Son Of A Gun

Ferry stories Sea Passages

I am privileged and humbled to have played a small part in getting this new book of short stories into the water. Each piece revolves around a ferry journey.

Harvested from the creative talents of writers who have dropped anchor in and around the waters of the West Highlands of Scotland, this little gem will appeal to readers who love boats, the Highlands or just the thrill of setting out on a new adventure.

Here you will discover stories of those passing purposefully over the water and those being swept by the tide. There are people lost and people found, stories of birth and death. Tales of whales, the bleat of sheep and the unmistakable tang of salt air.

When researching ideas for this project, originally for my Creative Writing group at Argyll College, I was intrigued by the superstitions, traditional customs and strange beliefs of mariners.

Most of these are associated with bad luck and as a thriller writer, I had to learn more.

Did you know that if the words ‘good luck’ were to be uttered on a boat, then the only way to reverse the ‘curse’ was to punch someone (most probably the person who had just said it) and draw blood?

Women on boats

We are all familiar with the naming ceremony for important new ships and a part of the cultural tradition demands that a woman performs the champagne christening as a way of ensuring prosperity and good luck for the vessel.

So, if a woman’s hand was deemed to be good luck during the naming ceremony for a boat, then why was it considered bad luck to have a women on board?

The answer to this lies in basic human nature and the fact that until recently, the sea-faring industries were totally male-dominated and so having a female among their ranks would have been a dangerous distraction. Although it did happen on many an occasion.

And this is where the wonderfully wicked curse, ‘son of a gun’ comes from. Imagine a busy and crowded vessel at sea with the additional presence of a woman on board. Should a besotted sailor wish to consummate his love, then the location for such a dalliance would very often be done in the relative privacy of the gun deck.

These affairs would often result in the birth of an illegitimate child – the son of a gun.

Just to confuse matters further, seafaring folk used to believe that nude women were actually a calming influence on the sea which is why you will see so many figureheads of naked women on old sailing ships.

If you pay close attention to our book ‘Sea Passages,’ you might discover in one story that there is a brief physical ferry encounter between a young couple deeply in love. Those of you who are particularly alert and read the book all the way through to the very last nautical nugget might also find out that this event has an impact on another story in the book.

I live on a tiny island and so I appreciate the excellent work the Royal National Lifeboat Institution do for our safety, every day of the year. They assisted a good friend of mine only last week, further south in the English Channel.

And so, all the profits from this book are going to the RNLI.

I hope you enjoy each and every one of the eleven stories and one poem.

Alex x

PS: I am still working on the 4th Ridge Walker adventure thriller and I promise it will be published later this year.

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If you’re looking for some dark and gritty writing then check out my thriller THE DEVIL YOU KNOW. There’ll be a sequel in the very near future.ferry

Not for the faint of heart but it’ll reward you for reading it. 

“I would definitely recommend this book if you are looking for something a little bit different.”

“The effort was worth it. More than a story, I recommend this book to readers who appreciate good writing. I am truly impressed and hope to see more books by Alex Breck.”

 

Have you listened to my Podcast show Alex Breck’s Banter yet?

ferry

 

So Has The Cat Killed Curiosity?

curiosity

Before, I start, just let me say I’m a huge fans of cats and if the rest of my family weren’t allergic to them, I’d have a house-full.

There’s something about their aloofness and the way they don’t hide the fact they like nothing better than to bask in the warmth of a sunny room and have the rest of the world running around after them. A bit like teenagers… more on them later.

But I’m much more of a lover of curiosity than anything else on this planet! A good old-fashioned yearning to find out more about stuff. Anything!

As a lad, I was happy to sit for hours on my own reading massive encyclopedias and even a dictionary would help me swallow up a rainy afternoon in Scotland.

And we get them a LOT!

Libraries were always a sanctuary for a wee boy like me who’d been forced to move house too many times due to his dad’s occupation. Making new friends in school always took a certain amount of time, but there would always be the serried ranks of familiar books to instantly reconnect me to my disjointed geographical timeline.

So it pains me greatly to tell you that my teenage son’s new 21st Century state-of-the-art high school – which he is moving into in a few weeks time – does NOT possess a LIBRARY!

 

curiosity

Now I am not a Luddite, by any means.

I make my living from a laptop for Pete’s sake…!

And I know you can store a gazillion books on a tiny hard drive.

But what happens when there’s a power outtage?

I mean, we get power cuts up here in the Highlands almost as often as we get rain.

And what are the chances of a teenage school kid making the effort to look up the history of cats in ancient Egypt when there is an online Call of Duty battle to be had?

Or the catching up of who did what to whoever, where, why and when on Social Media.

It just won’t happen.

Curiosity will slowly die.

At least the curiosity to learn about books. About words. Where they came from and why they were chose above others on a page.

I’m proud to say that an excellent book of short stories from the West Highlands of Scotland will soon be published by my imprint, Seilachan Fort. It germinated from an idea of mine to help foster a sense of shared purpose and thereby encourage a group of local College evening class students to keep coming back for more writing classes.

But we recently had a discussion where one of the talented author-contributors wanted to include a glossary of some of the more unusual Scottish words.

The rest of us vetoed this.

Our argument was that it is healthy to have words which might be unfamiliar and it’s even better when the reader is forced to do a little research and find out about them on their own.

That’s how we learn.

Curiosity.

But now, instead, our kids will just lie back on the sofa and keep on surfing YouTube or maybe gaze vacantly at yet more cat photos…

Alex x

PS: Do YOU think it’s acceptable to have a new high school built without a library? I’d love to find out out if this is a Scottish issue or a wider problem.

Find me on Facebook

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If you’re looking for some dark and gritty writing then check out my thriller THE DEVIL YOU KNOW. There’ll be a sequel in the autumn.curiosity

Not for the faint of heart but it’ll reward you for reading it. 

“I would definitely recommend this book if you are looking for something a little bit different.”

“The effort was worth it. More than a story, I recommend this book to readers who appreciate good writing. I am truly impressed and hope to see more books by Alex Breck.”

 

Have you listened to my Podcast show Alex Breck’s Banter yet?

Alex Breck's Banter Podcast Show

 

Can I Count On Your Vote?

Can I Count On Your Vote?


Can I Count On Your Vote

I’m so excited because my Ridge Walker book ‘The Piper’s Promise’ was just nominated for the 2017 Readers Choice Awards!

Please vote for it at www.tckpublishing.com/readers-choice-voting.

[It’s in the Thriller section which is on page 9 out of 16]

Or if that doesn’t work GO HERE TO VOTE

One happy author!

Alex x

PS: You can get your own copy of ‘The Piper’s Promise’ HERE!

Find me on Facebook

Follow me on Twitter

If you’re looking for some more dark and gritty writing then check out my thriller THE DEVIL YOU KNOWvote

Not for the faint of heart but it’ll reward you for reading it. 

“I would definitely recommend this book if you are looking for something a little bit different.”

“The effort was worth it. More than a story, I recommend this book to readers who appreciate good writing. I am truly impressed and hope to see more books by Alex Breck.”

 

Have you listened to my Podcast show Alex Breck’s Banter yet?

Alex Breck's Banter Podcast Show

My Books On Book Store Shelves

Book Store ShelvesMy Books Are Now In Book Store Shelves!

Ever since I wrote my first Ridge Walker adventure thriller back in 2012, my biggest goal was to see my work displayed on the shelves of real bona fide bookstores.

Very quickly, I came to understand that this goal, as a self-published indie author, was going to be extremely hard to achieve.

Don’t get me wrong. I knew that I could make a genuine living from being a self-published author despite having no illusions about being the next Ian Rankin or J.K. Rowling.

My idea was never to beggar myself trying to get an agent and then a publisher. As a late entrant to the world of book writing, I couldn’t afford to wait 10 years for the gate-keepers to finally deign to accept my manuscript.

In addition to writing Ebooks and self-publishing through Amazon, I also embarked on a career in online marketing and then coaching, all of which has been exciting, unpredictable and a lot of fun.

So, I was happy to publish online.

Apart from one thing.

When friends, family and others who knew me were sceptical about my ‘online activities,’ that was perfectly fine. They couldn’t see my growing bank balance. I didn’t need their accreditation.

But when they thought I was just ‘playing’ at being a writer – that hurt. A lot.

I wanted to be able to walk into Waterstones, which is our biggest UK bookstore and point to my books. My son was around ten years old and I wanted him to see my books and be proud of his old dad.

I appreciate that I won’t be shifting a ton of books through these stores. That’s not what it’s about with me. It’s just good old-fashioned pride and recognition of a job done.

So my goal has been achieved this week. My books are on bookstore shelves. Waterstones now sell my print books and I am doing a book signing even in December. One happy author.

Alex

Find me on Facebook

Follow me on Twitter

If you’re looking for some dark and gritty writing then check out my full-length thriller THE DEVIL YOU KNOWhalloween

Not for the faint of heart but it’ll reward you for reading it. 

“I would definitely recommend this book if you are looking for something a little bit different.”

“The effort was worth it. More than a story, I recommend this book to readers who appreciate good writing. I am truly impressed and hope to see more books by Alex Breck.”

 

Have you listened to my Podcast show Alex Breck’s Banter yet?

Alex Breck's Banter Podcast Show

 

The Black Hand Of Death – A Halloween Tale

My Halloween Short Story – The Black Hand Of Death

 

Halloween - the black hand of death

Here’s a cheery (not) Scottish tale just in time for #Halloween.

You’ll be quite safe. No marauding ghosts or ghouls but I think there’s more than enough malevolent spirit for one old Highland house to take.

So, do you believe that bad things always come in three’s…?

And can young Campbell Black throw off the family curse that hangs over the town like a funeral shroud?

Enjoy my gritty story which is not without its dark humour!

But perhaps not the best time for you to have the builders’ in, methinks…

Have a spooky night wherever you spend Halloween!

 

Alex

Find me on Facebook

Follow me on Twitter

If you’re looking for some more dark and gritty writing then check out my full-length thriller THE DEVIL YOU KNOWhalloween

Not for the faint of heart but it’ll reward you for reading it. 

“I would definitely recommend this book if you are looking for something a little bit different.”

“The effort was worth it. More than a story, I recommend this book to readers who appreciate good writing. I am truly impressed and hope to see more books by Alex Breck.”

 

Have you listened to my Podcast show Alex Breck’s Banter yet?

Alex Breck's Banter Podcast Show