Audio Spotlight: The Summer’s Gem + Narrator Interview

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Title: The Summer’s Gem

Author: J. Edwards Holt

Narrator: James R. Willoughby III

Length: 4 hours

Series: Little Men, Big Treasures, Book 2

Publisher: J. Edwards Holt

Released: Sep. 22, 2020

Genre: Fantasy

Three decades after returning home from the adventure that made him famous, the legendary dwarf treasure hunter O’balin Undur has gone missing. Many have presumed O’balin to be dead, including his old friend Bindle, the aged and worn mayor of Mountainside Village. After receiving an urgent letter addressed specifically to him, Bindle sneaks out of town to visit the home of an old friend. There he is greeted by a surprising guest who claims to have seen O’balin alive, searching for a mysterious stone called the Summoner’s Gem. Middle-aged and tired, but still craving adventure, Bindle leaves behind his home and family and embarks on a quest to find his long-lost friend.

Along the way Bindle forms lasting friendships, travels to new and strange places, and finds himself face to face with a wizard in an encounter that will forever change his life.

Experience adventure, suspense, and even laughs in the epic follow-up to J. Edwards Holt’s Little Men, Big Treasures.

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Q&A with Narrator James R. Willoughby III
  • What about this title compelled you to audition as narrator?
    • This was a long audition, and while reading it, the characters just flowed for me. I didn’t even have to stop and think about it. There was a certain atmosphere that I thought I could convey and then maintain throughout the story. And it was the most fun I had narrating in quite some time. I finished the book quickly simply because it was that fun.
  • How closely do you prefer to work with authors?
    • Each author is different. Some have a very specific way that they “hear” the book in their head and they want you to convey that. Others, as with this title, like the audition and give you the freedom to create the characters as you see fit. Of course I always want input from the author on pronunciations of unusual names and such.
  • Who are your “accent inspirations”?
    • I find most of my accent inspiration comes from movies. I admit that a few are impersonations. The more we hear and watch movies, TV, or even friends and family, the more rubs off on us. After years some of it is subconsciously a part of us. In Atlanta I met people from all over the world. Not only did I learn some accents from them, I learned some of their culture as well.
  • How did you decide how each character should sound in this title?
    • The first characters we encounter, the dwarves, needed to be humble in my mind, with an air of innocence. I thought the summoner should sound a bit more sophisticated and even worldly. The author left clues for many characters as to what they looked like and what tone of voice they had. And of course the audition called for a British accent.
  • What types of things are harmful to your voice?
    • When I first started, I would stay in the recording booth for five to six hours. That was not a good idea for me. After about two hours my voice starts getting lower and I started losing range. Later when editing, if I had to re-record something I did in the first hour, I couldn’t match the same voice quality until the next morning. Now I record for no more than two hours a day.
  • Has anyone ever recognized you from your voice?
    • Not yet but I live in a rural area outside of a very small town.
  • Have there been any characters that you really connected with?
    • Obalin, from this title. Here is someone who reached a bit too far and paid the price in torment. He was the most fun for me to do. Sometimes life stresses us to the very brink of sanity.
  • If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go?
    • I think morally one would have to. To try and prevent a world war, or prevent a plague. Or for more selfish reasons, to witness the building of the great pyramid, to meet Leonardo Davinci. In any case imagine trying to explain how you know that certain actions lead to war. Most likely you would be shunned as mad.
  • How does audiobook narration differ from other types of voiceover work you’ve done?
    • It’s surprisingly similar to the radio work I have done. I was an electrical contractor and did the voiceover for my own ads. The only difference is in radio, I wrote the copy, which I’m not bad at. But when it comes to novels, I’ll let others do the writing.
  • Do you read reviews for your audiobooks?
    • Yes I have read many.
  • If so, which ones stand out to you most, positive or negative?
    • My career is still young and I haven’t had any reviews that I would call negative yet. It will happen eventually. So I have to say that the positive ones stand out the most. It is flattering and all but the best part is that what I did was appreciated by others. And isn’t that the point?

Born in North Carolina, United States, J. Edwards Holt always knew that he wanted to be a writer. After graduating high school, he attended college and pursued a degree in education, but later decided to change course and follow his dream to become a novelist and children’s author.

Now a full-time writer, editor, and blogger, Holt spends his free time dreaming up stories and reading. He is passionate about spreading Christian messages through his writing, watching science fiction and super hero movies, and collecting comic books.


When James R. Willoughby, III was in college, he created copy and did production work at the campus radio station. There he learned from a communication student whom, in the 90s, went on to be a program manager of a radio station that was voted the number one classic rock station in the country for three consecutive years. Years later when he was a project manager of an electrical contractor, he made some radio ads for them. Later he did the same for my own electrical contracting business.
He has recently built a sound booth for recording. It is lined on the inside with 2 ½” acoustical foam and lined on the outside with mass loaded vinyl. He currently owns a Rode NT1 mic and a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 preamp.

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Spotlight & Excerpt: Green Goo Goblin + Giveaway

Green Goo Goblin
Jas Bond Book 1
by Gretchen S.B.
Genre: Urban Fantasy


My life is one giant cycle of group deniability…

As a magic-less son of a witch owning a store full magical objects isn’t easy. But with my unhelpful rottweiler Bailey and a handful of supernatural staff, we’ve sold everything from elfin wedding china to a life-size dwarven statue we don’t like to talk about. Everything is going smoothly until a goblin customer starts coughing up a disgusting green goo. Little did I know as I watch that liquid spew from his mouth that his presence and that goo was going to send my life into a tailspin, leaving me in the crosshairs of a murder.

Check out the goblin and the goo he produces in Green Goo Goblin.

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jasbond - excerpt

Letting a couple of magic dowsers in here to comb through things and prove you don’t have anything that can make a goblin sick could go a long way.”

Anger and frustration flash through me. Even in my mid-thirties, my temper still flashes when the supernatural world looks down on me simply because I was born without magic. Knowing Blake is not to blame for this prejudicial thinking, I divert my frustration. “Are you kidding me? Dousers leave the biggest mess out of the entire supernatural police department. They go through everything and get their grubby hands everywhere. Last time they checked anything of mine, I spent weeks trying to find everything, let alone clean everything they touched. And that’s not counting the half a dozen items that went missing because they have doubts or because you-know-who is a sticky-fingered dwarf, we all know he has a theft problem.” My voice begins growing louder.

“Yeah, but he is the best at his job.”

I glower at Blake, quickly thinking through the possible scenarios here.
I let the dowsers into the shop to rummage around and clear me as the prime suspect in a goblin murder or I deal with higher-ups in the supernatural police department who are hellbent on pinning this on me simply because as a male child of a witch I must have a large chip on my shoulder and therefore want to murder supernatural beings.

Sighing heavily, I pull out the walkie-talkie and click the button a few times to get Sven’s attention. “Sven, got some bad news. I’m being accused of killing that goblin earlier and now some of the magical dowsers have to come to check out the store.”

There is crackling over the line as Sven let out some very explicit and physically impossible Dwarfen curses. “If they don’t keep their hands away from the stuff in my office, I am going to rip Red Beard’s fingers, one by one, from his palms.”

Looking up from the walkie-talkie I make eye contact with Blake and give him a fake smile. “Well, I think that’s the all-clear to let the dowsers in.”
Blake looks at me warily, and a little relieved. “Do you need me here to help protect Red Beard from Sven?”

“I mean, only if you care about dwarf-on-dwarf violence,” I say with a shrug.

“I’ll call it in and get them out here. But I’m getting you a containment crew first, because that crap freaking smells to high heaven.” Blake pivots and walks straight out of the store.

“Red Beard’s not allowed in here unless I’m watching him like a hawk.”
I jump, startled by the sound of Sven’s voice right behind me. The man needs a bell. He is incredibly stout and appears to the world, thanks to his glamour, like a short, plump, heavily wrinkled man in his seventies

The rest of the time he has long, white-gray hair and a matching pointed beard, a large wart above the right corner of his mouth and only about half as many wrinkles as his human-looking counterpart does. He is also stouter and healthier looking than the glamour would let people believe.

“I’ll be here too, as will Blake.” I try to sound nonchalant as if he didn’t just scare me out of my wits.

Sven starts muttering something under his breath about no one being able to watch a dwarf as well as a dwarf as he turns around and heads back toward his office.

“This is shaping up to be a fun afternoon,” I complain to no one in particular.

Gretchen spawned in the Puget Sound region. After some wandering she returned there and now lives with her husband and the daintiest Rottweiler on the planet. When not drowning herself in coffee, as is custom in the Greater Seattle Area, Gretchen can be found at her day job or sitting at her desk in the home office, flailing her arms as she dictates to her computer.

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Book Blitz & Excerpt: Wyvern Ways & Elven Magic + Giveaway

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Wyvern Ways & Elven Magic, by Bailey Bradford

Book 2 in the Fire & Flutter series

Word Count: 54,247
Book Length: NOVEL
Pages: 219



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Book Description

Take one magic-sensitive wyvern shifter, one horny royal-adjacent elf…and stand well back.

Brick’s a wyvern shifter, but he’s not wily or skilled in diplomacy like wyvern shifters should be. Instead, he’s big and brawny and slower than the rest of his family—the ruling family. Worse, he doesn’t fare well around magic, so being in the elf kingdom for the royal wedding celebrations is one big nosebleed. Literally.

Jagger’s an elf. A royal-adjacent one, whose family have been chancellors and councilors to the king for centuries. It must have skipped a generation, however, as Jagger’s more interested in drinking and seducing his way through the kingdom. Well, everyone wants to know if it’s true what they say about elves, right? Spoiler alert—it is.

When Brick discovers he’s being handed over as part of the wyvern-elf alliance treaty, he fumes and decides to cut ties with his family to make his own way in the world. But first, he has to find his way out of the elf kingdom. Asking at the tavern for an elf to be his guide, he’s taken to a room where a half-naked Jagger is lounging on a four-poster bed.

And that’s just the beginning of their dangerous, crazy and sexy adventure…


“Ow!” Brick grabbed at the hand slapping his face and glared at its owner. If he hadn’t known who was hitting him, the selection of bright cocktail rings and the jingling bracelets she wore would have told him it was his younger sister, Scarlet. “Any reason you’re smacking my face?”

Scarlet tilted her head, her forehead creased. “Habit? Whatevs. Hold still—”

Brick held still enough for her to shove wads of cotton wool up his nostrils, then brushed her hand away. Scarlet’s sharp fingernails near any of his body parts made him uneasy at the best of times, and in the rumbling, jolting carriage he and she were currently traveling in, more so. Her nails were long and pointed and they gleamed the brightest mahogany shade she could find, all to mimic the talons they became when she shifted.

Well, that’s only natural, Brick reasoned. Wyverns in general were proud of being wyverns, the ruling family even more so and his sister, the youngest offspring of the Ruby Throne, in particular.

“Thanks,” he muttered, the thick clog in his voice not just due to his nosebleed and the wedges of cotton wool. “Thanks for staying with me.” He knew she’d rather be flying alongside the carriage with their father, Potentate Carnell of the Ruby Throne, and mother, the First Lady Cerise, not to mention the son and heir, Lord Gules, and their older sister, Lady Vermillion. But it was her turn to keep him company, and Scarlet, like all of them, put family duty first.

“Sit up straight,” she replied, wagging a finger in the direction of his face to tell him it was the best way to deal with a nosebleed. She knew. All his family did—Brick got them when he was around magic, and they were prepared for today. “Open wide for your pills.”

Brick obediently opened his mouth, and Scarlet, snickering, moved back to the farthest corner of the royal carriage and flicked in first one tablet, then another, using her middle finger and thumb to launch them as if she were playing a game and getting points. Scarlet performed her family obligations, sure…and made sure she had fun doing so. But she loved Brick, just as he did her.

He tried not to choke—the tablets were huge and foul-tasting. “Thanks,” he repeated, wishing she’d thought to give him a drink to swallow them down with. Actually, no—he didn’t want her squirting it in with a water pistol. He checked the cotton wool was still in place up each nostril. “There must be a lot of magic in the air here.”

“Well, duh,” his sister replied. “Inside the elven kingdom, and just approaching the capital? What d’you expect? They breathe it in and fart it out here, then breathe it in again.” Oh, she was a charmer. “I got orders to smarten you up—you’re not gonna bleed on me, are you?”

He shook his head and let her pull his smart suit jacket into place as if he were a baby, for all she was younger than he was. Well, that fits, with me being as useless as a hatchling. She tutted and brushed off the shoulders and lapels, as if he had flaking head scales. I don’t, do I? That’d be all he needed, with them having to look their best as they arrived for this regal state occasion.

As soon as Scarlet settled back again, grumbling that there wasn’t much she could do with his short hair, he took a sly peep in the glass of the carriage window to check for scale-flake. He caught a quick glimpse of his bronze skin and slitted gold eyes before the spectacle outside claimed his attention. Oh, not the well-maintained kingdom they were driving through, with its paved roads, sturdy-looking buildings and general cleanliness all signs of its good governance, but his family, in the air above the small procession.

Brick lowered the glass to see better. The four royal wyverns made a stunning, vibrant swoop of color as they flew, their wings beating with synchronized grace, their heads turning slowly on their long, elegant necks to incline this way and that at the gasps and applause from townsfolk lining the route, who were all eager to see visiting nobles and dignitaries.

“Elven folk must be used to flying beasts, right?” he asked Scarlet.

She scoffed. “Not like us.”

“Yeah.” Brick had to admit that. A woman stumbled, shading her eyes against the wyverns’ shimmering scales, the gleaming shades of red carefully arranged from his father Carnell’s shining cardinal to his mother Cerise’s glossy pomegranate—“the first seen in the kingdom in a hundred years!” as she often reminded people.

His brother Gules’ proud imperial red came next, then his sister Vermillion’s brash crimson. The family at wing, in the correct order, looked like flames burning up the sky.

Although why they should want to arrive anywhere making the place look like it was on fire, Brick couldn’t fathom. What he did know was Scarlet wanted to be up there too, making an entrance like a bold streak of lava against the blue and white of the sky. He jumped as the most jewel-colored creature of the quartet swooped low and stuck her beak through the window—his mother, checking in on him.

She couldn’t talk in her shifted form, of course, but he had no problem interpreting her caw and twists and jerks of her head. She was concerned for him—she loved him. They all did. Like they would any slow-witted hatchling. He wasn’t wily or cunning, no asset in statecraft or trade negotiations, so they gave him busy work. Grunt work. He nodded to show Cerise he was fine and reached up to pat her on the head, near the top, just after the brow ridge finished.

With a click of her beak, she took off again and rejoined Carnell, circling him with a slow flap of her wings before taking her place at his side. He flicked his tail out to slide along hers.

“Oh, ewww!” Scarlet, on the seat opposite him now, pointed up at the Potentate and First Lady and retched like a caterwaul bringing up a hairball. She made a show of rummaging for one of the sick bags they kept for Brick—there was no telling what form his sensitivity to magic might take. “Old people foreplay is just gross.”

Brick didn’t think it was that bad. Sure, he had no wish whatsoever to see his parents making out like subadults or immatures ever, anywhere, but that they were still loving and affectionate was…something he didn’t see himself ever having. The only people who’d wanted him so far had been those seeking a way into the ruling family and using him as their way to get within polishing distance of the Ruby Throne.

“Mommy, look!” A little girl on the sidewalk near a tavern, her eyes full of wonder, tugged at her mother’s arm. “Up there—dragons!”

Wyverns!” yelled Scarlet, flinging herself so far out of the window to correct the kid that Brick, alarmed for her safety, grabbed at the back of her dress. “Look at the picture, small fry!” She tapped the crest on the side of the royal coach, a plain outline of an almost S-shaped beast, its wings stretched and its slim legs prominent. “Count the limbs, kid. There’s two, not four. We look like lumbering oxen dragons to you?”

She subsided into her seat again and shot Brick a glance. “No offense, bro.”

“I know.” Brick was wide and tall, built like a brick smokehouse, as the saying went, whereas wyverns, in addition to being wily, were light and lithe. Winged serpents, really. He tried not to feel like he was letting down the Ruby Throne, but…

You’re not even red!” Olahf had scorned when, realizing a relationship with Brick wouldn’t bring him into the inner governing circle, he’d ended things between them. “Brick by name and brick by nature and brick by color!” Yeah, Olahf didn’t really have the gift of eloquence a senator or diplomat should, although his tongue could be said to have been silver in other ways… Brick shivered at the memory, then felt sad.

How much of that had been fake? Had Olahf even liked him? If not, their relationship had been, well, transactional at best and icky at worst. It had also made him dwell on his experiences with all the other wyvern shifters who’d befriended him over the years…and hadn’t seemed very friendly. How many had if not used him, then put up with him, for what they could get out of it?

Would life have been different if I were called Flame, or, or Rosso? Maybe if the former, he’d have been dashing and just a little bit dangerous, or if the latter, darkly seductive and a lot more dangerous?

“Persimmon’s a good name,” he mused out loud. “Then Sim would be a good nick. ‘Hey, Sim, coming out for a quick tankard of sack mead?’ Maybe Simmy? ‘Simmy, joining us for dawn patrol?’ Perse? Percy?”

“What? No—you know what? Never mind.” Scarlet waved a hand at him. “Because we’re nearly there.”

About to ask his sister how she knew they were almost at their destination—where they’d be doing some trade-and-aid diplomacy over drinks—Brick saw the ceremonial herald bird flying to join the four wyverns in the sky. The escort would please his mother, who was into appearances. Even his father had commented more than once that the elves had used to do things properly, and that he hoped the Storm King was keeping up traditions.

“He will as long as he has Jerrick advising him,” Cerise always replied. “Jerrick served Jade’s father, too, and Jerrick’s father, Jacron, was chancellor to the Storm Emperor before that. And Jerrick’s son—” She usually stopped herself there.

“Gotta love ya and leave ya!” Scarlet opened the carriage door even though the vehicle was still trundling along.

“I feel okay now the meds have kicked in,” Brick assured her. “Shouldn’t I join in?”

“And risk you having an allergy—sorry, sensitivity—attack up above and bleeding down on Jade or his big green groom?” Scarlet sniggered. “While it would be hilarious, best not.” Blowing a kiss over her shoulder at him, she launched herself from the open door.

Scarlet shifted effortlessly in midair and took her place just behind Gules and Vermillion. It was hardly worth her shifting, though, when the carriage jolted to a stop at the top of a meadow. Two ruby and pale jade pavilions stood proudly, their pennants waving in the early evening breeze, and councilors and nobles waited before them.

The Ruby Throne circled the meadow in a group, then made a tighter circle of the tents to finally drop into the space set up beneath the main pavilion’s awning. They descended one at a time from Carnell to Scarlet—all executing flawless landings and simultaneous shifts back to their other-forms the second their claws touched the ground, clothing themselves as they did so.

They’d left a space for him, and Brick decided he was going to take it properly, instead of scuttling to it, shamefaced. Ignoring his headache and throbbing nose, he ran a few paces and leaped as high as he could with a gurgled “Eaaarrgghhh!” to shift into his wyvern form and, oh, how good it felt to be in the air again, stretching his wings.

He liked the world better in his shifted form. He loved the view from up on high, how things looked when seen from his bigger, more golden than yellow eyes. Scents were more acute to his snout, with its slits for nostrils, than to his other-form nose, which was broad and had never worked as well after being broken during a heated game of tail ball. Which his team had still lost.

Okay, so he wasn’t all polished and gleaming reds like the others, but he liked his scales, with their rust and terra-cotta and ochre shades. Recalling Cerise’s insistence that his hues were “alternative reds” made him snort with laughter and swish his tail, the triangular barb it ended in swinging near his face.

He was going to do this! He dropped lower. I can do this! Can drop into that landing zone! The really small landing zone… I can’t do this.

Believe in yourself!” Cerise had told him over and over since hatchhood. He would. He did! With a high-pitched squeal, a bit like a teakettle coming to the boil, he took a final squint at the target zone, landed, shifted and…belched. Oh gods. He’d meant to clothe himself, not burp one out. And certainly not such a loud one…or one that stank like a dragon’s taint.

“Oh, ewwwwwwww!” cried Scarlet, her longest ever. She pinched her nose closed with her talon-like fingers. She’d get the worst of the stench, being next to him. “How, how, is that so foul? What the fuck you been doing, bro, sucking off a troll?”

“Could have been worse!” called a voice from the crowd. “Just imagine if he’d farted!”

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About the Author

Bailey Bradford

A native Texan, Bailey spends her days spinning stories around in her head, which has contributed to more than one incident of tripping over her own feet. Evenings are reserved for pounding away at the keyboard, as are early morning hours. Sleep? Doesn’t happen much. Writing is too much fun, and there are too many characters bouncing about, tapping on Bailey’s brain demanding to be let out.

Caffeine and chocolate are permanent fixtures in Bailey’s office and are never far from hand at any given time. Removing either of those necessities from Bailey’s presence can result in what is known as A Very, Very Scary Bailey and is not advised under any circumstances.


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