…yer man, Luke Kelly, late of The Dubliners, and currently still singing alongside the angels…

…being Scots as I am… (yeez may have noticed)… I mortgaged my soul to Celtic music a long time ago during my late teens sojourn in the Scottish Hebridean Island of Mull… particularly the gaelic ballads and airs, and folk music from my own country and from Ireland… I’ve enjoyed music of all types around the globe, but have yet to hear anything remotely capable of moving me like that of the Celt… no surprise then, when my good pal Lesley Krier Tither shared the number above from You Tube, it caught me holding back the tears (but not the emotion)… I believe it’s healthy to have feelings, and if music like this is the trigger, then that’s okay with me… of particular poignance is that this clip is the last performance by Luke Kelly… he knew his illness afforded him very little remaining time… The Dubliners, of course, are a household name across the WURLD, and have been for decades… matched against current ‘entertainers’ and singers, most of the present breed couldn’t hold a candle to these guys… an amusing (obviously Irish wit) comment in the post-wall along with the clip says, ‘…On the day of his funeral, one mourner observed that if Luke had known how much he was loved, he would never have died…’ …another says, ‘…listening to the song causes the hairs to rise on my arms and the back of my neck…’ …that’s how I feel too, when I listen to it… for all the razzamatazz and hype that attends the ‘pushing’ of today’s wannabe ‘stars’, very few of them have that quality that touches yer emotional strings like this… the mark of greatness… the often forced performances in programmes like the ‘Voice of Wherever’ occasionally will provide wee glimpses, but none as natural as yer man, Luke Kelly, late of The Dubliners, and currently still singing alongside the angels… enjoy the soul-music… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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…anyone who had a heart… would support an Author…

…what a marvellous prompt… to celebrate the life and music of a lady I’ve admired for years, the late Cilla Black… enjoy one of her most-LUVVED songs above while yeez read this wee blog… the enduring quality of the lady was her attachment to her roots… to the ordinary Man-And-Woman-In-The-Street from her hometown of Liverpool… I can seldom recall ever seeing her not smiling… the disarming ‘Lorra Lorra Laffs’ phrase that exuded warmth, and more than just a tad of unconditional LUV… and corny as it may sound, I think her attitude is one that most of us would prob’ly embrace if  directed that way… I refer specifically to the way we interact with others and very specifically with our own quill-scrapers breed—Writers… 99.9999% of we scribblers have experienced the ‘loneliness of the long-distance virtual candle-lit garret-dwelling pensperson’… and what a joy it is when sumb’dy ‘had a heart’ to tell us we are valued… the message that uplifts our literary labours… the review for our first little baby novel… the interchange on the SOSYAL NETWURKS… the acknowledgement that our WURK has sum’how touched another person… truth be known if this ol’ Scots Jurassic is any benchmark, there’s an incredible vulnerability in being a writer… the peaks and troughs of belief in oneself, countered by the abyss of self-doubt is a trait most of us will recognise… that’s why my own philosophy of supporting other Authors is so important to me… when I started out, no-one knew my stuff… over the last several years, I’ve been blessed (and astonished) by the positive reception for my books… but more cherished is the banter, the laffs, the poking fun at each other as real pals on the Internet… it is priceless… so, today, give a thought… anyone who had a heart… would support an Author… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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

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…presenting Author friend, Lizzie Lamb… in all her glorious Scottish-dom…

…every now and then, along comes a Guest Blog Post that doesn’t just ask to be included on here, but batters down the barricades and climbs in regardless… with my dear scribbling pal, Lizzie Lamb’s immersion in full-on Scottish-dom, how else could it be ?… here’s her effervescent offering for yeez to enjoy :

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THE EVER-WINDSWEPT AND INTERESTING, LIZZIE LAMB

I’ve always loved romantic heroes, be they highwaymen, pirates, Regency bucks or men in kilts.

I think the element of ‘costume’ removes the hero from the real world and transports both him and the reader into the realm of fantasy. The costumed hero is, generally, aristocratic – and while he does not have to work to earn his daily crust, he often has emotional scars which only the heroine can heal. And, in the case of men in kilts, there is the additional tease of whether or not they’ve gone ‘commando’, in true Scottish fashion.  So, while I loved the Wicked LadyFrenchman’s Creek and the Scarlet Pimpernel, my favourite books and movies are Scottish-themed.

My interest began as a child in Scotland, reared (courtesy of Saturday morning cinema) on the exploits of highlanders featured in such movies as Rob RoyBonnie Prince CharlieThe Ghost Goes West (one of my favourites) and -sob- Grey Friar’s Bobby.  After the movie (or fil-um, as we pronounced it) the children in my street would re-enact Rob Roy’s leap and subsequent escape through the waterfall, and the scene from Kidnapped, where Davie Balfour is almost murdered by his evil uncle. Our dogs were dragooned into being “Bobby”, loyally guarding his master’s grave on Grey Friar’s kirk. But they never quite ‘got’ what was required of them and were always wandering off, much to our annoyance.

The girls, of course, loved to act out Flora Macdonald helping Bonnie Prince Charlie to escape over the sea to Skye. Much better than having ‘a baby in the back of the wagon’, as seemed to be par for the course in most cowboy films we watched.

In June we visited Scotland, travelling as far as Skye to see the Fairy Pools and Flora MacDonald’s grave, amongst other things I wanted to research/double check before publishing for my forthcoming novel SCOTCH ON THE ROCKS.

The written word had its place, too; we knew Young Lochinvar off by heart and would declaim:

“He rode all unarm’d, and he rode all alone . . .

He staid not for brake, and he stopp’d not for stone,

He swam the Eske river where ford there was none;

But ere he alighted at Netherby gate,

The bride had consented, the gallant came late.”

I frequently found myself in trouble because I wanted to be Lochinvar, and wouldn’t take my turn as ‘the Fair Ellen.’ Nothing much changed there, then.

Those images and the tales of brave Covenanters and Jacobites stayed with me  as I grew up and read more Scottish themed novels . . . The Jacobite Trilogy by D.K. Broster (falling in love with Ewen Cameron), The Lymond Chronicles (who could resist Francis Crawford?) and, more recently, the Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon featuring uber-hero Jamie Fraser. For me, he is the ultimate kilted hero and has it in spades – looks, sense of honour, loyalty, is sex-on-legs and can speak Gaelic. If you’d like to see images of Jamie Fraser, check out this site you’ll see what I mean. I’ll even admit to subscribing to Amazon Prime so I could watch the TV Series: OUTLANDER. For me, a hero wearing a suit, carrying duct tape, rope and plastic ties just doesn’t cut it. Give me an exiled, Jacobite laird every time.

Which brings me full circle to my novels. In Tall, Dark and Kilted my hero is sexy laird Ruairi (Roo-ary) Urquhart who has to fight to safeguard his land and inheritance.

Tall Dark and Kilted

In Scotch on the Rocks I give you gorgeous, kilt-wearing Brodie – an American with auburn hair, who arrives on Eilean na Sgairbh on the back of a storm wind and turns my heroine’s life upside down.

Look where I am

And if kilts aren’t your ‘thang’ (and why wouldn’t they be?), there’s a crazy parrot called Pershing in the novel who seems to have won over readers’ hearts.

Lizzie’s Links –

 Scotch on the Rocks – a contemporary romance set in the Highlands of Scotland

http://tinyurl.com/SOTR2015

 Tall, Dark and Kilted – Notting Hill Meets Monarch of the Glen – 2012

http://bit.ly/TDKLLamb

 Boot Camp Bride – Romance and Intrigue on the Norfolk marshes http://bit.ly/BCBLLamb

 https://www.amazon.com/author/lizzielamb

Romantic novels by LIzzie Lamb

…thanks for this, m’Lady, Lizzie… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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

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…having a preemptive pop at the parlous paparazzi…

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…in the latest alarming developments regarding the intrusiveness of the WURLD’s paparazzi, I can totally empathise… as yeez all will relate, fellow scribblers, as an  Emerging-Iconic-Author-In-Waiting, this blight of constant photographic coverage on my own personal movements is taking its toll… I can hardly go to McDonald’s these days without at least a flurry of mobile devices snapping away, capturing my every bite of my Cheeseburger Special and slurp of my watered-down Diet Coke… I drop off my weekly laundry at the local Scrubbo-Mat to be greeted with yet more of the clickers recording what grubby undergarments I have delivered for cleansing this time…

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…therefore, I feel it’s time for me to issue an OFFICIAL PUBLIC WARNING… if I encounter any more of the Snapperatti targeting my movements, they are at great risk of my approaching them and engaging their ears in my usual boring diatribes about the difficulties of being a famous Author as like what I am… they will be informed in no uncertain terms of the burden carried of eternally appearing atop the Noo Yawk Best Sailors Lists… of the need to keep the telephone receiver off the hook to stem the incessant overtures from Agents, Publishers, Film Producers, and Justin Briber looking for tips on how to be liked… it’s not easy being Iconic, y’know… Lawd knows one tries one’s level best, Mabel… think of the headaches in trying to decide whether this week’s automobile purchase’ll be a Lambourghini, a Ferrari, or yet another (yawn) Silver Shadow Rolls Royce, with personalised number plates… of choosing where next to sabbaticalise in pursuit of writing yer next blockbuster masterpiece… Bahamas? Bermuda? Baden-baden? or Brixton?… so there yeez have it, journalists, magazine columnists, scoop-seekers, and, yes, let’s face it, even fans… YEEZ HAVE BEEN WARNED!… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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

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…Authors… looking for a good title?… Tony McManus has some tips for yeez…

…my irrepressible scribbling pal, Tony McManus has unearthed more fascinating gems regarding  book titles… have a wee peek…

tony

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

THE IMPORTANCE OF BOOK TITLES

IN FICTION

“…that which we call the rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” Shakespeare reminds us. And it’s true of most things in the world, but not in the world of books; especially fiction. Here’s my take on things.

Ernest Hemingway believed a title should have magic. I’ll buy that. A dull title can kill an otherwise good book. An inspiring one can help make it a best seller. In my view, a title should at least hint at the genre and tone of the work. It should be intriguing. It should also be unique; a writer should always check his title against existing works. Type your title into a search engine or Amazon.com and you’ll get to know if your title is original or someone has beaten you to it. I’ve often found several books carrying the same title, so beware.

It may be a single word such as: Retribution, Poison, Vengeance, or two: Bangkok Retribution, Poison Harvest, or a complete sentence: Vengeance Wears Black. It should not be too long as it does seem that short titles work best.

In 1924, a young writer sent off the manuscript of a novel to the publishing house, Charles Scribner’s Sons entitled Trimalchio in West Egg. The editor abhorred the title and suggested the author make a change. The writer came back with several other titles, all getting the thumbs down. They finally settled on The Great Gatsby. A good move don’t you think?

Though not a book of fiction, as a young anthropology student I was introduced to Bronisław Malinowski’s great work: Argonauts of the Western Pacific; a terrific title that. But it could easily have been called: An Ethnography of the People of the Trobriand Islands in the Archipelagoes of Melanesian New Guinea because that was what it was. Which is the better title?

It’s said that you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. And the word coming in from agents and editors is that a book’s title is the best impression of your work and of you as an author. It’s a manuscript’s title that first captures the publishing house editor’s interest. More than a book’s cover, it’s the title on the spine that impels the bookstore browser to reach out for a book and take it down. And then, if he or she likes the cover and the publisher’s blurb, perhaps buy.

Book titles have always fascinated me. For awhile, I wondered how great writers came up with their inspiring titles. Hemingway, for example, who gave us:

For Whom The Bell Tolls

   A Farewell To Arms

   The Sun Also Rises

And what vision inspired John Steinbeck to create:

East of Eden                

   The Grapes of Wrath

   In Dubious Battle

Then I discovered the mundane truth. They purloined them. They swiped, high-jacked or borrowed them. Take a look.

For Whom The Bell Tolls       Meditation XVII, John Donne

A Farewell To Arms              A Farewell to Arms, George Peele

The Sun Also Rises              Ecclesiastes 1:5

East of Eden                     Genesis 4:16

The Grapes of Wrath              The Battle Hymn of the Republic, Julia Ward Howe

   In Dubious Battle                 Paradise Lost, John Milton

Scott Fitzgerald took Tender is the Night from John Keats poem Ode to a Nightingale. Thackeray got Vanity Fair from John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress. James Jones’ first novel: From Here to Eternity was a bestseller, received critical acclaim and won him a National Book Award. Based on his Second World War experiences, it and was made into a successful film starring Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr. Frank Sinatra made a hit record of the theme song. It made Jones rich and set him on the path of literary success. But it was Rudyard Kipling who supplied the title:

Gentlemen-rankers out on a spree,

Damned from here to Eternity,

God ha’ mercy on such as we.

The list of writers who outsourced in this manner is endless and includes Somerset Maugham, George Bernard Shaw, Eugene O’Neil, Aldous Huxley, William Faulkner and so many more.

So fear not. If you’re stuck, just remember that the works of Shakespeare, dead writers and poets and the St. James Bible have proved a mine field for the writer seeking a good title. Writers have even been known to take a well-known phrase or verse and move the words around. David Halberstam did this with his Pulitzer Prize winning book The Best and the Brightest, the title of which he borrowed from Heber’s hymn.

Brightest and best of the sons of the morning,

Dawn on our darkness, and lend us thine aid;

So, if finding a title for your novel is proving difficult go ahead and check out the Bard, ransack the Bible and dig into some old literature and poetical works. You’re in great company.

Would I do it? Would I steal a line from a Shakespeare Sonnet or a poem of Byron’s? Would I lift a quote from Ecclesiastes or Genesis for a book title? You betcha. And with no qualms at all I should add. In fact, I’m doing it now.

The novel I’m presently working on, an adventure thriller once called: The Company of Men has now been re-titled: The Sum of Things. I’ve “borrowed” it from a poem by Houseman:

These, in the day when heaven was falling,

The hour when earth’s foundations fled,

 Followed their mercenary calling,                                                

And took their wages, and are dead.

 

Their shoulders held the sky suspended;

They stood, and earth’s foundations stay;

What God abandoned, these defended,

And saved the sum of things for pay.

 

Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries

A.E. Housman

It could be that further down the path I’ll change it again. But that’s how it stands at the moment. Cheers, and good title hunting.

Tony McManus

Chiang Mai

Thailand

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.

On Amazon. http://amzn.to/1FetYVl

Books Mango. http://bit.ly/1ROSkhq

 

He has published several short stories:

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

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

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

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

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

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

With luck and hard work, he expects both novels to see publication before the year’s end.

…see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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

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…you are never to go to that dark place, Simba… Spammerland… bad things happen there…

SIMBA

…there’s a fine line between (ssshhhh…) ‘spamming’ and ‘acceptable self-promotion’ for yer literary masterpieces… I just LUV the internet and all the linkage with my fellow-scribblers, readers and assorted buddies, nutters and others, of which we seem to have a fair assortment… equally, I enjoy immensely broadcasting on behalf of others their own promotions for books, special events such as book signings, acquisition of publishers, and all the wunnerful stuff the business throws our way… I shamelessly indulge the SOSYAL NETWURKS in propagation of my own wee WURKS where appropriate… and therein hangs the pivotal WURD… ‘appropriate’… of late, I’m noticing an increase of people who ‘friend’, ‘follow’, ‘link’, whatever yeez wanna call it, and the very next message is a plea to buy their latest tomes… it doesn’t operate that way in my view… Lawd knows, the majority of us who write are keen to see our books download… a single sale is a thing of beauty and a joy for, well, if not forever, at least for an hour or so… I’m currently in ‘ramp-up’ mode as the launch date approaches for KILLER CITY, my latest Jack Calder crime thriller… next Friday August 21st… and have been busy as usual, drumming away on Twitter, Facebook, and this ‘ere blog about that…. but a sense of balance is always called for… the hype from my side is tempered by ensuring plenty of other interesting (hopefully) material gets wrapped around alongside… I’m often asked, ‘how much self stuff is acceptable?’… the answer is equivalent to the one for ‘how long is a piece of string’.… after a while yeez get to know when yer own gut tells yeez to ‘pull yer head in a bit’…my not-so-‘umble opinion is that 10%/90% self/other stuff is an acceptable ratio… if yeez can reach the point where yer messages are treated as legitimate notices and not as spam, yeez’ve made it… so back to my ‘non-spam’ alert… KILLER CITY is available now on pre-order, as cheap as chips… fill yer Kindles… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

KILLER CITY cover

UK amzn.to/1OCzcgJ

US amzn.to/1VNwdYe

Can amzn.to/1KAjkdP

Aus bit.ly/1gnavKB

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…an Author’s Golden Moments… grab ‘em where yeez can…

…I s’pose it happens all the time to that wee Rowling lassie, and Messrs Child and Patterson… the recognition thing… the awareness that yeez have ‘arrived’ as a scribbler… some months ago, one of these ‘Golden Moments’ occurred for this ol’ Jurassic Scots writer in, of all places, Abu Dhabi International Airport… at the arrivals hall, the esplanade opens out into the usual melange of signs for taxis, buses, and private hires, along with assorted coffee and croissant dispensaries, travel firms and hotel booking agencies… and tucked over in the corner is the ubiquitous W.H.Smith’s, purveyors of assorted newspapers, journals, magazines and, not least, shelves of books for sale… now, W.H.Smith is one of the retail book distributors with whom I entrusted my wee Jack Calder crime thriller masterpieces a while back in Abu Dhabi… staring me in the face, front and centre, were THE VIOLIN MAN’S LEGACY tagged as #6 in their bestselling novels, and VENGEANCE WEARS BLACK, at #11, a not so-dreadful distance from its literary sibling…

IMG_20141015_132536

…yeez don’t know whether to walk nonchalantly over and peer dramatically at the covers for a few minutes to see if anyone else will follow suit… or just simply stand there, beaming ear-to-ear, pointing at the bluudy things and screaming, ‘they’re mine! they’re mine!’…  but a nice feeling it is, Lads and Lassies of Blog Land… matched this week with an incident that goes even one better in my estimation… indulging a cup of overpriced coffee in Starbuxxxx, I looked across at the next table, and sumb’dy I’ve never met before was engrossed in a copy of VENGEANCE WEARS BLACK… of course, being the shy, retiring buffoon that I am, I asked politely if the gentleman was enjoying the read… he said ‘yes’, so I considered it safe to introduce myself as the architect of the tome he held… a highly pleasant conversation followed and he asked me to sign the book… I’m not sure what the meeting did for him that day, but it certainly made mine!… an Author’s Golden Moments…. grab ‘em where yeez can… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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