Monthly Archives: November 2015

…my pal, Crooked Cat Authoress, Shani Struthers has a new novel… grab it…

…terrific writing that’ll bemuse, amuse and intrigue yeez… stories of the supernatural, which make yeez wonder, ‘what would yeez do if faced with these events?’ …that’s what my pal, Crooked Cat Publishing AuthoressShani Struthers writes, but she can talk well enuff for herself:

Shani Pic

…Thank you for hosting me on your blog today! My new book, Eve: A Christmas Ghost Story launched on the 24th November on Amazon and is the prequel to the popular Psychic Surveys series. Featuring two of the Psychic Surveys team – Theo Lawson and Vanessa Patterson – it’s set between 1899 and 1999 and is loosely inspired by a true event.

In my fictional re-telling, Theo and Ness are asked to investigate a town weighed down by the sorrow of what happened 100 years before…



What do you do when a whole town is haunted?

In 1899, in the North Yorkshire market town of Thorpe Morton, a tragedy occurred; 59 people died at the market hall whilst celebrating Christmas Eve, many of them children. One hundred years on and the spirits of the deceased are restless still, ‘haunting’ the community, refusing to let them forget.

In 1999, psychic investigators Theo Lawson and Ness Patterson are called in to help, sensing immediately on arrival how weighed down the town is. Quickly they discover there’s no safe haven. The past taints everything.

Hurtling towards the anniversary as well as a new millennium, their aim is to move the spirits on, to cleanse the atmosphere so everyone – the living and the dead – can start again. But the spirits prove resistant and soon Theo and Ness are caught up in battle, fighting against something that knows their deepest fears and can twist them in the most dangerous of ways.

They’ll need all their courage to succeed and the help of a little girl too – a spirit who didn’t die at the hall, who shouldn’t even be there…



As Theo turned round to face the double doors, she had a feeling that someone – something – was rushing at her, as fleetingly as whatever had been in Adelaide’s house. Refusing to let fear get a stranglehold, she turned back, her aim to confront it. A black wisp of a shape, like wood smoke, sideswiped her, before fading into nothing. Staring after it, wondering what it was, something else caught her attention. At the far end of the second room was something more substantial: a little girl, staring at her.

Theo’s eyes widened. “Oh darling, darling,” she whispered. She took a step forwards, tried to remember the names of the children on the list from earlier: Alice, Helen, Bessie, Adelaide’s ancestor, Ellen Corsby perhaps. Which one was she?

She inched closer still. “Darling, your name, tell me what it is.”

The little girl’s arms moved upwards, she stretched them out, her manner beseeching although she remained mute. Theo tried again, told the child her own name.

“It’s short for Theodora. I bet you’re called something pretty.”

The girl had a dress on; long, brownish, a course material – linen perhaps? Nothing special but if it was her party dress then maybe it was special to her. Her boots were brown too – lace ups, sturdy looking. She was around eight or nine but it was hard to tell. She could have been older just small for her age. Her hair was brown and tangled; she had a mane of it. Everything about her seemed to be brown or sepia, maybe sepia was the right word, as though she’d stepped out of an old photograph.

“I’m here now, sweetheart, I’ve come to help. You’ve been here for such a long time. Too long. You need to go to the light, go home, rest awhile.”

Up closer, Theo could read her eyes. The longing in them stirred her pity.

“Let me help you,” Theo persisted, her voice catching in her throat. As glorious as the other side might be, she still felt it unfair to be felled at such a young age. Often this was a good existence too and it deserved to be experienced fully.

She was close now, so close and still her arms were outstretched.

Harriet – the name presented itself whole in her mind.

“Your name’s Harriet. Is that correct? It’s lovely, it suits you.”

Was that a smile on the child’s lips, the beginnings of trust? Soon she’d be able to reach out and touch her. What would she feel like? Cold? Ethereal?

“Darling, I’m here,” she repeated, no more than a foot between them. “I’m here.”

Joy surged – one spirit had come forward – it was an encouraging start.

Just before their hands touched everything changed. Hope and joy were replaced with confusion as something sour – fetid almost – rose up, making her feel nauseous.

“Don’t be afraid,” Theo implored. Yet there was nothing but fear in her eyes now. No, not fear, that was too tame a word – terror.

“I’m not here to harm you,” she continued. “I’m here to help.”

As the words left her mouth, other hands appeared behind the child, a whole sea of them – disembodied hands that clawed at her, forcing her backwards.

“No!” Theo shouted. “Stop it. Leave her alone!”

But it was no use. Her words faded as the girl did. She’d been torn away, recaptured; the one who’d dared to step forward. Theo could feel sweat break out on her forehead, her hands were clammy. She clutched at her chest, her breathing difficult suddenly, laboured. Her heart had been problematic of late, a result of the pounds she’d piled on. She must go to the doctor to get some medication. Struggling to gain control, it took a few moments, perhaps a full minute, before her heart stopped hammering. And when it did, she remembered something else. The girl’s eyes – her sweet, brown, trusting eyes – when the expression changed in them they hadn’t been looking at her, they’d been looking beyond her. Was it at the thing that sideswiped her? Theo couldn’t be certain. She wasn’t certain either if that ‘thing’ was a spirit or much less than that – something with no soul, but with an appetite, an extreme appetite: a craving. Something, she feared, was insatiable.

Eve 2




 Author Bio

Brighton-based author of paranormal fiction, including UK Amazon Bestseller, Psychic Surveys Book One: The Haunting of Highdown Hall. Psychic Surveys Book Two: Rise to Me, is also available and due out in November 2015 is Eve: A Christmas Ghost Story – the prequel to the Psychic Surveys series. She is also the author of Jessamine, an atmospheric psychological romance set in the Highlands of Scotland and described as a ‘Wuthering Heights for the 21st century.’

Psychic Surveys Book Three: 44 Gilmore Street is in progress.

All events in her books are inspired by true life and events.

Catch up with Shani via her website or on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

Facebook Author Page:




…thanks for that, m’Lady, Shani…see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…Jack Welch… if ever yeez look for inspiration, in any field, look no further than this guy…


…about a hundred years ago, when this ol ‘Jurassic was about half the age I am now, my then employers in Asia decided my business brain needed a retread and they sent me to Harvard University on the Advanced Management  Program… a commando course in business management techniques, equivalent to a two-year degree course condensed into four months… intensive stuff… brushing shoulders with 160 of the creme de la creme from around the WURLD’s executive salons… I was second youngest in that Program at the age of 38, which will give yeez some idea of the experience that contributed to the course… I’m glad I did it, and I would unreservedly recommend it to any aspiring business executive, but it was strenuous WURK, and one that I would not choose to repeat… nonetheless, there were some fabulous moments during the four months… none of them compare to the Golden Moment involving Jack Welch, who at that time was the Chairman and CEO of General Electric


…by any standards the man was, and still is, recognised as a monumental motivator and ‘turnaround’ guy, and he is one of my role models for my own business of helping ailing companies and turnaround situations… but I digress… on one famous day during the course, it was announced that Mister Welch would come to Harvard to address the school.. and we ‘oldies’ were included in the audience… the auditorium must have held about 2,000 students, including ourselves and all the faculty members from the entire Harvard spectrum… this was a man everyone wanted to hear speak… and here’s the strange thing… until then, I was unaware that Jack Welch had a speech impediment… regardless, the man’s delivery and content was spell-binding… a consummate presenter… when it came to the Question and Answer session with the audience, he fielded a few questions from the floor, and eventually one arrogant young student took the floor microphone and began, ‘Mister Welch, it’s obvious to all of us that you have a very marked speech impediment’… huge gasps of disdain from all round the auditorium were followed by the back-up piece of the student’s question, ‘how much has it held you back in your career?’… unperturbed, the great man responded, ‘w-w-w-well, y-y-y-young man, you c-c-c-could have a p-p-p-point there, because at the m-m-m-moment I’m only n-n-n-number ONE!,  next question!!!’… the place erupted in an ear-splitting roar of a standing ovation that lasted several minutes… it’s not recorded if the youthful questioner ever succeeded in his own chosen profession… and all these years later, I still tell people that story…  if ever yeez look for inspiration, in any field, look no further than this guy, Jack Welch… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…Authors, when all else fails, ignore the instructions…


…I s’pose most of my life, I’ve questioned stuff… not in the ‘I’m-not-doing-any-of-that-until-yeez-explain-it-to-me’ querying, but more of wond’ring how things actually WURK… fr’example, I bet I’m only one of gazillions of yeez who don’t really know how a light switch makes the bulb light up… yes, yes, Mabel, I know it’s by electricity...but how does it WURK?…things like that… compoooters are devices from The Twilight Zone as far as I’m concerned… like when yeez click on the Mac screen with yer mouse, and pictures change and all that… baffles the hell out of me… but, here’s the thing… without knowing all the exact details of the WURKING machinations, I can still happily get by, clicking away at the laptop, and switching light switches on and off… now, what’s that got to do with being an Author?… well, for a start there’s so many elements that go into how a book gets written, formatted, distributed and so on, but nobody’s really ever figured out what it is that makes it all WURK as an accepted read for sumb’dy… oh, sure, there’s tons of ‘advice’ and ‘direction’ from loadsa people telling yeez what yeez should or should not do to be a ‘successful’ writer…


…all well-intended, I’m sure, but I say BOLLIX! to that… when it comes down to it, in my not-so-‘umble opinion, every book written should be unique… the product of countless mental chess moves in a scribbler’s own grey cells… an individual stamp, which, by the way, yeez could construe as that elusive thing called ‘Author’s Voice’... and if yeez choose to shun the conventional wisdom of how to put things down on yer laptop, and it happens to be recognised as brilliant narrative, therein lies part of the secret for me… of course, I’m not advocating bad spelling or lousy grammar or nonsensical plot flows and the tons of great stuff that make up the base of yer masterpiece… but Lawd preserve us from the formulaic ‘way-to-do-it-right’ nonsense… when all else fails, ignore the instructions… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…the hardest city on the planet, with the biggest heart… my home town, Glasgow…

…it was well over fifty years ago, but as with many of the things I’ve seen in my life that simply refuse to be forgotten, the episode on the tram sticks vividly with me… in those days we lived in Docklands Govan, and every now and then, usually on a Saturday, me Ma would take myself and the two younger sisters at that time (the third was born later) across the city to visit her sister, Auntie Nellie, in a place called Maryhill… nowadays, the fancy through-dual-carriageway would eat up all of fifteen minutes, tops, to make that same trip… back then it was an an hour and a half, minimum, with tramcars (plural) the mode of transport…


…we were on the first-leg tram, and it was prob’ly early afternoon… the famille Gallacher sat along the side-on triple seater, downstairs… around mid-city, a man stumbled onto the tram, obviously having had more than his fair share of the ‘electric soup’… pubs opened back then at 11.00 am, so his intake was the result of the best part of a coupla hours hard drinking… Glasgow-style drinking… none of yer swizzly wee cocktails… hard bevy… yeez could smell the guy from ten feet away… his eyes had the recognisable off-the-planet-swivel, as he took in the seating arrangements, trying to decide where he would sit… the lurch of the tram made the decision for him, and he crumpled onto the long seat opposite where we sat… his jacket flapped open, and there for the WURLD to see, tucked into his trouser belt was an axe, the metal head of which rested against his belly…


…now, in some cultures the sight of a drunk carrying a hatchet in his trouser-band may be the cause for some alarm… not in Glasgow back in those days… we giggled, me, all nine years old of me, and my siblings… the drunk promptly fell asleep… succeeding passengers came aboard and alighted and all could see the weapon clearly… everybody smiled… I kid yeez not… the bus conductress eventually came to him and shook his shoulder and asked where he wanted to get off… gave him his ticket and let him go back to sleep, a while later to rouse him again at his stated destination… as he staggered from the tram and begun to weave his way up the road, we were all left wondering whether he was on his way to… or coming from, whatever engagement needed the possession of the hatchet in the first place… guess we’ll never know… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…a voice, a voice… my kingdom for a real live voice…

…gotta ‘fess up right from the start… I am to compoootery communication things as square wheels are to a bicycle… but even my limited capability in manoeuvring through robot instructions online is seldom put to the sword as completely as it was today… picture if yeez will, Master Gallacher attempting to register his receipt of his renewed credit card, and the forlorn tilt at getting it ‘live’… the long-distance (expensive) overseas call to the institution which still risks its credibility by even allowing me to have the plastic money-gobbler gets through after the third try… the tin tones of the Tartaric taskmistress reels off a ‘welcome-to-ZYX-Bank-your-call-may-be-monitored-for-us-all-to-laugh-our-t*ts-off-later-when-we-wind-it-back-in-our-staff-room’


…followed by a rapid-fire selection of numbers, none of which relate directly to this poor old Scots scribbler’s simple need… when yeez get to number ‘9′, yeez have no alternative but to go through the menu again… on the fifth failed go at this, I stab at a number…any bluudy number… Lawd, just give me a clue how to manage this!… I listen for a full minute to the ream of ‘special offerings’ the bank currently has on offer for ‘its valued clients’, and decide ‘25% discount on kebabs in a restaurant in deepest Swindon’ is not really why I’m calling… another round of listening and this time I get through to the mortgage line… how the hell?… no, I’m not on to refinance my country lodge in Venezuela, thank you… can I please! please! please! just  get my new card live?… then… ‘thank you, your call is important to us (I swear I could detect a muffled snigger in that line), our agents are all busy right now, prob’ly until the middle of next year, but hold on, and keep burning up yer telephone bills from wherever ye’re calling us’… then the dreaded click! click! click!’… and the original tinny tremolo kicks in again,’welcome to, etc, etc’


…if emb’dy out there has any use for a smashed-up mobile phone, which seems incapable of surviving being thrown against the nearest wall, just call me, you will be welcome, as you are a valued etc, etc, etc… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…for Authors… Confessions of a Goodreads Giveaway lunatic…

…I’m Scottish… yeez might have noticed… and according to the dastardly false rumours (put about prob’ly by jealous Englishers), we Scots are tighter than a duck’s a*se… we allegedly make Midas and Scrooge look more benevolent than a Grotto-full of Santas… it may come as a shock to some, therefore, that Master Gallacher has recently been on a charity splurge that would put ol’ Carnegie to shame… first came the release of five signed copies each of two of my early Jack Calder crime thriller novels, THE VIOLIN MAN’S LEGACY and VENGEANCE WEARS BLACK, restricted to members of the terrific Bookshop Cafe Group on Facebook, which was gratifyingly supported… these ten books have now been despatched… the second phase is still in progress… double the quantity of the aforementioned signed masterpieces is up for grabs in a free giveaway on an open-to-all-and-sundry offer on Facebook… mosey on over and have a look at my page there if yeez want to enter for that draw… the third and final element was launched today… FINALLY!, Mabel, FINALLY!, having figured out how the Goodreads Giveaway Programs actually WURK, (with my WURLD-famous compoooter ineptitude at play, it has only taken me about seven years to suss it out) a cool further 20 of the signed tomes are available to any and all who care to click on the pages there  provided yeez enter the draw and get yer names selected by the Goodreads people, of course… here they are :

Cover for Violin Man

VWB cover


…now before yeez all go rushing off to telephone the men in white coats to came and cart me away for such open-handed lunacy, let me explain the method in my apparent madness… I have long since ceased to throw away my books for NUTHIN… but as a businessman, in pursuit of my ‘business of writing’, I’m not averse to ‘investing’ in exercises where I can see the potential returns clearly… example… above I showed you the stage one in all of this was ten freebies to the membership of just one Facebook group… since then, the Great God Amazon back list is attracting downloads again, so much so, that in the lists, THE VIOLIN MAN’S LEGACY reached #199 in its genre, and this after being first listed  there over 7 years ago… the next two phases described above are part of my campaign to get the focus back where it  belongs… on my wee literary babies… the response so far is highly positive…I shall keep yeez posted… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…Written Acts of Kindness Awards… Kirt D. Disdale…


kindness…among the legions of connections we all can be allied with on the Web, there are many who constantly support others by kind words of support, ‘likes’ of blog posts, and ReTweets of messages… the sort of  ‘always-being-there-for-yeez’ good people… step up for recognition today in the Written Acts of Kindness Awards, that man, Kirt D. Disdale,

Kirt 1

…whose own blog, is adorned with tons and tons of beautiful art prints… well worth a look and a regular peek… thanks for the innumerable times you’ve affirmed my own blog presence, Kirt… very much appreciated… cheers :):)

Kirt, 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.

…see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff