Easter break-out

I’ve used the four day Easter break to get Dreamonologist ready for publishing. I have to admit that Kindle Create is a fantastic tool for getting the books formatted, and it saved me about 4 hours of formatting and messing about that I usually need to spend getting the book prepped. This time, I’ve even managed to add in those big letters at the beginning of each chapter. Looks great. Looks professional. Looks like I’ll be using that tool again.

I didn’t go anywhere far this weekend, as we went to Jersey last weekend. Not New Jersey, but Original Jersey. This point confused the Be-jeesus out of a number of people back in the States. Still, a beautiful place, although I spent most of the time ill. The most notable thing was that I didn’t take my laptop along. Besides jotting down a few notes, I didn’t do any writing for 2 days. That’s the first time I’ve went two days without doing any writing for about 5 years. Yikes.

A bit of content, and a bit of contemplation

I think that anyone who wants to write needs to read. To that end, I read at least a book a week, largely thanks to a couple hours a day on the London Underground. I’ve watched too many people waste money on bad books, so I’m going to start tweeting out ten word reviews of each book that I finish.

Speaking of the London Underground, I had a shocking experience yesterday. I walked down the platform to where I usually get my train, but had to stop short as there were paramedics doing CPR on a woman on the platform. During the time that I was waiting, they gave up on CPR, tried a defibrillator, and gave up on that too. Amazing that the platform stayed open while that happened, and I felt so bad for that woman and her family. The thing that surprised me was how little dignity she had left as the train just rolled callously by. :(

Great advice

I've recently been watching a series of YouTube videos called "Tales of a Mid-List Author" by Rick Gualtieri, who writes "The Tome of Bill" series amongst others. I've picked up quite a few helpful tidbits, but probably none more so than his entry on Amazon advertising. I've started to run Amazon ads over the last two months, and they've managed to keep a steady trickle of sales going in between promotions - something that hadn't been occurring before.

It is gratifying to see that there are still people out there willing to share their experience to all and sundry. Thanks Rick!

Life imitating art or fate?

When I started writing Julian's story, I based certain elements off of my own life. I am American and live in London, I have a wife and daughter. That would probably describe about 50,000 people though, so that wasn't so odd. What is odd is that I sketched out a five book arc at the start of this journey, and several of the details that were part of that sketch have come to pass in my real life. For example, I ended up having a second child, and I was transferred into the procurement department. Was I subconsciously aiming for this?

What I do know is that if I could go back in time, I'd make Julian even less like me - maybe that could have helped me avoid this fate. Hopefully I don't start having odd dreams any time soon.


I'll be heading off to Finland again shortly for the annual trip to see my wife's family. I have been to Finland at least 20 times over the last 16 years, and I've started to experience a very strange feeling of being home, while I'm away. The Finnish landscape is about as far away as a person can get from Urban London, so I doubt that it will find its way into any of my writing, but perhaps I can squeeze in a visit to an icehockey game?

When Life Gets Scarier than Fiction

While waiting for Beta feedback and editing to complete on The Nightmare Maker, I wrote 100 pages of my third novel (currently titled Dreamonologist). In that draft (which won't be published out of a sense of decency and respect), I described an attack on Borough Market and London Bridge by an red, four-armed monster. Just a few days later, real monsters carried out a deplorable attack in the same area, driving a van into pedestrians and then stabbing many of them.

I like to write about places that I know, so I work only a ten minute walk from where that all happened. I have a young family, and I was initially nervous to head back down there for work. In the end, there really wasn't any choice to make. Not because I was desperate to keep my job, but because terror can best be defeated not through bravado, nor authoritarian measures, but through determined indifference.

Terrorists are like screaming two-year-olds: If they can see that they are affecting you, they're never going to stop throwing their pathetic tantrums. This is the third major terrorist attack that has happened in reasonable proximity to me in London, and it probably won't be the last. But I'll never change what I do, what I think, or what I feel for because of them.

Beta isn't just a kind of fish

People who haven't done any writing might not know what a Beta reader is. However, those who have written will know that good Beta readers are almost as rare as unicorns. Having the patience to pick up a draft manuscript, and the ability to provide insightful, constructive criticism is all too uncommon a skill set. I've been lucky to get a Beta reader through the Good Reads boards who has managed to point out a number of glaring mistakes, and has kept them from you, the reader. So, as I'm going to be sending off the manuscript to my editor in a couple of weeks, I'd like to give a shout out to Amandeep. Thanks man.

What's in a name?

My wife recently gave birth to our second child, a little boy. We'll be going to get him officially registered later today, which is also when he legally gets his name. We've been using the name for weeks now, but it only becomes official today.

In a similar vein, I've been working with Dream Girl as the name of my second book for months, but since it hasn't become "official" through getting published, I can still change it. A recent search on Goodreads informed me that there are over 100 books with this title, most of which are romances. This clashes with some previous research, so I think that I'll need to go back to the drawing board.

I hope my new son Donald Trump Pettit doesn't mind all the time I spend trying to come up with a name for this second book. Wait - what's that you say? Donald Trump is already taken by someone famous? Well shit.

Advertising - works, go figure

So I ran an add on Bargainbooksy yesterday to go along with the Amazon countdown deal that I put out to celebrate my second book going into Beta reading. Moved 36 paid for units yesterday, bringing me within a dozen or so of my goal of 100 paid copies moved. A fantastic results. It is exciting to get my book into reader's hands, and to make back the ad money.

Third Draft Done - and under the weather

I finished the 3rd draft of the sequel to Dream Job a couple of days ago. I have three or four minor updates to make, then I'm going to be looking for some beta readers. Unfortunately, I've been battling a cold for the past few days. This means that I'm eating Nurofen like candy, and I don't really trust myself with much heavy mental lifting. In other news, I'm ready to watch the Packers play in the NFC Championship game this weekend. Go Pack Go.