If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

Here are the upcoming WWK interviews for the month of July!

July 4th Christopher Huang, A Gentleman's Murder

July 11th V. M. Burns, The Plot Is Murder

July 18th Edith Maxwell (Maddie Day), Death Over Easy

July 25th Shari Randall, Against The Claw

Our July Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 7/7--Mary Feliz, 7/14--Annie Hogsett, 7/21--Margaret S. Hamilton, 7/28--Kait Carson.

Our special bloggers for the fifth Monday and Tuesday of July--Kaye George and Paula Gail Benson.

Please welcome two new members to WWK--Annette Dashofy, who will blog on alternative Sundays with Jim Jackson, and Nancy Eady, who will blog on every fourth Monday. Thanks for blogging with us Annette and Nancy!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Annette Dashofy's Uneasy Prey was released in March. It is the sixth Zoe Chambers Mystery. The seventh, Cry Wolf, will be released on September 18th. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Annette on September 19th.

Carla Damron's quirky short story, "Subplot", was published in the Spring edition of The Offbeat Literary Journal. You can find it here: http://offbeat.msu.edu/volume-18-spring-2018/

Tina Whittle's sixth Tai Randolph mystery, Necessary Ends, debuts on April 3, 2018. Look for it here. Tina was nominated for a Derringer Award for her novelette, "Trouble Like A Freight Train Coming." We're all crossing our fingers for her.

James M. Jackson's Empty Promises, the next in the Seamus McCree mystery series (5th), was published on April 3, 2018. Purchase links are here. He's working on Seamus McCree #6 (False Bottom)

Dark Sister, a poetry collection, is Linda Rodriguez's tenth published book. It's available for sale here:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

Shari Randall's second Lobster Shack Mystery, Against the Claw, will be available in July 31, 2018.


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

An Interview With Tracy Weber

Producing an Audiobook

by Grace Topping

Murder Strikes a Pose
by Tracy Weber
An Audiobook

When George and Bella―a homeless alcoholic and his intimidating German shepherd―disturb the peace outside her studio, yoga instructor Kate Davidson’s Zen-like calm is stretched to the breaking point. Kate tries to get rid of them before Bella scares the yoga pants off her students. Instead, the three form an unlikely friendship.

One night Kate finds George’s body behind her studio. The police dismiss his murder as a drug-related street crime, but she knows George wasn’t a dealer. So Kate starts digging into George’s past while also looking for someone to adopt Bella before she’s sent to the big dog park in the sky. With the murderer nipping at her heels, Kate has to work fast or her next Corpse Pose may be for real.

When Tracy Weber’s first book, Murder Strikes a Pose, was published in 2014, it won the Maxwell Award for Fiction and was nominated for an Agatha award for Best First Novel. Her Downward Dog Mysteries series features Yoga teacher Kate Davidson and her dog Bella, a large German shepherd.

Tracy has gone on to write two more books, A Killer Retreat and Karma’s a Killer. Her fourth book, A Fatal Twist, is due out in January 2017. But for me, an avid listener of audiobooks, the best news is that Murder Strikes a Pose is now available in audiobook format.

Audiobooks have become so popular that the number of recordings produced is doubling each year. Writers are being told that they need to have their books in audio format. Since this is a whole new world to most writers, Tracy kindly agreed to talk about her experience in producing her first audiobook.

Welcome, Tracy, to Writers Who Kill.

First of all, congratulations on the publication of the books in your Downward Dog Mysteries series, and in particular, the release of the audiobook of Murder Strikes a Pose. How did the audiobook come about?

Tracy Weber
Thank you so much for having me back on Writers Who Kill. It’s always a pleasure.

I’ve wanted to have my Downward Dog Mystery series out on audiobook for years. My agent tried to sell the series to Audible, but she didn’t have any luck and she wasn’t interested in pursuing other avenues. She recommended that I self-publish through ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange). Murder Strikes a Pose is the first book I’ve published through that venue. It’s also my first attempt at self-publishing. I’m very excited!

What was involved? Did you retain audio rights and produce it yourself?

I went through ACX, which is a forum that allows authors, rights holders, and narrators to connect. I created an audition script, posted information about the series, and auditioned narrators. I was absolutely delighted with Anne James, and she and I signed a contract shortly after I listened to her audition. An overview of the ACX process for authors is at this link.

Did you have to pay to produce the audiobook? Are there any long-term costs to you?

Anne and I are working together using what’s called a Royalty Share Deal, meaning she and I split the royalties earned on the book. There were no upfront costs to me for narration or production. I did have to pay a fee for the rights to use the cover art, which I adore. Other than that, the only monetary expenses I’ve incurred have been related to marketing.

Your narrator, Anne James, did an excellent job bringing your story alive. Tell us about the process of selecting a narrator? Did you select Anne?

Isn’t she wonderful? I created an audition script that contained dialogue from multiple characters and posted it on ACX for audition. I received auditions from a number of narrators who were all very good, but not quite right for Kate, the protagonist in my series. As soon as I heard Anne James’s audition, I knew she was the right narrator. She gave Kate the perfect balance of spunk, imperfection, and compassion.

How much were you involved in the production? Did you have the opportunity to review the recording during the process?

After Anne recorded each chapter, she sent an audio file to me for review. Some chapters I accepted on the first take, but most weren’t quite there yet. I sent Anne director’s notes on what I would like changed, and she tried again. Most chapters were done in two takes, though some required three to get right. It was a labor-intensive process for both of us, but I am quite pleased with the result.

I understand that it takes about six hours of work time to produce one hour of finished recording. Why so long? What’s involved?

This would really be a question for Anne, as much of the work is on her end. As the director, I spent about three hours per finished hour. I listened to each chapter’s recording (sometimes more than once), wrote up feedback, and reviewed recordings of prior chapters to make sure there was consistency in voice over time. I also spent time writing the script, listening to auditions, and arranging for rights to the cover art. The process is a lot more work than I would have imagined.

Now that you’ve heard the recording, which is fantastic, has it had any effect on your writing? Things that you’ve learned from hearing your words performed?

Not really. I often read my own work out loud, and the voice of my writing is relatively intuitive. What has influenced me, however is listening to other authors’ audiobooks. I’ve truly enjoyed “reading” my favorite authors in this new format.

Is there anything you wished you had known before you entered the world of audiobooks?

I wish I’d known earlier that my agent wasn’t going to sell the series to an audiobook producer. Ideally I would have had each audiobook out within a few months of each written edition. Now I’m playing catch-up with the rest of the series.

What advice would you give writers considering audiobook format for their books?

ACX is a wonderful service that removes most of the barriers to audiobook creation and distribution. I highly recommend it. Take the time to write a good script and don’t hire the first narrator that applies, unless you really love them. Anne was far from the first narrator I listened to, but she was well worth the wait.

Would you do it again?

Absolutely. In fact, Anne and I have already started pre-production of A Killer Retreat. I hope to get the rest of the series up in the next year or so.

How can listeners find the audiobook of Murder Strikes a Pose? Do they need a special device to listen to it?

It’s available on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.  Readers can listen from lots of devices:  smart phones, laptops, Kindles, tablets, cars with Bluetooth.  A partial list of device options is here.

In your book you introduce Kate Davidson and her German shepherd, Bella, a rescue dog. From it, I learned a lot about dogs and the rescue process. Did you have firsthand experience with rescuing a dog? Did you have a model for Bella?

Tracy and Ana

I did have a model for Bella, however she wasn’t a rescue dog. My first German shepherd, Tasha, came from a breeder, but she had the same digestive disease as Bella and similar reactivity issues. Tasha was an easy dog to love, but not an easy dog to own. I took classes to learn how to help her and attended seminars with people active in dog rescue. I was dismayed to learn how difficult it would be to find a new home for Tasha if something ever happened to me. Shelters just aren’t set up to deal with dogs like Bella and Tasha, no matter how wonderful they may be. (And they are wonderful!)  Tasha was provided for in my will, but most dogs aren’t that lucky.

After release of A Fatal Twist in January, what’s next for Kate and Bella?

I just finished the second draft of book 5 in the series, tentatively titled Pre-Meditated Murder. In this book, Kate, Bella, and friends go to Cannon Beach, Oregon, during the annual Sand Castle Competition. While Kate is there, Bella finds the body of a woman with a frightening connection to Kate’s boyfriend, Michael. 

Kate’s lawyer friend, Dale, from A Killer Retreat and Karma’s a Killer plays a big role in the book, as does Bella. Rumor has it that this book even has a cat! It’s a lot of fun.

Thanks again so much for having me here! If you’re interested in listening to Murder Strikes a Pose, you can find it here. And if you already own the Kindle version, you can get it for less than four dollars. I hope you love it!

Thank you, Tracy.

Tracy Weber is a certified yoga therapist and the owner of Whole Life Yoga, a Seattle yoga studio, as well as the creator and director of Whole Life Yoga’s teacher training program. She loves sharing her passion for yoga and animals in any way possible.
Tracy and her husband Marc live in Seattle with their crazy new German shepherd pup, Ana. When she’s not writing, she spends her time teaching yoga, trying to corral Ana, and sipping Blackthorn cider at her favorite ale house. 
For more information on Tracy and the Downward Dog Mysteries, visit her author website: http://TracyWeberAuthor.com/

A description of Tracy’s upcoming book, A Fatal Twist, appears below.

A Fatal Twist

Yoga instructor Kate Davidson’s life takes a chaotic turn once she agrees to not only be the doula for her pregnant best friend, but also play foster mother to two puppies. The chaos only gets worse when Kate finds the dead body of a philandering fertility doctor and Rachel, one of her yoga students, fleeing the scene. 
Kate is convinced her student is innocent, and she sets out to find the real killer before her testimony condemns Rachel to a life behind bars. But her hands are full with caring for three dogs, teaching yoga classes, and gaining an unexpected crime-solving partner. If she’s not careful, Kate’s next yoga pose may be a fatal one.


Tracy Weber said...

Thanks so much for having me today here on Writers Who Kill. I'd be delighted to answer any of your readers' questions!

Tina said...

I really enjoyed hearing your story about your own German Shepherd, Tasha. We have a little rescue Maltese with multiple issues too, but we have found him, as you said, easy to love. Thanks for stopping by!

Kait said...

Thank you for the ins and outs of audio books! As an author, I've always wondered how they worked. I know this is off topic, but Ana is so cute, I've been a loyal facebook follower of your (and her) adventures. As for providing for Tasha in your Will, good for you. It's so important to remember that our animals can continue after us and to provide for that possibility. I'm a Florida paralegal, and animal trusts are available here. I urge every Floridian with a critter (or several) to make setting up a trust for their critter's well-being a priority.

Margaret Turkevich said...

An interesting overview of audio books. Last December, we acquired Jazz, a standard poodle puppy. Now that she's a year old (and still growing), I enjoy reading about your Ana's puppy antics on FB.

Grace Topping said...

Thank you, Tracy, for sharing your experiences. I think it will do a lot to help people who have been interested in having their books in audio format but didn't have an idea of where to start.

Tracy Weber said...

Thanks, Tina. I think the most challenging dogs often find the biggest space in our hearts.

Tracy Weber said...

Thanks, Kait! Yes, having a trust in the will for pets is sooooo important. I hope everyone does it.

Tracy Weber said...

Margaret, Ana is a character, isn't she? She will either keep me young or make me grow very old very fast!

Tracy Weber said...

My pleasure, Grace. Thanks for having me. The process was both more time consuming and easier than I would have imagined.

Warren Bull said...

Thanks for the information on audio books.

Tracy Weber said...

My pleasure, Warren!

KM Rockwood said...

Thanks for the story of the ins and outs of making an audio version of a book. It was very informative.

Over the years, we've had any number of rescue dogs, from a tiny rat terrier to an English mastiff who weighed over 200 pounds (we managed to have the two of them at the same time. They were the best of friends.)

We now have a rescued labradoodle (who would turn an obviously expensive dog with professional training in to a kill shelter? He was two days away from being put down when we got him)and a heaven-only-knows-what (but he looks like a Finnish spitz, down to the distinctive red coat) from a program at the Zanesville, OH prison. A perfect gentleman.
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Tracy Weber said...

Glad you found it useful. And bless you for adopting your rescue. There will be two rescue labradoodles in my next book!

Gloria Alden said...

Thank you Tracy for your information on Audio books. I don't listen to them, but I've often thought about putting my books up as audio books.

Over the years I have taken in stray collies, since they're my favorites, but the beautiful
tri-color collie I have now isn't exactly a rescue dog, but I feel she is because she was going to be used for breeding and pretty much kept in a kennel. Now she has the freedom of my house and my small farm. She is one of he sweetest dogs I've had. I've also had two German shepherds, one came with the house we bought because he was old and the owner wanted us to keep him because he felt it would be hard on the dog to leave the home he was used to. The other one was a German shepherd puppy my teenage son brought home and ended up being more mine that his.

Tracy Weber said...

Thank you, Gloria~ I had a collie when I was young. Great dogs.

Kay Bennett said...

I loved hearing about the process and boy did you do a lot of work. So happy it all did work out. Great info here. Thanks for taking the time to explain the process. Love Ana to pieces

Tracy Weber said...

Thanks, Kay! I'm kind of fond of her myself! ;-)

Edith Maxwell said...

Thanks, Tracy. Very useful information (and great questions, Grace!). Now I'm thinking of doing same with my Midnight Ink books.

Here's one more question: was it hard to get the audiobook up onto the various sites for sale?

Shawn Reilly Simmons said...

Great interview! Very exciting to hear how you're bringing your books to audio, Tracy. Wishing you every success in the endeavor! Shawn

Tracy Weber said...

Shawn, thank you! It's a lot of fun!

Tracy Weber said...

Edith, not at all. It was all part of the process on ACX's end. Completely invisible to me.

Edith Maxwell said...

That's good to know, Tracy. Relieves one burden!

Tracy Weber said...

Edith, the process really was easy.