Friday, March 29, 2013


1 - Tell us a little bit about your background. How did you get started in
narrating/producing audio books? How many audio books have you narrated?

I like the sound of the human voice. Not the just the English language, beautiful
as it is, but the whole spectrum of human vocal expressiveness--from Vergil to
grunts and wheezes; from Hemingway to Goodnight, Moon. In fact, it probably
started when I was very young, I remember my mother reading children's poetry
to me from the Childcraft series, and my Dad reading Black Beauty...and there
was real pleasure in listening to a story come alive in the act of reading aloud. I
think most children, if they're lucky, hear a lot of books out loud before they
learn to read themselves. Much later, I had the privilege to study under and
then work with the writer Reynolds Price, and he was a master of reading could tell he really enjoyed it, and was good at it, too. He was
paraplegic and I lived with him for a year to help him get around, and one night
he was very sick and anxious--and he asked me to read to him, and I read the
entirety of To the Lighthouse, and by the end of it he had some peace and
calm, through the experience of listening to Virginia Woolf's luxurious text.
That was my most tangible experience of how reading aloud can be a real
palpable balm to people, it can really ease suffering, when you get right down to
it. I also read a little for my grandma in the nursing home...she loved romance
novels, so that's what it was.

When I was in acting school, one of my teachers told me I should capitalize on
my voice, he really didn't mince words. So that made me think, hey, I should do
audiobooks! I like reading aloud, so why not? And when I started auditioning, I
was blessed to start getting offers. Right now I have nine audiobooks set to be
released in 2013. Four are already complete.

2 - How much acting is involved in narrating a story?

As little as possible. Of course, craft does enter the picture when you have
dialects or a lot of characters to differentiate, for example. But I approach an
audiobook like I am reading a book to a friend, like my best experiences reading
aloud. And if you're reading to a sick person, they don't want to hear you
attempt the world's greatest performance. In fact, I would wager they don't
want to hear you perform at all. So it has to sound kind of effortless. Like
you're just reading! So that's what I try to do. Make it comfortable for the

Now, if I have to think about how I do this, I would say it comes from a few
things I've heard from other film actors--actors that don't speak the text until
the camera rolls, because that ensures that the words will actually be fresh, the
experience of those words will have a virginity to them, so to speak--very
different from theatrical performance. However, I also think of my
improvisation teacher, and the concept of "yes, and..." to whatever is thrown
out there, so when I'm reading, I just go with it, and enjoy the story as it goes
along, letting it surprise me, hopefully, letting myself be swept away by it, in the
telling of it.

3 - What was the most difficult or challenging aspect of narrating COME UNTO

Nothing pops out as being technically hairy territory. Maybe the erotic stuff!
But that's another question. Um, perhaps the dialects--the Irish priest, for
example, sometimes that takes a few goes. Sometimes you have to be extra
careful to differentiate between characters, but not so much that it becomes a
radio play. I mean, I'm not going to sound like a woman, no matter what I do
with my voice, so you just have to imply it, give it the flavor of femininity,
perhaps, it's whatever the part calls for.

With Yellow Sands (as I like to refer to it), the moments I enjoyed the most may
have been the most challenging, the most intimate, the most unknown.
Because what is intimate is essentially what has been unknown prior to that
moment, or unknown in the public sphere. And it's not necessarily the erotic
moments, though it does encompass's anything that is raw, tender,
nervy. And a lot of this book is those things for Swift. So, to my surprise, I
would say that a lot of this book was difficult...because it is a difficult
experience for Swift. He's going through difficult times. He's doubting himself,
he's doubting his partner, he's scared. And the most difficult moment for Swift,
I think, is when he contemplates walking back into the ocean...ending his life,
because he doesn't want to start using again, doesn't want to hurt other people
through his using. That's sad stuff, that's where it's most difficult, and that's
where it's the best, I think. No amount of research or "work" can bring you to
connect with the character in that moment, you just have to reach out your
hand and touch him. It's like being there for someone that needs you. It's
difficult, but it's what makes life worth living.

4 - What character was the most fun to narrate? Why?

Swift. I relate to his struggle with substance abuse, his love of language, his
occasionally hot temper--he is very guarded and explosive about his little box of
poems, for example--and I like that. I also, now that I think about it, like his
fascination with Choose Your Own Adventure stories! I loved those too...I had
the entire series of the Lone Wolf books, and they were great! It's those kind
of things that really stretch and stir a young person's imagination, and can lead
to a love of more nuanced writing and literature, as was the case with Swift.

5 - What character was the most difficult to narrate? Why?

Max. Max is a "tough guy", somewhat emotionally repressed in his masculinity.
I mean, he's a great guy, you can tell that about him, but sometimes he's hard
to read. I actually like that. He keeps his cards held close. It's a surprise when
he reveals himself to Swift, it surprised me, actually. I liked that moment, but
up to then, it was hard for me to know what he was thinking, or rather...feeling.
And that may be because a lot of the time, Max doesn't let himself feel deeply,
or doesn't let himself connect with his deep, underlying feelings. He has a job to
do, as police chief. At least, that's how I read it.

6 - Was there a particular scene you think you read especially well? Or that you
particularly enjoyed reading?

Oh, probably the one I just mentioned--when Max reveals himself to Swift. It's a
touching moment, and so important to Swift. To Max too, but it really is about
Swift being impacted by this revelation, the thing he's been waiting for and
hoping for despite his serious doubts. Also, I like the last scene in the book, and
without giving anything away, it's the kind of redemption that Swift really needs
to heal himself. It's such an easy thing to do, but so hard at the same time.

7 - How awkward is it to read erotic scenes aloud?

Well, often I record with an audio engineer sitting in the other room, and you
have to know that he is hearing every single word that is said. So when you're
reading an erotic scene, he is in that moment too. It's the same with a film set-
-you're connecting with another actor, you're in your own little world, but then
there is the mechanism and apparatus of a film set, people looking at a monitor,
through a camera, listening through the sound equipment. Now an audiobook
situation is much less expansive, which makes it more intimate! So it's actually
just me, the text, and the engineer. These erotic scenes call for a heightened
vulnerability, and so you're exposing yourself--literally exposing yourself! as you
read them. I had a class with Austin Pendleton and he helped me to a revelation
that was important to me....vulnerability is just letting the other person have
power over you. Maybe that's obvious to some people, but it wasn't to me, and
in an acting situation, it can be felt tangibly...who has the power. Now, to give
that up is a considerable gift or concession, however you want to look at it.

And these erotic scenes demand, I think, a submission of power! As an actor,
as an individual, I give up my power by totally letting down my guard--or letting
it down as much as I can bear. So if I'm feeling awkward, it's not a bad thing,
it's part of the moment. It's the fig leaf coming down, the face getting red. If
you blush, you're feeling something, good! Feeling is totally unpredictable, but
if it does get awkward in these scenes, I do take that as a good sign...a sign of
entering territory that could be authentic, sincere.

8 - What’s the most satisfying or rewarding part of narrating/producing an
audio book?

Getting paid! Just kidding, but for the working actor, the actor that wants to
make a living at the craft, audiobooks can be more lucrative than a lot of other
forms of acting. Not that it's about the money, because there are million easier
ways to make money than exposing yourself as I just shared. But audiobooks
can be a calculated gamble. You know what you need to break even, to make
money, and so you can attempt to establish a livelihood that allows
you to keep acting. The name of the game is endurance, or so I've heard. And
as much as I like to read aloud, let's be honest, I'm doing this for an audience, in
the end. And that is to say, I'm doing this to share something, to communicate.
And in the case of audiobooks, I have the privilege of communicating the
author's story. And I take that privilege seriously. I am grateful for it and
humbled by it, the opportunity to share another person's truth, so to speak,
hopefully in a compelling way. I don't want to use the word "dramatic",
because to me it has the whiff of...histrionics, and that kind of acting turns me
off, it's just not my style or taste, though some people love it! What's
satisfying to me is being able to bring my style, my self, fully to the table to
contribute to the author's words. And the two become one. Really, it is that
literal of a merging. And that's an incredible feeling, that union. It's really a
generative union, and it can be life-giving.

9 - Do you ever find yourself wishing the author (naturally not me!!!) hadn’t
taken the story in a particular direction? Or is narrating a much more detached

I wouldn't say it's a totally detached process, though there is a level of
detachment, and a level of a healthy attachment, too. I mean, you've
committed to do the book, you want it to be good, you want it to be a real
compelling story, that will sure make it easier to spend the time in front of the
microphone! And of course if it's consistently compelling, it's more likely to
reach more people. At the same time, when I am committed to a book, I try to
not actively question anything the writer does. I have to believe it. Maybe that
essential belief can be equated with the "yes, and..." improvisation concept I
mentioned, that you just go with it no matter what the author does, there's
really no use dwelling over spilled milk or sour grapes or whatever the
expression is...what's the point? The text is the text, read it. It's like the
detachment of a good sommelier, I may be passionate about my product, but
with deference to the product itself and the customer. In other words, my
performance should never get in the way of telling the story, of pouring the
wine, so to speak. That's the service that is being offered, the telling of the

10 - Where can readers/listeners find out more about you and your work?

**Note** Paul also has a new Facebook page.

Go, go, go! and check back for more updates, there are more good books on
the way...

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


They said it couldn't happen. They said we were toast. Ham and cheese on rye, I believe. But YOU showed them how wrong they were. How a side of nuts and a handful of chips could make all the difference to lunchtime. And the war against tyranny.

I don't know. Something like that.

Anyway, Round THREE of the Dabwaha and we're still here. This time we're up against the Red Queen herself, Abi Roux, who sums it up thusly.

All we can do is...our damnedest. The voting begins Midnight on Thursday (which some of you may think of as still Wednesday) and runs till Thursday noon. You vote here and you vote often. With as many IP addresses as you have time and energy and arcane computer skilz.

And to encourage the madness, here's the coat of arms devised by those shrewd and canny elves at Blind Eye Books. If that doesn't inspire you, well, I can't imagine what would.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Baby, I Need You Now!

The Irregulars anthology squares off against Riptide Publishing in Round 2 of the Zippety Dabwaha Death Match 3000!!!

But I know you don't want rhetoric and shameless appeals to emotion. So here is a list of hard, cold facts as to why you should be voting for Ginn Hale, Nicole Kimberling, Astrid Amara, and yours truly.

See the video here.

And THEN you can pop over here and vote. You don't even have to register. You can vote on every electronic device in the house! In fact, we NEED you to vote on every electronic device in the house. This is going to be an uphill battle.

Think of us. The gallant RAF battling against the brutal Luftwaffe.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Character Interview #1 - Jeff and Austin from A VINTAGE AFFAIR

I see them walk into the Magnolia Room, the bar at the Stonewall Jackson Inn where they first really started to get to know each other. Austin is talking, Jeff is listening, smiling faintly, his gaze taking in the nearly empty room. He spots me, touches Austin’s elbow. Austin breaks off what he was saying, looking a little wary.

For some reason I always think of Austin as blond, but it’s Jeff who is blond. Austin has dark hair and the boyishly pouty, unthreateningly exotic looks you’d expect of a Calvin Klein underwear model – though he’s not remotely the pouty type and his modeling days are long behind him. Jeff has a more straightforward handsomeness. Those all American good looks that effectively sell so many pick up trucks and pairs of Levis.

“Red or white?” Jeff asks and Austin shakes his head, amused.

“Surprise me.”

Jeff goes to the bar and Austin comes over to the table to greet me.  We get the preliminaries out of the way, and I ask, “Does he often?”

Austin is still smiling, still wary. “Does he what?”

“Surprise you?”

He relaxes a fraction. “Yes. As a matter of fact, he does.” The look he throws Jeff, now busily charming the lady bartender, is affectionate.

“So how are things going? Where are you living now?”

Austin tunes back in. “We’ve been doing the long distance thing, but as of last weekend…” he expels a long breath, “we’re homeowners. We bought a house in Buckhead.” His smile is happy, even content.

“So you’re relocating to Georgia?” I admit that’s a surprise. I thought it was more likely they’d move north.

“It’s easier for me to relocate than Jeff. He’s got contacts here, both in law enforcement and the community. It would take him years to build that network up again. Whereas I can work from home a lot of the time.” He shrugs.

“But you’re not living in Madison?”

“No.” There’s a pause before he adds, “Buckhead gives us both a little breathing room.”

Jeff rejoins us. He sets a glass of white wine in front of Austin. “Muscadine Supreme. From Georgia Winery.”

Austin makes a hm sound and gently swirls the wine to release the bouquet. We watch as he sniffs the glass thoughtfully. He hms again and Jeff smiles faintly, tolerantly. He’s drinking beer which he raises toward me in greeting.

We wait as Austin tilts the wine glass and checks the color. Finally he takes a sip. He considers.

“So you’re still in the PI business, Jeff?” I ask as Austin takes his iPhone out and makes notes.

Jeff nods.

“How’s that pay?”


Of course, they’re not hurting for money. Austin inherited a bundle when Harrison passed away.

“Have you solved any more mysteries?”

Jeff says briefly, “Every day.” Austin looks up at that he and Jeff exchange funny little half-smiles. Private smiles.

“What are you doing now, Austin?”

Austin’s face gets that closed look again. Guarded. “Writing mostly. Exploring the possibilities.”


“He’s had a lot of offers,” Jeff says. “Anybody’d be lucky to have him.”

Austin grimaces.

“I think he ought to open his own winery,” Jeff says.

“It’s not that easy, Jeff. It’s not just about money or even land.”

“You could do it.”

Austin is shaking his head.

“How’s Ernest?” I ask, since that seems like a safe topic.

Jeff chokes on his beer. Austin bites his lip and tries not to laugh. He answers, “Ernest is  building a rocket.”

“His second rocket,” Jeff says. “The first one blew up.”

“Do you see much of him?”

Austin says, “He’s at school right now. But I try to see him every couple of weekends.”

“What does Ernest think of Jeff?”

Jeff says gravely, imitating Ernest’s adult-sounding tone, “An interesting specimen, Austin.”

Austin laughs. “He didn’t say that. Not exactly.”                                          

When Jeff chuckles, his eyes crinkle. He drinks his beer and doesn’t bother to argue. 

“What do the assorted and various stepmothers thinks of you two getting together?”

“Assorted and various things,” Jeff drawls.

Austin smiles faintly, watching him.

“Do you ever see the Cashels?”

“Naw,” says Jeff.

“I met Cormac for lunch when he came to New York to meet his publisher.”

“That was your good deed for the year,” Jeff responds.

“He’s okay.” Austin shrugs dismissingly.

I say, “You know, a lot of readers thought you two wouldn’t last.”

“Us?” Austin seems genuinely startled.

Jeff’s mouth twists, but he doesn’t say anything. He seems more interested in Austin’s response. 

“What’s been the biggest challenge for you?”

Austin’s brows draw together as he considers. Jeff answers that one. “Trying to make it work long distance. Plus Austin travels a lot. This winter he was backpacking for a month in South America. I think I heard from him a total of three times. I had no idea if he was alive or dead.”

Austin makes a pained face. “You’d probably hear if I was dead.”

“That makes me feel a whole helluva lot better.”

I interrupt, “What’s the most fun about being together?”

“All of it,” Austin says.  

Jeff meets his direct gaze unhesitatingly. “Yeah, no matter how much time we spend together, it’s not enough. So we’re buying this house onChatham Road.” 

“Chinese wallpaper in the dining room,” Austin says. Apparently that’s a good thing.

“What do you fight about?”

“Chinese wallpaper?” Jeff suggests.

 “We don’t really fight,” Austin says.

Jeff states, “We disagree over Austin’s notion that it’s okay to veer from his itinerary without letting anyone know, and that it doesn’t matter if he forgets to check in for a week.”

Austin expels a long breath but doesn’t argue. They’ve been over this ground once or twice. He says, “Nobody has ever shot at me when I’m working.”

Jeff opens his mouth. I interrupt, “What have you each learned from the other?”

Austin says, “To phone home regularly.”

Jeff laughs. He says, “That the right person makes a difference.”

“To what?”

“To everything.”

“He means sex.” Austin is teasing Jeff. Jeff looks mildly uncomfortable, but that’s not the surprise. The surprise is that Austin is so relaxed that he can joke about something that was surely painful to remember at one time.

Jeff says almost stubbornly, “I mean everything.”

Their gazes hold briefly. Austin inclines his head as though acknowledging a point.

“What do you laugh about?”

Jeff says confidentially, “Well, when Austin gets excited he has this little trick—”


Jeff laughs.

“Bastard,” Austin says without heat. Jeff is still laughing, and after a moment Austin joins in.

Which answers that question – and probably all the rest of them.









Monday, March 18, 2013

Winner of the Armed and Dangerous Narrator Contest

Congratulations to Adrian Bisson!
Adrian -- also known as #5 in the first go-round and #1 in the second round -- was the two-time hands down winner in our quest to find the narrator of Armed and Dangerous. I'm delighted to announce he's graciously accepted the offer to produce and narrate the collection of Dangerous Ground novellas.

Thank you again to all our talented competitors. And more thanks to all of you readers who took the time (and so much care) to vote. You made my job a lot easier!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy St. Paddy's!

In honor of the day -- and all me Irish relations, past and present -- I'm wishing you a Happy St. Paddy's.

Today only, the short story "In Sunshine or In Shadow" is free (in all formats) through Smashwords using this coupon code:  KL36D

And, in the words of the poet (well, the playwright),  "All the world's a stage and most of us are desperately unrehearsed."

- Sean O'Casey

Saturday, March 16, 2013

We have a winner!

But I'm not going to make the announcement on who will be narrating Armed and Dangerous  until Monday. I'll just say that I'm content with the way things worked out. Of course I thought all three finalist narrators were terrific, so from my perspective, there was no way things were going to turn out anything but great.

That said, given how really excellent these guys were, I want to recommend them to any author or publisher thinking of commissioning an audio book. I'm already looking at future projects and considering where I might use them. no particular order our finalists were:

Jordan Murphy

Adrian Bisson

Michael Ochs for Brick Shop Audio

All three of these guys were professionals, good sports -- and have  GREAT voices. In fact, I have never read so many emails from readers saying they wanted to "lick their computer screens"!

Speaking of which, I want to thank all the readers who took part in the voting process. We had about two hundred votes each time, which is really excellent. I don't know if you were just humoring me or you really were that invested in who narrates Will and Taylor's stories, but it really made the process a lot of fun.

So a big thank you to the readers and to our very talented narrators.  


Friday, March 15, 2013

Do You Need an Agent?

I was reading an article on Sterling Lord's Lord of Publishing: A Memoir. Lord, of course is that Sterling Lord. The legendary literary agent. Lord was discussing how the industry has changed and how literary representation has changed. He was...not scathing exactly, but when he started out in publishing, it wasn't the numbers-driven industry it is now. So obviously there has been a shift or two since the old days, and agenting is one of the things that has shifted the most. There just isn't a more endangered animal in publishing than the literary agent. But it's still too early to say how this is all going to shake out. Agents seem to be reinventing themselves, some of them taking on roles of managers and publicists and editors. Evolution, I guess.

Anyway, there’s been a fair bit of discussion in our genre lately on this topic. So I thought, as someone who has done it both ways (er, that would be publishing) I’d offer my ten cents on the question.

Do you need an agent? Short answer? If you’re writing m/m fiction, probably not. Not just yet, anyway.

Long answer? See below.

Basically you need an agent for two reasons that remain unchanging. To open doors that are otherwise closed to you. And to negotiate better, smarter deals than you could get on your own.

Actually, you can add a third very good reason for partnering up with an agent: The agent sees the big picture and has a plan for how to help you reach your career goals. I don't think Sterling Lord and his ilk did a lot of career planning back in the day, so that's a newer development.

Reasons NOT to get an agent: the agent is opening her own publishing house and/or you think having an agent gives you credibility and clout.

 An agent starting up her own publishing business is an agent who sees the writing on the wall. Most money in publishing is not made by authors – nor, especially now – agents. On one level it makes sense for an agent to open a publishing house. Heck, everyone else is doing it, and at least plenty of agents have worked in publishing houses and have practical ideas of how publishing operates. Also, often agents can see the commercial possibilities of a work that they just can’t sell to a publishing house. So the agent will publish the promising but unsaleable book and both author and agent will profit.

I’m not saying this is always a bad plan, I’m saying there is a potential and dangerous conflict of interest, which may or may not come into play.

As for the clout and credibility… Even seven years ago, that was still true. Now? Now it depends on the particular agent – and the particular doors he can open for you. You do not need an agent who can get you a contract with Dreamspinner Press. An agent who can sell your male-male romance to HQN. Yeah. That’s probably the agent you want.

So let’s consider good reasons to get an agent even if you are just planning to write male- male romance for the rest of your career.

Opening doors that are otherwise closed to you. Let’s say that hithertofore you’ve been publishing with Schnooky-Nooky Press and you’re hoping, for starters, to break into one of the bigger epubs. You figure if your submission is agented, you’ll get a closer read. Maybe even a priority read. This is quite possible. Having an agent means someone besides you is willing to invest in your career, and that does count for something. Plus, your agent may have already done a lot of the ground work by asking for revisions and edits on your manuscript before she ever agreed to take it on. That could be very helpful to you, again, depending on the agent.

Or this scenario. You’re hoping to move up the publishing food chain and maybe place your work with a major player publisher. Unless we’re talking Harlequin and a few other romance publishers, yes, you absolutely need an agent. No question. The catch here is that agents operate – as so much of publishing does – based on relationships. Access to HarperCollins does not occur simply by virtue of being an agent.  You really want to look at who your prospective agent represents -- and where he’s selling their work.

To negotiate better, smarter deals than you could get on your own. Lest it sound like I am anti-agent, I am grateful at least once a month for the negotiating my own agent did on my behalf with legacy publishers. Thanks to my agent (and only to my agent -- because none of this would have occurred to me at that time) I still own my audio rights and – more importantly – my work is not being held forever by a publisher who has successfully argued in other cases that, even though ebooks barely existed at the time I signed contracts, putting a book into POD or digital form = still in print.

Thank you, Agent Lady, wherever you are. You saved me from making costly and painful mistakes. Not that I would have had the opportunity to make those mistakes since I wouldn’t have got my foot in those doors without your help. So thank you again.

That said, it’s hard to go too wrong in epublishing provided you exert a little commonsense. Oh, and watch and listen to what’s going on with authors around you. If you’ve got long range writing career plans, you need to educate yourself in your field, and that includes having a basic grasp of the rights you should not blithely hand over.

And even if you do sign a not-so-favorable contract (as I have done a couple of times since I swanned out on my own) the ramifications don’t tend to be lasting. It’s an ill wind that blows no good, and I can say that (in this particular genre) even contracts that I regretted, have almost always, in the end, worked in my favor. Or at least not done me any serious and lasting harm.

Could an agent keep you from signing a bad contract? Yes. Absolutely. So could a lawyer. You could always consider joining the Author’s Guild, which provides free legal advice for members.

Can an agent get you a better deal when most of the epubs and indies we deal with are working from boiler plate contracts? Maybe. Probably? It depends on how you define (and price) “better.” Are more author copies or shaving a year off a lengthy contract worth $23,000. to you?  It’s not a rhetorical question. If you’re earning 100K+ thanks to the efforts of your agent, yes, I would think that was worth it to you. 

The agent sees the big picture and has a plan for how to help you get to your career goals. Now and again I hear authors saying things like why should an agent get 15% of my hard work? The theory is an agent is worth every penny of her commission because you’re earning more than you would earn without her. That’s the idea. The idea is that the agent brings opportunity and possibility to the table. But opportunity and possibility aren’t solely about the editors she has lunch with. An agent’s success also has to do with how educated and knowledgeable she is about the industry in general – and her understanding of the best way to apply that know-how to your particular situation.  Agents stay relevant and indispensable in the new publishing climate when they are as invested in your success as you are. You don’t want an agent who is essentially running an author mill and relying on volume to stay afloat. You want someone helping you make the right decisions. Both in the short term and for the long term.  You want someone with an eye on the future – maybe even with a theory of what the future is going to look like for both of you.

So…do you need an agent? The answer to that question is dependent on two things. Where you are in your career right now, and where you want to be in five years. You have to be honest in your assessment. As far as where you are right now—usually the answer is not where I want to be. As for what you want in the future? Do you want complete artistic control of your work? You don’t need an agent. Do you want to earn a lot of money from publishing your stories? Again, you don’t need an agent. Do you want access to mainstream publishers as they slowly, creakily open the doors to male-male romance? If you hope to take your career mainstream, then yes, you probably will need an agent.
Just remember that “writing mainstream” is about more than having an agent represent you to big publishers. Nor does writing mainstream guarantee success – depending on how you define “success.” A definition you need to give thought to.

That, however, is a topic for another day.








Monday, March 11, 2013

Our Finalists are....

Thank you very much to everyone who voted in the first round of choosing the narrator for Armed and Dangerous.

The three winners were...

Bachelor #3

Bachelor #5

Bachelor #6

Congratulations to our three finalists. But congratulations also to all the very talented guys who took part in the first round. The votes were very close and many, many nice compliments were thrown your way.

And on that score, thank you also to all the readers who took the time to vote. Not just vote, but in many cases explain your votes -- or just talk about your love for the stories and the characters. It was very much appreciated.

Now of course we're going to ask you to listen again and vote a final time on who will be invited to narrate Armed and Dangerous.  The numbers have been changed to protect the innocent. Well, to make sure you really give a good listen to each narrator.

The page is here. Voting runs from noon today through Friday, March 15th.

Thank you listeners and Round 1 narrators for participating!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Zombies ARE Sexy (aka Dudes in Distress = Undead Canapes)

All that’s keeping Riley from the man he’s falling in love with are the ruins of a city filled with half a million dead cannibals.

Strangers, Riley and Graham sheltered together in a basement storage unit when the zombie outbreak slammed into the world three months ago. They lived through the first blast of the plague, but they may not last much longer among survivors scrambling for dwindling resources. They agree to hike from the city and to the safety of the mountains. They didn’t count on the storm they hoped would cover their exit developing into a Nor’easter, though, and they sure didn’t think their visibility would
shrink so badly that they’d hike into the leading edge of a zombie swarm, either. In the chaos of escaping the ravenous horde, they are separated, with Graham racing toward feral dog packs to the east and Riley sprinting to hostile survivors hunting them to the west.

Nobody said finding and keeping a quality guy (alive) during the apocalypse would be easy.


Zombies ARE Sexy (aka Dudes in Distress = Undead Canapes)


Kari Gregg

Why zombies? That’s a question I get asked. A lot. Why, why, WHY? Zombies aren’t sexy. Zombies are gruesome, gory, and gross. They are decaying, for the love of God. So not smexy.

Yep. You’re right.

Corpses don’t generally trip my happy switch, unless we’re talking vampires and hey, none of their dangly bits are rotting off, are they? Neither of my heroes are zombies, though. Their dangly bits are functioning just fine, LOL.

Why zombies then? Because zombies are the super destructo total package. Everyone you have ever met can become an undead killing machine. Depending on the world-building, corpses long dead in the grave can rise up, including your beloved Great Aunt Gertrude who passed away gently in her sleep ten years ago and will now efficiently dig your eyeballs from your skull for a tasty snack. Every person on the planet is a potential enemy. In some zombie worlds, animals can become undead, too. Some zom-infections are instant. You’re bit and WHAMMO! You’re now a mobile WMD. And in other worlds, the lag until reanimation is prolonged so you can savor the horror during that excruciating wait for the inevitable. Sometimes, when a virus drives the zombie infection, you must be bit to become undead, but other times, everybody is infected so dying of natural causes will transform you into a brain muncher. I’ve seen zombie fics in which you didn’t even need to be bitten; you just needed a scratch. Or be splashed with blood spatter.

Regardless of the world, the bottom line is you have to be 100% badass to last long in a zombie outbreak.

And THAT is the allure of zombies.

Damsels in Distress? Or in the case of M/M, Dudes in Distress? Oh, honey, that’s just not possible. Sheer dumb luck may carry you through an encounter or two, but when the horde is descending, any character that is TSTL is going down, baby, down. Above all else, survivors of the zombie plague need to be adaptable, quick, clever, resourceful, and capable. Oh, be still my heart. Heroes must be in prime physical condition because they’ll do tons of running and fighting. With the electrical grid gone and modern conveniences useless, characters become adept at scavenging for supplies or MacGyver a work-around. They learn new skills. Rudimentary first aid. How to filter and purify water. They forage solar panels off highways and then wire them to feed a bank of car batteries to use as a crude power supply. They get smarter or they get dead. Power is a good thing, very good, but light that could draw zombies to your location? Not so hot.

Survivors are the Best of the Best.

In Half a Million Dead Cannibals, both Riley and Graham are extremely capable men. They’ve survived three months into the zombie apocalypse, no small achievement considering they were forced from their shelter to forage for supplies on occasion and they are in an area with other survivors who are distinctly unfriendly toward competitors for dwindling supplies. Neither Riley nor Graham is a simpering, delicate flower. They don’t need to rescue each other. They are equals who have learned to rely on one another. Fate, circumstances, destiny, whatever you want to call it threw them together, but neither man needs a protector or a savior. They are fierce, strong, and proficient men.

Nothing is sexier to me than that.


Leave a comment below with your email address and what characteristic you think would be most important in surviving the zombie apocalypse (strength? intelligence? flexibility?) for a shot at a Zombie Outbreak Response Team car decal like so:




Commenters will also receive an entry into my Half a Million Dead Cannibals Zombie Survival Kit Contest (details about the prize and moar chances to win it here:
Zombies are coming, guys. Comment, comment, comment! While you still can...

Author bio & links:

Kari Gregg lives in the mountains of Wild and Wonderful West Virginia with
her Wonderful husband and three very Wild children. When Kari’s not
writing, she enjoys reading, coffee, zombie flicks, coffee, naked
mud-wrestling (not really), and . . . coffee!



Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Zombies are Sexy!

Welllll...I don't know about that, but one of my writing friends, Kari Gregg, will be here tomorrow to try to convince us. Kari has a new book out called Half a Million Dead Cannibals and she's hitting all the zombie-free zones this week.

Make sure you check back on Thursday for a chance to win the Zombie Survival Kit.

Meanwhile, here's the very nifty trailer for Half a Million Dead Cannibals.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Dangerous Words -- The A&D Narrator Contest

At last count I'd received over twenty auditions for narrating the audio book for Armed & Dangerous, the collected Dangerous Ground novellas. And about six of those auditions were quite good. Good enough that I could happily have gone with any of the narrators. In fact, they were so good that it became really hard to choose, and I decided maybe it would be fun for you readers to choose.

Anyway, we've made a contest page on my website where you can listen to those six auditions, and even vote for the narrator of your choice.

The webpage is loaded now, though the voting does not begin until Monday.