Monthly Archives: July 2018

…when a ‘well done’ steak may be, well, not so ‘well done’…

…ever since my first taste of real steak, when I was around twenty years old (in Docklands Govan in Glasgow, where I grew up, steak was an unaffordable luxury), I have relished the texture of a steak cooked medium-well… usually accompanied back then by spud-sack loads of chips (I never knew they were called ‘French Fries’ until I left Scotland to work as a Trainee Financial Master of the Universe in London’s Lombard Street), and attended also by a solid helping of green peas, and the mandatory lashings of HP Brown Sauce

…fast forward when the callow Govan youth had metamorphosed into a globe-trotting banking executive, and I had the distinct pleasure of sitting in some of the best restaurants in the WURLD (all on the corporate expense ticket, of course)… included in that was a memorable business trip to the prestigious Baur au Lac Hotel in Zurich, Switzerland...

…accompanying me on the trip was an American colleague, whose taste in food ran all the way from steaks to… erm, steaks… the waiter in the restaurant resembled a cross between a relative of the Addams family and a scarecrow… his jacket sleeves were a third of the way up his arms, and his trouser legs ended about four inches above the top of his socks… thick, streaky brownish-blond hair swept back from his brow in a front to back comb-over… a once seen, never forgotten image…

…my friend ordered a steak- ‘well done’... in due course when it arrived, it was sum’where twixt rare and medium… my man called over the garçon and bid him return to the kitchen to get the steak ‘done right – well done’… it came back a  little while later, but still nowhere near the conventional ‘well done’ one might expect elsewhere… my companion, in exasperation, said to the waiter, “I asked for ‘well done’ – this isn’t ‘well done’ – what is THAT?”.. the man didn’t blink an eyelid and condescendingly uttered the immortal line, with a sneer worthy of the best put-downers in history, “Sir, THAT’S how we do ‘well done’ at the Bar au Lac!” and promptly sauntered off, stage left… my friend spluttered all the way through the balance of his meal, while I tried to hide my smiles… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

ALL MY BLOG POSTS ARE FREE TO SHARE – BE MY GUEST!

15 Comments

Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…a tale of two pussies, and a favourite Authoress, Jane Wenham-Jones…

…my, how time flies when you’re enjoying yourself, eh, Mabel?… fully ten years ago, when this ol’ Scots Jurassic scribbler was staring into the unknown, but beckoning, abyss of self -publishing, I had the great pleasure to meet a wunnerful character, Authoress Jane Wenham-Jones, a kindred spirit in writing and assorted daftness… I travelled especially  from the Middle East  to Deepest, Darkest London, where she and I had lunch… I’ve LUVVED her ever since, as well as her terrific b0oks… today she graces this ‘ere blog with a Guest Post announcing her latest tour de force, MUM IN THE MIDDLE… enjoy…

Thank you for having me, Seumas!

I first got to know this lovely chap back in 2008 when he emailed me to say he’d enjoyed my first non-fiction book Wannabe a Writer?https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wannabe-Writer-hilarious-informative-published-ebook/dp/B008J0BTGW/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8 and wanted to take me to out to lunch. I was his third choice of lunch companion, he added winningly – Billy Connolly and Sir Alex Ferguson had turned him down.

I am not usually in the habit of rushing off to meet strange men (and some of them who email are most peculiar! See the book’s sequel Wannabe a Writer We’ve Heard Of   https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wannabe-Writer-Secrets-Success-Writing-ebook/dp/B008HJBXNE/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8 and the chapter entitled Nutters & Weirdos) but his email made me laugh and I had a good feeling about the encounter. Always trust your instincts.

We met on Friday 13th.  Seumas pitched up bearing not only a touching number of my own books for me to sign, but a cuddly, black cat to quell my superstitions. I have him still.

He lives in my car (currently a mid-life crisis vehicle – a Mazda MX5 of which I am extremely fond) and I like to think he keeps me safe as I whiz about. I have a real black cat these days as well who trashes my office, brings in field mice at one a.m. and is called Nugget. That’s a photo of him with me above, allowing me to hold him.

In the intervening years since that first lunch, when Seumas was quizzing me on the whole publishing process, describing himself as a dinosaur when it came to the internet, he’s become a blogging superstar and has finished more books than I have.

My latest novel Mum in the Middle  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mum-Middle-Feel-funny-unforgettable-ebook/dp/B077ZNWD34/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8  was a long time in the making – during a period of time when real life frequently, and not always happily, got in the way – and is the first new tome I’ve published since 2014. I had forgotten how thrilling it is.

The paperback is not out until September but the ebook is alive and kicking now, at the bargain basement promotional price of 99p. It’s the story of Tess – one of the stretched generation with adult kids still needing financial support at one end and elderly parents kicking off at the other. Described by one kind reader as part romance, part mystery, part family drama, it deals with the themes of DFLs (Down from London) and the effects on communities when new rail links mean the commuters move in, and is partly set around a local newspaper. (Write what you know, they told me!)

Reactions have mainly been positive, but not always. One reviewer was outraged that a book billed as “hilarious”, features a mother with the early stages of dementia. She refused to read more than 5% of it as a result. I was sorry she had been upset. In fact, I do not make any jokes about that hideous disease – although I have always used black humour to get me through – but saw it as the serious strand to the novel. I drew on my experiences of being Lasting Power of Attorney to an aunt with Dementia with Lewys Bodies. Shelagh was an author herself, spoke fluent Greek, did the Times crossword daily, and still swam, walked miles and went to dance classes in her seventies.

She was immensely distressed by the diagnosis and did not want to live long enough for the disease to take hold. Unfortunately it progressed too fast for us to help her execute her wishes. She would have been mortified to see herself as she is today. There is nothing funny about any of that.

There was, however –  I hoped – comedy to be had in the slightly manic life of Tess who is supposed to having “me” time but instead, is frequently running in circles. Again – I wrote what I knew.  If you have 99p to spare, I’d love to know if it resonates with you.

www.janewenham-jones.com

www.wannabeawriter.com

@JaneWenhamJones

www.facebook.com/JaneWenhamJonesAuthor

www.instagram.com/jwenhamjones

…as ever, m’Lady, Jane, I’m indebted to you… you really have no idea how much encouragement and added motivation you gave me through that first lunch meeting… another way of saying that is : YOU’RE TO BLAME!… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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

11 Comments

Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…AUTHORS… why do YOU write?…

…I’m led to believe that in a protracted game of chess, from start to finish, there may be possible combinations of moves amounting to billions… given the number of books that have been written since Man first discovered how to put WURDS on to stone, paper, typewriters , and computing devices, that figure of billions could easily be surpassed by the aggregate combinations of stories and narratives produced over the millennia…

…it’s not a difficult step from that suggestion to surmise there are prob’ly countless reasons why anyone in particular may want to ‘write’… when this ol’ Scots Jurassic scribbler first began to write seriously, about a decade ago, never having written a novel before, my primary urge was merely to see if I could actually produce and complete a whole book… little did I know what lay in store… the first time I wrote ‘The End’, an overwhelming elation descended on me… I felt I was floating three feet above the floor… that ‘pink cloud’ sensation has never totally receded… ten years later, with five Jack Calder crime thrillers in the bag, I’m just beginning to understand the powerful force of attraction for we penspeople… it’s certainly not about money… if anyone ever told you that as an author you would become exceedingly rich, then you were appallingly misled

…writing for me has provided a hitherto unknown oasis against the madness of the universe… a mental sanctuary to which I retreat on a daily basis… the pleasure of creating sum’thing from my own grey cells is a regular triumph… which underlines the fact that I write, first and foremost, for ME… if anyone else derives pleasure from it, that’s a bonus… and here’s the added positive kicker – whatever else I may pretend to be to the outside WURLD, be it as a corporate advisory genius, or as a Financial Master of the Universe, or as any other professional persona, at heart I AM A WRITER… and I LUV IT! see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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

21 Comments

Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…the mystery of 1950s foodstuffs in Docklands, Govan in Glasgow…

…over the years, Master Gallacher’s career has brought him around the planet to no less than four continents across several decades… of the many different and fascinating experiences that have been thrown his way, none are more interesting than the various samplings of food served in other countries than his own, native Scotland… Hong Kong gave me the delights of eating snake steaks

…not unlike enlarged eel cutlets, usually submerged in a piquant soup, and utterly delicious on a cold winter’s day, in what was then a British colony (temperatures in January often flirted with freezing there)… a few hours flight thence, in Singapore and Malaysia, many crab and lobster dishes were strewn with fiercely hot chilli peppers… not for the timid of palate…

…in the Philippines, newly-incoming, foreign residents were compelled to tackle balut, a half-developed, bird embryo, boiled and eaten from the shell, still half-grown, half-baby bird, the beak sum’times providing hard nibbles to digest…

…strange as these menu items may seem, when I was a lad growing up in Docklands, Govan in Glasgow, certain food items were no less mysterious in their genesis… for example, until about the age of ten, I believed that strawberries grew in tin cans, complete with delicious sugary syrup, the contents eked from one small can into p’raps four serving bowls for me and my siblings, with the ultimate gourmand’s addition of Carnation-brand condensed milk…

…scrumptious!… this delicacy appeared on the rare occasions when my father’s occasional sixpenny flutter on the nags yielded enuff for my mother to splash out at the corner store… other prized servings included bread doorstops (the crusty-end, black bits of the plain sliced bread loaf) fried in lard… little wonder Scotland has one of the highest incidences of heart disease on the planet… fruit was an endangered species in Govan… but dollops of hot porridge oats with milk and sugar or salt set us off to school inured against many a freezing Glasgow morning…

…and always, regardless of the season, the ubiquitous, constant pot of soup/broth/mince/mutton/hot-pot, added to as the week progressed with potatoes, lentils, barley, and whatever other food scraps arrived in the house… the Gallacher appetite for foreign foods is easier to understand with the splendid Govan gourmet grounding… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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

8 Comments

Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…an excellent Guest Blog, this time from my dear friend, authoress, Dedra L. Stevenson…

…my dear friend here in the Middle East, Dedra L. Stevenson, is a prolific pan-genre authoress… enjoy her post …

Dedra L. Stevenson, author of the acclaimed trilogy, The Hakima’s Tale.

Creating a ‘Whole New World” as a Fantasy Fiction Author

My name is Dedra L. Stevenson, and I’m a multi-genre author and an emerging filmmaker.  My books cover Courtroom Drama, Horror, Children’s stories, and even the Culinary Arts, but it was my greatest love, Fantasy Fiction, that started everything for me.

 

The Hakima’s Tale: The Revenge of the Blue Jinniwas my first book, one that took me into another world and inspired me to create characters unlike any that the world has ever seen, including a villain that you can hate while admitting that he makes sense sometimes.

Coming up with the character of Phoenix was a really fun challenge.  At that time, the Harry Potter books were really taking off, so I didn’t want to make my protagonist a boy. I really believed in my heart that we needed a girl to save the world and fight the forces of darkness for a change.  Also, why should the priests have all the fun? In the Middle East, we really wanted to have the chance to chase away something sinister, using our ways, as told by Arabic folklore.

Although the famous collection of stories, 1001 Arabian Nights, isn’t at all appropriate for kids, it does give us an idea of how much of a role the Jinn play in Arabic folklore.  For those in the Western world, let me just remind you that the Jinn are not as Disney has portrayed.  Don’t get me wrong though, I’m a huge fan of Disney’s, Aladdin!

However, the Blue Jinni in the beloved Disney movie is nothing like what a Jinni would be portrayed as by an Arab.  The Jinn (plural) are beings made of smokeless fire (as described by the Holy Koran) and they reside in another dimension, but can enter our dimension at will, although they are “technically” not allowed to interfere with our lives.  In spite of this, some do just that, as they torment human homes by tormenting residents with actions that one may typically describe as a “haunting”.

They have tribes, families and religions, just like us, and that means that some are friendly and don’t wish us any harm at all. In fact, it’s said that some people have Jinn followers that help them.  For example, if you’ve ever lost your keys and “magically” found them somewhere obvious, you may have been assisted by a Jinni.

Like humans, they have been granted free will, and can choose to be good or bad, unlike Angels who have no choice but to be good. It’s the bad ones that we have to worry about, especially the fierce ones.

Sometimes they manifest in the form of people, but mostly as animals or shadows. Two of their most common forms are the snake and the black dog. You may find that unnerving, to know that a person may, in fact, be a Jinni, but it’s said that there are a few ways that you’d be able to identify them.

They are mostly either unusually small or tall, even for a human, and there’s always something “off” about their eyes and feet, as sometimes they can disguise their cat’s eyes and hooves for feet, and sometimes they cannot.

Of course, in The Revenge of the Blue Jinni, I was given the chance to “amplify” their abilities.  That’s an author’s privilege. As a resident of the Middle East and a believing Muslim, I believe the Jinn to be a reality, and their presence explains most supernatural phenomenon, but it’s clear that the Jinn don’t do most of the things that I say they do in The Revenge of the Blue Jinni.

Creating a fantasy world for my characters means creating a world that “could be” possible within the bounds of one’s own imagination and what we know to be true about the subject.   Your story doesn’t have to be true of course, but there should be elements of truth woven into the pages to make it sound feasible.  There’s already 2 billion people on the planet that believe in the existence of these beings, and there’s already been one famous written work that makes them larger than life, 1001 Arabian Nights, so as the author, I simply had to use our established beliefs as a basis for their existence, and will their additional abilities into existence through their descriptions.

The Blue Jinni is the villain of The Hakima’s Tale trilogy, and as their supreme leader, he had to resemble tyrannical leaders that we have experienced in the human world. As a Jinni, he can be invisible, can occupy inanimate objects and possess people, and he has an inherent jealousy of the human species.  He’s helped the mighty King Ghalib (also a fictitious character) to defeat rebellious human tribes, so he already knows our weaknesses.  Although he respected the King tremendously, he became increasingly more and more disenchanted with “us”, humans, and became convinced that we don’t deserve this position of dominance that we’ve been granted.

Well, come on, one must admit, especially given the current state of things on planet Earth, that he may actually have a point. Humans, as a whole, haven’t proven to be very worthy of their status. Of course, as with any maniacal villain, his plans for cleansing the Earth are morally reprehensible.

As for his abilities, the Blue Jinni can wield storms of a natural disaster variety, cause people and objects to thought travel, and move great amounts of land from one place to another. His impressive abilities are restricted by the King and this causes a great deal of resentment. Of course, as with any story of one with unresolved power and repressed abilities, the result isn’t good for people.

His mighty generals, Coulda, Bafeemus and Angrit are in charge of building his empire while he’s imprisoned in his lantern at the bottom of the sea.  They are also charged with finding him each time the planets align and enabling his release. These three are equally monstrous, but Coulda assumes command.  I chose these names for my Jinn generals because they don’t resemble any names from human nationalities.  After all, they aren’t human, and the whole “separation of people by nationality” is considered ridiculous by them, and of course, a human weakness. Therefore, it was quite important for me to name them something that doesn’t sound like anything we know.  They aren’t Arab.  They aren’t American or European.  They are Jinn, and that’s it.

 

Coulda is a reptilian looking creature capable of flight, even flight into outer space.  He can influence thought and appear as reptile like creatures. Bafeemus is “Brute-like” and resembles what one may think of as a muscle bound demon, with a bald head, jagged teeth and bulging eyes. He’s not smart, but he makes up for his lack of smarts in brute strength, and the ability to thought travel. Angrit has a lion-like appearance, and although he’s terrifying in appearance, he’s the nobler of the three. He can appear as any animal form at all, except the Wolf. The wolf is said to be the only animal that can kill a Jinni, so for centuries, he searched for a way to not only appear as a wolf, but a way to command wolves.  Finally, he and the other generals acquire the mask of Anubis and get this long desired ability.  In the Rise of the Warrior, this acquisition comes under threat from Phoenix Kassim, the protagonist of The Hakima’s Tale.

Writing these characters was fun, and it’s interesting that I’ve not been asked as much about them in interviews regarding The Hakima’s Tale trilogy.  I’ve been mostly asked about Phoenix, which is only natural, since she’s the star of the trilogy, but I’m very happy to have the chance to talk about my bad guys for a change, because authors infuse a tiny bit of themselves into each character they build, even the villains, so they are also part of me, just as Phoenix is, and let’s face it, who doesn’t love reading about a fabulous maniacal mass murdering psycho that truly believes he’s doing a service?

The Hakima’s Tale books are available as E books, Paperback, or Audio books via Audible.com. They are particularly fun to listen to in the car!

 

If you’d like to check out my work, log on to www.dedralstevenson.com or www.bluejinnimedia.com and have a look.  I have the three books of The Hakima’s Tale, a Courtroom drama called, Desert Magnolia (that’s been called a modern day, To Kill A Mockingbird), a collection of short stories called Tales of the Lantern, and a horror called, The Skinwalker Resurrection. Additionally, I’ve just completed an international cookbook called Breaking Bread Around the World and an award winning short documentary, Lemonade, that will soon be available on the sight. I’ve got plans for a whole lot more, so sign up for our newsletter and join me on social media!  Here are my links:

https://www.facebook.com/Hakimastale/

https://www.instagram.com/dedrastevenson/

https://www.dedralstevenson

Twitter handle:  @Hakimastale

Stay in touch and keep the magic alive!

…thanks gazillions for sharing with us, m’Lady, Dedra … see yeez late… LUV YEEZ!

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

3 Comments

Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…Great Guest Blog Post about Quality Writing from Author, Tony McManus…

…my great pal, Author, Tony McManus, delivers another outstanding contribution with this blog on Quality Writing and the not-so-brilliant stuff… enjoy…

GOOD WRITING

BAD WRITING

AND MARKET FORCES

What is it that drives some novels to the top of the commercial sales charts while other books wallow in poor sales rankings? What makes a blockbuster? Good writing? Maybe not.

A short while back I published a blog, Bringing the Curtain Down, in which I speculated on when and why the author of a thriller series should call it a day and wrap it up. In the article, I mentioned that the writer, Lee Child, was about to publish his 22nd Jack Reacher novel, Midnight Line.Well that’s now history and #23, Past Tense,will be available in November 2018; great news for Lee Child, his publisher and for Jack Reacher fans the world over.

After I’d written the piece it occurred to me that I’d never read a Jack Reacher novel. And, as Lee Child is an apex novelist and his Jack Reacher Series a world block-busting top seller, I decided it was time to correct that anomaly and find out what all the fuss was about. I’d join the crowd and read me some Jack Reacher.

I headed into downtown Chiang Mai, to The Lost Book Shop, my favorite bookstore, and picked up five Jack Reacher paperbacks: Killing Floor, The Hard Way, One Shot, Bad Luck And Trouble and Make Me. Second hand, they were cheap but in good condition. Back home, I got into them.

I began with Killing Floor, the first in the series. And I have to say I enjoyed it and can see why it was a hit. Written in the 1st person, the story-line was sound, tense and exciting. But, like many of today’s novels, I found it inflated and overweight. My edition weighed in at 525 pages. I believe that good comprehensive editing would have cut it down to 350 or even less and delivered a tighter, more dynamic book.

Next up was The Hard Way followed by Bad Luck And Trouble. Both were disappointing. Written in the 3rd person, I found the narrative poor, staccato, heavily padded and packed with redundant sentences, many sentences lacking verbs and way too much description of people and places. And for me the abundance of one-word sentences and even one-word paragraphs is painful. I then read Make Meand had started reading Kill Shotwhen I picked up a copy of Personalwhich, like Killing Floor, is written in the 1st person. I enjoyed it. I never went back to Kill Shot.

Giving it thought, it’s as if the series is written by two different writers, and in a way it’s true. In the 3rd person novels, Lee Child tells the tale. In the 1st person stories, there are six, Child hands the pen to Jack Reacher. And Reacher delivers the better book.

Writing in the first person allows a writer a free hand, a chance to break loose from many grammar and syntax constraints and speak just as he feels through the medium of his narrator as Mark Twain did with Huckleberry Finn.The language can be crude or elegant. The narrator may be a gentle Dr. Jekyll or a brutal serial killing Mr. Hyde. The character of the protagonist is revealed through the narrative tone and the language. And, naturally, Jack Reacher, the loner, the rugged individualistic drifter, couldn’t care less about the niceties of English grammar and good prose as he tells his tale. Right?

This freedom, I feel, is one reason many writers choose to write in the 1st person. The 3rd person narrative is a far different and more difficult arena governed by law and order and rules to which the omniscient narrator should adhere. Some writers can switch and write well in both. Child isn’t one of them. Lee Child is a free-wheeling writer who has rejected the discipline of grammatical rules and guidelines. I believe he should have stayed in the 1st person for the entire series. And that way he could have blamed Jack Reacher for any anomalies.

The old advice “show, don’t tell” is sound advice in my view. “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”(Chekhov). It was at the core of Hemingway’s ‘iceberg theory of omission.’ I believe it also reveals a writer’s respect for his reader. Of course, a good writer utilizes both; he shows and also tells. Lee Child prefers to tell not show. And it shows.

The lack of editing in Lee Child’s novels is chronic. One comes across many unedited self-published books on Amazon, where lots of publications are not even self-edited. But Lee Child’s novels come from a publishing house. So why didn’t his publishers set their editors to work and rein him in? It could be that now he’s so established, they leave him be. I sense that the editors only check for minor things such as typos and spelling errors, with more serious violations off limits. Child once commented that his editors are, “. . .afraid to piss me off.”Really?

Lee Child seems to be a great guy. He’s had setbacks in life and overcame them. I admire that, and his consequent success has to be applauded. I feel sure I’d enjoy a good chat and a few beers with him. In interviews, he’s open and honest. He’s said he’s not out to seek prizes; his aim is to deliver entertainment. And his books sell like freshly baked bread in a famine. But how come? What gives?

A long time ago, ‘back in the day’, I had a sweet Toronto girlfriend. Clare was well read. She loved good books, and her bookshelf revealed a catholic taste in its mix of classics and contemporary writers. She’d read George Eliot’s Middlemarchin college and wrote an essay on it. She admired a host of fine writers. But she loved Harold Robbins.

Robbins was, and remains, one of the best-selling writers of all time, he penned over 25 best-sellers, selling over 750 million copies worldwide in 32 languages.

Under pressure from Clare and to please her, I got into him starting with The Carpetbaggers. I moved on to A Stone for Danny Fisher and on and on. I didn’t read the whole Robbins corpus but more than a few. And yes I enjoyed them though I didn’t rate him too highly as a writer. Like Lee Child, Robbins wrote as he liked. It seemed he’d never heard of the ‘point of view’ rule, so quite often you didn’t know which character was thinking what.

One day, Clare was lying back on her couch flipping the pages of Robbins’ latest, The Adventurers. I teased her. I told her I thought Robbins wasn’t much of writer; a crappy one, really. I expanded on that and she agreed. “You’re right, Tony,” she said, laughing.

“You agree?” I said, surprised.

“Yes,” she nodded. “I agree.”

“Yet you read him?”

“Yes,” She smiled. “It’s crazy I know. I can’t explain it, but I just can’t put him down.”

Rick Gekowski is a writer, broadcaster, rare book dealer and former Senior Lecturer in English at Warwick University. In 2011 he held the Chair of Judges for the 2011 Man Booker International Prize for Fiction. The Guardian newspaper once stated that“Gekowski likes to be around a better class of book than the rest of us.”Impressive, right?

Yet, in an article published in The Guardian, Gekowski came out of the closet and confessed to being a Jack Reacher junkie who can’t wait to get his hands on the latest Lee Child novel and devour it. It’s a bit like discovering that a world-renowned cordon bleuchef sneaks out in disguise to a motorway transport café to nosh down on greasy burgers and fries loaded with red sauce.

In his article, Gekowski admits that, “. . . no one, I imagine, values Child for the quality of his prose. One can hardly find, in the entire corpus of the work, a single sentence worthy of independent admiration.”Yet, like Clare with Robbins, he can’t put him down. I guess some ‘smart readers’ need the occasional literary junk food fix.

In my view, as a writer, Child is bloody awful, his prose poor, overwritten and uninspiring. In comparison with Lee Child, Harold Robbins was a disciplined literary genius. The Jack Reacher series is bad writing in essence. An English teacher might well use it in class to demonstrate how NOT to write. But does it ever sell. Over 70 million worldwide at this time. Plus all those Amazon downloads. Wow. But how? It beats the hell out of me.

Here’s a question I ask myself. Would the Jack Reacher Series be the success it is if it were well-written and thoroughly edited? And the answer? Probably not.

Quite obviously there exists a vast market out there for this stuff, and Lee Child is delivering what it wants and getting rich in the process. It seems these readers not only don’t care, it appears they even love this literary dross. For me, it’s another sad reflection on the dumbing-down of Western civilization.

Writing was the first to fall. Think of those university graduates who can’t compose a simple job application letter and need to hire professionals to do it. Now, it seems the ability to read-well is withering away.

So there it is. Bad writing sells; big time. But I don’t advise going there. It’s a swamp. A quagmire. Lee Child was and is lucky; chances are you won’t be. Keep your feet on solid ground and stick with good writing? It also sells though not in such a frenzy as the Jack Reacher stuff. But don’t lose heart. Respect the English language. It’s a great, rugged and virile language with a body of literature behind it that has no equal. Use it well and write your best. And make every word count.

PS.

Jack Reacher is becoming a small industry. There’s now a Jack Reacher online game. And Jack Reacher Custom Coffee is available: ‘Robust. Full Bodied. Battle Tested’ plus a matching coffee mug.

Tony McManus resides in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

He can be found at:

http://tony-mcmanus.com

http://downeastern.wixsite.com/tonymcmanuswriter

or via his email: downeastern@hotmail.com

He has recently published a thriller: The Sum of Things, Book #1in the James Fallon Series. https://amzn.to/2u0EFwj

He is also the author of the novel: The Iran Deception. http://amzn.to/1Ppb45P

And a short story compilation: Down and Out in the Big Mango.http://amzn.to/1FetYVl

He is presently writing Book #2 in the James Fallon Series and working on a crime novel: Bangkok Retribution,the first book in a new series featuring sleuth Mike Villiers.

…thanks for this, Tony… see yeez later … LUV YEEZ!

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

13 Comments

Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…Authors, when yeez write,’The End’, yer WURK is just beginning…

…ten years ago, this ol’ Scots scribbler completed his first Jack Calder crime thriller, THE VIOLIN MAN’S LEGACY… I’ve shared before the exquisite sensation of floating, pink-cloud ecstasy of having actually written a whole novel… with no safety net, no helpers, and no idea that the addiction of becoming writer was looming large in my life… I was also unaware of my ‘wet-behind-the-ears’ naivete as a ‘newbie’ author… back then, oh, blessed innocence, I thought all I had to do was to send the finished manuscript off to a London publisher and presto, hey, I’d become a millionaire, literary giant in short order… Right? Wrong!… many, if not all, of my fellow-penspersons will have trodden the same route… eventually the cold, hard facts of a writer’s life began to sink in… the WURLD does not owe me fame and fortune just because I’ve written a book, nor indeed, even after I’ve written several books… as with most professions, vocations, or callings, it takes solid, continued, slogging WURK to make the whole thing a ‘successful’ (a much-vaunted and misunderstood adjective by the way, ‘successful’) enterprise… I listened to my peers… I followed sage advice… and became immersed in the ‘business  of writing’… it matters not whether yeez are self-published or ‘house-published‘, the lion’s share of the post-writing ‘business’ belongs to the Author/Authoress… it means being present where it matters… part of that is being on the SOSYAL NETWURKS… not spamming, but letting the reading market know where to locate your literary masterpieces… becoming a blogger is not essential, but an enormous plus in my opinion… allowing a lot more interaction with others… writers, readers, the universe-at-large… and always learning from those who’ve marked out the pathways before me… equally essential is ‘giving back’ to the global diaspora of other quills-people… support bloggers and authors, especially those coming fresh to the excitement and wonder of this fantastic, creative profession of ours… and its okay to tag onto yer blogs from time to time, links to let folks know where to find yer stuff, as I do here… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

THE VIOLIN MANS LEGACY

myBook.to/theviolinmanslegacy

VENGEANCE WEARS BLACK

myBook.to/vengeancewearsblack

SAVAGE PAYBACK

myBook.to/savagepayback

KILLER CITY

myBook.to/calderkillercity

DEADLY IMPASSE

myBook.to/Calderdeadlyimpasse

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

15 Comments

Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff