Monday, 24 March 2014

"The Kindness Of Women ( Poems)"

More obnoxious self promotion to start the new week.

My humble little volume of poems, titled as above, is now available as an ebook on Amazon.

Here's a sample:


The necklace breaks.
The pearls scatter
and, somehow, it isn't enough
for her to know that,
though lost for a while,
they are still nearby

She wants them all back,
the moments and memories
and those who made them.
She wants them all back,
secured together and shining,
before her dazzled eyes.

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.

Friday, 10 January 2014


2013 was a truly horrible year for my family. I will write in more detail about this at a later date. The one bright spot, at the very end of the year was the paperback publication of my first book - The Balloon Man In Edinburgh - a comic novella set in Edinburgh. It was out as an ebook some months ago but there is something specially exciting about holding your own book in your hand. Hope this becomes a long lived piece of Edinburgh Fiction

  It got excellent reviews on Amazon and I am now busy thinking of strategies to promote  its sale in bookshops. After the sorrows of last year its good to have something positive to think about so, perhaps you will forgive me for blowing my own trumpet. Am hoping this is the start of a real writing career.

 At the moment its available through Amazon in the U.K. Once again sorry about the shameless p-lug and happy New Year to you all

  If I haven't tried your patience too far click on the code below and read the reviews and the first two chapters for free. Thank you.

  John R. Nicoll

Thursday, 8 November 2012


(for my dear friend Lyn Clements)

Was that you I saw last night
on the other side of the street,
wearing a far away smile
and light on your feet?

Was that you I saw last night,
untouched by Autumn  cold?
All heartbreak in the past
Now  the story's been told 

Was that you shining back at me
between the street lights and the cars,
suddenly so young again,
as untroubled as the stars?

I wrote this before I heard of the death of my
beautiful and gracious friend, Lyn Clements.
I hope she doesn't mind my presumption
in dedicating this to her.

John R. Nicoll

My comic novel, The Balloon Man in Edinburgh, is available
on Amazon. To rerad the reviews etc. please click on link below

Friday, 19 October 2012


And the prize for toe curling, nauseating, self righteous, put you off your ginger latte hipocrysy goes to Starbuck's right out of Seattle.
  These are the guys who like to see themselves as the model for modern, caring corporate life. They are all for saving the Rain Forest and drenching you with their self proclaimed righteousness from the moment you walk through the door with their point of sale advertising telling us what they are doing to save our world.
  What they are NOT doing is paying taxes commensurate with the fortune they are raking in off our High Streets. They may, indeed, be making some small difference to the health of the rain forest but if they paid the taxes they should be paying a sane rate of tax they could be helping to pay for the health care for some of the inhabitant's of this country who have been lining their pockets for years but, through their convoluted accounting procedures which would make the average seem as straight as an hb pencil, they have contrived to pay an absolute pittance on the profits they have sucked out of the U.K
 They are not the only corporate bandits playing this game but they are all over our High Streets so the fact that they are so "in our face" makes their bare faced impudence all the more unbearable.
  People might argue that they create jobs etc. but if they closed all their outlets tomorrow and stormed off in a huff, rival British based outlets such as Costas and Cafe Nero would take over most of their shops AND pay their taxes. They have only gotten away with this because our useless politician's are either fawning over big business or letting them get away with "murder" - a happy medium is not a familiar concept to them. But owing to the press furore something may just be done this time and then we can go after Google and all those other other corporates who would rather control than serve. I would not advise you to hold your breath though.
 Just wish I had been a customer then I could have satisfaction of boycotting Starbucks!

My comic novella, The Balloon Man  In Edinburgh is available on Kindle from amazon

see below


Thursday, 20 September 2012


I love my country but sometimes I weep for it. Scotland has given the world Robert Burns, one of the greatest  lyric poets ever, Adam Smith, the towering intellect behind "The Wealth Of Nations", and William Wallace, a beacon for freedom lovers everywhere.  Down the centuries Scots have spread across the Globe benefitting many other countries with their business acumen, inventions and, like Adam Smith, their influential ideas.

  Now, though, our country is being increasingly tormented by a bunch of moral and intellectual pygmies masquerading as politicians in the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood in Edinburgh. With very few exceptions they are small people with no great ability and even less vision. They are "seat warmers" whose greatest ambition (this is particularly true  of the increasingly dictatorial Scottish National Party) is to keep drawing their salary whilst poking their grubby little fingers into every area of people's lives, no matter how private.
If they have an aptitude for anything it is for arrogance and impertinence and right at the moment the chief culprit is the Deputy First Minister, Ms Nicola Sturgeon.

  Ms. Sturgeon is what is known in Scotland as a "nippy sweetie". Loosely translated this implies something that seems rather sweet but that can turn rather sour and bitter if you get too close.. Ms. Sturgeon is not so much a politician trying to serve her countrymen (that would require a modicum of humility and the lady does not do humility) more of a hectoring schoolmistress or a sort of toxic "den mother".

  Her current obsession is enabling gay couples to marry in Church. Nanny......sorry Ms. Sturgeon says:
"We are committed to a Scotland that is fair and equal...............we believe it is the right thing to do!"

  This is despite the fact that 64% of the people who responded to the Scottish Parliament's Referendum on the subject ( that's 3 times more than the people who responded to the referendum on Scottish separation from the U.K.) were against gay marriage.

 Many rightly fear that clergy who do not agree with the proposed changes could be prosecuted for refusing to marry gays in Church. Sturgeon has made airy claims that the law will be amended to prevent this happening but she must know that she has no power to keep that promise.......even if she ever intended to.

 The European Court Of Human Rights has said that while gay marriage in Church is not a "Human Right", if any Government gives gay marriage the "green light" then gays must be allowed to marry in Church. Still, "the nippy sweetie" insists in making her unkeepable promises.

 A recent survey came to the conclusion that less than 2% per cent of the overall population are gay. Probably half of them are never likely to want to marry in Church anyway and so, for the sake of 1% of the population, she is willing to snub 64% of it. This is State aided tyranny of the minority. It is manifestly NOT democracy.

 Gays are NOT persecuted in Scotland. They have huge freedom and if they so desperately want to be able to marry in Church is it not feasible for them to form their own denomination?

 Most people who balk at the reforms could probably be placated if gays were told that if they could find a Church willing to marry them all well and good but it is this element of compulsion that alarms and religious groups quite rightly see it as an interference too far. What price freedom of belief now?

  "Belief" - that is the key word. Ms. Sturgeon and too many like her have no discernible beliefs other than their own right to power and their own rightness .............see again Sturgeon's self serving quote. They pride themselves on dragging Scotland into the 21st century but if clergy go to jail for their beliefs is that not dragging us back to the 17th.

 She and her ilk, holed up in Holyrood, that coccoon at the bottom of the Royal Mile, have become more and more distanced from the lives of ordinary people who are in no way homophobic. Looking for "brownie points" from the militant gay lobby will do the general gay population no favours at all.

  I don't give much for Scotland's future if it does break away from the rest of the U.K. If Sturgeon and her kind have their way they will turn Scotland into a nasty little neo Stalinist P.C. riven state perched on the edge of Europe. Adam Smith, that hero of the great, and truly liberal, and outward looking, "Age Of Reason" must be spinning in his grave.

On a happier note

Don t miss Buster while he is in town!!!