My Favourite Things

When I was invited by fellow author Kylie Betzner to share some of my favourite moments from my debut novel Dory’s Avengers, I jumped at the opportunity. Kylie started the ‘Favourite Things’ tour here on 1 December, and I’m delighted to participate in the closing ceremony today. So, where do I start? In case you’re unfamiliar with Dory’s Avengers, a brief synopsis would be as good a place as any.

DorysAvengers Cover Art

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A brutal regime. A docile population. A glimmer of hope.

In a stifled and oppressed Britain, where freedom of choice is but a distant memory, the dictatorial Sponsors reign supreme. Headed by the malevolent Lord William, a man whose cruelty knows no bounds, the Sponsors dictate every aspect of life to their fearful and brainwashed public. For over quarter of a century the Sponsors’ power has grown exponentially. Surely all hope of liberation has gone?
Where there is humanity, there is always hope. In a tiny and forgotten village the fightback begins. Don’t sleep too easily, Lord William…
Dory’s Avengers are coming!

My Favourite Character

Without a doubt, my favourite character in Dory’s Avengers is Dory himself, better known as Theodore St Benedict. I enjoyed writing about Theo so much that I have to confess to falling a little bit in love with him at one point. When the story starts, Theo is in a very bad place indeed having fallen foul of his father, the malevolent Lord William introduced in the blurb. Briefly, Lord William is obsessed with power, and anything or anyone standing in his way – including his own son – will suffer. Despite having been imprisoned and cruelly treated by his father since his early teens when he had the temerity to disagree with Lord William’s dictatorial ways, Theo emerges into the spotlight in part two of Dory’s Avengers a strong willed and highly amusing young man. This gave me tremendous scope for some cracking dialogue between Theo and his father. Far more quick witted than his father, Theo shoots Lord William down in flames verbally over and over again, humiliating the bully. How I loved writing that part of Dory’s. Oh yes, and Theo’s drop dead gorgeous! He does have his flaws (who doesn’t?), but on the whole he’s a bit of all right is Theo.
So, who will play Theo in the blockbusting Dory’s Avengers film which I feel sure will premier next year? To be honest, I don’t know. Not being much of a film buff, I don’t know anything about current hot British actors. However, I do have a fair idea of how Theo would look, so I’ve spent a happy half hour perusing male heartthrobs to try and find a match. Mmm, there are worse ways to spend a Monday morning! I really have no idea whether this guy acts or not, but in this picture Austin Butler looks very much the part for Theo. (Photo courtesy of
Austin Butler

Favourite Scene

OK, despite the fact it’s still all about Theo it had to be this one. I laughed out loud the whole way through, and have had excellent feedback from readers who did much the same. Bear in mind that Theo has been cut off from the outside world for ten years, and at the age of twenty-two he finally learns the facts of life…

A couple of days after Catherine had spent the afternoon in Theo’s room, Lord William found all three of his children in the family room. As usual, Theo and Marina were curled up on the floor watching cartoons, while Rosanna sat apart reading a book. Lord William sat down on the sofa for a while before deciding it was maybe time for a father-and-son chat.
‘Theodore,’ he said, ‘I don’t think anyone in the household has any doubt what you were up to all afternoon the other day.’
Even though Theo ignored him, Lord William ploughed on regardless.
‘Now then, Theodore, did you take precautions?’
‘Did I take what, Your Lordship?’
‘Precautions. Precautions, you silly dolt.’
‘Against what?’
‘Against getting the young lady pregnant, of course. Oh…’ Lord William’s voice trailed off as realisation dawned on both him and his elder daughter at the same moment. Looking up from her book, Rosanna shrieked with laughter.
‘He doesn’t know the facts of life, Father! He’s twenty-two years old and he doesn’t know how a baby’s made!’
‘Do you, Theodore?’
Both Lord William and Rosanna were gratified to see Theo blush slightly.
‘No,’ said Theo. ‘Should I?’
‘Given your activities the other afternoon I think it would be as well, yes. Rosanna, would you pop down to the kitchen and fetch a carrot, please?’ Waiting for Rosanna to return, Lord William turned back to Theo.
‘How much do you know?’
Glancing helplessly at Marina and finding even she was desperately trying to keep her laughter in check, Theo resorted to looking at his fingers.
‘I’m guessing it’s got something to do with sex,’ he mumbled eventually.
‘Well done,’ said Lord William sarcastically. ‘I should have thought of this sooner. No one’s actually taught you the facts of life. Ah, thank you, Rose; a nice, big carrot.’
Theo looked at the carrot in confusion, wondering what it had to do with making babies. Rosanna had guessed exactly what the carrot was for and she sat herself down beside Theo, laughing helplessly. On the other side of him Theo could feel Marina shaking with laughter too, but she laid a hand on his arm to show she wasn’t trying to mock him.
Fishing in his pocket, Lord William said, ‘This…look at it, Theodore…This is a condom.’
‘OK, Your Lordship. I haven’t a clue what that is.’
‘Here. Open the packet.’ Theo did as he was told and Lord William continued, trying to ignore the laughter of his daughters.
‘Now, when you have sex, Theodore and you…you know…finish off…’
Sensing his father’s discomfort, and that his sisters’ laughter was more at Lord William’s expense than his, Theo felt the corners of his own mouth starting to twitch.
‘You…finish off and…your seed goes into…well it goes inside the lady and, erm sometimes meets her egg. If this happens and your…er…seed fertilises the egg, nine months down the line we’ve got a baby Theodore on our hands.’
Pulling himself together, Lord William injected some authority back into his voice.
‘Stop laughing, all three of you! This is serious! Theodore, I don’t want you making babies with Catherine Lorimer; God knows, you can barely look after yourself.’ Theo would have argued that point, but he knew that if he tried to speak he would just have dissolved into helpless laughter.
‘Right, Theodore, the trick is to stop your sperm getting to Catherine’s egg, and that’s where the condom comes in. Have a look at it. How do you think it works?’
Theo examined the condom, then started to blow it up like a balloon.
‘NO!’ roared Lord William as all three of his offspring rolled on the floor, crying with laughter. ‘I wish I’d worn one of these things myself a bit more often. Give it here, Theodore!’ Prising the condom out of his son’s hand, Lord William commanded him to, ‘Watch!’
‘Right, Theodore. You put the condom on like so.’ Using the carrot, Lord William demonstrated how to put on a condom. ‘Once it’s on, nice and secure, you can go ahead and have sex. Your semen collects in the condom, which you carefully dispose of afterwards. It doesn’t reach Catherine’s egg, and we don’t have any silly accidents. Do you understand?’
‘Yes, Your Lordship,’ replied Theo, his voice wobbly with laughter. ‘I put the condom on the carrot and there’ll be no baby Theodores.’
‘Oh for God’s sake!’ Thoroughly exasperated, Lord William threw the carrot at his son before stomping from the room, leaving his children rolling around, screaming with laughter, on the family-room floor.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little foray into the world of Dory’s Avengers, and that you’ll head over to Kylie’s blog where she has introduced her upcoming debut novel, an Arthurian parody called The Quest for the Holy Something or Other. All that remains for me to do is wish you a very HAPPY NEW YEAR.

Echoes of Narcissus in the Gardens of Delight by @JoRobinson176 Blog Tour 2014

I’m delighted to be posting today as part of a blog tour to announce that Echoes of Narcissus in the Gardens of Delight by fellow author, supportive blogger and good friend Jo Robinson is now LIVE!

Donna thought there was something wrong with her. That she was suffering from a mental illness that has caused her husband to despise her, distance himself from her, and cheat on her. She blames herself for the desolate, miserable thing that is her marriage and her life. Then she comes across a book that will change everything for her, and reading it, she discovers that there’s nothing wrong with her mind at all, but that there is something very wrong with her husband instead. Marco, she realises, is a malignant narcissist. A text book case. He has a real and documented mental disorder, and that he’s been controlling, manipulating, and abusing her for decades. The sudden full knowledge of all that he’s purposely done to her enrages her. Not sure how to leave after thirty years of what she finally knows has been intentional mental and emotional abuse from him, and believing that she has nowhere to turn, being so physically isolated, she bides her time.

Then she meets and befriends a group of unusual people who share her passion for gardening, and so begins her journey to escape. She joins her new friends in their project to assist elderly people in old age homes care for their small gardens, as well as secretly supplying those suffering from painful and terminal illnesses with medicinal herb and plant remedies, including illegal plants such as cannabis. As weeks go by, she delves into her memories, relearns what it is to be respected, liked, and loved again, and slowly she formulates a plan to safely leave her dangerous husband. But unbeknownst to Donna, Marco is in serious trouble, and has desperate plans of his own, and absolutely no regard for her safety.

This is a work of fiction, but malignant narcissists really do exist, and it is a recognised mental illness. Unfortunately, many people never realise that they are involved with a narcissist, because their actions are so demonically bad as to be unimaginable and unbelievable, and so they spend their lives in misery, depression, fear, and isolation. If only by the accidental reading of a fictional story, I hope that this book will help even one person, unknowingly suffering narcissistic abuse, to realise that they don’t have to, and that it’s never too late to start over, be happy, be fulfilled, to love and care for yourself, and be truly loved and respected by others.

Available now from Amazon: US link UK link