The Blog

GOALS: Finish The Novel

 

So, it’s almost the end of the year – almost time to take a good hard look at those GOALS you set yourself back in January, and see just how close you got to achieving them.

This year I only set myself two GOALS (though both of which can be broken into sub-goals). One of those goals included finishing my fourth novel. And a few days back I did just that.

I’ll be honest with you, it feels a bit weird.

I was beginning to think I’d never get here! My amazing spreadsheet, that calculates my likely completion date (based on how many words I’ve written since the start of the project), reckoned I’d be done by September – October at the latest. But that was assuming the novel would come in at 80,000 words – average novel length, and more or less what all three of my previous works of fiction weighed in at.

However, as I reached that epic word count the story was nowhere near done. It was the writing equivalent of running a marathon only to have someone tell you after twenty six gruelling miles that the finish line has been moved. I had to keep going.

Never mind. At least the majority of the book had been written. And the last time I ‘wrote a novel’… and the time before that… there was something about having the end in sight that propelled me forwards. A sudden sprint to the finish line. But this time, the closer I got to the end of the story the slower I got.

Part of that was because I wasn’t entirely sure how the story should end. In fact, if it hadn’t of been for my chums in my writing group I might still be searching for that elusive ending.

Even when I had the ending, those last couple of chapters were extremely troublesome. This morning I spent almost 5 hours writing approximately two hundred words. That’s 40 words an hour. Less than a word a minute.

But…

It’s done.

Finally.

Except of course…

It’s not.

Starting next week I’m editing: I already have a pile of ‘go back and fix this’ notes. Then I’ll print the whole thing off, and do ‘the big read through’. When I’m done with drowning my sorrows (because traditionally at this point most authors think they’ve written a massive pile of horse poo), I’ll take my big red pen and start slashing and hacking.

I’ll be honest with you, the last two times I quite enjoyed this part – this is the moment when it actually starts to feel like I’ve written a book, something I can be proud of. But I suspect books might be a little like children; you might have had something to do with their creation, you might have created others, but it’s a mistake to let your guard down.

When I’m finally done slashing and hacking I’ll give the book to the half dozen trusted folk who have been waiting patiently to read it. My ‘first readers’.

And when I’m done working through their comments (which could easily range from ‘not sure she should be wearing a yellow dress in this scene’ to ‘this ending doesn’t make any kind of sense’) well… then I’ll send it to my agent.

And that’s when – ‘scuse the language – sh*t gets real.

In my experience, feedback from Agents tends to fall into two broad categories: Either they like your book, but have two or three suggested changes (those changes being ‘the beginning’, ‘the middle’, and ‘the end’), or… they don’t like your book, and would rather you’d written something else.

But that’s a long way off. Months away.

For now I’m just going to celebrate the end of this stage, and feel proud that I got to this point. Again. My fourth novel. My eighth book. That in itself, isn’t bad going.

So, check back again soon to see how the editing’s going. In the meantime, if you’re a writer, feel free to share your experiences of getting to the end of a first draft. And if you’re not a writer, but have always fancied writing a book, feel free to ask me a question or share your novel writing attempts in the comments.

Now then, where did I put my red pen?


Struggling for Christmas Present ideas? Then why not solve all your Christmas Present Conundrums in one hit by visiting The Novel Coffee Shop (98 London Road, Southend-on-Sea, SS1 1PG), on Saturday 1st December 2018 between 1:30pm and 4pm, where I’ll be signing copies of all my books, along with Sci-Fi author Claire Buss, and Children’s Fantasy author Daisy Bourne.

Click the flyer below to see a bigger version!

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No More Sitting On The ‘Reserve bench’

If you follow me on facebook, twitter, even instagram, you might have seen the occasional picture of me, grinning like a maniac, in front of an audience of similarly manic, arm-waving, happy folk (although usually there’s one lone woman, sitting there , arms folded, steadfastly refusing to take part – bless her).

I take these photos perhaps once or twice a week – whenever I’m asked to entertain a Women’s Institute, or a U3A, or a Townswomen Guild, or some similar group, with tales of my writing adventures.

People sometimes ask me how I got into the public speaking lark. I blame my Dad.

Years ago, my father used to run a U3A ‘discussion group’. Each month the group would invite someone along to speak on whatever topic they liked, and then afterwards a discussion would ensue. That was the idea anyway. My Dad loves a good discussion. In reality someone would put the kettle on, a packet of biscuits would be emptied onto a plate, and twenty minutes later my Dad would be washing cups and stacking chairs in the corner, wondering why no-one had actually ‘discussed’ anything.

Dad used to try and plan his group’s programme a good year in advance, presumably in the hopes of attracting a few new members with his trove of twelve tantalising topics. But a year is a long time. Stuff happens. And every now and then a speaker would cancel on dear old Dad, and he’d be forced to do some frantic phoning around in order to find a replacement.

Which is how I got my first gig.

Out of sheer desperation Dad called me and asked if I could step in and do a talk. He’d even decided what my topic would be! Could I speak for thirty or so minutes of “how banks make their money” – thanks very much – see you Thursday – don’t be late.

Now fortunately for me, I had at this point been in credit card banking for about twenty five years, the last ten of which was as a freelance consultant. I could have spoken for several days on how my clients separated the man on the street from his hard earned wedge. But I concentrated my talk on some of the sneakier, lesser known, less ethical tricks, that go on in the banking community.

My talk was a huge success: There was almost a riot when I announced that “in a few months” the banks would be announcing the ‘end of cheques’. “How will I pay the milkman!?” exclaimed one woman – at which point, for the first time ever, a proper discussion ensued. Dad was pleased as punch.

From that moment on I became my Dad’s ‘reserve man’. Each year, for about three years, I’d get a phone call whenever a speaker cancelled and would always be told what my topic would be. For instance, I did a talk entitled “How will I pay the milkman?” – forty five minutes about, amongst other things, how the banks really wanted to get rid of cheques, but at the last moment had changed their collective minds. I promise you it was more interesting than it sounds.

But after a few years I was fed up with being the flippin’ understudy. “Dad,” I said, “I want my own slot in the programme, but more than that, I want to be able to pick my own topic!”

“What do you want to talk on?” asked Dad.

“How to do everything, and be happy,” I replied.

“Hmmm,” said my Dad. “I’m not sure anyone’s going to be interested in that.”

Several years on and I’ve given that same talk about two hundred times.


If you’d like to hear me speak, or if you’d like to invite me along to your group or society, drop me a line here, or visit my speaker’s website; PeterJonesPublicSpeaker.com

Stop Waiting, and START DATING! (Now updated for #Tinder )

The definitive guide to twenty-first century dating – whatever your age!

 

It’s been four years since my popular dating book came out. Four years!! Where on earth has the time gone?? I mean… you could have easily met someone, got married, had a kid, and got divorced in that time! Or… you could have sat around, at home, just waiting for the man or woman of your dreams to knock on the front door…

Here’s a funny little story that I don’t get to tell very often.

A while back I got invited to talk to a Women’s Institute in North Essex. This was a return visit, and so I started (as I always do) by asking if anyone remembered how long it had been since my first visit.

“16 months!” said a lady in the front row.

“16 months?” I replied. “That’s very precise!” Before leaping into the torrid tale of How I Met Kylie Minogue…

When I’d finished speaking, the lady in the first row got up to give ‘the vote of thanks’ (I always pity the person who’s been given that job).

However, rather than the usual comments (‘what an interesting talk’ or ‘judging by the laughter I think I can safely say everyone enjoyed that’ or ‘where do you get your energy from?’)this lady proceeded to tell me, and her fellow WI ladies, how sixteen months earlier she’d rather coyly bought a copy of How To Stop Waiting And Start Datinghaving asked me whether it would be suitable for ‘a lady of her age’.

She took the book home, read it cover to cover, followed each and every step (including the advice on buying a pay as you go mobile phone), and four months later – much to the amazement of her daughter and friends – finally met George. And they’d just celebrated a year together. The happiest year of her life. And that’s how she knew it was sixteen months.

Her story is similar to many that I sometimes hear, as I travel around Essex. Stories from people who, for one reason or another, had given up on dating websites, or thought they were too old, or met one too many Lotharios… but with a little help from yours truly, found love again.

So why a second edition?

Shortly after the first edition came out, the world of dating changed. With the ever increasing popularity of phone apps, Tinder suddenly crashed into our world. Finding the man or woman of your dreams became as simple as swiping right (or left) on a bunch of selfies. People who Tinder thought you might like to spend the rest of your life with.

Except that anyone who’s ever used Tinder will tell you that it’s not that simple. You swipe right on a bunch of people… but you never seem match with anyone. Or you DO match with someone… but they never ever message you back. Or they do message you back… but they turn out to be… erm… well let’s just say unsuitable. The potential for heartbreak just goes on and on and on…

If ever there was an app designed to put you off dating for life, Tinder is it.

Well.

You know me.

That’s like a red rag to bull!

Why doesn’t Tinder work? Could it? Was there a way of using it that everyone else seemed to have missed? I needed to know.

Now unfortunately it took a little while longer than I anticipated to research test, and write my conclusions, but four years on the entire book has been updated. And not just for Tinder either. Every single piece of advice I put my name to back in 2014 has been scrutinised, and where appropriate, given a fresh new lick of paint.

Tell me more about How To Stop Waiting And Start Dating (second edition)

I’m so glad you asked. Chapters includes…

Tinder; Yay or Nay?
How to make Tinder less frustrating,
and is Bumble any better.

D*ck Pic!
How to avoid getting *those* type of messages

Flash Bang Wallop What a Picture!
How to take the perfect selfie,
why it might be a good idea to include a horse in your photo,
and why you should stop doing ‘duck face’!

First Contact
What to say in your opening message,
and what to do when they reply!

Forget ‘First Dates’!
A smarter, easier, stress-free way to meet someone for the first time!

Sex On The First Date?
That question, answered.

What Type of Pizza Are You?
How to score at Speed Dating events

Also

The Four Laws of Dating
As non-negotiable as gravity!

The Ten Golden Rules of Dating
One more rule than the last edition
– break them at your peril!

And much, much, MUCH more…

If you’ve ever found dating a challenge, if you’ve found dating apps or websites to be less than fulfilling, if the thought of a ‘first date’ terrifies you, I promise this book will guide you through the potential pit falls, help you avoid the liars and Lotharios, and show you how meet and date people you actually like.

“Hilarious anecdotes and brilliant step-by-step advice”
Sarah T, Reader

Wait a minute… there’s more…

And as if that wasn’t enough, the mini-companion-guide to How To Stop Waiting And Start Dating has also been given a makeover. Whilst the actual content hasn’t changed all that much, From Invisible To Irresistible has a new title. One that makes much more sense. One that actually tells you what the book is about!

If the thought of dating apps or websites or any of that techno-malarkey makes you feel slightly nauseous – and you’d rather meet someone ‘the old fashioned’ way – How To Be Even More Attractive could be exactly what you’re looking for.

Both new editions are available right now, in paperback, and for your kindle enabled phone or tablet. What’s more, whether you want a paperback or an ebook, you’ll pay less than you did for the first edition. How To Be Even More Attractive is just 99p!

Other ebook editions for other ebook reading apps and devices should be available early 2019.

If you have any dating relating stories that you’d like to share with me, I’d love to hear them. Feel free to pop them in the comments below (or click/tap here if you’re reading this in an email).

And if you are reading this in an email, why not forward it on to a friend who might find it interesting?


Find the books, right now, on your local amazon site:

How To Stop Waiting And Start Dating
How To Be Even More Attractive

Paying Taxes – WTFHIBD episode 8 (part 3)

Last week I continued telling you What The Flippin’ Heck I’ve Been Doing with my life. I talked about my NOW List and finally going up inside a lighthouse. You can read that post here.

This week I’d like to conclude this short series of posts by talking about…

Goals

Ugh!

I’m sorry. I know I shouldn’t say things like that but sometimes, just sometimes, it feels like I’ve had the same goal(s) for the past decade!

I haven’t.

I can pull up my goals document, and I can see every goal I’ve ever set myself since 2008, and over time they’ve changed quite a bit.

Back in those early days my primary goal was merely to replace Credit Card Banking with something that I actually enjoyed doing.

Over the next couple of years that goal got more specific; by 2011 I’d admitted to myself that being a full time novelist was where my true ambitions lay.

But as the years continued to roll by I soon realised it wasn’t enough to simply replace Credit Card Banking – not even if it were enjoyable – it had to pay the bills too!

Last year I almost gave up. You can read about that here. But the short version is that despite two novels under my belt, an agent that believed in me, a publicity deal with Amazon themselves, and some tentative enquiries from Hollywood about the movie rights for The Truth About This Charming Man (yes, really!)… financially things were grim.

But that was last year.

In the past twelve months things have moved on somewhat: I’m now doing more speaking gigs than ever before (why not get me along to entertain your group?). My books (all of them!) are selling better than ever, and my accountant tells me that if I keep going at this rate, I may have to pay tax. And I never thought, in my wildest dreams, that I’d ever aspire to that!

But more than that, interesting things are afoot: My third novel just came out (you can read about that below), and I’m several chapters into my fourth.

There are times when I feel like I’m going nowhere, or going backwards. There are other times when I feel like I’m so darn close to getting what I’ve truly wanted… and yet, somehow, it’s still just out of reach!

But nowadays, whenever I look back – back to where and when I started this happiness journey – I realise that I’m further ahead than I ever thought I would be. I’ve transformed my life. For the better. And the next time I’m asked to tell you all What The Heck I’ve Been Doing, I know it’ll be better still. And that’s what keeps me going forwards.

But less about me.

How are your goals going? Why not let me know in the comments (if you’re reading this on the blog or social media).


Click or tap here, to visit amazonHot news! 

My third novel, My Girlfriend’s Perfect Ex-Boyfriend, is just 99 pennies for a limited period.

It’s the tale of Adrian Turner. Mountaineer, Secret Agent, Fireman… Ade would dearly like to be any of these things. Though he’s trade them all to win the heart of feisty Public Relations Executive, Paige.

Instead, our hero is a disillusioned school teacher, on suspension, after an unfortunate incident with a heavy piece of computer equipment. And somebody’s foot.

And Paige? Well, despite being his girlfriend for the past eighteen months, she still seems to have one foot out of the door and hasn’t quite committed to leaving a toothbrush in the bathroom. Of course, it doesn’t help that she’s working with her ex-boyfriend, Sebastian. A man who in almost every way imaginable is better, taller, wealthier, hairier, and infinitely more successful than Ade.

Is Paige still in love with Sebastian? Maybe. But why then did she suggest they get away for a few days? Some place romantic…

But when Adrian finds himself in Slovenia – with Sebastian in the room down the hall – he realises there’s serious possibility that he’s in danger of losing his job, his mind, and the woman he loves…

Click or tap here to visit amazon or type BuyTheBook.TODAY into your web browser.

 

Lighting My Life – WTFHIBD episode 8 (part 2)

Last week I started to tell you What The Flippin’ Heck I’ve Been Doing with my life, and I talked a little about how I’ve rediscovered the joy of Boxing Day. You can read that post here.

This week I’d like to talk about…

My NOW List

For those of you who don’t know (where have you been??) a NOW List is basically a Bucket List, but you’re not going to wait until the end is nigh before tackling the items on the list. (If you don’t know what a Bucket List is, go have a listen to this radio interview).

I think I’ve confessed this on a previous blog, but whilst so many people love the idea of a NOW List I actually find it a struggle to tick things off.

Part of the problem is that most of the things I’d really like to do require either time and/or money – and like many people, I’m short on both!

HOWEVER, a few weeks back I FINALLY got to check off an item which has been sitting on my NOW List for YEARS!! (So long in fact, I thought it might have been mentioned in the book… that really would have been embarrassing)

The item was this: GO INSIDE A LIGHTHOUSE.

Quite why it took me so long to get around to it is a bit of a mystery; of all the things I’ve done over the years, this was probably one of the cheapest (£4 a head, plus petrol) and easiest to organise.

And was it worth it? You betcha. You can see from these pictures that I had a stupid grin plastered all over my face, and a week later it was still there.

It was such a successful trip that it renewed my enthusiasm for the old NOW List. I grabbed my diary and set aside an afternoon to plan my next adventure, which resulted in me adding two new items, and booking them, for the coming weeks.

               

But less about me.

Have you ticked anything off your NOW List recently? Why not let me know in the comments (if you’re reading this on the blog or social media).

Come Back Next Week…

…When I’ll be telling you about my Goals. Until then…


Click or tap here, to visit amazonHot news! 

My third novel, My Girlfriend’s Perfect Ex-Boyfriend, is just 99 pennies for a limited period. Yes, novel! I write fiction too. Perfect if you’re looking for a light, laugh-out-loud entertaining read.

Click or tap here to visit amazon or type BuyTheBook.TODAY into your web browser.

 

Doing Everything, Being Happy – WTFHIBD episode 8 (part 1)


Last week, thanks to facebook showing a reader one of my old WTFHIBD posts as part of her ‘memories’, I got an email suggesting that it was “high time” I updated everyone with what I’ve been getting up to!

Well I couldn’t really argue with that, could I?

So over the next few days I’ll be answering that age old question ‘What The Flippin’ ‘eck Have I Been Doing’ …only I’ll be doing it in three parts, because there’s quite a lot to cover.

So today we’re going to talk about Boxing Day…

Boxing Day

It was June 2016 when I last updated you on my life. June! 2016! Where does the time go?

In that last post I confessed that my regular Boxing Days (click or tap here if you think I’m talking about December 26th, because I’m not) had fallen by the wayside – with disastrous consequences. You can read about that here.

But sixteen months on and I’m happy to report that not only am I having a regular Boxing Day, but most weekends are also spent doing fun things – be that be planned, or spontaneous.

As a consequence last year was the first time ever that I ran out of space on my Trophy Board, and had to add an extension! See here (or tap the Trophy Board pic to the right).

This year I had to add the extension even earlier, and there’s only a tiny bit left in the corner for the last three months of the year.

At this rate I might have to start clearing down the board every six months!

But the most important thing is not how many ticket stubs I’m collecting, how many theatre programmes, or how many restaurant cards, but how much happier I feel. And I can honestly say that whilst my mood might fall and climb during the course of a typical week, the general trend is ever upwards compared to this time last year… and many, many previous years.

But less about me.

How have your Boxing Days been going? Why not let me know in the comments (if you’re reading this on the blog or social media).

Come Back Next Week…

…When I’ll be telling you about my Now List. Until then…


Click or tap here, to visit amazonHot news! 

My third novel, My Girlfriend’s Perfect Ex-Boyfriend, is just 99 pennies for a limited period. Yes, novel! I write fiction too. Perfect if you’re looking for a light, laugh-out-loud entertaining read.

Click or tap here to visit amazon or type BuyTheBook.TODAY into your web browser.

 

Also writes fiction…

I’m always quite surprised when I meet someone who wasn’t aware that I also write fiction.

For instance, if you follow me on facebook then you’ll know that earlier this year I finished working on my third novel, which even as we speak is sitting with the powers that be having it’s fate deliberated. And in the last month or two I started writing my fourth novel, which is turning out to be a lot more complicated than I thought it would, and is beginning to make me wonder whether I’ve lost the ability to string two words together.

My first novel was The Good Guy’s Guide To Getting The Girl – a quirky, lad-lit, easy-reading rom-com. My second novel, The Truth About This Charming Man, is also technically a rom-com, but with a hefty dose of crime-heist / mystery thrown in for good measure. Of all the books I’ve written so far, it was in many way the most challenging.

“Where do you get your ideas from?”

I came up with the idea for The Truth About This Charming Man many years ago when I was part of a small theatre company that ran Murder Mystery events for discerning clients. One evening a fellow actor walked into the dressing room and told us that he was off to Australia for a week. ‘Very nice’ we said, but he didn’t share our enthusiasm. Jeremy was flying half way around the world to claim a body.

It turns out that in Australia, a body can’t be released until it’s claimed by a blood relative. It didn’t seem to matter that Jeremy had never actually met his Great Uncle, the Aussie Authorities just needed him to fly out and place his signature on a piece of paper. A task which was not only costly, but extremely inconvenient for our Jez.

Which was when I had an idea: Did it really need to be Jez that flew out to Aus? Couldn’t one of us take on the role of Jez, and fly out on his behalf? Would anyone notice? Would anyone… care?

More than that, perhaps Jez was the tip of the iceberg. Perhaps there was a whole slew of potential clients in need of the services of professional actors. After all, haven’t you ever needed to be in more than one place at the same time? Haven’t you ever wanted to send someone to a boring social event or meeting in your stead? Haven’t you ever been tempted to hire someone to play your boyfriend for the evening in order to keep your colleagues, family, and everyone else, from asking why you’re always single?

Those are the sort of thoughts that make me want to sit down, and write a novel…

So, if you’re a fan of Nick Hornby, or Mike Gayle, Rom Coms or Heist movies, or theatre, or just a bloody good read, then The Truth About This Charming Man could be right up your street.

Click here to leap over to amazon – or type buythebook.today into a web browser. You can download the book to your phone, tablet, or whatever device you’re using to read this blog for £1.99, or purchase the paperback for £7.99.

Still need more convincing? How about a sneaky look at the first chapter?

Read the rest of the opening chapter, for free, here.

Charming, fabulous, witty and easy to read book,
cannot wait for the sequal!

says amazon reader Lynn Wedge

Reading this in an email? If there’s a gap above that’s where a video would normally appear. Jump over to youtube to watch it.


TTATCM sidebarHot news! 

The Truth About This Charming Man is 99 pennies for the month of May 2017. Download the book for your smart phone, tablet, or kindle, today.

Visit BUYTHEBOOK.TODAY to buy the book… today!

(The FREE kindle reading app is available for everything. Seriously; EVERYTHING.)