Fame and Fortune Await the Hyperbolic Author


Well that's the new book published and, to date, it's selling really well. In fact Amazon ran out of hard-copies over the Christmas period however I am pleased to report that this situation was quickly rectified by my ever-attentive publishers: The History Press plus Macmillan Distribution. Respect to the both of them!
Of course everyone should write a book at least once in their lifetime and I count myself one of the lucky few who have actually made it into print. Friends and colleagues along the way have contributed ideas for stories and relationships past and present have enabled it to happen.  In particular I would like to thank Nigel Lucas who showed me the value of being inquisitive. He is no longer around but is well missed.
Judy Mackie, editor of Leopard Magazine, and that stalwart of the Northern Scot, Mike Collins, have encouraged my writing and indeed have often funded it. Mike freely gave me a platform and when, on occasion, he was unable to use my stories willingly passed them on to others for publication.
As for Judy, she must have often wondered what on earth I would send her next. From early beginnings as an occasional contributor to Leopard she quickly promoted me to the status of regular columnist. Over the course of an apprenticeship of several years she both edited my work and encouraged me to explore Aberdeenshire with an open mind and often with an open chequebook. The Our Town series was the result and what an eye-opener it was. From Portsoy in the north to Stonehaven in the south, no town in the North-east of Scotland was safe from Leopard’s scrutiny.
Aberdeen Voice also deserves special recognition. As a not for profit weekly publication it has, to the best of my knowledge, published more or less anything I have ever submitted. Special thanks are due to editor Fred Wilkinson and Voice sub-editor Paul Kohn.
I am also grateful to the family of the late great Doric poet Bob Smith for their open invitation to include his work. He and I collaborated several times before his demise. In 2014 I had penned an article about a celebrated Aberdeenshire cow for the Scottish Review and Bob’s Turra’ Coo’ Doric poem accompanied the piece. As a tribute to the man, I have included his poem here in its entirety within the section helpfully entitled ‘Cattle’.
The various local newspapers or Squeaks encountered along the way have also been well appreciated. There will, I hope, be better days ahead for weekly local journalism.
My companion Janice Rayne has always encouraged the writing, often at great personal sacrifice and I am grateful for her support in the making of this book. She and I have had many adventures along the way. My lifelong pal James Bryce also deserves special thanks. He has always encouraged my writing on the basis that anyone who owns a pen can write a book. I only hope that he is correct in his assumption.
A very few of the stories within the book have been published in one form or another across the years and in this new volume I have enhanced and in most cases completely rewritten such pieces in the hope of securing appreciation from a new audience. As far as I can tell, most of the content is completely true but please forgive those infamous last words.
I am especially pleased with the cover - well I should be since I not only took the cover image but also penned the 'fluff' on the back page:
It reads: 

"Duncan Harley takes the reader on a grand tour of the curious and the bizarre, the strange and the unusual from Aberdeenshire's past. Read about the Beatles' first, and almost their last tour of the North-east, the Deeside artist who tended plaster sheep, and the strange tale of the Typhoid Queen. Learn about Hitler's secret bunker at Stonehaven, the doomed Marquis of Montrose, and the mysterious Mound of Death at Inverurie. Along the way you'll also meet scandalous residents, determined inventors and Royal personages galore. The A-Z of Curious Aberdeenshire is guaranteed to enthral both residents and visitors alike."

Nae' a bad piece of fluff - although I say it myself!




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