Monthly Archives: September 2013

Happy 76th Birthday, Mother!

… nice piece from olbigjim, Jim Wright ..


MotherDidn’t we just do this a couple of months ago? How do you keep having so many birthdays without seeming to actually age?

Why is it that today I’m remembering an outfit I got you for one of your birthdays? I’ve no idea how long ago it was, but I’d be willing to bet a dollar and a quarter that it’s still in your closet. Hunter green it was and you looked like a million dollars wearing it. There was a rakishly sexy hat that went with the ensemble, but I don’t remember ever seeing you wear it. You wore hats often when I was a wee tyke. You wore them so well; I can’t imagine why you ever stopped. Fashion be damned!

You’ve been there for me, haven’t you? Back during the war in Lebanon, I remember you cooked a boatload (you should pardon the pun) of teacakes and…

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… ‘…a very nice breakfast whisky…’ …reviews are all about perspective, Mabel… #TBSU…

...LUV ’em or hate ’em… they are as unavoidable as the cheeky speck of spinach sticking to yer teeth during yer important career interview… as in-yer-face as that other ‘cheeky’ business end of Miley Cyrus’ twerking… REVIEWS… whether yeez manufacture them through yer Aunties, Grannies and Uncles (perish the thought…would authors do that?) …or have unknown critique-o-philes praise, promote, and project or lambast, lampoon and lance yer masterpieces… REVIEWS are here to stay… as much part of yer literary rites of passage as sno-paque eliminator for yer typewriter or the delete button on yer laptop… I can still recall vividly the first negative review on my initial wee scribbled baby, THE VIOLIN MAN’S LEGACY… the lad gave me two stars out of five… instant dagger-through-the-heart sensation… then I checked his other reviews to find he’d only ever done one other… he’d given John Grisham only a lowly one star out of five… shheeessh, that felt better… it’s all got to be taken with a pinch of salt, Mabel… sure, they’re important for getting attention to yer stuff on Amazon Kindle and other splendid outlets… but remember, everybody who reads yer WURK isn’t necessarily gonna LUV it… I recall a good friend of mine, who likes a dram or six, talking about the merits of good whisky, uttering the immortal line.. ‘…it’s a very nice breakfast whisky…’ …perspective, y’see… I’m not about to encourage yeez to investigate the claims of my pal’s critique on his morning imbibement…  ‘…chacun a son gulp…’ …but let me not impede any inclination yeez may indulge to review my forthcoming crime thriller, SAVAGE PAYBACK… coming to a Kindle near you in the near future… I’m building a raft of good people who’ll review the WURK for me, so I can have a slew of early reviews on and (and maybe even on Goodreads) as I launch it… emb’dy who feels so inclined, please contact me on my email  TA! …yeez’ll see the cover reveal under my Blog Scratchers Corner below… see yeez later …

Blog Scratchers Corner


Blogs To Follow



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…authors, be careful out there… sometimes DEADLINES can produce DEAD LINES… #TBSU…

…after a lifetime of commercial activity WURKING for a living… schedules, objectives, planning, budgets, et al, became second skin stuff to this ol’ Jurassic… came the release of doing-what-I’ve-always-wanted by meta-morphing into a self-published quill-scraper over the past few years… and I LUV IT!… whether the output from the highly-tolerant laptop (so often threatened with death by urination) is enuff to tempt the Publishing House Princes to indulge me is quite another matter… any writer worth his or her scribbling salt will tell yeez the joy is in the creation of WURDS that sing to yeez… it may be that we’re the only one hearing the choir, but what the heck… then I read in several friends’ blogs about the panic and pressures of DEADLINES... and I WUNDER… why give yerselves unneeded stress?… did Michaelangelo ever have the same kinda problem … ‘..Hey, Mikey, can ye rattle off that marble statute of the Emperor’s Missus by the end of the week? we it need it for the new Coliseum opening…’ … I rather think not… now, don’t mistake me… I still have planning and scheduling and things, but at a pace that suits me… not so much DEADLINES, more like nudges toward getting stuff done… for me DEADLINES have the propensity to produce DEAD LINES… some of yeez may comment at this point, ‘…but, Master Gallacher, ye’ve just told people ye’re targeting finishing yer next masterpiece, SAVAGE PAYBACK, by the end of October… isn’t that a DEADLINE?…’ …hardly, coz it’s nearly done… what I have created is an obligation to the wonderful raft of friends who’ve volunteered to do a review of it as the thing gets launched… there’s the target… the reviews, NOT completion of the novel... it’s great being yer own boss isn’t it?… except when it gets all f*cked up, ye’ve only one person to blame… a-hem… any more lovely volunteers for reviewing SAVAGE PAYBACK soon can contact me at… LUV YEEZ! …see yeez later …



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Calling all AUTHORS and VISITORS – Please Note.

… Chris’ and Steve’s blog says it all… 🙂

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…authors’ self-marketing?…yeez put on yer best frock to go to the Publishing Ball… just like Cinderella… #TBSU…

…some things are unavoidable in this life… not being able to eat just one peanut from a packet… never finding a taxi when it’s raining… unable to remember what name Ms J.K.Rowling is using today… the latest bane, according to many of the blog posts I’ve read recently, is the need for authors, self-publishing or otherwise, to market themselves and their WURKS… admittedly some of us belong to the Literary-Shrinking-Violets Society… others blossom in the rich bloom of the Writers Ghetto-Blasting-Equivalent in Self-Advertising... sadly, there is no middle ground… for the legions of those veering timidly toward the ‘excuse-me-can-I-trouble-yeez-for-a minute-about-my-WURK’ constituency, IT’S TIME TO GET SHOUTING... regardless if yer masterpiece is picked up by an agent and/or a publisher, yeez still have to get the megaphone belting out by yerself… separate the quill-scraper persona from the darling-of-the-SOSYAL-NETWURKIN-circuit being that propagates yer tomes to the universe… subjugate the Shy Sherman within… suppress the Timid Tammy… remember that marvellous sequence in ‘Pretty Woman’ where Julia Roberts’ pal tells her to ‘WURK it baby’ and she proceeds to swing that delightful derriere Richard Gere-ward… so, once ye’ve penned or typed ‘THE END’ , it’s time to ‘WURK it baby’… yeez put on yer best frock to go to the Publishing Ball… bang the drum on Twitter, Facebook,  Any-Other-Channel-Yeez-Can-Think-Of, Goodreads, LinkedIn, Blog like Billy-o,  just get it out there, loud and clear… what’s the worst thing that can happen?… folks may not want to buy or download yer books… but hey, that’s no worse off than if yeez never did any self-advertising at all, right?… and who knows, Prince Charming of the Publishing Gods may just chance upon yer glass slipper… what’s to lose?… c’mon Lads and Lassies of Blog Land…  get yer frocks out, let’s go to the Ball… see yeez later…

cindersred dress


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GUEST POST: ‘Book covers sell the story?’ by Paula Limbaugh

..excellent view on the pullng power of a great book cover …enjoy …

Greyhart Press

Today we welcome Paula Limbaugh for a guest post about the importance of book covers. Paula’s words are not all comfortable reading for us at Greyhart but eloquently makes the point that in order to attract a reader, a book needs the right cover and sales pitch. But what brings in one reader will do the opposite for another.

We’re always interested to know what you think of our books, and the covers are a key part of that. If you’ve got an opinion, we’d love to hear from you.

Over to Paula…

Whether, online or in an actual bookstore the first thing that grabs my attention is the cover.  Walking through the aisles of B&N it’s like they are all screaming “Me, me, pick me!”    If the artwork is good I will read the synopsis, if not I will pass it up unless I recognize the author or if…

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…WTF???… just what authors need… another way to reduce yer sales income… #TBSU…

…is it because I’m Scottish?… or am I SO dumb I always miss the point of stuff?…, now, in fairness, I’ve never ever claimed to be a descendent of Albie Einstein… and most days when real education was being thrown around in my school, I was out on field trips, counting fields… but I cannot for the life of me take in what I read today without expressing that ‘Wednesday, Thursday, Friday?’ mnemonic, WTF?... as anyone who reads this blog regularly will know, I’m frequently at odds with Master Zuckerberg‘s minions, and invariably end up in the old Facebook Slammer… comes now the risk of putting the Amazon Kindle noses out of joint… don’t mistake me, I’m not one readily to bite the hand that feeds… the Amazon Kindle phenomenon has been generous to me and my novels so far… BUT, BUT, BUT… here comes the new deal, the Kindle Matchbook Program … maybe I’m missing something in the small print, but I paraphrase in quote… ‘…lets yeez offer yer Kindle Book at a discount when they (customers) buy yer print book….’ …unquote… as if the quill-scraper society suffers not enough from whiners who won’t pay more than the price of a sausage roll for a year’s WURK in the form of yer masterpieces… they want to make it even cheaper!… flog yer wares at prices lower than a snake’s belly in a trench… what am I not understanding here, Mabel?… but there’s more nonsense involved than merely asking yeez to surrender yer royalty fortunes to the miser brigades… they expect the customer to buy a print copy AND then buy a Kindle copy… forgive my ingenuousness here, but I personally have NEVER bought TWO copies of the same book in my life… I don’t expect stampeding swarms of the reader universe out there to act any differently… yes, Matron, I am shouting again, I know, I know… yes, one syringe-load’ll be fine…  see yeez later…


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…WURKING the virtual room… it’s the gritty part of the deal, Indie Authors… #TBSU…

…even the lassie at the Tesco checkout’s at it… ‘…you’re the guy that writes books, aren’t ye?…’ …I smile sheepishly, and then she follows up with, ‘…I’ve always wanted to do that…how do ye get started, what does it involve?…’ …the assembled queue behind mutters and shuffles its communal feet as I try to deliver the thirty-second oration on What-It-Takes-To-be-The-Next-Billy-Shakespeare… ever since my ugly mugshot graced(?) the local magazines and weekend review section of the newspapers… right alongside the journalistic gems describing the twenty neat ways to crochet-knit a school scarf… (scarf in the heat of Abu Dhabi??)… and recipes for baking monster profita rolls… I’ve been regularly accosted by wannabe writers… fair play, I enjoy the minor frisson of celebrity that goes along with that… sign a copy of my book for ye, Missus?… delighted… photograph with the author?…no bother, that man… then the questions again… basically, what does it all entail?’... explaining the quill-scraping piece is fairly easy, and smiles and nodding heads all round are the order of the hour… then ye talk to them about BUILDING THE PLATFORM... and ye get more glazed eyes and blank faces than ye find at a Politicians Honesty Rally… oh, sure, they’ve all heard of the SOSYAL NETWURKIN thing… where ye get on and delight the rest of the planet with details of what yeez had for breakfast, and how often yer cat pees on the new carpet, and such, right?… WRONG! … that’s not what it’s about, ye tell them… producing even more glaze than a doughnut factory production line… ‘imagine ye’re at a business function cocktail event’, ye go on… handing yer fancy embossed business cards to every other boring f*rt in the place, trying to make connections for yer business… well, it’s kinda like that… except ye’re doing it online… WURKING the virtual room… getting heard above the noise that everybody else is trying to make… developing personal relationships… not spamming the hell out of the Web channels… being a person of interest… hello?… hello?… is anybody listening?… they all seem to have gone off, Mabel… well, not to worry, here comes Matron with that bluudy syringe… she’ll sort me out… she understands… see yeez later …


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…my murky past is catching up with me… else how to explain it?… #TBSU…

…what goes around comes around… a trite saying, I know… my Mam used it constantly at we kids when we misbehaved… even when we weren’t misbehaving, she assumed we were, and still quoted it at us, non-stop…‘yeez’ll all come to no good’… misdemeanours haunted my school years… chalking graffiti on the classroom board when teacher wasn’t there, then getting caught, coz she knew I was the only one who could spell correctly… one of the downsides of a good Scottish education… sipping beer at parties when the grownups weren’t looking, when we were only 10 years old… oh, the sheer criminality of it all… once ye’re set on a life of crime and debauchery like that, it’s nigh impossible to escape it… this ol’ Jurassic thought he was getting away with it… trundling into ‘can-yeez-speak-a-wee-bit-louder age I could be forgiven for thinking that maybe I’ve gotten away with it… not so… I get the sense that Interpol and the WURLD’s law enforcement agencies are closing in…  y’see, it’s becoming kinda obvious to me that somebody has squelched …or should that be ‘squealed’?… why?… well, I’ve become inundated with tons and tons of emails from people who must have heard about my walk on the wild side away from the Light of the Law… dozens of suitors for connivance in schemes to ferret monies away from bank accounts in countries I never even knew existed… countless widows of corrupt generals from unpronounceable places are on first name terms with me… usually preceded with ‘My Dearest’… or ‘My Beloved Trusted One’... at the last count, my cumulative share of the split amounts to a tad over a hundred squillion dollars… but I can’t sleep at night any more… I’ve been in Facebook Jail before, and that’s a bad, bad Slammer… what if they throw me in there for the rest of my life?… anybody wanna give me their bank account numbers and I’ll pass them on?… that should help me when the plea-bargaining comes around… see yeez later …

Blog Scratchers Corner


Blogs To Follow

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…terrific post from CHUCK WENDIG… #TBSU…

…here’s  a fabulous post from CHUCH WENDIG… enjoy … and go check out his great blog on ‘Terrible Minds’…


Write What You Know.

So says the advice.

Four words. A tiny prescription.

But like the TARDIS, it’s much bigger on the inside.

That piece of advice is one of the greatest and worst writing advice nuggets in the history of all writing advice nuggets. It’s brilliant! And it’s right! And it’s frustrating! And it’s wrong! It’s open to ten kinds of interpretation. It can be a springboard to launch you through a story. Boing! Or it can be the wall you hit. BOOM.

It contains multitudes.

I’ve spoken about it before.

And I want to speak about it again.

Here, then, are five recent thoughts on the subject. Do with them as you will: read them, respond, rub them on your nude flesh, stomp on them as if they were skittering roaches.


On the strictest read, Write what you know sounds like a command to commit to paper only those facts and events you have personally experienced or studied — you played baseball, you studied the Revolutionary War, you’re an astrophysicist, and so all your stories must weave in these three things lest you be writing from a place of dire inauthenticity where readers will be able to smell your bullshit from 100 yards and they’ll pull your shirt over your head and laugh at you as the neighborhood dog humps your supine form. This is nonsense, of course: writing fiction as autobiography is limiting and boring.

But the advice can’t mean that. How absurd would that be?

It’s not about what facts you know.

It’s about a deeper understanding.

What it is, I think, is that in the writing of fiction — whether you’re writing about a broken marriage, a troubled assassin, a tribal war between the moonicorns and the comet-ponies — you’ll be writing about moments that will be strengthened by drawing on elements of your life. It’s about the things you understand, not merely the things you “know.” You understand what it’s like to come from a broken home. Or to fix a tractor. You remember losing your virginity, or your first taste of alcohol, or that time you killed a guy with a box full of syphilis-mad weasels. You get things. You internally understand stuff that is both specific to you but that also draws an emotional and intellectual bridge out to a larger readership — like, somewhere in your life you probably experienced heartbreak. The way you understand it is implicitly your own, but at the same time, nearly everyone has some explicit understanding of love torn asunder.

Your job, then, is to draw from that — to plunge a narrative hypodermic down through the amber casement of your memory and suck out the sweet DNA so you can inject it into your story. It’s not hewing only to facts. It’s about finding those moments from your life that will enrich your fiction with deeper, stranger, more personal — and yet potentially also more universal – details. You are, in a sense, trying to breed emotional familiarity through intellectual honesty.

You’re tying a moment in your story to some understanding from your own life. Which means you’re tethering yourself to the audience — placing your story in a context they can understand, in a way that enlivens the narrative and maybe speaks to their own experiences, as well.

We’re not supposed to steal from other people’s work.

But we can steal from history. From mythology.


How fucking awesome is that?


My wife, as a spouse is wont to do, will read my work, often next to me in bed at night. (She’s also a fantastic editor, by the by.) And as she reads, sometimes I’ll catch a movement of her head and I’ll notice a sly, sideways glance in my direction. And when this occurs, I know why.

It’s because she just found a moment in the story she knows is true.

Even though it’s a fake-ass made-up bullshit-ride of a story, she finds things in there that she knows are true. Moments snatched from my life and plugged into the fiction. Sometimes it’s a small thing: a word, a turn of phrase, an article of clothing, a taste of food. Other times it’s taking a story or a piece of one from my life and finding the appropriate contextual slot to cram it into. It’s maybe 10-20% of a book (more in some cases, less in others), almost a kind of storytelling punctuation, but I think the real value is that you’re putting yourself on the page.

You are there in the story.

Not as a character.

But as a ghost, haunting over the narrative proceedings.


Many authors treat write what you know as a punishment levied against them. Like it’s a problem. But rather, I like to think it’s a solution to a problem — a key, in fact, to a locked door.

Consider: you hit your head on something in the story. Some plot point. Some low-hanging story obstacle. You don’t know how to move forward with a character, or a theme, or whatever. The maze seems unsolvable; the labyrinth, closed. So: look to your own life. It’s never a guaranteed solution, but you may find that something in your life, your history, answers the problem. A person you know. A thing you experienced. A feeling you understand with great intensity.

Sometimes, you are the key to the door.

And you are the sum of the things you know.


If we assume that part of it really is about facts — like, say, “Don’t write about the Civil War unless you actually know some shit about the Civil War, dingbat” — then we can safely say that write what you know is not a restriction on your writing, but rather a suggestion that you can always know more, dumbass. Go learn more stuff! And write about it.


Maybe value also exists in saying that we should write not just to our experiences and our understanding, but also to the things about which we feel passionate about. Maybe it means we should lean toward those things that we love (and to an opposite degree, the things that we hate, that cause us pain, that scare the Holy Jesusballs out of us), including them in our work. Or, to a lesser degree, the things that interest us. In school, we tend to do better in subjects we like, and I suspect the same is true in our fiction: we probably tell better stories when we’re writing about things we dig (and we probably know more about the things we dig, too).

So. There you go. Five slapdash thoughts.

Awaiting your own in 3… 2… 1…

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