February Happenings & Audiobook Giveaway

Dear posse!

I have always had a love affair with the spoken word – even harbored a secret wish to be a voice-over artist. I’ve spent decades dramatically reading aloud to children and interspersing sound effects as I taught. I can thank my mother and grandmother for that!

But when it came time to record the audiobook of Boot Language, I was sure my aging voice would not be believable as the child narrator. Enter Nicol Zanzarella (See pic to left), the actress and award-winning narrator of over 150 audiobooks. Being an avid audiobook listener myself, I fell in love with Nicol’s voice.

As we chatted on the phone before recording, going over the pronunciation of specific words, I discovered we had a lot in common: We’re both research nerds, equal parts academic and creative, working tirelessly to make sure our facts are accurate. We agonize about the perfect voice for our characters; We were both greatly influenced by our grandparents; we both believe there is a kind of magic in the telling of a story.

Recently I asked Nicol about her experience with me. Here’s a sample:

V: Was there any challenge in narrating Boot Language? N:I think it was to stay neutral, and not let my own emotions in being a witness to your story take over. It is a must for a narrator to be able to remove any judgment, or, in this case, maybe feelings of protectiveness for a young girl trying so hard to learn the ways of the world while also having to navigate the things that haunt her parents.

V: Was anything fun while recording? N: How you spoke of the outdoors, and the land, the places that brought you solace. I love being able to narrate the poetry of those descriptions and how they can heal people. The scene that you set in the prologue as well. I can still see the pictures you painted in my mind of the surroundings, the emotions – the sound of the car heading out of the school parking lot and pulling up to the hospital…

Thanks, Nicol for your much-lauded recording of Boot Language!

Listen to Nicol here!





Pretty Please?  Here’s a plug asking you to please leave a review for Boot Language on Amazon.  Anyone can leave reviews- even if they got the book elsewhere. And all it takes is two sentences. (Seriously!)Thanks!!

Go here for Boot Language on Amazon

Go here for Boot Language on Goodreads

What’s on my bedside table

Ah, to educate while entertaining. That’s my dream job! I came upon this book while doing research for my current work-in-progress, and nearly peed my pants reading the first page.

If you love history or you’re hard at work writing your first historical novel, but are wondering how to start, Medieval Underpants will guide you through the factual mistakes that writers of historical fiction—both beginners and seasoned professionals—often make and show you how to avoid them. From fictional characters crossing streets that wouldn’t exist for another sixty (or two thousand) years, to 1990s slang in the mouths of 1940s characters, to South American foods on ancient Roman tables, acclaimed historical novelist Susanne Alleyn exposes the often hilarious, always painful goofs that turn up most frequently in historical fiction.

She stresses the hazards of assuming too much about details of life in past centuries, providing numerous examples of mistakes that could easily have been avoided. She also explores commonly-confused topics and provides simple guidelines for getting them right. In a wide assortment of chapters including Food and Plants; Money; Hygiene; Dialogue; Attitudes; Research; and, of course, Ladies’ Underpants (there weren’t any), she offers tips on how to avoid errors and anachronisms while continually reminding writers of the necessity of meticulous historical research.

Yes, a research geek after my own heart!  Seriously folks, this is a fun read whether you’re a writer – or not!

Medieval Underpants and Other Blunders



Vanya has spent decades teaching writing and public speaking, as well as mentoring educators in the oldest, continuously used schoolhouse in California. Her essays have appeared in a dozen literary journals and anthologies, and in the book, The Magic of Memoir. Her memoir, Boot Language, is now out on the bookshelves!

Boot Language Update:

Win an Audiobook copy of Boot Language!!

narrated by award winning Nicole Zanzarella

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The Great Tree Giveaway - Vanya Erickson
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