Big Fanfare Please – The New Improved Dory’s Avengers Is Available to Pre-order!

Excited! Buzzing! Finally, after the best part of a year’s editing, re-editing, re-re-editing, re-re-re-re…you get the picture, Dory’s Avengers is due for re-release on Friday 30 September 2016. The manuscript has been professionally proof read (yes, I know what I do for a day job, but not even an editor can proof her own work) – many thanks to Julia Gibbs for her expert work, and the cover art is looking fan-blooming-tastic courtesy of James Willis of Spiffing Covers:


I’ve managed to upload the manuscript not only to Kindle Direct Publishing, where the e-book is all ready to pre-order (Amazon UK, Amazon USA, Amazon Ca, Amazon Au), but also to Createspace for those of you who prefer a yummy printed book – thank you to Mary Matthews (aka author Georgia Rose) of Three Shires Publishing for teaching me so much at her excellent self-publishing workshop earlier in the year. Hell, I’m even going to be releasing Dory’s Avengers on Audible once I’ve found the perfect narrator – watch this blog for further news on that particular venture. There’s no stopping me now.


But hang on a moment – wasn’t Dory’s published three years ago? About this time of year, with a book launch and signing sessions and lots of champagne?

Book Launch Champagne 1

Okay, I confess – yes, it was. I’m not going to go into details about what went wrong (mutters dark oaths about vanity publisher dazzling naïve author with false promises); suffice to say, about a year ago I decided to reread my literary triumph and ended up hugely embarrassed by the standard of editing, proof reading and, I have to confess, my own blunders. All the parts I’d been uneasy about but had left in; all the rambling scenes I’d included simply so I could air one amusing phrase; all were there, mocking me and making me want to…give the book a damn good structural edit and re-release it.

And so I did.

I can honestly say I am delighted with everything to do with the revised edition of Dory’s Avengers, and I’m looking forward to sharing more blog posts and snippets from the book on An Author’s View in the weeks leading up to the big launch on 30 September. If you bought a copy of the original and feel tempted to give the sleek new version a try, please contact me and I will give you a free copy, if possible in the format of your choice. If not, I hope you will purchase a copy, love it and leave me a peachy review, but I will be equally interested to know your reasons if you’re not keen. If people are reading Dory’s Avengers, I will be one happy author. You, dear readers, are after all the reason why I write.


Introducing – Susan Grossey @SusanGrossey

My final introduction post is all about Susan Grossey, author of both factual and historical fiction books about financial crime. I first contacted Susan as soon as the Mill Road Winter Fair organisers confirmed that Books, Beautiful Books would be a part of this year’s fair, and we’ve been swapping cheerful and friendly emails since (as I have with all the authors joining me on Saturday). I’m very much looking forward to meeting her.

From Susan’s website, here is more about her and her work:


My name is Susan Grossey.  I graduated from Cambridge University in 1987 with a degree in English, and then taught secondary English for two years before realising that the National Curriculum was designed primarily to extinguish every spark of creativity in its teachers.  I then became a technical author, and reached the pinnacle of this profession when I was asked to document the workings of a choc-ice wrapping machine in Cardiff, while wearing a fetching blue hairnet (which I forgot to remove until it was pointed out by a cashier in a petrol station on the M4).

From this unbeatable high point I moved into technical training, and one day was asked to help with a staff manual on fraud prevention.  As I wrote the chapter on money laundering, I realised thaAnti Money Lauderingt here was a topic that could keep my interest for years – and so it has proved.  Since 1998, I have been self-employed as an anti-money laundering consultant, providing training and strategic advice and writing policies and procedures for clients in many countries.  As part of my job, I have written several non-fiction books with exciting titles like Money Laundering: A Training Strategy, The Money Laundering Officer’s Practical Handbook and Anti-Money Laundering: A Guide for the Non-Executive Director.

Suspicious Activity cover-part-1[1]Suspicious Activity cover-part-6[1]










However, even this is not enough financial crime for me, and in my spare evenings and weekends I write fiction – but always with financial crime at the heart of it.

The ForgeryCanary waistcoat










To purchase any of Susan’s books please visit her website, or come along to the Donkey Green marquee at Mill Road Winter Fair in Cambridge on Saturday and meet her in person.

You can also follow Susan’s blog or connect with her on Twitter @SusanGrossey

The Countdown Escalates

22 August 2013

Regular visitors to ‘An Author’s View’ may have noticed that no author interview has appeared this week. The interviews will return in September as there are plenty more fabulous authors happy to share their stories with us, but for now I would like to dedicate ‘An Authors View’ solely to my very soon to be published début novel, DORY’S AVENGERS.

One week today Dory’s will be officially published and my lifelong dream will have come true. I’ve always enjoyed storytelling, and I’ve always loved books. Now the two have come together, and it goes without saying that I’m excited. I’m also nervous; the butterflies have been churning away in my stomach for a couple of weeks now, but that’s all part of the thrill. At the forthcoming Book WaterstonesLaunch in the Cambridge branch of Waterstones on 29 August I’ll be signing copies of my beautiful book, making a speech, reading from DORY’S AVENGERS…

Yes, I’ll be the centre of attention. Bring it on! I can’t wait.

Whatever happens after the book launch will be a huge adventure as I continue my steep learning curve. Thanks to fellow authors, who have been unfailingly supportive of my writing, I know a lot of hard work awaits me as I continue to keep the interest in DORY’S AVENGERS alive with promotional events, more book signings, and, of course, my twin loves of blogging and networking. Somewhere along the way I would like to continue writing ‘New Book’, as well as acquiring a good reputation as an editor. I need to keep the wolf from the door somehow, and believe me, he’s sharpening his teeth even as I type! I’m looking forward to it, with a little bit of trepidation. No one ever ventured into the unknown without a few nerves, but I’ll be working for something about which I am passionate: my writing. To have been given the opportunity to follow my passion is a wonderful gift, a gift for which I will be eternally grateful.

The future certainly looks very exciting, and it will all kick off in a week’s time. As the countdown escalates I have decided to shamelessly copy an idea from Nicky Wells: blogger extraordinaire, author of the fabulous SOPHIE’S TURN, SOPHIE’S RUN and soon to be published SOPHIE’S ENCORE, and supportive friend. Like me, Nicky is a music fan, and every Monday she adds some music to her blog. Music has always been a source of inspiration for me, so for the next seven days I will share a song each day as a soundtrack for DORY’S AVENGERS.

I hope you will enjoy Dory’s Music, and the accompanying blogs.

My Author Interview

I have given my first author interview. Throughout the process of publishing DORY’S AVENGERS I’ve had a persistent niggly voice in the back of my mind telling me that I’m not really an author. I’m only pretending. Finding a publisher, editing, proof reading, approving the wonderful cover art, promoting, guest blogging, networking, organising the book launch; yes, I’ve done all these book publishing essentials, but none has managed to silence the niggly voice.

‘But, look!’ I tell the niggly voice. ‘That’s my photograph on the cover of Dory’s Avengers. I am the author!’

‘Well now you’re being silly,’ replies the niggly voice. Smugly.

As I said at the start of this post I have given my first author interview, and to my amazement the niggly voice is silent.

‘Niggly Voice, look! An author interview, featuring me.’


Could it be that my subconscious finally believes that I am an author? About time!

My niggly voice silencing author interview can be read on Jera’s Jamboree.

Author Interview – Nik A Ramli


Purchase on Amazon
UK Link US Link

Today I have a very exciting guest in the form of the multi talented Nik A Ramli. Not only is Nik a successful interior designer with his own unique style, he is now a successful author too. An avid music fan, Nik has written a biography celebrating the musical journey of his all time favourite American singer, Donna Summer. He had the opportunity to interview many respected figures nationally and internationally in the entertainment world: journalists, music authors and fans of the singer for the endeavour. This first book by Nik titled ‘Donna Summer The Thrill Goes On – A Tribute’ is now available.

Nik’s career has seen him hold a weekly guest slot on a live breakfast TV show (‘Hello On Two (HOT)’ on RTM TV2) discussing interior design. He is a contributor to national and international magazines, newspapers, has been interviewed on a number of radio stations, featured on the popular daily TV programmes and promotional films on subjects related to interior design. In his career Nik has been interviewed by some of the UK’s most popular BBC and Channel 4 TV presenters. In April 2012 he was asked to suggest furniture retailers in Kuala Lumpur to sponsor NTV7’s ‘Bella’ TV show. To find out more about Nik you can visit his website.

I am delighted to have the opportunity to bombard Nik with questions, which he has very kindly taken the time to answer.

Alison – Hello Nik, and welcome to An Author’s View. To start off let’s get to know more about your writing. Please describe your latest book, along with details of book signings, release date (where relevant), promotional events etc.

Nik – Hi Alison. My book, ‘Donna Summer The Thrill Goes On – A Tribute’ was released in September 2012 and in January 2013 the paperback was printed.

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Nik at the launch for ‘Donna Summer The Thrill Goes On – A Tribute’

The book is a very personal tribute, a music biography celebrating the late American star’s musical success. It documents Donna Summer’s ups and downs during her career in the world of entertainment. It is an informative read and contains a lot of detailed factual information. This project is a fair and constructive critical analysis of my favourite singer’s artistic legacy. Still, one can’t help it if there is a little bit of bias because, after all, Donna Summer is my favourite artist. The book is aimed at all music lovers who would like to know what an incredibly creative person Donna Summer was. New fans will love this book, fanatical fans will appreciate it. I’m sure no one can satisfy every single one of Donna Summer’s hardcore followers but I hope most people will enjoy it.

It is great and I’m still promoting the book. I’m telling you it’s a full time job! In June 2013, a DJ did a gig as a tribute to Donna Summer and called it ‘Funk Off! Donna Summer Special’, I was there to promote my book in London. We had a great time… I and some friends did anyway!


Also there might be a show, a special tribute to Donna Summer music in Malaysia in September 2013 and to celebrate the one year anniversary of the hardcover. 

Alison – Sounds like a really fun way to promote your book. When and why did you decide to become an author?

Nik  – This is due to my other writing works for publications which started in 2005 on tips about interior design and I had columns in the US and the UK. I wrote a script for a UK TV drama once, but the script did not go far! As for my book, since I have compiled data about Donna Summer’s music as early as 1997 as a hobby. It was in 2008 I asked myself “What if”. So that was the beginning of my ‘author’s’ voyage. The rest is history.  

Alison – Do you have any idiosyncrasies when writing, such as performing certain tasks before you begin or wearing particular clothes while you work?

Nik – Every writer has their own approach when writing. It took me a while, as I was working full time during the initial phase of writing the manuscript for publication. I listened to a lot of my favourite music. Eat a lot! Until you have gone through the process of producing a book you don’t really appreciate how much work it involves. Creating a conducive environment is important so that you can focus on the work.

Alison – I imagine you had to do plenty of research for your book.

Nik – Absolutely! Writing a factual book about someone popular is a totally different proposition. There are a lot of considerations one needs to take account of such as legal matters and finalising and analysis of the research. Doing the research is one of the most interesting parts of the writing process. I also conducted interviews with selected national and international media figures related to Donna Summer. It is important for me to get information from as many different sources as possible and I wanted a fresh feel to the work.

Alison – I notice your book has received some favourable reviews. Please feel free to quote from the review and/or post links here.

Nik – It was great to receive good reviews about my work from publications.

For example The Beat noted:

“Nik A Ramli has dug deep…to paint a portrait of a very creative talent, extremely well researched and informative.” “Ramli takes a different and personal look at her life and career full of highs, million-selling and Grammy Award-winning records, attempts at being a movie star, her retreat back to gospel, and her love of painting.” “Drawing from a number of quality publications and interviews…the book was written before her untimely death and is best read with that in mind.” “…an enjoyable read for soul and general pop fans.”

While Gay Times printed:

“…this is a complete biography that covers everything…It’s meticulous in the extreme…essential for any Summer obsessives.”

Most humbling was receiving comments from Donna Summer’s fans that e-mailed or posted their messages on social networking sites to me, it is fabulous.

Alison – What have you learned from the publishing experience? Are there things you would do differently in future?

Nik – I learned a lot since my book was published. From my experience I say promotion is the key and you have to carry on doing the task. A published author once said to me “You still have to do publicity own your own”. She is right. Well it’s your baby, your lover! You are not going to let your book go and walk alone? Or just simply depending on the publishing company? Well unless you are a global well known author when everything is at your service!  

The main key is ‘RESEARCH’. You’ll learn more and more, it’s endless. Still, this is my first book and first contracted partnership publication. Sure, there will be many things one might do differently. Only once you have published a book will you have an idea what to do next in the future, perhaps?   

Alison – Would any other writing work interest you, such as screenplay writing, editing or book reviewing? Please give reasons for your choices.

Nik – I would love to and I will. You learn when you’re reading other peoples work for review. You will learn again and also when you start to write new manuscript(s). I must say editing is not my field. Let’s leave it to the experts shall we?

Alison – I gather from your last answer that you consider professional editing and proof reading essential parts of the publishing process.

Nik – Oh yes. You do need professionals to do the job. Still you also have to read your manuscript over and over to proof it after it has been edited. It’s your work after all. I love the experience I had with this task, e-mailing the publishers about the changes is fabulous. Maybe I gave the editor a headache? Who knows? Still to proof read and to read it as a book is different. Your mind is more at ease and sometimes you soon spot a few things that may need correcting.  Publishers normally will advise their authors about the matter.

Alison – I found it impossible to proof read my own work; I simply saw whatever I intended to write, so I’m very grateful to the professionals for the job they did. Aside from employing the services of proof readers and editors, is there any other advice you would give to a budding author?

Nik – Research, research and lots of research on your subject matter, and do it well. Stay creative and focus. If you have any ideas for your working manuscript, note them down. Carry a little note book with you all the time!

Alison – Did you give television/radio interviews while promoting your book? Did you enjoy the experience? Did you learn from it?

Nik – I had a radio interview in the UK, newspapers in Malaysia and a magazine in the US. The book also featured on Malaysian TV when I was there to promote my interior design work and to do my guest TV slot. I have had media interviews before about my design work. All I can say to future authors is to make notes and remember the crucial information you want to deliver to the listeners and viewers. Live Radio and TV interviews are exciting and nerve racking in equal measure. Enjoy it! You are talking about your work.   

Alison – How did you feel the first time you saw your book in print?

Nik – A self published friend of mine said “You will cry”. Well, no! I was normal and excited. I knew it was my book when I received it from the postman. You know when you see scenes about authors receiving their book from movies or TV series you would say “Hey that’s me soon” But it is not. I’m sure everybody experiences it differently. But I’m still very proud to see my book! I smile every time I look at it. You know I hold it and put it in my bag every time I travel and have it on my coffee table. I’ll go to shops if they display my book and have a look at it! Am I sad? Well who cares… I have a book out!

Alison – I did think I would cry when I received the initial copies of my novel; instead I smiled a huge smile as Book Guild had done such a fabulous job. I have to keep looking at the author photograph to remind myself it really is my work, so I can understand your pride! It would be a terrible shame to see the demise of the physical book. Do you think there will always be people who want to buy hard copies of books, or will the e-reader take over completely? How do you feel about e-readers?

Nik – The physical book will always be published. It is a tough business, but people will always buy books because you can’t replace a physical book. No doubt e-books will become increasingly popular but from my own findings readers purchase them as an easy read type of book. They are moderate in price and space saving. For great novels and fabulously designed coffee table books, I say e-books cannot compete.  

Alison – I’m sure you’re right. I can’t imagine a world without books, much as I enjoy my e-reader, so I think they’re safe for the foreseeable future.

Thank you once again to Nik for sharing his news and opinions with us.

Nik – Thank you Alison. All the best for your own book and enjoy the journey promoting your book.

If you’d like to find out more about Nik and his work he has a variety of social networking sites, blogs and websites for you to follow:







To buy Donna Summer – The Thrill Goes On – A Tribute: