Freedom From The Mundane - A Writer's Blog

Monday, July 24, 2006

Bedlam

I left Gail and Laura in Glasgow to do some holiday shopping for clothes and jumped on the train through to Edinburgh. I was back by 11.30am and headed straight to the house, changed into my work gear and left for the office via the travel company for cheques and cash. There is too much to do and the constant beating sun is not making my tasks any easier. I have got to get stuff for the animals when we are away and of course I've still to pack!

The signs and tents are going up all over town indicating the imminence of the Fringe and outside the Assembly Rooms are various lorries containing scaffolding and stage equipment for transforming the venue into one of the main places to entertain the crowds were parked. There is an excitment draping over the city - I can feel it.

By the time I got home after work I was sweltering and just had to change into my shorts and vest and down a large ice-cold coke. My head has been taking a beating (I'll need to get a good hat for the holiday) and I really feel the sun after just a few minutes sitting under it. Nevertheless, baldies do it better!

I'm trying to get everything fulfilled before I go, so if anyone is waiting for a response to any emails sent over the last week or so, please bear with me. I'm doing my best to tick all the boxes before we leave.

I sold two copies of Fringe Fantastic direct through the publisher, so maybe some of my leafleting is paying off already now that the tourists are beginning to fill the streets again. Fingers crossed August is a good month on the financial front.

I had to try on all my new clothes and the ones I already have for the holiday. I hate that. It's almost as bad as actually shopping for them. Gail has said she will pack so long as I have everything looked out that I am taking.

It's bedlam in the house. Just bedlam.
Colin 3:10 pm | 1 comments |

Sunday, July 23, 2006

BBQ Time

Yesterday was a no-brainer. There were hangovers left, right and centre, and not much else to do but recover. The tally of Ian's 60th party present haul was: 17 bottles of Dark rum, 1 bottle of Vodka (drunk by us back at the house afterwards), £120 cash, Boots, B&Q and Argos vouchers. Not bad. Can't wait till I'm 60!

Today we were on the move again. We got a mid-morning train through to Glasgow then another connecting train out to Johnstone. My dad picked us up at the station and before long we were sitting out in the sunny back garden of my parent's house drinking coffee an tea. An hour after that and were up the road at my friend Mikey's house at a birthday BBQ for his 2-year old daughter with friends and family.

It was another one of those days. It started off as a pleasant afternoon drink, then once the bulk of everyone had left, leaving the core group left behind, it descended into a bit of a session. It was after midnight before we got back to my parent's house, and 1am before I saw my bed.
And now there are only two days remaining to get everything organised for the holiday. Time is ticking and there is still millions of things to do.

It's going to be a busy couple of days before I can relax again.

Colin 8:41 pm | 0 comments |

Friday, July 21, 2006

SURPRISE!!

Quite tired when I rose today, though I am getting into a regular pattern of early starts, they do tend to catch up after a while. No sun shining through the curtains this morning either, which probably had something to do with it. It was an overcast but warm start to the day. The decision of whether to wear a light jacket or not was a tough one.

Work was slow, as it normally is on a Friday. A lot of people are on their summer holidays and so there is even less work coming through than normal. Add an overheated office into the equation and it made for a manky few hours at my desk. Despite several walkabouts and trips to the coffee machine, there was nothing I could do to lift myself out of it.

Also on my mind was the surprise 60th birthday party tonight for Ian, my father-in-law. Gail started organising this a while back and sent out a load of invites to people. I was to meet Craig and Mikey in their hotel bar before heading down to the Fireman's Social Club on MacDonald Road at 5pm, which kept me out of the way but also meant I could get a few drinks in first. Gail's last words to me before I left the house; "You'd better not act the goat tonight, or POW!"

Hmmm. Hot Friday afternoon after day sitting in thirsty office bored out my tits = longing desire to pour beer down my throat.

I got through several chapters of AFTDF over lunch. Some of the writing is really bad and rushed. I remember writing it. I think my plan was to get anything down as fast as possible, which is sometimes a good idea, but I didn’t have a clue where it was going and what structure to follow. It needs a LOT of work on it.

At the moment I am straightening out all the large kinks, bringing it all into line continuity-wise, and using this process to get to know the characters and story again before writing the rest of the book.

After work I rushed home and got ready for the big party. I met my mate for a few drinks before hand then made our way to the party. Ian arrived just after 8pm to a huge roar and the DJ kicked in with all the usual 'family occasion' hits. He didn't know what hit him when he walked into the club and all his friends and family were gathered to greet him.

I met up with a lot of Gail's extended family - always interesting - and everyone looked as though they enjoyed a great night out. The part continued back at our house when a few people came back and I eventually caved at about 4am (7am for Gail!!). It was a good night. I tried not to "act the goat" too much, but as ever, I'm never quite sure where the line is so, I may have stepped over it several times, quite by accident you understand.
Colin 8:30 pm | 0 comments |

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Preparing for the Festival

I designed the new Fringe Fantastic flier for this years Fringe Festival today. This one comes in A4 and A5 but contains more information and advertising lingo. As well as being able to purchase online, I've added a bit about being able to meet me for a signed copy. I'll have to find a suitable place to hangout maybe two or three times a week for a couple of hours and I'll tell people that's where the books can be purchased. I need somewhere central to the Fringe, a friendly barman and somewhere comfortable. I have one or two candidates in mind already.

I also prepared the press release and the letter template I will use to write personally-tailored letters to journalists and editors. These took longer than I thought. Getting the right angle and method of approach to try and hook them in isn't easy. And with all the added competition around, it's all the more harder. But I like a good challenge and I like being part of this.

The 2006 Promotional Plan

200 A4-size posters - for distributing on walls, windows, coffee shops, libraries, pubs, clubs and other Fringe venues.

500 A5-size leaflets - for handing out to the public during the festival.

200 business cards - adverts of same design for distribution to the public and various other venues.

Press release - to all local and national newspapers, magazines, online organs, radio broadcasters and internet press release agencies mid-way through the festival. It will highlight my efforts on the streets and of the connection between the book and Fringe revellers.

Personalised letters - to all media contacts, editors and journalists who have responded in the past or shown the slightest bit of interest. Letters will also go out fresh to try and expand this network.

Associations - already established outlet with B&B in Fife. Plan to approach like-minded independent book shop in Leith.

Signing Sessions - I want to set up a regular 'sit-in' where books can be bought and if wanted, people can have them personally autographed.

Street Performers - many of the performers that were written about or photographed for Fringe Fantastic are bound to be coming back to Edinburgh. I wonder how they would react to seeing a poem written about them? I intend to find out. Albannach have already discovered theirs - could be good advertising.

As you can see it's all coming together nicely. If you're wondering why the press releases and letters won't be going out until the 9th, it's because I will be out of the country until then. There's no point in putting a statement like, "I'm available at short notice for interview," if I won't be able to respond immediately to anyone who comes back.

It's a bit of a bummer missing the first week of the festival, albeit the unofficial week, but there's nothing I can do except make sure I'm prepared for the three main weeks hat it runs for. I'm going to be knackered after it all no doubt, but hopefully I can generate sales and even more importantly, generate some badly needed exposure of the good kind.

I got into trouble off of my wife tonight. Apparently I love the rabbits more than I do her and Laura. I talk about them too much, spend time with them too much and generally give them the run of the house when I am playing with them. She says they will be banned from the living room soon - I disagreed. You can imagine the rest.



The problem is not actually with the rabbits. It's with Gail. She has yet to develop a bond that is as strong as the one I have with them. Where they nip, scratch, piss and shite on Gail when she is holding them, they rest calmly on my tummy and watch the world go by, lick my face and cuddle up to me when they're with me. I think she is actually jealous of this, but as I told her last night, "Give, and ye shall receive."

You can imagine how that one went down.
Colin 10:47 am | 0 comments |

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Mounting Pressure

The hottest day of the year began quite coolly. Clouds had gathered overnight and the low-lying morning mist made it altogether pleasantly cool and fresh. The weather reports on the news all said the same thing, however; "It's going to be the hottest day of the year - records will be broken - prepare yourself."

So I left for work with only my shirt on and two buttons open at the top. It was nice to feel so cool and fresh. Laura thought I was mad leaving the house like that, but I promised her it wouldn't stay this cool and the heat was on its way. By the time I got to the office, the sun was breaking through and the mist dissipating to make way for the haze.

The B&B project is a goer. The owner is slightly concerned that she might not be able to sell any books and is worried she might let me down. Not at all! I think even a small number of books made available could help me start to make approaches to other such businesses in and around Edinburgh. The more outlets, the more sale potential. Without potential, then the figures will be zero.

I emailed her back with my plan of, say, five books to begin with. I'll send up a small advert to sit on top of the books with the price etc. and some advertising cards/leaflets. Could be an interesting development this. Now all I need to do is put together my new leaflets for this year's Fringe Festival.

I prepared and sent off the partial request to the agent interested in Hunting Jack. Wouldn't it be awesome if - hold on Chas - no point in getting too excited just yet.

On reading the letter from the small publisher about Stella in more detail, however, I began to grow suspicious that all may not be what it seems. After consulting some experienced writing friends, I have decided I won't be following this offer up. I can't expand just now on this for obvious reasons, but it has been noted as a future topic of discussion. In short, this publisher is not one I shall be working with in the near future.

By lunchtime it was roasting but not quite as hot as the last couple of days. In fact, it never did get as hot in Edinburgh as was predicted, although the rest of the country did break records in parts. London reached 36.5 deg's, for instance.

When me and Ian left the snooker hall at about 11.30, the haar had rolled in and smothered the city in a damp cloak of mist. It was really quite spooky, like what you might imagine when reading a Sherlock Homes tale.

Speakling of snooker, I really couldn't be arsed with it tonight. Not only were we the only ones in the building (other than the staff), with most sensible people out enjoying the lovely evening in their back gardens with a G&T and low music in the background. But with my impending holiday coupled with the immediacy of the Fringe Festival, there is a lot going on in my head that I need to organise. When it all starts spinning like this I get frustrated at being unable to work on my plan. When that happens, I get ratty. And I don't want to get ratty at my FIL. It's just not the done thing.

It's not that I don't enjoy snooker, but the day will come when my commitment to writing will be more in demand, maybe by an agent or appearances on Parky, and I'll have to make more time available to moving over the border from 9 to 5 to a writing life.
Colin 10:54 am | 1 comments |

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Staying Cool

Another rejection arrived this morning. I wasn't expecting anything else from this particular London-based agency. They handle some pretty big (Scottish) authors so I knew I was chancing it. They said, "We have a very large portfolio and so have to be extremely selective with the people we work with. We are not confident we would be able to place this piece with a publisher."

Bollocks to that! I'll just have to find someone who will.

Tally-ho!

Got through some more chapters of AFTDF. I made some fantastic continuity belters in the first draft. It's almost as if I couldn't decide while writing, who knew each other at the start of the story and who didn't. While it is by far the most complicated thing I've written to date (1 protaganist, 3 supporting characters and 4 pov's) these are still basic errors, which I'm happy to say, I'm fixing easily.

Why so complicated? Because it's a modern-day whodunnit. One murder, four suspects, and a twist in the tale that will leave your guts wrenching in wonder and amazement.

Work absolutely dragged in today. The heat coupled with the feeling of abject misery that goes with working here means that when you look out the window at the world, you feel so very detached. I know I could do worse as far as a well-paid job with perks goes, but my GOD it is hellish in here. Everyone is so deflated, lacking in motivation and desire to do anything except look for somewhere challenging. That's the problem. This job isn't challenging any more. I don't feel I am contributing to anything worthwhile.

I fixed my PC. I had to free up the hard drive and mess about with the start-up options but I got it running again. It's still running with an edgy performance though, that only a suitable upgrade will fix long-term.

I've stalled with Catch-22 lately. Not because it is a challenging read (I was enjoying it), but because I've struggled to find the time. With this heat, too, that last thing I want to do is lie in bed reading. It's just too much as I put my head on the pillow every night and try to get to sleep before the profuse sweating begins. I'll probably take it on holiday and ditch one of the others. Cervantes maybe, but I really want to read that so I'll have to see.

Amber Vitzia posted a message after yesterday's entry about something called a Comfort Hat. At first I thought it might be a clever spammer trying to cash in on the heat wave, but when I checked it out I found out that it could be the idea of the century. Go take a look for yourself. Little packs of iced gel tucked into a cap to keep your head cool. I may have to invest in The Comfort Hat. Thanks Amber!

Tomorrow is to be the hottest day of the year. The MET Office are issuing warnings because roads have been melting and train tracks buckling. they are worried that OAP's might start dropping with heat exhaustion. It's unreal. We were hotter here in Edinburgh today than it was in Barbados!

Can't wait to get to Cyprus so I can cool down.
Colin 11:17 am | 0 comments |

Monday, July 17, 2006

Heat Wave

Live updates throghout the day from a Scotsman struggling to cope with the heat wave currently sweeping the country.

7am - Woke up in a pool of sweat. The house is like a bubble of heat and going outside for morning coffee was refreshing, but the endless blue skies above indicate the MET is correct in its heat-wave prediction. Filled the animals water bottles to full before I left, just to be safe.

8.30am - Journey to work most uncomfortable. The occasional draft in the bus window was pleasant on my forehead, but the concentration of the sun through the perspex windows meant the sweat on my head was boiling onto my skin by the time I got to the top of Leith Walk. Now I know how those ants felt in 1981 when I used a hand-held magnifier to burn their asses off in my back garden.

9.30am - 69 deg's outside. The office is like a sauna. Even with the patio doors open there is no breeze and you can actually smell the armpit odours wafting around already. It's like someone is frying onions on the other side of the room.

10am - 72 deg's and all I want to do is pour cold water on my head. It's too humid to concentrate so I just went to the toilet and ran cold water through half a dozen paper towels then placed them on my face. My shirt got soaked but it felt great, and anyway, it had all dried in by the time I left the loo so nobody noticed.

1pm - 78 deg's. I want to strip off and lie down in a bath of ice cubes. I may joke about this, but heat like this while stuck in a smelly dark office is no fun at all. Especially when your wife rings to say she is off to the beach for the day. At least I'm not getting my feet wet in the sea or getting sand up my bum. That would be no fun would it? Right?

2.30pm - 81 deg's. Downed a pint of milk and ate a chicken wrap for lunch. The milk would have done since I have no appetite for anything else. I just want to sleep. The office is so quiet I think most people are struggling to stay awake as well. I'm too lethargic to be bothered turning round to see if anyone is still alive. Roger is - he keeps getting coffee from the machine, which is probably all that's keeping me awake.

3pm - I have a constant layer of sticky sweat on my head and neck. Occasionally I feel it run down my back or down my chest. Sometimes it tickles, like when one drop of sweat hung on my nipple for too long before finally dripping off. I think I laughed out loud and woke a few people up. I might be getting delirious. A pink elephant just floated past the window.

4pm - Still 81 deg's. Wish I could go home. Most people have started drifting away from the office but I have some work to do before I can leave. Been imagining a day on the beach. Sounds great. Dips in the sea. Ice-cream. Sand castles. What have I got? Headed notepaper, telephones, keyboards rattling, the sound of the coffee machine whirring away and no useable air-conditioning. This entire equation can be summed up in one small word. PISH.

4.45pm - Delighted to be leaving the office. I'm glad I never brought a jacket with me, but it means I've had to pack everything into my trouser pockets. I look like I have got pilot slacks on from an old Harold Lloyd movie. In 45 minutes I will be home and getting into my shorts. I hope the rabbits are alright.

5.30pm - Arrived home in a sopping wet shirt and salt stinging my eyes. The bus was early, which was most welcome. I changed into my shorts and vest top and lay out on a shaded area of the lawn next to the Rabbit run. The coolness of the grass, the flatness of the earth, the sight of the sheer blue sky above with occasional wispy cloud floating past. I was soon asleep. Gail crept up on me and I have no idea how long she was looking down at me, lying on the grass, snoozing happily. She spoke. The bottom fell out my arse. Expletives. I am in trouble again.

7pm - 71 deg's. I have sat outside watching the rabbits hump each other's brains out for the last hour or so. I got the hose and tried to calm them down. No luck. They just licked each other dry instead. The sun is falling behind the neighbouring housing bit it is still very warm. It's more pleasant now though and a slight breeze has picked up. I've been drinking sweet tea and it was superb.

9pm - Tried to do some writing but couldn't get my head round it at all. I finished the edits to Stella and although there is still a couple of minor annoyances that I may change in the coming days, it is complete as far as this round goes. Tomorrow I'll send the partials out for this and Hunting Jack.

10.30pm - PC playing up. It crashed and now will not load again quoting something about the API resource. The heat only served to make me more angrier and frustrated about this that I would normally have been. I wanted to hit it, but I refrained. The water temperature in my aquarium is 80 degrees. The fish are frying!

11:45pm - 66 deg's but in the house it still feels like the high 70's. I'm going to bed. I'm taking my flippers and snorkel with me. Tomorrow we are told it is to be slightly cooler before the heat wave peaks on Wednesday. The midweek temperatures have been forecast at almost 90 deg's in Edinburgh and over 100 in London.This is not good. I may be dead before the week is out.

Colin 10:26 am | 2 comments |

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Alaskan Dreams

** Disgusting story warning **

It reached about 25 deg C (73 deg far) today and tomorrow is supposed to top that. It is so hot it is unbearable. Last night I woke up and despite lying in bed as nature intended with no covers and the windows open, I almost drowned in the sweat that had gathered in large pools on my pillow. I was drenched in it. Someone might as well have been pouring a bucket of water over me as I slept.

** Disgusting story warning ends **

I spent most of the day in the back garden. The animals joined me in the sun as I cut the lawn, trimmed the hedges and turned and weeded the soil. I gave the place a good watering as well. The rabbits seemed to enjoy it every time the hose went in their direction so I gave them a few splashes. You should have seen them leaping around and their fur go all spikey. They looked like a pair of Gremlins after it.

I came up with a fantastic idea for a novel to write for NaNoWriMo in November. It came to me much more easily and with more "what if's" than the sequel to Hunting Jack has provided thus far, which makes me think it would be worth following the natural course first until the sequel releases itself in my head more easily.

Gail made a Curry for dinner, which I was just ready for when it came. Chicken Tikka Masala with poppadoms: mmmmmm! After eating, I popped out back to check on the bunnies and found a cat circling their run, hissing and behaving in a most threatening manner. Probably the same cat that has been depositing crap all over my garden recently.

Mopsy and Pippin were terrified, crouching as tightly together as they could at the back of the run. I chased the cat off and took them inside. Mopsy stretched out on my lap and watched Ant and Dec on TV. She was fine. Poor Pippin seemed to have got the worse fright, though. She was shaking like a leaf for quite a while and was not her normal self. She was happy just to be cuddled for a while until she got over the shock.



Poor wee soul.

Once the sun lowered and the temperature began to drop a bit, I began work on the Stella edits. I got through 70% but there are some chunks which involve more than just swapping or removing a few words. Some of the passages need more in-depth and detailed surgery to be performed. I will get them complete by end of tomorrow at the latest and send them off.

This heat isn't helping though. The house just seems to retain warmth no matter how many windows are open or curtains drawn. My aquarium water is up to 28 degrees and my office far too warm to work in. And it's too hot outside until the evening. Nightmare stuff, but what can one do? I wonder what the property market in Alaska is like.
Colin 1:29 pm | 2 comments |

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Too Hot

Last night turned into a heavier one than both of us probably intended, which meant getting up was harder than it should have been.

We finished at about 2am, if memory serves me correctly, and by 8:45am I was on the GNER train to Aberdeen via Edinburgh. By 11am I was home and delighted to find an empty house. I took advantage and caught up with an extra couple of hours of badly needed kip.

Today turned into an absolute roaster. The weatherman says it's only going to get hotter over the next few days, as well. Wonderful. I spent most of the day trying to stay out of the sun and the heat but it was remarkably stifling. I'm just not built for it.

There were some more letters waiting for me when I got home. One rejection and one partial request for Stella from a local literary agent. I feel like I'm just buzzing just now.
Colin 11:36 am | 0 comments |

Friday, July 14, 2006

Life Is Good

Has there ever been a better start to a Friday? I think not. Here's what happened.

I got up and had the most awesome shave of my head and shower. I felt cleansed, pure and magical after my baldy napper had been scraped and cleaned. Then followed a super-hot cup of coffee with two toasted slices of Scottish plain bread, eaten in the glorious morning sunshine of my back garden, while talking to Milly, Mopsy and Pippin. Simply magnificent.

As I left the house for work in said sunny climes, I could hear Gail singing and The Commitments blaring half way down the street. It's a cliche, I know, but when Gail is happy, I am over the moon.

I stopped in and bought jammy donuts and a cappuccino on my way to the office. I was everyone's best pal for ten minutes.

But the creme de la creme, the icing on the cake, the orgasm after the Olympic session, the head on the ice-cold beer, was this ~

I received my first partial request from one of the top three small publishers I pitched Stella to. I know I shouldn't get carried away, but of all the first round submissions I made, these guys were in my top three most wanted, so this is fantastic news.

They sent me a whole lot of information regarding their credentials and their approach to handling new authors. It is very exciting but it also means I really need to apply the final edits to the manuscript in quick march time. I'm off to South Shields overnight tonight to see a friend, then I'll have the rest of the weekend and I'll give myself Monday if I need it. Tuesday is as long as I can give myself before sending the partial off at the very latest.

Exciting times and great things are afoot!

I celebrated in South Shields with my mate, Craig. I finished off the short story on thr train down, that I began writing yesterday in my notebook. I have a name for it, too. It's called Wide Awake.

Craig's not been himself of late so I went to cheer him up. We sank beers and we talked on the coast of Northern England, looking out at the flat calm of the North Sea as it advances towards the edge of the Earth.

Life is good.
Colin 11:22 am | 1 comments |

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Coffee with Dad

It was really hot today. Not the sort of day to be wandering around the country. Like me. Idiot.

I had my final check-up at the Eye Clinic in Glasgow at 3 o'clock so I left work at half past twelve and went through on an earlier train. An idea that had been brewing in my mind since my Blackpool trip, came to the boil and started spilling out into my notebook. I got about 700 words of it down during the 45 minute journey.

I met my dad at Queen Street and we popped into the John Lewis centre for a coffee and cake. We had a nice wee chat and it was good to be relaxing in Glasgow on a sunny afternoon. We don't get to spend much time together just the two of us, so I enjoyed our half hour together. I should really get the old boy back out on the river Gryffe to fish for some trout like we used to.

We said our goodbye's and I went to my 3pm appointment. By twenty past I was done and by half past I was back on the train to Edinburgh and writing more on the new story.

The train was delayed on the way back. I never actually noticed such was my concentration, but the journey took an hour and five minutes. This meant I was able to write a further 1400 words. Nice.

Back home I penned and emailed the lady in charge of the B&B I am hoping to be able to use as an outlet for Fringe Fantastic. There's also a wee independent bookshop that's not long opened on Leith Walk, who specialise in quality music and literature. They also buy collections from people in both mediums. I think they would be an excellent outlet to begin working with and I am going to contact the owner with a view to this.

It's also time to start dishing out more leaflets. I've started putting together a new design for the Fringe festival leaflets, with quotes and other flashy information on it. It has to be appealing and it has to be interesting. It has to say, "BUY ME!"

I only got through a chapter of AFTDF. I think I am going to work on it more in the mornings and over lunch, then for the next few evenings I can concentrate on my edits for Stella. If a request for the manuscript were to come in I would only want to send a revised copy and not one that is still in pre-crit.

As I'm in a great mood, here's a picture of my bunnies on the couch (Mopsy left, Pippin right):


Colin 11:43 am | 0 comments |

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Creeping Self-Doubt

Couldn't sleep last night. Kept tossing and turning like crazy. 1am passed on the clock while I was still staring outside at the almost full-moon. Although the bedroom is now decorated, we have still to re-install the TV into the room (the only thing I've insisted on throughout it all). I could have done with watching some of the mind-numbing crap that passes for television these days just to get me to sleep.

As a result, I was pretty damn tired when I got up. One cup of coffee with toasted plain bread later and I was beginning to recover from a crappy, dreamless sleep. Work, lay just around the corner. It was all looking very grim.

On the plus side I got through - and wait till you hear this - circa 16,000 words of AFTDF today. I managed to hit a really productive seam and felt myself being swallowed up by the story. I never realised how quick-paced it is; too quick in places, in fact, which will need expanded to slow it up a bit. There's also more sexual tension, drug use, alcohol abuse and violence in it than I realised. Strange that. In another 16,000 words I'll be moving the story onwards to completion with fresh creativity.

During snooker in the evening my mind started to wander, as it often does at inopportune moments. An idea to came to mind, which could be one of the best ideas I've had of late, though admittedly there hasn't been many. (Editor's note ~ congrats on an excellent last paragraph.)

A while ago I set up a website for the wife of one of Gail's ex-colleagues. She was setting up her own Bed & Breakfast over in Fife and wanted a professional looking site with all the usual stuff in it. Every now and then I do small updates to the site but I don't charge for them - price changes, wording alterations etc.

I don't know why I never thought of it before, but the idea I had is to approach the wife of one of Gail's ex-colleagues and ask if she would be prepared to sell Fringe Fantastic in their establishment. Perhaps a small stand of a few books at reception or something, and in return I will mention the B&B, the website and phone number on my press releases and advertising leaflets as an outlet for the book.

PING went my brain, and I made a note to send an email tomorrow with the proposal.

I'm in a bit of a quandary at the moment as far as Fringe Fantastic goes. I have circa 60 books left in stock but cannot afford to buy any more from the publisher. If I sell them all I can restock, but the problem is that I am worried I might run out during the Festival. There is also the worry that I might sell none. I know I have to speculate to accumulate, but what if the reverse happens?

I've not sold a single book since April. Tell a lie - I sold one today to a lady in Ireland. But the point is, sales have been slow. I have to capitalise on the festival, but I tell you what, going onto the streets makes me nervous. The thought of reading them out in public makes me nervous.

I've spoke in public many times, sung in public and given speeches. But putting my work up for criticism by reading it out is a very odd feeling. Scary even. Daunting.

Why?

Because quite often I look at the book and think it's not really all that good. Sometimes it feels like it's a bit of a fraud and I shouldn't have published it. How on earth can I expect peolpe to part with 8 quid? But then I remember the fun I had writing it and putting it all together, the people I met and the experiences had. The hard work that went in to all those poems.

When I look at the book I either think, "No wonder it's not selling," or I think "This should be selling thousands." It's as if one day I don't want to take credit for it, then the other I can't believe it all came out of my head.

Bottom line is I know what I must do. I have to stop fannying around and just get out there and promote my work more aggressively. I can't sit behind my desk and wait for it to happen. People keep saying the book is wonderful and they really liked it, but as time passes, I begin to think that on the second read they might think differently about it. And then about me. It's not as if arrogance has ever been a problem for me!

Why people should enjoy non-rhyming poems about a festival is sometimes beyond me.
Colin 11:30 am | 3 comments |

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Some Wedding Pics

The first day back at work after all the wedding celebrations was always going to be tough and I wasn't disappointed with how grumpy and dishevelled I was when I got up. I even told Laura, as we munched on breakfast before taking her to her Holiday Club, that I was grumpy, that I hated being grumpy, and that only a big huge cuddle from her could snap me out of it. She obliged and I was happy again.

Nothing has changed in my place of employment apart from a recent shift in company structure. We're now a PLC, so if you don't know who I work for, that should telly you pretty much all you need to know. We're even more arrogant and full of crap than we were before, but this time we're doing it on the Stock Market. What fun.

A small mention for my writing buddy Michelle. Her new book, Talk Dirty To Me was released today. It's pitched as a 'red hot read' and judging by the blurb on the publisher's page, that could be an understatement. If you are into hot, erotic romance, then this one is for you. I'll certainly be giving it a read but hopefully without a rubber glove and a box of Kleenex by my side. Read about 'Talk Dirty To Me'

When I got home from work there was an odd looking envelope with a Boston, MA postmark. I opened it and was delighted to find a cheque for $25 (USD) inside from the Literary Traveler magazine. The money is payment for the article I wrote about Robert Louis Stevenson a few months ago.

There is something much more satisfying about having a physical cheque land on your lap for work purchased, than electronic payments through the likes of PayPal etc. Sure, it is easier and quicker, but a physical cheque is a great thrill and throws one back into the wilds of traditional freelance writing.

I wonder what I'll spend it on?

One of the publishers I sent a Stella query to was returned with no address. This was very odd since I double-checked their address on their website and it was accurate just a week ago. Ah well. Onwards and upwards.

Got through a couple of chapters of AFTDF today. Although my intention was to merely read and lightly edit to get up to speed, I am finding that the story is starting to be pulled in other directions. It is still along the main arc of the story, but certain things are willing themselves to be changed. One character doesn't like his original name and I am going to have to change it. Not sure to what but it has to go. It just doesn't fit any more.

The editing is getting heavier as a result of the changes. The 'mould of clay' is moving within the grip of my hands and shaping itself into something much more interesting. I like it and I think this is a result of my writing and approach to editing having matured since I first wrote this mss down. The writing is awful in places, but on others it is sublime and I am loathe to change it.

I must have this completed before the end of summer, at least by October because I've been having some cool ideas about what to write for NaNoWriMo and the Hunting Jack sequel. More on that later.

Some sad news came through about lunchtime today. Syd Barrett, original founder of Pink Floyd has died, aged 60. This is not the first time Syd has been reported dead. After a log period living reclusively in Cambridge, and with years of Class A having been taken into his body, it comes as no surprise that he has finally succumbed. Read about Syd Barrett

Finally, here's a few pictures from the wedding at the weekend:



My father giving away my wee sister


Nolon and Fiona


Doing my reading

Wide view of the wedding in the Rose Garden

My father looking for the nearest bar

Lindsay, Laura, Fiona, Nolon and Stuart

Dave being cheeky. Ena found out later. Dave stopped smiling.

Celebrations!

Bridesmaid of ther Year 2006
Colin 10:52 am | 2 comments |

Monday, July 10, 2006

The Wedding Weekend

Friday 7th July 2006 - Wedding Eve

I think I can safely say that everyone who attended the wedding of my sister, Fiona, to Nolon, had a wonderful time this weekend. The whole event was just terrific. It had everything; excitement, fun and high jinks mixed with romance, love and happiness and all of it set in the most wonderful Scottish setting high in the Perthshire countryside.

My parents had already made their way up on Wednesday and when we left today the sun was beating down. For a two night stay the amount of gear we had with us was somewhat surprising, if you are not accustomed to travelling with ladies. I, on the other hand am, and my shoulder was at breaking point as I lugged our case to the train station.

We boarded the train but not before the whole of Waverly came to a halt to honour the dead and bereaved of the London Bombings, which went off one year ago today. For two minutes there was absolute silence and it seemed as though time itself had come to an end.

I remember that day very well. I was off work and had Sky News on in the background as I tidied the house before intending to write for the rest of the day. It was not to be, as the my memory reminds me of the constant sirens, the looks of grief and pain and the sheer horror, confirming I was witnessing the arrival of the 'War on Terror' to our shores. It had only been a matter of time, of course, but the anger and disbelief that swept through the nation was palpable.

One year on and the threat remains. For those that had their lives ended or changed we cannot turn back the clock. But we can try to make this country a safer place to live and we can fight on for the cause of freedom and for our way of living, which we so often take for granted.

It should be remembered that despite the London bombings and all the other atrocities that have happened in Britain, we still live in one of the top three safest countries in the world. And that is not a fluke. We should take stock and remember that not every country in the world affords its citizens the rights that we get; the ability to walk down the street when we want, say what we want, do what we want and be who we want without fear.

The journey to Perth was lovely. We journeyed through beautiful roaming countryside with a bright blue sky above and arrive in Perth at about half past three. My Dad came to pick us up and we were checked into the hotel for four o'clock. By ten past four we were in the bar and meeting up with Nolon's family - mother, father and two brothers - for the first time.

We took our drinks outside onto the lawn at the rear of the Murrayshall Hotel, overlooking the golf course and expansive countryside and several other people soon joined the party. Fiona turned up and gave some of us a tour of the Bridal Suite (bloody huge!) and eventually Nolon dragged himself from his kip to join us for a Guinness. Yes - he was sleeping. If he pulls a stunt like that when he's married he’ll be a dead man. I'm very experienced in these matters.

After a few drinks and lots of conversation we all headed back to our rooms to get freshened up and changed for dinner. The main restaurant was expecting sixteen family and close friends of the happy couple for dinner and we sat down to a gorgeous meal at 7 pm. The food was exquisite; I had Breast of Gressingham Duck with braised red onion to start and Pheasant with Quail's Egg for the main.

I think.

The several pints of pre-meal Guinness mixing with several more glasses of red wine, was beginning to go to my head. Spirits were high and the laughter was loud, and when I overheard my Mum say, "One Step Beyond," I instinctively burst into a rendition of the famous Madness tune. In the restaurant. Full of posh people from Buckinghamshire and places like that.
I was as loud as I feared, and took shelter outside until the glares from other tables died down and the laughter from mine subsided.

After dinner everyone retired to the Cocktail Bar. Vodka and Red Bulls became the order of the day and everyone was having a great time. Fiona presented me with a bottle of 12-Year Old Balvennie Malt in advance for doing my reading, a gift that was far too much I though, but one that I had no intention of returning.

Eventually people started to go their rooms and by midnight the only people remained were a reluctant Groom, his two brothers, his Best Man and me. Trouble was brewing and it was me who eventually initiated a halt to the proceedings when we realised we had drunk until sunrise and that Nolon was getting married in a few hours.

This was when he mentioned he had deliberately kept me apart from his Best Man at the Stag parties because the two of us together spelt trouble with a capital V (for vodka). He was right of course, and we finally retired around 4am.

I remember crawling up the stairs to Room 1, where my wife and daughter had gone to sleep many hours before. My intention was not to wake them, but when I sat on the spare bed, having allowed them both the Queen Size, my plan came to a shuddering halt when it collapsed under me, sending splinters of wood onto the floor and the sound of Gail's expletives echoing through the dark.

Saturday 8th July 2006 - Wedding Day

Gail had set the alarm for 8am and when she rose found me sleeping on the floor on all fours, moving her to assume something was very wrong with me. There was, of course, and it was called the hangover from hell.

With only our hours sleep under my belt, but a strong desire not to see an expensive breakfast go uneaten, I managed to drag my swimming head and floppy body down to the restaurant for a full Perthshire Platter breakfast. Bacon, eggs, sausage, mushroom, toast etc. were all there and all stomach-churningly greasy, despite being expertly displayed on the finest of china plates.

I forced as much down as I could, using the logic that food might help the horrible feeling I had to go away.

It didn't and I went back to bed for a few hours, while Gail started getting herself ready for the wedding and Laura went into Perth to get her hair done with my Mum and Lindsay, the other bridesmaid.

I slept until 1pm. Gail was not amused but I badly needed it. Yes, I admit, I overdid it the previous night but it had to be done. I was getting to know my future BIL's brothers and pals. It's a man's thing, a rite of passage if you will.

I donned my kilt and then had a new experience when I had to dress my own father. He's only worn a kilt once before (at my own wedding) and so there I was, doing his laces and tucking in his flashes, sorting the kilt and getting his sporran straight. A flash into the future, perhaps? I hope not.

At 3pm almost everyone had gathered in the Rose Garden behind the hotel, a beautiful two-tiered garden surround by flowers, making it perfect for an outdoor wedding. The rain was off and sun was out, despite a couple of showers early morning, and I was feeling like my old self again. The Groom and Best Man were in place, all family and friends were present and we all awaited the arrival of the Bridal Party.

Then Gail asked me where the camcorder was.

Panic stations! I had left it in the room! Off I shot through the interior of the hotel, grabbed the camera and roared back out to the garden. I made it in the nick of time because Fiona, in keeping with tradition, kept Nolon waiting almost a full ten minutes before turning up.

The ceremony was short and romantic. I read out my poem, Love Is, though on reflection I recited it far too fast. A sudden attack of nerves just before the wedding started saw to that. At about twenty past three, my sister became Fiona Owen and the words, "husband and wife" caused a few tears to be shed, mostly by my old Mum.

The ceremony concluded and we all walked round to the fountain area of the gardens for champagne while the photographs were taken of the happy couple. The meal followed during which one of the funniest Best Man speeches I have heard took place. Stuart hit Nolon with line after line of insults and it was a great laugh, all taken in great form.

There was much dancing and drinking throughout the night and what I enjoyed most was being able to catch-up with all the relatives I missed at my own wedding. Such was the occasion, I just never got round everyone that day, but now I could really make sure I got round everyone I rarely get to see these days.

It all came to an end just before 4am, yet again, in the Cocktail Lounge. Tired and exhausted we eventually retired, although me and Gail had one finally Bloody Mary in the room before the lights went out.

Sunday 9th July 2006 - First Day of Bliss

Everyone had breakfast at the same time on the Sunday, though it was a lot quieter in the restaurant than it had been over the past couple of mornings. There were a LOT of sore heads, white faces, hoarse voices and droopy eyes.

Strangely enough, I felt quite perky but that all changed later in the day when I became very tired. Myself, Gail and Laura got the mid-day train back to Edinburgh and were home about 2pm. Gail went to bed and I went out to check on my rabbits and watch TV for the rest of the day.

When we got back there were a couple of my SAE's waiting for me, both concerning Hunting Jack. Both were rejections but I was so tired I really had no energy to think about it much.

Monday 10th July 2006

The only think I wanted come Monday morning was to sleep long into the day. Unfortunately I had to go to the Eye Clinic in Glasgow to get my new lenses tried out. This meant being on the 9am train. The check-up was over quickly and I was able to get the 11am train back to Edinburgh, but still had to take return my kilt. So it was straight back home to get it then back into the city to return it. When I got to the shop they said it was a day late so I bartered over the ten pound charge and they let me off.

On my way to work I called ahead since it was almost half past three. I had been on the go all day and was truly shattered especially since the humidity was off the scale. I decided not to go into the office since my colleague said it was dead anyway. I headed home happy I didn't have to face the place, though annoyed I had worn my shirt and tie for no good reason on a hot summer's day.

I've yet to transfer the photographs I took from the video onto the PC but when I do I'll post a few up here for you to see. There are some crackers of what was a great day.

So that was it. The weekend of the marriage of my sister, Fiona, to a great guy, Nolon Owen. Congratulations to you both. I have no doubt they will be have long and happy life together. Nolon's a magic bloke and I'm delighted he's the one.

I thin it was my other sister, Lindsay, who noticed that both he and Gail, the two people who have fitted in best to our family like a good drink and a party. Wether it's a pre-requisite or not, I don't know, but a trend has certainly formed.

Some of you may be wondering about the reading I wrote and performed for the wedding ceremony. Now that I've read it aloud, I can publish it here on the blog. Back to normal and work tomorrow. I'm almost happy about it!


Love Is
by Colin Galbraith

For Fiona and Nolon - July 8th 2006

The diamond twinkle in a lover's eye,
The knowing of hope and not of why,
The laughter, the tears, together on high,
The embrace of two hearts through fall or rise.

Love is a river, winding and deep,
Sparkling rapids and weirs to leap,
Love is the wind, the birds and trees,
Ocean to ocean, soaring and free.

Love is a mountain, the deepest hole,
A silent promise from heart to soul,
Love is a whisper of quiet devotion,
Two hearts beating in silent motion.

Love is forever - love is peace,
Love is united - love is...
Colin 12:23 pm | 1 comments |

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Wedding Preps and Stella Crits

It was a scorching day by 10am. All signs are looking good for cracking weather for this Saturday's wedding.

I had to collect my kilt at lunchtime and the heat made the journey thoroughly unbearable. The sweat was literally pouring off me as if someone were holding a can of water over my head. I'm not kidding. I was boiling, and when I went in to a card shop I saw the assistant freeze with terror at the prospect of me shaking my head and covering the place in water.

I got the kilt back and one of Fiona's friends kindly offered to take it up with her tonight along with Laura's Bridesmaid dress and Gail's outfit. We're going up by train tomorrow, which I think will be a beautiful journey from Waverly Station into deepest Perthshire.

My sister rang a little later. Nerves have finally hit her for the first time. I think it's because this is the first day she has had nothing to do and people are starting to gather at the hotel. She can't wait for us to arrive as she thinks that will put her more at ease.

Congratulations to my pal Devon Ellington who's blog, Ink In My Coffee, just reached the 1000-post milestone. A press release just went out to celebrate this amazing achievement, which I recommend you have a read of by clicking here.

I got through a couple of chapters of AFTDF and updated my submission log now that everything is away. The rest of the day was spent getting everything organised for the weekend.

My pal Dave has had a read through of Stella and returned with some great comments. He does a bit of reading so it's good to get a 'readers' perspective. Then, just as I was tying everything up for tonight, my crit buddy got back to me with a full review of Stella. She's only had it a couple of weeks and has got it back to me already, making me feel a tad guilty about holding on to her novel mss for two months or thereabouts before I returned with her crit.

I had a quick scan of the returned mss and the beauty of having an independent writer read your work is crystal clear. There are areas within the book that lay in my subconscious as not being quite right which were made clear to me. And the holes and supporting evidence not provided where there should be, are now gapingly obvious and in need of attention.

I'll give it my fuller attention when I get back from the wedding, but immense thanks goes out to my crit partner for doing this for me. It's a great thing when there is a respect between two authors that allows there to be praise where justified and also criticism where it is badly needed and no offence or bad feeling is taken. Not all authors are like that, I've discovered, but I'm a firm believer that if you can't learn from your peers then you are never going to win in this game.

I'll be back on Sunday night with some pictures of me in my kilt for all the American ladies that read my blog. I know how much you love a Scotsman in a kilt!
Colin 10:56 pm | 2 comments |

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Fun In The Weather

The weather is supposed to improve as the week progresses, but as I gazed out at the damp mist resting on Auld Reekie this morning, my suspicions that the weather-people have been on the Class-A again, began to seem grow in my mind.

No work this morning, for I was off to my favourite city to collect my new contact lenses. I left Edinburgh behind and took out my notepad. By the time I got to Glasgow, the sun had risen to melt away the mist and a glorious day was upon us. I had written nothing but scribbled loads.

After doing the necessary at the eye specialists, I met my sister, Lindsay, for lunch just after noon. We went to the Phoenix Bar, which was handy for the train station and also had its large window-doors open overlooking the street. We had just sat down with a couple of glasses of Coke while we waited for our paid lunches to arrive, when a loud continuous bell sounded from the kitchen.

We were told it wasn't a fire but an "unexpected drill". We were then asked to stand outside.

All this at lunch hour, in the busiest city in Scotland. Best time to have a fire drill, I imagine.

The surrounding buildings also emptied of people, mostly hot office workers who looked more pissed off than we were. Four fire engines screamed through the crammed city streets from Cowcaddens and arrived to "put out the fire". Dozens of fire-fighters (and one extremely good looking female fire-fighter - nothing to do with the uniform - honest!) wandered about trying to look like they weren't as pissed off with the management of the pub as we were.

After it all calmed down we had our lunch and a very nice lunch it was too.

Back in Edinburgh I arrived at the office sopping in sweat. I hope it's not as hot on Saturday. It's one thing being hot in a shirt and loose tie, and quite another while regaled in full Bonnie Prince Charlie kilt and outfit.

One hour later and the rain was bouncing off the windows after a very loud and exciting thunder storm. Five minutes after that, the sun was back out. Good old Scottish weather.

I prepared and sent off my first eleven approaches to agents regarding Hunting Jack. Wish me luck. It's my first time in this particular market and I have big hopes, but realistic ones to boot.

I also worked on AFTDF and spent a while on the phone reassuring my sister to be wed that nobody will be watching the World Cup Football 3rd/4th place play-off while she's getting married. I'll make sure of it!

I've been in correspondence with Mr Aloysius Munn of Hey Asda! fame. He posted down below regarding my comments about The Outsider by Albert Camus (have I mentioned how much the book moved me?). He's recommended other books written by Albert Camus: La Morte Hereuse, Le Premier Homme, La Peste and La Chute. I may just look these up - or translations of them, anyway. My French was never really that good. I got under 30% in my O-Grade exam back in nineteen-canteen.
Colin 11:49 am | 0 comments |

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Independence Day

Happy Independence Day to all my buddies in the United States of America!!

My foot hasn't swollen, but it's damn sore. The bone around the base and up towards the wee bumpy bit is giving me jip. I'm not impressed. The knee I can handle. I've taken more chunks of flesh off of my knees than I've had hot dinners, but if I can't jump around the dance floor and have fun at my sister's wedding without feeling the pinch, I'm going to be most annoyed.

I rang Ian and called off snooker for tomorrow. I think it best to take it easy and not put any pressure on my metatarsels. Wouldn't want to do a Roooooney now, would I?

I spent time working on the finishing touches to the Hunting Jack synopsis and my literary CV. One of the agents I'm writing to for Hunting Jack specifies one in their submission requirements instead of an author biography. So after checking with my writing forum I put my CV together.

I was amazed at home many credits I have built up over the past few years. It came out at a full page of A4, which although not the most extensive list of credits I've ever seen, I was very surprised to see it listed in that fashion under my name.

I watched the Discovery Shuttle take off live on my home PC from the NASA website. Superb footage and great quality coming through thanks to the old broadband line. Every time I see a launch I feel a mixture of excitement and dread. I still can't get that image out of my mind of the Challenger disaster back in 1986 when it exploded shortly after take off. I can always remember going through to tell my Mum and her telling me to stop making up stupid stories. Then she saw the screen and the silence was horrible.

Good luck to the folk on board this latest mission. I think it's quite cool the launch being on Independence Day. American's should be proud.

One Story rejected Loaded and What a Waste this evening but I wasn't put off. The manner of their rejections are somewhat curt, and because of this they are gently moving down in my personal submission rankings.
Colin 10:44 am | 1 comments |

Monday, July 03, 2006

Falling Down

I was totally shattered after my weekend of exertions. Happy, but shattered. There's going to be no rest either, because I have to go through to Glasgow this week for my contact lens check-up and then it's up north for my sister's wedding at the weekend.

The July issue of The Scruffy Dog Review has been published. In it you can find some wonderful poetry and fiction, the fantastic column, The Literary Athlete by Devon Ellington and of course my regular column, Scotland's Treasure, this month featuring reviews of the Fizzers Exhibition at the national Portrait Gallery, Rik Mayall's return to stage as Alan B'Stard and a mention about open top bus tours in the Capital.

I collected my first rejection for Stella by email. Piper's Ash said that although they publish lots of short novels, 16k is just too short but I should keep them in mind for longer pieces. Onwards and upwards.

I began work on A Friend To Die For, hereafter known as AFTDF. After a quick scan of the chapters I think it still holds up. It is very fast moving and the characters are still vividly strong in my mind - some more than others.

Not surprisingly, I suppose, is that the writing is pretty poor. I began work on this back in October 2003. It is the biggest measure available to me that reflects how much I have come these last two and a half years.

There are so many mistakes in grammar, structure and the difference in my writing voice is quite incredible. At times it was like reading someone else's work!

I read up to chapter 3 and made changes to the more obvious mistakes as I went. When I get to the end point - if it feels right to do it - I'll keep writing and finish the book. The other option is to lay the book out on paper and restructure it if necessary. We shall see when we get there.

I worked through both my writer's manuals this evening, listing other possible places for Stella to be submitted and for agents to start submitting Hunting Jack to. Out of the extensive list of literary agents in the UK, only a handful are based in Scotland. I happen to know there is more than that in reality, so I'm surprised they aren't listed in the Writer's and Artist's Yearbook.

I'll get letters and synopses prepared tomorrow and get the first batch of Hunting Jack pitches sent off to the Scottish agents before the end of the week.

Preparationa for my sister's wedding appear to be building to a coordinated conclusion. Everything seems to be in place yet all the women are getting strung out over hats, shoes and all the other stuff that women seem to worry about at these occasions.

So far as our own preparations go, I think we've got it all covered. Travel arrangements, presents, hotel bookings, Laura's clothes (she's bridesmaid no.2), my kilt and Gail's outfit. But nothing can go this smoothly surely - not with a Galbraith wedding.

And so it transpired that this evening, while out checking the rabbits and guinea pig were all going to be fine for the night, I met with an accident.

I was on my way to refill Milly's water bottle when I put my right foot forward. It met with the step leading to the conservatory, but not as fully as it should have. My ankle buckled and to compensate for the weight imbalance I fell forward and landed had on my left wrist and knee.

I'm sure I heard someone yelp in pain. Couldn't have been me, though, 'cause I'm a hard Scottish bastard by the way!

I rolled onto my arse and sat up as the shock from actually falling gave way to the pain throbbing in my knee and ankle. It was bloody sore.

Gail, of course, missed the whole thing while talking on the phone. When I limped back into the house, the words, "You're a pillock," rang in my ears. I admit I probably am, but I could have done with some tender loving care from Nurse Galbraith to make me feel 100% fit again.

It wasn't to be and when I retired for the evening I wiped the blood from my knee and contemplated the wedding pictures from this coming weekend; my prominent scabby knee showing from under my kilt and me having to limp around the dance floor thanks to a dicky ankle.

I may take Wednesday night off the snooker to give my ankle the best chance of recovery.

Here's July's GDR Plan.

Fiction
* Write a new short story
* Begin agent query process for Hunting Jack
* Continue publisher query process for Stella
* Begin writing A Friend To Die For where left off
* Give A Friend To Die For a better title
* Keep on top of submissions list
* Work out general ideas for Hunting Jack sequel

Poetry
* First read in public of Love Is at sister's wedding
* Write any poems that come to mind

Non-Fiction
* Work on Scotland's Treasure for September column
* Write story/article for Being Dad Anthology

Marketing and Promotion
* Step up marketing and promotion of Fringe Fantastic for this years Fringe
* New round of press releases for Fringe Fantastic with this years Fringe in mind
* Keep website up to date
* Follow up on PR received

Reading and Research
* Release Tall Tales and Short Stories Vol.2 into the wild
* Re-read A Friend to Die For - (print off for hols?)
* Finish reading Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

Other Projects
* Stay on top of editorial work for TSDR - done. 2 stories outstanding
* Gather submissions and work on ARS Anthology - done. Need to contact writers who said yes, but no sub made
Colin 3:09 pm | 2 comments |

Sunday, July 02, 2006

June's GDR Review

I arrived back from Blackpool this evening, burnt, exhausted, a hint of a headache, but extremely happy. Last Thursday seems so very, very long ago. Needless to say, the last three days epitomised all that me and my mate Craig are looking for when we go to Blackpool once every year; familiarity, laughs, drink and frivolity.

Our weekends away are truly magnificent and this year was no different. Packed full of belly-aching stupidity and barrels of beer, we trawled all our usual haunts as if we were visiting old friends. I can hardly wait for the next one!

Although I didn't get back until nearer half past nine at night, it was after midnight before I was able to get to bed. There was still work going on in the master bedroom, which meant I was sidelined in a frustrating fashion until it was all over.

When I finally made it in between the sheets, rest assured my head had not even hit the pillow, and I was already in dreamland.

June GDR Review

Fiction
* Complete final draft of Hunting Jack Done. (38 chapters - new total of 93,000 words)
* Complete new chapter of Hunting Jack - Done (2700 words)
* Write a new short story - not done
* Keep on top of submissions list - done
* Begin query process for Hunting Jack - Done. Wrote query letter and redrafted synopsis * Contact Yello management and publishers for Stella - Done and ongoing. Wrote to Warner/Chappell and Yello Management in Zurich. Yello Mgmt asked for full ms - this was sent out. Listed possible publishers. Prepared query letters and two synopsis versions. Sent off first batch of queries to 8 publishers.
* Begin writing A Friend To Die For where left off - not started
* Give A Friend To Die For a better title - nothing yet

Poetry
* Complete poem for reading at my sister's wedding in July - Complete (Love Is)
* Write any poems that come to mind - nothing

Non-Fiction
* Complete work on Scotland's Treasure for July column - Complete
* Write story/article for Being Dad Anthology - not done

Marketing and Promotion
* Step up marketing and promotion of Fringe Fantastic for this years Fringe - done
* New round of press releases for Fringe Fantastic with this years Fringe in mind - not done (2 planned: 1 lead-up, 1 during festival)
* Keep website up to date - done
* Follow up on PR received - not done

Reading and Research
* Release Tall Tales and Short Stories Vol.2 into the wild - not done
* Complete crit of friend's novel - done.
* Re-read A Friend to Die For - not done (might print off for hols?)
* Read The Outsider by Albert Camus - Complete
* Read True Tales of American Life by Paul Auster - WIP (good to read stories intermittently)
* Select books to read on holiday - 1. Oracle Night by Paul Auster 2. Don Quixote by Cervantes 3. Death Is Not The End by Ian Rankin

Other Projects
* Stay on top of editorial work for TSDR - done. 2 stories outstanding
* Gather submissions and work on ARS Anthology - done. Need to contact writers who said yes, but no sub made

Things That Turned Up
* Started reading Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
* Submitted 2 poems to Forward Press (River Monkeys & Gnu Atchoo!)
* Contemplating a sequel to Hunting Jack to be written during NaNoWriMo month (Nov 06)

Successes
* Completed Yello and Hunting Jack: 2 main bodies of fiction
* June had highest word count of year (circa 28.5k)
* Yello management indicated keen interest to read the Stella manuscript

Failures
* Piper's Ash rejected Stella (30/6)

Statistics
Fiction - 6,000
Non-Fiction - 22,300
Poetry - 110

Outstanding Submissions
Fiction:
Insidious Reflections 1
Writing Magazine 1
3am Magazine 1
Barcelona Review 1
The Portable Muse 2
This Is It 1
One Story 2
Adirondack Review 1

Poetry:
Forward Press 2

Summary
A combination of a high word count coupled with strides into the world of submission for long fiction, has made this month an awesome one. When you consider I had a late start to the month, missing out the first 7 to 10 days with any real significant work being done, it has been a belter.

The main points are to consider are that I am now sending out both Stella and Hunting Jack to find a publisher and an agent respectively. I have wrapped up these projects and am now turning my head to other things; the next generation of work I want to do.

And that's the key; it's work that I want to do. It's work that compels me and that I feel I have to get complete in order to balance myself. My output has never been higher and my motivation, thanks to understanding friends around me, means that I am enjoying my work immensely.
Colin 12:13 pm | 0 comments |