Monthly Archives: July 2014

…what’s in a WURD?… I’m fluent in uttering Rubb-ish… #TBSU…

…it’s not classified as a foreign language, but the patois that used to pass as voice communication back where I grew up in Docklands Govan in Glasgow is still unintelligible to the bulk of the rest of Mankind… even other Scots folks visiting ‘Glesca’, where the Commonwealth Games are currently in full flow, can be found reaching for the translation earpieces when the locals start talking… not so much dialect, more a divine interconnection of grunts and other guttural sounds, the Glaswegian tongue defies the linguistic abilities of most people I meet… I think this was what first drove me to attempt to garner at least a passing fluency in other languages throughout my career… even in London, it was necessary to modify my delivery… slowing down speech by at least 50%, and enunciating consonants that had long stagnated with non-usage… dotting around the planet over the past four decades has brought me the delights of living and interacting with the inhabitants of the Far East, and now the Middle East… a good foundation of six years in the Scottish Hebrides gave me more than a passing acquaintance with the Gaelic Language, the code-speak of the Gods… in Hong Kong, Cantonese absorbed a couple of years of learning…

chinese characters

…I well remember my first solo effort in it… at a small store I  asked in Chinese for a bottle of milk and a loaf of bread… the counter assistant promptly handed me a newspaper and a bar of chocolate, at which point I realised there was yet more WURK to do… in the Philippines the staccato rapid-fire intonations of Tagalog actually proved simpler than expected to cram into the ol’ brain box, with an incredible amount of eyebrow gestures attendant to underline the conversation… my academy French has hung around a lot longer than should be thought possible—it was so long ago… mais, la plume de ma tante EST bleu, mercy beaucoup...









…here in Kamel Kuntry, the thought that the guttural proficiency which lends itself to the Scots brogue might assist in mastery of Arabic was totally misguided… back to the newspaper and bar of chocolate thingy again there, I’m afraid… the over-riding conclusion is that part from my basic Govan-ese, (English is considered a foreign language in deepest Glasgow) I speak most fluently in uttering Rubb-ishBerlitz, eat yer heart out… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



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…Authors, there’s no need to sell yer soul to the Marketing Devil… just get yer promotional balance right… #TBSU…


…this ol’ Jurassic scribbler has been referred to more than once in the past as a ‘balanced Scotsman’—with a chip on each shoulder... that’s as may be, but I know for certain I’m a kinda 0% or 100% person in most of my undertakings… NUTHIN in between… when I threw the decision switch about five years ago to be a writer, it was of the 100% commitment variety… and I’m LUVVIN IT!… I keep bleating on about the ‘business of writing’, acknowledging that the creative writing part is just one element of the whole process… and prob’ly, comparatively, the easiest piece of it all… much waffle is shared on the Web regarding how much the Author should be involved in the promotional side of the business… in my ‘umble view, it’s paramount to be totally immersed in it… whether or not ye’re an indie quill-scraper, or locked in literary matrimony with that elusive species, a friendly Agent, or even more almost-extinct creature, a willing Publisher, yeez will still have to do the lion’s part of the marketing of yer own wee masterpieces… the simplest access to the WURLD of readership, of course, is the SOSYAL NETWURKIN universe… and it behoves any self-respecting scrivener to be present as much as possible on there without detracting too much from the writing… as with all things, NUTHIN on this planet is perfect, but there are some things which can help yeez to get the balance right… too many times yeez see overdosing on the channels… people who feel that the entire 450 gazillion trillion folks on Earth should stop everything they’re doing immediately and buy their books… doesn’t WURK that way, Mabel… I’ve developed a few guidance things for myself, and I stress this is just how it WURKS for me… yeez all might have different opinions, and why shouldn’t yeez?…


…don’t spam the hell out of the airwaves… don’t bludgeon yer author pals to pieces with requests every ten minutes to help push yer stuff… now, don’t get me wrong… I market constantly… I have only two ROOLS about that, viz: ROOL 1. whatever else yeez do today, do some promotional thing for yer novels, and, ROOL 2.. If yeez are not doing any marketing today, refer back to ROOL 1... balance is the key issue for me… if yeez are in whatever medium, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, the Blog itself, try to make sure that yeez pump out proportionately more material about other folks’ stuff… try to keep yer messages entertaining, interesting, even educational… share with other the things that have been useful to yerselves, and equally, the nonsense that failed miserably… we all live and learn as we go along… there’s no need to sell yer soul to the Marketing Devil… just get yer promotional balance right…see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



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…this is how this ol’ Scots Jurassic Author builds his crime thrillers…#TBSU…

…aficionados of the scribbling fraternity and sorority will be well-acquainted with the terms ‘pantser’ and ‘plotter’… are yeez the type of quill-scraper who lays down in minute detail everything that yer masterpiece will contain before yeez dive into yer writing? (plotter)… or are yeez the ‘fly-by-the-seat-of-yer-knickers’ kind of scrivener? (‘pantser’)… there’s no right or wrong way… each has its merit… and truth be known, whatever makes yeez most comfortable to produce yer tomes is the way to go… I consider myself more of a hybrid these days… I’ve got a bit of, or probably more like, a lot of, both features in my approach, which I’ll proceed to share with yeez now… pay attention at the back there, coz I’ll ask yeez questions afterward… I write crime thrillers, hopefully with enuff pace and ‘stuff-going-on’ to hold my readers’ interest until at least page six… the following schematic I’ve devised will give yeez an idea of some of the nonsense that bounces amongst what’s left of my little grey cells, but bear with me as I walk yeez through it:


…yes, Mabel, I know, I know , I know, it looks like Uncle Herbert’s pools coupon…. but there’s method in the madness, thus :

1..the top grid shows yeez a horizontal span which enumerates the chapters… the vertical span is a list of yer main characters… the idea is to track on this how often, and at what regularity these characters appear in yer novel… this lets yer readers subliminally trace them also, and they don’t forget who ‘Mister XYZ’ is, having seen him in chapter 2, then not again until chapter 36, for example…  it helps me too, in threading interweaving elements of the plot through the book, keeping the literary plates all spinning at the same time… yeez can even ‘bundle’ some of the characters together… for example characters 5,6 and 7 could all be police detectives… numbers 1 and 2 can be lovers… 8, 9 and 10 the baddies…and so on… keeps yer ‘clusters’ tight…

2. …the bottom grid represents a wee trick I learned about the way the great Ian Fleming wrote his James Bond books…he used to write in pencil, in longhand, and at every tenth page of the manuscript, he marked a pencilled ‘X’… this meant that at that point in the writing, or thereabout, ‘sum’thing’ had to be ‘happening’… an explosion, a shooting, a love scene, a car crash, whatever… what this does is lend ‘pace’ to the novel, a technique useful in more than just crime thrillers… of course, yeez don’t have to stick rigidly to the ‘pencil X’ trick, but it’s a great boon in keeping yer rhythm going (and also a neat way of overcoming any writers block)…

…does this planning negatively impact my desire to adopt the ‘pantser’ style for the actual story-telling narrative?… not a bit of it… I still start each element of my masterpieces with a completely blank sheet, and an open mind… that way, I think it keeps the twists and turns fresher… and yeez are well aware of how the characters themselves can hijack yer train of thought and dictate how the plot moves along…

…hope that’s of some help… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!


wall copy 2


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…a rite of passage… when an Indie Author develops into a Self-Publishing Warrior… #TBSU…

…it seems like a hundred years ago now, when this ol’ Jurassic first stepped off the ’plane at Kai Tak Airport to take up a post in merchant banking in Hong Kong… ringing in my ears was the last thing the Director of the outfit told me in London after I signed the contract and he was shaping to leave for the airport for his flight back to the Far East… he said, ‘just keep in mind, Hong Kong’s no place for bunnies…’ translated from merchant bank Master-of-the-Universe-speak, he meant that every newcomer was expected to WURK his/her a*se off in order to survive… and so it proved… an experience, memories and time I’d never want to surrender… it extended to 35 years in Asia, prior to a move a decade ago to the Middle East… but the advice and the lesson has never left me… it has served me well this past five years, especially since grasping the mantle of being an Author… from the outset I have eschewed the term ’aspiring’I write, ergo, I am a writer… it’s 100% or NUTHIN, Mabel… sumb’dy referred to my blog the other day when I mentioned about doing the marketing pitch to local book chains here in Abu Dhabi, and asked me to tell how that all went… gladly… originally, the sole outlet for my wee crime thriller masterpieces was the Great God Amazon Kindle… then a flood of invitations as Guest Speaker at groups and associations around the country led to requests to buy printed copies of my WURK… so, I set about learning (and a helluva steep curve it was) how to produce printed copies… my negotiating skills were to the fore, haggling for cost-per-copy discounts, partial deliveries, and on-hauling some bulk delivery to diverse addresses… I LUVVED IT!… the printers became my partners… I brought them other business— they knocked a little more off my costs… then it was hand-to-hand combat with the senior buyers at the Head Offices of the major book distributor chains here in-country… that was a Huckleberry and a half… each house had different ideas of how much they should keep of the retail price… all of it, by the way, on consignment base only… in other WURDS, their only risk was giving up shelf space to my books… and I had to bulk-deliver personally to their respective central warehouses… next up were the lobby shops of some of the prime five-star hotels in the capital, Abu Dhabi… determining which were owner-run, and which were franchise-owned, led to the individual decision-maker for stocking the novels… and so it progressed… let no-one tell yeez this whole campaign is anything but hard slog… but it is well-rewarded when yeez see yer wee babies on sale all over the place… when people approach yeez and ask for a signature on one of yer tomes they’ve just bought in some store or other… then yeez can point to yer own rite of passage… when as an Indie Author yeez developed into a Self-Publishing Warrior… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

…here’s my wee charmers…

wall copy 2..

Amazon links:

Savage Payback             :

Vengeance Wears Black :

The Violin Man’s Legacy:



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…a ‘Chinese burn’ with a different ‘twist’… #TBSU…

…it seems a lot of yeez enjoyed the (true) story I posted yesterday about the Society Dame in Noo Yawk and the Chinese gentleman… in similar vein, this may also tickle yeez… I WURKED for many years in Hong Kong, from 1980 onward, and thoroughly enjoyed the experiences there… the stories it threw my way are the stuff of anecdotal gold dust… this one (also allegedly true) is a particular favourite… the late seventies and early eighties saw a flood of expatriates into the colony, many from the UK… many of us, young professionals all, came off the plane, wide-eyed and a tad wet behind the ears… the majority knuckled down and got as integrated with the local ways as best we could… others, unhappily, brought with them an attitude that served no-one well, let alone themselves… these became classified as the ‘pin-striped Hooray Henrys’


…some with a tenuous command of their own language, complaining that much of the 98% local Chinese-speaking population couldn’t talk to them in English… in their own heads Masters-of-the-Financial-Universe that was the thumping, vibrant, business community that Hong Kong represented… corporate expenses usually stretched to paying for excellent accommodations in the better residential parts of the city… one such Hooray took over a condominium unit from another expat who was leaving to go back to England… the guy exiting offered to have the existing maid, known as an ‘amah,’ continue to service the unit for the newbie…


…the amah’s pay was de minimus, and the Hooray readily agreed… the lady in question was already in her sixties and, admittedly, didn’t move around the flat with any great athleticism during her cleaning duties… after a week or two, Hooray complained to the old amah, that if she didn’t ‘pick her game up a bit’ she’d be fired… she shrugged and carried on regardless… after another couple of weeks, Hooray confronted her with the ultimatum, ’smarten up, or out you go!’… a further week saw no improvement, and our man put the hard WURD on the amah, ‘I want you to leave, now!’… ‘…no, YOU leave!’ she said… he was taken aback…’I don’t think you understand… I want you to leave!’ he shouted at her… ‘no, YOU leave Mistah, YOU too rude to stay here!… me own the building!… YOU leave!!’ …she was the owner of the entire block, and just ‘dusted here and there’ in a few of the units just to keep an eye on her tenants!… I so LUV that story… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

A Poison Tree by John Dolan Earns Five Stars!

…well-reviewed, that man, Jim Wright… re-blogging this… Master Dolan certainly knows how to craft a great story… 🙂


Poison TreeFrom the Amazon blurb: “You kill my wife and I’ll kill yours.” You must admit, as a proposition, it has an alluring symmetry to it.

It is 1999, and as the Millennium approaches, old certainties wither. For family man, David Braddock, his hitherto predictable world is undergoing a slow collapse. The people closest to him seem suddenly different. As desires and aspirations tangle around each other like parasite stems, betrayal is in the air.

And so is murder.

Fans of Braddock will finally learn the sequence of events that drove him into exile in Asia, while for new readers, A Poison Tree is the perfect introduction to the Time, Blood and Karma series.

5StarsMy review: What a ride! After reading Everyone Burns and Hungry Ghosts I have to confess to wondering what brought our intrepid hero to the tropical paradise of Thailand. From the opening line, “I’m thinking of…

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…you likee soupee?… #TBSU…

…having lived in the Far East and Middle East for the last 35 years, it never ceases to amaze me when I hear expatriates attempting to converse in English with people whose native tongue may not be the same as their own… the garbled ‘language’ they utilise when they talk to folks of other nationalities is painful to the ear… a sort of mix between pidgin English and a slowing down of the speech delivery, almost like the slowing down of the old vinyl records from one speed to another, with excruciating long drawn out vowels and all the rest of it… harks me back to a story I heard when I first arrived in Hong Kong in the late nineteen-seventies… at that time, the colony was still under British rule and administration… a thriving Hong Kong Chinese/British Association was an active business body, with members of some of the top Chinese and British corporations among its executive officers… it seems a delegation from Hong Kong embarked on a business foray to Noo Yawk in ‘Merika… a productive couple of weeks was spent in the Big Apple, with visits to factories, corporate plants and banking institutions… the hosts were, not surprisingly, a prominent Noo Yawk Business Liaison group… side trips to Museums, and Art galleries were included… after this whirl of two weeks, the final event was a Gala Dinner in a swanky hotel’s banqueting hall… the local outfit arranged for partners to be present at the dinner, one of whom was a celebrated Noo Yawk society dame…


…on the evening of the Dinner she arrived, jewellery-bedecked, expensive gown and all, with her husband, and as is the custom, she was designated a seat next to one of the visitors from Hong Kong, a diminutive Chinese gentleman, togged out in his immaculate tuxedo… problem for the lady was that, being accustomed to hobnobbing as a society hostess to counts, lords, and captains of industry, she was at a loss as to how to make small talk with a Chinese man…


…as the evening began, she quickly pounced on the printed menu as a source of conversation, and started a series of interlocutions with her table guest, along the following lines… ‘…you likee soupee?…’..the response was a repeated nodding of the head by the gentleman… next came the meat course, ‘…you likee roastee beefee?’, with similar silent nodding on his part… having struggled like this through to the end of the dinner, she thought she had coped admirably… the head of the Noo Yawk delegation then asked for silence as he introduced the Head of the Hong Kong group and asked him to address the assembled guests… to our heroine’s consternation, her seating partner pushed back his seat and made his way to the rostrum… from his inside jacket pocket a sheaf of notes appeared, from which the Chinese gentleman proceeded to deliver an excellent, erudite, and witty twenty minutes worth of faultless English… the room gave him a standing ovation as he returned to his seat… she didn’t know where to put herself… as he took his seat once more he turned to her and, with a knowing smile said quietly, ‘…you likee speechee?’… I hear similar stuff every day now… see yeez later… you likee bloggee?…LUV YEEZ!



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