Author: Kevin Klehr
Narrator: Jon Bolitho-Jones
Length: 3 hours and 40 minutes
Publisher: NineStar Press
Released: Feb. 22, 2022
Genre: Romantic Fantasy
Ferris wakes on the Sea Queen, an enchanted cruise ship sailing on a chocolate sea. He has no idea how he got here, but he desperately wants to go home to his boyfriend.
The alchemist is the only person who can help Ferris, but he’s been kidnapped. The ransom is high tea, with scones, and jam.
Meanwhile, the passengers are gearing up for the Winter Masquerade, a ball where love and magic reign.
With a murderous musician, an absent boyfriend, and a mystical party, Ferris soon learns that Wednesday is not the day to fall in love.
Kevin lives with his husband, Warren, in their humble apartment (affectionately named Sabrina), in Australia’s own ‘Emerald City,’ Sydney.
His tall tales explore unrequited love in the theatre district of the Afterlife, romance between a dreamer and a realist, and a dystopian city addicted to social media.
His first novel, Drama Queens with Love Scenes, spawned a secondary character named Guy. Many readers argue that Guy, the insecure gay angel, is the star of the Actors and Angels book series. His popularity surprised the author. The third in this series, Drama Queens and Devilish Schemes, scored a Rainbow Award (judged by fans of queer fiction) for Best Gay Alternative Universe/Reality novel.
Recently, his work, The Midnight Man, scored Runner Up in Best Gay Fantasy at the Rainbow Awards, while Winter Masquerade received an Hourable Mention. The Midnight Man also scored a first place in an LGBT category at the Paranormal Romance Guild’s Reviewers Choice Awards.
So, with Guy, his fictional guardian angel guiding him, Kevin hopes to bring more whimsical tales of love, life and friendship to his readers.
Jon Bolitho-Jones is an actor/writer based in Prescot, a place between Manchester and Liverpool in the UK. He can also be found hanging around in Watford and Kings Langley.
Jon graduated from ArtsEd School of acting and since then has worked in Short Films, Shakespeare, Fringe Theatre, and Pantomime. He also has experience in Improv Comedy, Stand Up, Writing and Directing.
Author Kevin Klehr’s Reasons to listen to Winter Masquerade
Please forgive me for picking a self-indulgent topic for my guest blog, but this is not going to be about me, me, me. It’s about three other individuals. One is the most important person in my life. Another I’ve known since they were born. And the other is a delightful guy I’ve only just met.
The first is Warren, my husband. He has been by my side for over thirty-one committed years and has encouraged me to write ever since I began work on my first novel, fifteen years ago. For the record, I have ten books published through NineStar Press and another scheduled later this year.
Warren has read all my stuff and is honest in his feedback. Winter Masquerade is his favourite. He knows it’s my most personal work and often compares it to my earlier books as an example of how far my writing has come. This novella is my second last release.
His favourite characters are the band members playing at the masquerade ball. Olive is a ditzy harp player. Cole is the ‘too cool for school’ guitarist. Scallywag is the child drummer. The character traits of this trio bring me to the second person I need to mention.
As there is a childlike feel to this story, I consulted ten-year-old Fern to help me with certain characters. They came up with the name Scallywag, and as several characters have darker alter-egos, Fern also helped with evil Olive.
Olive’s sinister self is malnourished, has bony fingers that bash on the keys of a harpsicord, and on Fern’s suggestion, she has homicidal tendencies. This idea shaped a lot of the story, giving it an edge not found in my other works.
Ferris believes he must find The Alchemist in order to get home to his boyfriend as he navigates both a whimsical, and a dangerous version, of life aboard an enchanted ocean liner. But the real reason he is on this ship is to find himself, and the Winter Masquerade is where everyone discovers who they really are. Ferris just has to make sure he’s not dead before that happens.
And now I urge you to stand up and applaud the third person I must mention, the narrator. Jon Bolitho-Jones is someone I found on the ACX website and encouraged to audition. And while several others also submitted fabulous reads, they didn’t match the exquisite eccentricity that Jon gave.
I studied acting in a previous life, so it was important to have a trained thespian read my fantasy tale. Jon has a Masters in Acting and has performed in short films, fringe theatre and a handful of Shakespeare productions. Overall, his resume lists over thirty productions. Who better to voice this over-the-top theatrical journey?
I think Jon is the real reason to listen to this audio book. He thought deeply about how he was going to voice each character. How do I know this? He created a short promotional video explaining these choices. His madcap read also features heartfelt moments that strike you unexpectedly, in a way that only a trained actor can portray.
So, in short, I’m not asking you to listen because I wrote it. I’d just like you to daydream as you hear a beautiful interpretation of one of my husband’s favourite books.
Plugging you into the audio community since 2016.