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Currently Browsing: JIAM
Jun
19

JIAM Narrator Interview: Amanda Ronconi

JIAM Narrator Interview: Amanda Ronconi Each June, audiophiles from around the country celebrate all things audiobook. Since we love to listen and review audiobooks here at That’s What I’m Talking About, we are participating in our own Audiobook celebration.  What would an audiobook be without a narrator? As part of Audiobook Month, we are interviewing some of our favorite narrators so you can learn a bit more about who they are and what they do. Narrator Interviews! Please help me welcome Ms. Amanda Ronconi! How long have you been narrating audiobooks and how did you get started? Almost 10 years.  I wanted to do it for longer but the world of audiobook recording was a lot harder to break into before that.  How I got my first audiobook audition was because I worked for a long time at a restaurant where a couple of audiobook producers used to come in for coffee and dessert and after I got to know them, they brought me in for an audition and luckily I had a good amount of acting experience already which prepared me to handle the demands of audiobook narrating.  They hired me for my first book right after that. What genres do you cover? Do you have a favorite genre? I do a lot of romance, lots of fun quirky books that often have a comedic voice. I get to do a fair amount of young adult books, which are really fun.  They are usually more emotionally raw which is fun for an actor. I like comedy, but then I also really like to do non-fiction too.  I don’t read much non-fiction for pleasure… but I have found that when I have a non-fiction project I get to learn about things I might not otherwise read about if I was picking out a book on my own.  It’s challenging and hopefully makes me more interesting at parties. You have worked on multiple-book series. Do you maintain the same voice for each character from book to book? If so, how do you keep track of dozen or so different voices?  I am always aiming to maintain the same character voices from book to book.  Sometimes there are years between recording books in the same series.  I always keep a list of characters from books I know are part of a series.  I usually base characters on actors or characters in movies or on tv, so I will jot down who they are based on as...
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Jun
19

JIAM #Audiobook Review: Miss Fix-it by Emma Hart

JIAM #Audiobook Review: Miss Fix-it by Emma Hart Welcome to our feature that focus on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Review: Miss Fix-it Author: Emma Hart Narrator: Elizabeth Hart Audio Listening Speed: 1.5x Series: Standalone Genre: Contemporary Romance Source: Tantor Audio I absolutely LOVED this standalone novel.  Miss Fix-it is a hilarious and heartfelt story of a fine craftswoman contractor and an overwhelmed single dad.  I cannot wait to listen to this again. Honestly, I picked up Miss Fix-It on a whim as I was reviewing the ARC’s available. The bright and silly cover along with the title and description – it spoke to me. Brantley and Kallie’s romance was full of passion, romance, humor and strong familial ties. The twins were as adorable as they were devious. Brantley recently moved to Kallie’s small town for a fresh start.  Trying to move-in, unpack, and acclimate to this job transfer is completely overwhelming.  It is made even more complicated when he discovers water damage in the children’s bedrooms.  As Kallie is not only the best but also really only contractor for the job, Brantley hires her to fix the kids rooms.  What truly surprises him is that not only is Kallie a woman, but a smart, funny and very attractive woman. Kallie is used to new people doing the double take when she shows up to a new job.  She is slowly taking over her father’s contracting business so it surprises new clients when she shows up and not her dad.  However, for the most part, Kallie loves her life.  Except for her dating life which is filled with men that are either condescending to her (and her chosen profession), perverts, or just plain strange.  It does not help that her online dating profile seems to attract some of the truly bizarre.  As a professional, Kallie takes the “you’re a woman” in stride, proving her worth through her expert artisanship.  However, the instant and overwhelming attraction to Brantley is surprising, and inconvenient.  She has a major no “messing around” with the clients.  Not only that, she has no desire to have children and comes with two rambunctious toddlers.  However, the longer Kallie works around Brantley, the more she seems to be painting herself into the corner of love with him. I think what really touches me in this novel is the connection Kallie has to her mother in the story.  Kallie’s mother is actually her stepmother.  At the age of seven, Kallie’s mother passed away, her father remarrying when...
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Jun
18

JIAM Narrator Spotlight: Susan Boyce

JIAM Narrator Spotlight: Susan Boyce Each June, audiophiles from around the country celebrate all things audiobook. Since we love to listen and review audiobooks here at That’s What I’m Talking About, we are participating in our own Audiobook celebration.  What would an audiobook be without a narrator? As part of Audiobook Month, we are spotlighting various narrators so you can learn a bit more about who they are and what they do. Narrator Spotlights! Today we shine the spotlight on: Susan Boyce Tell us how long have you been narrating books? since 2009 What genres do you cover? Do you have a favorite? Mysteries, fiction, biography, self-development, history. Do you do any other voice work or acting? Song and dance entertainer in the duo act of Jones & Boyce since 1979. Voice telephone systems, documentary and instructional films, toys and games. What is your favorite job to date? Singing Ragtime songs at Festivals and concert halls. How do prepare for a job? Does the preparation depend on the genre or type of book? This is a BIG question. I studied acting and theatre for 4 years and got a degree in it. That helps me enormously for every book. I “pre-read” the book before I record and I familiarize myself with the author, the story, the characters and the point of view. If it’s familiar already, then the prep time is a bit less. If you could narrate any book or work with any author past or present, what would you choose? Why? Dorothy Parker or Loren Eisley. Both are brilliant wordsmiths and I admire them. Anything else you’d like to share? All Charlotte Hubbard’s Amish Series novels are truly heartwarming. No Time For Tears by Judy Heath , Sgt Reckless by Robin Hutton, The Missile Next Door by Gretchen Heefner, How Women Decide by Therese Huston, Introvert Power by Laurie Helgoe and The Confident Parent by Jane Scott are all informative and enlightening. My 2 personal fiction faves are This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! by Jonathan Evison and What My Body Remembers by Agnete Friis. About the Narrator: Actor, singer, dancer and voice talent since 1979. Recorded 145 audiobooks since 2009. 5 Earphones Awards from AudioFile magazine. As well as narrating books, voicing toys is a favorite gig (Boyce is the voice of the Pink Care Bear plush toy). Ragtime music, gardening and faithful pup Vivian are other passions, as is living in America’s oldest city, St Augustine,...
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Jun
17

JIAM Narrator Spotlight: Gomez Pugh

JIAM Narrator Spotlight: Gomez Pugh Each June, audiophiles from around the country celebrate all things audiobook. Since we love to listen and review audiobooks here at That’s What I’m Talking About, we are participating in our own Audiobook celebration.  What would an audiobook be without a narrator? As part of Audiobook Month, we are spotlighting various narrators so you can learn a bit more about who they are and what they do. Narrator Spotlights! Today we shine the spotlight on: Gomez Pugh Tell us how long have you been narrating books? 5 years. What genres do you cover? Do you have a favorite? M/M romance, Erotica, Mystery, Suspense. I love Noir. Do you do any other voice work or acting? Yes. I am an actor – on stage and on camera as well as narrating audiobooks. How do prepare for a job? Does the preparation depend on the genre or type of book? I read through the book while taking notes: questions about pronunciation, character traits, anything that happens later in the book that needs to be foreshadowed earlier, etc. I also mark up any particularly difficult passages so that when I get in the booth I have a better shot of getting through them without having to stop. I prefer to talk with the author, but some publishers frown on that. When I have the opportunity, I almost always find it helpful. Maybe it comes from theatre background – I think the collaboration makes the project better. I am I usually find it more satisfying that just prepping on my own. The prep is mostly the same, regardless of genre. Sometimes I have to do research on accents and dialects, depending on the world the book is set in . . . If you could narrate any book or work with any author past or present, what would you choose? Why? I would love to go back and narrate the old Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe stories . . . also, it’d be pretty cool to collaborate with Shakespeare . . . Anything else you’d like to share? I recently finished production on Loaded: An Enemies-to-Lovers Romance By: Roxie Noir And I am really proud of the collaboration Jordan Castillo Price have done on the PsyCop series. Nine and counting! About the Narrator: Born and raised in Northern California, and after a decade and a half in New York City, Gomez now enjoys living in The City of Angels. It’s a great town....
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Jun
16

JIAM Narrator Spotlight: Marie Hoffman

JIAM Narrator Spotlight: Marie Hoffman Each June, audiophiles from around the country celebrate all things audiobook. Since we love to listen and review audiobooks here at That’s What I’m Talking About, we are participating in our own Audiobook celebration.  What would an audiobook be without a narrator? As part of Audiobook Month, we are spotlighting various narrators so you can learn a bit more about who they are and what they do. Narrator Spotlights! Today we shine the spotlight on: Marie Hoffman Tell us how long have you been narrating books? Since 2012. What genres do you cover? Do you have a favorite? Paranormal cozy mysteries, nonfiction, memoir, biography, historical fiction. Do you do any other voice work or acting? Yes, I voice e-learning, training and ESL modules for corporations and universities. What is your favorite job to date? I love recording, whether it’s an audiobook, a PSA, or an e-learning module. How do prepare for a job? Does the preparation depend on the genre or type of book? Prep work involves not only reading the book but also researching the author – is this his/her first book, what other books have they written, go to their website and learn something more about them. I have in the past spoken directly with the author to get a personal feel from them. If you could narrate any book or work with any author past or present, what would you choose? Why? To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. This story has been a part of my life since I was a little girl. I never tire of watching the movie nor of reading the story. Anything else you’d like to share? I just finished a trilogy, the “Restless Spirits Cozy Ghost Mysteries” by Angela Pepper. Angela’s stories are easy to follow, her sense is humor is fabulous and each story features a female who learns something new about herself by the end of each book. About the Narrator: I am an audiobook narrator (nonfiction, memoirs, paranormal cozy mysteries, and fiction) with 25+ years of business experience, from publishing to investment banking to pharmaceuticals. I also taught elementary school for a number of years. I am also devoted to supporting and volunteering at the JBI Library (established in 1931 as the Jewish Braille Institute). Setting aside time to record books so that those who are visually impaired, and educationally challenged can also enjoy published works of art, brings me great pleasure. I am also a member...
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Jun
16

JIAM Narrator Spotlight: Tiffany Williams

JIAM Narrator Spotlight: Tiffany Williams Each June, audiophiles from around the country celebrate all things audiobook. Since we love to listen and review audiobooks here at That’s What I’m Talking About, we are participating in our own Audiobook celebration.  What would an audiobook be without a narrator? As part of Audiobook Month, we are spotlighting various narrators so you can learn a bit more about who they are and what they do. Narrator Spotlights! Today we shine the spotlight on: Tiffany Williams Tell us how long have you been narrating books? 5 years. What genres do you cover? Do you have a favorite? Business, self-development, cozy mysteries, romance, fantasy, kids, … I like them all! It’s always fun to learn about new things, so the non-fiction books are nice to do along with the fiction. But I do love creating characters for the fiction titles. It lets me get back to my theatre training. Do you do any other voice work or acting? I’ve done some voice over work for up and coming animators, theatres, and a few training videos. What is your favorite job to date? Oh my goodness…. that is too hard to say. I’ve had such great working relationships with many authors and publishers that I can’t pick just one! How do prepare for a job? Does the preparation depend on the genre or type of book? For every book, I read it all the way through and take notes on the characters, location, dialects, etc. to make sure I have everything I need to fully develop the characters. When possible, I reach out and get additional information from the authors. If you could narrate any book or work with any author past or present, what would you choose? Why? “The Velveteen Rabbit” is my favorite book of all time. I’ve adored it since I was a child. I still go through all the feels when I read or listen to it. It’s everything I want in a book. Anything else you’d like to share? I’ve just started working on the “Wisteria Witches Mysteries” by Angela Pepper, and will be continuing on Lindzee Armstrong’s “No Match for Love” series, and Kirsten Osbourn’s “At the Altar” series. About the Narrator: Tiffany has been narrating audiobooks since 2013. She’s has been working professionally since 1993 as an actor; director; producer; costume, sound and prop designer; stage manager; technical assistant; box office assistant; board member; business manager, production manager and college professor for theatres...
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Jun
15

JIAM Narrator Spotlight: Elizabeth Klett

JIAM Narrator Spotlight: Elizabeth Klett Each June, audiophiles from around the country celebrate all things audiobook. Since we love to listen and review audiobooks here at That’s What I’m Talking About, we are participating in our own Audiobook celebration.  What would an audiobook be without a narrator? As part of Audiobook Month, we are spotlighting various narrators so you can learn a bit more about who they are and what they do. Narrator Spotlights! Today we shine the spotlight on: Elizabeth Klett Tell us how long have you been narrating books? I have been narrating professionally since 2011, and as a volunteer since 2007. What genres do you cover? Do you have a favorite? I narrate mostly fiction, although I occasionally voice non-fiction. I’ve done classics, contemporary and historical romance, science fiction, fantasy, paranormal, short stories, children’s literature, mystery, thriller, YA, drama, poetry, and horror. I really enjoy historical fiction and romance, and have found a niche of sorts narrating Jane Austen-inspired novels. I’ve narrated all of Austen’s original novels at one time or another, as a volunteer and professionally, and have also done quite a few contemporary Austen “variations.” Do you do any other voice work or acting? I also work as a voice actor, and have done a variety of jobs, particularly for educational companies. Probably the most unusual job I’ve done was as an Irish-accented mermaid for a website that sells functional mermaid tails for children and adults! What is your favorite job to date? It’s impossible to pick just one. I really enjoy when I get involved with a good series that’s ongoing. For example, right now I’m working on the Ginger Gold mystery series by Lee Strauss, which is a 1920s cozy set in London with a smart fashionista heroine. It’s great fun, with lots of colorful characters. Similarly, I’ve done seven books in the Alexis Carew series by J.A. Sutherland, which is SFF, a sort of Royal Navy in space story with a spunky, strong, complex young heroine. I’m always happy when the author gets in touch to say that he’s got the next one coming out soon. How do prepare for a job? Does the preparation depend on the genre or type of book? It depends on the company I’m working for whether or not I talk with the author in advance. For the bigger publishers I usually do prep and research on my own and then work with a proofer and editor. For the independent companies...
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Jun
15

JIAM #Audiobook Review: Escape Claws by Linda Reilly

JIAM #Audiobook Review: Escape Claws by Linda Reilly Welcome to our feature that focus on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Reviews: Escape Claws Author: Linda Reilly Narrator: Callie Beaulieu Audio Listening Speed: 1.5x Series: Cat Lady Mysteries #1 Genre: Cozy Mystery Source: Tantor Audio Having recently enjoyed a few “cozy mysteries” on audio, as read by some of my favorite narrators, I thought I’d give an unknown a try. This is how I ended up listening Escape Claws, the first title in the Cat Lady Mysteries. While the premise was interesting and the mystery quite good, the overall presentation of the book didn’t work for me. Lara is a twenty-something artist living above a bakery shop in Boston. For various, never really specified reasons, she never went back to visit her beloved aunt after Lara and her parents left their small New Hampshire town for the bright lights of Massachusetts. Having recently reconnected with her BFF from childhood (Lara moved when she was six), she finds out that her aunt is struggling with her health, taking care of her numerous cats, and is being harassed by a local businessman. This prompts Lara to head back to her roots. However, shortly after she arrives, said businessman is found murdered on her aunt’s property, keeping Lara in place until everything is cleared up. The mystery of who killed Theo Barnes is exciting, holding my interest until the end, despite my issues with the book. I also enjoyed watching Lara reconnect with her aunt. While I’m a bit baffled why her family never visited after they moved (NH is not that far from greater Boston), I excepted that there were probably some unexplained family drama we aren’t privy to. Lara internalizes her guilt over abandoning her favorite aunt, which allows her to contemplate where she’s heading in her life, giving her character some depth.  However, the book itself was slow, and it felt extremely dated. Lara, age 27, uses terms like “flipity-flopity” and “presses her jeans.” These are not typical actions of any 27-year-old I have been around, reminding me of Ned Flanders from the Simpsons. Additionally, at one point, characters outright put down the romance and erotic romance genres, which turned me off. The book is set in present time, but the way the author develops her characters and the setting feels old to me. Finally, some of the characters are annoying and some of the towns’ folks come across stereotypical in nature. The narration by Ms. Beaulieu is decent;...
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Jun
14

JIAM Narrator Spotlight: Laurel Schroeder

JIAM Narrator Spotlight: Laurel Schroeder Each June, audiophiles from around the country celebrate all things audiobook. Since we love to listen and review audiobooks here at That’s What I’m Talking About, we are participating in our own Audiobook celebration.  What would an audiobook be without a narrator? As part of Audiobook Month, we are spotlighting various narrators so you can learn a bit more about who they are and what they do. Narrator Spotlights! Today we shine the spotlight on: Laurel Schroeder Do you have a pseudonym you’d like to share? Tracy Marks Tell us how long have you been narrating books? I’ve been narrating for the past 4 years, and went full time with it in February of 2016. My birthday is in February, and taking that leap was my present to myself. What genres do you cover? Do you have a favorite? I narrate a wide variety of genres! I do a lot of young adult and new adult fantasy, and I love it. I also narrate a lot of romance and really enjoy that genre as well. This year I got to delve into my first few mystery and suspense novels, and that was really fun! I’ve only narrated one horror novel, and I scared the pants off myself. 🙂 Do you do any other voice work or acting? I’ve been a stage actor for many years, and do some TV and film acting as well. I do a little bit of commercial voice work, but audiobooks are my true love. What is your favorite job to date? I can’t choose! It’s too hard! How do prepare for a job? Does the preparation depend on the genre or type of book? It definitely depends on the book. If there are a lot of words or names I’m not familiar with, part of my prep will be to look those up. But generally, the first thing I’ll do is read through the book, and mark it up in preparation to record. I make notes on the characters, and keep them separate so that when I finish reading I can refer back to them. If possible, I always like to touch base with the author before I head into the booth. But in a well-written book, all the info I need is already on the page, so it’s just my job to honor the words! If you could narrate any book or work with any author past or present, what would you choose?...
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Jun
14

JIAM #Audiobook Review: Mikhail by Lauren Smith

JIAM #Audiobook Review: Mikhail by Lauren Smith Welcome to our feature that focus on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Review: Mikhail Author: Lauren Smith Narrator: Lucy Rivers Audio Listening Speed: 1.5x Series: Brothers of Ash and Fire/A Royal Dragon Romance #2 Genre: Paranormal Romance Source: Tantor Audio After reading the first book in the series, Grigori, I was intrigued to find the second book available via audio.  Glad I picked it up; I felt that the novel was more enjoyable in this format. Mikhail begins with the betrayal he endures from Queen Elizabeth.  Because of this betrayal, Mikhail is exiled from his family, unable to return unless he fulfills his duty and brings the treasure home.  Fast forward 500 years (give or take a few decades), Mikhail sees that the jewels have been discovered.  Because of the way they were found, the complete treasure collection will be auctioned by a private auction house in London after being authenticated and documented by two gemologists, one of which catches Mikhail’s eye as well as his dragon’s. Piper was a bit of a stereotype at first.  She is the curvy girl, shy of her body with a somewhat negative body image, and is a 30 year-old virgin.  Her drive to achieve her career goals has truly derailed any sort of gain in her personal goals.  What keeps this from being annoying or rote is the contrast of Mikhail and that Piper isn’t always negative.  She has a spine and isn’t always afraid to use it.  In fact, there are several stereotypical or clichéd plot points/moments that woven with everything actually makes the novel a bit lighthearted and fun.  I wasn’t sure at first, but by the end I was convinced.   Being able to hear Mikhail’s voice with the full Russian accent truly adds that additional dimension to the story.  Ms. Rivers’s accents was so flawless that I actually had trouble at times discerning certain words.  Though it is easily made clear, it added a bit of reality to the novel.  I liked the personality she imbued into the characters and look forward to hearing her narrate again. I look forward to listening to the next novel in this series.  The mix of dragon shifters, the hint of other mythological species along with the playfully intertwining stereotypes create an interesting and fun read. My Ratings: Story: B+ Narrator: B+ Overall: B+ Review copy provided by Tantor Audio. About the Book: A dragon never leaves his hoard unguarded. His heart is...
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