So Has The Cat Killed 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!



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.


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.

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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?

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International Adventure Assistant Needed: Apply Here


International Adventure Assistant Needed – Is That You?

Right now I’m auditioning narrators to turn my most recent thriller The Devil You Know into an audio-book.

It’s very exciting and I never knew there were so many talented people out there. Obviously every author will have their own specific criteria and in my case I require someone who can deliver an authentic Scots accent and even with this strict stipulation there are lots to choose from.

Most of the top quality guys are also actors – who knew?

This means that the lead times for these audio-books will be long and so I don’t expect the first one until next summer. But if it works out then I’ll hopefully transform all of my novels into audio-books!

If you want any tips or contacts then please get in touch! it’s a fascinating world!

All of this got me thinking that Ridge Walker could probably do with an assistant or two. I mean he can’t keep on expecting his poor wife to risk her life again and again can he? Not now they have a family.

There would have to be some (deadly) strict requirements however and probably NOT the usual sort of thing you’d expect to see on a resume!

So, if you think you might fit the bill and have the following skills and attributes then get in touch and soon you might be an international hero jetting off & saving the world!


  • Pulling Ridge Walker out of dangerous international situations at the drop of a hat
  • Communicating with foreign nationals without being able to speak the language
  • Have an ability with a variety of weapons
  • Be a fervent fan of the beautiful country of Scotland
  • Not have met an alcoholic drink you didn’t like
  • Be able to work without supervision, leadership or even a clue what is going on
  • Have a scant regard for the practical workings of ‘the law’ anywhere in the world
  • Be drop-dead-gorgeous, male/female but untouchable (he’s been there-done that..!)
  • Having several passports / identities would be a bonus


So there you have it!

Previous applicants need not reply, all applications will be treated with the utmost contempt etc etc..


My latest devilishly hot thriller – THE DEVIL YOU KNOW – is on a special price on Amazon – UK  / USA
Or paperback – UK / USA  Imagine




Bought The Piper’s Lament yet?

This second Ridge Walker novel is also available in print form here musical the pipers lament


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Enjoy your reading and writing!

Alex x

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

Alex Breck's Banter Podcast Show


Don’t read this… if you believe in the Loch Ness Monster!


Don’t read this…if you believe in the Loch Ness Monster!





I had to laugh at first, when I read about the media frenzy whipped up by a recent article in my local Sunday paper here in Scotland. It seemed like an April 1st joke which had got out of hand, just another story about those crazy Yanks. For those of you who missed it, the gist is that some schools in Louisiana have been given leave to teach children that the Loch Ness monster is real in an attempt to discredit Darwin’s theory of evolution. But then I stopped laughing…

If you’re not worried about Creationism…

you should be


It’s happened many times before, of course. That old adage that whatever happens in America will eventually cross the pond to the UK.

  • McDonalds
  • 24hr supermarkets
  • 200 TV channels
  • Police on the street with guns

I can remember years ago returning from working in the US to regale my Scots friends with tales of the above ‘monsters’ which are now, of course, ubiquitous in Scotland and throughout the world, sadly.

Hence my concern.

For I was previously unaware that here in the UK, there are private Christian schools which in 2013 are to run Government approved qualifications which mirror the US based fundamentalist curriculum which includes the Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) programme.

Let’s just get this straight.




The ACE programme includes such gems as the contention that dinosaurs have walked the earth alongside man and thus evolution can be disproved.

Their textbooks educate children that dinosaurs may still exist the earth and that the Loch Ness Monster is actually real.

There is a belief that man was placed, fully formed, upon the earth, which itself is far younger than science has proclaimed.

Back in the UK, The British Humanist Association has accused the government agency responsible for approving qualifications for failing in their duty to ensure all children receive an accurate science education. Other education bodies have warned that the creationist movement is sneaking in through the back door.


Having studied science at university and being fairly local to Loch Ness I have to take umbrage with all this primitive nonsense. My oldest friend and first true love has lived on the shores of Loch Ness all her life and in fact, perhaps, way back in the day, our antics may have given rise to many of the ‘possible sightings’ of the mythical beast, who knows…

But thankfully, it seems that most people feel as I do.


Why I Hate Stereotypes about Americans

The furore surrounding the Sunday Herald article sparked off debate in social media sites and in a follow up piece in the paper some of the thousands of Americans who visit Loch Ness every year were allowed to add their disbelief.

One fellow from Texas said just after cruising the loch that it might be a good idea to try and ‘actually catch one’ before basing a theory around the existence of a monster.

A lady from Chicago said she ‘couldn’t believe people would be that stupid. It just seems utterly ridiculous to me.’

A student from Louisiana was refreshingly quoted as saying ‘not everyone living in Louisiana has fallen victim to these radical outcries and that some of us still prize logic and reason.’

So, perhaps there is hope for us all yet.


You are of course welcome to visit the exceptionally beautiful Loch Ness, just in case I’m wrong and Nessie does in fact exist. The Scottish Tourist Board owe me one for that!

Of course, as we locals on the West Coast of Scotland know only too well, there ARE monsters living amongst us…, from May until September anyway.


The dreaded Midgies.


Be afraid people, be very afraid…


Check out a parallel universe Loch Ness in my Ridge Walker novel, He Who Pays The Piper on Amazon Kindle.


You can see the original Sunday Herald article by Rachel Loxton at;