What do you call a tartan cat?

Seumas Gallacher:

…m’Lady, Authoress and bonne femme en France, Ailsa Abraham carries this wee blether piece today …enjoy …:)


Originally posted on The Bingergread Cottage:

Sometimes one strikes up friendships on-line and even though you never meet each other, it is a case of “real pals”. Such a man is Seumas Gallacher who, in deference to his Weegie start and my own family’s connections with the city, I usually refer to as “Big Man”.
I have been very remiss recently and did not welcome him to the family of Crooked Cat Publishing when he joined. I’m putting that right today by inviting him over from far-flung lands to chat about this decision and show off his wares … drop the kilt-hem, Seumas, I meant your books!
Welcome, welcome, dear man, both to the scruffy kitchen and to the Cat Basket. Let me ask you some impertinent questions while you help yourself to a drink.Seumas
SG : Question away, m’Lady… it’s a pleasure as ever to be here with you.
I’m published by the…

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…Susan Toy outlines 10 Ways to Kill Your Writing…Part Two…


…I’m delighted to run a five-days consecutive series of posts from my terrific pal, Author, Susan Toy, for every author to enjoy and prob’ly learn lots from… here’s PART TWO :

10 Ways to Kill Your Writing

This 5-part article is from a talk I gave at the Calgary Public Library Writers’ Weekend Feb. 4, 2012.

Thanks to all of you for reading this series that is very kindly being hosted by the ONE, the ONLY, SEUMAS GALLACHER!

Part 2

  1. Copy others and don’t search for and develop your own voice

When I first began writing creatively, I had already enjoyed a long career in bookselling and as a sales rep for publishers. During that time, I got to meet everyone – and I mean everyone!

Gail Bowen was one author I worked with who became a friend and I wanted to be just like her – writing mysteries set in a specific locale.

Then I began taking writing classes and I’m embarrassed and ashamed to admit to you now that I actually said to Paul Quarrington, my mentor, that I had not read any of his books before beginning the course because I didn’t want his writing to influence the “voice” I was trying to develop.

I know! What an idiot!

Writers should always find an author whose writing they can aspire to emulate. Not mimic or imitate, but a standard of accomplishment and success to aim for.

I realize now how arrogant and insulting I must have sounded to Paul at that time. The only consolation I have is that I hear the same words from other beginning writers – that they need to develop a unique voice and cannot risk being influenced by such-and-such a great writer.

You should be so lucky to learn to write that well!

By the way, that unique voice I was so concerned about developing? It eventually came to me, and without my actually realizing it, because the more I wrote the more ME I put on the page. It was unconscious at the time, but I have been told by readers that they enjoy the voice I’ve created in my stories, so I’m pretty chuffed about that.

I never would have reached that point though if I hadn’t just kept writing, reading, revising, and learning my craft.

  1. Believe you are the first to have . . .
  2. a) written a particular story

There are very few new ideas in this business, but there are fresh approaches to those ideas. Shakespeare gave us the twelve great stories, the original themes, and everything else tends to be a variation of one of those themes. The key here is to be able to tell each story with a twist – from your own personal perspective.b) made mistakes in your writing

b) made mistakes in your writing

I could include here, “Believe that you are the first to say stupid things,” as I mentioned I did with Paul Quarrington.

I bet if I could ask here for a raise of hands we’d see a lot of them in answer to a question whether anyone has ever made a mistake in their writing, especially early on in their careers.

It happens – get over it! But do make sure you learn from those mistakes.

  1. c) struggled to write

Again, asking for a raise of hands would probably garner a response from everyone reading this blog post.

  1. d) heard from readers that perhaps you should consider finding a day job . . . Or a new hobby.

Writing isn’t for everyone and definitely it’s not for the faint of heart. If you can’t take criticism then step away from the computer. If you can withstand the slings and arrows, then learn from them. Learn how to work with an editor. Find a writing instructor who can help you.

If you truly have a passion to write, and a story to tell, you will overcome those early critiques and learn to write so that readers believe this IS your day job!

And don’t kvetch about mistakes, difficulties, embarrassments, criticism, rejection, etc. We’ve all been there. We all know what you’re going through. So just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get back to writing!

  1. Think that “everyone” will want to read what you write

If you tell me this then I know you don’t have a clue who you are writing for. You must know your market. While every one of us hopes our books will sell a million copies and that Oprah or Mark Zuckerberg will invite us to be featured in their book clubs, the reality is your book will likely appeal to a rather small segment of the population. Know who this is you’re writing for, who your writing will appeal to, or at least have a good idea of your audience. This will really help your writing develop when you focus on a particular group.

Or take that even further … Aritha van Herk told us in a workshop that she always thinks of Alberto Manguel as being her perfect reader, and that she writes specifically with him in mind. Who would be your perfect reader, the one author you would write for and whose approval you seek?

Susan Toy has been a bookseller, an award-winning publishing sales representative, a literacy teacher, and is now a published author, publisher, and promoter of fellow authors and their books. Born and raised in Toronto, and after completing a degree in English Literature at Queen’s University in Kingston, she moved to Calgary in the late 70s and immediately found a job in a bookstore, beginning what has become a life’s career working with books and their authors.

Link for Island in the Clouds: https://islandeditions.wordpress.com/2012/08/23/where-in-the-world-can-you-purchase-island-in-the-clouds/

Link for That Last Summer:


…yeez can catch some of m’Lady, Susan’s WURK and links here :

Blog: http://islandeditions.wordpress.com/
And a blog dedicated to promoting other authors and their books
Reading Recommendations 










…see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!… 







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The system called “reciprocity”

Seumas Gallacher:

…thoughtful post from Inkspelled Faery about the sensitive area of writers’ ‘reciprocity’… great post …

Originally posted on Inkspelled Faery:

Author reciprocity can be a touchy subject. If Writer A shares Writer B’s blog post, hits “going” to her online event, “likes” her Facebook page, clicks “follow” on Tumblr or Twitter, it is only natural that Writer A want Writer B to do the same for her, yes? In a perfect world, everyone would turn around and immediately repay the favors other people did for them, but this is not a perfect world, we are not perfect people.

You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours—or not.

I go to a decent number of online events for different authors, review lots of books (or did before I started school), follow lots of author social media feeds, occasionally make graphic edits for books I liked, and recommend books on Goodreads and Amazon, but do I expect all those authors to do the same for me and my titles? Well, I’ll admit it…

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…from Author, Charles E. Yallowitz… from Role Playing Games to Crafting Novels… fascinating Guest Post…

…so many times I get flabbergasted by intriguing Guest Posts… today my gast is flabbered by good pal, Author, Charles E. Yallowitz… we had been discussing material for a piece here, and he asked if it was appropriate to show the comparisons between Role Playing Games (RPG) and writing novels… I’m not a gamer, but I’m sure many of yeez Lads and Lassies have delved into the ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ otherworlds… this post is fascinating, and underlines for me how much thought we quill-scrapers pour into our own masterpieces… enjoy:

Thank you to Seumas for inviting me to write a guest post. I thought long and hard about what to write about. Then I went out for some pizza, watched some TV, and thought up the idea during a commercial break.

Charles author photo B&W

I’ve been publishing my fantasy series Legends of Windemere since 2013 and many people have asked me what inspired it. The answer is a Dungeons & Dragons game I was part of in college. After that response, people either walk away, yell NERD!, or start a conversation about what D&D is. This is a tabletop role-playing game like World of Warcraft, but with dice instead of a keyboard and Redbull outages instead of computer crashes. This was a fun hobby that I got into during high school and I got into other game systems that involved all manner of characters. So it affects a lot of what I write. Yet it’s not an easy medium to transfer to books because of some key differences.

Curse of the Dark Wind Cover


One of the biggest differences is what directs the action within the two mediums. An RPG works off books of rules and dice while a novel is whatever is in the author’s head. If I wanted one of my heroes to flip off a rooftop, slide down the drain pipe, and vault into a passing cart of hay then it’s done. In a game, that requires several roles with various number targets and associated stats. From experience, I can tell you that actions like that tend to fail and you’re making a new character if it’s utter disaster. So there is more personal control over everything when you’re an author and not a player.

More importantly, many things that occur because you got a lucky roll won’t translate well to a book. Freak accidents in a game is something one celebrates among the other players because it’s something to behold. During this event, nobody ever comes up with a reason why such a thing happened even if it really is dumb luck. Readers don’t take well to multiple ‘dumb luck’ events, so you need to either give a reason for the incident or cut it out. It might be nothing more than an amusing tale to tell during a press tour or in a blog interview, but it would actually harm your story.

Hero Cover Final

Another aspect to consider is that you’re working with other people in the game and they have different goals. Get permission to use their characters. That’s the first rule. After that, realize that some of them might not be roleplaying anything more than a character that is oddly aware of the number system that influences their evolution. This won’t work in a story, so you need to rewrite some characters. I have two great examples here:

  1. The character of Aedyn Karwyn in my series was played by a guy that was only interested in fun and stats. The original name was actually Aidan Quinn who I learned a few months later is an actor. Knew it sounded familiar. That was one change that was needed. Another was that the original Aedyn had the personality of a piece of paper and I had to revamp that or cut him out. The benefit here is that he was a blank slate unlike other characters that had personalities that mirrored others in the group.
  2. One of my favorite characters to write is Nyx. She is a powerful spellcaster that can lay waste to a small city if she wanted. Well, D&D starts her kind of character off with only enough magic to lay waste to an anthill. She would still have to kick it a few times to get the job done. There was a habit of her to go first in battle and the new player opted to rush in with her dagger held high. Nyx would get knocked out, the rest of us would have to save her, and the cycle would repeat the next time. I liked the character’s defiance and ability to jump into battle, but she didn’t have the power to do so. That resulted in me making her a more powerful force than before, which required bringing other issues along like if she can maintain control.

Let’s get into the delicate subject of female characters too. Dungeons & Dragons was not a bastion of women when I started. I’ve met many over the years and female gamers are becoming more common, which is great. Yet this created a problem back in the day because you would have a group of male heroes and maybe one woman. It would be insulting to cut characters, but you might get lucky and a player would allow a gender swap. Otherwise, you have to create a female hero or two to fit into the story. Sure, you can ignore that gender and stick to the original game, but you do lose out on some interesting opportunities that a heroine can bring. For example, being underestimated by a male villain or an amusing argument over why the letch of the group wants her to wear a chainmail bikini. For your information, the latter ends with the uncomfortable swimwear being used as a blunt object.

Prodigy Cover Final

Another problem that shows up from not having any female players in a game and transferring it to a book is that you have no romantic subplots. Even with a female player or two, you don’t see these stories turning up very often. Those that do stem from real life relationships, close friends that can do it without getting close, or something that will turn into a mess. For the most part, romance was avoided and discouraged in the roleplaying games I was in. So there’s a high chance that the game won’t have this for the book. The author will have to fit one in if they want, but it might not come up. I’ve learned that a lot of fantasy fans think romantic subplots should be banned from the genre. It really depends on the story if you ask me.

A final difference that one has to factor in is that most parts of a game has the group together and you never see scenes with the villains or supporting cast alone. A book will have chapter sections that show what the antagonists are up to or have a hero go off on their own to investigate something. A game doesn’t have these because you have several people around a table wanting attention. If you spend too much time on one hero in a game then the other players may feel that favoritism is being shown. That doesn’t happen in a book because the characters can’t really complain unless you let them. This is why you can do more twisting and intimate character evolutions in a book than a game. So the author will have to add these scenes and examine the events of a session to see if every player was needed or if there was anything to be added. There’s a lot missing from a game’s story that you don’t notice until you try to switch it to another medium. This is why I use prologues to highlight the villains, gods, and supporting cast that will influence the adventure.

Dice Collection

There’s probably a ton of other differences, but I can hear the sendoff band starting up and I just heard someone mention Chinese food. One of the biggest pieces of advice that I give to anyone trying to do this change is that you have to make the story your own. Be respectful and thankful to the source material, but don’t cling to it like it’s the most precious thing in the world. Much like a first draft, you need to tear the game apart to get at the meat. Do people really need to read about the time the group thief failed a pickpocket roll on an old woman, got caught with his hand in her pocket, and said ‘I’m lonely’? Not unless it fits his character. If not then it goes in the funny, behind-the-scenes story pile. Still can’t believe my friend botched that roll.

Important Links

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE- Listing of books

…thanks a bundle, Charles… absorbing stuff… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



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…Susan Toy outlines 10 Ways to Kill Your Writing… PART ONE…


…I’m delighted to run a five-days consecutive series of posts from my terrific pal, Author, Susan Toy, for every author to enjoy and prob’ly learn lots from… here’s PART ONE :

10 Ways to Kill Your Writing

This 5-part article is from a talk I gave at the Calgary Public Library Writers’ Weekend Feb. 4, 2012.

Thanks to all of you for reading this series that is very kindly being hosted by the ONE, the ONLY, SEUMAS GALLACHER!

Part 1

Since you’re taking time to read this series, and if you promise to stick with me right to the end, you will receive a very special gift, because I’ve been asked to talk about . . . 10 Ways to Kill Your Writing . . . and for today only, your very special gift includes 3 bonus ways!

First watch this video . . . Inside the Writer’s Mind



  1. Take yourself and your writing too seriously

I’m not saying you shouldn’t be serious about writing. If it’s more than a hobby for you, and you hope to eventually publish (which is why you are reading this, after all) then you should definitely be serious about your craft.

But you shouldn’t be obsessive about the process and about becoming a published writer.

That was me at one time, when I first began writing. I sent out manuscripts long before they were ready, pestered friends to read every new piece I wrote, kept an accurate count of the number of rejections I’d received – as though they were badges, testaments of how much I was suffering for the sake of my art, and I constantly complained to any sympathetic ear I could find, wondering when it would happen for me.

Then I suddenly let go. I stopped sending out those half-baked manuscripts, took writing classes, found editors to work with, stopped obsessing about getting published, and began enjoying the process of writing and telling a story.

Miraculously, my friends began speaking to me again, I was receiving encouragement from my instructors, editors, and fellow writers that my writing WOULD eventually be published. I entered and won a couple of contests and those stories were both published in a lit mag, giving me two publishing credits – BINGO! And, without realizing that all of this was happening, I had five novel manuscripts (one now published), three novellas (one published), one play, about fifteen short stories, and I had even begun writing poetry – not very good poetry, mind you, but a form of writing I hadn’t believed I would ever attempt.

I’ve spoken with far too many writers who say they’ve been working on the same novel for ten years or more and all they want to do is just get the damn thing published!

Hey! I understand, but it’s amazing what you can accomplish when you stop obsessing and consider the big picture. When you let go, and put that one manuscript on the back burner, allowing it simmer while you continue with other writing, you learn to enjoy the writing process.

There’s a famous story concerning John Fowles, about when he tried to find someone to publish his first novel. He was successful, and after the book’s release his publisher asked, “Now, do you have anything else we might be interested in publishing?” Fowles hauled out seven more manuscripts.

Be like John Fowles. Publishers love to discover new writers who prove to be more than just a one-hit wonder.

Besides, there’s nothing more recognizable, or off-putting, to a publisher than desperation or neediness. They can smell both a mile away! Be professional, enjoy your craft, and don’t obsess!

  1. Miss opportunities by not taking chances

If you’re writing then you are a writer. Don’t think that because you have never published anything yet that you shouldn’t enter contests or make an appointment to speak with a writer-in-residence, attend writing conferences, and take in all of the sessions offered for writers – sessions like those offered on a regular basis by writing associations, libraries, book organizations. Subscribe to writing blogs, especially those that offer writing advice, links to writing contests, and writing prompts/exercises.

Do not discount the opportunity that all these possibilities offer for you to be able to “network,” to get your work out there, to become known as a writer and for your writing.

Recently, four of the writers-in-residence from the Calgary Distinguished Writers Program came together for a reading, and during their discussion every one of them said they had worked with several writers whose work was outstanding. Check your local writing scene and organizations to find out about writers-in-residence who may be available to you for consultation. This is a very valuable service being offered. In Calgary, we were so fortunate to have a number of writer-in-residencies – Calgary Public Library, University of Calgary, the Writers’ Guild of Alberta, the Alexandra Writers’ Centre. And they are all free! You receive free advice from established authors. And you are allowed to sign up for every one of them.

(I’m going to add here that, as far as I know there are no “virtual” writers-in-residence available to consult writers on their work. If you do know of an opportunity like this, please add a link in the comments. Otherwise, perhaps this is a service that could be pursued by an organization, if there is funding available to pay the WIR.)

There are also many opportunities for receiving writing instruction that don’t involve enrolling in a Master’s degree. There are continuing ed. courses available at many colleges and universities around the world, online as well as in-classroom. A quick google search will find you any number of these courses. It’s well worth it to check out the opportunities.

While you’re at it, research writing organizations in your country or city or within the genre you write. Become a member. By doing so, you’ll also join a great community of writers. You’ll become a member of a “tribe” that includes other people just like you. And you will learn from this association.

And, while I’m at it, renew your library card! Did you know that most libraries provide many programs for writers? Especially those located in major centres. Check out the library for more than just books to read.

Attend readings, attend festivals, listen to authors read their work, buy their books, talk with them about their work. I can assure you that most authors LOVE talking with their readers. I was a witness when one very established author burst into tears after a reader simply said to her, “Please keep writing!” These are the best words any author can ever hope to hear.

Take advantage of as many of these opportunities as you can! But do stop short of stalking authors. That’s just creepy!

Susan Toy has been a bookseller, an award-winning publishing sales representative, a literacy teacher, and is now a published author, publisher, and promoter of fellow authors and their books. Born and raised in Toronto, and after completing a degree in English Literature at Queen’s University in Kingston, she moved to Calgary in the late 70s and immediately found a job in a bookstore, beginning what has become a life’s career working with books and their authors.

Link for Island in the Clouds: https://islandeditions.wordpress.com/2012/08/23/where-in-the-world-can-you-purchase-island-in-the-clouds/

Link for That Last Summer:


…yeez can catch some of m’Lady, Susan’s WURK and links here :

Blog: http://islandeditions.wordpress.com/
And a blog dedicated to promoting other authors and their books
Reading Recommendations 










…see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!… 







Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…male-writer-‘Flu… worse than man-‘Flu?…

…never having lived through the Bubonic Plague in the late 1600s in Europe, this ol’ Jurassic has little or no benchmark reference points as to how that particular affliction impacts the human body… similarly, having come into this WURLD a few years prior to the introduction of the National Health Service in the UK, I’m oblivious to the treatment of the various ailments scourging the nation in the mid-40s… my infant medical experience stretches to numerous injections, commonly referred to by we Scottish kids as ‘jags’


…mostly delivered to me as part of a long line of crying children in school, baring a skinny defenceless arm for the visiting nurses and doctors, hell-bent on filling us with anti-scarlet fever, anti-chickenpox, anti-polio, anti-mumps, anti-tuberculosis, and anti-just-about-everything-else-yeez-could-think-of back in the early 1950s… no such medication was available for the ubiquitous common cold nor the ‘flu, in its various forms… given the pre-smokefree days in the major conurbations, smog was a regular health hazard, with attendant respiratory and asthmatic complaints… sum’how, most of we kids survived much of that tsunami of plagues… so how the heck is it that this ol’ carcass gets banjaxxed with sum’thing as daft as a wee dose of ‘flu?


…being part of the male species, of course, this affects me more than it would say, any female on the planet (right, guys?)… regardless if it’s only one of those 24-hour whacks, it does seem to hit we sturdy menfolk harder… and I’d posit that as a subset, we male writers get it even worse… smacked full force in the paragraphs… debilitated commas and afflicted indented chaptering… vulnerable similes, metaphors, elisions, semi-colons, gratuitous parentheses… all stricken low… where is the antidote when yeez need it?… is the World Health Organisation not aware of how badly it attacks we masculine scribblers?… right, Mabel, I shall soldier on bravely… pass me the aspirin… boil up some hot lemon… oh, and a warm compress for the fevered brow won’t go amiss either… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



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…terrific Guest Post piece from Author, John W. Howell…

…this delicious vignette from my good pal, Author, John W. Howell garnered First Prize at the Kurt Vonnegut festival in 2013… have  a wee read and yeez’ll see why…

I want to thank Seumas for the opportunity to guest post here today. This story was entered in the Kurt Vonnegut festival in 2013 to celebrate the launch of So It Goes a tribute to Kurt Vonnegut published by Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing. The rules were to write a chapter from one of the fictional books written by Kilgore Trout the fictional author in many of Kurt’s books. I wrote the fifth Chapter of Kilgore’s book The First District Court of Thankyou. I hope you like it. Oh yes, I almost forgot it took first place.

a kurt vonnegut


The First District Court of Thankyou

A Novel by Kilgore Trout

Chapter Five: A House Within by John W. Howell ©2013

No sooner had Madame Zane put down the gun, the policemen tackles her and drives her into the spectator chairs.

“You’ll never take me alive,” she screeches.

Some in the first few rows believe she is right. A bunch of overweight policemen pile on top of her as she takes out about ten or so folding chairs in the first two spectator rows. The people in those chairs are like ten pins in a bowling alley scattering to left and right as if driven by the ball-like fusillade of police and the woman.

“Order.” Judge Treadheart is rapping the little plate on his dais with his gavel. “Order I say or I will cleah this courtroom.”

No one is paying attention to the judge’s orders as the mayhem gets worse.

“I’ll kill the son of a bitch.” The big woman struggles under the mountain of police. “Give me one hand free and I’ll pull out the little prick’s heart.”

“For the last time before I hold you in contempt madam, I am asking for order. Bailiff please restorh order.”

The bailiff goes over to the pile of police and the one woman and demands that all cease their disruptive activity. The police finally get up off the floor, in turn, and two of them are holding the woman by each arm.

“Please restrain her,” the judge orders.

The biggest policeman removes his handcuffs from his belt and snaps one on the left wrist. He tries to force the other arm behind the women, but she fights the maneuver. He finally asks for help from one of the officers and the women ends up with her hands cuffed behind her back.

“Have her sit down at the defense table,” the judge says.

The policeman half drags the woman to a seat next to the lawyer, who is there to defend her and drops her into a sitting position. The lawyer looks as if he is afraid of her and tries to scoot his chair so that there is a little more room between them.

“Gentlemen approach the bench.”

The two lawyers; defense and prosecution approach the judge’s dais with an element of trepidation.  Before the woman pulled out a gun the prosecutor, Jeremiah Moses Sweetwater, was asking her if she in fact had been responsible for helping Bill Ray Soltis hold up the First Federal Bank of Beauford. It was all he could do to keep from soiling his pants when she pulled out that .357 Magnum from under her skirt. The prosecutor is sure the judge is going to hold him in contempt for badgering the witness.

The defense attorney, Jimmy John Dwyer is sure the judge is going to hold him in contempt for failing to restrain his client. As he rises and moves toward the bench he is thinking, <em>how the hell did she get into court with a pistol bigger than a mule</em>?

“You boys have a lotta splainin’ to do,” the judge whispers. “Move closeh to my bench and try to give me an idea in fifteen words or less what is goin’ on around heah.”

Jimmy John clears his throat, and before he can speak, Jeremiah asks the judge for a contempt of court citation to Jimmy John for failure to restrain his client.

“Your honor,” Jimmy protests. “I had no idea that she was packin’ that gun.” Jimmy starts to plead, “Your honor I am as sorry as anyone that she was able to smuggle that thing into your courtroom. You have to believe me.”

“Take it easy son. I’m not about to issue any citations that could cause this case to go off the rail. Once this trial is oveh your client will have an opportunity to appeal to a circuit court if she loses here. Since your client has waived a jury trial, I don’t want any messy citation or any more gun play to interfere with the judgment of my court. Do I make myself cleah?”

“Perfectly clear sir.”

“As for you Mr. Sweetwater, I don’t want any more motions for contempt citations. Do I make myself cleah?”

“Yessir your honor, but ─.”

“No buts councilor. I mean it.”

“Yes your honor.”

“Now you boys go back to your respective tables and get this case tried.”

Jeremiah and Jimmy go back to their seats. The judge raps one more time and tells the prosecutor to continue. Jeremiah calls Madame Zane back to the witness stand. Jimmy helps her get up, since with her ample girth, not having the use of her hands makes getting up almost impossible.

Jimmy also escorts her to the witness stand and helps her into the chair. “Your honor may we have the handcuffs removed?” Jimmy is facing the judge.

“Afraid not Mr. Dwyer. Your client has pretty much convinced this juror that she is not to be trusted unfettered. Take your seat sir. Mr. Sweetwater you may question the witness.”

Jeremiah rises from his chair and walks toward Madame Zane. He stops short of getting too close. “Can you hear me Madame Zane?”

“Yes Mr. Sweetwater I can hear you. You may think me dumb, but I can hear.”

“Thank you, Madame Zane. Before you ah exposed your gun, I was asking a question about the bank in Beauford. Do you recall the question?”

“I sure do. You had the gall to ask me my involvement with Bill Ray Solis in a bank hold up.”

“And your answer?”

“Hell no, I wasn’t involved with that pig farmer in nothing.”

Jeremiah was about to ask the judge to censure Zane on the swearing, but he thought better about it. “So to be clear, you are saying that when the police raided your house on a tip from the bank teller. The same teller who was in possession of your driver’s license that was left by Bill, it did not involve you in any way?”

“You are trying to confuse me. I don’t know how Bill got my driver’s license, and no way do I understand why the fool left it in the bank.”

“Well, what about the fact that the police found a bag of money that was part of the loot Bill ran away from the bank with?”

“Don’t know nutten about bank loot. Bill gave me that money as a down payment on what he owed me.”

“Five thousand dollars was a down payment? How much did he owe you?”

“Objection, not relevant,” Jimmy says.

“Sustained. Move on Mr. Sweetwater.”

“Do you know where the money came from?”

“I do now, but didn’t then.”

“The fact that the bag had First Federal printed on did not give you a clue?”

“Objection, Asked and answered. Madame Zane already said she did not know where the money came from. The prosecutor is badgering the defendant.”

“Sustained. Mr. Sweetwater, please get to your point, and either call another witness or sit down.”

“Yes your honor.” Jeremiah moves a little closer to the witness stand. “Madame Zane I have only one more question. Where is Bill now?”

“If I knew that I wouldn’t be sitting here. He would.”

“Prosecution rests your honor.”

“Very well Mr. Sweetwater. Mr. Dwyer is the defense ready?”

“Yes your honor.” Jimmy passes Jeremiah and makes his way to the witness stand. “Now Madame Zane I would like to ask you the same question that Mr. Sweetwater asked about the bank hold up. Did you help Bill Ray Solis hold up the bank?”

“Nawsir I did not.”

“Do you know where Bill got the money he owed you?”

“He still owes me. He only paid me five thousand dollars.”

“Let me rephrase my question. Do you know where Bill got the five thousand?”

“Nawsir I do not.”

“Can you tell the judge why you pulled out that gun?”

“I didn’t think that I did anythin’ wrong.”

“You are in trouble for bringing that gun into court. You know that don’t you Madame Zane?”

“Yessir I know that. I didn’t steal no money though.”

“Your honor the defense rests.”

The judge calls on the prosecutor for any final questions.  There are none. He then asks for a summary from each side. The prosecutor sums up that it is clear the defendant was in possession of stolen property, and her license linked her to the crime.

The defense summary includes the fact that Madame Zane did not know where Bill got her license and had no idea the money was stolen. He also points out that there were no eyewitnesses to place Madame Zane in the bank at the time of the robbery. Mr. Dwyer calls for acquittal on the grounds that there was no real evidence that the Madame robbed the bank.

The judge takes a few minutes in his chambers and comes out with his verdict.

“I find the defendant not guilty of the bank robbery,” He says. “I do find her liable for brandishing a gun in my court which is cleahly against local and federal laws. I ask the bailiff to take Madame Zane into custody.  Mr. Sweetwater I ask you to charge her with unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawfully threatenin’ the safety of an officer of the court.”

With the drop of the gavel, it is obvious that the session is over.

“Your honor,” Madame Zane says.

“Yes Madame.”

“I have a license to carry if that matters.”

“Yes it does matter. Why did you pull out the gun in the first place?”

“Well, your honor. When I sat in the witness chair, the gun was hurting me.”

“Why didn’t you say anything before bringing it out?”

“It didn’t occur to me and when those policemen jumpt me I guess I just lost my head.”

“Madame Zane,” the judge now seems cross. “I have to believe that you meant no harm but still don’t understand.”

“Well, your honor this is the First District Court of Thankyou and I just didn’t think anyone would think I would hurt them. After all, the purpose of this here court is to try people who have not given someone a proper thank you for a favor they have done for them. I did not think this Court would actually accuse me of a crime. When I sought to relieve myself of the gun irritation, I did not see a problem.”

“It is true this is the court to determine the punishment of those who are not grateful for favors done. The other courts are busy with crimes against the people, and they have asked us to fill in. I did not want to let my fellow jurors down.”

“Did they thank you?”

The judge looks stunned. He sits with his elbows on the huge desk and his face in his hands.  He seems to be thinking but does not give any sign as to what is running through his head. He raises his head and takes a deep breath.

“You have a point Madame. I should not be trying criminal cases, and I think there are some people who need to fall under my jurisdiction. Bailiff and Mr. Sweetwater I would like to see you in my chambers. I think there are a number of judges who might need to answer some Thankyou subpoenas.  Madame Zane you are free to go. Oh, and thank you for your wisdom.”


Photo by Tim Burdick

John W. Howell spent over forty years as a business person and in 2012 finally began his lifelong dream to be an author. His first novel named My GRL is published by Martin Sisters Publishing. It is a fiction thriller telling the story of one man’s efforts to save a symbol of America’s greatness from destruction by a group of terrorists and the first of a trilogy. It is available in e-book and paper. The second named His Revenge is in line for May of 2015, and the third titled Our Justice is in the final editing stage with publication in 2016. In addition to his novels, John also writes short stories, and some of them are features on his blog Fiction Favorites at http://www.johnwhowell.com. John lives on a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico off the southern coast of Texas with his wife and assortment of rescue pets.


…thanks for this superb contribution to the well-being of my blog, that man…





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