Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Meet the Voice of Teton Sunrise

My special guest today is actor and audiobook narrator, Steve Marvel, who has recently completed the audio production of Teton Sunrise.  I’m happy to say that he will be the voice for the entire Teton Romance Trilogy.

Thank you for the interview, Steve. Tell us about yourself. What else do you do besides VO?

I’ve been a professional actor for thirty years, which means, as is typical within “the Biz”, I act in a variety of media. I have a very strong stage background, but I’ve done soap operas, a network drama, and commercials on television, and right now I’m shooting a feature film. Within VO, I also tend to do video games, particularly those with character voices. So I do a lot of different acting jobs.
Avocationally, I enjoy tinkering with my web site and those I’ve helped others put together, and I practice Aikido, an all-defensive martial art.

What made you decide to become a voice actor?

An audition, actually. I was called to read for the part of a talking peacock in a feature-length cartoon for Mattel, Barbie as the Island Princess. The company liked the character I did and the fact that I can sing, so they hired me. From there, I started developing a reputation as someone who can create characters vocally.

When you are reading the script, do you become animated?   Describe what we would see.

My booth is pretty closed in, so I don’t do a lot of body movement, though I will move at times when the character is described in motion—running, in a fight, etc. Most of the time, you’d see me seated before my mic and the script, the feelings of the characters showing on my face, with perhaps my hands gesturing, till I accidentally bump the mic. And curse.

What is your favorite type of story to which you lend your voice talents?

I suppose I prefer contemporary thrillers though, as I’ve said elsewhere, anything with good, tight writing and an engaging story is fun to read.

Well, you did a great job narrating a historical romance novel! What drew you to narrate Teton Sunrise?

The writing. I’m continually on the lookout for new projects, so I read a lot of auditions scripts. When I come across one in which I feel I can relax with what the author’s written—when I know she’s telling a coherent, intelligent story—then I know I’ll be able to do my job more fluently, without getting caught in plot or language gaps.
Also, the audience—your books are popular and well-reviewed. Hopefully, that translates to greater audiobook sales.

Do you do anything to prepare for a narrating session?

Of course, I read the book first. As I read, I make note of who all the characters are, their relationships to one another, and any accents or explicit speech characteristics. I also look for any physical descriptions which might give clues as to how a character should sound—a “broad, barrel-chested man” likely has a deep, full voice; a “wizened old woman”, a reedy, scratchy voice. I also read for theme and tone—is this light-hearted or serious? What’s the narrator’s attitude? (From the actor’s perspective, the narrator is a character, too.)
When it comes to the actual recording, I just make sure to bring enough water to sip liberally through the session. I also use a technique Scott Brick taught me: apply lip balm to keep lip smacking to a minimum. First session of the day, I’ll also “wake up” my mouth with a few tongue twisters.

What sets you apart as a voice actor?

I think with me, its two things: versatility and sensitivity. I’m pretty skilled at differentiating characters with my voice, which originates from early childhood, when my parents used to play the Vaughn Meader “First Family” record album—a send-up of the Kennedy clan—and I would mimic the voices. They thought that was great, so I did it a lot. Time on stage further developed that skill.
I’ve also spent a lot of time meditating, which tends to give one greater insight into human needs and motivations, I think. I tend to identify fairly easily with what characters are thinking and feeling. Again, stage training has helped with that ability, as well.

What was your favorite part of narrating Teton Sunrise?

I’m sorry to say it, but I really enjoyed voicing Laurent (folks who’ve read the story will understand both parts of that statement). Such a jovial, full-of-life character with a French accent, no less, which performers love to do. Big characters like that are very forgiving—you can go way out on a limb, and they still sound real.

Yes, he was a favorite character for a lot of people. Your portrayal of Laurent was absolutely brilliant!

What was the most challenging part in this story?

Honestly, not one particular character or passage, but certain sections of description. In a lot of books—less so with this one, frankly, but still present to an extent—there are passages of description that go on for longer than anyone would normally speak them in a single sentence. The narrator has to find places to pause and breathe which sound natural—essentially, adding punctuation where isn’t there. Those things can be tricky.

What do you hope the listeners will take away from your delivery?

Fundamentally, I hope they’ll be as moved and excited by the story as they would were they reading it from the page. More so, actually. I hope my descriptions and characterizations bring the story alive in ways they might not experience from reading alone.

Describe your work space. Do you work in a studio, or from home? What sort of equipment is needed to narrate an audio book?

I have a recording booth in my home, which is where I do the bulk of my narration work. We’ve converted half of a walk-in closet, via theatrical drape and foam panels. The space is just large enough for me to sit, facing a mic and, about foot behind that, a reading stand holding my Kindle and, beside that, a monitor. I also have a keyboard and mouse in there, which is attached to the computer that sits outside the booth proper, so that I don’t record the fan noise.
At minimum, an audiobook narrator needs a quiet space (sound “dead” inside and reasonably quiet outside), a microphone and audio interface (so-called “USB mics” combine both), a computer on which to record the sound, and the software to do the recording.

Can you share an unusual experience that happened during or as a result of narrating.

Something that doesn’t happen every day and which makes me proud occurred as I was recording my very first audiobook. (which most of your readers probably know is the “leading seller and producer of spoken audio entertainment on the Internet”) sponsored a contest for new narrators. The prize was to record The Leavenworth Case, one of the earliest detective novels ever written (and, interestingly, penned by an American woman!). I submitted my audition, and I won! Nice to have that kind of validation, especially that early on.

Congratulations! Well-deserved.
Thank you so much for being here today, Steve, and  for giving us some insights into producing an audiobook!

To find out more about Steve, please visit his website.

Please scroll down to listen to an extended sample of Teton Sunrise.

Teton Sunrise is available at, Amazon, and iTunes

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Teaser Tuesday - Teton Sunset

Enjoy this week's teaser!

Satisfied that there was no danger at the moment, Lucas turned back to the fire. The girl hadn’t moved. She’d eaten the meat, and listlessly rotated the skewer between her fingers. Lucas nudged her arm.
“Bring your blanket,” he said, and motioned to the other side of the fire. She stared up at him with wide eyes.
“What for?” she challenged. She didn’t budge.
Drawing in a deep breath, Lucas reached for her arm, and easily hauled her to her feet. “Because I’d like to get some sleep.”
“Don’t let me keep you, Walker,” she retorted, and yanked her arm back. He tightened his grip, and his lips widened in a smile.
“It might get a tad cold tonight,” he drawled, and glanced up at the cloudless night sky. “I think it’s best that you and I stay close.”
Her eyes widened. Her tightly drawn lips quivered, as if she was about to erupt like some of those hot water pools he’d seen up along the Yellowstone. No question she would scald him with her words just as those hot pools would scald a man to death.
“Over my dead body. I’m not sleeping under the same blanket as you.” She tried to pull away from him. Lucas easily hauled her up against his chest. A fierce determination settled in her gaze, but he also detected a hint of fear. He cursed himself for putting that look in her eyes. Why did she have to be so disagreeable?
Before he did something foolish, like wrap his arms around her and kiss her, Lucas wrapped the strip of leather around her wrist instead, then tied it to his own arm.
“What are you doing?” she demanded heatedly, and yanked to pull her hand free.
“Making sure you don’t run off in the middle of the night.” Lucas pulled her along behind him.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Teaser Tuesday - Teton Sunset

She turned her head just in time to catch a glimpse of an Indian rushing between the trees some distance from the cabin. She recognized him instantly.
“Black Sparrow. Run,” she called. Her Indian friend’s arrows would be no match against Lucas’ rifle.
Lucas shot her a split-second perplexed look, then he released her and spun around, raised his rifle, and fired. “Sonofabitch Blackfoot,” he grumbled under his breath.
“Get out of here, Black Sparrow,” she called again. Lucas grabbed for her, and pushed her in front of him.
“Stop shooting at him,” she demanded, and kicked at Lucas when he wouldn’t ease his grip.
They reached the cabin, and Lucas elbowed the door open. Releasing her, he turned, and fired his rifle into the trees again. A faint cry tore through the air.
“Got ya, you bastard,” Lucas called triumphantly.
She kicked forcefully at his legs.
“Stop your fighting and get inside the cabin, woman, before we both get killed.” He cursed loudly when her foot connected with his shin. “Dammit, what the hell is wrong with you?”
He shoved her backwards inside the cabin in front of him. She dug her heels into the dirt, refusing to be manhandled. She shot a quick glance over his shoulder, and caught a glimpse of Black Sparrow. He was clutching at his arm.
“Save yourself,” she called, just as Lucas released her and spun around. He aimed his rifle again. She had seen enough of his skills as a marksman to realize that his next shot would be fatal. Without hesitating, she did the only thing she could think of at the moment to divert Walker’s attention. She lunged at him from the side, and clutched his cheeks between her hands, then pulled his head around to face her. Without hesitating, she pressed her lips to his mouth. Wide-eyed, she stared over his shoulder, just in time to see the warrior dart through the trees away from the cabin.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Cowboy Casanova Giveaway Hop

Cowboy Casanova Giveaway Hop

I'm happy to be part of the Cowboy Casanova Blog Hop, hosted by Romance author Lily Grayson

The hop runs from February 12-16. Please be sure and check out all the great blogs listed at the end and comment for some great cowboy books and other prizes!

I've always loved the American west, watching old westerns and reading romance novels with cowboys and other icons that represent the Old West, so naturally this translated to my writing. My larger-than-life heroes are not limited to cowboys, however. I love to write tales about the fur trappers and mountain men who were the first to blaze trails across the west, and I usually toss in a time travel twist to the stories.

Please leave a comment with your contact information for a chance to win a signed paperback copy or an audiobook version of Come Home to Me (Second Chances Time Travel Romance Series, Book 1), my best-selling time travel/western romance. Winners will be announced the day after the hop ends.

Scroll down to listen to an excerpt of the audiobook

Jake Owens is tired of life on his parents’ Montana ranch, catering to city folk who want a taste of old-fashioned country living. He enjoys life in the fast lane, with fast cars and even faster women. When he falls in with the wrong crowd and is accused of murder, a stranger’s bizarre offer at a second chance might be his only hope to clear his name.

Rachel Parker is highly devoted to her family. A tragedy prompts a daring move to the Oregon Territory for a fresh start in a new land. After meeting the wagon train’s scout, the meaning of a fresh start may be more than she ever imagined. 

Jake can’t believe he’s been sent back in time to act as scout for a wagon train headed for Oregon, and given the added burden of keeping one emigrant woman safe during the journey. He and Rachel are confused by their attraction to each other. Jake’s ill-mannered, unconventional ways are overshadowed only by his notorious reputation. Rachel’s traditional values and quiet, responsible character are the complete opposite of what attracts Jake to a woman. When their forbidden attraction turns to love, what will happen at the end of the trail?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Teaser Tuesday - Teton Sunset

Teaser Tuesdays are back!

Here is a snippet from Teton Sunset, the book that got interrupted so I could concentrate on writing Ain't  No Angel.  

I'm really enjoying writing  Lucas Walker's story!

Lucas stepped toward the hearth, and she backed away, maintaining her distance. Her head turned quickly in one direction, then the other. She was looking for something to use as a weapon.
Hell, there was no reason for her to act like some skittish deer. Lucas frowned. He flipped the knife in his hand, catching the blade end, and held the handle out to her. He might regret his action later, but he didn’t need for her to be afraid.
“I ain’t gonna hurt you.” He gauged her reaction. Her eyes widened, and darted quickly from his face to the weapon he offered. “I expect you’ll return the favor.” His mouth curved in a grin.
The girl lunged forward and grabbed the knife from his hand, then retreated just as quickly. She shot him a suspicious look.
“Then why am I without my clothes? And where’s my rifle?” Her voice rose in anger. A weapon in her hand seemed to have renewed her confidence.
Lucas leaned over the cast iron pot hanging on the tripod in the hearth.
“Supper’s done. I bet you must be hungry.”
“Answer my question, dammit.” She rushed up to him, the knife inches from his throat.
Lucas grabbed her wrist, applying just enough pressure to force her to drop the weapon. The knife fell to the floor with a dull thud. The girl twisted and struggled against his hold on her, and her free hand swung around and shoved against his chest. He caught her other wrist, just as she brought her knee up to connect with his groin.
Lucas coughed and toppled forward. Stars twinkled in front of his eyes, and for a second he thought he might be sick. She had good aim.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Yellowstone Deception is now an Audiobook!

I'm happy and excited to announce that Yellowstone Deception, Book 5 in the Yellowstone Romance Series, is now available as an audiobook!
Narrator Alexandra Haag, who brought Aimee and Daniel to life in Yellowstone Heart Song, has done another fabulous job in telling Dan and Jana's story. 

I had tears in my eyes at one point in Chapter 29.

"You know, I had tears in my eyes, too -- I had to take a break to clear up my head before I went on to narrate Chapter 30!" --A. Haag

Scroll down to listen to an extended excerpt.

Available on Audible. com,, and iTunes