Snarky Advanced Praise

When Fred first showed me the advanced praise he intended to include at the beginning of the book, I thought “Hmm, are readers going to get this?” But then a friend pulled me aside during a farmer’s market, after just starting his new copy of In the Wake of the Willows, and exclaimed, “This is wonderful! Fred has me in stitches.” Another professional editor exclaimed, “Best Advanced Praise ever!” Okay, so I was wrong. It sets the stage for the sense of humor, and intriguing characters to come.

Fred was eager to have Madeleine perform the advanced praise to share with all of you, since it could not be included in the audio book. We hope you enjoy it.

In the Wake of the Willows audio book is available through, and iTunes.


Advanced Praise for In the “Wake of the Willows”
Madeleine Recording in her father’s closet over winter break.

The Show Must Go On!

During the hot summer months of covid-19, actress Madeleine Barker created a delightful performance of In the Wake of the Willows from inside her converted closet. Ordinarily, she would have recorded in a professional sound booth, using their mics and recording equipment.

Through determination, perseverance, creative thinking and the help of sound engineer Joel Thibodeau, Madeleine was able to create a sound booth in her apartment. Joel and Madeleine worked together to replace her mic with one better suited to her needs, then tweaked, and re-tweaked settings until they achieved the professional results they were looking for.

Removing all extraneous noises from motors and electrical devises meant no fans or air conditioning. Madeleine braved the closet recording sessions during the hottest August on record.

She then sent the each clip to Joel for editing, to us for review, and then headed back into the sound booth. In the end, Joel sent us the finished chapters, and Amy submitted them to Audible for review. Two months later, the audio book went live.

We are so grateful to Madeleine and Joel for transforming Fred’s words into this magical performance.

At Long Last, the Audio Book is available!

It’s alive with the characters of the Riverfront; full of humor, hauntingly beautiful songs, quirky birds, and boastful toads.

Over the summer we had the pleasure of working with actress Madeleine Barker, and are thrilled to share with you the audio production of In the Wake of the Willows.

Madeleine brings her extensive talents to the book. Currently an MFA candidate at Brown University/Trinity Rep Theater Arts Program, she has appeared in many productions throughout the US. See for a list of her theatre credits. She has produced a highly polished and professional audio book with the help of Audio Producer Joel Thibodeau, and under the guidance of voice coach Tom Jones.

The audio book is available through Audible, Amazon and iTunes.



As the promised 30 business days, turns into 50, we have been given no clue as to when the audio version of In The Wake of the Willows will be released. ACX the Amazon and Audible giant has a huge backlog of submissions. Great! lots to listen to. But announcements have been published in Brown Alumni Magazine and on printed promotions, and a slew of reviewers are standing by for the first glimpse (or listen).

Patience and understanding, safety and good health, fortitude and gratitude are only some of the lessons to be learned during this time of covid.

Author’s Preface

Audition Clip #3

While we wait for Audible, iTunes and Amazon to release the audio book, we thought we’d share a new audition clip each day for “In the Wake the Willows”. It is taking longer than expected for it to be released. Covid-19 patience is yet another new skill we must learn. We’ll keep you posted.

Here is Mr. Otter coaching Toady:

Audition Clip 2

While we wait for Audible, iTunes and Amazon to release the audio book, we thought we’d share a new audition clip each day for “In the Wake the Willows”. It should be available within the next few days. We’ll keep you posted.

Here is Mrs. Badger helping out Toady. Enjoy!

Audio Book coming soon!

Take a listen, then look for In the Wake of the Willows audio production available October 15, 2020 through Audible, Amazon and iTunes.

We are thrilled to introduce you to Madeleine Barker, our extremely talented narrator, and professional actress currently in the Brown University Theater Arts Masters program.

Here is what Madeleine had to say upon the completion of the 3 month long project: “It’s been such a pleasure working with you and Fred on this gorgeous project. I can’t wait to share it with the world. “

We can’t wait to share the results of this collaboration with you, dear reader!


In the Wake of the Willows, audio sample

Have Our Little Friends Found Their Voice At Last?

Amy and I are both audio book fanatics.  We really love many of the audio book narrators, Katherine Kellgren in particular.  Kellgren was most famous for her rollicking narration of L.A. Meyer’s Bloody Jack Series.  In the back of our minds we have always wanted to do In the Wake of the Willows as an audio book (and mix in nature sounds), but never had the time.  However a few weeks ago I decided to start exploring our audio options.

The first step was to find a great narrator.  Anyone who has heard my radio bits ( know that I, like most authors, cannot narrate my own book!  We needed a professional actor that could do voice overs.   Could we find someone as good or almost as good as Katherine Kellgren?   Kellgren was probably the best there ever has been in our genre (rollick, amusing, accented tales), so we set the bar pretty high.

We wanted a local actress that we could work with closely, so I started following some leads, but none of them panned out.   One university’s theater arts program said they could not help us at all!  I got no response from the Zeiterion Theatre nor did any of the other leads pan out.  So I decided to take a flier and contacted Brown University’s Theater Arts Program.  I sent a request in and got crickets for about a week; I never even got an acknowledgement of my request.   Then last Tuesday, all of a sudden and without warning, I got flooded with young actresses interested in narrating the book.  The Brown Theater Arts Department (TAPS) had posted my request that day and wow.  I was overwhelmed at the quantity of requests and the ability of these students.   I spent a number of sleepless nights trying to decide who to choose; they were all just so talented.  It was torturous, and I kept saying to Amy, “I was such a happy person before I started this audio book business.”

Finally we picked four actresses based on these criteria:

1.    They had a smooth, melodic, enchanting voice suitable for a nature book such as our book.  A voice that could charm adults and put children into a peaceful sleep.

2.    They were The Wind in the Willows fanatics.

3.    They were highly motivated to do our book.

4.    Could do accents such as a Scottish accent for Mrs. Badger and other accents.

With these criteria, we whittled the list down to four actresses.  Now what? How did we chose one of them? It was a tough choice, and we were still left with the dilemma of how to say no to three of them when we finally picked our narrator.  As far as we could tell, they were all exceptionally talented.

We sent these four actresses segments of the book to read such as some dialogue from Mrs. Badger and a segment of the firefly square dance.  Within a few days (like I was saying, they were all highly motivated), we got the samples back.  We really enjoyed listening to them.  Each of these actresses is so different in their approach but talented in their own way.  We had two actresses from the TAPS MFA program and 2 undergrads.  The MFA actresses seemed to have more timber in their voices and appeared to have had more voice training.  The undergrads had young, delightful, perky voices that would be very appealing to our young listeners, but we were looking for a more mature voice.

We listened to the samples again and again trying to decide, but there was one actress who appeared to have spent a great deal of time carefully examining each sentence to get the emphasis and cadence just right.  In addition her Scottish Mrs. Badger was spot on and she chose a nice salty Cockney accent for Mr. Otter.   But when she did Rickie and Mr. Rat and sang, yes sang (beautifully) the first two stanzas of the firefly square dance, Amy had tears in her eyes.  Our little friends had found their voice.

We are beginning to work with this actress right now.  Stay tuned; we will announce her name and may share some samples.