TRR Forum:
Romance Is Still in the Ear
by Gwendolyn E. Osborne
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June is Audiobook month and the industry got the celebration started by throwing itself one heck of a party.

On June 1, many of the most talented voices in publishing gathered in the Rainbow Room in New York’s Radio City for the 2007 Audie® awards. According to the Audio Publishing Association, which presents the annual ceremony, the Audies® are the only awards “entirely devoted to recognizing distinction in audiobooks and spoken word entertainment in the U.S.”

The Grammy® awards, given by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, has a spoken word category. However, spoken word Grammys® tend to go to famous voices with equally famous names and faces. Earlier this year, With Ossie and Ruby: In This Life Together by Ruby Dee and the late Ossie Davis (Hachette Audio) shared the spoken word Grammy® award with former president Jimmy Carter’s Our Endangered Values: America’s Moral Crisis (Simon and Schuster Audio). Previous winners include former President Bill Clinton, senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, Maya Angelou and Garrison Keillor.

To be eligible Audie® entries were released in the U.S. for the first time between November 1, 2005 and October 31, 2006 and finalists were selected in 32 distinct categories which included various genres, abridged and unabridged works, children’s audiobooks, performance, package design and production. Each year, the audiobook which has had the greatest impact on the audio publishing industry receives the Audiobook of the Year award.

Several hundred audio publishing industry professionals and thousands of literary characters were on hand for this year’s award ceremony. Audie®, Grammy® and Tony® award- winning actor Jim Dale, who brought the Gryffindors, Hufflepuffs, Ravenclaws and Slytherins of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series to life, served as master of ceremonies. Also in attendance were much sought-after actress Barbara Rosenblat whose work can be heard on several Amanda Quick and Mary Jo Putney romances, and Susan Ericksen, the voice of J.D. Robb’s “ ...in Death” series. The industry was saddened by the loss of Anna Fields, who narrated each of Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ contemporary romances. Fields died last December when a flash flood trapped her in her Washington State home studio.

For the third consecutive year, Audies® were awarded in the Romance category. Linda Howard’s Kiss Me While I Sleep, performed by Joyce Bean and Dick Hill (Brilliance Audio) won the first Audie® in the category. Last year’s winner was Origin in Death by J.D. Robb, performed by Susan Ericksen (Brilliance Audio).

Finalists in this year’s romance category blurred the lines among romance, romantic suspense and women’s fiction. They were:

Born in Death by J. D. Robb, performed by Susan Ericksen, (Brilliance Audio); Darkfever by Karen Marie Morning, performed by Joyce Beam, (Brilliance Audio); Dear John by Nicholas Sparks, performed by Holter Graham, (Hachette Audio); If You Could See Me Now by Cecilia Ahern, performed by Susan Lynch and Rupert Degas, (Hyperion Audio); and The Tavern on Maple Street by Sharon Owens, performed by Caroline Winterson (Listen and Live Audio).

And the Audie® went to...If You Could See Me Now, Cecilia Ahern’s whimsical tale about the imaginary friend of a six year-old boy who falls in love with the child’s stodgy aunt. The author is the 26-year old daughter of Patrick Bartholomew “Bertie” Ahern.

A complete list of the 2007 Audie® finalists, winners and audio samples are available at www.theaudies.com.

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Audiobooks are available in a variety of formats for sale, rental, library borrowing or digital downloading. Brilliance Audio is re-releasing unabridged versions Nora Roberts’ entire “Born in” series read by Irish actor Fiacre Douglas. The audio publisher is releasing unabridged titles of J.D. Robb’s “In Death” series previously only available in abridged versions. Harlequin’s exclusive agreement with Audible.com gives audiophiles access to numerous titles in Harlequin’s various imprints.

The great thing about audiobooks is that they are ready to go when you are. Here are suggestions for summer listening on the beach, in the mountains or all those grown-up “are-we-there-yet” moments.

A Wanted Man by Linda Lael Miller, narrated by Laural Merlington and Mel Foster, (Brilliance Audio)

Cross My Heart by Carly Phillips, narrated by Marie Caliendo, (Brilliance Audio)

Delicious by Susan Mallery, narrated by Therese Plummer, (Audible.com)

Dream a Little Dream by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, narrated by Anna Fields, (Books on Tape)

Dreaming of You by Francis Ray, narrated by Kevin Free, (Recorded Books)

High Noon by Nora Roberts, narrated by Susan Ericksen, (Brilliance Audio)

Holy Ghost Corner by Michele Andrea Bowen, narrated by Saidah Arrika Ekulona, (Recorded Books)

Innocent in Death by J.D. Robb, narrated by Susan Ericksen, (Brilliance Audio)

Irresistible by Susan Mallery, narrated by Cecelia Frontero, (Audible.com)

Lessons Learned by Nora Roberts, narrated by Nellie Chalfont, (Audible.com)

Liberating Paris by Linda Bloodworth Thomason, narrated by Cynthia Darlow (Recorded Books)

Manhunting by Jennifer Crusie, narrated by Renée Raudman, (Brilliance Audio)

Match Me If You Can by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, narrated by Anna Fields, (BBC Audiobooks America)

No Way to Treat a First Lady by Christopher Buckley, narrated by Grover Gardner, (Books on Tape)

Nobody’s Baby But Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, narrated by Anna Fields, (Books on Tape)

On the Right Side of a Dream by Sheila Williams, narrated by Lizan Mitchell, (Recorded Books)

Passion, Betrayal and Killer Highlights by Kyra Davis, narrated by Gabra Zackman (Audible.com)

Pleasure Seekers by Rochelle Alers, narrated by Gabra Zackman, (Audible.com)

Ricochet by Sandra Brown, narrated by Dennis Boutsikaris, (Recorded Books)

Second Sight by Amanda Quick, narrated by Anne Flosnik, (Brilliance Audio)

Sex, Murder and a Double Latte by Kyra Davis, narrated by Gabra Zackman, (Audible.com)

Sizzling by Susan Mallery, narrated by Alyson Silverman, (Audible.com)

Smitten by Janet Evanovich, narrated by C.J. Critt, (Brilliance Audio)

Spiral Path by Mary Jo Putney, narrated by Barbara Rosenblat, (Recorded Books)

Summer Desserts by Nora Roberts, narrated by Nellie Chalfont, (Audible.com)

Summer Island by Kristin Hannah, narrated by Joyce Bean (Brilliance Audio)

Thanksgiving by Janet Evanovich, narrated by C.J. Critt, (Brilliance Audio)

The Man From Stone Creek by Linda Lael Miller, narrated Buck Schrimer, (Brilliance Audio)

The Rock Orchard by Paula Wall, narrated by Susan Ericksen, (Brilliance Audio)

The Wild Child by Mary Jo Putney, narrated by Barbara Rosenblat, (Recorded Books)

Upstate by Kalisha Buckhanon, narrated by Heather Simms and Chadwick Boseman (Audio Renaissance)

White Lies by Jayne Ann Krentz, narrated by Kathy Garver and David Colacci (Brilliance Audio)

Wilde Women by Paula Wall, narrated by Susan Ericksen, (Brilliance Audio)

Winds of the Storm by Beverly Jenkins, narrated by Kevin Free, (Recorded Books)

You and Not Other by Francis Ray, narrated by Kevin Free, (Recorded Books)





July 22, 2007


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