Thursday, July 16, 2015


I'm so excited to be a stop on author 
Barbara Venkataraman's 
blog tour for the 
Jamie Quinn Mystery series!

Books 1-3 of the Jamie Quinn Mystery Series! Including: 

"Death by Didgeridoo"  -  Winner of the Indie Book of the Day award. Reluctant lawyer, Jamie Quinn, still reeling from the death of her mother, is pulled into a game of deception, jealousy, and vengeance when her cousin, Adam, is wrongfully accused of murder. It's up to Jamie to find the real murderer before it's too late. It doesn't help that the victim is a former rock star with more enemies than friends, or that Adam confessed to a murder he didn't commit. 

"The Case of the Killer Divorce"  -  Reluctant lawyer, Jamie Quinn, has returned to her family law practice after a hiatus due to the death of her mother. It's business as usual until a bitter divorce case turns into a murder investigation, and Jamie's client becomes the prime suspect. When she can't untangle truth from lies, Jamie enlists the help of Duke Broussard, her favorite private investigator, to try to clear her client's name. And she’s hoping that, in his spare time, he can help her find her long-lost father. 

"Peril in the Park"  -  There's big trouble in the park system. Someone is making life difficult for Jamie Quinn's boyfriend, Kip Simons, the new director of Broward County parks. Was it the angry supervisor passed over for promotion? The disgruntled employee Kip recently fired? Or someone with a bigger ax to grind? If Jamie can't figure it out soon, she may be looking for a new boyfriend because there’s a dead guy in the park and Kip has gone missing! With the help of her favorite P.I., Duke Broussard, Jamie must race the clock to find Kip before it’s too late. 

A preview of the next Jamie Quinn Mystery, "Engaged in Danger," can be found at the end of the book.

Barbara is giving away one three book set in
winner's choice of  
e-Book or Audio

Use the Rafflecopter form at the end of 
this post to enter.


An Interview with author, Barbara Venkataraman
 and narrator, Carrie Lee Martz


--You two have eight audiobooks across three different genres, how did you find each other? Carrie, what appealed to you about these stories?
"Barbara actually found me through ACX just 9 days after I created my profile, but I'll let her tell that part of our story. The first book we did was “A Trip to the Hardware Store;” it was just really relatable and quirky, so I knew it’d fun to narrate."

--Barbara, how did you know Carrie was the narrator who could pull off humor AND narrate your mysteries?
I got very lucky! I wanted a narrator with a sense of humor and a range of voices who was willing to work for free. I either had to convince a total stranger to spend hundreds of hours recording my self-published books as unpaid labor, OR, find a narrator through ACX willing to royalty-share (spend hundreds of hours recording my self-published books as unpaid labor AND split any profits, assuming there were any).
Throwing caution to the wind, I posted two projects on ACX simultaneously. After listening to and rejecting many demo recordings, I began to question the whole project, but kept slogging through. Suddenly, the heavens parted and I heard an angel sing, only she wasn't an angel, she was Carrie Lee Martz. Her demo was a voiceover demo in which she showed off her range of voices. She was perfect! I made her an offer for both books and she accepted. We exchanged e-mails and confessed that we'd never done this before, but we were both game and jumped right in. 

--Carrie, as a narrator, how do you approach a humorous work differently?
"I don’t really. Narrating comedy isn’t about telling jokes or trying to be funny. If it were, I’d be in trouble, because I think I’m the least funny person I know and I literally can’t tell a joke to save my life! LOL I think what’s most important is understanding the writer’s sense of humor and being able to fully commit to the characters and the story. If you focus on those things, the funny will automatically shine through."

--Barbara, what advice do you have for authors about writing humor? 
Don't ask me, ask Ellen Degeneres, lol! I think humorous writing is the unexpected combined with the sublime and the ludicrous. It's based on common experiences we've all had (or can easily imagine), and often focuses on the minutiae. Look at the comedian, Jim Gaffigan and how much mileage he's gotten out of mocking Hot Pockets. My advice is to read a lot of humor and try to analyze why it works. There's a lot of timing involved and also a build-up of expectations.

--Carrie, do you have any advice for narrators thinking about trying Audible? Has it met your expectations?
"Go for it! Audible’s ACX program gives new narrators and indie authors a vehicle to break into the audiobook business without the usual constraints. I mean, what have you got to lose!?! I'd never narrated a book before, but my voiceover coach, Amy Hartman, suggested that I create an ACX profile to start practicing and auditioning. I was so excited to have a place to get "real world" experience auditioning for audiobooks, that I didn’t really have any expectations. Given that, the program far exceeded my expectations! With ACX, I get to audition and practice my narration skills on a regular basis and have launched the beginning of my audiobook career, with several books for sell on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.  AMAZING!!!"
--Barbara, do you also recommend Audible?
Definitely! But be prepared to do some serious marketing on your own. Once you and your narrator have exhausted your personal connections, it's time to hit the virtual streets. Get free download codes from ACX and give them away like crazy. When you run out, ask for more. Sadly, we can't all be featured in the New York Times book section.

-- Carrie, how has your acting experience helped you as a narrator?
"Being an actress has taught me how to make strong choices and how to fully commit to those choices, the characters, and the story. This is a really critical skill for actors, but it’s even more important for audiobook narrators! All you’ve got to work with are the characters and the author’s words, so you’ve got to be really clear in your mind about who the characters are and what the words mean. If you stay focused on the characters and have clear intentions for the story when you read, it helps to paint a better picture for the listeners."

--Barbara, What type of feedback have you gotten?
Carrie and I have gotten some wonderful feedback on our audiobooks and Carrie really brings my characters to life. Here are some examples of feedback we've received: you made me laugh, thanks for the chuckles, you almost made me spit my coffee out through my nose! My absolute favorite, though, was the woman who said Carrie did an excellent drunk voice. Carrie and I agreed that when we finally meet, we'll drink some wine and practice our drunk voices together.

--Carrie, have you gotten feedback on your narration & did it surprise you in any way?

"I've gotten quite a lot of feedback actually, which is pretty cool. I’ve had bad and good surprises. The bad – people can be incredibly critical and even a little mean in their reviews – it’s really taught me to “let go” of the negative comments (you just can't please everyone) and to pay special attention to the "constructive criticism" (if you learn to identify it, you can use it to improve and hone your skills). The good – I've had a lot of people say that listening to my narration is like sitting with a good friend while she shares the humorous stories of her life.  WOW – what a great compliment! Since I’m always striving for that kind of intimate experience when I narrate, it's so freaking cool to hear that it comes across that way to listeners!  =D"

How fun to get to know more about 
Barbara and Carrie!

Award-winning author, Barbara Venkataraman is an attorney and mediator specializing in family law and debt collection. 

She is the author of "Teatime with Mrs. Grammar Person"; "The Fight for Magicallus," a children's fantasy; a humorous short story entitled, "If You'd Just Listened to Me in the First Place"; and two books of humorous essays: "I'm Not Talking about You, Of Course" and "A Trip to the Hardware Store & Other Calamities," which are part of the "Quirky Essays for Quirky People" series. Both books of humorous essays won the "Indie Book of the Day" award.

Her latest works are "Death by Didgeridoo," first in the Jamie Quinn series, "The Case of the Killer Divorce," the second Jamie Quinn mystery, and, just out, "Peril in the Park," the latest in the popular Jamie Quinn series. Coming soon, "Engaged in Danger"--the next Jamie Quinn mystery!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Interesting! Thanks, Lisa, Barbara and Jamie. I've never listened to an audiobook but am finding more and more people talking about them.

  2. Love all the little bits & bobs about ya'll! Audio books are great because I can do my housework & still READ A BOOK, lol!!

  3. These books look great. Thanks for the chance to win. :)

  4. Thank you Barbara & Carrie- loved all the nifty bits & bobs about your experiences! Audiobooks are great because I can still get my housework done while finishing a book!!

  5. This giveaway is perfect for the summer. What a delightful feature and audio books which I would enjoy greatly. Thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  6. Good interview. I usually find that when someone leaves a bad review that if you look at their other reviews they are usually all bad so just take them with a pinch of salt. Some people are just not happy with anything.

  7. That was a fascinating post about audiobooks and narration. I have just recently started listening to audiobooks and had some mixed results due to the narrators. Audiobooks encourage me to do my weekly walks because I only allow myself to listen to the books when I am walking so to find out what happens next, I have to go walk. I also use them to encourage me to clean house. LOL!

  8. Great post and great books. I love audiobooks. (Don't enter me - I have the set :-) ).

  9. This sounds like a good series. I have listened to quite a few audiobooks in the past. The narrator can make or break it for me. Great blog

  10. I JUST discovered how much I enjoy audio books. Thank you for the interview and giveaway.

  11. These sound great!

  12. Enjoyed the interview! Thank you for this great opportunity.