Audiobook Lover in the City

Photo Courtesy of FreeFoto.com

It was during BEA 2011 when I decided I simply had to go and experience it for myself. When I signed up to attend this year, I can’t say that I didn’t hope to meet a particular narrator* in person (although I never worked up the courage to let him know directly that I would be in New York City at the same time he was). Even with that hope in my heart, the audiobookish events that took place in during BEA 2012 were beyond my wildest dreams.


I’ve been in close contact with narrator Xe Sands since what seems like forever. We decided to room together while we were in town and she was the first person I met in the city. Despite having never met in person, seeing her outside of Penn Station was like seeing an old friend again. My only regret – well other than  bashing her head in with the door of the cab – was not getting a picture of just the two of us. Next time. Yes, there will be a next time.

After dropping my bags off at our hotel, Xe and I made our way to the APA Mixer. As much as I was paying attention to where she was leading me, Xe could have been taking me to my ultimate doom. I was all a tingle knowing that I was about to enter the mysterious world of audiobook narrators. My nerves were set to ease the moment I saw Anne Flosnik and we both erupted into squeals. That woman is delightful. I also met David Drummond, the narrator of Follow the River, an audiobook I’d just listened to for Armchair Audies. This man and I have been through more of our fair share of scalpings together, so it was nice to meet in person.

After we’d finished talking, Xe led me to another room where I was introduced to Johnny Heller, Jo Anna Perrin, and, well, that particular narrator.* Last year I wrote a couple of audiobook reviews for Johnny and Jo Anna’s website Abbreviated Audio. It was a pleasure to meet them in person. I got to meet Robin Whitten, the founder and editor of AudioFile Magazine (which you must subscribe to if you love audiobooks!), Grover Gardner, and several new-to-me narrators. I felt like I was in audiobook heaven. The wonderful evening was capped off by dinner with Xe and Anne.


The next day I attended the BEA Bloggers Conference. It was across the hall from the APA Conference and it was all I could do not wander off in that direction. I held myself back because I knew I’d meet Jill and Tara from AudioGo at my conference and because Karen White had invited me to the Tantor Audio party that evening. I was looking forward to meeting her and Jennifer from Tantor as well. The party was held at The Time hotel. If I ever go back to NYC, I will take a picture of the front door because that was the door Neil Gaiman held for us as we arrived! [Insert many loud squeals from Xe and me here]

The party was great. I met Karen White, who is just as lovely in person as she is online. Jennifer, my Tantor contact, was busy, but I enjoyed getting to meet her as well. There was also met Susan Ericksen, Amy Rubinate, Robert Fass, Stephen Crowley, Tavia Gilbert, and Dion Graham. Robert Fass has actually been to Roanoke and spoke highly of it. Stephen Crowley was charming and I couldn’t remember the name of the audiobook he narrated. Dion Graham was nothing less than a doll.

The narrator who shall not be named* was there as well as Johnny Heller and Jo Anna Perrin. I mention this because Mr. Heller was less than impressed with my Neil Gaiman squee-fest. So much so that he took to mocking me and made me cry. Yes, he was an evil man to make me laugh so hard that tears were streaming down my face. Thanks for ruining my moment with Neil, Heller! LOL!

After attending the equally wonderful Harper party, where I got to meet Erica Barmash in person (love her!), so many of my favorite book bloggers and friends, the authors behind Charles Todd, and got yet another peck on the cheek from Simon Van Booy (what a night!), I met Xe, Johnny, Jo Anna, Robin Ray Eller, Simon Prebble, and that other narrator* for dinner. I was exhausted, but happy as can be. Having Simon Prebble pitch his audiobooks to you is quite fun. I only wish I had remembered him from As The World Turns. Ah well.


Now we’re moving on to pictures. On Tuesday, Jenn from Jenn’s Bookshelves, Jenn from The Picky Girl, and I went to lunch with several lovely ladies of audiobooks. To keep us separated, we went as The Three Shades of Jenn:

We ate lunch with Xe, Karen White, Hillary Huber, Tavia Gilbert, and Kathe Mazur. It was such a nice break from the Javits Center for me (I was a bit overwhelmed to say the least). It was so nice to get to know everyone a little better. The conversation was good, even if I did inadvertently embarrass the heck out of myself. What can I say? It’s a family trait and we all got a good laugh out of it. The ladies were all preparing for the Audies that night. It was fun to be a part of that day. Jenn (Picky Girl) took a picture of the table before Tavia and Kathe arrived, but I think you can see that we had a good time.


Wednesday brought my BEA experience to a close and it ended with some wonderful audiobook goodness. First, I touched a freaking Audie Award at the Hachette Audio booth (my favorite audiobookish place on the BEA floor). Then, I attended the APA Audiobook Tea and I loved every minute of it. I got there before it began and got to talk to Tracy and Tara from AudioGo. I love them. They make me happy. The program consisted of a panel of three authors moderated by an audiobook narrator. This year, the moderator was the wonderful Dion Graham (who, by the way, is everyone’s boyfriend – even Daniel Handler’s). The authors were Lee Child, Debbie Macomber, and Daniel Handler. The speeches were interesting and, in Daniel Handler’s case, hilarious. He had experience narrating his own audiobooks and he used it to demonstrate why he should never narrate an audiobook. I laughed until I cried. After the authors finished speaking, the floor was opened to questions. Of course, one attendee asked Lee Child about his opinion of the casting of his movie. Child answered that he was okay with the choice, but I loved how Dion turned the discussion back to audiobooks. He reminded the woman that regardless of how she felt about the movie, the Jack Reacher she knew and loved would always be there through Dick Hill’s narration. Bravo, Dion!

After the event, Tracy and Tara helped me get a nice picture with Dion. For the record, he’s my boyfriend, too!

Audiobook Lover in the City Giveaway

BEA Week was a whirlwind week of audiobook delights. I kept thanking my lucky stars. I’d like to pass a little of that good fortune on to you. I have four audiobooks to giveaway (one gently listened to and the others new) that were narrated by one of the wonderful people I met while I was in New York. To enter my Audiobook Lover in the City giveaway, simply comment on this post by 11:59pm on Sunday, July 1st. I’ll announce the winner on Monday, July 2nd.

The winner receives audiobook copies of:

Angelina’s Bachelors narrated by Xe Sands
Yossarian Slept Here narrated by Karen White
Say Her Name narrated by Robert Fass
Rampart Street narrated by Dion Graham

* More on that specific narrator later this week…


  • At 2012.06.25 13:22, audiobroad said:

    Love the pics of all you guys! So great we got to meet too….We’ll always have Operation SWORDFISH!

    • At 2012.06.25 17:18, Jennifer said:

      Swordfish lives!

      • At 2012.06.25 17:18, Jennifer said:

        I missed getting a picture of you. I really need to bring a professional photographer with me!

      • At 2012.06.25 13:37, Bob said:

        Sounds like you really had an amazing time. I’m totally not jealous of you and Dion Graham. I swear, totally not jealous.

        For some reason I must have missed that you and Xe were roomies. I would have totally had her read me bedtime stories to help me fall asleep.

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        • At 2012.06.25 17:01, Xe Sands said:

          I can just hear it now…

          “Once upon a time, in the depths of the bombed out metropolis, there lived a poor old woman, kept company only by her trusty shotgun and her satisfaction that the zombies couldn’t take her alive.”

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          • At 2012.06.25 17:20, Jennifer said:

            Well, if that’s the kind of stories I would have gotten, I would have needed Bob there to protect me so that I could go to sleep. LOL!

          • At 2012.06.25 17:19, Jennifer said:

            No need to be jealous, Bob. Dion would be your boyfriend, too. LOL! In all seriousness, if you get a chance to meet him, do. He is such a nice man.

            I did miss out on the personalized bedtime stories, though. What was I thinking?

          • At 2012.06.25 14:04, Anita said:

            I really enjoyed this post!! I knew your week in NYC was fabulous, but each thing I read just makes it that much better!!
            Since I’m such a newbie in the audiobook world I need to know more about each narrator you mention!! I’m crossing fingers and toes that I win….but wishing good luck to all!!

            thanks Jennifer!~

            • At 2012.06.25 22:29, Jennifer said:

              I’m so glad, Anita! There is such a vast, wonderful audiobook world out there. Good luck on the contest!

            • At 2012.06.25 14:53, Xe Sands said:

              You, my dear, are an absolute delight – and finally meeting in person was THE highlight of my trip this year (yes, even better than our “Neil” moment). Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this crazy wonderful journey with all of us!

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              • At 2012.06.25 22:30, Jennifer said:

                Aww! Right back at ya! I’m glad we shared that Neil moment together. I don’t think you were around for Johnny to “ruin it.” LOL! It was a crazy wonderful journey. I hope we get to make it together again.

              • At 2012.06.25 15:30, Anne Flosnik said:

                So enjoyed meeting you at last Jennifer! Lovely to compare notes, and you are just delightful through and through:)
                Thoroughly enjoyed reading all about your Audiobook Lover in the City experience. Here’s to next years exploits. Cheers!

                • At 2012.06.25 22:41, Jennifer said:

                  Thanks, Anne! You’re the best! I will never forget those first few moments meeting you. 🙂 We had fun, didn’t we? Here’s to many more get togethers.

                • At 2012.06.25 16:48, bermudaonion (Kathy) said:

                  Dion’s everyone’s boyfriend! I hate that I missed that lunch with the audiobook narrators.

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                  • At 2012.06.25 22:42, Jennifer said:

                    Luckily, I think there’s enough Dion to go around. Isn’t he sweet? I wish you could have been at the lunch, too! We had a great time. Maybe next time it will work out better.

                  • At 2012.06.25 18:12, Carrie K. said:

                    Oh my gosh – I am literally drooling with jealousy, especially since I have a feeling who the unnamed narrator is. Can’t wait to read more about it!

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                    • At 2012.06.25 23:24, Jennifer said:

                      Oh, that post has been very fun to write, too. I hope it’s worth the wait and suspense. LOL!

                    • At 2012.06.25 19:02, Sandy said:

                      You know what, Simon Prebble can pitch to me anytime! And Hillary Huber? I might have to propose to her or something. We won’t even talk about the narrator who shall not be named (yet)…

                      • At 2012.06.25 22:43, Jennifer said:

                        Can you believe that I have yet to listen to either of their audiobooks? EEP! I need to change that post-haste. What would you suggest?

                        As far as that other narrator… Well… Later…

                      • At 2012.06.25 21:11, Dorothy - The Alaskan Bookie said:

                        Wow!! What an awesome sounding week! ~I’m trying to imagine bedtime stories by Xe Sands with Bob from Gilded Earlobe to standby with shotgun in case of Zombie apocalypse. ~ You guys have way too much fun!


                        • At 2012.06.25 22:45, Jennifer said:

                          It was amazing. It took me so long to write about it because of the shock of it all. As for bedtime stories with Xe and Bob, ack! I don’t think I have the stomach for much of those shenanigans. LOL!

                        • At 2012.06.25 21:33, amanda (tnrunner66) said:

                          What a great post. Loved seeing the picks. I have become a huge audiobook fan in part due to your enthusiasm and suggestions. Great giveaway. Would love a chance to win.

                          • At 2012.06.25 22:46, Jennifer said:

                            Aww! Thanks so much! I’m so happy to be able to spread the audiobook love. Good luck on the giveaway!

                          • At 2012.06.25 21:51, Jen - Devourer of Books said:

                            Dion! That man’s voice…yum.

                            I’m curious if that is how Lee Child REALLY feels about the casting, or if he’s just been advised/asked/warned to say that.

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                            • At 2012.06.25 22:51, Jennifer said:

                              How is it that I was unaware of Dion before that week? I’m listening to him narrate Locomotion right now. He’s a brilliant narrator. Knowing that he’s such a sweet person makes the experience even that much better.

                              As for Lee Child, he did say that was happy with it. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard others be unhappy, though. I need to figure out what all this Jack Reacher fuss is all about. 🙂

                            • At 2012.06.25 22:55, Karen White said:

                              WOW, Jennifer, I felt like I just lived your NYC Audiobook experience along with you! What lovely writing. I especially love the image of you and David Drummond scalping together.
                              Our narrator/blogger lunch was one of my week’s highlights. It was just a table-full of fun and smart gals. I hope we can repeat it.
                              My other highlight was getting my picture taken with Dion all dressed up at the Audies. I have such a crush on him.
                              So honored to be in your giveaway! and very curious about the asterisk.

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                              • At 2012.06.25 23:50, Jennifer said:

                                LOL! That lunch was so much fun. I’m so glad we were able to make it happen. I have many memories that will stick with me for a very long time to come.

                                Now where is this picture of you and Dion at the Audies!!! I have to see it!!!

                              • At 2012.06.25 23:00, Sheila (Book Journey) said:

                                What a fun post – love the pictures and I am drooling over the audio!

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                                • At 2012.06.25 23:50, Jennifer said:

                                  Thanks! I wish I had more pictures to share. You also need to join us for the next lunch. It was a great time and we needed a non-Jennifer blogger there. LOL!

                                • At 2012.06.26 00:24, jenn aka the picky girl said:

                                  Such a great post. I love that you love audiobooks so much! 🙂 I really credit you with getting me hooked on them again. I know I’ve been way off for the Shaken Not Stirred Challenge the last couple of months, but my audio time has just diminished. I still thoroughly enjoy them and can’t wait to hear about *that* narrator.

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                                  • At 2012.06.27 16:01, Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said:

                                    Oh my goodness. I’m suffering from serious audio loving envy and awe. You lucky girl. SO amazing. Audio tea, narrators, and an Audie award. *le sigh* I feel like bowing to you Wayne and Garth style. Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

                                    • At 2012.07.08 03:23, Johnny Heller said:


                                      So glad you had a good NYC experience. Jo Anna Perrin and I loved meeting you and I am truly sorry if I forever tarnished your “meeting” with Gaiman. It was only because I was jealous. 🙂

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                                      • At 2012.07.08 03:41, Jo Anna Perrin said:

                                        What a delightful article! Glad you had fun in my hometown and hope y’all come back real soon! It was a pleasure and a joy to finally meet you in person. And if Neil G knew for whom he was holding the door, he just might have done a little squee-ing himself! 😉

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