSE by Jill Shalvis

Available now from Harper Audio. From the Publisher: There’s no such thing as a little in love… Elle Wheaten’s priorities: friends, career, and kick-ass shoes. Then there’s the muscular wall of stubbornness that’s security expert Archer Hunt—who comes before everything else. No point in telling Mr. “Feels-Free Zone” that, though. Elle will just see other men until she gets over Archer . . . which should only take a lifetime . . . There’s no such thing as a little in lust… Archer’s wanted the best for Elle ever since he sacrificed his law-enforcement career to save her. But now that she’s earned happiness and success, Archer just wants Elle 24/7. Their chemistry could start the next San Francisco Earthquake, and Archer doesn’t want to be responsible for the damage. The alternative? Watch her go out with guys who aren’t him . . . There is such a thing as… As far as Archer’s concerned, nobody is good enough for Elle. But when he sets out to prove it by sabotaging her dates, she gets mad—and things get hot as hell. Now Archer has a new mission: prove to Elle that her perfect man has been here all along… From the review at AudioFile Magazine: “Two more friends find romance in Shalvis’s next audiobook in the Heartbreaker Bay series. Elle Wheaton and Archer Hunt share a past and are hesitant to deepen their relationship. Narrator Karen White expresses Elle’s take-charge attitude and Archer’s equally strong personality. Characters from the previous books add to the listener’s enjoyment, with White pleasantly voicing each of them. White successfully expresses the many humorous interactions between the characters. For those who are familiar with the series, it’s a visit with old friends. But those new to the series will enjoy the audiobook as well.” From the review at The Book Nympho: “Anytime I’m in the mood for a fun, sexy romance with yummy alpha-type guys and strong women I look to Jill Shalvis. Then pair that story with Karen White’s narrations and you have a good time waiting to happen.  These two ladies are one of my favorite teams when it comes to contemporary romances on audio.” From the review at Reading Between the Wines Book Club: “Karen White returns to narrate Accidentally on Purpose. She never fails to deliver a polished production and bring Jill’s wonderful characters to life. She aces all the voices – male, female and animal. Anytime I see that Karen has narrated a book that I want to read, I always elect to listen rather than read as I know that Karen will enhance my enjoyment of the story.” From The Geeky Blogger’s 30 Days of Thanks post: “Today (Day . . .

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