Audiobooks: The Readers Have Ears—and a Giveaway!

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Now, Lauren has added one more hit series to her list with the Chris Matheson Cold Case Mysteries. Set in the quaint West Virginia town of Harpers Ferry, Ice introduces Chris Matheson, a retired FBI agent, who joins forces with other law enforcement retirees to heat up those cold cases that keep them up at night.

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and humor.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Visit Lauren’s websites and blog at:

Gnarly’s Facebook Page:
Lovers in Crime Facebook Page:
Acorn Book Services Facebook Page:
Twitter: @TheMysteryLadie

Fourteen years ago, my first book, A Small Case of Murder, came out. That wasn’t so long ago. Believe me! Fourteen years is not that long ago—not when you compare it to when the dinosaurs were lazily grazing in Yellowstone National Park.

Anyway, back to what we want to talk about …

At that time, one of my friends instantly asked when my book would be available in audio. My eyes glazed over and I stammered out, “Eventually.”

This friend only listened to her books in audio. She had a long commute to work and that was when she would listen to her books. She would go through a couple books a week.

Not long after that, I discovered that another friend only did audiobooks. She loved to read, but couldn’t due to extremely bad eyesight. While she wasn’t legally blind, her eyesight was so poor that the only way she could enjoy a book was if it was available in audio.

Yet, back then, audiobooks were available on cassette or compact discs. I considered myself lucky when a traditional audiobook publisher picked up my first three books to be produced in audio (compact disc and digital download)—until I started receiving my royalty checks. I was lucky if I made over two hundred dollars a year! I would take a few copies of the compact discs to book events—only to have them gather dust. Eventually, I tossed them into the back of my closet, where they still rest.

Flash forward.

Yesterday, Murder by Perfection became available in audiobook on Amazon, Audible, and iTunes. I’ve already got a list of audiobook reviewers and readers anxiously waiting to listen to it.

Over the years, an increasing number of readers have been requesting that I make my books available in audiobook. As a publisher and business person, I was hesitant about investing anything into making my own book available in audiobook. Based on past experience, I didn’t see much of a market for them. Those CDs from my first three books are still piled up in the back of my closet.

Then, Amazon suggested I make my books available through their company ACX. They also pointed out that Audible, a very successful audiobook dealer fell under their umbrella. Audible is the leading seller of audiobooks.

By going through ACX, I would essentially be self-publishing my own books—thus, keeping all of my rights. Over the years, I had seen on my royalty statements how many thousands of dollars my other audio publisher had been making annually on the sales of my books. So, keeping my rights was quite appealing to me. However, knowing that the market was slow, I didn’t want to invest a lot of money into the venture. Frankly, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to invest any at all.

With ACX, authors have a choice of options for having their books produced:

1.     Share your royalties with the narrator/audio producer. This costs the author nothing, because the audio producer invests the time and expense into producing the book. In exchange, the author agrees to split their royalties for the book’s sales fifty-fifty with the producer. If the book ends up being a flop, then the producer loses out on their investment in the project. However, if the book ends up making thousands of dollars a month in audiobook sales, then the author could end up wondering about what could have been.

2.      Hire an audio producer to produce your book. This option means the author hires the narrator/producer on contract (and pay!) to produce the book. With this option, the author gets to keep all of the royalties for their audio sales. So, if your book makes a million bucks in royalties, it’s all yours! The downside of this option is that you have to pay out a lot of money up front—money that it could take a while to earn back. We are talking thousands of dollars. A friend of mine found a narrator she liked, who refused to work for shared royalties. (Many established narrators won’t share royalties. More about this later on.) He would only work on contract with the cost starting at $5000.

3.       Narrate and Produce the Book Yourself. This is not as easy as it sounds. The author has to make sure there is no background noise and the final product does have to pass ACX’s quality control regulations. As the author, I have proofed some of my audio books, thinking they were perfect—only to have ACX pick up a flaw that I had not noticed. Once I read an interview with John Grisham in which he said one of his biggest regrets was narrating one of his books for audio. He thought the end product was awful. As with anything—I prefer to leave it up to the pros. (Since I hate my voice, narrating and producing the book myself is not an option!)

I opted to share the royalties and let the producers take the financial risk.

As I had mentioned previously, many high-quality narrators refuse to work for royalty share. There’s a reason for that.

When I opened my books for auditions to find a narrator, I immediately found Dan Lawson—first audition, first day! His audition was exactly what I was looking for to set the tone for the Mac Faraday mysteries. He was an Audible Approved Narrator, which means Audible endorsed his work! Within a matter of days, we had struck a deal for royalty share for two books: The Murders at Astaire Castle and Blast from the Past.

I found out later that his agent (I had no idea he had an agent!) had thrown a fit upon learning about our deal for royalty share. The reason: most narrators and audio producers don’t make back the money invested in producing audiobooks through royalties. After a few months, sales will level out and the narrator will only make a few dollars a month.

Having worked as a book publisher, I can see exactly what Dan’s agent was talking about. Many authors have difficulty in promoting their own books. Authors who don’t invest time or money in promoting their books in print and e-book, are not likely to invest what they need in the audiobook version.

So, if you are an author whose sales in print and ebook are less than impressive, and you are wondering if you’ll hit the jackpot by having your book produced in audio, then my guess is no, you won’t. As with book sales in print and ebook, the author needs to work their tail off to promote their book in order to enjoy good sales—in any format.

I have been blessed in finding four excellent audiobook producers who have helped me to bring my whole backlist to audiobook fans—a base that I have seen grow steadily over the last few years.

I have discovered that for many readers, who have been unable to enjoy reading in print or ebook format for whatever reasons—whether it be lifestyle or medical disability—are discovering audiobooks and returning to reading (listening) to enjoy their favorite books.

For example, my sister listens to my books during her commute to work. With her busy lifestyle that is the only time she can read my books. So I gave them to her in digital format and she listens to them through her SUV’s speakers.

Since my books have been coming out in Audible, I have found that I am enjoying audiobooks more and more. Many book enthusiasts, like myself, will read books in both e-book and audio. For just a few bucks more, readers can include the audio version of a book with their ebook purchase.

As the leader of a book club, I dictated the rule that we would only read books that were available in audiobook download. After spending the whole day writing on my laptop, my eyes will be tired. So, I’ll switch to the audio version of whatever book I am currently reading to listen to a great book until I fall asleep. With Whispersync, my tablet will pick up my ebook in audio where I have left off in reading.

I believe that the audiobook market is where the e-book market was about eight years ago. When my books first came out in e-book, it was a big deal for me to sell any. Now, the lion’s book of my books sales are in e-book, but I see a gradual increase in sales in audiobooks. Currently, I make more in monthly royalties for my audiobook sales than I do for my print books. Note, that is after splitting my royalties with the producers!

Here’s the way I look at it: If it weren’t for my readers, I would not be living my dream of being a mystery writer. My readers want my mysteries to be in all formats: e-book, print, and audiobooks. Even if fans of one format are a smaller number than another—they are still my fans and deserve the reading experience they enjoy the most!


To enter the drawing for an audiobook copy
of Murder by Perfection by Lauren Carr,
just leave a comment answering this:
What is your favorite thing about the Fall
The winning name will be drawn
on Monday
evening, September 3rd.

Book Blitz: Stealing Tranquility by J.L. Weil

I am so excited that STEALING TRANQUILITY by J.L. Weil is
available now and that I get to share the news!
If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by
Author J.L. Weil, be sure to check out all the details below.
This blitz also includes a giveaway for a $10 Amazon
Gift Card, International, courtesy of J.L. and Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d
like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

About the Book:

Reverse Harem (Dragon Descendants Book 1)
Author: J.L. Weil
Pub. Date: August 30, 2018
Publisher: Dark Magick Publishing, LLC
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Pages: 180
Get ready to meet Jase, Kieran, Zade, and Issik, the last dragon descendants.
Olivia Campbell’s life gets turned upside down when her mother suddenly passes away. Left with only a stepdad who despises her, she turns to the streets. Penniless and alone in the Chicago winter, how much worse can it get?
She is about to find out.
A chance encounter with a stranger who has the most breathtaking violet eyes changes her world. Just a warm smile and
a quick flash of dimples is all that it takes to capture her interest in Jase Dior. Olivia wonders if her luck has finally returned.
She soon finds out that Jase collects things—pretty girls to be precise. A glimpse of her sultry honey hair in an alley excites him. He must have her. And he isn’t taking no for an answer.
Jase sweeps Olivia off the streets to the Veil Isles—a mystical and hidden land uncharted by any mortal and ruled by the only dragon coven left in the world.
What the hell did she get herself into?
Four dragons. 
One headstrong heroine.
And a reverse-harem fantasy romance that could change the fate of a dying race. 
Stealing Tranquility will transport fans of Twilight, A Shade of Vampire, and Shadowhunters to an enchanted world unlike any other. Prepare for  a unique spin on the lore you love—and an adventure that is as thrilling as it is unexpected. 

Scroll up and BUY NOW to begin…
*Recommended for ages 17+ due to language and sexual content


Zade moved so he stood just slightly in front of me as if protecting me. Odd. Did I need protection from Jase? “Just making sure our little gem doesn’t get herself in trouble.” Zade cocked his head to the side. “Isn’t that what we agreed on?”
The tranquility-breathing dragon stood inside the arched doorway, glaring at Zade with a mean scowl—his eyes so dark
they almost appeared black. “Yes, but that doesn’t include you seducing her.”
“Since when do you meddle in my extracurricular activities?” Zade challenged him, with an edge to his voice.
It was my turn to frown. I was no one’s extracurricular activity.
A growl rose up in Jase’s throat. He stormed to where Zade and I where awkwardly standing. “She’s off limits.”
Golden God’s lips formed into a tight line. “You forget, Jase, you’re not king. There is no single ruler of the Veil anymore.”
Things had escalated quickly, and I didn’t want these two going into the dragon ring over me. “Hey!” I yelled, stepping between the two. Not the brightest of ideas, but at the moment, it was all I could think to do. I didn’t want blood spilled over me.
A muscle began to thump in Jase’s jaw. “Keep your lips off her.”
Spreading my arms out wide between them, my hands flattened on their chests. “Okay. First off, I can kiss whomever I want.”
Jase’s glower deepened.
I rolled my eyes. This was ridiculous. Framing Jase’s face with both of my hands, I rose up on my toes and planted one on him, just to prove a point. The joke was on me.
The moment our lips met, all annoyance vanished from within me. My eyes fluttered closed as I fell into the blissful storm that was all Jase. His lips were soft… and skilled, expertly moving over mine. His hands came up to cup either side of my cheeks, and he deepened what was supposed to be a peck. My mouth opened, letting him in, and a purr sounded at the back of my throat as his tongue swept inside.
I’d never been kissed like this before—so passionately and fervently. My fingers bunched his shirt, holding him in place just in case he got any ideas about pulling away. I wasn’t done yet. Honestly, I never wanted to stop kissing Jase Dior.
Zade cleared his throat behind us. How had I forgotten about him? Jase pulled back, his breath as ragged as mine.
I glanced up into his eyes, seeing the violet in them glowing brightly. “There. Are you satisfied?” I rasped, swallowing a knot of yearning. No more kissing dragons.
“Not nearly.” Jase’s head dipped as if he was going to take possession of my lips again.
My hand pressed against his chest, keeping him just out of reach. “Oh, no. I think I’ve kissed enough dragons today.” I could barely believe I had locked lips with two of them within minutes of each other.
What is wrong with me?

About Jennifer:

USA TODAY Bestselling author J.L. Weil lives in Illinois where she writes
Teen & New Adult Paranormal Romances about spunky, smart mouth girls who
always wind up in dire situations. For every sassy girl, there is an equally
mouthwatering, overprotective guy. Of course, there is lots of kissing. And
An admitted addict to Love Pink clothes, raspberry mochas from Starbucks,
and Jensen Ackles. She loves gushing about books and Supernatural with her
She is the author of the International Bestselling Raven & Divisa


1 winner will win a $10 Amazon

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Waiting On Wednesday (96)

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event that
spotlights upcoming releases that I’m really
looking forward to. Waiting On Wednesday
is the creation of Jill at Breaking the Spine.
This week’s “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:

An Elderly Lady Is Up To No Good
Helene Tursten
Soho Crime, November 2018
Mystery, Short Stories

From the publisher—

Maud is an irascible 88-year-old Swedish woman with no family, no friends, and… no qualms about a little murder. This funny, irreverent story collection by Helene Tursten, author of the Irene Huss investigations, features two-never-before translated stories that will keep you laughing all the way to the retirement home.

Ever since her darling father’s untimely death when she was only eighteen, Maud has lived in the family’s spacious apartment in downtown Gothenburg rent-free, thanks to a minor clause in a hastily negotiated contract. That was how Maud learned that good things can come from tragedy. Now in her late eighties, Maud contents herself with traveling the world and surfing the net from the comfort of her father’s ancient armchair. It’s a solitary existence, and she likes it that way.

Over the course of her adventures—or misadventures—this little bold lady will handle a crisis with a local celebrity who has her eyes on Maud’s apartment, foil the engagement of her long-ago lover, and dispose of some pesky neighbors. But when the local authorities are called to investigate a dead body found in Maud’s apartment, will Maud finally become a suspect?

Why am I waiting so eagerly? For one thing, I totally love the title, don’t you? Another thing is, the older I get—and I’m not all that much younger than Maud—the more I appreciate and enjoy senior protagonists. Maud sounds like a cool lady who has learned to cope with life and beat the stuffings out of it even if that occasionally means removing “obstacles” permanently when a little murder is in order 😉

Book Review: No Shred of Evidence by Charles Todd

No Shred of Evidence
An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery #18
Charles Todd
William Morrow, February 2016
ISBN: 978-0-0623.8618-2

In this wonderful entry in the Inspector Ian Rutledge series, Inspector Rutledge inherits a mystery when the original investigator suddenly suffers a heart attack and dies in a small Cornwall town. Starting from scratch because the original statements and notes of his dead predecessor are missing, Rutledge finds four young women accused of murder by a local farmer while rowing on a river; their claim: they were attempting to save him when his boat sank.

The victim, while in a coma, could not provide any facts, and when he dies of a head injury the charge becomes one of murder.  It remains for Rutledge either to prove or disprove the charge. While seeking the truth of the matter, including motivation, Rutledge encounters additional murders and assaults and the question arises: do these relate to the original case?

The mother-son writing team of this long-standing series takes a deep look into the personalities and motivations of the characters as Rutledge delves into the process of clearing the young women as he becomes more aware of the situation. As is a constant in the series, Rutledge is haunted by his experiences on the Western Front during the Great War, and the descriptions of the Cornwall area on the northern coast and speech of its inhabitants are skillfully done.


Reviewed by Ted Feit, April 2018.

Book Reviews: See Also Proof by Larry D. Sweazy and Operation Stop Hate by Jessie Chandler

See Also Proof
A Marjorie Trumaine Mystery #3
Larry D. Sweazy
Seventh Street Books, May 2018
ISBN: 978-1-63388-279-9
Trade Paperback

Marjorie Tremaine, a freelance indexer living just outside Dickinson, North Dakota in 1965 is still mourning the untimely death of her husband. Their dog, Shep offers only limited comfort. The local Ladies Aide visits regularly, in spite of harsh winter weather on this northern prairie, but Marjorie is still struggling with her life and latest assignment.

The unsettling news that a local teen girl has gone missing comes as almost welcome relief to Marjorie. Here’s a local puzzle to help solve. Working with the new county sheriff, out looking for the missing girl in front of a looming snowstorm, she stumbles on a body. The dead man was well-liked and well-known throughout the county. Thus the author sets up wide possibilities for whom the killer might be. And the murder of this young man on the heels of the girl gone missing adds to the possibilities.

The author is adept at setting up complex situations that capture readers’ attention. His characters feel authentic to the locale and the time. Two elements come to dominate this novel and affect the actions of nearly all the characters most of the time. Weather is the most dominant and in this novel snowstorms of blizzard proportions are looming, a part of the immediacy, or just leaving the scene.

The other element is Marjorie’s old Studebaker truck. It’s a typical farm truck of the era, too much abused with heavy work assignments, too little maintenance owing to lack of funds and always in need of a boost from the block heater. Never completely put off, this reader felt at times he was more intimately involved with the troublesome Studebaker than the main plot. Nevertheless, the truck plays an important role in the success of the story, protecting Marjorie at crucial times.

The author uses the character of the residents, of the land itself, and of the unique relationships between all of them in this engrossing well-written story of a terrible and an uplifting time in the life of North Dakota.

Reviewed by Carl Brookins, July 2018.
The Case of the Purloined Painting, The Case of the Great Train Robbery, Reunion, Red Sky.


Operation Stop Hate
The Operation Series Book One
Jessie Chandler
Train Wreck Xpress, February 2015
ISBN: 978-1-63304-803-4
Trade Paperback

A rousing adventure into the way federal, state and local law enforcement agencies study and take action to protect the nation against religious and political hate groups and their attacks on our people, especially LGBTQ folks. The novel follows the actions of Special Agent Cailin McKenna, a valued if occasionally erratic, member of a national force dubbed National Protection and Investigation Unit.

NPIU is called in when two shootings occur at two Minneapolis schools. Several law enforcement agencies participate in attempting to pin down connections when it becomes possible that the shootings are linked. McKenna is upended when she discovers one of the shooters may be a boy she thought she rescued from the streets.

McKenna’s life is further complicated by unwanted oppressive attention from her former lover, Elisa, an obsessive-compulsive ad exec who seems to be losing her grip on reality. McKenna, faced with opposing forces on the job and in her love life, has a tough time navigating the investigation. All of these conditions are presented in an interesting matrix of events and emotions.

There are a large number of really good characters in this book, consistently and interestingly presented. They move through McKenna’s orbit and fulfill important roles.

The novel moves apace and if there are a bit too many words devoted to the high emotions of McKenna’s love life, the entire story is presented in a tasteful way that never loses sight of the primary and most serious plot, revealing the motivations and political efforts of hate groups in our society. I recommend this novel for its current social connections and excellent readability.

Reviewed by Carl Brookins, April 2018.
The Case of the Purloined Painting, The Case of the Great Train Robbery, Reunion, Red Sky.

Mrs. Odboddy’s Life During WWII—and a Giveaway!

Elaine Faber lives in Northern California with her husband and multiple feline companions. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, California Cat Writers, and Northern California Publishers and Authors. She volunteers with the American Cancer Society Discovery Shop. She enjoys speaking on author panels, sharing highlights of her novels. Her short stories have appeared in national magazines and multiple anthologies. She has published seven books.

Black Cat’s Legacy, With the aid of his ancestors’ memories, Thumper helps pursue a cold case murder.

Black Cat and the Lethal Lawyer, Thumper accompanies his family to a Texas horse ranch where they confront wild horses, embezzling, false identities and attempted murder.

Black Cat and the Accidental Angel, Black Cat and his companion are left behind following an MVA. Taken in by a family facing personal and financial disaster, Black Cat and Angel encounter disaster and a spiritual awakening.

Mrs. Odboddy-Hometown Patriot, Eccentric Mrs. Odboddy believes there are Nazi spies and conspiracies on every hand.

Mrs. Odboddy-Undercover Courier, Mr. O carries a package by train to President Roosevelt that she presumes contains secret war documents. She is equally sure Nazi spies are after her package and will to anything to deliver the package to the president.

Mrs. Odboddy-And Then There was a Tiger, Falsely accused of various crimes, Agnes sets about to restore her reputation and the missing war bond money.

All Things Cat, Twenty-one short stories by Faber about cats, including cats, or written by the cat!

Learn more about Elaine’s writing at or contact her directly at

While researching my three WWII humorous mystery adventures, Mrs. Odboddy-Hometown Patriot (HTP), Mrs. Odboddy-Undercover Courier (UCC), and the latest, Mrs. Odboddy-And Then There was a Tiger (ATTWAT), I learned many interesting facts about everyday life in the USA during World War II:

Rationing: Because supplies were limited due to the needs of the troops, ration stamp booklets were issued to American housewives. Many items in short supply; meat, sugar and fresh fruit required the appropriate ration stamp at purchase. Such shortages led to black market ration books or ‘arrangements’ between friends willing to sell unneeded stamps. (In HTP, Mrs. Odboddy pursues a ration book conspiracy theory that gets her into a heap of trouble.)

During part of 1942-43, Brazilian ships bringing coffee and sugar to the USA were blockaded. Thus, coffee was rationed to one pound per adult every six weeks. (Mrs. Odboddy thought this, alone, was reason to go to war and greatly lamented a restriction on her coffee.)

Eggs were in short supply and costly, resulting in many resident chickens in suburban backyards. (In HTP, Mrs. Odboddy took in five displaced hens, but, my, how the feathers flew when they turned out to be roosters!)

Victory Gardens: Citizens were considered unpatriotic if they didn’t plant a victory garden. Suburban front yards were often converted to rows of cabbages, zucchinis, tomatoes and carrots. High yield vegetables requiring limited growing space became the main ingredient of Meatless Monday meals. Even Mrs. Roosevelt planted zucchini in the White House rose garden. (Mrs. Odboddy and Mrs. Roosevelt meet and become friends throughout the series.)

Watch Towers: Ever fearful of another Japanese air attack on the West Coast, and the limited newly invented radar technology, watch towers were placed every several miles along the California and Oregon coastline. This required many volunteer man-hours. (HTP Mrs. Odboddy is on hand when a Japanese air balloon finds its way to the Northern California coastline. As the balloon bombs were a national secret, Agnes takes the blame for the watch tower burning down.)

Train Travel: There were no trains traveling directly across the USA without multiple hours or days layovers or changing trains. In UCC, Agnes and Katherine carry a package to the President. She believes it contains secret war documents and fully expects to encounter a Nazi spy who will try to steal her package. What do you think happens?

Entertainment: Movies, picnics, and dances were popular social outlets for young people. County fair and church socials were popular. (In ATTWAT, Agnes hosts a pumpkin carving booth, discovers a local man assaulted, is suspected of passing counterfeit money, and meets Shere Khan, the performing tiger, who plays a major role in the story’s plot.)

About Mrs. Odboddy-And then there was a Tiger

While the ‘tiger of war’ rages across the Pacific during WWII, eccentric, elderly Agnes Odboddy’s patriotic duties are interrupted when she finds a rat-filled shoebox on her porch, her home is trashed, and she becomes the prime suspect in the Wilkey’s Market burglary.

A traveling carnival with a live tiger joins the parishioners’ Harvest Fair at The First Church of the Evening Star and Everlasting Light. When counterfeit bills are discovered at the carnival, and the war bond money goes missing, Agnes’s attempts to restore her reputation and locate the money lead her into harm’s way. Then she stumbles upon a friend’s betrayal and discovers even more about carnival life than she bargained for. Join Mrs. Odboddy on her hysterical romp through pumpkins, war bonds, counterfeit money and tigers. Filled with laughter and suspense, you will enjoy a bit of history along the way.


Leave a comment below to enter the
drawing for a $10 Amazon gift certificate.
The winning name will be drawn on
Tuesday evening, August 28th.