Freedom From The Mundane - A Writer's Blog

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Last post in Blogger

As promised, the switch to Wordpress is now complete.

You should be automatically redirected to the new home of Freedom From The Mundane within 10 seconds. If not, please click on the following link and update any links you have to this blog from other sites or your Favourites menu.

Blogger was good in it's day, but my requirements now outweigh it's usefulness.

See you on the other side.
Colin 9:04 pm | 1 comments |

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Worse Before It Gets Better

Could hardly sleep last night for constant coughing and a chest full of needles. At least that’s what it felt like. Can’t seem to stop sweating either and I’m just so tired from being unable to shake it. Even my eyes are hurting from the streaming strain. My nose is blocked solid.

I’m quite happy with the new look for my website. It’s very different from what I’ve done previously and I think I’ll need a couple of photos taken for the front page. It’s got an edge of the anarchic, contemporary design and a bit of nuttiness. I like that. It’s also easier to make updates to.

I’m definitely moving the blog over to Wordpress. Watch out for that in the next few days.

I spent my afternoon lying in bed feeling like shit. I wish I had a nurse to look after me. Blonde and busty would do nice. Then again one look at me lying here is such a state might put her off. She’d have to be NHS to put up with me.

I did manage to redraft three short stores ready to get them back out on the submission trail; Only a Bagel, Whisky Snatching, and What a Waste. I still fancy transforming the latter into a play but that’s a project for later.

I took a hot toddy to bed with me later on. Try to sweat this shit out of me. I'm sick of feeling sore and manky like this. I actually wish I was at work!

is out on
MARCH 2nd 2007
Click on the image to

Only £5 plus p&p

Labels: , ,

Colin 11:17 am | 1 comments |

Monday, February 05, 2007

Feeling Terrible

Felt absolutely dreadful today such that I ended up spending the day in bed with a bottle of chesty cough medicine and paracetamol. I was off work because of it, but that was no bonus given how shitty I was feeling.

The day wasn’t wasted though, as in between bouts of heavy chesty coughing and nose clearing exercises, I put together my new website for promoting my fiction and poetry. I‘m fed up with the white on black and so this design, I hope, makes it more appealing and more versatile to work with.

I'll launch it in a couple of days once I've ironed out the remaining cracks.

I've also decided to ditch Blogger. I'm fed up with the loading and commenting problems, and the new version has no more benefits other than tags from what I can see. It's become too cumbersome to use and is affecting you lot too much so it's shifting. More when complete.

Labels: ,

Colin 12:36 pm | 0 comments |

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Feeling Rough

Short post today because I feel really rough. Woke up with a sore head and a bit of a cold, and by the end of the day it had progressed to a pounding headache, hacking cough, a chest full of phlegm, a pounding head and a nose full of snot.


I watched the rugby (Ireland v Wales), then I made dinner; Marzetti, which went down well, but wasn’t one of my best. I was only estimating the ingredients and overloaded it with pasta. I then spent the evening in bed unable to keep my eyes open and unable to stop coughing.

Six Nations Rugby

Six Nations Rugby
Week 1 Results

Italy 3 - 39 France
England 42 - 20 Scotland
Wales 9 – 19 Ireland


Week 2 Fixtures

Sat 10th Feb
England v Italy (13:30)
Scotland v Wales (15:30)

Sun 11th Feb
Ireland v France (15:00)

is out on
MARCH 2nd 2007

Click on the image to

Only £5 plus p&p

Labels: , ,

Colin 12:15 pm | 0 comments |

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Rugby Defeat Can't Stop the Party!

Two main things to focus on today; my Mum's surprise birthday meal in Glasgow and the Six Nations Rugby match against England.

I was up at the crack getting ready and we headed off on the 2pm train. It was important to get to my sisters in time to watch the game before heading out to the surprise meal at the Piccolo Mondo in Glasgow.

It was a fantastic night. My Mum was suitably stunned by the whole thing, the restaurant was superb - food and service - and the whole thing was a laugh from start to finish. We had balloons, music, confetti, wine, champagne, laughter, and a 60th birthday cake with this on it (sorry Mum):


Her birthday isn't actually until the 9th, but the last surprise for her was the news she is being whisked off to London next week for a very long weekend.

Six Nations Rugby

Six Nations Rugby
England 42 - 20 Scotland
Sat 3rd Feb, 2007

Being underdogs never helped. Scotland came away from Twickenham being well and truly thumped by a transformed English team, the sole difference, one Johnny Wilkinson. Before the match we knew if we gave away any penalties we would be made to suffer, for the man misses very few kicks. And as it turned out he kicked 5 successful penalties from 7 attempts, 2 conversions and a drop goal, taking his personal point total for the match to 27 of England's 42 total.

But it didn't all go their way at first. Scotland got off to a reasonable start, absorbing ten opening minutes of pressure, defending well, but painful to watch. If we could hold out, we thought, maybe weather the storm, then who knows.

Then England broke the deadlock from Wilkinson's boot, but by the end of the first quarter Scotland had taken the lead with a magnificent try by Simon Taylor, stunning the home crowd and sending the Scottish fans into unexpected cheer.

The TV showed Frank Hadden, the Scotland Coach, settle back into his seat in quiet confidence. What does he knew that we don't we asked. But England hadn't started playing. From then on there was only one team really in it.

England drew the first half to a close 17-10 up and although the more optimistic of us thought it could still be done, it had to be remembered that Scotland have only won down there twice in the last one hundred years (or something like that).

The second half began and I poured my third Guinness, fearing the worst. Despite a token try at the end of the match by Dewey, and an English try that should never have been allowed, we would still have been beaten.

We never tackled properly, handed them too many easy penalty points and left ourselves open at the line-outs. In short, we didn't do ourselves justice and made them look better than they are. The current Irish team are odds on to make mince-meat out of both Scotland and England when they meet, based on this performance.

Getting beat by England always hurts, but there is a long way to go as far as the championship goes.

In the earlier match played today, Italy were beaten at home by France 39 points to 3. Wales play Ireland tomorrow.

is out on
MARCH 2nd 2007

Click on the image to

Only £5 plus p&p

Labels: , , ,

Colin 1:04 pm | 0 comments |

Friday, February 02, 2007

Eve of the Six Nations

I walked out of the house at 6:30am this morning, and was struck by an awesome sight; a pitch black sky with a clear full moon sitting just above the roof of the house opposite. Cheekah-cheekah!

I logged on to Blogger as normal this morning to post my latest entry, and was forced into moving to their new system. I’d been avoiding it as it involved creating a Google account and having all my blogs switched over.

I didn’t particularly want to go. I’ve heard about problems with the new version and I have enough of my own here with people being unable to comment etc. On looking at the new dashboard though, it does appear that you can do more. Uploading images looks better and there is a facility for tagging. Not sure what else I’ve still to investigate. It’s a smarter layout but that doesn’t necessarily mean all the problems are gone. We’ll see how it goes.

I’ve been on this guy’s mailing list for a wee while now, though until last night I never actually delved into his website to find out more about him. His name is Luke Wright, he is a performing poet, and he first came to my attention at the Fringe Festival last year. I read a review about him but was too late to get to one of his shows. He is now touring the country with a style of poetry I really enjoy and admire.

Have a read of some of his work. It’s superb stuff; funny, witty, provoking – and the guy is only 24! He wants to be Poet Laureate, and I tell you what, if he keeps going the way he is then he has my vote.

Then, I had a magnificent idea. What if I were to publish Fringe Fantastic, Poolside Poetry AND Brick by Brick in one anthology – HARDBACK! It could be another marketing tool to use in my portfolio and would easy enough to put together since I already have the manuscripts. Hmmm, a plan forms.

But the day wasn’t all cheery ideas and funny frolicks. I received a text message from an old friend whose Uncle died last night. Andy Meikle, a man I spent many hours with over a bottle of whisky talking, collapsed in the pub and was rushed to hospital. His family arrived ten minutes late. It's a bit of a shock and though I hadn't seen him for a few years, he was never far from my thoughts. I was thinking about him on Saturday in Lauders Pub in Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow, where on the odd occasion I would see him and we would listen to Lauders Big Band over a few whiskies.

Rest in peace old pal. You'll be sadly missed.

Rugby Union Preview
England v Scotland
Sat 3rd Feb, 2007

Underdogs. As we always are when we play the English, whether at home or away, Scotland are the smaller of the two nations, and therefore, the underdogs.

It’s the way we like it though. It suits our mentality and fuels our passion. Throughout history whenever Scotland has come up against any small or ‘lesser-talented’ nation at any sport (I’m thinking football; Iran and Costa Rica), we fail dismally. Put us up against the mighty nations, and often we rise to the occasion, usually to be remembered as glorious in defeat.

On the odd occasion, we do hump a big team and the nation goes into a frenzy. Suddenly we become world beaters and every nation on the planet is feared of our sporting prowess and lion-heart courage.

Tomorrow we play England, Rugby World Cup Champions and Six Nations Champions in 2003 – the last time they won anything. That doesn’t make them any less formidable - they are a good side – but after coming up to Edinburgh and being mauled by a rejuvenated Scottish team, there must be a small ounce or two of doubt in the back of their minds that while the Scots are on the ascendancy, they are on the descent.

The winners will receive the Calcutta Cup, a trophy Scotland and England have been playing for as part of the Six Nations, since 1872. It’s always tense, it’s always overflowing with passion, pride, and power, and it’s always compulsive viewing.

Whether you are a Rugby fan or not, get behind Scotland this weekend and stay there for the rest of the championship. We took some big scalps last year, and made huge progress doing so. So when the boys line up to sing the National Anthem tomorrow at Twickenham, sing it loud and sing it proud!

is out on
MARCH 2nd 2007

Click on the image to

Only £5 plus p&p

Labels: , ,

Colin 10:09 am | 0 comments |

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Colin's Guide to the Scottish Weather

So that’s it. January is over already. The recuperation month is done and dusted, the depression after Christmas lifting because we are now far enough away from the turn of the year, we have settled into an acceptance that the brand new year is suddenly not so brand new any more. The evenings are slowly getting lighter, teasing us into early thoughts that long summer evenings can’t be that far ahead.

But Scotland does this every year. It lulls us into a false sense of security and makes us think that pleasantness is only around the corner. Anyone who knows Scottish weather knows that despite the weather being mild and calm at the moment, our winter has yet to arrive.

Traditionally February, and sometimes into March, we get our worst snow, wind and rain. Granted it has been pretty bad over the last couple of weeks, but what do we expect? In a few days or weeks, or however long it takes, news programmes will be talking about the disaster of the unexpected snow that is causing terrible and dramatic conditions on our roads. We will be cursing the Gods because of the ice that has arrived and wonder why on earth does it happen to us?

This is Scotland, NOT Barbados. If it was we would not have to wear Pac-a-Macs in the middle of summer, and would not have to provide our elderly with sticky shoes to stop them blowing away in the wind. Surely this year we will be used to it and will know how to handle it? It’s only a bit of snow!
Here are some tips to help you get through the winter:

* If it snows heavily where you live, stay at home and watch Murder She Wrote. Please don’t leave your car stuck in the middle of a road because you just had to get work. It’s very annoying and nobody will miss you that much in the office anyway.

* Wear warm clothes, preferably not one of those bubble jackets that makes you look like a space cadet. Wear lots of layers to provide insulation. Do not wear a kilt. It’s not brave and it’s not smart.

* If you do wear a kilt, then DO NOT wear any underwear. You are in a kilt so it’s a waste of time bothering. Besides, only poofs and Englishmen attending their brother’s wedding to a Scottish girl wear anything under the kilt.

* Females: wear a hat that sticks to your head and covers your ears, not one that is likely to blow off if the man in front of you so much as sneezes. Males: don’t.

* Females: wear gloves. Males: just don’t.

* Do not bother with an umbrella if it is very windy. They are a waste of time and money when they flap around above your head inside-out. Accept the fact you might get a bit wet and get on with it. Have you any idea how stupid it looks to see people fighting with their feeble umbrellas? Not to mention the danger to other people’s eyeballs.

* If you are elderly, three bars on your heater is much better than two. You will pay through the nose for it, but at least you will be alive. You could always save money by turning off your freezer and storing your frozen peas on the window ledge.

* Tie a pillow to your bum using a piece of rope. This way when you slip on ice you will do no damage to either your tail-bone or your pride.

* Buy a good sledge, find a safe, steep hill, and off you go.

* And remember, there is no such thing as bad weather – just the wrong clothes!

I finalised all my February GDR’s today (you’ll find them at the end of this post), and I gave the Poolside Poetry manuscript a final check over before sending it to the publisher. I now await the first copy of the book with which I will give it one final proof check. When I did Fringe Fantastic there was a huge learning curve involved, which meant lots of corrections mainly to do with the layout and design.

This time I have it all sussed, so barring any stupid little spelling mistakes, this first copy should not need any changes to it before final publication on Friday 2nd March.

I also completed the Press Kit and uploaded it to the website, and I got an email from my contact at the Sunday Herald. She is going to contact to pictures desk to find out about copies of my pictures from the recent photo shoot.

February’s GDR Plan

* Finish redrafting of short stories and get them submitted to new markets.
* Begin detailed post-research for Slick based on notes taken.
* Begin redrafting Slick.
* Complete synopsis and format of children's book.
* Begin writing new children's book.
* Begin researching next Lennox novel (long term).
* Draft synopsis for next novel (to start writing March 07).
* Keep on top of submissions list.

* Give Poolside Poetry final polish for Mar 2 release.
* Write some new poetry with the PSH Free-For-All in mind.
* Go to a Slam event.

* Complete writing of feature interview with Anita Govan.
* Promote independent freelance website.
* Begin querying relevant markets to the ones I singled-out last month.
* Write SDR articles, 6th - IP, 13th, 20th, 27th.
* Plan and write SDR column for April edition.
* Update Press Kit with FF quotes.
* Promote Press Kit onto website.

Marketing and Promotion
* Finalise Press Release for Poolside Poetry by 7th March.
* Issue Press Release for Poolside Poetry on 23rd Feb (1 week prior to launch).
* Complete cross-promotion with Fife B&B for Fringe Fantastic.
* Begin revamp main website.
* Keep website up to date.
* Thank you notes and image request to Sunday Herald - done. Waiting.
* Contact Fringe Head Office.
* List businesses that could be possible stockists for FF.
* Contact businesses that could be possible stockists for FF.

Reading and Research
* Finish reading Flesh and Blood by John Harvey novel - IP
* Finish reading Watchman by Ian Rankin - IP

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

* Guitar - move onto next phase of lessons in book.
* Start the physical design plan for rabbit run.

is out on
MARCH 2nd 2007

Click on the image to

Only £5 plus p&p

Labels: , , , , ,

Colin 7:33 am | 0 comments |