Tag Archives: Seumas Gallacher

Vengeance Wears Black…

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41ztQAFKyyL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_…And poor time management goes around in rags, tattered in the attention that a book as action-packed as this one rightfully deserves.

In spite of all the swirling minutiae of daily commitments – from an event in the offing, to freelance work, household chores, to inane queries with regard to said event – I couldn’t pull myself away from Seumas Gallacher’s Vengeance Wears Black and yet I constantly had to; dangling participles notwithstanding.

The book haunts one through its deft handling of the personal interplay and commitment of the main characters to each other – all partners in ISP International Security Partners. These include our hero Jack Calder and May Ling his wife – and the team Mr. Brains Jules Townsend and Malky McGuire: friend and colleague.

The bloody explosive action kicks off and kicks one in the stomach right from the get-go. I wonder if this is a typical Seumas Gallacher opener – having read the Violin Man’s Legacy a little over a year ago. The opening scene in that earlier book is a real stomach-churner.

Vengeance Wears Black starts with a tense human trafficking operation in Krakow that goes horribly wrong. It then leaps across to London where another eruptive incident brings our main players together. This time a Gurkha colleague smothers a grenade with his body thus saving his friends from ISP – a band of tough action-hardened SAS men and one woman; who then carry out a carefully planned, meticulous operation that not only quells the violent turf wars raging between Asian triad gangs and Eastern European mobsters, but also avenges the death of the man who saved their lives.

Seumas Gallacher’s book takes the reader on a nail-biting ride from east to west, from unimaginable debauchery and corruption to uplifting moments of friendship and care. I, for one, was glad of these little hiatuses in the action as they allowed me to get to know the main players, become involved in their fates, and follow the detailed planning that goes into such a far reaching operation.

This isn’t a genre I usually read, so I was surprised by how much I was drawn into it. I had read the earlier book so I knew the background of the characters but, being a stand-alone novel, it is not necessary to read it to follow the action or the connections.

These books would make a superb movie or TV series and I’m sure one of these days someone is going to discover them. Then we’ll see Mr. Gallacher’s name in lights, with our hero Jack Calder blazoned across the posters a la Jason Bourne/Matt Damon.

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The problem with my character

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By now I’ve indulged the fiction (and poetry) part of my writing bug for several years. Along the way I’ve attended workshops and talks by other writers. Among the pet peeves that many writers share is the character, or sometimes more than one character, that decides he or she has a different story to tell. One friend had a minor character in one story demand that he have a bigger role to play ‘next time’. The poor author had to create another whole new book before the character would shut up.

Here we are as authors, going through checklists that include the character’s name, where he or she lives, their loves, phobias and hates. Hitting Google, like one possessed to ensure that the ‘time’ in which we frame our story and character are properly represented. We consider issues like, “What would destroy your character?” And after agonising over this, reducing ourselves to tears, (because said character has now taken residence in our hearts), we need to think about, “How does your character feel about his or her father/ mother, does he/she need friends, defining strengths, whether a team player or a loner…” A plethora of other considerations come into play.

Just when we think we have the character kind of settled in a general sort of way, they look at us, (for me it’s usually in the dead of night, when I think okay it’s time for bed), or nudge us.

“Not now, dear,” Character whispers, “I don’t like my reaction to that incident.”

“I’ll fix it tomorrow,” I say heaving a sigh and hitting the power button on the computer.

“No. You’ll forget.”

“I won’t,” I declare aloud and hope my husband doesn’t get up and ask me whom I’m talking to.

So I’m brushing my teeth and doing other pre-bed do-dahs, when it sneaks up behind me and looks at me in the mirror. “It won’t take long, just a little tweak, you can’t do this to me, that’s not me, please…”

I sigh. “Okay, okay…”

It’s back to the computer. Re-read the paragraph, re-read the chapter, go back to the beginning of the story… Fix. Change. Juggle. “Hmmm, Character was right, it is better this way.”

Now the character is quiet. He’s gone to sleep, but I need to quieten my mind. So I go off to this website I’m trying to manage and see if something else can be changed. In the process I send an email to the friend who’s helping me get the website together. By now it’s 2:30a.m. I manage to wake up at 8:30am six hours’ sleep is good enough.

What does my friend say when he emails me back, “Don’t you ever sleep?”

Dai the Aries Cat

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Last week at our Bahrain Writers’ Circle workshop, a number of us brought in and shared excerpts from pieces we had written. At the end of the session, we decided that if a piece is read out aloud, mush of its success depends on the reader. Certainly, as far as my contribution (below) was concerned, I felt this was true. As you can see, some words are a bit long and a bit of a mouthful, so the person reading it stumbled over these words. 

Did it adversely affect the impact of the story? This of you who were there, tell me what you think after reading this one!

“Just Another Day”

As anyone who’s ever known or had a cat knows with some certainty, from way back when, that a cat always has three names. There’s the name the family gave him or her that very ‘sensible everyday name’, then of course there’s the name by which the other cats know him or her, and then there’s that marvellous third name, which, as TS Eliot so cleverly called it, the ‘ineffable, effable, Effanineffable, deep and inscrutable singular Name’ which only the cat knows.

But, Dai, as the family called her, had only one name. “And that,” she said with a meoooowwwrrr, that rang all the way down that elegant street and struck terror into all the other cats and dogs and even some of the neighbours where her family lived, “is Dai!” She had to be singular. “Or else,” she purred, “what’s the point of being me at all?”

In fact she made the family call her Dai by grabbing the diamond bracelet that Angus had given Madeline the day they brought Dai home. She and the bracelet were Madeline’s birthday present. But Dai was the gift that Madeline loved most. Even the children Jeff and Tara couldn’t get away with as much as Dai could.

She insisted, by imperiously scratching at the door that the family make a separate entrance for her and fluffed out her fur and marched in and out whenever she wished. When she sashayed down the street with her tail in the air, everyone gave her a wide berth. She chuckled wickedly to herself when she did that, “It’s such fun!”

“You’re mean, you know?” her friend the street cat, who everyone called Katz, said. He was the only one who could walk alongside Dai and say almost anything to her as he’d chased off a nasty dog the very first day that Dai had ventured out alone.

“Am I mean to you?” Dai purred so low it was just a little rumble in her throat.

“Naah. You wouldn’t be.”

“Don’t tempt me Bozo,” Dai grinned as her whiskers twitched testing the sensitivities of passersby. Bozo as you may have guessed was Katz’ cat name.

Today was a stroll and check-it-out day, not a day when Dai and Katz were looking for adventure or stuff for Katz to eat.

So by the time they’d spent the day chasing pigeons, sitting on a wall and watching the street while the sun warmed their backs, climbing a tree, which Dai decided today was not the day she’d go to the top, and it was time to go back, the evening shadows had started to grow long.

“Ahhhhh!” said Dai as she stretched her slim body “Yawrrrr” she sighed as each leg was stretched so that Bozo just had to look the other way. “Let’s head home, I need some of that cat food Madeline leaves for me, and maybe I’ll demand a little cuddle.”

Bozo said nothing. He just sighed; sometimes he wished he had a home to go to.

The house was still dark as Dai slipped in like a soundless shadow through her private entrance, not a single light on. “That’s odd” Dai thought as all her senses became alert and she silently sniffed the air.

And then she froze. Madeline was tied to the kitchen chair and gagged. Angus wasn’t home yet and the children were still at their friends.

Dai just looked at her and went into the bedroom where she saw a man with a mask throwing Madeline’s jewellery into a bag and with it her diamond bracelet.

Dai a furious streak of flame leapt at his face, scratched his eyes and removed the mask.

Bozo, on hearing Dai’s yowls came rushing through the cat door and attacked the man’s hands.

He dropped everything and fled through the door and down the street just as Angus was driving into the driveway. Angus leapt out of the car, ran after the man and caught him before he reached the street corner.

By then there was enough of a hubbub. The neighbours came. Madeline was released. The police were called. Tea was made. The burglar was taken away.

Madeline told everyone how marvellous Dai had been but where was Dai?

In her favourite place. On the back of the sofa, fast asleep. Or was she?

…a very special Lady graces my blog today… Authoress and Poetess Supreme… Rohini Sunderam…

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Thanks to Seumas Gallacher, intrepid blogger, writer, speaker, Scots…

Seumas Gallacher

…at the risk of repeating previous blog openings, I’m the most fortunate of bloggers inasmuch as my terrific Guests come from all corners, and in all guises… since this ol’ Jurassic arrived in Bahrain, I was invited to join the excellent Bahrain Writers Circle

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…started a few years ago by Robin Barratt, who still offers great support from his home base these days back in the UK, the group has gone from strength to strength on the broad and willing administrative shoulders of David Hollywood and Rohini Sunderam… David is an accomplished Poet in his own right, and may appear at some time on this ‘ere blog…. meantime, the effervescent Rohini offers splendid illumination to my page… let me stand aside and allow her to speak for herself and her unique CORPOETRY collection…

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From Corporate Laughter to Corpoetry

Rohini Sunderam

This collection of poems came into…

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