The Blog

Who could be in a movie of ‘My Girlfriend’s Perfect Ex-Boyfriend’? Part 1

My third novel came out a few days ago (read about that here), and as you might remember from my previous two novels, I find it useful to ‘cast’ each character before I sit down to write (you can read more about that here and here).

Here then, are a couple of pictures that until recently were pinned just to the right of my desk; those talented stars of stage and screen who I would dearly love to breathe life into the lives of people who up until a few days ago only existed in my head.

If you’ve already started reading My Girlfriend’s Perfect Ex-Boyfriend I’d love to know what you think. Post your thoughts, feelings, or alternative casting ideas in the comments at the bottom of this page (or here if you’re reading this in an email).

Character Name: ADRIAN TURNER

Who are they?:  Burnt out, disillusioned computer science teacher… and our hero

Age (in the story) / Date of Birth: Almost 46 (14th November 1968)

Nationality: English

Who could play them in a movie adaptation?: Martin Freeman

“I cross the hall to the bathroom, close the door, fumble around for the light cord, and switch on the light. I stare at myself in the mirror. The beard’s gone. Well of course it has. It was only ever an imaginary beard. I stick out my tongue and check the colour. I’ve no idea why really, it’s just what you do, isn’t it. Anyway, it seems to be the usual shade of pink. In every way I look exactly as you’d expect a stressed out, over-worked male schoolteacher – one who’s approaching his forty-sixth birthday and suffers from regular bouts of insomnia – to look.”

Character Name: PAIGE Steiglitz

Age (in the story) / Date of Birth: Thirty eight (31st March 1976)

Nationality: American

Who are they?: Fiesty PR executive, and Adrian’s girlfriend

Who could play them in a movie adaptation?: Lake Bell

“Maybe, Mr Schoolteacher,” she says, patting me slowly and gently on the leg, “this is for the better. I think you are the very nice man, but Paige, she is the Queen of Ice.” For a second or two I want to leap to my girlfriend’s defence with a ‘how dare you’… but again anger won’t achieve anything, and it’s hard to get angry when you’re up to your calves in warm water.

“She isn’t really,” I say.

“No?” says Nikita.

“I mean, I can see why you’d say that,” I admit. “She does come across as a bit brittle sometimes, a little abrupt, a little confrontational… maybe… but that’s just how she deals with the world.” I look down at my legs, illuminated by the pool lights, and move them gently to create ripples in the water. “It’s a defence mechanism,” I continue. “I see it every day at school. Young people developing different strategies to protect themselves against whatever life throws at them. You have the class clown, the bully, the hermit… and you have the Paiges.”

Character Name: SEBASTIAN TUNBRIDGE

Age (in the story) / Date of Birth: Fifty two (7th April 1962)

Nationality: English.

Who are they?: Paige’s perfect ex-boyfriend.

Who could play them in a movie adaptation?: Jim Carey

“The problem is he’s too much. In every way. He’s just too much. Too tall, too hairy, too loud, too brash, too rich… it’s like he’s a walking, talking magnet for the excesses of life. Is it any wonder that he was such a massive part of Paige’s life? He wouldn’t know how to be any other way. Invite this man into your life and he’d just fill up all the available space, and then some. He’s like an over-enthusiastic car air bag.

And that’s the other problem. The real problem. Sebastian came into Paige’s life and filled it up. Took over. He’s all she’s known for too long. Can you blame me for feeling paranoid? For expecting her, at any given moment, to ditch me and return to the arms of a man that, in every way, is better than me. Why wouldn’t she? So he’s arrogant, and big headed, and smug, and cocky – but from where I’m lying, with my handful of mediocre qualities, he has every reason to be.”

 


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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Blog Tour!

Blimey.

I’ve never had a blog tour before.

But all of that is about to change!

Starting this week I’ll be making a guest appearance across the web on all sorts of writing related blogs. Sometimes I’ll be giving an interview, sometimes there’ll be an extract from my latest novel (My Girlfriend’s Perfect Ex-Boyfriend), and sometimes, just sometimes, there’ll be a searingly honest review. That’s right. If you haven’t already splashed out the 99 pennies needed to download the fruits of my labours, you might want to wait a day or so to see if it’s worth it.

Seriously though, I’d like to thank all these wonderful blogs for taking part, and the lovely Rachel Gilby for organising it.

(Clickable links to all of the blogs are below the image)

Book Tour

24th Oct 

Vikbat

Ali – the Dragon Slayer

Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews

25th Oct

Book Lover in Florida

Everywhere and Nowhere

My Eclectic Reads

26th Oct

Dash Fan’s Book Reviews

Turdah

My Reading Corner

27th Oct

Sal’s World Of Books

Books, Life and Everything

Kim The Bookworm

28th Oct

Little Ray of Sunshine

The Quiet Knitter

Bookaholic Confessions

29th Oct

Novel Gossip

Writing Around The Block – Christina Philippou

30th Oct

Whispering Stories

Black Cat Book Reviews

Short Book and Scribes


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

Twenty Five Things I Would Tell My Fifteen Year Old Self…


One of the characters in My Girlfriend’s Perfect Ex-Boyfriend is Gary. A troubled fifteen year old lad who’s as bright as a button, but in need of a father figure.

I loved writing him. And as the story developed, I, like my protagonist Ade, developed quite a fondness for this fresh faced youngster.

It started me thinking, if it were possible to somehow nip back in time and visit my fifteen year old self – or perhaps just send a message back somehow (maybe a text message – oh hang on, mobile phones hadn’t been invented – still, excellent idea for a plot) – what sage words of wisdom would I give myself?

Well, fans of How To Do Everything And Be Happy won’t be surprised to know that faced with this conundrum, I made a list. Just in case.

Here then is everything that I wish fifteen year old Peter Jones had read in a note that somehow appeared in his inside coat pocket.

  1. Your current girlfriend: She’s not ‘the one’. Ditch her. Really.
  2. Your stories are good, but you need to write a zillion words before anything REALLY good comes out. Start now.
  3. The formula is *not* YOU + THE GIRL = HAPPINESS, the formula is YOU + HAPPINESS = THE GIRL
  4. You are okay.
  5. Qualifications are a complete and utter waste of time.
  6. Take the full time job at Boots. Forget about a ‘career’. Write on your evenings and weekends. You’ll love it.
  7. Move out of home. Now. Never go back.
  8. Save up.
  9. When you can, buy shares in a company called ‘Google’
  10. You are okay.
  11. Long hair is fine.
  12. …But cut it off long before you’re thirty.
  13. You are okay.
  14. There aren’t different ‘types’ of love. It’s all love. And there’s plenty to go around.
  15. Have you started those zillion words yet?
  16. You are okay.
  17. Trust your instincts. They’re right 99.9999% of the time.
  18. Forget how you’d like the world to work – figure out how it ACTUALLY works.
  19. Beware the word ‘should’
  20. Business people are only interested in making money
  21. You are okay.
  22. Most ‘how to get published’ advice is utter BS. Ignore it.
  23. Publishers are business people. See number 20.
  24. Hearts break. But they also mend.
  25. You are okay.

So what would you tell your fifteen year old self? I’m curious to know. Let me know in the comments below. (If you’re reading this in an email, click here to visit the blog)


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

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

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

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

 

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!

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

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.)