Clarkson Set To Return As Narrator In Highly-Anticipated Audiobook For The Green Ember Sequel


Clarkson at C. S. Lewis’s home, the Kilns.

Story Warren Books today announced that Joel Clarkson will narrate Ember Falls, the highly-anticipated sequel to Best-Selling and Audible’s Children’s Audiobook of the Year Finalist, The Green Ember.

The Green Ember has sold tens of thousands of copies and been a top-seller at Audible and beyond. Ember Falls, including the new audiobook, is available for order on Kickstarter until June 11, and is scheduled for worldwide release later in 2016.

This news has delighted series author, S. D. Smith. “Joel Clarkson’s performance in The Green Ember was excellent. His careful attention to each character’s voice and his serious way of approaching the story resulted in a top-quality narration that is a gift to listeners. I’m grateful for that because most of the listeners are kids (including my own kids), and Joel’s performance is respectful, warm, and engaging. Along with thousands of others, I can’t wait to hear his narration of Ember Falls.”

On top of narrating the beloved middle-grade adventure, Joel Clarkson also composed and performed new original music for the beginning and end of the audiobook. A composer, arranger, and conductor, Clarkson has done orchestrations for films and released several albums of solo music as well as contributing one half of the Two EMBER FALLS updated coverBenedictions, a musical collaboration with Joy Clarkson, his sister.

Joel Clarkson is happy to return to the world of Natalia, where The Green Ember Series is set. “After being immersed in S. D. Smith’s delightful and compelling fantasy, The Green Ember, I am thrilled to be able to bring these wonderful characters to life in audiobook form again. The world Smith has created is chock full of key elements that make up a great tale—striking, multifaceted landscapes in an alluring world, a gripping narrative full of heroism and excitement, and of course, brave, adventurous rabbits! S. D. Smith has a distinct gift for old-fashioned storytelling of the finest sort.”


Black Star Audiobook Released (At Last!), The Green Ember Audiobook Honored

Do you want the good news first, or the good news?

We are so excited to share that The Black Star of Kingston audiobook is finally available! Many of you have been asking about this for months, and, as a frequent/constant consumer of audiobooks myself, I was eager to get it to you. Here it is! Enjoy it!


Eric Fritzius Shines

We tried to get my friend Joel Clarkson (narrator etc. for The Green Ember) back for The Black Star of Kingston audiobook, but we weren’t able to. Joel is a great narrator (see below!), but we are also delighted with the performance and production from Eric Fritzuis. Eric is an actor, author, and Mr. Everything for writers in West Virginia.

He has a history in radio and podcasting and, I believe, a bright future in audiobooks. We are thrilled to share Eric’s performance with you. I think you’re going to love it!

I actually made a serious effort to narrate the book myself, which only intensified my appreciation for how challenging it can be to produce a high-quality performance. Our friend David Mellick engineered my efforts and has been a constant help and encouragement through every difficult passage in the whole project. In the end, we got good feedback indicating my own narration wasn’t quite up to snuff, and we went to Eric, with whom we have had an excellent experience and whose performance we love.

Well done, Eric!

And, speaking of audiobooks…

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Joel Clarkson Shines

I’m very happy to report to you fine friends that my unstoppable run as the Award-Losing Author rolls on and on and on. The Green Ember was a finalist for Audible’s Best Kids Audiobook of 2015! Wow. It’s such a huge honor to be included on that list.Screen Shot 2015-12-06 at 6.26.46 PM

Congratulations to Joel Clarkson, who performed this story so well. On top of that, he produced the audiobook, as well as composing and performing the music in the intro and ending. An incredibly talented man, with a high capacity for detail and excellence, Joel is one professional anyone would be very happy to work with. Well done, Joel! 

It’s Been An Incredible Year For The Green Ember!

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One year ago today, The Green Ember was successfully funded on Kickstarter. It was a great day. We made this video that night. We’ve done an incredible amount of work in the year since, and God has been very kind to us. Some milestones:

  • We launched the eBook and print book to retail in December of 2014. It has consistently been a category leader and excellent seller on Amazon ever since.

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  • We have given away almost 60,000 eBooks, engaging new readers with Heather and Picket and the world they live in.
  • We’ve been approached by a number of distributors to see how they can carry The Green Ember.
  • We launched The Green Ember audiobook to Audible, where it’s grown consistently and is RIGHT NOW being featured as a hidden gem: hidden gems sale
  • We’ve sold over 11,000 copies of The Green Ember in all formats. I’m not an exclamation mark kind of guy, but !!!
  • We’ve been out of stock at least 6 times when our reprint speed hasn’t kept up with the demand for books. We’re consistently surprised, and we’re in our 5th printing as we speak. Again, a little too late.
  • We’ve had so many wonderful reviews on Amazon, in magazines, and on countless blogs.
  • We’ve been fortunate to visit with thousands of readers across 7 states, and many, many more both nationally and internationally, through the magic of the internet.

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  • Best of all, Sam has laid the groundwork for book 2. He is making tremendous progress. I can’t wait for you to read more about Heather and Picket. (Coming… Spring 2016.)

There’s a pile of work that goes into all of this. There are big teams that need to be thanked: the folks at Story Warren who keep things going (James and Julie and Kristen and Carrie and Zach, and everyone else!), the people who have generously shared The Green Ember with their audiences (most especially Sarah Mackenzie at Read-Aloud Revival, Crystal Paine at Money Saving Mom, Sally Clarkson, our friends at the Rabbit Room, the CIRCE Institute, Allison at, and everyone else that I’ve forgotten to list). There’s the team of people involved in creating the book: the proofreaders and editors who helped us create a better book than we would’ve on our own, Will, who made a great map, Paul, who made sure our cover was beautifully composed, Zach… Zach, whose art has helped people connect to these characters in a really wonderful way. That’s without mentioning the teams at our printing and shipping providers who have helped us to keep things moving along.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to work with Sam. There are many authors in the world, but few love readers the way Sam does. He really does want to serve your family with beautiful, great stories. It’s a tremendous thing to be a part of.

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One year ago today, the first books weren’t even on the printing press. A year later, and mail and email comes in consistently from people like you who have spent their time and money to enjoy this little book. Our success isn’t really ours — it’s based on people like you telling their friends about a book they enjoyed. So, most of all, thank you. It’s an honor to bring you books worth reading.

– Andrew Mackay
Publisher, Brightener Books and Story Warren Books

Save Yourself! (Money): The Best Deal on The Books Since 1790

Hey, ya’ll. Sam here. I’ve got news for you that involves major savings and possibly time travel.

This is what I know right now.

My publisher is slashing smashing murdering slaughtering lowering prices and offering the hard cover of The Green Ember, along with the paperback of The Black Star of Kingston, in a bundle for a mere $20.

Only TWENTY American Dollars. 

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I don’t know why he’s doing this. Maybe he hates money. Maybe he has nefarious plots I don’t know about. He is Canadian, so that raises some suspicions right off.

This deal saves you, the frugal consumer, $17.90. Sounds perty good, yeah. But is it too good?

What is he NOT saying about the 17.90? Is he NOT saying that if you take this great deal and get those books for such a huge-mongous bargain, that you could possibly be time-warped back to 1790?

When I reached out for a comment, he stated, “I don’t have time for this.” Hmmm….

washington reading

“This is a touching book,” thought President Washington.

what-do-we-want-time-travel-when-do-we-want-it-its-irrelevantIf the time-warp does happen, bargain shopper, be comforted that you will have something to read. And isn’t 1790 a great time to sit down with a rabbit adventure, or two? President Washington might like to join in. You can tell him you saved nearly eighteen dollar bills (featuring a certain somebody’s face) and then you could relate to him how you ended up in such a time as this.

Now, I’m not saying you should act fast and slaughter enjoy these savings because “time is running out.” But I could. Because time is literally running out.

#Sales    #Successing

It’s Black Star Release Day and I Need Your Help! (And You Might Win a T-Shirt & More)

Black Star Dynamic CoverThe day is finally here! My second novel, a short prequel to The Green Ember, is out today.

The Black Star of Kingston is available to ship right now!


I have three quick favors to ask. Can you help me out?


1. Get it. If you haven’t ordered a copy yet, please give this story a shot!

2. Review it. Please, give a rating and leave a review at Amazon. It only takes a minute. It can be very short. Positive reviews are hugely helpful!

3. Share it. Share this link with your social media friends.

A suggested post if you need some help…(copy and paste)…

I’m excited that @SDSmith_’s new #RabbitsWithSwords book is out! #BlackStarOK promises a new story with an old soul.
I’m excited to share the news that S. D. Smith’s new #RabbitsWithSwords book is out! The Black Star of Kingston promises another great new story with an old soul.
Bonus Points: Leave a rating/review on Goodreads. 


Thank you so much, friends! I’m so grateful for you being on my side. If you do all 3 of those things and leave a comment saying you did, I’ll randomly select one person to win one of our high-quality, soft, beautiful Green Ember T-shirts along with a signed copy of the new book. And maybe I’ll send more than that to more random allies. 


I enjoyed writing and refining this little book, and I think it’s a good companion to The Green Ember. This story tracks the early fortunes of the rabbits who first settled in Natalia.

Whitson Mariner and Fleck Blackstar face old fears and new enemies, forging a legend that will echo through the ages.

Old wars haunt.

New enemies threaten.

An oath is born. 

A hero rises.


I believe in this story and I hope very much that you enjoy it.

Here’s a couple of  nice things people who are not my mom have said about Black Star.


“For readers who loved The Green Ember, well- you’re in luck. S.D. Smith has done it again. The Black Star of Kingston is a book I’ll be shouting about from the rooftops for a long time coming. Jam-packed with harrowing adventure, startling courage, and the luscious vocabulary we all love in Smith’s stories, Black Star will not disappoint!”

–Sarah Mackenzie, author of Teaching From Rest and host of The Read Aloud Revival


“What a fantastic book! The Black Star of Kingston is another swashbuckling tale full of valiant heroes and daring adventures. But like Smith’s debut novel, it is also full of truth, goodness, wisdom, and beauty. Rarely have I read an author who has a gift for inspiring courage and imagination in both children and adults, but S.D. Smith has done it again! I cannot recommend Smith’s books highly enough. This is one that will be thoroughly enjoyed by children and adults alike. Five stars.”

–Jaime Showmaker, Goodreads 


The art is once again created by the amazing Zach Franzen. Not only is the cover amazing, but the interiors are wonderful as well. I can’t wait for you to see them.


Thanks again, friends. This is a good day.

The Black Star of Kingston is Available for Pre-order!

Pre-order on Amazon. Paperback here! And the eBook here!

Black Star Dynamic Cover

A century before Heather and Pickets adventures in The Green Ember, a displaced community fights for hope on the ragged edge of survival.

Whitson Mariner and Fleck Blackstar face old fears and new enemies, forging a legend that will echo through the ages.

Old wars haunt. New enemies threaten. An oath is born. A hero rises.


For more on Black Star, see here.