Thursday, October 15, 2020

Live Chat TODAY With Christina Dodd

A quick heads up: tune in to Christina Dodd’s Facebook page TODAY at 4PM Eastern/1PM Pacific for a live chat!

 

As many of you know, Christina and I have been brainstorming books together for several years, which means we have loads of embarrassing stories about each other. We’ll share those (because how can we not?), and we’ll talk about upcoming projects.

 

Come ask your questions and enjoy! See you on Facebook this afternoon!

 



 

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Interview: Audiobook Narrator Hollis McCarthy

I interviewed the ever-wonderful Hollis McCarthy for my blog back in October 2015, when she was in the midst of recording the second book in the original Royal Scandals series, Honeymoon With a Prince. Many books—and now a spinoff Royal Scandals series—later, I think it’s time for an update.

Nicole: Hi Hollis! Thank you for agreeing to answer a new round of questions.

First of all, as the series has expanded both in number of titles and in scope, what has been the biggest challenge of performing these books?


Hollis: It’s tricky to keep the large families of characters from sounding too much alike.  For instance, there were identical twins in the Royal Scandals series and when they had dialogue, I did the same voice for each but gave them different rhythms—one more legato/sustained, one more staccato/intermittent. I even talked a bit out of the left side of my mouth for one brother and the right side for the other.


Nicole: I can imagine you doing that! You have performed dozens of different characters over the course of the two Royal Scandals series, everyone from security guards to a gelato shop owner to kings and queens. You’ve even done a medieval knight. Any favorites? Any characters that posed difficulty?  

 

Hollis: The twins were tricky! I love the gossip monger, Val Dempsey, because she’s so shallow and naughty and also…plummy British. My fave to voice is probably Queen Fabrizia in Royal Scandals because she’s so mature, feminine, warm, motherly, and yet strong and regal and not to be crossed! Loved the medieval knight scene with the sword—we’re kinda sword crazy at our house. I totally fell in love with King Eduardo in the Royal Scandals: San Rimini series, especially To Kiss a King. He was a delight to voice, and the character arc you gave him was so lovely—he went through a lot, which always makes for a great acting challenge. I also love that you write strong, smart men who love strong smart women. Makes all the characters fun to play! Claire was a treat in that book too. I enjoyed that both of them were mature, accomplished career people and yet so carried away by romantic love.

 

Nicole: Thank you! I admit, I loved writing about people who had separate romantic histories and then delving into the complexities of them finding each other later in life. I loved how you brought them alive in audio, too.

 

Audiobook technology has changed a great deal in the past five years. How has this affected your work? Have there been changes in the way you prepare for your performances or in how you record?

 

Hollis: The biggest change for me has been setting up a Covid-necessitated home studio, rather than going in to NYC studios to record. That happened in March of this year, hastily improvised due to the lockdown, and we’ve been refining it ever since. It’s basically a booth made of packing blankets around a shell of acoustic foam, with our new mic on a boom arm clamped to a cloth-covered desk.  We’re actors who do stage combat and Shakespeare, so when we needed some strong supports, my husband took the blades off their hilts and…voila! The booth is suspended from our two broadsword blades, clamped to brackets screwed to the wall, and crossed by our sabre blade on the outside. So we call it “Three Swords Studio!” We’ve invested a lot in new equipment and learned a lot about software and recording technology in the last few months. Necessity truly is the mother of invention. 


Nicole: Three Swords does fine work. The recordings you’ve made there have been phenomonal! 

 

You’ve also done a number of other projects since we began working together, ranging from audiobooks to theater to television. (It was a kick to see you as a judge on CBS’s Bull.) What other projects are on your plate?  

 

Hollis: Right now in our industry, due to the pandemic, theater is shut down, film isn’t happening and TV episodics are just now starting to cast and get ready shoot again. We just invested in better video recording equipment to do episodic auditions from home, as no casting studios are open. So voiceover has been it, lately, and I feel so lucky to have the work, when so many of my friends and colleagues are suffering. I’m incredibly grateful to report that I have a lot of audiobooks lined up thru year’s end, and have done 24 this year already. I did some fun roles in a big-time video game recently, but had to sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) and can’t tell you about that until it comes out. I’ve also done several full-cast projects for Audible this year. All of which is to say a huge THANKS to swell authors like you, and to readers who love audiobooks!

 

Nicole: That’s an amazing number, especially given the amount of prep work I know you do for each recording. Yet with all that, you have another project in full swing. What can you tell me about it?

 

Hollis: My husband, the brilliant and funny Mark McCarthy, is writing a comic noir mystery fictional podcast for me, set in Chicago, in which I play a tough female private eye. We’ve recorded part of that and are shopping it around. That’s a really fun self-created project I’m excited about!  The character is a riot—dry, tough, smart, funny and “perfectly willing and able to snap your tibia in two places using common objects found around the house.”  

 

Nicole: You’d make an intriguing private eye and I know enough about Mark’s work to know it’ll be a tight, well-written script. I can’t wait to hear it!

 

Thank you, Hollis, for taking the time to answer questions and for all the time and talent you’ve contributed to my audiobooks. It’s been a joy to work with you. Can’t wait to send the next story your way!

 

Hollis: Thanks, Nicole! Love the wonderful world you’ve built in the Royal Scandals series, and it’s always delightful to read your books!

 

 


 

Monday, August 24, 2020

The Power of Words: Chat with Kim Fields and Prentice Penny

 In case you missed it, this past weekend I had the pleasure of joining Kim Fields' Instagram Live as a guest. The chat was hosted by Kim’s lifestyle brand, Refresh by KF. Each month Refresh By KF focuses on a different theme related to wellness, and for August it’s all about the power of words.

 

Kim is a powerhouse performer, writer, director, and producer, and I was honored to talk to her. We also took the opportunity to announce some fantastic news. 

 

Stay tuned after my talk with Kim to see her second guest, the multi-talented Prentice Penny, writer and director of Uncorked and executive producer of HBO’s Insecure. If you aren't already familiar with Prentice, you’ll definitely add several of his shows to your Must Watch list after listening to him. He's fantastic.


Click HERE to watch the interview!


 

Thursday, August 13, 2020

BookFunnel: How Do I Find My Books?


Many readers are familiar with BookFunnel, a service that allows authors and others to deliver content directly to a reader's Kindle, iPad, Nook, Kobo ereader, or other device. I use BookFunnel to send bonus reads like A Royal Scandals Wedding to my newsletter subscribers, because it allows them to select the format they prefer.

Every so often, I receive a question from a reader about how to retrieve a book they downloaded from BookFunnel in the past, but have since deleted from their device. It’s fairly straightforward.

1 - Log in to BookFunnel here. If you don’t have an account, you can create one using your email address.

2 – You’ll be taken to a page containing your library. You can also go there directly by visiting my.BookFunnel.com

You can use this page to redownload books you've received from BookFunnel in the past or to transfer books from one device to another, say from your computer to your iPad or an Android smartphone. BookFunnel has a cloud reader that will enable you to read anywhere without installing anything on your device—though they do have an app if you prefer—and you can switch between reading on different devices without losing your place.

If you need more help, or the tips above don’t work, email help@bookfunnel.com. They’ve always been fantastic at troubleshooting when one of my readers has had an issue.  

   

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Royal Scandals: San Rimini Books in Order


Today’s FAQ: What’s the order of the Royal Scandals: San Rimini books?

A:  In order, the stories are:


There is also a free bonus story called The Hire, an exclusive for newsletter subscribers. If you'd like to sign up, you can do so here. Subscribers also receive a free copy of the exclusive novella A Royal Scandals Wedding.