Introducing Audiobook Readers’ Edge

What’s the Benefit to Readers?

Here’s the deal … You’ll Get:

·         A short, vetted list of indie audiobooks I recommend every week. I’ll try to give you a clear rating system in terms of curses, adult content, and the like. (I’m thinking Sundays.)
·         Free audiobooks. (The author emails of those willing to share audible gift codes or directly gift you the book you’ve select.)
·         News of any audiobook price drops, giveaways, and cool contests put on by the lovely authors on the list.

(You’ll also get the ebook links if you want to look at the full descriptions before committing to anything.)

What’s the “catch”?

Nothing really, but I run by the principle: “If you like it, then you shoulda put a review on it.” (And if you don’t like it, let the author know privately.) As such, I will be asking that if you enjoy a particular audiobook you let the world know it by posting reviews to Audible and Amazon.

Think of it this way, these authors and their narrators have poured hours upon hours into creating an entertaining or informative show for you. Listening and enjoying their hard work is one step, but it costs you about five minutes of your time to thank them with a review. It also helps other readers find and enjoy things you love.

Nitty Gritty Details:
By “vetted” I mean I’ve either read the book or know the author and the quality of their work personally. (I will be gathering a small team of audiobook readers I trust to make such decisions, but right now, it’s just me.) My reading tastes tend very strongly toward mystery, thriller, and science fiction with a smidgen of fantasy and a few other genres. Therefore, you can expect the list to lean heavily toward these genres. Also, I write (and therefore tend to read) squeaky clean stuff. I’m not saying there won’t be curse words here and there as it fits the story, but these will be the works you wouldn’t mind if your grandmother caught you reading it.

I’m just the middleman here as it were. I’ll show you thing I’ve enjoyed or am excited to try out. It’s up to you to contact the authors who are kind enough to offer some free codes.

Eventually, I’ll be posting the lists to my wordpress blog. After they’re up and running, I’ll send you a link to the recent post(s) at the bottom of the weekly newsletter.

If that sounds like a good deal to you, please sign up below. As a bonus, I’ll enter you into a drawing to win one of 5 ebook, audiobook, and paperback bundles of any of my applicable works. (Clarification: It has to be a title that has an audiobook, ebook, and paperback version.)

Questions can be directed to: devyaschildren @ gmail.com (take out the spaces)

Sneak Peak: Love’s Promise by Melissa Storm

Last chance at the $0.99 sale.
What’s gone on before…
So, this book will be dropping on Tuesday, March 7, 2017.
It will also be on sale up through Sunday, so if you get it early, you get it for $0.99. It looks like it’s going to be a sweet story. Check it out.

Excerpt from Chapter 2:

Everything felt heavy when Kristina first awoke from the anesthesia. Her eyelashes almost seemed as if they’d been weighted down or glued to her cheeks. Her limbs were thick and prickled with numbness. Even breathing felt more laborious than it once had. Wasn’t this surgery supposed to have the opposite effect?

She struggled against the fatigue and opened her eyes, one after the other, in a slow, careful squint. She wanted to sit up but didn’t quite feel strong enough to do so. Maybe if she pushed down with her arms…

The movement tugged at the IV protruding silently from her arm. It didn’t hurt, but it felt icky nonetheless.

“Good morning, sleepy head,” a nearby nurse said. “I was just coming in to check on you. How do you feel?”

Heavy didn’t seem like the right response here, so Kristina murmured “groggy” instead.

The nurse chuckled and put a heartrate monitor on Kristina Rose’s fingertip. “Heart rate is good. How do you feel besides groggy? Any pain?”

Pain? Oh, yes. Surgery was supposed to hurt. But… Kristina felt absolutely fine. “I think maybe I’m too tired to hurt,” she guessed aloud.

“On a scale of one to ten?”

“Maybe two. A little like I’m hungry from not having eating all day, but nothing unbearable. I thought it would be a lot worse.”

“Well, now, why did you think that? Dr. Daniels is very good at what he does. In fact, you’ll hardly have any scars to show for it. That’s the power of laparoscopic these days. Anyway, your vitals all look great. Would you like me to invite your friends in? They’ve been waiting very patiently to see you.”

Friends? Kristina Rose had only been aware of Elise staking out the waiting room for her. Who else had come to see her? Maisie? Jennifer? Summer, maybe? She nodded, and the nurse left with her chart.

A moment later, Elise burst into the room holding tight to the string of a big, happy “It’s a Girl” balloon. “I’m so glad you’re finally up!” she said, bending down to hug her friend and taking the pain from a two straight to a four. “Oh, I hurt you, didn’t I? I’m so sorry. It’s just I’m very glad to see you. I—”

“You were worried I wouldn’t wake up.”

“I knew you were safe in the Lord’s hands, but I still worried. What would I do without you, Kris?” She shook her head and chuckled morosely.

“Is that for me?” Kristina pointed toward the pink Mylar balloon floating near the ceiling. “You know I didn’t have a baby, right?”

“I know, I know, but I had to get you something, and there weren’t an awful lot of choices in the hospital gift shop. I figured the balloon is light and pretty. It floats, which is kind of like flying, right? And, well, you’re about to take off in this new life and get a lot lighter, too, if I understand it right. So… yeah. Here.” She tied the string of the balloon to the side of Kristina’s bed.

“You were waiting for me to wake up for how long, and that was the best you could do?” Kristina laughed. “But thank you. It’s perfect.”

“Hi, Kristina Rose,” a third person said almost shyly. It was a voice she knew well, but not one she had expected to hear so soon after waking.

“Jeffrey, hi. Thank you so much for coming!” She tried to adjust herself in bed to at least find a more flattering position, but doing so tugged at the IV line again and sent her pain back up to a three after it had only just settled down from the hug with Elise.

Jeffrey came to her bedside and gave her a very light and gentle embrace, then handed her a popsicle still in its shiny, white wrapper. “The nurse wanted me to bring you this,” he explained. “It’s sugar free and will keep your throat from getting too dry.”

“I’m not really hungry,” she confessed.

But then Elise was all over her. “Missy, you better do what the nurse says if you want to get better soon. Need me to unwrap it for you?”

Kristina Rose rolled her eyes. “I think I can manage.” As instructed, she unwrapped the popsicle, which was grape, her favorite flavor since childhood. She took a tentative suck and smiled. “Thank you for bringing this, Jeffrey. It’s so refreshing right now and the sugar’s helping to wake me up a little more.”

“It’s sugar free, but you’re welcome.” He smiled, too.

Elise looked from Kristina to Jeffrey then back again, but said nothing.

“I’m happy you’re okay,” Jeffrey said, ignoring Elise’s quizzical glance. “I prayed for you all day. In fact, I was so distracted at            work that I even burned the toast. Mabel sent me here, said a cook who couldn’t even make toast was no good to her anyway.”

Kristina laughed. Had he really been so worried about her? She hated to cause him concern, but she also loved that he’d been thinking of her, that he was here.

“Do you mind if I just say a little prayer with you?” he asked. “It only feels right since I spent the whole day begging God to keep you safe. And he did, so now I need to say thank you.”

“I’ll just… go for a lap around the hall,” Elise announced, slipping out of the room.

“Can I?” Jeffrey asked again, his honey eyes appeared even brighter, his brown complexion even darker underneath the fluorescent lighting. Kristina nodded, and he lowered his lean, muscular frame down onto the edge of her bed then reached for her hands. Their hands and skin often brushed whenever she grabbed a plate of fresh cooked food to serve to their mutual customers or when they were working together to refill ketchup bottles or stock napkins. But all those brushes were casual, unintended, part of a day’s work. As his hands cupped around hers, she felt a small jolt as if her whole body was just now coming to life and shaking off the heaviness of the anesthesia. Like Elise’s balloon, she’d become light, was flying.

“Dear Lord…” Jeffrey began, but honestly, Kristina didn’t even hear the rest.

Check out the FB Party going on all week:

Meet the Author:

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Magical March Giveaway

Join the Magical March Giveaway. Enter to win ~15 ish lovely fantasy stories … oh, and a magic wand. Who doesn’t love a magic wand. Your life would not be complete without it!

Check out some of the stories you could win:

The Beltane Escape by Ariella Moon (Favorite cover award from me)

Lady Fenella, Thaness of Thorburn, has no idea her fate will be shackled to a powerful sorceress. She believes Gran’s warnings about Fairy are superstition, Fairy was invented to make children behave, and Merlin and the Lady of the Lake are myths. Then, from a distant past when the rule of magic is threatened, a spell cast forward to sixteenth century Scotland finds Fenella. The incantation sets in motion a series of events that leave her branded, stolen, and betrothed. Traumatized, and separated from her clan, the Highland heiress finds an unexpected ally in Edward, her kidnapper’s son. But their fragile alliance is gravely tested when he enables Fenella’s young cousin to visit, and the Lady of the Lake seizes her opportunity and lures the reckless lad into Fairy. Fenella has seconds to decide. Should she remain with Edward, her best chance at saving herself and protecting her people? Or should she dive into Fairy to rescue her beloved cousin, endangering her clan, and abandoning Edward to his ruthless father, Lord Argonshire? Weakened, spellbound, and torn by conflicting loyalties and love, Fenella is pulled toward her fate — unaware, The Most Powerful Wizard stands in her way.

The Firethorn Crown by Lea Doue (Sweet title award from me)

The Firethorn Crown (Firethorn Chronicles Book 1) by [Doué, Lea]

The crown is her strength. The crown is her weakness.

Princess Lily, the eldest of twelve sisters and heir to a mighty kingdom, desperately seeks a break from her mother’s matchmaking. Tradition forbids marriage with the man Lily loves, so she would rather rule alone than marry someone who only wants the crown.

Fleeing an overzealous suitor, Lily stumbles into a secret underground kingdom where she and her sisters encounter a mysterious sorcerer-prince and become entangled in a curse that threatens the safety of her family and her people. Lily can free them, but the price for freedom may be more than she’s willing to pay.

The Firethorn Crown, a re-imagining of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, is the first novel in The Firethorn Chronicles, a series inspired by fairy tales and other classic stories. Follow the sisters on their adventures in a land where sorcery is feared, women can rule, and dragons fly.

Leandra’s Enchanted Flute by Katy Huth Jones (Wins the I’ve-actually-read-and-approve award)

Leandra's Enchanted Flute (Tales of Finian Jahndra Book 1) by [Jones, Katy Huth]

Fourteen-year-old flutist Lee Ann Graves is a survivor–she has beaten cancer. But her greatest battle is yet to come.

The Carolina wren who has sung outside her window during the long weeks of chemotherapy reveals himself as Songcatcher. He knows Lee Ann’s real name is Leandra, and he transports her and her flute to a magical world that is dying because of a growing world-wide “canker.”

Leandra is restored to health and her flute transformed by what magic is left in the world. But as she searches for the source of the canker, the malignant forces take their toll, not only on the land, but on Leandra’s physical and mental well-being.

With the help of Songcatcher, other bird friends, and a very human prince, Leandra must find a way to heal the land she has learned to love before it is too late.

Here’s a link to every book in the collection.

Giveaway runs from March 2-17. The winner will be notified by email on March 18. [FoF reserves the right to substitute the custom wand with something of equal value for anyone outside the US or Canada.]

Email me any time (Devyaschildren @ gmail.com)

Visit my website and join the mailing list. I’ll be revamping that very soon to include more contests, giveaways, etc.

Best of luck.

Link to rafflecopter

 

VALENTINE’S DAY blog hop ~ WIN $170 Amazon gift card #leicrimeKW

I’m taking a Monday Music break to make an important announcement.valentine hop #leicrimekw

As part of a group of writers for author Toby Neal’s series: Lei Crime KindleWorlds, we have banded together to give readers a chance to win an Amazon Gift Card worth $170! 

This is open to loyal fans of the series, and to new readers who’ve not read any of the books yet.

You need a Facebook account to enter, and it’s SUPER EASY! Here’s what you do:

1) Read each author’s Facebook post and check out the great recipe each has to offer!

2) Learn more about their #LeiCrimeKW books.

3) COMMENT on each Facebook post with your choice of a Valentine’s meal. EACH comment is an entry to win the $170 Amazon Gift Card!

4) While you’re there, please LIKEeach author’s page. It helps and is greatly appreciated.

Below, you will find the post that is currently…

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Top 5 Questions about Beta Readers

*Warning – the definitions contained herein have not been confirmed by Google b/c I’m simply telling you my gut definition.

1. Introduction (What is a beta reader? How is this creature different than an advanced reader?)
To my knowledge, a beta reader is someone who reads an unpublished manuscript with an eye for sense, sensibility, and general grammar gaffs.

An advanced reader is someone who reads a soon-to-be-published manuscript with an understanding that if they like it they’ll put a review on it once the book goes live. Traditional publishers have given away Advanced Reader Copies practically since the stone age of publishing. Indie publishers too know the value of good publicity.

Beta readers can be advanced readers, but the end goal is more to make the manuscript better than to get great reviews, though that is a nice bonus.

2. When and how do you use beta readers?
When you have a finished manuscript you’ve polished a few times yourself, dig up some beta readers and see what they think. You’re completely biased when it comes to your story. Get a second, third, and fourth opinion.

Find out what format each person wants and give them the story in that format (epub, mobi, pdf are the popular formats). Keep a record of who gets what, when they get it, when they return it with comments, and the quality of those comments so you can keep track of who’s an awesome reader and who’s lousy at corresponding. You’ll need that info to refine your list later.

3. How many is enough?
For the Lei Crime Kindle World stories, I keep a list of about 50 people to contact. At any given time of year, about 10-15 of those will reply to a beta reader call. Of the responses, a few will be “so sorry, too busy right now” sorts and the rest will be “count me in!”.

4. How do you find them?
I got lucky in that the Lei Crime Kindle World main author, Toby Neal, had a list of beta readers she shared with us. (These were fans who already love her work who said they’d be willing to help out with the KW stories.) Several of those loved my work enough to follow me on some other private projects.

Over time, I’ve also found some beta readers from my newsletter list (painstakingly built over the years) as well as Facebook groups. When I took part in a fantasy anthology, many of the authors agreed to beta read each other’s stories. Same thing happened with a Christian anthology I entered, but that was a little more organized because there were far fewer authors so we all had to read 2 other stories to make it work.

Family members can be good beta readers, but it really depends on the situation. Do not rely upon them as your only feedback because they are biased too. Unless they’re already an editor in the real world, family members tend not to give you the sort of feedback you need (this and this and that needs to be reworked to make the story awesome.)

5. What if you don’t agree with them?
It’s always nice to have beta readers who say “this is wonderful” but they’re not typically the most useful. The main goal of having beta readers is to improve the overall quality of the story. Not every beta reader has the right mind or skill set to give you articulate feedback you can work with. Some will just comb through for basic grammar mistakes and that’s totally helpful too. I used to read my own projects 9 times before letting others read it. Then I started writing more and 9 became an untouchable number of reads.

Hearing about flaws can be tough, but those who can point out the negatives might just have the few gems of wisdom that will make that story rock. (As a beta reader, I fall into that category. I tend to be brutally honest about what’s working for me and what’s not. I’ll let you know where I laughed and where ya lost me. Unfortunately, I with very few exceptions, I can’t take on new beta projects right now.)

In the end, it’s your story and you do what you want, but do carefully weigh their advice.

Want more unsolicited advice, random news, and freebie info?
Sign up for my monthly newsletter.
If anybody wants to join my beta reading or advanced reader teams, please drop me a line (devyaschildren @gmaildotcom). (Replace the dot with a “.” and take out the extra space…simple test to prove you’re not a robot. I know it’s annoying not to be able to copy paste. Call it character building.) Give me a brief intro to you and your qualifications as a reader. (I love to read! is a pretty good qualification, but I need to know a little about what you like to read to be able to place you properly with projects you’d enjoy.)

P.S. Guardian Angel Files: Spirit’s Bane (YA Contemporary Fantasy) is up for grabs as a beta reading project. First two pics are the anthologies I did some beta reading for because I was a part of them.

fcreatures-anthologywhere-the-light-may-lead

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Take the Book Quiz; Win Stuff

So, this is gonna be a super short post.

Go here: http://www.litring.com/giveaways/ and answer a few simple questions to grab some freebies and enter to win some great stuff.

The concept is pretty cool. These questions will help you narrow down from a bunch of different genres to get you a focused list of books aimed at your likes and passions.

Go for it. You’ve got nothing to lose.

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2016 Movie Mini-Reviews

*Note: I’m an Amazon reviewer, I’m just used to a 5 star system*

*The dates I saw the movie are in parentheses.*

*As usual, I don’t own any of the images. I got them via google searches.*

As much as possible, I will try to keep these mini-reviews spoiler-free, but no firm promises. Most of these films have long-since left theaters and been picked apart every which way by critics and movie lovers alike.

tfa-lego

Star Wars Ep VII: The Force Awakens

(1/2; 1/5; 1/12; 1/19; 1/26; 2/2; 2/16; 2/22; 2/29; 3/7/16)
5/5 stars. Mini-synopsis: A Stormtrooper and a scavenger team up with an adorable orange droid to bring the Rebellion vital information. Judging by the amount of times I saw this movie in theaters, I’d say I loved it. It’s kid-friendly. Yes, it’s very reminiscent of Star Wars Ep IV: A New Hope, but in good ways. The new characters: Rey, Finn, BB-8, Poe Dameron, and Kylo Ren are largely hits. The comic relief is handled with a deft hand. There’s a struggle and both a tired Rebellion and New Order ready to deal each other what death blows they can.

 zootopia

Zootopia

(3/15/16)
3.5/5 stars. Mini-synopsis: A bunny cop takes on stereotypes to expose an evil plot to set Zootopian society on its ear. It’s a solidly good movie, but there seemed to be hidden agendas that were about as subtle as a neon sign. I typically try to overlook such things and just sit back and enjoy, but this movie sort of kept throwing it in your face. It’s not a bad message, but I go to the movies for entertainment not moral postulating.

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Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice

(4/1/16)
3/5 stars. Mini-synopsis: Batman and Superman are pitted against each other by someone with a twisted mind. It’s okay. I honestly don’t remember all that much about it. I enjoyed it while in the theater, but I didn’t run home to Batman or Superman toys, not that I’d do that anyway.

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The Jungle Book

(4/19/16)
4/5 stars. Mini-synopsis: A boy raised by wolves makes dangerous enemies simply by being human. A beautiful return to a classic cartoon. I kind of think I liked the cartoon version a bit better, but this stays true to much of that classic.

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The Huntsman: Winter’s War

(4/26/16)
3.5/5 stars. Mini-synopsis: The Huntsman returns to battle the Ice Queen. I’m probably in the minority here in actually liking this movie. It’s not a super-deep thinker. The fight scenes are decent. The comic relief falls a little flat, but overall, it’s a worthy follow up to The Huntsman. Fantasy movies are almost as hard as video game movies to get right. (Unless it’s Harry Potter, then it’ll make money anyway.)

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Captain America: Civil War

(5/10; 5/17/16)
4.5/5 stars. Mini-synopsis: Captain America and crew are sharply divided when the world turns against heroes and a council hands down some pretty strict oversight rules. Although not as good as the first, it’s an interesting sequel. Marvel does a nice job of weaving in a large cast of beloved characters and making them relevant. The action sequences are great and the plot has a few layers.

id-resurgence

Independence Day: Resurgence

(7/2/16)
3.5/5 stars. Mini-synopsis: The aliens Earth sent packing 25 years ago are back with a vengeance. Suffers from being a sequel, but stays true to the original in key ways. Cast is very good. The mythology expands a little. Not sure it made enough movie for them to attempt making it a trilogy, but it took a few decades to get a sequel so you never know.

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The Secret Life of Pets

(7/16/16)

3.5/5 stars. Mini-synopsis: Privileged animal companions end up in quite a scrap when they become lost in NYC. I appreciate this more having seen it while actually in New York City. Entertaining but not memorable. For some reason (maybe I’m just old??), the new animated films don’t have quite the sticking power with me as the old school ones. I think Frozen is the last one I can think of that really stuck out as fantastic.

moana 

Moana (12/27/16)

4/5 stars. Mini-synopsis: A chieftain’s daughter embarks on a grand adventure to write some mythical proportion wrongs brought about by one demi-god’s misdeed generations ago. Amusing. Beautiful. The songs are lovely but not the sort you’ll find yourself humming in the shower. The comic relief is a tad forced but it works. The chicken is hilarious.

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Rogue One (12/16; 12/17; 12/19; 12/30/16)

5/5 stars. Mini-synopsis: A band of Rebels go on a desperate mission to give the galaxy hope once again. I have determined to make this the last movie I see of 2016, so I’ll include it last even though that means some of this will be out of order. Somewhat unfairly, I think people are naturally going to compare this to The Force Awakens and find Rogue One slightly wanting. While in a straight up duel between the two I might be tempted to side with TFA too, the comparison’s not exactly fair. The movies fulfill different purposes. TFA expands on Star Wars mythology and gives the Star Wars fans hope that our beloved saga will continue on in steady hands with Disney at the helm. Rogue One is a backstory. It tells a tale we’ve long known had to be out there and answers some deep, burning questions that could crop up during Ep IV: A New Hope. I don’t think it will have as long of a run in theaters as TFA because it’s really a film aimed at the massive amounts of adult fans. TFA fulfills that role (aimed at fans) as well as has a general audience appeal. Rogue One is way more violent. That said, I loved it. I loved it differently than I did TFA, but once again, I will be spending quite a few afternoons in theaters immersed in a galaxy far, far away.

Conclusion:

It’s been a pretty good year for movies. What’d you think?

What movies in 2017 are you looking forward to?
Of course, I’m interested in the new Star Wars movie, but I’m also sort of interested in Hidden Figures, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, Logan, Lego Batman, and The Boss Baby (though I’m not sure about seeing that one in theaters).