Audiobook

Audiobook Tour: Diana RubinoA bloody Good Cruise by Diana Rubino, narrated by Anthony Lee and Meet the Narrator

There’s a vampire doctor. On a writer’s cruise. This is so perfect!

Diana RubinoA bloody Good Cruise by Diana Rubino, narrated by Anthony Lee is a Paranormal romance that released in June.

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Romance writer Mona Rossi’s book sales are slipping. She needs new ideas and fast! Her vampire love, Fausto Silvius is a doctor aboard the Romanza, a luxury cruise ship. Holding a “Motion on the Ocean” writer’s cruise sounds like a great idea. What better way to combine a career boost with romance?

But they soon discover hunters on board who give chase to Fausto and his fellow vampires. While he longs to bring Mona into his world, how can he convince her to join him with fringe lunatics on the hunt? In the prime of her life she’s not sticking her neck out for a shot at eternity.

About the Author: Diana Rubino

Setting goals is a key to success. Sacrifice helps, too. In 1999 I signed with my first publisher Domhan Books of the UK. I spent several summers in England writing, researching, and revising my 4-book Yorkist saga. A dedicated history buff and Anglophile, I’m a member of the Richard III Society, a fascinating group of learned historians, some of whom claim to have met Richard.

My husband Chris and I own CostPro Inc., a construction cost consulting company in New England. I’m indulging another longtime interest, archaeology, for which I’m working on a Master’s Degree. We also love to travel. The Mediterranean cruise “Cradles of Civilization” aboard the Rotterdam included a visit to the Pyramids of Egypt. I was fortunate to visit Poland, my grandmother’s native land, and Chopin’s birthplace as well as the resting place of his heart, Warsaw.

I have a Real Estate license and since 1994 I’ve owned rental condos in Myrtle Beach and New England.

 My stories are romances set against a backdrop of political upheaval, court intrigue, poverty, general drama of the surroundings, and sometimes a splash of the paranormal. What I’m trying to convey is that love can prevail no matter what the conflicts and obstacles, earthly or not.

I recently began writing biographical novels with no fictional characters.

 I enjoy living in the most beautiful spot on Earth, my beloved Cape Cod.

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About the Narrator: Anthony Lee

Anthony Lee has been told that his voice is deep, resonant, smooth, and clear. Yet, it would be years before he would finally embrace that gift and start using it artistically.

A native of California, Anthony grew up with an equal fascination for knowledge and leisure. He would enjoy studying various subjects in school as well as doing fun things in his spare time. His motivation for success and happiness helped him achieve a solid education, a successful job, and a new life to live as his reward for years of hard work.

His decision to try voice acting came after receiving plenty of compliments about his vocal quality over a short amount of time. Whether those words came from friends or strangers, he could no longer deny the possibility that there may be something special about his voice. Hence, from October 2015 to June 2016, Anthony enrolled in night and weekend classes at Elaine Clark’s Voice One academy in San Francisco, where he trained in the art of voiceover for narrations, commercials, and characters. He thoroughly enjoyed honing his voice for things like audiobooks, technical materials, corporate narrations, e-learning modules, documentaries, commercials, promos, animations, video games, and talking products. Overall, he considers his journey into voiceover to be very rewarding, not just for what he learned but also for the great instructors and classmates he met along the way.

Now with professional voice training, Anthony is stepping out into the world to lend his voice. He loves to take virtually any kind of script and work to deliver the message in a suitable way. His enthusiasm for voiceover makes him strive to be a versatile actor in the craft. Every time he is given an opportunity to provide a voice, he hopes to leave a lasting positive impact.When he is not doing voice work, Anthony enjoys playing chess, ice hockey, pool, Sudoku, and video games, as well as watching movies, reading about random topics on the Internet, and traveling. He lives in Northern California.

Hi Anthony, and thank you for being here today.

What about this title compelled you to audition as narrator?

The first thing I noticed about Diana Rubino’s A Bloody Good Cruise was the genre: vampire romance. Not that I never heard of that genre before, because I do recall Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight saga (though I never read those books or watched the movie adaptations). But from the short sample script provided for auditioning, I could tell that A Bloody Good Cruise would be a different kind of vampire romance story, because of the Italian culture thrown into the mix, suggesting something more classy with a Renaissance flavor.

Even with not much to go by initially, I was very glad I auditioned for this book. Once I was selected as the narrator and I read the whole thing to prepare for audiobook production, I was impressed. The story as a whole is engaging, with humor in some places and a bit of suspense in others. More importantly, the characters are developed well, allowing me to really get into the characters’ roles while recording. And while you could say that this story features two main characters and four major supporting characters, I really think of them as six main characters: vampire-human couple #1 (Fausto and Mona), vampire-human couple #2 (Quintus and Tessie), and the vampire hunter couple (Zanna and Royal). I really enjoyed bringing all of them to life.

Did you find it difficult to “break into” audiobook narration?

There are two kinds of audiobook markets these days: the mainstream market with audiobooks produced through major publishers, and the independent market for audiobooks of titles that are self-published or released through small publishers. Now, I don’t have many insights into what it takes to break into the mainstream audiobook market, but I imagine that someone who wants to get into audiobook narration but is just starting out might feel a little intimidated by that traditional path. That’s where the independent audiobook market comes in, thanks to services like ACX, Findaway, and Spoken Realms providing audiobook narration opportunities for more people out there.

That’s how I got into audiobook narration: diving into ACX. Amazingly, the first two titles on ACX I auditioned for were followed by offers, and I accepted both of them. So it was surprisingly easy for me to break into audiobook narration. That said, I would later do a series of auditions and get rejected a couple of times before one audition led to an offer. In general, one still has to do a good job with the audiobook audition to be considered. Sometimes, you won’t be chosen even if you feel you did fine with the audition, just because of other unseen factors. Just remember that the opportunities are there. It’s only a matter of how much effort you put into it, not to mention a little luck.

Is there a particular genre you feel unsuited for? Have you ever declined a project because you didn’t think you were right for it?

While I am an audiobook narrator who is open to various book genres, there are a few that I would rarely do, if at all. For instance, I don’t believe I am a fit for any fiction or nonfiction book centering on religion, because it’s not something I have had much knowledge of or experience with my whole life. Similarly, I am less inclined to narrate nonfiction books related to travel or culture, only because I feel that the most suited narrators for such works have first-hand knowledge of the subject. Then there are genres where I just don’t think my voice and presentation style are suited for them, like poetry, classics, and children’s books.

How closely do you prefer to work with authors?

I definitely prefer to work with authors on an audiobook project. The author can specify performance notes for me to follow when, for example, I need to portray certain characters in particular ways or I need to maintain a certain tone with nonfiction narration. Even if the author provides feedback only after the whole audiobook and not during production, it’s still better than working only with the publisher without any author input.

What type of review comments do you find most constructive?

Review comments are most constructive when they carefully point out specific details, not provide only brief and vague general comments. Don’t just say that I’m a bad narrator. Say what aspects of my audiobook performance could be improved. That said, I also prefer that such constructive comments be presented respectfully. There is a big difference between pointing out flaws with the intent of helping the person be better and throwing out insults with the intent of pushing that person down. When you express yourself in a respectful tone, people are more likely to listen to you and appreciate what you have to say.

What types of things are harmful to your voice?

Voice actors will tell you that plenty of things can harm your voice, like excessive high-pitched screaming, and that you should take care of it. Some things that are adverse to the voice are hard to avoid, like a cold. Others can be prevented with extra caution, as illustrated by the following true story.

While I am a little extra mindful about my voice, I don’t let it stop me from enjoying high-intensity leisure activities, like playing ice hockey. Still, a couple of months ago, I had a bad accident while on the ice: I got hit in the neck. Not with a hockey puck or stick, but from a collision with an opponent, with his arm pushing directly into the front of my neck. Immediately, I was severely hoarse, so much that I rushed to the emergency hospital at the nearest hospital and got it checked out. Thankfully, I had only a bruised vocal cord without any fractures to bone or cartilage structures. Still, it took me a few days for the hoarseness to resolve and a few weeks for me to feel totally OK with doing audiobook work again. Thankfully, the only work left on my audiobook project at the time was pickups that I found were needed.

As an audiobook narrator, how active are you on social media?

When I first launched my website, I created Facebook and Twitter profiles to post announcements about my audiobooks, such as reviews of them. Over time, I found Facebook to be so cumbersome to use that I ultimately dropped it. Now I only use Twitter, which is far easier to use. But as I eventually discovered, I can’t just use social media to make announcements. It’s also important to connect with others. For example, I follow the Twitter feeds of AudioFile magazine, some voiceover artist friends, and audiobook reviewers. Whoever I follow, I take the time to interact with them to show appreciation and have a little fun, too. That can lead to new followers as people discover more about who I am. And with more followers, I have a larger audience to broadcast to.

Interestingly, I’ve become sort of a Twitter addict. I have discovered how the world of Twitter is essentially a single platform from which I could connect with anything in the world, especially as most of everything in existence has a Twitter account. So now I don’t just interact with Twitter feeds related to audiobooks and voice acting. I leave comments about news, movies, sports, humor, and a bunch of other cool things that interest me. So to answer the question, I am VERY active on Twitter.

If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go? And what would you do?

If I could time travel to the past, I would not do so to alter the past and consequently change the present. Rather, I would only observe past events, develop a better understanding of history, and bring my newfound wisdom to the present. Just imagine the many past events we could see with our own eyes (e.g., early American wars, the extinction of dinosaurs, the Italian Renaissance) or the many questions that could be definitively answered (e.g., the identity of Jack the Ripper or the Black Dahlia killer).
Meanwhile, if I could travel to the future, I can see if the world is headed in the right direction, then return to the present to make any changes needed for a better world.

What bits of advice would you give to aspiring audiobook narrators?

I would tell aspiring audiobook narrators the following:
(A) Listen to a variety of audiobooks, both good and bad. Like anything else in life, you cannot do something without understanding how it works, what works well, and what doesn’t. Plus, you can get a sense of the competition and see where you fit in.
(B) When reading a book, always be aware of the tone that is appropriate at every moment. Audiobook narration is not simply reading out loud. It’s reading out loud with the right pace, intonation, and emotion that fit what is currently happening in the book. That means you have to vary all of that as needed, not read a book the same way throughout.
(C) It’s not enough to record an audiobook and have it available on Audible or other audiobook retailers. You have to market it in order to have people even know about it. People are more likely to see something you did when you put it right in front of them than when you sit and wait for people to randomly come across your work.

What’s next for you?

As I continue to produce more audiobooks, one thing I am looking more into now is entering audiobook award contests, whether it’s the Independent Audiobook Awards, the VoiceArts Awards, or even the ultimate audiobook award competition: the Audies. The way I see it, it takes incredible skill and talent to be an audiobook award finalist, let alone an award winner. The bar is set very high. But it’s also a nice goal to strive for, because it can serve as motivation for me to really improve my craft. And should I actually achieve such a challenging goal, the recognition would be absolutely rewarding.

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Audiobook Tour: Diana RubinoA bloody Good Cruise by Diana Rubino, narrated by Anthony Lee and Meet the Narrator #booklover #amreading #romance #bookworm #bookboost #ebooks #fiction #read #mustread #goodreads #greatread #whattoread #vivimackade #paranormal #vampire

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7 replies »

  1. Thank you for sharing this interview with me. I do feel this audiobook is my best work so far. I hope people will give it a listen.

    Speaking of which, I am providing free copies of this audiobook with Audible promo codes. Email me or direct message me on Twitter if interested. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The post looks fantastic, Viviana! I actually have a character in this book named Viviana, she’s a psychic medium! I once met a girl named Viviana in Italy and always knew I’d use that name in one of my books. Thanks so much for hosting me and Anthony!
    Diana

    Liked by 1 person

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