Monthly Archives: February 2018

…my pal Misty, the dog, allows her person, David J. Robertson, onto my blog…

…regular contributor to my Guest Blogs is terrific author, David J. Robertson… here’s an interesting offering from him to enjoy…

IT’S ALL MINE!

Sometimes something triggers a question in your brain that just demands an answer.
Take the other night as I was sitting in the pub for example.
Yes, I know – we’ll argue about my excessive drinking later, o.k?
Someone has to keep the brewing industry going after all.
And it may as well be me.
I insist. It’s no trouble, honestly.
Sorry?
I’m looking ‘a bit put out’?
Well now you come to mention it I am feeling a tad disappointed.
It’s nothing really, nothing at all. Don’t worry about it.

I just thought you might have offered to buy me a drink, that’s all…

Anyway, back to the subject of my rambling thought processes.

But – thinking about it now, who on Earth came up with that?
Imagine the scenario – wealthy landowner calls the local gravedigger to his mansion.

Gravedigger deferentially enters the drawing room, wringing his flat cap in his hands and stands in front of the landowners expansive desk nervously awaiting the reason for his summons.
The landowner stubs out his cigar, ‘Ah, good of you to come my man. Scargill isn’t it?’
Okay, okay – we’ll argue how Arthur Scargill’s ancestors got from Dudley to Yorkshire later, eh? Probably something to do with black pudding and flat caps for all I know, there is a bit of commonality there after all.
”Tis indeed Scargill sir, but Ayenock’ll do.’
‘Good man, good man. How’s the family?’
‘Fine sir thanks for asking. Missus popped another bab out last week while she was shovelling out earth for that canal you wanted. Fifteen that is now I think.’
‘How is she?’
‘Pregnant again, sir.’
‘Excellent work, that man.’
‘Thank you sir. ‘Fraid the two year old ain’t ready yet – turned a bit sickly, got a slight touch of cholera I think – but the one above him, she’ll be three next week and ready to start building hovels for your workers any day soon.’ A slight hesitation for an awkward pause, more twisting of the cap into a figure eight, then, ‘Erm, pardon me asking sir, but what is it you want me to do?’
‘Ah, that: Ayenock, I’d like you to dig me a hole.’
‘Oh I’m sorry sir, I didn’t know you was poorly like.’
‘Not for me to fit in you fool, I need a hole I can own.’
”Well ‘smy job sir, don’t matter to me what you does with it. Usual is it? Six foot by two and a half foot by six foot deep?’
‘Not exactly no, I’d like it a bit bigger.’
‘Bigger sir?’
‘Erm yes. About twenty feet square should suffice.’
Twenty foot – bugger me! Beggin’ pardon sir. Has the elephant died up at Dudley zoo?’
‘No my good sir, it hasn’t. And anyway the zoo won’t open for another two hundred years at least.’
‘Sorry sir, getting ahead of myself as usual. But I has to say it’ll take me an’ old ‘arry all day to dig that out at six foot deep so it will sir.’
‘And I’d like it a bit deeper.’
‘Eh?’
‘Deeper.’
‘Oh, deeper is it? Exactly how deep were you thinking?’
‘Until you hit coal.’
‘Coal.’
‘Coal, yes.’
‘What’s coal then when it’s out?’
‘It’s like a black rock that you burn.’
‘You want to burn rock? Wood not flammable enough for you?’
‘Yes, no, I mean, hrumph! My dear man please remember your place and address me as, “sir”
‘Have you had a bump on the head? Sorry, have you had a bump on the head, sir?’
‘Of course not! I need the coal to smelt some iron ore.’
‘Or what sir?’
‘No Ayenock, iron is ore.’
‘It’s or what…’

Now at this juncture I should perhaps point out that this reasoned debate could take some time, so let’s just cut to the chase…

‘Oh! Iron ore is it?’
‘What else would it be?’
‘Dunno sir, you lost me at “coal”
‘Scar.., I mean Ayenock, I envisage a day when men like me will be able to drive around in horseless carriages.’
‘Riiiight…’
‘And fly through the air in hollow tubes.’
‘If you say so…’
‘So I need that hole in the ground.’
‘Of course you do, sir.’
‘When can you start.’
‘Well, we’ve got a charred charcoal burner, he got a bit too involved in his work, and three suspected plague victims to inter by this afternoon, but I reckon we could make a start about three o’clock.’
‘Good fellow.’
‘Beggin’ pardon sir, but I do see a couple of slight problems.’
‘You do?’
‘Well first up sir, there’s gas.’
‘Gas?’
‘Bit of a problem working with old ‘arry in a confined space, see sir. ‘Specially if he’s been on the beans and Norbert’s Old Peculiar the night before.’
‘I’ll give you a canary.’
‘A fucking canary! Why thank you sir. Help no end that will.’
‘You said, “a couple of problems.” The second is?’
‘Yessir. Water.’
Oh, I’ll make sure you have all you can drink.’
‘No sir – it’s holes see. They tend to fill up. With water.’
‘Ah!’
‘Bit of a problem if you don’t mind me saying.’
‘Thought of it already, Ayenock.’
‘You have sir?’
‘Had you there didn’t I! Yes, I did foresee that very problem and I’ve asked my good friend Newcomen to come up with a solution.’
‘Very good sir. And has he?’
‘Of course. Bright chap. He’s going to pump it out.’
‘Pump it?’
‘Out, yes. With a beam engine.’
‘A beam what?’
‘Engine. It’s made out of iron ore.’
‘Ore what?’
‘Don’t start that again.’
‘Course not sir, but pardon me asking – isn’t making ore what you need the coal for?’
‘It is, Ayenock. Must I keep explaining myself?’
‘But begging pardon, sir, isn’t that putting the cart before the horsepower so to speak? Slightly? Sir.’
‘Ah!’
‘Bit of a problem, sir?’
‘A minor hiccup. You go and start digging whilst I ponder the solution.’
‘Yessir. Mind me asking sir. What’s this hole in the ground going to be called?’
‘Oh, that’s easy, Scargill. It’ll be called, “mine.”

The blog post above, ‘It’s All Mine’ has been adapted as part of my second stage play which I hope will be staged locally later in the year. The play will be called, ‘Dudley – Not Quite A Musical,’ as there is only one song in it. It covers the history of Dudley and The Black Country from the evolution of The Dudley Bug 450 million years ago up to the present day. As can be seen from the attached post it will be an extremely serious examination of the regions development. Or perhaps not!

My first play, ‘pm dot com’ about a chap starting his own political party online was performed last year in Stourbridge.

As well as the foray into this thespian life I have written 3 children’s books about my border collie, Misty and the adventures she gets into with her friends.

The sci-fi novel I began in 2005 is inching toward completion. It’s about time travel, which could be fortunate as I may have to publish it retrospectively.

In March this year I begin writing a regular column for, ‘Canals Online,’ magazine.

Here are some links so that you can follow what I’m up to next:-

http://amzn.to/2e0GyRe is the link to my Amazon page

www.mistybooks.net is my website – I will get around to updating it soon.

www.facebook.com/mistybooks2015 to follow Mistybooks on Facebook

@Misty_Books to follow on Twitter

mistybooks.wordpress.com for my blog

The latest cover for my third children’s book – ‘On The Dog Walk,’ is below. Suitable for age 7 up to 11, but you just know that you’ll enjoy it too, don’t you?

 

Oh – and Misty asked if you could put her in as well please Seumas – I tried to talk her out of it, but…

…thanks , Misty, for letting David loose on my blog again… yeez are both always welcome here…

…see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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

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…if February had been a fish, I’d have thrown it back by now…

…once upon a time, the famous actor, John Gielgud, was invited to a soiree… on the appointed date, he was unwell and couldn’t attend and sent a note of regret to the hostess — ‘Gielgud don’t Fielgud!’Master Gallacher lays no claim to originality nor to comparison to the legendary thespian’s talents, but right now, I’m totally in sync with the great man’s sentiments… February 1st kicked off with the discovery of a dangerously infected abscess on my upper inside left leg which required an emergency operation under general anesthetic… I’ve already bored you with a blog post about that joyous event… comes now the bookend of the month to discover the need for another foray to the hospital with an attack of shingles on the left side of my head and face, which has attacked my left eye (what is it with my sinistral body parts, I wonder?)…

…the vision from that optic is blurred at best, and is likely to be so for another coupla days… add in a severe bout of sinusitis to make the set complete, and presto hey, I’m eligible for a season ticket to the infirmary… I’m not so much complaining, Mabel, more at a loss and deliberating as to why it all comes in a bunch, when heretofore the Gallacher Corpus has been relatively free of affliction (apart from the dreaded attacks of Blogitis and Writerism)… my major campaign at present is scheduling the application and dispensation of the various ointments, pills and tablets to combat this plague-ish onslaught…

…but as one of my ‘Facebook friends’ remarked at the start of the month, when the abscess episode was in full flow, “It could have been worse, Seumas, it could have been me!”... yes, thanks, Denis!… oh, and please remind me, are these things supposed to be shaken before or after yeez take them?… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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

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…Authoress friend, Dorothy Anne Spruzen, illustrates how easy it is to misuse ‘period’ WURDS…

…today’s Guest Blog is by courtesy of my dear friend, Authoress, Dorothy A. Spruzen… an erudite piece on writing, from a spectacularly insightful scribbling lady… enjoy:

Welcome to you all, and thank you for having me. Seumas invited me to write something for his wonderful website, so I thought that I would share some of the tips I pass on to my creative writing students concerning historical research for writers of fiction. I know some of you are readers rather than writers, but I hope this will nevertheless prove interesting.

I’m not going to give a discourse on how to perform historical research in the broad sense, but rather to point out some of the ways in which one might avoid embarrassing little blunders. Some reader, somewhere will pick up your errors with a malicious sense of glee and self-congratulation.

For me, and I think for most people, if I spot an egregious error, my train of thought is broken, I’ve fallen out of the story, and I’m irritated. We need to get it right. I write historical novels, so here are some of the errors I have come across over many years of reading and writing them.

The Blitz Business is my novel set in World War II England. Jamie, a fifteen-year-old mildly intellectually disabled boy, loves red fire engines; close to the beginning of the novel, he is found by air raid wardens wandering the streets in the middle of one of the most devastating raids of the Blitz. He is taken to a large fire station that is being used as a headquarters for the rescue services. Imagine his excitement to find beautiful red fire engines ready for action.

Only I discovered, quite by chance, that they were all painted gray during the war so as to avoid easy detection from the air. The fact did not come to light during the course of research, per se, but through reading fiction set in that time period and written by a credible source—R.F. Delderfield (The Avenue, God is an Englishman), a well-regarded British military historian who also wrote fiction.

My fix? Jamie still had a red vehicle to admire because, as luck would have it, that station had run out of paint before finishing the last one!

         But, be careful.  It is unwise to depend entirely on secondary sources; further research was needed to confirm the fact.

In my first novel, Not One of Us, I had a young girl in New York City dial 911 in about 1950. The fact that the emergency number did not yet exist in New York City may be old news to many of you, but not to me, as British cities and towns had already had an emergency number (999) for years. An American reader in my critique circle picked it up. Critique circles are invaluable, as every member brings his or her own experience and knowledge to the table.

Language usage is another issue. I bought a historical mystery set in the Victorian age, written by a Texan man and wife team who visit England regularly. The language errors are numerous; here are some of them:

Someplace else

I guess

Fix you something to eat?

Doctor’s office (referred to as “surgery” in the U.K.)

Nope!

The authors had not recognized these idioms as being either American or modern,

perhaps because many of them are often used by the British these days. They have failed to absorb the speech patterns of whatever historical works they might have (should have) read.

        I was born in England to a father who was born the year after Queen Victoria died and who had relatives and friends much older than he. I remember their speech patterns, the formality of their oral exchanges, not to mention the written ones, and so I developed the “ear” to recognize these missteps. Imagine my annoyance, when I read:

(Husband in the 1880’s) “What time is it my dear?”

(Wife) “It is three thirty-five, Stanley.” (Maybe she was looking at her Swatch!)

This is a modern Americanism. Even when I was a child, we would have said, “five-and-twenty to four” instead of “three thirty-five.”

What would have saved the authors from these errors? A critical reader who knows the speech patterns, and reading novels not only written about that period, but written during that period. And there are plenty of books written during the Victorian era.

Now, one must be careful reading English dialog in old fiction.

Written work, even for dialog, was typically much more elevated than everyday spoken language, even at a time when spoken English was, by our standards, very formal. You will need to modify so your readers won’t be tempted to skip!

What saves the day? Research all contexts of your story. Do not rely on the unreliable. Encircle the subject, even using movies and other fiction. Look at the author’s intent (bias, misinformed, shaping to their story).

For British writers, American usage can be a minefield, too. For example, whether you refer to Pepsi as a soda, pop, or cola, depends which state or city you are in. And I guess most people know now that Americans correct their work with erasers rather than rubbers, unlike the Brits!

         Remember, social history is part of our game. It is a context for people’s lives and actions and provides connections between different events. It sets your characters onstage against a particular backdrop: other cultures; social strata; the kind of things they use and how they use them (clothes, food, utensils, tools, housing); their speech patterns and slang; and, how they are affected by social and political upheavals.

Always ask the hard questions: Who said that and why? Has anything changed? (Just because the town hall is there today, doesn’t mean it was there fifty years ago.) When, where, why, who, and how did it change?

I hope some of this has been helpful, particularly to those who write historical fiction. Thank you for taking the time to read my piece!

… a wunnerful discourse, m’Lady, Dorothy… many thanks…

Dorothy Anne Spruzen (www.daspruzen.com) is a writer of fiction and poetry and has lived in Northern Virginia since 1971, except for a two-year hiatus in the Middle East. She grew up near London, U.K., earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Queens University of Charlotte, and teaches writing for the McLean Community Center when she’s not seeking her own muse.  She also runs private critique workshops in her home and is a past president of the Northern Virginia Writers Club. In another life she was Manager of Publications for a defense contractor. Dorothy’s short stories and poems have appeared in many publications, most recently in two anthologies, Joys of the Table (poetry, Richer Resources Publications) and Crossing Lines (fiction, Main Street Rag). Her novel The Blitz Business, set in WWII England, was published by Koehler Books in August 2016 and a poetry collection, Long in the Tooth, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2013. Dorothy has written the first two novels in her Flower Ladies Trilogy, Not One of Us and Lily Takes the Field, and the third book, Messenger of Love, is in progress. Crossroads, two novellas, is also available. When she’s not writing, Dorothy likes to read, paint, and garden.

See yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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

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…friends, readers, and countrymen… lend me your ears…

…this wunnerful merry-go-round called authorship is the proverbial gift that just keeps on giving for this ol’ Jurassic Scots scribbler… I’m not afraid to try new stuff on the Web, but I must confess, much of my intrepidity is curtailed by my infinite lack of knowledge about how it all really WURKS on here… I’ve said before, when I switch on my Mac and it lights up, I do a lap of honour… that aside, the most recent novelty has been my venture into Audio Book publishing... not that I went to search it out… quite the reverse in fact… I received a message a coupla months back from a terrific guy called Chris C. Hogan, who is a professional voice artiste and narrator, inviting me to consider delving into the Audible maze… for any of my fellow-penspersons who are intimidated by the thought of having listeners as well readers, I can highly recommend Master Hogan to be alongside yeez as yeez dip yer quilly toes into these hitherto uncharted waters… he did all the grunt WURK, figuratively and vocally… it was painless for me… he did the actual recording, and the coordination with the Audible folks… and presto, hey… THE VIOLIN MAN’S LEGACY is now downloadable in Audio Book… as some of yeez may know, THE VIOLIN MAN’S LEGACY was my first Jack Calder crime thriller, five novels ago, punched out nearly ten years back (and still getting gratifying downloads on the Auntie Amazon Kindle eBook medium), so we started with that to test the appetite… and bingo!… it’s doing okay, thank you, nurse… Chris has done it with a gravelly, Southern English accent, which fits perfectly with the darker theme of the action… the overtone of menace is there when needed… (after all, I do have more than a sprinkling of bad guys in there)… if yeez want a wee sample to hear what I’m talking about… correction – to hear what Chris is talking about… click on the link below and enjoy… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

 

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2kaoOp0

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2iFLNbu

Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2y7BdiL

Amazon Australia
https://www.amazon.com.au/Violin-Mans-Legacy-Calder-Crime/dp/B077YNY1CD/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1516983591&sr=8-1&keywords=B077YNY1CD

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

 

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…what happens when there’s no bullet to bite on?…

—-WARNING MEDICAL PICTURES EMDEDDED —- IF SQUEAMISH, LOOK AWAY NOW—-

…I’m seriously not one of those people who worries whether or not others miss me when I haven’t been present as much as usual on the SOSYAL NETWURKS for a longish spell… as has been the case until today… last blog post 15 days ago, which for me is an eon… I write the blog and other participatory Web-by stuff, coz it’s good for me… I LUV doing them… and it helps keep my doddering gray cells moving a wee bit… but my absence was perforce… let me explain… about a couple of weeks ago, Master Gallacher‘s not-so-famous (at least not until now) inside upper left leg became home to what appeared to be a newly-resident pimple… said pimple decided to grow up into sum’thing resembling more of the old-fashioned boils I remember from six decades ago as a child… irritating and uncomfortable it certainly was… so I repaired ‘toot sweet‘ to a local hospital here in Balmy Bahrain… a white-coated gentleman claiming credentials as a ‘dermatologist’ cast his eye upon the offending skin eruption and declared it easily curable through a kitchen-sourced mix of ingredients, viz: 1 spoonful of flour, 2 spoonfuls of plain yoghurt, 2 spoonfuls of cooking oil and a coupla pinches of tumeric to be mixed into a paste and liberally applied to the patch of my inner thighdom… ‘two days’ll do the trick,’ he declared… two days later, my leg had been taken over by a massive, four-inch diameter growth, livid red, no head in its centre, but what seemed like a hard crust bowl under the skin, the size of a Farley Rusk… and deliverer of more pain than Master Gallacher has ever been aware of in his entire lifetime…

Day 3

…one day more, and the heavy dosage of pain killers was having no positive impact… I felt as if my body was going into shock, and I hightailed it… well, at speed I could hardly muster, more like lowtailed it, to another hospital… immediate and scary diagnosis… ‘dangerously, seriously infected abscess’ requiring instant blood tests, an x-ray, MRI, and MRSA testing before being whipped into the operating theatre under general anesthetic to have my new lodger unceremoniously turfed out…

Day 5 

…one week on, and scrapings daily under local anesthetic and it seems the new Scottish Grand Canyon known as my upper inner left leg is apparently doing well, thank you, Mabel… I’m glad to be able to find my writing mojo today, and I’m not looking for any sympathy… I’m as much to blame for accepting the ‘Jamie Oliver recipe’ cure to start with…

Day 7 

…but just a WURD of warning to emb’dy else that gets hit with this kinda stuff… get a second opinion sooner… and it has cost me an arm, and maybe darn near a leg… when the pain is too much, there is no bullet strong enough to bite on, believe me… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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

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