…Authors, it’s hard to beat meeting yer publics eyeball-to-eyeball…

…scribblers-of the-WURLD… we are all pretty much united in the lonely experience of the isolated, virtual, candle-lit attic where we punch out our respective wee literary masterpieces… equally, the burden of transferring the finished tomes onto Auntie Amazon Kindle, or slaloming  through the Agent/Publisher rapids can be a solitary slog… however, some saving grace is at hand… once yer novels are in the public domain, opportunities abound to meet yer adoring readership… Guest Speaking engagements, book festivals, and events such as local Arts and Crafts Fairs… one such of these came our way last weekend in Bahrain… the Bahrain Petroleum Company annual charity event, where all sorts of goodies were on offer… handmade trinketry of incredible beauty, wrought in silver, gold, and ceramics… assorted wood and metal combination photograph frames… diverse clothing for children and adults, in a coruscation of colours… woven bobble hats… perfumed candles in a variety of shapes and hues… and much, much more… and into the mix came this ol’ Jurassic Scots writer and my author buddy, Glen R. Stansfield, with printed copies of our crime thrillers…

…bedecked as yeez can see in our best Braveheart finery… and we fitted right in perfectly… the banter with the browsing hordes was a joy… folks from many parts of the earth mingle here in the Middle East… a few Scots accents mixed with others from the Saaaff of Engalund, innit… Scandinavian tongues… German, French, Portuguese… and one elderly lady, who is a ringer for To Kill A Mocking Bird’s Harper Lee, (dead ringer or otherwise), told us crime fiction is passe — and people should best just read the daily newspapers for that stuff!… however, enuff good folks parted company with their cash to buy signed copies of our wares and chat about writing and anything else that took their fancy… all great fun… and we’re doing it all over again this coming Saturday at the American Women’s Association Snowflake Arts and Crafts event for Charity at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Manama…

…see yeez there… bring yer blether and yer wallets… oh, and by the way, selfies with the kilties are are free of charge!… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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…being a self-publishing author… a ‘stigma’ I’ll gladly live with…

…it has been ten years, almost to the day, when this ol’ Scots Jurassic decided it was just ‘time to write that novel we all have in us’… what started as a personal ‘bucket list’ item evolved into an amazing scribbler’s journey, which sustains its magic for me to this day… I trudged the newbie author’s familiar road to literary destiny as so many, many others before me… letters to prospective agents and publishing houses… rejections by the sheaf-load… the first novel tentatively prodded onto Auntie Amazon Kindle… followed by the second, the third, and now #6 is Work-in-Progress… the realisation that the SOSYAL NETWURKS held the key to reaching out to a potential global readership… the building of a blog following… the learning curves (plural!) of proofreading, cover art, editing, pricing mechanisms… discovering various distribution channels… add in the continual scourge of piracy that criminally robs we authors of our rightful share of royalties… the reviews system, good and otherwise… being invited to speak as a Featured Author at Literary Festivals (what a helluva buzz that was first time around)… going into schools, academies and universities to talk on the double roles of Author and Practitioner in the use of the SOSYAL NETWURKS in the ‘business of writing’… all of that is still unabated joyful activity… early in the process the ugly monster reared its head… the whispers, becoming shouts, becoming screams from some quarters that self-publishing was a ‘low-level form of literary endeavour… a lower-class of writing expression… only-those-who-couldn’t-make-it-with-agents-or-publishers-to-back-them-sank-to-that’… and what a load of BOLLIX that view has proved to be!…

…I am blessed with thousands of author pals around the planet, many of whose books I’ve had the honour, privilege and pleasure to read and review… the excellent quality self-publisher is alive and well, and is here to stay… being a self-publishing author… a ‘stigma’ I’ll gladly live with… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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…in Docklands, Govan cinemas, we cheered the ‘baddies’ and boo-ed the ‘good guys’…

…a little reworking of a blog post I threw on here four years ago… worth another peek:

…when I was a wee boy, about a hundred years ago in the Govan, Glasgow Docklands, Saturday was the pinnacle of each week… money in Govan families was always as scarce as an honest politician… but somehow, THRUPPENCE in old money usually eked its way into the hands of most kids in our street, and those around us… then it was off to the Saturday matinee at the Vogue cinema… one THURD of the THRUPPENCE expended on a chunk of sugary, creamy, sticky tablet from Mrs Borland… she sold it from her front room, fifty yards away from the cinema… the forerunner of the  modern-day confectionery retail giants, in my opinion… the remaining TUPPENCE got us entry to join the sheer bluudy bedlam that only 250 screaming 5-to-10 year-old child mobsters can create… some of yeez of a certain age will well remember…. there were Tom and Jerry cartoons… sometimes Laurel and Hardy classics… the best for us however, was the ‘next-thrilling-instalment’ of the never-ending Cowboys and Indians chase…

…loads of gun-shooting and bows-‘n-arrows-firing… must have been a gazillion bullets and fletcher’s products used in every ‘thrilling-instalment’... the interminable chases on horseback were the thing, though… the film clips would alternate between the Cowboys and the Indians… they must have ridden after each other for about ten thousand miles… now, here’s where the Govan droll humour gets inculcated at even the tender age of we kids back then… we would howl boos and hisses in total derision of the supposed ‘Good Guys’, the Cowboys… and cheer like hell for the painted-black Baddies, the Indians…

…I don’t know how the present PC brigade would look on all of that nowadays … but  it was great fun, and splendid for the lung development of we shouters… the film-makers back then knew a thing or twelve about body count… Goodies and Baddies would tumble off the horses with immaculate regularity, pierced by bullet or arrow, (who cared?) …I think some of that has crept subliminally into my novel writing… over the past few years, my writerly quill’s been responsible for the demise of dozens of assorted characters (plenty more where they came from, Mabel)… trekking now into the Work-in-Progress, NO IMPUNITY, the trend continueswondering who’s gonna be left standing when it’s finished… oh, well, better re-load the scribbler… got some culling to do…see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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…an Author’s lament… where Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow and modern pirates differ…

…I’m not much into watching movies… neither on the big screen nor on television… I suffer from a prevalent writers’ disease… I generally, and unwittingly, find myself boringly ‘solving the plot’ ‘way, ‘way before the final credits… the exceptions are films which are either chewing gum for the brain, which I enjoy immensely, such as the Die Hard offerings with Master Bruce Willis, or the pleasantly ‘let it roll and make me laugh’ presentations of ‘The Pirates of the Caribbean’

…the characterisation of Cap’n Jack Sparrow is nuanced up so deliciously by Master Johnny Depp that the story line is a far secondary consideration to this ol’ Scots Jurassic movie-goer… but that’s where my affinity with pirates begins and ends… I’m a self-publishing author (yeez may have noticed!)… and like so many thousands of my fellow scribblers, my WURK is the result of many long hours, days, weeks and months of pouring my creative heart and soul into my Jack Calder crime thrillers… how galling it is then, to acknowledge that hundreds, if not thousands, of pirate sites steal our books and pass them on to readers who may or may not be aware of their illegal complicity in these sales… I use the Blasty program in an effort to minimise  the theft of my titles, but I know, like the Hydra, the more that get cut down, even more rise up in their place, usually the same operators switching to yet another name to peddle their stolen goods… it is NUTHIN short of flogging counterfeit products… someone else’s labour purloined… sadly, the practice is widespread, and the only means most of we writers have to counter effectively without the huge costs of suing, is attempting to persuade the reading public NOT to download pirated books… please share the message… pirate book downloads are THEFT… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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… “Our ‘Enry”… Sir Henry Cooper, boxer, sportsman, and gentleman…

…it is a sad reflection on the sport of boxing that current promoters rejoice in a routine, prematch buildup that revolves around unseemly televised scenes of the protagonists eyeballing each other, nose-tip to nose-tip, like a pair of feral badgers… add in the participants’ often screaming, pejorative, goading insults slung at their opponents, who by the way, are usually helping both of them to garner immense financial pickings… of course, one doesn’t expect a refined, polite ‘after-you,-Claude’ parcel of niceties… these are fighters, after all…

…however, hark back several decades to Britain’s Henry Cooper, whose bouts included the famous match with the then Cassius Clay, later to be restyled, Muhammed Ali… these guys slugged the hell out of each other in the ring, but there was always a sense of mutual respect, even allowing for Ali‘s hugely entertaining ‘I’ll-name-that-knockout-round’ predictions… like most fighters in those days, and prob’ly even today, Henry came from humble beginnings, his from Lambeth in London… he was the hero and idol for millions in the UK… the epitome of the ‘local-boy-made-good’… he never, ever lost the common touch, the ability to reach out to his fans, as a gentleman… I recall watching on black and white television the first of the encounters, at Wembley, with Ali… the one with the infamous ‘cut gloves’ which delayed the start of the fifth round after Henry had smacked Ali to the floor in the fourth…

…to his eternal credit, Cooper claimed the delay was only a matter of seconds and was not a contributory factor to his eventual loss on a technical knockout due to his cut eye… in retirement, Cooper became a much sought-after commentator and sports program contributor… the adulation from the public resulted in two BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards, and he was the first boxer to receive a Knighthood… it would be nice, although totally improbable, if every ‘big-bout’ boxer lined up to fight was shown tapes of Henry and learned how to behave… Our ‘Enry”… Sir Henry Cooper, boxer, sportsman, and gentleman… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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…sharing my leap into audio publishing… a whole new dimension…

…FOR AUTHORS AND READER PALS:
…a wee update on my recently-hinted-at foray into the WURLD of Audio books for my Jack Calder crime thriller series:
…the first bold strides have been taken… Narrator Supreme, Master Chris C. Hogan, has provided the initial voice demos, and we are up and running… for any of yeez thinking of going the audio route with yer wee masterpieces, an interesting coupla initial observations on the process:
1. Jack Calder and the rest of the characters have been living in my head for the past ten years now, populating the narratives of five titles and a sixth, Work-in-Progress… little wonder, then, when I heard Chris’s version of their voices on the demo, they sounded like strangers to my ears, ‘coz I’ve been conversing with them all for a decade, and of course, their voices in my head are already established…
Major Lesson #1 : Instant realization that as many people who’ve kindly downloaded my books (over 100,000 of yeez), will equate to just as many different versions of the characters voices in their respective reading minds…
2. A wee while ago, I tried recording myself the first short chapter of one of my titles (not the one Chris is currently WURKING on), and I thought it  sounded okay… but when Chris began speaking on his first demo to me, WOW! a whole new dimension kicked in… his experience in voice recording over forty years instantly brought a new vibrance to the narrative of THE VIOLIN MAN’S LEGACY (we’re gonna start with the first title and see where that takes us)…
Major Lesson #2 : As the author, throw out any preconceived ideas of what yeez think it’s all supposed to sound like… stand back and let the professional get on with his WURK… the modulation, the accent, the tone, the pace, and especially the gritty ‘feel’ to the spoken book is a whole new universe… and I’m excited about it…
3. Most of my writing career for the past ten years has been as a self-publisher, and a good while back I came to realize that is largely down to my desire to have as much ‘control’ as I can muster on the whole ‘business of writing’, sum’thing I expound on quite a lot in my blogs…
Major lesson #3 : Even in these early days of coordination with Chris, that sense of ‘control’ is still absolute… Chris ‘gets’ what I’m looking for in the story… this evening we discussed, for example, that with over forty different speaking characters in the book, of which around five or six are main players, the rest appearing at random, there is no call for forty different speaking voices… most of the non-main voices are just part of the story… the lead voices are part of the drama and action parts… so at least that occurred to me instantly…
Major Lesson #4 : The fun, frisson, and excitement are as much alive in this process as they have been all throughout the ten-year journey so far… the first audio book version should be available before the end of the year… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!
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…I must have joined the dafties queue and ended up in the wrong profession…

…if ever this ol’ Scots Jurassic scribbler needed reminding of how fickle life can be, a glance at the following list is insightful:

Harry Redknapp… ex-Manager of Birmingham City Football Club (151 days tenure)

 

 

 

 

Simon Grayson… ex-Manager of Sunderland Association Football Club (124 days tenure)

 

 

 

 

Ronald Koeman… ex-Manager of Everton Football Club (496 days tenure)

 

 

 

Craig Shakespeare … ex-Manager of Leicester City Football Club  236 days tenure)

 

 

Frank de Boer… ex-Manager of Crystal Palace Football Club (77 days tenure)

 

 

 

 

…a fine body of gentlemen, yeez may say, and with prob’ly good reason for that opinion… Master Gallacher has several traits in common with all of them, viz:

  1. Having played professional soccer at some time in my life (albeit a couple of decades prior to most of them apart from Our ‘Arry)
  2. Being of European descent (mine: good Scottish/Irish stock)
  3. Residing on the upper side of 45 years of age (time is just a number, Mabel – Editor: aye, right!)
  4. Experiencing being job-terminated at some time in my career (I still swear I had NUTHIN to do with that unfortunate incident with the sausages at the meat counter in Tesco in St. John’s Wood… it was all a simple misunderstanding)…

…but there the common traits come to a screeching halt… where each of the listed men above differ from me is as noted:

  1. Commanding HUGE amounts of money for FAILURE… every one of them recently parted company with their Football Club employers with massive monetary pay-offs… after varying weeks of full salary, (up to the levels of which most of us cannot even count)… in any other profession, there is seldom that kind of earnings parachute – the ultimate ‘Platinum Goodbye’…
  2. Fresh from each of these SUCCESSFUL FAILURES (now, there’s an oxymoron for yeez!), there are  still other prospective employers willing to consider hiring these men to guide the fortunes of their respective footballing club ambitions… (if at first yeez don’t succeed, try failing another dozen times?)…

…please don’t mistake my message here… I’m not criticizing any of the aforementioned gentlemen… au contraire… I’m insanely jealous of their talent for continuous re-employment at the salary levels they fetch… down at the Job Centre all those years ago, I must have joined the dafties queue and ended up in the wrong profession… excuse me, while I just go and amend my curriculum vitae by inserting some massive screw-ups along the way… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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