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Do You Hear What I Hear?

Pauline Baird Jones, author, writer, romantic suspense author, science fiction romance author, steampunk, humor, action adventure

Sorry, couldn’t resist.
Photo by WyoJones. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

It’s Monday and it’s Christmas Eve here where I live. Not quite sure that that adds up to in the smite stakes, but even on Monday I try to be optimistic. Hey, we survived the end of the world. So, we’re good, right? Well, everyone but Santa…

I’m guest blogging over at the Blog Ring of Power today, a sort of looking back at the year post. I usually don’t try to look back until New Year’s Day (and even then, it’s kind of through slitted eyes…), but for a friend…I took a look and it wasn’t too bad. And there are prizes, so if you’re so inclined, pop over and say hi. I’m also taking part in the SFR Holiday Blitz. Lots of SFR up for grabs, including Girl Gone Nova (digital books only, international entries ok)

Girl Gone Nova audio coverYou may have noticed that I like books. I like reading books. I like writing books. I like talking books. But what I haven’t liked, until recently, is listening to audio books . I still can’t listen to audio books when I drive. I tend to get distracted by the story, and lose track of where I am on the road. Really bad. Or get distracted by the road and lose track of where I am in the story. Not great. Luckily I am a hermit, so the need to drive and listen doesn’t come up that much.

But this year, I have “discovered” audio books. It all started with one of those FaceBook ads. Audible had an offer for a free Georgette Heyer book for a trial membership. I love Georgette Heyer like a hobbit loves second breakfast. I also sometimes have trouble going to sleep at night. I watch shows or movies on my iThing (with “pajamas for my ears“) to try to trick my brain into relaxing, but watching a movie does tend to keep the eyes open which slows the brain tricking/fall into slumber. Listening to a book, I realized, could be done with closed eyes, thereby making tricking the brain more efficient and the falling into sleep faster.

I popped over to Audible and checked out the Heyer books on offer. Venetia caught my eye, so I gave it a try. You can not imagine my delight when I started listening and heard Richard Armitage’s voice coming out the headphones! I went hunting and found two others he’d done. O.O (In the interests of full disclosure, these are abridged editions, but the man has a lovely voice to fall asleep to, even if the abridgement is a bit too abridged for my liking.)

Pauline Baird Jones, author, writer, romantic suspense author, science fiction romance author, steampunk, humor, action adventureI still planned to grab and go, but when I went to cancel my membership, Audible offered me three months at a cheaper price! Ah, temptation. Next thing I know, some months have passed, I’m still a member, and I’ve expanded my audio book library by quite a bit. I’ve been lulled to sleep by a variety of Heyer books. I’ve even picked up audio books that aren’t for falling asleep to. (Does that make sense?)

With the launch of Amazon’s WhisperSynch program, designed to mesh reading and listening into a “seamless” experience, I have found my interest in audio books has increased. Say you are reading on your Kindle Fire or iThing or other electronic device and have to run errands or something. You can switch to audio, then switch back to reading when things settle down again. But you don’t have to stop at an exciting point because life intervenes. I have always hated stopping at exciting points because Life intervened.

You’ll find, say, Dracula for your kindle and then you can get the audio book for $2.95 from Audible. It’s not something I want to listen to when trying to get to sleep…but it is very cool idea. I grabbed Wizard of Oz read by Ann Hathaway when it was on offer for free. She has a lovely reading voice. I heard the pundits are saying that 2013 will be the “Year of the Audio Book.” I hope they are right!

If you haven’t yet tried an audio book, now is a great time to check them out. And there is the fun of having Richard Armitage read to you. (grin) Even better (is there better??), I’ve run into some other gems in my adventure with audio. So, here are a few of my audio “finds” in no particular order.

A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold – This book has been called a science fiction romance version of a Georgette Heyer novel, so you know I had to give it a try.

My mom and I have been long time fans of D.E. Stevenson books. We thought we’d read everything she wrote, so you can imagine my surprise when I saw two of her books in audio that I’d never seen before. Turns out they never released into print on our side of the pond. In addition to The Fair Miss Fortune and Emily Dennistoun, had to grab my personal favorite Miss Buncle’s Book. All three books have lovely narration. I particularly like the gentle Scots of the narrator for Emily Dennistoun. (And I see there is yet another one I have never seen in print! Oh my!)

And, if you could, you’d also hear on my virtual audio shelf the JRR Tolkien’s books. I wanted to reread The Hobbit before the movie released and found it surprisingly restful to listen to at night. And you can’t start The Hobbit without going on to the rest of the books…

Pauline Baird Jones, author, writer, romantic suspense author, science fiction romance author, steampunk, humor, action adventureIf it’s a book I’ve not read, then they aren’t something I can drift off to sleep to, because I do get caught up in the story and the next thing I know my eyes feel like sandpaper and it’s two a.m. But it is rather lovely being read to, night or day. I used to like it when I was a kid. Hmmm, wonder if there’s any of those old Childcraft books in audio out there…

And to add to the audio book fun, I’m in the process of releasing my back list into audio. I have 10 available and 4 in the pipeline to release in Jan/2013. You can find them on Amazon, iTunes and of course, Audible. It’s a weird feeling to have your words read by someone else, but fun, too. In a weird way.

So, do you hear what I hear? Do you like your books read to you? Never tried an audio book? Prefer your books in audio? Stuck for a last minute gift for someone who a) loves books and b) has tried, or needs to try audio books? Cause you can gift Audible memberships. 😀 What are you hoping to find under the tree this year?

Comments are automatically entered into my drawing for a $10 AnaBanana Gift Card. Winner is announced the first blog post of the new month.Pauline Baird Jones, author, writer, romantic suspense author, science fiction romance author, steampunk, humor, Project Enterprise

Perilously, and merrily, yours,

Pauline

For romance, action and adventure, with a swirl of humor, check out my books on my website. Available in print, digital and audio.

by Pauline Baird Jones