Sandy Carpenter, left, narrates Who Brought the Dog to Church? by Tracy L. Smoak

Sandy Carpenter, left, narrates Who Brought the Dog to Church? by Tracy L. Smoak

Speaking Joy into Lives

Books build bridges. They can connect us with new ideas, places, and people in unexpected ways. Sandy Carpenter, an audio book narrator, recently contacted me. Hired by my publisher, Ambassador International, Sandy created the sound files for the novel Who Brought the Dog to Church?.

“I loved your story,” Sandy Carpenter said. “I wanted to reach out because I live in Florida too.”

We arranged to meet for lunch and had so much fun. Full of zest, she cares for her granddaughter three days a week, narrates books for several genres, and sells real estate. She also is a pastor’s wife. Her high energy bubbles over with joy for life.

“Joy isn’t the same as happiness,” she said. “Joy is what we choose to feel, regardless of what’s going on around us.”

She savored garlicky edamame across the restaurant table as we got to know each other. Her cell phone bleeped. “Excuse me. Gotta see what’s needed for the closing.” She sighed. “Now they want a termite inspection.”

Her conversation zips around like a hummingbird sipping nectar. She talked about a recent three-week mission to Ecuador. “Love the countryside there! Our team was the first one back to them since COVID.”

Her musical Southern drawl captures the language of home for me. She brings the novel’s characters to life, and her experiences overseas inform a special understanding of how others may feel in a new country.

“My favorite character in your novel is Juan,” Sandy said. “He is so humble and faces many hardships as an immigrant to the US.”

Creating the audio book for the 300-page novel took more than seven hours, and great precision was required. Every word must be pronounced perfectly. Pacing must be swift. “If I make a mistake reading, I redo the whole chapter,” Sandy said.

The company she freelances with to do audio books is ACX. Anyone interested in knowing more about the audition process may go to that website. Another web resource for creating and editing sound files is Audacity.

Today’s Bible verse:

“As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning” (Acts 11:15 NIV).

Today’s prayer:

Dear Lord, may we bring joy and words of encouragement wherever we go today. Amen.


The audio book for Who Brought the Dog to Church can be accessed at


If you would like to hear sample chapters, these one-minute excerpts are available on YouTube:


Chapter 1 Evangelism Gone to the Dogs


Chapter 15 Play Bunny


Chapter 16 Closeted Knowledge


Chapter 18 Contraband


Chapter 24: The Variable


Free open-source download for audio software with Audacity:


Platform for auditioning and hiring narrators with ACX: