Now You Can Listen to A Season of Whispers

The audiobook edition of A Season of Whispers is now available at Amazon, on Audible, and at Kobo.

Last summer I had the new-to-me pleasure of listening through audition files of various narrators. My publisher sent me a zip file of mp3s in which potential narrators read a few minutes of the text.

The file I kept returning to was that of Darrin and Kristy Johnson, who took a clever approach to the gig. A Season of Whispers is divided into four acts, two told from a man’s perspective and two told from the perspective of Minerva Grosvenor, the heroine. Darrin narrated the two male acts and Kristy the two Minerva acts, which underscored the switches in POV for the listener.

The pair also threw some voice acting into the mix, with Darrin performing the dialogue of men and Kristy the women regardless of which act they were narrating. As the author I was a little worried how the book’s dialogue would translate to audio because not every line of speech is differentiated by “he said” or “she said” and so on. But by performing the dialogue as if the book was a play, they made the dialogue very easy to follow along.

I knew I’d found my narrators as soon as I heard the Johnsons’ audition. They made this version of the book into something unique, not just a voice reading the text. So glad Aurelia Leo and I can now share the audiobook with listeners.

Happy Juneteenth, Y’all

CC BY Shisma

There is a school of thought to which I subscribe that asserts the United States fought two wars of independence: a Revolutionary War in which some of us became free, and a Civil War in which the rest of us did.

It makes sense, then, to celebrate two Independence Days. Because we chose a path of reconciliation after the Civil War, our country has never really celebrated the victory of the Union over the Confederacy. And while the Fourth of July is less about beating the Brits than it is about our resolve to be free — in 1776, we wrote ourselves a check we wouldn’t cash for another seven years — still we’ve never had a holiday to celebrate that second American Revolution. We didn’t want to upset the feelings of our former neighbors turned enemies turned neighbors again, and so, like any family at Thanksgiving who doesn’t want to revisit that time we had a big argument and didn’t talk to each other for four years, we pretend it never happened. Which is messed up.

But there’s another reason we need Juneteenth. For someone who grew up outside of Philadelphia, lives in Connecticut, and frequently travels to Boston, Revolutionary history surrounds me. Everywhere I go is some reminder of the late 1700s. Yet every year on July 4, the populations of fifty states and a bunch of territories celebrate events to which they have no tangible connection, events that occurred hundreds if not thousands of miles away from where they live.

For me, the American Revolution literally took place in my backyard. But for many it’s distant and remote, something that happened long long ago in a galaxy far far away.

I do wonder if that’s why — partly, at least — some have glommed onto Confederate history and its myths of lost causes and resurrections to come, because for them the history is local. To those who live with it, it’s palpable and real; they can visit the battlefields and sites of importance. They feel connected to that history, which in itself isn’t bad, but just as brushing against poison ivy or mercury will poison you, they also unfortunately sympathize with it.

Here in New England where white people are furiously Googling how to celebrate juneteenth, our newest national holiday is a relatively recent thing. But in the south — and of course Texas — the holiday is firmly established with parades and festivals and public traditions that date all the way back to 1866. Because the event it commemorates took place outside the original 13 colonies, it provides a relevance to those Americans who don’t live between Boston and Yorktown. It gives southerners a piece of American history to celebrate that doesn’t glorify the Confederacy.

Critics of Juneteenth argue that it is divisive. To the contrary it’s a step toward reconciliation. When caught doing something that’s harmed someone else, an immature child refuses to believe he did anything wrong. But a mature grown-up recognizes he made a mistake when he did something that brought pain to another. An immature child blames the victim for the trouble he’s in. A grown-up takes responsibility. To me, that’s what Juneteenth signifies. It’s about we as Americans growing the fuck up.

And besides, if grilling steaks and eating strawberry shortcake brings peace between the races, who am I to stand in the way?

Happy Juneteenth.

Blog Tour 2021

To promote the forthcoming release of the audiobook edition of A Season of Whispers, I’m currently in the midst of a six-week blog tour around the internet, which kicked off last Friday with a glowing review by Kirkus Reviews.

Some of the stops are spotlights or brief excerpts but the rest feature original content like interviews and reviews. Some of the highlights:

  • May 7: Read an interview with me at A Life Through Books.
  • May 10: Read a short review at Texas Book Nook: “My main takeaway from this novel is that you get a lot more than you are expecting.”
  • May 14: Read a review at Novel News Network: “Jackson Kuhl has done an amazing job of developing multi dimensional characters.”
  • May 17: Read an interview with me at My Reading Addiction.
  • May 19: Read a review at On a Reading Bender: “a great read that kept me as the reader engrossed.”
  • May 26: Read a review at The Indie Express: “keeps the reader looking around corners and trying to figure out what comes next.”
  • June 7: Read a review at Jazzy Book Reviews: “fascinating, slightly disturbing, and definitely something different from what I was expecting.”
  • June 10: Read an interview with me at The Avid Reader.

AMA on r/Fantasy

On Friday, April 9, several Aurelia Leo authors and I will be available for an AMA on the Fantasy subreddit. You can find me on Reddit as KoolMoDaddy-O (don’t laugh! it’s my gamer handle for Minecrafting with my kids!).

Feel free to ask me anything writing related — about A Season of Whispers, Emerson and the transcendentalists, the last book I read, or my favorite coffee (Café du Monde). And if you don’t want to talk to me, you can quiz my fellow Aurelia Leo authors, including publisher Zelda Knight, instead.

An Incident on Mulberry Street

I ended 2020 with a thump like a human heart under the floorboards with a piece of Poe-inspired flash at Love Letters to Poe.

In low tones he explained his process did not involve nerves at all. Years ago, while working with saw and tourniquet in a blood-soaked Union tent, Coffman formed a notion that amputation only removed the physical extremity. What remained, he believed, was an ethereal limb that couldn’t be sliced away with steel.

“An Incident on Mulberry Street” is set in New Haven but you won’t find the address on any modern map. When North Frontage Street was built (the westbound side of Route 34) over what was Fayette Street, Mulberry Street was truncated into a dead end and, somewhat inexplicably, renamed Scranton Street. Meanwhile the streets around it kept their original names. You can see Mulberry Street on this 1893 map of the city, located just above the words “2nd Ward.”

After the story, editor Sara Crocoll Smith posted a short interview with me, which IIRC is my first published interview as a fiction author. There’s also an audio version of the story.

You can read the whole thing here.