Before I get into my GDR review for September there are a few things I want to get through from today. First, I made some exciting advances with the re-working of Stella. I had hoped to finish it by the end of this month but it looks like carrying on through to the first week of October. The genre of the story has shifted slightly as it has been opened it up; where before it was a fantasy piece, it has now evolved into a spy/mystery story with a fantasy twist. Whether this works or not, I don’t know, but I’m not changing it because it’s what the story is about. And I’m stubborn that way.
Stella was based on an album – or my perception of an album – and it was always only meant to be a personal journey. But now I want to see it published, and so I’m working on the things that I know a publisher will turn around and ask me; things I learnt at the book festival, among other places.
I completed my re-draft’s of the Slick synopsis; it’s ready to go, and I polished up the final draft of my (late) Scotland’s Treasure column for next month’s Scruffy Dog Review. The October newsletter is almost done, and my reviews of September and the year are complete as well as October’s plan.
Boris Johnson wrote a hilarious editorial in today’s Telegraph, about an Ex-Labour Party MP who is seeking £15k in damages against on old man after his dog nipped off the end of his finger while he was canvassing in 2006. If you want a superb laugh while reading about an important issue, then click here.
After work my family took me out to celebrate my 35th birthday. We went, as always, to the Peacock Inn in Newhaven, where we sat down and had a most enjoyable meal. I loved every single mouthful of my Haddock Whale (a 1lb portion of freshly caught North Seas haddock – the best in the East – that I always get on my birthday), followed by apple crumble with custard dessert, all washed down with a pint of Lager.
After dinner I sat in the dark of the living room, while Gail and Laura trooped in with my Caterpillar birthday cake, all lit up with candles and looking very special. Because I left for work before half past six this morning, I never actually opened any of my cards or gifts until after work. I was treated to new gloves and a Rat Pack CD from Laura, Ian Rankin’s new novel, Doors Open, and the promise of a new jacket from Gail, and a new shirt and book token from my in-laws. There’s more to follow from the rest.
I love birthdays!
* Complete writing of new novella: Greener is the Grass (G1,G2,G3,D1,D2) – complete
* Complete Slick synopsis (G1,G2,D1,D2) – complete
* Submit Slick to selected agents (G1,G2,D1,D2) – pending
* Complete Stella editing and reworking (G2,G5,G9) – almost complete; finish first week of October
* Submit Stella to selected markets (G1,G2,D1,D2) – pending
* Renew myself with Gatecrash (G1,G2,G3,D1,D2) – complete
* Query freelance gigs 25/mth (8/25 pitched – Total=75) (G7,G9) – not completed; pitched for all I could, but not a lot of good jobs being advertised
* Write bi-weekly SDR articles (9,23) (G5,G7,G9) – complete
* Complete and submit Scotland’s Treasure column for SDR Autumn edition (Oct) (G5,G7,G9) – complete
* Select suitable URL for Compass Freelance and form new company website (G7,G9) – http://www.compassfreelance.co.uk; still to buy & redirect to subdomain
* Keep company accounts up to date – complete
* Chase outstanding invoice – all cheques received and banked; one new invoice outstanding
* Think about re-org and re-design of my websites – blog restored, redesigned and launched after new opportunities in from TLB; main site undergoing slight revamp; launch planned for early October
* Complete restore and installation of blog SQL database – complete
* Complete and submit poems for PSH Contest (Sep 20 deadline) (G5,G9) – 3 poems entered; winners tba Sun 5th Oct
* Think about chapbook progress and don’t feel restricted on poetry subject matter – no movement; ideally would like to have something to put out before Xmas though
* Stay on top of RR submissions (G6) – done as at 3/9; fallen back as of 29/9
* Publish RR issue 4 – complete
* Complete layout of RR issue 5 (Dec) (G6) – IP; contracts all signed; cover idea commissioned
* Prepare website and launch for issue 5 (Dec) (G6) – IP
* Start laying out RR issue 6 (Dec) (G6) – not done; still reading subs
Marketing and Promotion
* Publish September newsletter (G5) – complete
* Prepare October newsletter (G5) – complete
* Publish September GDR Review – complete
* Publish 3rd Quarterly GDR Review – complete
* Prepare October GDR Plan – complete
* Keep website(s) up to date (G5,G8,G9) – IP; blog redesigned, main site undergoing revamp
* Sent out flier for website marketing & promotion services – received two notes of interest; gone to further talks
* Created new image pack to advertise new RR releases
Reading and Research
* Black & Blue by Ian Rankin – IP
* Laidlaw by William McIlvanney – complete
* Final planning/research for Lennox novel in November (G2,G5,G9)
* Continue diet (15/28lbs lost as at 15/9/08) (R1) – put on 3lbs since hols. Feels like more. Bit of effort will lose a lot at this stage.
Things That Turned Up
* 9 freelance article assignments
* Signed up for marketing widget on blog and other streams of article review writing
* Web client consultation provided
* Site updates for property client
* Daffodils to Trespass Magazine 3/9
* 3 poems to PSH Poetry Contest 2008 19/9
* Hunting Jack made it through the slush pile; expected result due October
* Completed first draft of new crime novella, Greener is the Grass
* Completed major re-working of mystery/fantasy novella, Stella
* Cause and Effect rejected Regrets 12/9
Fiction – 29,300
Non-Fiction – 20,000
Poetry – 0
Hunting Jack Through slush
The Quill 1
Hunting Jack 1
Wheelhouse Mag 1
Saint Ann’s Review 1
East of the Web 1
PSH Contest 3
GDR Monthly Health Summary
How did I move outside my comfort zone this month?
* I’m getting much better mentioning the subject of money with freelance clients and with negotiating.
* I’ve been promoting myself better when talking to people both in freelance and fiction.
* I marketed myself and not just my work effectively, in that I have seen a cash return for my effort.
How did I think big/challenge myself?
* By pushing myself onto clients and promoting my professionalism and actual worth.
Do I feel this was a good month towards meeting my 2008 GDR Plan?
* Yes. On the back of completing Slick in August, I have written the first draft of a new novella, and completed the reworking of another. Slick is ready to be pitched, and the work is coming back in on the freelance side.
* This month I have also moved forward with some of the fringe goals, so it is all adding up nicely to be a great autumn, and great charge towards the end of the year.
* Click on the link for my updated GDR Quarterly Review
PLEASE DONATE – For full details of my Abseil off the Forth Rail Bridge in October for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, please go here: