Guest Post: Stacy Allen – Audiobooks: An Author’s Experience

Recently, we recorded Stacy Allen’s Expedition Indigo. We loved the book and we loved being able to work so closely with Stacy during production. When the audiobook was completed, we asked Stacy to write a guest post for us about what is like to have your book turned into an audiobook from the author’s perspective.


stacyallenI was at Bouchercon (the world mystery convention) last November, in Long Beach CA, having lunch with my agent. We were nearing the end of the meal when she casually mentioned “Oh, you got an audio offer.”

WHAT? An audio offer? I was catapulted over the moon with those 6 words! An audio deal! I was so excited. It made me feel like a real author. Real authors had their work on several platforms: eBooks, Print, and Audio. This audio deal made me feel like I had completed the Trinity in publishing.

I wasn’t shy about spreading the word. I was already at a writing/book conference – a reader’s conference – and I told anyone who remotely looked interested. I was so excited to know that an audio company wanted to produce the first in my series.

Expedition Indigo audio coverWhen I received the contract, I signed it and sent it back to my agent, and made a note of the Publisher, ListenUp Audiobooks. I googled them, and found out they are in Atlanta, and I was thrilled. I reached out to them, and explained I had just signed a contract for EXPEDITION INDIGO, my debut novel, and would they be open to a visit from me?

I heard back from them immediately. Holly, the Public Relations Coordinator, invited me down to the studios, and we worked together to find a time and date that would work for everyone. In the meantime, she sent me some audio auditions and asked for my input on the narrators. I loved all the audition samples, but one stood out. I thought this narrator could be my Riley Cooper, and I did some quick research on Kristin Kalbli. She was prolific, with lots of titles to her name.

The sample I got was about five minutes long, and I was mesmerized. I smiled. I giggled. I cried. Here were my words being brought to life by a professional actor/narrator. It was an extremely emotional moment for me. I tell everyone that it was like experiencing the story for the first time. Even though I wrote it, and re-wrote it, and editing and changed and deleted and added over all the editing rounds, this was a whole new story to me. Hearing Kristin’s beautiful interpretation of my words was so moving. We writers always want to hear from our readers how they felt when they read our work.What passages really spoke to you? What passages confused? Where did you tear up? What made you laugh aloud?

I torture my readers with endless questions. I desperately need validation that what I wrote was entertaining, made them think, amused them, moved them to tears. I want my words to make a difference.

And now I was hearing Kristin narrate a scene between my protagonist, Dr. Riley Cooper, and her mentor, Dr. Peter MacAbee. It is Chapter One, and sets the tone for who Riley is, what the situation at hand is, and both of their personalities. Kristin did a beautiful, beautiful job. When I listened to her narration, it was a fresh, new adventure to me, and it sounded as if she wrote it, because it came out so naturally.

The day finally came when all the stars aligned and my husband, Ron, and I went down to the studios one Friday. We got to meet much of the team at ListenUp. They were so friendly and welcoming, and they made me feel super-special. They all said they often never met their authors, when I asked them that question.

They asked if we wanted to watch an audition. We quickly said, “YES!”

We sat in a sound booth with Kristin, Casey (the Casting Director), and Vinnie (Sound Engineer). I looked up to see my book on the screen! They were auditioning a narrator for other projects, and they were using my book for the audition. It was an amazing gift to watch the audition, and to see Kristin giving tips and clues to the reader in the soundproof booth in front of us. She gave the reader all the clues and the nuances about my book, and really showed how much she knew my characters and my story.

We also got to meet Diane, the Director of Business Development. She was wonderful, and we all talked liked we had known one another for years, not minutes.

I have to say my overall impression was one of awe and gratitude. First, that ListenUp loved the story enough to send a contract offer to my agent. Second, that cared as much as I did about my book. The care they took through every step, the respect they gave me, and the finished product all show what a class act ListenUp Audiobooks is. From the moment I stepped through their doors, I felt as if I was home.

Every single person I met at ListenUp cares. They are professional, but more than that, their focus and drive to make my debut novel into a professional audio book has been one of the best experiences of my professional writing life.

What’s it like to have a professionally produced audiobook? It is an amazing adventure. The final product is so much better than I imagined it would be. I tell people, when they inquire, than on listening, it is like having a movie going in the family room and I run to the kitchen for a beverage. It is an entirely different experience than reading the book.

One of my primary concerns with readers is the foreign phrases I have in my novel. EXPEDITION INDIGO is set primarily in Italy, and my character is an archaeologist who speaks Italian and French (as do I). There are smatterings of both languages through the book, and it was critical to me to have these read in a natural way, because the characters are fluent, and it needed to come across that way. Kristin did a perfect job with the passages.

Thank you, ListenUp. All of you. You have my loyalty forever.

Stacy Allen

Expedition Indigo is available through ListenUp Audiobooks and through Audible.


New Audiobook Releases April 1

No more waiting this Wednesday! Today we have three new audiobooks – no joke!

Expedition Indigo audio cover

Expedition Indigo, by Stacy Allen, narrated by Kristin Kalbli

As we were recording this one, the guys around the office referred to it Riley Cooper, the story’s protagonist, Riley Cooper as “girl Indiana Jones”.

Expedition Indigo follows Riley, an archaeologist as she is given the opportunity of a lifetime – the chance to find Charlemagne’s coronation cross, the Crux Fedelis. The audiobook is filled with adventure, excitement, murder, even some romance.

Whiskey Bottles and Brand New Cars CoverWhiskey Bottles and Brand-New Cars: The Fast Life and Sudden Death of Lynryd Skynyrdby Mark Ribowsky, narrated by Jeremy Arthur

Mark Ribowsky offers an intimate look inside Lynryd Skynyrd’s self-destructive misfits who were able to top the charts. Based on interviews with the band’s surviving members, Ribowsky pieces together the story and explore how the lead singer, Ronnie Van Zant, was able to lead Lynyrd Skynyrd to success. Whiskey Bottles and Brand-New Cars provides a new look into the band’s history – stage fights, destroyed motel rooms, smart business deals, excellent studio productions and all.

Bitter Blood CoverBitter Blood: A True Story of Southern Family Pride, Madness, and Murderby Jerry Bledsoe, narrated by Kevin Stillwell

Jerry Bledsoe’s #1 New York Times bestselling true crime novel, Bitter Blood, chronicles the experiences of three well-off Southern families who are connected through marriage and through murder. The shocking real-life events in this story had the whole office in disbelief while we recorded it.

ListenUp Audiobooks New Release, March 17

Available today:

Fire_Of_Stars_and_Dragons_ACX copyFire of Stars and Dragons, by Melissa A. Petreshock, read by Casey Holloway, Daniel Thomas May, and Kevin Stillwell.

Fire of Stars and Dragonsthe first book in the exciting Stars and Souls trilogy, follows 21-year-old Caitriona “Cait” Hayden as she navigates finding her way in 22nd century soverign America, where women are expected to be seen and not heard. And where someone is trying to kill her.

Cait is taken on as a ward by Theo Pendragon, a sexy dragon sworn to protect her. Theo, along with demi-god Dante, and King Corrin fight for Cait’s affections as she makes impossible choices with dire consequences.

DontWorryItGetsWorseACXDon’t Worry, It Gets Worse, written and read by Alida Nugent.

In Don’t Worry, It Gets Worse, Nugent shares what it takes to make the awkward leap from undergrad to “mature and responsible adult that definitely never eats peanut butter straight from the jar and considers it a meal.” Nugent documents, with a little snark, and a lot of heart to formative moments of being a twenty-something – from apartment searching on the black hole known as Craigslist to the creative budgeting allowing one to pay student debt and still enjoy happy hour. Based on her popular Tumblr blog, The Frenemy, Don’t Worry, It Gets Worse is a love note to boozin’, bitchin’ ladies everywhere.

Now available on Audible & iTunes:

JCD-REVISED-with-LAMB Just a Couple of Days, by Tony Vigorito, narrated by Bernard Setaro Clark.

Just a Couple of Days is cult favorite Tony Vigorito’s inventive underground hit chronicling the party at the end of time. A mischievous artist kicks off a game of graffiti tag on a local overpass by painting the simple phrase, “Uh-oh.” An anonymous interlocutor writes back: “When?” Someone slyly answers: “Just a couple of days.” But what happens in just a couple of days? Professor Blip Korterly is arrested, his friend Dr. Flake Fountain is drafted into a shadow-government research project to develop the ultimate biological weapon, and an accidental outbreak turns into a merry-hearted, babble-inducing apocalypse that will either destroy humankind or take it to the next step in evolution.

Reign: An Unfortunate Fairy Tale: Book 4by Chanda Hahn, read by Tavia Gilbert.

Reignthe 4th installment of the Unfortunate Fairy Tale series, follows Mina Grimm. Mina disobeyed Jared’s orders and went to the Fae plane, which has cost her dearly. She is haunted by her decision as new danger surfaces. The Grimms are fading.

Mina will have to enlist the help of her Fae Godmother and a magic pair of shoes to travel to the past and save her family’s future.  She must return to where the Story first began – to the beginning of the dark prince’s reign. Can Mina finish her quest before her time runs out? Or will she be forever trapped in the past?

New Audiobooks This Week!

New Audiobooks from ListenUp this week!

Call Me Grim ACX

Call Me Grim, written by Elizabeth Holloway, narrated by Kelly Collins Lintz.

Young Adult Paranormal/Fantasy.

Synopsis: The truck should have turned Libbi Piper into a Libbi Pancake — and it would have, too, if Aaron hadn’t shown up and saved her life. The problem? Aaron’s the local Grim Reaper… and he only saved Libbi’s life because he needs someone to take over his job. Now, Libbi has two days to choose between dying like she was supposed to, or living a lonely life as Death Incarnate. Talk about a rock and a hard place.

And the choice goes from hard to sucktastic when her best friend shows up marked: condemned as a future murderer. Libbi could have an extra week to stop the murder and fix the mark… but only if she accepts Aaron’s job as Reaper, trapping herself in her crappy town forever, invisible and inaudible to everyone except the newly dead. But, if she refuses? Her best friend is headed straight for Hell.

Read reviews from GoodReadsHer Book Thoughts, Library of a Book Witch, and Fangirlish.

Funny Story-cover

Funny Story: The Incomplete Works of Topher Payne, written by Topher Payne, performed by the author and a full cast

Short stories, humor

Synopsis: Acclaimed Atlanta writer and columnist, Topher Payne, developed this collection of hilarious and poignant short stories specifically for audio. A cast of actors perform these irreverent stories that beg to be heard. 

Damn Love large

Damn Love, written by Jasmine Beach-Ferrera, narrated by Courtney Patterson and a full cast.

General Fiction, Short Stories.

Synopsis: Set in San Francisco and North Carolina, the linked stories in Damn Love introduce characters struggling with love in all its complicated forms, including a young doctor getting over a breakup with the help of a patient, a newly married gay man who reconnects with his estranged mother, a trio of physicists caught in a surprising love triangle, and a soldier who takes secrets with her to the Iraqi desert. Together, these stories report out from the fault lines of American life, uncertain territory where identity, risk, and desire comingle, and where reconciliation can be found in even the most flawed efforts to connect.

Read reviews from GoodReads, Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, & Lambda Literary.

Trident's First Gleaming ACX

Trident’s First Gleaming, written by Stephen Templin, narrated by Brian Troxell.

Military Thriller

Synopsis: Former SEAL Chris Paladin leaves SEAL Team Six to become a pastor, but CIA spook Hannah Andrade pulls him back into Special Operations Group, the ultra-secret unit that SEAL Team Six operators and others served under to eliminate bin Laden. Chris and Hannah are joined by Delta Force’s Sonny Cohen to stop a new terrorist threat from launching a deadly cyber-terror against the United States.

Read reviews from GoodReads and check out the book trailer: 

Kingonomics available in audio!

kingonomicsKingonomics: Twelve Innovative Currencies for Transforming Your Business and Life Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. interprets of Dr. King Jr.’s economic lessons for the 21st Century.

Most know of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s messages of nonviolence and dreams of equality and freedom for all, but many do not know how focused Dr. King was on economic issues. Dr. King believed that pursuing happiness was not possible without economic opportunity. In Kingonomics,, Dr. Rodney Sampson interprets Dr. King’s economic lessons for today’s world. Through ideas taken from the life and works of Dr. King, combined with real-life experience, Dr. Sampson produces a guide for individuals to reach their full potential and personal power.

As an audiobook, Kingonomics is narrated by Dr. Sampson.

Dr. Sampson, an Atlanta native, is a consecrated bishop and is the founder of Kingdom Manifestation. Fans may remember Dr. Sampson from The History Channel’s epic mini-series The Bible, for which he created a series of companion sermons. Dr. Sampson also worked with Icon Pictures on Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, and Disney Pictures and Walden for The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. In 2004, Dr. Sampson was awarded the Phoenix Award by Mayor Shirley Franklin for his contributions to humanity.

Check out the audiobook and let us know what you think in the comments!

Excited for The Bible mini-series? Check out the audio!

March 3, 2013.

Make sure to tune in to the History Channel tonight at 8 p.m. Eastern Time to see the kick-off of the epic, 10-hour mini-series The Bible. The series is produced by high-acclaimed producer Mark Burnett (of The Voice, Survivor, The Apprentice, & Shark Tank) and his wife, Roma Downey (of Touched by An Angel). The Bible brings the most widely-read book of all time to life on the screen, with breathtaking beauty and the use of dramatic live action and cutting-edge CGI technology.

The Bible will continue Sundays on the History Channel and reruns will play on Lifetime on Mondays.

Fans don’t have to wait a whole week for more, though. Bishop Rodney Sampon, who has partnered with Burnett and Downey for the series, has companion sermons available for each episdoe of The Bible. This week’s sermon, titled Any Day Now: Genesis of Divine Manifestation compliments episode 1 – The Beginning.