How To Do Everything And Be Happy

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Also writes fiction…

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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.)

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Turning failure into possibilities – WTFHIBD episode 6

bright-ideas

Blimey! Has it been 9 months since I wrote one of these WTFHIBD things?? Where does the time go? Actually that’s kinda the point of these WTFHIBD posts; to tell you exactly what I’ve been spending my time on.

Let’s start with GOALS.

My GOALS

2014 turned into something of a damp squib for me. Whilst a lot of good things happened, on balance it was pretty much ‘the year of disappointments’. People often tell me I’m too tough on myself, but as summer rolled into autumn all I could see was failure, failure, failure… in every aspect of my life.

But around January, and as I sat down to set my GOALs for the year I somehow managed to summon some of the fight that I’d lost in previous months, and although my 2015 goals didn’t look a whole lot different from previous years, perhaps I altered my approach to them, because even though it felt like I was starting again, at the same time the only way was up; I’d already failed at everything – it would be hard to fail even more. Success was actually the easier option.

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I BECAME ‘SELF-HELP GURU TURNED NOVELIST’

Having watched my debut lad-lit, rom-com novel  – The Good Guy’s Guide To Getting The Girl – climb the charts in September… only to come crashing back down to earth again… I took the somewhat odd decision to start sending it out to agents and publishers again. On the one hand this seemed like a bad idea; I would be trying to sell a book that was already published. On the other, I could point at lots of nice reviews, the fact it did rather well during it’s first promotion, and my previous non-fiction successes. Surely that would make me, and the book, an attractive proposition?

Amazon 2015-07-09 at 12.28.14Well, six months later and I had indeed got myself a new agent… and in turn a publicity deal with amazon!

The book underwent another edit, the cover got brighter, and after a little help from Kylie Minogue (sort of), amazon made it part of their July 99p Summer Reads promotion. It’s back up near the top of the charts …and it’s doing ok! Better than ok!

If you fancy a chuckle, as well as keeping me in the book business, now would be a very good time to spend a quid at the world’s biggest bookstore.

I STARTED MY NEXT BOOK

One of last year’s many failures was a five part serial that I wrote for a particularly well known woman’s magazine. After a full sixteen weeks of consideration, the fiction editor of magazine-that-cannot-be-named decided that it wasn’t really ‘real-world’ enough for their readers, and that she was going to pass up the opportunity of publishing it.

In the same week however, my new agent decided that actually it was a cracker of story – and could quite easily be expanded into a full length novel. My next novel. And so, Facebook pals have been subjected to almost daily word count updates, whilst readers of my other blog have been perplexed by various posts about how I use excel spreadsheets to write

selfieI STARTED GIVING MORE TALKS

One of my few successes last year were the number of talks I was asked to give.

Whereas previously I’d been giving the odd talk to Women’s Institutes and Town’s Women’s Guilds – suddenly the U3A, the Rotary Club, the Trefoil Society, and numerous independent clubs and societies started to invite me along based on recommendations from those who’d heard me speak elsewhere.

As the year ended I realised that public speaking is pretty much one of the things I love most… and so I came up with a second talk (entitled: How I Met Kylie Minogue) and offered it to all those folk who were kind enough to invite me along the first time. The result is I’m now doing a talk at least once a week (this week I’ve done three!) – and whilst it’s hardly a living, it has relieved a little bit of the pressure I’ve been putting myself under to make a living from writing alone.

If you’d like me to come and talk to your group or society – drop me a line

My NOW List

foggsLet’s move on from GOALS. What have I been doing for fun? (Not that writing isn’t fun – but you know what I mean…)

The NOW List is chock-a-block with exciting things that I’d absolutely love to do… sadly, most require time, money, often both, and I have neither.

That said, whilst I still haven’t managed to visit the Cook Islands, or visit Rome again, or anything that requires a plane trip, I have ticked off many items that I could do relatively cheaply, in around my local area. And some of those things included…

  • A visit to Mr Foggs of Mayfair. A strangely wonderful place.
  • My quest to find the strangest, experimental theatrical performances once a month – in the past few weeks I’ve seen improvised puppet shows, naked people rolling around in food, and a disturbing monologue about fantasy movies…
  • A visit to a junk shop that I’ve driven past many times and always wanted to go inside
  • A day at the beach with my very own luxury beach hut at my disposal
  • An evening at one of London’s Roof Top cinemas

But enough about me

How about you? What have you been up to? What NOW List items have you managed to tick off? What goals have you set yourself or achieved? Feel free to drop me a line, here or on facebook, or post a comment below.


 


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Phoenix FM Happy Club: What’s holding YOU back from being fabulous? #fear

Over the last few weeks I’ve been playing catch up with some of the radio interviews I’ve given including my ‘Happy Club’ slot of Michelle Ward‘s show on Phoenix98 FM.

Last month, I came clean and told Michelle that this happiness journey hasn’t been all roses, as well as the real reason why my novel – The Good Guy’s Guide To Getting The Girl – is being released this week (…rather than back in April when it was supposed to).

Basically it all comes down to fear.

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

We go onto chat about what advice a successful, future version of myself would give me were he to jump back in time to the present, and discover that it’s pretty much the same advice that a less-than-successful future version of myself might say. We also answer listener questions and finish up by discussing the very book that’s had me so chewed up these past few months.

Want More Tips?

All four of my How To books are available in paperback, audio and for your kindle enabled device. In most cases the kindle versions are less than the price of a cup of coffee! Jeepers! Click here to find out more.

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 shadowMy debut novel, The Good Guy’s Guide To Getting The Girlis finally available!

The ebook is currently less than a quid for a very limited period. To download it to your tablet or smartphone via the Free Kindle App click here now.


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The Six Pound Emergency – Getting Your Weight Back On Track

Della Says…

The hardest thing about losing weight is keeping it off. I learned this in between trips to Slimming World, which I have been to three times.  That says it all really. I loved Slimming World – they helped me to lose a lot of weight – but as soon as I stopped going to weekly meetings I put it back on.

I have put on weight again lately. About six pounds. Not a lot, I know, but enough to make all my jeans and trousers (that did fit comfortably) too tight. I hate that feeling. Fortunately I know what to do about it.  I co wrote a book called How to Eat Loads and Stay Slim, didn’t I!  And part of staying slim is to get rid of the odd half stone when it becomes necessary.  I wish I was saintly enough to keep it off in the first place – but I’m not. Hey ho.

So let’s get positive.  The first thing is to stock up the fridge with things I can eat and still lose weight. Things that are satisfying. I am NOT going to starve myself – I know that doesn’t work.

Here’s a couple of them. I’m not vegetarian but where else can you get a scotch egg that’s only 53 calories or a cocktail sausage for 33 calories. If you haven’t tried them, I highly recommend them. They are great snacks. I like snacking – it stops me getting hungry enough to eat everything in sight. One of the ways I stay slim is to make sure I have low calorie snacks on hand in the fridge. Ones you don’t need to cook. If I’m hungry I want them NOW!

I’m also eating fresh fruit for breakfast. Fresh pineapples are awesome at the moment. They make great desserts too – especially if they are dipped in chocolate yogurt or chocolate mousse, fat free of course. The two in the picture are 99 calories per pot. The one at the bottom of the picture is also made by Muller.

Here’s another picture of the Muller chocolate dessert I just found and it really is this yummy and thick!

I hope to be back to my usual size in about three weeks. Then I’ll relax a bit. It’s what we do most of the time that’s what counts. I will eat cake and chocolate and pizza again – I’ll eat some over the next three weeks – but not too much. And I’ll up my dog walking forays to compensate – so the dogs will be pleased.  Feel free to remind me of my mission on Facebook or Twitter, tee hee. There’s nothing like a bit of motivational nagging.

Oh and before I forget, How to Eat Loads and Stay Slim– is only 99p for the next 24 hours. It has quite a few more eating loads and staying slim tips in. And do you like the flash new cover?


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Start Dating, Stop Waiting. 5 Dating Tips

heart-love-romanceBefore I started on my quest for happiness, I was using my problem solving skills to figure out what actually works when it comes to courting the opposite sex. From the pen-pal clubs of the early eighties, to the lonely heart newspaper ads of the nineties, from postal dating services to the more formal introduction agencies – there hasn’t been a dating service that I haven’t tried!

And after many, many years of seemingly making every dating mistake there is – scouring every scrap of scientific research I could get my hands on – I finally cracked it. There’s love in my life. And it wasn’t an accident.

If love, lust or romance feature in your goals for this year let me see if I can impart some of my dating prowess to you now. Here are my top five tips for dating success.

Dating Tip Number 1: What do you want?

Figuring out who it is you’re looking for is probably the most effective thing you can do to kick start your love life. You might think (as I used to) that you can’t afford to be picky, that finding someone who doesn’t repel you too much and is content to remain in your company might be the best you can hope for. I’m here to tell you that the reverse is true.

After months, possibly even years, of less-than-satisfactory relationships with long periods of nothing in-between, I sat down and wrote out what I actually wanted. A list of qualities that I hoped for in my ideal person. And about six weeks later I met my wife, Kate.

Now – that’s not the whole story, obviously. There were a few stages between writing my ‘perfect woman shopping list’ and choosing to sit next to this beautiful blonde I spied from across the room, but a few months into our relationship I looked back at that list and I was amazed at just how many of the criteria Kate met. Coincidence? Perhaps. But for the time it would take you to create your own list isn’t it worth the effort?

Dating Tip Number 2: Go online!

By my calculations online dating websites are responsible for one in five marriages. Include relationships that haven’t got as far as the altar, throw in the likes of facebook and other social media websites, and I estimate 50 percent of all romances probably start on the internet. Which means that simply using your computer to meet people could double your chances of dating success.

Dating Tip Number 3: Pick a good dating website

There are a LOT of dating websites out there – finding a good one can be a challenge. My current feelings are the free-ones can be just as good, sometimes better, than the paid-ones. For extra oomph pick a site that does some form of compatibility matching!

Dating Tip Number 4: To meet ‘the one’, you must first meet ‘the many’

Very, very few people go on one date and hit the jackpot first time. In fact, in the years I’ve been chatting to people about this stuff I’ve never met anyone who has. Dating is a numbers game. If you find someone you like online send them a message. If they respond toss a couple more messages back and forth. If you still like them arrange to meet. Meanwhile; continue to browse the dating sites, continue to send messages, continue arranging dates. Exclusivity should be reserved for that special someone you’ve dated more than once, in real life, and even then only if you want to.

As well as a numbers game, dating is a skill. The more dates you go on the better you’ll get.

SDSW drop shadow colour smallDating Tip Number 5: Have fun!

Dating is tough. It has to be said. Some days it can feel like a slog. But if it always feels like a slog, if it’s tough without being the slightest bit pleasurable, well, then you’re doing something wrong!

Try changing your mindset. Dating can be a fun. An adventure. Exciting. It’s a little like a lottery; Sometimes it’s just OK. Sometimes it’s better than OK. Occasionally it’s a total disaster, but every now and then it’s magical. And those moments make up for everything.

Secondly, make sure you’re doing things you actually enjoy. For me, a good first date takes place in a coffee shop, if it’s going really well I might suggest wandering across to the pub over the road. Dinners and first dates don’t mix well. But that’s just me. Maybe you’re into bungy jumping, or white water rafting or long walks in the countryside. Picking an activity you enjoy will significantly increase the chances of your first date going well.

Want More Tips?

If you want to delve into the detail behind the 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 today 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)


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The Number One Goal of All Time

how-to-eat-loads-and-stay-slim-with-drop-shadow-copyIt’s a funny thing about running  Happiness Workshops, I’ve started to notice that the same ‘wishes‘ – and therefore thesame ‘goals‘ – come up time and time again.

Many people for instance want to embark on exotic trip around the world, visiting as many wondrous sites as possible. Others have burning desires to write a best seller (though asking to see someone’s ‘first chapter’ is usually enough to ensure they never come back to Happy Club ever again). But THE, number one goal – the one that perhaps half the attendees in any given workshop will share – is to lose weight.

And I can understand that, because I’ve been there too.

It seems to be the curse of the thirty / forty something. And not that long ago I too was standing in front of the mirror, wondering where on earth the skinny figure of my twenties went to, and why my body hated me so much. Of all the goals I’ve set myself over the years, shedding those extra pounds was one of the toughest.

Like most people I started with what seemed like obvious solutions (broadly summarised by ‘eating less’ and ‘moving more’) – but when those things didn’t work for me I threw my heart-rate monitor in the bin and went in search of something that might.

After much trial and error, I cracked it. I’m back to the size I was when I first met Kate, and whilst I wouldn’t call myself an expert, I definitely learnt a thing or two about weight loss on the way – stuff that I’d very much like to pass on.

Which is why last year I teamed up with Author Della Galton, and co-wrote my second book; How To Eat Loads And Stay Slim.

It’s  a mixture of hard science (eg. how hunger really works), quick ‘cheats’ (eg. how to make zero fat chips), psychological techniques (eg. why focusing on your food as you eat is really important), ingenious strategies (eg. how to cut down on sugar without going cold turkey), and easy peasy recipes (eg. my ‘roast potato & egg smashup breakfast’ or Della’s ‘apple ginger clafouti’) – all served up in an easy-to-digest, humourous read from authors who’ve been where you are now.

If you’ve read How To Do Everything and Be Happy, the format will be familiar to you. Several broad chapters, broken into smaller sections, each of which result in an Action Point. However each thought provoking, scientifically-provable, action point also has a STAR RATING. There are fifty four stars available. You get one just for buying the book! Collect enough and you’ll steadily increase your chances of being able to eat loads AND stay slim. Collect enough stars (thirty or more would be a good target to have) and we personally guarantee that a slim figure, coupled with a healthy but satiated appetite, are yours for the taking. No dieting required.

How To Eat Loads And Stay Slim is available right now as an ebook, paperback and audio download. You can read the opening chapter here, or how about we read it for you? Just click the big play button in the video link below to listen to the opening chapters.

As with all goals why not share your experience with ‘the class’ in the comments box.


If you enjoyed listening to us you can download the entire book from audible (.co.uk | .com)  – an amazon company and the internet’s largest supplier of spoken word entertainment.

If you’re new to audible, and in the UK, you can get it for free. Just use this link, follow the instructions and search for  ’How To Eat Loads And Stay Slim’.

 If you’re reading this in an email or can’t see the video link  just click here


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Paperback Coming to America

US cover with drop shadowI know what you’re thinking. There’s something different about the website. Something that you just can’t put your finger on.

Whilst you’re trying to figure out what’s changed let me just say that…

From June 4th, How To Do Everything and Be Happy will finally be available in selected Bricks and Mortar Bookshops all over the United States, and from your favourite online booksellers.

Of course it’s been available in the US as an ebook, and in audio, for a while – but now you’ll finally be able to get a paper copy without having to order one from overseas.

To mark this auspicious occasion, my publishers (Harper Collins) have decided to give the US-printed paperback a brand new, all-yellow cover, which in blind-taste-tests 8 out of 10 Americans said they preferred*, hence the subtle re-branding exercise here on the website, twitter and on facebook. What d’you think? Funky eh? There may have to be new badges.

Of course the inside of the book remains exactly the same – this isn’t a new edition – so there’s no need to rush out and buy a new copy of the book if you already have one. Not unless you really, really want to. Although I would certainly understand if that were the case. Just as – one imagines – there might be those amongst you who might see a market for importing the US branded copy of the book, and selling it here in the UK as a collectors edition. I’m just saying is all.

Here’s to World Domination and a new tranche of American Readers. Please feel free to drop by and say “Howdy“.

*I may have made the bit about blind-taste-testing up.


In related news the paperback is also available from selected Australian outlets &  online booksellers as well as India too!

PS. I’m giving away a signed copy of the UK paperback on Twitter. Follow @doitallbehappy and tweet “I’m going to make my life happier with @doitallbehappy http://ow.ly/jsmjB ” Ends 9pm 7th Apr