Audiobook, Drawn In

Meet the Voice of Rennie! (…And All of Rennie’s Friends)

almond bio

I can’t even tell you how excited I am to make this introduction. Seriously, I feel like this has been years in the making. Everyone… I would like you to meet Almond Eastland. (Everyone: “Hi Almond!”) This is the wonderful lady who has given Rennie (and all of her friends and foes!) a voice. She has brought so much artistry to my little indie book, and I just can’t say enough about how thrilled I am to have her on board. She has brought all of Rennie’s qualities and quirks to full-dimension life and I am ecstatic to share her with you!

FIRST… a quick reminder that we’re doing a GIVEAWAY for a FREE download of the audiobook for Drawn In: Book One of the Paper Dreams Chronicles. For details, see the post from yesterday. To cut to the chase and get your own copy now, click here!

Okay, so a little background on how this partnership came to be… I posted in June about beginning my hunt for auditions on the ACX site. I had never met Almond (still haven’t in person… that seems weird! Haha!), but when I heard her audition, I got goosebumps. It’s hard to describe that moment as an author when you just know that you’re listening to your main character. I mean, Rennie talks to me all the time, so I know what she sounds like (I’m not crazy… it’s an author thing). So long story short, I gathered some great auditions, and weeded through them, and I narrowed it down to my top two. I had them both read one more section, and I knew I had my Rennie. There are so many phrases and sections that she reads which sound exactly like they do in my head; it’s almost freaky.  And there are also a few interpretations which took me off-guard and surprised me. Again, as an author, that’s pretty freaking cool.

So without further ado… meet Almond!

Sioux: Hi Almond! Welcome to my blog; I’m so glad you could join me!

Almond: Hi Sioux! Thank you so much for having me!

S: Before we dive into the art of audiobooks, I have to comment on what a great name you have! As someone who enjoys unusual names, I have to know… is there a story there? 
A: Thank you. You have a pretty cool name, too!
The short version is that my mom was a 19-year-old hippie. The longer version is that she had a vision of me before I was born and “received” the scripture, “the Almond tree shall flourish.”
S: That is so cool! I love that there’s such a unique story behind your unique name.
So now to audiobooks… what made you want to get into narration? 
A: I’ve loved to read for as long as I’ve been able to, and I love audiobooks for letting me read more that I would otherwise be able to, since I can listen while I drive or do other things.
When I was researching college majors, I already had a family to support, and none of the professions that would let me read for a living seemed to offer much in the way of financial security, so I chose to become an accountant.
Once my kids were in college, I began to investigate other career paths that I might find more fulfilling. I heard Carrie Olsen talk about voice over on the Afford Anything podcast, so I started researching it. Audiobook narration is the branch of voice over that “makes my heart sing,” as they say, and now I’m working toward being able to read for a living after all. 
S: You have such a great style and a vast array of vocal traits. I’m betting that didn’t happen overnight! Can you tell us about some of the training you’ve had and the tools you use to build those skills?
A: Thank you. That’s very kind of you to say. Most audiobook narrators are trained actors, so I’ve definitely had a steep learning curve. Fortunately, I love to learn, so I am constantly working to build and grow my skills. That involves everything from listening to a lot of audiobooks (yay!) to taking classes, and working one-on-one with coaches. It is very challenging, and a huge investment, but that’s what it takes to learn a new profession.
One thing that’s pretty cool is that I’ve gotten to work with my youngest son, Ian. He’s a newly-minted drama teacher, and, in my completely unbiased opinion, a great coach. It’s been really neat to be able to learn from him and see him in his professional role. It’s something I think not a lot of parents get to experience.
S: Wow, what a cool experience! So tell me a little about your personal style. Do you have a favorite genre to narrate? 
A: Apparently, I have a young-sounding voice, so I seem to be a good fit for any genre that features a young female lead–all the better if she’s a bit quirky! So far, that’s meant cozy mystery, YA, fantasy, and romance. I guess if I had to choose, I’d go with YA because it can encompass all the other genres.
S: And, of course, I have to ask a few questions about this book, because it’s mine! Haha! What made you audition for Drawn In when you saw it posted on the ACX site?
A: The blurb was immediately intriguing. It sounded like a compelling story that I would enjoy reading–and it was! Then, when I downloaded the audition script, the writing was really strong, and the characters seemed to leap off the page. I try to put auditions out of my mind as soon as I submit them, but this was one I was really hoping I’d get.
S: Was there a particular character who was especially fun or interesting for you? What made him/her stand out to you?
A: Well, I know it’s the obvious answer, but I just loved Rennie. She’s smart and funny and nerdy. I just felt an immediate connection to her. 
S: And that connection definitely shines through when you portray her! Now, without any spoilers, did you have a favorite scene or section?
A: First of all, I love the overall sense of mystery, that “what is going on here?” feeling of the book. (You really need to finish Book 3 so I can find out!) And the contrasting but overlapping settings are great!
Maybe because of that mysterious quality, I was surprised by how sharply the book evoked that “first love” feeling. I met my husband when I was 17, and I found myself thinking a lot about that summer when I was doing my pre-read. So, my favorite scenes are the ones with Rennie and Alex.
S: Haha! I am working on Book 3, I promise! And finally, any advice for people who want to learn to narrate audiobooks? 
A: It’s harder than you think! If you’re interested in narrating audiobooks, first take Sean Pratt’s test: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPzPi-_0Xi8. Then, if you’re still interested, be willing to invest in good coaching and tools.
S: Thanks so much for coming on my blog today! You are such a joy to work with, and I love learning more about how you do what you do!
A: Thank you for inviting me, Sioux. It’s been a real pleasure to work with you, too.
So there you have it! Want to learn more about Almond? Check out her sites too!
And her Instagram is here: almond.eastland
Audiobook, Drawn In

It’s Official… We Have an Audiobook! (Plus a GIVEAWAY!)

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Oh my gosh you guys you guys you guys!! We did a thing… Rennie has a VOICE! Drawn In: Book One of the Paper Dreams Chronicles is now officially an audiobook and it’s LIVE and available on Audible, iTunes, and Amazon!

The narrator, Almond Eastland, is absolutely incredible and I am so so pleased with how this has turned out. Stay tuned this weekend for an interview with her right here on my blog to learn more about her and the art of audiobook narration. She’s really great. I can’t wait for you to meet her!

In the meantime, let’s do a giveaway! Who wants a FREE code to download the Drawn In audiobook?? To enter, comment here on the blog, on the Facebook post, the Instagram post, or the Twitter post. That’s it! Each comment will get you an entry. SHARE the post for an extra entry! Someone will win… might as well be you! I’ll do the drawing on Wednesday 01/01 (cos why not start the New Year with free stuff, right?).

A Time Forgotten, Book Two, Drawn In

Birthday Giveaway!!

You guys!! It’s my birthday!! 🥳 But this present is for YOU! It’s time for another giveaway! *cue the music*

You will win one paperback copy of book two of the Paper Dreams Chronicles, A Time Forgotten, plus a few extra goodies. You can choose who the book is signed to, and you can choose if you’d like it annotated!

So here we go… to enter for a chance to win, comment here on my blog, comment on my Facebook author page (not my personal page), or on my Instagram (sioux1313), or Twitter (@siouxshiny).

Or comment in all four places for FOUR chances to win! Whaaaat? Yup, it’s true. You can get four chances! (Last Giveaway was won by a 2nd entry, just sayin.)

This will go all week and next Sunday I will choose & announce a winner! Let the giveaway begin!

Good luck! 💕

A Time Forgotten, Book Two, Drawn In, Fun

Let’s Do a Release Day Giveaway!

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A Time Forgotten is available today!!! Woo hoo!!! (And here’s the link, ICYMI)

I am so excited to have Rennie back in the world, and I want to share the excitement with everyone! So let’s celebrate with a giveaway!

All you have to do is leave a comment here, on my author Facebook page, or Goodreads, or on Twitter, and you’re entered! So easy, right? And if you comment in all 4 locations, or share any of the posts, you will earn an extra entry!

My randomizer app will choose a winner on Sunday 08/12 and one of your will win a signed paperback along with some other swag!

So who wants to win? I want you to win!! Let’s do this!!

 

Drawn In, Fun

A Winner!

winner

We have a winner! Goodreads told me last week that we have a winner for the giveaway, and the book has been sent out… all the way to the UK! Can I tell you how excited I am that the winner was a Brit? Silly of me, I know, but I just can’t help myself. I opened the contest up to the US, Canada, and the UK. The last time I had a giveaway through Goodreads, I did the US and Canada and had one winner in each. This time was just ONE book to give away and the Anglophile in me was secretly hoping for a British winner. Why? Maybe it’s the Doctor Who references in my book that I’m hoping will go to someone who says, “Yes, I get that.” Or the fact that I put a British character in my book for the sheer joy of ‘hearing’ her accent in my head as I read/write. What can I say? I’m just wacky that way. Anyway, congrats to my book winner… and here’s hoping that she’ll pass along the good word to her lovely YA-loving, UK-living friends! 🙂

Update on book two and perhaps another book one giveaway coming in the new year. Stay tuned!

Drawn In, Fun, Uncategorized

A Giveaway!

DRAWN IN cover

I’m doing another giveaway on Goodreads! TODAY November 29-December 10, enter to win a signed paperback copy of my book Drawn In. I’m only giving away ONE copy so cross your fingers and make a wish. Also, if you email or message or comment here and want it personalized, just say the word. And if you’d like a few “behind the scenes” annotations, I’m always happy to write a little in the margins. 🙂

Oh, and if you’re awesome enough to already own a copy, maybe a nice Christmas present for a YA loving friend in your life?

Here’s the link… click here to enter!