A day to go until I step out in front of an audience at the beautiful Burgh Island Hotel and start talking about my new book, A Game of Chess. Now, I’m sitting in my office; boxes of the new books, posters, book marks, postcards, jiffy bags, are stacked on the floor. I’m rather pleased about the beermats – which show the book’s cover with an invitation to ‘take this to the bar and get £1.00 off’. There are some rather natty little carrier bags bearing the words ‘I’ve bought A Game of Chess by John Simes’. Best of all, the fund-raising pack from https://www.jigsaw4u.org.uk/ arrived this morning.

The books themselves are ‘real’ books, with that ‘new book’ smell and feel. It is amazing to open one and see my words scattered across the pages – you have the strange feeling that somehow this book was written by somebody else called John Simes. But of course, it all came out of my head, these 97,863 words that have magically assembled together to tell a story that I think everyone should know. Strange and mysterious. And somehow wonderful.

Not all plain sailing. The upload to Kindle has been frustrating to say the least! I keep getting strange emails from KDP asking to me to do perplexing nonsensical tasks. Now the cover is the wrong size! This time, the brilliant Phil Johns (PJ Studio) is setting up the website www.johnsimes.co.uk – that will go live next Friday, and I’m still tapping out content – including this.

When I started writing this blog, I was struggling to know who it was for. It felt like putting a message in a bottle and hurling it into the sea or acting in an empty theatre (I’ve done that before!) but some lovely people at Book Connectors put me straight. ‘You readers are your audience’ and I have to master the art of using # and linking this and that.

So I have an image of who my readers are, and presumably, who you are! Everything about me is revealed in the book – it flows through it, like a subterranean stream, that bubbles up and erupts above the surface – not always with any great clarity, like here:

‘Sometimes we live on the edge of reason. I look at the world and the decisions of politicians and religious leaders, and I feel it is more rational to operate from the earth’s rim than to rely on our systems and structures and hierarchies. I’m blathering, but I believe it to be true. Is that madness? To look around you and perceive truth, but because you cannot clutch it in your fingers and it disintegrates like dust in your grasp, you just look in the mirror and say that what you have just seen or felt or touched must be false – as it is not, or is no longer, real?

Whatever that is.

Don’t misunderstand. I am a man of reason. Master of my soul. Suspicious of anyone who wears the cloak of priesthood, who claims to know the truth.’

An upsurge of emotion, without too much logic…and then the stream disappears underground again. And I suppose it follows that you – having read at least some of the books – will want to stand, like Gerald (in A Game of Chess), and look deeply into the heart of things.

Dear friends, let us enjoy our journey together.


"Brilliant descriptions of characters and places enrich a twisty plot that kept me guessing right to the end. John Simes is a master story teller."James Stevenson, Author