Lost and Found

Hello!

It’s been a busy few months…well, looking at my last audiobook post, it’s more like a busy year!

My latest release is the humerous female sleuth and private investigator murder mystery novel, Lost and Found by JL Simpson

Book covers

What was difficult about this book for me was, the fact that it’s the second book in a series of which I did not narrate the first. It’ll be interesting to see how it’s received by the listeners of the first. Fingers crossed they will accept me taking over the series – if not hopefully I can win them round!

https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Lost-Found-A-humorous-private-investigator-murder-mystery-Audiobook/B07HBCHDSP?qid=1537353117&sr=sr_1_11&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_11&pf_rd_p=c6e316b8-14da-418d-8f91-b3cad83c5183&pf_rd_r=2FWYHH5XPPKZ1588YVM8&

If you find yourself on my audible page, feel free to check out the two audiobooks released before Lost and Found –

The Runaway Wife by Dee MacDonald

Handcuffs, Truncheon and A Polyester Thong by Gina Kirkham

Book covers                 images

These excellently written, fab stories well and truly tested my ability when it came to accents :-] Phew! Both of these were funny yet often very poignant and a sheer joy to narrate. Check them out!

 

Due for release very soon is the brilliant crime thriller, The Birthday by Carol Wyer

The Birthday cover art

https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/The-Birthday-Audiobook/B07HFFXFQK?qid=1537356439&sr=sr_1_10&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_10&pf_rd_p=c6e316b8-14da-418d-8f91-b3cad83c5183&pf_rd_r=1THFANHWF7H15PYWS488&

Look out for this one – it’s a nail biting, can’t put down kind of book, well worth the read/listen.

 

So those are my latest releases. I’m currently in production with a good old fantasy (I do love to narrate a Fantasy novel!) There’s DRAGONS!!!! I shall say no more…

The Dragon Cagers by Lilian Oake

download (2)

AND…..I’m very excited to have entered the world of video game voice acting! Oh my god, this work is a huge amount of fun! I’m currently in production with a Ubisoft game (yes, the big boys that brought you Assassins Creed!!) however I am currently under strict instruction not to say anything on social media etc. NDA time! I CANNOT wait for it to be released (next year) so I can talk about it!!!!

 

Anyway, if you fancy a promotional code for any of my latest releases in exchange for a wee review, please let me know x

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So Long Bob…

Last week saw the passing of a man who was of great influence to my career and most probably much of my life.
I first met Bob Carlton when I auditioned for his resident theatre company of actor-musicians at the Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch in 1998. I remained there for the following 12 years, disappearing every now and again to do a few shows elsewhere but always returning to the fold which had become my ‘acting home’. It had become my home, the people there had become my extended family and I even met my husband there!

Bob cast me in some incredible roles there. My CV was growing by the minute and I was starting to understand who I was as a performer. Repertory theatre was ridiculously exhausting but the most exciting experience an actor could wish for.

Now Bob was well known for being a bit of a bugger to work with at times and I myself had my fair share of experiences of dealing with this side of him… One particular recollection was when we were working on a certain show which wasn’t working out as planned. On this particular day, I wasn’t feeling well. I had a bout of conjunctivitus and was struggling to see and to well, function. He had given me some stage directions which I clearly didn’t understand as every time I made my entrance he was getting more and more frustrated with me. He started to lose his patience and so did I! On any normal day, I would consider myself to be quite a tolerant person but on this day, no I wasn’t! He shouted at me – I shouted back. He swore at me – I swore back. This to-ing and fro-ing went on for some time til he finally threw his arms in the air and called for a 5 minute break. Later that day I passed him in the corridor backstage and I apologised for blowing up at him. His response was to simply hug me and say “what are you apologising for? This happens in the rehearsal process. It’s no big deal. When you’re talented, I don’t care how you talk to me!” This made me think that people maybe just misunderstand him. He cared about his work, he wanted things to be right, he wanted to create amazing theatre, exciting theatre. He had passion and vision. And at that point I realised that I had shown him MY passion and he liked it and he kind of respected me for it. From then on whenever he spoke in a snappish way I knew he was just on his creative journey and that I just needed to be quick and jump on board with him.

He was also a very sensitive man and like most creative types, very insecure. One production that I wasn’t in, I came to watch on Press Night. Afterwards while i was sitting with my mother in the bar, he came bounding up to us with a worried look on his face. “Have you seen my friends?” (He had introduced us earlier before the show began.) “I can’t find them! Have they gone? Do you think they didn’t like it?” He was devastated at the thought. Later he found them outside having a cigarrette. They loved it and his cheeky smile returned.

In one of my later years of being in his company, I was cast as the legendary Joan Littlewood in It’s A Fine Life. A huge role to undertake but he seemed to have faith in my abilities…yikes! It’s hard to become someone who actually existed. There’s the pressure to fullfill everyone’s expectations. People knew her. You can’t just make her up – you have to truly become her. While doing my research into her and her life at Stratford and her vision for theatre, I began to see many similarities between her and Bob. Now Bob had mentioned that she was a particular idol of his and whether or not he was aware of it, his approach to his work and the people around him were very similar. It was almost as if he was the male version of her! This excited me from an actor’s point of view and so I set out to study him as well as her. Since I knew him as a live, physical being I decided I would become Bob but in female form. I thought about how he would think, react and behave. As far as the reviews were concerned, I succeeded! Whether I did or not is beside the point. One thing I do know is that it gave me another chance to understand our Bob just that little bit more.

So all in all, Bob was a warm, sensitive, passionate, deep thinking, creative person who often showed signs of an incredibly ingenious mind. He taught me to have passion, ambition and belief in myself. To be daring and take risks – and to never, ever give up!!!

So long Bob, till we meet again…

(and to those reading this who knew him – “Live long and Prosper-o”)

Bob Carlton 2 (2)

Brick

Latest Audiobook Release

“Where’ve you been?!”

I’m sorry, I’m here, I’m back! Well, it appears that I may need quite a bit of practise before I could be considered a ‘proper’ blogger…I MUST TRY HARDER!!

So to quickly bring you up to date:

School for my Monkeyboy is going pretty well, however as with all kids on the spectrum, life still throws a curve ball at us from time to time. We’re getting quite good at ducking and dodging. Puberty has set in though, adding quite an interesting mix to the whole sh’bang. Sometimes I have absolutely NO IDEA what is hormones or autism! You know that Kevin & Perry episode where Kevin goes to bed the night before his 13th birthday full of the joy and anticipation of a fun filled birthday to arrive in the morning, then he awakes and immediately turns into this slouching, grunting, hormonal heap of a teenager, full of attitude and hatred for EVERYTHING and ANYTHING? Yeah, that!

I’m so confused by him sometimes…where the hell did he go?!

What fun – oh how we laugh! (Insert sarcasm emoji here…)

Anyway despite this delightful stage, he excels in IT and computer science at school (well, so i’m reliably informed by his teachers. He won’t show me any of his coding projects. Of course, it’s so uncool to show your mum – she won’t understand anyway)…ha.

So, I’ve immersed myself with more voice over training and audiobook work. My latest release is a gritty crime thriller by the wonderful author Conrad Jones. Wow, this was a challenge! A book full of gangland/drug related warfare. Set in Liverpool so many, many scouse accents to voice – all male. And RUSSIANS! Many russians! Lots of violence and strong language – not one to read aloud to your mother…

I have to say though, as a mother, you constantly find yourself watching what you say and how you say it. Narrating this book was bliss! Shut up in my little padded cell – erm, vocal booth, swearing with such ferocity was quite simply…liberating.

If you like a bit of a thriller then please feel free to check it out. (It’s not just swearing and violence, I promise. There is a great story to this book too! Conrad Jones has created a fabulous piece that will no doubt leave you googling his name for MORE!!)

 

http://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Crime-Thrillers/Brick-Audiobook/B072BW8N2P/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1497822731&sr=1-1

 

Audiobook Review: Brick by Conrad Jones, narrated by Diana Croft

 

The Heir To The North

It was my birthday last thursday and just before I went to sleep, I decided to check the progress of my latest audiobook release…and there it was, my final birthday present of the day! At 11.44pm I noticed my sales dashboard for THE HEIR TO THE NORTH had changed from headed to retail to available for sale!!  Finally! I thought it would never come…

 

So, please, PLEASE, get yourself on over to Audible to download THE HEIR TO THE NORTH by the incredible pen of Mr Steven Poore, narrated by ME!!

http://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/The-Heir-to-the-North-Audiobook/B01IE0IAW2/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1468923896&sr=1-1

(reviews are always appreciated)

If you enjoy THE HEIR TO THE NORTH you might also find a wee bit of excitement in your boots for the sequel (the book, not the audio…yet!) THE HIGH KING’S VENGEANCE which is due for release in September. My giddy aunt what more could you ask for?!

oh, pssst…leave me a message and I might just be able to hit you up with a free copy of THE HEIR TO THE NORTH.  (I have 5 copies to give away so first come, first served)

Catching up…

Blimey, it’s been ages! A lot to catch up on…

Audiobook work has been progressing along nicely. It’s funny how when you open yourself up to new opportunities, allowing yourself to be brave and ignore that crippling fear that we all feel so often – can I really do this? Am I good enough? What if I’m rubbish? What if I fail? – we open doorways and reveal choices and options that have probably been there all along.

I decided to take the ‘yes man’ approach to life…(I’m not making a ton of money, I’m at the end of my overdraft and I’ve exhausted my credit card but I AM HAVING A BALL!)

I am LOVING this little journey that I am on! We know it’s not the journey I set out to take but it’s every bit as exciting and every bit as worthy as the journey I thought I was going to take. The further along this path I travel, the more passion and ambition I am finding within myself (dare I say it, more so than before!)

I’m finding more and more focus and learning more and more about engineering in my little home studio. So much so, that I have to admit to developing this strange nerdy addiction to technology. Whaaa??

 

So, here’s where this journey has taken me so far…

I completed a series of children’s short stories for an author in Canada –

http://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Children/The-Case-of-the-New-Kid-on-the-Block-The-Alex-Mysteries-Prequel-Audiobook/B0153VU0DW/ref=a_search_c4_1_2_srTtl?qid=1462978388&sr=1-2

This was the first book in the series of which there are 4. Check them out if you have children…or if you just like kids books (whatever rocks your boat, I won’t judge)

 

From there, I was picked up to narrate a book that falls under the genre HORROR. Yay, a grown up book!

This was a wonderful book called Ashes by Philip Hemplow. It was a challenge to narrate as it contained excerpts from an Elizabethan lady’s diary who lived in a recusant household on the Yorkshire moors. So the story was set in the moors, in modern day but with flash backs to the 1800’s. Man alive, as an actor, we’ve all had our fair share of Shakespearean text to handle BUT WITH A YORKSHIRE ACCENT? Actually, I found that quite easy to fall into place…it was the THREE MALE RUSSIAN voices that were hard!! Each one had to be different. Add to the mix a mele of local reporters, an American woman, well to do Londoners, a softly spoken vicar (of a dubious sexuality) and a middle-aged hippy folklorist! AND to top it all a demonic manifestation!!!!!!

I am saying no more. You shall have to download it and see for yourself…

Ashes book cover

http://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/Ashes-Audiobook/B01D3E2A3O/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1462979504&sr=1-1

(oh, by the way, it’s on sale at the mo for £3.49. So get it while you can!)

 

So that takes us up to now where I am currently recording a 14.5 hour epic fantasy called Heir To The North by Steven Poore. If you love your Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, Merlin etc, you will LOVE Heir To The North!!

51IYkCjzX7L._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Heir-North-Steven-Poore-ebook/dp/B0156HGMGW?ie=UTF8&*Version*=1&*entries*=0

I can not wait for you all to hear this one! It’s a corker!

 

 

 

Oh, before I go…

I’ve also been to my local studios to record some voice reels. Check me out…(that was fun!)

Ron Weasley starts at Hogwarts

So school has started back, parents everywhere cheer and the streets and parks become quiet once again…

With my boy’s autism we’ve had to work very hard at preparing him to start secondary school. We’ve definitely become very adept at the ‘swan effect’. Gliding nicely along for everyone to see but paddling like hell underneath!

Our move to Somerset opened a few useful doors when it came to getting back into the school system after our period of homeschooling. However this wasn’t without its fair share of stress and anxiety. It took three exclusions in one term before the education authority would sit up and see that my child needed help. Sadly, I knew I had to let this play out in order to receive the help we were entitled to…crazy eh?!

However, all’s well that ends well. For the past year Thomas has been educated in an autism base (attached to a mainstream school). A gift from heaven!!! He has thrived and gone from strength to strength. We managed to get his hair cut and get him into a school uniform!!! Those who have experience with children on the spectrum will be all too aware of the constant struggle with sensory processing disorder which often goes in hand with a diagnosis on the autism spectrum. I, of course just HAD to do the obligatory first day of school pic and with his mop of flaming red hair and his new school uniform resembling that of Hogwarts (well the tie anyway – before you all start having visions of my son sporting a cloak and wielding a wand around in a lesson of the ‘dark arts’), I suddenly became aware that I appeared to be the mother of a Weasley!! Haha!…a bit of humour goes a very long way in our household.

So with the Weasley child at Hogwarts, I’ve had time to concentrate on myself…woohoo!! I’ve been setting myself up to work from home and I’ve constructed (well, I say me but what I mean is I gave orders to the husband and he dutifully did the constructing) a vocal booth for creating voice overs. It’s taken a few months and I’m finally off the ground and have just finished narrating a children’s audiobook!! It’s been a steep learning curve as I’ve had to learn how to record, edit and master using software. GO ME! Oh, did I mention that it wasn’t that long ago that I had to have a younger friend show me how to send an email…?

http://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Children/The-Case-of-the-New-Kid-on-the-Block-The-Alex-Mysteries-Prequel-Audiobook/B0153VU0DW/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1442084232&sr=1-1#publisher-summary

Onwards and upwards…

This is me!

So, this is me…

Life has taken me on a journey that was not my original intention. It was supposed to be easy, full of creative successes leading to self discovery and the possibility of acknowledgement and admiration. I should be flaunting around in a flow-y dressing gown, back stage of the biggest theatre hit of the year, sipping honey and lemon surrounded by lilies and roses in my en-suite dressing room ready to receive my many guests…

Ha!

To be fair, life wasn’t too far away from that scenario until that all familiar pang that so many women feel all over the world. That feeling that their mothers felt and their mothers before them and so on and so on… I’m talking about that basic need to mother a child, to feel that little peanut growing inside of you, that peanut that you would nurture from the moment you see those little blue lines on that stick that you waited patiently to see after the longest three minutes of your life! To hear a little voice call you ‘mum’, that little person who depends on you for their every need, that looks to you for guidance through their own incredible journey. ‘So?’, I hear you say. ‘Women have been having babies since time began…what’s your problem?!’ I ask myself that very same question time and time again. ‘Come on Di, get a grip!!’

I honestly thought that after a good training at a top London drama college and over a decade of experience working in my chosen field of theatre, it would be a breeze. I’d simply pop a baby after working through my pregnancy which would consist of a cute little bump and a glowing complexion, take a little bit of time to bond while breast feeding and returning to my size 10 jeans. Yeah right! Pfft… I ballooned through the first trimester eventually gaining FIVE STONE. My boobs were ridiculous, Mothercare told me that if they got any bigger I’d have to have bras specially made for me! I remember catching sight of myself in the mirror at the swimming pool while waiting to go in for an aquanatal class. Those of a certain age will know what I mean if I simply say ‘Big Daddy’…yeah, that! By the end of the pregnancy I couldn’t wear shoes due to my feet each looking like a blown up rubber glove. I had nerve damage to my feet which I still suffer with to this day, I could barely walk due to pelvis issues and that cute little bump appeared to have taken over every inch of my being…huge, beached whale!!

The birth was no picnic either! One dislocated pelvis, stitches where nobody likes to talk about and that huge beached whale turned into a great wobbley jelly thing resembling ‘The Blob’. I had a baby who refused to sleep or take the ridiculous boobs. All the other ladies from my baby group would sit chatting and smiling with their babies snuggled neatly under a muslin cloth feeding while I hobbled around with a recovering dislocated pelvis, desperately trying to shove a bottle of formula into a constantly screaming mouth! Of course, that’s how I saw it. I’m sure every one of those ladies had their own issues but at that precise moment in time, I felt like the only one struggling and failing at what should be the most natural process in a woman’s life.

It wasn’t long before Post Natal Depression set in. The lack of sleep and the constant screaming of an unsettled baby took its toll on me. That perfect dream of returning to work to carry on where I left off was fading along with the memory of my waistline and pert bum!

When my son turned one, I was offered the role of Beatrice in a production of A View From The Bridge by Arthur Miller. After such a break, could I handle it? I was brave and that bull was taken very firmly by the horns. Boy was I glad I took that role. Nightly sobbing and wailing over the body of my dead onstage husband was the best therapy anyone could wish for. To be given full permission to let rip from the old tear ducts…release!

All was good for a while until the discovery that my son was on the autistic spectrum. Okay…not a complete shock to me to be honest but it sure started to make life difficult for the poor boy as nursery then school became a time of stress and trauma until I had no option but to pull him out of school and homeschool him for the foreseeable future. There came a time of great study and learning for me as I poured my time into my boy to make life easier for him.

So, it was another set back for me but out of it came the realisation that THERE WAS MY ROAD OF SELF DISCOVERY AND POSSIBLE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT AND ADMIRATION! It was there, not as I’d envisioned but there it was nonetheless.

This was the road that brought me to where I am today. To cut a long story short (and yeah, I know it’s been long enough already. I promise to never post quite as much again!) it’s taken me on a journey of discovering ways to stay creative for me while being there for my son. Today I await with baited breath the release of my first ever audiobook which has taken me on a great learning curve  learning to record, edit and master from my home studio built on a budget in my little house in the middle of the Somerset countryside far from the hustle and bustle of the city of London where I thought I’d be. I still float around sipping my honey and lemon though…