…introducing, MISS SIXTY, the Mother of all Agony Aunts… Guest Blogged by Author, Carol Maginn… #TBSU…

…I proudly present for yeez on my Guest Blog slot today, the Mother of all Agony Aunts… my sexagenarian compadre, Miss Sixty… the alter ego of good chum, Author, Carol Maginn… with our average life expectancy creeping ever upwards towards the age of about 250, the time is surely ripe for these seasoned offerings from a Lady who’s been there, done that, got the sandwich, wrote the encyclopaedia, been all round the WURLD and many other places a gazillion times, seen it all, done it all, and recognises it all… read on and be suitably amazed, above all, with the sheer modesty of the dame:

cocktail

Miss Sixty speaks….

An interview.

Firstly, Miss Sixty – thank you for making the time to talk to me.

It’s my pleasure, Seumas. I’m always happy to talk to my public.

First question….who is your new advice column for?

Well, Seumas, it’s for anyone who is sixty, or has ever been sixty, or is ever likely to reach sixty, if they don’t expire from fame and wild success first.

And secondly….why?

Three basic reasons….

The first, of course, is that I am simply very good at giving advice. Extremely good. It’s a gift, and one I embrace, as any of my friends will confirm. I have an uncanny ability to perceive where others are going wrong, and to steer them in the right direction. I can’t really take credit for it – it’s simply a talent. The second is that, when I reached sixty, I began to realise that people of around our age are very badly served for advice columns. Do we all have to read Saga magazine? I’ll go further – people of all ages are very badly served. The days of the great agony aunts like Marge Proops have sadly gone…. Nowadays it’s all Irma Kurtz and Pamela Anderson, who, believe me, don’t know it all. It seemed to me that what was needed was a firm but fair voice. My voice.

And thirdly, I was happy to help out a frankly hopeless blogger, who needed a bit of pep in her weekly offerings.

And who seeks your advice?

Anyone and everyone, Seumas. Royalty, Hollywood, politicians, entertainers, all put pen to paper and confide their difficulties to me. I’m happy to help. But I must emphasise that I also deal with the difficulties of ordinary people. The happiness of humble folk is equally important to me.

Do you answer every letter?

I’d love to, Seumas, obviously. But I have to cherry pick just a little. The same topics tend to recur, and so now I have a whole set of very helpful leaflets which I send out as appropriate. And I don’t answer boring letters, for obvious reasons.

Should my readers write to you?

Well, if they have at least an interesting, and preferably an original, problem, I’d be delighted to hear from them. I can’t, of course, guarantee a reply – they may just get a leaflet – but I am always happy to hear from my public.

And how can we find the weekly Miss Sixty advice column?

Try wordpress/ccginn/miss sixty. There is, apparently, a fashion label with the same name, which tends to crop up on Google, but don’t get distracted. You need advice, not jeans.

Thank you, Miss Sixty.

My pleasure. Always.

…so there yeez have it, Lads and Lassies of Blog Land, our very own go-to Agony Personage… enjoy… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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…Brainy and Bonkers… a ‘Tail’ of Two Kitties… #TBSU…

siamese-twin-cats

…this ol’ Jurassic’s been bereft of feline company for more than twenty years now… but ‘way back in the days when Hong Kong was the place I earned my coin, I co-habited with a pair of Siamese cats… as a generalisation, I don’t indulge photographs of the species on line in the manner of some of yeez who have more selfies with yer pets than I’ve had hot curries… so, the proverbial cat is now out of the bag, so to speak… or more correctly, p’raps, the pair of cats are out of the bag…they were named ‘Brainy’ and ‘Bonkers’, and each went out of its way to show me that the wrong name had been applied in each case… ‘Brainy’ was as daft as a brush … and ‘Bonkers’ could well have been the equivalent of a feline Ph.D…  I still am none the wiser as to why, as a budding merchant bank executive, in one of the busiest, most frenetic markets on the planet, I should at that time have chosen to transform my condominium unit into an upmarket pad for a couple of four-week-old kittens… that they deigned to allow me some of the space is also a mystery, given their propensity to nudge me out of whatever comfortable couch or sofa I may have preferred to sit in… suffice to say they had me house-trained in very short order… meals on demand… and none of yer Kit-E-Kat rubbish from a tin… proper grub, straight from the fishmonger… but came the first angst-ridden cat-parent incident when they had to sent to the vet to be spayed… I called the local pet doctor, and was rewarded with a female Chinese receptionist on the other end of the line… at that time my fluency in Cantonese had not yet developed beyond the ‘yes/-no/-I’ve-got-no-money’ chapter in the Talk-Cantonese-In-Three-Thousand-Easy-Lessons primer… I’m certain much was lost in translation… being a bit concerned that the proposed operation, of basically clipping way the cats’ future manhood would be professionally done, with no lasting psy-cat-ric effect on the kittens, I wanted assurances that it would be painless… the fine wee lassie replied in her best pidgin English, ‘Ah, you no worree Mistah Ga-Lee-Kah—you won’t feel a thing!’… and she was right, God bless her, I incurred no pain whatsoever… it is not recorded what the kittens’ view was… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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…the King of Laughter is dead… long live the King… R.I.P. Robin Williams…

robin

…It’s not given to many of us to be regarded as a person about whom nobody thinks anything other than ‘what a wonderful human being’Robin Williams owned that billing, and has done for decades… many of us utilise humour as a defence against the various demons we face from time to time… for most, that’s sufficient… for others, sadly as we know, that armament fails… the irony is that very few people have consistently brought humour and light to hundreds of millions through a career of dazzling genius in the way that Robin did… and yet, in the end, that same talent was unable to work its magic on the man himself… the records will demonstrate clearly the many such purveyors of comedy who also found the only recourse was to take their own lives… the brilliant British situation-comedy actor, Tony Hancock, is another who comes to mind… most of yeez will remember others… but, here’s the thing… I’ll bet yeez everyone of them would have wanted the show to go on… humour shouldn’t stop when their own curtain comes down… of course, we grieve… we wouldn’t be human ourselves if we did not… yet, presently, the SOSYAL NETWURKS are also crammed with clips of Robin’s past funny masterpieces… we weep at his passing, and simultaneously laugh and relive the joy in the wonderful entertainment he provided… his monologues… his nutty ad libs… the matchless facial expressions which in themselves spoke volumes… he is being labelled a genius, but sum’times even that WURD doesn’t fully encompass the truth of it… he was a one-off… the ultimate entertainer… part of his legacy, we hope, may be a raised understanding of the illness that he did share with millions… severe depression… we loved you then, Robin… we love you now, Robin… we will always love you, Robin… the King of Laughter is dead… long live the King… R.I.P. Robin Williams…

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…take heart, Author pals… the Amazon Kindle Freebie Promo Program CAN have an afterglow… #TBSU…

…among the truisms offered to we wet-behind-the-ears quill-scrapers when first we dare to step on to the self-publishing carousel is that the best way to sell books is to keep writing more books… the same scribblers’ wisdom avers that once yeez’ve cracked yer third title and got that up and running, things begin to take on some momentum… this ol’ Jurassic’s not so ‘umble view is that p’raps the preface to these bon mots should be, ‘at least produce sum’thing halfway decent to read’… nonetheless (LUV that WURD–‘nonetheless’– is there a counterpoint WURD, ‘somethemore’?)… nonetheless, recently, I’m beginning to think there may be more than a modicum of proof in the sagely advice… lots of yeez, kind enuff to follow my blog, know that I ventured on to the Amazon Kindle Free Promo recently with my third Jack Calder crime thriller masterpiece, SAVAGE PAYBACK… it was the first time that particular title had been on the giveaway shelf… previous novels, THE VIOLIN MAN’S LEGACY and VENGEANCE WEARS BLACK were on the Free Program a few times in the last coupla years and did fine, thank yeez very much, but… and here’s the big ‘but’… they did nothing spectacular post-giveaway… comes now the latest sally… and behold and lo… after-sales have kicked in more than satisfactorily… although the correlation of freebie drawdowns to reviews on Amazon have been perplexing… only three reviews directly from a total of 6,000+ given away(nudge, nudge to emb’dy who nabbed a freebie, and feels any twinge of literary conscience—reviews are an Author’s life-blood, thanks)… however, I do believe the cascading has begun… not only has SAVAGE PAYBACK seen the afterglow, but the ‘back list’ is also benefitting… the steady off-take is gratifying… so, if yeez are swithering on do-I-or-don’t-I’ for Freebies, I’d recommend yeez go for it… oh, and the best way to sell yer books is to write more books… and…and…and… once yeez have at least three titles out there, stuff’ll improve… where did I read that before?… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

wall copy 2

Amazon links:

Savage Payback                    :   http://amzn.to/1oyHNah

Vengeance Wears Black     :   http://amzn.to/W59BB3

The Violin Man’s Legacy   :  http://amzn.to/10wnMXB

 

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…there’s sum’thing mystical in Celtic music… here’s the daft ol’ Jurassic jamming to ‘She Moved Through The Fair’… #TBSU…

tobermory

…in a month or so, I’ll be taking a ‘Bucket List’  type of journey from where I am currently in the Middle East, back to Tobermory on the Hebridean Island of Mull in Scotland… where I first set foot on the place fifty years ago this year as a young bank clerk… some of yeez will know already, that while there, the hauntingly beautiful Gaelic music became part of my life there… two native Celtic-speaking ladies taught me enough of the language and the music to compete successfully and win medals in the local and national music festival competitions known as the Mod… all in their native tongue… about eight years or so ago, I revisited the place and donated a silver quaich as a perpetual annual prize in the Learners Division, where I began…my visit will coincide with this year’s Mod Festival competitions, and I’ll be able to present personally the Seumas Gallacher Quaich to this year’s winner… what a buzz! …I also want to sing again a couple of songs with old friends with whom all these years ago, I used to do ceilidh ‘turns’ and have them recorded… as a wee bit of practice, I’m tuning up with other pieces I’m glad to see available on YouTube… this piece attached is in English, but is a Celtic classic none-the-less… if yeez listen closely yeez can make out my crackly bits of ‘jamming’ in concert with the male voice there… the instrumental backing is amazingly haunting…I LUV it… hope yeez enjoy the listen… see yeez later … LUV YEEZ!… click on here for the music:

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…Author, Frank Muir… my superb Scots’ scribbling pal, Guest Blogs with us today … enjoy… #TBSU…

…the marvel of the Guest Blog phenomenon rolls on apace… another Scots lad, no less, today adorns my blog with yet another demonstration of how richly talented  and deep is the quill-scraper society… my good pal, Author, Frank Muir is here to make the hairs stand on the back of yer neck… as with most of we Heathens-From-North-Of-Hadrian’s-Wall, he is well able to speak for himself… here he is:

 

 

HEADSHOT - Colour - December 2013

FRANK MUIR (Author, T.F.Muir)

I am often asked why, having been born and raised and now living once again in Glasgow, Scotland, I chose St. Andrews as the setting for my crime series, and I always give some version of the same answer – my wife, Anne, and I had driven up from Glasgow for a long weekend in St. Andrews, a place we visit more than any other, and on a cold winter’s night, with not a cloud in the sky, while walking back to our hotel after an evening in the pub, we turned into a side-street and I just stopped. Maybe I’d had too much to drink, or my mind was filled with thoughts of romance, but I was simply struck by the setting.

Behind us lay the castle ruins; to the left, the cathedral ruins; and ahead, this ancient street as narrow as a lane, with old stone buildings either side, eerily shadowed by moonlight. Call it a moment of epiphany if you like, but as I stood there, it hit me with a clarity that stunned me that this place – the auld grey toon of St. Andrews – would make a perfect setting for a crime series.

We entered the street, and I have to say that with thoughts of murder and mayhem churning through my mind, I clung closer to my wife, the pair of us keeping to the middle of the road. As we walked back, and my thoughts fermented, I came to see that St. Andrews had national recognition from Prince William attending the University, and also international recognition from the town being renowned as the home of golf. And with its sheer seaside cliffs, its stone harbour pier, black roiling seas and golden beaches, and of course that cold, wet, miserable Scottish weather blasting the town senseless most of the year, it seemed to me that here was a place just waiting to be written about.

Mind made up, and eager to begin writing, all I needed was the name of my detective, which came to me in the space of a couple of heartbeats – Andy Gilchrist. Where the name Gilchrist sprang from I had no idea, and the ease with which it popped up had me worried that I must know someone by that name. But I wracked my brain, probed my memory banks, talked to my wife about it, and came up with a blank. No, I knew no one by the name of Gilchrist, so Andy Gilchrist it was.

Now, all of this happened over thirteen years ago, when Prince William attended St. Andrews University (at one time I feared he might be King by the time my books were ever published), but it was only last year that I finally came to understand where the name Gilchrist had come from.

I visited my cousin, Tom, whom I had not seen since the death of my mother seventeen years ago, and as long-lost cousins tend to do we talked mostly about family. We both shared the same grandparents, and I mentioned that I planned to carry out a genealogical search on our family one day, although I knew I could never go back any further than our Grandpa John Rae on my mother’s side, because my mother told me her father had been adopted at birth. Tom, who had read my crime series, looked at his wife, Jane, for a long moment, then back at me, and said, ‘We thought you knew.’ I must have given him a blank look, for he then told me that John Rae had been Grandpa’s adopted name, but that he had been christened John Gilchrist. Well, I tell you. Hairs really do rise on the back of the neck, and electricity really does zap up and down spines. I was a perfect example of horripilation full bore – I still shiver when I recall that moment.

However, the realisation that somewhere deep in the darkest canyons of my subconscious had lain some genetic memory passed down to me through my Grandpa John, now raised another more perplexing, perhaps even worrying, thought.

Another question I am often asked is – where do you get the ideas for your gruesome scenes in your crime novels? I always give an answer along the lines of: I read a lot, and I read a lot of crime, so I write what I like to read, and ideas just come to me. And the psychology of the criminal mind fascinates me. What drives someone to kill? How do they feel in the act of murder? How can they then live with it? And in the end, I say that I just make it up, that it is all a figment of my imagination.

Up until that meeting with my cousin, I had always thought the answer was simply that. Now I wonder if my gift for writing believable scenes of violence and all things gruesome is not just imagination, but the faintest recollections of genetic memory passed down to me from long dead relatives.

If so, I must be descended from a frightening, murderous lot. So now I worry that my murder scenes are not just figments of my imagination, but are based on fact. I guess I will never know.

But it does make you wonder.

 

…thanks for coming aboard, that man…

Frank publishes under the author name T.F Muir, and his next novel – THE MEATING ROOM – number five in his DCI Andy Gilchrist series, is scheduled for publication on 18th September 2014 (something else is happening that day, but he can’t remember what). For more information on Frank and his books visit his website at www.frankmuir.com

THE MEATING ROOM - T.F. MUIR - 18 September 2014

Frank’s excellent ‘back list’ is here

Eye for an Eye

Hand for a Hand

Tooth for a Tooth

Life for a Life

…go on, enjoy a superb Scots writer’s WURKS…

 

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

 

 

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…universal reviews (life-blood) appeal on behalf of Authors, Quill-Scrapers, and Scribes… #TBSU…

reader

…never would I be so presumptuous as to say ‘I can speak on behalf of most authors’… EXCEPT on this particular issue: WE WELCOME HONEST REVIEWS of our masterpieces… HONEST REVIEWS are the life blood that helps us all to continue to be ‘present’ as writers… even the so-called ‘negative’ comments (unless gratuitously offensive) are of great value to us, coz not everybody is gonna like everything we write…

Book Review

…a few weeks ago, I did an Amazon Kindle Free Promo on my most recent Jack Calder crime thriller, SAVAGE PAYBACK and was gratified to see it attracted 6,000+ downloads… if any of yeez were the kind supporters in doing some of that, I’d be extremely grateful for a few words of review on the Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com pages (they do not automatically cross-post one site to the other), and Goodreads if yeez happen to be members on there… thanks a bundle… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

Savage03-1

http://bookShow.me/B00G00GZEO

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