Interview with Nick J. Russo, audiobook narrator PLUS audiobook giveaway


Today we’ll meet Nick J. Russo, the talented narrator who’s voiced many of my audiobooks. Whether it’s Sarge’s gruff commands, Max’s sly teasing, or James’s awkward protestations, Nick’s does an incredible job bringing my characters to life.

Howdy, Nic​k. Welcome to my blog.
Thanks for having me, Bey!

First off… how did you get into audiobook narration?

I got into audio book narration a bit on a whim. I was working in an entirely different field when a friend of mine, John Solo, was looking for people to to read at his studio, Falcon Sound Company. As soon as I came in and read, I knew it was something I would enjoy doing. It’s not every day that you can stumble into a dream job and turn it into a full time career, but three years later it’s what I’m doing and loving it!

What is your favourite part of doing narration?

My favorite parts are usually when there is some kind of intense moment in a book. If I’m able to really get into the character and convey more extreme emotions like jealousy, fear, anger, extreme joy, regret, and of course lust in sex scenes, just to name a few, they are incredibly fun to perform. When those are written well, it’s great to translate into audio.

The hardest part?

Sometimes it can be tough finding just the right voice for a character. During my pre-reads I’ve gone in with an initial voice in mind only to find that it doesn’t work whatsoever by the time I’m done. Accents, depending on the type, can be a bit difficult at times as well.

Favourite genre (or subgenre) of books to narrate?

I have a few favorite genres, but if I had to pick one I’d say sci-fi. I’ve always been a sucker for space adventures, whether it be Star Wars, Star Trek, Battle Star, Mass Effect – whatever. To me, sci-fi is like pizza: there isn’t any bad version of it.

Are you reading anything right now?

I’m about to start 1984, which I’ve heard great things about and pretty excited for. John Grisham novels are always a go to of mine as well.

What are your top 5 books of all time (any genre)?

I’m not sure I could pick just five! If I had to list some that come to mind though, I’d probably say John Grisham’s The Firm, David McCullough’s 1776, Stephen King’s The Shining, and the Star Wars Thrawn Trilogy. I’m also a big fan of the Harry Potter series. Real random list I know, but that’s how I roll. :P

I appreciate getting to be on your blog, as l’m a big fan of your work, Bey! It’s so much fun narrating your stories because I know before I even read the first page that the characters will be three dimensional and a lot of fun to voice. Thank you for letting me voice your guys! And thank you to all those that enjoy my reads. It’s really great to hear from fans via reviews, tweets, or on Facebook. I’ve got a bunch of titles in the works right now, with Bey’s The Last Nights of The Frangipani Hotel out in audio today!

Thanks so much for stopping by, Nick!


Here’s your chance to win an audio copy of The Last Nights of The Frangipani Hotel!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Queeromance Ink – New Book Site!

There’s a new site in town: Queeromance Ink is a directory of LGBTIQA romance and related books, with links to purchase them from a variety of other sources, including publishers, distributors, and in many cases, the authors themselves.

Wonder where you can purchase my books? Check out my page. :)

Cyber Monday at All Romance eBooks – All my titles 50% off*

unnamed1All my titles are 50% off for Cyber Monday!*

If you’ve been waiting to purchase a non-mobi copy of Kestrel’s Talon or Max, this is a great time. They’ll both be going exclusive to Amazon for the next 90 days (and in KU) starting tomorrow :)

*readers get store credit

Happy Halloween Sale!

October 30 & 31 ONLY

happy-halloween

Smashwords Sale! – Use coupon code at checkout

Caged: Love and Treachery on the High Seas –  $4.99 $2.50 w/ code NJ48X
Sacrificed: Heart Beyond the Spires – $4.99 $2.50 w/ code TE66E
Fated: Love and Redemption – $4.99 $2.50 w/ code XU87S
Careened: Winter Solstice in Madierus – $.99 $FREE w/ code EP76C

The Complications of T – $1.50 $.99 w/ code SS98X
The Last Nights of The Frangipani Hotel – $2.25 $.99 w/ code HQ45P

Kestrel’s Talon – $5.99 $2.50 w/ code BU28Z

Max – $2.99 $1.50 w/ code EN53Z

Sarge – $1.75 $.99 w/ code NK98T
Murphy – $1.75 $.99 w/ code EF85U

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Better the Devil You Know – $4.00 $1.99 Buy here

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All Romance eBook sale! – All books :)

All my books 50% off at All Romance eBooks! (readers get store credit)
All my books 50% off at All Romance eBooks! (readers get store credit)

Click here to buy my books at 50% off at ARe

☞ 50% off Memorial Day Rebate ☜

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Clicking on the titles will bring you to the books at ARe:

Caged: Love and Treachery on the High Seas$4.99 $2.50 (after rebate)

Sacrificed: Heart Beyond the Spires $4.99 $2.50 (after rebate)

Fated: Blood and Redemption $4.99 $2.50 (after rebate)

The Complications of T = $1.50 $0.75 (after rebate)

The Last Nights of The Frangipani Hotel = $2.25 $1.12 (after rebate)

Better the Devil You Know = $4.00 $2.00 (after rebate)

Goodbye, Kindle Unlimited, Goodbye! (for now?)

bye-racoon

I’ve made the decision to pull my books from Kindle Unlimited for the time being. Why am I saying things like “for now” and “for the time being”? Well… it is a hard decision to make.

Here, I’ll show you why:

Pros of being in KU

Cons of being in KU

  • Increased visibility with Amazon customers
  • Use of Amazon stuff like Kindle Countdown Deals
  • Only have to upload my files to one place
  • Less people return my books
  • I make more money overall
  • I might make more money but at less than half a cent per page read, it really devalues books overall, and not just mine.
  • It’s less than half a cent per page because the money comes from a pot that is split up every month amongst everyone enrolled in KU, and there are a lot of scammers publishing fake books or books that are rigged to make the reader reach the end (in which case Amazon pays the scammer for every page in the book), so us non-scammers have to share the pot with these assholes. (tl;dr: Authors have to share profits with scammers)
  • When you are enrolled in KU, you can only sell your books through Amazon. So I might get great visibility with Amazon customers, but folks who prefer to buy elsewhere are shit out of luck.
  • I am at the mercy of Amazon’s sudden policy changes – which have largely failed to curtail the scammer problem. *two-finger salute*
  • Amazon continues to censor, ban, and stonewall its authors and paying customers.
  • I have to deal with the uploading files all over the place when I make a change… but… enh. *shrug*

So there you have it folks: my decision making process.

As of today, Caged, Sacrificed, Fated, The Complications of T, The Last Nights of The Frangipani Hotel are out and will be followed by the F.I.S.T.S. books on June 1st and Careened on June 20.

Kestrel’s Talon will be out around August 13.

By pulling out my books, it means that I stand to make less money, which is what makes it such a shitty decision: Ho hum… do I stay in a fucked up system, chained to their exclusivity clause to make more cheddar, or do I go wide and make my books available to a wider audience… at a possible loss? (Oh yeah… Something else about the exclusivity thing? You have to stay in the program for 90 days. Then you can either opt out—so no KU and you can sell your books in other places—or renew like a chump.)

Ultimately, I don’t write for the money… Even with my books in KU I don’t make anywhere near a living wage. It’s hard work but I write because I love doing it, and I get to share my stories with like-minded folk.

But. Well. Money is nice. *shakes head*

Anyway… I think from now on (unless I cave and go back to wearing the golden handcuffs) I’ll put new releases into KU for the 90 days but not renew. Who knows.

(and feel free to chime in… what’s your opinion on this?)

Now Available via Kindle Unlimited

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Alrighty… So I’ve taken the leap and thrown it all* into KU for the next three months. Why the hell not? :)

caged-cover-200x300

Available at Amazon

Tags: LGBT, Fantasy, Pirates

Sacrificed-cover-200x300

Available at Amazon

Tags: LGBT, Fantasy, Pirates

 fated-cover-200x300

Available at Amazon

Tags: LGBT, Fantasy, Pirates

 sarge-final-fullres

Available at Amazon

Tags: Gay, Sci-fi, D/s

 murphy-cover-600x900

Available at Amazon

Tags: Gay, Sci-fi, D/s

 25637684

Available at Amazon

Tags: Gay, Sci-fi, D/s

 T-final-maybe

 Available at Amazon

Tags: Trans*/Gay, Romance, Contemporary

 frangipani-2000x3000

 Available at Amazon

Tags: Gay, Romance, Contemporary

 *all except for Better the Devil You Know. The Kindle edition is still banned at Amazon, but you can buy the paperback. If you’d like a digital copy you can buy one directly from me via Payhip or at All Romance eBooks.

The Actor’s Circle

What is The Actor’s Circle?

the-actors-circle

Well, it’s a new series. I’ve had all these seeds of of stories kicking around in my head for a while, and while writing The Complications of T, I started to get a picture of what I could do with all of them. Then, with The Last Nights of The Frangipani Hotel, the idea really solidified… especially when halfway through writing it, my brain was already writing the next.

How many books are in the series?

Four. There are three standalone books: The Complications of T, The Last Nights of The Frangipani Hotel, and hopefully coming before the end of the year, The Window in Between. What order you read them is entirely up to you.

The fourth book, which will bear the series’ name, The Actor’s Circle, will be about the three couples that came together in the first three books. I have to say, I’m very excited to write it. :)

I have no fucking clue whether I’m going to cock it up, given what I’m planning for the fourth, but let me just say that I’m enjoying the hell out of the process!

 

Writing the story your way

I’ve had a busy summer, what with the rain of plot-bunnies and falling ill no less than three times. As such, I haven’t written a blog post with any real meat in a while. Looking at my drafts, I’ve started six posts but none with anything more than a starting sentence. I’ve already gotten past that with this post… let’s see if I can actually finish it, shall we?

We’ve all read or probably written reviews of books that say something like “I wish this had happened instead” or “that’s not the way it should have gone”. Everyone’s reading experience is different, and that is the fun of being unique creatures. Life just wouldn’t be as interesting if everyone thought or felt the same way. Hell, I don’t even watch the endings to some of my favourite movies because I disagree with how it ended (*cougharmageddoncough*).  That’s perfectly fine and I can’t fault anyone for it.

We live in an interesting time where authors (and other artists, public figures, rock stars… the pope) are that much more accessible to their fans. We authors are encouraged to interact with folks on social media… and I’ve seen discussions between readers about how an author’s failure to engage their fans is a detriment to their career in the long run (now, I don’t know if I believe that. Certainly having an online presence helps the indie author, but I’m not sure if not being there is a detriment. Personally, I just like hanging out. And… well… the enthusiasm I encounter is rather heartening. [love you guys])

The other side to this, of course, is that fans and readers in general are more accessible to the author. Once upon a time, you only got feedback about your book through professional reviewers, or people you knew, or from readers writing to you. Now, without a lick of effort, I can just skip on over to somewhere like Goodreads and see that one hundred and thirty four people (as of today) have written something about Caged. The vast majority of those are good reviews (woo!) but there are some bad ones among the bunch (and yes, I read them all). 

I find that negative reviews, in general, fall into two broad (and sometimes overlapping) categories.

  1. They didn’t like the writing style, weren’t invested in the story, don’t like the characters, thought the book was about something else, etc.
  2. Or, there were grammar problems, typos, obvious plot holes, structural issues, formatting, etc.

The important thing is this: as an author, you should tell the story you want to tell.  All those things in #1? You’d do best to ignore them. Those are just the opinions of others, and if you find yourself altering your words to fit the opinions of others at the cost of your story’s “authentic voice”, you’re doing yourself a disservice. It is your story, your writing. If you want to kill off all the main characters half-way through the book? So be it. If you want to write something in first person POV, go for it! You want to end on a cliffhanger… bully for you! Hell, if you WANT to write stuff based on other people’s opinions of what and how you should write… you are free to do that too. Seriously. Be the writer you want to be. Tell the stories you want to tell.

The criticisms in category 1 are there for other readers, not you. It’s frustrating when they’re based on misunderstandings or biases, yes, but not everyone is going to come to the same conclusion. As much as folks seem to be swayed by popular opinion, I’d like to believe that most can and do make up their own minds about something (like the time everyone and their dog was telling me that Jupiter Ascending was a stupid, shitty movie but I watched it anyway… twice now… and thought that it was a really fucking fun movie. Don’t judge.) If someone thinks your book is shitty because it didn’t go the way it “should” or because there are historical inaccuracies in your fictional world (hehe)… that’s their problem, not yours (and for god’s sake… don’t reply to reviews. Stay out of reviews. I’ve seen some really crazy shit happen in the year and a half I’ve been doing this author thing, and it almost always resulted from someone correcting someone else in a review. Don’t do it. Walk away.)

Now… you’d be a fool not to pay attention to the second category. Heh – when I first published Caged, it hadn’t been professionally edited. I basically waited until it had made enough sales to pay for editing before getting it done. Not recommended, but hey, everything worked out in the end, right?

What I’m trying to say with all this is: you should concentrate on telling your story. No one else can tell your story. If you let all the complaints in the first category get to you, it’s going to stymie your writing. It’s going to choke you… and that’s bad. You can’t be a writer and not write, can you? Have confidence in your story. Have pride in it. Embrace the fact that your story is going to make some people really uncomfortable/upset/bored/horrified/disgusted/disappointed. No one knows and loves your story the way you do.

Write the story your way and fuck the rest. :)

At least that’s how I feel about my own writing. I love my stories, and no one’s opinion can diminish them but my own. I write them the way they’re meant to be written. Point finale.

(Now – I didn’t write all of this to have comments about the whole Author vs Reviewer thing… let’s stay away from that, hm?)

 

Anyway – in other news:

Three books in less than two months (woo!), if you’re not up to date on the happenings over here at Bey’s Funhouse Emporium of Doom (shit… that’s what I should have called my blog) here is some information. A big, huge thank you to everyone who has read and left reviews!

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Published August 20, 2015
A bite-sized trans* love story.
Amazon
Smashwords
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Coming September 12, 2015
Love story in the Caribbean
Amazon
Smashwords
 BTDYK-cover-final-2800
Coming October 1, 2015
A dark, demonic read. (info here)
Will not be available at Amazon
Will be available at Smashwords

 

Next… well, I’ll keep y’all posted.

Frangipani is now available for pre-order at Amazon :)

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The Last Nights of The Frangipani Hotel will be published on Sept. 12, 2015… but! you can pre-order your copy today from Amazon :)