Tag Archives: #newauthors

…the Nobel Prize for Literature?… I coulda been a Contenda…

…by such tiny margins does the WURLD of Literature spin… I woulda been, shoulda been, coulda been a Contenda, Mabel… and yet… another year has slipped on by and still Master Gallacher‘s name seems to have been omitted from the long, medium and short lists for the various publishing industry awards… the Man Booker Prize, fr’example… is there no Woman Booker Prize?… if it’s only for the male gender scribblers, well, there’s half of the writing population competition eliminated in one fell shot… in fairness, having done my usual meticulous research (all of six minutes poring through Wikipedia pages), it would appear that emb’dy under the age of 115 is unlikely to be included in the Nobel candidacy… that, marginally, reduces my chances… then there’s the phenomenon of having surnames with a scarcity of vowels in them…

…so, p’raps I should change my moniker by Deed Poll to Schmyzz Gyllschkr, and make my normal Scottish burr even more pronounced… they do say that ‘rolling yer ‘R’s’ has its attractions… and another thought occurs… many, many people whose literary output I do admire greatly have never won, viz: Charles Dickens… Cicero… the guy that used to write the stuff for the Desperate Dan pages in the Dandy and the Beano comics… that wee Rowling lassie…  ergo, I’m in some exalted non-listed company right there… the fact also must be pointed out, that the Nobel thing-y is of Scandinavian origin… so if yeez don’t know yer Aarhus from yer Olso, there’s another stumbling block… and arguably the most powerful barrier is that I belong to that special set of penspersons – self-publishing authors – the seemingly modern literary embodiment of the ‘untouchables’... however, hope springs eternal… 2016’s winner was the legendary Bob Dylan, who has taught us that ‘the times they are a-changing’… so, I’ll keep my dress kilt regalia at the ready with the economy ticket to Stockholm reserved for next year’s Awards… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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…a few wee WURDS in yer ear… it’s what it’s all about, really…

…when Master Gallacher has lost the capacity to rejoice in learning, it’ll be time to throw me in the box and close the lid… happily, that delicious sense of discovering new nuances and stuff is still alive, especially when it involves WURD-smithing… from whenever I can recall, my delight in reading was accompanied by an inquisitive mind that wanted to know what the WURDS actually meant when I read them… all too often we see vocabulary in a narrative, the meaning of which we think we know ‘near enuff’ what it means, but in reality we don’t… my habit has always been to have a notepad to write such WURDS and phrases in, to revert later with a dictionary to find out their true import… I try not to stop the flow of reading until the reading part is done, then go back and check the list… a long time ago, I read the trilogy, THE LAST LION, the biography of one of my life long heroes, Sir Winston Churchill

…the author was the remarkable writer, William Marshall… during the course of reading them I scribbled down almost fifty WURDS he’d used… his command of language was powerful, and not in a manner of ‘showing off‘… his was a natural stream… lately I was so pleased to find another seam of great prose in the latest in the Victorian Detectives series by accomplished scribe, Ms Carol Hedges

…her books are set in the 1860s in London, and are liberally seasoned with vocabulary from these days… I freely admit having to revisit my old habit of noting the wonderful succession of vocabulary she uses… and LUVVED IT!… try some of these for size… ‘frowsty’, ‘stertorous’, ‘crepuscular’, ‘quotidian’, ‘furbelow’, ‘barouche’, ‘sigils’... see what I mean?… treat yersels and have a delve into her stuff… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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…good professional cover artwork is not a cost… it’s an investment…

…early in my scribbling career I grasped  the difference between the ‘Author’s Voice’ and the ‘Author’s Brand’… the ‘Author’s Voice’ is that style of yer writing that lets readers know who is the author, even without seeing the name on the book’s title… fr’example, pick up any novel from Charles Dickens, Lee Child, Dan Brown, or Robert Louis Stevenson, without knowing who wrote them, and it won’t take long before yeez recognize the ‘Voice’ belonging to each respective writer… on the  other hand, the ‘Author’s Brand’, is the persona created by, or on behalf of, yerself (if yeez are fortunate enuff to be able to afford and source a great marketing firm)… in modern publishing circles, that’s more likely to be through the SOSYAL NETWURKSand a Blog, which allows readers and others to identify yer own character… yerself as a person (heaven forfend – we are humans after all!)… getting to know what makes yeez tick, yer foibles, likes and dislikes… putting a ‘normal’ face to the name… however, there’s at least one place where the ‘Author’s Voice’ and the ‘Author’s Brand’ can legitimately be expressed together… in the artwork for the books… I’m blessed with the services of Edward Lu, who lives and does his thing in Manila, in the Philippines… it didn’t take long for him to ‘get’ what I wanted as the front covers on all of my Jack Calder crime thrillers… and I regularly receive positive comments on them… the ‘Voice’ is the visual depiction of the content of each book… the ‘Brand’ is the repetition of things like the strap line author’s name  in a similar, recognisable font, place and colours… the pictorial idiom of violent crime to be plundered inside… usually with weapons of some ilk… and as they paraphrase in a famous advertisement elsewhere, the value of excellent artwork is priceless… lately, I also delved into publishing a wee collection of poetry, and dressed its cover  with a beautiful view of Tobermory Bay in Mull in Scotland, taken on a visit there last year… ….good professional cover artwork is not a cost… it’s an investment… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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…Authors, write about what you feel…

…when Master Gallacher first tumbled into this scribbling thing-y in a more serious vein, there was so much ‘new-stuff-to-learn’… whether it be in the self-publishing idiom, or as a ‘housed’ author… it has been all of ten years since the first paragraph of THE VIOLIN MAN’S LEGACY crept into life… and things have never been the same since… I’ve discovered, at least for this ol’ Jurassic Scot, the ‘learning’ never stops… basic tenets were thrown my way at the start… cool buzz-phrases, like ‘find yer Author’s’ Voice’… and ‘character arcs’, ‘plot development’, ‘pace’, ‘build the platform’ (i.e. ‘generate a readership following’)… other neat novelties were discoveries about cover-artwork, editing, proofreading, ‘weasel words’ (the nonsense that keeps repeating in the novice writing, such as the overuse of ‘that’,’very’, and ‘so’… wasteful proliferation of adverbs, (the newish writer’s crutch)… ‘padding out’ passages in order to gain word count (the most soporific mechanism as far as your readers are concerned)… and thankfully, that education continues non-stop… however, let me point to another wee piece of advice, which is ‘write about what you know’

…common sense, yes, but I think there’s another more compelling directive I would offer to new writers (and even to established authors), which is ‘write about what you feel’… here’s why… a long time ago, I heard sum’thing that has stuck with me ever since, ‘people may not remember precisely what you said, or how you said it, or even where you said it, but they’ll remember HOW YOU MADE THEM FEEL when they heard you speak’… now, I’m basically a crime thriller author, but I am conscious of feedback from my readers when they refer to passages where sensitive emotions of the characters are centre-stage on the pages… it’s okay, in my not-so-‘umble opinion, to lay bare the human anxieties and angst that affect most people, including the good and bad characters in my books… then, and only then for me, is the genre of ‘crime thriller’ enhanced in the thinking readers’ minds… how’s that for ‘armchair/laptop’ writer philosophy, Mabel?… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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…the throwback original sports psychologist… and the real reason why I’ve never smoked…

…I’ve long since forgotten his name… but I remember his voice… a Glaswegian to the core, and a gentle Scots burr in the intonation… some say he’d been a classy football player in his day, which ‘day’ would prob’ly have been in the late nineteen-thirties… bit of a flying winger, which was how Master Gallacher also considered himself at the ripe old soccer age of fourteen years and half (the ‘half’ was always important)…

…I’d been ‘spotted’ by one of the scouts of the Scottish First Division’s football clubs, Third Lanark Athletic Club (the ‘Third’ piece of the name came from the original founders of the club, in 1872, an offshoot of the 3rd Lanarkshire Rifle Volunteers… I’d played for Glasgow United and Scottish Schoolboys a few times, mostly on the left wing, before sumb’dy realized that even at only 5 foot 8 1/2 inches (there’s that ubiquitous ‘half’ again, Mabel), my aggressive tackling and speed dictated a successful switch to centre-forward (none of yer ‘striker’ tag nonsense in the early sixties)… but back to the man at the start of this post… the trainer of we young lads, the apprentices… would-be WURLD Cup Winners for Scotland… twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Cathkin Park ground, the evenings were consumed with sprints, relays, ball-WURK skills, heading, receiving tackles (yup, we learned how to receive tackles correctly.. feet off the ground so as not to break anything in yer legs or ankles)… lots of play with the ball…

…we called it dribbling, body-swerves, flicks, feints, bursts of speed… all great for building stamina… the memorable night came when one of the lads after the training asked our trainer if it was okay to have a smoke… cigarettes, never drugs back then… and his answer to our group has remained with me ever since… ‘I’ve naething against yeez smokin’ lads… it’s yer own choice… but I can tell yeez this – if yeez smoke, it’ll slow yeez down by ten yards in every fifty… please yersels’… the result – nob’dy in that squad ever smoked that I’m aware of… the throwback original sports psychologist… and the real reason why I’ve never smoked… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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…Listening to Ladies Who Lunch, Loudly and Long…

…this ol’ Jurassic Scots scribbler is normally impervious to extraneous noise… utter silence is not welcome when I write or indulge my SOSYAL NETWURK stuff on the laptop… at home, background bruit is usually provided by SKYNews, which is so bad, its often good, if yeez know what I mean… I can sit in any people-packed clone of the Starbucks chain, with multiple conversations humming away around me, happily tapping away on the Mac… on long train journeys, constant, ambient noise is never a distraction to me… what a shock to my aural system it was then today, when I visited a Japanese restaurant for a late lunch… it was almost last orders when I sat in my booth… no compooooter with me, just fiddling with messages on the Samsung thing-y… the only other diners at that hour were a group of expatriate ladies of middling age, crammed into the booth next to mine… I say ‘crammed’,  ‘coz, regardless of how wide or long their table and seating arrangements, it clearly wasn’t accommodation enuff for their conversation…

…I should have known at the start when I tried to give my order for Gyoza Dumplings, Shrimp Tempura and Chicken Katsu… the caterwauling from the adjacent group made it necessary to repeat the order three times… I wasn’t so much ‘listening’ rather than having my ears assailed by the four of them all talking at once in what appeared to be four different simultaneous ‘conversations‘… the modus seemed to indicate a philosophy of ‘the louder one speaks/shouts, the more important the message’, even though not one of them was taking heed of anyone else’s diatribe… my initial pique at this prandial interlude lapsed into amusement as the unspoken competition from the Society of Screechers degenerated into a free-for-all race to determine which of them could say the most without apparent pausing for breath… I would like to record what any of the conversational content from the quartet was about, but sadly, communication fell a distant second to volume control… the lunch itself was enjoyable – its hard to screw up on the menu items I had chosen… and I s’pose I should whisper a small ‘thanks’ for being able to attend Listening to Ladies Who Lunch, Loudly and Long, as it served as great practice for when next I’m in my normal sound-bound writing mode… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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…age is not just a number… it’s sum’thing that’s earned…

…this ol’ Scots Jurassic scribbler considers himself immeasurably fortunate to have in a global SOSYAL NETWURK countless wonderful friends who p’raps are showing just a tad wear and tear…

…infancy, teens and a few decades thereafter have elapsed in my own existence on this planet… the early ambitions, hopes and travails of a lifetime and career are valued mem’ries… pensionable age arrived a wee while back… but here’s the strange thing… I rarely feel ‘old’… physically of course, the litheness and athleticism these bones and muscles once possessed as a young professional footballer, have faded a touch… ‘ambling’ has replaced ‘sprinting’ as the preferred mode of forward bodily movement… a once-medal-winning tenor voice struggles to reach any kind of upper musical vocal register (although, thankfully, the ability to hold a key remains intact, Mabel)… so, am I about ready to be carted off to the Old Writers Graveyard yet?… not bluudy likely!… I have made myself part of my own, personal recycling project… other, different skill sets and attributes are kicking in now… the brain, once as sharp as a billiard ball, is keener than it ever was, and I use life experience to spike my thoughts and speech with as much humour as I can derive… patience, a formerly elusive quality, visits on a regular basis, and sits neatly with my frame of mind most of the time…

…I’ve come to acknowledge that making mistakes is common to every human being alive, and these are the learning posts for later years… ‘wisdom’ is merely having ‘been there and seen the effects of stuff’ ‘wit’ is simply translating smiles and laughs into WURDS… and prob’ly most of all, ‘love’ is a by-product of letting good things come into yer life, and not a desperate attempt to ensnare adoration from others… in my not-so-‘umble opinion, age is not just a number… it’s sum’thing that’s earned… 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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