Audio Spotlight: Blue Bloods Final Destiny + Narrator Interview

My Blood Runs Blue Banner

Title: Blue Bloods Final Destiny

Author: Stacy Eaton

Narrator: Alex Black

Length: 6 hours 2 minutes

Series: My Blood Runs Blue, Book 5

Released: Aug. 20, 2020

Publisher: Nitewolf Novels

Genre: Paranormal Romance

 

Julian Hutchinson walked away from it all: his job, his friends, and her. As Julian drives out west, he randomly stops at a roadside tavern and runs into some people from his past.

Lyssa Lakin helps her father around the tavern as she raises her 15-year-old daughter, Lorna. When Julian walks into the bar, Lyssa’s past crush on him hits full force, but even she can tell that he is far from ready to be involved with anyone.

As Julian and Lyssa grow their friendship, their past romance is rekindled. When Julian’s past comes back to haunt him and an old enemy shows up in town, Julian knows a showdown is imminent.

Will Julian be able to deal with his past and his enemy without destroying the new life he has created?

The gang is back for one final book where lines are drawn and quickly crossed, and Julian and Kristin will have to work together one last time to save people that they care about.

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Stacy Eaton is a USA Today Best Selling author and began her writing career in October of 2010. Stacy took an early retirement from law enforcement after over fifteen years of service in 2016, with her last three years in investigations and crime scene investigation to write full time.

Stacy resides in southeastern Pennsylvania with her husband, who works in law enforcement, and her teen daughter. She also has a son who is currently serving in the United States Navy, and two grandchildren.

Stacy is involved in Domestic Violence Awareness and served on the Board of Directors for her local Domestic Violence Center for three years.

Be sure to visit www.stacyeaton.com for updates and more information on her books.

Sign up for all the latest information on Stacy’s Newsletter!

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Narrator Bio

Alex Black is an articulate, engaging, and versatile narrator based in Cambridge, Vermont. He’s worked in theatre, film, audio production, and appeared on radio. As an accomplished audiobook producer with over 90 titles, he’s worked closely with independent authors and publishers.

He’s received more than 500 5 star reviews and specializes in Romance, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Apocalyptic, Mystery & Thriller, LGBTQ+, and Memoirs.

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Q&A with Narrator Alex Black
  • Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
    • I am an audiobook listener. I’ve a huge To Be Read list going on right now. At the top is ‘The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.”
      The audiobook format is quite appealing for several reasons. Meaning can be conveyed in different ways through the narrator(s). One of the best things about an audiobook is when characterization is enhanced. The format allows the listener to consume fantastic books in settings where reading would be difficult. For example, while driving, exercising, cooking, hiking, showering, working, etc.
      At the end of the day, whether you’re reading or listening, you can get together and discuss the same story.
  • What are your favorite and least favorite parts of narrating an audiobook?
    • My favorite part of narrating an audiobook is being put into the mind of the author. I learn valuable insight from that perspective. It makes me a better reader. Being a better reader prepares me to delve deeper into the next story, and become better at understanding storytelling.
      Ultimately, writing is one of the most intimate things someone can do. The writer is openly sharing the way that they think, the way that they tell a story, their thought process’. My favorite part is experiencing new ways to tell stories. Every author I’ve worked with has blown my mind.
  • What about this title compelled you to audition as narrator?
    • Vampires. First and foremost, vampires are awesome. Secondly, I really wanted to complete the books as a whole series and produce the box set. I find that box sets are amazing because they put an incredible amount of content at people’s fingertips.
  • How closely do you prefer to work with authors?
    • I tend to have close relationships with authors and publishers. I enjoy hearing what authors have to say, what they’re interested in, what’s coming up next, what their plans are. From whatever angle, working with authors is a relationship first. There are wonderful people out there with amazing stories to tell, and I’ve been fortunate to work with the most fantastic authors. Stacy is case in point. You can see a reflection of her life’s experiences in her work. How can you not want to work closely with someone like Stacy?
  • How did you decide how each character should sound in this title?
    • Ok. Here’s a few of my favorites.
      Officer Kristin Greene is a badass. She doesn’t take crap from anyone and she is deeply empathic. She’s community based. I wanted her voice to be strong. She is direct and stands her ground. But her voice always has a softer concern for her loved ones. Then ruthless towards her enemies.
      Julian is a romantic at heart. He’ll get things done. He’s got his opinions, and honestly, he’s trying to figure things out. He’s had to deal with a lot. On top of that, he’s confronted with the near ghost of his late beloved Calista. I thought his tone should be firm but with a hint of softness. That softness is born of love and romance.
      Alex is top dog. You listen to him. You don’t go against his orders. I wanted him to have a bit of presence in his voice. A bit of no nonsense.
      Trent is pure southern charm, and Olivia is fun and bubbly. Also restless, and excited about the changes in her life.
      Gabriel is another empathic character. He is a rock. I wanted his voice to be caring and focused, but undaunted and undeterred. A simple man, honestly.
  • Have there been any characters that you really connected with?
    • All of them. Every single one. I’m a highly sensitive man. It’s very easy for me to empathize with people in general.
      I understood Kristin to her core. Stacy and I had shared a laugh, discussing a scene with Kristin. I remember telling her that I literally rolled my eyes when the scene rolled along. But that was Kristin’s character you see. She had to be where she was because of her deep empathy. I’d say probably Kristin was the one I most connected with.
      Second would be Alex and Julian. I related to their perspective on many levels. Their grit, determination, and no-nonsense. I appreciate good strong men. Their tenacity. Their love for another MC.
  • Do you read reviews for your audiobooks? If so, which ones stand out to you most, positive or negative?
    • Yes. I read them all. Every single one. I’ve discovered a pattern to the reviews that stand out to me. I love the reviews where you can physically see someone smiling as they’re typing the review. Those are my favorite. Especially if they’ve spammed emojis.
      I’ve mentioned before that I’m a highly sensitive man. But I also have very thick skin. There’s a common saying in the narrator community that goes “Don’t read the reviews!” Maybe my brain is wired differently, perhaps it’s from my childhood, but I love reading both negative and positive reviews. There’s a little seed of truth in everything. I think some folks make the mistake of letting negative reviews govern them.
  • What type of the review comments do you find most constructive
    • The most constructive comments occur in repetition. You’ll often find both your strengths and weaknesses repetitively addressed in reviews. It’s the repetition that can tell you whether something is working or not. That repetition is what I find most constructive.
  • If you could narrate one book from your youth what would it be and why?
    • This is a tough one for me. I was maybe eight years old when I picked up R.A. Salvatore’s ‘The Demon Awakens’ from the Giant supermarket in Bowie, MD.
      “It’s a big book,” my father said.
      I can still hear his long heavy sigh that turned the necks of strangers in line at check out. It sure was a big book for an eight year old. Looking back, I don’t think he wanted to pass up investing in my desire to read. Either that or I was possessed by demons and kicked and screamed until I got the book. I say possessed because I was good kid. Right dad?
      I’v picked this one because it changed my life. This was a flashlight under the covers book.
      “I said go to bed!” mom would yell through the door.
      I don’t know how but she knew i was reading. As kid you’re trying to figure out how the beam of your flashlight could go through three layers of bedding, the door, down the hall, and wake up your mother.
      Anyway, I lived vicariously through my imagination as a kid. The world was so rough and unkind to me. This book was my best friend. Every turn of the page revived me. Rangers, goblins, giants, elves, magic, first kisses. Sigh.
  • What’s next for you?
    • I’ll be candid with what’s important to me. My first priority is being deserving of my amazing beautiful wife. That’s always next for me. Everyday.
      In the audiobook world, Stacy and I are working on preparing the ‘My Blood Runs Blue’ series box set. Then ‘The Blue Blood Returns’ series begin production in January!
      Aside for that, my lovely wife and I have been narrating duet and dual POV audiobooks this year. We’ve been kicking butt and taking names! You should hear her, she’s amazing. (I’m kissing my fingertips in French). She’s so versatile. I’m already learning so much from working alongside her. Truly an inspiration.
      It’s been a wild, exhausting 2020. Our goal is to fill our 2021 calendar with amazing authors and put out some amazing stories that must be told!

 

 

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Audio Spotlight: The Yes Factor + Author & Narrator Interviews

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the yes factor

Title: The Yes Factor

Authors: Erin Spencer & Emma Sable

Narrators: Ava Erickson & Andi Arndt

Length: 6 hours 51 minutes

Publisher: One Night Stand Studios

Released: Jun. 30, 2020

Genre: Romantic Comedy

 

Liv just wants her best friend Bex to find love.

Bex just wants to stay in bed with Outlander.

With 40 just around the corner, divorced single mom Bex is too busy being a chauffeur for her teenage daughter to bother swiping for dates.

Her best friend Liv, who is married to the supposedly perfect man, swoops in from London on a mission to get Bex out of her own bed and in to someone else’s. Liv pushes Bex into a week-long whirlwind of dates, awkward kisses and missed connections.

What could possibly go wrong when Bex agrees to Liv’s harebrained scheme of saying Yes to every possible suitor? And why is Liv so intent on fixing Bex’s love life, or lack thereof?

Just what do you find out when all of your no’s turn into the yes factor?

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the yes factor

Erin Spencer and Emma Sable are two Southern girls who met in L.A. at a mutual friend’s engagement party. They bonded over their shared love of fried shrimp, queso and The Golden Girls. After a girls’ night out in Hollywood to celebrate Emma’s birthday, the two were inspired to begin writing The Yes Factor, their first novel together.

To celebrate finishing the novel, Erin and Emma travelled to the Amalfi coast where they enjoyed a week of sunshine, pasta and Pinot Grigio. And where a few notes might have been scribbled for their next book, too!

Erin lives in L.A. and Emma now lives in London.

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Q&A with Authors Erin Spencer & Emma Sable
  • Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
    • Erin: Absolutely! Because I am an audiobook narrator myself and I own an audiobook production company (www.onenightstandstudios.com) – I am very involved in the audiobook world. Everything was read aloud when we were writing so we could make sure that it flowed and that the dialogue fell off the tongue naturally. We really wanted the dialogue to feel real and conversational between these best friends, and there is nothing like reading your writing out loud to test that!
  • How did you select your narrators?
    • Erin: Andi Arndt is a queen in the romance genre and she’s also a good friend. Ava Erickson is someone I know quite intimately, because, well…she’s me!
  • How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process? Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?
    • Erin: There is a certain amount of trust that authors need to have with the narrators that are cast for their audiobooks. It’s not just about finding the right “voice” but the right actor that you feel can elevate the work in their own way. We knew that Andi was the right choice just because we know her work and we know her as a person and we trusted her completely. There is a reason this audiobook was nominated for a Voice Arts Award – the narrators were emotionally invested in the material and brought it to a whole new level with their performances.
  • Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
    • Emma: My writing is so informed by life and just the every day experience and emotion of it. For The Yes Factor, as a woman of a certain age (on the other side of 40!), I was really drawing on the questions you ask yourself as you get older. Am I with the right person, what’s important to me, what makes me happy. Basically mid life crisis stuff! 🙂
    • And more specifically, I was inspired by some very L.A. real life experiences from my ten years of living in that crazy town!
  • How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?
    • Emma: During the pandemic, I struggle with burn-out on a daily basis. Times are so tough right now for everyone and it can feel almost impossible to focus on creative endeavors. Reading has really helped me get through it and keeps me inspired to put something down on the page (even if sometimes it’s only one sentence a day).
  • Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
    • Erin: Audiobooks are like a movie for your ears! It triggers a multitude of senses and can make the simplest words jump of the page and impact you in a big way. I love audio just for the fact that it adds a whole other layer of emotion!
  • Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format?
    • Emma: I’m so blown away by the emotion that Ava and Andi brought to the characters. Bex and Liv are both written in first person POV, so each character has a lot of internal thoughts and musings in their chapters. Ava and Andi captured that so well, which I think gives the writing even more resonance than on the page.
  • If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go?
    • Emma: um, YES. It’s hard to choose just one place/time so I’ll give you two — 1900s Vienna for the art; Christmas 2019 to hug my friends and family and to not take any of it for granted!
  • If this title were being made into a TV series or movie, who would you cast to play the primary roles?
    • Emma: Christina Applegate for Liv, and Constance Zimmer for Bex.
  • What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
    • Emma: That they need to loosen up! Seriously though, the written word is there to be enjoyed and celebrated in any way possible, whether it be “real reading”, audio, or braille. The only cheating for reading is Cliff Notes! (Not that I would know anything about that…not at all, nothing to do with The Mill on the Floss in 8th grade…)
  • How did you celebrate after finishing this novel?
    • Emma: Erin visited me in London then we went to the Amalfi Coast! There were lots of carbs. It was magnificent.
  • What gets you out of a writing slump? What about a reading slump?
    • Emma: Oooof, the dreaded writing slump. Sometimes I’ll spend hours procrastinating when I know I should be writing but I just can’t seem to put one word down. My writing community really helps in those dark moments. We keep each other motivated — it helps to know you’re not alone with feeling blocked.
    • As far as a reading slump, I’m never in one (unless there’s a new season of Selling Sunset, Below Deck or Succession…then I’m in a reading ‘break’).
  • What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
    • Emma: Keep writing! It’s what I’ve been told by writers that I admire and it really is the best advice. Just write something every day, even if it’s a few sentences. Don’t get obsessed with word count. Enjoy the process and be kind to yourself.
  • What’s next for you?
    • Emma: Erin and I are writing the sequel to The Yes Factor, and I’m working on another book of my own.

erin  emma

Narrator Bio

Multiple Audie and Earphones Award winner Andi Arndt is the narrator of hundreds of audiobooks, and a member of the Audible Narrator Hall of Fame. She’s known for romance titles, loved working on The Yes Factor with her dear friend, and has also narrated high profile releases in literary fiction, mystery / thriller, and bio / memoir, including Notorious RBG.

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Narrator Bio

After sailing around the world and watching nearly a thousand sunsets from the bow of her boat like a true Viking, Ava Erickson settled down and started telling stories. Those stories can be anything from laugh-out-loud-funny rom-coms to ones with a more sexy twist. When she found out she was nominated for an Audie for her audiobook narration, she called all her girlfriends together and went to Provence, France, where they drank rosé and ate lots of bread and butter.

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Q&A with Narrators Andi Arndt & Ava Erickson
  • How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for narrating?
    • Andi: I try to get out ahead of my calendar as much as possible and claim time for myself first so that projects don’t occupy every available moment. Scheduling a variety of genres and new-to-me authors helps keep my brain from going on autopilot. Working on The Yes Factor was so great because knowing Erin as I do, I could just imagine we were spending time together via our characters. And who wouldn’t love that?
  • Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
    • Andi: I am a listener for sure. I love the discovery and immediacy of the format. When I’m reading print, naturally I see fragments of things ahead of where I’m reading, but with a narrator delivering the story to me, I’m at her mercy as she leads me through the book. It’s really a different experience.
  • How closely do you prefer to work with authors?
    • Andi: I’ve worked with authors who are very involved, others who didn’t even know their book was being recorded until I congratulated them on release day. I appreciate when authors give pronunciation notes and other helpful guidance, but I respect their privacy as well. In a few cases authors have become friends, and a couple of winters ago I got snowed in for a couple days at one author’s house after we went to a concert together! It was a blast.
  • What types of things are harmful to your voice?
    • Andi: Dairy, dehydration, lack of sleep.
  • What bits of advice would you give to aspiring audiobook narrators?
    • Andi: I can answer this question and the next one: narrator.life, a new website offering courses, coaching and community for audiobook narrators at all levels. It’s been a long time coming and we launch this winter!
  • Bonus question: Any funny anecdotes from inside the recording studio?
    • Andi: I can tell you that it’s quite distracting when I’m narrating–especially intimate scenes–and my dog comes in and stares at me through the window of my isolation booth. It’s like…do you mind? I’d like some privacy!
  • How did you wind up narrating audiobooks? Was it always your goal or was it something you stumbled into by chance?
    • Ava: Before I started my journey into audiobooks I was an actress who loved to read. I had never listened to an audiobook at that point and when they came on my radar I thought – What a perfect fit! After recording my first few books I fell in love with it. Being able to play every character in the book is a wonderfully rewarding challenge!
  • What are your favorite and least favorite parts of narrating an audiobook?
    • Ava: My favorite thing about narration is being able to completely immerse myself in story. When that veil falls and you are just ‘in it’ – well, it’s magical. My least favorite thing is the isolation. I am alone in a small room, talking to myself! Facebook has been a great way to connect with fans. When I’m narrating, I think about the listeners I engage with on social media if there is a part I know they will laugh or cry at. Audiobook fans are wonderful – they really keep me going.
  • How does audiobook narration differ from other types of voiceover work you’ve done?
    • Ava: Audiobook narration is so emotional! We aren’t selling anything, or telling people what to do, buy or watch. We are just in the emotion of the moment on the page. It requires your full attention and also takes you places and into lives that you never would have dreamed of!
  • How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for narrating?
    • Ava: I’m similar to Andi in the sense that I maintain a schedule that is a good balance for my professional and personal life. In fact, Andi may have been my inspiration in doing that a few years back! Both of us work a lot and we love what we do, so it’s really easy to get overwhelmed with books. It’s important for me to find space in my life for ALL the things that bring me joy.

 

 

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