Monthly Archives: December 2016

Best Bloggers Blogging in 2016!

…2016 year-end Bloggers’ mentions from the indominatable Susan Toy….mwaaah , m’Lady,Susan… thanks for the inclusion… honoured , flattered and delighted 🙂 🙂 :i

Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing


These past few years (2015 and 2014), I’ve wrapped up twelve months of blogging by listing my favourite bloggers who I have subscribed to and read, and whose blogs I believe would be of interest to my readers. Chris Graham (aka The Story Reading Ape) created this nifty badge that any of the bloggers on my list are welcome to add to their own blogs!

This year’s list is going to look a bit like a roundup of the usual suspects, as so many of my favourite bloggers continue to post to their blogs and write so well. A few of those old favourites have stopped blogging, but there are a few new discoveries this year, and one is a former book publishing colleague who is absolutely new to blogging just this week! So I’ll begin my list this year with the newbies-to-me, for variety sake.

Please do…

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…the language of the Celtic Gods… Gaelic as she is spoke… from my pal, 2ndwitch…


…I’ve elaborated several times, then several times more about the magic and beauty that resides within the  Celtic language and its music… my formative teens were spent living and WURKING in Tobermory on God’s Gift of an island, Mull, in the Scottish Hebrides... my immersion in the local community and the Gaelic tongue brought immense pleasure, including a sheaf of medals in solo singing at the An Comunn Gaidhealach’s National Mods… comes now this terrific post from my dear friend, 2ndwitch… enjoy…

aaaaaaaThe Gaelic Legacy

by 2ndwitch

 It is so easy to take things for granted. Reading, for example. We read stories, poems, factual books, all sorts and combinations . . . but how often do we stop when reading to think about the origins of the words in front of us?
This has been brought home to me these last three months. I am English, born in Lancashire (and in some ways very proud of my heritage), but I have lived north of the border for over half my life, and these last months I have been studying Scottish literature, including a module called ‘The Gaelic Legacy’. I do not have the Gaelic, and much as I would love to learn I suspect I am now too old and too inflexible to change that now, but this module, led by the Gaelic poet and academic, Meg Bateman, has been fascinating.
So much of the beliefs of Gaeldom were ahead of their time. They believed in a round earth at a time when it was ‘known’ to be flat, they revered women, they held their bards in high esteem, and most of all, they showed understanding of and respect for the earth and nature in all that they did. Many places and rivers are named for various goddesses – such as Banff, Loch Earn, Dee, Don, Tay etc, and many features in the landscape and hills are named after parts of a woman’s body – Cailleach, Mam etc.

The poetry of the bards down the centuries tells the history of the Highlands, it reflects the politics and exploitation of the glens, the clearances and the raping of the land. The stories of Lewis Grassic Gibbon are rooted in the land, in nature, as are Edwin Muir’s writing, George Mackay Brown’s and so many others. And perhaps most of all, the poetry of Sorley MacLean, that is clothed in the Gaelic Legacy but when so clad can stride across Europe and further afield.


And as Meg herself has written, “In Gaelic culture we have the remnants of primal understanding of man’s place in nature.” I think we need to look hard at the Gaelic Legacy, it has a lot to teach us!

… many thanks, 2ndwitch… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



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…from the slums of Docklands Govan to the Opera Houses of the World… the magic of music…

…been asked to reblog this … gladly …:)

…as this ol’ Scots Jurassic scribbler heads into dotage, it has always baffled me why sum’thing responds in me when I hear music… real music… not the noises which ofte…

Source: …from the slums of Docklands Govan to the Opera Houses of the World… the magic of music…


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…self-publishing Authors… are marketing and free Auntie Amazon promos worth it?…


…most of my wunnerful scribbler friends on the Web enjoy the creative writing side of the business, but that same 99.99% are also delighted when the Auntie Amazon sales pages are ticking upward… and this ol’ Jurassic is no different… those of yeez who honour me by reading these blogs regularly will know that I’m not shy in pushing my wee literary masterpieces… I’ve often pointed to the fact that in the modern self-publishing or ‘house-published’ WURLD, the Author/Authoress has to be multifaceted… writer/editor/copywriter/proofreader/cover art designer/formatter/advertiser/promoter to get heard amidst the Blogosphere din… I’m not advocating spamming… far from it.. spamming turns more people off than it brings aboard… but I mean properly presented programs to put yer WURK in front of potential readers… I’ve just completed a five-day free promo on Amazon Kindle for KILLER CITY, the second most recent of my titles… I chose that title because my sales/downloads tracker on the Author sales pages indicated it was lagging in sales/downloads among the five books I currently have out there… result after five days?… excellent…


…a gratifying number of readers downloaded, and it’s now on a par with my other titles… now, here’s the thing for self-publishers (and others)… during the promo period, the remaining four books, also saw a tick upward in sales (at normal pricing)… and astonishingly, and unexpectedly, these other four titles also saw significant increases in the KINDLE UNLIMITED usage, where the writer gets paid a fraction of a cent for every page read… and a lot of little makes a lot, believe me… having a back list is a vital piece for that, of course… using the Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter channels on a scheduled frequency, a few times daily, during the freebie period is essential, and it’s okay for that short period to put ‘AUTHOR PSE RT?’, as many fellow-pensters will click the ‘ReTweet’ and ‘Share’ buttons for yeez… don’t be shy at telling the universe where to find yer babies… go break a downloading leg, Lads and Lassies of Blog Land… self-publishing Authors… are marketing and free Auntie Amazon promos worth it?… you betcha!… !

…here’s the family Christmas Photograph:

14569731_10154508569548070_2070252932_n…and where to find them:






…see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



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…Jurassic I am… Jurassic I’ll remain… R.I.P. Blackberry mine…

aaaaa…I am unashamedly the supposed possessor of an abnormally high IQ… which means NUTHIN more than my brain seems able instinctively to figure out matters of logic… ‘logic’... stuff that makes sense… my affinity with numbers had me gravitate to an early career as a Trainee  Master of the Financial Universe as a foreign exchange trader in banks in London, Hong Kong and Singapore… no less impressive (at least to my granny), is the ability to fathom words from scattered letters… anagrams come easily, as does the odd, peculiar turn of phrase when I toy with the wordsmithing metier… so why, why, why, when it comes to compoootery stuff like laptops and mobile phones do I appear as sharp as a billiard ball?… I think it has sum’thing to do with the fact that I prefer to do mental arithmetic calculations rather than use a calculator… I’d rather devise WURDS in my head than go Google the online thesauri (that’s me showing off, Mabel… plural for ‘thesaurus‘… see what I mean?)…  so when it comes to trying to get my wee grey cells to understand the machinations of iStuff, my brain seizes up… for years I used a Blackberry… and it took most of these years to half-figure out how it operated… what buttons to press to do simple things like making a phone call to sumb’dy on my contacts list… and don’t talk to me about ‘apps’‘apps’… the shortened version of ‘stuff that gives Master Gallacher apoplexy’… imagine then the enormity of my grief when the faithful Blackberry ultimately had to be replaced… it shuffled off to that Great Big Device-Paradise in the Sky… getting a new Blackberry, I was advised, was ‘not a good idea’ as they are about to go obsolete, sumb’dy said… bit like myself, really… long story short, a purchase was made in the last month of a Samsung...


…not the amusing exploding model, but one with traits which are just as bad… its predictive text is producing a whole new language to baffle my friends… as if they weren’t puzzled enuff with the cryptic messages I used to send… and gazillions of overlapping virtual pages on the wee screen… all I want is to be able to send and receive texts and phone calls .. is that too much to ask, or as Monster Samsung Predictive Text says, ‘Is ham due such a cask?’… if yeez need me , I’ll be out looking for a telephone box…


…y’know, that big red cubicle with lots of little glass windows and a coin-pay thingy that lets you talk to people… Jurassic I am… Jurassic I’ll remain… R.I.P. Blackberry mine… see yeez later … LUV YEEZ!



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One Woman’s Island – in Bahrain!!!

…my pal Susan Toy‘s collecting photos of her book from locations around the planet… let”s help her build her catalogue !


Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing

It’s lovely, and somehow very fitting, to receive the first photo in the Where/Who in the World is Reading One Woman’s Island??? from none other than the great Seumas Gallacher – the author, reader, blogger, singer, supporter, pal, Billy Connolly-loving, Glaswegian-speaking, kilt-wearing Scotsman who now happens to live in Abu Dhabi!

Here he stands with my eBook cover visible on his eReader …


Says Seumas: From one island to another .. . from the shores of Bahrain to those of Bequia… Master Gallacher… proud owner of his Kindle copy of m’Lady, Susan’s masterpiece! Cheeeeeeeers 🙂

Thank you, Seumas!

Seumas has been a guest over at my other blog, Reading Recommendations, several times now. Head on over there to see what he’s been writing and publishing. I’ve read every book That Man has created and I tell you truthfully I’ve immensely enjoyed reading every single one!


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Books for the bloggers in my life

LUV this post from pal, Jessica Norrie:)

Words and Fictions

It’s time I said thank you to all the wonderful book bloggers who’ve helped me since The Infinity Pool was published. I’d like to give them a book each, from those I’ve enjoyed this year. They may not be recently published, but ones I only just got around to that many others discovered before me. And they’re only virtual, but hey, it’s the thought that counts! Bloggers, if you don’t like what I’ve chosen for you, why not swap it with one of your colleagues?

I didn’t have my own blog to acknowledge you all on until April of this year, so I’ve gone right back to the start. Seumas Gallacher was the first blogger ever to feature me, back in September 2015, so I’m giving him Paradise by AL Kennedy, because it takes place in Scotland and Ireland among other places, and it’s bitter, black and very funny. It’s also very dark…

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December 17, 2016 · 10:56 am

…Louise Mullins shares her journey to become an authoress…

…the lonely route each of we scribblers take to find our literary grail is fascinatingly familiar… here’s the path Authoress Louise Mullins trudged…


As a child, I used to make up stories in my head. As I grew older I began to write them down in a notebook. By the time I left home, I had several notebooks full of story ideas, short stories, and poems. I didn’t take it seriously until I began writing a memoir at the age of twenty-one as part of a writing course I signed up for with an adult education course.

I’ve always been an avid reader. I devoured everything from history, psychology texts (unrelated to my studies), autobiographies, true crime, and of course, psychological thrillers. I fell in love with historical fiction after reading several of Charlotte Bettes’ novels.

I’ve always been fascinated with history and crime so it was no surprise that after the death of my grandmother, who I was exceptionally close to, I decided to write through my grief by researching and fictionalising areas of interest in my home city of Bristol.

My first published title The House Of Secrets was the first novel I’d ever completed, and from there I believed I’d found my niche. After the publication of Lavender Fields, my second historical novel, I realised – though I’d never intended to – I’d become a crime writer.

I subscribed to Writing Magazine and began to scour the internet for tips on how to plot a crime thriller, and in 2015 I published my first psychological thriller, Scream Quietly, drawing on my professional experience working as a psychological therapist. I began training to work with survivors and offenders of serious crimes in the same year, and my second book, Damaged, was the result. From there I’ve gone on to publish four titles under the imprint of Dark Path Publishing, and Dark Edge Press. My latest, What I Never Told You, is available to pre-order from Amazon now. It’s a dark, pacy thriller which delves into the aftereffects of child abuse on both the survivor and the accused. It’s a story of forgiveness and retribution.


You can pre-order your copy here:

I’ve feel blessed to have a loyal following of readers and last year this gave me the courage to submit to Bloodhound Books, a fast growing Indie publisher who offer their author’s a lot of support. The Woman in the Woods was published by Bloodhound in July, and Beautiful Liar is due to be published in the New Year.

I’ve kept the day job – a retailing business I’ve owned since 2007. I’m still practising as a Psychological Therapist. And I’m training as a clinical forensic psychologist. Writing fits nicely in between. I have three children (four if you count my husband) and a house to run so I try to spend at least three-four hours every weekday writing, editing, or promoting. It’s as important as ever to market your own work these days, and I’m rather lucky to have the skills since managing my own business.

I get a lot of my plot ideas from real life experiences (either personal or professional). I also read and watch a lot of crime fiction. I’ve studied a lot of true crime case studies for uni. I also have a background in mental health support work so I have a lot of information to draw upon. Most of my ideas, though, tend to leap out at me from nowhere, and I despite writing on a laptop I keep the pen and notebook handy to jot down ideas, sometimes at three in the morning.

I write at home on the sofa, with a view from the living room window to the Welsh hills and valleys. We’ve recently moved to a quiet neighbourhood a short walk away from the river, and the backdrop is swimming with plot lines and stirring my imagination all the time.

I have tried to take a break from writing, but find I become restless. Being a mum is my highest priority, but writing acts as a form of therapy for me. We have a son with special needs, and I find writing much easier than meditation. It calms my mind in a way that nothing else can.

I’m currently rewriting a novel I began eighteen months ago, titled Lucky. It has resulted in the ideas and publication of three titles so far, but I’m returning to the original theme of human trafficking and drug smuggling to rewrite the story. It’s something that has stuck with me for a long time, and I’ve seen the story unfold and remould several times. I’m not giving up on her. She wants her voice heard.

I owe it to my characters to tell the story they want me too. I find I always begin with a plot, the themes evolve of their own accord. The characters jump straight into the scene, and then I have the basis for a novel. Editing is my least favourite part so I always do a content, line and copy edit before sending it off to a professional. Holding a crisp paperback copy of my latest ‘baby’ will never grow tiresome.




…thank you, m’Lady, Louise... see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



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A challenge to all Readers …

…more wunnerful authors’ support from the irrepressible, Susan Toy.:) 🙂 🙂

Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing

Earlier in the summer, I wrote and posted this to my blog: Why not read books simply because they’re well-written?

Then I asked Chris Graham, aka The Story Reading Ape, to create three memes that promoted three of the ideas I’d covered in this post: Ask for a meme …

For the purpose of this challenge, I want to focus on the suggestion in one of these memes …


Why not, indeed?

I recently began following two Facebook pages that were set up for the benefit of Readers. The gist of both sites was an exchange of reading recommendations and a place where readers could find out what they might want to read next. On the one site, there were a lot of rules posted restricting Indie Authors as to how much they could self-promote. Understandably so. However, authors were also restricted from posting links to our own blogs, and…

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…Author Frank Muir offers a splendid piece or three of his mind…

…I’m grateful for the legions of great pals I have in the Great Global Author Diaspora… some of whom I’ve only ‘met’ in the Virtualsphere, others in person… one such from the ‘in person’ group is terrific crime thriller writer, Frank Muir (he goes all posh with his ‘Sunday’ name on his books – ‘T. F. Muir’)… I first read one of his DCI Andy Gilchrist thrillers a few years ago, and was hooked on his series ever since… his latest wee masterpiece, BLOOD TORMENT is currently edging closer to the top of my to-be-read pile…


…apart from his obvious wordsmithing skills, Frank possesses opinions… and ain’t shy in expressing them… LUV IT!… here’s a sample of what I mean:


At the invitation of that wonderful ‘auld’ Scottish author, Seumas Gallacher, I realised I had a few things on my mind that I would like to share with Seumas’s readers through his generous offer to let me loose on his blog. All free of charge, too, which is more than likely contrary to most people’s belief that Scots are as tight as a politician’s coffin. Which brings me to my first rant.

duckBeing Scottish, too, I’m used to hearing derogatory remarks about our alleged unwillingness to ‘buy a round,’ or ‘chip into the kitty,’ or that the old threepenny bit had twelve edges so you could use a spanner to screw it out of a Scotsman’s hand. And oh my, what we allegedly do to poor sheep with our wellington boots – it’s enough to make a Scotsman grab onto his sporran and run to the hills to hide in shame. Well, let me reassure the people of the world (or at least all of those who subscribe to Seumas’s blog!!) that the Scots are none of the above – at least none of the Scots I know.

I first met Seumas on one his trips back to Glasgow, when he invited several of his Facebook friends – authors and readers – to meet for a get together in a hotel in Glasgow. It turned out to be a great event, one in which I met other kindred lovers of books, and found Seumas to be friendly, helpful, and extremely generous, in fact picking up the tab for the whole event – in other words, a true Scotsman.

pinkMy second rant is about FIFA, the governing body of football (soccer, to Seumas’s American friends), who don’t seem capable of running a stag party in a brewery, let alone manage the rules of the beautiful game. Rife with rumours (many allegedly true) of bribery and corruption, FIFA seems to be run by a clueless bunch of dunderheads with barely an ounce of common sense in the collective six inches between the ears. Point in fact – for the latest match between two auld rivals, England and Scotland at Wembley (incidentally, played on Armistice day – see below), FIFA’s irrational argument that Scotland’s dark blue strip would be difficult to distinguish between England’s all-white strip because Scotland’s strip had white shorts, defies all sense of logic. Scotland were obliged to wear all-pink strips instead, even though in countries that still show football games on black and white TVs, the contrast between pink and white strips would be less striking.

arms-2But worst of all, after that same match, FIFA reported both the England and Scottish teams to their disciplinary committee for wearing armbands with poppies in commemoration of all those who gave the ultimate sacrifice and lost their lives in combat. The argument behind this case of monumental stupidity was that FIFA’s rules do not permit the display of political statements on any football attire – an admirable rule in and of itself. But would someone please explain to that group of ignoramuses that wearing poppies is never, has never been, nor ever will be, a political statement.

And so to my last rant, which is really not a rant, but a blowing of all Scots’ trumpets (or bagpipes) on behalf of our fiercely patriotic nation. Two words – Andy Murray. If there was ever a harder-working, more humble and dedicated professional sportsperson in any corner of the world, then I would need to see him, or her, to believe it. With two Olympic gold medals, two Wimbledon and one US Open grand slams, and finishing the year as World number one – never before done by any Brit (man or woman) in the modern era of tennis – Murray has defined himself as one of the greatest, if not the greatest ever, Scottish sportsperson. Of course, being an ardent fan of Andy Murray comes with its drawbacks, because – as every Scottish tennis supporter knows – Murray puts us through the wringer, time and time again. So much so, in fact, that the Oxford English Dictionary is thinking of redefining ‘murder’ as – a Scotsman watching Andy Murray play tennis!!andy

Talking of murder, if any of Seumas’s fans like to read a good crime story, please feel free to visit my website at and learn a bit more about me and my books – the first and only contemporary crime series set in St. Andrews, Scotland, the home of golf – but that’s another story.

…thanks gazillions for the post, Frank… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



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