I’ve published an audiobook!

Photo by Findaway Voices on Unsplash

I’m delighted to tell you that I’ve made my latest novel, Song of the Sea Goddess, into an audiobook. It’s been such a pleasurable experience too. Of course, I didn’t do it all by myself. Nobody would want to listen to me stumbling over my own words, and I have neither the expertise or the equipment to create a professional recording.

By great good fortune my husband, when he was teaching at the International School of Cape Town, worked with the wonderful Terry Lloyd Roberts who, aside from being a teacher, is an accomplished voice artist. She in turn introduced me to Devon Martindale, Director at Audioshelf, a South African company dedicated to the production of audiobooks. All I had to do was send a pdf version of the manuscript and they did the rest.

It wasn’t as costly as I might have imagined – the price of a nice overseas holiday – and we haven’t done and won’t be doing that for a while.

It took a little while to record, as the book runs to over 7 hours listening time, but over a period of about 3 weeks, I received the audio files to check, ten or so chapters at a time. What a pleasure it was to hear Terry read the words I had written! Her voice is perfect for the book and she really made my characters come alive.

She also managed to sail over a number of typos and missed words. I thought that between me and my beta-reading team we’d caught all those. Not so. Apologies to everyone who’s had to suffer those! I’ve since corrected them and reloaded the paperback and ebook onto Amazon. That was the only downside of curling up under the covers on a succession of winter weekends with my paperback copy and read along with Terry. But it’s a great way to proof-read a book! I was slightly placated by Devon, who said: “…with every single book we’ve produced into audio, we have picked up at least a few errors in the text, so don’t feel too bad.”

Once I’d received and read over all of the audio files, all that remained for me to do was to find a platform from which to publish the audiobook. I took Devon’s advice and went to Authors Republic who offer audiobook publishing and distribution worldwide. I emphasise the worldwide, since outside of North America, a range of restrictions can make it quite tricky for indie authors.

After signing up, completing a US tax form, and adding my paypal account details, all that remained was to fill in the book details, load up a square version of the cover and upload the audio files, which had been perfectly prepared by Audioshelf. Much less stressful than Amazon/KDP. Now, just a week or two later, my audiobook is available in all sorts of places – even ones not available to people in South Africa!

You can listen to the short (5 min) sample below and see how beautifully it’s narrated. Would it be wrong of me to say that I loved my own book when I listened to it?

Available on Audible, Amazon, Google Play, Kobo, Chirp and probably your own favourite audiobook store too!

My characters are tugging at my sleeve… again

‘Another new book? I say, Ms Hall, that is admirable.’ Connor raises his whisky glass in my direction and takes a long pull. ‘And you’re already onto the follow up novel. You’re becoming almost as prolific as The Poet!’ He strikes a dramatic pose from his position by the fireplace.

I smile politely as my eyes travel around Cynthia’s sitting room. Cynthia is lounging languidly on the battered silk chaise-longue. Her eyes are shining over the large glass of red wine she’s sipping. ‘Song of the Sea Goddess; it’s a lovely title,’ she smiles at me encouragingly. ‘Do you have a copy for us?’

I’m still waiting for them to ship from the printers. ‘Next time,’ I promise.

Gina is sitting in the armchair opposite her. Her left hand rests on her knee and the light is catching the diamond in her ring. She sees me looking at it.

‘We decided to put the wedding off for a bit.’

‘I hope you weren’t waiting for me to…’ I stop in mid-sentence, feeling awkward.

Gina laughs. ‘Only Ma and Auntie Marie are bothered. You know what they’re like!’ She shakes her head. ‘No, I’m concentrating on my career.’

‘Good for you,’ I say, raising my glass and taking a sip. The pleasant taste of the cheap Bulgarian Cabernet Sauvignon takes me straight back to the early 1980s. A sudden thought occurs to me. ‘Where’s Gary?’

‘Oh, he and Bob have gone to the match, nursing their New Year hangovers.’ She grins. ‘Fingers has become quite a celebratory at Anfield.’

‘I can imagine,’ I say, smiling back.

Gina’s expression darkens. ‘Your new book’s set in South Africa, isn’t it? She raises a disapproving eyebrow. ‘You do know we’re boycotting everything South African*.’

Connor clears his throat but says nothing and Cynthia shifts awkwardly on the chaise-longue.

‘Yes, I know. I did the same.’ I reply, remembering short supermarket dilemmas. ‘But things have changed. The country celebrated 25 years of democracy last year. Apartheid is over. Nelson Mandela became the first president.’

‘Well I never.’ Connor stares thoughtfully into his glass. ‘But I suppose we’re part of history now.’

‘I’m afraid so.’ Strange as it still seems, the 1980s are history. It feels to me like only yesterday.

‘Oh, but Ms Hall, you bring us to life.’ Cynthia casts a theatrical gesture in my direction.

‘Which is what’s happening to us now,’ says Gina determinedly. She shifts in her seat and pulls a crumpled postcard out of the back pocket of her jeans. ‘This came from Lucy last week. She and Pierre are working on a cruise ship now. He’s a DJ and she’s a croupier in the casino.’

That makes perfect sense.

Connor interrupts my thoughts. ‘As a fellow writer, I understand you have to go where the muse takes you, as it were.’ He strides over to the sideboard to top up his glass. ‘But I thought there might be at least one more historical fiction book in you.’

Our sequel?’ Gina waves the postcard at me.

I glance down and see my notebook has fallen open on my lap. I look up at their expectant faces. I guess there’s no harm in jotting down a few more notes…

*For a long time, Nelson Mandela and the issue of South Africa under the Nationalist apartheid regime weren’t widely discussed in the UK. When this song hit the UK charts in 1984 more people started asking questions, which contributed to the issue rising to national prominence. The rest, as they say, is history.

Side Note: I vividly remember my flat-mate, who makes a tiny cameo appearance in ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone, dancing round our kitchen singing this!


Many of you will know that the characters from You’ll Never Walk Alone are frequently tugging at my sleeve. One day, I will give them their wish and write their longed for sequel. They’ve certainly come up with a few good ideas to start to shape the plot. Meanwhile, my new novel, Song of the Sea Goddess, is coming very soon.

And finally, a Happy New Year
to one and all.
Keep safe, keep sane, and let’s hope for a better 2021!

My characters have their say (again)

You'll Never Walk Alone by Chris Hall Share the love this Valentine's month

‘I do like this new cover, Ms Hall.’ Cynthia opens the book and riffles the pages in front of her. ‘And I love the smell of a brand new book!’ She holds it out in a finely manicured hand and examines the cover again. ‘It conveys an air of romance, but without all those bulging biceps and bosoms like so many of the genre.’

Connor frowns. ‘I’d never really thought of it as a romance novel per se; it’s more gritty and down to earth, but with the elements of mystery and fantasy cleverly woven in.’

‘Oh, but Connor, it’s full of romance, right from the start. When Pierre sweeps Lucy off her feet… But you’re right; it has much more substance to it than a typical romance.’

For a moment I bathe in my characters’ praise.

Connor hands me a cup of tea, then picks up the whisky bottle from the sideboard and waves it in my direction. I shake my head. Connor shrugs and returns it to its place. ‘I hear you’re running another promotion*, Ms Hall; riding on the wave of Valentine’s month, so to speak.’

‘Romance Reading Month!’ exclaims Cynthia clapping her hands together so that the fine bracelet on her wrist jingles. I haven’t seen that before. ‘Charming idea.’

‘And you have a couple of interviews lined up, I gather,’ Connor continues. ‘You know, my few days at the Edinburgh book festival last year made such a difference.’ Connor sips his whisky-enhanced tea. ‘My agent’s got me an advance for another slim volume of my poems on the back of an interview I did.’

Okay, so my poet’s doing better than me. I did give him the agent though. And the gig at the book festival.

I change the subject. ‘Where’s everyone else?’ Normally I’m confronted with a roomful of my characters.

As if on cue, there’s a tap on the door.

‘It’s open, darling,’ calls Cynthia.

Lucy appears, her long blonde hair shining. I notice her face and arms bear a lovely honey-coloured tan.

‘You’re back, Lucy!’ I exclaim.

‘Of course I am; we’ve Gina’s wedding to plan.’ Well, okay, I knew Gina had got engaged after the book ended, I saw the ring.

‘Is Pierre with you?’ I should know, but my characters have a habit of making it up as they go along.

Lucy nods. ‘He’s got a job at Probe Records.’

‘I suppose having a…’ Connor interrupts himself with a cough. ‘Sorry, I almost gave an important piece of your plot away there.’

‘And guess who else is coming over for the wedding… oh,’ Lucy clamps her hand over her mouth, ‘now I nearly did I!’

‘There seems to have been a lot happening in your lives,’ I say.

Connor raises an eyebrow in my direction. ‘Enough to write a sequel perhaps? Of course we know you’re busy with another project but…’

‘…maybe next year?’ Lucy winks at me.


If you’ve no idea who these people are, or what they’re talking about, you’d better read the book!

*Valentine’s Month Offer:
Download for 99c at amazon.com or 99p from amazon.co.uk

read it anywhere

 

Writer seeks reader…

Kindle front page

I’ve put together a collection of offers for e-readers which will start on Black Friday!

  • A 4 day free ebook offer for You’ll Never Walk Alone will start on Thursday 28 November at midnight PST.  I’ll be doing some targeted advertising to parts of the US and Canada via a Facebook ad campaign to see how the novel will be received ‘across the pond’.
  • Hot on its heels will be a 5 day freebie of Following the Green Rabbit which I’m going to run alongside a reduced-price offer on the paperback version, targeted at UK readers on amazon.uk. Again I’ll be trying some paid advertising via Facebook. This certainly worked for my ‘summer-read’ novel: ‘The Silver Locket’ (penned as Holly Atkins), reached the dizzy heights of No.17 in the UK charts for free Kindle books during that campaign.
  • And talking of the summer, I’m going to try a similar freebie offer directed towards Australia and New Zealand to see if they’d like to pour themselves a Pimm’s and spend a sunny afternoon with The Silver Locket over the holidays there.

Offers will be across all Amazon territories, so you might want to bookmark this page, although, of course, I’ll be mentioning them again as they’re launched!

thank you

To everyone who has read my books already.

Especially to everyone who has read, rated and reviewed
on their WordPress sites, on Goodreads and on Amazon. 

I’m really thrilled by your support and enthusiasm for my work!

 

 

Another conversation with my characters

all 4 books

“Nice review of ‘Sextet’, Ms Hall,” says Connor, as Cynthia hands me a cup of coffee. “Would you like a little something in that?” He waves a hip flask in my direction.

I shake my head. It’s a bit early for me.

Connor pours a liberal slug into his own cup. “Of course, I find a slim volume always has an appeal; like those novellas that Leonardi chap’s written. I must say, I do like his work.”

“Connor did very well with both his poetry collections at the Edinburgh Book Festival.” Cynthia smiles at him proudly.

“Publicity, d’you see.” He takes a mouthful of coffee. “Isn’t it time you gave our book another little push? I mean, we know you’ve only just released ‘The Rabbit’…” he chuckles. “‘Released the rabbit’, rather catchy that, eh?”

I nod in acknowledgement. I have used that, corny as it may be.

“Oh, it’s a lovely story, Ms Hall. Quite charming!” Cynthia interjects. “That nice young woman, Ellie Scott, enjoyed it too, didn’t she? So nice to hear from her.

“Our book’s done well in the ratings, but it doesn’t seem to have achieved quite the sales we might have hoped, does it?” Connor rubs his chin.

“I thought it would’ve sold loads more by now.” Gina drains her coffee.

“That’s what I wanted to talk to you all ab…”

I’m interrupted by an instantly familiar beat coming from the flat upstairs. Gina rolls her eyes. “Not again! I’ve woken up to that song every morning since Bob moved into Lucy’s old room,” she sighs. “Hold on.” Gina gets to her feet and hurries upstairs.

“It has become a little tiresome,” says Cynthia.

“You can always bunk in with me, old thi… Cynth.”

Cynthia looks at him sharply.

The music stops. Moments later Gina returns followed by Gary and Bob who has Fingers perched on his shoulder. The little monkey chirrups when he recognises me, launching himself from Bob’s shoulder, via the back of Cynthia’s couch, onto my lap.

Gina, Gary and Bob squeeze onto the couch and look at me expectantly. I stroke Fingers’s head.

“The thing is, I may have made a misjudgment with the title.”

“How so, Ms Hall? I think it’s a lovely sentiment, using that pretty song from Carousel.” Cynthia beams.

“You mean the Liverpool football team anthem. That’s what it’s properly famous for.” Gary thrusts out his chest which is clad in the latest LFC team shirt. “Best team in the world!”

“That’s just the point, Gary,” I say. “Not everyone would agree.”

“Me Nan wasn’t best pleased with yer title. You know, being an Evertonian, like,” said Bob. “I mean, she did read it, but only ’cos of Fingers being in it.”

Hearing his name, Fingers sits up and chatters.

“Do you think that’s the reason? The title?” asks Gina.

“Quite possibly. Certainly in the UK.” I remember the reaction on Twitter back in July.

“So what would you call it?

“I’m not sure, Gina.”

“How about ‘We are the Champions’,” suggests Gary.

I frown.

“Don’t be daft, Gary,” Gina digs him in the ribs.

“Well, we were all champions in the end, weren’t we?” Gary holds his hands out. “I mean, Connor here…”

I hold up my hand. “Don’t give away the plot!”

“No, well, y’know what I mean.”

Cynthia turns to Connor. “What do you think? You’re so good with titles.”

Connor rubs his hand across his face. “What about ‘The Ruby Necklace’? Pierre giving Lucy that necklace is your inciting incident, isn’t it?”

“That fits in so well with your first book,” Cynthia claps her hands together. “The Silver Locket followed by ‘The Ruby Necklace’. That would be perfect.”

“And after that, ‘The Solitaire Diamond’..?” Gina touches her engagement ring.

I nod slowly. I wonder, maybe I should change the title?


The music referred to is ‘Blue Monday’ by New Order, which my flat-mate played loudly every morning for the whole of our last term at university.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYH8DsU2WCk

 

Review – A Sextet Of Shorts by Chris Hall

What a very pleasant surprise it was when Joe Leonardi, aka the Short Story Scribe, emailed me the other day to say he’d enjoyed my slim volume of short stories; and now he’s posted such an encouraging review.

Do please check out Joe’s work too: he’s recently published a new novella entitled ‘The Comfort of Despair’.  I’ve got my copy, have you?

Short Story Scribe

A Sextet of Shorts by [Hall, Chris]I enjoy good short stories, and in thisSextet of Shorts, Chris Hall does an amazing job. Each story is complete and fulfilling, and left me wanting for just a bit more.

My favorites are “The Swindler,” because it left me thinking, and “A New Friend for Henry,” because it left me smiling.

Chris Hall, as usual, tells some good stories. Stories I highly recommend.

A Sextet of Shorts is available on Amazon.com  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07C1NC397


“Who the hell am I?”20190630_1305207795170130459536580.jpg

I am an independent, self-published teller of tales,
an author, as of yet, scarcely any renown.
However, as a storyteller, I know who I am,
and with that persona, I am both confident and comfortable. I invite you to visit my website,

ShortStoryScribe.com

and/or Amazon Author Pages

Joe Leonardi              Scono Sciuto

if you are so inclined please
purchase a copy and leave a review.

View original post 44 more words

And they’re not even in it!

pimms-lunasonline.png

At first, I think I’m having a flashback. I’m sitting on Cynthia’s garden bench and the sun is shining. A bead of moisture runs down the glass I’m holding.

“Cheers, Ms Hall!” Connor raises his glass to me. “Here’s to another great review of our book!”

Cynthia smiles at me. “It’s so nice to see our author doing well.” She sips her drink and leans over to stroke Asmar, her beautiful Abyssinian cat, who is lounging by her feet. “And even darling Asmar gets a mention.” Asmar pricks up his ears at the sound of his name. “Well, he was rather a hero, wasn’t he?” Cynthia continues. Asmar rolls over and looks up at me, the suspicion of a smug smile behind his long whiskers.

I stretch out my hand towards him, nodding in agreement.

Next I hear a familiar screech and Fingers bounds up to me from the side gate where Bob and Gary have just appeared. The little monkey launches himself at me, chattering excitedly. Bob hurries to retrieve him. “Sorry about that luv, but he’s dead excited about being in a book review.”

Connor refills he glass from the jug of Pimms which is sitting on the little wrought-iron table. He sits back down and leans towards me. “I understand you’re running a wee promotion on that first book of yours?”

“Marketing eh?  Sound.” Gary gives me a ‘thumbs up’ sign. His face lights up as Gina appears at the French doors. “We got any beers upstairs, luv?”

Gina rolls her eyes and sits down next to him, ignoring his request.

“I’ll go,” says Bob, lowering Fingers into Gina’s lap.

“And bring some crisps,” Gary adds. Fingers chirrups in agreement.

The Silver Locket, it’s a lovely romantic book with a touch of mystery and magic,” says Cynthia.

“Oh yes, it’s dead good,” chimes in Gina. “Just the kind of book to read sitting in the garden on a sunny afternoon. Like that nice Ms Scott said.” She sighs. “They even go to Paris! Wouldn’t that be wonderful, Gary?”

Gary pulls a face, he’s not one for ‘abroad’. “How do you two know what’s in the book anyway?” He glances at me, frowning. “She wrote it a while before ours.”

“Ah,” Cynthia reaches for her glass. “Gina and I, and Lucy too, were in a short story Ms Hall wrote, even before that.”

“That’s right,” Gina continues. “We had to wait ages for her to write our book.” She looks at me and smiles, fiddling with her engagement ring. “You could take us to Paris…”

Connor clears his throat. “Interesting idea, this downloading, Ms Hall. Not really sure I understand. I suppose it’s something from the future which we haven’t been written into yet.”

Was that another hint?


kindle edition cover

Mystery, romance, ghosts and dreams: perfect reading for a lazy sunny afternoon!

Get your ebook freebie of The Silver Locket,
written under my pen name Holly Atkins by clicking on the links below.

Offer runs until Fri 23 August:
USAhttp://ow.ly/Px5t50vD8nT
UK –  http://ow.ly/4hwF50vD8nU
Aushttp://ow.ly/Q2Lc50vD8nZ
Canhttp://ow.ly/cUgu50vD8nV
Other countries, such as South Africa

 


And if you really want to do it properly…
although Cynth would probably add a large shot of gin to the mix!

how to mix a perfect pimms lunasonline
Source

The Characters’ Wish

promotional items for YNWA lunasoline

‘She’s been making cards and stuff all afternoon,’ says Gina in a confidential whisper to Cynthia.

‘Cards? I thought it was a book launch? Anyway, how do you know what she’s been doing?’

‘We’re her characters; we’re in her head, aren’t we? So, of course we know what she’s doing; especially if it’s about to Our Book.’ Gina nods her head meaningfully.

‘Oh, I see,’ says Cynthia. ‘I’ve never noticed. It seems a bit impolite poking about in her head, though.’ Cynthia pauses. ‘But why the cards?’

‘Marketing,’ says Gary, joining them at the little table in the back garden. ‘Giveaways, contact details, that kind of stuff.’

‘Look at you, eh, Mister Marketer,’ Gina gives Gary a playful prod in the arm. ‘Ever since he left the Social Security and went to work in that posh insurance company in town,’ she glances down at her new engagement ring and smiles, ‘he’s come over all ”private sector”. He’ll be voting Tory next.’

Gary pulls a face at her.

‘Connor showed me that lovely review she received, from that nice young lady In Sheffield…what’s her name?’ said Cynthia.

Ellie Scott you mean?’

‘That’s right, darling. I though she caught me rather well, don’t you? I’m sure she didn’t mean to imply I was something of a lush.’

‘That would never enter anyone’s head, Cynth,’ says Gary, almost managing to keep a straight face.

Cynthia glares at him frostily and stares toward the bottom of the garden where Connor is gesticulating animatedly. ‘Who’s he talking to now? Or is he just declaiming to that old rosebush again?

Gina follows her gaze. ‘It’s her,’ she hisses. ‘It’s our author! Look, they’re coming this way.’

‘Oh well, in that case…’ Cynthia leaves her sentence unfinished and disappears through the French doors.

I follow Connor back up the garden. He’s been reading to me from his latest slim volume of poetry. Perhaps I’d like to include some of it in my next book. My next book?

‘Ms Hall and I have been talking,’ Connor announces as we approach.

‘Are you going to write another book for us?’ Gina asks, eyes widening with excitement.

‘Like that nice young woman suggested,’ adds Cynthia, emerging from her French doors carrying a tray of glasses and a bottle of wine.

What’s this? My characters are at it again!

Connor gestures to me to sit down on the garden bench which has been moved to a sunny spot near the little wrought iron table where they’re all gathered. I sit and Asmar, Cynthia’s beautiful Abyssinian cat, jumps on my knee, purring his head off.

Cynthia pours the wine. ‘We do hope your book launch party goes well on Friday, darling,’ she smiles at me.

‘Hear hear, old thi…Cynthia,’ Connor adds, picking up a glass from the tray and raising it to me. ‘Cheers.’

We hear a noisy old vehicle rattle to a halt outside. Moments later Bob appears at the side gate with Fingers on his shoulder who immediately starts to chirrup excitedly. Tony Wong is behind them in what looks like a new suit. He has an air of someone who’s come into money and has plans.

‘Well, Ms Hall, the gang’s all here,’ says Connor. ‘What’s our next story?’

I take the glass which Cynthia is holding out to me. Maybe. I lean back and close my eyes. Let’s see…

asmar


If you’ve no idea who these people are, or what they’re talking about, you’d better read the book!

Tunes from the book

YNWA by Chris Hall for UK on twitter

You see the couple dancing on the cover of my latest novel? Well, that’s Pierre and Lucy, whose prowess on the dance floor is a key element of the main plot.

There are a number of musical references in the book, and I thought I’d share them with you. It’s music which was around in the 1980s, so will be familiar to some.

Come and take a walk down memory lane with me…

Dancing Queen by Abba

 

You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) by Dead or Alive

 

Let’s Dance by David Bowie

 

One in Ten by UB40

 

Finally, this is how I imagine the fictitious ‘Kingston Jazz Cats’ might have sounded playing Godrell Clarke’s beloved American Jazz in the 1960s


If you want to find out how all this fits together you’ll have to read the book.

Have a great weekend further!

 

Special Offer!

Cover pic

The Kindle version of my new novel is out now!

Pre-order before 10th May for just $1.15
(and other currency equivalents)

Click on the links below to place your order for delivery to your
Kindle or Kindle app on 10th May!

USA  ~ UK ~ Australia ~ Canada ~ India

Other countries, such as South Africa

The paperback version is also available priced at 8.99 USD / 6.97 UKP
shipping costs vary,  free offers apply in some countries


and if you’d be so kind
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