Monday, May 15, 2017

Bagpipes, Music, and Scotland

Piper and a Fiddler

I haven't played my bagpipes in quite some time, so of course, that means my mouth muscles are weak. I'm kinda lazy about practicing and most musicians know that's a very bad thing. Instead of improving, lack of practice makes me backslide and play worse. I suppose I should get out my practice chanter get back to playing again.

George Harrison Playing the Bagpipes

While looking up babpipes and Scotland, I found out something very interesting: George Harrison, otherwise known as the silent Beatle, played the bagpipes. I was very happy to learn that. Long ago and far away, I learned that Glen Campbell also played the bagpipes and he actually played them well. It must be true that creative people are often creative in many ways. Maybe that's why musicians often play several instruments. It's most likely because they just love music. Although I play several instruments, music is my second love--second to writing fiction. I love to write stories.

Pop could only play the harmonica and sometimes we would play together which was fun, but he wanted me to play the pipes. He was proud of his Scottish heritage and I knew it would mean so much to him if I played. So, I found my first pipe instructor and got to learning. Now I would never claim to be really good at playing the pipes, but it certainly was a challenge for me and I loved that. Pop did, too.

Pop in his kilt and his dog Ember

For today, I'm all into music, especially bagpipe music. All the pipers I know or have known are a bit different. They have all been this independent way of thinking and being. Okay, maybe another way to put that is most of the pipers I have met are kind of eccentric and in the best way possible. If I had an old missile silo and the Zombie Apocalypse was upon us, I would want to spend my last days on this good Earth with pipers and story tellers.

My favorite bagpipe tune is THE GREEN HILLS OF TYROL. I play every year on my birthday which I share with Pop.

Daniel Day-Lewis as Hawk Eye 

Bagpipe music is very emotional and stirring. You may remember the tune THE GAEL in the movie THE LAST OF THE MAHICANS with Daniel Day-Lewis. Boy oh boy, that music said Hawk Eye was going to find his lady love no matter what. Here is a YouTube video of the Black Watch playing THE GAEL.

Do you have a creative vent--something you just have to do to enjoy your life? What is it about your creative interest that you enjoy the most? Does it make you feel happy and complete?

Sunday, May 14, 2017


To all mothers whether your children are human or furry, have a wonderful Mother's Day.

Left to right: Mary, Mom, Me

Celebrating Mother's Day with Mom with breakfast in bed and some gifts way back when. I love and miss her every day.

Sarah J. McNeal
Author of paranormal, time travel and western romance

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Creating Villains: The Difference Between A Psychopath And A Sociopath

Today I'm at ONCE UPON A WORD talking about using psychology to create a villain. Was your villain born to be bad, or was your villain so mistreated, neglected, and abused they grew into a villain? What is the difference between a psychopath and a sociopath? The difference might surprise you.