Symi Dream

Living on a Greek island

A Greek island blog from Symi in the Dodecanese islands of Greece. "James’s great talent lies in his careful observation of the absurd and the amusing, the dramas and the difficulties..." Anne Zouroudi.

Symi Dream - Living on a Greek island

Remotely and Honestly

Remotely and Honestly

Apparently, one of my most endearing characters is the mysterious wonder-worker, Miss P. She made her first appearance in a book called ‘Remotely’, and later she is found in a novella, ‘Honestly.’ Actually, in timeline terms, Honestly comes first, but you can read them in either order. I am currently working on a new Miss P story, ‘Unforgivable’ or ‘Unforgivably’, I’ve not decided yet. I intended to have each Miss P title as an adverb. Tomorrow, I’m going to put up the first chapter of ‘Unforgivable’ for you to take a look at. I should mention that it is draft one and unedited/proofed, but I’m sure you can overlook that. Meanwhile, here’s the info on the other two Miss P stories.


Britain’s newest and most pointless TV talent competition is coming to Middlestone-On-Sea. ‘So You Think We’re Remotely Interested?’ has taken Friday night viewers by storm as it streams live variety shows from remote, provincial theatres across Britain. The theatre with the most audience votes wins regeneration and revival, and lord knows, Middlestone-on-Sea needs both. The dying seaside backwater rests its hopes on the performance of two ex-best friends, gay Gary and straight Stag.

The visiting celebrity judge, the mysterious and timeless Miss P, knows that for all to be well, they must mend their broken friendship. But there is no success without trial. She magically swaps Gary and Stag into each other’s bodies. Secrets are learned, comedy ensues, and yet the community remains divided.

Rifts must be healed, differences accepted, and bodies swapped back before the season grand finale in four days’ time otherwise Middlestone will lose everything.

“A really laugh out loud kind of holiday book. I used to live in the area that the author did and can totally connect with his train of thoughts about people. This book is a really fun easy read, James Collins should turn this into a mini series …I am a great advocate of his books and look forward to the next one please….” Amazon review

You don’t have to wait any longer because here’s Honestly (Kindle only, but it is only $0.99)


Having cured Shakespeare of writer’s block, Miss P finds herself in the 20th century attending to a similar problem in a small fishing village. The timeless and slightly magical Miss P knows that the only way to solve the problem is to cause a friendship, and the only way to do that is to cause the whole village to speak honestly. As you can imagine, comedy ensues.

“I read Honestly in one sitting whilst on the train from Newcastle to Halifax. The characters were well thought out and when they suddenly started to tell the truth their antics were hilarious. The vicar was my favourite and I would love to meet him. Also makes you think about how we treat people because we put them into compartments without seeing the individual. Am ready for my next James Collins novel.” Amazon review.

Well, it might take me a while, but ‘Unforgivably’ is taking shape. There’s a preview coming tomorrow.

Symi Books (3)

Symi Books (3)

Now then, if you like a bit of a treasure hunt adventure, comedy, Symi history and reading books where you might recognise certain people and places, you should like ‘Jason and the Sargonauts.’

Jason and the SargonautsJason and the Sargonauts

A mysterious iron chest arrived on the island of Symi, Greece in 1882 and was immediately hidden for its own safety.

121 years later and Jason is working as a holiday rep for SARGO holidays. When his grandmother turns up as one of his guests, she brings with her a locked cigarette case, left to Jason by his recently departed grandfather and given to him on Symi in 1944. The case is opened and reveals a piece of music, but the music is not what it seems, and Jason and his small group of pensioners soon realise that they have stumbled on a secret that has been kept hidden on Symi all these years. A secret both dangerous and valuable.

“This is Dan Brown meets Whitehall Farce with a bit of education about Symi’s history thrown in for good measure. Set on the Greek island of Symi, it’s a fast paced whodunnit with lots of laughs and loads of page turning moments. Yes, it was hard to put down. This book deserves a large audience and stands up there with the best novels about contemporary Greece.” Amazon review

Tomorrow, in our book tour, we leave Symi and set off on another mysterious adventure…

Symi Books (2)

Symi Books (2)

Today’s books continue the living on Symi theme. ‘Symi 85600’ covers our first five years here, ‘Carry On’ covers the next year or so (see yesterday’s post), and ‘Village View’ takes us all the way through 2013. Symi, Stuff & Nonsense fills in some gaps, adds to ‘85600’, and contains some travel stories from my past.


Village View

Village View

A year living on Symi, a Greek island. James’ blog posts from 2013, edited and set out in printed form with images by Neil Gosling, take us through one whole year living on a small Greek island in southeast Greece. From winter storms to summer visitors, from photo walks to book signings, and from goats to shrimp festivals, Village View gives us an upfront, honest and mildly edited account of James and Neil’s eleventh year on Symi.

“Please read this book, it will give you a warm gooey feeling and make you laugh, and teach you SO much. His love of the Greek Island of Symi is immense and his concern for its future prosperity is humbling. We can all help these beautiful islands by continuing to visit and letting them know we really care.” Amazon review

Symi Stuf & Nonsense _ebook - smallerSymi, Stuff & Nonsense

Part memoir, part observation, this scrapbook of anecdotes and witty observations takes us from Romney Marsh to Greece via a graveyard campsite, an adult film festival, and some unusual wordplay. What to expect when dining with the Turin jet set, what to learn when moving to Symi, and how to behave when held at gunpoint in Egypt; it’s all here along with a few train journeys, some mountaineering, and Symi’s first civil partnership.


“The logophile James Collins gives us a generous and entertaining peep into his life through his travels, his wordsmithery, and at times a quirky look at the day to day happenings on the magical island of Symi where he and his husband now live. Perhaps Symi has found its own Bill Bryson.” Amazon review.

Another book tomorrow…