Read the first chapter of Echo Valley here!

Jon Matheson | 22nd August 2016 | General Articles, Echo Valley | 0 comments
22 August
Aug 22
22nd August 2016

  “Oh my god, I look like shit.” Announced Stacey in her loud northern accent, loud enough to turn a few heads of the other passengers sharing the same train carriage. Sat opposite, Mathew let a laugh escape in a rush of air rasping between his lips. He hoped it came out in a way that said: you never look like shit. You're always beautiful. But if Stacey understood, she hid it well. She dragged down the skin beneath her left eye, revealing the wet, red fleshy part. “Ugh, can you hold this for me, Matty?” Mathew hated being called Matty. Mathew was fine, Matt if you must, but not Matty. Yet, Stacey was the only person in his life who he actually preferred calling him Matty. She said it so sweetly she practically sang it. It made him feel good, kind of like a pet name for a boyfriend. Except the part where he would actually be the boyfriend. Stacey never really had official boyfriends. The guys she was seen with were tall, dark, most likely in a band and undoubtedly covered in tattoos and or piercings. Certainly not quiet, short and stocky boys like Mathew. Mathew hunched over on his seat and shyly held the small, rounded mirror with the crack down the middle that Stacey held out to him. Peering over the curve of the mirror, Mathew watched Stacey delicately apply her heavy black eyeliner around her deep emerald eyes.   Mathew didn't really understand her undying need for the makeup. She put it on every morning on the train to college due to almost always oversleeping. Sure, she looked tired, but certainly not terrible. And definitely not to Mathew.             “Cheers Matty.” she said finally, taking the mirror back off him so he could put down his aching arm. “Ugh, I really cannot be asked with today.” She puffed loudly, spreading herself lazily across the two seats. Mathew noticed a couple of older passengers shaking their heads.  Mathew grinned and swept a strand of midnight blue hair back across his forehead, becoming suddenly aware of the possibility his natural ginger roots could be peeking through. “I’ve always wondered how far up country I could get before getting kicked off.” Stacey’s eyes went wide. Her mouth formed a perfect ‘O’ shape. “We should definitely do that!” she squealed in amazement. Mathew chuckled to himself. “I was joking. But yeah, one day maybe we should.” Stacey’s eyes then fell away in her familiar thoughtfulness. Her lips pursed and a dark, drawn on eyebrow curved high. As she looked down, her jet black and lemon blonde extensions flowed like silk across her white sports jacket. Then she turned back to Mathew and shot him a look. A look she had when inspired with one of her own outrageous ideas. A look he could never resist. A look he should’ve said no to. “Why not now?” she whispered. Mathew chuckled nervously. “Are you serious? We’re almost at college now, you nutcase!” “Come on Matty, why not? Fuck it, let’s just do it!” She still held the same hungry look, trapping him.             Bing-bong! “Ladies and Gentlemen, we are now approaching Exeter Central. Exeter Central, our next station stop. Change here for…” Stacey’s hand was on Mathews arm like a whip before he could even pick up his bag. “Stay!” she commanded with her playfully assertive face. Mathew hoped if he kept laughing, she would stop and let go. Awkward laughter got him out of most situations, but not this one. “Stacey, no. Come on, I’ve got a project to hand in today and collect my negatives from the dark room.” Stacey rolled her eyes but kept her grip on him. “Matt, will you stop being such a pussy? Just do it!” Outside the window, Mathew saw the train slowing down as it approached the station. The sky was filled with the morning colours of a smooth lemon to baby blue gradient over the horizon. The train came to a halt and Mathew was beside himself. He watched the other passengers leave the carriage, lea...

| 12th April 2017 | General Articles, Rants | 0 comments
12 April
Apr 12
12th April 2017

All your favourite music and films are considered retro. You say 'Cool' in all seriousness and genuineness. As your favourite bands get older, their audience gets younger. We are no longer limited to a mere 150 Pokemon. I'm having an early mid-life crisis and whilst i'm in a position where I don't have enough readers for me to actually care what they think, I'm going to write this off my chest.   Clothes shopping feels like clubbing You're surrounded by young people wearing carrot-twist-tech-cuffed-torn-skinnyslim jeans. It's the most ridiculous thing you've ever seen and yet they make it look so natural along with the guys in their t shirts that go past their knees. You're also sweating. Because for some reason, going into H&M or River Island feels like you've gate-crashed a party you're way too old for. And of course, the music. It sounds like club music. It's the appropriate volume for club music. But yet you are in a clothing store. And yet you still turn a blind eye to the truth that no matter what piece of clothing you try on in this store, you instantly look and feel like a dick head. It's time to leave. At least Asdas jeans have flies instead of buttons. You're not a toddler.   You spend your precious spare time sleeping Gone are the days of all night video games, partying, socialising and Youtube video binging. (i'm aware your social life is probably a lot less nerdy) You pretend to consider social invites, but you know full well your "yeah, I might do actually" is code for "You will not take away my precious sleep." Because you don't know when you'll next get it. But this doesn't make you an arsehole- it's not your fault! you have kids... Wait, you don't have kids? Ah...   You don't understand what anyone is saying  Everyone around you seems to suffer from this speech impediment where whenever they start a sentence with "I can't even..." they are unable to finish it. Can't even...? CAN'T EVEN WHAT!? You hear yourself scream out loud one day on the train. The day you finally crack. And what exactly is it about said thing that is "Lit'"? Literal? Literacy? A Lit candle? WHY DO YOU ALL SPEAK IN RIDDLES!?   The best way to get over this crisis is to accept yourself for who you are. A tired, grumpy, twenty-something year old who is considering retiring from life if the modern world keeps up their bullshit....

| 10th April 2017 | General Articles, Writing | 0 comments
10 April
Apr 10
10th April 2017

@page { margin: 2cm } P { margin-bottom: 0.21cm } So this reminder popped up on my phone this morning. I bought the Pulp Fiction Sountrack on viynl over the weekend, so i'm in the mood for Tarantino-ing this story. Let's jump back to three months ago; I've just sent off the manuscript for my first book, a horror novella, to all the agents I felt I would have a slither of a chance with. The problem with being busy with getting a manuscript ready to send off is that once it's sent, you're kind of stuck drumming your fingers and listening to tumbleweeds float by until said agents may or not get back to you. So rather than continuing to be productive and work on my next story, I sat there with my inbox open, hitting refresh a lot. I don't think you can see the F5 key anymore. So when I finally realised how crazy this habit was making me (seriously, I had dreams about my emails), I decided to set a reminder that didn't go off for another 3 months. 3 Months is generally the maximum waiting time agents say they will get back to you in. If you don't hear anything after that, then...well, better luck next time, eh? The additional problem to this waiting time is my biggest weakness. in this case, my impatience. I really didn't want to go down the self-publishing route initially. And this is because of my favourite summary of self-publishing:     The good news with self publishing is anyone can publish a book. The bad news with self publishing is anyone can publish a book.     Having a professional in the traditional publishing industry approve your work kinda gives writers that sense and feeling of their work being worthy. And so it should. The stats are something ridiculous like if you send 21 agents or publishers your manuscript, only one of those will maybe get back to you. Not approve or take on your book even, that's just a reply! So chances are if you do get your work approved, it's probably gonna be a damn good book.   That's not to say there aren't publishers who publish bad books, there are plenty of bad books regardless of who publishes them. And every writers fear is that their book will be one of them.   But if you are sensible about it, you can make your book the best version of your book as it can be.  Get a hella'lotta' Beta readers. Just send it out to as many as possible. Preferably to people who's opinion you respect, not want. From this, you can chop and change your manuscript based off their feedback. Grammar, spelling, dialogue that just doesn't make sense, continuity errors, etc. Also, something that doesn't get talked about enough, get used to talking about your book. I remember writing of my stories in a cafe and the waitress who brought my coffee over asked me what I was writing. Brits' tend to get the hint when you palm them off with 'oh, nothing really.' But Russians don't buy that BS.  "What do you mean 'it's nothing'? I can see you writing!" "How can you not know what your writing about?" She kept interrogating me until I ended up going a rosy shade of red and giggling like an embarrassed school girl. But I needed it. Regardless of whether your self-publishing or going traditional, you need to be able to sell your work. This is the one thing that puts me off publishing because my selling skills go as far as "it's okay. It won't change your life or anything, but it's a bit of fun." If you don't believe in your own work, who the hell will?   Anyway, I'm derailing. Let's Tarantino it back to present day. I'd like to think that when you're reading this I'm in a cafe somewhere eating one tasty burger. But chances are i'm in an office with a tear glistening off my cheek from the sunshine outside that we're all locked away from. Echo Valley is currently being formatted for print and i'm staring at an invisible blurb for the back design cover as well as loathing Author Bios.  And the answer is yes, some did get back to me. Very polite, kind replies. But not the replies I w...

| 05th April 2017 | General Articles, Jons Journal | 0 comments
5 April
Apr 5
5th April 2017

I've thought of a number of ways to finish off this 3 part blog series, but there are only so many ways I can talk about waiting for agent and publisher replies over a course of 3 months without it turning into a bit of a self indulgent, rather boring rant. So instead, I'm using this final part to update you with the progress on Echo Valley as breifly and as non-ranty as possible. Here's what you need to know: Echo Valley will be released on Paperback and digital this summer (more accurate date tba) The boring stuff like ISBN numbers and paperback formatting is currently in progress. Below is the more exciting stuff... There will be a book launch party here in Devon. Again, proper date tba but there will be coffee, tea, creepy cakes, books and me. The event is free, but don't hesitate to buy a copy of EV.  I'll make sure there will be plenty. After the party, the book will be available to buy here on my website. To start off, the book will only be available in paperback, but digital and Kindle editions will follow shortly after.   Anyway, that's pretty much it for now. But here's some pretty images of where the launch party is going to be held. I wasn't sure at first, but after seeing that one of the rooms is the spitting image of Theo's Office, How can I not? If you want to keep up to date, you can subscribe to my blog posts in the top right or like my Facebook page for instant updates on the whens and wheres of the launch party. Yours with excitement and impatience, Jon.    ...

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