Saturday, 19 October 2019

Seumas Gallacher of Bahrain.




Strangely I’m Still Here.








Seumas Gallacher – a gentlemanly acquaintance, originally from Scotland, living in Bahrain, a master story teller – has written an autobiography. 


Because we all like him so much, we all want to share the news. This is Mr Gallacher’s second visit to the Scribbler. If you missed the first one, please go HERE, otherwise read on as he tells about it.










A Journey to myself – writing my autobiography






   For authors, the old maxim is often quoted, ‘Write about what you know.’

   I’ve been at this writing game properly for over a decade now, with a back list of five crime thrillers, a book of my poetry, a self-help marketing and promotional guide for authors, and almost 2,000 blog posts. Add to that a catalogue of half-a-dozen ghostwriting assignments for other people’s ‘autobiographies’, and it’s of little wonder that the thought occurred to put my own life story and experiences to print. ‘Write about what you know.’

  What happened next was a sometime bewildering, sometime painful, sometime joyful, but always exhilarating, writing trip of discovery. I now understand more clearly than ever before just how much I am truly an amalgam of everything, everybody and everywhere with which and with whom I have ever been associated.

   Were there regrets? Of course. Probably far too many to register. I doubt if more than a handful of people on this planet have led a flawless, blameless existence. But I do know that every single incident and experience, good, bad and indifferent, was necessary to bring me to this moment in my life. And I would not seek to change one second of it.

   It is amazing how memories bring back not only the plain telling of the story, but for me, it also recalled the feelings and emotions that I had in most of them. I felt them again, and again, and again, some with laughter, but also many of them attended with a quiet tear.

   I believe, at this age, finally, I am aware of who and what I am as a person. I like the man I see in the mirror each morning, although it was not always thus. I have acquired a tolerance of myself and my own shortcomings, but more importantly, I have learned to ‘live and let live’ in relation to others whom I meet day to day.

   What surprises me, is that having published the book just a few weeks ago, I find that I am remembering many other things which could have been included in the memoir. I will resist the temptation to edit online the Amazon Kindle version, which is easy to do, on the same premise that once I finish writing my novels, I leave them finished.

   To all my author friends and even those who have not yet caught the writing addiction, you may want to consider a similar project. It is a wondrous journey to yourself.






Here’s the book blurb:




Fact is often more incredible than fiction. 

Seumas Gallacher has survived long enough to savour places, characters and events for more than forty years in the Far East and the Arabian Gulf.

He started life in Scotland, travelled far and wide as a wannabe Trainee Master of the Universe, but the Universe had other plans for him.

From a career in banking, he escaped to become a corporate trouble-shooter.



He discovered the joy and torture of becoming a wordsmith, writing five best-selling crime novels, a book of poetry, and being hyper-active on social media.

‘Strangely, I’m Still Here’ is his story.





Amazon Kindle universal link:


















Best of luck Seumas. 



Sunday, 13 October 2019

Guest Author Monique Marie Thebeau of Riverview, NB




 

Monique has recently published her debut novel – In the Dark of Winter – a thriller I’m looking forward to reading. I met her through a mutual friend that is also an author. She has graciously agreed to be our guest this week and participate in a 4Q Interview, as well as sharing an excerpt from her exciting novel.







I was born and raised in Saint-Louis-de-Kent, New Brunswick, in the 1950s, the youngest of nine children.  

 After graduating High School, I earned a two-year “medical stenographer” diploma and worked as a secretary for several years. But being someone who thrives on challenges with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, I quit my job, enrolled at the Université de Moncton and came out four years later with a Translation degree. Although having written thousands of pages as a Translator over the years, I always craved the imaginative part of writing and find it both pleasurable and therapeutic.

When I look back at my journals, I find poems, an autobiography and short stories, in either English or French, written long-hand and never published. This book, however, was different. I wanted to get it out to market and check it off my bucket list. As it turns out, In the Dark of Winter was the biggest challenge of my life and, while taking a life of its own at 63,000 words, has had the uncanny power to teach me about character development, settings, criminology, police investigations, the justice system and my understanding of the English language.











4Q: It’s a wonderful feeling to finally have a completed novel after all the hard work involved in getting it to the public. Tell us about In the Dark of Winter.




MT: In the Dark of Winter is a mystery/thriller that opens at a pig roast bash in the back countryside of Albert County. There, we find Ben Walsh, our protagonist, who falls prey to a local gang after witnessing a rape at the party. Ben is given two choices: be framed for murder, or work for the thugs responsible.

A year later, Ben is still at the gang’s mercy and, during a major snowstorm, lineman Jack Thibodeau stumbles upon Ben’s property and is taken hostage.  After his release, a distraught Jack hires private investigator Chuck Hanley to find the culprit.

Hanley, a retired cop, has it made. Spousal spying, insurance fraud. But as Hanley begins to make a connection between Ben and Jack, more sinister characters emerge and soon the talk of the town goes from a record snowfall to a record body-count. A manhunt ensues, one that rattles the sleepy villages of Albert County for weeks. 









4Q: What inspired this story Monique? What made you want to write a thriller?





Photo Credit: Shweta Briijpuria - author

MT: My love for the genre, of course, and the fact that I have lived, like many of us, through countless winter storms and the reign of terror of Allan Legere. It seemed only natural to re-imagine those in a mystery setting with plenty of left turns, unforgettable characters and an ongoing cat and mouse chase between the law and the outlaws.   

Writing a thriller was a no-brainer since I have always loved to curl up to a good mystery or psychological thriller. 









4Q: Please share a childhood memory or anecdote.




MT: I remember a time when I was about eight or nine years old, sneaking up on my father’s lap in his Lazy-Boy chair, staring at the horrific pictures of corpses depicted on the pages of the Allo Police* that he was holding in his hands. On more than one occasion, I recall my mother scolding my Dad for letting me close to those forbidden pages and reading such trash in the first place. Seeing blood never startled me. In fact, those early memories have fueled my passion for a good mystery. My detective ears perk up when I hear the words “blood splatter” and my heart beats faster upon reading of a bloody footprint.

* A weekly tabloid known as Quebec’s unofficial gazette of the criminal world.








4Q: You belong to a writer’s group. Please tell us about that and the benefits you are enjoying.




MT: I am a proud member of the YWCA’s Moncton Women’s Writing Group. I joined the group in 2017 as an aspiring author looking for a place to share my writings. Over time, the Y Writes has evolved from simply being a non-judgmental place for members to share their creative stories to becoming an amazing network of support and resources in the field of writing. For me, it’s been a central information point on varied writing subjects from upcoming writings awards to local writing events. 


  



4Q: Where is your favorite spot to write? Where do you feel most creative?




MT: I definitely love to write on my laptop in my office. But when I’m out, I will write anywhere. On the shore, in the park, on the deck, and in my car, either stuck in traffic or in a parking lot. I keep a notebook and pen on me at all times. A smell, a touch or a memory is sometimes all that it takes for me to stop on the side of the road to jot it down and come back to it later.









4Q: Anything else you’d like to add?




MT: I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to be interviewed. And, I’d love to leave you with this quote by Octavia E. Butler “You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.”











An Excerpt from In the Dark of Winter.



In a field next to an abandoned farmhouse, a salt-and-beer-seasoned ninety-pound hog, its flesh spitting and crackling, rotated over an open fire. Word of mouth had brought this crowd together, a no-frill yearly event in the foothills of Blossom Mountain, twenty kilometres south of Moncton. No signage existed and, year after year, the site was only found by come-by-chance, or through the grapevine. This year was no different. The crowd, eager to sink their teeth into the juicy, roast pig, huddled around the farmhouse, whose sagging roof begged for a new spine.



Early in the evening, Ben Walsh and his wife Maryel drove straight to the party by way of four-wheeler, using backroads and trails. They parked the ATV on Salem Road, behind a thick line of white pines across from the farm. Ben unlatched the tent and sleeping bags from the back of the quad and pitched the tent up, throwing the sleeping bags in it.  Then, weighed down by lawn chairs and cooler, they crossed the road and reached the back of the farmhouse.



Ben paused for a moment and stood tall, gazing out at the crowd. The field teemed with hundreds of partiers, their tents, coolers and boom boxes. A roar of laughter and music echoed back as a large wave of new arrivals flooded the pasture. Farther down the field, speakers, resting on mini stages in the sprawling farmland, blared “Magic Bus” by The Who. The drums’ rhythm reverberated through his body, pulling him in. He grabbed Maryel’s hand and they moved downhill, where the music thumped harder.



For the next hour they moved through the crowd, connecting with old friends, making new ones. And although Maryel’s brother, Mike, had insisted on them going to the party, they saw no sign of him.



As the sun set, Ben and Maryel followed a flock of people through a narrow path, crisscrossed with tree roots, that opened up to a gravel pit in the back of the property, closer to a bonfire whose blaze raged against the night. Dozens of people, eyes glowing, sat around the fire, captivated by the flames and its flurry of sparks. The grass was littered with plastic cups and paper plates. In the distance, they heard the beat of ZZ Top’s “Sharp Dressed Man.”



Ben took Maryel’s shoulder and pointed. There was Mike, the only one standing, intoxicated and struggling to keep his balance. The crowd cheered him on as he jumped near the blaze, one minute throwing handfuls of flame-colorant packets, and the next, armloads of deadwood. Mike waved his hands in the air to the beat of “Here for the Party” as if a maestro conducting a Mozart sonata. Girls joined him on the pretend rock stage as the fire strengthened, coughed out flames of blues, green, and hot pink. The inferno intensified, the dancers backed off and the circle of chairs widened.



Ben, nodding to the music, picked a beer can from the cooler. He cracked it open and pushed it down into the mesh cup-holder in Maryel’s chair. He fixed himself a Rum and Coke and watched as Mike, normally shy, continued to dance. Ben wished he had a camcorder to embarrass him later.



With the revelers burning through their booze and drugs, straggling and stumbling near the fire, Ben was happy they’d pitched their tent away from the redneck ball. He was cautious. It was their anniversary, after all. Ten years. Ten challenging years parenting Alec, a problem child, but they had stuck together through it all. This party was just what he and Maryel needed to mark the milestone and unwind. Ben winked at Maryel. Her lips quirked at the corners and she shook her head, eyes scanning his chest. She always got a kick out of the T-shirts he wore. Tonight, the white letters “If found…Please return to the pub” popped against the black fabric. His long, jet-black hair, tied at the nape of his neck, showed his strong jaw.



Party abandoned and holding hands, they walked past the farmhouse and across Salem Road, retiring to the tent. They undressed quickly and he climbed on top, jostling a bit until he was inside her. She gripped him harder, bracing for climax. He felt her nails on the top of his back go deep; Maryel moaned, shuddered.








Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us Monique. Wishing you all the best in your writing journey.







For all you wonderful readers wanting more information on Monique and her novel, please follow these links:



Website: moniquethebeau.com

Email: moniquethebeau@gmail.com

Amazon: In the Dark of Winter, available in paperback or Kindle.

By all means, feel free to leave a comment.

Sunday, 6 October 2019

Returning Author John Nicholl of Great Britain.



It's a real pleasure to have John back on the Scribbler. On his first visit, he participated in a 4Q Interview. If you missed it, please go HERE.



This week he talks about his latest thriller





I’m delighted to be back in The Scribbler three years after my first appearance.






The Girl In White, my eighth darkly psychological thriller, was published by leading independent publisher of crime and thriller fiction, Bloodhound Books on the 4 September. Like all my books it draws heavily on my work as a police officer and child protection social worker.




Introducing DI Laura Kesey...

Harry Gilmore has no idea of the terrible danger he faces when he meets a beautiful girl in a local student bar. Drugged and abducted, Harry wakes up in a secure wooden compound deep in the Welsh countryside, where he is groomed by the leaders of a manipulative cult, run by the self-proclaimed new messiah, known as The Master.
When the true nature of the cult becomes apparent, Harry looks for any opportunity to escape. But as time passes he questions if the master’s extreme behaviour and teachings are the one true religion.

With Harry’s life hanging by a thread, a team of officers, led by Detective Inspector Laura Kesey, investigate his disappearance. But will they find him before it’s too late?




An Extract:

The two young women and their older male companion sat in an old, rust-pocked Transit van dressed entirely in white, scanning the street with keen eyes, as they had for almost two hours.

Achara, a dark-haired, strikingly attractive young woman, peered to her right. ‘What about him?’

The big man swivelled in the driver’s seat, tugging at an unkempt brown beard tinged with grey as he pressed his face against the glass.

‘Which one?’

Achara pointed with a purple-painted fingernail that perfectly
complimented her slender hand. ‘Him, him, the guy in the faded
jeans and black top. He’s been crying. Look at the state of his eyes.
That’s got to be a good sign, easy-peasy. He’s young, he looks reasonably fit. He’d make an ideal manual worker. We couldn’t find a better target.’

The big man lifted his military binoculars to his eyes and focussed
on Harry’s face. ‘It could be hay fever. It’s the time of year for it.
You’re making assumptions based on dubious evidence. Maybe he
hasn’t been crying at all.’

Achara made a face, frustrated by the big man’s lack of trust in
her ability. ‘Look at his hunched shoulders, the morose expression on his face. He’s perfect, absolutely perfect. Just give me a chance. That’s all I’m asking. Let me prove myself. Surely I’ve earned that much after all this time.’

The man lowered the binoculars, sighing as he rested them on his
lap. ‘I don’t know. I’m not so sure.’

Achara kept her eyes on Harry as she responded, her initial frustration fast becoming agitation that threatened to boil to the surface.

‘I’m here to serve the master, but how can I do that if you never give me the chance to prove myself worthy. It’s been months since I completed the training. I’m ready and waiting. If not now, when?’
The big man took a deep intake of breath and exhaled slowly,
weighing up his options as the second young woman spoke for the
first time in over an hour. ‘Oh, come on, Baptist, Achara knows what she’s doing. She’s completed the course. She passed with flying colours, a natural. One of the best we’ve ever had. You said that yourself. Achara’s got it spot on. You’ve got to learn to trust her. The boy will be gone if we don’t get a move on. It’s time to let her fly.’

Baptist lifted the binoculars to his eyes for a second time,
focussing on Harry, confirming his downbeat persona and nodding
reticently. ‘Okay, go on, out you go. He’s approaching the top of the hill. Near the charity shop on the left. You’ll catch up with him easily enough if you hurry. I’ll be back here and waiting at 2.30pm sharp. Do not be late. There’s no room for errors. This is far too important for that.’

Achara broke into a smile that lit up her face as she pushed the
passenger side door open and stepped out into the sunshine, as
excited as a child on a birthday morning. ‘Thank you, thank you so
very much. I won’t let you down.’

‘Have you got the drug?’

She glanced back at him, patting a trouser pocket and grimacing,
disappointed that he felt the need to ask. ‘Of course. It’s here safe
and sound.’

‘You’re certain?’

Her frustration was betrayed by her tone. ‘Yes, a thousand times,
yes.’

‘Pass this one final test, and you can move up a level in the
community. It doesn’t get any better than that. Make the most of the
opportunity. The master doesn’t tolerate failure. Remember that;
carve it in tablets of stone. Screw this up, and it won’t go well for
either of us.’






Contact:

I’m always happy to hear from readers and will always respond. I can be contacted by email at johnnichollauthor@gmail.com



Links:

Amazon
Amazon 🇬🇧 https://amzn.to/2ZCLTYc
Amazon 🇺🇸 https://amzn.to/2LfiH0j


Facebook


Twitter



Thank you John for being our guest this week. I am anxious to read your stories and most recently received my copy of White is the Coldest Color.

Saturday, 28 September 2019

Guest Author Gisele Bourgeois of Madrid, Spain.



True Identity 



I met Gisele online as a result of our shared love for writing and reading. I was immediately captivated by her debut novel – True Identity – and wanted to add it to my list. I’m now well into her terrific story and captivated. She has graciously agreed to a 4Q Interview and sharing an excerpt from her novel.






Gisèle Bourgeois was born in 1952 in Moncton, New Brunswick where she lived until she was seventeen years of age. She studied languages and social sciences at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton and went on to achieve a Master's Degree in Spanish Literature from New York University. She has lived in Montreal, New York and London but has spent most of her adult life in Madrid Spain where she married and had a daughter. She has worked mostly as a teacher and a translator. Although she loves Spain, her adopted country, she still feels very attached to Canada and has recently built a small house in Shediac Bridge New Brunswick where she spent all the summers of her childhood.







4Q: As I mentioned above, I’m enjoying your story Gisele. Tell our readers a bit about the book and how it came about.




GB: It took a long time for True Identity to become a reality. I always told myself I would write a book someday. Friends encouraged me, always complimenting my story telling. The day came, (I recall it was a significant birthday), when I thought I ought to get started.... And if I was going to write only one book in my lifetime, I wanted to write about things I care about. Partly to share them with others and partly to make them clear to myself. I love my family, my language, the place I grew up, my history in fact. I am probably intense about these things because I have lived far away from them most of my life. I will admit too, that being an avid reader, and a literature major, I felt like writing an entertaining novel; something interesting, fun to read and not boring! So, I invented what I hope is an attractive, curious and moving story to illustrate the power of these things; the power of a childhood song, the power of the sound of a language, the power of our cultural identity through three brave and interesting young people whose lives take them far away from their homes and their families. I hope my readers will feel the sand between their toes on a beach on the rugged New Brunswick coast as well as the exuberance of a festive family meal in Northern Spain. From different backgrounds and circumstances, Adrienne, Michel and Xavier's lives will intertwine around a mysterious and unfortunate death. 





4Q: Your website tells us about your extensive travelling and working experience which cleverly shows up in your writing. How did a young Acadian lady end up in Spain?





GB:  It's simple really. At 19, unsure of what I really wanted to do but hoping and planning for something  "international", I studied languages and social sciences at UNB. I signed up for the Junior Year Abroad program and studied for two semesters at the University of Madrid. That was the start of my love affair with Spain. I eventually met my future husband who had an international career in banking which took us to New York, London, Madrid, and many places in Latin America. I am friendly, adaptable, curious, and love big cities so I was fine and happy. An important part of True Identity takes place in Amsterdam as well where my daughter studied for a year. I visited her often at about the time I was  "baking" True Identity and my story emerged as I wandered around that great city. I must add that we lived in New York City from 1984 to 1989 where I witnessed the electricity and excitement of Eighties Wall Street so probably that is why you can tell I am familiar with the lifestyles and attitudes of that society in those days. This was also the height of the AIDS epidemic, and alongside the spiral of wealth and growth, the utter despair of its gay citizens. My sweet character Ander is caught up in that nightmare. I will never forget that shadow over the city. 





4Q: Please share a childhood memory or anecdote.




GB: This is a true story that might have triggered True Identity when I was only six or seven years old. My father was a doctor in Moncton and had a contract at the penitentiary in Dorchester. I recall him going there about once a week. He liked it. He was a nice man; fully bilingual, gregarious, told good jokes and got along well with the inmates. Every once in a while, the doorbell would ring: an ex-convict hoping to see my father for a medical problem or just asking for a couple of dollars. It was quite rare really. However, at one point, one of these men came several days in a row. He came through the back yard and knocked at the kitchen door. He smelled of alcohol and poor hygiene. My frightened mother would make him a sandwich and shoo my little brother and me out of the kitchen. She asked my father to do something about it. He came home early the following day, made the sandwich himself and talked with the guy for a while on the back porch, then put his hat on and left with him in the car. He was gone for three or four hours. My mother was very nervous. We finally heard the rumble of the car in the driveway and the door slamming. We rushed to the door to greet him and my father explained. "He won't be back. All he ever wanted in his life was to live in the United States.  So, we picked up his stuff at the boarding house, got him a haircut, I bought him a bus ticket for Boston and gave him fifty bucks. " ........ And so, in True Identity, my Michel (with a doctor's help) boards a bus to Boston deep in the night. 







4Q: Where’s your favorite spot to write? What are your writing habits, Gisele?





GB: I'm afraid I don't give my writing the space it deserves. I wrote True Identity at night, when the day was over, at my desk in the spare bedroom of my apartment. Then early in the morning, before getting on my way, I would reread and correct. I like to read what I have written out loud. I am also very critical with myself and rewrite and edit A LOT. I became quite ruthless with my novel, and actually threw out my first draft after one year and started again. I am planning a second novel right now. I am researching and attempting to be more organized but to no avail. Maybe that is just my way. I admire those people who take their writing as a job. Most, if not all good writers, encourage a good writing discipline.






4Q: You mentioned on your website that you wish you had started writing sooner (We’re glad you started when you did). What advice do you offer someone wishing to write their first story?




GB: Just do it. I am so happy that I did. I persevered. It took me almost 5 years from the day I sat at my computer and started to write to the day I considered it finished which was the day I held the published book in my hands. That feeling was so great. It's such a personal achievement. Concrete advice:  I wasn't too keen on doing a creative writing course because of the time it took but if you don't have a literary background it's a very good idea.  I miss not having a more technical background. I did roam around Google, looking for advice from famous authors and I found Kurt Vonnegut's tips for writers, helpful, concrete, useful and wise. I printed them up and pinned them on my wall where I could see them. But in the end, you sit at your computer, open Word, click on New File and write in "MY BOOK". See what happens.






4Q: What’s next for Gisele Bourgeois, the author?





GB: True Identity is coming out in Spanish this fall and I will be launching it here in Madrid hopefully in November or December. Through Amazon etc. it will be available in Spain and all over Latin America which is very exciting. I'll continue to market True Identity for a while because I feel it still has a way to go. Technology and social media can be challenging when you haven't grown up with them and being self-published only you are responsible for all the marketing and distribution.  You have no presence in bookselling venues (Thank you Chapter's Moncton for keeping me on consignment). It's very difficult to get visibility. 

So, thanks Allan and the South Branch Scribbler for giving me the opportunity to put my book out there. Your support of local authors is commendable and greatly appreciated. 




***You're very welcome Gisele. It's wonderful and interesting guests like yourself, that makes all this so much Fun.












An Excerpt from True Identity.

(Copyright is held by the author. Used with permission)







      The Boston police had no photograph of the suspect wanted for questioning in a small-town murder case up in Canada. Male, eighteen years of age, five feet eight inches tall, light brown hair and eyes. Who were they kidding? There were twenty thousand of them in town for the concert and every drug dealer in the northeastern United States as well. They had no time for this. No one was assigned the case.


      Michel found his way to the concert at Fenway Park. Stoned, in the darkness, the music reverberating in his chest, he was okay.


     Somehow he made his way back to the boarding house and fell asleep for eighteen hours. He woke suddenly with a pounding heart and drenched in perspiration. He didn't remember who, what or where he was. He was drowning in an undertow grasping for clues to his existence. He struggled to come to the surface and finally his name emerged from the fog.


       Michel. Michel Bourgeois. The bus. Boston. Yvette.


      When he came to himself, he was on his hands and knees on the bed. Stark naked. The facts of his life crept back. He put his hand on his heart and laid back on the small, narrow bed. The exhaustion and stress had come to a head. He calmed down slowly and remembered that he had a choice. He could end this now, take the bus home, and surrender to the police.


     "You can come back at any time. Remember that." Those were the Doctor's last words to him.


      Philippe Blanchard had told him that no matter what, he always had a choice. It was small consolation but at least it was a measure of freedom. He still had his return ticket. This was day five since he had gone to hide in the Blanchards' garage.


      He looked around. It was a small ugly room but the soft afternoon light came through the window and made it bright. He heard the comforting noise of city traffic in the distance. His things were in order just as he had left them. He was surviving. Strangely enough, the terrible nightmare had cleared his mind. 


     He took a moment to take inventory of what René had stuffed into the bag. No underwear or socks. He made sure his money and papers were safe and opened the door of his room to get a better look at the house. Brian was coming to life.


     He checked out the communal bathroom and showers and realized he would have to buy a towel and some toilet paper. He put his head under the tap in the sink, and with a sliver of soap someone had left there, washed his hair and rubbed it dry on the dingy towel roll. The cold water on his head felt good. His new life would start by acquiring articles of basic hygiene. This gave him an objective. He was going forward.







***Afternote: I’ve finished reading Gisele’s novel. Magnificent! 5 Stars





Thanks so much for being our guest this week Gisele. Thank you for your story. All the best in your writing journey.







For you dear readers wanting to discover more about Gisele and her work, please follow these links;



email: gisele.bourgeois@gmail.com

facebook: Gisele Bourgeois/True Identity

website: www.giselebourgeois.com