Freedom From The Mundane - A Writer's Blog

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

November's GDR Review

My back is on the mend. When I got up this morning it wasn't as much of a strain though it does still feel very stiff. The tightness is going and the muscles feel more relaxed. Thank goodness it's not as sore. The thought of another day with constant back pain didn't fill me with much joy and I was contemplating taking a day off to lie on a wooden floor.

The final of three poems I had selected by Circadian Poems for publication went up this moring. Brunette is a personal favourite of mine. It was written in Finnegan's Wake one sunny afternoon over a pint, while I waited for my pal to join me for a Ska gig in the Liquid Rooms. I wrote several poems that afternoon, but this one came out with such life and character after a girl had sat down next to me at the bar.

A new Scruffy Dog Press Release went out today written by Devon Ellington. It's an excellent piece of copy and hopefully it will help to generate more interest in the magazine. The launch is only a month away now but we have up to March almost full with the submissions we've had. I think it's going to be a great experience. The Scruffy Dog Review

Did a few updates on the websites based on the above two links but also because some people have actually got the answer to the Fringe Fantastic Competition WRONG!! Just to clear things up, the ANSWER is already ON THE WEBSITE!! So if you got it wrong, it shows you haven't done your reading! Dear oh dear. I can't make it any easier folks! Two of the people who got it wrong actually LIVE in Edinburgh (or used to)!

In case you forgot, here's the question again.

In what month of the year does the Edinburgh Fringe Festival take place? Click here to submit your entry .

I'm now officially shitting myself about the delivery of my books. I got in touch with the publisher and guess what - there's a problem with the shipping. The company they use are experiencing difficulty through high demand caused by Christmas orders coming in for the November 25th deadline. So, although the books are all sitting printed and bound, there's none of them going anywhere.

As a good friend of mine would say; SIMPLY NOT ACCEPTABLE!

I sent an urgent email to the support staff; the first time I have had to do so. Let's hope they are as good as they say they are.

Devon Ellington who posted a response yesterday made me think. Thinking back, I confirmed the manuscript on the 24th November - 8 days (6 working days) prior to launch date. Maybe I did leave it too late. Hopefully there's some way round this to speed it up. All part of the learning curve I suppose.

Devon also mentioned Victor, the Jamaican jakey from Leith who appears in Hunting Jack. There's more this man than meets the eye. Thinking about him, we're never really let into his background. He gets annoyed with Jackie at the mention of his parents and why he ended up on the street in the first place. And how come he knows so many of Leith's dodgy characters so well? I always intended to have an air of mystery about him but maybe some more explaining is required. In the next re-write of Hunting Jack I may well include more on him, so long as it doesn't take away from his mystery. Dare I say, he would have been perfect for a KIC novella! Thanks for the comments, Devon.

I sent in my entry to the Getty Images Change Me competition. You can publication and all that kind of stuff, but for every submission received, Getty donate $10 to the Make Poverty History campaign. Here's the image I wrote 200 words on that hopefully, would make someone think more deeply about themselves. Once the competition is closed I'll publish my entry here.

It's time for the penultimate GDR Review of 2005. This month we look at November, because that's what we do at the end of November, for the November GDR. Confused? You shouldn't be if you're a regular reader. But then, I'm the writer and I am. Don't you wish I'd just shut up and get on with it?

November GDR Review

* Submit Whisky Snatching to WM (deadline Jan' 06) - complete
* Query What A Waste to target markets - complete (Scotsman/Herald/Guardian)
* Work out plot to fit the album Stella by Yello - complete. WIP started 11/11/05
* Read, edit and publish nine issues of Hunting Jack for PSH Contest - complete and all published
* Read, edit and review remaining issues of Hunting Jack with view to publishing - ongoing (51/81 done)
* Keep on top of submissions list - done. Do another round sometime in December
* Think about Jackie McCann and A Friend To Die For manuscripts - Decided to move HJ into a trilogy. A Friend to Die For has been delayed by work on Stella, which is turning out to be a much larger piece of work.

* No specific work. Write as the moment takes - no new poetry written this month.

* Chase up query for How-To Create an E-book For Free article and dig out new markets (last chased on 17/10/05. Replied 8/11/05 asking to resend due to tech probs. Resent 10/11/05). Accepted 11/11/05 for publication in December issue
* Complete latest articles for Great Scottish Authors series - Janice Galloway (complete), Muriel Spark (complete), Iain Banks (WIP), Edwin Morgan (complete) (subbed to Circadian poems - accepted for Nov 15th)
* Complete Ian Rankin interview for Scruffy Dog Review - still only got the transcript. Article only a rough draft. Needs complete by Dec 15th deadline.
* Complete Ian Rankin interview for Great Scottish Author's Series - abandoned. Don't see point in repeating above work.
* Write story/article for Being Dad Anthology - pending
* Start first issue of Scotland's Treasure for TSDR (plan for theatre, gig, art) - First article planned. Field research pending.
* Write five weekly blog entries for TSDR - complete (Walter Scott, Bleak House, Milne's, Writers' Museum, Power of Words)

Marketing and Promotion
* Market and promote Fringe Fantastic (see spreadsheet for full details) - major WIP and up to date
* Print bookmarks for Hunting Jack and Brick by Brick (for all Fringe Fantastic see spreadsheet) - pending
* Keep website up to date - done

Reading and Research
* Release Tall Tales and Short Stories Vol.2 into the wild - Waverley? not sure where to leave it!
* Finish research book for unpublicised future project - complete. Project is in fact, Stella.
* Start reading some new books from my pile of 'waiting to be read' - read some books of tropical fishkeeping and Rankin's new book, Rebus's Scotland.

Other Projects
* Stay on top of submission readings for TSDR - done
* Editoral work for TSDR; readings, blog, bookshelf etc. - Jan issue readings complete. Bookshelf done. Authors contacted

Things That Turned Up
* Resigned from KIC 1/11/05
* Idea to look at writing and submitting something for BBC Radio 4. Could be a venue for the Play version of What a Waste
* Getty Images, Change Me project for Make Poverty History - done. Wrote about racism through an image of white man holding black man's throat.
* Intend to submit first couple of chapters to Undiscovered Authors competition once HJ first redraft complete
* Asked to write piece on Robert Burns for Circadian Poems celebration of Burns' Night in January

* Writer-On-Line accepted How To Create An E-book For Free. To be published in December issue
* Circadian Poems published Perfect Apple 4/11
* Fringe Fantastic proof copy arrived and confirmed on 15/11
* Edwin Morgan: Scotland's Makar, accepted for publication by Circadian Poems and published 15/11
* Circadian Poems published Empty 16/11
* Launched Fringe Fantastic Website on 21/11
* Circadian Poems published Brunette 30/11

* Fringe Magazine rejected The Oasis 1/11
* The Barcelona Review rejected Loaded 2/11
* One Story rejected Heart of a Child 4/11
* Summerset Review rejected Daffodils and Loaded 7/11

Fiction - 4000
Non-Fiction - 4900
Blog (inc.TSDR) - 19300

Outstanding Submissions
1 short story to The Edge
1 short story to Writing Magazine
1 short story to the Big Ugly Review
1 short story to the Portable Muse
1 short story to Thirteen Magazine
1 short story to One Story
2 short stories to Wildchild
1 short story to Adirondack Review
1 short story to Fringe Magazine
1 short story to Gorlan
1 short story to The Sunday Herald
1 short story to Scotland on Sunday
1 short story to Guardian Online
4 poems to Storyhouse
1 article to Interactive Dad

As predicted, it's been a good month. A large chunk of time went towards the publishing, marketing and promotion of Fringe Fantastic but I also managed to get through a lot of other work. I'm a bit annoyed I never devoted more time to Stella though it's hard to quantify with so many hours going on the book promotion. I don't enjoy the marketing bit too much, not as much as the writing anyway, but I feel I have to put my all into it if I am to give the book a chance. All part of the process, as they say.

There's been a lot of failures but a lot of success too. The amount of rejections is directly attributable to the high amount of submissions I've been doing. But the number of acceptances has been encouraging also. This includes my first ever paid non-fiction assignment and the acceptance of a 'how-to' article to be published in December.

It's been a month of change, too. I resigned from KIC, so from tomorrow I'll be contract-free and I also feel that I've grown some-what this month. A lot of it is to do with Fringe Fantastic being released but a lot of it to do with the work on Stella I did. Some of it is to do with the work that came along during the month. But I'm also starting to feel very confident, which I don't think is bad, but I don't want to get over-confident. I'm enjoying my writing at the moment - every part of it - so long may that continue.

Looking ahead, Fringe Fantastic gets launched on Friday on the back of a pretty big promotional campaign, lots more work to do on Stella, Hunting Jack (big plans), editorial duties for The Scruffy Dog Review and I'll have to start planning out 2006. I've got a holiday up in the Scottish highlands to look forward to at the end of the month, which always provides me with the perfect inspiration and way to charge my batteries for another year's progress.

PRE-ORDER a copy of my latest book, FRINGE FANTASTIC! Click here to order securely using your credit/debit card.

For more information about Fringe Fantastic, please see the website at:

I'm giving away FIVE free copies of Fringe Fantastic, signed and with their own special bookmark. All you have to do to enter, is answer one simple question (the answer is IN the website!!) before Friday 9th December:

In what month of the year does the Edinburgh Fringe Festival take place?

To submit your entry, click here: Enter the Fringe Fantastic Competition.

Alternatively, email your answer, along with your name and address to
Colin 9:21 am


Ride the printers hard. It's not your problem that their shipping is backed up. That is for THEM to fix. You were promised a date. This is what they do for a living. If they can't live up to what you've paid them to do, they shouldn't be in business.

Let them know that you will bill them for lost income for each day the books are late and let them know you will report them to the local consumer protection agency.
WHEW!! What a catch-up! You're a busy man, Col!


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