Friday, April 15, 2011

The Art of Audio Editing

Please join me in a warm welcome for my good friend, Kelly Irvin. Kelly has a new book that we'll hear more about coming out later this year, but I'm here to tell you, it's fantastic. Just take a look at the cover, and story information.

No Child of Mine
Release: September 2011
Five Star Gale

The day Daniel Martinez’s foster son Benny Garza is kidnapped at a wedding reception, Homicide Detectives Deborah Smith and Alex Luna find the bones of a little girl not far from Benny’s abduction site. Determined to save Benny and solve a five-year-old murder, the team of investigators travel from the seamy underside of San Antonio’s drug-dealing gang territory to the back roads of rural America where secrets fester in simple country homes. Their investigation rips off the Band-aid that covers the cracks in an overburdened, understaffed foster care system and reveals the painful reality that children are all too often battered, terrified victims of the people who should love them the most. Torn between salvaging his marriage and trying to save a child he’s grown to love, Daniel fears both are slipping beyond his grasp. Deborah struggles to hang on to her new found sobriety in the face of the pressure of her job and her past, while Alex fights to get a foothold in the life of a woman who refuses to trust him or any other man. As the two investigations become more and more entwined, Deborah, Alex, and Daniel risk everything—even their lives—to bring a little boy home and unmask a child’s murderer. This fast-paced follow-up to Irvin’s debut romantic suspense novel, A Deadly Wilderness, will keep readers turning the pages long after it’s time to turn out the lights.

A native of Kansas, Kelly Irvin moved to the Texas-Mexico border town of Laredo to work as a journalist after graduating from the University of Kansas. A stint in El Paso garnered her the love of her life—photographer Tim Irvin—and more border fodder for her fiction. They now make their home with their two children, three cats, and a tank full of fish, in San Antonio. In 2010, Kelly published her first novel, A Deadly Wilderness. To learn more about Kelly’s books, go to

The Art of Audio Editing

Stuck in San Antonio traffic each day, I listens to audio books to pass the time in my car. Hearing the written words instead of seeing them on the page led me to reflect on the importance of reading manuscripts aloud before they make into print.

I read aloud to catch typos and to make sure the dialogue rings true. It also helps me hear repetitious wording and awkward phrasing. Audio books have made me realize this practice also has value for plotting. Recently, I enjoyed a book about a small town sheriff investigating a murder. A long passage describes his search of every room in the victim’s house. About halfway through, I posed this question to my imaginary passenger: what do we care what the dead man’s bathroom looks like? My interest waned further, and I found myself thinking about what cardboard meal I would microwave for supper when I arrived home.

Yes, setting is important. In my first novel, A Deadly Wilderness, the murderer deposits the victim’s body in a park ravine where Detective Ray Johnson then falls on it. The murderer and Johnson later play a cat-and-mouse game in another park. But my audio author never links the description of the victim’s house back to the crime. Or at least I don’t think she did. After all, I’d stopped listening. If I’d been reading the book, I would’ve skipped that part.

So the critical question we have to ask ourselves is this: do the words propel the plot forward? If they don’t, chop them out. Otherwise my growling stomach may drown them out.

Have you found yourself checking out of a story recently and why? How would you fix the problem?


An idyllic hike in a wilderness park turns deadly when Homicide Detective Ray Johnson tumbles into a ravine and lands on a corpse The victim’s ring finger has been severed, turning Ray’s misstep into a murder investigation. Ray’s determination to find the man’s killer leads him to the wealthiest enclaves in San Antonio. From there, it’s a surprisingly short trip to the city’s dark underbelly inhabited by drug cartel lieutenants and paid assassins and, ultimately, to death’s wide open doors.

The case becomes a political hot potato after the victim is identified as the son of one of the city’s wealthiest residents. Ray teams up with his partner Deborah Smith and their boss Sergeant Samuel Martinez in an attempt to solve the murder before political pressure forces city leaders to remove them from the case. The twins alcohol and lust combine to set up roadblocks that could end at least one cop’s career—and a marriage.

Susana Martinez-Acosta’s work at a crisis hotline center is the first step toward a new life for her and her son Marco. The death of her husband in a car accident still haunts her even as she tries to ignore her attraction to Ray Johnson. With a police officer for a brother, she knows how dangerous the job is and she’s had more than enough loss.

Then comes the frantic anonymous hotline call from a woman who’s positive her in-laws killed her missing husband.

A Deadly Wilderness is a romantic suspense novel that will take the reader along on a tumultuous journey as the consuming need for material wealth drives a deadly wedge among family members who haven’t learned when enough really is enough.

The journey ends where it began—in a deadly wilderness. Not everyone will survive the trip.

CR: Thrilled to Death by L.J. Sellers.

It's all better with friends.


  1. I'm sold. I'll have to read it, probably both of them. But I'm going to need tissues, right? You're brave to tackle such subjects as No Child of Mine. More power to you, Kelly.

  2. Thanks, Ellis, but I don't think it's brave to write about it. Here's to the great foster parents out there and the families who adopt. And yes, I'd keep the tissues handy!