New Audiobooks and Giveaways!

Audio--Thunder and Roses Screenshot2013-09-18at4.26.17AMby Mary Jo

Producing audiobooks from my back list is time consuming and not inexpensive, but I continue to do them because so many people really like listening to audiobooks. My current goal is to make audio available for all seven of my Fallen Angels books, and we're getting close!  Several years ago I started with audio versions of Thunder and Roses and Dancing on the Wind along with the non-Fallen Angels book The Bargain

The economics of producing audiobooks changed dramatically so I put the audio program on hold for several years, but the marketplace is always changing, so now I've started producing them again. I started with Shattered Rainbows last autumn, and here's a link to my blog and interview with my wonderful English narrator Siobhan Waring. MaryJoPutney_TheBargain1_Audio

Production and distribution take time, so the audio versions of River of Fire (Fallen Angels 6) and One Perfect Rose (Fallen Angels #7) have become widely available at just about the same time. 

I've always loved River of Fire, where my battle hardened hero Kenneth has the soul and talent of a painter.  In order to save his bankrupt estate, he reluctantly takes a position as secretary to famous artist Sir Anthony Seaton, who may be a murderer. 

Dazzled by the creative atmosphere as well as Sir Anthony's prickly but fascinating painter daughter Rebecca, Kenneth dares dream that he might become MaryJoPutney_RiverofFire_Audioan artist himself. But what will Rebecca do when she learns that Kenneth has been spying on the household and may destroy her father? 

(I'm listening to River of Fire in my car now, and thoroughly enjoying it. <G>  Not surprisingly, it takes me back to my art school days!)

One Perfect Rose, 7th and last of the Fallen Angels series, has always been a popular favorite, and I'm delighted to finally have Stephen's story available in audio.  Stephen, the Duke of Ashburton, is brother of Lord Michael Kenyon, the hero of Shattered Rainbows.  Reserved Stephen has always done his duty, but after the death of his tyrannical father and distant wife, he's ready to explore a new freedom.

Then a grim diagnosis send him bolting away from his grand position to come to terms with his life.  Traveling anonymously, he falls in with a welcoming family theater troupe, and becomes enchanted with their adopted daughter, Rosalind, who radiates the warmth he's MaryJoPutney_OnePerfectRose_Audio copy been seeking all his life.  But can they find a happy future together?  (Don't worry, it's a romance!) 

Production has started on Fallen Angels #3, Petals in the Storm, and the final Fallen Angels book, Angel Rogue, (# 4) will go into production immediately after.  The whole series should be available by the end of the year! 

My distributor, Findaway Voices, has given me some free giveaway codes for each book, so I will give away five codes for each of these two new audiobooks to some of you who leave comments between now and midnight Thursday. 

The codes are good only in the US, Canada, and Australia and must be used MaryJoPutney_DancingontheWind_AudioIOS or Android devices, such as a Samsung phone or an iPod or iPad or whatever.  They use a special app that must be downloaded to your listening device.  I managed to do it, so it's not difficult. <G>  

(I'm delighted that the codes now work in Australia–last autumn, the codes were good only in the US and Canada.  I hope Findaway keeps adding more territories!)  

So if you're in the US, Canada, or Australia with a suitable electronic device, let me know if you'd like a free audiobook and maybe you'll win one of these books! 

Mary Jo

PS: Findaway Voices sets up author stores where you can buy direct from them using the Author Direct app.  Here's a link to their MJP store.  The three books I did with Findaway Voices are listed there.

SATURDAY NOTE!  Winners have been chosen and I'll be emailing directly with the codes, but this will take a couple of days.  Sorry!

 

The Bargain: “There’s something about that story…”

Cat 243 Doverby Mary Jo

This week, Kensington has reissued my early romance, The Bargain, which got me to thinking about the long journey this story has.  It started life as my third Signet Regency, The Would Be Widow.  I was very much a neophyte at the time, and several of my writing traits first appeared here.  

To begin with, I connected the story to my first book, The Diabolical Baron, by making the hero of The Baron the best friend of the hero of the Widow, and a key player in the story.  Without even realizing it, I had started writing a community, and that has served me well as those books turned into a de facto series, and series are really popular now!

TheBargain CoverSecondly, this was the first book where there was a difficult man who proved unexpectedly interesting at the last moment, so naturally I had to immediately write a book about him. (The man was Rafael Whitbourne, the Duke of Candover, and his book was The Controversial Countess, later revised as Petals in the Storm, about which more anon.  Reggie Davenport in The Diabolical Baron was a similarly problematic character who ended up with his own book: The Rake and the Reformer, now The Rake.  But I didn't write that for another year or two.)

The Would Be Widow is a perfect title for this story: a young woman needs to marry by her 25th birthday in order to secure her inheritance and she doesn't want to marry at random when she has her eye on a man she really wants, and he seems interested in her, too.  It's not long after Waterloo, so she visits a London military hospital to see a friend, and is struck with the brilliant idea of marrying a dying man, which will fulfill the terms of her father's will while soon freeing her to pursue the man she wants.

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Creating The Bargain in audio

Cat 243 Doverby Mary Jo

The audiobook of The Bargain has just gone live! My story of the heiress who marries a dying man in order to secure her inheritance–and then he doesn't have the grace to die!–has always been a reader favorite, which is why I thought it worth putting into audio.

Last year I decided to produce my first backlist audio book, Thunder and Roses,I used Thunder and Roses audioACX.com, the audio production arm of Amazon, which brings together producers and potential narrators.  I posted an audition and listened to many samples from different narrators, pulling my hair because they were all good, but who would be the best choice?  

For The Bargain, I found a narrator by pure luck. A fantasy writer friend had met British fantasy author and narrator Emma Newman at a conference, so she sent me a link for possible future use.

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With a Cider Beside Her

Cat 243 Doverby Mary Jo

Cider, Part 1

Apples grow well in Upstate New York, where I was raised, and fresh pressed apple cider was a favorite autumn treat. Sometimes we'd drive out to a cider mill in a rambling old barn and buy it fresh from the press. The result was tangy, cloudy with apple particles, and delicious. Even as a kid, I found cider more tasty than apple juice, which was filtered to clearness, too sweet, and not very interesting.

Sometimes the cider would turn a little "hard," meaning fermentation was adding Cider apples a bit of alcoholic kick, but for us, it was basically a non-alcoholic beverage. I still enjoy this kind of cider, and if I have guests around the holidays, I'll often heat up a gallon, adding whole spices like stick cinnamon and cloves and allspice. I'll also slice up an orange into pretty round circles and simmer it all together for a hot cider punch. Nice!

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What We’re Reading in June

Knowledge wins by dan smith circa 1914 to 1918Joanna here, talking about the books we're reading this month.

It's been a humid, rainy June up in my mountains.  I am overwhelmed by the beauty of it, with mist everywhere and deer coming out of the woods to eat the grass I just had mowed.  They like all that juicy, tender, new growth. 

On the free time front, I was harassed by deadlines and by all the little ills the flesh is heir to.  I learned, for instance, that it takes a team of men and a huge, noisy, orange machine three days to fix a well pump.  Who knew?  Also, if your car gets old enough, the repairs cost more than the car is worth.  

Did I mention I haz deadlines?
So I didn't get any particular amount of reading done, but instead watched my To Be Read pile grow like summer weeds.

I am rich in books, but I have no time to read them.  I am an object lesson in book misering and literary greed.
So what did I read?Lady maggie

From Grace Burrowes, who writes such warm, appealing characters, Lady Maggie's Secret Scandal. This is another of her infallible cheer-me-up books.  Right up there with Julia Quinn.  Beautiful and funny.

I also indulged myself in Ilona Andrews' Fate's Edge, Book Three in 'The Edge' Series.  Just to be contrary, I'll say that if Andrews is a new-to-you writer, I suggest starting with her Magic Bites
When I read that series I'm always saying to myself, "Like cats much?"

The-Bargain-Putney-Mary-Jo-9781420117264I also returned to an old favorite, Mary Jo Putney's The Bargain.  David Lancaster is one of my favorite heroes — brave, warm-hearted, straightforward.

What can I say?  I think my character Grey has some of David Lancaster in him. 

 

Mary Jo herself picks a couple winners.  She says:

I’m currently reading Letters from Backstage: The Adventures of a Touring Stage Actor  by Michael Kostroff. 

Michael Kostroff was a reasonably successful TV actor in Los Angeles, but his long held dream was to appear in a big, splashy Broadway show, so when the opportunity arrived to join the first national tour of The Producers, he leaped on it gladly.  Kostroff is also a freelance writer, so his e-mails from the road to his friends were so much fun Mad earl that they urged him to put them together into a book.  This is that book.  Besides being delightful to read, it does something I love in a book: it takes me in a new world in a compelling and believable way.  I have zero interest in touring with a theater company (not to mention zero talent <G>), but it was fascinating to read about.

In the fiction category, I was happy to see that The Mad Earl’s Bride,, a longish novella by Loretta Chase, is now available in an e-edition.  

Originally published in 1995 in the Three Weddings and a Kiss anthology, it has long been a favorite story of mine, and downloading it to my Nook was easier than digging the anthology out of the basement.  <G>  The story is a spin-off from Loretta’s much loved Lord of Scoundrels, and for a description, it’s hard to beat the blurb:

Gwendolyn Adams is about to propose to an earl. On his deathbed.

Gwendolyn Adams isn't shocked at being asked to save a handsome earl's dying line, even when she learns the prospective bridegroom is seriously ill and possibly insane. She's quite a good nurse, after all, and her family is famous for producing healthy male children. Those stories about his riding the moors half-naked on a pale white horse? Extremely intriguing—especially after she gets her first look at the gorgeous lunatic.

The Earl of Rawnsley wants only to lose what's left of his mind in peace and privacy. But his busybody relatives have saddled him with a surprise bride and orders to sire an heir forthwith. (And they say he's mad?) But with Gwendolyn, his health is returning, and his resistance … crumbling. Is it possible that love is the finest madness of all?

 

 

ArabianNicola brings us one of those serendipitous discoveries.  I love it when this happens.  She says:

 

I was visiting family and spotted a book called Arabian Sands by Wilfred Thesiger, which I promptly borrowed. Thesiger was a famous explorer who was born in Ethiopia and educated in England. He made his first expeditions in the 1930s so his books are not only a record of travels to exotic places but also a period of history that is now long gone. Arabian Sands is about a journey to the "empty quarter" of Arabia.
 
I first became fascinated with the "empty quarter" when I read The Singing Sands, one of the wonderful Inspector Grant series, by Josephine Tey. The hunt for the fabled lost city of Wabar seemed impossibly romantic and still inspires a frisson of excitement in me now. Unfortunately when I got Arabian Sands home my husband said: "That looks interesting" and promptly started to read it before me!
  You had me at hello
Fiction-wise, a fellow member of the Bath and Wiltshire Chapter of the RNA recommended You Had Me At Hello by Scots author Mhairi McFarlane. I'm waiting for my copy to arrive. The blurb says: "What happens when the one that got away comes back?" I'm looking forward to finding out!

 
And Joanna breaks in here to add another huzzah for Thesiger.  Just a fascinating book.  I read it when I was headed out for Saudi Arabia.  I'd also recommend Sir Richard Francis Burton's Arabian travel writing which you can find here at the wonderful University of Adelaide site. 
 
Cara/Andrea has this to say —
(She's recommending two of my reliably favorite authors, by the way)

A Spear of Summer Grass
 
 
 
I've been wrestling with starting a new book, and in the process of beginning to get to know the characters (and, um, figure out the plot) I tend to be reading a little less than usual. That said, I've been unable to put down A Spear of Summer Grass by Deanna Raybourn.
 
It's set in 1920s Kenya, and paints a beautifully evocative portrait of the era, and a quirky cast of restless souls exploring the boundaries of their own selves as they search for meaning in life. Africa—brutal and beautiful—is a metaphor for a world turned upside down by the Great War.
 
Many of you may know Deanna's Lady Julia series, which is also wonderful—the "heroine" here is equally compelling and the first person POV is so well done.
You have to love a book that begins:
  
MajaDon't believe the stories you have heard about me. I have never killed anyone, and I have never stolen another woman's husband. Oh, if I find one lying around unattended, I might climb on, but I never took one that didn't want taking. And I never meant to go to Africa. 
 
I highly recommend it.
 
I've also grabbed up Midnight At Marble Arch, Anne Perry's latest book in her Thomas and Charlotte Pitt mystery series. I'm a big fan . . . but it's going to have to wait for a bit!

 

Moving right along . . .
Anne says:
I'm madlyTheProposal trying to finish a book, and though most people would imagine that reading would be set aside at such a time, for me, reading is a necessary part of unwinding and refreshing my brain.
 
I've been continuing my glom of Deborah Crombie's crime novels and I'm on #10 at the moment, In a Dark House. I'm reading them in order, because I like the ongoing development of the relationship between the two protagonists, Duncan Kinkaid and Gemma James.
 
Some romance writers don't read romance while they're writing, and I must confess I hesitated before picking up this next book, because Mary Balogh is so darned good her books can be depressing for someone in not-yet-finished-the-book mode. But I succumbed and thoroughly enjoyed her latest book, The Proposal. Sometimes it's good to be reminded why I fell in love with this genre in the first place.
I've also been browsing through A Writer's Book of Days, by Judy Reeves. She encourages people to meet daily (or regularly at least) and write for 15 minutes using random writing Writercatprompts. I don't do that, but it would be interesting, I think, to try.
 
I enjoy books about writing, and often find they stimulate me, as well as reminding me of things I know, but sometimes forget about. I'm taking a writing class that starts next month — four Sundays over four months — and I like to bring in a range of craft-of-writing books for the students to browse through.
 

 

So there you have it — That's what we were reading; what we liked; what made us think; what brought us joy.
 
What about you?  Did you read anything recently that lifted your heart or challenged your mind? 
Or, you know, just made you smile a little?