Monthly Archives: July 2015

…time to have a peek at Nik Morton’s own offering this week… The Prague Papers… great read…

…Nik Morton is at pains to point out that the heading on the undernoted post is from a journalist… not from his own pen….whichever way you view it, it’s a great read…

‘Better than Jack Higgins’

All this week Crooked Cat Publishing is offering three thrillers for a bargain e-book price each of 99p/$1.11 or thereabouts. The thrillers are The Carbon TrailThe Prague Papers and Vengeance Wears Black.

Today, we’ll look at The Prague Papers which is the first in the Tana Standish psychic spy series; the second is The Tehran Textwhich is also available; a third is promised, The Khyber Chronicle.

This novel takes place in 1975 in Czechoslovakia; there are also flashbacks to Poland in 1942 and England in the 1960s. There’s a very brief snippet at the end of this blog.


Tana is a spy – and she’s psychic. Orphaned in the Warsaw ghetto during the Second World War, she was adopted by a naval officer and his wife. Now she works for the British Secret Intelligence Service. Czechoslovakia’s people are still kicking against the Soviet invasion. Tana is called in to restore morale and repair the underground network. But there’s a traitor at work.

And she learns about a secret Soviet complex in the Sumava Mountains. Unknown to her there’s a top secret establishment in Kazakhstan, where Yakunin, one of their gifted psychics, has detected her presence in Czechoslovakia.

When Tana infiltrates the Sumava complex, she’s captured! A desperate mission is mounted to either get her out or to silence her – before she breaks under interrogation.

Amazon review excerpts:

The locations are detailed, as are the workings of the intelligence agencies, evidence surely of an in depth knowledge and extensive research. The pace is full speed ahead and often the subject matter is brutal but I couldn’t look away and I certainly didn’t want to stop reading. If you enjoy Bond or Bourne then you will enjoy this, it just begs to be a movie.
Well plotted and executed this is a story that held me enthralled and intrigued from the first page to the last…and then I read the epilogue, and I realised just how eye-opening this novel is. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I’m so relieved that there is more to come.

~ Bookworm, Jan 2015

Morton’s heroine Tana is made of stern stuff…
~ Michael Parker, author of The Devil’s Trinity and The Third Secret

Interestingly, Morton sells it as a true story passed to him by an agent and published as fiction, a literary ploy often used by master thriller writer Jack Higgins. Let’s just say that it works better than Higgins.
~Danny Collins, author of The Bloodiest Battles

… gave me that feeling of “being there myself”, rubbing shoulders with his characters, and for quite a while after finishing it, I found myself thinking about them and all they had been through.
~ William Daysh, author of Over by Christmas
As well as creating memorable characters, Morton captures the essence of Prague and the Czech soul, educates us into the world of Eastern Bloc politics, and tells an intricate tale of espionage…
~ Maureen Moss, Travel journalist


In the prologue, the author says he came by the story via a manuscript given to him by a Mr Swann of the British SIS. Part of the conversation went like this:

“I’m not going to put any agents at risk by writing about this, am I?” [I said].

“No,” [Swann replied]. “These adventures won’t figure in the revelations of Wikileaks, Assange or Snowden.”

“I’m pleased to hear it.”

“It might have fresh relevance, now that Mr Putin is keen to start a fresh Cold War.”

“True. What do you want in return?”

He studied the remains of his drink and because I wasn’t psychic I couldn’t fathom what he was thinking, but it was more than his words: “Just the story. The story is the thing.”

Another question had been nagging throughout our clandestine meeting. “Why bring this to me? As much as I try spreading the word on Twitter and Facebook, I’m not exactly well-known, you know.”

“Jack Higgins turned us down.”

I glared and he grinned. “Just joking,” he said.

I fingered the manuscript in anticipation. It seemed too good to be true. “All right, then, I’ll give it a go.”

“Just do Tana justice,” he said.


How I wished I’d met Tana Standish. People like me – and those accursed politicians – sit cosily at home with our petty complaints while men and women like her fight the good fight against evil. The Cold War may have gone away for a while, but we still need people like Tana Standish, Alan Swann and Keith Tyson. And they get no thanks. Mainly, their stories go unheard and unread. At the most, their achievements probably get a footnote in a newspaper.

After several months shut away from the world of today, I’ve finished this book, which I have called The Prague Papers – the first chronicle of Tana Standish’s missions which presages several calamitous adventures with significant revelations from recent history. It’s dedicated to all the secret agents who fight behind the scenes and behind the news.

Tana Prague Papers-small

From Amazon UK here

From Amazon COM here

From Kobo here

From Smashwords here

From Apple here



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…Nik Morton blogs on three thrillers on offer from Crooked Cat Publishing this week…

…pal, and fellow scribbler, Nik Morton, carries a nice piece in his blog today with reference to the terrific three-book offering from Crooked Cat Publishing this week in the thriller JONGGR, with a focus on my wee baby, VENGEANCE WEARS BLACK… cheers , that man:



‘Wreak ruthless retaliation…’

All this week Crooked Cat Publishing is offering three thrillers for a bargain e-book price each of 99p/$1.07 or thereabouts. The thrillers are The Carbon TrailThe Prague Papers and Vengeance Wears Black.



Today, we’ll look at Vengeance Wears Black which is the second in Seumas Gallacher’s series about Jack Calder, an ex-SAS man who is now a security specialist. The first in the series is The Violin Man’s Legacy and the third is Savage Payback.

The books are fast-paced, constantly moving plot driven action tales. Already, Seumas has a large and loyal following that look out for his next Calder escapade.


Jack Calder and his former SAS colleagues in the specialist security firm ISP are saved from certain death when an ex-Gurkha friend is killed while smothering a deadly grenade thrown into a lunchtime Chinese restaurant in the West End of London. They learn that murderous turf wars are raging between Asian Triads and Eastern European mobsters vying for control of international fiefdoms of drug smuggling, people trafficking, prostitution and money laundering.

An unexpected visit from the highest levels of international law enforcement offers Jack and the ISP team a means to use their black operations skills to wreak a ruthless retaliation against the drug lords.

Unlikely partners emerge in their onslaught against the gangs as the warring criminal factions threaten an unholy alliance to repel them.

The pursuit spins across Europe, Turkey and North Africa before a final reckoning.

Sample Amazon reviews:

Vengeance Wears Black is definitely a man’s thriller. Written with spare prose, but enough to give you a good idea of the characters and their emotions, the book provides lots of action with hardly a pause for breath. Not to say that a woman reader wouldn’t enjoy it — there are lots of handsome characters.

The world, generally, is a good place but there are those who despoil it. Jack and his fellows at ISP are the ones who see that those despoilers receive the justice they deserve. If you want your world in more shades of grey and moral complexity thick as molasses, look elsewhere. If you want a taut, well executed action story, you could do far worse than to give this a go.

Set on an international stage the story provided well-fleshed out characters, suspense and details aplenty to make it very believable. Definitely engrossing from first page to last.

For anyone who likes their reading material fast paced and no nonsense, this is definitely for you!

This is not only part of a series, but a standalone book as well. Jack Calder’s undercover team are brilliantly drawn characters, who you wholly believe in with a cracking plot that spans continents. I particularly liked the fact that the author explores his characters, their foibles and their flaws, so you really get to know them, whilst still moving the plot forward, because if a character has flaws, you can be sure the bad guys will exploit them! If you like action, adventure and spooks then this is a thriller you won’t want to miss.

…thanks again to Nik Morton



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Seumas Gallacher Uncovers the Global Financial Markets “Con Trick”

Mac Logan and I see eye to eye on the mess the WURLD’s financiers have landed us in…


by Mac Logan

Good for the Soul?

Seumas Gallagher This is a guest post by best selling author Seumas Gallacher. He’s worth a read. Click on the photos for a link to his site.

Let me ’fess up, right out of the blocks, I worked in the finance and banking industry for the major part of my professional career. I’m aware I may sound like a ‘bleeding deacon’ with some of my ensuing comments, but who cares… I’ll tell it as I feel it and see it.


My view of the global banking industry over the past ten to fifteen years moved from simple embarrassment to downright outrage. In the early 1960s when I entered a Scottish bank as an apprentice bank clerk, things were radically different: getting a personal loan of ten pounds sterling entailed a whole series of tough questions about the ability to pay back. Yet when money was deposited to any…

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…Martin Roy Hill’s insightful piece on what a writer reads to help him write…

…my pal, Author Martin Roy Hill has an engaging post on his blog about material that writers are well advised to have around when crafting their own masterpieces… he also graciously mentions my own wee SELF-PUBLISHING GUIDE TO SUCCESSFUL SALES… thanks, that man… here’s the post:

What’s on Your Writer’s Bookshelf?

If you live in the U.S., you’re probably familiar with that series of credit card commercials that always end, “What’s in your wallet?” I was thinking about that the other day as I was browsing my book shelves at home and wondering what kind of books other writers keep around.

Writers are different readers from normal (i.e., sane) people. We not only write for a living, we read for a living as well. We have to read other writers in our own genre to see what the competition is doing (and learn from them). We read for research, so we don’t make big mistakes like saying Paris is the capital of Great Britain. And we read to improve our craft.

I write thrillers and mysteries. When it comes to writing about crime, I benefit from a life in which I have worked as a police reporter for a daily newspaper, and been involved in law enforcement operations as a U.S. Coastguardsman, a military policeman, and a sheriff’s reservist. Heck, I was even trained as a SWAT medic. 

As a result, my bookshelves are filled with books and manual acquired from attending various law enforcement training programs. Yet I still have a number of books that were written about law enforcement specifically for writers. Among these are Anne Wingate’s Scene of the Crime: A Writer’s Guide to Crime Scene Investigation, Keith D. Wilson’s Cause of Death: A Writer’s Guide to Death, Murder, and Forensic Medicine, and the Mystery Writers of America’s Mystery Writer’s Handbook.

Over the years, I’ve written many articles for magazines and websites on military history. As a result, my bookshelves are crammed with history books on everything from the Napoleonic Wars to the latest conflicts. While these were collected to support my nonfiction writing, they still come in useful for my fiction work.

For instance, when I was writing my military mystery thriller, The Killing Depths, I needed to learn as much as I could about submarines and submarine warfare. Fortunately, I already had several books about submarines, though I ended up buying and reading several more. My history collection also was helpful in writing my noir mystery, Empty Places, which takes place in the mid-1980s and tangentially involves the U.S. involvement in proxy wars in Central America. 

My latest book was a step outside the normal lane of thrillers. Eden: A Sci-Fi Novella invokes a great deal of history and religious symbolism. In writing it, I found Carl Jung’s Man and His Symbolsextremely helpful. Eden describes an alternative history of the rise of mankind.

The narrator is an U.S. Army captain named Adam Cadman, which is an alternate spelling for Adam Kadmon. In the religious writings of Kabbalah, Adam Kadmon is the original or “primordial” man, and that theme runs through the entire book. It was reading Jung’s book that gave me the idea for Captain Adam Cadman, and I have turned to the book again and again for inspiration for other writing projects. 

Like most authors, I have a number of books on writing. One of my favorites is David Morrell’s The Successful Novelist: A Lifetime of Lessons about Writing and Publishing. Morrell, who created the character Rambo in his novel First Blood, is considered by many to be the father of the modern thriller. In Successful Novelist, Morrell uses his own writing career to illustrate the do’s and don’ts of novel writing and publishing.

Others books that have had an impact on my writing include Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within, and James N. Frey’s How to Write a Damn Good Novel, II: Advanced Techniques for Dramatic Storytelling.

As all good writers should, I always have a collection of dictionaries and thesauri. One unusual thesaurus I’ve found very helpful in my writing is The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression, by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. When I get stuck on how to describe a character’s reaction to a situation, this book can usually help me get unstuck.

As an independent author, I’m not only the writer of my books; I’m their public relations and marketing director as well. One of the first books I picked up for this was Shelley Hitz’s Marketing Your Book on Amazon: 21 Things You Can Easily Do For Free to Get More Exposure and Sales, which I found extremely helpful.

Fellow indie author Jay Allan Storey, author of futuristic dystopian novel, Eldorado, recommended to me Tom Corson-Knowles’ book The Amazon Analytics Bible: How To Use Analytics To Sell More Books On Amazon And Make Better Marketing Decisions, which I also found immensely helpful. Another writing colleague, Seumas Gallacher, author of the the Jack Calder series of thrillers, wrote the very informative and frequently hilarious, Self-Publishing Steps To Successful Sales

Perhaps you have certain books you turn to for help on your research, writing, or marketing. So I ask you, “What’s on your bookshelf?”





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…ready, steady, rage…

…there are wheel biters and road racers… F1 aficionados and stock car racing enthusiasts… folks whose day brightens up by the sound of an engine revving… I’m not one of them… indeed, as far back as more than forty years ago I successfully failed my sole attempt at an official DRIVING TEST in the UK… there was also a highly unflattering ‘incident’ of which I hasten to say I’m not proud, when yours truly, in possession of a Provisional Driving License (for learners, of course) was involved in one of the original ‘road rage’ episodes versus some other driver who unwittingly took his life in his hands by doing sum’thing rather stupid to me in the car I was then driving…


…the resultant metallic confrontation and ‘causing of supreme prejudicial assault on the other driver’s vehicle’ ended with a less than spiritually-uplifting court appearance and the recommendation from the magistrate that Master Gallacher should consider ‘never getting behind the wheel of a car again’, a view to which Master Gallacher fully subscribed… I was reminded of this earlier today when I was asked to be featured in a local publication’s piece on ‘what wheels I prefer and why’… my response mentioned NUTHIN about the road rage’ contrepemps, but I felt obliged to repeat my dear Mama’s view that her favourite son was born to ’travel in the rear of limousines, the front of civil aircraft, and to ’test-drive’ five-star hotels and bordellos, and not necessarily in that order’.. over the past several decades, I’ve endeavoured to keep assiduously to dear Mama’s guidelines… therefore, to satisfy the request from the local publication’ s editor, and not to deviate from Mama’s ethos, as a back-seat driver only, my choice of wheels, unsurprisingly, is a 1930s version of the Rolls Royce

rolls royce

…the attached photograph captures perfectly the elegance and élan of a sophisticated back-seat driver… special seating to be reserved for any and all Mama persons who align with this road travel philosophy… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



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…I can speak latin… err, no… latte… I meant latte…

…my predominant linguistic skills are in the area of talking Rubbish… added to that is a passing acquaintance with English, Celtic (Scots Gaelic), French (Glasgow Secondary School and London City International Foreign Exchange Dealing Room levels), Cantonese (Hong Kong Chinese), Tagalog (mainstream Filipino), and, of late, a smattering of localised Arabic… (a salaam a leikum, Jimmy)… I’ve been taken recently with a phrase initially attributed to that Roman guy who invented  the Salad called after him… Veni, Vidi, Bloggicci… in translation it means, I Veni-ied, I Vidi-ied, I Bloggicci-ied… if I had known way back when I began to do these blogs that the source would turn out to be a Roman general whose pals used his ribs as a dagger-sharpener, it may well have taken a different tone… to observe the ancient way of doing politics, where everybody stabs everybody else in the back, unlike the modern… oh, hang on a minute… let’s look at it from another direction… that such a venerated language as Latin should lend its name to a barista’s favourite product, Latte, just blows the mind, doesn’t it?… how far seeing they must have been in Mark Anthony‘s day… with the vision of Starbucksium ROOLING the WURLD


…betcha that wee Liz Taylor lassie and young Dickie Burton never imagined they would be the forerunner role models for a coffee empire… their imperial centurions and plunderers of Britain all these millennia ago met their match when they encountered the hordes North of Watford Gap… the Scots required Hadrian’s Wall to stop them coming over the border and nicking the latte and croissant plates from the toga-touters… so the Celts up there merely generated their own stuff… hence the birth of Mcdonald’s


…the Campbells were not allowed into the franchise after a wee bit of a misunderstanding about some Massacre in Glencoe… apparently they had failed to Deep Fry the Mars Bars… so there yeez go, a brief history of how Starbucks and McDonald’s were born… ye’re welcome… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



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Guest Post by Seumas Gallacher ~~ Why Author Seumas Gallacher has a blog….

…many thanks to the gracious Jackie Phillips for allowing me air time on her blog … mwaah 🙂


Life, Love & Strength


I ‘met’ Seumas in Blogville several months ago. He’s a delightful man with a great sense of humor.

wallpaper 2

He is also the author of several crime-thriller books that are hugely popular. Seumas is very helpful to other authors and want-to-be authors, if you have questions,  he’ll most likely have an answer.


Please, make welcome my new bloggy friend Seumas Gallacher.

why this ol’ Jurassic Scots Scribbler has a Blog…

…one of the perennial ‘chestnuts’ asked by newbie Authors, is whether or not they should maintain a Blog… in my not-so-’umble opinion I think it’s paramount for any writer in the modern publishing age to have his/her own Blog… producing yer literary masterpieces is one thing… but it’s only a part of yer ‘business of writing’… presence on the SOSYAL NETWURKS helps in the thrust to ‘build the platform’ of followers, and broadens readership…

in any business, good, strong…

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Should You Give Up Writing?

…great post from m’Lady, Jo Robinson regarding writer’s block… well worth a read…:)

Lit World Interviews

I’ve always found the different ways that we scribblers describe our experiences with writer’s block very interesting. Also the different ways the seasoned writers suggest getting over it. Some suggestions are to work around your block, or force yourself to write through it, even if what you write is rubbish. Other advice is to write something completely different. We won’t mention those rather hurtful cries of, “Stop being such a wussy. Adorn yourself in adult underwear! Plumbers don’t get plumbers block!” All of these things can work with a bit of effort and confidence, but one bit of advice that you seldom see is to take a break from writing completely. As if a week away from writing anything will totally strip you of the ability to write at all. It is true that if you don’t do something for a good long while, you could get a little rusty…

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…do not go gentle into that good Internet…

aunty acid

…if there’s one thing yeez get to know the older yeez get… is that yeez know comparatively little… no one mind or brain holds all the intelligence and learning that civilisation has generated since time began… and the earlier this ol’ Jurassic understood that, the easier it became to get comfortable about not being the fount of all knowledge… but it doesn’t mean I stop trying to learn… as a relative newcomer to this wunnerful scribbling gig seven years or so ago, the learning curve has been necessarily steep… makes me dizzy sum’times, truth be told… NUTHIN stays the same for long, and the WURLD of publishing has seen changes over the past ten or twenty years that would normally have taken a century or more… but I note many of our fellow Lads and Lassies in Blog Land reluctant to get immersed in the realities of modern day Authorship… each to his/her own, of course, but the evidence to my eyes is persuasive… the need to be present on the SOSYAL NETWURKS is even more demanding to be ‘heard’ above the literary market ‘noise’


…of course, just banging on about anything on the Web is kinda pointless… my approach is simple… I communicate as much as possible with people with like-minded writing interests… people with a sense of humour are also priceless… and I derive endless pleasure from supporting other quill-scrapers online… we all need our affirmations… our feathers stroked… the honest feedback from folks whose opinion yeez value… it’s all part and parcel of being ’aboard’… and there are still no free lunches…the cost of all of this is yer expended time, energy and focus… I regard it as the finest investment I’ve ever made… my acquired new creed is— ‘I write, I read, and I blog, therefore I am’… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



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…give yer soul a wee treat and watch this…

…the clip above has been doing the rounds again on Facebook, and I have to ‘fess up, it hits me right in the ‘feels’… there’s sum’thing uplifting about the whole ‘Zorba music’ thing… and I’m aware that the video was made a coupla years ago… but given the turbulence and relative hardship that many of the Greek populace has undergone in recent times, I find it a singularly positive watch… most of the man-in-the-street Greeks are not responsible for the economic mismanagement and political sleight-of-hand that has brought such despair to families all over that country… like many of yeez Lads and Lassies of Blog Land, I visited Greece many years ago, I danced Zorba’s dance and indulged the ouzo, and had a terrific time with the locals… I wish them well… enjoy the thing once more, and let yer spirit and soul soar as mine has done watching it…




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