#AudioBookBlogTour “The Lies Mystery Series, Book 3” by Andrew Cunningham

Lies by Andrew Cunningham

Author: Andrew Cunningham

Narrator: Greg Hernandez

Length: 5 hours 23 minutes

Series: Lies, Book 3

Released: Sep. 12, 2019

Publisher: Andrew Cunningham

Genre: Mystery, Modern Detective

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Synopsis

Five teenage girls from a small town in Oregon disappear without a trace.

Were they kidnapped, or have the five friends perpetrated a massive hoax? Nine hundred miles away, in Las Vegas, a woman with a dark secret vanishes on her way to meet friends for dinner.

Those friends are Del Honeycutt and best-selling mystery author Sabrina Spencer in Las Vegas for a book convention. As Del and Sabrina investigate their friend’s disappearance, they are convinced that she has been abducted, and they begin to uncover the secrets that might have triggered her abduction – secrets that now put Del and Sabrina’s lives in jeopardy.

When clues indicate that the five missing girls might also be in Las Vegas, the situation takes a new turn, directly into the unthinkable.

Once again, Del and Sabrina find themselves in deep trouble and marked for death, and they only have a few hours to solve the case, or their friend and the five young girls will be gone forever.

I’m the author of novels in several genres, including, mystery, thriller, and post-apocalyptic science fiction. Under the name A.R. Cunningham, I’ve also written the Arthur MacArthur series of mysteries for children.

I was born in England, but have spent most of my life living in the U.S.—including 25 years on Cape Cod before moving to Florida. A former interpreter for the deaf and long-time independent bookseller, I’ve been a full-time freelance writer and copy editor for many years. A 4th-degree Master Black belt in Tang Soo Do, I finally retired from active training when my body said, “Enough already! Why are you doing this to yourself?” I’m married, with two grown children and two awesome grandsons. My wife and I spend as much time traveling as we can, and are especially fond of cruising the Caribbean.

​I have been gratified by the response to my books. When I published Eden Rising back in the spring of 2013, I had no idea what to expect. When I sold my first few copies, I was excited beyond belief that someone was willing to take a chance on it. Numerous books and thousands of copies later, I am still humbled by the emails I get from readers telling me that my books kept them up late into the night.

In October of 2014, Wisdom Spring made me an official Amazon Bestselling author, a thrill I never thought would happen. But it still comes down to being able to bring a few hours of escape to a reader. That’s what it’s all about for me.

I hope you will try my books. Please feel free to email me with your comments.

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Narrator Bio

Author-preferred Narrator of Mysteries & Thrillers

Narrating audiobooks is highly gratifying. I immerse myself into an author’s story in order to bring it to life for the listener. I’ve enjoyed working with Andrew Cunningham for several years. His books are filled with rich characters, and the stories keep me turning the pages.

I also work as a background actor in movies and TV shows.

For more than 20 years, I worked as a radio news reporter and news writer. I spent half of my broadcasting career at ABC News Radio in the Washington, D.C., bureau. I covered all the federal agencies as well as Congress and the White House. I reported on a wide range of stories during my career, including financial and entertainment industry news.

For nearly 24 years, I worked as a federal government spokesman at three separate agencies—National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Mint and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

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  • When did you know you wanted to be an audiobook narrator?
    • In 2014 I was looking down the road toward retirement from my federal government job. I knew I wanted to do something with voice over, but I didn’t want to go to an office. I read the book, “More Than Just A Voice: The REAL Secret to Voiceover Success” by Dave Courvoisier. The chapter on audiobooks was very intriguing. I did some research and auditioned in late 2014. I was ecstatic that I was selected quickly. It’s been a great adventure and learning experience ever since that fateful day.
  • Did you find it difficult to “break into” audiobook narration? What skill/tool helped you the most when getting started?
    • I was a radio news reporter in my first career. Being in front of a microphone was my comfort zone. I was very glad that I got my first audiobook a few days after my audition. It helped a lot that I worked with digital audio in 1987 when it was first introduced at ABC Radio News. Those skills have worked in my favor as an independent narrator not working with a publisher. Plus, I was an audio engineer when I was a student at Syracuse University working with analog audio.
  • A lot of narrators seem to have a background in theatre. Is that something you think is essential to a successful narration career?
    • I believe it’s necessary to know a little about acting because that’s what narrating mysteries and thrillers is all about. Through my first reviews, I learned that listeners want distinct character voices so that they know who’s speaking. They don’t want to keep rewinding to keep up with character dialogue. I’ve studied acting and taken acting classes in order to make the dialogue sound like a movie soundtrack.
  • How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for narrating?
    • Audiobook narration is like running a marathon. You have to keep your voice in shape, and you have to maintain your energy level high throughout the whole book. In my early narrations I’d sometimes have to re-record sections because the energy was flagging. Now, I make it a point to maintain a constant energy just like a runner trying to keep up a steady pace.
  • Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
    • I listen to hundreds of hours of audiobooks each year. My favorites are biographies narrated by the author. There’s nothing like hearing someone’s story as told by them. I also love mysteries and thrillers. I also am very picky about narrators.
  • What are your favorite and least favorite parts of narrating an audiobook?
    • I enjoy the whole process from narrating, editing and processing the audio for final production. Since I edit my own narrations, it’s my goal to make certain the audio is the best quality to give the listener a terrific experience. The only frustrating part of narrating is when I get a cold. That shuts down the whole process behind the microphone. That’s when I go into editing mode.
  • What would you say are your strongest narration abilities?
    • Over the past five years, I’ve made it a point to come up with distinct character voices. I don’t want them to sound over the top. I want them to sound like every day people and believable. Some voices come naturally from the author’s words, and others take a little time to get the right cadence and inflection.
  • What about this title compelled you to audition as narrator?
    • I have narrated six books by Andrew Cunningham. I haven’t auditioned for a book since 2015. Andrew and I have a great collaboration. I call him my director because he’ll let me know if I’ve gotten a character’s voice the way he envisioned it when he wrote the story. There are about four more books that Andrew wants me to narrate. This latest series allows me continue voicing the two main characters, Del and Sabrina, that I now consider my alter egos.
  • How closely do you prefer to work with authors?
    • I enjoy authors that listen closely to my narration and provide feedback. I’ve been fortunate to work with Andrew Cunningham on several books because he provides valuable input that makes my narration all the more real sounding. I get great satisfaction when an author says I’ve brought their book to life.
  • What types of things are harmful to your voice?
    • I try to narrate for no more than four hours at a stretch. Doing character voices can put a strain on the voice, too. Warm-up exercises are key to making sure my voice is ready for the session.
  • Do you read reviews for your audiobooks?
    • I enjoy reading reviews. The input people provide is vital to helping me get better with each audiobook. Even critical reviews are educational, too. Of course, I’m thoroughly delighted when I read very positive reviews and get a five-star rating. That’s cause for celebration!
  • What bits of advice would you give to aspiring audiobook narrators?
    • I advise aspiring audiobook narrators to do their research. Narrating an audiobook is time consuming. When starting out, it takes about three hours to narrate and produce a finished hour of an audiobook. With time and experience, you can cut that down but not by much. You have to be prepared mentally and vocally for the long haul. It takes even longer if you edit and produce your own narrations.
  • Bonus question: Any funny anecdotes from inside the recording studio?
    • There are some words and long sentences that sometimes pose a challenge. I’ll get half way through a long sentence and then blow the next part or run out of breath. It’s amazing how some words come out that are not on the page. When I hear the playback, I’ll have a laugh. Take two, please!

 

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#AudioBookBlogTour “Last Seen” by Jo A. Hiestand

Author: Jo A. Hiestand

Narrator: Tristan Kopta

Length: 7 hours 33 minutes

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Released: Oct. 23, 2019

Genre: Mystery

One dark night, popular singer Kent Harrison goes missing after his performance at Tutbury Castle. When his body’s found in a forest, the police investigation focuses on Kent’s ex-wife, a local herbalist, a covetous colleague, and even the curator of another castle who tried to lure Kent into performing there.

But his occasional singing partner, Dave Morley, seems to have the biggest motive. He’s dying to make his name, money, and the big time, especially at the medieval Minstrels Court reenactment, where Kent’s appearance guarantees standing room only. Did Dave murder Kent to eliminate the competition…or had their partnership struck a wrong chord?

To entice him into investigating, ex-cop McLaren’s girlfriend plays detective. But Dena ends up in great danger. Now, McLaren must not only solve Kent’s murder but also rescue her. A hard task when a web of jealousy, anger, and lies covers the trails.

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Jo A. Hiestand can usually be found at her computer, which is good, since she writes three mystery series. It seems a natural progression from her job as a graphic artist – crafting word images on a sheet of paper instead of creating graphics on the computer screen. Between the two computer stints, she lived in Britain for her semi-pro folk singing career and became friends with several English police detectives. The latter relationship was not a consequence of the former calling, however, but all these UK aspects find their way into her books. When not tapping on the keyboard, Jo enjoys reading, baking, and photography. She lives in the St Louis area with her cat, Tennyson, and way too many kilts.

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  1. Mr. McLaren, I know you were a police detective with the Staffordshire Constabulary. What made you leave that job?
    A year ago a burglar broke into a pub that was owned by a 70-year old friend of mine. My friend hit the burglar with a fireplace poker in the process of defending his wife, himself and his job. The senior investigating police officer arrested my friend for assault, a charge that was obviously revenge and aimed at me for our personal differences. I was outraged at the arrest and threw the officer into a handy rose bush. When I was given the choice of taking a reduction in rank or resigning from the job, I left.
  2. Goodness! That was a life-changing decision. What do you do now?
    I repair and build dry stone walls in Derbyshire. I like the work because it’s solitary — that way, I don’t have to deal with people or their betrayals. Also gives me time to think.
  3. I understand you’ve solved some cold cases on your own, mostly murders. When did you get your private investigator’s license?
    I’m not a PI. I look into cold cases strictly as a private citizen. People I question have no obligation to answer my questions, but I find most of them are happy to assist me. When I need something official done, like arresting a suspect, I phone the Derbyshire Constabulary and they handle it.
  4. When you’re not busy with our stone wall job or investigating cold cases, what fills your time?
    I have a girlfriend, Dena, and I try to spend as much time with her as I can. We’re both busy, though–she volunteers at a tiger sanctuary and I of course have my two jobs. But I also play guitar and sing with my folk group. That’s strictly amateur stuff, however. We sing in a pub for drinks. I also like to cook and bake. My mum taught me while I was a kid–basic, simple British dishes. When I was on my own, I ventured into international cooking somewhat, but I still prefer making simple things like cider-baked potatoes, leek soup, and honeyed turkey. I think I like baking better than cooking, and I usually make something at least once a week. Things like scones or shortbread or a cottage loaf. Kneading bread is very relaxing.
  5. Cooking and baking are great ways to unwind, yes. Does Dena like to join you in the kitchen?
    Not really. I have her over for dinner about once a month, and she’s very content to let me do the whole meal! She says her culinary skill extends to opening a tin of soup and microwaving that, but I know she’s jesting. Dena’s involved in a lot of charity work and hasn’t the time or energy for cooking, although she can whip together a brilliant Lancashire Hot Pot when she really wants to.
  6. Had you always wanted to be in law enforcement?
    I think I became interested in my late teen years. My family lived in Scotland, in Auchtubh, north of Edinburgh, until I was two years old. My grandfather assumed my dad (his older son) would follow in the family tradition of overseeing the family business one day. My grandfather owns Strathearn Brewery. It’s been in existence for three hundred years. When my dad moved our family to Derbyshire, England to help out another branch of the family, we put down roots there. I grew up in the English environment and, since we weren’t involved in the running of the brewery, I became enamoured with law enforcement. I really don’t know how or why that evolved, but I loved the job and made some smashing friends.
  7. You mentioned your folk group. Tell me a bit about that.
    It’s a quartet: three lads and a lass. We do mainly British and American folk, mainly traditional things but we’ll sneak in a contemporary song or two at times. I play guitar. We took our group name, Woodstock Town, from one of the first songs we worked up, “Near Woodstock Town.” That was a smash hit when we performed it, probably because we had fewer wrong notes in that than in the others we sang.
  8. If you sing in a folk group, you must like music. Do you have any other type of music or group in particular as a favorite?
    Obviously, I like folk. But I like classic jazz and many Romantic and Baroque era pieces quite a lot. Things by Handel, Bach, Telemann are favorites, as are Grieg and Mendelssohn. I like Marian McPartland a lot too. I lean toward traditional folk, but if you want names of contemporary artists, I’d include the American a cappella group The Wee Heavies and the Scottish lads The McCalmans.
  9. Getting back to your cold case investigations… Have any cases been particularly difficult to solve, or have any of the victims touched your heart?
    I’d say the case I just finished was difficult emotionally for me. Dena, my girlfriend, had tried to get me interested in the case. She did a bit of amateur sleuthing so she could present me with some facts to entice me to investigate–her sleuthing was highly dangerous, by the way, and got her into grave danger. I had to rescue her and also solve the case.

 

 

 

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#BookBlitz “Equipped: Ephesians 6 Devotionals” by Ruth L. Snyder

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coverEphesians 6 Devotionals to Empower and Make You Victorious in Everyday Struggles
Religious: Christian Spiritual Warfare
Publisher: Creativity Publishing
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Is spiritual warfare real? Are you aware of how you’re being attacked? Equipped takes a detailed look at God, at our enemy, and at our response.
Everyday struggles happen, but you can be victorious.
In Africa, people believe in spirit beings. Witch doctors cast spells. People dance barefoot over red-hot coals without being burned. Spiritual warfare is obvious.
In other cultures, the spiritual battle is not so evident. Still, it is very real. Homes are divided by discord and divorce. Parents are overly busy. Children are lured into drugs and sex-trafficking. Churches are complacent and powerless. Is there hope?
Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10 NIV). What’s stopping you from living life to the full? Read Equipped. Become aware. Put on your spiritual armour as described in Ephesians six. Stand firm. Pray.

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 Excerpt
“We can’t meet under the great tree anymore!”
“Why?”
“Because, the gods are angry and they struck the tree with lightening.”
I first learned about spiritual warfare while growing up in southern Africa where my parents served as missionaries. In Africa, people believe in spirit beings. In Africa, the battle is obvious. One congregation my father served held their services under a huge tree near Shashe, Botswana. Lightning struck that tree and fear invaded. I witnessed my parents praying and calling on believers to continue to meet under that tree as a witness to unbelievers. Church services continued in the shade of the tree. No one died. No one became ill. The congregation grew.
In North America and other first world countries, the battle is not so obvious, but it is still very real.  In some ways it is more insidious and dangerous, because it is hidden. Here we battle against conforming to the norms of a society that scoffs at God and the Bible. In our personal lives, we are lulled into just drifting along in our spiritual life instead of guarding our hearts and minds and standing firm in God’s truth. Our homes are too often divided by divorce, our churches powerless in complacency.
In the greatest story ever told, the plot is good versus evil. We live in a world where people often focus only on the physical—what we can touch or taste. But there is another dimension that is very real, the spiritual dimension. God is real, and so is Satan. We are in a spiritual battle, whether we acknowledge it or not. Denying gravity exists doesn’t nullify the effects of gravity. So too, denying spiritual conflict doesn’t make it disappear. The only choice we have is whether we follow God into battle or not. In John 10:10 Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
God has provided information on spiritual warfare in his Word, the Bible. We don’t have to enter the battle groping around like blind men. God provides weapons, fights the battle for us, and even lets us know how it is all going to end. We can read the last chapter of the story about life on this earth and know without a doubt that God wins (Revelation 20, 21). That doesn’t mean we should sit back and do nothing. The number of casualties in this war—people who reject God and face eternity without Him—can be reduced if you and I obey God.
In Matthew 17 we read about a father who brought his son to Jesus’ disciples because the son had seizures and often fell into fire or water. The disciples were unable to help. We are told in verse 18 that “Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment.” Jesus goes on to tell the disciples that they were not able to help the boy because of their lack of faith.
I present these devotionals to you as a fellow pilgrim. Every day is a new battle. I try to start each day with Bible reading and prayer. However, I still fail. Often, I need to repent, confess my sin, then get up and put my armour on before I carry on. I’m thankful that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ (Romans 8:35, 37-39)!
Perhaps our world is in the condition it is in because WE lack faith and fail to obey. What if everyone who says they believe in Jesus were to read and study the Bible? What if we all chose to live in obedience to what the Bible says? What if we trusted God to work in us and through us to do the impossible? What if we put on the spiritual armour God has provided and stood against the Devil and his hosts? What if we prayed under the guidance of the Holy Spirit?
Satan knows the end of the story too. When Jesus Christ died and rose again, he defeated Satan. Satan knows he cannot win the war, but he is working at winning skirmishes. The Evil One is out to destroy families, to break up marriages, and to lead people into addictions that destroy them.
You will find there is a lot of material to absorb. I encourage you to take your time reading and studying the material. Whether you read a devotional a day, or a devotional every week, take it at your own pace. Before you read, stop and ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand what He wants to say to you. Then read with your Bible in hand, looking up and reading Scripture as you go. Each chapter has an example of how God can help you be victorious in everyday struggles. Each one ends with a question for reflection. If you like to journal, reflect and write about what you are learning. Perhaps you are an artistic person and prefer to paint or draw a picture, in response. This study is between you and God, so respond in a way that is meaningful to you. (If you’d like to share your responses, ask questions, or join me in prayer, you’re invited to my closed Facebook Group:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/EquippedForVictory/; Use #EquippedForVictory on social media to connect with others. Sign up for Ruth’s email newsletter at: https://equipped.lpages.co/newsletter-sign-up/)
In this devotional, I use Ephesians 6:10-20 as a framework, many other supporting Scriptures included to add to our understanding, along with examples from my everyday life. The first few devotionals focus attention on our great God, our foundation when participating in spiritual warfare. Then we learn about our enemy. Next, we think about our responses and our armor. The last section deals with prayer. In the Appendix section you will find additional information and resources for further help and study.
The choice is ours. We can continue on in complacency, pretending there is no battle. Or, we can put on the armour God provides and be victorious. I pray that this book will present a clear, balanced overview of spiritual warfare that will inform, equip, and motivate us all as Prince and Princess Warriors of the King of Kings.
Let’s encourage and support each other as we continue to learn to be effective warriors. You can join the Equipped: Ephesians 6 Devotionals Facebook Group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/EquippedForVictory/ to share what you are learning, ask for prayer, or participate in discussion. Sign up for Ruth’s email newsletter at: https://equipped.lpages.co/newsletter-sign-up/. Our hashtag on social media is #EquippedForVictory.
Your Sister Warrior,
Ruth L. Snyder

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About the Author

 photo Equipped Author Ruth L. Snyder_zpsh50x1tuq.jpgRuth L. Snyder was privileged to spend the first 10 years of her life in southern Africa where her parents served as missionaries. From there her family moved to Canada, settling in Three Hills, Alberta. Ruth enjoyed her years as a “staff kid” at Prairie and is grateful for the biblical grounding she received there. She now resides close to Glendon (the pyrogy capital of Alberta, Canada) with her husband and five young children. Ruth enjoys writing articles, devotionals, short stories, and Christian fiction. She is a member of The Word Guild and The Christian PEN. Ruth currently serves as the President of InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship.

Ruth’s children have taught her many things about living with special needs. She is a strong advocate and spent several years serving on the local public school board.
Ruth loves her job teaching Music for Young Children. She is fascinated by children’s imaginations and enjoys helping young children learn the basics of music through play.
In her spare time, Ruth enjoys reading, crafts, volunteering in her local community, photography, and travel. Several years ago, Ruth and her family traveled through 28 States in 30 days!
Contact Links

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Song Lyric Sunday | “Baby” – Brandy

Song Lyric Sunday_new

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  Baby.

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Brandy Norwood turned forty years old earlier this year, but she was only fifteen when the second single, Baby, from her self-titled debut album soared to the top of the charts in late 1994 and early 1995.

Baby spent four weeks on top of the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. It also reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the New Zealand singles chart, and #16 in Australia.

The single sold nearly one million copies in 1995 alone in the United States.

FUN FACTS

  •  The music video was photographed in the middle of Times Square in New York City in December 1994 and portrays Norwood and her company dancing in skiing outfits. Met with generally positive reviews from contemporary critics, Baby was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance in 1996.
  • Most of the background vocals and instruments were recorded in one of co-writer Keith Crouch’s bedrooms.
  • As of July 2018, Brandy has sold over 40 million records worldwide, with over 8.62 million albums sold in the U.S., making her one of the best selling female artists of all time.

The official music is fun and full of youthful energy. Don’t be surprised if you start chair-dancing! 😀

Speaking about the making of the video, Brandy said, “all these people were passing by and were like ‘Who’s this girl on stage in the middle of Times Square?’ I had a great time shooting the video. I could just feel myself really starting to open up, really come out of my shell and find myself as a young artist.”

Enjoy!

See my Song Lyric Sunday selection for FeliciaDenise.com.

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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.

Baby

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