Freedom From The Mundane - A Writer's Blog

Friday, March 31, 2006

March GDR Report

Last night I was offered the opportunity of free flights and accommodation to a long stag weekend in Barcelona. There had been a couple of late call-off's, which left the spaces open to anyone with a valid passport and several hundred pounds cash drinking money.

I had to decline.

I would had loved to go but just don't have the cash even with free flights and room. Apart from the every-day stresses of staying afloat, my sister gets married in July and we will be off on a family holiday later the same month. It just wasn't do-able.

Then today, almost as if rubbing salt into the wound, we were handed our bonus letters. I had completely forgot we were getting them. It turned out to be slightly better than expected, though nowhere near the five-figure sum I was hoping for. After tax there'll be not a lot left anyway.

Despite the pre-tax amount we were given, based on a lot of messing around with calculators and managerial opinion, I still went to Clark's for lunch and an afternoon bevvy.

March GDR Report

* Complete work on Stella - done.
* Complete new chapter of Hunting Jack - not reached that stage in editing
* Complete second redraft of Hunting Jack - upto 2nd chapter done
* Write a new short story - never got done
* Redraft The Great Misunderstood Artist of Lynedoch Street (TGMAOLS) and polish for submission - complete
* Submit TGMAOLS - Zygote in my Coffee 9/3/06
* Keep on top of submissions list - complete

* Write poem for reading at my sister's wedding in July - not done
* Write poems if the moment takes - none written

* Start work on Scotland's Treasure for May column - WIP.
* Write story/article for Being Dad Anthology - pending
* Write four weekly blog entries for TSDR - done
* Write and submit another step-dad article for Interactive Dad - complete after 3 drafts - Displaying Affection With Your Step-Child. Submitted 21/3/06

Marketing and Promotion
* Continue marketing and promotion of Fringe Fantastic - Not as much this month. Review in ELL and drawing up SOR Contracts the main things. * Follow up FF review/interview requests - not done since reviews started appearing
* Keep website up to date - complete

Reading and Research
* Release Tall Tales and Short Stories Vol.2 into the wild - really have to do this
* Read friends novel WIP and prepare crit - almost finished
* Read from my 'waiting to be read' pile - The Black Book by Ian Rankin – stopped while above is in progress
* Research The Cold War - want to get some books on this as well as web research. Not as urgent now since Stella took a different direction while writing. Can be removed for now.

Other Projects
* Stay on top of editorial work for TSDR - Done.

Things That Turned Up
Fringe Fanatstic reviewed by East Lothian Magazine. Orders now coming in from new customers.

Under the Skin published by Wildchild 7/3/06

What A Waste rejected by Outercast 14/3/06
On A Monday Morning rejected by Wildchild 31/3/06

Fiction - 7350
Non-Fiction - 13300
Poetry - 0

Outstanding Submissions
Short Stories
Insidious Reflections 1
Writing Magazine 1
3am Magazine 1
Barcelona Review 1
The Portable Muse 2
Zygote in my Coffee 1
One Story 2
Open Wide Magazine 1
Summerset Review 2
Adirondack Review 1
Fringe Magazine 2
Espresso Fiction 3

Interactive Dad 2

Zygote in my Coffee 4

A good month, though interrupted somewhat by falling sick for a few days in the middle. I got off to a great start with the word count and managed to keep focussed on fiction, working heavily on Stella and some editing on Hunting Jack. After I got better I lost the thread somewhat but managed to pick it up again.

Did a lot of reading and am almost finished my friends manuscript. A couple for rejections came in, one was a close call and will require some editing before I put it back out into the circle again.

The highlight though was having Under The Skin published by Wildchild Publishing. I had been trying to get in to their publication for a long time now and was amazed when a story written on a train to Newcastle and turned around in three weeks got the go-ahead.

I learnt a lot this month, least not that the writing business is full of surprises.

For more information about Fringe Fantastic, please go to the website:

Colin 11:33 am | 0 comments |

Thursday, March 30, 2006


It's still raining over Edinburgh. It's torrential at times and constant the rest of the time. I quite like it. It's nice to walk in. It always reminds me of that line in Taxi Driver, when de Niro says, "the rain washes the scum off the streets." It's true to an extent. The jakies and druggies you could normally identify shuffling along are gone and all that is left is shoppers and commuters rushing to get out the storm, and small bands of neds who want to prove how hard they are by staying out in the rain with their trackies on and nothing else.

For more information about Fringe Fantastic, please go to the website:

Colin 10:59 am | 0 comments |

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


I was extremely busy at work today so got nothing much done over lunch or at any other time I could squeeze in. The first half of the day was spent preparing for and doing a presentation to some senior managers. I had to talk about something that I could write on the back of a cigarette packet, yet managed to fill it out with slides and patter that amazingly, impressed the bosses. It's my writing skills combined with my natural ability to talk bullshit that made for a compelling presentation in difficult circumstances.
Someone once told me I should be a salesman. I can talk, get on with people and apparently those two attributes put together mean you can sell with a bit of experience. I never fancied it though, but sometimes I think it would be better being out on the road meeting different people all the time rather than stuck in this flu-infested sick-hole.

I'm sure I made the correct decision though. It's my bitterness about the Rat Race that will no doubt make a gripping best seller some day.

The Guinness was off at the snooker club and I'm sure it contributed to my struggling 4-4 draw. The legal requirement in this country is to clean the pipes once a week, and that's what these guys do. But by the end of the week the beer tastes crap. The pubs that serve the best beer clean their pipes every couple of days and I wish that's what they would do at the snooker club. There's nothing worse than poorly administered taps.

For more information about Fringe Fantastic, please go to the website:

Colin 11:31 am | 1 comments |

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Well the walk to work was hellish. Thanks to the strike there were no buses running so I had to walk to work. Half way along Bonnington Road I stood on a stone, normally not a problem but it highlighted an area of my sole that badly needs repaired when the small rock forced its way through the thin leather and into the ball of my foot. Fucking agony it was and I probably screamed like a little girl while I was doubled over trying to get the wee shit out.

So in the long-term I will have to get my shoes resoled or new ones altogether. In the short-term, I still had to make the return walk home with the hole in the shoe. Lovely.

I posted a biography of Janice Galloway on TSDR Blog because I didn't have anything else ready to write about. I usually scan the papers and websites during the week for things to write for the column but nothing caught my eye this week.

Worked on the first part of my Scotland's Treasure column for the May issue of The Scruffy Dog Review; a review of the Rab Howat Band.

I printed off Stella and the first few chapters of Hunting Jack so I can edit them on paper and I read through a large chunk of my friend's manuscript. It's an excellent read, most enjoyable, in fact it's responsible for me sleeping in a couple of days when I've been unable to stop reading it at night.

Naturally it started to rain heavily shortly before I left the office. It wasn't long before my jacket was soaked through and my shoes flooded thanks to the small and annoying hole in the sole. I stopped off in the fish shop on Leith Walk for a wee look at their current stock (and for a bit of a heat) and ended up coming away with a beautiful Siamese Fighting Fish. It really is a magnificent specimen with its long silk-flowing fins and deep maroon colour. It is a great addition to my collection but I'll have to keep an eye on it. Despite its name, it tends to be the one that gets picked on.

By the time I got home I was drookit. Every part of me was wet, cold and hungry. I got changed and had some dinner before settling down in front of the PC to do some writing.

For more information about Fringe Fantastic, please go to the website:

Colin 4:03 pm | 0 comments |

Monday, March 27, 2006

Stella Completed

Back tae work. Wonderful.

It rained for most of the day, not just drizzle or the usual showers, but a real long, hard, endless downpour. And me in my thin jacket, walking home. Tomorrow will be worse because there is a national strike of Council workers. Something to do with pensions and of course Lothian Buses have jumped on the bandwagon. So I'll be walking to and from work no matter what the weather throws at us.

Nothing happened today that's really worth mentioning other than I had a nice dinner when I got home - a lovely fancy salad made by Gail.

I wrote extensively on Stella and am delighted to announce the manuscript is now complete. It comes in at a surprising 13,000 words (7k less than expected) but it was a hard one to call. It's going to require some major editing and padding out though so I do expect it to swell over the enxt couple of weeks.

The plot turned on itself forming really neat twists as I wrote it, but it means there are a lot that do not match with earlier passages in the story. There are large gaps but also some great opportunities to lead the reader on and have them wondering what on earth is happening before the resolution. I'm very happy with how it has turned out. I listened to the songs from the album and associated the tunes to each chapter and it is definitely coming out like I imagined.

I did more reading on my friend's manuscript and watched a quick episode of Still Game to give me a wind down after it all. Roll on tomorrows travel fiasco.

For more information about Fringe Fantastic, please go to the website:

Colin 1:43 pm | 1 comments |

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Catch Up

It's been a good few days and I've been hell of a busy. Since last Wednesday there has been some personal successes and a couple of failures. The good stuff took me high and the bad stuff wasn't that bad as to bring me back down too far.

Work has taken an interesting turn to a place that I might just be able to resurrect areas of my job in a way that leaves me more marketable and flexible. A strategy has been formed and I intend to carry it out. It's still shite to be here, but the smell has lessened slightly.

I sent off a copy of Fringe Fantastic to the person in line to get a copy in the PSH Great Poetry Book Exchange. The 2006 E-Book Free-For-All is coming soon, which is the one I did Brick by Brick for last year. Not sure if I'll do the freebie one again. It's all about time at the moment and the priority of the work I want to get through first. We shall see though - I love doing them.

I'm still trying to get a hold of a copy of East Lothian Magazine and Scotland Magazine to check out the reviews of Fringe Fantastic. I want to use some quotes on the website if they aren't bad ones.

Friday saw me out for a couple of pints in Clark's, my last in a smoke-filled bar in Scotland. I had a pint with Dave at lunch to catch up and then another couple with Zander after work. It was his leaving bash as he is off to pastures new. A different company with the same old crap. The world of project management may never be the same again, but I wish him all the best of luck.

Saturday was fantastic as I had a day out with my wife. We don't often get out together as much as I would like but the opportunity was there and we took it. We popped in for a couple of drinks at Gai's pal's flat and listened to some music then got a cab up to Bannerman's on the Cowgate. We watched the weekly performance of the Rab Howat Band in the back room. The first half of the set was crap, all ballads and slow boring numbers. When they came out for the second half Rab said, "Enough of this lovey-dovery shit - let’s rock!" And they did. It was the best performance I've seen of Rab Howat in many a year. A full review of this gig will appear in The May issue of The Scruffy Dog Review/a>.

After the gig we had another few drinks before deciding on something to eat. We had a quick Italian in a restaurant on the Grassmarket, which turned into somewhat of a melee when a chunk of chocolate fudge cake landed in my glass of wine. Undeterred by this, I took Gail and Sam to The Last Drop where we made our home for the rest of the night.

Sam spent the rest of the evening moaning about being tired and full after her meal. She wanted to go home but with the help of a stag party from Leeds, she was talked into staying out a little longer.

We finally left at about half past eleven and got a taxi up the road. We dropped off Sam and when we got in, popped open a bottle of champagne we've had sitting in the drinks cupboard for way too long. We stuck on some tunes and drank and talked until the early hours.

When we woke to Ian ringing the doorbell at 11am there was a moment of terror. I thought it was only 10am, after having reminded everybody to put their clocks back. I suddenly realised how wrong I was when Gail's folks turned up outside for them to go to a Mother's Day meal with Gail's Mum and Gran. It was of course 12 o'clock and I had got it all wrong.

After a severe ass-whipping - it really was a great Sunday morning - I tidied up, read, drank coffee, phoned my Mum and then wrote for the remainder of the day.

For more information about Fringe Fantastic, please go to the website:

Colin 11:04 am | 0 comments |

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Getting Lazy

The weather is being a total pain just now. Once again I wore my light jacket to work. The weather was mild, bordering on warm, clear blue skies and very pleasant. By the time I left the office it was overcast and a snow drift had worked in from the east. I was soaked and freezing by the time I got home.

Remember the box of books I ordered four months ago and that never showed up resulting in my publisher sending me an identical replacement order? Well it arrived today! Double the books for half the price can't be bad. I need more stock though if I'm to make any impact at the festival. The only problem is the money needs to come from sales so it's going to be a fine balance.

Still feeling a bit withdrawn. One of the guys I work with burst out laughing when I walked in the office. When I asked what was up, he said he had never seen me looking so grim-faced and angry.

And I only thought I was frowning because of the thought of another day in this place! I suppose my stubble isn't helping my appearance either; I've not shaved in over a week.

I had a hankering for black pudding all day for some reason. No idea why this particular craving hit me but I could really have gone a big chunk of it for my dinner. Instead I settled for some scampi before heading to snooker.
I enjoyed my pints tonight; they went down a treat and I won 5-3 into the bargain.

Bit pissed off at the laziness that's crept into my writing. There's been too many ready excuses to put things off and do other things. I need a kick in the arse before the end of the month as I still have lots to complete.

For more information about Fringe Fantastic, please go to the website:

Colin 4:21 pm | 0 comments |

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Books By Phone

Feeling quite low at the moment. Low and tired. Mostly tired I think. I think it's something to do with the changing of the seasons, winter into spring and my body is not ready for it. Or it could just be that I'm just a lazy bastard and need a swift boot in the baws to get me going again.

Spring is making an effort to rise. The flowers around Leith Links have bloomed and the air; it's still nippy and chilly but it's fighting hard against the mild mornings and sunny blue skies. It won't be long until everything warms up again, then I'll have lots to moan about it being too warm for anything to get done.

Last week I got a call on my mobile VMX from a lady asking about my book, Fringe Fantastic. I wrote down the number but lost it. I finally found it tonight and so rang her up to find out how I could help, because initially I thought she might work for one of the magazines I sent PR's to.

She wanted to buy my book after seeing the review in the East Lothian Life. Apparently they printed a review but I wasn't told about it. I took the ladies order and realised there is a whole channel of marketing I haven't tapped into yet.

Not everyone has a computer and so it would make sense for there to be a method of ordering and paying by post. I'll need to look into this a little bit more however, as I don't want to publish my home address. A PO Box will probably be needed before I can go ahead with that.

But it is good to know that with the reviews of the book finally being published, the returns are being felt straight away. I'll buy a copy of the magazine and of course issue 25 of Scotland Magazine is due out soon, which will also have a review in it.

I had wondered why the hits to the book website had suddenly soared earlier on this week. I just put it down to a freak occurrence but obviously there's a lot of interested people out there. Hopefully they'll be interested enough to buy a copy.

For more information about Fringe Fantastic, please go to the website:

Colin 2:58 pm | 1 comments |

Monday, March 20, 2006

Too Many Mondays

It really was a crappy day today. The weather was dire, I felt tired from the get-go, and I had the Monday morning isn't-it-shite-tae-be-back-at-work-blues. I couldn't find a shirt to wear, forgot my handy USB key drive and something is wrong with the filter in my fish tank.

God this is dull, even for a Monday.

I wore my light jacket to work thinking the mild weather would hold out, but by lunchtime when I went to the post office I realised my mistake. As I walked to the post office at a 45 degree angle in the horizontal rain and freezing wind, I reflected on my error and wished I was back home.

I did this today because I was bored (saw it on Mik's site):

You're 0% Irish

You're not Irish. Not even a wee bit.

Not even on St. Patrick's Day!

How Irish Are You?

That's because I'm 100% this ~

Ho, ho, ho!

I neglected to mention I received some correspondence last week while I was off with the cold. The Barcelona Review wrote to ask why my submission of Heart of a Child was time stamped with March 2002 and asked if it was a recent submission.

For some reason the clock in my PC had changed itself to 2002 and thus all emails I sent out that day had the wrong year instead of 2006. Total pain in the ass.

Outercast Magazine rejected What A Waste on March 18th. Funny, because I thought I had sent them The Oasis. I smell something rotten in the submission spreadsheet.

Having spent the weekend in Glasgow, I'm finding that I am missing her very much. I watched a couple of episodes of Still Game mainly to see the city on my screen but also for the superb laugh it always gives me.

For more information about Fringe Fantastic, please go to the website:

Colin 8:03 am | 0 comments |

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Good To Be Back

Hello and welcome back to my little niche in webland. I've been away from the blog for a full week; a sustained period of absence longer than any other there has ever been, not brought about by holiday or illness.

For this I apologise. But much has happened. And there is much to tell.

When I left you last Sunday I had just "enjoyed" a day wallpaper stripping in my bedroom. What followed was a week of ups and downs, twists and turns. I shall try to encapsulate the spirit of all that is relevant in this time, while attempting to avoid the mundane. This is, after all, the ethos of what this blog is meant to be about.

Monday was the start of the downslope. All throughout the day I started to feel like I was wearing an internal balaclava. My head started to pound and my eyes felt strained. When I got home the only thing I could do was fall into bed with aches and pains, a thumping brain and choked sinuses. A solid cold had arrived.

Later, when I reflected on everything, I realised that using a steamer in the bedroom with only a t-shirt on, the window open and snow falling outside, was not one of my better ideas. But then it does get damn hot using those machines.

I also remembered several people walking about the office last week with the same symptoms and in some cases worse. Our office has the highest sickness rate in the entire estate of this company. Why? Crap ventilation, air-conditioning and general working conditions. We have ants on the carpets and sometimes you can see lines of them tramping along the desks for Christ sake! And don't even start on me with the state of the lavvy!

The place is a god damn cess pit.

I stayed in bed for the rest of Monday night - and the following day. I slipped in and out of a horrible sweat-soaked sleep all day and evening. I took time to force-feed myself soup, vitamin c supplements, water and tea. With my appetite gone and my aching body, it was all I could do not to go out of my mind.

By Wednesday morning I had no choice but to get up. I was feeling a lot better, but still not one quite hundred percent. I was meeting Craig and Mikey for drinks in the evening and I decided to put the medicinal qualities of Guinness to the test.

During that test I had an interesting discussion with some bloke who at first, we all thought was in a show or something. He had make-up on his face and was wearing odd robes while sat at a bar on The Mile drawing crosses.

Not being bothered abotu this kind of think I decided to just ask him. I've forgotten his name now, but it turns out he was a Pagan. He was also a tattoo artist and was preparing designs for one of the bar staff. For the next half hour I heard all about the intracies of living as a Pagan with a Christian girlfriend, Voodooism, Hoodooism, and I discovered he is friends with two friends of someone I know from my writing community - Sandra and D! If that makes any sense whatsoever, then you'll know who you are. I keep meaning to go into The Wyrd and say hi.

It was fascinating stuff, but I think my unfaltering ability to walk up and sit down next to him rattled him as he glanced nervously around him to see if I had my mates with me in waiting to beat him up.

It's not everyday a large skinhead with a gut-full of alcohol sits down and starts asking you what religion you are, I suppose.

And do you know what? The Guinness did the trick. It washed away the final feelings of stuffiness, blockage, sniffles and twangs.

I was feeling pretty good again by Thursday, albeit with a slight hangover. Not wanting to return to work in a non-fully-functional capacity, I took an extra day just to make sure I was back to my normal healthy self. It would have been irresponsible to return so soon and risk a relapse.

On Friday I returned to work and immediately start to feel like crap again. Health-wise I was fine, it's just the state of this place and the inbred patronisation and hypocrisy that gets me down. I shared pizza and a film in the evening with the family and on Saturday morning I boarded the train to Glasgow.

I spent the day with my youngest sister, Lindsay. We had lunch and went out to watch the rugby, which made it a very exciting day. Scotland beat Italy in the last game of the Six Nations Championship. This meant although we never won it, we did beat France and England (to win the Calcutta Cup) at home and managed our first away win for four years against Italy. The final score was 13-10 in Rome.

Wales played France next and were leading right up until a few minutes left to play. They lost a try in the dying moments to France, which meant France won the Championship. Had Wales held on to win, England and Ireland would have battled it out to see which one of them would be Champs.

The England versus Ireland match was a classic. Ireland led most of the game then with minutes to go England scored. It looked like they were going to snatch a lucky victory right at the death, but with seconds to spare, Ireland scored an amazing try. This meant that with Ireland winning the Triple Crown by beating the English, Scotland finished in 3rd place - and above England (still the Word Champions?) in the rankings. Not a bad year considering the Wooden Spoon is our usual prize.

It was great to be back in Glasgow again. I never realise just how much I miss the place until I get back and all the memories and feelings come rushing back. I've grown to love Edinburgh and enjoy living here, but Glasgow's where my heart is and always will be.

Yesterday was a day of relaxing. I tried to be smart by getting an early train home in the morning. I wanted to beat the football traffic going to Hampden Park for the League Cup Final, but forgot about the early kick-off between Rangers and Hearts in Edinburgh. The train was mobbed and I couldn't sleep for the twenty or so lads returning from a Stag weekend. Some poor bloke forced to wear an ill-fitting dress for everyone to laugh at. Still, it made the journey go quicker.

So it's been a long - very long - week. In amongst it all was the writing. I did a bit of reading but obviously I got nothing written during the early part of the week while I was sick and then Friday was spent with the family. Saturday was spent away so I only managed to write during the gaps afterwards I was sick and also today. Now that things have returned to normal I can get back into things with a steady mind and solid pen.

For more information about Fringe Fantastic, please go to the website:

Colin 1:39 pm | 1 comments |

Sunday, March 12, 2006


Had a comfortable sleep until late morning, got up and had some coffee and a bacon roll. That's where the relaxation ended. The rest of the day was spent working on the bedroom; stripping wallpaper, cleaning and sanding etc.

Then after it was all done I had to clean the whole lot up and re-install the furniture so there was somewhere for us to sleep. You'd never have known I was in by the time I was finished except for the bare walls.

So between the DIY work today, the rugby and the meal yesterday, I got nothing written all weekend. And yet I still managed to come in with a damn good word count for the week and higher than normal level of accomplishments.

It snowed between 12 noon and 3pm. By 5pm it was mostly gone. It looked like it was going to be really thick too, but while we missed most of it, the rest of Scotland seemed to have been battered with double-figure inches of snow.

For more information about Fringe Fantastic, please go to the website:

Colin 7:46 am | 0 comments |

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Dinner And Rugby

Not much to tell about yesterday hence the non-entry. I took a half day today to spend time at home in the afternoon, and the day extended into the evening. It was a general family kind of day.

Today was all about the in-laws coming for dinner although for the first couple of hours was just me and Ian drinking beer and watching Scotland take on Ireland in the penultimate game of the Six Nation's Championship. A win for either team would put them into pole position going into the last weekend.

Scotland were beaten 15-9. A mix of Ireland being just too good and the fact it was the last ever match that would be played at Lansdowne Road, gave the game extra importance to the Irish. We held in there for a lot of the match but were never quite as good. Next week, Italy in Rome.

Earlier today I spent time up town. I got a couple of books out of Waterstones, one of which by was edited by Paul Auster. True Tales of American Life is a book of short tales from people all over America, tales that are almost like fiction and just as inspiring. It's a good book to pick up and read for a few minutes then put down again to go do something else while you think about it.

I also bought a CD with a token I had been given and some herbs for the meal later that day. Also purchased was some more fish. A new catfish, three Electric Blue Gourami's and three Fire Red Gourami's. More on that on the other blog but the tank is a beautiful array of colours now.

For more information about Fringe Fantastic, please go to the website:

Colin 7:29 am | 1 comments |

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Submission Game

The late night last night and bevvy consumed made it almost impossible to get out my bed this morning. I felt ready for my kip by half past nine last night, so when I finally got to bed at 1am I was totally knackered.

I managed to crawl out my kip though, and drank copious amounts of coffee in espresso form to get the old heart started when I did.

I posted a few updates to my main website today, Most updates mainly to do with latest publications and The Scruffy Dog Review.

I gave a final read through and edit of TGMAOLS then submitted it to Zygote in my Coffee. I continued working through my revamped Fiction Publisher's Index and prepared several pieces for going back out onto the circuit.

Every unpublished piece I have is now on submission again and the good thing is the way I have laid out my submission strategy. It means I can target more appropriate journals and e-zines quicker and easier. This means my work will be on the circuit more often and it won't take as long to turnaround when (if) they get rejected.

I took me most of the evening to get all that lot sorted but it's good to spend at least once or twice a month running through everything, keeping it all up-to-date and trying to get more publishing credits.

For more information about Fringe Fantastic, please go to the website:

Colin 10:25 am | 0 comments |

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Little Green Invaders

I didn't manage to get through a lot today. There were a lot of frustrating interruptions which kept my mind and my hand away from the job in hand.

Someone keeps wiping snot on the walls and mirrors in the toilet cubicles at work. Big huge splats of phlegm and mucus splattered al over the place. It's disgusting, though I've come to expect that kind of thing in here.

It's not unusual to see massive un-flushed turds floating in the lavvy like nuclear submarines in a harbour. Or reaching up to pull out some toilet paper and getting your hand wet with "something" dripping from the dispenser. Or the best one was a half-used and open tube of Preparation-H, which some poor bugger had left lying around after applying the cream to their anus.

Lovely place this.

I managed some editing on TGMAOLS but that was about it. I've been chopping chunks off left, right and center so it's very tight, short and quirky. One more read tomorrow - I hope - and off it goes tomorrow night. This is a very experimental piece so I'm not putting too much expectation behind it.

Despite being shattered I went to the snooker with my FIL and sank a few pints. It was a close fought encounter, which I lost 5-4. As usual there was some hilarious banter on the go, most of which, I daren't repeat here.

Needless to say, when he and my MIL come over for dinner this Saturday, the rugby WILL be getting shown.

For more information about Fringe Fantastic, please go to the website:

Colin 2:08 pm | 2 comments |

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

A Very Good Day

I got en email early this morning. Wildchild have published my short story, Under the Skin.

This is a significant step. I have been trying hard to get published by them for a while now. I had Heart of a Child accepted last year and was delighted, but I had to pull the story after the revisions they were asking were taking the soul out of the piece. It was a very Scottish story and I felt it was losing the essence.

Anyway, ever since then it has played in the back of my mind; did I do the right thing? I should have just taken the acceptance, etc. and of course with no other short story credits coming in, I started to wonder.

This year I decided to focus hard on my fiction, to study the intricacies, structures, editing techniques and methods used in small and large fictional works. On February 3rd I wrote a story long-hand on the train to Newcastle. Three weeks later it was accepted and today it was published.

I'd say that was a damn good result and that I am definitely moving in the right direction.

In other news, I published my weekly blog entry over at The Scruffy Dog Review Blog, wrote over 5000 words on Stella, redrafted TGMAOLS, cutting quite a lot of the excess fat out, and I read more of the book I am reading for my writing pal.

All in all it was a very, very successful day!

For more information about Fringe Fantastic, please go to the website:

Colin 12:04 pm | 3 comments |

Short Story Published

Wildchild Publishing have today published my short story, Under the Skin.

This is only my second short story to be published and my first since May 2004! Having been trying to get into Wildchild for quite sometime I am naturally delighted by this, as they have a well-established and respected reputation.

Click here to read 'Under the Skin'
Colin 10:53 am | 0 comments |

Monday, March 06, 2006

Not Bad, For A Monday

I received an email from Rick Lupert over at The Poetry Super Highway this morning. As I've already mentioned once or twice, he's running the Great Poetry Exchange again this year where poets from all over the world donate books they have published. Each poet is then assigned someone else hat has pledged a book and they all swap books. Good idea, huh? Click on the above link to see the list of participants this year.

I've been assigned an American poet called Brandon Cesmat who lives in California, to send a copy of Fringe Fantastic to. Behind me in the chain is a lady called Frances Macaulay Forde from Ireland, and I'll receive her book, Hidden Capacity: A Poet's Journey. Exciting stuff!

I wrote tomorrow's blog entry for The Scruffy Dog Review, about the invention of a robotic signature pen and I wrote through another two redrafts of TGMAOLS.

I also got a few hundred more words on Stella completed before hitting a wall. I need to check out some facts first. I started the third redraft of Hunting Jack and got up to the end of chapter 2.

Tonight saw the latest TV adaption of Ian Rankin's Rebus novels on screen. With the superb Ken Stott as the Inspector, this was the case of Fleshmarket Close (or Fleshmarket Alley for all those American's who didn’t know what a 'close' is).

It was superb. Better then the last one because of the more complicated plot. Topical also, which helped and Stott is just superb as portraying the stoic detective. It must be such a thrill for Rankin to see his creation alive and on screen solving mysteries he has spent months devising and writing.

For more information about Fringe Fantastic, please go to the website:

Colin 8:29 am | 1 comments |

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Easy Like Sunday's Should Be

I got a long deserved lie-in this morning. A week of pre-six am starts meant that by nine o'clock last night I was shattered. Thank God I didn't have a night out or anything as I wouldn't have lasted.

I got up and had a nice fry-up, shower and check of my email. Then we all trooped off to MIL's via the newsagent to sit and talk about the housing market in Edinburgh for four and a half hours. It was fascinating stuff. Thank God I bought a Scotland on Sunday on the way round.

I didn't get much writing done today. When we got back I made that curry you heard me talking about. Chicken Tikka Masala with basmati rice - and I made tonnes of it. After which, I settled down to watch Sphere with Dustin Hoffman, Sharon Stone and Samuel L. Jackson.

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Colin 8:33 am | 0 comments |

Saturday, March 04, 2006

A Saturday To Die For

My MIL kindly bailed me out today, so while I was delighted to get a break from doing the dance run, I didn't get to go up town and browse books and CD's like I would on a normal Saturday morning. To be honest I wasn't too bothered. It was good to get a relaxing start to the weekend with some nice coffee and a copy of The Scotsman.

Then, to make matters even better, I got a whole day of undisturbed writing. The family were all doing other things, which meant I could do as I pleased. Since I had already done all the housework last night, it was about as perfect a Saturday as I could have wished. No housework, a tidy house, no kids, no wives, no unwanted sound or clutter, no hammering or DIY. Just a bacon roll, coffee a laptop set up in the lounge and the sports channel on in the background - all afternoon!

I worked on more revisions to TGMAOLS and then got stuck into writing Stella. I wrote until about six o'clock and had been planning to make a curry but when Laura returned from her pals having had her dinner, and with Gail not that fussed I ditched that idea in favour of something less interesting. I kept writing until late evening when tiredness eventually took its hold.

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Colin 8:12 am | 0 comments |

Friday, March 03, 2006

White Edinburgh

My morning starts are getting earlier. I was up before 6am today and into the centre of the city before daylight. The walk to work from the bus stop was amazing. It is so fantastic to see Edinburgh in the hours just after night has closed and dawn is preparing to break. When the sun is toying with the landscape, pushing the moon away to form extended shadows and the birds join in for a dawn chorus because nobody except you is around, it is the perfect time of day.

If you are into that kind of thing you should see London at the same time. London at night or as morning is about to break is one of the wonders of the world.

It was especially cold this morning with their having been clear sky all night. There was not a cloud to be seen anywhere by the time daylight broke and it made for beautiful scene.

By lunchtime, there was over an inch of snow lying over Edinburgh. It started mid-morning and we watched from the windows as huge flakes fell by their millions and blanketed the streets and buildings in white.

When I left for work it had already started melting but darkness was falling again and the temperature was dropping. The ice that formed on the pavements and streets was instant and dangerous so I was happy to get home.

Such changes in the weather are typical of Scotland. It's not unusual to get the four seasons in one day.

As for work (the good kind) I printed off my pals' manuscript so I can get stuck into reading it. I'm going to put all my other reading on hold so I don't get sidetracked while reading it.

I completed the final re-draft on my Interactive Dad Magazine article. It's now ready for submission but I'll wait until the current article on submission has been received back with either a rejection or acceptance.

I worked on TGMAOLS and got it ready for submission. I keep spotting things in the plot that don't tie up so I'll have to give it another couple of reads through.

I started drafting new ideas for the May column of Scotland's Treasure in The Scruffy Dog Review. Got a couple of really good ideas, which I'd like to work on about the history of Edinburgh and which is linked to contemporary art.

ORDER a copy of my latest book, FRINGE FANTASTIC!
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For more information about Fringe Fantastic, please go to the website:

Colin 5:05 pm | 2 comments |

Thursday, March 02, 2006

GDR Plan for March

Holy Moly! Did you notice I neglected to post my GDR for March yesterday? THAT'S how tired I was!!! I've appended it to this entry so don't fear, you will still get to see my plans for breaking into the literary world like a storm in a tea-cup very soon.

I allowed myself the luxury of an extra hour in bed this morning. Basically because it was so just cold outside and not really for any other reason. In fact, to merely use the world "cold" is an injustice to Jack Frost because it was absolutely perishingly, shiveringly, balticly, nose-snappingly, bitterly cold!

Thank God for Madness beanie hats and brass necks.

This is how I feel every day as I sit in my office.

Me - at my desk.

Today I re-drafted an old story. I wrote it almost two years ago as an experiment when I was "under the influence" to see what kind of drivel came out. It was fun to do, but not much of a literary gem.

Until last night when I uncovered a journal that, if edited and given a better structure, the story might just be suitable for. So today I dug it out and spent time working on The Great Misunderstood Artist of Lynedoch Street. It's a weird story, but it may just have the potential for life if I rework the thing.

I also worked on the first re-draft of my next article for Interactive Dad Magazine, which I wrongly called Dads Are Kids Too yesterday. That's the one currently on submission to them. The one I worked on today and yesterday is called Displaying Affection Towards Your Step-Child.

I never got anything else done tonight because I was in the school. Parents Night, even as an adult, still scares the willies out of me!!

GDR Plan for March

* Complete work on Stella
* Complete second redraft of Hunting Jack
* Complete new chapter of Hunting Jack
* Write a new short story
* Redraft The Great Misunderstood Artist of Lynedoch Street (TGMAOLS) and polish for submission
* Submit TGMAOLS
* Keep on top of submissions list

* Write poem for reading at my sister's wedding in July
* Write poems if the moment takes

* Start work on Scotland's Treasure for May column
* Write story/article for Being Dad Anthology
* Write four weekly blog entries for TSDR
* Write and submit another step-dad article for Interactive Dad

Marketing and Promotion
* Continue marketing and promotion of Fringe Fantastic
* Follow up FF review/interview requests
* Keep website up to date

Reading and Research
* Release Tall Tales and Short Stories Vol.2 into the wild - really have to do this
* Read friends novel WIP and prepare crit
* Read from my 'waiting to be read' pile - The Black Book by Ian Rankin
* Research The Cold War - want to get some books on this as well as web research. Not as urgent now since Stella took a different direction while writing.

Other Projects
* Stay on top of editorial work for TSDR

ORDER a copy of my latest book, FRINGE FANTASTIC!
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For more information about Fringe Fantastic, please go to the website:

Colin 7:50 am | 1 comments |

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Sushi At The Shinema?

Another supremely early start today, which was also coupled with the news that it plummeted to minus 6 degrees Celsius overnight. Not bad! All the streets and cars were iced up as I trudged through the city to work.

I need new shoes, though. The ones I have are developing thin-sole syndrome, which normally isn't a problem but with all the cobbled roads I have to walk across it can become a bit of a pain in the - well, pain in the foot, actually.

The family went to the cinema after work today. We went to see the new remake of Greyfriars Bobby. We got all our yummies from M&S before we went in and so instead of the traditional popcorn and Coke, I had Sushi followed by a flap-jack! It was only a quid for a wee selection tray and a bottle of sauce.

I don't want to tempt fate, but I think I could be about to start a trend with that one!

I managed to completed the revisions on Under the Skin and get them sent off to my editor at Wildchild. She expects the new issue to be available in around a week. Can't wait to see it published.

I drafted a new another article for Interactive Dad Magazine called Dads Are Kids Too. Definitely a topic close to my heart that one! I'll get it polished and sent away after I've heard back about the one currently on submission.

I made four poetry submissions to Zygote in my Coffee. It was a spur of the moment thing because I realised it had been a while since I sent them anything. I selected these four for their suitability more than anything else: Walking With A Demon, Swally, Disposable Pen and Boxes.

I know it's a short one today but I'm quite tired at the moment with all my early starts. I slowly burn out towards the end of the day and so I have to focus all my energy on actual writing, not blogging, at night.

I'm sure you understand, dear reader. And I trust you won't hold it against me.

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:

Colin 2:26 pm | 0 comments |