…yes, yield to that temptation to do sum’thing different!…

…possibly mega-boring tale coming up… pass on by if yeez wish… I won’t mind… but I want to write and share this one anyway… if just to remind myself… 32 years ago, in 1986, my employers of the time felt the need to send me away to get my business brain recalibrated… they chose the Harvard Graduate School of Business – Advanced Management Program in Boston for me…

…it’s like a two-year intensive graduate course condensed into only four months… I was the second youngest (a callow 38 years old) in the class of 160 high-powered executives from all over the planet… mostly from the C-suite… we were each allocated a small ‘can’ bedroom, so small and cramped, I felt I had unpacked my suitcase and packed the room… the case study method had us pumping 3 case studies per day, visited-on in three different ways… in our own ‘can’ groups of eight people as a team at night… the second iteration was the following morning after breakfast, with a different set of eight participants, then thirdly, into the class auditorium session with the professors and the full class… it was a guerrilla course in business and management learning…

…however, of all the great things I did learn, the best piece of wisdom I picked up came from one of the Human Resource professor’s modules… he told the assembled executives, ‘We at Harvard track you ladies and gentlemen after you leave this course, and we can tell you that traditionally, within only two years of returning to your companies and businesses, fully two-thirds of you (over 100) will have changed either your job or your spouse/living partner… we know that our psychology studies show that phenomenon is down to this — most of you have been triple-A performers most of your lives in your careers, hence your presence here at Harvard, chosen by your employers… once you start to re-experience academia and all the things you’ve missed in your lives, the thought comes in, “Is what I’ve achieved to date only/all that my life has been about until now?”, and you search for a change… something different… we have a recommended antidote for you all… when you go back to your other-world routine, try to find each year something totally unrelated to your work, and get as intense about that as you have been about your professional careers.’… his words resonated with me, and when I returned to Hong Kong where I lived at the  time, I decided to learn how to swim, having been scared of being in water all my life up until then…

…I rang the local British Naval base (this was well before the pre-1997 handover to China)… they had a female swimming instructress who came to my block of flats, where we had a swimming pool beside the building… amazingly, within twenty minutes, she had me overcome my fear of being in the water and had me swimming properly in just the first lesson… I took further four courses of six lessons each with her, and it was the best summer of my life… I have not been able to maintain a new pursuit every year, but I’ve done many… professional lessons to enhance my existing singing skills… Spanish guitar, electric guitar…

…languages — Cantonese, Tagalog, Arabic  to add to my French, Gaelic, and  (halting) English…

…and ten years ago, along came the desire to write a novel… the rest is history in that respect… I have learned to publish on Auntie Amazon Kindle… I have become a blogger… I’ve put some of my poetry into print from decades ago up until the modern era… there are still some things on my To-Do-List learning to play piano…

…black-and-white photography… (I’ve still never owned a camera, apart from the mobile phone stuff which takes me eons to understand how to take pictures of my knee and toes when I don’t know I’m doing it… and through all of this journey, I truly believe that doing these things has made my business life much more productive and enjoyable… 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… there’s NUTHIN like a good killin’…

…we Scots are supposedly derived from martial tribes… we can even put our accent to battle when required… especially the Docklands Govan, Glasgow version… but underneath, we are truly a gentle race…  once, as a young lad of eight years, I inadvertently killed a small vole on a farm near where the family was on holiday… and I cried over that for most of that day… the Braveheart image portrayed as the norm for we Celts is true when we are riled, but in our restive state, peace reigns supreme… comes now my emergence as a writer of crime fiction… and all sorts of savagery pokes its head out… …at the last count in my Jack Calder series, I reckon upward of a couple of dozen characters have met their various demises, ghastly and otherwise… as an aside, I am constantly amazed at the ingenuity employed by fellow scribes who continually devise innovative and unique methods to kill off their players… in defence, I will plead that most of the ‘disposals’ in my books are of the bad guys, the criminals, ‘them what deserves it’, Mabel…

 

…but every now and then, the reality creeps in that sum’times the good guys  also have to slide off this mortal coil… I am not about to provide a ‘spoiler‘ here to give you a name, but one of my main characters along the way met their abrupt end… the choice was driven by a quirk of narrative…

…I think other Authors will understand… I had a surplus of main characters whose names started with the same initial… a novice error of pensWURK, of course… the decision therefore to remedy that, lent force to that character’s ultimate ‘take-out‘… strangely, I felt no twinges of remorse ‘a la vole’... a writer’s business is a writer’s business… things have to happen… and it made an impact on the story and subsequent novels in the series… so, when needs must, Authors… there’s NUTHIN like a good killin’… go for it! 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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…1950s back court tenements in Docklands Govan in Glasgow were awesome places…

……it was a different landscape back in the 1950s in the big cities of the UK… Docklands Govan in Glasgow, where Master Gallacher spent his infancy, had more than its share of rented tenement housing… up to three-storeys-high, grey, austere, stone buildings, sum’times red, depending on the material available when the corporation developed them in the latter part of the 1800s…

…by the time I poked my nose into the WURLD, much of the fabric of the municipal edifices in Govan had fallen into slum condition… that didn’t stop us children from enjoying playing in the them… no hint of the modern kids’ panoply of mobile gizmos to entertain ourselves… there was no money for such luxuries, even if they had been available… these handheld indulgences were for an age some sixty years in the future… gangs of thirty or forty street-boys and girls mixed easily to flail long skipping ropes, usually ‘cawed’ by the biggest lads, one or more at either end, while a snake-line of us jumped in and out to skipping rhymes… this was on the main street, where vehicles of any kind were a rarity, other than the coalmen’s carthorses… but the real magic treasure-land existed in the back courts… the areas inside the huge, oblong, joined-up length of the houses…

…there were the brick ‘middens’ (the communal garbage areas)… additionally, usually down the middle of the back court, brick walls… and iron poles here and there served as the stanchions for the drying of the family laundry, with ropes spread in a way that made it dangerous to run through there on a dark evening, with the threat of having your neck caught on a clothesline… happened to me once, and it almost tore my throat out… endless to say, I never ran there again in the dark… on top of the stone-dyke walls, sum’ times there were slanted slates, the ‘sharpies’, which we intrepid junior explorers would traverse with ease in our rubber-soled plimsoll sandshoes…

…jumping from the top of one brick ‘midden’ to a nearby wall and back again had varying degrees of difficulty (and the danger of injury), but hey, we played adventure roles there, doubling as Captain Kidd or sum’such other hero from the Saturday matinee movies… we played ‘kick-the-can‘… we played ‘peever’ with used Cherry Blossom polish tins filled with wee stones, and chalk marks on the roadway… we played singing games with one or two rubber balls bounced up against the tenement walls… and when the rain came, which was often, the dirt in the back courts transformed into glorious mud, fabulous oozing ‘glabber’, that great sculpting material for wee boys and girls to create castles and stuff… at the same time changing clean clothes into laundry nightmares for our mothers…

…sum’people often misguidedly refer to those times as the ‘bad old days’… they were NUTHIN of the sort… to me they were, and always will be remembered as, among the best days of my life… 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… it’s time to come to terms with our awesomeness…

…this ol’ Scots Jurassic scribbler is grateful for whatever Providence it was which compelled me to join my local library when I was only four years old…

…the Elder Park Public Library at Langlands Road in Dockside Govan in Glasgow seems an improbable  galaxy away from where I currently sit, perched in my writing eyrie in the Middle East (I live on the 44th level of a tower block encompassed by sand dunes and the waters of the Arabian Gulf – it’s almost high enuff to see Scotland from here!)… even at this distance in time, I can savour the delight and pleasure that leapt from the pages of the volumes borrowed from the junior section shelves…

…as my ability to devour older-pitched WURKS by my Authorial Gods, the Steinbeck-es, the Dickens-es, the Vernes-es, the O’Hara-es, the Umberto-es, the Ruark-es, the myriad legions of great writers, the deeper grew my appreciation of what treasures unfolded from their minds… their incredible gift of transporting others to lands and universes at the turn of a page… and I relate that phenomenon to the countless millions (yes, Mabel… millions) of we present-day toilers-of-the-laptops, the fillers-up-of-table-napkins-with-story-ideas… whatever we may self-deprecatingly think of our own efforts to transcribe from our wee grey cells to our books, novels, poems, and plays – we are creating sum’thing that sumb’dy, sum’where, is going to marvel at…

…the ubiquitous doubt that frequently creeps into our heads about whether or not our stuff is ‘good enuff’, can be kicked into touch… I really should not be surprised, but still am from time to time, when I come across a phrase or even just a WURD in an emerging Author’s book, where I have to stop for a moment and say, ‘wow!’… all of us who write have that inherent gift… Authors… it’s time to come to terms with our awesomeness… enjoy!… 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… how my ‘Jack Calder’ character developed…

…ten  years ago, Master Gallacher had a faint notion to ‘write that book’ we all supposedly have in us… frankly, it was never intended to roll on into more than that initial novel, THE VIOLIN MAN’S LEGACY… the Jack Calder crime thriller series now has segued into five titles on Auntie Amazon Kindle, with a sixth as Work In Progress, and with an aggregate of more than 100,000 copies downloaded to date (gazillion thanks, you wunnerful, supportive readers!)… given that stretch of time, I can look back on how the various stages of development of Jack Calder’s character have evolved… it may be of interest to some of my fellow-scribblers as they trudge the same happy path to literary destiny…

PHASE ONE : The faint idea of a male character forms in my wee grey cells… NUTHIN more than that… a big guy, ‘coz he’s former SAS… a reasonably fit physique, ‘coz he’s gonna be involved in some fighting action… give him a bit of height, six foot two inches tall, blue eyes and blondish hair… nationality, Scottish… even more localized – from Docklands Govan in Glasgow, coz that’s my own birthplace and stamping ground… write what you know about, they said, right?… right!…

PHASE TWO : Along comes some of the ‘humanising’ stuff… feelings, emotions… particularly for this  ‘hard, tough-as-nails’ guy… it’s amazing how sensible it seems to have even this ‘trained-to-the-nth-to-kill’ legal assassin show that it’s not all ‘breathe-kill-breathe-kill again-have dinner-sleep’… that in the quiet recesses of his own mind there are conflicts, questions of morality…

PHASE THREE: More incidences of interaction with others around him… close friendships… even loving relationships… demonstrations of caring… the counterpoint to the ‘day job’ requirements… only a handful of ‘forever buddies’, regardless of how many ‘acquaintances’ he may acquire… vulnerabilities that nobody else is permitted to see, apart from his ‘significant other’

PHASE FOUR: Driven more by ‘what-is-right’ rather than by ‘what-pays-tons-of-money’...

PHASE FIVE: The full character is now recognisable to the reader… the prevailing narrative can leave unstated much of what impacts the character as he goes about his business, as the reader is now equipped to formulate that piece of the writing in his or her own mind, allowing me as the author to focus on other ‘bits’ of the story…

… so there you are – Master Gallacher’s understanding of how his characters come ‘alive’… for other players in the cast, shake the bottle and repeat ‘ad inforeverum’… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

THE VIOLIN MANS LEGACY

myBook.to/theviolinmanslegacy

VENGEANCE WEARS BLACK

myBook.to/vengeancewearsblack

SAVAGE PAYBACK

myBook.to/savagepayback

KILLER CITY

myBook.to/calderkillercity

DEADLY IMPASSE

myBook.to/Calderdeadlyimpasse

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

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…my Guest Blogger, m’Lady, Seher Hashmi, has had a peek at Boris Johnson’s diary…

…one of my dear friends, and a fellow member of the Bahrain Writers Circle, the charming, m’Lady, Seher Hashmi, is a highly accomplished poetess…

…however, there is much more to her literary prowess than merely poetry… here is a remarkably amusing and insightful prod at Boris Johnson, who oft-times finds himself ‘hoist with his own petard’Seher herself is a Muslim woman, very much of the modern world… enjoy her Guest Blog Post:

giphy.com

A Day in the Itinerary of Boris Johnson

6:30: Wakes up startled by jangling alarm mimicking the sound of firecrackers. Bangs the stop key, gasping like crazy.

6:40: Sits up straight, practicing balloon-breathing in bed.

6:50: Curses Trump, mouthing unspeakable profanities for at least 5 more minutes.

6:55: Changes the alarm setting to windchime, regrets letting his youngest grandkid play with his cell for a while.

7:00: Checks his Twitter which is breaking down with #apologiseJohnson #IslamophobicJohnson #hatefulJohnson. Takes sweet time going through all trending hashtags in a hope to find #YayJohnson or #GoodjobJohnson, in vain.

8:00: Shuts down his search and decides to go for a morning jog.

8:05: Catches his reflection in life-size mirror, wearing red and black chequered robe topped with his silvery tousled tuft; shrugs off an instant thought likening him to an old style British phone booth capped with snow, and changes into shorts and tee for the run.

8:30: While on his way down the street, finds himself running with at least 25 red-burka-clad ladies/letterboxes chanting in low rasping whispers, ‘Apologise!’.

8:35: Baffled, asks his bodyguard to take ladies away, who replies after giving him a fairly long look of concern, “Sir, guess you didn’t sleep well!”.

…8:40: Decides to cut short his run and takes a detour in his Aston Martin, sitting snuggled between his bodyguards,wondering if he saw burka-clad ladies or burka-clad letterboxes.

9:00: Takes shower, with bodyguard sitting inside washroom, covering eyes with his hands in case burka-clad ladies or letterboxes sneak in to infringe upon his privacy.

9:10: Catches bodyguard red-handed peeping through slits between his fingers and shames him, naming ‘Peeping Bod’.

9:30: Arrives by the breakfast table to find red velvet loaf served with black tea. Hesitantly nibbles on it while watching on tele the P.M Mrs. May urging him to apologise to people for his reckless remarks on Muslim women’s dressing code.

10:00: Skips eating; checks his cell phone and reads a message from his youngest son pleading with him to render apology, else his burka-donning GF will not do household chores for him.

10:30: Silently resolves to stay strong; picks up today’s newspaper where his wife’s picture blazes on the front-page headlining, “Human rights advocate, Mariana Johnson, demands apology from her husband and threatens failing to do so will end up in divorce”. Spills tea over his white shirt and yells out to his P.A., waving newspaper before him. Asks him to read out the entire news about Mariana. After a good five minutes of skimming and scanning, the P.A. lifts his head with a look given to a lunatic who insists upon being sane while being examined by a certified psychiatrist.

11:00: Calls his bodyguard to put him through to his daughter to gain her sympathy. She informs him right away about the rally of over a hundred feminist friends of hers, asking for women’s right to choose their dressing and his apology for dictating to them about it. Squeaks and squeals like a mouse to know his own daughter is heading and arranging it.

12:00: Curses Trump for putting extremist ideas into his head during his visit to the U.K.

12:30: Calls Trump only to be told that he is busy shooting out highly important tweets.

1:00: Regrets his own weakness for Russian beauty, fancying Melania and casting evil eye on Trump, which he is sure is the reason why Trump was able to delude him the way he did.

2:30: Frustrated, sends DM to Trump on twitter. He doesn’t reply.

3:30: Gets anonymous DM regarding Jeremy Corbin’s apology over anti-Semitism issue. A lesson in apology.

4:30: Switches tele to watch latest season of The Great British Bake Off only to realize another head-covering British woman has won it again.

5:30: Hitting different buttons on remote, flips through different channels and finally settles for, ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians’; gawps absentmindedly to see all the Kardashian girls in black abayas with hijabs on heads, celebrating the spirit of Ramadan.

6:30: Turns off tele and rings Trump again and this time manages to catch him. Speaks his mind to him asking for help. Trump bashes Theresa May for not having balls enough to stand up for Boris Johnson against extreme-right factions within the party. Hangs up on Trump soon realizing Mrs. May isn’t supposed to have any.

7:30: Switches off all the electronic devices to block out horrific criticism. Sits down to tea served by celebrity cook Begum Nadiya Hussain, a head-covering lady of Muslim origin, in black abaya.

8:30: Completely drained of energy and strength, powers on the cell and sends his first tweet of the day, inserting broken heart emoji and apologises to all Muslim women for mocking them recklessly. Ends it with a namaste emoji meant to seek forgiveness.

9:00: Retires to bed feeling as light as a sheer silk veil worn by Muslim women of Arab origin.

…many thanks, m’Lady, Seher…

Seher Hashmi is a mummified poet, a classified satirist and a bona fide healthoholic. She lives by the lull of songs, lyrics, ballads, poems and spoken words, poetry and often records her rhythmic repertoire via her blog space. Her poems and imagery are inspired by the work of three iconic women of varying time zones: Maya Angelou, Arundhati Roy and Sia Furler. She is an active member of the Bahrain Writers Circle; her work has been published in prestigious magazines Muslim World Today, BLUE MINARET and in two anthologies of international poets titled, ‘THE ELEMENTS’ and ‘EROS’, compiled by Bahrain-based author Robin Barratt. Currently she is working on her first chap book of poetry with a passion known only to her.

https://charmedlassblog.wordpress.com/

Contact on Fb@SeherHashmi

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…you’d have to be crazy to go out in a night like that!…

…as I’m currently residing in the Middle East, it seemed a bit pointless to mark oneself  ‘safe’ during the storms that recently belted the Scottish coastline, but it brought back mem’ries of a similar episode going back over 45 years ago… to the time when Master Gallacher was serving his apprenticeship as a Trainee Master of the Financial Universe in the employ of the majestic Clydesdale & North of Scotland Bank in its branch at Tobermory on the beautiful Isle of Mull in the Scottish Hebrides...

…as a callow, bachelor Yoof, I shared lodgings with some excellent lads, characters all, as were the landlord and landlady, the wunnerful Alex and Betty Beaton… the digs sat on the crest of a hill overlooking the town (see the picture above)… access to the lower reaches of Tobermory was made by a dirt-track with its double-ruts, caused by vehicle wheels over many months and years, and when the rain came, which was often, wellington boots were the only footwear suitable to make the descent into the town… the day (and night) I remember vividly, saw a hurricane-force gale, relentlessly battering  the Scottish West Coast, including the islands… we lads, trapped inside the bungalow up on the hill, replete with a warm, cozy fire, initially hunkered down with a beer and a dram to wait until the next morning before venturing out… or so we intended… it’s amazing how a germ of an idea, coupled with boredom, causes restless daftness to appear… the rain was pounding horizontally against the window panes, transforming into glazed rivulets… and the gusts smacked the place like a heavyweight boxer’s onslaught… now here’s the key thing… the Mishnish pub was downtown, at the far end of the Main Street… the discussion began , ‘Should we go down and have a few?’, half-hearted responses were… ‘you’d have to be crazy to go out in a night like that’… needless to say, ten minutes later, myself, and my lodging buddies, Archie MacDonald, Ronnie Welsh, and the man from Stornoway, Neil (Cheery) MacKenzie, were kitted out in sou’ westers, wellies, and raincoats… yes,. we were crazy!… we struggled downtown, with the firm knowledge that we were the only lunatics in Tobermory who would be doing this… we reached the door of the pub and went in… the place was packed!… music belting out from a piano in the centre of the bar area, a fiddler and a couple of accordions…

…a full metal jacket ceilidh in progress!… and of course, the weather was far too wild to attempt to retrace our steps back up the hill… the ceilidh lasted on until the wee, wee, hours of the morning… when it was considered by all to be safe enuff to brave the elements again… Islanders know how to handle storms! … 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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