Category Archives: Scribbling & Stuff

…thoughts on a wild thing… nostalgia’s still what it used to be…

…this ol’ Jurassic Scot needs very little (read ‘none at all’) persuasion to jump into the mem’ries of the past… but not just the immediate ten minutes ago, or even a coupla years before, nor yet a decade or two… no, Mabel, I’m casting back beyond that time scale… like fifty years or so (I’m not really that old, am I?)… to a different passage of my life… in particular, to six incredible years spent in Tobermory, (back then, total population 873) on the beautiful Scottish Hebridean Island of Mull (total population at that time, circa 2,000)…


…in my mid-teens, thanks to two wonderful lady teachers from the local school, I learned to speak and sing in Gaelic... one tutored me in the language, the other in how to sing it, grace notes and all… I went on to gain medals in swatches during those times, but more importantly, it left with me an irremovable love of all things musically Celtic… but back to the ‘mem’ries’ thing-y… Tobermory’s own Mishnish Hotel was owned by one of the finest accordian players ever to grace the Scottish music scene… bobbyBobby MacLeod Snrbobby 2his famous Dance Band played all over Scotland  and many invitations to perform abroad in expatriate Caledonian company were the order of the day… in the band, the magical fiddle player, ‘Pibroch’ Mackenzie, couldn’t read a note of music, but made that instrument sing and dance with us at the local ceilidhs… long before the internet… long before the ballyhoo of the MTV channel and its imitators… long before the drugs scene and night clubs proliferated… self made, home-spun music… we danced, we sang, we laughed, we fell in love, we had our hearts broken, we recovered… until the next time… the regular weekend dances at the various village halls around Mull always rang on into the early hours, often spinning into spontaneous ceilidhs in folks’ houses and cottages… and we LUVVED IT!… here’s a wee thing I tacked together after one such village hall dance/ceilidh… walking a young lady home in the wee small hours… (take a look at the date!)… enjoy…


A kindly evening breeze

blows its welcome cool

where perspiring hotly beads

their burning course have run.


Mirrored with mercuric detail,

the coil of tousled hair

and cheeks

flushed with fast and furious flurry

reflect happily the history

of a hurly-burly flinging reel

and the execution quite profound

they called a strip-the-willow.


The same cool air

sends a shiver

through the muffled avenue

of leaf-laden birches

which dance in simulation

to an earlier pleasing version

that blessed a saintly waltz,

copied by ages through ages,

then by us.


The wind in spasmodic gusts

whips lightly at the branches

and a vision becomes reborn.


Now feel again the polka

dashing fire to the heart.


Thankful breath recalls how,

tempered with these,

the subdued Pride of Erin

rests its stamp.


Still, a daring foxtrot

leaves its poignant legacy

to a happy, tired memory

and another wild thing is dead.

Seumas Gallacher

September 1969


…see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!


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…yeez are all notorious gangsters… and we know who yeez are…

…this ol’ Jurassic scribbler may unwittingly have stumbled on an eternal truth… inside every saint, there’s a sinner plotting to get out… over the last few years my Jack Calder crime thrillers have been populated with the necessary balance of good guys and bad guys… unknown to yeez loyal readers, many of the characters dancing, prancing, and romancing across the pages have names derived from actual people… no, Mabel, they don’t reflect their real life personae, just the monikers… the weirdness I’ve uncovered is that the most common thing shared with me by people I meet is that they all ‘wanna write a book’, closely followed by the desire to appear as a character in a novel… especially crime fiction… comes the next question I pitch to them, ‘do yeez wanna be a goodie, or a baddie?’… the men usually answer about 85% wanna be gangsters, evil overlords, mobsters, wreaking all manner of uncivil mayhem around them…


…on the other hand, of the women, astonishingly 100% wanna be baddies!… and they even give me tons of ideas of how evil they can be… man, it’s frightening… go figure… of course they’re not gonna leap out of the pages as a mass-murderer called  ‘Alec Jones’, or an international drug queen named ‘Mary Smith’


…but it’s truly amazing how tweaking the first names and reversing bits of surnames can produce the most sinister-sounding villains’ tags… delving deeper into their intent to be featured in Vogue For Villains, to a person, they all understand, that all things being equal, their ‘character’ is gonna meet a messy and horrible demise… and their eyes light up with glee!… whodda thunk?… so next time yeez are sitting on the train, have a wee squint right and left of yeez… that old grannie sitting knitting in the corner could be a facade for the string-puller for drug dealing across half of Europe… or that quiet bloke engrossed in his crossword may be looking for a synonym for ‘strangulation’ or ‘fire-bombing’… yeez have been warned… yeez are all notorious gangsters… and we know who yeez are… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…authors, the lowdown on book promo sites… honest feedback from an ol’ Jurassic Scots scribbler…

…I promised yeez a wee while ago to revert with the success or otherwise of dabbling in the ‘give-us-yer-money-and-we’ll-get-yeez-gazillions-of-sales-for-yer-masterpieces’ websites… I’m never averse to trying new (for me) channels and avenues for prospective book sales, and am currently giving this field a whirl… early returns are disappointing so far… let me recap :

All the sites require titles ALREADY to have been reasonably successful, with a certain number of reviews rating at least 4-star or above…

All the sites require a significant discount to normal pricing.

Website 1…

Paid US$ 15 for a one day exposure for one title in a list of prob’ly around 40 or 50 others, with the title remaining on their ’trailing list’ for a further unspecified period…

Email list (they claim) is 35,000

Result: Sales for the period through this channel  — 2 copies only…

Conclusion– A waste of this author’s time and money on that website…


Website 2…

Paid US$ 16 for a one day exposure for one title in a list of prob’ly around 50 others, with the title remaining on a ‘trailing list’ for a further unspecified period.

Email list (they claim) is 121,000

Result: Sales for period through this channel —2 copies only.

I ran a simultaneous promo for another of my titles at the same discounted pricing, same genre, but exclusively through my own normal promotional activity (with which as some of yeez will know, I am constantly active)

the result of THAT personal effort, sales : 6 copies… with no cost to me…

Conclusion… a waste of this author’s time and money on that website…


Website 3…

Pending toward the end of this month:

Allegedly one of the more effective websites (let’s see) with supposedly 100,000 email subscriber list…


Paid US$ 50 for a one day exposure for one title in a list of prob’ly around 50 others, with the title remaining on a ‘trailing list’ for a further unspecified period.

Fingers crossed, and I’ll keep yeez updated …

…here are some of my titles, and quite simply, one of the ways I market them is on here :








Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…another day… another time… another flashback image…


…the ongoing, current ‘rummage in the attic’ adventure produces more ‘photographic blasts from the past’… and has uncovered this prize piece of ancient historical Kilt-ism… featured on the left is a great friend, Cameron Sloan, for many, many years the Secretary of the Hong Kong St. Andrew’s Society, a thankless role, but carried out with enormous diligence as with everything he tackles… on the right, weighing in at a gazillion kilos lighter than his current fighting weight is Master Gallacher… you will note the chap with the elegant sideburns in the wall portrait behind us… no prizes for guessing who he is, but I wonder how many of my non-Scottish followers will know his name?… the usual comments are expected regarding how many years have lapsed since my hirsute topping drifted into the mists of distant memory… the self same Anderson tartan Kilt is still in use, although the straps at the side which allow for ‘expandable human body content’ admittedly have since been stretched to their limits… however, I’m proud to say I can still fit into the same brogue shoes and socks sizes… the bow tie also still fits… thankful for small mercies… so there yeez are, Messrs Sloan and Gallacher, prime models for Vogue for Teuchters… wha’s like us?—damn few, an’ they’re a’ deid!… slainte mhath!… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…a wee ‘speriment in Author promotions… yeez pays yer money and yeez takes yer chances…

…I’ve no desire to upset animal LUVVERS, and ‘specially fervent feline followers, but it’s often said, ‘there’s more than one way to skin a cat’… likewise, there’s more than one avenue to promotional markets for writers and their masterpieces… the Great God Amazon’s usual suspects such as Free Promo Days, Reduced Price Countdown features, and Kindle Unlimited, are prob’ly the easiest mechanisms for self-publishers to get engaged in selling their stuff… of late, Master Gallacher has seen fit to dabble a little bit more broadly… selective, modestly-priced access (remember I AM Scottish) to websites with significant mailing list bases of potential readers have attracted my attention… but, not satisfied with merely following that trend, here’s what I’m attempting this week… a wee ‘speriment in Author promotions… yeez pays yer money and yeez takes yer chances… a parallel offering of two of my titles… both at similar discount prices of  Sterling 1.39 / US$ 1.99… the first is KILLER CITY, trumpeting that with my own SOSYAL NETWURKS as the principal means of broadcasting it, which generally finds more success in the Amazon Kindle UK market… secondly, THE VIOLIN MAN’S LEGACY, running with one of these aforementioned mailshot purveyors, The Fussy Librarian, which aims mainly at the Amazon Kindle USA market… I will run them in sync and measure how each week-long event performs… either way, it’s fun, and already has drawn sales/downloads from the UK… in fairness, the second has only just launched, so it’s too early to gauge and compare… p’raps across the pond I’ll have to try for a while to wean focus away from The Donald and onto The Seumas… the click-buying links and photos of my wee babies follow:



Cover for Violin Man

…see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…ah, there was a time, a time there was… the young Lochinvar has come out of the East…


…every now and then, a glimpse of yesteryear comes floating back, but seldom have I had it so solidly reinforced with photographic evidence… and this from the days before the plague of ‘selfies’ was visited upon an unsuspecting WURLD… the image above has lain hidden in long-since-forgotten filing boxes… intrepid family archealogi-explorers sum’how dug through the myriad layers of dust and brought to light a (very very much) younger impression of Master Gallacher… this was captured fully 35 years ago (!), when yours truly  was Chief Dealer and Treasurer for a banking institution in Hong Kong… the hair covering and the pseudo-Mex, Burt Reynolds  ‘tache have long since disappeared… in the interim, the body shape has (in polite terms) expanded in  several directions…  (the sartorial elegance of the Banker’s-de-riguer-uniform-of-the-pin-striped-suit came from the famous ‘Sam the Tailor’ in Hong Kong)… here’s the modern version:


…that this young fully-paid-up Master of the Financial Universe should eventually morph into a latter-day scribbler, blogster, and crime fiction novelist, was a gazillion miles away from emb’dy’s thinking back then… I mean, just look again… would you buy a used Bank from this man?... ah, there was a time, a time there was… further digging in that chest in the attic continues, and Lawd knows what other scene-of-the-crime evidence may come to light… I shall keep yeez posted (along with my lawyer)… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!…




Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…Authoress, Angela Wren invites yeez aboard for a picturesque wend through the French canals…

…some Guest Blog Posts just have a way of truly ‘transporting’ yeez to another place and another time… here’s a delightful piece from my dear friend, Authoress, Angela Wren, whose own blog kicks off a new series of posts beginning today, May 17th and is all about Robert Louis Stevenson and his travels in France…



A Wooden Train to Paris

I have a dilemma to resolve. I’ve been poring over my maps of France for the past three or four weeks now, trying to decide where next to explore. I could re-travel old routes taken before and relive previous adventures or I could try something completely new. That’s my dilemma.

Robert Louis Stevenson has taken me through the Cévennes on a number of occasions and his first published book, An Inland Voyage, has made me think about taking the rivers and canals in northeast France to follow in his sway. But I have a niggling problem with that idea.


Having read Terry Darlington’s book, Narrow Dog to Carcassonne, I’m very much aware that it is possible to navigate a canal barge from the north coast of France through the inter-connecting system of waterways down to the Mediterranean coast. I also realise, from my own wanderings in France, that the waterways within the country were very important in the past and remain so even now.

If you think about it long enough you will realise that, of the 90 plus départements into which the country is divided, around two thirds of them are named after rivers. Along with these rivers there is a system of canals and locks, some of them pre-dating our own once heavily used canal system. So, as I gaze at my maps, I am drawn to an exploration of the waterway that stretches from the Morvan to the heart of Paris. From as early as the 16th century the Morvan was supplying the ovens of Paris with wood through a linking system of rivers and canals – the Nivernais being part of the route.


A favourite haunt of mine, Clamecy (Nièvre), was a major point on the route.

The town sits on the fast flowing river Yonne and everywhere you look in the old town there are reminders of that ancient trade. In the museum there is a large room dedicated to the Flotteurs – the raftsmen, women and children who worked the river and ‘les trains de bois’. The tools they used are on display along with a detailed explanation of their work and their lives. Old faded photographs show these people at work and at play. The trade continued until 1880 when the last ‘train de bois’ made its way to Paris.

So my journey would have to start in the forests of the Morvan. Here the trees were felled and logged – made into ‘bûches’ just over a meter in length and marked to show ownership. The logs were then floated down the river and along its course were families who waited and tended the cargo, making sure no logs were trapped by pushing them back into the mainstream. I feel sure some must have been missed though!

Once at a navigable point in the river, teams of men spliced the logs together to make rafts about 36 metres in length. These rafts were then sailed along the waterways – the river Yonne, being one – and the canals. As they neared Paris and the river widened, the rafts were connected together making vast floating wooden platforms, 72 metres long. Each raft was managed and driven into the heart of the city by only a couple of men and perhaps one of their sons. Some task, I think.

It would take about 10 to 15 days to reach the city and then the men and boys who had sailed ‘les trains’ would walk the 200K back to Clamecy.

ClamecyThe year’s work done there would be a great celebration when the men returned to their hometown. How I would have liked to have been at that party!

So my dilemma and my niggling little problem. Do I take to the road and the Cévennes or do I sail? And if I sail, which route to choose? The niggle is that I can barely swim to save my life. I achieved my swimming proficiency certificate at the age of seven and I haven’t been to a swimming pool since!   I don’t do beaches either, just in case you were wondering. I suppose it will be terra firma for me then.

And the slight mistranslation? Yes I know, but ‘A Wooden Train to Paris’ sounds so much more romantic and intriguing!

Author Bio

Having followed a career in Project and Business Change Management, I now work as an Actor and Director at a local theatre. I’ve been writing, in a serious way, since 2010. My work in project management has always involved drafting, so writing, in its various forms, has been a significant feature throughout my adult life.

I particularly enjoy the challenge of plotting and planning different genres of work. My short stories vary between contemporary romance, memoir, mystery and historical. I also write comic flash-fiction and have drafted two one-act plays that have been recorded for local radio. The majority of my stories are set in France where I like to spend as much time as possible each year.

…m’Lady Angela’s novel, Messandrierre is a cracking read… here’s a wee blurb taster for yeez:


‘Sacrificing his job in investigation following an incident in Paris, Jacques Forêt has only a matter of weeks to solve a series of mysterious disappearances as a Gendarme in the rural French village of Messandrierre.

But, as the number of missing persons rises, his difficult and hectoring boss puts obstacles in his way. Steely and determined, Jacques won’t give up and, when a new Investigating Magistrate is appointed, he becomes the go-to local policeman for all the work on the case.

Will he find the perpetrators before his lover, Beth, becomes a victim?’

Messandrierre – the first in a new crime series featuring investigator, Jacques Forêt.

…thank you, m’Lady, Angela… the rest of yeez Lads and Lassies of Blog Land can catch up with Angela on any of these links:


Amazon UK

Amazon US

Website :

Blog :

Facebook : Angela Wren

Goodreads : Angela Wren

…see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



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