Monthly Archives: October 2014

…to all yeez Scots and emb’dy else who likes the haunting beauty of Celtic music… enjoy…

…yeez’ve seen me post stuff like this before… so if yeez don’t wish to listen, just click and move along, folks, NUTHIN to see or trouble yeez here… every quill-scraper has favourite things that oft-times propel them into ‘the mood’ for certain passages of their scribbling… call it yer Muse if yeez like… when this ol’ Jurassic feels the pull toward reflectiveness, it’s the haunting Celtic music that effortlessly transports me there every time… particularly the ‘pipes…and even more particularly, the slow, pibroch laments or ‘yearnings’… there’s a special ‘resonance’ in that music that hits deep into my soul, and I’d hazard a thought that p’raps many more of yeez out there of a certain age feel the same ‘stirrings’… yeez get it with tunes like ‘Amazing Grace’… another is ‘The Flowers of the Forest’… and of late, the current Poppy Appeal features a special favourite of mine, ‘The Green Fields of France’, which I’ve also appended below… the top of the post has a beautiful bagpiper rendering The Dark Island, a tune I learned in English and in Gaelic (the lyrical tongue of the Gods) during my time in the glorious Hebridean island of Mull… whether yeez be authors or not… whether yeez be Scots or not… whether yeez boast Celtdom in your lineage or not… if yeez appreciate music that invites yer slowing down for a wee while and savouring the grace-note skirling of an instrument yeez either LUV or loathe (there’s NUTHIN in between, Mabel), this listen is humbly presented and I ask yeez to join me in stopping the rest of this daft WURLD for a few minutes and just enjoy!… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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…Glasgow Dockland Govan’s version of Rudolph Valentino…

valentino

Rudolph Valentino

…I can pinpoint for yeez almost to the hour when this ol’ Jurassic sashayed from the innocence of youth to the angst-strewn teenage-recognition that GURLS, creatures of the opposite gender, may have sum’thing about them more interesting than pigtails to pull… barely out of short trousers and severe short-back-and-sides haircuts, I became aware of THEM… females… non-football-players… non-collectors-of-frogs-to-stick-in-cleaned-out-jamjars… and certainly not-members-of-our-secret-gangs-with-very-original-codewords-like-‘Geronimo’… of course, at infant school parties, there were the usual ‘Postman’s Knock’ games which often involved being highly embarrassed by getting kissed by a GURL… the ultimate Russian Roulette version of a five-year-old’s boy’s nightmares… imagine then the confusion when it struck home, that a GURL yeez know is taking 100% of yer thinking time… usually chatterbox personified, ye’re reduced to a tongue-chewing babbler when confronting the target of yer youthful fantasies… back then tradition was paramount in such affairs… yeez had to ask the GURL if she wanted to be yer GURLfriend… heaven forfend yeez should even think of asking her in front of any of yer mates, in case yeez get the infamous rejection… the gem of my eye at the time rejoiced in the name of ‘Ruby’, a charming young lady… she even had ‘lumps in her jersey’… a-hem… and she was ‘G.A.’… ‘Geographically Acceptable’, as she lived about fifty yards away in the same tenement block as this young wannabe Rudy Valentino… I remember the setting as if it were yesterday… on the first floor landing, halfway up the tenement stairwell in her ‘close’… violins in the background, red roses and candle-bedecked candlebra were not in attendance… but that mattered not a jot… Romeo could not have pitched it better than I…

romeo

…‘Wull yeez be ma GURLfriend?’… a momentary hesitation from the lass, during which the urge to turn on my heel and get the hell outa there as fast as possible was ended with her response, worthy of any romantic novelist’s best—‘Aye, awright!’… thus began, properly, an everlasting affinity for THEMGURLS… they make the WURLD spin round… and just to top it  all, The Rolling Stones at the time launched ‘Ruby Tuesday’.. I can’t recall if I asked her on a Tuesday, but I remember the liaison lasted an entire summer, until our family moved away from the district and ‘l’affaire-de coeur’ withered on the vine of distance… subsequently when I hear the great cover version below by Melanie Safka, my thoughts inevitably turn to ‘lumps-in-a-jersey’… sum’things never change… see yeez later …LUV YEEZ!

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…Written Acts of Kindness Award : Susan Toy…

kindness

…yeez all know very well there are Awards, and then there are AWARDS… Blog Land has plenty of them… and long may they continue to proliferate… the majority are great fun, and usually always a pleasure to receive, especially when they come from yer fellow quill-scrapers… yesterday, I was the proud, and very humbled (yes, Mabel, even me… humbled) recipient of an AWARD I’d never seen before… the Written Acts of Kindness Award… it will take prominent pride of place on my virtual mantelpiece… the LUVLY and ever-generous Cate Russell-Cole saw fit to bring a seldom-seen blush to my wan complexion by naming me as an Awardee… in my turn, I have decided to initiate a few of these over time… as it happens, off the top of my head I could think of a least a dozen worthies for the Award, but will start off with one today… the magnificent Susan Toy

susan

…on a personal basis, Susan has been one of my staunchest supporters, encouragers, and a downright great pal over the past year or so… but it doesn’t stop there… this fine Lady bangs the literary drum for many and varied authors, covering a massively broad range of genres… her blog islandeditions.wordpress.com is a joy to read… recently, in the Caribbean, Susan was afflicted by a nasty local illness, chikungunya, which is as malevolent as it sounds… notwithstanding that, her stream of profiling for other writers continued unabated on her Reading Recommendations page… for me, Susan is the equivalent of the Dame of the Literary Empire… thank you for you, m’Lady… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

Blog                    : islandeditions.wordpress.com

Twitter              : @SusanMToy

Facebook          : http://www.facebook/susantoy

…Susan, the rules for passing this Award on are very simple:

  1. You are welcome to give it out as many times as you like, but it is only to be given to a maximum of one person per blog post. If you wish to give multiple rewards, please space the blog posts so the sincerity is maintained.
  2. Introduce the person; say how they encourage, help or inspire you; then link to their work and/or social media profiles. There may be a specific post you wish to link to which helped you. It’s up to you.
  3. Please publicise your award post to Twitter or Google Plus using the hashtag #writtenkindness so that others can find and follow the award winners.

This award is open to anyone to use. You don’t have to receive it, in order to be able to give it. Once you have received it, it isn’t obligatory that you must pass it on.

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Written Acts of Kindness: Sir Seumas Gallacher

…this is so humbling… truly… thank you, m’Lady Cate… 🙂

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…a Soccer Club Manager’s eyesight skills… the Eighth WUNDER of the modern WURLD…

 

…if yeez ever come back as a housefly, yeez’ll apparently have about a gazillion ‘windows’ in yer eyes… that’s one of the things that make them so bluudy difficult to swat… they see everything… the only other creature on the planet that shares this phenomenal vision trait is the Modern Soccer Club Manager…

tactician

…this particular creature of the Animal Kingdom is seemingly imbued with a similar propensity to spot things the rest of we humans do not… I’m a self-confessed couch potato when football is screened on television and LUV IT!… the broadcasting people generally have anything up to a dozen or more cameras covering any specific match in the English Premier League… which, by the way, is a cross sometimes between posses of athletes who can bounce off walls, and groups of ballet dancers so frail that the wind knocks them over…

player

…at the end of each match, the Managers of the competing teams are obliged to be interviewed live about the game… that’s when the ‘suspension of disbelief’ creeps in… I’ve heard more credible science fiction fantasy accounts… it would appear that these Managers have the ability to see and instantly analyse events 100 yards distance from where they sit, which a referee standing a mere two yards away always misses…

ref

…the most dismal performances by their own super-star-subjects-of-mega-billions-of-transfer-fee-deals are transformed in their vision to the best displays ever seen on a football pitch… the ‘bad luck’… the ‘misfortune’… the ‘undeserved defeats’… are all products of their view of the preceding 90 minutes play… I can only surmise that a Soccer Club Manager’s eyesight skills are the Eighth WUNDER of the modern WURLD… by the way, NUTHIN is ever mentioned of the possibility that p’raps their ‘boys’ weren’t good enuff to win, or even snatch a ‘well-earned’ draw… that maybe their own man-management skills aren’t up to scratch… or p’raps the confession that they themselves are frequent visitors to SpecSavers… be whatever it may, this ol’ Jurassic is envious of the depth of ‘acuity’ and ‘perception’ they possess… I think they’d have a great second career as fiction writers… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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…Author Blog behaviour… ‘not in my back yard’…

…when this ol’ Jurassic was at infant school along with Methuselah and Co., primary sources of reading amusement were the comic cuts… in the UK, these included ‘the Dandy’, ‘the Beano’, and ‘the Topper’…

dandybeanotopper

…and unforgettably, the characters populated within their covers ranged from Dennis the Menace, Beryl the Peril, Desperate Dan, and the Bash Street Kids… as role models for modern-day children, I s’pose they  would be frowned on, as the naughtier their exploits, the funnier, and therefore more interesting to us wee readers, they became… but survive they all did, week after week, scrape after scrape, mischief after mischief… now here’s the thing… much as their behaviour may have pulled a tut-tut or three from their comic long-suffering parents and exasperated schoolmasters, NUTHIN they did was too outrageous… they were fun, entertaining, and truth be known, they provided another means of adding to our junior propensity to read…

kids

…the authors of these evergreen cartoon characters and stories knew the limits of propriety… I think there’s a strong pointer there, for me at least, as to what is ‘appropriate’ content in my own scribblings here in my blog… as an Author, my novels hopefully will carry my ‘Author’s Voice’, a recognisable pattern and style of writing… but, the Blog, for me, is the vehicle that carries my ‘Author’s Brand’… how readers perceive the person behind the quill-scraping… of course, it will never replace face-to-face, frequent interaction with people… but, y’know, Mabel, maybe that’s not such a bad thing… among the fabulous friendships I’ve been fortunate enuff to garner across the SOSYAL NETWURKS, I have impressions in my own head of the personalities with whom I engage online regularly… and unlike non-virtual relationships, if I feel disinclined to continue to engage because of ‘bad vibes’, a simple click of the mouse solves the issue… which reinforces for me that I have to take care to protect my own Author’s Brand… by not indulging tasteless Author Blog behaviour… ‘not in my back yard’ kinda stuff… I’d be interested to hear if yeez Lads and Lassies of Blog Land out there share this view?… are yeez conscious of yer own Author’s Brand?... see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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

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…a dedication to all the fallen, and particularly to Cpl Nathan Cirillo in the face of the recent madness…

…I don’’t often cut and paste my Facebook posts as blog pieces, but so many people have asked me to do so with the post I made on there yesterday, in the hope that the message may go viral… if yeez wish to share it, please do so… LUV YEEZ!… here’s the post:

 

…the older I become, the less rational the world appears… I care not for the arguments and posturing that dress themselves as nationalistic, religious, political or downright greed… when a young man standing HONOUR GUARD in memory of those fallen in horrendous global conflicts around the planet is gunned down under some pretence of a deluded fanatic’s ‘righteousness’, my soul screams out, ‘Enough’! ….how present are the words of the song that ask ‘when will they ever learn?’ ..the ‘they’ being all of the creeds, nutters, even well-meaning hawks of all nationalities… last year, I unashamedly admit I was reduced to tears watching the televised Remembrance Service at London’s Cenotaph… getting older myself, I have an increasing awareness of just how precious life is… some of that emotion returned in spades yesterday with the symbolism of the War Memorial next to which a young man’s life was needlessly taken… I want to reprint here, before the whole swathe of November 11th’s internet stuff swamps the Web, the poem I wrote last year watching that service, and humbly dedicate it to Cpl. Nathan Cirillo:

TELL ME, JOHN, LET ME HEAR IT ONCE

Tell me, John, let me hear it once

From beyond the grave wherein you lie.

Tell me once, that I may know

Why the Hell did you have to die?

Now that I myself am growing old

As you were not allowed to do,

When your country went to War,

Killing them, and us, and you.

Is Humanity so bereft

Of sense and sensibility?

That murder dressed as War

Is the tip of Man’s ability?

Yes, my dear, I understand

There’s times to right the wrong

When Nation pits at Nation

To prove which one is strong.

But feel each mother’s loss

The angst, the grief, the pain

It’s no use telling them,

‘Let them not have died in vain’.

For every priceless child that’s gone,

Every precious son and daughter,

There can ne’er be salve enough

To ease the cost of slaughter.

So, yes, let us remember,

Not the glory, nor the killing

Nor the rant of politicians

Sending us to do their willing.

Yes, please,

Tell me, John, let me hear it once

From beyond the grave wherein you lie.

Tell me once, that I may know

Why the Hell did you have to die?

Seumas Gallacher

11.00 am, November 10th, 2013

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..an Author’s lot… and wond’rin’ why we do what we do…

gambling2

… there’s an old Gamblers Prayer which goes, ‘Please, God— let me break even— I need the money’… there’s plenty of yeez out there amongst the Lads and Lassies of Blog Land who all know that feeling well… when yeez find there’s too much month left over at the end of yer salary… or at the end of yer royalties payments… or worse still, at the end of a combination of both… when yeez get the feeling that p’raps yer Muse would be better employed bringing in some moolah, rather than pitching Nobel Prize-winning Literary ideas at yeez… when endless hours and days, weeks and months even, are ploughed into sculpting yer masterpieces… when yer very blood, sweat, and swearing has been expended in the birth of yer next WURLD-shattering epic… and still yer notion of ‘fine dining’ is a shared cheeseburger at Mcdonalds (but with extra fries, mind)… from whence, then, comes the motivation to continue scribbling into the ‘hour of the wolf’, clambering into yer hammock as the dawn breaks, yet again?…

pad

…the old ‘just one more chapter to write… one more paragraph to get done, and then I’ll sleep’ syndrome takes over so often, that yeez get to wond’rin’, ‘why do we do it?’… it’s quite simple, really… it only takes one reader to tell us they LUV our WURK… a single wee squiggle on the Amazon sales page signifying another purchase made… a solitary review—good, bad or indifferent, showing at least sumb’dy cared enuff to give some feedback on our labours… the other answer, of course, which I find kinda hard to refute, relating to myself, is that I’m just plain nuts!… daft as a tuppenny watch… crazier than a tub full o’ monkeys… it’s akin to the loneliness of the long-distance runner… burning the midnight oil when all else is abed, asleep… but, truth be known, we LUV IT!… coz it’s there, Mabel, the as-yet-to-be-published-novel-of-the-century home run… and p’raps even Granny’ll like it… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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…that gleam yeez see is a gem of a Guest Post from LUVLY Author pal, Pamela Wight…

…I’ve said it to yeez so many times before, what a privilege it is to host Guest Bloggers on this wee Web page… today’s Guest is Author Pamela Wight, with a beautifully uplifting offering… the photography just knocks yer eyes out… enjoy…

pam-picture

 

More Than a Wooden Shoe by Pamela S. Wight

wooden-shoe

I walk the strangely silent town at 7 a.m. The sun is practically blazing this time of year, when the egrets rise with the golden orb at 6:30 a.m. and the hummingbirds still flit around our feeder as the light fades past 6:00 p.m.

egret-and-the-cc-Pamela Wight

Most of the humans, however, are still blearily eyeing their cups of caffeine.

So I’m almost alone this morning with the seals and the pelicans and the few pedestrians here and there, breathing in the fresh air, enjoying the satisfying strain of muscle, but also trying to fling away the worries swarming my brain like a bunch of bees.

I want to eradicate the bees.

So I walk faster, humming softly, trying to forget my cares and worries and just seize the day – carpe diem.carpe-diem1

On a crooked street near the center of town, I come upon an older man, mid-80s, wearing a straw hat and walking jauntily in the alleyway. He peers up at me over his glasses and exclaims, “I’m so glad I’m alive!”

He’s so joyous that I laugh out loud. What gratitude.

 

My bees buzz away, and I smile the rest of my solitary walk as I focus more on the gratefulness of all that surrounds me. Friendship. Love. Family.

 

Then I remember a video I took of my 5-year-old granddaughter when she stayed with us this summer, her first week away from her parents. Here’s a photograph from the video:

girl

 

And I shout out to the cool early morning air: “I love you more than a wooden shoe!”

During this fall season, I wish for you gratefulness and love and joyous songs that help you keep the worry-bees away.

 

…thanks, Pamela… there! I told yeez that would delight yeez, didn’t I?

Pamela writes fast flashes of life as well as stories of fiction and lore. Her blog emphasizes those flashes of life’s joy, as well as her publishing joys – books of romance and suspense offered as a wonderful escape into worlds that are very real. Her two latest books are The Right Wrong Man (in paperback and e-book) and Twin Desires (e-book).

The right wrong manTwin desires

Pamela teaches creative writing for fun – calling it Rough Writing. Her students have renamed her class ROUGH WIGHTING.

…yeez can follow this LUVLY Lady thus:

 @pamelawight

 Roughwighting Blog

 Roughwighting Facebook

…see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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

 

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…super Historian of the Old West, good pal, Tom Rizzo, carries me into his Storyteller’s 7 feature…

…there can be few, if any, more knowledgable people around telling the unknown stories of the Old Wild West than Tom Rizzo… his webpage, TomRizzo.com has fascinating insights into how things really happened back in the developing days of the outlaws and good guys who trail-blazed across America… in the modern day, Tom also features Guest pieces from quill-scrapers like myself, with a wide range of subject matter… he has a feature called Storyteller’s 7, where he pitches seven questions at his invitees… here’s my post with him today:

STORYTELLER’S 7: SEUMAS GALLACHER’S RISING SOCIAL MEDIA STAR

 

Seumas Gallacher writes crime thrillers. Rather than wait for potential readers to find him, this successful self-published novelist finds them through an aggressive strategy aimed at creating and maintaining his visibility.

His tireless efforts paid off big, thanks to his adept use of Social Media.

Based in Abu Dhabi, Seumas connects to and engages with an estimated 17,500 contacts on a daily basis. He stays in touch with them through various Social Media channels, including:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Linkedin
  • Goodreads
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Blog
  • eMail

This  day-to-day, multi-faceted strategy to develop brand loyalty resulted in at least 75,000 downloads of his popular action-packed adventures, The Violin Man’s Legacy, Vengeance Wears Black, and Savage Payback.

Seumas, who spent nearly five decades in the financial arena, is witty, introspective, and a talented writer and businessman who knows and practices the art of staying in touch.

 

StoryTeller’s 7

1.  You’re a self-publisher with over 75,000 downloads of your crime thrillers. How did you achieve such sales success?

Serendipity for the most part. When I had just finished my first novel, THE VIOLIN MAN’S LEGACY, six years ago, as a neophyte in the self-publishing game, someone introduced me to the Amazon Kindle channel, of which I knew nothing then.

It also coincided with reading about how writing should be a ‘business’ from beginning to end, with the actual writing being the comparatively easy part.

Seumas Gallacher Crime Thrillers

The rest entails ‘getting it out there’, so I became a fast learner on the social networks, as they apply to an author. Developing a focused network of like-minded people from the readers, writers, and publishers universe became a daily mantra with me.

The last cog in the wheel was doing an almost daily blog and connecting the posts on that to all these other outlets. All of that together constitutes a program for attaining the necessary visibility to succeed.

I wrote a small guide to share my experience with this, SELF-PUBLISHING STEPS TO SUCCESSFUL SALES, which is also doing well on Amazon Kindle.

2.  Social networking represents a key component of your success. Rank what you’ve found to be the most successful social network channels.

There are so many channels to get involved with, but realistically I only have so many hours in a day to give them proper ‘business’ focus, so I chose the ‘usual suspects’, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and LinkedIn as well as my blog.

Others I’ve added along the way include Google+, StumbleUpon, Pocket, Tumblr and Pinterest.

3. You “escaped” – as you phrased it – from the world of finance after five decades. Can you recall the moment when you chose the fork in the road that brought you to where you are today? What triggered your desire to write?

I was walking one evening along the seafront Corniche in Abu Dhabi, and it occurred to me, that it was ‘just time’ to write ‘that book’ we all supposedly have in us.

From there it has taken a life of its own. I wish I had started 30 years earlier. I still have my own firm, doing corporate turnaround and restructuring engagements, which keeps my ‘business’ mind active.

4.  Tell us something about your work habits. Walk us through your approach to the storytelling process.

As I write crime thrillers, it’s easy to get themes. Just watch the daily cable news channels and change the names to protect the guilty!

I work at my writing daily, and find the early part of the day the most productive. I like to have a rough ending to the book in my head before I begin the drafting, and usually let the action and the characters drive the narrative.

That generally throws many surprises at me, and I‘ve found it beneficial to the storytelling to allow that to happen. Editing I do almost every day. Although some may frown on that, it works for me, and then I do a few overall edits when it’s done.

5.  Publishing has undergone such dramatic changes. Writers don’t need anyone’s approval or permission to get something into the marketplace. What downsides do you see in self-publishing?

Seumas GallacherThe same downsides as exist in any form of publication exist in self-publishing.

Badly edited manuscripts, lazy storytelling, lack of plot balance and formatting impact the novels/books themselves.

On the ‘post-written’ side, finding readership, either through the Amazon and/or other eBook linkages is often difficult because of the omission to ‘build the platform’ of a following.

Self-delusions of adequacy can creep in without external eyes and literary brains to critique the work, so I feel these are essential.

6.  What advice do you have for writers faced with finding a balance between developing a compelling story and the need to implement an effective marketing plan to let everyone know about it?

It’s a fine balance as ever. Each person may have a different approach to this. Mine has been constant.

I invest a lot of time in maintaining social networking linkups, which can be hugely rewarding on a relationship basis, with many of my own counterparties having become great pals and supporters.

However, I do separate the focus when it comes to the actual writing of the novels. That has to be 100 percent concentration, no distractions, otherwise the work will come out half-baked in my opinion.

7.  To this point, what has been your most memorable author moment, something that stands heads-and-shoulders above all others?

I’ve shared this many times. The feeling of euphoria the first time I typed the last sentence of the first novel was indescribably fabulous.

I thought it wouldn’t happen again, but, the same sense of ‘pink-cloud’ delight was there on subsequent novel-endings.

 For more on Seumas:

 

– See more at: http://tomrizzo.com/storytellers-7-seumas-gallachers-rising-social-media-star/#comment-15325

 

…many thanks,Tom, for allowing me space on your terrific blog…

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