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!
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org). 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 very proud to announce that my debut collection of poetry THE LOVED ONES - A COLLECTION OF PANDEMIC POEMS ABOUT LOVE AND LOSS published 9 April 2022. 54 poems; including 10 lyrics with online links to the song recordings provided in the book. Some poems have already been shared - such as 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.
"THINKING TIME - 365 Inspiring, Amusing and Thought-provoking quotes to get you through the year", my new diverse quote book, is out now. Not in shops (except 2 in Swansea) but available on Amazon as paperback and eboook - 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