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.

First Draft of sequel done and half way to my sales goal.

I've now completed the first draft of the sequel to Dream Job. I'd like to get it out by late February/Early March, but there is a fair amount of revision required. My next incremental goal is to complete my chapter summary/pacing review by the 10th of November. On a positive note, I'm now up to 50 paid sales equivalent (taking into account Kindle Unlimited page reads). I'm not sure that I'll ever make 100, as the rate has tapered off, but I'm still pretty proud of that. Thanks to everyone that has purchased a copy of Dream Job.

Giveaway complete and a lesson learned

I recently ran a Good Reads giveaway to see if I could generate some additional interest around Dream Job. In the end I got 1150 entrants, a very respectable number for a self published first time author. However, even having discounted my book to $.99, I only generated 3 additional sales. Therefore, overall, I came out about $50 down. I am actually going to run another giveaway in about a month, just to see what happens if I only put up 1 book instead of 5. I'm guessing that it won't make any difference to the number of entrants.

And so it begins...

Dream Job has been approved for sale on Amazon in both paperback and e-book formats. I have two sales goals - first I'd like to get 100 units moved, second I'd like to make my money from getting editing and a cover done. Fingers crossed.