A widely travelled banking expert, corporate trouble-shooter, wordsmith, writer of crime novels and poetry, filler of social media with humour and sincerity, and now… autobiographer. It’s the amazing Seumas Gallacher with news of a journey.

A Journey to myself – writing my autobiography

Seumas GallacherFor 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.

Jack Calder Crime Series

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.

 

Strangely I'm Still HereHere’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.

In this post, I will endeavour to put all the information about The Women Friends: Selina in one place. If I forget anything, or more details become available, I will add them.

The Women Friends: Selina will be released this Thursday, 1st December. That’s tomorrow.

It’s the first in a series of novellas about the women in Gustav Klimt’s paintings.

It’s a finalist in the Goethe Awards (although they still haven’t added my name EDIT: now they have).

You can buy it on Amazon.

You’re invited to our launch party at 3pm (UTC). (Just go there and click on Going.)

Lots of information about the background to The Women Friends: Selina can be found in these articles.

A reading from the start of the novella.

The English Informer posted my article here and here.

The one and only Seumas Gallacher, author of several crime thrillers, posted my article.

According to Vanessa Couchman, I’m an unintentional history person.

EDIT: It’s in the online magazine of my former college.

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Plus… a bit of fun with The Women Friends.

And this lovely picture from Crooked Cat:

thewomenfriendsselinawithbirds

Seumas GallacherI’m delighted to be joined by Seumas Gallacher today. Seumas is a prolific writer of crime thrillers. He has had phenomenal success as a self-published author and has now partnered with Crooked Cat, who are republishing his novels, starting with Savage Payback. (If you want to know why he decided to do this, the answer is here in the post from 2nd February.) Seumas has also written a very helpful guide to self-publishing called Self-Publishing Steps To Successful Sales. Unsurprisingly, Seumas comes from Scotland. If you thought Ireland, as I did at first, look at the spellings again. And if you need any further proof, one look at his blog is all you need! A more surprising fact is that he lives in Abu Dhabi.

Hello Seumas and welcome to my blog. I thought about conducting the interview face to face. I looked up Google’s driving instructions from Jerusalem to Abu Dhabi and got the message: “Sorry, your search appears to be outside our current coverage area for transit.” Still from the map it looks to be quite a straight road. I’m just wondering whether to go that way, taking in the wildlife sanctuary and Riyadh on the way, or to travel to Eilat and take a leisurely cruise round the coast. In the meantime, I’ll make do with this long distance chat.

Hi, Miriam, pity, that. I could have got you some nice discounted camel passes from a guy I know… and anyway, I’m told that all roads lead to Rome, so p’raps we’ll end up in Italy ……

That’s an idea! I read that you went to Abu Dhabi for a short job and ended up staying. What drew you to that place?

My profession is that of (whisper it) a banker, but by vocation that has segued over the years into being a corporate troubleshooter… on one of those engagements I went to Abu Dhabi ten years ago, for one month… I’m still here …

I was offered terms to stay longer and did so because I like the pace of Abu Dhabi …it’s less frenetic than its partner down the road, Dubai, which is more of a marketing man’s dream… currently I shuttle between Abu Dhabi and Bahrain on business… I like the style of the locals whom I’ve been privileged to do business with…

Do you speak Arabic?

I took six months of Arabic lessons, but hardly made as much of an indent as I would like …it’s a very difficult language, as I’ve discovered there are very few algorithms to follow in terms of tenses and so on.

I empathise with you. I’ve never tried to learn Arabic. I got put off by the script, which looks hard to decipher, and the fact that the spoken and written languages are different. But can you manage there without Arabic? Do most people speak English?

Most people do speak English very well in the Middle East, but I’ve always tried to learn the lingua franca wherever I’ve been… it’s respected locally as an effort to ‘come across the bridge’… I speak varying proficiencies of English, Gaelic, French, Tagalog, Cantonese and Arabic… some may say I’m best at talking rubbish…

That sounds impressive! I had to look up Tagalog and it turns out 57 million people speak it.

Ah, sorry, Tagalog is the mainstream language of the Philippines, which actually has more than 75 various dialects.

Do you miss Scotland?

In all honesty, as regards Scotland, I’ve been away for more than 40 years, so I’ve become very much an ’international’ citizen… fond memories I have in spades, of course, but there’s very little attraction to return…

I’m not tempted to return to England, but I miss little things like wide open spaces, country pubs, salt ’n’ vinegar crisps and shortbread. Is there anything you dream of that’s in another country?

I dream very little of other countries’ attractions, having been blessed with travelling so much already in a life and career around the planet… however, there are places I certainly enjoyed being in: Vienna as a tourist, Hong Kong as a businessman, and San Francisco as a mixture of both.

Of those three, I’ve only been to Hong Kong so far, and enjoyed it immensely.

So where are your novels set?

International range..on purpose… based from their London offices, the proponents travel through the books to many parts of Europe, Hong Kong, Turkey, North Africa, the Balkans and South America.

What else do you want to tell us about them?

Savage Payback - Seumas GallacherBasic story line is of 3 former SAS commando officers who create their own specialist security firm protecting high value clients and their merchandise. They encounter several bad guys in the form of international crime lords, drug kingpins, people trafficked, money launderers. They use their black operations skills to bring justice where needed, away from the eyes of the normal law enforcement methods.

I read that you left home at the age of 15. How does a 15-year-old boy manage in the big wide world?

As the Beatles put it so well ‘I’ll get by with a little help from my friends’… I’ve had some terrific people come in and out of my life at pivotal moments …each a hero in their own way… also being able to use my own fists where necessary has been useful… I loathe bullies, and have always had a kinda reckless attitude toward not backing off from bullying when I meet it…got me into trouble some times, but trouble that I welcomed, strangely enough.

I wish I’d known how to do that! I suppose it all comes down to self-confidence, which is also what you assumed when you wrote, “I go along with the adage that if you believe you can achieve something, or if you believe you cannot achieve something, you’re probably right.”

What if someone doesn’t have the self-confidence to believe they can achieve something?

Tough one… revert to the saying if they don’t believe it, they’re probably right..sadly.. so many people never try , never step out of the comfort zone… it’s okay to be scared sometimes when you do things…

Hmm, I’ll think about that.

I loved this quote from the interview with you at Smorgasbord: “Thus began my growing tolerance for all people who once seemed on the surface to be different to me… we are all the same.” Would the world be a better place if everyone realised that?

For sure.

We’d better get the word out then!

Seumas, thank you so much for coming onto my blog. I don’t suppose you’ll be surprised to learn that I don’t get many visitors from your part of the world. I wish you even more success with your novels now that you’ve partnered with Crooked Cat.

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SEUMAS GALLACHER escaped from the world of finance five years ago, after a career spanning three continents and five decades.

As the self-professed ‘oldest computer Jurassic on the planet’ his headlong immersion into the dizzy world of eBook publishing opened his eyes, mind, and pleasure to the joys of self-publishing. As a former businessman, he rapidly understood the concept of a writer’s need to ‘build the platform’, and from a standing start began to develop a social networking outreach, which now tops 18,000 direct contacts.

His ‘Jack Calder’ crime-thrillers series, THE VIOLIN MAN’S LEGACY, VENGEANCE WEARS BLACK and SAVAGE PAYBACK blew his mind with more than 80,000 e-link downloads to date.

He started a humorous, informative, self-publishers blog three years ago, never having heard of a ‘blog’ prior to that, was voted ‘Blogger of the Year 2013’ and now has a loyal blog following on his networks. He says the novels contain his ‘Author’s Voice’, while the blog carries his ‘Author’s Brand’. And he’s LUVVIN IT!

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You can find Seumas on his blog as well as on Twitter, Facebook and email (seumasgallacher@yahoo.com).

Savage Payback is available on Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, Amazon Australia and Smashwords.

I have a guest post on the lovely and unique blog of Seumas Gallacher. It may be humorous, but it also poses a serious question: do I need a brand? Any answers?

My next post will, I think, be about the good things of India. Because I prefer to remember them, and I also need to think about these for a forthcoming speech (see below). The less good things will appear in a later post.

That speech. Oh dear. When I agreed to do it, I expected to have more time to prepare. I expected to write it at least a week ahead, giving me plenty of time to practise it. It’s now Friday and it’s due to be given on Tuesday evening, and I haven’t started writing it. I’m getting worried. If I leave it any later, the only thing that can save me is if the snow forecast for Wednesday comes a bit earlier. Any chance of that, powers that be?

So this all started when I was reading Seumas Gallacher’s blog and I noticed he’d reblogged something about Alzheimer’s from Chris the Story Reading Ape’s blog, in which he (Chris) had included a moving and personal letter written for World Alzheimer’s Day. The blogs encourage people to reblog and tweet and generally help to raise awareness of the disease.

While that is definitely a worthy cause, it’s not the one I have chosen to champion. So I decided to see if there is a World Social Anxiety Day. There isn’t. But I did discover World Mental Health Day. By chance, it’s today, 10th October. Then I looked around to find out who was talking about World Mental Health Day and whether social anxiety was included.

On the BBC site, I found:

Stephen Nolan presents a special programme on mental health to coincide with World Mental Health Day. Stephen discusses a range of issues; including depression, stress, post natal depression and dementia.

(The semi-colon is not mine.)

Very good, but what about social anxiety?

I know that the main focus this year is on schizophrenia, but I saw other issues mentioned on various sites. Not social anxiety, though. And yet social anxiety is more common than most of these others. Statistics vary because no one really knows, but they say that between 5% and 13% of people will experience social anxiety in their lifetime.

The main reason why social anxiety isn’t better known is because of its very nature. People with social anxiety prefer not to talk about it. But by keeping it out of the limelight, they are doing a whole community a disservice.

Another problem is that of people claiming to have social anxiety when they probably have a mild fear of public speaking. This downplays the effects of social anxiety disorder.

I don’t know if a World Social Anxiety Day is needed, but somehow the world needs to be aware of it.