A House Mouse at Christmas and other Stories

Greetings and salutations!

The nights are drawing in and there’s a very real danger of Wham! being heard on the radio once again,… yep, Christmas is coming!

I actually have 3 separate Christmas books available online – through Amazon and direct from PawPrint Press, my self publishing outlet.

First up is A House Mouse at Christmas!

A limited edition, handmade children’s tale, House Mouse is also personalised and customised for whomever reads it.  Once ordered you’ll be sent a personalisation form.  Return it to me and the book will be adapted so that your son, daughter, niece, nephew or partner becomes the hero of the book – along with their friends and pets!

For a snippet to whet your appetite, listen to an example of the first chapter by clicking here. 

Order and personalise the book by clicking here.

Christmas Tails and The Santa Beneath The Ice

“Christmas Tails” is my feature-length Christmas Story Collection: 4 longform stories in different styles – from Victorian ghost story to Enid Blyton pastiche.  You can buy this on Amazon Kindle AND as a fully-fledged paperback at https://www.amazon.co.uk/Christmas-Tails-Tim-Austin-ebook/dp/B00642GS5E/ and https://www.amazon.co.uk/Christmas-Tails-1-Tim-Austin/dp/1502581345/

“The Santa Beneath The Ice” is an action-packed comic thriller set in turn-of-the-century New York,… with a twist.  Read a snippet and purchase it for your Kindle at https://www.amazon.co.uk/Santa-Beneath-Ice-Keegan-Lestrade-ebook/dp/B0181IF8KE/ 

Merry Christmas one and all!

Oh, and if you want a truck load of FREE 100 word stories, visit onewordonestory.org (more about that next time!)

Stay Frosty!

Tim x

Narration: a New Blog Series

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Ahoy one and all!  Time for a bit of an update and some news!

Since my last update, I’ve been a busy bunny – not all of my business on the acting side, but a significant chunk.  My work within the NHS as a Simulated Patient has been frequent and productive and I’ve been out and about as a storyteller on a few occasions.

My main focus in recent months has been in setting up my own home narration studio.

During an acting gig earlier in the year I got to reading aloud a selection of my One Word One Storys.  I was made aware of, and strongly encouraged to join, ACX – Amazon’s audio narration exchange, where authors and audiobook narrators could come together for projects on the Audible platform.

A few years ago I contacted a few audiobook companies to sound them out about lending my voice to their clients’ works.  Sadly their interest was almost solely in using “established” (read: famous) names.  To be honest, I’d written the notion off as something that would wait until I had risen in stature as a screen performer.

ACX turned out to be something quite different – a place where the only thing that really mattered was the quality of your work.  Speaking to a few colleagues assured me that my work was of a standard that would stand out on ACX and so I set about building myself a voiceover booth.

I could’ve approached a local studio but I felt a need for flexibility.  I wanted a studio space of my own.  And that’s what I created.  In the walk-in closet of my home I set to adding sound-deadening insulation.  I then purchased a quality condensing microphone, stand, pop-shield and digibox (to turn the analogue signal from the microphone into data for my laptop).

I’ll be writing another blog to properly detail my rig, if you’re curious.  I may even include a video.  Suffice it to say, however, that the booth has been a tremendous success, with an extremely low noise floor and very creditable sound deadening.  In layman’s terms, it produces a good, clean, rich sound.

I’m now busy auditioning for audiobooks and recording a few works of my own – including a full reading of Christmas Tails and The Santa Beneath The Ice – both to be completed and available on Audible in time for Christmas.

If you’d like to hear samples of my work as an audiobook narrator, do check out my ACX profile here.   If you’re an author, drop me a line and we can have a chat about working together on your book.

I’ll be writing a series of blogs about my audio work so keep those eyes and ears peeled!

Until next time,

Stay Frosty.

Tim.

P.S.  If you haven’t checked it out already, please take a moment to read my short story blog over at onewordonestory.org.  You won’t regret it  🙂

Storytelling, Upcoming Gigs, Beowulf and “The World’s Most Insane Writing Project”

Didn’t I say something about making this blog a daily thing?  Yeaaaaaah,…..

ANYWAY

A lot is happening at the moment so there’s a lot to say.

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First up, I’ve been contracted to be the official Bentham Storyteller at the “Bentham Carnival” for the second year in a row!  I had tremendous fun at the last Carnival (read about it here) and am expecting to enjoy this year’s just as much!

The title for the storytelling is “Rain or Shine – Umbrella Tales”.  I’ll be performing 4 stories through the day.  Just like last year, I’ll be writing them in advance.  Come along to High Bentham on Saturday the 4th of June and enjoy!

There’s a good chance that I’ll be returning to my role as DCI Clueless in “Clueless and Wuffles: The Case of the Missing Jewels” a little later in the year.  Situation still developing on that.  News soon.  If you recall, that’s the show that I took to Glastonbury Festival in 2014 with Rough Magic Theatre. It’s about time the ol’ trenchcoat was dusted off again!

ANOTHER thing I can’t talk about is Beowulf – a show that’s currently undergoing very early funding talks.  I hope to be able to tell you a bit more about this once things are firmed up.  Again; more soon.

So what CAN I tell you about?  Well, I can tell you all about One Word One Story: a short story marathon of quite ridiculous insanity.

I recently challenged myself to write a brand new 100 word short story every single day for an entire year.  Yes, really.  And I’m doing it – you can go and read them right now over at https://onewordonestoryblog.wordpress.com/.   It’s already got more than 700 views and it’s less than a month old.  It has also garnered a few celebrity fans, including Red Dwarf’s Danny John-Jules.

There will be more to say and talk about next time!

Until then, stay frosty!

Tim.

Books, Acting and Things: ActorTim is BACK, baby!

Where does the time go?

But let’s not start with all that!  I have been having a very busy year as a performer and as a novelist.  Let me tell you all about it,…

As you’ll have seen in my last post – oh, so long ago – I spent part of my Summer working as a storyteller in my home of Bentham.  I have also been hard at work as a medical roleplayer in Lancaster and Manchester.  It’s one of those jobs that is an enjoyable and reliable “filler” between more visible acting work.

I continued my association with Rough Magic Theatre last year, returning to perform as Lewis Carol and The Mad Hatter in a short summer tour of their “Alice In Wonderland” show at a number of festivals.  I also returned to the role of Fred Fettler in “Fred Fettler’s Pony 3000”, a street theatre show that went down a storm at Lancaster Encounter, a summertime festival in Preston.

 

Beyond acting, I have been busy writing.  My “Christmas Tails” collection of short stories has been selling well over the holiday season and I’ve been typing out stories for the sequel collection, due out later this year.

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Just before Christmas I released “The Santa Beneath The Ice”, a short comic/Noir crime thriller set in 1900 New York.  It quickly drew a set of Five Star reviews and sold in good numbers – though the fashion on Kindle these days seems to favour full-length novels.

With that in mind, I have already begun work on my first full-length novel featuring Keegan and Lestrade, characters that I grew very fond of during the writing of “Santa”.  Their first full-length adventure (currently under the provisional title “The Ripper of Red Hook”) will be written over the course of 2016.  I’ve already mapped out the mystery they will face and many of the characters they’ll meet on the way.  Lets see what happens!

I’ll be blogging solidly about my experience writing this first full-length work over the next year.  If you’re curious about how it feels to write a novel and what challenges a writer faces, subscribe to this blog and keep updated on my progress.

Which reminds me: this blog is going weekly.  After an eon in suspended animation, I’m ensuring that I update it every Wednesday from now on.  I hope that you can join me.

Until Wednesday, though,…

Stay Frosty.

Tim xx

Thunderbirds are GO!!! – But are they as good as the original series?

A very interesting discussion on the pros and cons of the new Thunderbirds Are Go series, from my long-time collaborator Collette Knowles of Rough Magic Theatre.

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Despite my initial suspicion, given the lack of puppets, the new reboot of Thunderbirds for ITV (Thunderbirds Are Go) has a lot of merit and is great fun to watch.

I tend to find in general that films and television that use CGI rather than puppetry are just not as effective.  You can always tell when something is CGI rather than animated or using live puppetry and it does tend to feel a bit cheap, fake and disappointing.  There are obviously exceptions.  The work of Pixar for example does not attempt to make CGI look naturalistic but instead uses caricatured visuals which are much more effective.

Puppets have a character and expression all of their own and unlike CGI where every action is programmed a puppeteer can be surprised by the things their puppet does.  A puppeteer does not impose a set of actions and movements upon the puppet, rather the…

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“Local Performer to Debut Riverbank Tales”

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On the 30th of May, High Bentham will see the world première of 3 new short stories by celebrated local actor and writer Tim Austin.  Told to visitors in venues around the town as part of this year’s “Carnival Bentham”, the event marks a departure into straight storytelling that Tim has been planning for a long time.

“I’ve been writing for stage, page and audio for a while now,” explains Tim. “And much of my work has been short stories.  I’ve already performed self-penned shadow theatre shows and even a monologue or two on a West End stage but this will be the first time I’ve written and performed a story without props or puppets – the purest kind of storytelling.”

Tim will be telling stories about life and fantastical events on the River Wenning, which runs beside and through High Bentham.  The hubris of kings, magical creatures, an adventure in the undergrowth and the great Wenning Oak (a local landmark) will all feature.

The River itself provides the inspiration for this year’s Carnival Bentham; an event that’s now in it’s 4th year.  Along with Tim’s storytelling trail, the carnival will include a vibrant mix of street entertainment, a street procession, live music and fun competitions for all.

“I’ve been involved in the Carnival every year since it started,” continues Tim. “It’s a great event!  This is the first time I’ve been presenting my own work there and I’m really looking forward to it.”

As well as a busy Actor, Tim is a prolific writer, having penned many theatre plays and shadow shows for long-time collaborators Rough Magic Theatre.  He is also a published short-story writer, with his “Christmas Tails” collection riding high in the Amazon book charts every December and another collection on the way later this year.

Tim will be performing on streets and inside shops around the town.  Carnival Bentham takes place on Saturday the 30th of May. For more details on the event, please visit their facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CARnivalBentham

(From a press release submitted to local newspapers)

4 Days To Go – Clueless and Wuffles are Heading to Glastonbury (and other BIG news)!

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Rehearsals for Clueless and Wuffles: the Case of the Missing Jewels are now complete, with a dress and tech rehearsal dusted over the weekend.  Now it’s just a waiting game before we head down to Worthy Farm for the festival itself.

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In case you didn’t know (or you’ve lost the ability to scroll down to the post underneath this one), I’ll be performing as DCI Clueless – a hapless and unbelievably vain detective who, along with his faithful Sergeant, DS Wuffles, must hunt down the stolen Crown Jewels.  The show will be performed at the Panic Circus Big Top on the Kidz Field from Thursday the 26th until the close of the festival.

If you’re at Glastonbury this year, keep an eye on the hashtag #wuffles for show times, pictures and all kinds of random micro-blogging goodness.  I look forward to seeing you there!

I’ll be writing up my experiences and thoughts on the festival for Frost Magazine upon my return.  Keep a weather eye out for that.

In other news, I’ve recently been cast in “Justice”, a site-specific theatrical event being held at Lancaster Castle over the Summer this year.  Work has already begun on the show, with showings taking place on weekends through July and all week through August.  More on that in my next blog post.

Plans are progressing on a funding application for a big show in March 2015.  The project, which I’ll be keeping under wraps until things are a little more firmed up, has a producer, director and musical director attached, with work due to begin on the script and music in August/September.   We’ve finalised an initial budget and our first funding bid goes in this week, with a further GFA bid emerging in July.  I’ll update you on details for the show once we know that it’s definitely happening (fingers crossed!)

And, to round things off, I’m continuing my work as a medical role-player and enjoying it immensely.  It’s a fantastic team of actors to work with and a marvellous team in charge.  I’ll be jetting back up from Somerset for another performance the day after Glastonbury (I know!)

Until next time, stay frosty!