Thursday, November 28, 2013

My Guest: Seumas Gallacher

He's back! Yes, That Man is back! (cue massed bagpipes soundtrack). This time talking about violence in novels. Ladies and Gentlemen...

Seumas Gallacher

Bluddy Savage

…I wonder how often and how many of yeez have the same thoughts that bang around in my little grey cells from time to time… today’s epiphany jumped in a wee while ago… ‘…God save us from those that want to save us from ourselves…’ …it starts when ye’re still an infant, still in yer short trousers… the ‘savers’ raise the alarm about how much violence gets peddled in the movie theatre cartoons… ‘…it’ll warp their minds… create
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monsters out of them… psychologically damage them forever…’
…well, I don’t know about how yeez all handled that stuff, but watching the likes of Tom and Jerry and the Road Racer invent thirty thousand different ways of bodily annihilation never ever put me off my mince… fast forward to the modern day and the birth of the eBook phenomenon… everybody and his cat wants to write a novel… the favourite literary poison of the day is crime thrillers… which generally means violence and killing on a scale seldom seen outside of World Wars… with the flick of a quill or a tap on a laptop keyboard, victims pile up for the bin men to collect… my ol’ Mama said yeez can never get enough of a good thing… but from a scribbler’s perspective, just how much violence is a ‘good thing’?… the writing clich├ęs abound on how to make characters become ex-persons… all the way from size 10 concrete footwear to ‘pluggin’ ‘em’ with three kilos of best cordite-smellin’ lead… ‘fess up time… I’m a crime thriller author… and, yes, there’s more than a tad of violence in my masterpieces…(I’m from docklands Govan in Glasgow, what do yeez expect?)… however, there’s a huge difference in the novelist’s use or abuse of violence… (… ‘gentle’ violence? …surely not?)… readers are not dumb… okay, they’re well-adjusted to the concept of ‘suspending disbelief’ in the interests of story
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plot flows… but we’re not talking horror genre here… so creating gallons and gallons of gore doesn’t make for good crime stories… neither does a mild tap on the back of the skull to induce corpses… yeez have to keep it real and credible… most authors will tell yeez that they’d like to have a ‘grab-‘em-by–the–throat-and-pull-‘em-in’ beginning… violence is fair game for that… startle ‘em a wee bit… but there’s the risk of ‘over-selling’ it… once yer character’s dead, leave him dead… don’t overkill him… if ye’re trying to provide descriptive evidence that a bad dude or dude-ess is really bad, he or she doesn’t have to strangle somebody to show that… a well-placed sneer fits the bill just as well… once a reader has made an early judgment on the evil protagonist, it sticks, don’t worry about that… instead, use the impending threat of violence as the tension-builder… oh, and by the way, if the baddies get taken out on the ‘live by the sword, die by the sword’ ethos, then it’s perfectly acceptable to visit every kind of savagery on them… the only baddies I ever consistently rooted for back in the old days was whatever criminal characters Jimmy Cagney or Edward G. Robinson portrayed… but by and large, yer readers want the villains to ‘get theirs’… some writers create havoc in the body count and violence while others get by with perhaps a single mortality… it depends on the story context… just don’t make any of it gratuitously violent… there has to be a purpose, even if it’s merely retribution by
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killing the bad guy, or sculpting sympathy for the killing of an innocent character… it has to resonate with the reader… evoke some reaction… yeez don’t want the reader to actually feel pain, but it’s good writing to have them feel the emotional pain of the those close to a ‘goodie’ ye’ve just topped… and nothing beats the reader’s inner cheer when the ‘baddie’ finally gets huge dollops of his own violent medicine… yeez want them saying, ‘…Yes! Yes! Got the s-o-b…’ …by the way, counterbalancing the violence with some ‘touchy-feely’ emotional passages is not only acceptable, but desirable… in the absence of outright humour, a lighter piece gives the reader a breathing space… lets them catch their second wind… believe me, they’ll be grateful and thank yeez for it… so, with all that in mind, go kill ‘em!…

Brief Synopsis of Seumas' latest thriller Savage Payback - the third of the Jack Calder novels:

A series of coordinated lethal bomb attacks on a dozen jewelry stores in London’s West End drag former SAS officer, Jack Calder and his specialist security firm, International Security Partners, into a deadly mesh of murder and international drug running.

A black ops explosives expert, an ex-colleague turned renegade mercenary with a twisted lust for revenge, emerges from the past to join forces with a powerful and dangerous drug baron from Eastern Europe. A major cocaine trafficker from South America compounds the threats as competitive turf issues straddle international territories.

Attacks close to home heighten the urgency for Calder and his team to find and deal with each of the three sinister adversaries in a final savage payback.


Seumas Gallacher was born in the cradle of the Govan shipyards in Glasgow in the so-called "bad old days" which were in reality the greatest of days, where everybody was a real character of note.

An early career as a trainee Scottish banker led to a spell in London, where his pretence to be a missionary converting the English locals fell on deaf ears. Escape to the Far East in 1980 opened up access to cultures and societies on a global scale, eventually bringing the realisation that the world is quite simply one large extended village.

The lifelong desire to write resulted in "The Violin Man's Legacy", the first in the Jack Calder series of crime thrillers. Seumas says that finishing that novel was one of the best feelings he has ever experienced in a life full of rich emotions.

When he's not writing the next installment in the Jack Calder series, Seumas can be found here:


Thank you, Seumas, for an interesting insight into the use of violence as a writer's tool in fiction.

Eric @

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

My Guest: Regina Puckett

My Guest this week is an authoress who has mastered a challenge so many writers choose to avoid. Her thoughts on using different genres to tell your stories, and why she enjoys this approach, are the subjects of this interesting post. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you...

Regina Puckett

The Horror of Romance

People look at me like I’m a two-headed snake in a freak show whenever I tell them my books and short stories aren’t all written in the same genre. I write romance, horror, inspirational, children’s picture books and my newest venture is erotic/horror. Yes, I really did just say erotic/horror. The later genre I co-authored with my daughter, Charity Parkerson. I left the steamy scenes to her while I stuck to mutilating and killing people.

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The truth is I’m really not certain why there aren’t more authors choosing to write in multi-genres. I know I have several stories in my head still waiting to be written and they don’t all fit into the same mold. I wouldn’t think I was that different from any other author. In my opinion, a good story is a good story no matter what the genre is. Besides, I like changing things up every now and then. It keeps things interesting. I enjoy writing about people falling in love, but it’s just as much fun to find a creative way to kill someone.

Right now you’re out there questioning my sanity. That’s okay. You wouldn’t be the first person to do so. And, yes, I do understand the whole theory behind branding myself as a writer, but while that may work for traditional publishing houses, does that same idea work for indie authors? Without having the powerful machinery of publishing houses behind us, I truly believe, indie authors need to be more creative and should always be willing to try something new.

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I like being able to appeal to a wider spectrum of readers. But even after saying that, that’s not the only reason I write in so many different genres. I write the stories that insist on being written and I never know who or what will inspire my next tale. Will Work for Food was written after seeing a beggar on the street corner. Paying the Hitchhiker came to me as I was riding with my husband from Tennessee to Myrtle Beach. I wrote Concealed in My Heart because of a dream. Every single one of my short stories and books were inspired by something different. I have accepted the fact that my mind has a mind of its own.

It seems that with the aging process, more and more of my stories are turning into tales of horror. Maybe it’s because I’m turning into a cranky old bitch in my old age. While I still do believe in love at first sight, I also can think of a hundred different ways to kill someone and bury the body. I’m probably better off not overanalyzing what dark paths my mind is willing to travel down on most days. Writing is a great way of breaking the law without really breaking the law. Just because you don’t see your name in any of my books doesn’t mean that wasn’t YOU I killed in my latest horror story. I do like killing people who have ticked me off. So think carefully, have you done something lately to piss me off?

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So my question still stands, why shouldn’t I write any story I want to? As a reader, my interests have always been wide and varied. I love reading romances, mysteries, horror, Science Fiction and last but not least the back of milk cartons. The written word should always be appreciated. Since someone, somewhere took the time to write it, the very least we can do is take the time to read it.

I’m not a famous author, so it’s probably bad form to be offering advice to anyone on how to advance their writing career. My professional advice is to take everything I say with a grain of salt. The truth is there is no magic bullet for making it as a writer. I have no idea why some excellent writers never make it big, while a few terrible ones become bestselling authors. Maybe it’s the luck of the draw or just maybe, even though they aren’t excellent wordsmiths, they are great storytellers.

What I’m trying to say is don’t be afraid to try something new. You might just discover the writer you were truly meant to be.


Regina lives in Tennessee. She has been a writer for as long as she can remember. The only way she knows to shut the voices up is to tell their stories and to let them live among the pages of her books.

She loves writing in many different genres because life is too short to be stuck in a rut.

Thank you, Regina for a great post. It occurs to me that a reader following a particular author could also discover new genres if that writer is multi-genre too.

Eric @