Tag Archives: #socialnetworking

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



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




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



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…another neat wee sting in Asia years ago…

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


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


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



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

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

cup cakes

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


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

editor love

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



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…inventive enterprise at its best from Asia…

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

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


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

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


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

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



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…for an Author, a wee literary brain burst every now and then can be amazingly satisfying…

…as with many of yeez Lads and Lassies of Blog Land who scribble stories and novels, I’m often asked where the ideas come from for the plots… to date, each of the four books in my Jack Calder crime thriller series has begun in my head as an ‘ending’… I prefer to have at least a rough notion how it all ends… the trip on the way there can take the narrative down many a twisty-turvy path… and that’s before yeez even consider what the characters get up to when they decide where yer novel’s going… another quirk of mine is to get a title as early as possible… that kinda lends a bit of a ‘persona’ to the book for me…


…as some of yeez may be aware, my excellent publishers, Crooked Cat Publishing will be flashing the newly-minted fourth in the series, KILLER CITY, in August, and I’ll be drumming yer ears about that in due course… meantime, back to the batty belfry that houses what’s left of my wee grey cells… I do have the intermittent period of lucidity, conjoined, naturally, with the typical delusions of adequacy… but this afternoon, over a coffee with myself, I began to jot down on a paper napkin the beginning for the next book… I kid yeez not, it all tumbled out so easily… I filled three napkins with one-line headings, which will encapsulate at least two thirds of the newest masterpiece…


…and I epiphanated (it’s a WURD, Mabel… I just invented it…. leave it alone) a title into the bargain… DEADLY IMPASSE… (eat yer heart out Eurozone and Greece)… y’see, writing stuff is a bit like falling off a horse sum’times…. yeez go through all these days, weeks, and extended months of sweat, blood, tears and computer ink… yeez finish it… and then yeez invite all the pain back by climbing on again straight away…. I must be nuts… but I repeat myself… I already said I’m an Author… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



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….human timepieces and arithmetical animals in the Scottish Hebrides…

…part of the beauty of exposure to different languages, cultures and communities is the depth and richness of expressions… this ol’ Jurassic’s been privileged to enjoy time living and WURKing in several parts of the earth… from infant and early teens in Docklands Govan in Glasgow, to the unmatched God’s Country that is the Scottish Hebrides in my later teens… thence to the Mull of Kintyre for a year en route to the vast maze that is London for a further ten years… passage to the Far East followed, with Hong Kong, Singapore and the Philippines my home addresses at various times in a 25-year stay on that continent… dotted amongst these were frequent trips to the USA, many parts of Europe and Australia/New Zealand… and ultimately, for the past decade, the Middle East has been home… each and every one of which had sum’thing fresh, interesting and entertaining to offer if yeez kept yer eyes and ears open… along the way, my wee grey cells seemed to attract the quaint and the fascinating turn of tongue… phrases which stick, alongside the circumstances in which they first appeared… among the earliest of theses were two from the Island of Mull… characters abounded in the persons of the populace, each of whom were real individuals, and as is the way with island-bound societies, everybody was known to everybody else, right down to their family histories, including the colour of socks they wore… nicknames were necessary to differentiate, for example, amongst the dozens or so ‘Willie Macleans’, ‘Mary Macphersons’ or ‘John Macdonalds’… the finest nickname reflected the dry, droll sense of humour on the island when one lad, who, by accident of birth had one arm about four inches longer than the other…. he accepted his physical anomaly with equanimity along with his locally-given Gaelic tag of ‘an gleoc’…in English, ‘the clock’

better clock

…another time I observed sheepdogs operating in the fields, and one dog had a forward leg strapped up to his front… I asked why?… the answer was it was getting too aggressive in rounding the sheep, and had to be ‘quietened down a wee bit’… they called that a ‘multiplication dog’... ‘three down and carry one’...


…I kid yeez not… now my ‘an gleoc’ is showing eating time… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…Georgie Boy… he really WAS the Best… have another look…

…I was prodded into having another look on You Tube at some past clips on the great George Best after another pal shared some old black and white film on the man… yeez can click it above and see just what a bluudy genius he  was on a football field… yeez can keep yer Messi, yer Ronaldo, yer Maradonna… Georgie Best was better than any of them, and I put him on a par with Pele for sheer footballing skills… some of yeez have seen before an article I did a wee while back on Georgie, and I render no apologies for copying it in here again… LUVVED the man… he was a real footballer… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

A trip down memory lane and a look at one of the greatest footballers of all-time, George Best.


George Best


…it’s not just because I’m a Manchester United nut…(I was born six years later in the same street in Govan, Glasgow as Sir Alex Ferguson)…fifty years ago, as lads in the school play-grounds, and on the dirt pitches around Glasgow, we played a different sort of football from the modern stuff currently served up on the television screens every weekend…no fancy coaching…up to twenty-a-side street teams versus neighbouring street teams…a tennis ball or rubber ball no bigger than a cricket ball (whatever that was) served the purpose, until the cheaper Mouldmaster real-football sized versions became accessible…I often wonder if the pedigree athletes swanning around on the deck every TV match I watch are capable of using the ball for more than a one-touch pass…dribbling we called it back then…and tackling wasn’t a dirty word…no less so ‘shoulder-charging’, including the goalies, most of whom, by the way, could look after themselves very well physically, thank you very much…little wonder, when I worked in London (as a Scot, I told them I was there as a missionary) that I look back on the few occasions I had the chance to watch LIVE, the great Georgie Best, and realize just how good the man was…at one match at Crystal Palace (yes, they did populate the top flight at one time…), the pitch was doing a passable imitation of a mud bath obstacle course …remember the balls back then were heavier beasties than the featherweight ping-pong balls they seem to smack 1,000 yards nowadays… it didn’t matter that there were ten other United players on the field that day… George swiveled and turned the whole ninety minutes …the old cliché is that with one body swerve he could send the entire crowd the wrong way… be that as it may, what I saw him do all day that day will live in my mind forever …he may have played in grander matches and scored umpteen goals, captured in reels elsewhere… amid the mud and desperate lunging tackles, he danced away every time, as if the ball was part of his toes… and we, we of a certain age, ballet-danced through the mire with him… back on the play-grounds, scoring through the piled jackets of goal posts in countless open-scrub yards in cities up and down the country… I’m a grown man, supposedly a hard product of the docklands in Govan, but the day Georgie Best died, I sobbed my guts out… the world had lost an icon… one of the finest, if not the finest, exponents of the beautiful game… his back story and struggles are well recorded and I’ll let others dwell on that… but for me, the most magical player I’ve ever seen play live… simply the Best…



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…Written Acts of Kindness Award… m’Lady, Sue Vincent…


…the web is awash with terrific people… in our neck of the internet woods, authors, scribblers, writers and poets lurk… the mutual support base is phenomenal… for bloggers and other pitch writers, the endorsements of yer WURK through a simple ‘like’ or ‘share’ from yer fellow quill-scrapers can never be overestimated… if the public readership at large is the end play for yer wee literary masterpieces, then the kindredship of the universal authors’ family is the sustenance that keeps yeez going while yeez wait for the ‘fame’ gig to kick in… no-one more exemplifies that camaraderie than today’s recipient of the Written Acts of Kindness Award, m’lady, Sue Vincent


…Authoress Supreme, and the heart and soul that lights up her blog, The Daily Echo,  http://scvincent.com , (which yeez really should be following if not doing so already)… Sue’s moniker pops up all over the place on other folks’ blogs, always with a cheerful comment… take a bow, m’Lady, Sue… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

Sue, the rules for passing this Award on are very simple:

  1. You are welcome to give it out as many times as you like, but it is only to be given to a maximum of one person per blog post. If you wish to give multiple rewards, please space the blog posts so the sincerity is maintained.
  2. Introduce the person; say how they encourage, help or inspire you; then link to their work and/or social media profiles. There may be a specific post you wish to link to which helped you. It’s up to you.
  3. Please publicise your award post to Twitter or Google Plus using the hashtag #writtenkindness so that others can find and follow the award winners.

This award is open to anyone to use. You don’t have to receive it, in order to be able to give it. Once you have received it, it isn’t obligatory that you must pass it on.



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

…the importance about being earnest regarding yer book covers…


…I’ve never been renowned as a dapper dresser, although Master Sean Connery has called a few times for tips on how to sport an edgy kilt… that apart, I am to couture sense as Miley Cyrus is to modesty… growing up as kids, our Sunday School attendance and end-of-school-term-prize-giving events demanded our best bib and tucker outfits be on full display… even an extra swipe with the soap behind the ears and neck… then along came the early employment days as an apprentice let’s-ruin-the-financial-WURLD banker, where a suit and tie was the uniform de riguer… (now for many, replaced by grey flannel garb with prison arrows)… suffice to note, this ol’ Jurassic has experienced a nudging, if grudging, acquaintance with ‘dress code’… this has lent a welcome approach to the suiting out of my wee literary masterpieces as they come flowing (read: ‘struggling’) off the laptop… some aver yeez can’t tell a book by its cover… they must be reading the wrong bluudy books then, in my not so ‘umble opinion… in bygone days, in my twice-yearly trips from the Middle East into London, the mandatory safari into Waterstones in Piccadilly resulted in book purchases by the mega-kilo… and almost to a decimal point, 100% were bought on cover-love-attraction… on the other side of that syndrome, many books would be rejected ‘coz the front art failed to hit the nano-second purchasing decision sweet spot… if yeez are fortunate enuff to produce more than one of yer own tomes, ‘branding’ also becomes important… in simple terms, ‘branding’ is recognition… ‘branding’ is identification… ‘branding’ is part of yer LUV affair with yer readership… in August, Crooked Cat Publishing will hold my baby’s hand as it toddles onto the Great God Amazon’s patch… yeez can see above how we’ve clothed it… hope yeez like it … see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

…here’s the family photograph…

wallpaper 2



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… ‘Formula’ should be used to feed babies and identify high-powered racing cars… not for writing novels…


…it’s a wonderful feeling for a writer to have a loyal readership that ‘takes’ to his/her style of writing… no more particularly so if the scribbler is the source of a series, as is this ol’ Jurassic with my Jack Calder crime thrillers… however, there are a couple of potential literary banana skins waiting for the unsuspecting author who ploughs on thinking it’s okay to ‘just produce the same stuff’ book after book… I’ve just completed the fourth, KILLER CITY,  in  what crept up on me and became a series… in wasn’t intended that way, but as most quill-scrapers will tell yeez, the characters take over and write their own narratives eventually… I’m delighted that I realised early in the process that I didn’t want to ‘churn out’ the same old, same old, formula-driven stories… I’ve strived to develop what is known to the reading cognoscenti as my ‘Author’s Voice’… which is not easy to describe but readily recognisable when yeez get it right… for me, it’s the ‘style’ of yer telling of yer masterpieces… nob’dy could claim (well they could but in my not so ‘umble opinion, they’d be wrong to claim) that Chuck Dickens or Robert Louis Stevenson or Billy Shakespeare were ‘formula‘ writers… the beauty lies in the ‘business‘ of recounting yer plots… the unwinding of the threads that twist and weave… the wee surprises that yeez inject… the kinda stuff that delights me when I find it in the WURKS of others… and I daresay most of yeez Lads and Lassies of Blog Land feel the same way… it’s unnecessary to have main characters who never make mistakes, who never get hurt, who don’t exhibit what the rest of we common-or-garden-human-beings exhibit… but to leave yer readers with a feeling, ‘wow, I’m glad I read that’, is what it’s all about… not ‘Formula’… ‘Formula’ should be used to feed babies and identify high-powered racing cars… not for writing novels… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!


…available now on Aunty Amazon:

meVWB coverfront view SP











….coming in August, to join the others on Aunty Amazon:Banner


Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff