Tag Archives: #CHAMPIONSAWARDS

…Barb Taub… unplugged!… oh, and a wee bit about her book, ROUND TRIP FARE…

…pin back yer eyes, brains, and risible nerves for a terrific Guest Post from my great pal, Authoress Barb Taub

Barb oic

They say…

sicilian“You fell victim to one of the classic blunders. The most famous is never get involved in a land war in Asia. But only slightly less well known is this. Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line.” [Image credit: The Princess Bride, 1987, Writer: William Goldman]

It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so. —Mark Twain

There are plenty of things our old friends, the Everyones, say:

  • Show, don’t tell.
  • Write what you know.
  • Don’t wear plaid.

And they’re right, of course. Except when they’re not. Sometimes a little tell gets you out of a painful lot of show. Sometimes what you know isn’t nearly as much fun as what you can make up. And sometimes, Scottish writers living in Abu Dhabi will totally rock the plaid.

The trick here is to take the things you do know, the things you do want to tell, and maybe even a bit of unapologetic plaid attitude, and sneak them in under the table where people won’t notice them. At least, not right away. In my new book, Round Trip Fare, for example, heroine Carey Parker is a young Warden working for the secretive Accords Agency. In writing about her office, I might not have firsthand knowledge of paranormal bounty hunters, and the accountants I’ve worked with were not (to the best of my knowledge) were-badgers. But after decades in the human resources trenches, I know some things about workplaces and bureaucracy.

No matter what happens to employees under the full moon, I know their offices will have scribbled threats against people who steal food from the staff fridge, and notices threatening those who take the last of the coffee without making another pot.

HR warning

There will be plenty of policies from Human Resources, most likely collected into a manual that nobody actually reads.

warden

And of course, there will be those random memos from management (which will, for the most part, say exactly the wrong thing).

acciord agency

 

I also know what Carey’s coworkers will be like. In staffing the Accords offices, I’ve added a few that I’ve met personally over the years. They’re the ones who misunderstand directions, exchange endless emails—with half the company copied in—only to raise even more questions about each answer. Despite being completely contradictory themselves, they urge others to be “reasonable” and avoid haste which might result in embarrassments or difficulties later on. And of course, they have a particular gift for spreading disturbing rumors that sound like inside dope.

Sabotage manual

Sound familiar? Admit it—you’ve worked with them too. What you and I may not have realized, however, was that all of this might be deliberate.

Perhaps our guacamole-for-brains colleagues are actually spies working for the CIA. I know this is a possibility, because I’ve read a recently declassified CIA file which contains the training materials for simple workplace sabotage. Using these methods, employees following some easy steps can bring down even the largest organizations. And aren’t those steps eerily familiar?

sabotage text

Sounds like a normal day at the office, right? Well, maybe your coworkers are CIA spies. [image credit: “Simple Sabotage Field Manual: Strategic Services”, CIA, 17 January, 1944]

And by the way, writers—if you’ve already created a workplace that puts the fun back in dysfunctional, the CIA has yet another gift for you. For over twenty years beginning in the 1950s, Modern Art was a CIA weapon.

art

Jackson Pollock, artist
[image credit: public domain]

I could NOT make this stuff up. But I did make up Carey’s adventures in Round Trip Fare. I hope you’ll take a look.

Round trip fare

[click on image for preview and reviews from Amazon]

ROUND TRIP FARE by Barb Taub

Warden Carey Parker’s to-do list is already long enough: find her brother and sister, rescue her roommate, save Null City, and castrate her ex-boyfriend. Preferably with a dull-edged garden tool. A rusty one. 

And then there is… him. For the past two months, a dark stranger has persistently edged his way onto the mental game board behind her eyelids. Well, whatever trouble he’s selling, Carey Parker is not buying.

Carey knows superpowers suck, her own included. From childhood she’s only had two options. She can take the Metro train to Null City and a normal life. After one day there, imps become baristas, and hellhounds become poodles. Demons settle down, join the PTA, and worry about their taxes. Or she can master the powers of her warrior gift and fight a war she can’t win, in a world where she never learned how to lose.

Emerald city

It just would have been nice if someone told her the angels were all on the other side.

  • TITLE:Round Trip Fare
  • Genre:Urban Fantasy (okay and there is humor, romance, a sentient train, a great dog, and bunch of other stuff—but Amazon only gives you a couple of words to pick genre, so…)
  • Series:Null City [NOTE: prequel One Way Fare is now available FREE from comBarnes & Noble and Kobo, and the Amazon UK kindle version directly from Barb) but this book works as standalone.
  • Release date:7 April, 2016

Contact & Buy Links

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Blog | Facebook | Twitter: @barbtaub | Goodreads

Barb Taub:

In halcyon days BC (before children), Barb wrote a humor column for several Midwest newspapers. With the arrival of Child #4, she veered toward the dark side and an HR career. Following a daring daytime escape to England, she’s lived in a medieval castle and a hobbit house with her prince-of-a-guy and the World’s Most Spoiled AussieDog. Now all her days are Saturdays, and she spends them traveling around the world, plus consulting with her daughter on Marvel heroes, Null City, and translating from British to American.

…there yeez have, it Lads and Lassies of Blog Land… go seek out ROUND TRIP FARE… a terrific offering from a terrific Authoress…

…thanks, m’Lady, Barb…

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

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…look what they’ve done to my boy…

…it’s not very often that this ol’ Scots Jurassic is lost for WURDS, but it happened today… mark the calender, Mabel… some friends and I were at a restaurant in deepest Bahrain… a bunch of terrific people I’ve become pals with over the last year or two… at the end of our meal, to my unabashed astonishment, a large cake was produced… I wondered what the occasion was… who was the cake for?… the waiters cleared some space on the dish-strewn table and placed the huge confection straight plonk in the centre, opposite my seat… here’s what it looks like… have a close look at ‘Mister Brando’…

sg godfather 1sg godfather 2

…I had instantly been transformed from a regular restaurant patron, to the recipient of this amazing gift… these good people know my authorship status, and also that I deem Mario Puzo’s brilliant Godfather books as a great parallel for running successful businesses… yes, yes, yes, I know they’re about the Mafia, but Don Corleone and his family knew a thing or twelve about how to make money… and I’m delighted to tell yeez, that the simplicity of the generosity of the folks sitting around that table touched me… it’s among the nicest things that I’ve experienced in a long time … thank you, my cake-prezzing friends… LUV YEEZ all!… and for the rest of yeez Lads and Lassies of BlogLand… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ, too!…

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

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…if Music be the food of LIFE, as well as LOVE, play on, Maestro…

…some of yeez Lads and Lassies of Blog Land may be aware of a wee practice I’ve kinda easily slipped into over the last year or two… toward the weekend (which in the Middle East effectively begins on Thursday evenings, with Friday the official non-WURK day) I tend to pick up from Auntie You Tube and share on Facebook and Twitter… songs, clips, and music ranging from Celtic/Gaelic airs to 1960’s-and-onward classics to Bocelli masterpieces. to flash-mob presentations and such other goodies… those of yeez of a certain age will instantly transport yer minds back to the era in which much of it found vogue… a time when we were young once (yes, Mabel, we were daft growing-ups then, p’raps not fully all-growed-up)… a time when we were finding love, feelings, relationships, spouses, lovers, marriages, kids, and all the trappings that just staying alive bring… every song I play has real mem’ries for this ol’ Jurassic… some pensive, some tearful, some outright f*ck-the world, some joyful, and some just in awe of whoever is singing or playing the particular piece… but each note ties in with my life sum’where, sum’how… I can remember sensitivities, hardships, triumphs, despair, highs and lows throughout all of that… music is part of me… and I think it’s a part of everyone’s psyche… it ties me in with people I knew, friendships, partnerships, marriages, and yes, divorces… the evolution of the prevailing popular music will herald in material I sum’times have no time nor ear for, but the great stuff when I was growing up into the older fella I’ve become, in large part seem magnificent to me… so, when yeez see my wee FB-Jaying and Twitter-Jaying, yeez’ll bear with me I trust… I play them principally for me… but I know it touches many of my good pals around the globe who grew up at the same time as I did… on any given day, I could write yeez a list of my 20 and more favourites, but next day, they’d prob’ly be 20 different clips… if Music be the food of LIFE, as well as LOVE, play on, Maestro… here’s one to keep yeez going… 

…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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…to free or not to free?… that is the question… self-publishers hearken hither…

…it seems so long ago, now… but a matter of only 7 years ago, Master Gallacher threw sensibility to the winds and dived headlong into the self-publishing caper… the majority of that time has been spent enjoyably immersed in all the trimmings of being my own literary publishing Baron (Barren? Barn?)… a twelve-month body-serve/detour as a ‘housed’ author terminated amicably at the turn of the year when myself and the good folks at Crooked Cat Publishing came to terms with the fact that I needed to at least believe I was in control of my own destiny in the industry… delusions of adequacy p’raps, but my continuing  sojourn on the marketing and promotional platforms gives me grounds to believe that, going solo, I fare better than average in that respect… whatever the truth of it, the pleasure I derive from being uber-hands-on is monumental… in the year of the partnership, I did not indulge any dalliance with the Kindle Free Promo mechanism, which I had used several times in the nascent scribbler years… many authors refuse to consider that route, believing they should ‘never give their WURK away for NUTHIN,’ and I have no argument with their stance…chacun a son gout (that’s Francais, Mabel, for ‘each to his own gout)… however, I can only describe my modus, and what has WURKED, and WURKS, for me… my experience is enhanced with having the luxury of four titles in the marketplace, all available on the Great God Amazon Kindle, and a fifth as Work-In-Progress… it’s important to understand, that with a range of titles, the technique alters sum’what… with only one book out there, giving away free downloads usually is done in the hope of generating interest and reviews for that solitary masterpiece… but, see, when yeez have multiple offerings in the guise of a backlist, only one title needs to be the ‘teaser’ while the remainder sit sweetly  at their normal prices… the freebies on Kindle are virtual copies which have cost me minimal monetary outlay (of course, I value my priceless labour and mind investment in each book I create, but relatively speaking a freebie only costs me notional lost opportunity profit, which in all likelihood was never coming to me as sold copies anyway, BUT, it generates sales on others, and THAT does put coppers in the coffers)… with that in mind, I’m putting the third in the Jack Calder thriller series, SAVAGE PAYBACK, on Amazon Free Promotion as of tomorrow, March 31st, for the five-day period permitted

…the wee darling looks like this:

front view SP

..and yeez can download it FREE tomorrow thus:

myBook.to/savagepayback

…here’s what it looks like mingled in the family photo with the rest of the gang:

FotoJet Collage

 

…and these others can be purloined thus:

THE VIOLIN MANS LEGACY

myBook.to/theviolinmanslegacy

VENGEANCE WEARS BLACK

myBook.to/vengeancewearsblack

KILLER CITY

myBook.to/calderkillercity

 

…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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…self-publishing Authors… which of many hats today?…

bbbbbb

…a cluster of recent blogs have discussed the mantle of being a self-publisher and the whole razzamatazz associated with that sum’time scary occupation… there’s a list as long as a Las Vegas Casino stretch limousine of roles the self-publishing scribbler has to adopt… variously, these roles include writer (oh, yes–that too!), proofreader, editor, art work director, Kindle formatter, marketing guru, sales pitch person, SOSYAL MEDYA organiser… and yeez can add the support staff functions of tea maker, biscuit provider, Muse-minder, arbiter-of-squabbling-characters-in-yer-masterpieces, (yes, Mabel, they are real in yer head, believe me, and sum’times they need putting in their places)… but let me switch yeez back to the original hyphenated two-part description… SELF-PUBLISHER‘SELF’… yup… solo, lone, singleton, nob’dy-else-but-yerself, on-yer-own’sum, hermit-in-the-virtual-candlelit-attic person… being yer own boss is a two-edged sword… great when it’s going well, but if the wheels fall off there’s only one name on the blame sheet… that proverbial ol’ long distance runner had no idea of what that kinda loneliness really means… however, take a closer look at the second element, ‘PUBLISHER’... a title formerly exclusively held by the good and the great names such as Penguin, Collins, Harlequin, Random House, Oxford University Publishing… now with the Great God Amazon Kindle and its industry siblings, all that has changed… nowadays the main office of thousands of PUBLISHERS is in their own front rooms, writing dens and even Starbuxx forecourts…

bbb

…y’see, in my head the idea of having a publishing house looking after my future Nobel Literature Prize-winning babies conjures up visions of the PUBLISHER getting my books into the mitts of every reader on the planet… negotiating front shelf space in Waterstones… and interviews with such as Richard and Judy or Oprah… the reality is that that range of PUBLISHER service impacts about 0.00000374 % of all novelists… ergo, SELF-PUBLISHER has it all over PUBLISHER any day of the week… so, p’raps these days when folks ask me ‘what do you do?’, instead of staying ‘I’m an Author’, I think I’ll try a few ‘I’m a publisher’ throwaways… see yeez later… got to get back to my publishing… LUV YEEZ!

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

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…giggle-maker supreme… my great honour to feature Authoress, Suzanne Kelman…

…nob’dy ever claims that writing in any kinda JONGRR is easy, but in my not-so-‘umble opinion, producing comedy in print ranks among the toughest… my great pal, Authoress, Suzanne Kelman has that magic brain-tickling touch… her gem, THE REJECTED WRITERS’ BOOK CLUB, relaunching March 29th, is one such sampler of her WURK

51NUncEkikL-1._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_

 

Amazon http://amzn.to/1UgOHBQ

…but m’Lady can speak for herself… enjoy…

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Suzanne Kelman

Make ‘em Laff – Free-falling into Laughter

How to write funny is no laughing matter. I write comedy and I personally don’t know of the perfect equation to create spontaneous howls. You know, something like a snigger plus a chuckle equals a guffaw or anything like that. Now there are many books out there that claim to help people write hilarious stuff, but the ones I have read, I found drier than an Amish man’s liquor cabinet. What I can do is give you some insight into how I write.

First, I can’t force it. Forcing is like forcing someone to love you. Before you know it you’re boiling their bunny. The more obsessive you become over the comedy, the harder it becomes to work. This is not good. I met a very straight laced, old school teacher type once, who looked me dead in the eye over her half moon glasses as she handed me her manuscript and said in one long monotone, “I can write funny.” I hadn’t the heart to tell her SHE was funny, her saying it that way WAS Funny, but alas, after reading it, her writing wasn’t.

You see, she approached it in a very rigid and controlled way. She read a bunch of books, commanded all her words to sit up straight in their chairs and line up quietly all in very grammatically correct order. Then she slaved over the perfectly crafted punchline, but it fell flat.

Comedy for me isn’t like that. It’s like a form of free falling. I jump in naked. I run with the wild bulls of the adjectives. I dance with my hair on fire. If you could see the first drafts of my posts it would look something like this:

“Mi furst draughts our perfext“

It’s just a raucous can-can with the dancing red squiggly lines and me.

I just have fun with the words. We hang out together like two old friends laughing at the bar. I type something funny and then I answer myself in a kind of schizophrenic double act. So my first advice is, free fall, and don’t edit.

Second thing I do is look for visual extremes to take along on my word journey, such as “run naked,” or “hair on fire.” The funnier you can make the visual for the reader, the more fun they’re going to have reading it. Comedy should leap off the page. For example, if you’re going to jump into water, dive from a great height into a tin bucket. If someone is pulling a face, tell me she looks like she was chewing a bumblebee. You can always pull back if your editor rolls their grammatical eyes. You can tell they are doing that when they send you back little bubbles in the track change function accompanied by the tut-tut-tut of the three question mark disapproval,??? This is editor talk for: “What the hell is that?”

Sometimes, a few of mine have slipped through. Here is one from my book:

“Doris, a rather rotund woman, was squished into the booth like a tube of toothpaste, just waiting for someone to take off her cap so she could spray the walls.”

Lastly, because I can’t think of any more, I allow my mind to go on a constant Mardi Gras. Enjoy everything around me, especially characters that I meet. I’m always eavesdropping other peoples conversations too. Firstly, because it’s fun, but mostly because I often hear nuggets that will take my mind into a million comical directions. Like the result of someone shouting “FIRE!” At a clown convention. Did I tell you I like writing in extreme visuals?

When the right juicy overheard nugget is mined it can hit you in the face like a wet kipper, and it can happen just like the 80’s martini commercial, “Anytime, any place, and anywhere.” Once I was reading my way through food labels in the supermarket, thinking about having Mexican food for dinner, when I suddenly overheard a snippet of a conversation that went something like this:

“So if only she chopped all that wood, they would still be together today.” That was all it took. What wood? Why was she chopping? Why was it so pivotal in their relationship? That’s when I was struck with an idea. A brilliant, non-stick, sparkly, voluptuous idea. And, as is so often the case for me, a comedic idea. My shopping basket was tossed asunder, as I made my way hastily out of the store saying under my breath, “Out of my way, pregnant writer coming through.”

I raced to my car holding that fiery idea ahead of me like a flaming torch, hoping to not lose a fragment of it before I got home to type it onto my computer.

So, there you are, read from the back of a postage stamp, is my process. If you want to make them laugh, I encourage you to find your own voice in it. Because at the end of the day, you should enjoy it because after all it’s comedy and if you meet the tut-tut-tut of the bubble of doom, at least you had a blast of a time while you were free-falling.

Suzanne Kelman is and an award-winning screenwriter and playwright and the author of “The Rejected Writers’ Book Club,” being released March 29th. Her accolades include The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences – Nicholl Fellowship Finalist, Best Comedy Feature Script – L.A. International Film Festival and Gold Award Winner – California Film Awards. 

…thanks gazillions, Suzanne… Lads and Lassies of Blog Land, yeez can linkup with Her Ladyship thus:

 

Website http://www.suzannekelmanauthor.com 

IMDB http://www.imdb.com/name/nm5882992/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1

Blog http://www.whidbeylifemagazine.org/suzanne-kelman/

Twitter http://twitter.com/@goody2prod

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Goody-2-Productions

Linked in http://www.linkedin.com/pub/suzanne-kelman/32/23a/860

…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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What The Killers Really Want

What The Killers Really Want

 

As horrendous killing rears its head once more,

In an airport, a Metro, a city.

Humanity’s appalled, traumatised to its core.

We wring our hands in rage, in shock, in pity.

 

One more time, one more day, one more outrage.

In wordless astonishment, unspeakable atrocity.

No warning, no alarm, no clearing of the stage,

The terror deepened by its chilled rapidity.

 

Anger boils, resentment grows, revenge an easy mauling,

Hear the range of easy vengeance targets rise,

Innocent believers of a different calling,

What the killers want—all Muslims blamed in many eyes.

 

I have no easy answer, salve or cure

For the evil guised in ISIL’s name,

But of one thing certain I am sure,

NOT EVERY MUSLIM IS TO BLAME.

 

Seumas Gallacher

March 22nd, 2016

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

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