Sketch Up!

Sketch Up! Comedy sketches written by Rachel E. Thorn, Produced by Gerard Fletcher & Melanie Crawley, Performed by Ali Mylon, Dave McClelland, Gerard Fletcher, Letty Butler, Melanie Crawley and Rachel E Thorn.

A couple of years ago, myself and a lovely group of Sheffield actors, writers and voice artists got together to have a go at producing some of Rachel E Thorns Radio Comedy Sketches because we thought they were great! And now, that project: Sketch Up! has been included in the Leicester Comedy Festival programme and its free to listen online – 45 comedy sketches – listen all in one go or individually. They range from the surreal to the domestic and sometimes incorporate a bit of both but nowhere will you find even the vaguest reference to the dreaded pandemic!

We’ve already had a 4-star review and lots of lovely feedback which is great – we weren’t quite sure what to do with all this material (nearly fell off my chair when I realised there were 45 of them. 45!) so its so lovely to get this out there and hopefully elicit a few smiles.

The writer of all the material is the super talented and prolific Rachel E. Thorn. Myself and Gerard Fletcher produced them and we all performed along with fellow actors Dave McClelland, Ali Mylon and Letty Butler.

I’m hoping to get us up and running with a remote recording set-up so we can do some more. Please do have a listen and if you enjoy them feel free to share on social media! @LeicsComedyFest for twitter users

Write your business book!

Narration sample from Your Business Your Book by Ginny Carter, read by Melanie Crawley

I don’t often narrate non-fiction as I love the fictional worlds authors create, full of drama, comedy and all those wonderful characters – just released though is one of the few: ‘Your Business Your Book’ by Ginny Carter and I had just as much fun! Ginny is a wizard at entertaining the reader / listener with anecdotes and examples that bring her extremely useful guide to writing your own (business) book to life. Its entertaining and informative – a step by step guide to all aspects of the planning, writing and marketing process, grounded solidly in the business world so its completely relevant to freelancers and business owners.

I was given free-reign to be extremely jolly and bring a bit of personality to the reading – not something always required of non-fiction narrators I find (non-fiction narration is an art with its own requirements and sometimes I’m far too animated for such a fine craft!) so it felt like a good fit for me.

As someone currently working as a freelancer and previously having run my own business I can also vouch for its very sensible and useful content too!

Now available on Audible.

‘Orrible bloody murder…

I’m thrilled to announce The Passion of the Ripper by Nicolas Nicastro is now on sale. I had a ball narrating this book – a different take on the Ripper Murders and a wonderful evocation of Victorian / Edwardian London and its many inhabitants. The writing moves through meticulous historical detail, unflinching examination of depravity and abuse, curious investigation of possible motivations to a heartbreaking rendering of life for the oppressed poor and the attitudes of the establishment and pervading patriarchy.

The author has created such fascinating, bright, sharp characters and a London layered with grime, shrieking laughter and desperation, humour and darkness – from fog-drenched to velvet rich and all shades in-between.

Written by Nicolas Nicastro

“More than a grisly murder thriller. The story Nicastro tells is a poignant romance…turning bloody legend into heart-aching tragedy. Nicastro has written an engaging page-turner that lays bare the minds of Victorian London.” (Tompkins Weekly)

The audiobook has already gained a 5-star review:

‘The Passion of the Ripper’ is a fascinating and unique telling about the infamous and mysterious Jack the Ripper. Nicastro’s weaving of the story is engrossing as is Melanie Crawley’s outstanding and enthralling narration. I highly recommend this audio book to everyone looking for a fresh and exciting telling about, arguably, the most famous unsolved mystery of all time.

In the chilly summer of 1888, the city of London is introduced to an innovation in evil.

A brutal series of murders of London’s most vulnerable women casts the city into a frenzy of fear and suspicion, pushing it to a state of panic not seen in centuries. Jack the Ripper has arrived.

When Scotland Yard begins to find traces of Jack’s handiwork in a string of seemingly unrelated killings, will the world’s most notorious serial killer be caught at last?

This is a different kind of Ripper story. Not just a whodunit, but an unflinching exploration of the killer, his city, and his times. It tells this well-known mystery from the inside out, from the points of view of the police, his final victim, and the man who – years later – became the prime suspect. For, Jack’s career didn’t end with the horrific murder of Mary Jane Kelly. With something wicked lurking around every corner, The Passion of the Ripper is a devilishly dark thriller, perfect for Ripperologists and mystery fans, alike.

Praise for The Passion of the Ripper

“More than a grisly murder thriller. The story Nicastro tells is a poignant romance…turning bloody legend into heart-aching tragedy. Nicastro has written an engaging page-turner that lays bare the minds of Victorian London.” (Tompkins Weekly)

“A strong new entry in the world of Ripper fiction.” (Ripperologist)

Nicholas Nicastro was born in Astoria, New York, in 1963. He has a BA in English from Cornell, an MFA in film-making from New York University, an MA in archaeology, and a PhD in psychology from Cornell. His writings include short fiction and travel and science articles. Among his published novels are The Isle of Stone: A Novel of Ancient Sparta, Ella Maud, and Empire of Ashes.

Blood Red City

Another recent narration, Blood Red City by Rod Reynolds is now available on Audible. I loved narrating this – such fantastically drawn characters and a great new duo created by the author. I do love the chance to narrate menacing characters, one doesn’t get the opportunity to menace enough generally!

When crusading journalist Lydia Wright is sent a video of an apparent murder on a London train, she thinks she’s found the story to revive her career. But she can’t find a victim, much less the killers, and the only witness has disappeared. 

Wary she’s fallen for fake news, she begins to doubt her instincts – until a sinister call suggests that she’s not the only one interested in the crime. Michael Stringer deals in information – and doesn’t care which side of the law he finds himself on. But the murder on the train has left him exposed, and now he’ll stop at nothing to discover what Lydia knows.   

When their paths collide, Lydia finds the story leads through a nightmare world, where money, power and politics intersect and information is the only thing more dangerous than a bullet.  

A nerve-shattering and brutally realistic thriller, Blood Red City bursts with energy and grit, twisting and feinting to a superb, unexpected ending that will leave you breathless.  

Video footage of an apparent murder on a London train thrusts crusading journalist Lydia into a terrifying web of money, politics and power in this sophisticated, shockingly believable contemporary thriller   

A witness with no victim. A crime with no crime scene….

The Promise

Delighted to see The Promise – by Kathleen Harryman and Lucy Marshall – one of my most recent narrations is now available. This was a challenging read – for the subject matter and the accents! Thanks to Anita Gilbert, accent coach extraordinaire for her assistance with the Czech character!

Whitby, September 1939. As Britain is gripped by the fear and uncertainty of war, the lives of a group of young friends are set to be changed forever.

Tom Armitage stands to gain the one thing that he never thought possible – his freedom.

Rosie Elliot sees her future crumbling to dust as Will Aarons leaves Whitby with Jimmy Chappell to fight in the war. As she begins work at The Turnstone Convalescent Home, Rosie finds something she thought she had lost. Friendship.

But friendship soon turns to love. Can this new love replace Will?

This is not an ordinary love story. It’s a story of love, loss, courage, and honor. Of promises that must be kept or risk losing everything you’ve ever held dear.

The Cornish Retribution

Recorded over Christmas and New Year, Amanda James’ The Cornish Retribution has just been released on and I’m pleased to see has secured a 5star review to kick us off.

This is the first novel I’ve narrated in the first person and that made it challenging, strangely. I enjoy bringing characters to life in audiobooks and although I always think of the narrator as someone connected in some way to the story, they’re usually a little more ephemeral and don’t need so much work in pre-planning their exact personality, flaws, relationships with other characters and countless other decisions as they travel through their narrative.

Something that helped get to grips with building Sam’s voice is her bad side – her flaws. The character does something really nasty early in her life and her worries that she’ll lose control of her emotions again as she’s tested by life’s disappointments and hard luck makes for a complexity that feels real. Sam tries to be a good person whilst recognising that everyone has a dark side and has to learn to live with that is a constant tension we all have to grapple with.

I loved building Sam’s life – introducing each character into the story and especially enjoyed giving Alison a voice somewhere between naughty, vindictive and wide-eyed innocent.

Add to that the backdrop of the Cornish seascapes and its a recipe for a wonderful time in the vocal booth.

You can buy the book and listen to a free sample of the narration here.

Someone must be missing something…

I’ve recently completed the second in the series of Lake People novels by C L Bevill – as narrator and producer. Disembodied bones is the story of Leonie Simmonead. Leonie has a gift, like many of her relatives but hers is slightly different – she can sense when someone is missing – but only if they are true missed by someone else.

Her gift reveals itself to her and her family in spectacular fashion when she is still a girl and the experience scars her and those others involved for years to come but there’s no reason to imagine the episode isn’t over and done with until many years later, echoes of the past bring the memories tearing back to the surface.

Set in Buffalo Creek, Texas, the story is evocative of the ‘place’ and history of the region.  I loved creating Leonie’s voice and all of the other characters – in particular members of the police force who were all painted with a comic eye by Caren – albeit in a warm-hearted way.

Caren is adept at building tension and helping the reader (listener) suspend their disbelief so that you can easily step into the magical, yet real-feeling world she creates. Once again a young woman must use all her intelligence and resourcefulness to overcome the direst of situations.

The book has plenty of description and atmosphere alongside the mystery. Thrills and puzzles thread through the book, giving plenty for the characters to do. I have certainly been tested again as a narrator – having to find voices for such a variety of people – from small Louisianan children to old southern black women and ‘good old boys’, via Mexican, Texan and good old modern ‘accent-less (yeah, right)’ everyday people.

Lucky for me I’m recruited to narrate the next book in the series: Arcanorum – should be done in about two months time.

Meanwhile I have some free codes to giveaway if you’d like to read either of the first two books in the series. Simply contact me via my website contact form and in return I’ll just request an honest review put up on Audible.

Disembodied Bones by C L Bevill is available as an audiobook on Audible.

A Southern Adventure

My latest audiobook narration has just been put on sale: Veiled Eyes (Lake People Book 1).

Its really an adventure – following the trials of a young woman as she tries to find her family and their stories…

‘A vivid waking dream of giant cypress trees dripping with Spanish moss haunts Anna St. Thais. The trees sit on a black lake that resembles a dark Louisiana bayou with an evocative aura. The dream includes the presence of a man who seems to know Anna all too well and a group of people with strange telepathic powers, sometimes called veiled eyes. An orphan from Texas, she is on her way east to help out a friend when she encounters two terrifying things. Psychically, she begins to see and hear things through the eyes of an unknown individual, a man who knows more about her than she ever would have imagined. The second thing is that she has been kidnapped by a sociopathic trucker intent on making her his latest victim. When she is rescued by Gabriel Bergeron, a member of the elusive Lake People in Northwestern Louisiana, Anna doesn’t realize that he is her psychic counterpart and she has been inexplicably pulled to the area. She shares their strange colored gold eyes and their distinctive mental powers. They are a reclusive lot and know that Anna is one of them, but has been isolated by unknown circumstances. She is drawn into their incomparable world, something between that of the Creoles and Cajuns, and much in addition to those. There Anna finds a romantic link with Gabriel and the spine-tingling fear of not knowing who to trust. Her return has disturbed the inner workings of the group and threatens to expose secrets long concealed in the murky Louisiana bayous. There are secrets to be divulged about her past and why she was spirited away as an infant. Anna isn’t safe until she discovers the answers she so desperately requires.’ ©2010 Caren L. Bevill (P)2017 C.L. Bevill

This is my first narration of a novel in an American Accent so it was a challenge – particularly as the characters inhabit a fictional place with a specific heritage – echoes of French Louisianan but not so ‘deep south’ as New Orleans. It was great fun pinpointing the words and  phrases that indicated that heritage whilst avoiding stereotypes and building a character. I had so many characters from different films floating around in my head when I came to try and give them all voices and I think there are shades of cantankerous old timers, worldly-wise-women and charismatic ex-sherrifs and cowboys littering the final reading along with a more modern Heroine.

I think my favourites were Sebastian – getting his accent and voice took some trial and error and you’ll see when you listen to the book how his character contributes to the narrative – I saw him as tall and beautiful – as a tree is beautiful, graceful, natural and all-seeing. I wanted to give him a twang of French intonation – to tie him into his heritage without undermining his grace and intelligence.

Meg I also enjoyed – her accent had to be different from her neighbours as she didn’t grow up around the Lake – I tried to hint at a mixed accent – the way people who have lived somewhere for a long time tend to pick up the local accent. And she’s interesting – the way older experienced women always are! A twinkle in her eye, a sharp mind, you’re not sure what her motivation is but you know she has some great stories! And she smokes a pipe – I’m going to take up pipe-smoking when I’m older I think, its a good look.

My third favourite has to be Alby – an old-timer – I could just see the way he walks and I loved imagining him drunk – like a child filled with wonderment and breathing in all the good humour and laughter he could find. Full of giggles and no-nonsense good natured tales.

I’ve just realised my favourites are all older characters – maybe its the layers of life that I find easier to hang my character voices on. But its also one of the reasons I liked the book overall. Caren Bevill creates a diverse community – from school kids to wise old folk and everything between and the narrator floats above them telling their stories, able to flit from one place to another and take the reader with her.

It was this voice that attracted me to narrate the book and I had wonderful memories of films like Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe and Eve’s Bayou – the atmosphere and landscape the viewer is drawn into, not least by the storyteller, pushing you on, revealing little by little the patchwork of stories that set together to make up their world. Not that I’m comparing myself to Jessica Tandy! And Veiled Eyes’ story is nothing like either of those but the device of the narrator – where there is a community of characters – can be magical.

This is the first in a 4 book series written by Caren – first published in 2010 – there are more stories from the same community to come (you can read the books and the audiobooks are soon to be in production) so if you like to get to know a place and settle in for some tall tales then Veiled Eyes is a good place to start.

I was sorry to finish the production (I narrate and also produce audiobooks on ACX) as I get so caught up in creating the voices and bringing the most out of the action for the listener – Veiled Eyes has lots of action too – fast paced peril, edge of your seat stuff. And wonderful ideas for a world that surely could really exist if you just let your mind wander…

You can get hold of the audiobook of Veiled Eyes on Audible. If you’re not already an Audible member you can sign up and get Veiled Eyes for FREE! Just follow the info on the Audible website.


Giggle alert!

My most recently narrated Audiobook is Missing Gretyl:You Only Love Twice written by Si Page. Its now available to download on Audible, Amazon and iTunes. You can even get it free by signing up for Audible on a free trial and using your first credit to buy it!

The book has garnered fantastic praise from the general public and comedians alike and oh! I did have lots of fun bringing Simon’s hilarious characters to life. Have a listen to the sample if you like and see what you think.


A must- listen for anyone feeling generally glum; pop your favourite wig on and let Gretyl take the strain…



Have a shufty on Audible…