…The Lady We All Know As Sue (with apologies to Robert W. Service)…


I didn’t expect anything less than brilliance when Seumas Gallacher offered to “pen a few lines” in celebration of the 2nd Anniversary for my other author-promotion blog, Reading Recommendations! Thank you, Seumas, for making us cry with laughter when I read the following “poem” aloud to Dennis while we sat on our Bequia verandah drinking coffee this morning.

You are THAT MAN! Luvs yah! Mwahhhhhh!!!

10981954_530323157109068_6778652506494669531_nThe Lady We All Know As Sue (with apologies to Robert W. Service)

A bunch of the boys were reading it up
In the Bequia book saloon,
The kid that handles the ol’ sales till
Was selling like a mad baboon.
Back of the store, with a Kindle Fire
Sat the lady that’s known as Sue.

When out of the night, which was thirty y’know,
And into the books stacked ceiling to floor
There stumbled a writer fresh from his Mac,
Dog-eared and looking for more.

He looked like a tramp with hardly a dime
And scarcely the price of a cup
Yet, he glanced at one novel, and reached out his hand
And gingerly he picked it up.
There was none could place the stranger’s face
With bookmarks hanging out of his shoe,
But we cleared him some space, and the last to clear
Was the lady known as Sue.

There are scribblers that somehow hold your gaze,
And grip so hard you can tell
That here was a lad, from wherever he came,
Had been to the Libr’y of Hell;
With kind of a squint, and the stare of a monk,
Whose hands had typed far too much
As he read through the book in a wee ingle-nook,
And his face would twitch just a touch.

Then I got wond’ring just who he might be,
And even what he might do,
And I turned my head—and there looking at him
Was the lady that’s known as Sue.

His eyes kept coming back to the tome.
The one he held in his mitt,
Till at last the dust on the fly-cover leaf
Cleared for all to decipher it.
And he started to read, the lines and the scan
Like nobody else could have done
With a drawl and a twang, my God, these words sang
In a voice that wavered and honed.

Were you ever listed in the Great Amazon
At the mercy of the wolves called ‘reviews’?
And you waited daily for word of your sales
Or heard it on Smashwords’ list news?
With only the hope of a turning of phrase
That delighted you first time you wrote?
–A half-dead zombie could breathe more than you,
When the two-star reviewer clawed at your throat.
That, my boys, that was the look
Flirting across this forlorn guy’s face
An author of sorts, respected by some,
Still searching for a bestseller place.

Then all of a sudden, that poor scribbler turned,
The eyes darting forth from the boy,
And his stare stopped dead in its tracks
At the lady we all know as ‘Toy’.
He held out his hand and offered the book,
With a whimper that came from the heart;
‘Please,’ he croaked, ‘a review from you,
Will give me that much-needed start.’

The room fell more quiet, and we all held our breath
Waiting to see what she’d say.
She skimmed through his book, for indeed it was his,
And observed him in a strange kind of way.
Then a smile crossed her face, and she nodded at him,
With the wisdom of someone who knew,
And the tears on his face retreated apace,
And smiled back at the lady called Sue.

‘Of course, I’ll give it a read, that man, said she,
And I’ll see about some commendations
And sooner or later, we all understood,
It’ll be on Recommendations.

So, lift a glass, or two, three or more,
For these coupla years now gone through,
And acknowledge the love and assistance we’ve had,
From the Lady we all know as Sue.

Seumas Gallacher
November 2015


Is that a kitten in your sporran or are you just happy to see me?


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…what’s yer top three tunes (for today) from whenever?…

…it’s almost impossible to pick yer same three all-time favourite tunes on successive days… try it, and yeez’ll see what I mean… this ol’ Jurassic grew up (yes, Mabel, supposedly , I DID grow up) during the sixties and seventies, which birthed so much fabulous music and musicians… but when I try to pick my three favs on a Monday, sure as hell, on a Tuesday, I’ll pick a trio of different harmonic gems… I was privileged to spend ten years in The Philippines, where it would seem 99.99% of the good folks there can sing, dance and play musical instruments… cover bands are big there, and in the 1990s, I was often a guest singer with a terrific band called Music Network, and we sang together lots of these tunes that have stayed constant favourites with me… top of the list is Queen and Freddy Mercury’s unbeatable ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’

…not far behind is prob’ly Guns and Roses with the amazing guitar work from Clash giving it huge with ‘Sweet Child of Mine’… I defy yeez not to have yer feet tapping away on that one…

…or for the slow rock fans, hard to top Bon Jovi ’s ‘Bed of Roses’… a masterpiece  in slow rock bluesy performance…

…these three picks are all with bands… of course I had other favourite bands, too numerous to list in this post, but there are also solo singers, male and female, who can tie my emotions in knots… on the non-pop charts, how can yeez not be enthralled by voices like those of Andrea Bocelli?… or softer music, such as from the Celtic maestros, Runrig, with their haunting tunes from the Hebrides and Gaeldom?… The Dubliners, and The Fureys with Arthur Davey, Enya and others of that ilk also get into my best billboards… enjoy these for the meantime… I’m sure they’ll change by tomorrow… see yeez later … LUV YEEZ!



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…a Blog Post series with a View… or more than 700 of them…


…I make no secret of the fact that I enjoy blogging… it’s a great offset to the hard crime fiction in my Jack Calder crime thriller series… in the blog I can ‘mess around’ with content… get a tad FILOSOFIKAL should I so please… or lighten the features with a laff or three as the Muse takes me… and of course I’m delighted when other fine Lads ands Lassies of Blog Land see fit to click to ‘view my stuff… who doesn’t, Mabel?… how grand it’s been therefore, that in the past week, during a whirlwind visit from Bahrain to the UK, via Abu Dhabi, taking in London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Edinburgh again, London again, re-via (my new WURD of the day) Abu Dhabi once more, then back to Bahrain, I’ve posted a series of daily pieces which have been well-received… to the tune of over 700 views to be more precise, prior to any ReTweet and Facebook shares… this tickles the hell out of me, not just for the amazingly gratifying interface of great pals on here, but also for the re-affirmation of how the web multiplies yer messages so easily… and it underscores for me at least, how valuable to an Author is an active presence on the Internet…

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…I’m frequently asked in Q and A sessions what a writer should be doing to enhance his/her writing career… and my answer is constant… develop, develop, develop, and develop even further yer relationships on the SOSYAL NETWURKS… no hanging around waiting until yeez have completed yer masterpiece(s)… get onto the bus now, before it takes off… build yer platform while yeez are still scribbling yer Nobel Literary Prize Winning tome… interact with yer readers, other authors… emb’dy that  wants to communicate with yeez… and by the way, it’s also great fun… elsewise, why do it? see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



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…Authors… you are your WURK… your WURK is you…


…here’s a wee reflective piece, targeted mainly for my Author pals, but many of our dear and invaluable readerships will no doubt understand it, too… one of the weirdest things to grasp as a new scribbler is the sum’time-elusive ‘Author’s Voice’… that quality which seeps into and exudes from yer writing… identifying the Writer by his/her ‘style’… for this ol’ Jurassic, it’s not just the WURDS used, nor a peculiar turn of phrasing… nor even the ‘pace’ or ‘tone’ or recognisable characterisations in the narrative… it’s the all-embracing embodiment of ‘how’ yeez tell yer stories… fr’instance, pick up any book by Dickens, Steinbeck, Austen, Child, Archer, or any of the well-known pensmiths, without looking at the author’s name on the cover… more often as not, yeez wouldn’t be far into the book without being able to tell which author wrote it… that is the ‘Author’s Voice’… however, I think that description’s a bit of a misnomer… a ‘Voice’ is a sound… albeit with an accent, a dialect, a twang… but merely a sound… there’s more to it than that… I’m often asked by readers, ‘…how much of yerself is in yer books…’

wallpaper 2

…when I first started on this amazing novel-production gig, I felt p’raps a wee bit of me was in there… all these years later, I’ve come to understand I was widely off the mark… oh sure, Mabel, there’s wee snippets of my own life experiences in there, altered to protect the guilty… but these are only little thumb-marks… when I talk with fellow quill-scrapers, I begin to see a common trait… the enthusiasm… the energy… the sweat, blood and midnight tears that pour into their creations… and it dawns on me that most writers give more than just the noise of their ‘Voice’… part of their soul is embedded in the writing… the fears, conscious and otherwise… the loves, the angst, the pride and prejudices… all of it sum’how or other creeps into the pages… and with that thought in mind, as a reader myself, it imparts much more respect and pleasure when I read other folks’ books, the bygone giants of literature, our present day big names, and newbies et al… see if yeez can spot the ‘Author’s Soul’ next time, not just the ‘Voice’… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!…



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…Gallacher’s Travels… (with apologies to Jonathan Swift)… Part VI… Edinburghinium (Continued even more)…

…during Part III (Glasgowinium) of this Whirlwind Magical Mystery Tour of scribbly pals, I mentioned one of the great people who managed to spend time with this ol’ Jurassic in the Millennium Hotel was Author, Frank Muir… he and I agreed we fitted right into that peculiar breed of smashing folks whom, ‘I’ve only just met yeez, but I’ve known yeez for a hundred years’… fast forward to this Part VI in the travels, and up it pops again, this time in Enbra… in the not inconsiderable presence of Mac Logan (he of the excellent  ‘Angel’s Share’ crime thriller series)…


…he was the man who broke my Skype virginity about two years ago, an accomplishment in itself worthy of note given my utter frugality in gadgetry communication nous… he loomed large on the Skype screen, but that understated the size of the man’s welcome to me in our capital city… how can yeez not LUV a guy who gets up well before even the larks have put the alrm clocks to ‘snooze’ for another ten minutes, and clambers into a bus in the depths of East Scotland…. his early morning bus tour took almost two hours to reach my hotel… little wonder then, that between us, considerable damage was done to the  Caledonian Hotel’s buffet breakfast spread… we segued from there across to barThe Angel’s Share Hotel and Bar (how’s that, fellow-writers—having  a Hotel and Bar with the same name as yer novels!)angel book… the ensuing hours vanished in a flash as we sorted out the WURLD’s ailments from Cairo to Cowdenbeath, Prague to Pittenweem, and Toronto to Tillicoultry… like we were catching up on a lifetime of stories and experience., which of course, was precisely what we were doing… and yes, Mac, I have known yeez for a hundred years… looking forward to the next trip … see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!




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…another dollop of WURDS of wisdom from my pal, Author, Tony McManus…

…my pal, Author, Tony McManus, offers more superb advice for yer writing, Lads and Lassies of Blog Land…



Shakespeare was a master of it. Ernest Hemingway almost perfected it. George Orwell advocated it. And every writer should obey and apply it, particularly in editing and revision. Observe it when writing a memo, email, a Facebook post, a blog or a prize-winning masterwork. It applies to every kind of writing. It’s rule number one, the most important and never to be broken. Make every word count. It speaks for itself when you think about it, yet, it’s a rule regularly violated. Why?

It’s apparent to me that most writers today don’t apply it. Maybe they’ve never heard of the rule and its importance in good writing. I got it drilled into me at school from strict teachers. “Make every word count.”

Writers disregard for it is especially evident in fiction writing, and more especially in self-published works on Amazon Kindle. It seems the opposite is now in vogue (see my blog: Padding it Out: Word Inflation in Fiction). We find writers deliberately inflating their work using a variety of methods such as redundant sentences, unnecessary sub-plots, overblown or meaningless dialogue, wordy descriptions of characters and places and, of course, vivid and gratuitous sex scenes.

I believe that writers often come up with a story idea that is essentially a good short story plot but doesn’t have the legs to be the heart of a novel or even a novella. Consequently they pad it out, often under editorial encouragement. It’s common; it’s sad but true.

The corollary of the rule is: that every single word should build sentences and paragraphs that drive the plot forward, establish the setting and develop characters. If it doesn’t, take it out.

I know a talented lady writer of short stories and novellas in the romantic erotica genre; not a genre I follow, mainly because it’s usually poorly written. But she writes it well, impressively so.

On her site she announced she was writing a novel; part one of a trilogy. A mystery thriller, set in an exotic Caribbean location, it opened well. But unfortunately, the story idea just couldn’t punch its weight. Consequently, the novel got the “padding” treatment; all of it, complete with an utterly gratuitous, and brutal, sex scene. I was most disappointed, but it’s par for the course.

The rule requires discipline and is not easy to apply. But if a writer keeps it in mind he goes a long way to achieving it. Reading good writing is also important as it shows how it should be done. In my view, a healthy literary diet is essential for writers and editors. It can, of course, be spiced it up with some literary junk with no harm done, but we become what we read. If a writer reads too much crap, he’ll write crap. If an editor reads too much crap, she’ll allow crap to pass her by uncorrected. The evidence for this abounds.

Shakespeare, as I mentioned, was a master of it. Go read him. Read a piece from one of his plays. Read a Sonnet. Then try to find a word you can take out. Here he is on Love:

Let me not to the marriage of true minds

                     Admit impediments. Love is not love

                       Which alters when it alteration finds,

                       Or bends with the remover to remove:

                       O no; it is an ever-fixed mark,

                      That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;

                       It is the star to every wandering bark,

                       Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.

On Valour:

Cowards die many times before their deaths.

                       The valiant never taste of death but once.

                       Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,

                       It seems to me most strange that men should fear,

                       Seeing that death, a necessary end,

                       Will come when it will come.


No redundancy there.

The rule also applies to the spoken word. Far too much meaningless verbiage comes out of peoples’ mouths and, no surprise here, politicians are especially guilty. Here’s a recent statement from British ex-prime minister Tony Blair pontificating on Muslim extremism.

“The reality is that in parts of the Muslim community a

discourse has grown up which is profoundly hostile to

peaceful coexistence. Countering this is an essential

part of fighting extremism.” (Flabby and overblown)


“In parts of the Muslim community, a discourse exists

hostile to peaceful coexistence. Countering this is an

essential part of fighting extremism.” (Better)


“Among Muslims, discourse hostile to religious tolerance

abounds. In combating extremism, it is essential to counter

such discourse.” (Much better)


I think the last word must go to that wonderful text, The Elements of Style.

“Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no

unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences,

for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary

lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that

the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail

and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.”

So, let us cut the flab and do it. Here’s to better writing and better reading. Cheers.

Tony McManus

Chiang Mai

Tony McManus was born in Manchester, England. He worked in many jobs to serve his passion for travel such as English teacher, bar tender, taxi driver, and in southern Africa, construction work in the Transvaal goldmines and the copper mines of Zambia. Tony pursues and advocates good health, via diet and exercise. An outdoorsman, sailor, kayaker and canoeist, he also loves hiking, cross country skiing and snowshoeing.

He is the author of an espionage novel: The Iran Deception based on his time in Israel. He recently published: Down And Out In The Big Mango, a collection of short stories set in Thailand. He resides alternately in Chiang Mai, Thailand and Ste. Adele, Quebec, Canada.

He can be found at: http://downeastern.wix.com/tonymcmanuswriter

Or via his email: downeastern@hotmail.com

Tony is the author of a novel: The Iran Deception. http://amzn.to/1Ppb45P

And a short story compilation: Down and Out in the Big Mango. http://amzn.to/1FetYVl

He has published several short stories:

Ray: http://amzn.to/1Ge6jq9

A Bangkok Solution: http://amzn.to/1A8LCuy

A Partner in Crime: http://amzn.to/1ENZpn2

The Bangkok SAS: http://amzn.to/1d5cVMb

He is presently working on two crime novels: A Bangkok Interlude, the first book in a series featuring sleuth Mike Villiers.

And The Sum of Things, the first book in a series featuring ex SAS hero, James Fallon.


…thanks , again, for the WURDS of wisdom, Tony… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



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…Gallacher’s Travels… (with apologies to Jonathan Swift)… Part V… Edinburghinium (Continued)…


…I have every reason to  believe it may well turn out to be the date, time, place and meeting that people will refer back to in the future as ‘that moment’… ‘that moment in literary history’… ‘that moment inscribed in scribbling posterity’… ’that moment which spawned future wall inscriptions to be affixed on the walls of the actual get-together venue’… or p’raps not, Mabel… whatever, it was kinda special for this ol’ Jurassic… breaking bread with my publishers for the first time– the terrific duo of Laurence and Stephanie Patterson of Crooked Cat Publishing… I’m sure in the life of any pensmith, there are pivotal moments in yer career that should be remembered… this is one of them for me… the openness of the conversation was refreshing… my metamorphosis from ‘self-publisher’ to ‘housed author’ has been painless… there’s no doubt the industry continues to change apace… forget the nonsense yeez might read about the ‘flash-in-the-library-pan’ of eBooks versus traditional publishing… eBooks are here to stay, but even the virtual channels are now as much impacted as the ‘old’ way by ongoing changes… in business of any kind, the ability to adapt to the markets yeez are in is paramount… being flexible means paying attention to, and responding to, the demands of yer market… and that market quite simply is yer readership... Crooked Cat Publishing still appears to me to have its focus on the correct elements…


…forward, centre and back, are their authors… without them, there is no viable business… like the Walrus and his mates, we spoke of many things… and for a small fee of US$10,000, I’ll send yeez a transcript… and I’ll throw in as a bonus the recipe for the great batter for the fish and chips yeez see in the ‘captured-for-all-time’ photograph above… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



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