Auralgasm: Satisfying Audiobooks.

Last Thursday, I introduced a new series I am starting here on B2b.


Today is the first!

Plenty of people are anti-audiobook. I hear it ALL the time, “It’s weird to be read to when you’re our age!” Really? Because newscasters are making that shit up as they go?

Ok, I’ll buy it.;)

Also, plenty of podcasts are scripted. Night Vale, What?

sad face.:(

Mostly, I think this is a wrong-headed belief based on the fact that the reader simply hasn’t had the right experience–or any–with a good audiobook. There is ABSOLUTELY a place for both the written, and the read, word in everyone’s life.

There is something so spectacular about losing yourself in a bit of text while you’re going about the mundane in life. Yes, I may just be wo-manning the wok at the moment, but I’m also caught in the grip of an epic battle raging all around me. There are bullets flying, or I’m hiding under a bed, escaping some unseen evil, or I’m in the arms of my lover, resting against him. Somehow, I manage not to burn the garlic.

Ok, sometimes, I burn the garlic.

I have no idea how that could’ve happened.

The other complaint I hear most often is that audiobooks are prohibitively expensive. Alas, they are pricey, but buying them through iTunes is not the only option. Here are my top 5 tips for affordable auralgasms.

  1. membership. For about $15 a month, you are guaranteed one audiobook a month at that price. The length and size of download matters not. (though it used to.) Also, you receive 20% off market for every title, and can purchase bulk credits more cheaply.
  2. Whispersync. If you have the aforementioned audible membership, many books have “whispersync” which is not only convenient, as it lets you seamlessly bounce between kindle book and audiobook, it often deeply discounts the audiobook to $.99, $1.99 and so on.
  3. Scribd. A Scribd membership is $8 or $9/month and they have a TON of audiobooks in their arsenal, and they allow you to stream them without having to download.
  4. Amazon Unlimited works much in the way the Scribd membership does, and it’s about the same cost, but it also offers the benefit of whispersync on many titles.
  5. Overdrive. I know that my library has a ton of audio titles, and yours probably does as well. How can you resist FREE??

As for quality…well, that can be a crapshoot. Ratings help, but some people just don’t like the sound of someone’s voice for some reason or another. Luckily for you I have IMPECCABLE taste in voices. (I married a man with a deep voice and an accent) So I think my qualifications are evident.


This is my “making you envious” dance.

Legitimate websites selling audiobooks offer five minute previews. While this should mostly be a good indicator of what the book will be like, it’s not always great. For instance, if they start at the very beginning, as most are wont to do, you may end up with five minutes of a single character. You won’t know if that narrator has any range, or if they suck mic. However, once you really get into audiobooks, you’ll definitely find narrators you adore, and will find yourself finishing books you’d actually not have finished had they not been reading them to you.

I have several of these narrators, and several books I’d have DNF’d had they not been reading them to me. (And, of course they’re only reading them to me. I mean, duh! In my head I’m super creepy, apparently. I hope they don’t live in the same mental space as my cadre of mimes and marionettes. I’d feel bad.)

In order to help you on your way to multiple auralgasms, I’m going to share with you some of my fave books, narrators, and publishers in this series.


Holter Graham!!

First? A CLIP!

Holter Graham is an amazing reader. I swear to you, his sultry woman’s voice, (one of many) is more womanly than mine. And I’m the owner of two (mostly working) ovaries, a uterus, and a pair of boobs if you look closely enough. (closer…cloooooser…see! right there. I swear, they’re there. Lucy and Ethyl! I named them. In high school. I name everything.)

It’s as though he has the strange ability to channel a sexy lady, and make her come out of his throat–that sounded bad, but I’m not deleting it.

But it’s his men–chiefly–his romantic leads that make me love his narration. His ability to flesh out the emotional network of a romantic lead, using only his voice, is unbelievable. The exotic appeal of his deep baritone wraps around the listener, cocooning them in a silken web of entrancing excitement.

I am absolutely not spouting hyperbole. I am the grand-niece of a radio actor pioneer (cum cat breeder, because my family is a crew of talented kooks.) It should also be noted his wife was the only female executive producer on Howdy, Doody, because: feminism. I am an actor and singer. My first memory of my father is watching him as the lead singer of a popular regional band.  My cousin is a bestselling author.

I’m a pretty good judge of talent. And again…my husband’s voice is a total panty-dropper.

I have heard Holter Graham read everything from a centuries-old Salish Indian in Patricia Briggs’s Alpha and Omega, to the California Arthurians of Steinbeck’s The Long Valley. He brings something new and exciting to each book and series, and any author would be lucky to have him read their book.

As for the recipe inspired by the reader:

Mr Graham is NOT on social media, so finding out anything in that respect is nearly impossible. Therefore, I am posting a recipe inspired by one of my FAVORITE books he’s read. Cloak and Silence by Sherrilyn Kenyon. In the novel, the MC, Maris, is sort of–he’s a bit amphibian, but humanoid–he’s an alien, trust me, it’s a killer series. He falls in lourvvvee with Ture, who is a human, and super-chef. 

Since they’re from different worlds–literally, and because Maris is kinda mermanish, I made

Szechwan-Style Clams

They also have beer in them, because: me.

Szechwan Clams

Auralgasms: Satisfying Audiobooks and boozy Szechwan Clams #amreading #audiobooks #Auralgasm Click To Tweet

Szechwan Clams Szechwan Clams



Szechwan Clams

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 1 hour (clams gotta soak, yo.)

Cook Time: 15 minutes (because clams are

Keywords: stir-fry appetizer entree Chinese

Ingredients (enough to serve 4 regular peop)

  • 2.5 pounds cockels, CLEANED (instructions in instructions–meta instructions)
  • 2 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp chopped ginger
  • 2 tbsp szechwan black bean sauce (comes in jars)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • juice of half a lime
  • 1 tsp red pepper flake
  • 4 tbsp peanut, canola, or coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsingtao beer
  • a metric crapton of cilantro and scallions! 🙂


soak the clams for 30 minutes in salty water to clean the shells

soak for an additional 30 minutes in tap water to get them to spit out their sand.

making these are actually REALLY EASY.

mix together the sauces in a separate bowl, soy, oyster, black bean, lime juice, and beer, and whisk!

toss in red pepper flake, and set aside

in a WOK, on MEDIUM add oil, add garlic and ginger until translucent. (tip!! peel your ginger with a SPOON, by scraping it, and chop it in a FOOD PROCESSOR!)

toss in the clams, and stir

pour over liquid, cover, and let it cook for 10-15 minutes, or until most of them open up.

toss out unopened clams, they were dead before you killed their friends, and because of that, you don’t want to eat them. They’re trying to poison you for eating their BFFs.

pour these into a bowl and top with the crapton of chopped cilantro and scallion.

Serve over rice or with fresh noodles. I suggest drinking more Tsingtao with it.

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