Audible Historical Sci-Fi

OldEarth Aram Encounter

I just approved the final narration of OldEarth Aram Encounter so it now joins the Audible historical sci-fi offerings. It has been quite a journey.

In 1882, a literature reviewer who no one remembers, dismissed Henry Wadsworth Longfellow with the words, “Who, except wretched schoolchildren, now reads Longfellow?” (Ludwig Lewishn) Yet, it was Longfellow who summed up the yearning human experience in the soul-touching words, “There are dreams that cannot die; There are thoughts that make the strong heart weak.” (My Lost Youth) The interior conversation between a writer and reader, speaks to a basic reality: It takes both to make anything wonderful happen, but it only takes one to demolish possibilities.

My historical sci-fi novel, OldEarth Aram Encounter, has been born and died several times. It started as a simple historical fiction novel that told a good story, but not very well. After painful realities forced me to face my limitations as a writer, I decided, after a violent interior struggle, to have another go. I reviewed the story, reacquainted myself with the characters, and saw the opportunity for a better future. If I listened only to the voices of critics, the story would have moldered in a quiet grave.

It’s true that poets, as well as novel writers, speak uniquely to different generations. To Ludwig Lewishn, Longfellow had little of value to say. Or, perhaps, more accurately, Lugwig wasn’t the man to comprehend Longfellow’s meaning. The startling beauty of Longfellow’s words, which warm the cold soul in the modern world of icy calculations, definitely speaks to me.

The story of Aram, a man searching for meaning, discerning between a deceptive friend and a good-hearted enemy, discovering the truth behind an ancient lie, becoming reacquainted with dreadful family members, and learning to love his wife and children, reflects fragments of our human inheritance. If we dare to care, our life must intertwine with both good and evil, stretching us far beyond our limits, demanding impossible greatness, while at the same time, we discover that our frail, broken imperfections are not at all surprising. To love is to treat others as you would yourself, because we see, truly and somewhat horrifyingly, our own deep need.

Those “wretched schoolchildren” who read Longfellow, like Laura Ingalls Wilder, became the bedrock of American grit and determination. A woman who would not give up and endured. A mother who taught her daughter to grow beyond perceived limitations and disappointing failures (her own and her husband’s). Men dreamed dreams that would not die and forged the impossible—airplanes, rocket ships, miracle cures, and the internet.

Not just reacting to his feelings, Aram thinks about things. So do most of the characters in the story. As his world evolves in the next book and grows into Ishtar’s story, the theme changes yet remain utterly human-divine. We are called to something more. Something beyond ourselves.

I rewrote the original story, resurrecting it, with a larger perspective when I added the Newearth perspective. As my understanding had grown through the years, so the characters and the story grew. The original book was rewritten as the first book in the OldEarth Encounter series, taking the entire family lineage from the ancient world into the far-flung universe-embracing future.

I thought I was done, at that point. What else was there to do? It was as good as I could write it, and no amount of tinkering would help now.

Until I discovered the Audible world. Gripping every ounce of my courage and facing the sheer audacity it took to shell out money for a personal enterprise, I listened to various narrators share their interpretations of my work. I figured I would start with a variety—fiction stand-alone books and inspirational non-fiction. That way, I could learn what listeners liked, what actually sold, and what, if anything, would justify diving deeper into the Audible world.

I received several auditions for Homestead, my modern sci-fi family drama, but I was struck by the quality of one narrator in particular. Her tone, voice acting, and authenticity hit me like meeting a second self. She understood my characters! I was astounded. So, a young woman I knew practically nothing about, Madrid Castillo narrated Homestead and did an outstanding job.

As books began to sell, I wasn’t sure when I would—or should—ever offer the OldEarth series. It was a big commitment. But a longtime friend, who has had a beneficial, serendipitous, influence on me, asked me to get Aram on Audible. It was the nudge I needed.

I pondered who would be best, and my mind kept returning to Madrid. A woman who had never done an audible production before Homestead but who managed to develop the necessary skills, rework, and re-edit her work to perfection, was worth investing in. Her skills were growing, and I wanted her passion, abilities, and authenticity expressed in OldEarth Aram Encounter.

It was a smart move.

As I listened to chapters after she kindly uploaded them for me to review, I was amazed at her ability to pick up subtle cues. She understood not only the story but the meaning behind the story. Humor, grief, anger, fear, authority—it was all there. She has taken Aram’s story to a new level. She also is very flexible, kind, and patient. Qualities that mean a lot to a writer with annoying perfectionist tendencies.

A perfectionist himself, Longfellow may have been dismissed by some readers, but the wretched among us are comforted and strengthened, because in truth, “There are dreams that cannot die; There are thoughts that make the strong heart weak.”

As listeners ponder Madrid Castillo’s narration of OldEarth Aram Encounter, I pray that in our shared weakness, we may discover new strength.


A. K. Frailey is the author of 17 books, a teacher for 35 years, and a homeschooling mother of 8.

Make the most of life’s journey.

For novels, short stories, poems, and non-fiction inspirational books, check out

A. K. Frailey’s Amazon Author Page

Audible Historical Sci-Fi Books


The history is fascinating, the characters are uniquely intriguing, the plot is very rich, and the events are fascinating.” ~OnlineBookClub


“a complex tale of sorcery, slave raids, and heroic rescues – dramatic events that bring the ancient world to life.” ~David


“A classic good vs evil scenario. Well written. Fast-paced and adventure-filled. Readers both young and old will enjoy.” ~My Book Addiction


“Fraley introduces historical figures and events in a way that is totally credible, while at the same time entertaining.” ~Charles


“Indeed, the self-contained historical storyline is a remarkably effective mix of bittersweet romance and murder mystery—one that also examines the dynamics of politics and power as well as cultural conflicts between pagans and Christians, Anglo-Saxons and Britons, and landowners and workers. It does it all via the personal perspectives of a family of intriguing, earnest characters.”   ~Kirkus Review

For a complete list of books by A. K. Frailey, book trailers, and reviews, check out

A. K. Frailey’s Books Page

For translated versions of A. K. Frailey’s Books, check out

A. K. Frailey’s Translated Books



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