…this is how this ol’ Scots Jurassic Author builds his crime thrillers…#TBSU…

…aficionados of the scribbling fraternity and sorority will be well-acquainted with the terms ‘pantser’ and ‘plotter’… are yeez the type of quill-scraper who lays down in minute detail everything that yer masterpiece will contain before yeez dive into yer writing? (plotter)… or are yeez the ‘fly-by-the-seat-of-yer-knickers’ kind of scrivener? (‘pantser’)… there’s no right or wrong way… each has its merit… and truth be known, whatever makes yeez most comfortable to produce yer tomes is the way to go… I consider myself more of a hybrid these days… I’ve got a bit of, or probably more like, a lot of, both features in my approach, which I’ll proceed to share with yeez now… pay attention at the back there, coz I’ll ask yeez questions afterward… I write crime thrillers, hopefully with enuff pace and ‘stuff-going-on’ to hold my readers’ interest until at least page six… the following schematic I’ve devised will give yeez an idea of some of the nonsense that bounces amongst what’s left of my little grey cells, but bear with me as I walk yeez through it:

NOVEL TABLE

…yes, Mabel, I know, I know , I know, it looks like Uncle Herbert’s pools coupon…. but there’s method in the madness, thus :

1..the top grid shows yeez a horizontal span which enumerates the chapters… the vertical span is a list of yer main characters… the idea is to track on this how often, and at what regularity these characters appear in yer novel… this lets yer readers subliminally trace them also, and they don’t forget who ‘Mister XYZ’ is, having seen him in chapter 2, then not again until chapter 36, for example…  it helps me too, in threading interweaving elements of the plot through the book, keeping the literary plates all spinning at the same time… yeez can even ‘bundle’ some of the characters together… for example characters 5,6 and 7 could all be police detectives… numbers 1 and 2 can be lovers… 8, 9 and 10 the baddies…and so on… keeps yer ‘clusters’ tight…

2. …the bottom grid represents a wee trick I learned about the way the great Ian Fleming wrote his James Bond books…he used to write in pencil, in longhand, and at every tenth page of the manuscript, he marked a pencilled ‘X’… this meant that at that point in the writing, or thereabout, ‘sum’thing’ had to be ‘happening’… an explosion, a shooting, a love scene, a car crash, whatever… what this does is lend ‘pace’ to the novel, a technique useful in more than just crime thrillers… of course, yeez don’t have to stick rigidly to the ‘pencil X’ trick, but it’s a great boon in keeping yer rhythm going (and also a neat way of overcoming any writers block)…

…does this planning negatively impact my desire to adopt the ‘pantser’ style for the actual story-telling narrative?… not a bit of it… I still start each element of my masterpieces with a completely blank sheet, and an open mind… that way, I think it keeps the twists and turns fresher… and yeez are well aware of how the characters themselves can hijack yer train of thought and dictate how the plot moves along…

…hope that’s of some help… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

ALL MY BLOG POSTS ARE FREE TO SHARE/RE-BLOG SHOULD YOU SO WISH—BE MY GUEST!

wall copy 2

6 Comments

Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…a rite of passage… when an Indie Author develops into a Self-Publishing Warrior… #TBSU…

…it seems like a hundred years ago now, when this ol’ Jurassic first stepped off the ’plane at Kai Tak Airport to take up a post in merchant banking in Hong Kong… ringing in my ears was the last thing the Director of the outfit told me in London after I signed the contract and he was shaping to leave for the airport for his flight back to the Far East… he said, ‘just keep in mind, Hong Kong’s no place for bunnies…’ translated from merchant bank Master-of-the-Universe-speak, he meant that every newcomer was expected to WURK his/her a*se off in order to survive… and so it proved… an experience, memories and time I’d never want to surrender… it extended to 35 years in Asia, prior to a move a decade ago to the Middle East… but the advice and the lesson has never left me… it has served me well this past five years, especially since grasping the mantle of being an Author… from the outset I have eschewed the term ’aspiring’I write, ergo, I am a writer… it’s 100% or NUTHIN, Mabel… sumb’dy referred to my blog the other day when I mentioned about doing the marketing pitch to local book chains here in Abu Dhabi, and asked me to tell how that all went… gladly… originally, the sole outlet for my wee crime thriller masterpieces was the Great God Amazon Kindle… then a flood of invitations as Guest Speaker at groups and associations around the country led to requests to buy printed copies of my WURK… so, I set about learning (and a helluva steep curve it was) how to produce printed copies… my negotiating skills were to the fore, haggling for cost-per-copy discounts, partial deliveries, and on-hauling some bulk delivery to diverse addresses… I LUVVED IT!… the printers became my partners… I brought them other business— they knocked a little more off my costs… then it was hand-to-hand combat with the senior buyers at the Head Offices of the major book distributor chains here in-country… that was a Huckleberry and a half… each house had different ideas of how much they should keep of the retail price… all of it, by the way, on consignment base only… in other WURDS, their only risk was giving up shelf space to my books… and I had to bulk-deliver personally to their respective central warehouses… next up were the lobby shops of some of the prime five-star hotels in the capital, Abu Dhabi… determining which were owner-run, and which were franchise-owned, led to the individual decision-maker for stocking the novels… and so it progressed… let no-one tell yeez this whole campaign is anything but hard slog… but it is well-rewarded when yeez see yer wee babies on sale all over the place… when people approach yeez and ask for a signature on one of yer tomes they’ve just bought in some store or other… then yeez can point to yer own rite of passage… when as an Indie Author yeez developed into a Self-Publishing Warrior… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

…here’s my wee charmers…

wall copy 2..

Amazon links:

Savage Payback             :  http://bookShow.me/B00G00GZEO

Vengeance Wears Black :  http://bookShow.me/B008H45KJC

The Violin Man’s Legacy:  http://bookShow.me/B005D7JNCQ

ALL MY BLOG POSTS ARE FREE TO SHARE/RE-BLOG SHOULD YOU SO WISH—BE MY GUEST!

10 Comments

Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…a ‘Chinese burn’ with a different ‘twist’… #TBSU…

…it seems a lot of yeez enjoyed the (true) story I posted yesterday about the Society Dame in Noo Yawk and the Chinese gentleman… in similar vein, this may also tickle yeez… I WURKED for many years in Hong Kong, from 1980 onward, and thoroughly enjoyed the experiences there… the stories it threw my way are the stuff of anecdotal gold dust… this one (also allegedly true) is a particular favourite… the late seventies and early eighties saw a flood of expatriates into the colony, many from the UK… many of us, young professionals all, came off the plane, wide-eyed and a tad wet behind the ears… the majority knuckled down and got as integrated with the local ways as best we could… others, unhappily, brought with them an attitude that served no-one well, let alone themselves… these became classified as the ‘pin-striped Hooray Henrys’

pin

…some with a tenuous command of their own language, complaining that much of the 98% local Chinese-speaking population couldn’t talk to them in English… in their own heads Masters-of-the-Financial-Universe that was the thumping, vibrant, business community that Hong Kong represented… corporate expenses usually stretched to paying for excellent accommodations in the better residential parts of the city… one such Hooray took over a condominium unit from another expat who was leaving to go back to England… the guy exiting offered to have the existing maid, known as an ‘amah,’ continue to service the unit for the newbie…

maid

…the amah’s pay was de minimus, and the Hooray readily agreed… the lady in question was already in her sixties and, admittedly, didn’t move around the flat with any great athleticism during her cleaning duties… after a week or two, Hooray complained to the old amah, that if she didn’t ‘pick her game up a bit’ she’d be fired… she shrugged and carried on regardless… after another couple of weeks, Hooray confronted her with the ultimatum, ’smarten up, or out you go!’… a further week saw no improvement, and our man put the hard WURD on the amah, ‘I want you to leave, now!’… ‘…no, YOU leave!’ she said… he was taken aback…’I don’t think you understand… I want you to leave!’ he shouted at her… ‘no, YOU leave Mistah, YOU too rude to stay here!… me own the building!… YOU leave!!’ …she was the owner of the entire block, and just ‘dusted here and there’ in a few of the units just to keep an eye on her tenants!… I so LUV that story… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

ALL MY BLOG POSTS ARE FREE TO SHARE/RE-BLOG SHOULD YOU SO WISH—BE MY GUEST!

13 Comments

Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

A Poison Tree by John Dolan Earns Five Stars!

Seumas Gallacher:

…well-reviewed, that man, Jim Wright… re-blogging this… Master Dolan certainly knows how to craft a great story… :)

Originally posted on olbigjim:

Poison TreeFrom the Amazon blurb: “You kill my wife and I’ll kill yours.” You must admit, as a proposition, it has an alluring symmetry to it.

It is 1999, and as the Millennium approaches, old certainties wither. For family man, David Braddock, his hitherto predictable world is undergoing a slow collapse. The people closest to him seem suddenly different. As desires and aspirations tangle around each other like parasite stems, betrayal is in the air.

And so is murder.

Fans of Braddock will finally learn the sequence of events that drove him into exile in Asia, while for new readers, A Poison Tree is the perfect introduction to the Time, Blood and Karma series.

5StarsMy review: What a ride! After reading Everyone Burns and Hungry Ghosts I have to confess to wondering what brought our intrepid hero to the tropical paradise of Thailand. From the opening line, “I’m thinking of…

View original 293 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

…you likee soupee?… #TBSU…

…having lived in the Far East and Middle East for the last 35 years, it never ceases to amaze me when I hear expatriates attempting to converse in English with people whose native tongue may not be the same as their own… the garbled ‘language’ they utilise when they talk to folks of other nationalities is painful to the ear… a sort of mix between pidgin English and a slowing down of the speech delivery, almost like the slowing down of the old vinyl records from one speed to another, with excruciating long drawn out vowels and all the rest of it… harks me back to a story I heard when I first arrived in Hong Kong in the late nineteen-seventies… at that time, the colony was still under British rule and administration… a thriving Hong Kong Chinese/British Association was an active business body, with members of some of the top Chinese and British corporations among its executive officers… it seems a delegation from Hong Kong embarked on a business foray to Noo Yawk in ‘Merika… a productive couple of weeks was spent in the Big Apple, with visits to factories, corporate plants and banking institutions… the hosts were, not surprisingly, a prominent Noo Yawk Business Liaison group… side trips to Museums, and Art galleries were included… after this whirl of two weeks, the final event was a Gala Dinner in a swanky hotel’s banqueting hall… the local outfit arranged for partners to be present at the dinner, one of whom was a celebrated Noo Yawk society dame…

dame

…on the evening of the Dinner she arrived, jewellery-bedecked, expensive gown and all, with her husband, and as is the custom, she was designated a seat next to one of the visitors from Hong Kong, a diminutive Chinese gentleman, togged out in his immaculate tuxedo… problem for the lady was that, being accustomed to hobnobbing as a society hostess to counts, lords, and captains of industry, she was at a loss as to how to make small talk with a Chinese man…

chinaman

…as the evening began, she quickly pounced on the printed menu as a source of conversation, and started a series of interlocutions with her table guest, along the following lines… ‘…you likee soupee?…’..the response was a repeated nodding of the head by the gentleman… next came the meat course, ‘…you likee roastee beefee?’, with similar silent nodding on his part… having struggled like this through to the end of the dinner, she thought she had coped admirably… the head of the Noo Yawk delegation then asked for silence as he introduced the Head of the Hong Kong group and asked him to address the assembled guests… to our heroine’s consternation, her seating partner pushed back his seat and made his way to the rostrum… from his inside jacket pocket a sheaf of notes appeared, from which the Chinese gentleman proceeded to deliver an excellent, erudite, and witty twenty minutes worth of faultless English… the room gave him a standing ovation as he returned to his seat… she didn’t know where to put herself… as he took his seat once more he turned to her and, with a knowing smile said quietly, ‘…you likee speechee?’… I hear similar stuff every day now… see yeez later… you likee bloggee?…LUV YEEZ!

ALL MY BLOG POSTS ARE FREE TO SHARE/RE-BLOG SHOULD YOU SO WISH—BE MY GUEST!

12 Comments

Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…here’s a Guest Blogger who’ll delight yeez with her humour and in-yer-face wit… Author Heather Hill… #TBSU…

…Guest Bloggers come in all guises to this Web page… seldom have I had such a refreshing contributor as today’s pal, Author Heather Hill… her arachnically-challenged post itself will intrigue yeez, but I implore yeez (that’s ‘beg’, Mabel) to have a sneak view of her debut off’ring, ‘The New Mrs D’ … like a splash of cold water in yer face, this is real original wit… and it’s not yer chic-lit book… it’s out and out funny, clever, and more than just a tad insightful… they say successful writing resonates with readers… wee snippets and even bigger snippets that make yeez think, ‘yes, been there, done that, felt that’… step up Heather Hill, immediate darling hit on the Amazon charts… yeez’ll like her… over to Heather:

b & w

HEATHER HILL’S POST

Firstly a HUGE thank you to Seumas for letting me loose on his site after my reading his excellent, ‘Self Publishing Steps to Successful Sales’, which I devoured prior to releasing my debut novel, ‘The New Mrs D’ before it promptly shot into an Amazon 100 Best Sellers list within twenty four hours of becoming available for pre-order. And all because the lady loves… Seumas Gallacher.

So, to my guest post, which will take the form of a confession. I’ve been wishing to reveal this for some time, but had to travel the world via the power of Google just to make sure I wasn’t bonkers before telling people this:

I see spiders that aren’t there.

Don’t laugh; it’s true. I’m not writing some twisted yet utterly hilarious ‘The Sixth Sense’ spoof. (But then again, hold that thought…)

Sometimes I tend to nod off during the day. Only for a teenie, tiny nap you understand – and every now and again, just at that point between sleep and complete wakefulness – you know the part, where you’re just noticing a weird, thunderous noise that might be coming from your own throat, your mouth is hanging open and you’ve dribbled bit – I see spiders. Either on my pillow, climbing up the wall or (horrors) hanging from a bit of web over my face. And yes, they are actual spiders. Not weird shapes that could be spiders; not dark shadows that have arachnid qualities, not my own eyelashes – okay once it was. These are genuine spiders of varying species which I am sure I have seen before out in the real world. Yet after I blink, rub my eyes or hit out at them in panic – POUF! – they are gone. And the really mysterious thing is THEY WERE NEVER THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE.

Now you are wondering why I don’t think I’m bonkers after checking the world wide… erm… web (no pun intended). It’s because after Googling ‘I see spiders that aren’t there’, I’ve found LOADS of people who’ve had the same thing happen to them! I’m not alone! If I’m being haunted by some spider-from-another-dominion, they aren’t just picking on me. I’m not the only one capable of helping lost spider souls cross over into the light. I don’t have to feel I’m the sole portal for relaying messages about brutal, spider murders to hoards of devastated, spider relatives. This is great news. And yet, still weird.

Luckily, I’m not really terrified of spiders or this would be really awful; although I wouldn’t like to wake up to find a giant, furry tarantula on my bedside table. Thankfully, it seems none of these have been the victim of a homicide recently.

So, I’m okay, don’t worry. They’re not real, just visiting. Like me today…

Thank you Seumas.

And now, I must return from whence I came and get back to writing my next novel. Oh and Google said, despite my having company out there in the world, I am bonkers.

…You have been reading comedy writer, author and mum of five (not the band) Heather Hill. You’ll find her blog here at: www.hell4heather.com, her daily thoughts and musings on Twitter @hell4heather and her genuinely hilarious debut novel, ‘The New Mrs D’, here: www.bit.ly/TheNewMrsD

…yeez can also
Find her on LinkedIn
Join her on Facebook
Follow her on Twitter 

COver design smaller

…now, Lads and Lassies of Blog Land, go click on the Kindle picture of The New Mrs D and just try to read only two pages… a bit like trying to eat just one peanut… bet yeez can’t … see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

ALL MY BLOG POSTS ARE FREE TO SHARE/RE-BLOG SHOULD YOU SO WISH—BE MY GUEST!

5 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

…pass me the flame-thrower, Mabel… I’ll soon sort this rabble out… #TBSU…

 

q

…there are days, and I’m sure yeez all get them from time to time, when I just  can’t hold my tongue… I know, I know, I know, some of yeez think I’m a born bletherer, but I mean the days when it’s impossible not to ‘go right ahead’… I had one of these this morning… yeez’ll be well aware of my predilection for accosting the ‘dozens-of-items-and-a credit-card’ Johnnies in the ’ten-items-or-less-and cash-only’ line at the supermarket checkout… I’ve found their cousins… down at the bank today, a nice enuff office, lovely seats to wait in for your turn in the queue to arrive… a turn, it has to be pointed out, dictated to by an orderly system of ticketing… when yeez go into the bank, yeez click a wee machine and it gives yeez a stub with a number on it… if the screen shows the current customer number being served is, say, ’82’ and yer own stub is, say, ’87’, yer wait should be short… sum’times  however, yer number can be scores away, say, ‘112’… then the comfy seats are a welcome fixture… not so welcome, however, in amongst all of this regularity is the ingrained ‘career queue-jumper’… we had one of these charlatans this morning… all was going steadily, and into the bank struts an agitated-looking gentleman, flailing cheque-book in his mitt… completely ignores the ticket machine and stands shoulder to shoulder with the nearest customer being served at counter number three… as soon as the current client is finished, this clod proffers his cheque book to the teller… the teller, bless her, points him back toward the ticket system.. he grunts and retreats for a coupla moments… the next properly in line lady goes to the counter… does our man give up? does he bluudy hell… he nips along to teller number four and waits to try the same stunt… what happens next is straight out of a Keystone Cops script… other sitting clients realise this ploy might WURK, so a stream of up-until-now-patient customers descend on all five tellers… like wee clusters of money-seeking bees they swarm the poor teller staff… I look across at the alleged ‘security guard’ and gesture toward this rabble, indicating for him to step in and restore some order to all of this … he disappears back toward the staff room… in the movies yeez would expect this to be the bit when guys come through the doors with guns blazing… up steps Master Gallacher… I march to the middle of the banking hall and wave my numbered ticket stub in the air and call out as loud as I can, ‘Hey! DOES THIS TICKET SYSTEM NOT APPLY ANY MORE?’… yeez could have heard a pin drop… the guard reappears double quick time and starts to usher the crowds back to their seats… I approach the original culprit and ask him to his face, in my edgiest Glasgow accent… ‘do yeez own this bank or what? everybody else has to line up, my friend’… he looks a million miles away from being ’my friend’… he gets the message, turns on his heel and leaves the bank… a space clears at the teller in front of me and she asks me for my transaction… I reply, ’what number are yeez serving now?’ it was two before mine… I declined the service and told her I’d wait my number’s turn… oh my, I felt so bluudy righteous… so, if yeez are looking for yer next Dirty Harry, ol’ Dirty Seumas is primed and ready to go… …pass me the flame-thrower, Mabel… I’ll soon sort this rabble out… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

 

ALL MY BLOG POSTS ARE FREE TO SHARE/RE-BLOG SHOULD YOU SO WISH—BE MY GUEST!

18 Comments

Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff