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Hi folks

I’ve been wrapped up in work these last weeks so please excuse the delay with posts.

I intend on publishing a collection of my own short stories that I’ve amassed over the past 13 years. I will use Smashwords  to do this as it seems to be one of the few online publishers offering a fairly decent deal to the authors. As far as i remember they also give you an ISBN number and are targets for future talent via Barnes and Noble, Amazon, etc.

Smashwords also offer a service to have your book cover illustrated and designed, but they also offer authors like myself who are working with images and photography the dimensions to DIY it. I have not made my own yet, but recently I helped a friend with his and after some hours of screen sharing via Skype we managed to find his image of a four legged, masked girl with  a flying piglet on her lap…

Yes, of course, I did think it was a wind up when he first requested this image but soon realized his sincerity and here is what he got.

 

1919 - Outside blog

Anything can be created from imagination

I write this information here on the off chance that any of you writers and poets need book or CD covers. I have a nice stock sitting here (samples here ) not doing much apart from being eye candy for the net.

I’m also aware that cutting a living from being a wordsmith is not so great, so I will discount each case as it comes by as long as you’re being honest. The more you earn or claim the more you donate for my time and efforts please.

You know where I can be found.

Good luck with your missives and metaphors.

Power ti yer pens

 

Daydreaming is great for any artist

There’s a wee pub just off Princes street where it meets Frederick street in Edinburgh and it’s one of the watering holes of the best of Scottish writers since it opened. I like to drink Guiness there because, well, it’s a thinking man’s beer and you get a contemplative head when you sup it, especially after the second pint.

On this day, I sat waiting for a poet friend and found myself alone surrounded by framed quotes of literary geniuses, (not all of them Scottish btw) Anyways, I scribbled a few of them doon and this one is inspiring, so I’m sharing and suggesting that next time yer in the toon, ye get yersel intae Milne’s bar and order what ye want, but the place has got its ain charm whatever profession yer in.

Sláinte and power ti yer pen 🙂

Let us therefore agree that a reasonably good standard of writing is a mark not of preciosity,

but of good sense,

not of prissiness,

but of efficiency;

that such a standard can be attained by anyone with a little effort;

that the effort be worthwhile.

That it requires neither hair-splitting nor self consciousness,

but merely a willingness to acquire good habits.
Sir Ernest Gowers.

Image

Some lures catch more fishermen than fish

This was a day when the clouds warned rain

But on reaching the sea didn’t go insane

With their threatening sweat

Instead, the sun broke through, burned bright,

Melanoma, to my hands, face and neck

It was an early start for this hunter of fish

Using bait, lures, humming and whistle

I still fulfilled no wish

For my dinner dish

What I did catch though

Were all those cormorants

A gannet, three seals, an otter, kittiwakes

And other gull species having their fun

On wind and tide’s surging flow

Afterwards, using my wit,

In the local town

When the sales woman at the fishing shop counter

Said:”Oh, here, I like how these dangle

And that shining thing would make a nice…

Christmas decoration.

Are you sure it’s for fishing?”

”Only for this side of the rod,

For keeping warm your bod.

That’s a hipflask for storing your whisky”

”I’ve never drank it myself, but I hear it makes you …”

”Frisky?”  I interrupted with a smile

”No extremely drunk!” came her astounded reply

We both laughed hard

I shopped a lure or three

To replace my losses to the sea

Before I was on my way,

I turned back to her to say

”Watch out for the drinkers of frisky!”

”At my age. That will be the day!”

”You never know sweetheart? For after a few drams of

Scotland’s national drink, you would be surprised

How charming it can make some men think!”.

”Really? So, are you busy tonight?”

Asked with raised hipflask, puckered lips and wink

” Eh…Aye!, sorry, bye!”

And I was gone with a wave and a flush on my face

Walking swiftly along the pathway paved

I thought about our converse and how bad I had been

To flirt with a woman, who’d better days seen!

Image

The lads did well for themselves

In 1995 I led the Edinburgh University Varsity Boxing Team to Gold and Silver success as their coach. I had already boxed for a number of years as an amateur with Leith Victoria, Scotland’s oldest club with a little success. I find the boxing character a strong one and worthy of being in any kind of tale so I began a story about a boxer called Christopher (Tiffer) who show promise of being a champion but who falls off the rails for recreational drugs and women. This is an excerpt from that story.

When A Square Becomes A Ring

The only blood he wore was the leaking nose of his opposition. A once yellow, now crimson sponge was unceremoniously thrown against the swollen forehead of Tiffer. He sat slumped on the small stool, legs flayed out in front of him, elbows hung over the corner ropes. A mixture of blood and water running down his vest sodden by sweat and clots from his opponent’s nose.

Tiffer could detect victory as he looked over to see his rival sat similarly. At half a stone heavier, he had made it clear from the first bell of this amateur contest that he would ‘hurt and not be hurt’.

Tiffer’s experience and superior fitness was paying off,  at the detriment of his opponent’s health.

Tiffer’s coach John  who frantically sprayed  a fine mist of refreshment from a plant watering bottle onto the sweating brow of his champions face. Taking it off immediately with a towel. John spoke in a low disciplined tone, words of encouragement and tactics.

“Stoap gittin drawn in at close range. Stiy oaf um, use yer reach. Yer keepin the centre ai the ring. that’s sound!. Close um doon. Git um intai a corner and work tai ais nose, ais a bleeder so the ref’ll probably stoap it this round”.

Mungo, Tiffer’s friend and corner man stood in front of him. He reminded Tiffer of a native American indian by the way the thick heavy cigar smoke swirled as he waved a breeze with the towel towards his soaken face; the mixture of hot air and Havanas the inverted smoke signals.

There was another round to go and Tiffer felt quietly confident that after winning the first two, that this would be an easy final three minutes.

“Finish um! Dinnai make um suffer anymair than ai hus tai. Same again tri-pil-it”. John said. He was reffering to the beat of punches, left-right-left in the space of a second he had taught Tiffer  from the start. Then a 19 year old  man who’s flair, grace, agility and strength showed all the promise of the champion he had become.

The bell clanged twice.

Tiffer stood up as the aging overweight referee, signalled with a raised hand to each corner and a shout the “Seconds out”.

Mungo pulled out the stool, whilst John replaced his mouthguard.

“Remember, work ti his nose!” He slapped Tiffer hard on the cheek, before climbing out through the ropes.

Both boxers walked the diagonal across the ring to the centre where they exchanged stares. The first round had seem them exchange venomous stares whilst the referee asked them to keep it clean and reminded them about the rules of no hitting below the waist, he made a sarcastic remark about no biting ears too, which made Tiffer and his opponent smirk slightly. This was the final and a new even mutual respect now passed between the pupils of both of them.

The ref took a step back. Gesturing like a Karate expert, fingers outstretched he snapped the imaginary one plank that bridged between them. “Box!” he shouted, barely audible above the jeers and cheers of the 500 diners. His opponent smiling, slowly parried a high glove for Tiffer to touch. It was etiquette of the art they were partaking and had been laid down in the bible of boxing, The Queensberry rules.

Tiffer raised his glove to acknowledge the sportsmanship. Gloves kissed. They both skipped a step back from each other and prepared to battle. The crowd jeered and heckles lifted higher for each camp. The arena was once again full of hunting instinct, testosterone and adrenalin. Tiffer, spat two left jabs into the forehead, he dummied a third left jab and lined up his lethal right cross to finish the contest with a knock out.

THUUNK! He had over-estimated the flurry of punches he was delivering. The hand guarding his chin dropped.  Never had he anticipated the effects of a text-book upper cut to his own chin. It was followed by bone crushing hooks and heavy blows to the ribs. His head had rattled before in bouts before. Not today though.

His reflexes took over as he covered the target area running from his forehead, down past his ridged, taut stomach, the third pack of eight was covered by Lonsdale banded satin shorts. But it was too late. The sound of the crowd seemed distant.

A shower of solid punches whiplashed his head over the top rope. Everything looked as if it were in slow motion. Now, he could not hear the crowd. His head felt like it had on a two sizes too tight motorcycle helmet and the visor needed a clean. His vision blurred. His legs buckled. He went down on his right knee using his left glove for support on the canvas.

“Dinnai go doon! Git fuckin up! Git up! “Tiffer tried convincong his body to rise.

The ref had intervened after pointing his opponent to the neutral corner. Tiffer could see the old mans fingers popping up one at a time with a backwards and forward movement each time his hand came closer to Tiffer’s eyes as he counted the mandatory count above him.

He clumsily got on his feet and held his gloves to his face, looking straight at the ref who kept counting, ‘Six, seven…’

On eight the ref looked at Tiffer’s eyes then took his gloves and wiped them against his chest to remove any dust that can scratch when the next punches are landed with them.

John and Mungo could be heard in the distance screaming orders of defence, retreat.

The ref looked at him. Took his gloved hand and brought them to the centre of the ring.  Again the ref took a step back used the same Karate gesture, “Box!”.  Again another flurry of punches bus stop style as he remembered a comedian calling them. You wait on one to arrive, but four or five come at the same time!

The ref sent the opponent to the neutral corner and started counting. Indicating again the second he was on with straightened fingers. Tiff realised that if he recieved another count he was finished. “Fuck this” He mumbled, throwing a right hand to the top of his head guard. The ref let him go on six and they resumed the bout.

His clarity had come back slightly, but he dared not let himself fall into the danger zone once more. He was being stalked around the ring. Tiffer’s careful footwork keeping him out of reach of the danger of this underestimation.

Powder punches caught him in the stomach. Counterpunching intuitively as his opponent came forward Tiffer’s pugilistic repartee bled the already swollen nose with a combination he had rehearsed well in the gym. A long left to the stomach, right to the chin and a left hook for balance. Every punch had landed with near perfection.  His opponents eyes showed the pain of each of those punches and it looked like he wouldn’t make it to fight on. It was time for him to face a count of eight. The frenzy around the hall was ecstatic, everything seemed surreal to Tiffer to see the bulldogs and Dobermans bark viciously. The corners were slamming hands on the canvas and hysterical gesticulations flew everywhere.

As Tiffer started to the centre, he could feel the bruising of his own face but he could see the hurt coming towards him, tired, defeated he knew another good head shot would finish this. He ducked low to slip an oncoming left, put his weight behind him almost like pushing something heavy and connected with the solar plexus of  his opponents stomach. He heard the gasp as the air left the lungs instantly and he knew it was a hard punch because he could feel it through his knuckles. His opponent buckled but the disappointing clang of  the bell signalled the end of the bout. His opponent was still double over unable to straighten up and struggling with both hands on his knees, blood spattering from his nose, more heavily than before.

They exchanged an open glove to each other and a boyish hug. Words of respect passed between them.

John appeared behind his prodigy. “Dinnai worry son. Ye’ve goat that in the bag” John assumingly tells him whilst wiping his face heavily with a wet towel. Tiffer thinks about a spit stained hanky his gran used wipe his face with as a child. He objects, ‘Gid dap fuppin ding oot ma pace!’

“Take that moothguard oot, A cannai hear a word yer sayin” John pulls the towel of his face.

“Here? Spit it oot in there. He indicates with a nod towards the bucket containing the wet sponge and raspberry stained water. Tiffer obeys whilst John lifts off the gloves, sticking the first under his arm.

“ Geez a drink?” Mungo passed him a sports bottle with a straw in the top. Tiffer looks around the hall whilst pulling at the juice. The angry dogs have returned to being old men sitting like penguins in there dinner suits at the ringside tables. The majority of them puffing indignantly on cigars, sipping whisky, coffees and cognacs.

Behind them are younger men in their twenty-something’s, also in dinner jackets, but looking uncomfortable with their fits. They don’t hold themselves quite like the ones nearer him do.

Waitresses, slim, high heeled, wearing tight black mini skirts, with white blouses, rush about with trays of drinks, all look pissed off.

Tiffer remembers hearing that the catering company had to pull out at the last minute. The company handling the new arrangements were also sponsoring one of the bouts.

For Eighty quid you got a ringside seat for two. The company name emblazoned on the boxers’ vest and free drinks in the upstairs bar. Only this was the Masonic Club and no females are permitted to drink in this particular bar. A woman owned this company so when at the half time mark for the evening the M.C had made an announcement that all ‘Womenfolk’ should not enter the upstairs sponsors bar. Tiffer smiled as he remembered the scene she caused. Climbing through the ropes in a pencil skirt, which nearly split. Grabbing the microphone, then announcing that she would scream unless a show of hands voted to let her drink there. It hadn’t quite worked like that she still had a bullshit form to fill out giving her permission to enter on this one-off occasion.

The drink finished he handed the container back to Mungo.

“Cheers! What’s the hold up John?”

“A donno Tiff, somethin ti dai wi the scoresheets”.

Hello all and thanks for the new wave of follows and comments for my fripperies these last weeks. I really didn’t think anyone gave a flying… but it’s good to have a few people add me and I appreciate it. I have to say the Gravatar has been doing my head in to reply and follow others as I only come through to that and then it takes me nowhere in some cases so I will get up on it and work it out…or do others have the same problem?

This week saw me give stand up a try all for 5 mins and the audience cheered – both of them…ok, so maybe something close to 50 or more and it was exhilarating and adrenalin packed as are all open mic sessions …for some of us.  My jokes became a bit wooden so I used a computer poem I wrote a long time back with a quick revision today. Since my last piece went down well here I give you a polite and English translation of Image:

Dregs To Megs

 

The day is done

The clock chimes one

I touch-type my keyboard without fret

A marriage made in heaven

From the day we first met

Although it wasn’t always this much fun

Especially that daft keyboard on the Sinclair ZX81

Or the annoying monotony

Fast forward, stop, rewind, stop, play

Of audio cassette data entry,

 

Today I have: Gigabytes, Terabytes, Jpegs, Mpegs

I remember the arrival of the 16Kb RAM pack

Had me wetting my kegs

Back in those early eighties days

When you could fill your TV screen with

20 goto 10, 10 Run “Teacher’s a plonker!”

“You boy?…yet again… Detention!”

“Och aye! Thanks sir!”

Was my calculated ploy

Just to be the best boy

With logic and binary.

Those extra hours, gave me

Computer refinery

About our planet´s counting machines

 

From the abacus, over five millennium

To Napier´s logarithms and Bones

To the genial mechanics of Charles Babbage

(That in his lifetime, were never born)

Then, onto rooms full of glass valves

The brains of code breaking ENIAC

Made World War´s Enigma, easier to solve

 

Later came transistors to lighten the load

And Taito’s Invaders GET-TING-CLO-SER-MON-O-TONES

Platform Willie would have lusted after Lara Croft

His pokey one AND/OR’D into her zero muff

Even today’s speeds allow us to interact with them

In the loaded hydraulics of virtual buff!

But exercise a wee bit caution,

Coz social media rues this day

You’ve become the target audience of I.C fates,

The blogger revolutionaries within the anti I.T states,

And all those charming Trolls and phishers of I.D fakes

The myriad of strangers, so charming, superfit, suave and cool,

The reality is psycho, obese, raving fools

Don’t be afraid, keep your distance and keep your cool

Use your firewall and your own internetegrity rule

And be careful of your future at that screen near you!

*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ENIAC

http://inventors.about.com/od/nstartinventors/a/John_Napier.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZX81

ImageTo get your ticket to write
For the write line highway
Just open your soul,
Relieve your woes,
Word for word, all will flow
Most writers I know, still receive a giro
No PC, but they just use biro
They opinionate, make fun of the state
(Which does a good job on itself anyway)
Fun write lines can go a long way
Either open your heart or go insane
Poems or prose will give you gain.
It’s a fantastic way to work your brain
It’s a breeze, there’s no such thing as block
If there is? Then get out for a walk
Sunsets, moon, stars and clouds
Bustling streets with rush hour crowds
Take to the country roads or clubland beats
Perhaps you prefer the hills of peat
The sweet songs of the birds
Or the wind and the rains gurgling splurge?
A dram of malt, or a pint of gin
Gives a few the needs to pick up a pen
Or have a cup of tea with herbs
For inspiring ´chilled out´ verbs
Whatever your poison
To observe, sniff, touch, listen
Words can break you out of any
Prozac, depressive, self-scarring prison
It might not even be that scary
A hobby, time killer, or verse for a new baby
When your heart becomes ignited
Never be short sighted
Write for you alone about what
You have or haven’t been through
You’ll soon discover, that the harder you work
The more your audience will smirk
Laugh, grimace, cry, sometimes repeat
And more chance of print is what you’ll meet
So cruise the write-line highway
In your own missives truck
Free your inner and let it ROCK!
And a gigantic good luck, if with your words,
You’re game enough to try and earn a buck.

Write Line is an inspirational anthem I wrote for writers like myself who go through at least a few of the things mentioned in this piece.

ImageI feel sane when I see this kind of sanity, after all it’s the truth at a quantum level

Hello all

Writing and storytelling have become something people accuse me of doing professionally. It has been known for me to make a few dollars, euros, kroner, pounds and baht from my rants, poems and even a couple of theatrical productions I co-wrote for the Edinburgh  Fringe festivals in the late 90’s.

I have been writing longer than I care to admit and those of you who know me really well, will probably call it bs, but let me reassure any readers of this blog that I intend to deliver my finest BS with brevity, as good poets and storytellers do.

Awthebest and thanks for yer time…so far.

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