Monthly Archives: February 2014

Give me a …hint, indice, aid to guessing…

… read and enjoy my pal, Ailsa Abraham, who more than excels in her rebuff of a stroke… humour used a s a weapon to combat Life’s negatives… cheers, m’Lady 🙂

The Bingergread Cottage

No postal charges! No postal charges!

Some of you may have noticed a dearth of posts on this blog recently for which I apologise. I had a stroke from which there are complications and I find it quite difficult to write (rather inconvenient for an author).

There are, however, some very funny games to be played. For a start off I can now join in with Hypochondriac Poker which is a National Sport in France. Whatever someone is suffering from, another person has to “black cat” it, coming up with a friend or relative who also had this condition. Scoring is easy. Double points if they actually died from it, astounded the medical profession and lived or total trump if it was you personally who had it.

In my village the average age is well past retirement so I can indulge in “see your ovarian cancer and up you permanent brain damage”. This…

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…emb’dy looking for a DE-caffeinated coffee table?… TBSU…

…for over four decades I have revelled in watching and listening to the humour of my fellow Glaswegian, Billy Connolly... I can re-run his DVDs a hundred times, and still fall on the carpet laughing… all the best comedians have that ability… to take even the smallest absurdities around us and magnify them enuff to cause merriment in an audience… Billy claims that, ‘there are some things my brain just refuses to let me accept’… p’raps we all have a bit of that… fr’example, how about buying a ‘de-caffeinated’ coffee table?… the advertisements exist, Lads and Lassies of Blog Land… yeez see more of this nonsense everywhere yeez look… the other day, in the supermarket near where I live, proudly presented for sale were ‘kiwi-fruit slicers’, just along the shelf from a separate product, ‘banana-slicers’… in my day these used to be called ‘knives’… but it doesn’t stop there… have a wee squint at the SkyNews Channel (which I cannot help but watch, because at times it’s so bad, it’s good, if yeez know what I mean)… the labelling straps at the bottom of the screen when certain ‘specialists’ are being interviewed are often priceless… sumb’dy discovers a bit of old rock about a squillion years old, and up pops an interviewee, whom SkyNews rejoices in labelling ‘an ancient rock formation expert’… it’s unclear whether or not the ‘ancient’ refers to the bloke being quizzed, or the civilisation-enlightening piece of stone they’ve just found… the ‘expertise’ tag also never reveals if this lad’s been studying nowt but 100,000-year-old bricks for thirty years on some obscure elective course at University… the same ‘Idiot-Viewers-Guide-to-Television-News’ approach kicks in during reports on storms and rain-lashed beaches… the reporter stands up to his borrox in flood waters, with torrents of hail battering his head (no umbrella permitted), when shelter stands a yard or so away… this is to let yeez understand how bad the weather really is…  coz yeez are so dumb yeez can’t notice the hurricane, right?… aye, right… so, I’m in the market now for an ‘apple-slicer’... if yeez hear of any, let me know… see yeez later…

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…tremendous piece from the superb Author, Lindsay Edmunds… cut and pasted with her permission… #TBSU…

…a blog post appearing in the Medium.com website from the pen of Author Lindsay Edmunds… great piece…

‘This is a blog for those among us who do not earn a full-time living from our writing.

We lack neither ambition, passion, nor the capacity for hard work. An unambitious person would never do something as difficult as writing. We are not hobbyists. A hobby is cross-stitch or reading biographies of movie stars or collecting bluegrass recordings. Writing and publishing are work.

An example of a full-time professional: Erle Stanley Gardner, the author of the Perry Mason mysteries. He was a self-described “fiction factory.” He regularly wrote more than a million words a year before computers. By the end of his career, he had sold more than 300,000,000 books.

I could write a million words a year, but I would not sell 300,000,000 books as a result. This is something I know about myself. Writers able and willing to do that have particular talents, and believe me, they are talented.

Success Defined

Some of us operate the literary equivalent of little coffee shops; some operate Starbucks-like empires. It is possible to feel successful doing either.

Whether you gather a small, enthusiastic tribe or a large, enthusiastic tribe depends on the kind of stories you tell, how well you tell them, how fast you tell them, how many hours you are willing to put into improving your craft and your industry knowledge, whether you enjoy marketing, and that alchemical ingredient—luck.

When Emily Dickinson wrote, “If fame belonged to me, I could not escape her / If she did not, the longest day would pass me on the chase,” I think she was referring to the alchemy of luck—the right words in the right way at the right time. She could not have been referring to either talent or hard work, for she had a superabundance of the first and did plenty of the second.

(Emily Dickinson spent her life trying to escape fame, but as it turned out, she couldn’t.)

New Races, New Prizes

In 2011, I wrote a blog called “What Indie Publishing Is Like: I’m a Fool.”

The reference is to a 38-minute film called I’m a Fool. This film, made in 1976 as part of the PBS American Short Story Collection, dramatizes a short story by Sherwood Anderson.

I’m a Fool is about a young man named Andy who leaves home to travel through rural Ohio during the summer of 1919 with two harness-racing horses, a sulky, and a cart. At the county fairs, the horses sometimes win and sometimes don’t. It is the greatest summer of Andy’s life.

Almost in passing, it is a cautionary tale. When Andy meets Lucy, the girl of his dreams, he suddenly feels like a failure. He is not rich! He is not powerful! Who is he, anyway?

Guided by his feelings of inferiority, Andy tries to impress Lucy by pretending to be his wealthy boss. That is how he loses her.

This is a good film for writers. Using the I’m a Fool metaphor, we walk the back roads with our good horses, and win some races. With persistence, work, faith, and luck, we might win bigger purses someday and turn pro, but what keeps us walking is that this is the life for us. We are fortunate beyond words that we can have it even part-time.

In the world of indie publishing, it is high summer. There has never been a better time to be a storyteller.

Voices You Hear in a Crowd

A common quality among indie writers is authenticity. (Why not be authentic? No one is stopping you.) The result is strong individual voices. In a crowd you hear them.

Self-published writers whose work I enjoy include Mary Pat HylandChrista PolkinhornSusan Eisenberg, Kate Laity (not technically indie but indie in spirit), Gloria Bowman, Seumas Gallacher, and Hugh Howey (of course).’


***

Lindsay Edmunds is a science fiction writer interested in people’s relationships with machines and the comic as well as the dark potential of artificial intelligence. She is the author of two novels: Cel & Anna: A 22nd Century Love Story and Warning: Something Else Is Happening.

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…the terror of infancy… watch out for the flashing camera bulb…it’ll make yeez blind… #TBSU…

sadie-miss-macleod-s-class-of-1955-i-was-checking-the-web-site-for-greenfield-a

…this remarkable photographic relic, pulled from the darkest archives of a bygone era, speaks volumes of the terrors that infancy and infant school held for we children of that time… yeez’ll note the lack of chairs for the front row… the beginning of the ‘cheap seats’ syndrome… if yer eyes’ll focus even more on that same front row, yeez’ll discern second from the left, a wee lad squinting at the camera lens… the only boy among the six wearing long sleeves on his jersey… my Ma was an ace knitter… none of yer short-sleeved, or, worse,  no-sleeved nonsense from her knitting needles, I can assure yeez… taken almost a hundred years or so ago, this was the six-years-olds class of our splendid teacher, Miss MacLeod (‘Miss’, in those days… nobody knew what ‘Ms’ meant back then)… mark well the properly-attired neckties on the young gentlemen… no dress uniforms for Greenfield School primary classes… this was Docklands Govan in Glasgow, not known for wasting money on such frivolity as standardised school clothing…  further closer examination will tell yeez that the young Master Gallacher seems to have his eyes shut… that’s because he did have them shut… not asleep, but wary… y’see just before the man disappears under that big black cloth thing-y covering the huge camera on stilts, sumb’dy warned us to be careful when the guy squeezes the flashbulb… ‘it’ll make yeez blind’ was the whisper… I can’t help but sense that the rest of the assorted pupils suffered no such affliction, as they all look awake… however, such episodes can form life-lasting scars on a man’s psyche… I don’t know how much of it stems from that incident, but I have never owned a camera in my life… never wanted to own a camera in my life… and never will want to own a camera in my life… I’ll leave all of that to the current ‘selfies’ brigade and wish them good luck on their eyesight…  the school building is pictured below… it’s not recorded whether or not it closed its eyes when the photograph was taken… see yeez later…

greenfield-primary-school-taken-2003

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…altogether now, sing… ‘Take These Chains…’ …#TBSU…

NUTHIN should ever surprise yeez these days with stuff that just appears on yer various timelines on the Web… from the weird and wonderful to the downright plain baffling… I’m not talking about the eternal beneficence demonstrated by an endless stream of Nigerian Generals’ widows willing to send yeez squillions of moolah for the simple exchange of yer bank account details… nor the constant barrage of aids to enhance yer ‘manhood’ (whoever even thinks that quill-scrapers have the time for libido?)… making yeez the magnet for every sex-starved nymphomaniac on the planet (aye, right!)… forget, too, the endless supply of Lonely Hearts associations who have nought better to do with their time but to match yeez up with the partner yeez have craved all yer lives… (speaking for myself, a packet of chocolate biscuits and a decent football match on television fills the bill admirably most of the time, thank you)… yeez have to wonder where do all these people get a hold of yer contact details?… it’s difficult enuff sum’times for me just to find sumb’dy’s email address…. and yet, dozens… nay, hundreds, of pedlars of all things bright and beautiful fill up my email inbox with ‘too-good-to-miss’ opportunities… and yeez have to confess, some of it is too attractive to pass up on… take today’s gem, fr’example… from the depths of the internet sum’where in China comes the offer of ‘Chains’… p’raps sum’thing’s being lost in translation, but nowhere in the message does it indicate the type of bargain chains I’m currently missing out on… gold necklets, maybe, studded with diamonds and crushed emeralds?… linkage to secure ocean-going liners to sundry docksides around the planet?… or, are we back into the kinda chains that may attend some of the bedroom activity alluded to in the boudoir-setting offerings above?… answers please on a pair of silver handcuffs, sent to the usual email address… yeez don’t know my email address?… well, seemingly yeez must be the only ones on Earth who don’t… I suggest yeez get in touch with that chains lad in Shanghai, he’s got it… see yeez later…

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…great Author pal, the LUVLY Frances di Plino, interviews yours truly… #TBSU…

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Ten Facts About … Seumas Gallacher

 When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer? 
SG : I don’t think it was a ‘realisation’… more of a slow dawning that the immersion in writing was giving me so much pleasure. The first novel was written only 5 years or so ago, after a decades-long career in the financial world as a corporate trouble-shooter.

That initial writing foray was to salve the ‘I can write that book that everybody’s supposed to have in them’ feeling. It’s taken off from there. Since then, the added allure of the SOSYAL NETWURKIN whirl to help BUILD THE PLATFORM is something this old Jurassic has taken to like a duck to water. LUVVIN IT!

How long does it take you to write a book? 

SG : The first book, THE VIOLIN MAN’S LEGACY, took only three months to get the first draft finished. The second, VENGEANCE WEARS BLACK absorbed seven months.The third, SAVAGE PAYBACK, gobbled up thirteen months. Much of that extending time was spent honing editorial skills, which is paramount to get the work to the point where I’m happy for people to read it. The next one is not going to take anything like that length of time (fingers crossed!)

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing? 

 SG: For me, it’s paramount to have a disciplined routine, at least for the writing/creative part of the business (I look on the writing as a business, encompassing the ‘after-scribbling’ work as much as the actual writing.) I write in the mornings for a couple of hours, and if time permits later in the day, I’ll write then, also. In between, I spend daily allocated time on the  SOSYAL NETWURKIN channels, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, LinkedIn and my Blog, all of which are important pieces of the jigsaw for getting my name and my work into the readership universe.

How many crime novels have you written? 

SG: So far, the three mentioned above, and currently on the fourth, with at least another two to follow… the ideas for crime thrillers are so easy…all I have to do is watch the cable channel news for ideas.

Which is your favourite and why? 

SG: That’s like asking a parent which is the favourite offspring. I get so engrossed in each of them when I write, I like them all equally (they’re my little babies!)

Where do you get your ideas? 

SG: The theme for all the Jack Calder series (he’s the main character) originated from my time in the Far East, where one of my engagements was managing the turnaround of a stricken ferry company. I fired six hundred trade union dockworkers, and took several local policemen and mayors off the security payroll in the townships we served, as they were helping themselves to the company’s money and assets. Death threats followed as did the need for an armoured car and a squad of armed bodyguards for three years. These guys were trained by a former SAS officer. Hence the genesis of the Jack Calder character.

Who is your favourite character from your own work and why? 

SG: Strangely, a minor character from the first novel. A South American ‘fix-things’ guy who helps with some of the undercover black ops scenes. His role was needed for only a couple of chapters, but I had such fun with the scenarios created through his presence, I was sad to have to write him out of the book (I didn’t kill him off, so perhaps I can bring him in again in another novel).

Which character from the work of others do you wish you’d invented and why? 

SG: There are so many, but I recall what an impact ‘Lee’ made on me from John Steinbeck’s East of Eden. The character is an educated housekeeper of Chinese immigrant parents. Throughout the novel, he acts as the philosophical voice and stabilising force in the household of the principal proponents, the Trask family. Terrific characterisation, and a piece of genius in deflected story-telling from Steinbeck.

If you could have been someone from history involved in crime (good or bad) who would that be and why? 

SG: Easy one. Eliot Ness. Champion of the good over the bad guys. Gutsy, maverick, determined.

What are you working on now? 

SG: The fourth in the Jack Calder series, KILLER CITY, and hope to have it up on Amazon Kindle soon.

Bio
Seumas Gallacher was born in the cradle of the Govan shipyards in Glasgow in the so-called ‘bad old days’, which were really the greatest of days, where everybody was a true character of note.
An early career as a trainee banker led to a spell in London, where his pretence to be a missionary converting the English fell on deaf ears.
Escape to the Far East in 1980 opened up access to cultures and societies on a global scale, eventually bringing the realisation that the world is simply one large, extended village.
The lifelong desire to write resulted in THE VIOLIN MAN’S LEGACY, the first in a planned series. Seumas’ sequel novel,VENGEANCE WEARS BLACK was launched in early July 2012. The third, SAVAGE PAYBACK, was released in late 2013 with at least two other books to follow in the same vein. Ebook downloads on his novels exceed 75,000 to date.
Seumas lives in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
Blog                : http.www.seumasgallacher.wordpress.com
Twitter             : @seumasgallacher
Facebook         : http://www.facebook.com/seumasgallacher
Email               : seumasgallacher@yahoo.com
Crime Thrillers by Seumas Gallacher
THE VIOLIN MAN’S LEGACY
VENGEANCE WEARS BLACK
SAVAGE PAYBACK

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…Authors, if yeez can’t get yer name onto yer own cover page jacket, get it onto sumb’dy else’s!… #TBSU…

smellofmud

…vicarious pleasures come in all different shapes and sizes… watching yer favourite football team win something big… seeing the least favoured contestant win a competition of any kind… the emergence of a young adult from a child… I could cite many here… of late, this ol’ Jurassic has tracked at a distance no further than a couple of laptops, the creation of a wonderful piece of literature… for the past two years, my pal and writing buddy, Author Jody J Ballard, and I have laughed with each other, cajoled and encouraged, empathised, and yes, sum’times, sympathised, as we each laboured with our respective wee masterpieces… thankfully for both us, we scribble in separate JONGRRs… as a professional counselling therapist and insightful ‘people-person’, Jody knows more about the human psyche than most of yeez have had hot dinners… her recently published tour de force, THE SMELL OF MUD, is a superb story of the interaction of a group of women ‘way back in the late 1800s in a remote mining town in Montana… these ladies have fallen as far as women can fall… the recounting of their conjoined journey back to dignity and the triumph of human nature is the bedrock of Jody’s novel… the relevance to modern day circumstance will not be missed… next week, at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in Dubai, Jody will be present and will be giving a workshop on ‘Life and Balance’, primarily about relationships… a session not to be missed if you’re at the Festival… and, she quotes yours truly on the back cover page of her masterpiece… yee haw!… how cool is that! look out for the movie version within the next coupla years … it’s not known yet if Master Gallacher will be given a leading role as a back cover populator… (with or without the kilt, shirts optional…)

…yeez can find THE SMELL OF MUD on Amazon Kindle, go fill yer boots…

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