Monday, 10 February 2014


Usually, I do some preparation for my postings which means sitting in a Dundee Café drafting it out before committing it to print but this morning, at the start of a new week, and sitting in one of the aforementioned cafes (Café Borsa...the best in Dundee, if you ever visit!), I read an item in my newspaper which had me rushing to my computer post haste.

 Now, I shall put my cards squarely on the table. I do NOT want so called independence for Scotland. I have no trouble, whatsoever, being Scottish and British. The English and the Scots have rubbed along very well for 300 years and so, why fix what isn't broke. Scottish Independence will take things away from me and not add a single thing to my life.

 Anyway, where previously I had thought of the S.N.P. as a bunch of whinging malcontents with a few nutters in their midst, what I read this morning shows how sinister and megalomaniac S.N.P. they truly are!

 They propose to provide a state appointed "Guardian" for every child from birth to the age of eighteen. The arrogance is breathtaking. Even Hitler and Stalin didn't quite get round to this. On the basis of there being a few dead beat or abusive parents around they want to have a presence in every family home that can be activated by nothing more than a malicious neighbour with a grudge. Decent parents (the vast,vast majority) could find themselves in some nightmarish, Kafkaesque court scenario.

 The S.N.P. have given assurances that there will be plenty of safeguards to protect the innocent but with their past record that is no comfort whatsoever.

 Couple this with the fact that Kenny Macaskill (that's the genius who freed the Lockerbie bomber) wants to do away with the need for corroborative evidence in Criminal Court Cases and you can see that the outlook for democracy in Scotland does not look good.

 It breaks my heart to think that the country that gave the world Robert Burns, Adam Smith and the Declaration of Arbroath is governed by people such as Alex Salmond.

Alex Salmond

Tuesday, 4 February 2014


As a struggling self publishing author you don't expect another writer to make things more difficult for you - still less one lucky (?) enough to have been picked up by a conventional publisher,  but that's just what this year's Costa Book prize winner has done. At least that's what I think.

  In one of those Q and A pieces in a national newspaper he was asked what he was currently reading. He mentioned a self published novel which he seemed to be enjoying but then said that self published novels were always a risk. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  Why should they be any more of a risk than a conventional novel? It's about time this unfair prejudice was dispensed with once and for all. Why should writers not take full advantage of the wonderful technology now available? OK there are some egotists out there who just want to see their name on the cover of a book but, I believe, there are many, many more thankful for even an outside chance of finding an audience for their work and a way of circumventing the unpredictable and erratic ways of mainstream publishing. These are the same publishers who lavish huge advances on the likes of Katie Price and footballers who decide they would like to have "a stab" at writing kiddies

  Many of these publishers seemed to follow whatever the prevailing fashion happens to be - whether its misery memoirs, chick lit or the tendency to publish 600 page novels when the material only warrants half of that.

  You are probably much more likely to come across an "original voice" in the self published world and there is the excitement of a personal discovery when you do. The self published author does not have the burden of producing only what he thinks his master - sorry publisher - believes will sell. If his material only fits novella length he does not have to force it into the shape of a full blown novel.

  I, personally, know of at least one author (of 20 novels standing) who took back all the rights to his books and is now self publishing. He got fed up with the fact that his particular publisher did nothing to promote his considerable body of work. Others have left publishing houses because they were being forced into a creative straight jacket and were being expected  to continually pump out more of the same.

  I have been lucky enough to get 5star reviews for "The Balloon Man In Edinburgh" on Amazon and I am unapologetic about self publishing. The way I see it, if I am spared, over the next few years I hope to bring out several titles, written according to my own personal vision and, maybe, I will be picked up by a conventional publisher but, as long as I can build up even a modest, loyal readership, I don't care if I don't. Freedom as a writer is much more important to me.

  And another thing, print on demand self publishing is much more eco friendly. Supply and demand is much more in sync. No having to pulp hundreds of unsold books.