'The Benefits of Breathing' Audiobook brings former L.A. Newscaster into Narration

June 05, 2020 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
Last week, with the publication of Christopher Meeks's third collection of short stories, The Benefits of Breathing, also comes the release of the audiobook. It features veteran narrator Bill Perry ("A Death in Vegas") and newcomer Lonnie Lardner. Lardner's voice, however, is not new to people. For twenty-five years as a news and entertainment reporter for KABC-TV, FOX 11, KCBS-TV in Los Angeles, and FOX 5 in New York, she covered breaking news, crime, air disasters, and earthquakes. She also reported on the Oscars, Grammys, and Emmys. She interviewed prominent newsmakers and many of Hollywood's A-listers and from coast to coast.

What made her want to try narrating an audiobook? "I simply love storytelling," she said. "I grew up in a household that valued a good story and turn of phrase. Most likely because of my great uncle, Ring Lardner, the short story form has always been my favorite. The good ones - while brief - leave a lasting impression. The bonus for me on the audiobook was that I got to work with an old friend."

She had met Meeks at the University of Denver when they had been undergrads and when she dated his cousin. While she went on have dual careers in art and television, Meeks went on to write fiction and teach creative writing and college English in Los Angeles. He's published five novels, one play, and now three collections of short fiction that have garnered much attention.

Lardner found making an audiobook both fun and challenging. She said, "I'm used to writing and recording TV news stories that last 90 seconds. They are basically a headline, a premise, two opposing sound bites, and a tag. You might say narrating audiobooks is the long game. Instead of culling to 'just the facts' as in news, the narrator gets to take you on an adventure… with time for stops wherever the author likes. It was great having Chris and Bill Perry there to guide me." For a sample of her narration (with an intro by Bill Perry), click on the sample MP3 audiofile.

As for the stories, in eleven tales, Christopher Meeks covers many topics, but all deal with relationships. As Rosebud literary journal editor Rod Clark writes in the foreword, "It's all about love, isn't it? Under all the emotional geology, under the subtle narrative layers of Christopher Meeks's stories, love lurks."

In this volume, "A Dog Story" captures a crumbled marriage and the love of a dog named Scrappy. "Joni Paredes" shows the birth of a new relationship that starts at a daughter's wedding. "Nestor by the Numbers" follows one man's often hilarious online dating experiences after he finally accepts his wife is gone. "Jerry with a Twist" shows an actor on an audition while his pregnant girlfriend helps him through a crisis.

As long-time reviewer Grady Harp notes, "Writing of this quality takes you off guard: just when you think you're reading just another story, out comes these little jewels for saving. That is his gift: a terse, succinct, no-nonsense gift for grabbing our attention, dallying a bit to infect us."

Meeks's first story collection, "The Middle-Aged Man and the Sea," brought him attention. The Los Angeles Times called it "poignant and wise." Entertainment Weekly hailed it as "stunning." Bookworm interviewer Michael Silverblatt cited it as worth discovering. Meeks's second short story collection, "Months and Seasons," became a finalist for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award.

"The Benefits of Breathing" audiobook is available on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.

Since leaving broadcast journalism, Lardner has pursued what she did in college: art. She says, "The quarantine has enabled me to feed my soul with painting and fresh art projects. Creative expression is important to me. Studies show it can provide critical health benefits like lowering blood pressure, and relieving stress. Can you think of any reason we could all use that right now?"

White Whisker Books is a small press with five authors based in Los Angeles. To see more of what it offers, go to www.WhiteWhiskerBooks.com. Its books are distributed by Ingram.

For more information, go to the website, WhiteWhiskerBooks.com. If you'd like a reading copy (print or eBook) of the collection, go to the contact page of White Whisker books or call White Whisker Books at 323-344-7132.

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