Happy National Coming Out Day!
This year marks the 29th anniversary of the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.
Happy National Coming Out Day!
This year marks the 29th anniversary of the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.
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, Nick. 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
Three years ago today I published Caged: Love and Treachery on the High Seas. It was unedited, the cover was a weird size, I hadn’t even given a thought to marketing it. I didn’t figure anyone would read it, honestly. I just published it for fun, on the suggestion of a friend, and basically walked away.
Then I got a review. And then another. And then another.
Well, here we are three years later. I’ve published five full-length novels with a sixth on the way, six novellas and novelettes, and a number of short or flash fics… and I hope to publish many more.
To celebrate the third anniversary of my first published work, I’m giving away five audiobook copies of Caged, narrated by the extraordinary Michael Ferraiuolo. All you have to do is go to this post and follow the instructions :)
Originally, I was going to publish Max later on in October, but the planets aligned and everything was ready quickly, so I sent it live early… and promptly got really fucking sick. cough sneeze
The stress of finishing a book (hey, it’s stressful) on top of all the stress I’ve been under concerning the pit bull ban in Montréal means I got hit harder than I normally would. Thankfully, I am on the mend. (Also, for those who haven’t heard yet, a judge from the Superior Court of Québec, at the SPCA’s behest, suspended the pit bull ban until the actual court hearing is held [which could be in a few months]. HOWEVER, the fucking mayor is now vowing to appeal. shakes head)
SO! Max quietly went live and I have to say that I’m really happy with how it turned out. It’s the first book I wrote that really covers some of my own stomping ground (The Complications of T was also set partially in Montréal but they never really went out heh) and that was incredibly fun. Almost all the locations are based on real ones, and I tried to convey a sense of Montréal-ness in the use of language and names of things throughout the book: French/English coexistence, crime syndicates, marchés, the metro, the fireworks over the water…
Hey, I love my city… :)
Is it a dark book? Some say yes, some no. It’s certainly twisted and covers dark themes overall. Don’t expect anything resembling a healthy relationship in it. Mostly it’s suspense… or a thriller. I think it’s a rollicking fun psycho romp. I had a good time throwing in references, both subtle and blatant, to my favourite movies and I put together a soundtrack that has some songs that I loved dancing to back in my goth club days.
I see angels, Mickey. They’re comin’ down for us from heaven. And I see you ridin’ a big red horse, and you’re driving them horses, whippin’ ’em, and the’re spitting and frothing all ‘long the mouth, and the’re coming right at us. And I see the future, and there’s no death, ’cause you and I, we’re angels…
Early seemed harmless. Primitive, but harmless. Of course the fact of the matter was he had killed his landlord less than an hour before we met him. He was even wearing the guy’s ring. Who knows what he did with the finger?
I’ve no plans to call on you, Clarice. The world is more interesting with you in it.
See below for a chance to win a copy of The God of Jazz: Fugue, Concord
I had the extreme pleasure of reading your upcoming book, The God of Jazz: Fugue, Concord and I was curious to know what prompted you to write it. I remember you were working on something else entirely and you switched tack and were suddenly halfway through writing this book. What triggered that?
Well, I’ve been working on the sequel to Trasmundo for about a year, and to be honest, it’s the most difficult book I’ve ever written. I keep thinking it’s done, or almost done, but I know deep down it’s not quite right yet. The Trasmundo series is also a deeply dark, painful story, in some ways—it’s a really beautiful love story, but it also deals with civil war, ethnic cleansing, and exile—and being immersed in that world non-stop, month after month was taking a pretty heavy emotional toll on me (more so that I even realized, while I was in the thick of it).
Then back in May I was visiting my best friend for a week. This woman and I have been best buds since we were ten years old, and luckily she moved to Europe just a couple months after I did, so we still get together all the time. And inevitably, when I go stay with her, I get mentally roused and kind of fired up creatively because she’s an incredibly clever, stimulating person, and also we just have our bestie dynamic—you know, joking around together, playing off each other’s weird sense of humor and slightly warped brains. And out of that euphoric reprieve from my writing slump, I decided I wanted to write a FUN story. Sexy and sweet and playful. And I wanted to set it in Barcelona, since I’ve been living here for a couple years now and I’m madly in love with the city.
One of your two main protagonists goes through a period of adjustment when he first arrives in Barcelona. Were his observations inspired by your own experiences?
Absolutely. Certain things are so striking about European cities, if you’re used to living on the west coast in the U.S. where I spent my whole life before moving abroad. Centuries of history are on display in the architecture. Once you get off the main boulevards and highways, you get into these mazes of incredibly narrow streets that were laid out when the biggest vehicle was a horse-drawn cart laden with commercial goods (I seriously don’t know how truck drivers do it, here!).
And then there are the cultural differences, like how much more generationally-diverse public life is. In the U.S., it seemed like almost everything is so segregated by age. Here, extended families are much more integrated, and older people aren’t so hidden away. Life is also lived much more publicly—in the plazas, in the back streets among the apartment buildings. It can get a bit boisterous at times, but it also feels more like a community. And then, of course, there’s the casual disregard for swimming apparel at the local beaches. I’d heard all about women running around topless, but I wasn’t expecting the full monty when I went for my first dip in the sea. But you won’t hear me complain.
Jazz music features prominently in the story, and I remember feeling like I was right there in the club. Is jazz popular in Barcelona? and, is the setting inspired by a real place?
Yeah, jazz is pretty popular. There are quite a few dedicated jazz clubs, and then there are performances going on all the time in different bars and cafés, as well as plenty of little pop-up events in the plazas, at the beach, etcetera in the warmer months. All the venues I mention in the novel are real places that I frequent.
What was the most satisfying part about writing The God of Jazz?
It’s funny, like I was saying, I set out to write something fun, almost fluffy. I was more focused on escaping the mental and emotional labor of my other work-in-progress than a story or idea that needed to be told. But as soon as I started, really from the very first page, the story felt so real and true to me. It surprised me how quickly and deeply I got invested in Godard, in the professional frustration he goes through, and then the heartbreak that leaves him wounded and adrift at the start of the novel. Pretty quickly I realized that instead of a fluffy little romp, The God of Jazz had turned into something deeply meaningful to me, personally. And not just for the love story. Actually, the parts that hit me the hardest were the ones dealing with Godard connecting with a new family of friends—finding the people who come together to take care of each other in moments of crisis, and who gather together to celebrate each other’s joys and successes.
And finally… what five words would you use to describe the book?
Eesh, that’s a tough one! Ummm…
Playful. Sexy. Sunny. Wet. Sultry.
Thanks so much for the chat, Bey and friends. Good luck to everyone on the giveaway!
Yes, those are definitely five good words to describe this book. Thanks Varian, always a pleasure.
Folks, I loved this book and I want you all to read it… and Varian’s offering an ebook to one lucky person! All you have to do is comment below with either your favourite jazz song OR your favourite beach destination. :)
I’ll pick a random winner at 10am EDT Monday, Sept. 26th – Good luck!
I thought I’d give a list of what’s on sale and what’s in a giveaway in one place.
Giveaway of Caged: Love and Treachery on the High Seas at Goodreads -> Enter now! Ends August 18, 2016 11:59PM
Giveaway of Kestrel’s Talon at Goodreads -> Enter now! Ends August 01, 2016 11:59PM
Summer Sale at Smashwords -> Buy now! Last day of sale: July 31st, 2016
Caged, Sacrificed, Fated, F.I.S.T.S. Handbook, The Last Nights of the Frangipani Hotel -> use code SSW50 at checkout for 50% off
Sarge, Murphy, The Complications of T -> use code SSW25 at checkout for 25% off
Baal’s Heart Summer Sale at All Romance eBooks – Last day of sale: July 31st, 2016
Caged, Sacrificed, and Fated -> 50% off
Hotter than Hell Sale – Last day of Sale: July 31st, 2016
ON SALE STARTING AUGUST 1
Note: After August 21, Kestrel’s Talon will be available for purchase at All Romance eBooks, Smashwords, and other resellers.
To start off this week, I asked one of my favourite authors to come on over to speak about her upcoming novel.
Let’s give a warm welcome to the very talented Varian Krylov!
Hi everybody! And Bey, thanks for having me back!
It’s kind of funny, I’m a writer, but when I step away from my tall tales and try to write a blog post, I never know what to say. But today, after chasing my tail for a bit, I decided it would be fun to talk about one of the inspirations for my upcoming novel, Fugue, Concord.
I’m from California, but for the last two years and change I’ve been living in my favorite city in the world—Barcelona. It’s a fabulous place for lots of reasons: it’s part of Spain’s sunny Costa Brava, but in addition to being a beach city on the Mediterranean, it’s also got mountains, and its urban center is studded with amazing architectural gems, with Roman walls, neogothic cathedrals, and beautiful modernist buildings by the whimsical genius Antoni Gaudi and others. Barcelona is also a culturally vibrant cosmopolitan hub, with fabulous art museums, galleries, and a thriving music scene.
So, when I decided to write something a bit lighter and more playful than Bad Things and Trasmundo, I thought, hey, why not take my readers on a little vicarious holiday to Barcelona?
Unlike most of my novels, much of Fugue, Concord is rooted in my own experiences venturing into the realm of independent filmmaking for a few years before I moved to Europe, and also my life living as an expat in Spain. I had a lot of fun taking these characters to my favorite beaches (where bathing suits are always optional), on evening strolls through the winding, narrow streets of the labyrinthine Gothic neighborhood, and out to savor the local night life amid a few of my favorite jazz clubs.
If you want a sneak peak at Fugue, Concord before the novel comes out next month, you can read a long, juicy, NSFW excerpt at my website: http://variansfiction.wix.com/variankrylov
I’ll also be posting updates and announcing giveaways on my Facebook page. If we’re not already friends, don’t be shy! I love talking to readers and fellow writers!
This book… oh this book. I want to visit Barcelona more than ever now :)
For a chance to win an ebook copy of Varian’s book, Fugue, Concord (when it comes out), comment below and tell me where in the world you’d love to travel to. I’ll pick one random winner on Monday, July 4th at 7pm EDT.
Over at Diverse Reader there’s a big giveaway happening featuring such authors as Nicholas Bella, R Phoenix As Raissa, Joseph Lance Tonlet, Louis Stevens, Jenna Johanis, Varian Krylov, Brina Brady, Jack L Pyke, Wulf Francú Godgluck… and myself! Seriously a fun spotlight post of Dark Erotica: each author had the choice of providing an excerpt, telling you about one of their books using one of their characters, or telling you why they chose to go dark.
PLUS there’s a giveaway. The prizes are:
Howdy folks! It’s a beee-utiful day up here in Montréal with the sun shining, and though it’s a little on the cold side (-8ºC/17.6ºF), the end of winter is nigh. I can feel it in my bones, and bones never lie ;)
A little something special today: I’m featured over at Twinsie Talk for MM March Madness! Why not head on over there to read the interview and enter the giveaway! I’m ponying up ecopy of book one of each of my series—Caged: Love and Treachery on the High Seas, Sarge, and The Complications of T.
That’s an and, not an or… you get all three books!
Go on… see you there :)