Great Big Trumpety Triumphant Fanfare, Please: Dory’s Avengers, Re-released TODAY

Yes, today’s the day I’ve been waiting for, the culmination of a year’s hard tweaking – my lovely sleek new version of Dory’s Avengers is available to buy on Amazon Kindle.

Please click on the appropriate link below to find out more.

UK link     USA link     Australia link     Canada link

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A tale of loyalty and betrayal, kindness and cruelty, mystery and discovery, oppression and freedom, Dory’s Avengers is modern take on a good old-fashioned adventure with a great soundtrack, a healthy portion of sport and a huge dollop of humour, all leading to…

Stop right there! No spoilers.

To celebrate this momentous day, I have been out dog walking and chatting with my good friend and fellow author Georgia Rose, creator of the wonderful Grayson Trilogy among other works, and she’s been kind enough to share our chat on her blog. Would you like to have a read? Then head on over … here.

Thank you for joining me today to celebrate my book re-launch. I hope you enjoy reading Dory’s Avengers as much as I enjoyed writing it. And for those of you who have been asking, yes, I am writing novel number two (which goes under the super-exciting working title of New Book at the moment – it does exactly what it says on the tin, I suppose). Finally!

Happy weekend 🙂

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Half Centennial

Today I have a significant birthday. Significant in what way? The clue’s in the title.

My mother, who is sadly no longer with us, was a keen writer (with a vivid imagination and a wacky sense of humour, all traits she passed on generously to her children), and she kept a diary so I have a written account of that momentous day in 1966. No, not the one England football fans are still banging on about (because, let’s face it, it’s never going to happen again)…

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…which goes glaringly unacknowledged by my football loathing mum (goodness only knows where my love of football comes from), I mean a momentous day from a more personal point of view which took place a few weeks later.

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It seems that was rather more significant from Mum’s point of view than England winning the World Cup. (Well, it would be, wouldn’t it, duh!) So fifty years ago this very day, I entered the world (just in time for lunch, of course), and in honour of the occasion I’ve been looking over the past decade and making a list of ten reasons – for me, anyway – why turning fifty is better than turning forty.

Another legacy from my mum is always to look for positives.

Ten years ago, I’d never:

  • Written, published or edited a book
  • Run my own business
  • Driven a car
  • Visited the Southern Hemisphere
  • Ridden a wakeboard
  • Driven a fork lift truck
  • Watched my little League Two football club run out at Old Trafford (couldn’t get the day off work last time Cambridge United played Manchester United in a midweek match – ooh, how I love being self-employed!)
  • Heard my sister sing in Kings College Chapel (which was an amazing experience, despite the fact I felt like a bit of a chav in my crop trousers and sparlky shoes ‘by Debenhams’ next to the toffs in their Savile Row suits and cashmere coats, and the fact that one of said toffs nicked my programme!)
  • Walked overnight from London to Brighton, which was arguably the most amazing experience of my life
  • Run a blog. Okay, those who are familiar with the sporadic nature of my bog posting might say I still don’t run a blog, but ten years ago I didn’t even know what a blog was!

As if those weren’t enough reasons for me to grab the champagne and party like it’s 1999 (which, of course, it’s not, otherwise I’d be a fresh-faced 33-year-old), I’m entering my sixth decade (yikes!) with exciting times ahead. My editing business is booming, I’m on the verge of re-releasing a vastly improved Dory’s Avengers (which is available for pre-order on Kindle – can’t resist a bit of marketing, even on my birthday)…

…and the status of novel number two has been elevated from ‘on the back-burner’ to ‘work in progress on the rare occasion I find time to write’.

Bring on the next ten years; I can’t wait to find out what they hold.

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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:

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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.

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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?

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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.

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.

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Click image to add Dory’s Avengers on Goodreads

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 http://www.theplace2.ru)
 
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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.

Dory’s Avengers Book Launch – One Year On

One year ago today was the best day of my life. I went to bed on 28 August 2013 as a mere mortal, and woke up the next day as a published author.

IMG_1521Wow, I’m a published author. Those words still bring the hairs up on the back of my neck. My publication day, complete with book launch in the Cambridge branch of Waterstones, was everything I’d daydreamed it would be – and boy, can I daydream! Dory’s Avengers was released into the world in style; friends and family gathered to help me celebrate, sales were healthy and I managed to get through my speech without tears, despite coming close as I spoke of how I wished my sorely-missed parents could have witnessed my momentous day. Not so sure my mother would have approved of some of the choice language occasionally used by Dory’s Avengers’ more forthright characters, though…

One year on, I’m reminiscing fondly about my book launch. OK, I’ll admit I had expected to have attended a star-studded Dory’s Avengers film premier by now, or at least be anticipating the autumn airing of a Dory’s Avengers BBC drama. Sadly, neither has materialised. Would I have published via a different route if I’d known two years ago what I know now? Quite probably. Things haven’t really gone as I’d hoped at all, but nothing can detract from the memories of my wonderful publication day, or my pride in having published such a beautiful book, and nothing ever will.

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The last year has seen my life go through yet more changes. During the publishing process I found out I have a natural aptitude and a huge enthusiasm for editing, and my fledgling copy-editing business, Alison’s Editing Service, is starting to find its wings and fly. Back in April I met fellow author, prolific blogger and champion of independent authors, Debbie Young, following a talk she was co-hosting at the Cambridge Literary Festival. Two days later we met up again at London Book Fair, where Debbie introduced me to Helen Hart, publishing director with SilverWood Books. This forward-thinking company offers every service a self-publishing author needs to produce a professional work – including copy-editing. I am proud to say that I have been employed by SilverWood Books to edit a number of manuscripts, and thanks to this work, along with manuscripts from an ever growing group of independent authors who like my editing style, I am lucky enough now to be making a living doing something I love.400dpiLogo

If anyone had told me a year ago that by the time I celebrated the first anniversary of my book’s publication I’d be successfully running my own business, the likelihood is I’d have laughed in disbelief. Mind you, if anyone had told me three years ago I’d realise my dream to become a published author it would probably have elicited a similar reaction.

Happy anniversary, Dory’s Avengers.

Champagne, anyone?

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Reviewers Required – ‘Bribe’ Offered #TBSU

DorysAvengers Cover ArtLadies and Gentlemen, would you like a free e-copy of my debut novel Dory’s Avengers? You would? That’s fabulous. Please complete the contact form below, indicate your format preference (pdf, mobi or epub) and a copy will be winging its way to your inbox as soon as I receive your request.

Is there a catch? Well… perhaps a tiny weeny one, as the title of this piece has probably told you. If you would write an honest review of Dory’s Avengers on Amazon and on Goodreads I would be very grateful to you. Please write exactly what you think of the book, even if you hate it. I won’t hold it against you, and I won’t cry (much!). Take all the time you need to write the review; I’m not going to demand it appears within a certain time as I very much appreciate your help.

I’ve also got a bit of a random request to make. I know – it’s all me, me, me today, isn’t it! Here are the links for Dory’s Avengers on Amazon UK, USA and Canada. If you get a moment, would you have a look at the way my book is advertised, and let me know (again via the handy contact form below) what would encourage you to buy it? More importantly, would you let me know what would discourage you from buying it? Please don’t pull any punches here; I am presently at loggerheads with my publisher as I consider there to be one thing in particular handicapping sales. The publisher disagrees, but if I could confront them with evidence to support my theory they may be more inclined to listen.

Thank you very much.

Fab blogs to follow:

http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/

Jera’s Jamboree

An Author’s View

http://seumasgallacher.com/

http://eileenslovak.com/

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Click here to add Dory’s Avengers on Goodreads.

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Click here for more information about my editing service.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Merry Christmas One and All

I’d like to wish everyone who follows my blog a wonderfully happy Christmas, and may all your dreams come true in the New Year. If you don’t celebrate Christmas, I hope you have some lovely days between now and the end of 2013, and that all your dreams come true next year too.

Dory's First Copies2013 has been an amazing adventure for me, and as I celebrate today with my partner Andy and our friends I will be looking back at everything that has happened over the last twelve months. The highlight of course has to be watching my debut novel, Dory’s Avengers, slowly take shape and turn from a MS Word document into a beautifully printed and bound hard back book which was finally published on Thursday 29th August. Wow, what a perfect day that was.

This year has also brought old friends back into my life, and I’ve made some fabulous new friends via Twitter and blogging. I’ve spent the last four months learning how to edit fiction, along with blogging and writing my second novel, and will be launching Alison’s Editing Service on 1st January. None of the work I’ve done this year would have been possible without Andy’s support; at the moment he is working seven days a week (although I have persuaded him to take today off) to support us while I try to realise my writing dreams, and I’d like to dedicate today’s blog to him.

Anyone who knows my taste in Christmas songs will have spotted one obvious choice missing from my blogs over December. It’s no accident – I’ve been saving my favourite for today.

The bells are ringing out for Christmas Day – it’s Fairytale of New York.

***Advent Calendar 004The last few advent calendar picture were all angels, apart from yesterday which was the baby Jesus.