Tag Archives: #BlackOps

…scoff not at the honest endeavours of others…

…to every man, woman, and child who ever picked up a pen or pencil, tapped at a typewriter, clicked at a keyboard, in an effort to WRITE SUM’THING out of their own imagination, I salute yeez… each and every one of yeez… heroes and heroines all… lately, I saw a Facebook exchange about what constitutes a ‘good’ writer, a ‘successful’ writer, a writer ‘of note’, which discussion also included some gratuitously offensive commentary on certain scribblers whose material didn’t ‘meet the expectations’ of some readers… I call those sniper ‘critics’ cringeworthy carpers, pedantic peddlers, humbugging hussies… I wonder how many of those, so quick to relegate so readily to the dustbin the literary effort of others, have ever written a book themselves?… I recall the time this ol’ Scots Jurassic completed my first novel… my maiden sortie into the universe of the wordsmith, THE VIOLIN MAN’S LEGACY… it was a decade ago, but I will never ever lose the feeling of unmitigated elation when I wrote those two magical WURDS, ‘The End’...  I was on the proverbial pink cloud for weeks afterward… I had written a novel!… all by myself!… without a safety net, Mabel!… from start to finish… I wonder how many of my scribbler friends can remember that glorious feeling, the first time they reached that last sentence of their initial book?…

…so, when I see or hear of ANYONE who has gone through the process to complete their tome, I am filled with admiration… it takes stamina… persistence… and in many cases, sheer, dogged determination and guts… next time you see sumb’dy having a dig at an author’s WURK on Facebook, or any other slug of MEDYA, spare a thought for what it took for that Author or Authoress to produce it… the time, thought, love, angst, caring, and imagination to plough through page after page of crafting their story… they deserve a bit of respect… and from me, I give them that  in barrowloads… well done, that true and trusty pensperson!… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



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…Hi!… my name’s Hieronymus… and I’m an eyeball!…

…it had to happen sum’time, I s’pose… I had a wee inkling recently that certain parts of my body were getting involved in stuff that I had no clue about… those of yeez who’ve followed my ‘Guess what bits of him are falling off, this week?‘ saga of late, will know that so far, since February dawned six weeks ago, upper parts of my inner thigh were attacked by an Angry Alien Abscess, which created the new Black Hole of Govan, perched on my inside leg… my meagre immune system railed manfully against that onslaught, but succumbed to an attack of the Shingles Squad, converting the left side of my face to a doppelgänger of the Phantom of the Opera, mask an’ all… that fusillade from pain-hell managed to infiltrate my left eye, blurring the vision so much I couldn’t properly see SKYNews on the television (a blessing, indeed, some cry!)…

…that infection was cleared up, to be instantly substituted with another infection of that same cornea… hum ho… this morning, the opthalmist tending my orbit disaster area declared the secondary infection vanquished, but says the cornea will now require ‘rehabilitation’... rehabilitation???… now it begins to dawn on me… that sneaky eyeball has been ‘at it’... rehabilitation from what?… drugs?… highly likely, as the peeper had been battered with drug-filled drops for weeks?… alcohol?… a strong possibility that the said drops had booze as a base constituent in them?…  whatever the cause, the eyeball has been eyemarked for rehab… I can mentally envision the picture (even if I can physically envision little else at present)…  a smoke-filled room in the basement at the back of some alleyway… a discreet notice on the door… ‘Eyeballs Anonymous’… my fella rolls in… ‘Hi,… my name’s Hieronymus… and I’m an eyeball!’

…and a posse of staring socket-fillers answer in unison, ‘Hi, Hieronymus!’… I really must get out more, Mabel… I really must get out more… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



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..a thought or three on Gaeldom… the people, the community, the music, the essence of the Celt…

…as many of yeez are prob’ly aware by now, Master Gallacher was born and bred in the slums of Docklands Govan in Glasgow, and I write that with no chip on my shoulder, nor stupidly inverted pride at having come from a comparatively humble background that gave the world so many terrific Glaswegians, including Sir Alex Ferguson (he and I were born in the same street in the same era in what now seems like a thousand years ago)… therefore, I have no inclination to discard one iota of my roots and upbringing, but the life-changing move came when, as callow lad of barely fifteen years, I was transferred to work in a bank as a Trainee Master of the Financial Universe in Tobermory on the beautiful Isle of Mull in the Scottish Hebrides… the transformation was due in no small part to the immersion in the Celtic environment and to be permitted to imbibe the language and music of the Gods, in the Gaelic tongue…  for some of us, as the realisation of our own mortality is that as a fleeting glimmer in the immeasurable span of the centuries and millennia… a blink in the cosmic eye… whatever survives of our being may well be that elusive thing called a ‘soul’… and if mine is to be thus, I want it to be attached to that part of my life and existence which came truly alive in Gaeldom… the people, the community, the music, the essence of the Celt… all of it, not one part omitted, is at the centre of me… now, go back and listen to the piece above, live, from Runrig, and the words of Donnie Munro… and I dare you not to be able to feel the unique character of  the true highland Celt… and I wish yeez all a part of it… yeez’ll be the better for it, I promise yeez… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!…



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…the imperious Author, my pal, John Holt, lays out a smorgasbord of detectives for yeez…

…the notable detective-creator, the imperious Author, my great pal, John Holt, offers the following smorgasbord of sleuth molds for yer deliberation, plus, of course, his very own Detectives, Tom Kendall and Jack Daniels… enjoy …


How do you like your detectives? I mean, do you like the tough guy type like Sam Spade, or Mickey Spillane. Handy with their fists, and a gun, and quick with the wise crack. They are tough talking, and hard hitting. Or perhaps you prefer the more methodical type, the ones with the little grey cells, who work on psychology. Nothing and no one can fool Poirot. Nothing gets past him. It makes you wonder why anyone would even consider committing a crime knowing he was in the same house, or at least close by. But they always do whether it is at a county house called Styles; in Mesopotamia, or on a Nile cruise.

How about that deceptively quiet and unassuming, Miss Jane Marple? An irritant to some maybe, but she would always outsmart the cleverest policeman, and solve the most complex crime imaginable. And all while she carried on with her knitting. Then there is possibly the greatest detective of them all, Sherlock Holmes. Logic and deduction are his watch words. Give him a few strands from a man’s scarf, and he will not only deduct where the scarf was purchased, and how much it cost, but will also be able to tell that the man was thirty-eight years old, with dark wavy hair, six foot two in height, walks with a limp, and had kippers for breakfast, named William, (the man that is, not the kippers. I don’t know what their names were).

How about Inspector Jacques Clouseau? “I suspect everyone, and I suspect no one.” No matter how bumbling he was, or how silly, he still, somehow, “Solv Ed” the crime. Generally by accident admittedly.

Then, of course, there are a whole plethora of television detectives. Who can forget Kojak, and his lollipop, with his catch phrase “Who loves ya baby?” Or Sergeant Joe Friday – “Just the facts ma’am.” Or perhaps Columbo is more to your taste, with his “Just one more thing.” We all know what that meant don’t we? There are a whole collection of them – Magnum; Jessica Fletcher; Rockford starring the late great James Garner; Ironside; Cagney and Lacey; Morse; Starsky and Hutch; to name but a few.

Then, of course, we have Tom Kendall, private detective. He really wanted to be a Private Investigator, but that was judged to be far too long to fit on the office door, so detective it was. Kendall is a down to earth guy, slightly over-weight, far from fit, and suffers with hay fever. Stubborn, who once he had an idea, he would never let go. He is ably assisted by Mollie, his secretary and business partner – their relationship is purely platonic – and first appeared in “The Mackenzie Dossier”, a story of political corruption, blackmail and, of course murder.

The latest in a long line of detectives, is Jack Daniels. That’s right, just like the whiskey. Jack likes Chinese takeaways, from Mr Chang, or maybe a pizza from Mama Dell. His favourite pastime is to put his feet up, a large scotch in his hand, and then put on some blues records, John Lee Hooker or some Big Bill Broonzy. Or maybe he’ll be down at the 51 Club, watching a blues combo.

Jack has been a detective for quite some time. He’s laid back, and world weary. He’s seen it all before. But he can’t help forever butting his nose into places where perhaps it shouldn’t go. But sometimes that can end up in a whole lot of trouble. That’s what happened to Jack when he went in search of “The Candy Man”.

To date Jack has appeared in three short novels – “The Candy Man”; “A Dead Certainty”; and “Trouble In Mind”. All three are available on Amazon, and all three are now available as audiobooks.


…thanks, John… there yeez are, readers… whetted yer appetites, I’m sure…



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…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…


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.
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.’
‘Oh, deeper is it? Exactly how deep were you thinking?’
‘Until you hit 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.’
‘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.’
‘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.’
‘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.’
‘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!



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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!



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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.)


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!



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