Culture clash

More from Jim…

Jim Webster

Amongst sheep farmers in this country you’ll find a medical condition called, ‘dipping flu.’ Basically it’s organophosphate poisoning from the chemicals in sheep dip.
So obviously farmers have stopped using them.
Except for the fact that the use was compulsory up until 1992, and that government knew that they were dangerous.

The reason farmers use them is to treat sheep scab. To quote from one website, “Sheep scab is an acute or chronic form of allergic dermatitis caused by the faeces of sheep scab mites (Psoroptes ovis). The mites are just about visible to the naked eye and can only remain viable off the host (sheep) for 15-17 days. The sheep is the only host where the mites can complete their lifecycle, though there is evidence that they can remain viable on cattle. The lifecycle takes 14 days and the population of mites can double every six days.”


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Who Would You Most Like To Have Met?

I would dearly love to have met him…

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Despite all of the many stories where he is portrayed as the rough tough hard lawman, the person I would most like to have met is Wyatt Earp. What was he really like? What made him tick? Was he just a killer with a badge, or was there more to him than that?

I remember seeing a brief grainy movie clip of him years ago; shot in the eighteen nineties where he was refereeing a boxing match between Bob Fitzsimmons and Tom Sharkey, hardly the image Hollywood likes to present.
Born on March 19th 1848, Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp was an inveterate gambler and investor, who became famous, or infamous, as a law enforcement officer. During his life he had taken jobs as various as a farmer, teamster, miner, saloon-keeper and bouncer. Earp often found himself on both sides of the law.
We have all heard the story of…

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Ponte Vecchio Poems

More from Justin in Malta…

The Champagne Epicurean

The process of appreciating a city doesn’t always follow a love-at-first-sight model.

First impressions are not always the most lasting. Florence needs some time. It can be hard to love a city when you’re surrounded by group after group of tourists using their Yoga experience to bend over into odd positions to take the fifth perfect shot of the duomo.

The grandeur of the buildings can be diminished in the peak times of day. It’s like seeing a beautiful, attractive woman dead drunk.

Luckily, Florence is a schizophrenic city. I mean that in the best possible ways. If you’re adventurous and dedicated enough to wake up as early as you can in the morning, preferably at the hour of sunrise, you will see and appreciate what all the hype is about. And you will fall in love.

It happened to me specifically on the Ponte Vecchio. The bridge that’s withstood…

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To Blog or Not to Blog

Thinking of producing a blog? Read on…

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In this day and age, if you are a writer, one particular tool you definitely should make use of is a blog. In my case I have been regularly contributing to this blog since February 2010. A few days ago the number of my posts finally exceeded three thousand. In fact 3335. This is something I never envisioned happening way back then.

Your readers want to know what makes you tick; maintaining a blog helps to ensure that. Despite what some may think we don’t spend every waking hour at our keyboards writing several thousand words each day. We’re not automatons. Like you we also lead normal lives.

A lot of writers still don’t make use of the humble blog claiming it is a waste of their valuable writing time. Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s a far better medium to advertise your work as well as engaging…

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More from young Seumas

Seumas Gallacher

…my dear friend and fellow scribbler, m’Lady, Amber Leggette-Aldrich, allowed me space on her blog to chat a wee bit about the experience of writing my recently published autobiography, STRANGELY, I’M STILL HERE… here it is :

Guest post by Seumas Gallacher
Today, I would like to introduce my dear friend and fellow author, Seumas Gallacher.I first met Seumas about 7 years ago, through Twitter and blogging, just after he released his 2nd book of the Jack CalderCrime Series.Since then, I’ve come to know him as a friendly gentleman with a witty sense of humor, an outgoing and honest personality, who is skilled in a variety of backgrounds, including his talents as an author.In the recent release of his autobiography, Seumas paints a living portrait from his humble beginnings in the slums of Docklands, Govan in Glasgow, Scotland, across 50 years and 3 continents. To say that…

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Whatever Happened to the Goodreads Sociopaths?

Why I left Goodreads…

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Yesterday, December 3rd, the crusading anti bullying group Stop The Goodreads Bullies announced that they were closing down in A final Note to Our Readers. This group was specifically set up to fight on the side of all Independent writers who had been targeted mercilessly by the internet sociopaths who descended on Goodreads in numbers from its parent company’s ‘chat rooms’ specifically to target ‘Indies’.

The real problem was that a small number of Goodreads’ actual staff members were part of the whole sorry affair, siding with the in-house bullies against the Indie writers, who Goodreads officially censured if they dared stand up for themselves, often by closing their accounts. Eventually Goodreads were forced into taking action to clean house.

While its true that some of the more rabid bullies have been removed, whether or not all have gone is still uncertain.

What the Indie community is now most…

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To sleep, perchance to write

More from Tallis the skallywag…

Tallis Steelyard

2) To sleep, perchance to write

I must confess that I rarely gain any benefit from the dreams I have that I remember upon waking. Some seem to have me in long and convoluted discussions with people who are dead or whom I am aware of but have never met. In some I seem to be travelling through strange places for entirely inadequately explained reasons. Then, like everybody else, I seem to have the occasional dream where I have somehow displaced all my clothes and thus must wander naked through embarrassing situations.

It is only very occasionally that I awake from a dream and think, “I can use that.” Indeed I have a piece of scrap paper I keep by my bed for just such instances. Embarrassingly, perusing it shows that it contains more notes about appointments I mustn’t forget than fragments of immortal verse.

But there are those who either dream more wisely than me…

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To be avoided like the plague!

It’s advice time again…

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It would be fair to say that some new writers fall into one or two of the inevitable hidden traps lurking within the world of words from time to time. Here are just a few examples.


Let’s start by talking about one aspect of your book’s characters. Never ever reveal everything there is to know about them in one go. Think about it for a moment. Isn’t it far better to gradually find out tidbits of information about your friends, family members and work colleagues? Of course it is. The same applies to your characters. So why tell your readers everything you feel they need to know about them within the first few paragraphs?

Next we come to one of my pet hates – stating the obvious. Just because most of us at some point or other have done it in real life, doesn’t make it acceptable. You don’t…

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The Happiness Diaries

The Happiness Diaries

Something from Justin…

The Champagne Epicurean

The flag bearing the fleur-de-lys waved dementedly over the still river. The muted buildings over the Arno were all painted in the uniform colours of sunrise. A kayak rowed past as if sailing through thin air. Where the sun rose over the hills there descended a veiling haze.

It was Christopher’s last day in Florence. Soon he would have to return to his hotel to check-out and get a taxi to the airport. But he was reluctant to move. Over the last week he had become intimately acquainted with the city and it suddenly felt like leaving behind a star-crossed lover.

He was in Florence alone. He needed to be alone after what happened to him. Christopher needed to rediscover what happiness meant. And he felt it impossible to do trapped inside his own fatigued mind.

In his week in Florence he met a lot of people. Some travellers, some…

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Why should I consider self-publishing?

Why on earth not?

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Well, lets consider for a moment…

Since Ernest Hemingway got his break when the enlightened owner of a small book shop published his first work, the concept of independent writing as opposed to the long preferred method of large publishing houses with their contract or book deal for a chosen few has always been with us, as has self-publishing which has been around forever – a fact not widly known!

Don’t for one minute confuse self-publishing with vanity press. The two are complete opposites. Self-publishing literally means what it implies. You write, prepare and publish your book using one of the platforms currently available like Amazon’sKindle Direct PublishingorSmashwords, to name just two of those currently available.

The term Indie, used today when talking about self-publishing, is only its latest identity in the twenty-first century. There is absolutely no doubt that Amazon and Smashwords freed up…

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