#AudioBookSeriesBlogTour “Cruise Confidential Series, Book 1” by Brian David Bruns

Audiobook Series Tour: Cruise Confidential by Brian David Bruns

Author: Brian David Bruns

Narrator: Gary Furlong

Length: 9 hours 20 minutes

Series: Cruise Confidential Series, Book 1

Publisher: Brian David Bruns

Released: Mar. 31, 2016

Genre: Travel Humor

National Best Seller

ForeWord Humor Book of the Year

Benjamin Franklin Awards Humor Book of the Year

In Cruise Confidential, Brian David Bruns spills the dirt – or, in this case, the dirty water – on those romantic, fun-filled vacations at sea. His hilarious chronicle of the year he spent working for Carnival Cruise Lines takes listeners down into the areas where the crew works and lives, leaving listeners gasping with laughter as they’re assaulted nonstop with events that range from the absurd to the utterly bizarre. Stewards fighting over food. Cutlery allowances and other nonsensical rules. What the crew calls those onboard (no, it’s not passengers). And, of course, the sex. An abundance of ready, willing, and able bodies eager for action on a vessel replete with nooks and crannies leads to love in some mighty strange and seemingly impossible places.

Breezy, entertaining, and informative, Cruise Confidential is essential listening for those planning a cruise or for anyone who just needs a good laugh.

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Brian David Bruns has adventured in over 60 countries to gather material for his bestselling books and won dozens of literary awards, including the USA REBA Grand Prize. He has been featured on ABC’s 20/20 and was anointed Sir Brian by Prince Michael, Regent of the Principality of Sealand (yes, really).

Sir Brian writes of his global experiences with a self-mocking wit and an astute insight into human behavior. His historical fiction seamlessly blends his love of travel and adventure with the fantastical–a sort of Indiana Jones meets Bram Stoker.

He is devoted to veterans organizations, such as Operation Homefront and Wounded Warriors Project, to which he’s donated thousands of his books.

After several years residing in Dracula’s actual hometown (yes, really), he and his Romanian wife now live in Las Vegas with their two old rescue cats, Julius and Caesar.


Narrator Bio

Originally from Ireland, Gary Furlong worked a teacher in Niigata, Japan; a puppeteer in Prague; an improv artist in Memphis, and a festival performer in Ireland.

A naturally-gifted mimic, Gary began narrating audiobooks for a living in 2015 and hasn’t looked back.

Gary specializes in accents and dialect, with fluency in Irish, British RP, and Standard American.

In four years of working full-time with audiobook production, Gary has narrated over 100 audiobooks spanning Fantasy,Thriller, Romance, YA, and non-fiction for world-class publishing houses and independent authors.

In 2018 Gary won a much coveted AudioFile Earphones Award and the Independent Audiobook Award for Romance.

He now lives in Texas with his wife and their golden retriever called “Gansey,” which means “Sweater” in Irish Gaelic.




Q&A with Author Brian David Bruns
  • Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook.
    • I feared the challenges of finding a narrator were too great for this book. Sure, I could find someone to just read the text, but I wanted to convey the feeling of being abroad. Accents can be tricky things because many people, Americans in particular, are not exposed to too many of them. So you don’t want to put anybody off. But when you are living below the waterline in a crew cabin of a cruise ship, every single person you meet reminds you that you’re far from home with every single word they say. I thought that was important.
  • Do you believe certain types of writing translate better into audiobook format?
    • I think any story can and should be shared audibly. Perhaps this is because I’m a natural storyteller who insists upon sharing audibly every single thing to every single person I meet. It’s amazing I have any friends left at all. That being said, I am a visual creature too. I love the look of the printed word and take pains to make my writing visually engaging. That’s more of my fiction, though. My narrative nonfiction, such as in Cruise Confidential, is much more like us sitting down over a beer and sharing experiences.
  • Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
    • The narrative voice of the book is entirely my own, but I didn’t have a hope or a prayer of handling the extreme linguistics of so very many “characters” from so very many nations. After a decade I finally mustered the courage to actually seek somebody who might be able to give it a shot. It was a daunting task.
  • How did you select your narrator?
    • With 60+ nationalities and subsequent accents, selecting a narrator was no mean feat. I searched through copious numbers of samples from many excellent narrators. But really, how realistic was it to find one person who could do accents ranging from all places Asia to all places Europe and North America to boot? Behold: Gary Furlong. He was an Irishman who had lived in Japan who I found by way of Ohio. His mastery of so many accents that one hears living on a cruise ship was so complete I suffered flashbacks.
  • How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process? Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?
    • Narrator Gary Furlong is a consummate professional, so any word he doesn’t know how to pronounce he knows how to learn. That said I through him for a loop once or twice with some Native American names. The man’s from Ireland, so you have to give him a break. Certainly I’d be lost if he showed me some Gaelic! It was important that the narrative voice was a Midwestern standard American accent because that is what I speak, and where I’m from is fundamental to the plot. It was also important to convey my manner of storytelling, which is often grandiose but in a tongue-in-cheek manner. Transcripts of my dialogue can strip out my presentation and sometimes make me out to be a superlatively arrogant man. In fact I’m only very arrogant.
  • Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
    • Contrary to the naysayers, every word of this book is true. When peeling back the veneer of a beloved pastime such a cruising, there is bound to be resistance. I’d imagine anyone writing a tell-all about working in Disney World would encounter the same thing. But what I experienced was absolutely shocking and I felt the story needed to be told. That it had a happy ending was in no way assured and is honestly more a matter of attitude than objectivity.
  • Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
    • I love audiobooks. I was a marathoner for most of my life and would listen to lots of books. They made the long, painful miles enjoyable. Well, at least somewhat enjoyable! I am particularly fond of narrators who can do multiple voices. It’s by no means a requirement, but I enjoy the theatricality of it. As I branch into narrating some of my own books I understand just how impressive such skills are!
  • Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format?
    • The accents are incredibly powerful. I think the audiobook is orders of magnitude better than the print.
  • If this title were being made into a TV series or movie, who would you cast to play the primary roles?
    • This book has nearly been made into a TV show on several different occasions, once getting all the way to step 20 of 20 before not making the cut. That was disappointing, as you can imagine. If I had a time machine I would have done anything to get Bruce Campbell to play the narrator (me). If anyone wants to know what it’s like hanging out with me, just watch Evil Dead 2. Looks, personality; we could be twins. Well, barring the chainsaw hand and the misogyny.
  • What’s next for you?
    • I am learning to narrate my own books for release in 2020, as well as release a series of historical fiction thrillers. My true love isn’t being abused on the high seas, but in fact more akin to something you’d find in the X-Files or Bram Stoker. Travel and history do go hand in hand, and a good historical fiction can be very educational. That’s where my real passion lay.


Giveaway: $100 Amazon Gift Card

Cruise Confidential Giveaway: $100 Amazon Gift Card



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#AudioBookBlogTour “The Hands We’re Given (Aces High, Jokers Wild #1)” by O.E. Tearmann

Audiobook Tour: The Hands We’re Given by O.E. Tearmann

Author: O.E. Tearmann

Narrator: Kirt Graves

Length: 13 hours and 16 minutes

Series: Aces High, Jokers Wild, Book 1

Publisher: Amphibian Press

Released: Jun. 28, 2019

Genre: Technothriller; Cyberpunk; LGBT

Sex. Drones. Rock and roll.

Aidan Headly never wanted to be the man giving orders. That’s fine with the Democratic State Force base he’s been assigned to command: they don’t like to take orders. Nicknamed the Wildcards, they used to be the most effective base against the seven Corporations owning the former United States in a war that has lasted over half a century. Now the Wildcards are known for creative insubordination, chaos, and commanders begging to be reassigned.

Aidan is their last chance. If he can pull off his assignment as Commander and yank his ragtag crew of dreamers and fighters together, maybe they can get back to doing what they came to do: fighting for a country worth living in.

Life’s a bitch. She deals off the bottom of the deck. But you play the hands you’re given.

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O.E. Tearmann lives in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, in what may become the Co-Wy Grid. They share the house with a brat in fur, a husband and a great many books. Their search engine history may garner them a call from the FBI one day. When they’re not living on base 1407 they advocate for a more equitable society and more sustainable agricultural practices, participate in sundry geekdom and do their best to walk their characters’ talk.


Narrator Bio

Kirt Graves has 20+ years of experience as a stage actor & vocal performer. His first audiobook was featured as an Audible Five-Star Fave.




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Aidan Headley banner


Interview: Aidan Headly, Commander, Base 1407 of the Democratic State Force

Interviewer: Chris Hensworth, Co-Wy Regional Morale Officer, writing for the CO-WY Battle Cry

Commander Headly is the Unit Commander for Base 1407, one of our best units and a shining example of what can be achieved by units in adversity when they creatively tackle morale and personnel problems. We will be interviewing the members over the next few months. 

Commander Headly. Thank you for taking the time to sit down with me for the CO-WY Battle Cry.

Headly: Um…yeah, no problem. You’re going to be coming and interviewing everyone?

Hensworth: Yes sir.

Headly: Right. You may need to redact some of our hydroelectric specialist’s stuff. Anyway, where do you want to start?

Hensworth: Commander Headly, everyone has been impressed with your resolve and your diplomacy. What single event has had the most impact on your life?

Headly: Hunh…I guess meeting my buddy Jackson when we were teens. He got me through a lot, and gave me a lot more confidence. If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t have done what got me into Command school.

Hensworth: How would you describe your most influential relationship?

Headly: Hah. Um…man, that’s kind of personal. I guess I’ll tell you about my boyfriend. Kevin. Being around him is like being wrapped in a warm blanket with bad song lyrics and good poems written on it. I know a lot of Commanders try to cut fraternization off, but I do think healthy emotional ties of all kinds help us stay stable and deal with the bull–sorry, the stress and trauma we’re all under in the war.

Hensworth: What philosophical concepts drive you?

Headly: Everybody’s worth something. Everybody’s good at something. And when you find the spot where they work best, you’re blown away by the results.

Nobody deserves to be thrown away.

Hensworth: If you could undo one decision in your life, what would it be?

Headly: Um…can we skip this one?

Hensworth: Of course, sir.

Hensworth: What do you consider to be the greatest weakness in your society?

Headly: Hah. That’s an easy one. We treat people like they’re only worth what they can produce for their bosses. The money trickles up to the people running the Corporations, and the shi…sorry, the crap rolls downhill. It’s fu…it’s messed up, and it’s messing us all up. We need to start acting like people are worth something because they’re people. They’re assets in themselves. People aren’t numbers in a profit-and-loss spreadsheet.

Hensworth: What do you consider to be its greatest strength?

Headly: Well, it’s good at keeping people in order. I don’t know if we want to be ‘in order’, though.

Hensworth: In your free time – if you have any! – what activities do you enjoy?

Headly: The gang–our unit–we have movie nights and game nights together about twice a week. Tuesday nights me and Kevin watch old movies. I mean really, really old. He studies history and he digs up stuff older than dirt. And I do a lot of carving and engraving work; engraving designs on metal and wood is relaxing for me, and the stuff’s fun to decorate and give as gifts. I like making something beautiful.

Hensworth: What sort of environments do you personally find most soothing?

Headly: These days, the rec room with an old movie on is amazing for relaxing. I was in a garden once. It was like heaven. But most of the time? My room, with the lights turned down and something quiet playing.

Hensworth: How do you see yourself in relation to current events?

Headly: I’m just one soldier, and we’re just one base. But I get up and try to make a difference every day in this fight, and I know a million other people are doing the same thing. And maybe together we’ll win this war someday.

Hensworth: How do you see the arts in the realm of political power?

Headly: It’s what helps me get up every morning. The movies Kevin finds, they remind us that things were different in this country once. The art that people send around is sometimes the only reason to smile in a shitty day. Even the tags on the buildings on Grid, they’re kind of a shout, you know? ‘I’m here, I exist, I’m alive.’

All that is worth something.

Hensworth: Similarly, how do you see the sciences?

Headly: I guess…look, people are people. Science just lets them be people in different ways. A drone can plant seeds or it can drop bombs. Nanoids can do surgery or liquify your heart from the inside. Drugs can heal you or destroy your life. Basically, it’s tools. But we’re holding the stuff. We need to stop treating tech like it’s an animal in its own right. Somebody coded that. People told it to do stuff. We need to get better at deciding what to tell it, I guess.

Sorry, I think I cussed in there. Do you have to redact cussing?

Hensworth: Hah, no worries sir. We’ll clean it up.

Headly: Thanks

Hensworth:What do you consider the responsibility of government to be to the people?

Headly: It should be for the people, first. The Pre-Dissolution government wasn’t perfect, but it was supposed to give everybody a solid start so they could become the best they could be. They did better, they made the country better, they made money for the government. It was supposed to be a…there’s a word…symbiosis! It was supposed to be a way that people took care of each other, and got to have a say in things. We don’t have any of that anymore. We ought to.

Hensworth: What do you consider to be the responsibility of the citizenry to the government?

Headly: Help make sure the system stays fair. When it’s fair, don’t try to game it. Do stuff that helps each other out, like not over-using the water and recycling the waste. Anybody who tells you why something is a good idea and then asks you to buy in, they’re a government that’s worth talking to. But tell anybody who says ‘do what I say, I’ve got the power’ to go screw themselves.

Hensworth: What practical steps can individuals take to improve their own society, whatever that is?

Headly: First, do what you need to keep your head up. Keep yourself together. Take your meds, do your counseling, whatever you need.
Next, talk straight. Tell people the truth, even when it’s hard. Talk about hard things. Don’t yell, talk. And talk upwards too. Call reps and tell them what they need to hear. Talk about manipulation, about people hiding suffering behind other stuff. Don’t be bullshitted.

Be compassionate, I guess. Remember that other people have shit to deal with too.
And try and help, wherever you are.



Giveaway: Writer’s Tears whiskey with signed set of books

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Song Lyric Sunday | “Double Dutch Bus” – Raven-Symone

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Song Lyric Sunday was created by Helen Vahdati from This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time and author Jim Adams from A Unique Title For Me is our current guest host. For complete rules or to join in the fun, click here.

This week’s theme is  Truck and Bus Songs.


Double Dutch Bus is a hit 1981 funk song by Frankie Smith, made famous for its extensive use of the “izz” infix form of slang. Smith popularized the nonsensical form of slang, (From his song “Slang thang”, 1981 WMOT records.) in which “iz” is placed in the middle of a word (for example, the word “place” becomes “plizace”) or the last letters of a word are replaced with “-izzle” (ex. sure becomes shizzle). The style became part of hip-hop slang, and was popularized by rappers Snoop Dogg and E-40. The style today holds a place in popular slang.

Smith and co-writer Bill Bloom persuaded contacts at WMOT Records to finance the song, and it was recorded in early 1981, engineered by Gene Leone. The song rocketed to popularity in a matter of weeks and debuted on the US Billboard Hot Soul Singles chart in February, rising to the top spot by July, where it held at number one for four weeks. It also crossed over to the Billboard Hot 100, where it peaked at number 30 in the summer of 1981.

The record became only the second in history (following the 1979 Barbra Streisand/Donna Summer duet No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)), and remains one of the few, to receive two separate standard-release Gold certifications from the RIAA: first in June 1981 for sales of the 12″ single; and a second Gold record in September 1981 for sales of the 7″ edit.

Raven-Symone covered Double Dutch Bus for her 2008 family comedy with Martin Lawrence, College Road Trip, and I’m using the song scene from the movie. I love Frankie’s version but his cuts are so long (8-13 mins), and the official video is horrible. Looks as though their total  budget for the video was $7.25. 😀  (Okay, it was 1981.) (Lyrics posted are to the original song. Raven sings a shortened version.)


  • The title represents a combination of two institutions in Smith’s Philadelphia, Pennsylvania neighborhood: the double Dutch jump rope game played by neighborhood kids; and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) bus system.
  • Frankie Smith complained that WMOT Records failed to pay him his royalties, and how he therefore was unable to pay his taxes. An investigation was started which brought to light that WMOT Records was not only badly managed, but in fact laundering money for Larry Lavin, aka Dr. Snow, a dentist who was secretly dealing cocaine. This way, the success of Double Dutch Bus indirectly caused the end of a major drugs business.
  • Frankie Smith died in Philadelphia on March 8, 2019, he was 65-66 years old.


See my Song Lyric Sunday selection for FeliciaDenise.com.


Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.

Double Dutch Bus

Compiled from Genius Lyrics, Google, Wikipedia, Songfacts.com, and YouTube.
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