Tag Archives: #TBSU

…Authors… there’s a WURLD of difference between writing humorous books and writing humour in yer books…

…of all the JONGGRs available to the reading public, I remain in complete awe of those scribblers who write humour… Authoress pals such as Heather Hillheather and SuzanneSuzanne Kelman… it demands an ability not only to be funny, but also to have that special skill needed to infuse wit into yer masterpieces… and all on a constant, page after page manner… Suzanne tells me the art is in keeping a rhythm to the writing… of course, many of yeez Lads and Lassies of Blog Land who are part of the writers family will have occasion to have flashes of humour in yer own stuff… generally in the dialogue between/amongst yer characters, more as throwaway lines than lengthy passages of script… and that’s perfectly acceptable… but trying to be funny in a book that’s essentially a hard-boiled crime, or action, or historic, or romantic WURK is likely to be unsuccessful… some do have the knack of knowing where to insert humour in the omnipresent voice in the course of the story-telling… one such gifted proponent of that is my friend, Carol J. Hedges, carolwhose magnificent Victorian-era crime series contains unexpected flashes of oblique humour, which heighten greatly the pleasure in reading her narratives… switching to shorter bits of authorship such as blogs and articles, then it’s more appropriate to dress yer WURDS in humour if that’s yer intent… however, merely telling jokes should be left to the television or music-hall comedians… they do it for a living… and they’ll be the first to tell you how difficult it is to be constantly funny… if needs must, disguise yer punchlines in stories themselves, not jokes… there’s a separate skill set in that ‘business of raconteurship’… the finest of these in my lifetime include the late Peter Ustinov and currently, my own special God of Humour, Billy Connolly… keep smiling… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…laugh?… I nearly passed m’Blog ‘round… three ‘P’s in a Podcast…

…the current allegedly accepted wisdom for all writers these days, whether or not yeez are self-publishing or ‘publishing-housed’ is to be present on the SOSYAL NETWURKS… that translates into WURKING yer sox off to be ‘noticed’… to be ‘available’ to yer publics… to balance yer scribbling, yer Twitter-twaddlings, yer Facebook-facadings, yer Google-Gogglings, yer LinkedIn-loopings, yer Pocket-Participations, yer Pinterest-Pinnings… oh, and a bit of author-y stuff as well… and, on the outside chance yeez might have time left for family and friends (not bluudy likely) that would be helpful, too… but, thankfully, nowhere in the instructions does it indicate that yeez have to be proficient in any of them… just as well… ‘coz I’m the oldest self-professed computer thing-y Jurassic on the planet… if I switch the Mac on and it lights up, I do a lap of honour…


…consider this now, yesterday my wee grey cells were asked to boldly go where these wee grey cells had never gone before… to be a participant in a Podcast… let’s be clear on this… before yesterday, I thought a ‘Podcast’ was a list of the names of the whales that appeared in the Free Willy movie… along come the two main ‘P’s in the scheme… ‘P’ standing in their case for ‘Professionals’… the delightful m’Ladies and fellow quill-scrapers, K.J. Waters and Suzanne Kelmansuzanne


the two purveyors of the regular Podcast, dubbed ‘Blondie and the Brit’…the third ‘P’ was yours truly, in this case the ‘P’ standing for ‘Perhaps-yeez-have-the-wrong-guy-here’… ’twas to be an easy enuff undertaking, said K.J… piece of cake, said K.J... even a dumb Scotsman’ll manage it, said K.J… aye, right… first of all, we tried Skype, which three-year-old toddlers can understand… that didn’t wanna play… then we had a go via FaceTimeit promptly joined its pal, Skype on the idle pile… no worries… fresh from that success, we transferred to Google Chat… another dismal no-show… I’ve a feeling it might have been my aftershave… or sum’thing I said… or maybe I should pay my Internet bill… by this time we had a three-way intermittent voice link, me in Bahrain, Suzanne in Seattle, and K.J in Dirtville (her description, not mine!)… suffice to say, what was left of my wee grey cells all got up and went out to lunch… sum’how or other, the magnificent duo in ‘Merika still captured the Podcast in all its marvellous sound-quality magnificence… I’m reliably informed that the FBI, NASA and the Society for the Protection of Internet Users will permit the broadcast to be aired in September… have a listen when it does come out… the squeaky voice at the end of the tannoy is Master Gallacher… I’m now open to guest spots on The Muppet Show... see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…Authors… a wee bit of perspective on the perennial nonsense about ‘rankings’…


…there can be little argument that Aunty Internet and the SOSYAL NETWURKS have transformed the publishing industry, for both self-publishing and traditional house publishing… the merits and demerits are discussed, lauded, moaned about, praised and pummelled in turn, depending on who’s point of view is currently in vogue… I’ll ‘fess up, I’m a full-bloodied fan of all of it… as a comparatively recent ‘joiner’ seven years ago into the wunnerful global scribbling family, the enthusiasm is still fresh with me… and the great beauty in all of this, is that everyone of us is entitled to our own opinions on just about anything on here to do with our writers’ craft… and as yeez prob’ly know, I’m not shy about sharing mine… my interest is being grabbed more and more by the ongoing Great God Amazon readers reviews debacle, about which I blogged the other day… and it occurs to me, that possibly a more important ‘sub-plot’ in there is the issue of ‘rankings’ for titles… ‘coz, ultimately, the reviews are an integral part of the whole pattern driving these amorphous numbers… maybe it’s time to take a wee breath and step back… undeniably, excellent ratings can help us to see more sales and downloads for our literary masterpieces… and it’s a tremendous ego trip to see one or more of yer babies sitting close to the top of its particular JONGGR’s charts… however, as they say in the classics, Mabel, ‘all this, too, shall pass’… even the  best of bestsellers seldom populate the top spot for any considerable length of time…


…when the book slips from #7 to #783,426 in a matter of a coupla months, yeez kinda get a better sense of balance… a wee bit of perspective on the nonsense about ‘rankings’much better to count the actual number of copies moved, regardless of where it sits in the bestsellers lists… a lot of little makes a lot!… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…as an Author, a coupla things that baffle me about Amazon’s book reviews system…



…sharp as a billiard ball me, sum’times… no question, what’s left of my wee grey cells frequently have difficulty in getting together for a blether… however, I don’t feel I’m entirely bereft of the capacity for logical thinking… which leaves me currently scratching my head as an Author… there’s a coupla things that baffle me about Amazon’s book reviews system… from all accounts, there appears to have been some purging and scorched earth policy in-house recently at the Great God Kindle eBook source regarding reviews from ‘friends’ of authors… how draconian is that, Mabel?… most writers are also readers, and may I posit the suggestion that p’raps authors themselves are usually better equipped to pass opinions and reviews sensibly than those who don’t scribble for a living?… of course, tons of non-quill-scrapers are highly intelligent readers who post superb reviews, but my point remains… an Author is more likely to notice the LUVLY quirks in a narrative, such as plot flow, character arcs, and all the good things that go into the ‘business’ of writing… of course, we all understand the desire NOT to have ‘puppet-socking’, false or over-generous reviews, which I frankly believe harm, more than help, a title… let’s focus for a moment on Amazon itself… it’s a business… a channel for sales… a commercial distributor enterprise… it’s in existence to make money… proper reviews help to sell product… so why are they shooting themselves in the foot by wiping out bona fide reviews merely because they come from ‘friends’?… defeats this daft ol’ Scottish Jurassic scribbler’s logic…




…next issue is this… why do the Amazon pages for different jurisdictions, (Amazon.co.uk; Amazon.com; Amazon.ca; Amazon.com.au; Amazon.everywhere) not automatically pick up reviews from one jurisdiction to another for the same title?… surely again, Amazon should be seeking to generate more interest and surely sales = profits… or am I missing sum’thing?… if Amazon’s incredible computer systems cannot link their own country review pages, why not?… answers please along with a five-star review for this blog piece on a ten-dollar bill to the usual address… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…another neat wee sting in Asia years ago…

…some of yeez seemed to enjoy my post a coupla days ago about the enterprising street-folks in Bangkok and Manila whose inventiveness during traffic jams and typhoons were moneymaking channels… about forty-plus years back in Hong Kong, one of the best ever ploys ran for a long time before the authorities twigged to it… back in those days, as now, I s’pose, it was a big deal for locals to have their Driver’s License… every day, the Test Centre had a queue of nervous candidates waiting outside for their time to go inside and undergo the test…


…cigarette smoking was an obvious sign of anxious men and women pacing up and down the pavement, and one ingenious stall-owner had his pitch adjacent to the Centre’s entrance… many of the candidates would buy cigarettes and confection from him…. it was a simple matter to engage in conversation, generally in Cantonese, as most were local people, and to quickly switch the subject to the pending ordeal for his customers… his ‘sell’ was so easy… once he established that they were in fact moments away from taking their test, he would say, ‘a couple of pals of mine are among the testers today, one of whom is likely to be yer examiner this morning’… the gullible examinee barely questioned this… the follow up sting was the clincher, ‘if yeez want, yeez can buy one of these red key rings from me for Hong Dollars 200 (about USD 30), attach it to yer car key… don’t say anything to the examiner, he’ll know yeez got it  from me… they share the profit with me… however, as everybody knows (nudge, nudge), there’s a quota for passes and a quota for non-passes, and if he’s reached his quota, yeez may not pass today… don’t worry, if that happens yeez bring the keyring back and I’ll refund yer money in full… and we’ll try again next time for yeez’


…of course, many times the candidates failed and the keyring was returned, and he did indeed repay the cost in full… but think of all the people who passed the test with the supposed lucky keyring attached and never came back for a refund… of course, the driving test people had no collusion ongoing with the vendor, and it apparently took several years of this sting before he was rumbled and sent to jail for a while… but yeez have to admire the ingenuity of the con… by the way, can I sell yeez a lucky bookmark?…see yeez late… LUV YEEZ!



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…Authors… whether yeez self publish or ‘house’ publish, a great editor like Maureen Vincent-Northam is priceless…

cup cakes

…regardless of yer vintage, the minute yeez stop learning, yeez might as well turn yer toes up and shuffle off this mortal coil… all my life, this truth has been reinforced continually, and happily, I seem to embrace new things… new stuff… although the absorption into the ‘computer thing-y Age’ has taken a while, but now that I’ve acquired my Internet-ness pass, I’m enjoying that too… six or seven years ago, when the first Jack Calder crime thriller was finished, I encountered the usual merry-go-round of attempting to find that elusive creature… a Literary Agent, and the even more amorphous Publisher… along came the Great God Amazon Kindle concept, and Presto, Hey!, with a click here and there, Master Gallacher became a published author, with his masterpieces downloadable on the eBook channel of the Gods… the learning curve has been steep, but gratifyingly worthwhile… along came the Stephanie and Laurence Patterson partnership in the guise of Crooked Cat Publishing who, in an obvious moment of sheer aberration on their part, signed me up as part of their author stable… the stuff learned and techniques acquired as a self-publisher translate easily into being attached to a publishing label, and remain equally pertinent in the search for improvement and that weird  thing, ‘success’… there are several benefits to being part of a well-run ‘house’… but one of the less apparent elements at the beginning has emerged as prob’ly the most important feature… the assignment of a professional editor… in my case the hawk-eyed, m’Lady, Maureen Vincent-Northam


…in the space of six months, she has run her meticulous red-inky rod across three ‘back list titles’ and has just finished editing the latest of my offerings, KILLER CITY… and I sit in serious awe of such talent… no matter how often a scribbler attempts to self-edit, there are always the things missed… Her Regal Editorial-ness captures all of it… the missed quotation marks… the replacing of a full stop with a question mark… the horrendous, capital crime, jail-worthy use of ‘it’s’ instead of ‘its’… the untangling of unruly phrases into intelligible narrative…

editor love

…and still I learn… and LUVVIN IT!… take my WURDAuthors…whether yeez self publish or ‘house’ publish, a great editor like Maureen Vincent-Northam is priceless…  see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…inventive enterprise at its best from Asia…

…years spent in Asia as a peripatetic Trainee-Financial-Lord-Of-The-Universe provided umpteen episodes that made me smile, and continue to amuse this ol’ Jurassic even after all this time… here’s a wee smattering :

ThailandLand of Smiles and a populace as welcoming as any on the planet… but also the source of incredible traffic frustration in Bangkok decades ago… much has improved with the presence of Skyways in the capital, but back then, pre-superhighways, it could take up to three or four hours to journey from the centre of the city to the Airport…


…the story goes that a celebrated international urban traffic planner was engaged to redesign and calibrate the city’s traffic lights system… the project lasted over six months, at the end of which the programming boffin had done his stuff… the systems were all synchronised, and everybody was pleased with the result… on the evening prior to the planner’s departure, he was the Guest of Honour at a dinner celebrating his achievement on behalf of the long-suffering travelling public… his chauffeured car arrived at his hotel, picked him up and proceeded to the event, which would take only a mere ten minutes… an hour and a half later, he was still stuck in traffic… on a journey through the same system which he knew he had already adjusted to run perfectly… it wasn’t happening… the reason was simple… at each set of traffic lights, individual traffic policemen were manually controlling each timer… instead of the re-planned two minute intervals, they were waiting for up to an average of ten or fifteen minutes before turning them back to green… in the meantime, scores of street vendors plied themselves to the cars stuck in the jam, selling their respective wares from their baskets… the policemen were on commission on the vendors’ sales…

PhilippinesLand of even more Smiles… and a country constantly beset with flooding from typhoons which occur more than a dozen times per year… the nation’s capital, Manila, boasts an area downtown in a place called Malate, which sits on a low basin of land…


…needless to say, it floods every time the rain belts the place.. it’s difficult to traverse on foot through the flooded areas without getting soaked from the knees down… however, street urchins, barefooted of course, ply themselves with flat luggage trolleys, on which their ‘customers’ stand and on payment of a small fee or tip get ferried through the wet areas… I learned that not all the flooding in the streets was natural… these enterprising young commercial masterminds lent some assistance to Mother Nature by blocking the drains with plastic bags… result—instant flood… and more profitable ferry business…

…inventive enterprise at its best from Asia… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff