Tag Archives: writing

…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…





Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…Authors, if yeez don’t believe in yerselves, how do yeez expect others to believe in yeez?…

…there’s NUTHIN wrong with continually challenging yerself… regardless of whatever career path/vocation/profession comes along… and there will inevitably be times that feel more comfortable than others regarding yer progress… for quill-scrapers, the Emotional Swingometer of how yeez feel about yer WURK can reach both ends of the scale several times in the same day… ‘I LUV my book/I hate my book/I LUV my book’ syndrome is common… I’m sure yeez’ve all experienced it… I’ll hark on about sum’thing I’ve quoted often in this Blog page… if yeez think yeez can be successful, yeez are prob’ly right… if yeez think yeez cannot be successful, yeez are also prob’ly right… it’s an easy choice… if need be, discipline yerself not to read early reviews of yer masterpieces… good or bad… they are both seductive… wait until a bunch of them have accumulated over time… the trend will be apparent then… in business over several decades, I’ve been in privileged positions of managing and running teams from small groups of people, to medium sized divisions, to entire corporations… and always, always, always, I looked for the volunteers for the tough assignments… the ones whose hands went up when asked, ‘who’d like a shot at this?’


…the confidence factor is paramount in all areas of living… believing things are possible… making stuff happen… refusing to accept initial setbacks… the same philosophy applies to yer writing… practice is good, more practice is even better, constant practice is best… good authors become great authors through continuous on-the-job learning… improvement… usually incremental gains rather than phenomenal victories… by the way, rejection slips from Agents/Publishers are par for the course… and often these are more judgemental of the person turning yer manuscripts  down, rather than of the material itself… as Master K. Rogers hints in the clip above, …Authors, if yeez don’t believe in yerselves, how do yeez expect others to believe in yeez?… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!…



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…of all the Blogs in all the WURLD, yeez had to walk into mine…


Master H. Bogart paraphrased the caption above ‘way back in 1942, with his unforgettable portrayal in Casablanca… even as far back as that, the imponderable element of chance meetings loomed large in peoples’ lives… fast forward to the internet era… chance meetings frequently occur in the virtual sense… the guise they often take is the splendid mechanism of Guest Posts… my wee Blog has notched up an astonishing 1,100 posts since it came into being, not so much screaming and shouting its presence to yeez all, more of a muttered ‘hello, there, how’s it going?’… and part of its own evolving, maturing shape has been the welter of wunnerful quill-scrapers who’ve taken time to come visit and lend their penmanship to its portals… bogartMaster Bogart’s companion of the silver screen on that Moroccan Movie, the gracious Ms I. Bergman, has since movie-d on to The-Great-Big-Film-Studio-In-The-Sky in 1982, and is therefore unlikely to make an appearance on this Blog anytime soon… (but yeez never know—watch this space)…ingrid instead, the Who’s Who of Lads and Lassies of Blog Land already lured on here over the recent few years reads like a roll call of the Scribblers’ Rich and Famous, as well as the Authors’ Indigent and Notorious as I’ve rounded up my own collection of the usual suspects… yeez know who yeez are, I shan’t label yeez independently… and what a kaleidoscopic depth of colour and diversity yeez have made my privilege to host… in continuance of that theme, here comes my regular commercial: yeez are all invited to come and Guest Post with this blog anytime yeez like… there are NO ROOLS… except no gratuitously offensive material… all else is open page… write as much as yeez want… length, content, pics, links to yer masterpieces, bios… it’s for yeez to use as yeez see fit… get yer name and yer WURK seen by a wider readership… yeez can pitch stuff at me on my email at seumasgallacher@yahoo.com… and if any of yeez do happen to have a direct line to either Master Bogart or Ms Bergman, I’d be happy to give then a ring… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…I wonder what today’s 100 grand a week pay-packet prima donna footballers would have done?…


…it’s not sum’thing that the World’s Footballing generalissimos, FIFA, have mentioned much in the past fifty years, but this ol’ Jurassic at one time was signed for a Scottish First Division football team as a lad… the body mass has expanded fully 50 percent since these more athletic days of my youth… some promise apparently had been ‘spotted’ in my soccer outings with Glasgow United, one of the best ‘bringers-on’ of young football talent back in the day… my instructions were simple enuff… get yerself down to Cathkin Park, the home of Third Lanark F.C., for a bit of training with the squad… for a lad of fifteen, it could not have felt much more exciting… opportunity knocks to get into the professional ranks… I even polished my boots for the training night… and splashed out on a new pair of football shorts… whatever else was gonna happen on my first evening’s training appearance, this boy was kitted out to look the part… shootsnag number one leapt out in the dressing room… the new shorts were a size too tight, and gripped my legs like bluudy elastic… undaunted, I managed to trot out for the warm-up and the exercise routine… snag number two followed soon afterwards… the grass pitch at Cathkin Park was kept for the match days, and we lads were doing our training stuff instead on a nearby practise pitch, which was not covered in grass, but with burnt ash… a not uncommon surface in Glasgow pitches… still not a real problem, until…until… until… the coach declared we were gonna warm up with a series of short sprints… on yer marks… set… go!… I came flying out of the blocks like a bullet, arms pumping, and legs… well… legs tried to pump… but the tightness of the new shorts resulted in what started as an amazing five-yard sprint and instantly transformed into a passable imitation of Superman… a new definition was born for The Flying Scotsman… I landed arms outstretched, legs trailing behind me in midair… and came to an excruciating slide on the ash… my bare arms and legs were cut to bits as the ash bit into the skin… my reaction?… yeez would’ve been proud of me, Mabel… instead of bursting into tears as I prob’ly might have done on a different occasion with the combination of pain and humiliation, in red-misted rage, I ripped at the sides of the offending shorts, loosening up the cloth, and my legs began to move freely… the next series of sprints were mine.!.. all mine, I tell yeez!… the coach put me into the first team the very next Saturday, and I’m not sure if it was because he felt he had  a new ‘flying winger’ in his squad… the ash burns took considerably longer to heal… and even now on a cold day… I wonder what today’s 100 grand a week pay-packet prima donna footballers would have done?… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…Written Acts of Kindness Award… my pal Authoress, Ailsa Abraham…


…it’s amazing how the paths of people yeez have never even met can cross on the virtual channels, and it seems as if yeez have been kindred spirits all yer lives… such is the focus of my Written Acts of Kindness Award today… the indomitable knitter of woollie jerseys for penguins… the erstwhile motorbike acrobat… the doyen-ess of all things strangely British in the middle of her adopted domicile in France… and the quite proper champion of wildlife protection everywhere.. my fellow Crooked Cat Publishing cattery mate, Ailsa Abraham...

Digital Camera

…her tireless support of many of we quill-scrapers is legend, with her open-house blog at the Bingergread House the source of much fun and fellowship… so, put yer paws and flippers together, and welcome m’Lady, Ailsa ;

book 1book 2

yeez can also connect with m’Lady here : http://ailsaabraham.com

…Ailsa, the rules for passing this Award on are very simple:

  1. You are welcome to give it out as many times as you like, but it is only to be given to a maximum of one person per blog post. If you wish to give multiple rewards, please space the blog posts so the sincerity is maintained.
  2. Introduce the person; say how they encourage, help or inspire you; then link to their work and/or social media profiles. There may be a specific post you wish to link to which helped you. It’s up to you.
  3. Please publicise your award post to Twitter or Google Plus using the hashtag #writtenkindness so that others can find and follow the award winners.

This award is open to anyone to use. You don’t have to receive it, in order to be able to give it. Once you have received it, it isn’t obligatory that you must pass it on.

…see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…and the winner is… what!!!????

…there are many things which yeez are aware of, which once seen, can never be unseen… in the same vein, there are things and incidents which yeez witness, which once witnessed, can never be unwitnessed… I bring yeez a story, a true recounting of one such phenomenally unforgettable passage from about 30 years ago… the location is the Far East, in Hong Kong to be precise… I lived and WURKED there at the time, and was appraised of this by a close friend, who couldn’t contain himself with it… he was a member of the Hong Kong Wine Society… now, I personally have NUTHIN against people who fancy themselves as true oenophiles (wine buffs, Mabel… wine buffs)… as a side issue, I’ve never quite understood how with a single sniff at a rotting cork yeez can divine the origin, vintage (wine-age?), maker, address of the grape-seed supplier, names of the guys who plucked the bottles from the wine trees, and how many cheese sandwiches they ate during the growing season… but, seemingly, yer true experts can do all that…


…then there’s the other sort… the wannabe wine snobs… the Chardonnay Charlatans… the Medoc Mountebanks… the Savignon Shamsters… yeez’ve all seen them… well, one such interloper was a notorious keep-on-turn-up-regardless-er… the lady wife of a prominent British society family in the colony… and sadly, her strongest suit was the frequent uber-indulgence in the contents of the wine bottles rather than the delicate tasting of them… the occasion referred to above involved a weekend trip by the Wine Society to what was then the Excelsior Hotel in Macau, a forty-minute jet-ferry ride from Hong Kong… two full days of activities culminated in a formal wine-tasting with a panel of judges, of whom our hiccupping heroine was the first in the line at the table… the deal was quite straight forward… a line of glasses of wine were arrayed in front of each of four judges and they were tasked with choosing the ‘best’ one…


…the lady had slugged generously on each of the selected wines and slurringly declared that the best was undoubtedly Glass ‘E’… consternation briefly reigned… as each glass was actually numbered ‘1’ through ‘4’… she had failed to notice that every glass bore a large letter ‘E’ on the side… this by dint of the fact that they belonged to the ‘E’xcelsior Hotel… cheeeeeeeeeeeers! …. see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff