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The Opening Chapter to: My Girlfriend’s Perfect Ex-Boyfriend

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Chapter One

Girls like mountaineers. I think that’s something we can all agree on.

And as a confident, twenty-first-century male, I can understand the appeal. Mountaineers are rugged, brave, adventurous, determined. They laugh in the face of danger. They have adrenalin where others have blood. They can pitch a tent on the side of a rock face, in the dark, with one hand, whilst fending off polar bears. I doubt even a woolly beard, chock full of frozen ice, is enough to negate all the innate female-attracting manliness that comes with the whole mountaineering gig.

Which is why I’m half way up a mountain. Somewhere in Tibet. Taking a quick selfie. If anything’s going to impress Paige, this is it.

Ken, my sherpa, is waiting patiently for me to finish capturing the moment. I have no idea what his real name is. Probably something like Kennunanmahindo. But it really doesn’t matter. When you spend your days lifting and hauling luggage through the Himalayas – the vicious frozen waste lands that divide Tibet and Nepal – well, you could be a guy called Susan and still be thought of as the rugged personification of everything masculine.

I wave to Ken that I’m ready to continue, pocket my camera, adjust my goggles, and on we plough.

That’s how we’re communicating now. Through a series of waves and gestures. I have no idea how much English Ken speaks but it’s irrelevant at this altitude. Just breathing is a challenge. Talking would be a staggeringly stupid use of breath.

It’s funny; even though the wind is relentless, and the snow here has more in common with razor wire than the pathetic flakes of partially frozen water we have back home, I’m barely even registering the pain any more. In fact I relish it. Every gruelling step along what Ken laughably describes as ‘the path’ is just testament to the fact I am alive, and beating the odds. I doubt even Paige will be able to leave me alone when I see her next. My God, beard or no beard we’ll probably end up doing ‘it’ on the luggage carousel at Heathrow airport! “Ade,” she’ll gasp, “I need you! God I need you! Let’s do it! Right here Adrian! Now!” And if that thought isn’t enough to propel me onwards I don’t know what is.

Not that I should be having thoughts like that. Not at this precise moment anyway. I can almost make out the temple through the blizzard, and I really ought to be in a place of extreme reverence when we finally get there.

I’m not really sure what to expect. ‘Spiritual enlightenment’ would be good. Or perhaps anything that comes under the broad heading of ‘answers’. To be honest, right now I’d settle for somewhere to sit, somewhere to sleep, and perhaps a meal that doesn’t come out of a tin. Everything else I need is waiting for me back in London – and probably having similar thoughts about that luggage carousel I shouldn’t wonder.

The temple is quite clearly made from stone, brought here – one presumes – by the monks, one boulder at a time. The doors on the other hand are made of oak. Each one is at least twenty foot high, ten foot wide, and looks as if it they could stop a tank – it’s exactly what I was expecting.

The doorbell, on the other hand, is a bit of a let down.

Okay, so clearly it’s slightly more than your average hardware store doorbell offering – it’s obviously been designed to withstand some pretty poor weather conditions – but still, surely a large wrought iron gong would have been more fitting?

I communicate all of this to Ken with a wave and a head toss, but he just nods solemnly, reaches out a gloved finger and presses the bell. From inside the temple I can hear a deep echoey ‘ding dong’, and then one of the doors creaks opens – just a crack; just enough for each of us to squeeze through. And it’s only when the door booms closed behind me do I suddenly appreciate how damn noisy it was out there. For the past two days I’ve heard nothing but the sound of a million damned souls screaming their eternal torment.

But not in here.

In here the only sound is the constant murmur of monks repeating the same four syllables over and over. It’s not exactly musical but at the same time it’s like someone has poked their fingers into my ears and is steadily massaging my brain, which would be fine were it not for the fact my brain is also trying to take in the splendour of the temple.

There are candles everywhere; they’re hanging from the ceiling on giant chandeliers, they’re wedged into crevices in the walls, they’re on ledges, and tables, and candlesticks, and all over the floor. It’s as if someone started with one candle, and then put another wherever there might be shadow. There are so many candles that my eyes feel like they’re being bathed in light and it actually takes me a moment to notice the sixty foot gold statue at the far end of the great hall… and I’ll be honest, it’s not quite what I was expecting.

“Welcome,” says a voice just behind me. I turn to face a monk, his hands pressed together just in front of his chest. He gives a slight bow and I do the same, though with considerably less grace. “Welcome, weary traveller,” he says again.

“Er, yes,” I say, “thank you. Thank you for allowing me… well, in, I guess.”

“All are welcome in the house of—”

“Yes, yes,” I say, “thank you. I do appreciate it. Really.” I squeeze in another quick bow and force a smile. “Look, I er, I wonder if… I don’t wish to be rude or anything, it’s just… I was… about the statue—” The monk looks over my shoulder, and as he does so his face is bathed in reflected gold light. His smile broadens as though he’s just slipped into a foamy bath.

“Our master,” he breathes.

“Right. Your master. I see.”

“And also your master.”

I nod my head from side to side. “I’m… not so sure about that,” I say.

“He is the master of all things,” insists the monk. I turn to look at the statue again. Just to make sure I wasn’t mistaken the first time. Just to make sure that the intoxicating combination of candlelight and incense and endless bloody chanting hasn’t somehow caused me to imagine a sixty foot gold effigy of a smug, grinning man in a three piece suit, holding – amongst other things – an iPhone.

It hasn’t.

“He doesn’t look very… Tibetan,” I say, through gritted teeth.

“No one knows where the master really comes from.”

“At a guess I’d say it was Basingstoke.”

The monk nods. “The sacred lands?” he says. “Perhaps you are right.”

“And I can’t help noticing that he seems to have an extra pair of arms.”

“To symbolise the many gifts he brings to the world.”

“I see. And what is that he’s holding in his right hand?”

“That is the true symbol for communication.”

“I meant his other right hand.”

“A ball of the finest yarn, to symbolise his warmth and generosity of spirit.”

“And when you say ‘finest’, I don’t suppose you mean regular sheep’s wool…”

“Oh no. Alpaca. The sacred beast.” I bite my lip, hard, and try not to explode.

“And in his… left… hands?”

“The ancient pendant from the land of Bavaria, with which he summons forth his holy chariot. Notice the markings.”

“Yes, that’s a BMW logo.” I say. “It’s a BMW key fob!”

The monk nods, and frowns, and nods some more. “I know not of this… fob… of which you speak.”

“And the bowl!?” I ask.

“The sacred chalice of holy sustenance.”

“Which is what exactly?”

“Sweetcorn fritters,” he says. “Food of the gods. Would you like some?” He claps his hands together so gently it’s barely audible, but as he does so two junior monks appear out of nowhere with bowls of, what I can only assume, are sweetcorn-bloody-fritters.

And then my mind makes sense of it; the four syllables that the monks keep chanting over and over. It’s a name. A name that I’ve come to despise. A name that will haunt me for the rest of my days.

Se-bast-i-an, Se-bast-i-an, Sebastian…


Click or tap here, to visit amazonHot news! 

My latest novel, My Girlfriend’s Perfect Ex-Boyfriend, is just 99 pennies for a limited time only. Click or tap here to visit amazon or type BuyTheBook.TODAY into your web browser.

And remember, you can follow me on social media via the links below

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Where do you get your ideas from? (Part 2)

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So. Book titles…

hate them!

Specifically, fiction book titles.

Why? Because they’re so important, and so much rides on getting them just right. You might spend 10 months of your life writing circ. 80,000 words, but unless those half dozen words on the cover are absolutely perfect, you could quite easily have been wasting your time.

Non-fiction book titles are easy; just describe what your book is about and make darn sure you have a key-word in there (something that people looking for your book might type into google). So for instance, a book about finding happiness in this ever increasingly busy world might be called How To Do Everything And Be HappyThat would work.

But fiction? That’s a whole different ball of wax.

Take for instance my last novel; The Truth About This Charming Man. Not a bad title. But not particularly good either. Unless you saw the cover it doesn’t really tell you what the story is going to be about. Some have argued that even if you DID see the cover, you still wouldn’t know what it was about!

And my novel before that: The Good Guy’s Guide To Getting The GirlTerrible title! Awful! I mean okay, it’s quite funny, a bit of alliteration can’t hurt – and the cover helped a bit – but having previously published four self-help books, most people assumed it was another self-help book! What was I thinking choosing a title like that?

Anyway, fortunately the same cannot be said for my latest fictional offering. This time I’ve cracked it! This time I have a title which is both funny, AND gives the reader a hint of what’s to come. And what’s more I can’t really take any credit for it.

I met my partner Valerie about three years ago.  Val had just come out of a long term relationship with… well, let’s call him Steve. It had been an amicable split so it wasn’t uncommon for her to mention Steve occasionally. I’d say something like, “I’ve made some fresh bread this weekend,” and she’d say, “oh, Steve used to do that.” Only bloody Steve would have made the bread from flour that he’d milled himself. From a stone that he dug out of the ground. Whilst building his house. Single handedly.

One day I got so cheesed off hearing how fantastic Steve was I said, “if you don’t shut up about Steve I’m going to put him in a novel and then kill him off!” To which Val laughed and said, “what would you call the book? My Girlfriend’s Perfect Ex-Boyfriend?”

Well. It was a such a good title, how could I resist?

“No!” said Val, seeing the light bulb hovering above my head. “You can’t! Absolutely not!” But this was Friday. And you know how this works – by the end of the weekend we had renamed Steve, morphed him into this completely unbearable character called Sebastian.

We’d also decided that the protagonist would be a down-on-his-luck school teacher called Adrian, and that his girlfriend would be a sassy American PR executive called Paige. More than that a plot was beginning to emerge that was just too fun not to write!

Now obviously it’s all made up. But that said, I really hope Steve doesn’t recognise himself in it.

Come back tomorrow and read the entire first chapter for FREE, or subscribe to this blog and have it arrive in your email…

Enjoyed this post? Read how I get my ideas (part 1) here.


Click or tap here, to visit amazonHot news! 

My latest novel, My Girlfriend’s Perfect Ex-Boyfriend, is just 99 pennies for a limited period. Click or tap here to visit amazon or type BuyTheBook.TODAY into your web browser.

And remember, you can follow me on social media via the links below

My Girlfriend’s Perfect Ex-Boyfriend – My third novel is here!

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Happy Birthday To Me…

October the 10th. A lot of things happened on this day in history.

In 1913, the Panama Canal officially joined the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific ocean. How about that.

In 1967, the USA / Soviet Union ‘Outer Space Treaty’ came into force, and is the reason why the US does not own the moon, even though they planted a flag.

And in 1968… I was born.

And what better way to celebrate my forty-something birthday than by announcing the publication of my THIRD (yes, third!) novel – My Girlfriend’s Perfect Ex-Boyfriend.

“So,” I hear you ask, “what’s it all about PJ?”

Well, funny you should ask!

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…

Now doesn’t sound like the sort of hilarious romp that would brighten almost any boring commute? Eh? Eh? (Unless you drive to work, in which case, erm… it goes really well with a cup of tea, and is the perfect alternative to actual work.)

Best of all, here in the UK (for a limited period), the book is just 99p, and ready to download to your smart-device ready to read via the FREE Kindle app. But if you’re elsewhere in the world or you’d prefer a paperback, follow one of the links below to a format of your choice

Where to buy the book…

UK (paperback | ebook) | USA  | Australia | Canada
France | Italy  | Germany

If for some strange reason you’d like a signed paperback, drop me a line here

You’ll find my other two novels (and all my non-fiction) on amazon here.

Publication Day Push

A number of fellow authors and bloggers have very kindly agreed to help me give My Girlfriend’s Perfect Ex-Boyfriend a ‘Publication Day Push’. If you’ve got a spare few minutes why not visit one of the blogs below (links under the image). You’ll find book extracts, and at least one honest review (which even I haven’t read… yet).

Ali – the Dragon Slayer

Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews

Dash Fan’s Book Reviews

Little Ray of Sunshine

Waggy Tales Dog Blog

Book Lover in Florida

Chelle’s Book Reviews

Vikbat

Rae Reads

Novel Gossip

Many thanks to these blogs, and indeed everyone who’s helped bring this book to fruition.


Click or tap here, to visit amazonHot news! 

My Girlfriend’s Perfect Ex-Boyfriend is just 99 pennies for the entire month of October 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.)

What I thought of… Man Up #movie #review

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This week I saw Man Up.

This is another movie that I’d been putting off watching, mainly because

a) sometimes Simon Pegg movies ain’t all that great (I think he set the bar quite high with Shaun of the Dead) and

b) the title was putting me off. It really is a terrible title.

But you know what, terrible title aside, it was great! Dialogue, plot, casting, direction… all good.

At least I thought so.

Which is why I was surprised to discover that The Guardian absolutely slated it, giving it a paltry one star, and even referring to Lake Bell’s British accent as merely ‘passable’. Passable!? Until I watched the extras I genuinely had no idea that she wasn’t a born and bread Londoner!

The general gist of the film is this: Nancy (played by Lake Bell) is 34, single, and a combination of slightly desperate mixed with really can’t be arsed with it all.

On the way to her parents 40th Wedding anniversary she finds herself standing underneath the clock on Waterloo Station when 40-something Jack (played by Simon Pegg) mistakes her for his blind date. Caught between that awkward moment of will you shut up and let me explain that I’m not your date and this is the closest I’ve got to a proper date in months, Nancy makes the bonkers decision not to set Jack straight… and so starts the best date of her life.

Now if that sounds far fetched perhaps I should come clean and point out that I have, on more than one occasion, arranged to meet blind dates on Waterloo station, and like Jack, I have approached women who I mistakenly thought might be the woman I was due to meet.

Anyway – as for the rest of the movie, well it’s true that the film does lose its way in a couple of places (basically when Rory Kinnear’s character rocks up – shame, I like Rory Kinnear), but as soon as we’re past that point the story manages to get itself back on track, and hurtles towards the slightly predictable, but still hugely enjoyable, conclusion.

Still not sure about the title though.

Anyway, what did you think?


This just in… 

If you’re a fan of Rom-Com (Romantic Comedy), you might be interested to know that my novel The Good Guy’s Guide To Getting The Girl is a mere 99p. Download it NOW for your smart phone, tablet, or kindle… but hurry, the price goes up in a day or two.

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

What I thought of…. Passengers #movie #review

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So I finally got to see Passengers.

I originally wanted to see this movie at the cinema because, from the trailer at least, it looked like my kind of flick combining two of my favourite subjects in fiction; science & technology, and romantic relationships.

But then the reviews started rolling in and every one I dared to glance at suggested that the film, whilst good, was also a disappointment – specifically ‘the ending’. And the last thing you want to feel as you walk out of the cinema is ‘disappointed’.

So I bumped Passengers to my ‘when it comes out on DVD’ list, and yesterday, finally, it made it to the the top. And can I just say… what film were those reviewers watching!??

Firstly, it’s not quite the lovey-dovey, explodey-wodey, romance-in-space slash adventure-popcorn-fest that I thought it would be. It’s quite a lot smarter than that. It starts funny, moves to heartwarming, but half way through the film I found myself nervously biting my nails and genuinely wondering if the so-called unsatisfactory ending was going to be a lot darker and more sinister than I would have liked. It’s a movie that doesn’t want to fit comfortably in one genre.

I won’t spoil it for you, but here’s the back-of-the-box blurb (or at least, how I would have written it) because the trailer, whilst good, is REALLY misleading: Jim Preston (played by Chris Pratt) is one of 5000 passengers on a 120 year one-way trip to Earth’s newest, and most distant, colony. But when the ship (on auto pilot) encounters unexpected problems, a computer malfunction results in Jim – and just Jim – being brought out of hyper sleep 90 years too early. After a year of going steadily out of his mind trying everything he can to either wake the crew, or figure out how to get back in his pod, he comes to the conclusion that there are only two remaining options: Jettison himself out of the airlock without a spacesuit, or wake someone to be his companion, thereby condemning someone else to a similar fate.

It’s brilliant: Cracking performances throughout, fabulous special effects, completely believable and most importantly of all… a fantastic plot. INCLUDING the ending, which in my mind was just perfect. Honestly, I don’t see how it could have been better.

But maybe you disagree. Post your thoughts in the comments below – including perhaps the ending you would have liked to have seen.


TTATCM sidebarThis just in… 

If you’re a fan of romantic comedies that are a little different from the norm then you may be interested to know that my Rom-Crim-Com (Romantic Crime Comedy) Novel, The Truth About This Charming Man, is a mere 99p. Download it NOW for your smart phone, tablet, or kindle… but hurry, the price goes up in a day or two.

Visit BUYTHEBOOK.TODAY to buy the book… today!

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

Where do you get your ideas from? (Part 1)

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One of the questions an author is sometimes asked is “where do you get your ideas from?” My answer is usually “anywhere,” which is, I admit, a bit glib. The answer should really be “it depends which book you’re talking about.”

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…

And 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.

Read the opening chapter for free…

Still need more convincing (to part with less than a quid)? 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.)

Boxing Day Mugs

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mug-and-flapjack

The eagle eyed amongst you will have noticed that a rather fetching ‘Boxing Day’ Mug often features in my posts on twitface. I love it, it’s my favourite mug, makes me smile every time I use it and I just love how it’s white (and red, obviously) on the outside and black on the inside.

Anyway, having been asked where I got it from a few times now, I decided maybe it was about time I made it available to the rest of the world (or other fans of Boxing Day). So here’s the ‘sales spiel’……..

There are actually several versions.

  • There’s a simple mug that says KEEP CALM AND HAVE A BOXING DAY on both sides (the perfect gift for that stressed out individual in your life) {£11.60}
  • For right handed people there’s a mug that says KEEP CALM AND HAVE A BOXING DAY on the side facing you and KEEP CALM I’M HAVING A BOXING DAY on the side facing everyone else! {£11.60}
  • Then there’s a left handed version of the same mug – I know, I know – I have literally thought of everything! {£11.60}
  • And for those who want to save a couple of quid, there’s a moderately cheaper version, but without the black interior. {£10.90}

The mugs are expensive. There’s no denying it. And I only make a quid or two on each one that gets sold. But they are beautiful. The design is lovely, of course – I did that – but the mugs themselves are really good quality. I’ve had mine well over a year, use it almost every day, and put it through the dishwasher several times a week, and it still looks like new.

To get a mug for yourself or a loved one, hop over to my Zazzle shop front at zazzle.co.uk/peterjonesauthor

mug-and-pen