Monthly Archives: March 2013

… a departure from my usual offerings…here’s a Book Review of EVERYONE BURNS, by Author pal, John Dolan…#TBSU…

MAGNIFICENTLY-SPUN, GRITTY, WITTY, PAGE-TURNER…CRIME FICTION AT ITS BEST…
Sometimes it’s difficult to find a crime novel that doesn’t cling to the usual formulaic ‘whodunit’ exposition…not so with ‘EVERYONE BURNS’...Author John Dolan has created a magnificent read, set in the beautiful Thai Island of Samui, where the natural beauty and gracious manner of its people clashes with a couple of grisly murders…our anti-hero, kinda down-at-heel Private Investigator, David Braddock, gets involved in an attempt at profiling the possible perpetrator, much against his better judgement, as with most of what he gets drawn into…his reluctance wanes as more and more pointers and fragments of evidence begin to surface…as in all the best unravellings of such mysteries, nothing is ever quite as it seems…an introspective relationship with an old Buddhist monk runs through much of the narrative, without being proselytising…morals and ethics weave easily with Braddock’s straying from the straight and narrow, particularly with the wife of the local Chief of Police…there are enough ‘plants’ and semi-obscure hooks for the reader to enjoy, and the language throughout is extraordinarily entertaining…I understand this is part of a package of at least seven stories, each of which I now eagerly anticipate…terrific, compelling read…
AMAZON LINKS :
Everyone Burns

7 Comments

Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…so who am I to judge other Authors?…my take on giving reviews…#TBSU…

‘I yam what I yam’, says Popeye The Sailor Man…an indisputable statement, one feels…whatever pretence I may indulge that ‘I yam this,’ or ‘I yam that ‘…what I am definitely NOT is a professional reviewer of the written works of my peers…BUT, as a reader, I am entitled to my opinions…I have my favourite kind of reading material (preferably over-sized royalty cheques and mega-film contracts)…certain styles of writing will entertain me more than others…the deception of the 1-star to 5-star rating systems, employed by Amazon pages for example, sometimes tells more about the reviewer than the piece he/she is reviewing…more relevant than ANY star ratings are the SALES FIGURES on Amazon pages, or elsewhere…the reading public, by and large, is not dumb…very much the opposite in my view…no amount of 5-star ratings will sustain sales on a piece of work if the content is garbage (unless the readers are from the Universal Garbage Association…)…so, why do I bother to give any reviews at all?…first of all, I’m a great believer in ‘giving back’…many kind souls were minded to review my initial novels, and I’m eternally grateful to each and every one of them…I pledged to purchase/download (paid or freebies) at least one book per week to assist my peers in ‘getting the stuff out there’…then comes the tricky bit, Mabel…reviewing the masterpieces …if I enjoy the story, and manage not to get overly distracted by any perceived major faux pas in the usual suspects of Character Development, Plot Flow, Pace, POV, and all the other minutiae that  keeps we scribblers awake endlessly in our candle-lit garrets, I’ll tuck a 4- or 5- star label on it and post accordingly…if the work merits less than 4-stars, I POINT-BLANK REFUSE TO ATTACK LIKE SOME SELF-APPOINTED LITERARY THUG...instead, I choose to let the issue slip away silently into that dark night, or on the few occasions when an author persists in asking for the review, I attempt to go on line DIRECTLY AND PRIVATELY and delicately explain why I didn’t find it to be the next  librarial tour de force…some may say that’s cowardly, or even deceitful ..I will vehemently disagree on the premise I put at the start…‘I yam what I yam’...a quill-scraper, NOT a professional critiquer...on this, I’m sure many will disagree, while others concur…your thoughts will be welcome…

10 Comments

Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…I’ll never forget old whatsisname?…and the art of giving…Angus Macintyre…#TBSU…

…they tell me ye can’t experience true spirituality unless ye can first embrace GRATITUDE...I’m not sparking on here about religion, by the way…if folks wanna indulge religion, that’s their business…let them get on with it…no, I’m harping at that sense of inner wellness…kinda the ‘being-at-peace-with-the-world’ and whatever foibles it throws up in the course of daily living…this old Jurassic’s no different from the majority of so-called ‘normal’ people (I don’t think I’ve ever met a ‘normal’ person in my life)…it’d be grand to have a mega-billion-winning lottery ticket…to swan around on luxury yachts and wave at people from the windows of a pink Rolls Royce…or p’raps bask in the glow of supra-bestselling iconic-author infamy…we can but dream, Mabel, we can but dream…the reality for 99.9999% of we common or garden hoi polloi is that mundanity seeps in everywhere..IF WE LET IT...there’s that wonderful ‘IF’…I apply an antidote learned from an inadvertent mentor from my callow-youth years…when I was in my mid-teens, my employer at the time was the mighty Clydesdale & North of Scotland Bank Limited (of whom the IMF said ‘Who?’)...in their wisdom they transferred this wee lad from the slums of dockland Govan in Glasgow to their branch at Tobermory, in the idyllic Isle of Mull in the Scottish Hebrides…what a seismic jolt that was…forlorn, lost, confused, hardly covered it…but salvation was at hand in the form of the branch manager, Angus Macintyre... a legend in his own way amongst the Highlanders of the day…the man was a cross between Einstein and Groucho Marx…over six feet tall, a Highland Games athletics champion in his youth…he easily filled the role of ‘my most unforgettable character’…the enduring legacy he left with me borders on that ‘spiritual’ thing I tried to refer to above…the man had humour in abundance…the droll, Scottish, dry-witted type that makes ye think ‘I wish I’d thought of that’…but even more than that, Angus was possessed of the biggest heart I’ve ever known…no-one who crossed his ken was ever left not feeling the better for his words with them…the kinda man to whom ye would confess ye’d just blown up the tax office, and dreadful as that would be, he’d make ye think maybe it was the best thing ye ever did in yer life… that same generosity of spirit I’ve found in bushels her on the internet with the wonderful global writing family…ye all know whose yeez are…thank you all for you…Angus, this one’s for you …cheers ! 🙂

Blog Scratchers Corner

#TBSU

Blogs To Follow

http://magpiebridge.blogspot.com/

http://outoflochee.blogspot.com/

http://www.seumasgallacher.wordpress.com

http://georgiasouthernexposure.blogspot.com/

http://joycebrennan.blogspot.com

http://briannaleemckenzie.blogspot.com

http://authorallenwatson.wordpress.com

http://www.ladyvoiceover.com

Yeez know the drill, share and enjoy…:):)

10 Comments

Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…no, I’M not easily distracted from my writing…oh look, is that a squirrel?…#TBSU…

…one of the more important functions of a Gran’pappy is to leave you with pithy sayings that later on ye kinda try and sneak in as yer own inventions…I like this one a lot,…‘what goes  round a house and round a house and never touches a house?…Answer…’a lazy housewife…’…now, evidently I am NOT a housewife (wrong gender for starters, Mabel)…and my laptop ain’t a house… but how familiar is it to you all out there, I wonder?… ye sit down and start to write…or more accurately p’raps,…try to start to write…up pops something on Facebook that you absolutely MUST read and respond to…then the Twitterati avalanche bounces before yer eyes…of course. ye HAVE to say ‘Hi!’ to yer Tweebie Twinmates…Goodreads muscles in with recommendations to join this group and that group (a book discussion group on crochet? aye, that looks right up my street .. eh, what???)..and away goes the best part of what? an hour?…try maybe three hours. more like…lunch intervenes…hey, an author icon has to eat to y’know…discipline, Mabel…it all comes back to discipline…I have some of the most disciplined distractions on the planet…honed them, polished them, embraced them with glee, (my little precious,…mine, all mine…)…so what to do?… easy…just write to that God chappie again and ask for 48-hour days…oh,oh, here comes another, Matron with the bluudy syringe…now SHE knows about discipline…wonder if she’s ever seen a squirrel?…see yeez later…

7 Comments

Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…not quite ALL the fun of the Fair…but it had its moments…#TBSU…

…if there’s a checklist somewhere of all the daft things a new indie author(ess) is supposed to do, I’d have ticked off most of it…so, the last time I did something for the first time was Friday just gone.., (Friday’s the first day of the  non-working weekend here in Abu Dhabi…)…I attended a Fair-type event as a stall-holder in the arts and crafts section…my art and craft of late being that of scribbling novels…heavily-armed I went, no holds barred…stocked up the vehicle with about a million of my books (well, p’raps a tad less than that…), a sheaf of the shiny two sided postcards…local author Master Gallacher’s photo on one side, kilted and scowling neatly into an obscure camera point,…montages of the book covers including the Work In Progress on the flip side… not one, but two, marker pens, ready to inscribe pithy scratchings to those splashing the cash to purchase the said masterpieces…a couple of giant framed images of the front covers of the tomes…and a sales-expectation optimism, totally unmerited as events turned out…the deluge of panicking crowds of would-be readers did not appear…indeed, nary a trickle of custom flowed toward the stall…in sum toto, the changing of hands of the paper version of my work amounted to 14… yes, Mabel, a dozen plus two…or a pair of sevens…70% of a score…tally it as ye will, it wasn’t gonna create even a ripple on the World Booksales-o-Meter…nonetheless, here’s the clever bit…engaging with each individual buyer DID provide a little adrenaline surge…discussing the writing of the things…‘where do the stories come from?’…’are there any more in the pipeline?’…’where can I find your books in future?’…all you wonderful authors out there who’ve already done this in truckloads, I’m sure ye know what I mean…it WAS a thrill each and every time these wee discussions occurred…what I did learn was that in the next phase of event-hunting, I’ll choose my venues a bit more cannily…there MUST have been books available when Simon and Garfunkel sung their bit, “are you going to Scarborough Fair…”...meanwhile, if ye’ll excuse me, I’ve got to pore through this diary of events for the whole of the United Arab Emirates for the balance of the year…now, I wonder if the Dubai Horse Owners Association Jamboree would welcome a book seller?…

Blog Scratchers Corner

#TBSU

Blogs To Follow

http://catherinekirby-author.weebly.com/

http://www.espionagemagazine.com/

http://www.seumasgallacher.wordpress.com

Share around and enjoy 🙂

6 Comments

Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

Insightful musings from Author Matt Haig.. via Maya Panika

I smell of dust, old books and bluebells

matthaigweb_2514698b

Ten years after his first book deal, Matt Haig reflects on 30 things that being published has taught him. Re-blogged from The Telegraph. Click on the pic to read the rest.

View original post

5 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

…the Loneliness of the Long-Distance Blogger…rejoice in it!…#TBSU…

…there have been a few episodes in my past where my unsocial behaviour ranked distinctly of the ‘Bah Humbug’ variety…thankfully not frequently enuff to merit total ostracization from my fellows…but, nowadays, by and large I’m generally considered to be more of a gregarious animal than not…my own self-witness to the pleasure I enjoy from the interaction across the Blogosphere is quite unexpected…a couple of years ago, when this ol’ Jurassic ventured into the Kindle Kingdom, and was spun immediately into the virtual AND notional WEBs, I never thought it would reach this stage of delight in communication with others trapped in this here maze…a kindred-spirit mentality pervades much of it, I’m sure, but for all that, some really valued friendships have been showered on me…my daily regimen is plotted from writing to blogging, to SOSYAL NETWURKIN in several of its guises, and back again…and I’M LUVIN’ IT!…however, and here’s the thing…I do read from time to time the mutterings and sometime wailings of others of the perceived constant NEED to be on the WEB to keep their names in the spotlight…my response is simple…it just ain’t so…the BUILDING THE PLATFORM syndrome is important…but not ALLimportant…like most things in life, proportion, balance, moderation all play their part…(Would you just hark at me, Mabel! Me what spends up to 15 hours straight on the laptop and wonders why I’m blootered at the end of it!)…here’s where I’m going with this…from time to time, it’s great to have your own space…physically, to go swing yer proverbial feline…mentally, to quietly recharge yer grey cell batteries…and creatively, to let yer mind wander to plots and characters and all the goodies ye want to have in yer next book…it’s called personal time…ask any Long-Distance athlete…they’ll tell ye the Loneliness is a major plus part of the gig…try it sometime…I think ye’ll enjoy it…now, where did I leave the invite to that virtual party?…gotta get in the limo before Matron gets here with the syringe …

5 Comments

Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…Snopaque and the Seven Drafts…a Writers’ Flaky Tale…#TBSU…

…living as we do in the age of the 24/7 cable news channels…with all their attendant blarings to catch viewer ratings…it’s not difficult to understand that the lines between fact and fairy-tale are often smudged…‘first-to-the-scene’ reporting frequently results in instant reaction garbled versions of reality…(and Why? Oh Why? is it, Mabel, that the reporter covering Parliament has to be on camera immediately outside the Houses of Parliament or the White House?… or soccer reporters have to be at the gates of whatever club is in the headlines?…costs a fortune to get them there… surely a back-drop montage in the studio would save them millions?..)…I digress…Master Gallacher is trying to make this point…first accounts are RARELY, if ever, the definitive final version of what’s needed…and so it is with we quill-scrapers-at-large…how many times do we see debut novelists lobbing their masterpieces on to Kindle without even a look at basic spelling, grammar, etc?… and that’s BEFORE ye even consider the Pillars of the Literary Gods?—Plot Development, Character Arcs, POV, Voice.. etcetera, etcetera…?...let me not pretend that this ‘umble scribbler acted any differently at the start…HOWEVER, whatever residual grey cells were operative over the past couple of years have brought me to HEED MY PEERS AND ESPECIALLY MY SUPERIORS (of whom there are gazillions)...accepting critique ( I’ve mentioned this before…)… trusting the opinions of them intrepid penning pioneers what’s gone before…they all carry the same instruction...edit, improve, edit some more, improve some more, then edit again, then...well, ye get the picture dontcha?…if this doesn’t make sense to ye, forget I spoke…and I’d recommend ye take up knitting instead of writing…now before Matron arrives with that bluudy syringe, where did I put that knit one, purl one directive?…

Blog Scratchers Corner

#TBSU

Blogs To Follow

http://www.taylorfulks.com

http://www.seumasgallacher.wordpress.com

http://www.judithhaire.com

Share around and enjoy :):)

4 Comments

Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

My original (tor)-mentor extra-ordinaire, the effervescent Jane Wenham-Jones picks up on The Very British Blog Tour… not to be missed.. and BTW, she’s one helluva good writer .. check out her goodies…

Jane Wenham-Jones

Seumas

***

wannabe_a_writer

Have been having a grand catch-up on my emails (just the 117 now left in my To-Answer folder) and discovered this British Blog Post offering, received on 23rd February, duly flagged up for my IMMEDIATE attention and then lost in the mire, from one Seumas Gallacher who is a v. good chum of mine.

Seumas first emailed me out of the blue back in… oh, 2008 I think it was, and said he’d enjoyed Wannabe a Writer? and he’d love to take me out to lunch. (Apparently I was his third choice after Billy Connelly and Alex Ferguson but they didn’t want to come.)

image001Well, how could I resist such flattery?

Usually I resist it very well actually (not for nothing do I have a chapter in Wannabe a Writer We’ve Heard Of? entitled Nutters & Weirdos) but there was something about old Seumas’s email that made me say…

View original post 787 more words

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

…the REAL heroes and heroines of the Writers Universe—REVIEWERS—worth their weight in crushed diamonds…#TBSU…

…it matters not a jot if ye’ve been at this scribbling caper for half a century or for only whatever time it’s taken to throw yer first ever literary masterpiece on to Kindle…there are certain priceless phenomena that surpass even the best-advertised credit cards…the unsolicited reviews of yer novel, short story, novella, poem, whatever…think about it for a moment will ye?…sumb’dy sees fit to take time out of their day to give an opinion on the written production of sumb’dy else they’ve probably never even met...how good is that?…in my book (pardon the symbolism), it ranks right up there with the Good Samaritan’s effort…the huntsman removing the thorn from the lion’s paw…truly offering an unseen hand of friendship to someone who’s more than likely spent at least the best part of a year in writing their little baby...it’s called ‘an honour’…it’s dignifying yer work by letting ye know it’s worth at least a read …what more does an author need? (apart from the usual million-dollar deal, movie rights, etc, etc..)…it struck home with me today, when VENGEANCE WEARS BLACK was reviewed  (and, astonishingly, positively!— yee-haw!)… yesterday, a different reviewer gave the thumbs-up to my Blog  Post Collection, THE BLOGGER’S GUIDE TO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING…both of these were out-of-the-blue non-expectations…over the last couple of blogs or so, I’ve been rabbiting on about authors’ mutual support mechanisms, including reviews…this only lends more impetus to my own efforts…near-term target amendment—blitz my TBR backlog on Kindle and post them on BOTH amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk, as well as Goodreads …ye don’t have to join me in this direction, but yer company will be more than welcome.. see yeez on the review trail…

Blog Scratchers Corner

#TBSU

Blogs To Follow

http://www.janecarrollauthor.com

http://abpotts.blogspot.co.uk

http://www.abpotts.co.uk

http://www.seumasgallacher.wordpress.com

http://thewrongplaceatthewrongtime.blogspot.com

Share around and enjoy…:):)

20 Comments

Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff