Tag Archives: Audiobooks

SciFi/Fantasy I’ve Narrated: With Narrator’s Opinions!


Mayhem Wave Series
By Edward Aubry

Narrator’s Opinion: What I Like About This Series

This was the first series I’d done wherein a fellow author heard me read some of my own work at a convention and, understanding that I narrated for Tantor Audio, specifically requested me to read his work when Tantor bought the audio rights to his books. What an amazing boost to my confidence! I will always be grateful. These are big, sprawling, unpredictable adventures with everything from dinosaurs to fairies to high tech trains to cannibal houses to dragons to laser guns. Okay, maybe not laser guns. But maybe not NOT laser guns too. It’s an interesting world full of colorful characters. This was also the first instance that, after a few weeks in the recording booth, I happened to glance in the mirror, and was surprised by the sight of my own face. I’d been so immersed in Aubry’s world for so long that I’d forgotten what I looked like, and expected to see a different character’s face instead of my own. Time in the “Whisper Room” can be very strange!

1. Prelude to Mayhem
2. Static Mayhem
3. Mayhem’s Children

Fate Weaver Series
By ReGina Welling, Erin Lynn

Narrator’s Opinion: What I Like About This Series

After I recorded the first book in this series I got a note back requesting me to be a little more “funny.” This was such a challenge; how to be vocally funny? They are indeed funny, fast books, full of witches and wisecracks, gods and gallivanting. I wanted to do them justice. One of the things I tried was really “activating my cheekbones”–basically, smiling while talking. Relax, have fun, but also concentrate on varying the vocal levels, so as to help the jokes land better and more naturally. And there were many jokes! These are glib, sassy books–even occasionally steamy! Sort of a mash-up of a mystery, a matchmaking rom-com, mythology and good ol’ fashioned MAGICK.

1. Match Made in Spell
2. All Spell is Breaking Loose
3. To Spell and Back

Grimm Agency Series
By J.C. Nelson

Narrator’s Opinion: What I Like About This Series

This is one of your put-upon protagonist must-save-the-world series, with a lot of interference from those who wish to invade, rule, and/or destroy it. It’s in the vein of, say, Buffy or Supernatural–taking place in a world like ours, except . . . paranormal. Now, I recorded these a while ago, but I remember I had SO MUCH FUN with the voice of one of the main villainnesses in particular: I believe, the Faerie Queen. She was French. Plenty of action, some romance, some friendships made through rescue and then through work, and MANY monsters to fight!

1. Free Agent
2. Armageddon Rules
3. Wish Bound

Cat’s Eye Chronicles
By T.L. Shreffler

Narrator’s Opinion: What I Like About This Series

First of all, the author of these books was just so sweet to work with, very communicative. I rarely have a chance to interact with the author, and for fantasy books especially, I really crave contact! Since I write fantasy, and since so much of the language of fantasy is invented, I want to make sure I am interpreting the writer’s vision as close to correctly as, well, an interpreter can! Second of all, I really enjoyed voicing the Harpies. You heard me: there are are harpies. Third, I started getting a little crush on Crash/Viper, and let me tell you, there’s nothing quite like living in the voice of your latest crush.

1. Sora’s Quest
2. Viper’s Creed
3. Volcrian’s Hunt
4. Ferran’s Map
5. Krait’s Redemption


Inherit the Stars
By Tony Peak

Narrator’s Opinion: What I Like About This Book

This, again, was pretty early on in my narration career, but I do remember that author Tony Peak was SO AWESOMELY PROMPT and COMMUNICATIVE in his response to my request for pronunciations. I mean, I think he overnighted them to me via email. That was extremely helpful, because this is a sci-fi novel, with many kinds of planets and peoples. I remember this book had many female characters, including the protagonist–there was, in particular, a soldier (a captain? a general?) whom I particularly liked, and loved every time I got to voice her. I also remember noticing the strong colors of this book: lurid, alien, beautiful neons, like a favorite weird movie remembered from a 1980’s childhood. Also, I recall the sensation of being slightly cold the whole time I was recording: since the cryosleep chamber plays an enormous role in the plot!

The Rattled Bones
By S. M. Parker

Narrator’s Opinion: What I Like About This Book

Now, this was a really interesting read–and one I’d’ve read on my own had I just picked it up at random to read for pleasure. It’s YA and it’s a mystery–and it’s also a ghost story. There are horrific elements: historical racism (really awful stuff, and sensitively researched, I thought) and vengeful spirits. This is also a book about grieving. The teenaged protagonist Rilla Brae is QUITE powerful: a young lobster-boat captain. I’ve never read a protagonist like her before. I really loved her, and her grandmother, and her strange, wild, maritime adventure. I remember there was a complicated friendship, a realistically unsatisfying relationship–followed by a much better one. And so many cool things about MAINE!

By Jo Walton

Narrator’s Opinion: What I Like About This Book

Ah. Ah! I have already blogged separately about narrating Starlings, because it was SUCH an experience! If you are interested, please read it at this link.

Suffice to say, this book was an HONOR and a HOOT to narrate, and I was SO EXCITED to have the chance! Not only did I get to do a good bulk of the stories (with my co-narrator Rudy Sanda doing the others), but I got to narrate the poetry. AND A WHOLE ONE-ACT PLAY! WITH ALL THE VOICES! I never felt so much like Mel Blanc in a Looney Tunes cartoon in my whole life!

Here is my favorite Audiofile Magazine review I ever got for anything I’ve done:

Beginning with a rousing introduction, C.S.E. Cooney offers an enthusiastic narration of Walton’s first collection of short fiction and poetry. All told, there are 20 stories, a one-act play, and 15 poems, many of which are populated by memorable characters and marked by sly humor. The challenge for the narrator of a collection like this is allowing for each piece to have a life of its own, rather than disappearing among so many others. A second narrator, Rudy Sanda, delivers a couple of stories, but the strength of the audiobook comes from Cooney. With Cooney’s deft narration, playful energy, and ease with accents, listeners have the opportunity to lose themselves in each fantastical story. A.S. © AudioFile 2019.

Mad Hatters and March Hares
By Ellen Datlow (editor)

Narrator’s Opinion: What I Like About This Book

If you stan Lewis Carroll, I think the stories in this book will both feed your obsession and challenge it.

As with the above-mentioned book, Mad Hatters and March Hares was another of those rare works that blew my skull apart at the sutures to try and voice. (Co-voice, actually, with the fabulous Eric Michael Summerer.) In addition to being an audiobook narrator, I also write fantasy; I even had a story in this particular anthology, my first work published under Editor Ellen Datlow, another scion of the genre! Also as with Starlings, I was so anxious about doing right by these stories–not least because I either knew or held in high esteem most of the authors–that it was one of the most difficult books I’ve ever narrated. Nothing shows me my own limitations as a voice actor so ruthlessly as being given something so beautiful and varied and brilliant to narrate that I almost can’t bear it. But I was the one on the ground, and I did my absolute best–sweating the entire time!–and I will forever be humbled to have had the chance.

Bone Swans and Desdemona and the Deep
By C. S. E. Cooney

Narrator’s Opinion: What I Like About These Books

Well, these two books are my own works–which sold to Tantor Audio and Recorded Books respectively. Bone Swans: Stories is my collection, and won the World Fantasy Award in 2016. Desdemona and the Deep was just released in July of this year (2019). The collection, comprising five novellas/novelettes, runs a gamut of flavors: from sword and sorcery, to a couple re-told fairy tales, to a fantastical murder mystery, to . . . something that’s just plain nightmarish carnival weird. The second is a standalone work juuuuuust longer than a novella (word count-wise) but meant to be one nonetheless.

They both are full fantasy books, all of the stories taking place in different secondary worlds. Although: HINT–the story called “How the Milkmaid Struck a Bargain with the Crooked One” in Bone Swans takes place in the same land as Desdemona and the Deep, only the latter is several hundred years in the future, in the equivalent of our “Gilded Age.”

I wish I were a full-cast of Academy Award-winning actors, each with their impeccable timing and distinctive voices and emotional surprises. I wish I could match in the air what these works sound like in my head. But I have to say, I also love, love, love, love, love narrating my own work. I have read aloud from my stories my whole life to anyone who would sit still long enough to listen: my mother, my brothers, my best friends, and now–my husband–and the idea that I am also reading my own work aloud to people I may never meet is deeply satisfying and warming.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Mystery Series I’ve Narrated, with NARRATOR OPINIONS

by Carol J. Perry

Narrator’s Opinion: What I Like About This Series

The first book in this series was the first book I’d ever narrated, and so it will always be very special to me. I love Lee Barrett in all her guises: real psychic disguised as fake psychic, teacher at an arts’ school, investigative reporter. I like how much she likes (and knows!) her cars. And I really like all the Salem history woven in. Plus: CATS! Plus: WITCHES! 

1 Caught Dead Handed (2014)
2 Tails, You Lose (2015)
3 Look Both Ways (2015)
4 Murder Go Round (2017)
5 Grave Errors (2017)
6 It Takes a Coven (2018)
7 Bells, Spells, and Murders (2018)
8 Final Exam (2019)
9 Late Checkout (2019)

Charmed Pie Shoppe Mysteries
By Ellery Adams

Narrator’s Opinion: What I Like About This Series

This is one of those slipstreamy, multi-genre books. It’s a mystery, yes–but there is also MAGIC! I love a good magical food book, and this one has plenty of that, plus a horde of fabulous aunties always sticking their noses in. And fairies. And sirens. And firefighters. So. Yeah! Warning: you will want to eat pie more than you ever have in your life if you read these. I MADE SO MANY PIES WHEN I WAS RECORDING THESE! Savory and sweet! My favorite was a bacon, onion, apple, cheddar pie!

1. Pies and Prejudice (2012)
2. Peach Pies and Alibis (2013)
3. Pecan Pies and Homicides (2014)
4. Lemon Pies and Little White Lies (2015)
5. Breach of Crust (2016)

Webb’s Glass Shop Mysteries
by Cheryl Hollon

Narrator’s Opinion: What I Like About This Series

I love learning more about different kinds of glass-making and glass-blowing techniques in each book. The main character, Savannah Webb, is a patient teacher–and her wide array of students are always getting into scrapes. My favorites are the elderly twins, though: Rachel and Faith. They’re in every book, and grow more goofy and lovable every time we meet. I really love the community in this book as well, the close friendships across different ages, artists, and neurotypes. Plus! An adorable Weimaraner! (For you dog lovers.)

1. Pane and Suffering (2015)
2. Shards of Murder (2016)
3. Cracked to Death (2016)
4. Etched in Tears (2017)
5. Shattered at Sea (2018)
6. Down in Flames (2019)

Margot Durand Cozy Mysteries
by Danielle Collins

Narrator’s Opinion: What I Like About This Series

Another series that is bound to make you hungry–and to want to go on a cruise. These are desserty-books, with dreamy, dreamy pastries, and with a no-nonsense protagonist who makes room in her life for the unexpected–and opens her heart and home to family, even when they’re being a bit troublesome.

1. Croissants and Corruption (2017)
2. Desserts and Deception (2017)
3. Pastries and Pilfering (2017)
4. Muffins and Murder (2017)

Cat Latimer Mysteries
By Lynn Cahoon

Narrator’s Opinion: What I Like About This Series

These books are awfully fun because the protagonist, Cat, is a writer and an introvert–but she runs a writers’ retreat in Colorado–where she’s forced to interact with people! Her best friend does all the extravert meet & greet stuff, and the food–so, like any good cozy, droolworthy recipes abound–but Cat still has to step up and be social from time to time. She gets better at this as the series continues. She’s constantly under deadline, and constantly finding dead bodies. Animal interactions include (eventually) a very fine horse, some kittens, and a hot handyman.

1. A Story to Kill (2016)
2. Fatality by Firelight (2017)
3. Of Murder and Men (2017)
4. Slay in Character (2018)
5. Sconed to Death (2019)

Stormy Day Mysteries
By Angela Pepper

Narrator’s Opinion: What I Like About This Series

Stormy Day just kept making me laugh! Unusually for the cozy mysteries I’ve done so far, she has a great relationship with her father (mostly the parents in cozies are deceased or absent or hard to get along with, with a few exceptions), who is a retired police officer. She’s also a small business owner and an entrepreneur. Her problem is not clumsiness or reckless behavior; her hamartia is an overabundance of efficiency! Interestingly complicated friendships as well. I quite enjoyed these books, and would have read them on my own had I just randomly picked them up.

1. Death of a Dapper Snowman (2014)
2. Death of a Crafty Knitter (2015)
3. Death of a Batty Genius (2015)
4. Death of a Modern King (2015)

Tara Holloway Mysteries
By Diane Kelly

Narrator’s Opinion: What I Like About This Series

What I liked best about this series was that they weren’t primarily about murders–the mysteries are primarily TAX FRAUD! This is so refreshing and interesting–and makes for a nice change. They aren’t bloodless, though–but they are rompy, and full of shenanigans, and Texas, and some great partnerships, business relationships, friendships, and romances!

1. Death, Taxes and a French Manicure (2011)
2. Death, Taxes, and a Skinny No-whip Latte (2012)
3. Death, Taxes, and Extra-hold Hairspray (2012)

Daisy’s Tea Garden Mysteries
By Karen Rose Smith

Narrator’s Opinion: What I Like About This Series

Another delicious series. And I mean, the soups! The sandwiches! The muffins! AND OH THE TEAS! I always come off narrating one of these books with a strong urge to go to Alice’s Tea Cup in New York, where I live; they serve fancy teas there. SO MANY LITTLE SANDWICHES! Anyway, a great cast of characters, takes place in Amish country so there are friendships across cultures, and I like that the protagonist is middle aged, widowed, with two daughters. She is extremely thoughtful and sensible, but also just about to begin a new and beautiful chapter in her life: as a businesswoman, yes, but also as a woman whose daughters are all but grown, and who is only now growing past her grief. If only people would stop dying in her vicinity!

1. Murder with Lemon Tea Cakes (2017)
2. Murder with Cinnamon Scones (2018)
3. Murder with Cucumber Sandwiches (2019)

Purr N Bark Pet Shop Mysteries
By T. C. LoTempio

Narrator’s Opinion: What I Like About This Series

This is the most recent book I’ve narrated (in fact, I just got back yesterday from the studio), and the best thing about it are the two cats: Purrday and Kahlua. But also: small town Connecticut as a sort of updated old-fashioned noir comedy backdrop. And two out of work actors back from Hollywood who decide to take the latest murder investigation into their own hands. My favorite character is the protagonist’s sidekick, Gary. I HAD SO MUCH FUN DOING HIS VOICE! I love him. Large cast of friends, huge gossip network, and too many motives abound!

1. The Time for Murder is Meow (2019)

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Desdemona and the Deep: THE AUDIOBOOK

Dear Readers and Listeners,

Desdemona and the Deep–the AUDIOBOOK!!!–is now available. Narrated (with very great pleasure, and very DROLLY) by yours truly, C. S. E. Cooney: the Author herself.

It’s beautiful, beneath.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

On Narrating Jo Walton’s STARLINGS


The email came the week before winter holidays last year. The subject line:

New Book (Co-Narration.)

Tantor’s casting director started out by writing:

Hi Claire,

I’ve got this Sci-Fi- short stories book I thought you might be interested in . . .

As soon as I saw the author, I flipped out.


Hadn’t I just read Tooth and Claw last year on Jessica Wick’s recommendation?! Yes! AND LOVED IT!

The book was Starlings, a collection of short stories and poetry originally put out by Tachyon Publications.

The more I read the email, the more excited I grew. It included this NPR review first thing in the synopsis:

“Starlings isn’t really a short-story collection. It’s something better: a written showreel, illustrating yet again that [Walton’s] imagination stretches to the stars (or the starlings), and that she’s endlessly inventive in finding new methods to express it.”―NPR Books.

Believe you me, I lost no time in telling Tantor YES!

In fact I might have said, very solemnly, that it would be my honor, and that Jo Walton is one of the scions of our genre.

Yes, I said “scion” to the casting director. I don’t know what came over me. JO WALTON!

So, come the end of December 2018–the 26th to be exact–I commuted my usual three hours to the studio in Old Saybrook, and spent three intensely delicious days mouth-deep in Walton’s prose.

I stayed over in a local bed and breakfast. I looked forward to waking up every morning and getting right to work. It was like being handed a slice of Krampus cake! It was like discovering the Yule log was made of CHOCOLATE. So delicious.

One of my favorite things about Starlings is that it is less like your typical single-author short story collection and more like a writer’s workshop–tool box, wood shavings, concept art and all–spread out in front of you for your pleasure and perusal. Structure experiments, POV experiments, form poetry, a play, short stories that were more like extended jokes, short stories that might have been the seeds of novels, and some stories that cut so deep they are with me still.

I felt like the collection was an act of generosity on the author’s part, as if Walton were telling us: “Here are some things I made. Here’s a bit about how I made them. Hey, isn’t this poem fun? And yes, Cooney, I’m afraid you DO have to narrate a 90 minute play with GREAT DOZENS of mythic characters ALL by yourself, just as if you were Mel Blanc in a Looney Toons cartoon–have FUN!”

Okay, maybe she didn’t say that last bit. Maybe that was more what my brain said to me. Maybe a little TOO gleefully, truth be told.

Also–BONUS!–I got to co-narrate Starlings with Rudy Sanda. We’ve been two voices on the same book before–a multi-POV piece of Canadian fiction called Republic of Dirt.

Just because we narrators happen to co-narrate a book doesn’t mean we ever get to see each other; a narrator’s life is solitary. We (happily) spend our days in a little black box, talking to ourselves. (BEST JOB!)

But we DO bump into each other in the halls. Rudy always seems to be the first narrator at the studio and the last one to leave. I find it very comforting to pass by his recording booth, and hear the wild, wide array of voices he has mastery over, and his relentless pursuit of perfection. Apparently, Rudy has some of the fewest pickups of all narrators, like, ever. In the whole history of ever. I am so excited to share voices on this book with him!

Today is Starlings‘ audiobook birthday. And I am just so proud to have been part of its realization in this world. I want to thank Jo Walton and thank Tantor and thank SCIENCE FICTION ITSELF for the opportunity.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

How To Be An Audiobook Narrator (In ∞ Many Steps)

Dear friend,

You’ve asked me recently (okay, like, twenty billion months ago now) how I got into audiobook narrating. Because you’re interested. You, too–or someone you love–would like to get into audiobook narrating. This is a very reasonable desire. I ADORE BEING AN AUDIOBOOK NARRATOR. I want to HELP YOU!

But I, like I always do, instead of answering you right away, sat there stumped by my own idiosyncratic experience.

(How did I get into this? A series of accidents? A lifetime of training? $40,000+ of college debt going toward a Fiction Writing Major/Acting Minor? Narrating stories for awesome podcasts that didn’t pay much–but they ended up on my resumé at the right time? A lifetime of having too many jobs (to pay off my college debt) to ever be in theatre, so the only time I ever got to PERFORM was at writing conventions, during which I was, in essence, reading fiction aloud to an audience, which is, in essence, what narrating is? Because someone I knew happened to be a proofer at a semi-local studio that happened to be hiring narrators at the time she was working there, and even after I sent them my resumé, it was still 3 months till I got an audition–and I could have just as easily NOT gotten one?)

I AM SURE there are MORE PURPOSEFUL, LESS CATACLYSMICALLY COINCIDENTAL ways to become an audiobook narrator . . .

. . . And now that I’ve had my 3-year crash course in audiobook narration and know a little more about the business, I will suggest a few to you.

First of all, one of my colleagues at Tantor, where I do most of my audiobook narration, Elise Arsenault, has a WHOLE BUSINESS helping actors start up their voice over careers. Her first strategy session with you is complementary, so you might want to give Work with Elise a go!

From what I’ve observed, Elise is a community builder, a next-level networker, a working actress, voice over artist, and audiobook narrator, and a producer/director besides. Kind of a Guru. Or Goddess. Well, follow the links and see for yourself!

So that’s one suggestion. Here’s another.

So, I was just at my first APAC–that is, the Audio Publishers Association Conference–yesterday, and I learned, well, the appropriate unit of measurement would be probably “craploads.”

I TOTALLY recommend the conference for new narrators. The next one is in May of next year!

At APAC, one of the panels I found the most informative and invigorating was called “Building Blocks for Developing Narrators.” It featured Hillary Huber, Scott Brick, and Sean Pratt, moderated by Johnny Heller.

An aside: Johnny Heller is the voice coach for my friend and colleague, narrator Callie Beaulieu (she has a blog of her own, if you want insights from a hard-working narrator and actor!) (and an Instagram account!). She has only good things to say about Johnny! She leaves his sessions and workshops so stimulated and inspired. I was also very impressed with what Heller had to say as a panelist, narrator, and teacher. I would love to take a workshop from him sometime!

Here’s his website, if you’re looking for a coach!  Johnny “a real swell guy” Heller!

One of the other panelists, narrator Sean Pratt, is also a long-time teacher. He seems to have built his own codified vocabulary, skill sets, and etiquette–all very clear and precise–about the tools a modern narrator needs: acting, directing, producing, and engineering. This link clicks to the coaching wing of his website.

If you’re a narrator looking to start at the beginning, taking a class from a knowledgable and devoted teacher will funnel you into the audiobook community.

When I went to the “Ask A Casting Director” panel, many of them said that when they are scouting for new talent, they go straight to Audible, and listen to samples.

One of the places to set yourself up as a narrator-for-hire directly to authors who are looking is to join ACX. I haven’t done this myself yet–but ACX has its own How To Tutorials up the wazoo! (CAN I SAY WAZOO IN A BLOG? Sorry, ACX! You’re doing GREAT!) Here is a direct link to how to get started as an ACX narrator.


Casting directors are also looking out for MORE DIVERSE NARRATORS! Narrators of color! Narrators who can speak other languages! Narrators from places other than America! The audiobook industry, they admitted, has been TOO WHITE FOR TOO LONG.

Also, native Australian accents seem to be in high demand. And MALE narrators for romance and erotica are seriously sought after! I’m just saying.

Now, personally, I got my start narrating for Podcastle, the fantasy branch of Escape Pod–podcasts of short-form genre fiction. Those links above click directly to their narration guidelines, which are very helpful and highly specific.

Another place I’ve heard about, where you can volunteer to narrate is Librivox. This might give you some practice and get you comfortable with the tools and skill-sets you’ll be needing later on in your career.

A few other useful links I found during a light search on the subject was Backstage.com’s “Advice for Actors: Voice Over Exchange.” MANY FINE LINKS TO BE FOUND WITHIN THAT LINK–A RABBIT HOLE TO WONDERLAND! And also Voice Bunny’s blog “Voice Over Work: How to Get Started.”

I know that for myself, the next thing I want to do to continue my education as an audiobook narrator is to attend a Johnny Heller workshop, or perhaps pay for a few coaching classes with Sean Pratt.

I am also EXTREMELY INTERESTED in this Masterclass Series happening a little later this year–six workshops with the biggest names in audiobooks!!!–presented by PJ Ochlan and The Deyan Institute. Here is a link to the specifics.

Dear friend, I hope that helps. And if you have a friend who is interested in audiobook narration, I hope this helps them too. I still feel like such a n00b myself, but I realize that I have resources you don’t, so I’ll try to be as available as I can to answer any of your questions. I’ve learned all kinds of hacks in the last three years, my own tools and tricks, but I am really, really looking forward to learning new ones, instead of feeling like I’m flying by the seat of my pants ALL THE TIME.

Your Devoted if Tardy,

C. S. E. Cooney






Filed under Uncategorized


GILDED SUFFRAGISTS: The New York Socialites who Fought for Women’s Right to Vote

SYNOPSIS (from Tantor)

“In the early twentieth century over two hundred of New York’s most glamorous socialites joined the suffrage movement. Their names—Astor, Belmont, Rockefeller, Tiffany, Vanderbilt, Whitney, and the like—carried enormous public value. These women were the media darlings of their day because of the extravagance of their costume balls and the opulence of the French couture clothes, and they leveraged their social celebrity for political power, turning women’s right to vote into a fashionable cause.

Although they were dismissed by critics as bored socialites “trying on suffrage as they might the latest couture designs from Paris,” these gilded suffragists were at the epicenter of the great reforms known collectively as the Progressive Era. From championing education for women, to pursuing careers, and advocating for the end of marriage, these women were engaged with the swirl of change that swept through the streets of New York City.

Johanna Neuman restores these women to their rightful place in the story of women’s suffrage. Understanding the need for popular approval for any social change, these socialites used their wealth, power, social connections and style to excite mainstream interest and to diffuse resistance to the cause.”


So many reasons! It was beautifully and entertainingly written, for one. Deeply researched. It also seemed to make century-old gossip seem as fresh as the latest scandal-tweet.

It had just enough gilding to make it glitter, and indulged enthusiastically in sartorial and architectural descriptions–but it also (and this was the most shocking yet somehow hideously unsurprising part), took a keen and measured look at erasure in history: how white women have erased black women from the feminist movement over and over again; and how a new generation of the women’s movement will ruthlessly work to obliterate evidence of the old, as if liberation were their–and only their–story to tell.

Though the concentration of this book was focused on the nineteen-teens, it stretched tendrils into the 1890’s, and tentacles into the 1920’s, giving us a hint of whence came this major shift in women’s–and human rights’–history, and where, inevitably, it was going.

THE EXTRA WOMAN: How Marjorie Hillis Led a Generation of Women to Live Alone and Like It

SYNOPSIS (from Tantor)

“Marjorie Hillis was working at Vogue when she published the radical self-help book Live Alone and Like It: A Guide for the Extra Woman. With Dorothy Parker–esque wit, she urged spinsters, divorcees, and old maids to shed derogatory labels, and her philosophy became a phenomenon. From the importance of a peignoir to the joy of breakfast in bed (alone), Hillis’s tips made single life desirable and chic.

Now, historian and critic Joanna Scutts reclaims Hillis as the queen of the “Live-Aloners” and explores the turbulent decades that followed, when the status of these “brazen ladies” peaked and then collapsed. The Extra Woman follows Hillis and others like her who forged their independent paths before the 1950s saw them trapped behind picket fences yet again.”


Well, for one, I had that song, “Live Alone and Like It,” from Dick Tracy by Stephen Sondheim stuck in my head all week. Here’s Dr. Who’s own Captain Jack (AKA John Barrowman) singing it at a review in 2008, though I’m more familiar with Sondheim: A Celebration at Carnegie Hall version, from 1992, found here.

Anyway, that was very cheerful. And also–this book, chronologically, follows so closely on the heels of Gilded Suffragists that I about near fell over. It’s like I knew all these things happened in history, but I didn’t understand the order, or how one thing fed into the next, and how the cumulative view brings us to where we are today. This book covers the 1920’s-1960’s, from the flappers, the the Crash, to the Great Depression, to WWII, and then the strange, strange 1950’s, through Kinsey and the 60’s!

And through it all, this woman, Hillis, keeps insisting that women are people, that it was okay to live alone–could even be joyful and glamorous. That it was okay to be single, or divorced, or widowed. That it was okay to be old. That it was your business. That your home was your space to claim.  Not to bother “keeping up with the Joneses” but to pay attention to no one else’s numbers but your own. And to budget the luxuries.

I loved it.


The author Joanna Scutts is curating a special exhibit at the New York Historical Society called “Hotbed.”

…WHICH I PUT IN THE CALENDAR AND I’LL BE GOING TO! It’s on from the first week of November 2017 to March of 2018.

From the website:

Hotbed explores the vibrant political and artistic scene of Greenwich Village in the early 20th century, where men and women joined forces across the boundaries of class and race to fight for a better world. At the heart of the downtown radicals’ crusade lay women’s rights: to control their own bodies, to do meaningful work, and above all, to vote. Immersive installations and more than 100 artifacts and images—drawn from New-York Historical’s archives and several private collections—bring to life the bohemian scene and its energetic activist spirit. The exhibition is curated by Joanna Scutts, Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Women’s History, and Sarah Gordon, Senior Postdoctoral Marie Zimmermann Legacy Fellow in Women’s History, under the direction of Valerie Paley, vice president, chief historian, and director of the Center for Women’s History at the New-York Historical Society, and is on view in the Joyce B. Cowin Women’s History Gallery.”

GEEK FEMINIST REVOLUTION: Essays on Subversion, Tactical Profanity, and the Power of the Media

SYNOPSIS (from HighBridge Audio)

“As geek culture goes mainstream—from Game of Thrones to the Avengers—it’s never been more important to look at the role women play in it, and the future they’re helping to create. Kameron Hurley’s smart, funny, and profane voice guides readers through the world of fandom and the coming revolution in pop culture.

Kameron Hurley—one of the most influential young voices in science fiction and geek culture—presents The Geek Feminist Revolution: Essays on Subversion, Tactical Profanity, And the Power of MediaThe Geek Feminist Revolution is Bad Feminist for the Comic-Con crowd. This powerful collection of essays is about overcoming misogyny in geek culture, the persistence required to succeed as a woman writing science fiction, and imagining a better world and a better future through the stories we write.”


This was the first of these three books I narrated, and the first piece of feminist non-fiction I ever had the pleasure to put my mouth to. Egad, it set such FIRES in me. I was buzzing for days. It made me feel very fierce, and very informed–particularly since SF/F is the genre I write in, and I kept bumping into names of peers in my field.

But when taken together with these other two books, and thinking about where women are, and where we came from, and what it means to be a woman right now, working, struggling, trying to rise above apathy, and move toward justice, it just . . . it makes me want to read it all over again–this time for pleasure. And buy copies for friends.

It is a very specific set of essays, focused on a particular time (now) and place (the internet, mostly) and community (geeks everywhere!), but some of that specificity has wide repercussions. Gamer Gate, for example, and trolling, and cyber-bullying, and identity, and survival. I recalled it strongly as I narrated the two more recent releases above, and felt the honor of having narrated it all over again.

(Link to comprehensive audiobook discography here.)

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

March Forth!

My friend Jeanine said on Facebook yesterday: “Today is my favorite day! It’s the only day that’s a command: March forth!”

51n0yhusxhl-_sy346_Anyway, I loved that, and it feels apropos to mood of the day. March forth. SALLY FORTH. TALLY HO! &c.

Last week, for Tantor Media, I narrated a book by Susan Kietzman, a local (to me) author whose latest, Every Other Wednesday, will be released in April.

The book’s three protagonists are in their late middle age, somewhat bewildered by (and lost in) their newly emptied nests. They are searching for the next big, best thing–and their quest leads into some dangerously murky waters. The narrative concentrates on the deepening friendship between the three women, and on lessons learned, and on the sudden widening horizons of their lives.

13606393Aaaaaaand . . . TOMORROW AT TANTOR, I get to begin Book 1 of the CAT’S EYE CHRONICLES, by T. L. Shreffler.

The first book is Sora’s Quest, and it is full of assassins and blood-mages and cat-headed swamp people and adventure, plus a really fine mud fight!

I am REALLY looking forward to narrating this one! Plenty of characters growling, sneering, spitting, and defying ALL OVER THE PLACE! Not to mention smoldering, because . . . Well. Sexy assassins!

Also! The author was kind enough to provide a pronunciation guide–which was so thoughtful, and which will come in handy!

Later on this month, I start the second book, Viper’s Creed! I am so looking forward to that next prep script! (In fact, I was so excited about the first one that I downloaded it onto my Kindle before Tantor sent me the prep script. Secondary world fantasy, you know–right up my alley!)

b3dndIn the meantime, I have FINALLY finished the first draft of Desdemona and the Deep, third and last of the Dark Breakers novellas, after The Breaker Queen and The Two Paupers.

It is, of course, SUPREMELY DRAFTY, and different than I thought it would be. It needs a new beginning, and a better middle. BUT I REALLY LIKE THE END! (Hint: Phossy Jaw Girls GET THEIR OWN!)

And I like that it’s full of goblins, and fashion, and shenanigans, parasite titans and robber knights, pissed-off unions, Gentry Sovereigns, strange forests, transformation, REALLY COOL MAGIC HATS, and bargains: for lives traded away, for lives wasted in excess, for whatever comes next.

16463089_1484018574962516_7639575509475070300_oMarch is a kind of big deal month, even setting narrations aside.

This coming Thursday, March 9th, The Savoy Bookshop and Café is hosting Caitlin R. Kiernan! She’ll be doing a reading from her new book Agents of Dreamlandand then I get to be the “Q” of a “Q and A” with her.

Right now, even as I type, I have, like, 7 tabs open about Kiernan–website, Wikipedia entry, LJ, that recent Tor.com review of her book. (Her BOOK! Which I read! And which was delicious, and sick, and beautiful!!! Yum. It’d make a fine wine pairing with Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy.)

Anyway, I’m excited. CAN YOU TELL??? Here’s the Facebook Event Page for the Kiernan reading/conversation!

THEN! Just after I do pickups for Every Other Wednesday on the following Thursday, I get to go and pick up PATTY TEMPLETON from the AIRPORT!

That’s right, the DREAD Patty Templeton of THERE IS NO LOVELY END FAME is coming to visit ME!

there-is-no-lovely-end-switchbladeTempleton’s been busy all fall and winter moving from Chicago to Durango, CO and becoming a JOURNALIST for DGO Magazine, where she gets to interview rockstars and dinosaur hunters and dance on stage with JIM BELUSHI!

(And, by the way, she did this FANTASTIC piece on the importance of public radio HERE!)

But now she is MINE! ALL MINE, I TELL YOU!

She’ll be joining me, Carlos Hernandez (author of the AMAZING AND INCREDIBLE Assimilated Cuban’s Guide to Quantum Santeria), and a bunch of local authors/musicians/poets (Jessica Wick, Christa Beauchamp, Ali Lucas, Faye Ringel, Amber Langanke) on March 17th for “Ghosts, Saints, Faeries: Uncanny Stories, Poems and Songs.”

It’ll be held at the Artists’ Cooperative of Westerly! The Facebook Event Page is HERE.

Gosh, I wanted to write all about this last weekend, but I’ll save that for the next blog! COMING SOON!


Filed under Uncategorized

Narrating Audiobooks: My Year at Tantor 2015/16

ljx090401tantorlogo1I have not yet been a full year at Tantor. Not till next April!

But I recently had cause (like, just now) to complete my Discography (for an interview), which includes some books that aren’t even recorded yet (complete with hyperlinks), so I thought I’d better make it a full year.

I have been meaning to post about Tantor since I started working there! Only the thing about suddenly having an awesome job as an audiobook narrator is that… suddenly I had very little time to do anything else except narrate audiobooks. I AM NOT COMPLAINING!

So. Here’s what I’ve been doing since April 2015 (when I’ve not been writing, traveling, composing, or performing). And will hopefully keep doing for the foreseeable future, long past April 2016!


afa4c6900c58004bb7c79ec7c851d39eSCI-FI AND FANTASY
J. C. Nelson’s Grimm Agency Series
Free Agent
Armageddon Rules

Tony Peak: Inherit the Stars

Ellery Adams’s Charmed Pie Shoppe Mysteries (available for pre-order)
Pies and Prejudice
Peach Pies and Alibis
Pecan Pies and Homicides
Lemon Pies and Little White Lies
Breach of Crust

G0210_DeathDapper-240x317Angela Pepper’s Stormy Day Mystery Series (available for pre-order)
Death of a Dapper Snowman
Death of a Crafty Knitter
Death of a Batty Genius
Death of a Modern King

Carol J. Perry’s Witch City Mysteries
Caught Dead Handed
Tails You Lose
Look Both Ways

Christie Ridgeway’s Cabin Fever Series
Take My Breath Away
Make Me Lose Control
Can’t Fight This Feeling

F1290_LookBoth-238x238AMISH ROMANCE
Jennifer Beckstrand’s The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill Series
Huckleberry Hill
Huckleberry Summer
Huckleberry Christmas
Huckleberry Spring
Huckleberry Harvest
Huckleberry Hearts

Amy Clipston’s An Amish Heirloom Novel Series
The Forgotten Recipe

Elle Kennedy: Claimed

S. A. Bodeen: The Detour


Amy E. Reichert: The Coincidence of the Coconut Cake
Ellen Marie Wiseman: Coal River

Amy Odell: Tales from the Back Row
Anastacia Marx de Salcedo: Combat Ready Kitchen
Florence Scovel Shinn, Chris Gentry: The Complete Game of Life and How to Play It

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

A few exciting things!

When I grow up I want to be an audiobook narrator like the Goddess Barbara Rosenblat, Queen of Voices.

However, until I attain this bright particular star, I’ve been honing my skills with various Podcastle projects like Martha Wells’ “Thorns” and Gene Wolfe’s “The Gunner’s Mate.” Once I even dabbled at Tales to Terrify with Mike Allen’s “The Red Empress.”

(That was MOONS ago, by the way. Since then, Mike Allen published a whole novel, of which “The Red Empress” is only the beginning!)

Most recently, Uncanny Magazine hired me to be one of their podcast narrators, the other narrator being the most beautiful Amal El-Mohtar. So that’s awesome.

The first story I did was called “The Heat of Us: Notes Toward an Oral History” by Sam J. Miller. Next up is a poem by Rose Lemberg, creator of Birdverse and co-editor of Stone Telling. The poem is called “archival testimony fragments / minersong” and it was so splendid to unlock!

Otherwise, I shall be appearing as a French courtesan and a libertine’s octogenarian auntie in Flock Theatre’s production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses.

Even more excitement to come soon!




Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized