Friday 6 March 2015

Interview with SEUMAS GALLACHER - thriller writer, blogger and a man with a great sense of humour.

I am delighted to welcome SEUMAS GALLACHER to the blog today. His thousands of followers will be familiar with his wit ... and wisdom.

Seumas, tell us a little about yourself.

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

My 'Jack Calder' crime-thrillers series, THE VIOLIN MAN'S LEGACY, VENGEANCE WEARS BLACK and SAVAGE PAYBACK have blown my mind with more than 80,000 e-link downloads to date.

I 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 have a loyal blog following on my networks. "The novels contain my 'Author's Voice', while the blog carries his 'Author's Brand'". And I'm LUVVIN IT!

What qualities do you need to be a successful writer?

I’m sure everybody has different notions on this, but for me, I’d include stamina and discipline to maintain a regular application at the laptop or writing desk. Throw in passion for your work, whatever the genre. Basic understanding of the rules of grammar, character development and plot development are musts. Then get lucky.

What is your working method?

I write at least a little every day, even if it’s only a paragraph on the novels. I also engage with the social networks extensively, and try to do a daily Author’s blog, which has become a labour of love.

Character/setting/plot. Which comes first for you?

Ideas flow in and out constantly. As my novels have now become the Jack Calder series, the main players are already set, but I believe I add a little more to them as each book is in process. The broad outlines of the plot develop as I get deeper into the telling of each story. The setting and background geography respond to the twists in the narrative, but I purposely cast the books internationally, which allows me plenty of freedom to have the characters travel.

How do you research your books? I’m thinking of all the special forces information et al.

Well, I could tell you, then of course, I’d have to kill you! I use my own experience and memories of places I’ve been to, and worked in over the last few decades around the world. At one time, I was protected by SAS-trained armed guards and an armoured car for about three years. I observed a lot about how these guys looked after me. The internet is a treasure trove and invaluable source of information for any writer.

Is there one aspect of writing that you enjoy more than any other?

No bullsh*t---I love all of it. The whole nine yards, including the need to be involved in the promotion and marketing stuff via the web and the social networks. As a relative newcomer to the author gig about six years back, I know I’ve found something I truly love doing. Specifically when the words ‘The End’ appear on the drafts, it’s a glorious, heady, pink-cloud feeling that just won’t go away.

Given unlimited resources, what would be your ideal writing environment?

I have developed so many wonderful writing friends globally, that I’d like to travel around the world constantly sharing time with them… and take my Mac with me.

Where do you actually write?

Now, it’s at home, with my own desk. Everything I need to produce the scribbling is there, so no diversion excuses.

You obviously have tremendous energy and zest for writing and marketing. How do you manage your time on each and the mental change from writer to promoter?

Early on, I ‘got’ the notion that this whole thing is the ‘business of writing’, and having been a businessman all of my working life, the concept came easily. In my Self-Publishing Steps To Successful Sales, I describe how it works for me, by allocating time and resources to each element… writing, editing, proof-reading, art work, marketing, and promotion. The writing is the comparatively easy part of all of that.

You can find Seumas's website here:
His books on Amazon here:
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Monday 23 February 2015

It's launch day! Book 3 The Tudor Enigma

Today, book 3 in The Tudor Enigma is published. Mantle of Malice concerns the plot to destabilise the English throne by kidnapping the infant son of Henry IX.

The King needs someone who will, without self-interest, devote time, effort and be prepared to put his life on the line for the Tudor dynasty. That man is Luke Ballard.

Luke is tricked into making a long and hazardous journey to his home in the north of England, where memories are long and grudges never die. He escapes death only to be ambushed by sunderers and is gravely injured. All that, and he has fallen head over heels for the ravishing Blanche. Oh, and there is the little matter of the still-missing heir!

The Tudor Enigma Series:

You can find information about my books here:

Amazon UK -

Amazon USA -

Carina Press - 

Goodreads -

Sunday 22 February 2015

23 Feb: MANTLE OF MALICE: Aspects of Tudor life: 7. The Sweating Sickness

Until I began my research for The Tudor Enigma series, I did not know that “the sweat” as the sweating sickness was called was a Tudor phenomenon. It was not known in England before 1485 when Henry VII killed Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth and took the crown and it was unknown after 1551. The Europeans called it “The English Disease”, although there is one incidence of it travelling, by ship, to Hamburg in 1528. Those opposed to the Tudor monarchs never failed to point out that it came to England with Henry VII and it is certainly true that six weeks after Bosworth, the new King’s entourage brought it to London where it killed 15,000 people in six weeks. But, because it never reappeared after 1551, there is no clear diagnosis as to what, exactly, the sweating sickness was.

Symptoms began with a sense of dread and unease, followed by shivers, dizziness, headaches, pain in the arms, legs, shoulders and neck, breathlessness and fatigue or exhaustion. A sufferer could be in excellent health at breakfast and dead by dinner. It is interesting to note that the rich suffered from it more than the poor and there is a theory that those in good health were more susceptible than those who were already ill or the very young or very old. It is certain that it was not plague - the Black Death - or typhus, the two other great killers. Notable victims of the sweating sickness are both sons of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk and close friend of Henry VII. The boys died within a day of each other. The court painter, Hans Holbein was another victim and many historians have suggested that Henry’s older brother, Arthur, also died of the sweats. Whilst she was being courted by Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn also caught the disease, but recovered.

Medical research now suggest that the disease may have been a novel strain of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome with the added symptom of sweating, that evolved in medieval Europe. The only way to find out for sure would be to exhume known sufferers although whether there would be anything left of the virus after 500 years is open to question.

Mantle of Malice, Book 3 in The Tudor Enigma will be published on 23rd February 2015.

You can find out more and follow April here -

Saturday 21 February 2015

23 Feb: MANTLE OF MALICE: Aspects of Tudor life: 6 Pleasures & Pastimes

The Tudor dynasty was not a secure one, especially when it took so long for Henry VIII to have a male heir. There was a compelling need to ensure that men of all ages and classes should be trained and ready should a war break out. Sport was an excellent way of achieving this. At one time archery was compulsory and men practised at the town butts each week. Wrestling was also encouraged and the upper class went hunting, not just to provide meat for the table but also to keep fit and practise their riding skills. Running at the quintain was also considered training for war. This was a target on a pole that was set on a crossbar. At the other end of the pole hung a sack of sand. The aim of the exercise was for the young man to ride his horse towards the target and hit it with his lance, but the secret was to gallop away quickly enough so that the bag of sand did not fly round and hit the rider in the back.
Dancing, music and the theatre were important in all walks of life and was very popular as a method of meeting members of the opposite sex. It was especially important for women because they did not have the freedom to partake in things like jousting and other exercises that men were permitted. It was also acceptable for women to dance with each other and ask men to dance with them. Bowling, both indoor and outdoor, was very popular as was tennis. Henry VIII had a bowling alley and a tennis court built at Hampton Court Palace. 

Events that would be repugnant to us today were considered excellent spectator sports. These included public executions, designed to discourage crime, but which became an enjoyable day out. Animals were also used as sport. Bears and bulls were baited by mastiff dogs, both of which were enjoyed by Elizabeth I and cock-fighting was common.

The Twelve Days of Christmas was an important event in the Tudor year. Except for tending to the animals, no work would be done from Christmas Eve until the first Monday after 12th night. This was a time for people to visit their neighbours and share “minced pyes”, which had 13 ingredients in them to represent Christ and the apostles. They would also have a Feast of Fools, choosing one of their number to be the “Lord of Misrule” whereupon there would be copious amounts of food and alcohol eaten and drunk and this resulted in wild and unruly behaviour. A Christmas Pie - consisting of a turkey stuffed with a goose, stuffed with a chicken, stuffed with a partridge, stuffed with a pigeon was presented in a pastry case called a coffin - would be one of the dishes on the table.

Mantle of Malice, Book 3 in The Tudor Enigma will be published on 23rd February 2015.

You can find out more and follow April here -