Monthly Archives: May 2018

…a wee post about Majlis visits in the Middle East…

…first up, for my non-Arabic friends, an explanation  of the WURD, ‘Majlis’ will be helpful… literally it means, ‘the place of sitting’… in Arabic society, the higher essence is of a council, where authority can listen to the views and opinions of those in their respective communities and constituencies… in the more general sense, and more widely applied, is simply the getting together of friends and family in a certain place to talk about anything and everything, pay respects to the holder of the Majlis, and spending time in the company of your fellows… during the Holy Month of Ramadan, there is much heightened activity on Majlis visiting, with people ‘doing the rounds’ of these… sometimes sitting for as little as ten or fifteen minutes, up to longer visits, depending on the amount of visitor traffic flowing into and out of the Majlis

…this month, I have been privileged for the second year of my four in Bahrain to accompany my great friends Salah Al Tattan and his son, Nasser Al Tattan, on a program of evening visits, with as many as six or seven different Majlis meetings per night for the first two weeks of Ramadan… the visits begin after evening prayers , around 9.pm and go on until 1.am and later… these are attended by all and sundry, the great and powerful, and the rest of us…

…at every Majlis, we are welcomed with the same warmth and generosity of spirit so endemic to the Bahrainis… the format is one of honour and respect…  greetings first to the owner of the Majlis, usually the head of the family being visited, then handshakes with everybody in the room or hall where the Majlis is being held… we sit and talk with whomever is at our left or right…

…I have never been so struck with such open, widespread, genuine friendliness in any community, even, and particularly, it must be said, in my own home country… Majlis sittings are held by Sheiks in the Royal family, by leaders of the ‘noble’ families, by influential titans of business, by prominent members of neighborhood gatherings… and they are all terrific!… Ramadan Kareem!

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…Authors… Giveaways, Freebies and Promos are all a matter of balance…

…as a writer, I’m often asked, ‘why give yer stuff away for free?’… this ol’ Jurassic Scots scribbler can be as charitable as the next man… but, with a nod to my Caledonian heritage, and to quote a famous writer of the past, “…his generosity knows bounds!…” …delving into the wunnerful WURLD of self-publishing ten years ago, heralded an entire raft of nuances and ‘tricks of the trade’ on Auntie Amazon’s Kindle… all in the quest of finding the sweet spot for broadening my readership, and seeing the sales and downloads graphs head skyward… experimentation was the order of the day, mixing and matching the various methods of tempting subscribers… Free Promo spells… auction bids… then Goodreads Giveaways, throwing as many as five or ten copies of books at a time at lucky draw winners… Facebook readers’ groups, much more satisfying, because at least the author gets to know the participants better, and usually secures longer term virtual relationships with those who win, and even those who don’t… comes now the question of where to draw the line?… how much to let go for NUTHIN?… remember, these titles are the result of months and sum’times years, of blood, sweat and tears in producing yer wee baby literary masterpieces… experience is a great teacher… it should have come as no surprise, (but did), that as the first title spawned another, and yet another and more, and more, it became apparent that one of the major benefits of having a backlist is that a single title can be offered free for a limited spell, while the balance of titles are still ‘paid’ items… the technique is simple… rotation of the titles, one at time, at decent intervals, is the optimum way of continuing to generate interest… I’m finishing one such offer at the moment, and have seen paid sales of the other tomes pick up at the same time, as well as increased usage of the Kindle Unlimited mechanism, which pays authors for every page that’s read… I hope that’s of some interest and help to my fellow quillpersons… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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…the gift of sight… all too often among things I take for granted…

…as a wee lad of barely 4 years of age, this ol’ Scots Jurassic scribbler was already an avid reader… the local public library in Elder Park in Docklands, Govan in Glasgow, where I grew up, was an oasis in an area deprived of many things… the junior section encouraged kids like me, and my cardboard library ticket was covered in the smudgy, inked, date stamp marks in no time at all… one unwelcome side effect of this onslaught on the book world was the need for the miniature Master Gallacher to wear eyeglasses, even before school age…

…bespectacled I became for the ensuing 30 years or so, when the advent of contact lenses allowed me, partly from vanity, partly from ease of wearing, to acquire a pair, although it must be confessed, there were times when recalcitrant, prodigal lenses adorned the living room carpet and the depths of armchair folds of my home rather than my eyeballs, such was my clumsiness in handling them…

…a further 15 years elapsed and the eyes were treated to the next wave of optical miracle… laser treatment... happily, this sustained my vision for another 20 years, until a recent calamity befell… from whatever source, I know not whence, the left, upper side of my face was blitzkrieg-attacked 4 months ago by a severe bout of shingles… for a while, the resemblance to the Phantom of the Opera was remarkable, but the novelty stopped there… it was more than a tad painful affliction, and it left a nasty legacy of infections in the cornea and surrounding eye area… the infections have since been taken away, but a mistiness remains in the eye, necessitating the procurement of a pair of glasses... this time, the ‘progressive, multi-focal’ sort…

…I’d never heard of these before now, and I’m wearing them for the first time this evening typing this blog… and what a relief from the awkward visual discomfort of the last several weeks… I can actually see again… more than six decades to close the circle from the first pair to the current pair of glasses… and for the present, it’s not difficult to fathom what I’m most grateful for?… the gift of sight… all too often among things I take for granted… see yeez later (literally!)… LUV YEEZ!

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

 

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…a HUGE thanks to you wunnerful listeners who’ve downloaded my Audio Book…

…one of my favorite poems is Walter De La Mere’s ‘THE LISTENERS‘, published just over a hundred years ago in 1912… fast forward to the present day, and still among my favourites  is a new breed of ‘Listeners’… the good folks who’ve honoured me by downloading my maiden foray into Audio Books,  my first ever novel, the Jack Calder crime thriller, THE VIOLIN MAN’S LEGACY

…if I’ve learned anything in this WURLD it is that NUTHIN stands still… and equally so in the field of publishing… the extraordinary journey into self-publishing over the last ten years has been laden with pleasure for this ol’ Scots Jurassic scribbler… being (relatively) new in the Authorsphere since then, the whims and fickledom of being a writer have thrown many opportunities my way to try some of the ‘new’ stuff… the latest, and certainly not the least of these has been the attraction of Audio Books… I’m led to understand that the market for this particular medium is now well over 2 billion dollars per annum… that’s a lot of book sales, Mabel!… ergo, into the melee I tumbled… first order of priority was to find a suitable narrator… not just emb’dy who does narration, but sumb’dy whose voice and delivery suits the JONGGR I indulge — hard crime, and plenty of action, built around solid characters… I found Master Chris C. Hogan… in blunt honesty, at first hearing in the audition, I was not taken by the voice of ‘my’ characters as exposed by Chris’ s gravelly delivery… and then I realized, I’m the ONLY person who has ever heard these players ‘talk’ in my head… so I listened a bit more, and it grew on me, that his voice was absolutely perfect for the roles… his intonation captures the ‘mood’ and ‘tone’ of the book, and became an integral part of it… see, still learning, I am…  here are the links for the Audio version:

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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