I'm proud to announce that The Nine Lives of Summer, my 10th published book, and my 4th cat book, came out in paperback/ebook worldwide on 1st March 2023.
Reviews have been excellent everywhere - in YOUR CAT magazine and others, plus genuine reviews on USA Amazon, NetGalley, are mostly 5 and 4 star. As have sales - over 700 and counting. Worldwide, paperback & ebook.
March was the 10th anniversary of the publication of the first, A Cat Called Dog, which is still very popular - it spawned a shorter child-friendly version and a sequel. A Cat Called Dog 2 - The One with the Kittens (2017). Film rights options interest. I am proud of them all!
That is what is great about books - they are born & remain. The malicious hateful fake reviews from non-authors have all the permanence of farts and about as much meaning LOL.
But books, they LAST and are there for evermore. I am SO proud to have published 10 books since 2010, almost half a million well-written words, bought & read by QUALITY educated readers worldwide (esp USA, Germany, Scandinavia for some reason). Some famous fans too, politicians (MPs, lords), household names (David Attenborough, Vera Lynn, Lady Anne Dodd, Julia Baird - John Lennon's sister...). The largest creative agency in LA even got in touch. Yup, Hollywood!
AND they all sell - THE NINE LIVES OF SUMMER has sold over 700 copies as I mentioned (the average for a first novel incl from major publishers is 400), my quote book THINKING TIME has sold over 800 copies and still sells in ebook every year WITH NO PROMOTION from me or adverts; my poetry debut THE LOVED ONES has sold over 160 (which is great for poetry esp when not promoted by state-funded arts bodies - to compare, the national poet of Wales a few years back only sold 150 of her new poetry collection!) Trashy ebook genre fiction 'sells' loads - though most ebook novels are given away FREE. Not my interest. Quality trumps quantity for me.
My poems are in the Covid collections of the National Library of Wales & Museum of London, and Strawberry Field (sic), the new hub for education/training in Liverpool - John Lennon's sister Julian Baird (who wrote the book Nowhere Boy, which became the film) emailed me to say THE LOVED ONES poetry collection is in their library, and may well be used in sessions.
SO onwards and upwards, to the future and leaving the losers behind!
Haters gonna hate. Let them. I do not care about them enough to hate them - they are just repulsive nothings. Non-authors too.
They diminish themselves with their malicious, vindictive hate, all that vile spite and bile festering and blistering inside making them sicker than they are already.
Karma? Who knows? Who cares? I don't.
I have a life - as an accomplished author. I rise above it all.
The Nine Lives of Summer is a heart-warming tale ideal for both children and adult cat lovers of all ages.
It is the purr-fect book for fans of A Street Cat Named Bob and A Cat Called Dog, as well as stories about refugees such as The Boy at the Back of the Class.
“A heart-warming tale with a life-affirming message.”
“Often funny, sometimes sad, always full of hope.”
One cat, nine lives and a quest to find a way home
Summer is a cat living happily with ten-year-old girl Sami and her family in Syria. Then the war comes.
Sami and her parents are forced to make the heart-wrenching decision to flee as refugees, leaving Summer behind.
On her journey through nine lives in a dozen countries, Summer discovers her purpose – to find Sami again.
The quest leads Summer all over the world, meeting diverse people from a vast array of cultures and backgrounds, through exciting adventures and heart-break, desperate struggle and survival. But she never ever gives up hoping and searching.
Will Summer ever find Sami, and be reunited with her family in her furever home once again?
ISBN 978-1-3999-4432-8 - Published by Two Fat Cats Publishing, 1st March 2023
Price £7.99 paperback; £3.99 eBook.
Available from Amazon and bookstores worldwide.
Author website: www.vanston.co.uk ; Twitter: @9LivesofSummer
ALSO I am making the first 50 pages or so, 8 chapters, available here FOR FREE: https://www.book2look.com/book/rpoTIljtSb
A Viking Prayer Before Dying
Oh, Odin, Thor, Loki!
All ye gods, hear me now
As I prepare for battle with axe and shield,
When I shall spill my wet Viking blood
To water the earth which gave me life –
The land that formed the first man.
Oh Odin! The All-father!
I swear on my arm-ring and my ancestors
That I shall die with joy in my heart
And a bloody axe in my hand
In battle, on my feet, fighting for the Viking way –
I pity the men who are alive at the end of this fateful day!
My life has been full and, perhaps, too long –
Long enough to ache my old bones, fade my eyes,
And sprout grey hairs in my beard,
As I have seen far too many moons,
And many summers and winters too,
Of a vast world now larger than when I was born,
And which one day, by my blood, will all be Viking,
And give sacrifice to the gods for so being.
I have sailed the great whale-road to the west
And in the best of our ships with my brothers,
And with my sons, living and dead,
Followed the shadow of the sun-setting sky,
To lands strange and changed,
To Christian England and Lindisfarne,
To Paris, great spired city of gold and stone,
To a land of fire and ice where some say the gods themselves sleep.
And further west, to where the great shoals of cod-fish – the size of a man! –
Swim seething so thick inside the sea
That you can almost walk on their watery backs
To the land – that western land unknown,
A place peopled by an unfamiliar race,
Yet one which somehow resembles our traders from the east,
With dress and traditions strange, and dark of face,
With smooth skin the colour of estuary mud,
Where we plied our Viking trade,
Yet also plundered what was now ours,
As tribute and as slaves,
Which is our right, granted by the gods who made us,
Though who made them, I cannot say –
I trust the gods to know the way.
Oh Odin! Oh All-father!
Release me this day from this awful life,
So that my flesh-decked bones may rot away,
Unslave me from the chains of this world,
Free me from this hell today,
With honour, happiness and glory,
So I may drink my fill forever with my Viking brothers,
In the great, hallowed hall of Valhalla.
Well here they are, the result of 15 years' hard work, almost half a million words, 10 books including a collection of poetry, 3 satirical novels, 4 cat novels/stories, a non-fiction quote book, and a Christmas poem picture book.
Thousands of hours' work; thousands in investment in myself and NOT a penny of public subsidy. I would have earned more on minimum wage stacking shelves, frankly.
Was it worth it? Yes and no.
It will be if the Nazi Crime Thriller novel ( a very psychological and original speculative story) I have just completed (1st draft) gets signed up by an agent/publisher for a series, with TV/film rights, for sure. It'd make a great movie - actually, my writing is all very cinematic so most of my books would make great films too (animation maybe for the cat stories).
But yes of course, it is a MASSIVE achievement and I am proud of the originality and high quality of all my books. Tbh despite sound commercial arguments, I have no interest in churning out genre ebooks in production-line-crime or romantic escapism genres as some do - but whatever floats your boat... They can work their side of the street, and I shall work mine.
All my books are in public libraries and The British Library. My pandemic poems are in the National Library of Wales and Museum of London 'Covid' archive collections for evermore...
I am pleased to announce the publication of my debut collection of poetry, THE LOVED ONES - A COLLECTION OF PANDEMIC POEMS ABOUT LOVE AND LOSS, by Jem Vanston, on 9th April 2022.
There are 54 poems in the collection, including 10 song lyrics - 9 have links to online demo recordings of the songs, so it's a real multimedia project! Most were written in 2020/21.
It's a diverse collection of poems, some darky funny, others very moving. Lots of poems about grief, bereavement, loss, death but also love - and hope.
Quite a few war poems here - First and Second World War poems, a Falklands poem (song), Viking, Roman, ancient warrior themes. Inspired by the war on Covid really but now sadly and tragically very timely as the war in Ukraine rages.
Two poems here are in the National Library of Wales Covid Collection - POEM OF THE PLAGUE YEAR and TWENTY-TWENTY: A YEAR IN THE LIFE (read them on the NEWS page of this website). The latter was also featured on That's Swansea Bay TV on November 5th 2020 (anyone interested can scroll back on Facebook to that clip), and also praised as 'poignant' by a representative of Her Majesty the Queen. It is most unusual for replies from royalty to include an opinion, so maybe the poem was read by our monarch. Who knows?
The paperback costs £8.99 - feel free to email me if you want to order a signed copy (email@example.com). The eBook is £3.99 - and the songlinks work better on there.
Here is the Amazon.co.uk link to the book (copy and paste):
1st SEPTEMBER 2021
I am proud to announce publication of my book of quotes:
'THINKING TIME: 365 inspiring, amusing and thought-provoking quotes to get you through the year'
£7.99 paperback - the perfect Christmas present!
Great for quotes for lessons, lectures, services, speeches. Also useful for developing 'Intelligent Mindfulness' - a quote a day for a year for a daily mindfulness focus. And you'll learn something!
Plenty of quotes from Ancient Greece/Rome/China; plenty of quotes from authors, artists, politicians, actors, musicians, film/pop stars too - as reflects my education and interests.
Lots of wise and witty quotes, and great fun too!
Plenty of quotes from people of all nationalities, faiths, races and women. But ALL quotes are there ON MERIT ALONE. I vehemently oppose the patronising racism/sexism of race/gender quotas + only included quotes I feel are worthy of inclusion in my book.
Glad to get fellow Dartford boy Mick Jagger there on his birthday in July, and Freddie Mercury on his birthday 5th September.
Other pop stars include John Lydon, Annie Lennox, Keith Richards, Stevie Wonder, Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon also in there, reflecting my musical background, and film stars such as Charlie Chaplin there too. Women include Amy Johnson, Victoria Wood, Oprah Winfrey and many, many more. Loads of authors and poets in there too, and various politicians, historical figures and thinkers.
I dislike slushy, schmaltzy, spiritual motivational quote books and there are so many other there, so avoided such huggy-wuggy touchy-feely fluffy slushy quotes! Though there are some quotes by saints - St David on 1 March - and plenty by various philosophers from all of human history and around the world.
Some have quotes on the day they died such as Dylan Thomas, Prince Philip, Amy Johnson and many more. Some readers may notice the clever choice of quotes for significant dates; others will not. It does not matter - the book still works if they do not!
Anyway, enjoy your THINKING TIME!
I promise this will be a book of quotes you go back to time and again over the years, because the quotes are so diverse, witty, wise, fun and classic - and for every occasion.
MARCH 2020 - SOMEWHERE IN EUROPE, my Swansea Campus Novel.
I am proud to announce that my new campus novel SOMEWHERE IN EUROPE was published on 28th March 2020.
Set in an unnamed and fictional university town in South Wales, my tale has a great deal to say about the education system, woke snowflake censorship, New Puritan culture, gender politics, Brexit and Remain issues, the EU, the state of the nation. Available from bookshops (though they all closed on 24th March!) and the usual online sellers (though there may be a delay in lockdown).
The BEST place to buy it is direct from the publisher who can fulfil orders quickly at any time, lockdown or no:
Somewhere in Europe is also available to buy direct from me - signed copy - for cover price + £3 postage, or from publisher website, or to buy or order from bookshops, or, if you must, Amazon (who snaffle 60% of cover price but at least stock books by smaller writers, unlike most bookstores).
This novel has been called 'The Lucky Jim of now'. Or, as it says on the back cover, "It's like a cross between Catch-22 and Lucky Jim for the Brexit Generation". It is dark satire and laugh-out-loud funny at times too, but with some very moving scenes and characters too.
Worried about where education is going and how freedom of speech is under threat these days? Then this is the novel for you!
The novel predicts BLM and the taking down of statues and portraits of white men too - it has already happened in The Town in the story.
Any reviewer or media person wanting any further information can contact me via this website or the publishers. Many thanks.
My Christmas poem SANTA GOES ON STRIKE was published on 30th September 2018, as a colour-illustrated paperback and ebook. (Repromoted for Christmas 2019 with WH Smith book store signings! Maybe in the run-up to Christmas 2020 too...)
It's a funny, heart-warming, meaningful poem picture book with WONDERFUL illustrations (based on my specifications) for both children and adults, and ideally is to be read aloud by families at Christmas. A fitting tribute to my late mum Marjorie who loved my poem and used to read it aloud to her friends at the many Christmas lunches she used to go to every year. It always went down a storm! (I now have it translated into French too, for media in France/Canada).
Paperback widely available online, but eBook not available on Amazon (they do not support fixed-file layout for some reason) so only available on Kobo or Apple or the online bookshop of the Cardiff publishers:
PERFECT for a Christmas present for both children and adults!
"A modern-day classic!" "A real gem!" "delightful"
Please see the REVIEWS page (top menu) for all the wonderful reviews and feedback for SANTA GOES ON STRIKE - which includes some very famous people too! Thanks to them for their replies! Much appreciated. Odd that strangers show more interest than local media or bookshops here in Swansea, but I guess that explains why we didn't win CITY OF CULTURE for 2021. Well done Coventry - you deserve it.
I shall be promoting SANTA GOES ON STRIKE in the run-up to Chrismas 2019 due to popular demand and the wonderful reviews. Signings at branches of WH Smith, definitely - updates nearer the time. But probably Swansea, Llanelli, Carmarthen, maybe Cardiff, possibly even branches in England. Watch this space.
Out 31st August 2017, A CAT CALLED DOG 2 - THE ONE WITH THE KITTENS was finally published.
Suitable for both children and adults. No need to read the first book to understand and enjoy this one. Excellent reviews in Cat World, The Bookbag, NetGalley etc.
Or order from your bookshop.
If in USA or outside UK, your own country's Amazon will be stocking it.
Jem Vanston AKA PJ Vanston is also author of the satirical campus novel Crump (Troubador:2010), cat lover novel A Cat Called Dog (Troubador:2013), plus the illustrated children's/crossover version of A Cat Called Dog (Austin Macauley:2015) - and A Cat Called Dog 2 (out 31/8/2017). Occasional writer of short stories and winner of prizes too. Author of Christmas picture book (for all ages) Santa Goes On Strike (2018).
I'm also a published song writer (music and lyrics) and musician (piano/keyboards/bass guitar), and have written over 100 songs. Listen to some of my demos here: https://soundcloud.com/user-217675148
PJ Vanston is the author of a new scathing satire on the television industry, the BBC and reality TV: Rasmus - a television tale (Troubador: October 2016). This may soon be optioned by the biggest film agency in the USA. Order via Amazon:
http://www.troubador.co.uk/book_info.asp?bookid=4061 (author page)
REVIEW (4 stars!) here: http://www.thebookbag.co.uk/reviews/index.php?title=Rasmus:_A_Television_Tale_by_PJ_Vanston
To order the illustrated children's version of A Cat Called Dog by Jem Vanston, please use the following information:
Paperback (£6.99) ISBN: 9781784559595
Hardback (£12.99) ISBN: 9781784559618
Also available in all decent national book shops now.
The original 2013 edition of A Cat Called Dog can be purchased here:
To hear radio interviews click on the sound files on the left side of this webpage:
My first novel - a dark campus satire called Crump - is sold out of paperback (hurrah!) but still available in e-book format + still selling:
A sequel will be out in 2020/2021.
Here is my author page on one of my publishers' websites:
See news of upcoming publications and events:
I am proud to announce that The Nine Lives of Summer, my new cat story - for kids and cat-loving adults too - was published on 1st March 2023 via Two Fat Cats Publishing - on the tenth anniversay of class cat novel A Cat Called Dog being published. "A heart-warming tale with a life-affirming message." "Often funny, sometimes, sad, always hopeful." This diverse tale starts in Syria, where the war forces a family to flee, then travels to a dozen countries (Australia, India, Japan/China, Greenland, USA/Canada, Italy, Spain, Wales) through the nine lives of Summer, via a vast array of diverse cultures and people.
For review copies or interview requests, just email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact via Twitter @9LivesofSummer or via this author website.
My debut collection of poetry THE LOVED ONES - A COLLECTION OF PANDEMIC POEMS ABOUT LOVE AND LOSS was published 9 April 2022. It comprises 54 poems; including 10 lyrics with 9 online links to the demo song recordings provided via links in the book. Two poems are in National Museum Covis Archives: POEM OF THE PLAGUE YEAR and TWENTY-TWENTY: A YEAR IN THE LIFE, which was featured on Swansea TV and was called 'poignant' by a representative of Her Majesty the Queen. Available on Amazon or in shops worldwide to order or in Harrisons, Uplands and Cover to Cover, Mumbles, and also distributed by the Wales Books Council to any Welsh bookshop which wants to order stock.
"THINKING TIME - 365 Inspiring, Amusing and Thought-provoking quotes to get you through the year", my diverse quote book, is out now. Not in shops (except 2 in Swansea) but available on Amazon as paperback and ebook - the perfect Christmas or other present for all ages. Intelligent Mindfulness with funny, insightful quotes from individuals from throughout history up to the present day. To dip into, read through or use for mindfulness daily.
On 28th March 2020 my new satirical campus/Brexit novel was published - my 7th book. SOMEWHERE IN EUROPE is a real epic - funny, moving and timely. A state of the nation novel which has something to say.
If you'd like to get in touch, please just email:
Twitter: @acatcalleddog @ThinkingQuotes7