How To Do Everything And Be Happy

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Fabulous Last Minute Christmas Gifts

christmas-2016
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find gift shopping can be something of a challenge.

It’s not the ‘buying’ of the gift that I find challenging, or the wrapping, or any of that malarky, it’s coming up with an idea in the first place. Just what do you buy your cousin Edwina, the woman who seems to have absolutely everything?? It’s the stuff of nightmares. Many sleepless nights. Perhaps both.

If you’re anything like me the days roll past and before you know it, you’re roaming the aisles of your local shopping centre, desperately hoping inspiration will jump out, shake you by the shoulders, and end it all.

Well relax. This year inspiration has chosen to send you an email. Or a tweet. Or however the heck you stumbled across this blog post. Consider the following…

Books make excellent gifts

You see! And I know what you’re thinking – it’s so obvious now I’ve come to mention it! And here’s something else, books signed by the author are even more special. Ha! No more crappy I-didn’t-know-what-to-get-you-so-I-got-you-this-voucher from you! You’ve just become a master of ‘thoughtful’ gifts.

Now where on earth can you lay your hands on a signed book or two?

Right here is where!

With just a click of your mouse, or a tap of your finger, any one of the six books I’ve penned could be winging their way to you with a personalised greeting inside, or a simple ‘Best Wishes’ if you want to keep your options open. Simply select the book, or books, of your choice, by clicking the links BELOW.

The Truth About This Charming ManTTATCM kindle

My second novel… yes SECOND! Where have you been. If your Aunt (Dad, Sister, Wife, Husband, Niece… delete where applicable) enjoys a good rom-com comedy with a bit of a heist thrown in, this could be their bag baby.
RRP £8.99

Buy it signed here £7.99 + £2.80 postage

Buy unsigned from amazon here

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The Good Guy’s Guide To Getting The Girl

My debut novel… if your gift-recipient likes Chick Lit Rom Coms in the style of Nick Horny or Mike Gayle, this could well be right up their street.
RRP £8.99

Buy it signed here £7.99 + £2.80 postage

Buy unsigned from amazon here

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How to Do Everything and Be Happy

The book that started it all: ‘How To Do Everything and Be Happy’ is a book for ordinary people. With ordinary lives. It’s for people who have been ambling along and wondering why they’re not – well – just that little bit happier.
RRP £8.99

Buy it signed here £7.99 + £2.80 postage

Buy unsigned from amazon here

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How to Start Dating and Stop Waiting

If they need a real guide to getting the girl, or guy, this is it. Written for everyone who’s ever found dating a challenge, dating websites to be less than fulfilling, or ‘first dates’ terrifying… How To Start Dating And Stop Waiting will help them dodge the liars, & Lotharios, and have
them dating Mr or Ms Right in no time.
RRP £8.99

Buy it signed here £7.99 + £2.80 postage

Buy unsigned from amazon here

FITI kindle

From Invisible To Irresistible

The smaller, quirkier, companion guide to the previous title. Let me fix those underlying problems that make your otherwise attractive charming gift-recipient seemingly invisible to those they’d like to date.
RRP £8.99

Buy it signed here £7.99 + £2.80 postage

Buy unsigned from amazon here

 

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How to Eat Loads and Stay Slim

And finally.. How To Eat Loads and Stay Slim. It isn’t a diet book. Not in the traditional sense. It’s a book packed full of thought provoking, scientifically-provable, ideas and changes you can make to your life to increase your chances of being slim. Now that’s a gift that keeps on giving!
RRP £8.99

Buy it signed here £7.99 + £2.80 postage

Buy unsigned from amazon here

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#Shopping Made Easy for The #Fashion Phobic

wardrobeFor many years I’ve had a keen interest in photography, and theatre. When I wasn’t helping banks bring about the financial downfall of the western world, I was an actor for a small theatre company here in the southeast of England, and a freelance portrait photographer for models, actors and actresses. In my head the two activities are closely related. Taking pictures is nothing more than static theatre. My job is to tell a story with my subject using anything that I have to hand. This makes me the ‘director’, ‘prop master’, and occasionally ‘wardrobe mistress’. Quite often I take a look at the nondescript clothes that the client has brought with them and decide we can do something better. I dig through the items in the ‘dressing up box’ and construct an outfit that’s a little more interesting.

At times like that, my crippling lack of fashion-sense never gets a look in. Instead I’m brimming with confidence, and waft away any objections from my client with a wave of my hand.

“Wait until you see the pictures,” I say. Usually I’m right.

Ray Ronson - HypnotistSo why is that? Why is dressing myself so hard when I can apparently do it for other people? Is it because I lack that crucial objectivity when it comes to selecting my own wardrobe? I used to think so – but then one day, as I picked out an outfit for a professional hypnotist who needed some new publicity shots – it occurred to me that maybe it was the ‘clothes’, or more specifically, the way I looked at them.

fashionWhen I’m in a departmental store, assessing myself in the changing room mirror, clothes are, well, fashion. And I don’t really know how to relate to fashion. Fashion makes me think of expensive glossy magazines. The type I can’t afford, and wouldn’t buy even if I could. To me, those magazine fashion models look ever so slightly dead, and yet somehow they still make me feel gawky and inadequate.

On the other hand, when I’m doing a shoot, or standing in front of an audience, clothes aren’t clothes at all – they’re a costume.

Now a costume –that’s something I understand. For an actor a costume is a mask to hide behind. It’s also a prop to help them get into character. From a director’s perspective – the storyteller – it’s an extension of a character’s personality. It’s a method of communication, where each item of a given outfit are words, assembled together into a phrase or sentence.

If I think of my everyday clothes in terms of a ‘costume’ then I’m no longer worrying about whether I ‘look all right’, whether my shoes match my shirt, or whether I’ve made some other hideous fashion faux pas. Instead, I’m concerned only with the character I’m trying to portray, and the story I want to tell. Right now – right this second – that character is one of full-time author, living a few miles outside London. Slightly geeky. Young at heart. Laid back. Enjoying life. But ever the professional and serious about what he’s doing. Now what sort of costume does a character like that wear? How about a pair of well-worn dark blue jeans, with a matching cardigan, over a casual, black & white shirt, under which is just a peek of a t-shirt with some quirky design on the front? A pair of thin rimmed glasses sets the whole thing off.

If I’m giving a talk then I’ll ditch the cardigan in favour of a casual dark grey jacket, put my glasses into the breast pocket, and wear a smiley badge on the lapel.

One day I’ll move to warmer climes, and maybe then I’ll give my costume a slightly more contemporary, ‘New York’ feel, with black t-shirts, cargo pants, and thicker rimmed specs.

This new approach to clothes works well for me. For years I protected myself against the UK winter with whatever came to hand. Most of the time I looked like a cross between a bag lady and a road sweeper, without the charm or elegance of either. Now that I’m adopting the character of ‘author’ I wear a dark grey, almost military in style, overcoat, black leather gloves, and a large rimmed, black felt fedora hat.

But let’s talk about you. What character would you like to portray? The thirty-something, Bridget-Jones-esque, girl-next-door? The hard-working, hard-partying city dweller? The sassy, somehow-single, yummy mummy? The chic geek? If I’m doing my job properly then an image of each of those characters should have popped into your head as I mentioned them. That’s an image you can take with you when you go shopping.

Remember; this character isn’t you. It’s the someone you’d like to be. If, for instance, you’d like a little more confidence, then adopt the character of a confident person. Think carefully about what your character of choice looks like, then go shopping for those items. Because as most actors know, a curious thing happens when you spend a significant amount of time ‘in character’. After a while the personality of your character seeps through the costume into your soul. It becomes part of you. Takes over. After a while you’re not acting any more. You are that person. And that’s a powerful thing. Because it effectively means you can reinvent yourself from the outside in – just by changing your wardrobe.


Fed up with being invisible?Excerpt taken from From Invisble To Irresistible – available right now from amazon and other places.


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Phoenix FM ‘Happy Club’: Top 5 Dating Tips

Over the next few weeks I’ll be playing catch up with some of the radio interviews I’ve given over the past few months, including my ‘Happy Club’ slot of Michelle Ward‘s show on Phoenix98 FM.

This week we hop back in time to March of this year when Michelle and I talked about the highs and lows of 21st Century dating. Click the big play button in the image below, or here if you’re reading this in an email.

artesanWe chat about my top five dating tips (something that you can read more of here), why it’s too easy to fall in love with someone online, and why I eventually decided to cut off my long flowing locks all those years ago (hint: the picture to the left was taken long long loooong before I made that momentous decision)

Want More Tips?

If you want to delve into the detail behind my five tips above, pick my brain for more nuggets of dating gems, or need a little more hand holding, then I have some very good news. How To Start Dating And Stop Waiting, my third self-help book, is available in paperback and as an ebook. An audio version – which includes the companion guide From Invisible To Irresistibleis also available at audible (co.uk and com)

You don’t need a Kindle device to read a Kindle book. Download the FREE kindle app for your computer, smart phone or tablet from amazon (.co.uk | .com)


TGGGTGTG drop shadowDuring the show I mention that my debut novel, The Good Guy’s Guide To Getting The Girl, would be available ‘at Easter’. Then Easter came and went and the novel was nowhere to be seen. Well the good news is it is finally available!

The official launch is September 12th 2014, when the ebook will be less than a quid for a very limited period, and I’ll be personally delivering copies to anyone who wants one (that last bit might not be true). Subscribe to this blog to be reminded of the launch nearer the time, but if you can’t wait four weeks to flick through the contents of my imagination, click here now.


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Looking for an entertaining lively speaker?

author pic6You know what the best thing about being an author is?

Giving ‘talks’.

Most of my days are spent locked away in this here office either writing (on a good day), or (more likely) doing all the other things that come with the job (most of which fall under the broad heading of promotion). But maybe once a fortnight I leave the house and drive to a church hall, or a community centre, and spend an hour or so entertaining the members of a Women’s Institute, a Town’s Women’s Guide, a branch of the U3A, or a writing circle.

The first talk I ever gave was as part of The Essex Book Festival back in March 2012. To say I was nervous is something of an understatement, but with some two dozen talks under my belt (not to mention numerous workshops and radio interviews) I think I can say with some degree of confidence that I’m getting a feel for them.

My usual talk tells the story of how I came to write my three How To books, how I landed a book deal with audible and Harper Collins, as well as how I met Kate and the influence that she had on my life. It’s all pretty light hearted, with a couple of surprises along the way. Thirty minutes in I usually throw it open to questions and let the audience determine where we go from there.

It’s hard to say how people react without sounding a little big headed. Let’s just say that the last two or three groups I’ve spoken to have already pencilled me into their schedules for a follow-up talk next year. I think that speaks for itself.

If you’d like me to talk to your group or you are looking for an After Dinner Speaker then let’s talk.

Please drop me a line via the contact page, and I’ll get back in touch, diary at the ready.


Right now I’m doing a deal for London / Essex based writing groups & circles. Book me for a talk and I’ll only charge travelling expenses. What’s not to like about that?


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Phoenix FM ‘Happy Club’: Goals VS New Years Resolutions

Last month I popped into the studios of Phoenix98 FM to discuss ‘happiness’, New Years Resolutions and Goals with the delightful Michelle Ward.

To listen to the show click the big play button in the image below (or if you’re reading this in an email, click here)

Things mentioned during the show

Got a question for next month’s show?

If you have a question for next month’s show feel free to drop me a line, post a comment below, tweet either myself or Michelle, or send me a message on facebook.

The theme for February will be ‘Luuuurve


Michelle’s live on Phoenix FM every weekday from 10am.


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Opening Chapter: From Invisible To Irresistible

FITI kindle
To Begin With…

Not that long ago, I walked into a crowded lecture theatre and sat myself next to the prettiest girl in the room.

If you’ve read any of my other books, or ever heard me speak, then you’ll know this was how I met my wife, Kate – at a flirting course, some ten years ago. But this was a different lecture theatre. This was much more recent. And the subject being discussed wasn’t flirting, it was poetry.

I ought to state for the record that I have absolutely no interest in poetry whatsoever. I have exactly one book of poetry in my house. It’s currently helping to prop up my computer monitor. But as you’ve probably already guessed, I wasn’t there for the poetry. I was there for the girl.

But what I didn’t realise at the time – couldn’t possibly realise – was that the girl I so casually sat myself next to, as though that were the only available chair in the room, had no interest in poetry either. She was there for me.

I’ve never been all that lucky in love. ‘Luck’ and I parted company long ago. Other people get lucky. I don’t. ‘Fingers crossed’ has never really worked for me. Chance is not my friend. I prefer to leave nothing to it.

I realised long ago that if I wanted my life to be anything more than bearable, then it was necessary to figure out what I wanted, followed by a way to get that thing, all without relying on probability.

One of those things was ‘love’.

So what of the girl in the poetry seminar? What became of her? That perhaps is a story for another time. For now I’d like you to concentrate on how we met.

You might think that we had very little say in the mutual attraction we felt. And whilst I would agree with you to a point, I, for one, had done everything I could to become a stunning specimen of poetry-hating manliness. My appearance, my wardrobe, my attitudes – even my apartment – they’d all undergone a series of self-imposed makeovers so that this special poetry-infused opportunity (and the moments that followed), could actually happen. Had I walked into that room two, maybe three, years earlier, I’m not so sure the lady in question would have given me a second look. Let’s face it, she wouldn’t have been there in the first place.

Welcome to From Invisible To Irresistible.

If you’ve ever stood on the sidelines and watched people pair off, whilst wondering why no one seems to look at you twice, this book might be for you.

If your dating exploits only seem to get so far, or it feels like you’re always the one doing all the chasing, this book is probably for you.

And if you’re open minded, prepared to take a good hard look at yourself, make a few changes – if the end result means a more attractive you – then this book is most definitely for you.

Now then, could I interest you in some poetry?


From Invisible To Irresistible is available, right now, in paperback and as an ebook. Visit amazon.


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From Invisible To Irresistible

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Last week we talked about Goals and how to identify what yours should be using the ‘Vision’ method.

When I do this exercise in workshops there are a handful of Goals that come up time and time again. I blogged about the number one Goal of all time a few months back, but there’s another popular goal that easily takes the number two slot.

Even in this day and age of social media and online dating it seems that more people than ever find themselves sitting at home on a Friday night, with nothing more than a packet of crisps and a cat to keep them company. For some people that might sound like absolute bliss, but I’ve met many others who were hoping for a little more. At the very least someone who would sit between them and the cat, share the crisps, or bring their own bag for the occasional swapsie.

If finding and starting ‘a new relationship‘ made it into your Goals List then you’re in luck! Over the next few weeks I’ve got not one, but two books coming out on the subject.

How To Start Dating And Stop Waiting, my long awaited third How To book, will be released in paperback, audio and as an ebook, on the 14th of February this year; Valentines Day. If you enjoyed How To Do Everything And Be Happy, if you’ve ever found any of my advice useful, if you’re fed up with being single and would like 2014 to be full of love, lust or romance… well, this might just be the book for you. Subscribe to this blog (top right hand corner of this website – it’s FREE), or LIKE the facebook page, and I’ll be sure to remind you know when it’s available.

Fed up with being invisible?In the meantime, do you remember how I met Kate? (You can find out here, or listen to the radio interview I gave to BBC Broadcaster Matthew Bannister below). When I tell people the story of how I met my wife they nearly always get the short version. The one paragraph version. But there was quite a bit more to it than signing up for a flirting course and sitting myself next to the prettiest girl in the room. I also underwent something of a self imposed image makeover. I did anything I could to turn myself into a ‘accidental relationship’ waiting to happen.

Now, I’m not about to start handing out fashion advice or makeup tips. That’s not my bag. What definitely is my bag however is a slew of ideas based on my own experience and/or scientific research, on how you can influence and improve how people perceive you. Think of it as a step-by-step personal re-branding exercise, all wrapped up in a mini-book.

From Invisible To Irresistible is the shorter, quirkier, but none-the-less completely gorgeous companion guide to How To Start Dating And Stop Waiting. Through a series of twelve anecdotes I highlight (and fix) those underlying problems, that make otherwise attractive, charming people invisible to those they’d like to date.

Chapters include:

  • Changing Your Mind – How you can think yourself more attractive, and why a little back-to-front logic might work wonders.
  • Changing Your Image – Why it might be a good idea to cut off your hair (or grow it back again), how to shed pounds without spending a fortune, and why hiring a professional image consultant could be a waste of money.
  • Changing Your Environment – Why sitting at home in front of the TV isn’t a dating strategy, why some of your friends are holding you back, and why it’s vitally important to have the right sofa.

How I met Kate

Finding a wife wasn’t quite the breeze I always assumed it would be. It required a little effort, some planning, and a somewhat unorthodox approach to problem solving. You can find out more in this short audio snippet taken from a BBC interview with Matthew Bannister. Click the big play button in the middle of the image (or here if you’re reading this in an email).

You can listen to the full length interview here.