Freedom From The Mundane - A Writer's Blog

Friday, December 23, 2005

Highs And Lows

I never went to snooker on Wednesday night and thankfully had Thursday off as well. Most symptoms have dispersed and the same is also true for Laura, though she has a far worse cough than me. Together, we are struggling on.

It's been a weird week. That's about all there is to say and I need to get my finger out my arse and get my two outstanding assignments in to two editors. The Rankin feature needs sent in and my Scotland's Treasure article needs a final proof read. I also need to send ten further e-books of the first part of Hunting Jack to various PSH Competition winners let down by the demise of KIC. I know the bloke who runs it and I offered to help him out with my story. He was most relieved.

Sleep has been poor this entire week. I get to bed and although my eyes are heavy I toss and turn and end up going down to the living room for a while. Insomnia is something I seem to suffer from periodically and I'm right in the middle of a peak just now.

I got the last of my presents today and also all the ingredients for two of the dishes I offered to make for Christmas dinner. I offered to help out Gail's Mum by bringing along two dishes to ease the burden on her. Every Christmas she spends the entire time in the kitchen and she never gets to eat with everyone else. Unlike my Mum's kitchen back home, the dining area doesn't adjoin the cooking area so she's left very detached from everything. I'm making a salmon starter (fresh salmon slices filled with salmon pate on Melba toast, with lemon and herbs) and pineapple cake (biscuit base with a pineapple, cream and fresh cream filling) for one of the desserts. Both are my Mum's recipes, and both are delicious.

I wrote for the first time in almost a week tonight. It felt good, but I've fallen way behind and out of touch with my GDR in the last seven days. There is much to do and time is running out.




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 go to the website: http://fringefantastic.colingalbraith.co.uk


Colin 12:42 am | 1 comments |

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Misery

The effects of everything that's been happening lately have finally showed up in physical form. I am loaded with the cold, a hacking cough, aching eyeballs and a thumping head. Luckily Laura has it too (well not luckily, but you know what I mean) and so I would have been taking the day off anyway to look after her since she couldn't attend school.

Neither of us got dressed today. Instead we nursed each other on the couch in front of the fire, watched TV and slept intermittently. I made soup (tinned) and made sure we were drinking enough, administered the cough medicine and headache tabs and generally tried to battle through the misery. And that's about the sum of what this whole week has been about; miserable.

We watched King Kong; the remake from 1976 with Jeff Bridges and Jessica Lange. Despite it being a pretty poor film, only dug up because of the current hype for the latest effort, it was most memorable for me because I'd forgotten what a stunningly sexy woman Lange is.

When Gail came home she sorted out dinner for us but the day was a total waste. I spent the rest of it in bed drifting in and out of sleep, with my head thumping and chest burning. It doesn't look like snooker will be an option tomorrow, because I want to get better for Christmas Day. The way I'm feeling though, perpetuality seems most likely.

Thirteen years ago today I went to my first ever Madness concert. Even that memory isn't enough.




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 go to the website: http://fringefantastic.colingalbraith.co.uk


Colin 3:48 pm | 7 comments |

Monday, December 19, 2005

No Sign Of the Tunnel's End

It's not been the best few days in the world. Wounds may heal but the scars will serve as permanent reminders even if nobody else can see them. I'm reluctant to dwell on this because it has sapped enough of my energy over the last few days I can barely bring myself to approach the subject. So I won't.

I've written nothing bar the lyrics of those songs I looked up on a website and posted here. So it doesn't even count as writing. Up until this weekend I had written almost 15k this month then due to unforeseen circumstance I smashed head first into a concrete wall. I missed my extended deadline for Scotland's Treasure so I'm going to work on that this afternoon and try and get it in for tonight.

Last Friday night, was one I badly needed. Being out with my mates, I got enough whiskies down my neck to keep Scotland's distillers in business for a while yet. Clark's now sports one of my leaflets behind the bar, as does St. Cuthbert's in Stockbridge and Tanfield Bowling Club; our only other destinations last Friday. In fact they might want me to come round and do a reading for all their patrons who all seemed enthusiastic when I started to talk about the book. We'll see; it might have been the drink but I'll need more books in stock first.

Apart from that there's nothing much to tell. I'm trying to get my mind back round to what it should be concerned with but it's proving harder than I envisaged.

What I'm going through is typical for the Saturn Retrograde. It seems to be affecting others within my circle as well. Hopefully we can all pull through our difficulties and be better people for it. Hopefully.




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 go to the website: http://fringefantastic.colingalbraith.co.uk


Colin 1:57 pm | 5 comments |

Sunday, December 18, 2005

If

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!

~ Rudyard Kipling ~





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 go to the website: http://fringefantastic.colingalbraith.co.uk


Colin 8:48 pm | 0 comments |

Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Road To Hell (Part 2)

Well I'm standing by a river
But the water doesn't flow
It boils with every poison you can think of
And I'm underneath the streetlight
But the light of joy I know
Scared beyond belief way down in the shadows
And the perverted fear of violence
Chokes a smile on every face
And common sense is ringing out the bell
This ain't no technological breakdown
Oh no, this is the road to hell

And all the roads jam up with credit
And there's nothing you can do
It's all just bits of paper flying away from you
Oh look out world, take a good look
What comes down here
You must learn this lesson fast and learn it well
This ain't no upwardly mobile freeway
Oh no, this is the road
Said this is the road
This is the road to hell
Colin 8:43 pm | 0 comments |

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Scottish Way

Went to work.
Left at twelve noon.
Met Dave and Tom in Clark's.
Drank for 14 hours.
Whisky and beer.
It helped.
Colin 8:41 pm | 0 comments |

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Do Nothing

Each day I walk along this lonely street
Trying to find, find a future
New pair of shoes are on my feet
Cos' fashion is my only culture

Nothing ever change, oh no
Nothing ever change

People say to me just be yourself
It makes no sense to follow fashion
How could I be anybody else
I don't try, I've got no reason

Nothing ever change, oh no
Nothing ever change

I'm just living in a life without meaning
I walk and walk, do nothing
I'm just living in a life without feeling
I talk and talk, say nothing

Nothing ever change, oh no
Nothing ever change

I walk along this same old lonely street
Still trying to find, find a reason
Policeman comes and smacks me in the teeth
I don't complain, it's not my function

Nothing ever change, oh no
Nothing ever change

They're just living in a life without meaning
I walk and walk, do nothing
They're just playing in a life without thinking
They talk and talk, say nothing
I'm just living in a life without feeling
I walk and walk, I'm dreaming
I'm just living in a life without feeling
I talk and talk, say nothing
I'm just living in a life without meaning
I walk and walk, do nothing



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 go to the website: http://fringefantastic.colingalbraith.co.uk


Colin 10:38 pm | 0 comments |

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Dark Side Of The Force

"I felt a great disturbance in the Force...as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened." Obi Wan Kenobi aboard the Millenium Falcon.


Feeling pretty crappy today. I feel as if my place in the world has been rocked, that I don't seem to know where the goalposts are anymore, or that I'm trying too hard to stick a square rock into a round hole. There seems to be a lot of negativity around and it's affecting a lot of people I know. The quote above pretty much sums everything up. The Dark Side is rising.

Elsewhere in the cosmos, I finished the Rankin feature. It came in at around 2500 words. I asked the Ed for an extension till Sunday for my column to be sent in; that was fine. I have some research to do on Saturday morning for it.

I received a delivery in the mail. My friend Brooks Carver has recently released a book called Pilgrim Heart so we decided on a swap; his book for mine. Casey's book (as he's known in my writing forum), looks great. I had a quick scan through it before I had to leave for my weekly snooker game with my FIL. It contains a selection of short stories, essays and poems. It's always good to read the work of your friends and peers and I'm delighted to have a copy to add to my collection. I can't wait to have a good read of it over the next few days.

Here's the cover, which I think is pretty cool, too. Pilgrim Heart can be ordered from Prairie Sky Press and costs $14.95. Click here to view or order:

Order Form for Pilgrim Heart




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 go to the website: http://fringefantastic.colingalbraith.co.uk


Colin 12:05 pm | 2 comments |

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

One Of Them Days

Not many positive things to take from today. Work was total shite. I cannot express literally enough why, so you'll have to trust me on that.

I continued my work on the Rankin feature and Scotland's Treasure. I may have to ask for an extra couple of days for the latter because I have seen something in Edinburgh on Saturday that I would like to cover for the January issue. I'll have to run it by the Ed first.

I read Rankin's story from One City, Showtime. I enjoyed it more than Welsh's I have to say. It had a better twist and was more fun to read. I found myself racing through it unable to put it down. With Welsh's story, Murrayfield (you're having a laugh), I was reading more out of intrigue than being propelled along. I felt Welsh was treating it as an opportunity to say something political, whereas Rankin was just spinning a damn good yarn based, yet again, on a part of Edinburgh's fascinating history. I've still to read Smith's.

And that's about it. Well, it's about as much as you're getting.

Just one of them days, I'm afraid.




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 go to the website: http://fringefantastic.colingalbraith.co.uk


Colin 1:26 pm | 1 comments |

Monday, December 12, 2005

Chipping Away At The Block

I didn't enjoy my journey to work. It wasn't the darkness; I liked that. It wasn't the coldness; I liked that too. It was the people on the bus. Why do people think it necessary to barge and breathe on others when there is enough room for everyone? If just a little bit of patience was shown. I'm sick of a lot of the arseholes who travel on public transport and think the entire system was put there for their singular benefit.

This morning I actually missed being on a train. I used to commute 100 miles a day round-trip between Glasgow and Edinburgh. It meant I was up at 5am each morning and not getting home again until 9pm, but at least the trains were comfortable, warm and spacious. When they were running, that is. I could write a novel-length post about some of the trauma I have experienced on Scotrail services between the Capital and the West of Scotland.

These days, I am half an hour from work but the journey is a treacherous one. The Council are talking about reintroducing trams in the future. Wonderful; Lothian Buses on steel tracks.

I started editing the Rankin feature today but ended up rewriting most of the article. I decided it read much better turned on its head and as a conversation piece rather than a straight forward interview. The first draft of this, by the way, came out at over 11,000 words! It turned into Ian's life story, which is what it was originally meant to be, but I've cut it right back for the Scruffy Dog feature. It's looking good now but there's still some tweaking to be done before Thursday's deadline.

I wrote out tomorrow's entry for The Scruffy Dog Review Blog; a short review of Friday night with Smith, Rankin and Welsh. I had to fight this article, because although it was easy enough to put together, I was so tired my head was almost drooping at my desk. I didn't want to have to write it in the morning before work so I just kept going.

I completed another few issues of Hunting Jack taking me to issue 64 of the series. Once the first re-write is done - which is also acting as a refresher of the story - I am going to split it into chapters, submit the first couple to the Undiscovered Authors Competition and then really get my teeth into sorting out the plot in a more detailed and exciting manner. There are things I want to add in, whole chapters and events, and things I want to remove. The ending is pish for a start so I want to change that entirely.

I have finally made contact with The Leither magazine. After numerous attempts at contacting them with teasing press releases and emails over the past eighteen months, I discovered an avenue with a contact through their PR company. I sent a copy of the Fringe press release to the nice lady I had been given, stating exactly why The Leither should be interested in interviewing me. An email, my first response from them, arrived late this evening providing me with the name and phone number of the "boss" of the magazine, who was copied in on the mail, and who I was promised was excited by the idea.

I couldn't get to sleep for some reason tonight. Might have been the incredibly bright moon shining in my face, I don't know, but I ended up getting up and reading Irvine Welsh's story from the One Story book I bought on Friday night at the Festival Theatre. It's really very funny, typically Welsh with its use of phonetic East coast dialogue and very, very enjoyable. The ending was a bit strange. He went from present tense the whole way through to a kind of rounding off in a fairy-tale kind of way, using the opportunity to take the piss out of the joint Scots/Irish Euro football bid in two years time.



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 go to the website: http://fringefantastic.colingalbraith.co.uk


Colin 10:07 am | 0 comments |

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Fringe Fantastic Competition Winners

Laura had two more shows today, one in the early afternoon and one in the early evening. Gail had to be there the whole time to do changes and work behind the scenes. I on the other hand, got to eat a fry up, read the paper and listen to some music at top volume without anyone else in the house.

B - L - I - S - S !!!

I wrote out my blog entries and then did some tidying up after last nights Christmas Tree decorating, changed the fish water, tidied the kitchen and made dinner for Gail and Laura between shows. Before Laura headed back to the evening show we printed off all the correct entries for the competition and made the draw for the five free copies of the book. The winners were:

PAUL MUSCAT - Tennessee, USA
PATRICIA GALLANT - Ontario, Canada
BOB MACKIE - Renfrewshire, UK
S. VELTE - New York, USA
EVA SCHEGULLA - New York, USA

Congratulations to all the winners and to everyone else who entered, don't forget you can still order a copy of the book! See the link at the bottom of this post or on the left of the page under the book cover.

I spent the rest of the evening working on my articles for The Scruffy Dog Review. I need to rework a couple of sections of the Rankin interview that don't read right and I need to pad out the Scotland's Treasure article.




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: http://fringefantastic.colingalbraith.co.uk


Colin 9:10 am | 0 comments |

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Christmas Arrives

Christmas has arrived in the Galbraith household. After dinner, Laura and I went on our annual trip down to the tree sellers off Leith Links and picked out our Christmas Tree for this year. It didn't take us our normal three quarters of an hour to do so, instead the first one we chose was the best looking tree we've ever had. It was sheer luck. It was even more lucky when out of the load of six-footers in the corner it turned out to be seven foot tall but they gave us it for the price of a six-footer seeing as we're regulars.

It's the same couple every year. They're really nice people and we only ever see them when they are selling the trees, but they remember us and we always have a good chat and a laugh. They stand in the yard every December, day and night, in the freezing wind waiting for customers to come and buy trees off them. I remember the first year someone stole there tree wrapper and at the time we were in everyone was letting the lady lug their trees round the yard to put them through the machine. I think I was the only one that actually helped out and they seemed very grateful. Funny how the wee things you do in life can sometimes lead to friendships further down the line.

So Laura and I carried the tree back up the road; Laura at the front, me holding the heavy rear, and before long the lights were on and the tinsel was hanging from the branches. The newly tidied living room was a like a bomb site when we finished but with the tree in our new bay window - a new feature we've never had until we moved into this house - the tree looks like it really belongs.

I always feel connected to nature when it arrives in the house. Whether it be my fish or a plant or a Christmas tree, I always like it to feel part of the family for as long as its stay. Which reminds me, I've still to get Smashie his Christmas present this year.

The day preceeding all this fun was pretty gruesome. I had to endure three hours in a freezing sports hall watching Laura's Annual Dance Show. It was great to see her involved in her tap and disco dances, it's just the other two hour and fifty minutes that is boring as hell. The Churchill Theatre that the dance school normally use is being renovated, which is the reason for it being in a sports venue, so it was the best they could muster under the circumstances. But it was very awkward on the plastic seats wrapped up like we were sitting in a field.

I didn't get to writing until half past eleven at night. But I made up for it by typing away like mad until after 3am. I could see the moon in the sky about the houses over the road, peering in my window, watching me like a writer's best pal urging me on. I have deadlines this week that I simply cannot miss, so the next three or four days is going to have to be professional and hard. Got to, got to, GOT TO get it all done!!




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: http://fringefantastic.colingalbraith.co.uk



Colin 2:37 pm | 0 comments |

Friday, December 09, 2005

- An Evening With The Heavyweights

When I got up this morning Laura was sitting up in bed reading my book. She said she was going to take it in to school so she can show it to the class for part of her 'Bring and Tell' talk. And when they get their 'Golden Time' later on, she is going to read my book. I think she might be proud of her big Dad!

I sent off the first few orders of the book this morning and fulfilled the media requests for review copies. I tell you what - jiffy bags ain't cheap!

Work was slow and boring. I left at about quarter to five to go up to the Festival Theatre to collect my ticket for tonight's show; One City - One Book. The aim was to promote and launch a new book called One City, which is a charity based in Edinburgh aiming to tackle social exclusion.

The book was written by the charity's three patrons and heavyweights of modern Scottish literature, Alexander McCall-Smith, Ian Rankin and Irvine Welsh with J K Rowling writing the introduction.

I collected my ticket at quarter past five, which meant I had two hours to kill on my own. I took a walk round some of the Old Town then stopped in to the The Mitre bar on the Royal Mile. An easy pint and some people-watching then I nipped over the road for a quick Single Sausage out of a chippy. I started to walk down towards the Grassmarket with the intention of going to The Last Drop or The Beehive but remembered Finnegan's Wake was sometimes quite good, so I grabbed another pint in there.

It was far too busy though, so I walked back up in the direction of the theatre, which was already mobbed. Not wanting to hang about in the expensive foyer bar, I nipped round the corner to a pub I had noticed on my way up; the Captain's Bar. I thought it might be a student place being next to a University building, but it was anything but.

It was small, smoky and full of regulars; your quintessential old man's bar. It poured a damn good whisky as I soon found out, but sitting on my own I realised that despite the friendliness of the barman, some of the drinkers had noticed my arrival and took to staring at me to see if they could suss out whether I was an undercover cop or rival drugs baron. I enjoyed my drink and they soon gave up, which left me able to listen in to some remarkable conversations. Not your every day type stuff, football or the latest sweep down at the scaffy, but some real juicy stuff that I can use to form some stories. I stayed for about half an hour then left for the theatre, writing my notes down after I had vacated the bar. Now I know why Stevenson was so attracted to mingling in the Old Town bars.

The show was superb. The three authors looked relaxed and talked about the new book with a serious humour. Each took turns to read a section from the story they had contributed to the book; Smith and Rankin both sitting while they did theirs, and Welsh patrolling the stage effing and blinding much to the consternation of the dozens of well-to-do ladies in the audience.

I'll be putting together a more thorough review of the evening in my Scotland's Treasure column for The Scruffy Dog Review, so if you want to read more please click over in January. I'll remind you all at the time.

Before I left I got myself a signed copy of the new book and left several dozen fliers for Fringe Fantastic lying about the crowded theatre.

And why not?




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: http://fringefantastic.colingalbraith.co.uk



Colin 2:03 pm | 0 comments |

*** LAST DAY FOR COMPETITION ENTRIES ***

Today is the last day for entries into the Fringe Fantastic Competition. You have until midnight tonight (your time or my time, it doesn't really matter since I'll be in bed) to submit your answer to the following question:

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 fringe_competition@colingalbraith.co.uk


95 people have already entered the competition to win one of FIVE SIGNED copies of my book. If you aren't in it - you can't win it.

PS - The answer is on the Fringe Fantastic Website!!

The winners will be picked at random by my daughter this Sunday and photo's posted on the site to prove the draw was impartial. Winners will be contacted personally and their names posted on the site as soon as possible after the draw.

Colin 1:39 pm | 0 comments |

Thursday, December 08, 2005

No Rest For The Wicked

The books have arrived! I had a funny feeling that there was going to be something different about today when a Royal Mail delivery van passed me going up my street as I made my way to the bus-stop for work.

When I got home there was a delivery slip waiting for me, but instead of taking the parcel to the depot for me to collect another time, they left it with a neighbour. I went out with Laura to get it (who was extremely excited because I promised her the first printed copy out the packet) and took it back to the house.

This was the emergency batch sent to me from the publisher because of the delays. A stack of ten copies of to take care of the first press requests and orders received. The main batch (of thirty) are already on their way and should arrive soon. These will cover any orders and requests over Christmas as well as the competition winners.

It feels magnificent to finally be holding the completed version of the book. I'm bound to be protective over it but I have to admit to being massively proud about this. It's not so much that it's a printed publication, but more to do with the concept and the work that I put into it. Yes, it's self-published but I've found a niche market that I don't see anyone else getting involved with seriously. If the big publishing houses won't touch it, then I'll reap the benefits for myself. If the reviews turn out to be crap then it will hurt, but as Gail asked me this evening, "Will it stop you doing what you're doing and striving for success?" To which the answer is an emphatic "No." I believe in the book, and Gail is right; nothing will deter me from reaching my dream.

Elsewhere, I met Dave and Tom for a couple of pints over lunch in Clark's. It made it feel like a Friday and totally skewed my internal clock as a result. Dave was going on one of his Chrimbo nights out for his work, so I don't expect there to be any drinking tomorrow lunchtime. I'll probably take it easy anyway as I have a great wee night out to look forward to at the Festival Theatre; more on that tomorrow.

Gail met some friends for a drink after work so once Laura was happy (she went to bed early to read my book!) I continued my work on the articles and columns I have to complete for The Scruffy Dog Review for January's inaugural issue.

No rest for the wicked!




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: http://fringefantastic.colingalbraith.co.uk




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 fringe_competition@colingalbraith.co.uk
Colin 1:34 pm | 2 comments |

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

On A Roll

Jack Frost returned with a vengeance last night, not seen since the polar caps last had a mega-snowstorm. It was so cold ice crystals had formed on anything left exposed to the elements, the ground was slippy, cars struggled to chug to life and my breath clung to the frozen air like clouds of desperate thoughts in a dying mind.

I had another article published today. How To Create Your Own E-book For Free is now up on Writer-on-Line adding yet another valuable credit to my writing CV.

Made a couple of tweaks to the Fringe Fantastic and my main website with my latest article publications. I've removed anything to do with KIC so there's no more Hunting Jack images on display for now.

Hunting Jack is almost complete on its first redraft now anyway and I'll be splitting it into chapters very soon. Then the first few pages will get submitted to the Undiscovered Authors competition, so it's probably best it's taken down for now.

I really couldn't be arsed with snooker tonight. It's a side-effect from knowing I have so much on my plate and not enough time, so standing about a snooker hall is fine if you can enjoy it; tonight I never. I didn't even drink any beer, which probably made the night wear on longer than normal, but I couldn't be bothered with that either.




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: http://fringefantastic.colingalbraith.co.uk




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 fringe_competition@colingalbraith.co.uk
Colin 4:01 pm | 1 comments |

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Mild Like Spring

Very mild today; the cloud cover trapping a warm bubble of spring-like air over Edinburgh and confusing the hell out of the locals. There we were, all wrapped up with scarves and bulbous coats on when we realised it wasn't cold enough and ended up feeling awkward and sticky on the way to work.

Work has been very busy over these past few weeks. One member of my team has been holidaying in Oz and the other in and out the office intermittently, leaving me to deal with everything in between. It's starting to do my head in.

I posted my Scruffy Dog Review Blog entry today. It's a bio from my Great Scottish Author's Series, this week about the amazing Muriel Spark.

Forgot to mention yesterday I had an article published over at Interactive Dad Magazine. I got involved with these guys a wee while ago and like what they do so decided to submit a piece. Top Mistakes A Stepdad Should Avoid was published on Monday. I intend to submit more regularly to this magazine, because I think it's a valuable resource pitched in an exciting and informative way. I also think there's not nearly enough on-line material for step-fathers so it means I can contribute to something that means a lot to me. And more writing credits to my name can't be a bad thing.

I keep getting these wild ideas about Jackie McCann; what to do with him, where to take him and who with. It's all stemming from reading over the Rankin transcript of my meeting with him in September. Suddenly there's a wider world and more doors opening the more I contemplate, but I can't decide. I'm not going to be making any decisions on this soon anyway; it's not had time to percolate, so I write them in my notebook for later when I know the ideas will have sufficiently matured.

After Fringe Fantastic I have a void, and that is filling with the work I have to do for The Scruffy Dog Review, Stella and my GDR. I think next year is going to be a big year for my larger works of fiction.

This year seems to have been all about finding myself and trying out new things. It's been about concentrating within certain genres and I'm pleased with what I've achieved. I'm more committed than ever before and I'm more confident as a result. Roll on 2006!




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: http://fringefantastic.colingalbraith.co.uk




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 fringe_competition@colingalbraith.co.uk
Colin 11:44 am | 1 comments |

Monday, December 05, 2005

The Wrong Trousers

I badly need a new pair of trousers. I'm not one to go to much effort in getting dressed up for work, mainly out of protest and spite than anything else. I don't see why the girls should get to wear pretty much what they want, where we are forced to wear a shirt and tie. In the summer the girls can dress down to stay cool (and some of them really do, causing much consternation among the males of the office), but we have to sweat it out with a restricting coloured neck noose.

So I wear the same thing day in, day out. Plain black trousers, shirt and tie, which is never tightened; I always leave it hanging loose around my neck with my shirt unbuttoned. Non-professional I hear you cry, but then I don't have to deal with the public, only developers who feel the same way most of the time.

Some of the other blokes in the office have taken things even further, refusing to wear a tie altogether. Some people have started wearing jeans when the urge strikes, such is the air of apathy in here these days.

Me? Well I plod along with the usual clothes on, except now they are fighting back. While buckling my trousers this morning the snip broke leaving just one secure fastener holding them onto my waste. While walking to work I kept feeling wee tugs on my right leg. When I looked down I noticed the hem at the bottom of the right trouser leg had come loose and was hanging out, my shoe trapping it between sole and ground on each step. Should I continue plodding along and hope I get a new pair for Christmas? Or should I bite the bullet and buy a new pair? It's a tough decision.

Remember that picture I was harping on about last year and a couple of months ago - the one of the view from my old bedroom window, taken during a dark winter many years ago? There was a bird mentioned, who would often be seen sitting in the tree, flying over the fields or jumping around on my back lawn looking for food. I would put out crumbs on my window sill and leave the room. When I returned, there he was hopping along the strip of concrete getting his fill. He became my pal while I studied for my exams through High School and into University. Don't know if it was the same bird exactly, but I'm sure they were related.

Well at long last, here's the picture!! I found it recently and scanned it in tonight for your enjoyment. I think it's a great picture. It's serenity and coldness reminds me of winters back home, of time spent watching from my window, taking breaks from studying and listening to Pink Floyd and Yello. It reminds me of The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis as well, and of the excitement of Christmas approaching and wondering if it will be a white one.






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: http://fringefantastic.colingalbraith.co.uk




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 fringe_competition@colingalbraith.co.uk
Colin 11:37 am | 3 comments |

Sunday, December 04, 2005

News of the World

After a very lazy morning with Gail - the first morning we've had together with no kids about for ages - we had breakfast then went round to pick up Laura who had stayed at my MIL's last night. We had coffee and crispy biscuits and then Donna and Alan visited with wee Kyle. I don't think he's quite understanding what the whole Christmas thing is about but it won't be long before he's like Laura; excited and hyper because Santa is coming. I think this will be her last year though the way she's talking.

After spending a while there we headed back home and stopped to pick up a copy of this weeks edition of News of the World. On page 11, a right-hand side entry for maximum exposure, was my small but significant mention of Fringe Fantastic. Over 8,000,000 people read the NotW each week, so even if only 10 per cent read the article I'll have reached 800,000 people. If only 10 percent actually followed it up and visit the website, that would be 80,000 hits. If only 10 per cent of those hits bought a copy, I would make £64,000 before deductions.

You never know.


For those who can't make it out:



After doing some organising and tidying of my office I got down to some serious writing. 5k under my belt tonight reaffirming my desire to finish off the year with the best possible results.

Entries to the competition are piling in now and orders for the book are flowing in on a steady stream. Hopefully that stream will turn into a river.




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: http://fringefantastic.colingalbraith.co.uk




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 fringe_competition@colingalbraith.co.uk
Colin 11:14 am | 1 comments |

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Taking It Easy

What a day yesterday was! I couldn't concentrate on much with my mind filled on book launch thoughts. All the press releases are done, both email and postal, plus all the website changes and leaflet printing is complete. The final stage of the promotion is now underway; to get out there and do the talking and hopefully, the selling.

I was surprised how much this past week has taken it out of me. I had to work between 7 and 9 and when I got home, I was so tired I had a cup of tea and some toast and just went to bed.

I didn't wake up until 1.30pm today!!!

I was supposed to have taken Laura to dancing but Gail left me and took her instead without telling me. I was secretly very delighted, not having slept that long since I lived with my parents. But boy, did I need it!

I received a flurry of first day orders yesterday. Some from friends here in Scotland and others from as far afield as the US and Canada. I'm pretty gobsmacked by other people's enthusiasm towards it and the responses I've been getting from people are making me start to realise that I may be onto something with this poetry/festival thing.

This morning for example, I got an email from a woman at Radio Clyde, writing to me on behalf of the legendary broadcaster, Alex Dickson. He's been in broadcasting for as long as I can remember and does the Book Show; reviewing books, interviewing authors and the like. He has asked for a copy of my book to review and "then possibly arrange an interview." This will be awesome if it comes off. Radio Clyde is THE major radio station in the West of Scotland. I only hope he likes the book!

I spent some of the afternoon on the loft trying to find our elusive Christmas decorations. No such luck so it's back the drawing board. There's only one place left to try - Gail's Dad's workshop, where we put stuff into storage at the start of the year while we were trying to sell our old house.

In the evening Gail and I went over to Musselborough to see some friends. Rob and Sarah had a wee baby boy, Charlie, earlier in the year and he was bouncing around and smiling away like nobody's business. After they put him down we ordered an Indian take-a-way. So with some beers and a Lamb Dupiaza, a small party began.

Pretty soon I was feeling tired again, but that might have had something to do with their brand new ultra-relaxing couch and sleep-inducing fireplace they just had installed.

This week has been exhausting. I am so looking forward to my break up North over Christmas. Just taking it easy and enjoying a slower, relaxing pace will be most welcome.

Before I go, a small nod in appreciation to a Scottish writer who now holds a pretty big influence over my appreciation and development of my writing. Robert Louis Stevenson, who regular readers will know has been a large focus of my reading and writing this year, died this very day, 111 years ago. On December 3rd 1894, there passed a man who still holds huge sway among writers in Scotland and the world over.

I've written a lot about him this year. If you want to read my published articles so far, please go to:

Robert Louis Stevenson - Poet and Author - a short biography focussing on the poetry of Edinburgh writer, Robert Louis Stevenson. Published in Circadian Poems, October 2005.

Robert Louis Stevenson - a short biography of the famous Edinburgh author, as part of my series Great Scottish Authors. Published in the Keep It Coming Newsletter, August 2005




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: http://fringefantastic.colingalbraith.co.uk




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 fringe_competition@colingalbraith.co.uk
Colin 2:42 pm | 0 comments |

Friday, December 02, 2005

Fringe Fantastic Released Today!!

I am delighted to announce that my latest book, Fringe Fantastic: The Poet's Experience of the 2005 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, is released today.

To find out more about the book, read free poems, download some images from the book, enter the competition to win a copy or to purchase the book, please go to the website at:

http://fringefantastic.colingalbraith.co.uk


Colin 11:30 am | 1 comments |

Thursday, December 01, 2005

December's GDR - The Final One

It's the Christmas month already. Me and Laura were up before dawn opening our calendars; hers a Bratz Dolls one, mine a Darth Vader one. I've still to get most of my presents.

I remember one Christmas Eve I was in the pub after work and sunk quite a few jars. I got a train home from Edinburgh (I was still single at the time) and bought all my presents that afternoon at about closing time. I drunkenly wrapped them in my flat and fell asleep.

Next day I couldn't remember a thing that I had bought anyone, so imagine my surprise when it turned out I had bought my mother one of the best presents she ever had off me; a painting of the Langside Tramstop, an area of Glasgow she used to muck around in when she was a girl. So that's the secret folks; buy your Chrimbo presents when your pissed - it cannae fail!

I heard back from the publisher about the books. There's been a total eff up for which they have apologised. I explained I had mounted a campaign on a national level - or as near as you can get for a self-publisher. A new batch is being rushed under express delivery, which means I'll have some books to use as promotion by the end of next week until the main batch arrive.

I can't say I'm totally happy, but at least they didn't shun responsibility and have made other arrangements. It'll work out fine in the end, I'm sure. *gulp*

My evening was spent on nothing else except marketing the book. I knew I wouldn't have time tomorrow morning, so I waited as late as possible before releasing the link to order the book, updating the websites and sending out all the email press releases. The Scots Magazine, published by DC Thomson, have requested a book for review as well in response to my posted PR. They are one of Scotland's largest publishing houses so I really need those books fast to get them out.

Tomorrow is almost upon me and I'm as much knackered as I am excited.

Here is December's GDR Plan

Fiction
* Query What a Waste to more target markets (BBC R4, paying mags)
* Work on Stella
* Complete first refradft of Hunting Jack - 51/81 already done
* Keep on top of submissions list
* Start conversion of What a Waste into a play - not definite, depends on other work
* Submit first couple of chapters and synopsis of HJ to Undiscovered Authors competition, deadline 31/12

Poetry
* Launch Fringe Fantastic on 2/12
* Write poems as the moment takes

Non-Fiction
* Complete Ian Rankin feature for Scruffy Dog Review - still only got the transcript. Article only a rough draft. Deadline 15/12
* Write story/article for Being Dad Anthology - pending
* Complete first issue of Scotland's Treasure for TSDR. Deadline 15/12
* Write four weekly blog entries for TSDR
* Write Robert Burns article for Circadian Poems. Deadline 15/11

Marketing and Promotion
* Market and promote Fringe Fantastic (see spreadsheet for full details)
* Print bookmarks (need card)
* Keep website up to date

Reading and Research
* Release Tall Tales and Short Stories Vol.2 into the wild
* Read from my 'waiting to be read' pile
* Buy book on The Cold War
* Research The Cold War on the web

Other Projects
* Stay on top of editorial work for TSDR
* Put together a GDR for 2006






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: http://fringefantastic.colingalbraith.co.uk




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 fringe_competition@colingalbraith.co.uk
Colin 11:07 am | 0 comments |