Monthly Archives: March 2017

…when minor characters loom large in an Author’s narratives…

…there’s no doubt major characters in a novel carry the storyline to the reader-at-large… the confluence of their highs and lows (in the scribblers’ jargon – ‘the crisis – the solution – the next crisis – the subsequent solution, ad inforeverum’) are the meat and drink of most dramas… but, right here, I must ‘fess up… the delight in having lesser lights intrude is important to this ol’ Jurassic writer… it’s more than just the scrivener’s equivalent of wallpaper music in the  elevator, or the colour of the restaurant’s backdrop… the insertion of wee players at pivotal points in my books relieves the main characters from having do everything themselves to move the chapters along… more often as not, they can also provide much needed humorous interludes in an otherwise heavy-duty regimen… Master Billy Shakespeare was an expert in doing so… tragi-comedies are built on such techniques… but I digress… to be credible, the minor players, in my not-so-‘umble opinion, require every bit of fleshing out, and paradoxically, possibly even more so than major characters, because frequently they are in the plot for a specific purpose(s), and their actions must relate to the personality background I create for them… in two of my Jack Calder crime thrillers, THE VIOLIN MAN’S LEGACY and DEADLY IMPASSE, I feature Rico Sanchez, a Mexican undercover operative in South America… although a supposedly minor name in the novels, he has significant impact on the outcome in each of these stories… the danger with minor characters is at least two-fold… first of all, to avoid typecasting… and more importantly p’raps for an author, not falling in LUV with having them in the story… at some stage, I had to devise means of extracting him from the books… not an easy task, I assure yeez… Rico is only one example of many who pop their heads in occasionally, and I generally greet them like friends who only visit at intervals… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!





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…the magical mystery tour of an Author’s writing geography…

…I promised a few days ago to share with yeez why certain locales appear in my Jack Calder crime thriller series… the scope of the stories themselves begs the need for international settings… my characters roam the globe protecting their International Security Partners’ high value clients and their goods… in an effort to avoid ‘formulaic’ writing when producing what became a series, for this ol’ scribbler it’s essential to try to make each book ‘fresh’… properly presented, the geography itself becomes as much a player in the narrative as do the other characters… Hong Kong features strongly in the initial book, THE VIOLIN MAN’S LEGACY, and it set the tone by providing a colourful backdrop, not only in the ‘mental visuals’, but also with the other senses – smells, taste, and sounds, particularly language…

…I lived and WURKED in the former British colony for more than ten years, and it’s easy for me to ‘re-engage’ many of my experiences there… transforming those into credible fiction became an enjoyable indulgence… one of my favourite passages in that first book is the chapter where the main female character, May-Ling, takes Jack and Malky to an old fortune teller’s divan… the mood in the room as the old man touches an emotional nerve for Jack took me back to a similar visit I made over 30 years ago… quite extraordinary… even now as I write this, I can feel the hairs on my arms and neck rise… the continent of Asia, particularly the South-East, doubled as my business tramping ground for 25 years…

…this gave me even more diversity in picturing, for example, different airports and hotels, large and tiny… I think many people visualize Asia as ‘one’ place, when in fact it is many, disparate locations, each infused with its own identity… more treasure troves for ‘backdropping’… in the same manner, Europe is prob’ly more identifiable as a patchwork of separate, distinctly recognisable countries, p’raps mistakenly as archetypical models… but further fodder for descriptive licence… so there yeez have it… the magical mystery tour  of an Author’s writing geography… I’d be interested to learn how other writers approach their settings… next up, in a few days or so, I’ll tell yeez a bit about some of the minor characters in the books… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!









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Are we the Same Today? Horrors of the Scottish Witch-finding

…one of my finest pals is Mac Logan, an author and poet of great perspicuity (insight, Mabel… insight)… he’s not averse to dabbling in alternative ways to express himself… and recently did a sort of ‘joined-up’ thingy with the inspiration of an artist’s work with his ability to produce poetry that merges with it… I think it’s remarkable… be sure to click on the full post and follow the Sound Cloud rendition by Mac himself… see what yeez think:

by Mac Logan

What happens when a Scots artist and a Scots poet fuse the muse?

Scottish Witch Finding

Undergrowth a Tangled Weed© Pauline McGee 2011

This is the second effort of a distinctive collaboration between painter and poet. As in the first, TWIST, the painting portrays victims of the Scottish witch-finding times and their abuse. A poet responds to the artwork, absorbing the image and reacting. Comments most welcome.

Poet’s Eye

Studying the painting, my eye is drawn top left. I see an arm and face struggling, underwater. I recall the ducking chair and it’s use.

Towards the bottom of the work the calm, poker faces of the victims (see first two lines), hands holding back from clasping mouths in horror … Evil people have their way when good folk do nothing.

If you want to hear this poem read, follow the link at the bottom of the post.

Tangled Weed

Stay brave. Make sure those brutes can never see

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…so when will 100 years old be considered the new ‘middle age’?

…it’s an extraordinary thing this age business… when Master Gallacher was creeping into his teens, emb’dy who was over thirty years old was regarded as ‘getting on a bit’… when my turn came to reach that same ripe milestone of 30, the horizon had stretched sum’what to ‘oldies’ being on the other side of fifty… galloping straight through my own ‘life begins at 40’ nonsense and ripping headlong through the half century, again the elasticity of the ‘seniority’ tag revealed itself… reserved then in my head for the 75+ bracket… what a moving target it’s been since 1948… yup, 1948, Lads and Lassies of Blog Land… the year the newborn Gallacher backside was smacked for the first time as the midwife prob’ly wondered ‘what the hell has this poor pregnant wummin produced’...

…I find it incredible that as my own longevity outdoes the expectations of many who observed the madness that filled most of my first 35 years on the planet, I’ve come to terms that in my head I can be any bluudy age I feel myself to be… there’s the mental age, of course… and the physical well-being… and the spiritual ease or otherwise… and then there’s the downright daftness factor… let’s consider each of these in turn… my mental age has NUTHIN to do with my intelligence or lack of it… for me, that’s more of an attitude issue… being ‘old’ or ‘young’ or ‘middle-aged’ is mostly in yer head… the physical elements are a bit more arbitrary… the human body is a machine of sorts, and over time, will usually attract some wear and tear… the spiritual core is personal to each and every one of us, and from my perspective takes a bit of WURKING on to keep what I feel is a sensible balance in dealing with what ‘Life’ throws at us… therein for me lies the philosophical acceptance of much that I would have kicked into touch half a life time ago… and last but not least, the craziness, the quirkiness, the idiosyncrasies, the often oblique and twisted sense of humour, coupled most importantly with the ability to laff out loud at my own  daftness… the key factor in all of it… sumb’dy once said to me,“there are three stages in the life of Man – infancy, adulthood, and ‘my, you ARE looking well’!”… so when will 100 years old be considered the new ‘middle age’?… if yeez find out, let me know, eh?… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ! 




Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff, where did May-Ling come from, Mister Author?

…I’m having great fun introducing to yeez some of the characters from my Jack Calder crime thriller series… the other day, it was the trio of former SAS guys, Jack Calder, Jules Townsend and Malky McGuire… the main female in the books is without peer (or peeress, I s’pose, Mabel)… May-Ling Calder, the wife of Jack… however, as yeez might suspect, May-Ling does have a a peeress in real life, or rather, an amalgam of peeresses… this ol’ scribbler spent some WURK time in Hong Kong and the Far East, during which sojourn, (inevitably some may say), a marriage was announced… wedded I was to a local Chinese lady, (sadly since, that relationship foundered on a surfeit of Master Gallacher’s misguided pursuit of a career as a Master of the Financial Universe… mea culpa… but I digress)…


…the fair damsel from that former British colony was more than a match and equal partner for this mere Scottish male… mine was not the only opinion of her as a beautiful lady… intelligent, witty, possessed of immense practicality, and an accomplished, celebrated artist in Chinese water-colour… but the deepest quality I observed at closer quarters than anyone else was her mental strength… bottle these and serve in rationed measure, and yeez have as close as yeez will get to May-Ling Calder… another couple of sidekicks in my stories are the two Scots bred in the old school of Scottish policing… Alan Rennie and Donnie MullenAlan, currently Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in London, and Donnie, formerly head of London’s famous Flying Squad heavy crime combatants, have stellar backgrounds in their respective careers in cleaning up crime in the capital…

…Mullen also adds success in extinguishing much of the Chinese triad gangs in Hong Kong, where he was at one time May-Ling‘s boss… each of these two senior cops is modelled after the man who was with me as my best man at my first marriage, in Scotland, about 100 years ago… highlander, Duncan Campbell… he was in the real Flying Squad when I knew him in London, and a tougher, harder example of a fighting man from North of the  Border would be hard to find… all these part-ghosts and mem’ries of men and women I’ve been privileged to have in my life flit in and out of my stories, but I assure yeez I had no direct intention of crafting it that way… the subliminal writer’s mind just produces stuff like that… next up will be ‘why do certain places appear on my books?’… watch this space… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!









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…have yeez been introduced to my Jack Calder characters yet?…

…the inevitable question arrived the other day, when I was Guest Speaker at The Royal University for Women in Bahrain… are the characters in the books modelled after ‘real’ people?… for a split second, I felt that p’raps the audience thought the players in the novels were only figments of my imagination… heaven forfend, Mabel!

…every writer worth his/her scribbling salt will tell yeez that ‘of course our characters are real… they all live in our heads… and argue with us… and disagree with us… and cause us endless sleepless nights with their constant debating with us as to what they are supposed and supposed not to do in our narratives’… but let me hit the ‘pause’ button for a few seconds… and ‘fess up… when I re-read any of my Jack Calder series, it becomes quite apparent that subconsciously or otherwise, the characters do seem to have remarkable ‘dopplegangers’ living outside of the books… Jack, and his mates Malky McGuire and Jules Townsend, are the epitome of the ‘a Scotsman, an Irishman and an Englishman walk into a story’... the common trait for all three of them is their former membership as officers in the Special Air Services, the famous undercover special operations guys, the British SAS...

…the role model is a real acquaintance of mine whom I knew when I was working in Manila in the Philippines over 25 years ago… for reasons that would take too long to explain, I was corporate trouble-shooting as head of a distressed ferry company, during the early days of which assignment I had to fire 600 trade union dock workers and lay off local policeman and mayors who were supposed to be looking after the company’s interests, but in fact were only lining their own pockets… hence the need for special protection for Master Gallacher... an armoured car and a roster of six armed bodyguards round the clock for three years… my pal was the head and owner of the company which trained the men who looked after me… there’s the genesis for the three main characters…. tomorrow I’ll tell yeez about May-Ling and a coupla other people who populate the books … see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!








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…and the third great Guest Post offering from Author, Charles Hash… enjoy…

…little did I suspect when I opened my web page for my usual seasonal Guest Post invitations, that one contributor would delight with three superb pieces… I’ve enjoyed immensely each one of these jewels from my friend, Author, Charles Hash… here’s his third … enjoy…

Winter has embraced my tiny part of the world, and time often seems to stand still amidst the darkness and cold. While the last few leaves persistently cling to the branches as an indicator of the impending slumber of the season, I’m reminded of my childhood spent in the mountains. I was a lonely child with no brothers and no sisters, isolated away from the nearest neighboring children, but the three years I spent there were wonderful. One of my favorite activities in the fall was chopping wood for the stove, our only source of heat. I don’t know why I liked it so much, but I found myself getting lost in the rhythm, and within my thoughts. Chop, chop, chop. It was meditation in its purest form to me, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. It never seemed like hard work, because I enjoyed every bit of it. To this day, I miss chopping wood in the fall and through the winter.

Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other.
-Walter Elliot

In many ways, chopping wood is a lot like writing a book. It can make your hands cramp, and your shoulders sore, and your head echo with the empty thump of a headache. It can seem endless, with another pile of wood waiting to be turned into kindling or stacked to dry. It becomes tedious and monotonous, overwhelming to some, but comforting to others. And I suspect, like writing, chopping wood is not as enjoyable now that I’m older. Some days I hate it. Everything has always come so effortlessly to me, but not writing. I’ve grown bored with most other pursuits that I’ve enjoyed, and while I’ve never mastered anything, I’ve molded myself into a Jack of All Trades. But writing…is an elusive concept, with a wider variety of subjects, styles and applications than any other art form. The potential is unlimited for what can be created or destroyed with little more than a sentence or two. Hope can be restored, or hearts can be broken. Shadows can dance with sunshine in every word you write, if you so desire. But I digress.

Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th.
-Julie Andrews

Time is a luxury none of us can afford. We all need more of it. No one will ever have enough. There is nothing you can do to stall its passage. That is why we need perseverance. That is why we must keep chopping wood even as the snows begins to pile around our knees. No one will write it for you. Few will care until is finished. Some won’t care until you win the only award they’ve ever heard of, or you sign a movie or television deal. It doesn’t matter anyway. All that matters is that you keep writing, keep pushing ahead, keep swinging that axe. The best thing about chopping wood? At the end, is spring. A glorious reward for the hard work you have done. I get the same feeling from spring as I do finishing my writing, whether it is a short story or a novel. I hope that feeling never gets old.

Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.
-John Quincy Adams

The only way to succeed is to persevere. All of the talent in the world will only get you so far, which is usually couch surfing for a few years in your 20s while you make grand excuses for your grand failures. If you don’t do it then it will never get done. Don’t worry about the things that are outside of your control, they are just distracting you from the real work at hand, which is finishing your next book. Chop, chop, chop.

I do not think that there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature.
-John D. Rockefeller

Almost everyone has heard “you never fail until you give up”, and I believe this to be true. I consider it one of the few hardline philosophies I have, but there is a wonderful benefit to it. Until the day you turn off your computer, put away your keyboard, and never write another creative or informative word for publication again, traditional or otherwise, you are an Author, and no one can take that from you unless you let them.

By perseverance the snail reached the ark.
-Charles Spurgeon

Some days the miles fly by as I type out words by the thousands. Some days, I crawl along like a fly without wings, measuring progress in increments of nothingness. Often, the well dries up completely, and the crops wither in the drought. Doubt sets in and I begin to wonder if I will ever write another word again. Perhaps not everyone feels this way, but I certainly do. Sometimes the words flow through me like a torrent, as though they were once a trickling stream, swollen to a raging, gushing river by the spring thaw. Other times it feels like I’m stranded in a desert, and no matter how deeply I dig into the shaded sand, I cannot produce so much as a drop. Those tough times, those lean stretches where I wonder if I’ll ever finish anything ever again, are what makes the good times so damn good. If it were easy, I don’t think I would appreciate it as much as I do. Sometimes it certainly feels easy enough. The rest of the time, it is impossible, insurmountable, overwhelming and beyond my capabilities.

Thinking is an experimental dealing with small quantities of energy, just as a general moves miniature figures over a map before setting his troops in action.
-Sigmund Freud

So, I keep writing. I keep chopping wood. As the sun sets earlier each day, I remind myself that at the end of the long, frozen nights and cold, shortened days is another beautiful, wondrous spring.

Chop. Chop. Chop.

…thanks for the excellent Guest Post contributions, that man, Charles… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



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…so, what’s in a name? even if it’s wrong?…

…let’s start at the very beginning… my name to the WURLD-at-large is ‘Seumas’… except it isn’t… the birth certificate and the passport have me down as ‘James’… y’see, I spent the latter part of my teens in Tobermory, on the Isle of Mull in the Scottish Hebrides where for reasons explained at length elsewhere,  I started singing and competing in the Gaelic language, with some creditable medal-winning success at the local and National Gaelic Mods… the good folks in Mull found it easier to refer to me by the Gaelic moniker, ‘Seumas’, and so it has been for over 50 years… but, as with many of yeez who may have a name that’s not too familiar to other folks, the number of different spellings and pronunciation manglings it has suffered from people trying to address me has been NUTHIN short of spectacular, especially when I WURKED in the Far East… the surname, ‘Gallacher‘, has often fared little better away from the UK… one of my favourites was from an Asian person calling my office asking to talk with ‘Mister Galloper’… yup… I’m yer huckleberry… on the same theme, in Hong Kong, a new secretary was allotted to me, a young Chinese lady… one day, when I was out of the office, I called in to leave a message with her… the exchange went sum’thing like this:

…ring, ring…

Secretary: Hello, this is Mister Gallacher’s office, may I help you?

Me : This is Mister Gallacher…

Secretary : Sorry, he’s not here right now, can I take a message?

Me: No, it’s ME… Mister Gallacher here…

Secretary : He’ll be back in the office later… can I take a message?

Me : I AM Mister Gallacher… in case anyone calls, I’ll be delayed another hour or so…

Secretary : I told you, Mister Gallacher’s not here at the  moment… you call back later…

Me: Listen, I’m…


…and I never ever did get to meet me…

…see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…standby for terrific Guest Post #2 from Author, Charles Hash…


Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…Author, Frank Westworth reveals some of the dangers lurking for we scribblers…

…any serious Harley-Davidson rider, who also writes great books and gets playing blues guitar, automatically commands my attention… Author friend, Frank Westworth, is no exception in that regard… have a read of his WURDS of wisdom…

Unsafe Spaces

Frank Westworth’s new crime-thriller, ‘The Redemption Of Charm’, arrives at the end of March. In the meanwhile he ponders a topical peril of political correctness…

Writers have a problem. Readers. OK, so writers have many problems, among them … readers. What do readers do which is a problem for writers? Surely they’ve paid their sixpence, bought the book, and everyone is happy. What can possibly go wrong? What goes wrong is that readers sometimes read the books they’ve bought. No no, do not doubt me, for I know this to be true. It gets worse. After reading some of the book some readers write to the writer – to the author. This can be good. This can in fact be great. This can also be a peril.

The peril – one of several potential perils – comes when the reader fails to read what the writer has written. And then takes offence. Takes offence not at what the writer has actually written but at what they’ve read. Let me stand proud and confess here: I write books which are adult. They’re written for adults. They contain adult situations, tales of adults doing adult things with and indeed to other adults. They swear. I write a lot about military and police types. I’ve known lots of guys like this, girls and boys both. And let me reveal here that they can – and indeed do – swear. They use bad language. Profane language. And slang.

I am entirely prepared for any reader who’s read a book and been outraged / appalled / horrified / rendered speechless with jealousy at what the characters in my books get up to. They fight, they fornicate, they do inhuman things like that … and they enjoy it so much that they do it again and again. They eat and drink and do other deadly stuff too. These books are intended to be entertaining, and they’re intended to offer views and perspectives on unusual situations. They are not obsessed with the latest food fads, with girls on trains, memories of empire, lost youth or with flower arranging. I make this plain on the covers. It’s best to do so. And some folk are a bit horrified, but that’s OK so long as they knew what to expect. And if they didn’t and they can’t handle guys saying words beginning with ‘f’ and ending in ‘k’ then … well, enjoy the cloister. Really. Be happy.

I got a letter today. An email. It accused me of being racist. Curious. This does not happen every day. Two things upset the reader. In one scene in a short story one of the characters – a black US Navy SEAL – refers to the occupants of a faraway land from which he has just returned as ‘towelheads’. You’re shocked by this? It’s military slang. Talk to soldiers. Read what they write. A soldier – a Brit who’s closely related to me – served in Germany for many years and referred to Germans as ‘boxheads’. There was no malice in this. It’s pejorative slang, but it’s hardly malicious. Using slang does not make you racist. Writing dialogue in which two soldiers use military slang is … accurate. It sets a tone and makes a scene.

In the same story the same soldier refers to his doubtless mighty manhood as ‘the black torpedo’. This did not bother my reader. Oddly.

Let’s try another. In another story which my reader cited as evidence most profound of my racism there’s a scene in a desert, after a battle. There are some prisoners, they have surrendered and given up their weapons. Except one hasn’t, and knifes and kills a soldier, a Brit in this case (Note: ‘Brit’ is not a racist slur – not an intentional one at any rate). The sergeant in charge asks, kindly enough, who did the killing. No replies. His justice is short, effective and entirely old testament. Is this racist? I think not. The sergeant’s actions would have been the same regardless of the race, colour, creed or gender of the killer. In fact, I wanted to set up a moral puzzle, and I wanted it to be plain, so I called the story ‘Two Wrongs’. This is a clue, right?

And there’s more – always more. Like many other scribblers, I write about nutjobs, psycho killers, paid professional killers (mainly soldiers here). Does that mean that I am one, a nutjob psycho killer? Who knew? Consider this: psycho killers may have views which others may find objectionable – it would be strange if they didn’t, really.

It’s a dangerous world … even the fictional worlds have their own dangers, apparently.



In ‘The Redemption Of Charm’, anti-hero JJ Stoner prowls the threatening territory familiar to readers of ‘Galveston’ or ‘The Winter Of Frankie Machine’ but with a distinctly British twist. Imagine what might happen if Jack Reacher lost the only fight that really matters…

Black humour and wry realism underscore intense episodes of brutal, no-holds-barred conflict. Snappy dialogue segues into surreal, sometimes deadly sexual encounters.

Finally, Stoner must take his last stand and face his ultimate foe. Survival is far from certain.

Perfect for fans of Lee Child, Don Winslow and Nic Pizzolatto.


The ex-black ops assassin and former soldier has been betrayed three times over. His enemies brutalised his woman, corrupted his best friend. Stoner is now a danger to anyone who knows him. He’s isolated. Neutralised. Vulnerable.
Now he must confront Charm, the final Killing Sister, and find out whether any of his former friends and allies will stand by his side when the bullets start flying.

JJ Stoner has every reason to die.

Can he find a reason to live?

THE REDEMPTION OF CHARM is published on 28 March 2017 by Book Guild Publishing Ltd at £2.99 in ebook or £7.99 paperback. ISBN: 978-1911320555, available at good booksellers and online


‘The writing is stylish, clever, razor-sharp, and we are left in awe of the Killing Sisters, with all their murderous skills and their sexual savagery’

Crime Fiction Lover

‘Guns, girls, guitars and scenes of gruesome violence, all shot through with a wit sharp enough to draw blood. Westworth delivers a plot that drags you along relentlessly’

Award-winning author RJ Ellory

‘A fast-paced, high-powered thriller. Terse and stiletto streamlined and sharp as the blade of a knife.’

Maxim Jakubowski,

‘When the fighting starts, you want JJ Stoner on your side’

Quentin Bates, best-selling author of the Icelandic murder-mysteries

‘A dark, grievous tale of hanging out with a nihilistic killer and enjoying the ride’

Eden Sharp, author of the Vigilante Investigator Justice Series

‘This book is the definition of guilty pleasure with explosions, intrigue, and beautiful murderous women’

Jeffrey Keeten, Goodreads top reviewer



Frank Westworth shares several characteristics with his literary anti-hero, JJ Stoner: they both play mean blues guitar and ride Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Unlike Stoner, Frank hasn’t deliberately killed anyone. Frank lives in Cornwall in the UK, with his guitars, motorcycles, partner and cat.







…thanks for this, Frank… okay, Lads and Lassies of Blog Land… go check out my pal, Frank’s great books… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



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