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 🙂

#MayDay Mayhem Part Two – Let The Carnival Begin!

“It is my pleasure,” boomed Lord Lah-di-Dah, “to declare the Bell End May Day fête…OPEN!”

“Oh, Your Lordship, Your Lordship.” Mrs Sanctimonious simpered around the minor aristocrat as the opening ceremony drew to a close, virtually clutching at his sleeve in a bid to ingratiate herself. “Please, allow me – I mean, it would be my honour to show you around…”

“What, what, what?”

“Show you around, Your Lordship. Perhaps some refreshments first?”

“Splendid, a bevvy or two sounds like a blahdy good idea. And there’s no need for the Lordship malarkey – yer can call me Rupert.”

Mrs Sanctimonious’s laugh positively tinkled. First name terms with an aristocrat…

“Yah, got stripped of me title a year ago. Spot of bother on Clapham Common.”

“Ew,” said Mrs Sanctimonious, a little deflated. “Well, er, how’s life at Lah-di-Dah Hall?”

“Sold it!” The former Lord Lah-di-Dah slapped Mrs Sanctimonious on the back and gave a bark of laughter. “Gambling debts, what?”

“Ewww.” Mrs Sanctimonious looked all of a sudden as though there was a nasty smell under her nose. “Well if you want refreshments, Rupert, might I suggest you’d be more at home in the pub?”

“The Drover’s Arms? Jolly good idea. Spent many a night in the barmaid’s arms, what?” The disgraced aristocrat guffawed unrepentantly. “Tally ho!”

Her mouth tighter than a duck’s arse, Mrs Sanctimonious watched him go.

“Common as muck,” she muttered. Feeling a tap on her arm, she painted a smile on her face which faded the second she saw it wasn’t anyone worth cultivating.

“Mrs Downtrodden.”

“Mrs Sanctimonious, is there anything I can do to help? Only Farmer Rosy-Cheeks seems to have everything under control in the refreshments tent…”

“Farmer Rosy-Cheeks is meant to be manning the produce stall.”

“The only produce he’s brought along is his apple juice,” replied Mrs Downtrodden. “It’s going down a storm. No one wants tea.”

“Oh, for goodness sake, woman, you’ll do anything to get out of working,” snapped Mrs Sanctimonious. “Go and see if Justin’s elephants are ready for the maypole dance yet.”

Feeling self-righteously superior as Mrs Downtrodden slunk away, Mrs Sanctimonious started walking across the village green to see how the raffle tickets were selling. She didn’t get far.

“Mrs Sanctimonious?” A woman holding the hand of a confused looking small boy stopped her in her tracks. “Mrs Sanctimonious, that man you’ve put in charge of body painting is, quite frankly, inappropriate!”

The last word came out as a scream and the small boy started to cry.

“Show the lady, Tarquin.”

Tarquin held up his hands. Painted across his small knuckles were the words ‘love’ and ‘hate’.

“I wanted a Spiderman face,” he wailed.

“Mr Wouldn’t-Say-Boo-To-A-Goose did that?” asked Mrs Sanctimonious in disbelief.

“Mr Wouldn’t-Say-Boo-To-A-Goose is running backwards and forwards to the refreshments tent,” snapped Tarquin’s mother, “getting an endless supply of Farmer Rosy-Cheeks’s apple juice for…”

“Oh dear God, no!” exclaimed Mrs Sanctimonious, clapping her hands over her face as the unmistakable roar of motorbike engines cut across the tranquillity of the spring afternoon. Squinting through the gap between her fingers, she saw her worst fears had been realised.

The local Hell’s Angels had turned up in support of their leader, Horace, who was currently engaged in painting nipples on to a five-year-old girl’s chubby cheeks.

“Horace!” Mrs Sanctimonious summoned her courage and stormed over to the large and hairy man. “You…you…what are you doing?”

“Tattooing the kiddies, Mrs S,” replied Horace affably, draining his mug of apple juice and sending Mr Wouldn’t-Say-Boo-To-A-Goose scuttling off to the refreshments tent for a refill.

“But”, Mrs Sanctimonious laid her hands on the shoulders of the baffled looking five-year-old, “this is highly inappropriate…”

“No it ain’t, Mrs S.” Horace gave the nipple adorned cheeks a friendly squeeze. “Just givin’ the little ’un a fine pair until she grows a fine pair of her own.”

“Jolly good show, man,” roared the former Lord Lah-di-Dah, glass of apple juice in hand, clapping Horace on the back. “Can’t have too many titties about the place, what?”

“I thought you were in the pub,” said Mrs Sanctimonious, rubbing the bridge of her nose wearily.

“Came back with the Morris dancers.” The former Lord Lah-di-Dah clinked his glass against Horace’s. “Mighty fine apple juice, eh?”

“Oh heck,” groaned Mrs Sanctimonious, “the Morris dancers…”

Jingle, jingle, jingle, clack! Jingle, jingle, jingle, thud! Thud! Raucous laughter. The Morris dancers, complete with a splendidly toothy Reverend Benign and an equally toothless Mr Wolf, were gathered outside the refreshments tent, giving an impromptu display – of falling over.

“Justin!” shrieked Mrs Sanctimonious. “Justin, where are you? Get the maypole dancing going, now!”

“Can’t,” replied Justin.

“What do you mean, you can’t? You’ve had an hour to train the children…”

“Yeah, and things were going swimmingly until Mrs Rosy-Cheeks instigated an ‘eat your body weight in burgers’ competition.”

“And,” said Mrs Sanctimonious, looking over to where the children were now slobbing out around the maypole, electronic tablets in hands, “I hardly dare ask, but did any of them manage it?”

“No.” Mrs Sanctimonious’s relief was short lived. “But only because there aren’t enough burgers in the country. Once they’d finished Mrs Rosy-Cheeks’s supply – in record time, I might add – they started on the…”

Justin was interrupted by a scream from the raffle stall. Mrs Downtrodden was staring in horrified disbelief at the empty stand where the magnificent prize cake, the weight of which eager fairgoers had been paying a pound a go to guess, had once sat.

“Once they’d finished, they started on the cake,” murmured Mrs Sanctimonious, feeling a little faint. Someone shoved a glass of Farmer Rosy-Cheeks’s legendary apple juice into her hand and she drank a healthy slug before continuing. “And what, pray, are the not so little darlings doing now.”

“Dancing,” replied Justin as chubby fingers whizzed over tablet screens. “They’ve all downloaded ‘Killer Zombies’ Dance of Death’ and they’re bloody brilliant at it.” Grinning, Justin produced an iPad from his man bag. “It’s great. The zombies dance round the maypole, binding the living with the ribbons, then they feast on brains. I’m on level two.”

His finger already busy, Justin returned to the maypole and disappeared into a sea of fat and ribbons.

“It’s all going wrong!” wailed Mrs Sanctimonious. “Give me strength…”

Taking another gulp of apple juice, she discovered her prayer had been answered. An inner strength she didn’t know she had came to the fore and she regarded the mayhem around her with a new appreciation.

“This stuff’s delicious,” she said, draining her glass. “Any chance of some more?”

“Ish nectar from heaven,” slurred Reverend Benign, draping an arm round her shoulders. “A gift from almighty…wash ’iz name again? Ooh,” his teeth turned in the direction of the newly crowned May Queen, Miss Pretty-Young-Thing, closely followed by the rest of his face, “don’t mind if I do.”

Reverend Benign scuttled off rather unsteadily in pursuit of Miss Pretty-Young-Thing, accompanied by wolf whistles and an accordion rendition of the Benny Hill theme tune courtesy of the Morris dancers. Meanwhile at the body painting stall, Ms Wrong-End-Of-The-Village was sharing a large roll-up with the former Lord Lah-di-Dah while Horace showcased his artistic talents on her Leanne’s face.

“Is that a…” began Mrs Sanctimonious, looking bleary-eyed at Horace’s artwork.

“Nah, Mrs S,” replied Horace with a grin. “Dirty mind you’ve got, lady. It’s just a nice picture of meat and two veg.”

“What a relief,” said Mrs Sanctimonious, turning with a beaming smile as Mrs Downtrodden appeared at her side.

“Mrs Sanctimonious,” said Mrs Downtrodden, her voice quavering, “it’s a disaster.”

The Morris men were back at the refreshments tent, singing a collection of bawdy songs at the tops of their voices, their bells jingling frantically as they swayed to and fro, while random declarations of “Brains” from the direction of the maypole heralded more victories for the zombies. Giggling and rustling coming from a nearby bush, punctuated by the occasional “Glory be to God”, suggested the whereabouts of His Reverence and the May Queen, and the large roll-ups appeared to be multiplying at an astonishing rate as Ms Wrong-End-Of-The-Village got increasingly mellow with the local Hell’s Angels chapter and the disgraced aristocrat.

“Disaster, my arse,” replied Mrs Sanctimonious, linking arms with Mrs Downtrodden and leading her in the direction of the refreshments tent and Farmer Rosy-Cheeks’s glorious apple juice. “It’s the best fête ever!”

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Picture courtesy of http://www.bingapis.com

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Authors, looking for an editor? For editing advice and services or to arrange a free no-obligation sample edit, please either click on the image below or contact me directly via alisoneditor@outlook.com.

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#MayDay Mayhem Part One – The Calm Before The Storm

Mrs Sanctimonious surveyed the hive of activity on the sun-drenched village green with satisfaction. It was rumoured far and wide that no village threw a better May Day bash than Bell End, and this year’s fête was shaping up to be the best ever.

Looking around, Mrs Sanctimonious frowned. Something wasn’t quite right. She had spent the last six years organising the village fête committee to within an inch of its lives, so why, oh why, did someone always see fit to do their own thing? And why, oh why, did it always have to be the same someone?

“Mrs Downtrodden,” she snapped, sashaying over to the jumble stall. “Mrs Downtrodden, what did we agree at the last committee meeting? What did we agree, hmm? Ms Wrong-End-Of-The-Village is dealing with jumble, you’re meant to be in the refreshments tent.”

Mrs Sanctimonious paused. There was an obvious flaw in her plan.

“So, where exactly is Ms Wrong-End-Of-The-Village?”

“Er, she went to see if the blue dress would fit her Leanne…”

“The blue…” Mrs Sanctimonious spluttered, turned an alarming shade of crimson, then tried again. “The blue Gucci for kids dress? It belonged to my Sophia until she wore it the once and got bored with it. I can’t have it gracing the slums of Gutter Street.”

Beckoning Mrs Downtrodden closer, Mrs Sanctimonious whispered, “Did you know – Ms Wrong-End-Of-The-Village doesn’t even know who her Leanne’s father is? Or her other seven kids’ fathers, for that matter. The woman’s never heard of marriage.”

“Or contraception,” murmured Mrs Downtrodden.

“I beg your pardon?”

“I said, isn’t it time for the maypole inspection?”

“Ah yes. For once you’ve come up with a worthwhile idea. And now,” Mrs Sanctimonious added as Ms Wrong-End-Of-The-Village reappeared through a cloud of cigarette smoke, “you can return to your duties in the refreshments tent.”

“Di’n’t fit,” said Ms Wrong-End-Of-The-Village, chucking the Gucci dress unceremoniously back on to the jumble stall. With a moue of disgust, Mrs Sanctimonious moved off in the direction of the maypole, thinking that if Leanne Wrong-End-Of-The-Village’s daily diet extended to something more healthy than burgers and pizzas, the dress could have fitted a treat. Or perhaps if she got a bit more exercise. Mrs Sanctimonious’s Sophia was forever active, out and about in the saddle, training for gymkhanas, following the hunt…

“Mr Wolf!” she snapped as the village’s oldest resident hobbled past, making his ponderous way with his equally ancient Yorkshire terrier towards the refreshments tent. “Get that dog out of the full sun. Really, I can’t abide cruelty to animals.”

“I was…I was just…Mrs Sanct…” Mr Wolf attempted to wheeze a reply in his defence, but Mrs Sanctimonious had already moved on.

“Justin!” she called, summoning the self-appointed choreographer. Unbinding himself from the maypole’s ribbons and tottering over (his bright pink trousers way too tight to allow for anything resembling a normal walk), Justin launched into a furious tirade before Mrs Sanctimonious had the chance to speak.

“Where are they?” he demanded. “Where are the little angels? How am I supposed to turn them into a posse of Wayne Sleeps if they’re not even here?”

Glancing around, Mrs Sanctimonious saw that Justin had a point. There was no sign of the local children she’d bribed with endless bags of Haribo to dance round the maypole later that day. There was, however, the Reverend Benign approaching from the east, hands clasped in prayer, eyes no more than slits in a face dominated by bottle bottom glasses and prominent front teeth.

“God bless you, my children,” he intoned.

“God bless you too, Your Reverence,” purred Mrs Sanctimonious, a pious smile upon her face.

“A maypole? A little, er…” Reverend Benign lowered his voice and inclined his head towards Mrs Sanctimonious, “pagan, don’t you think?”

Mrs Sanctimonious trilled with sycophantic laughter.

“Justin,” she said, “perhaps the maypole isn’t appropriate for a Christian environment. You should just nip off home…”

Reverend Benign had other plans for the overtly camp Justin.

“Oh Heavenly Father on high,” he chanted, making the sign of the cross in Justin’s face. “Forgive this filthy heathen for succumbing to the sins of the flesh…”

“You what?” said Justin. “I’m in a monogamous relationship, you holier than thou hypocrite.”

Reverend Benign adopted an expression of serene piousness, but Justin hadn’t finished with him yet.

“I’m not the one who spends his afternoons chasing after Miss Pretty-Young-Thing…”

Serenity forgotten, Reverend Benign glared at Justin.

“I’m grooming her,” he snapped.

“That’s about right!”

“For holy orders…”

“What, in her bedroom?”

“The children have arrived, Justin,” Mrs Sanctimonious cut in, sighing with relief at the timely distraction. A fleet of four by fours had indeed pulled up at the edge of the green, the vehicles’ suspension audibly creaking and groaning as a hefty child got out of each one. Reining in his temper, Reverend Benign recovered his dignity and turned to Mrs Sanctimonious with a contemptuous sniff.

“I’ll let you and this…this…”

“Fairy?” suggested Justin helpfully. “Queen?”

Gentleman,” hissed His Reverence as though that were more distasteful than either of Justin’s suggestions. “I’ll leave you to get on with your pagan rights. I suppose you’ll be telling me you’ve hired Morris dancers next…”

“Oh dear,” said Mrs Sanctimonious as the tell-tale jingle of Morris dancers’ bells carried clearly on the spring breeze. His piousness fully restored, His Reverence clasped his hands in prayer once again and made his way to the refreshments tent.

“Oh dear,” echoed Justin with a cheeky grin, which faded abruptly as the first substantial child slouched over.

“Hello, er, little boy. What’s your name?”

“Chubby.”

“Fabulous,” murmured Justin, turning to the next child. “And you are?”

“Chunky,” she replied.

“Don’t tell me,” said Justin, turning to the third child. “Tubby?”

“Nah,” he said, cramming a large piece of cake into his mouth and spraying Justin with crumbs as he spoke, “Sumo.”

“Delightful,” said Justin, rolling his eyes at Mrs Sanctimonious. “If a butterfly’s wings can cause an earthquake on the other side of the world, I shudder to think what damage this lot dancing will do. Come on,” he added, shepherding the children towards the maypole, “grab a ribbon each and let’s get started.”

The smug ball now firmly back in her court, Mrs Sanctimonious smiled sweetly as she surveyed the last minute fête preparations going on around her. The crowds were gathering for the grand opening, everything was in place, and even the bank holiday weather was being uncharacteristically kind.

What could possibly go wrong?

www.bingapis.com

Picture courtesy of http://www.bingapis.com

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Join me again on Monday to find out exactly what could go wrong…

Author Interview – Seumas Gallacher

I’m delighted to be hosting Seumas Gallacher on An Author’s View again. For a while now I’ve been a huge fan of Seumas’s highly entertaining and often hilarious blog, andprofile I’ve recently read and enjoyed the first of his gripping thrillers THE VIOLIN MAN’S LEGACY. I can highly recommend both. Seumas was kind enough to submit a guest post to An Author’s View a few weeks ago which proved to be very popular, and today he’s visited me in Blogland to chat about his life, his work and his inspirations. Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome – SEUMAS GALLACHER.

Alison – Good morning Seumas – or good whatever time it is where you are! Thank you for stopping by today and allowing me to bombard you with questions. What made you decide to write action packed thrillers? Is it a favourite genre (or should that be jongrrrr?) of yours to read?

Seumas – I like any kind of literary JONGRRR that pulls me into the book and keeps me there. Writing the action stuff seems to come easily to me, and being the lazy sod I am, I’ll go with ‘easy’ in the meantime.

Alison – Do you find it difficult to switch from being a light-hearted, jovial blogger to the author of serious and sometimes brutal novels?

Seumas – On the contrary, being able to switch between the two styles keeps the little grey cells moving. I love the company of people who have humour (and wit) as primary traits. The welcome self-discipline of the almost daily blogging balances off the heavier material the novels call for, kinda freshens the approach each time. Plus, the blog is the prime channel for propagating my ‘Author Brand’ as distinct from the ‘Author Voice’ in the novels.

Alison – Jack Calder, the hero of your novels, harks from the same area of Glasgow as you do. Are there elements of your own past and personality in Jack?

Seumas – I think most authors either directly or subliminally reflect much of their own personal experiences in their writing. I didn’t intentionally craft much of the personal stuff as such in THE VIOLIN MAN’S LEGACY, but when I edited and re-edited, I was astonished to see how much of me actually seeped into the various characters and circumstances in the book, not just Jack Calder.

Alison – The action in the Jack Calder novels is very convincing, as is the skill of Jack and his colleagues. What research did you need to do? Do you have experience of your own on which to call?

Seumas – Well, I could tell you… and then I’d have to kill you… you know how that works! One of the trouble-shooting engagements I undertook in Asia involved cleaning up a distressed ferry company, with more than its fair share of criminal elements around it. Cleaning that up resulted in the need for an armoured car and a squad of SAS-trained bodyguards… that was the seed for the story line idea. Apart from that, with the Web at our fingertips, it’s simpler now to check on facts as far as possible.

Alison – You have lived, and currently live, in some exotic places. What inspired you to move around the world? Have you based the locations in your books on the places in which you’ve lived?

Seumas – Originally, 43 years ago, the move from Scotland to London for ten years as a young banker was massive. Thereafter it was the money trail. Hong Kong was followed by Singapore, then a year in Australia. Next up was the Philippines, and eventually to the Middle East. The underpinning career of banking edged into the Foreign Exchange dealing and Money Markets, then on to being a corporate trouble-shooter. The assignments took me all over the planet. I’ve never owned a camera in my life, preferring the visual memories and interface with characters I’ve met along the way, good ones and not so pleasant ones. A lot of that is present in the books

Alison – You are a prolific blogger, treating us to a highly entertaining post daily. Do you plan your blogs in advance, or write about whatever’s on your mind each day?

Seumas – During the day, I may or may not get a simple idea to build a blog post around. However, the approach to the daily piece is ‘blank sheet of paper and blank mind’, then press the mental ‘GO’ button. The flow of words is simply a flow of consciousness, with no capital letter sentence starts or full stops… it’s quirky, but my friends on the Web seem to approve.

Alison – It certainly works for me. You’ve made a success out of publishing your work via Kindle. Briefly, what is the process from finishing your ‘wee masterpiece’ to sending it out into the world?

Seumas – It starts loooo-ooo-ooo-ooong before finishing the wee masterpiece. ‘Building the Platform’ via the extensive use of the social networks is constant and, in my opinion, absolutely vital to a modern scribbler. It’s no use throwing your masterpiece out there unless somebody’s gonna catch it. I reciprocate as much as possible for others through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Goodreads, and other channels. I also mix the offerings on Amazon Kindle… paids, Free Promos, and now the discount route via the Amazon Countdown Program.

Alison – Will you continue writing thrillers, or are you tempted by any other genres?

Seumas – For the meantime, there’s a whole raft of ideas for stories in the Jack Calder thriller series, and I’ve become part of the characters’ family. I don’t want to desert them just yet. As a (much) younger lad, I used to indulge in some poetry, a bit of which I’ve teased on to the blog from time to time. For the past four years, I’ve harboured a storyline in my head, a lot more ‘literary’ in style to the present stuff, but I think that may take a lot longer to indulge while my name is associated with the Jack Calder series.

Alison – Was it always your ambition to be a writer, or was it a skill you discovered you had by chance?

Seumas – I’ve always dabbled in bits and pieces, but never really got motivated to do ‘that book we all supposedly have in us’ until about five years ago. I now wish I’d started 40 years ago, as I enjoy the whole self-publishing ‘writing business’ experience. However, 40 years ago, there were no eBooks or Kindle, so it may not have developed as quickly as it has done recently for me.

Alison – What does the future hold for you personally? Is a return to Scotland on the cards?

Seumas – I live for the moment, and Abu Dhabi is okay for the meantime. I’d be delighted to see my writing progress to a regular international recognition as a novelist.

Alison – Thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions. Luv ye!

Seumas – Thanks , m’Lady for having me aboard again. LUV YEEZ back!

I hope you’ve all enjoyed reading Seumas’s interview as much as I’ve enjoyed hosting it. It’s always a huge thrill to chat to an author whose work I love, and Seumas is always happy to connect with his fans via a variety of networks:

Follow Seumas on Twitter

Connect with Seumas on Facebook

Connect with Seumas on LinkedIn

Follow Seumas’s blog

If you’d like to BUY THE BOOKS here are the links:

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THE VIOLIN MAN’S LEGACY Purchase links   UK   USA   Canada

VENGEANCE WEARS BLACK Purchase links   UK   USA   Canada

SAVAGE PAYBACK Purchase links   UK   USA   Canada

WELL I’LL BE BLOGGERED Purchase links   UK   USA   Canada

HAPPY READING!

Klutz!

10 September 2013

It’s not often that I embrace an American word to my oh so British heart, but I will make an exception for the word ‘klutz’. It sounds like what it is – a clumsy person – and describes me to a tee.

This morning I started a new cleaning job, working for a very nice lady who lives less than five minutes’ walk from my home. An ideal job really, but within an hour of starting work I’d had my first disaster.

Plop! Over went a jar of peppercorns.

Pop! Off came the lid.

Scamper went the peppercorns, all over the kitchen floor.

Luckily my new employer wasn’t cross in the slightest. In fact, she found the sight of me chasing peppercorns around her kitchen with a dustpan and brush so hilariously funny that she’s probably still laughing as I write, many hours later.

Peppercorns are slippery little customers. As fast as I swept them into the dustpan they’d scoot out again at a zillion MPH, seeking refuge under the kitchen appliances and laughing in their peppercorn-ish way at their owner’s new klutz of a cleaner.