Great Feedback from readers of THE LOVED ONES 29.7.22

It is always lovely to hear from those who read my books.


I have some famous fans, and also fans internationally who email me - Stephan H in Germany, for example. Some in Italy, Scandinavia, USA. And an old friend, David, in Canada who emailed me this: 


"I received your poetry book, The Loved Ones, yesterday and soon started to read it. Once I started, I couldn't put it down. It's often very poignant, often funny (in a cheeky sort of way.) You certainly conveyed the experience of being in lockdown and the toll it took on our psyche. I shared my thoughts with a few of my other friends. I think some of my friends would certainly be moved by your signal poem, The Loved Ones.Grief never goes away, you just learn to live with it.


There is a tenderness in the poems, a spiritual sense, that was very moving. 

I'm seriously surprised that a major publishing house would not want to publish these poems. I had to stop reading them yesterday as supper was beckoning (am at page 63 "Forgotten Warriors") but will continue to the end.

Thanks for suggesting I buy this collection! It is truly a stellar achievement!​​​​​​​​​​






"Hi again,

I finished reading "The Loved Ones", and thoroughly enjoyed it. I could relate to so much, both the good and the bad. It touched on a lot of my moods and experiences, both good and bad. Also a lot of wisdom you imparted in the latter part of the collection was very welcome.

I certainly related to the poem on page 103: "I Am Tired". I have often felt this way. 

I also appreciated the words on page 119: "So much undone, unfinished, incomplete/So much unstarted, unlived/unbegun./When death's dark face we're forced to meet,/Our life's sweet song remains half-sung." I remember a popular (and very thoughtful) Canadian songstress who once commented she couldn't understand when people would say they have no regrets. She herself said she had many regrets in life (and she's a successful singer and songwriter!) I feel exactly the same way as Jann.

It seems to me that one's life can be littered with regrets. You just have to live with this reality. For we still have good moments.

A European-Canadian friend of mine born and raised in Cairo, Egypt (and among other languages speaks fluent Arabic) once shared with me a common Arabic expression about the lived reality of most people's lives. There will be: "Days of honey, days of onion..." That just about says it all.""





Reviews - from Julia Baird (John Lennon's sister), Jeremy Corbyn MP et al (17.6.22)

It is always lovely to receive feedback in any form.


In my experience, Sir David Attenborough always posts a hand-written thank you within a week of my posting him a book. Some achievement for a 96 year old! I have 10 or 11 letters from him (2010-2022).


Nice to get an email from John Lennon's (half) sister (named after their mother) who said that after reading the poems she had passed The Loved Ones on to Strawberry Field (sic),  a centre for wellbeing, education and training for young people now. 


This email just received from Jeremy Corbyn MP, a huge poetry fan, I found out, when he wrote me a lovely letter praising SANTA GOES ON STRIKE in late 2018. This is his recent email:


"Many thanks for sending me a copy of the Loved Ones.

I think I'm late in saying so but didn't want to this lovely book of poetry by Jem Vanston go unacknowledged.

It is kind of you.

Best wishes,

Jeremy Corbyn MP"



UKRAINE 2022: The Sunflowers will Sing our Victory (29.5.22)

Below is a poem I wrote yesterday. It is based on a poem called Forgotten Warriors, on page 62 of my poetry collection The Loved Ones. Most lines here are new; I have kept in/adapted some lines/phrases which I think really work, to describe both the ancient war context and the one Ukraine is facing now in 2022. Enjoy:


Ukraine 2022

The Sunflowers will Sing our Victory


The hardest rain of blood and dust

Settles on the skeleton dead,

Russian tanks all turned to rust,

Our bluest rivers running red.


The loyal defenders of Ukraine,

Resist the cruel invader’s might;

We bear the cost, we brave the pain,

Our independence is our right.


There are always wars to turn young men to mud,

Always hearts which yearn to beat fierce and free,

Yet from these fields of bones and blood,

The sunflowers will sing our victory.


Slava Ukraini!

Glory to Ukraine!

International Nurses' Day 2022 11.5.22


I am delighted to announce publication of my debut collection of poetry, THE LOVED ONES, a month late but no matter... 


It looks FABULOUS and has 54 poems, including 10 lyrics to songs, 9 of which have links to the SOUNDCLOUD.COM demo recordings of the songs, so a real multimedia experience. The eBook better for that, as a click on the links takes you to the songs (£3.99 for that; £8.99 paperback - feel free to contact me for signed copies on


Sadly, the war poems in the book are tragically timely and regrettably relevant what with the war in Ukraine. For that, here is a poem from the book in tribute:


War Graves


They walk to the war graves like broken ghosts

Lost amongst the lovely bones

Of boys who will never be coming home,

Searching for the son, the husband, the brother, the dad,

Who never got to see any flowered funerals for the friendly dead.


The shame and pride of noisy boys lies silent here,

The ageless awkward teen-age talk, the exquisite pain and joy of it all,

Dreaming wicked and fearless in the fearsome frontline trench;

Now they lie with time unending inside the unempty earth with death’s spent stench,

To find some kind of silence in the all-seeing skull-white eye of an unseen sky.


The grim arithmetic of an efficient age listed all the names,

Even the eggshell fragments of skull skulking under the mud,

As if wanting never to be found – yet all totted up together in the ledger,

Even if lost forever – the scraps of flesh, nerves, teeth, and deep puddles of blood –

The faceless names unknowable carved coldly in stone as old as bones.


A widow in between-the-wars black stands silent in the cemetery by one of the neat, regimented rows of gravestones,

This small patch of land officially designated to house what was left of her boy’s beautiful body –

A boy who died with his first attempted moustache, the life bursting through his skin, like most of his friends,

His mother’s face fading blind in his dying child-bright eyes –

No tears or weeping as she rereads the engraved words that she herself chose as carefully as she once chose her new-born baby’s name:

“Into the glittering crown of victory,

I place my most precious jewel – my son.”


She bows and places a single flower on the manicured grass of the grave, then

Leaves alone, knowing that every beginning has – must have – an inevitable end,

And tells herself that not all the gold and diamonds in the world,

Nor any priceless gems precious and rare,

Have the worth of one single life

Lived in the service of others.


Twenty-twenty-one: a Year in the Life

I wrote my poem 'Twenty-twenty: a Year in the Life' last year - do scroll down to read that, and see photo page for my appearance on local TV talking about it. It will be in my first collection of poetry to be published March 2022, all being well.


Sadly, this winter seems a rerun of last year, with lockdown coming on 27th in Wales (level 2).


Ever prepared, I have also rewritten it as Twenty-twenty-two: a Year in the Life' and it may well be worth prepping a new version for every year of this 1920s decade. The new abnormal normal for us, it seems.


Feel free to share the poem below - which is best appreciated read out loud, a bit like the speech of a leader or general in a war. The reason I chose the town is that this is a war really, against this virus and disease. ENJOY! If that is the right word...




Twenty-twenty-one: a Year in the Life


It’s been a long year,

It’s been a hard year;

It’s been a year of sorrow

And almost unbearable pain.

It’s been a year of fear and suffering

And near-constant worry

In our new normal, abnormal lives.

It’s been a year when every door seemed to close

Even as it opened, as the world shut down dead,

And a pandemic opened our eyes to a nightmare.

It’s been a year of tears and fears and bad imaginings,

Which strangely often seemed better than the reality around us.

It’s been a year of silent isolation,

As we lived on alone, remotely,

Separated from our loved ones,

By the thin mirrored skin of a digital screen, if at all.

It’s been – it was – a year that started so well,

Until a new-hatched virus crawled into the world

To darken the hurt surface of the earth

And change everything utterly.

It’s been a year of grief, sorrow, longing,

And of relentless pain for far too many –

A year we would probably all rather forget,

And yet.

It’s been a year of being together, alone, but

United and strong in the constancy of our love.

It’s been a year of unity in the happy shadow of a rainbow,

And one when we have all had to adapt and change,

Though change is not necessarily a bad thing,

Even as we lived through the horror of it all.

It’s been a year when many have paid the ultimate price,

Died fighting this new disease, fallen in an awful war.

And yes, we have all fought bravely, proudly, resolutely,

Against an unseen enemy, which is the worst enemy of all.

It’s been a year of boredom, frustration, economic woes for many,

Unbearable bereavement, grief and suffering for some,

For whom things ended as suddenly as they had once begun –

But now, at last, this long hard year is ending.

Good riddance, as we bid farewell to it then,

As we reassess our lives, try to smile and have fun too,

For we shall live on, and try to begin again.

So goodbye twenty-twenty-one, hello twenty-twenty-two –

Please be kind to us,

For we have seen enough.

Though, whatever happens,

Let our rainbows remind us to smile,

As we strive, in our own small ways,

To carve and create a new and better, healed world

From the raw, ravaged wreckage of the old.



Scar Tissue:

Ode to my Skin Cancer


(Dedicated to the staff of the Welsh NHS)


It started in the bath –

That mirrored mote on my right shoulder,

Its red cratered eye leering back at me with a nasty laugh –

Mocking my body for getting older.


The ‘thing’ is bigger than it used to be, still itchy but now also aching,

There for maybe two years or more,

I try to assess the pain it’s now making,

But the steam mists it invisible as I step wet onto the linoleum floor.


I knew what you were, right then and there,

Of course, I should have known and noticed you a year back at least,

The mark like the devil’s thumb-print on my white Celtic-Nordic skin, just where

The pearly sheen appeared with the itch and ache as you enjoyed your feast.


Thou cankerous cancer festering and feasting on my flesh!

Thou unwanted sick worm burrowing deep inside of me!

Thou rancid cancer-rat gnawing away at a wound raw and fresh –

I almost admire the neat circular symmetry of your wicked surgery.


Of course, everyone’s terrified of cancer – the ’Big C’,

That pinching crab that’s grabbed so many in its ancient claw,

But naturally I never thought it would happen to me,

That once-little ‘O’ of a small spot on my shoulder now an open cancerous sore.


That first hard ‘C’ of ‘cancer’ stabs like a dagger,

That second ‘C’, soft and tender as a mother’s kiss;

And yes, you have subdued my usual casual swagger,

And grown inside me like a deformed twin I can no longer dismiss.


I almost cut you out of me there and then with an old-style razor blade,

Nearly rip off my pink flimsy skin with my own clawed fist;

But that would be a rather homemade way of being horribly flayed,

As if in some Renaissance fresco, as I bleed out and cease to exist.


And yet, I want to rip you out of me – stamp on you – kill – destroy!

Stop your seething cells from eating into me, diseased creature of nasty death!

But what good would that do this all-too-mortal middle-aged boy?

And why should I let you suck from me my last quiet breath?


I think of all the great and wonderful things I shall eventually do,

Before death breathes near and closes my eyes;

So, it’s off to the doctor I go with you,

And what she tells me is no surprise.


Booked in for a dermatologist appointment, then an urgent operation,

It’s all so scarily and impressively efficient,

Consultant seen and photographs taken,

They say about seven stitches should be sufficient.


So there I lie on my side, staring up at the NHS hospital aircon ceiling fan,

As with the dentist, the worst part is the initial injection,

And then I’m sliced open by the surgeon man,

I almost feel sorry for my little cancer’s cut-out rejection.


And so, then it’s over and there’s the wound, the mark,

As promised, seven big black stitches on my white shoulder, just there;

Of course, I’ll tell future lovers I was attacked by a man-eating shark,

Because you can’t hide scar tissue when you’re naked and bare.


There was a time when it seemed to me,

That I would live for evermore;

Now, even at my modest age, I see

That every breath we take from birth warms death’s dark door.


It can happen to anyone, this thing,

And cut a hole in us as quickly as a villain’s hidden knife,

Because the sunshine that makes us laugh and sing,

Can shine alive a monster in the skin to consume and silence life.


Anyway, one day the sun set fire to my skin,

Then, the invisible cancer worm it planted started to hungrily grow,

But it didn’t get anything I have within,

Mine shall be a slow time dying, I know.











My Covid Pandemic Poems 2020-21

I have heard many poems about the pandemic, Covid, the lockdown - some on YouTube videos widely watched; lots of more 'poetry magazine' or 'spoken word' pc woke ones around as commissioned by councils or arts organisations...


That's why I am pleased why people tell me that my 2 pandemic poems (both in the National Library of Wales Covid Collection at Aberwytwyth) are available below - for free! They have in them both sadness and my trademark humour, as well as reflection, stoicism, occasional optimisim even. Written 6 months apart in 2020. Both funny and moving. FEEL FREE TO SHARE (they'll be in my debut poetry collection out in 2022 too, with over 40 other poems).


'Twenty-Twenty: a Year in the Life' was praised by The Queen in a letter as 'poignant' and Captain Tom's charity.


First, the funnier one, written first in April 2020 in the thick of the first pandemic lockdown when we were all in shock from this awful virus: 


Poem of the Plague Year


So it finally happened in twenty-twenty,

Catastrophe came to a world of plenty,

Though twenty-nineteen was when it actually started,

In the woeful conditions of a Wuhan wet market;

A tiny virus jumped from animals to us,

At first no-one made all that much of a fuss,

Except in China, but they were so far away,

Little did we know it was coming our way –

The worst disaster since the Second World War,

Was knock-knock-knocking on our own front door.


So, life went on through the Christmas cheer,

And then continued into another new year,

It wasn’t until March that some started to worry,

And even then most were in too much of a hurry

To take any notice of a cough or a sneeze –

We’d never before known such a deadly disease,

Or how very severely it could affect our health,

And kill so many, and sap our wealth,

Destroy our businesses and jobs and routine,

Create utter chaos – you all know what I mean.


The ‘Chinese virus’ – in inverted commas, right?

Or is that our pc Western way of being polite –

Just hiding the truth from our eyes and ears,

A sensitive media trying to ease our fears?

This new coronavirus can make anyone ill,

And whatever you call it, it can – and will – kill.

The truth can never be racist – fact.

We have to be honest if we are to act,

And change the bad habits that caused this disaster,

Because it’s change we need, not a sticking plaster.


The streets are deserted and look almost clean,

When everyone’s frightened of COVID-19,

We all stay at home, feeling worried and stressed,

And despite some transgressors, most do their best,

Staying indoors, rarely venturing far,

The way life has changed is truly bizarre;

A tsunami of silence has swept o’er the land

And a mountain of toilet roll contraband;

A meal for one, and wine for three –

That’s what social distancing means for me.


An invisible killer prowling the town

To scare us all silly and close us all down

But who would’ve thought that some tiny virus,

Could shut life down, yet so inspire us

To do the stuff we always meant to do,

Like making music, writing poetry too,

Collecting stamps and coins and stuff,

Though after a few weeks, we’ve all had enough,

We really have to get back to work,

If we’re cooped up much longer, we’ll all go berserk.


Stay at home – Save lives – Protect the NHS – YES!

But we could stay imprisoned for years – unless

Some boffin comes up with a vaccine and fast,

And saves our sick world from this virus at last.

A TV full of rubbish and the streets free of cars

And I’m sitting at home eating chocolate bars,

It’s all explained in the headline news,

With everyone everywhere giving their views,

We have to accept we can no longer choose,

And must walk around in ones, not twos.


To adapt and survive in this new reality,

We have to self-isolate to avoid fatality,

But I’m sick of hearing about viruses and bacteria

The never-ending awful breaking news in the media

No football, tennis or Olympics this summer,

Though for me, no music festivals is the bigger bummer;

The news is so scary, I can’t sleep for the thinking,

No wonder I’ve taken to daytime drinking:

A meal for one, and beer for four,

Is the only way I can take any more.


So, I try to remember the world BC,

Before coronavirus and COVID-19,

I recall a time before the Big C,

When life could be normal – occasionally;

But what’s the point of just having a mope,

Unless you’ve run out of liquid soap?

That’s why I’ve started taking naps,

Between virus updates and environmental collapse;

But maybe the news of daily deaths will absorb

The solipsistic self-obsession of this small earthly orb?


The virus, it spreads with every breath,

Leading many an innocent to an untimely death;

It’s affected millions, far and near,

From China, Hong Kong and South Korea,

To Europe, especially Italy,

Which had a hundred thousand workers from Wuhan City,

Then on to Spain, France, Britain – and you,

The USA, and probably Timbuktu too.

It respects no borders as it infects our lands,

So don’t go out, and always wash your hands!


We just have to put our trust in expert academics,

To get us all out of these deadly epidemics;

Meanwhile, in quarantine lock-down we’re resting,

But eventually, most of us will need testing,

To see who has had it, and who’s virus-free,

In our new normal anxious abnormality;

No food left on shelves for those in poverty,

And people out there with no GP.

A meal for one, and vodka for five,

That’s the only thing that’s keeping me alive.


Not to mention sane, because our mental health,

Has taken a hit, as well as our wealth;

I now see the world through a pandemic prism,

In a rainbow land of happy alcoholism.

Sure, I get lonely and sometimes morose,

But not quite enough to take an overdose.

The pubs are all closed so I’m drinking at home,

As I have to self-isolate and stay alone;

I go out to shop sometimes, two metres apart,

And as all know who’ve tried it – that’s quite an art.


We’ve mostly got internet on laptops and screens,

To link up with strangers and friends, so it seems,

But at least we don’t need ICU ventilation,

As kids learn in a land of new home education;

We’re together alone in this state of the nation –

At home with our secrets and sad masturbation,

And alcohol, chocolate and food – if it’s there,

Though if I get drunk enough, I won’t even care.

A meal for one and whisky for eight,

Is how I manage to self-isolate.


Remember a time before COVID-19 –

When cars clogged the roads and the streets were unclean?

When people walked by without gloves made of plastic,

Though some of their facemasks look really fantastic,

Like a robot or stormtrooper – or even Darth Vader,

Though the person who’s wearing it’s a medic first-aider,

Like the health workers helping the vulnerable others,

From kids to the elderly, fathers and mothers,

They bravely continue to assist who they can,

The ill and the lonely, since the virus began.


It’s funny how crises can bring out the best,

In people not sure they were fit for the test,

The neighbours, the friends, and the key workers too,

All helping so selflessly, doing what they can do,

In an uncertain new world full of viral disease,

Which can make us so ill and kill us with ease;

But we can all ride this out if we self-isolate,

So don’t help this thing thrive and incubate.

A meal for one and wine for three,

Is what the lockdown has meant for me.


And if we need comfort in these troubling times,

We can delve into memories of past summer-times;

Discover new music, maybe read an old classic,

Or listen to birdsong, now there’s nearly no traffic;

We can sit still and think about where our life’s going,

About what really matters, now the cracks are all showing.

Stay home – Save lives – Support the NHS. Stay alive!

In an uncertain world, we can all only strive

To just keep on breathing, to try to survive,

Because one thing is certain: we need to survive.


Yes, one thing is certain: WE WILL SURVIVE.



(Written April 13th 2020, in Swansea, Wales, UK)





NOW, the second, later one, about which I was interviewed on THAT'S SWANSEA BAY TV on November 5th, 2020 (available to watch on their Facebook page @ThatsTVSouthWales):



Twenty-Twenty: a Year in the Life


It’s been a long year,

It’s been a hard year;

It’s been a year of sorrow

And almost unbearable pain.

It’s been a year of fear and suffering

And near-constant worry

In our new normal, abnormal lives.

It’s been a year when every door seemed to close

Even as it opened, as the world shut down dead,

And a pandemic opened our eyes to a nightmare.

It’s been a year of tears and fears and bad imaginings,

Which strangely often seemed better than the reality around us.

It’s been a year of silent isolation,

As we lived on alone, remotely,

Separated from our loved ones,

By the thin mirrored skin of a digital screen, if at all.

It’s been – it was – a year that started so well,

Until a new-hatched virus crawled into the world

To darken the hurt surface of the earth

And change everything utterly.

It’s been a year of grief, sorrow, longing,

And of relentless pain for far too many –

A year we would probably all rather forget,

And yet.

It’s been a year of being together, alone, but

United and strong in the constancy of our love.

It’s been a year of unity in the happy shadow of a rainbow,

And one when we have all had to adapt and change,

Though change is not necessarily a bad thing,

Even as we lived through the horror of it all.

It’s been a year when many have paid the ultimate price,

Died fighting this new disease, fallen in an awful war.

And yes, we have all fought bravely, proudly, resolutely,

Against an unseen enemy, which is the worst enemy of all.

It’s been a year of boredom, frustration, economic woes for many,

Unbearable bereavement, grief and suffering for some,

For whom things ended as suddenly as they had once begun –

But now, at last, this long hard year is ending.

Good riddance, as we bid farewell to it then,

As we reassess our lives, try to smile and have fun,

For we shall live on, and try to begin again.

So goodbye twenty-twenty, hello twenty-twenty-one –

Please be kind to us,

For we have seen enough.

Though, whatever happens,

Let our rainbows remind us to smile,

As we strive, in our own small ways,

To carve and create a new and better, healed world

From the raw, ravaged wreckage of the old.




(Written during October 2020, in Swansea, Wales, UK)





Jimmy Carter Thank You Note 29.10.21

I often post of books to notable people - somethingI have done since my first novel CRUMP (2010). For that book, I did it from a standing start to get something a local paper might be interested in - they were, back then, in 2010.


Anyway, I have received emails and letters from a range of inidviduals over the years - including Boris Johnson when Mayor of London and Jeremy Coryby when leader of Labour (signed letters from each), Sir David Attenboroug (I have had ten hand-written notes from him since 2010), Vera Lynn (lovely email via her PA praising SANTA GOES ON STRIKE) and more.


Very occasionally, I shall post a book overseas, though the expense tends to mean I rarely do.


Well, in my new book THINKING TIME there is a quote from President Jimmy Carter on his birthday, October 1 - "We must adjust to changing times and still hold unchanging principles."


So, I posted off a copy to the JC centre in Atlanta, Georgia. Imagine my surpise when, less than a month later, I received a reply:


"Thank you for your kind gift. We appreciate your remembering us in such a thoughtful way and send you our thanks and warm best wishes."


Signed 'Jimmy Carter' and 'Rosalynn Carter'.



THINKING TIME quote book published 7/9/21

So, my first book published via Amazon KDP is now out. '


'THINKING TIME: 365 inspiring, amusing and thought-provoking quotes to get you through the year' is £7.99 paperback and £3.99 eBook, on Amazon and other platforms. 




I read many thousands of quotations in 2018 especially to compile this collection. Then left it over a year. Then came back to it mate 2020 and changed the quotes so many times I lost count.


The quotes are so diverse and varied, but there ON MERIT alone - I deplore race or gender quotas. Plenty of women - there on merit alone too. Very international and spanning the centuries.


The selection obviously reflects my interests, education and sense of humour! Lots of authors in there, and thinkers from Ancient Greece/Rome/China. Lots of artists, politicians, pop stars and actors too.  I also selected some dates for certain quotes deliberately. For example, Freddie Mercury is there on 5 September, his birthday. Same for Mick Jagger, The Queen and others. Dylan Thomas, Amy Johnson, Prince Philip, Princess Diana there on the days they died. Some dates are personal to me with personal quotes. Others on specific dates, eg St David on 1 March St David's Day.


I dislike slushy sentimental quote collections and also the touchy-feeling spiritual type motivational quote books. This is a quote book by me and for me, and so I avoid all that silly schmaltzy stuff.


My first experience with Amazon KDP was mixed. It is - or should be - free to publish on there. However, despite using their own wizard template, the formatting just would not work, so had to pay a guy on for that - a modest $ sum. But annoying.


Anyway, a modest little publication but glad I did it. Some crackers in there - such wonderful quotes.


Can be used for anyone needing quotes for lessons, lectures, sermons, public speaking etc. Also for anyone who just likes intelligent, witty, wise and inspiring quotes.


Also, the book can be used day by day as an aid to mindfulness and meditation - taking some time out. 


I use my own book for all of the above! ENJOY!

'A MASTERPIECE' - new review of SOMEWHERE IN EUROPE campus novel from a senior academic

28.7.21 Every now and then, I get an email or message which makes my day. Two days ago, I got such an email from a senior academic, Eric Kaufman, professor of politics at Birkbeck in London.


I heard him speak on the Moral Maze on BBC Radio 4 in March so posted him a copy of SOMEWHERE IN EUROPE as I believe he was speaking against cancel culture at UK universities these days, which silences freedom of speech, no-platforms speakers, bans books etc. I must say, this made my day.


Glad to hear he laughed along because SOMEWHERE IN EUROPE is a really funny novel - for those who are not too pofaced puritan wokie snowflake to get it. I know it nails the campus culture of now too. And to have my book called a 'masterpiece' - well, I shall bashfully accept the praise! Marketing this novel in lockdown and a woke publishing/bookselling industry and media has been hard. BUT what I say needs to be said, and my books even those for children ALWAYS have something to say and are ALWAYS comic too.


As Kingsley Amis wrote in his campus novel LUCKY JIM: "If you can't annoy somebody, there is little point in writing."


Here is the email message from Professor Eric Kaufman in full:


"Hi Jem,


I just went into the office for the first time in a long while and discovered your kind book and letter. This is a masterpiece and really nails the vibe on campus well! Found myself laughing along, and will be recommending it to other dissenters I know. A great read which reflects our era so well, but which others shy away from,






Professor of Politics, Birkbeck College, University of London"


SCORCHIO! Heatwave Britain 19.7.21

Well it's sweltering scorchio hot in sunny Swansea at the moment, so I am enjoying my early morning walks down our wonderful parks before retreating inside to the cool shade until the evening. No idea how people can lie on a beach in this sun - and as I had skin cancer (removed from my shoulder February 7th 2020 - 7 stiches too), I tend to stay out of the sun. I know August will be rainy in Swansea because it always is - so looking forward to driving to the beach at Caswell and Gower for coastal walks then - no way would I even try to park there now, not with all the locals on school holidays and daytrippers from the Midlands.


Very excited about my new book of quotes - all finished. I started it in 2018. Left it for most of 2019. Then came back to it and have tweaked it a lot since.  A wonderfully diverse range of quotes init - and all there through merit and merit alone (NO diversity quotas from me, la - EVER). 


Some trouble uploading it to Amazon KDP but I suspect it is IT issues their end. I shall keep trying. Then just need a cover (words only) which I'll do myself; blurb already done. Then maybe I shall get a proof copy sent to me JUST to be on the safe side.




Some wonderful quotes in there, from authors, artists, Ancient Romans/Greeks/Chinese too, plus some actors (Anthony Hopkins, Rhys Ifans) and pop stars (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Stevie WOnder, Freddie Mercury et al) and some more obscure quotes too. I cannot wait until it is published - as ebook and paperbacl print on demand available online via Amazon, Kobo etc - and I shall print off copies to make available at local Swansea shops like Harrisons and I hope Cover to Cover in Mumbles too.


A perfect Christmas present and very accessible - also promotes well-being and intelligent mindfulness. WATCH THIS SPACE.


It's always lovely to get great reviews - or personal contact from readers. It makes up for how so much UK and local media totally ignore my books - preferring to focus on gimmicks and boxtickers. Fine. I have a much larger readership in the US/Canada, Germany and Scandinavia than in my home nation and town. The way it is.


Just got a lovely review in the USA and personal emails from readers of SOMEWHERE IN EUROPE in Germany. One called the book and me:


"Honest, brave and fearless. His independence of thought is bracing".


Come to think of it, these may be the exact reasons why the bland woke UK media today ignore my books. But that says more about the state of the UK really, and is not criticism of me or my writing.


I am proud that ALL of my books have something to say and do so with intelligence and humour: the two hallmarks of my author voice. In all my unpublished middle-grade children's books too and my SANTA GOES ON STRIKE picture book poem.


I should hate to write the sort of formulaic factory-production-line writing-by-numbers pc box-ticking gimmicky books I see on the shelves of so many bookstores - I have no ambition to write stuff like that. No matter how high the sales. I do not see the point. I never buy or read such books anyway. I shall remain true to myself and my voice, thank you. Each to his/her/its own. Onwards and upwards!


LOCKDOWN single release 24.3.21

I am pleased to announce the release of my timely song LOCKDOWN, now available on all streaming services (Spotify, itunes etc). Here's a snippet: Pre-save my new single "Lockdown" on Spotify:

My first release as an artist, though intended more as a songwriting calling card than any desire on my part to be a pop star! Hoping to get it played on the radio. My ideal would be an artist doing a big cover version of it. I own all rights and publishing. 

Hong Kong Poem 4.3.21; update 16.3.21

Well, the 'Chinese virus' continues to ravage the world - yet the media never ever calls out China or even mentions the name in connection with Covid-19. Most believe the virus jumped from animals to people, as SARS1 did, via the usual animal abuse at a Chinese wet or wildlife market. The demand for such animals in China is making species extinct which is a total outrage and a scandal. Those wanting to cover this up and never mention China's role in causing the virus should realise Covid19 has so far killed over 2 million people and cost the UK trillions - and counting. SO when will China compensate us and the world?


Sadly, we in the West (or our kowtow leaders, rather) seem not to have learnt lessons from the past, namely that APPEASEMENT never works. Someone please tell the UK Kowtow media and all the Kowtow universities (who all want Chinese cash cow students - hence their pandering to the PRC). Useful idiots and wilful blindness yet again. And they use bullying accusations of racism to silence criticism of China too.  J'accuse.


MANY thanks to Baroness Helena Kennedy, a member of the international Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China ( who emailed me on 29.3.21 to say:


"Thank you. Great poem. Yours, Helena"


Here is my Hong Kong poem, as read and shared by several Hong Kong activists and organisations. Including the wonderful @Stand_With_HK on Twitter on 16.3.21, retweeted 170 times in the first day. FIND THEM HERE:



I cry for you, Hong Kong

by Jem Vanston


Stone-faced soldiers descend like flies,

swarms of locusts eating freedom away

from a free-born people, as the tiresome lies

told on state TV shame the day,

to squeeze the breathing life

from a darkening heart of hope –

and that is why I cry for Hong Kong.


A tangled mass of lies and spite

layer on layer of lies,

twisting truth to make wrongs right,

betrayal glints sharp inside their eyes;

lies cry loud from the mouth of madness,

yet method there in each imperious weasel word –

and that is why I weep for Hong Kong.


A people’s republic with contempt for the people,

pure hatred for their liberty and freeborn will,

a pack of wild dogs prowling without mercy

the bark, the chase – and then, the kill;

Western nations stand by silent and stare,

kowtowing to a killer empire that just does not care –

and that is why I grieve for Hong Kong.


‘Gung Duh’ – ‘poison’ – is what they call those who resist,

dehumanising people as a toxic disease,

an amoral army of mainland invaders

forcing a proud people to their knees;

blood upon blood, lie upon lie, death upon death,

democracy dies in the heat of the dragon’s breath –

and that is why I cry for you, Hong Kong.



But the brave and true will not be silenced

by the bullies who bruise and bleed Hong Kong.

whose heroes stand firm in the face of violence,

standing tall in the land where only they belong;

the burning desire for Liberty will never ever die,

and Freedom will win through over the Chinese lie –

and that is why I hope for Hong Kong –


and that is why I cry for you, Hong Kong.







Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2021 (well it couldn't be any worse than, y'know...)

Well, an interesting year... Meanwhile, here's that poem everyone's talking about again:


Twenty-Twenty: a Year in the Life


It’s been a long year,

It’s been a hard year;

It’s been a year of sorrow

And almost unbearable pain.

It’s been a year of fear and suffering

And near-constant worry

In our new normal, abnormal lives.

It’s been a year when every door seemed to close

Even as it opened, as the world shut down dead,

And a pandemic opened our eyes to a nightmare.

It’s been a year of tears and fears and bad imaginings,

Which strangely often seemed better than the reality around us.

It’s been a year of silent isolation,

As we lived on alone, remotely,

Separated from our loved ones,

By the thin mirrored skin of a digital screen, if at all.

It’s been – it was – a year that started so well,

Until a new-hatched virus crawled into the world

To darken the hurt surface of the earth

And change everything utterly.

It’s been a year of grief, sorrow, longing,

And of relentless pain for far too many –

A year we would probably all rather forget,

And yet.

It’s been a year of being together, alone, but

United and strong in the constancy of our love.

It’s been a year of unity in the happy shadow of a rainbow,

And one when we have all had to adapt and change,

Though change is not necessarily a bad thing,

Even as we lived through the horror of it all.

It’s been a year when many have paid the ultimate price,

Died fighting this new disease, fallen in an awful war.

And yes, we have all fought bravely, proudly, resolutely,

Against an unseen enemy, which is the worst enemy of all.

It’s been a year of boredom, frustration, economic woes for many,

Unbearable bereavement, grief and suffering for some,

For whom things ended as suddenly as they had once begun –

But now, at last, this long hard year is ending.

Good riddance, as we bid goodbye to it then,

As we reassess our lives, try to smile and have fun,

For we shall live on, and try to begin again.

So goodbye twenty-twenty, hello twenty-twenty-one –

Please be kind to us,

For we have seen enough.

Though, whatever happens,

Let our rainbows remind us to smile,

As we strive, in our own small ways,

To carve and create a new and better, healed world

From the raw, ravaged wreckage of the old.

My songs at numbers 9 and 20 in a Christmas chart by Songlink!

Well, it's been a long time coming - but I got my songs in the charts.


Only an online Christmas chart - but I am at number 9 and 20. Two songs in the seasonal hit parade! Hoorah!

Link here:



And here: Happy To Be Home This Christmas (JEM VANSTON) in SING IT FOR CHRISTMAS 2020 PLAYLIST ( 







MANY thanks to Jenny from for the latest brilliant review:


SANTA GOES ON STRIKE is so loved by all who know of it - which is not that many due to my tiny marketing budget and the fact it's print-on-demand so not in shops. A canny publisher could pick it up and run with it, and/or a film maker - it'd make a wonderful cartoon. And sell a great many copies, I am 100% sure. I own full copyright of thje poem, as well as the plans/sketches/design of the illustrations.


Thanks too go to Cover to Cover bookshop in Newton Road, Mumbles - I am driving over a few copies for them to keep in stock later today.

Interview on THE BOOK SHOW on TRE (Spain) broadcast Thursday 11th November 2020

Lots of interviews with me being broadcast at the moment! On Thursday, the wonderful Hannah Murray talked to me on her Book Show on Talk Radio Europe down in the south of Spain.


I think my 5th time on the show now! Repeated 7pm UK time onSaturday 14th November but the soundfile is here to listen to for evermore! ENJOY!

Here is the link to your interview with Hannah


Interview on Local Swansea TV 5.11.20 link

Good to see the interview with me on Local Swansea TV - regarding my poem TWENTY-TWENTY: A YEAR IN THE LIFE. My first ever Zoom interview (my 5th TV interview, after ITV Wales news - twice - used on News at Ten too, and Bay TV Swansea in 2016 and 2017).


I still hope to get someone interested in making a short film to go with it, maybe from stock footage (or NHS clapping, rainbows etc) and the poem in subtitles, to raise money for NHS charities, if possible. I lack the techie skills to do that myself. So I hope I can get it done by Christmas as the poem is perfect for then and the New Year 2021.


Here is the link to That's TV on Facebook. Scroll down to 5th November (there may be local politicans talking in more recent interviews about this and that, and this, and that, and...): 


TV interview about my 2020 poem

Many thanks to the Newsdesk at That's Swansea Bay TV for offering me a Zoom interview - doing that tomorrow morning, on Bonfire night. Well, I am on fire at the moment! Looking forward to it greatly and appreciate the interest. My 3rd time on local Swansea TV, this.


Thanks too go out to Captain Tom and the Foundation for the email of thanks when I emailed them Twenty-Twenty: a Year in the Life.


It's always lovely to get replies and I never - ever - forget. I remember every single person or organisation that has ever emailed or written to me since 2010 when I sent them my books - and I also remember the ones who haven't replied. Those who have are top of the list for any interviews in future when I have a best-selling book or a hit song. The way it works. Quid pro quo. Fair enough, yes?

Twenty-twenty: A Year in the Life

So, having heard the most slushy, trite, schmaltzy, toe-curlingly sentimental poems being read on TV, radio and adverts during the pandemic, many from 19th C American magazines actually, I thought I would write my own poem to commemorate 2020 and look forward to 2021.


I am trying to get someone to use it (and I have a soundfile recording) to make a short film (all proceeds to NHS charities) - all it would take would be some public domain archive footage in a montage for a YouTube film. And the film makers, even if young students, would get a credit for their future career. No joy yet in attracting interest - motivation seems to be somewhat lacking (sadly, this is typical Swansea in many ways).

But I can say with some confidence that my poem reads way better than those I have heard on radio/TV re 2020 (and I have 3 previous pandemic poems too, one in the Covid archive of a London museum now).



Twenty-Twenty: a Year in the Life


It’s been a long year,

It’s been a hard year;

It’s been a year of sorrow

And almost unbearable pain.

It’s been a year of fear and suffering

And near-constant worry

In our new normal, abnormal lives.

It’s been a year when every door seemed to close

Even as it opened, as the world shut down dead,

And a pandemic opened our eyes to a nightmare.

It’s been a year of tears and fears and bad imaginings,

Which strangely often seemed better than the reality around us.

It’s been a year of silent isolation,

As we lived on alone, remotely,

Separated from our loved ones,

By the thin mirrored skin of a digital screen, if at all.

It’s been – it was – a year that started so well,

Until a new-hatched virus crawled into the world

To darken the hurt surface of the earth

And change everything utterly.

It’s been a year of grief, sorrow, longing,

And of relentless pain for far too many –

A year we would probably all rather forget,

And yet.

It’s been a year of being together, alone, but

United and strong in the constancy of our love.

It’s been a year of unity in the happy shadow of a rainbow,

And one when we have all had to adapt and change,

Though change is not necessarily a bad thing,

Even as we lived through the horror of it all.

It’s been a year when many have paid the ultimate price,

Died fighting this new disease, fallen in an awful war.

And yes, we have all fought bravely, proudly, resolutely,

Against an unseen enemy, which is the worst enemy of all.

It’s been a year of boredom, frustration, economic woes for many,

Unbearable bereavement, grief and suffering for some,

For whom things ended as suddenly as they had once begun –

But now, at last, this long hard year is ending.

Good riddance, as we bid goodbye to it then,

As we reassess our lives, try to smile and have fun,

For we shall live on, and try to begin again.

So goodbye twenty-twenty, hello twenty-twenty-one –

Please be kind to us,

For we have seen enough.

Though, whatever happens,

Let our rainbows remind us to smile,

As we strive, in our own small ways,

To carve and create a new and better, healed world

From the raw, ravaged wreckage of the old.


Oystermouth Radio Interview 24.10.20

Many thanks to Jos Williams for the recent radio interview about my novel SOMEWHERE IN EUROPE, broadcast for the third time at 5pm on Saturday 24th October on Oystermouth Radio (available online).


Not sure how many people listen to this or other community radio stations. However, as a direct result of these broadcasts, I am sure, the stock of my book SOMEWHERE IN EUROPE on Amazon has sold out! Yep, all gone! So thanks to Jos and Oystermouth Radio again. Feel free to use the interview again at any time in future.


Now, as in the first lockdown, Amazon are now stating they can only supply the book in 1-2 weeks. Hmm. Understandable in first lockdown in March as they prioritised PPE - but now? Disappointing, especially as Amazon takes 60% of the cover price! Most shops take 40-50%.


The GOOD news is that the novel is available quickly from the publisher website (see home page link), or from local shops Cover to Cover in Mumble and Harrisons in Uplands, Swansea, and maybe other online suppliers of larger bookstores.

Thank you Cover to Cover Mumbles bookshop 29.9.20

I was delighted to get an email today from Tim at Cover to Cover, the ONLY independent bookshop in Swansea now, on Newton Road, Mumbles (I drive past it every week on the way to my walk at Caswell Bay!)


He said he'd ordered the book, so thanks there - I am sure the cover alone will sell it. My own design and I have it up in my front window - passers-by stop to admire it and read the blurb too!


It really should be known about locally - it is THE most Swansea novel wince Lucky Jim in 1954. Yes, really - and I can see KA's old house from my office/bedroom window if I lean forward (1 of 2 houses he lived in). 


Submitting the middle-grade children's novel, as told by a cat, I wrote in lockdown to agents today and tomorrow. I feel sure this will get serious interest from several perhaps as it is such a commercial idea and on trend too. It's funny, sad, sweet, but not sickly slushy sentimental, and has something to say - a real rollercoaster of a read.


I have let just one person read the whole book - she said it's the best book she has read this year and it made her cry, several times. Great! Not that I want to make readers cry (or do I?) - BUT it is a heart-warming and heart-rending story BUT with a hopeful ending. 


I find many new middle grade children's book to be so dumbed-down, all loud spoofy, supposed comedy, directly addressing the reader, in that pally, jokey way. Not my thing at all and I am sure it wouldn't be even if I was 9 years old - more able children especially hate being patronised!


BUT the simpler and more accessible a children's book is, the larger potential readership, so the pressure in publishing is always to the bottom, to sell more books. Just like mixed ability classes in schools - the class is forced to go as slow as the slowest student. I have never been in favour of that.


Me, I shall stick to my guns and not dumb down. I believe even middle grade age children can understand more than many think and cope with more issues (such as death) in stories than pc woke over-protective parents and publishers think. I do not underestimate them.


THE NINE LIVES OF SUMMER is a book most children would be able to enjoy, and parents, and not just cat lovers. It's really funny too, and in many ways, profound, with a hopeful message. I very much enjoyed writing it, and laughed out loud at times writing in Summer's superior feline voice!

Great Radio Interview 16.9.20 + 27.9.20

Thanks Hannah Murray presenter of the wonderful Book Show on TALK RADIO EUROPE (south of Spain) for the wonderful phone interview yesterday. That'll be broadcast on TRE in a few weeks. My 5th or maybe 6th time on TRE - but the best book show on radio anywhere so I am always delighted to be invited on.


MANY THANKs too to Neil Hamilton MS/AS for the hand-written letter of thanks I received today 19th September - I hope you enjoy SOMEWHERE IN EUROPE. And thank you very much for offering to promote it and spread the word!


I am also delighted to have received personal letters from four embassies thanking me for sending them the book: Denmark, Italy, Japan, Germany. Much appreciated and I hope you enjoy the novel. SOMEWHERE IN EUROPE has been called the 'best Brexit novel yet' - I suspect because, unlike other Brexit novels written by rich, privileged,  metropolitan elite famous authors (no names), it is not just a Remainer Remoaner Remainiac rant which disses anyone who voted Leave and portrays them as retarded, racist, 'right-wing', 'reactionary, thick old little Englanders. Of course, 1/3 Leave voters were Labour voters for a start incl Corbyn, Skinner, and Tony Benn and union leaders have long wanted to leave the EU. But hey, don't let the facts get in the way of a good racist Remainiac rant Ian and Jonathon eh?


IF the UK was still in the EU we'd now be clobbered with a huge bill to clear up Covid in the mainland Europe, Spain, Italy etc. The UK was the 2nd largest contributor after Germany (which is richer and has benefited from EU membership with car sales etc), and paid 18% of total EU funds. A LUCKY ESCAPE maybe? Now the UK can spend our money on the UK again without the EU siphoned off billions.


I am pleased to say the reviews coming in for the book are mostly excellent - many point out how hilarious the comedy is. 


I sent details to the local paper in Swansea last week and called up the next day. The guy said 'if we can do anything with it we will [be in touch]'. Hmm.


But really, this is my 7th book - I am an accomplished local author who's on the verge of getting a book deal and a song writing deal. How can my funny satirical campus/Brexit novel featuring a fictional Swansea NOT be a news story here?






Wonderful Reader Feedback! 26.8.20

Well, it is always lovely to get HONEST feedback (unlike the scam revenge reviews on Amazon from the usual suspects - see my comments below) - and so I post here today the feedback I have received from someone I allowed the first read of the manuscript of my new middle grade children's manuscript, THE NINE LIVES OF SUMMER, only 29,000 words long.


I wrote this during lockdown, (together with over 40 poems), my third middle grade children's book, and this one features a cat. I have form there, having written three cat books before.


This new book is so diverse and visits 12 different countries. I shall submit to several agents and publishers in September and hope then to have a choice of where to publish. I know it's a strong story and potentially very commercial and on trend too. Watch this space.


Here is the first ever reader feedback for it: 


This is the best book I've read this year. 

If the publishers you send this to, refuse it then they are stupid. 

It's brilliant, you've captured the cats traits and how they see humans. 

Each life has began with me hooked right away, each ending has been different and given me a different emotion. 

It's funny, serious, emotional and sure ticks all the boxes. 


I had wet eyes when the family took Summer to the shelter. 

That's what you are looking for, when the reader can relate to the emotions the family are feeling. 


When Honey couldn't  run any more and Summer lay down with her and they waited to be washed away, oh my god I was crying, proper crying (I hope you're happy, I never bloody cry) 

And of course Victor saved Summer. More bloody tears. 


Shaheen showing up to help Summer and lead her eventually to her true forever family was absolutely purrfect. 


I really enjoyed this, I can't tell you how much I want to see this published. 

It should get you the recognition you deserve for this. 


Thankyou so much for letting me read it. 


Even if parts of it made me cry!!! 







When is a Review NOT a Review?



Well. today I would like to say something about reviews. And here is the first thing I notice, having persused many books on Amazon: MOST REVIEWS ARE FAKE. Pure shills, 5 star reviews from family, friends, agents, publishers or the network of reviewers they draft in to write 'independent' reviews.


Of course, when one sees a string of glowing 5 star reviews one knows what is going on - yet Amazon seem unable to enforce their own rules.


Then there are reviews the other way - what I call 'revenge reviews' by people who have not bought on read your book but leave a bad nasty review with the hope your sales will be adversely affected. I know some one star reviews have been left by academics (shame on them, Mr SP and Mr PN - I know who you are...) and in my case by the sort of swivel-eyed bigot racist Scots and Welsh nationalists who think such behavious will brng them glory and smash up the UK (wrong on both counts).


But as I quote Churchill at the start of SOMEWHERE IN EUROPE: "So you have enemies. Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life."


Authors who wrire romance, escapism, crime, genre fiction and books which have nothing to say need not fear such attacks,. of course. But thank god, I I am not one of them. I do not see any point in writing anything unless one has something to say. One might as well get another hobby if stewing meaningless word soup is your ambition. For me, anyway.


Anyway, Amazon will not remove obvious fake reviews - the one for SOMEWHERE IN EUROPE from 'Amazon Customer', one star, never left a review for another book. That shames them, frankly.


I expect bad reviews from the sort of pc wokie I attack in the novel - one Jeni Splott, gammon-hater racist sexist bigot learning assistant who works for the University of South Wales (though maybe not for much longer...). Sad to see universities even employing such bigots really BUT no surprise - just read my campus novel to see what they get up to these days. My surreal satire is really not all that far from the truth. Racism/sexism is quite the thing these days, so long as it is only aimed at white men ('gammon').


Nice to get the occasional fair and good review though, like this which has appeared on Net Galley: 


"Thoroughly engrossing, enjoyable and perplexing. Believable characters and a plot that I really wasn't expecting. Everything you want from a mystery - and more!" 4/5 stars




Note 4 stars out of 5, not the trashed 1 star fake reviews or the shill 5 star glowing ones, but a fair and honest review. if only they were all as honest and fair...






Top Review for SOMEWHERE IN EUROPE 30.7.20

Glad to report that reviews are starting to come in, though the pandemic has caused massive delays, of course, as most media offices etc have been closed, and bookshops (but most do not stock my books, so no bother there). 


MANY THANKS to Kev from Harrisons Stationers in Uplands, Swansea for stocking my new novel (and Santa Goes on Strike). 


Here is a wonderful review from a reader on Facebook yesterday:  


I'm reading Somewhere in Europe at the moment and I've never laughed as much reading any other book, the character names just make be burst out laughing, some of Crump's remarks are hilarious. Great read.

Somewhere in Europe as Lockdown Ends 6.7.20

Well the lockdown is almost over in Wales - no new Covid deaths (most before were in care homes to be fair) and though still 2 metre social distancing, the 5 mile travel limit lifted today. SO I went for a lovely walk at Caswell Bay on Gower, 7 miles away - a beautiful coastal path there to Langland Bay. I saw 5 seals! I often see 2 but 5 is a record - they may be enjoying the lack of tourists, jetskies and speed boats. They live charmed lives anyway - no predators here as they bob in the shallows, chilling. Caswell Bay is featured in my novel SOMEWHERE IN EUROPE though not named - chapter 7, I think.


Many thanks for the British Czech and Slovak Association for mentioning the novel and printing the cover in its most recent members' magazine! Much appreciated.


Marketing and promoting the novel has been hard, with all bookshops shut since 24th March and most media outlets too. However, I have faith in the novel which is so timely, and such a thought-provoking relevant and funny satire - and will be promoting it more at the start of the new acaemic term in September/October. Of course, most people don't like books that make them think! Just look at what becomes a best-seller! So my readership is usually not local; most ofmy readers are more educated people who perhaps work in education or care about it - as with my first campus novel CRUMP (2010). That is the target audience. As well as people sick to the back teeth of the pc woke and broke world we see all around us now.


SOMEWHERE IN EUROPE is set in South Wales, and in a fictionalised version of Swansea (though NOT Swansea), not that any local media cares. Same old same sold, sadly. Happily, my books always do well in the USA and other countries - and most UK sales are in London. I think with a wry smile how Dylan Thomas who grew up a stone's throw from where I do, was rejected and ignored in this area when a poet in the 1930s and after - now, of course, his image is everywhere here, things named after him too. People also forget how much he was criticised in Wales and Swansea for his portrayal of small-minded provincial people here. Plus ca change...


I am happy to report that, as well as writing over 40 poems in lockdown, submitted to several poetry magazines now, I have now begun my new Middle Grade Children's book - featuring a cat and travelling all over the world, at least 11 countries, most of which I have never visited. I am about to start chapter 9 of maybe 23, so some way to go, but all planned out so I hope to finish by the end of July or early August - first draft, anyway. I am pretty sure this manuscript will attract the attention of agents and publishers - it is so diverse and ticks so many boxes, as well as being a rattling good story, both funny and moving. Watch this space.

CORONAVIRUS update 31.3.20

In these difficult pandemic days, new novels being published are - quite rightly - not at the top of most people's agenda. 


Like many, I am self-isolating - barely going out at all (I have to get the old exercise bike set up so I don't get too fat!). I was ill with a fever last week, but now seem fine, so thankfully, it seems as if I just had exhaustion and a bug, not the new big C (though I had the old big C - aka cancer of the skin - earlier this year: it was cut out of me on the afternoon of 6th February, thankfully, and I have a lovely scar from the seven stitches in my shoulder, thanks to the wonderful NHS. I have written a poem about it all...).


All bookshops are shut (since 24th March) and most high street or online ones seem to be unable to fulfill orders because their warehouses are closed.


However, my publisher's own warehouse CAN fulfill orders, so go here to get your copy of SOMEWHERE IN EUROPE:


I can also post out books personally - email me direct via the contact page, if interested.


And people can, of course, buy the ebook.


One day. we shall emerge from this. No idea when, or how, or what the world will look like then, or whether China will pay up for what it has caused. But I am sure that soon bookshops will open and be able to provide my novel and others to the public again. But is literature and art a priority? No. Not now.


But it is worth remembering that the demand for Western pop music and fashion and culture is what really brought down the Berlin Wall. PEOPLE NEED ART. Not just food and air. It matters. In the long run.


Until then, I shall do what the advice says as should be all:  stay inside, protect yourself, the NHS and others.


Here is a little poem what a wrote. Peace. Stay safe.


Pandemic Prayer


Wherever you are,

Whoever you are,

Be strong,

Have hope,

Look to the future,

And believe in the power of love.







My new campus/Brexit SOMEWHERE IN EUROPE will be published 28th March 2020. Ready to pre-order now via the publisher, bookshops etc

12.3.20 I am delighted to say that yesterday I passed the final manuscript of SOMEWHERE IN EUROPE for press and so it is now at the printers - that usually takes 3 weeks so it looks like my new campus/Brexit novel will be with me and in shops in the first week of April. Delayed a bit due to a proof read (censorship read, actually) forced upon me by the publishers who claimed some parts were 'potentially offensive' Fact: ALL GOOD BOOKS and GOOD ART WHICH HAS SOMETHING TO SAY ARE! "I find that offensive" is possible the most stupid and irritating sentence in the English language. Offensive is GOOD not bad. Some people seek offence for a living these days too. All highly ironic, really, as the major theme of the novel is the need for freedom of speech. But anyway, that is now part of the novel's journey and story, for better or for worse.


This is my 7th book and will be my last adult novel - it is so much work and self-publishing properly costs a lot, as does marketing, significantly more than it did a decade ago. It is a struggle to break even - but I live in hope that the film rights will be optioned for this and other books I have written, as they are all very cinematic.


SOMEWHERE IN EUROPE is a long novel, very funny in parts (I have been told my character dialogue is laugh-out-loud hilarious), but also very moving sometimes, and with something to say. I could never ever write a novel which did not have something to say. I do not see the point. Inoffensive drivel genre fiction is not for me, despite how well it seems to sell, especially ebooks (though remember that ebook authors claim the 70% ebooks they give away as SALES...)


I planned this novel for maybe 2 years, as a sort-of sequel to CRUMP (2010) my first campus novel which sold out of 1000 copies and is still read and studied in the UK, Scandinavia and the USA (I get an income every year from photocopying fees). SOMEWHERE IN EUROPE features the same main character, KEVIN CRUMP, 10 years on - older, possibly wiser, maybe not. It is also a stand-alone novel so no need for readers to be familiar with the first. Because I planned it so well, the first draft took me about 100 days - 6 April-22 July 2019. For 118,500 words. The 2nd draft was 130,500 words. The 3rd 129,600 and that is the one which, with some additions and some deletions, is being published.


It's been a tough 2 and a bit years here really, what with bereavement, a skin cancer diagnosis (that was cut out of my shoulder on 6th February this year), business issues and more. So I hope this novel does well, and gets noticed, especially in Wales and Swansea where Lucky Jim (1954) was written just down the road from where I live now. However, as per usual, my focus is always national and, especially, international. I hope SOMEWHERE IN EUROPE also becomes a set book at colleges in Scandinavia, as its prequel CRUMP did, and does well in the USA too.


I am glad to report that my middle grade children's dinosaur novel has attracted interest from two publishers now, so I hope that is published in maybe 2022. Watch this space.


I am also writing poetry at the moment - mostly poems on loss, love and grief. They may be published in a collection in the next couple of years - but first I hope to have one or two published in poetry magazines.

Many thanks to Harrisons Stationers, Uplands, Swansea and WH Smith for payment in 2020

16.1.20 - Many thanks to Kev at Harrisons Stationers, Uplands, Swansea for selling copies of SANTA GOES ON STRIKE at the counter and paying me £50 today. Thanks to SA2 magazine for the feature which I know let to some sales. Many thanks to WH Smith for the four excellent signings at branches in South Wales and payment.


It is pretty scandalous that the local press here in Swansea has ignored SANTA GOES ON STRIKE. They won't be able to to ignore my satirical novel SOMEWHERE IN EUROPE though, and nor will anyone in South Wales. It is the LUCKY JIM of now. A shame I may have to edit some bits because of draconian censorship though - pandering to extremists and religious zealots in a pc way is something I shall NEVER do - I defend and uphold Enlightenment Values even if most people now do not, especially the media.


I am very much enjoying planning a new children's middle grade novel now. And reading and writing a lot of poetry - maybe for a collection in a year or two.

2019 Book Signings -  SANTA GOES ON STRIKE Success at 4 WH Smith branches in South Wales

I am delighted to report that my 4th and final signing this year at WH Smith Bridgend on 7th December went brilliantly! A lovely branch and lots of copies of SANTA GOES ON STRIKE signed and sold to happy customers. Roughly half of the people I spoke to bought a copy, which is a hell of a hit rate! They come joint 1st with Llanelli for sales, with Cardiff a close runner-up, and Swansea last (maybe because I was installed by the newspapers not the book section?)


Also, complete lack of interest shown by the local Swansea paper did not help - unbelievable really that they have completely ignored SANTA GOES ON STRIKE, a book inspired by Swansea weather and local news years ago, dedicated to my mum who was so well-known and loved in Swansea, and a poem and book which has received high praise from some very famous figures, including Jeremy Corbyn (in the news rather a  lot lately). Vera Lynn (aged 101 when she emailed, now 102), Sir David Attenborough and many more. And the local paper claims it supports Swansea people and culture? Hmmm.


Anyway, probably signing SANTA GOES ON STRIKE again in the run-up to Christmas 2020, as it all went so well.


Now busy checking the proofs of my new campus/Brexit satirical novel set in South Wales - SOMEWHERE IN EUROPE (out March 2020). I can say it's a real cracker! An epic novel, so much more than a campus or Brexit satire - it is seriously funny, thought-provoking and deeply moving. If it is my last novel, so be it - I am so proud of it. Maybe the most important novel set in South Wales since LUCKY JIM - written a stone's throw from where I live now actually. The novel is set in a fictional South Wales university seaside town which has a pier, a lighthouse and a grotty high street - just like Swansea! ALL fiction though... I shall be approaching national press and media with that novel. I think it'll make quite a splash. I cannot think of any other Brexit novel that comes close (and most and thinly veiled Remain propaganda - whereas mine is even-handed and considers all sides of the debate and all issues involved).


Many thanks to SA2 Magazine in Swansea, however, for the whole page feature of me and SANTA GOES ON STRIKE. I appreciate the interest shown by some publications in local authors anyway. Those media outlets who show me support get my support back, and access to interviews etc in future - that is how it works.


It is seriously hard work to write and publish a book - which works in and of itself, which means something, which is well-written and funny and has intelligence and a depth of meaning. Trust me on that! It is therefore nice when the sheer hard work and effort to realise one's talent is appreciated.

Christmas 2019 WH Smith Book Signings!

I am very happy to announce four signings of SANTA GOES ON STRIKE at branches of WH Smith in the run-up to Christmas 2019. They are:


1) Cardiff WH Smith Queen St, Sat 16th November.

2) Swansea WH Smith Quadrant, Sat 23rd November.

3)Llanelli WH Smith Trostre, Sat 30th November.

4) Bridgend WH Smith, Sat 7th December.


All signings start at 11am until around 2pm or until all books are sold! I have a finite number to divide between these four signings, so when they're gone, they're gone! 


Come along and have a chat if you're in the South Wales area - that is, if we're not flooded out or snowed in!


Many thanks to WH Smith for this opportunity and their positivity.


Harrison Stationers in Uplands, Swansea has also been kind enough to stock copies of Santa Goes on Strike in the run-up to Christmas - operating as a local bookshop should!


Many thanks, too, to the British Czech and Slovak Association for mentioning Santa Goes on Strike, with cover photo, on page 2 of their latest magazine (I do know people who use the poem in EFL lessons, which is great! It's also great that I own full copyrigt of the poem).


Though probably my letter in the 2 November edition of Radio Times will have been read by many more people than anything else I have written - their circulation is 577,000 copies a week...


In other news, my new novel Somewhere in Europe is off being prepared - just waiting for the proofs to check. That really is an epic read, as a campus novel and a Brexit story, but it's so much more. I know it'll cause a splash and ruffle a few a soggy seagull? Err...


Funny to think that I came up with that title in 1986 when I was 18 and doing my A-levels. It was supposed to be for a novel spanning a century across Europe. One of my many idea, on a piece of paper in a folder somwhere. Just shows that good ideas, and titles, never go away. They lurk in the shadows and can leap out again at any time, many years after you had them.


By the way, I also sketched out a movie idea in around 1995/6 which involved a situation where the Beatles had not existed and so no-one knew their songs. Sound familiar? Yesterday is the Richard Curtis movie. But my idea involved a timeslip plot from the 1980s to 1961, when all the boys had been killed in a van crash in north Wales. It also involved The Rolling Stones, who cannot and could not exist and thrive without the Beatles, and the main characters were 4 teenage boys in Dartford in the 1980s. My screenplay idea was influenced by Back to the Future and I never wrote the screenplay (imagine getting the song rights!), but whenever anyone comments that Yesterday is based on a 'brilliant idea', I smile smugly to myself, because I had the idea in 1995!


Anyway, I can't wait to see what the inhouse artist does with the cover either - I sent sketches, as always. I have a big hand in the cover designs of my books - as I did in the illustrations for Santa Goes on Strike. It's important to get it right.





Manuscript edited and finished

29.9.19. Today at 6pm approx I pinged off the manuscript of SOMEWHERE IN EUROPE to the publishers, after 2 days of red pen editing of tweaks and typos. I now feel utterly drained or, like George Orwell said, squeezed out like an orange.


And now both my landline phones have gone dead - different companies. I spoke to 2 neighours - seems they are more with it than me and don't have landline phones anymore. Behind the time again...Sigh...;)

Contract Signed - New Novel out March 2020

I'm pleased to say that I signed the contract for my new novel on Tuesday 10th September; the deadline was Wednesday 11th, if I wanted Star Book Sales (to get the novel in shops) so it was close - all a bit last-minute EU style really, which is appropriate as Brexit is a major theme of the novel!


Still editing chapters 8,9,10 of SOMEWHERE IN EUROPE but almost there now. A long novel at almost 130,000 words, but it's as long as it needs to be.


It is a campus novel, yes, but so much more than that - a State of the Nation novel and maybe THE Brexit novel (those I know of thus far are written by very Remainer privileged metropolitian elite literati; my novel is balanced with characters expressing all sides of the argument, pro and anti Brexit).


I planned this novel so closely - why it only took 3 and a half months to complete the first draft.


Not much editing or correction needed either, thank goodness.


SOMEWHERE IN EUROPE - A 'CRUMP' CAMPUS NOVEL is a book with real heart, as well as head, though it does have my hallmark 'meaningfulness' in it and my typical humour, which is my voice. It's a really BIG book, with loads of events, themes, characters and HAS SOMETHING TO SAY. I hate books which do not. They do nothing for me.


It will be my last adult novel, certainly self-published - it all takes so much time to do (thousands of hours) and money too, all to break even at best usually.


I do, however, have two cracking children's novels in hand; I am submitting my dinosaur novel (first a series) to more agents and publishers this month and next. I need to find the right one - not someone who wants to change the whole nature of my book or dumb it down, to make it match so many children's books these days. I want children to think and learn, so insist on being ambitious with my kids' novel - they can read Harry Potter, after all, so the more able kids like that should be able to manage DINOSAUR JOE.


Now I can focus on promoting SANTA GOES ON STRIKE again, as I have letters from Corbyn and Boris! National press focus this time.

24th August 2019 - Editing Chapters 6 + 7 of SOMEWHERE IN EUROPE this weekend.

Well it's been hard work editing this novel BUT almost there now - most done now. Pencil-edited the hard copy of chapters 6 and 7 yesterday; correcting the manuscript on the laptop today and tomorrow. Then just 8,9,10 to do.


Then a week away, then a complete read through for typos. I do not think much more needs changing - just a few tweaks. Nothing major.


A real cracker of a novel, set in South Wales. My last self-published adult novel, for sure. I hope it becomes a set book in Scandinavian colleges again, like my first campus novel Crump (2010).


It'll certainly ruffle a few Swansea feathers - in the usual suspects - but the city is never mentioned by name in the novel, which is set in a fictional imaginery place called The Town. Great fun but also scathing satire and quite emotional in parts - lots of heart in it.

13 August 2019. Draft 2 in Progress

Just edited the first 2 chapters (of 10) and corrected the manuscript on the laptop. Now pencil-editing the hard copy of chapter 3 today - sitting in the sun in the garden! Hard work, but essential. And all on schedule to meet the deadline and have the finished manuscript ready for September.


The year of detailed planning has really paid off this time. The first draft took me only 3 and a half months to write - started 6 April, finished 22 July. 118,500 words.


Now, chapter by chapter editing and checking, deleting any repetition but also adding stuff. This novel could well be 120,000 words (most novels are 80-120,000, with popular gender fiction and ebooks as low as 60,000).


Somewhere in Europe will be a seminal Brexit text - a campus novel, yes, but so much more. A novel with heart as well as head. It reads so well.


Anyway, promotion will all be in 2020.


In the meantime, I am off outside to catch some rays and edit chapter 3.

27th July 2019 - first draft done and dusted

I have printed off the 286 pages of the 118,500+ words of the first draft of my novel, SOMEWHERE IN EUROPE, today.


I finished it on 22nd July - great progress as I only started writing it on 6th April. Planned it in detail for a year before then and typed 81 pages of notes, and been thinking of it for around 3 years.


Writing a novel is HARD work - especially an original one (not just genre fiction following a formula).


In a week or two, I shall be reading through the entire manuscript, correcting typos, keeping an eye out for repetition and inconsistencies. But the manuscript won't change much from now on. I shall try and slice a couple of thousand words off a couple of chapters BUT no big deal if I don't.


The novel is much like the book which will, I hope, be published on 1st March 2020.


As a Brexit novel, a modern, intelligent campus novel and a 'state of the nation' novel, I think it should ruffle a few feathers which need to be ruffled, and also make people laugh. Modern satire should be like this.


BUT before then, planning a relaunch of SANTA GOES ON STRIKE for September - aiming for national press coverage this time, now I have letters from both Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson (from 2010). Maybe some book signings in South Wales from October too. Watch this space.

5/6/19 Flaming June

Well summer is almost here, and here in Swansea - it's raining, well a bit. We are the rainiest city in Britain though! But hey, it was so warm and sunny in February and again in April that I was sunbathing topless in my little garden! August is often a wash-out in Swansea (memories of childhood holidays there! and we often have a nice sunny Spring, as we did last week.


Yesterday, I finished chapter 5 of 10 of my new novel SOMEWHERE IN EUROPE - a 'Crump' Campus Novel - so over 50,000 words in. I planned this book so much, I do not expect a second draft to be radically different or for many revisions/changes to be needed before publication. I am aiming to finish the first draft in the next 2 months, then have the final manuscript done by October for publication in March 2020.


Loads of Brexit stuff in the novel, so very timely - thus I'd rather it's out as early in 2020 as possible. I March 2020 is the 10th anniversary of the publication of my ground-breaking and fearless campus novel CRUMP, so it would be nicely circular and symmetrical to publish the follow-up 10 years to the day after that. If it's delayed for any reason, it'll be out in September.


SOMEWHERE IN EUROPE is a sort-of sequel to CRUMP, 10 years on, but a stand-alone novel too, with a focus on insane political correctness at universities, yes (and SO much 'woke' and trans-nonsense to cover!), but much more than that - it's a real 'State of the Nation' novel.


Good fun writing satire again - BUT SUCH HARD WORK. This will be my last published work of fiction for some time - unless a savvy agent/publisher realises the potential of my dinosaur children's novel, in which case I'd start writing the series. If not, it's a focus on business for me in the coming years and maybe a move abroad.


I published my first novel CRUMP on March 1st 2010 - my books have sold thousands internationally and got great reviews AND they are intelligent reads, and funny too!


Planning in detail Chapter 6 of SOMEWHERE IN EUROPE today, whilst watching D-Day stuff on TV, in preparation for writing and, I hope, finishing it this week. Chapters 5 and 6 are the most difficult in the book. After they're done, it's all free-wheeling to the novel's conclusion.


23/2/19 Update on SANTA GOES ON STRIKE

Well, Spring is now almost sprung-ing - well the bulbs and flowering in the local park anyway (crocuses, snowdrops, some daffodils) and it's been sunny, so that's enough! So here is my almost-Spring update for 2019:


I am very pleased to announce that, due to popular demand, SANTA GOES ON STRIKE will be reprinted and available for Christmas 2019, and I'll be promoting it locally and nationally from September 2019. Signings at branches of WH Smith, probably - more details later. National media focus too, based on reviews from famous people.


I am also starting the task of typing up my book of quotations - which I shall publish via Amazon CreateSpace in 2019 or maybe March 2020. Well over a year of research and reading thousands of quotations have gone into that! A good book for all public speakers or those who need ideas for speeches (teachers, ministers, politicians etc) - and also great for mindfulness BUT NOT slushy, gooey, schmaltzy, spiritual (I shall leave that to others - to write and read). This book is a modest affair, but no worse for that! Quotations are wonderful - inspiring, amusing, thought-provoking.


My first non-fiction book, this, too. And I can say now with some authority that writing fiction is much MUCH harder and infinitely more creative; writing non-fiction is more a research/editing/collating skill and not really creative at all by comparsion, really. Just my opinion, based on vast experience lol...


Also busy reading and typing up my research and plans for a sequel to my first novel CRUMP (2010) - it'll be anoher campus novel set locally at a fictional (!) university... Probably to be called SOMEWHERE IN EUROPE. Looking forward to that. I have things to say about the UK now, Brexit/EU, snowflakes, safe spaces, non-platforming, anti-Semitism etc and all the utter nonsense happening at UK universities - and my local area and town (though of course all places and people in the novel will be utterly totally completely 100% fictional...) Publishing it maybe March 2021 (on what would have been my dad's 100th birthday). That will definitely be the final novel for adults that I self-publish.


One thing all people (esp reviewers and media) should realise is just how much work is involved in writing and publishing a book, especially fiction (non-fiction is more a collating/editing rather than a creative exercise). I get rather sick of local self-appointed reviewers/bloggers who refuse to review a fictional book with local interest because it's self-published. There are SO many mediocre, schmatzy and, frankly, boring books published by major publishers, I can tell you! AND aren't ALL bloggers self-published and self-appointed anyway? You decide...



31/12/18 And Still the Wonderful Reviews for SANTA GOES ON STRIKE Keep on Coming!!!

Well, the wonderful reviews keep on coming - see review page for highlights, including excellent feedback from the likes of Vera Lynn (to be 102 in 2019), Jeremy Corbyn, Various Union Leaders, Lady Anne Dod (Widow of Sir Ken), Edwina Currie, Lord Chris Smith, Princes William and Harry and many others. Not ONE bad review.


I very much appreciate the reviews of book bloggers and those on NetGalley too.


Meanwhile, I don't appreciate the complete lack of interest from Swansea media or bookshops. Very annoying, not for sales reasons, but because my mum's friends who I never see any more, now I am no longer giving my mum lifts to her various engagements, have NO idea I have published a new book. And Swansea wanted to be City of Culture? When it utterly ignores local writers. Hmmm.


SANTA GOES ON STRIKE was inspired by Swansea weather and local news (about spoilt locals claiming their Christmas had been 'ruined' because of late courier deliveries), has had reviews from very famous people, is a fitting tribute to my late mum, and aims to raise awareness of depression. It's also a damn good book! Now that's worth reporting on so many levels.


Happily, my books always get great reviews in the USA and Canada, get media coverage there and are stocked in bookstores there too. A shame the town where I live can't be as supportive. There's a possibility of US film company interest too.


Happily, SANTA GOES ON STRIKE was read on local community Radio Tircoed on Keith Milward's show on 20th December 2018 and on Cardiff radio before that. Great feedback from those readings.


Keith also read SANTA GOES ON STRIKE at a lovely special Christmas service at Ebenezer Chapel, Dunvant, Swansea on the afternoon of Sunday 23 December 2017. It got a round of applause at the end (my late mum always used to tell me the same happened when she read the poem out at Christmas lunches - that and laughs in all the right places). Very touching to hear one's poem going down so well with an audience. MANY THANKS TO KEITH! A beautiful chapel too with a friendly minister and congregation - Keith has requested a song of mine to perform there next year, and I am happy for that to happen. This was my first Welsh Chapel service actually - I've only visited them in the past as a tourist at St Fagans and I think elsewhere.


The wonderful thing about Christmas books and songs is that, even though they have a very short life before Christmas, they can come alive every year a the same time, for decades. So I hope SANTA GOES ON STRIKE grows year by years and maybe, like my other books, takes off in the USA and Canada. A small author such as myself cannot afford the £100k marketing and promotion of the big boys - I rely on word of mouth, mostly, and that takes time.


So thank you to all lovers of SANTA GOES ON STRIKE - your support and feedback is much appreciated. My mum would be proud too.


And HAPPY NEW YEAR 2019 to all. I know it'll be a good one!

TalkRadioEurope Book Show interview 12/12/18

Many thanks to the wonderful Hannah Murray who runs the Book Show at TalkRadioEurope, an English-language station in souther Spain and Gibraltar, which is probably - no, DEFINITELY - the best book show on radio. Way better than the pc box-ticking love-ins on bookshows on BBC Radio 4, for example (which are so often female-only and devoid of white men, as the BBC's co-salled 'equality' policy dictates now). I avoid them all. The only book show I listen to these days is Hannah's on Talk Radio Europe.


TRE's book show has REAL diversity - so major authors who sell millions such as Matt Haig, independent authors with several books behind them (like me!) and newbie writers who may have written their first novel aged 70 in retirement in Spain and released it as an ebook. All on a four author show and all shown equal respect.


That's REAL diversity and it really works. Give it a listen online (link below). Book show is Wednesday at 7pm Spanish Time, (1 hour ahead of the UK), repeated Sundays. Check the schedule + listen here:


And thanks also to Dame Vera Lynn, aged 101, who dictated a message to her secretary who emailed it to me. Go to the REVIEWS section on my website to read her lovely review! How lovely to receive such a wonderful email from such a star!

Great reviews and sales 20.11.18



Well, now my 1&1 MyWebsite edit function is working again (it went loopy last Friday), I have decided to post an update on SANTA GOES ON STRIKE.


The reviews coming in from those who have bought the book as well as NetGalley reviewers are all excellent, usually 5 stars. That  means a lot - but I knew the poem worked from when my late mum used to read it aloud at her Christmas dinners, where it always went down so well. So it's been road-tested!


Thanks especially to Tina Donnelly CBE head of RCN Wales who bought 10 signed copies - and I know word of mouth is recommending this book to many.


Posted off 7 copies to the media who requested them yesterday, so more reviews on the way.


Just waiting to see my author photos (taken last Thursday) which I can then send to local media for I hope a news story.


Promotion for Christmas books/songs is of course limited by the fact Christmas gets nearer every day. In fact, there are only 3 sleeps left until Christmas - for insomniacs anyway LOL! When I met Sir Ken Dodd in April 2017, he said to me Christmas songs are a problem because the BBC won't play them until 1st December. If you look at the newluy published book ABSENT FRIENDS - A TRIBUTE TO SIR KEN DODD, you'll see my memory of Ken on page 33. Available on Amazon - all proceeds to Liverpool charities.


I know my late mum would love this book with its superb illustrations (based on my own detailed instructions). It's the sort of book people really adore. I hope in years to come it will come alive every Christmas, and all over the world too - my books often do very well in the USA and Canada, for example, though they don't have Boxing Day in the USA so will need to Google that maybe LOL.


Many SGOS fans say to me they'd love to see SANTA GOES ON STRIKE made into an animated film. Contact me regarding the film rights or options, as I own full copyright (of the text).



The first three reviews! 9/10/18

Early days yet, and not REALLY Christmas-y yet either, but three excellent reviews have come in from various sources.


As I not only wrote the poem but also designed/planned the illustrations - (the publisher's illustrator then followed my instructions) - I am well chuffed with these reviews! Three cheers for SANTA GOES ON STRIKE! Hoorah!


1) "A real gem!" Hannah Murray, Host, the Book Show, Talk Radio Europe (Spain).


2) "...the delightful “Santa Goes on Strike” .  It’s great fun, beautifully drawn and written, and makes a very serious – and brilliant – point. 

Many congratulations."


Lord Chris Smith

Master of Pembroke College, Cambridge



3) "It is funny, and heart-warming, thought-provoking. It could spark conversations between parents and children about what is important in terms of ‘need’ and ‘want’. At the same time, it very cleverly raises awareness of depression.

This book is a delight for children and adults alike. The poetry is very well written and there are exquisite illustrations on each page... I really liked the rhythm of the rhyme and I think children will love the bright pictures which are quirky and funny. As Jem says, this is a book that should be read aloud at Christmas!"



Santa Goes on Strike ON SALE from 30 September 2018!!!

I'm delighted to announce that my wonderfully illustrated new book SANTA GOES ON STRIKE is now on sale internationally - paperback available from shops and Amazon etc or from the publisher, which is where to buy the eBook too as Amazon cannot stock that due to formatting issues:


Brilliant reviews coming in - to be posted soon - and a radio interview booned with the brilliant Book Show on Talk Radio Europe, hosted by the wonderful Hannah Murray (far better than ANY book show on BBC radio, in my opinion!).


I'm also preparing my book of quotations for 2019 publication (as ebook at least) and planning CRUMP 2 which is looking like GREAT fun. I grow rather tired of the usual tedious lyrical romatic novels out there; I like a viciously scabrous satire which has something to say, and my adult novels are certainly in that category. But then ALL my books have something to say, directly or between the lines - I couldn't stand being a writer of genre fiction or twee cat books, for example. I write because I have something to say.


I am greatly looking forward to hitting targets in Crump 2 - all those pompous types who well deserve satirical barbs aimed at them. Far too many to mention BUT the absurd UK honours system will get a ribbing for sure, (SO corrupt and pointless) as will the dreadful Thought for the Day on Radio 4, and the awful pc culture at universities etc. I am very proud that my novels dare say what others dare not say - because as Churchill said: "So you've got enemies? Good. It means you stand for something." I second that!




On 11th September I took delivery of my own copies of my Christmas picture book SANTA GOES ON STRIKE - a perfect tribute to my mum Marjorie, and a really funny, heart-warming and meaningful poem. Officially released on September 30th and best bought from the publisher:


Delighted with the wonderful illustrations (based on my descirptions) and glad also to own the copyright of the poem. This would make a WONDERFUL short animated film - like the wonderful work of Aardman. We'll see.


My books always do very well in the USA and Canada for some reason. Not a single Swansea bookshop stocks my books for reasons best known to themselves - so I no longer buy books in them.


The local Waterstones has a local authors' shelf where my books should be - but that shelf is a scam really as it only features books by those who have graduated from the local university's creative writing courses. Shameful really. And I doubt it'll change now the Russian oligarch gangster who owned Waterstones sold it to a US investment vehicle.


BUT thank goodness for DECENT bookshops in London and north America who stock my books, and, despite reservations, for Amazon worldwide who allow smaller authors to make their books available to the world.


Now working on promtion though a bit early for Christmas! But then, I was Christmas-y when managing the illustrations and format for SANTA GOES ON STRIKE in a sweltering June and July and August LOL. Just like Irving Berlin writing WHITE CHRISTMAS is the heat of a Florida summer. We creative professionals can use our imaginations to travel anywhere at any time of year though!


Looking forward to professional PR agency promotion in October too, and in media features. Especially as some say Santa in my book looks a bit like Jeremy Corbyn!

It was (is) the 3rd of September 

And PAPA WAS A ROLLING STONE! (Only music fans will get this!).


It's also 79 years since WWII started. For Great Britain anyway...


Makes one think...


On the book front, I have not passed the proofs for my poem SANTA GOES ON STRIKE - with its wonderful illustrations. A really special book. Out early October, I think. Available from Amazon or the Cardfiff publisher Rowanvale.


Bookshops these days are, well, let's put it this way, I never visit them coz they never stock my books - not even the local Waterstones on the local writer shelf (because that's reserved from graduates of Swansea uni's creative writing courses. My my I can  heard the back-scratching from here!) But the local small bookshops are no better. So I vote with my feet.


Anyway, my books always do so well in Canada and the US, so thank you all! I am sure SANTA GOES ON STRIKE will be no exception, though it may take a couple of years to take off, because anything Christmasy obviously has a short promotion window.


Thinking of when I visited those great diners in Canada - Montreal, Ottawa etc. We have a greasy spoon caf down the road serving huge portions of the cheapest stuff which calls itself an Amercian Diner. Oh dear! That's like Neath calling itself Las Vegas LOL!


Anyway, I have decided to only eat decent meat (steaks, chicken etc) and not that often, and to eat many more vegetables - though I always ate a lot. On a quest now to lose weight and lower blood pressure.


My Middle Grade Children's Dinosaur book is also complete in a shortened third draft, and when I get a reader report on that and edit it, I shall submit to agents and publishers. I have a feeling they'll love it!


Doing well with the songs too. Recording a country anthem tomorrow actually.


A selection of my songs are free to listen to here:




And commiserations to all those who had to go back to school today. It always used to be 5th,6th.7th ot 8th in my day, and one of those is my birthday - and yes, I did have to go back to school on my birthday onces or twice as a boy. As you can imagine, I was so happy! LOL



Scorchio in Swansea

1ST JULY 2018.


it is probably not unfair to state that Swansea is not internationally known for its sunny tropical climate - though we are warm and wet here due to the Gulf Stream, so rarely very cold either (snow is rare). However, the last few days have truly been a heatwave - I even got a bit sunburnt yesterday watching the airshow over Swansea Bay from our little back garden (great sea view).


Having been a regular visitor to Swansea since the age of 8, I can say August is usually horribly rainy and overcats, with summers often being early here (May or June) or a bit later (September).


Me, I don't like it too hot, so wouldn't mind some cooler rainier weather now. I must have Viking blood. LOL. I would have been an awful empire builder back in the day LOL, unless the British empire had forcused on Holland or Norway or something.


Anyway, it's turning into a great year. Wonderful World Cup on - I am truly caught up in it all now and try to watch every match. Though sadly Portugal lost yesterday and I lost my little £10 20-1 bet (no matter, I am still over £600 up on William Hill thans to Trumpy and Brexit - unile the smug pc BBC and  UK media, I called both correctly!)


Two great gigs this year: Ed Sheeran in my local Singleton Park and The Rolling Stones (featuring fellow Dartfordoian Mick Jagger) at Cardiff. Just superb. No more big gigs for me this year now - it's back to work (on 4 books). I shall be holidaying at home this year too, enjoying some day trips maybe to our fabulous Welsh beaches (and maybe Cardiff too).


Wimbledon's starting tomorrow of course, so I'll probably have a little flutter on the wonderful Roger Federer again (who won last year, as did I as I always bet on him).


Busy here writing new songs (country and gospel) for producers in Nashville. Plus finalising the illustrations/cover for SANTA GOES ON STRIKE which is out October/November. Plus organising my quotation book THINKING TIME (out next year), and working hard to revise/rewrite my children's dinosaur book into such great shape no agent or publisher can turn it down...


After that, it's on to writing my sequel to CRUMP and my A CAT CALLED DOG spin-off cat book THE WISDOM OF GEORGE. And maybe a sequel to my children's dinosaur books if I can interest publishers in a series. So always busy here.


And I've also got a business to run!


But never mind - I'll sleep when I'm dead. LOL

May June be Fine...

Tues 5 June. Looking forward today to a music session with Bobby - working on the 49th demo song we've recored together! Bobby's choir supported Demi Lovato on the main stage at The Biggest Weekend Swansea on Sunday 27th May - so I am now working with a star!!!


Ed Sheeran on Saturday 26th at Singleton Park was brilliant - I stayed for 2 more acts and was there 5 hours, but then went hom (I live 5 minutes' walk away). Well, I'm not 16 any more and needed a little lie down LOL!


Next up: The Rolling Stones at Cardiff stadium on 15th June. Cannot wait for that! Especially as I was born in the same street where Mick grew up (Keef was in the nezt street), went to the same school and even had the same teachers (well 22 - for English and Latin). So I feel a sort of affinity for their remarkable journey and longevity too. Incredibly, Mick will be 75 in July - (older than my father when he died!!!) - and still dancing around the stage like a teenager!


Looking forward to revising my children's novel to perfection over the summer; also writing some more modern pop songs. Knowing Swansea it'll be raining most of the time anyway, so plenty of rainy days to stay inside and get stuff done.


And, of course, I start a serious diet - to lose serious weight: 3 stone. Wish my luck. I think I'll need it. Bumble the cat is also 25% overweight so can join me on my dieting journey... but not without loud protest, methinks. LOL



Well the world is brightening up for April, at last.


Busy here managing the production of my picture book SANTA GOES ON STRIKE which will be out from October and internationally (my books always do well in the USA - and this will be my sixth!). Has already been read on the radio and formed the basis of Talk Radio Europe's Christmas Eve show, and is regularly read at Christmas lunches. It's been called a modern classic - and I am sure it will live on for many years. Now it'll be in book form.


Focusing then on revising my children's novel at the moment, and starting a new cat books, a spin-off from the original A Cat Called Dog (2013).


Also working on a teenage 1980s diary - with a plot and story, and warts and all.


In total I have 15 ideas for books to work on. Including a novel with real heart - which may take some time. And maybe a sequel to my scabrous satirical debut novel Crump - still studied at universities worldwide and still a set book at colleges in Scandinavia.


Roll on May, and Ed Sheeran and others playing down the road in Singleton Park, Swansea - I have my golden ticket! Hoorah!

March Ahead...

9 March 2018. Today, on what have been my late father's 97th birthday, I finished the notes for my Middle Grade book Crisps and Dinosaurs (I completed the edit and 2nd draft yesterday) so now that can all go off to the wonderl Alex G - a pair of fresh eyes will read it. I shall use her report to ensure I submit the best possible manuscript to agents.


Fans of A Cat Called Dog often tell me they're amazed I am not signed up to an agent or a big publisher. I tell them I soon will be when they read my epic and classic children's novel Crisps and Dinosaurs!


In the mean time, I am glad A Cat Called Dog 2 - The One With The Kittens got a great review in CAT WORLD magazine, and in THE CAT Cats Protection magazine for Spring, and a mention in the March edition of YOUR CAT magazine. Of these my favourite is the CAT WORLD review, printed in full below. I still have high hopes that A CAT CALLED DOG will be a movie or TV cartoon one day - and plans are underway for a webcomic strip of it. Here is the CAT WORLD review in full:


Catworld review (Dec 2017)


"In this sequel to the much-loved A Cat Called Dog, we begin the tale with George continuing to teach Dog how to behave like a cat, because that is what he is. I was back amongst old friends and I couldn’t wait to find out what adventures lay ahead for the old gang.

Although this is a sequel, it can be read as a stand-alone book and you will soon get to know and love the characters you meet, well most of them anyway.

The story centres around three kittens who have escaped from some particularly nasty two-legs, and the journey they all embark on to find and return them to their mum.

We meet some interesting animals along the way, from slimy creatures called squiggles to square, black-and-white monster cats, and even dinosaurs.

Once again, the story highlights the importance of loyalty, friendship and doing the right thing, even though the right thing may not be what you want to do.

It is beautifully written with humour, sensitivity and believable characters.

This is truly an adventure that will entertain children and adults alike."

So February - mud month - begins...

Never have I been so happy to leave January behind - what an AWFUL January it's been this year. Plus the last 3 months and a bit have probably been the worst of my life.


BUT it's now 1st February and the evenings are becoming a tad lighter (maybe the supermoon effect!). And the bulbs in the garden are alive and pushing shoots of tulips etc out of the soil. New life. New year. New start.


February was called either SOLMONATH = MUD MONTH - or KALE-MONATH = CABBAGE MONTH by the ANGLO-SAXONS (from 600AD till 1150 in Old English).


They had a way with words, them Anglo-Saxons. WHY did we lose the wonderful word OVERMORROW for the day after tomorrow? Or SENNIGHT meaning 7 nights (we still have FORTNIGHT). Or YESTREEN for yesterday evening or YESTERMORN for yesterday morning. WONDERFUL WORDS - all lost in time. Like the gorgeous Anglo-Saxon word for the sea or ocean: WHALE-ROAD. Just perfect.


I shall soon read the complete full first draft of my middle grade children's book CRISPS AND DINOSAURS and edit, revise, make notes. It's a cracker! Really works well and hangs together AND is not just some silly cartoony book - it has real depth, and various themes (sons and their mothers/fathers; caring for the environment; overcoming obstacles; accepting who you are). I just cannot wait to get this perfected and to send it to agents and publishers.


I am also working on 2 non-fiction proposals which I shall sent to publishers. One has a Welsh theme to will go to Welsh publishers - if they aren't interested I won't bother to finish it; the other is more general and inspired by bereavement - I shall publish that myself if no-one wants it.


I am also investigating the possibility of making A CAT CALLED DOG a comic strip,  maybe a web comic. I'd need a good illustator though, (paid as a freelance). and it can take ages to find the right person. I have great faith in that story and the characters though - they're ALIVE! They wrote the book - not me.


So life is busy again and things look a lot brighter than it was in gloomy January.


Onwards and upwards!

And so 2018 begins...

So, 2018 is here and the weather in Swansea has mostly been cold, grey, rainy and miserable as everything else in January.


The last 3 months have been amongst the worst of my life, mainly because of my lovely mum having a stroke on 26th October, then leaving us after 5 weeks and a day in hospital (and nil by mouth for that time too - oh how she'd have loved a good strong cup of tea!). I know I shall never get over this - all I can do is learn to live with it for whatever time I have left. She was a fighter - and so am I.


Secondly, malicious accusations were made against me in early January by certain people no doubt keen on compo and revenge (I have been a victim of people like that before). Make no mistake about it, I shall be fighting these accusations with every fibre of my being, up unto my final breath. I am innocent of what I am accused of doing - but then people see what they want to see. I can say no more at this stage, but all this has made me realise how very vulnerable I have made myself when out and about while 'under the influence'. Anyone can accuse you of anything - and your accusers will try to use the fact you were drunk against you.


I shall be writing articles and a book - maybe too, one non-fiction and one fiction - about all this in the next year or two. I shall be opening a massive can of worms. I shall also be seeking compensation through legal channels so cannot so any more here at the moment.


Being a typical writer, I shall turn this fiasco into not only books, but a TV drama or film if anyone lets me. The problem is TV now is full of mediocrities, often employed because of 'positive action', making reality TV crud to shovel down the throats of the underclass and the gormless sofa-sitting older women who are the main TV audience. I covered all this in my novel RASMUS. Most TV is utter shite, and most people who work in it are monsters too - 'pc diversity-worshipping monsters who claim to be promoting equality even as they deliberately discriminate against white males.


So, 2018 marks the year when I give up alcohol for good. And if I do fall off the wagon, I shall do so at home with the doors locked against the lying eyes of the world. The outside world is a very dangerous place - and far too people-y for me. I shall stay home with the cats and get things done (books, songs, legal work for defamation cases...). I shall also be taking legal action in the next couple of years, especially if the trauma I have suffered means I am unable to work full time and earn a living. Six figures in compo should do it.


I have now started in earnest the planning for new 2 non-fiction books. One has a Welsh focus so I shall offer that to Welsh publishers only - and if they don't want it and show no interest, I won't bother finishing the book (I shall just do the proposal and pitch). But if that happens, I shall be keeping my eyes peeled for any books publishers put out which rip mine off (after the BBC stole the whole concept of a radio play I sent them which another writer wrote up, I am so careful not to allow my work to be stolen any more; and maybe one day I shall take legal steps against the BBC for that too. We'll see).


The second book is more general and was inspired, if that is the correct word, by bereavement. If no publisher is interested in that, I shall publish that myself.


Later in 2018, towards Christmas, I shall be publishing my long poem SANTA GOES ON STRIKE with colour illustrations - in tribute to my mum who loved the poem and often read it out loud at Christmas lunches. I shall promote that UK-wide and to north America (US and Canada) where my books have always done well. I fully expect NO Swansea bookshop to stock it, as per usual, which just shows how utterly provincial and culture-less the city (in fact, town) I live in tends to be, sadly.


Thank goodness Swansea didn't win City of Culture 2021! If we had, you can be sure the SAME half a dozen local faces would be hosting every event in an attempt to broaden their brand appeal to the whole UK, and the same half dozen writers would be involved (the usual suspects), and the same half a dozen musicians too.


Plus the AWFUL Grand Theatre in Swansea - the worst theatre I have ever been too, with useless 4th rate shows, featuring z list celebrities, and the MOST uncomfortable and cramped seating I have ever known - so you'll leave with a bad back and if you're big (over 6 foot) you'll probably get accused of assaulting the person next to you because your leg touched theirs!


Plus the staff - who mostly consist of grumpy old bags - behave like nazis. L bet Swansea wishes the place would burn down so they can get the compo!


Take my advice: got to the Dylan Thomas (Little Theatre) or Taliesin, not the hole that is the Grand Theatre (except the Arts Wing on the 3rd floor which does put on great productions from Fluellen Theatre Company - even if there are usually only 30-40 people in the audience!)


I am GLAD Coventry won and look forward to a ska revival in 2018 courtesy of great artists like The Specials and Neville Staple Band!

2017 will soon be over...

I've never liked New Year's Eve - all that false and forced jollity; all those crowds, closed pubs, double prices and walking home coz there are no taxis; and these days all that shameless PR for tourism with silly city firework displays. All sad, in various ways. Oh to return to the days NOT that long ago when there were never any fireworks in New Year's Eve - (and how the cats and dogs of this world would prefer the way we were!. New Year fireworkds is yet another habit we've imported to the UK from the USA, like crack cocaine, drive-by shootings and enormously fat people... Or maybe it's an EU import? It's now all about making money for big companies, that's for sure - how much longer before they try and convince us we need to buy cards and presents for New Year!


So I rarely celebrate it and often just go to bed - if I want a drink or meal out, I go the week after when the crowds stay away and the meals/drinks are half the price!


2017 has been a particularly eventful and bitter-sweet year for me. It saw the publication of A CAT CALLED DOG 2 - THE ONE WITH THE KITTENS which, I am please to report, is selling well AND generating some serious interest in the film/TV/animation world. That book and the first two were proof read by my wonderful mum,  their first reader, who sadly left us on 1st December after a long life well lived - she was 92. She adored my cat books and I am SO glad I wrote them and ensured they got published - more than I can ever say.


I refuse to be too sad about my mum's death, though of course I am heartbroken; instead I celebrate her long life well lived. When I look at all the people out there who live silly, pointless, selfish and/or nasty lives, I realse how my mother and those like her soar above such sad people whose malice dimishes them always.


My mum should of course have received an award - she didn't AND would have refused any offer of one for the Palace too! LOL! The New Year Honours List is mostly crammed with preening mediocrities, money-grubbers and career diplomats - not to mention corrupt ate murderous foreign dictators! - the BEST people are never on it! The people who keep society going, like my mum - who give so much to the world - expect and receive no rewards in the form of fame or baubles to wear in their hair; their reward is far deeper and far more vaulable too. They leave something good behind.


Next Christmas (2018) I shall be publishing an illustrated book featuring my Christmas poem SANTA GOES ON STRIKE, which she loved and often read aloud at her Christmas lunches! She'd like that. London/UK and International focus - Swansea marketing can be deeply parochial IMHO.


I have also almost finished writing a major middle grade children's book - full of diosaurs but really all about boys and their mums and dads. VERY excited about this one - and I am sure it will get publisher interest. Out in 2020 probably internationally. Really, it's a cracker! It's the children's book I would have wanted to read aged 9 - and is a funny exciting story BUT has depth and meaning too, as all my books do including the cat books. Great stuff!


Also, on the songwriting front, I have some serious interest in some of my songs. Can't say anything more yet though. But very exciting for me...


Oh and then during 2018 the film I was involved in producing - and which I appear in - CHARIOT will be out. Probably just in a few arty cinemas then DVD. Starring the great Bob Pugh - and the wonderful diminutive Welsh actor Darren Evans (who was in the A Streetcat Named Bob movie) who I was in a scene with. A fascinating experience, making a film - though I do think I'll probably stick to writing stories and songs!


And so a new chapter on  life begins, as it must. That is no bad thing. The world renews itself constantly. And the best people never die - they live on in our hearts and the good they leave behind.


The future awaits. Let's try to make it a little bit better than the past.

A CAT CALLED DOG 2 smashes the Mumsnet Competition Record!!!

BRILLIANT NEWS! Mumsnet have been in touch to say the competition had 607 entries - smashing their benchmark of 450! The 10 lucky winners will be posted the book for next week by my publisher Austin Macauley.


Less good news is that have YET AGAIN run out of stock - that;s good news in a way as it means people are buying the book; but bad news as people will now have to order it from Amazon, or wait till more are in stock (I am contacting Amazon today), but from another seller listed on Amazon, or order it from  a bookshop. No idea who organises stock at Amazon but they are mightily inefficient at giving customers what they want in this case.


Some GREAT reviews are in - and I received a lovely letter from the literary editor at the Jewish Chronicle to say he'd try and get a mention for A CAT CALLED DOG 2 in there. The whole 'mum cat stolen by nasty cat catchers' story is basically based on tragic stories from World War II - because a child losing a mother who's been kidnapped or stolen and they have no idea where she is, is possibly the worst thing that can happen to a child - or to the 3 kittens in my book.


Last Thursday, Swansea's South Wales Evening Post did a short piece plus a lovely photo of me with Honey Cat (our resident rescue cat - a torti-tabby diva) which is great. Any publicity helps, even on page 17! The 2015 A Cat Called Dog has a full doub;e-page feature, so cannot complain really.


Our local Uplands bookshop is closing and even they only ever stocked my first novel for 3 weeks in 2010 hidden on a bottom shelf. Maybe they wouldn't be closing if they'd put my 5 books in the window - they'd have sold 10+ copies of each, and with a 50% discount for the shop, could have made £250-500 profit off my books! They chose not to. And they are now closing down. QED.


I donated some of the 2015 A Cat Called Dog books to the two Cats Protection shops in Swansea - I do so hope they DISPLAY them and sell them at a good price (£5+ each). Although these places do seem to be turning into craft shops... Let's hope they appreciate my donation anyway - like most writers, I have to pay for new copies of my own books from my publishers! So to sell a copy at £1.49 which I was at the Mumbles shop is just plain wrong - I pay almost double that for each copy I donated to Cats Protection charity shops. I suppose it depends if the managers of these places have any business sense and brains...

Cat World, Your Cat, The Cat (Cats Protection quarterly magazine) and Mumsnet competition November 2017

I am delighted to say that the Mumsnet competition to win 1 of 10 copies of A CAT CALLED DOG 2 has been a great success - it ends on 23rd November so enter quickly if you want to!


A CAT CALLED DOG 2 - THE ONE WITH THE KITTENS would make a lovely Christmas present for children (I know of parents who read it with 6 year olds; and 7/8+ kids who read it independently) and adults too, especially pet or animal lovers (there are dogs in the book too! And dinosaurs! And slugs!). It's a very funny and thrilling read - and not too long for kids or too short for adults.


There are adverts for A CAT CALLED DOG 2 in CAT WORLD (a lovely review in the December edition too), YOUR CAT (a review is in the January edition which is out 10th December) and THE CAT (lovely big advert but no review in the Christmas/Winter edition unfortunately - though there will be one in the Spring edition of The Cat, which gets sent to all Cats Protection members).


There are now 10 million cats in the UK - and, perhaps surprisingly, half a million more men than women have cats! Though cat magazines have an 80% female readership as do cat books.


So why not invest in a funny, heart-warming read this Christmas and buy a copy of A CAT CALLED DOG 2 for the man/woman/child/cat/dog/dinosaur in your life!



Great review in December CAT WORLD

Well, it's always nice to get reviews - and the review in the December edition of CAT WORLD is a peach. Many thanks to them for that - and I forgive you for getting my name wrong (Evanston!). Also, this is about the 3rd or 4th review to call my book 'beautifully written'. Writers always like to read reviews that say that!


Many thanks go out especially to readers and fans in the USA. My books are always so welcomed over there, so I may well move there one day, especially with present LA film agency interest in the film rights to my books!


Contrast that with the disgraceful lack of interested shown by Waterstones in local writers. Does Swansea really deserve to be City of Culture 2021 when its main bookstore (which only stays in business thanks to students buying text books) refuses to stock even one copy of books by local writers? What does it say about a place when its book shops refuse to stock local writers, preferring to stock the same blockbusters you can get anywhere, and the endless rugby books, biographies and 'looking back at Swansea in the past' books. Yawn. I wouldn't shop in Waterstones again if you paid me. They're probably go out of business pretty soon anyway, so no skin off my nose if they turn down the opportunity to make some profit of selling my books - that just shows their awful business sense really.


Anyway, my favourite part of the CAT WORLD review is as follows: "It is beautifully written with humour, sensitivity and believable characters. This is truly an adventure that will entertain adults and children alike."


I am really glad the review picks up on the serious message between te lines of A CAT CALLED DOG 2. The later chapters are inspired by World War 2 and concentration camps, after all.


At present, there are some malicious shill reviews on Amazon for my books (1 star fake news reviews by those who have not read my books). I have spoken to my contacts in the national press and TV about this and they seem interested - especially because I can identify who exactly is leaving these reviews. If they're not removed, I shall start the process of making that a national and international news story about INTEGRITY and HONESTY - and will ensure full names and details of my abusers and cyber-bullies are made public. Their identities may surprise and shock you. I can say no more now. Watch this space.

Some reviews - A Cat Called Dog 2

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Full Text:
Very cute story for the young and the cats lovers of all ages. Dog, a cat who acts like a dog and his friends head out on an adventure to find 3 kittens. Things don't always go smoothly in this children's thriller but it's works out in the end. I think kids starting from about 8 or 9 years old will love this book. There are several cute black and white pictures throughout the book.



Here's me on Local Swansea Bay TV talking about A CAT CALLED DOG 2

I was delighted to go into the Bay TV studios on Tuesday 19th September to talk on the TODAY show about my new book A CAT CALLED DOG 2 - and a bit about the film CHARIOT I'm a bit involved in producing (out in 2018). Enjoy:


Delighted to to have some lovely reviews in. Two 5 star reviews from


One says "my 7 year old read this and loved it" and "She absolutely loves the kittens; she thought they were really funny. Highly recommend this book for your kids!"


The second says: "I recommend it to the young and young at heart. I give it five purrs and two paws up."


As I have always said, if people read this book, they'll love it - both children and adults, especially but not exclusively cat/dog lovers. now has the paperback of A CAT CALLED DOG 2 in stock

I have no idea why there has been a delay in Amazon stocking A CAT CALLED DOG 2 - THE ONE WITH THE KITTENS, and frankly, do not care. The paperback SHOULD have been in stock from 31st August which was the official release date.


I sent my publisher and Amazon rather rather emails yesterday and, as if by magic, the book was in stock on Amazon by the end of the day. Sometimes, direct action works!


Anyway, now people can buy the book in paperback and enjoy it.


A CAT CALLED DOG 2 - THE ONE WITH THE KITTENS can be enjoyed as a stand-alone read - no need to know the first book to enjoy this one. It's a hugely entertaining rollwer-coaster of a ride in 16 illustrated chapters, suitable for adults (who comprise most fans) and also kids (and suitable to read to really young kids). It's not a silly 2-dimensional comic strip book though - some parts are satisfyingly deep and profound, with memorable characters and a thriller or quest plot.


Next up: adverts and reviews in The Cat, Cat World and Your Cat, plus a November competition on Mumsnet and the ebook is available free to all professional readers who are members of Net Galley. But first, a feature in the South Wales Evening Post, I think.

19th September on local Bay TV

I was delighted to appear again on local Swansea Bay TV's TODAY programme on 19th September (my old mum's 92nd birthday as it happens so drove her to Limeslade for a 99 flake ice-cream later that afternoon).


Chatted about the book A CAT CALLED DOG 2, and other stuff - a bit about the film CHARIOT which I am (co)producing (out 2017) at the end, so glad to get a little mention in there.


I shall post a clip here as soon as one is made available on Facebook.

14th September 2017 - paperback copies of A CAT CALLED DOG 2 finally received and sent out

Today, at long last, I received my box of paperback copies of A CAT CALLED DOG 2 - THE ONE WITH THE KITTENS.


I have posted copies to the press now, and will be on local TV in Swansea (BAY TV - channel 8 FREEVIEW) at 12.30-1pm on Tuesday 19th September 2017, talking mostly about the book. And maybe music. And filming CHARIOT.


Glad to say A CAT CALLED DOG 2 - THE ONE WITH THE KITTENS is getting a warm reception and great reviews! Here's the first, from the Bookbag:


31st August 2017: A Cat Called Dog 2 - The One with The Kittens is finally out!

Well, the day is finally here. For on this day 31st August 2017, my fifth book A Cat Called Dog 2 - The One with The Kittens is released and on sale.


Buy it here:


It was supposed to be out earlier, but I had to wait LONG time for the illustrations. They are, however, wonderful illustrations - so maybe the best things are worth waiting for! As they always are...


I expect the first reviews to come in soon and will publish them here.


I'm working hard on promotion and marketing now - trying to garner reviews, sending off some copies - although I haven't see the paperback version yet.


Anyway, if you'd like a good read - and this book is for both adults and children (like a Disney or Pixar movie), then I'm sure you'll enjoy this book.


It's funny, with fun characters, though with some scary and sad moments along the way. But the best comedy always has a foundation of sadness...


A Cat Called Dog 2 - The One with The Kittens. THE COUNTDOWN BEGINS...

Monday 7th August 2017.


Just heard that A CAT CALLED DOG 2 - THE ONE WITH THE KITTENS, will finally be published on 31 August. I have approved the proofs with illustrations, so now just waiting for the cover to be revised. Yet to get the ISBN.


One big issue with publishing a book is getting it known and out there - well, 140,000 books are published in the UK every year (some say 200,000) and of course the big authors with publicists and 6 figure marketing budgets dominate.


However, that does not mean smaller authors cannot get their books read by readers - though so many bookshops now only stock books by big authors and publishers (and shame on you all, esp the W ones).


I am working on a marketing plan right now - and will get features in local papers and magazines, at least 1 (and mayb 2 or 3 ) radio interviews, reviews in cat magazines and maybe a feature in a well-known parenting website. It's tough, yes, but I have great faith in my new A CAT CALLED DOG book so will push it because I think it deserves the attention (I think it's way better than a lot of soppy overly-sentimental cat books out there - but I'm biased!).


A CAT CALLED DOG 2 - THE ONE WITH THE KITTENS is for children aged 7-12, yes, but also for adults - there are some really funny characters and jokes in this exciting story, plus some Philosophy even, and some scary and sad bits too. Parents will enjoy it as much as kids. It's like a Disney or Pixar movie in that, and I am really happy to have achieved that crossover.


It also has some dinosaurs in it! Read A CAT CALLED 2 to find out how I manage to get both kittens and dinosaurs in the same book!


Well, everyone loves dinosaurs - and so do I! That's why the Middle Grade children's book I am writing at the moment is full of them! 12 chapters written. Maybe 14 to go. Fingers crossed I should have finished the first draft by the end of August.


And I just KNOW agents will be interested in that manuscript - though I shall get a professional report done on it first and will revise it as necessary before emailing any submission to them.


It could be the first of a series, and could make my name. You heard it here first!

Wimbledon? You betta you bet!



Well, it's that time of year again, when the rain blows in off the sea and you have to turn the central heating on. Yep, it's summer in Swansea, in wild wet Wales!


It's also summer in Wimbledon where Venus just lost to some Spaniard or other.


Far more interesting in the men's game and the utterly sublime Roger Federer, a majestic, graceful, elegant player (unlike the sloggers and whackers in the women's final). He should win tomorrow.


I have bet on Roger the last 2 years when he made the final. Put a £20 bet on him to win Wimbleson at 7-2 less than a month ago (odds now are 4-11!). So don't let me down again Roger, please! I need the 70 quid winnings to part-pay for my Queen concert ticket for 30 November which I just bought online on a whim (it wasn't cheap!). Not sure whether or not to drive to Birmingham then, maybe for Park and Ride. But hey, I'm a-going to see Queen at long last! Minus Freddie, but still with Brian May and Roger Taylor (the original Smile AKA Queen). And thanks to Brian May's office at Duck Productions for emailing me a thank you for my posting him a copy of the 2013 A CAT CALLED DOG too.


I've been working hard all day making notes for my next book - which will be all about an 11 (nearly 12) year old boy called Joe and lots of dinosaurs. It's really coming together now - because, I hope, it's a strong idea. I'm aiming for the middle grade 'David Walliams fan' reader. I hope to have that finished by September or maybe October. First draft soon anyway - I'll start after I finish the chapter plan and character descriptions.


Filming has been a bit delayed on CHARIOT so that'll continue in late August/September with the Village Hall scene (where I'll be able to meet the star Bob Pugh from Game of Thrones). No idea when or where the premier will be now. But fun to do a little film producing here and there...

Sunny July in Swansea

Well, back in Swansea now for the duration, after my trips to Italy and London, including a visit to my old Dartford school which was fascinating (I haven't been back since 1985!) Way too hot (really, the hottest I have ever known it in London) and I was getting by on 2 hours' sleep a night, so not at my best - but fun to meet the Young Scribblers and the Journalism Society for workshops.


Nice to see the Mick Jagger Centre too (the old assembly hall where I sat all my O levels). Probably twice the size oif the school when I was there - so many new buildings, it could be quite disorientating really. But the junior school quad remains much the same... Glad to see DGS is a modern, forward-looking school though. I have no nostalgia for the way it was (the headmaster when I was there would have been delighted if every boy had become a bank manager - and the attitude to the arts was mocking at best).


I do have to say that London was buzzing - what with the Saturday crowds of 1 million people for PRIDE and all the street bands playing (I spent half an hour watching superb groove funk combo by Charing X). Glad to say the policing was so low-key and hands-off and there was no agro at all (Swansea police take note! If in doubt., BUTT OUT!)


Then I was back in the West End on Sunday for (a Chinese buffet and) the London 10k run - though surprise surprise I was not running in it! I did watch though, which was exhausting! There was yet more live street music at Trafalgar Square by NOT THE ROLLING STONES - a great tribute band! Almost like Mick Jagger himself had turned up! If youn can catch them, do!


Great to see U2 at Twickenham stadium on Sunday 9th but getting there and back was a nightmare - really unpleasant. And what sort of 'world city' ends its underground service at 11.30pm just because it's Sunday eh?


The Jacksons were, well, The Jacksons at the Old Royal Naval College open air gig in Greenwich (my first novel Crump is set there!) - same performence precisely as the one at Glastonbury (including the ad libs!)


I liked AN AMERICAN IN PARIS and wouldn't mind seeing it again - it was more ballet than musical really. The Gershwin music was sublime.


I didn't enjoy Dreamgirls so much - maybe give that 3 stars out of 5. It was alright, but I wouldn't bother seeing it again. I preferred the Carol King musical BEAUTIFUL I saw last year.


But anyway, ironic I suppose but my favourite gigs of the weekend were ALL free and on the London streets:

1) a great young busker by Embankment tube doing SHAPE OF YOU with local girls rapping along on PRIDE Saturday;

2) the STREET GROOVE BAND (bass, guitar, drums - no vocals) getting funky with Stevie Wonder songs on the PRIDE Saturday evening (complete with fab gay dancers!);

3) The band called NOT THE ROLLING STONES on the Sunday morning south of Trafalgar Square.


All absolutely and totally 100% free and my favourite 3 acts from my summer break in London...


Glad I don't live in London really but always love visiting... I 'may' be back in September for the premier of the movie CHARIOT I'm co-producing. We'll see...


In the mean time, it's on to planning my next book - a middle grade kids' book with lots of dinosaurs. Hope to plan that this month and write it by the autumn...

Flaming June...

Tuesday 13th June.

Well, got back from sunny Italy on Sunday complete with some sunburn and a few extra pounds thanks to my plenty-of-pasta-and-pizza-and-2-icecreams-a-day diet. It started raining when I started driving into Swansea. Says it all really!


Had 4 nights in Genoa, incl a day trip to the Italian Riviera at Portofino (a millionaire slum really) and the much nicer Santa Margueritta Liguria. See aforementioned sunburn (but only on upper arms). Then a night in Pisa and Saturday afternoon in beautiful Florence before that - too hot really but I love the place so much I'd go there in any weather!


Looking forward now to visiting London (and my old school in Dartford) in early July, then mid-July being present for another day's filming: a village hall scene in CHARIOT (the film I'm co-producing) where I'll be able to meet the leading actor, Mr Bob Pugh (Craster {?} in Game of Thrones; in Master and Commander, a one-time villain in Midsomer Murders - when it was good! - and much more!).


At long last, my publisher sent the corrected 2nd proofs for A CAT CALLED DOG 2 - THE ONE WITH THE KITTENS (it only took em 7 weeks!). Here's hoping the 6 minor changes I have now asked for can be done quickly (I could do em in 10 minutes!). Then just waiting for the cover design and the book is ready to go off to the printers.


I'm also busy planning 2 books: 1) a satirical novella which does for race what The Stepford Wives did for gender, and 2) a stand-alone Middle Grade (age 9-12) children's book in the manner of Roald Dahl and his imitator David Walliams. Loads of dinosaurs in it - I'll be at the Natural History Museum in early July researching them and deciding which ones to put in the book!

April Sunshine...

Wednesday 19th April 2017


Well, it's all gone showbiz here at A Cat Called Dog Towers.


First of all, I went to Frome, Somerset on Easter Sunday (16th) to see Ken Dodd's Happiness Show (4 hours 40 minutes long - Ken on stage for almost 4 hours at age nearly 90!). Great fun though - I laughed a lot.


Afterwards, I went backstage (Ken's written to me after I sent him my cat books in the past, which is why I was allowed). So, at 1.20am in the morning I was chatting with Sir Ken Dodd in his make-up room about writing, comedy, business, Americans, showbiz lawyers, the BBC, Hollywood, songs... (and quaffing a can of beer Ken very kindly offered me - though he insisted I didn't drink from the can but out of a teacup: "We're not hippies here!" he said). SEE PHOTOS ON THE PHOTO PAGE FOR PHOTOMAGRAPHICALISTIC EVIDENCE, M'LORD.


Anyway, that led to his offer for me to send him my songs for his 'honest opinion' - and also, after he'd told me what sort of song he was looking for, to a sort-of commission to write him a song (or 3).


Well, it just so happens that, driving back to Swansea on Monday 17th, I managed to hum a song into existence - then completed the lyrics and added a middle 8 yesterday - so that song, written for Sir Ken, is ready to record in May and post to him. BOOM! It happens like that sometimes... Song writing is a funny old game...


Showbiz news 2: The film for which I am associate producer - CHARIOT - starts filming this week. I'm just helping out really and will be an extra next week (in a very 'blue' call centre scene). All new and exciting. And oh so timely (it's a mockumentary all about an amoral and corrupt politician).


FINAL news of what has become a very interesting week: I have now confirmed that I shall be visiting my old school - Dartford Grammar - on Friday 7th July (during my London visit). The last time I was there was - I think - December 1984! The last time I was in Dartford (where I was born and grew up) was 1987 (though I drove through in 1999). So I expect to be in a state of shock, therefore (which is fitting because the evening before my visit I am going to see The Jacksons live in concert at the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich). Maybe I shall write a song about it...Called 'Old School'?


I do so love being creative! Just a shame it doesn't pay better. Yet.


Onwards and upwards!

St David's Day 1st March 2017

Well, as people may or may not know. St David's Day on 1st March is quite a big thing here in Wales. I had to buy some daffodils from the local shops because the bulbs I planted in our tiny garden have not quite bloomed yet. But they are cheap enough to buy at this time of year anyway!


Had a recordig session today with Bobby - recorded a demo of a song I wrote 3 days before, which is basically gospel. I've written 7 songs in the last month so now have quite a backlog, of both older and newer songs. I look forward to submitting the 3 I think are most commercial to music publishers in the coming weeks/months.


I'm also preparing to publish A CAT CALLED DOG 2 - THE ONE WITH THE KITTENS. The illustrations are almost finished. Then it's just the cover to do and it's off to the printers. I hope it can be out in May. I'm sure it'll be as popular as the first book with the fans!


Pending news re movie rights too. Top secret at the moment. But interest shown in my books by large agencies. That's all I can say for now!

Bay TV Interview 16th January 2017

One Monday 16th January I was delighted to go down to Bay TV's studios in Swansea for an interview on 'Down the Bay' (on every day 12 noon repeated 4pm, freeview channel 8 or Virgin 159 - or Facebook).


Really enjoyable actually, sitting their with Keith Milward, another third of the LITTLE RED DRAGONS, and good to hear COME ON WALES on the TV (though there is a funkier dance version on YouTube too).


A wide-ranging interview about my recent dark satirical novel RASMUS - A TELEVISION TALE, but also my previous books A CAT CALLED DOG (2013 and illustrated 2015) and CRUMP (2010) - plus my music and song writing.


Keith stated I was writing a musical based on my A CAT CALLED DOG books too, so now I actually have to get it together and write it! Thanks Keith! Well, I have the books (to which I own full rights), the story, the characters and 7 or 8 songs already so now I just have to write some more songs and write the dialogue - a summer project methinks.


I hope to go back on Bay TV when I have a hit with one of my songs too! Got almost 30 demo-ed now - including some really modern-soundoing pop songs.


Anyway, for those who missed it, here is the link to my appearance on Bay TV's DOWN THE BAY - I am in the 3rd section starting just before the 25 minute mark. Enjoy!



10th January 2017.


Well, here we are in 2017. Let's hope this year's a good 'un and not a wrong 'un!


I've been busy submitting manuscripts to publishers (my new Middle Grade children's book which was SO much fun to write - and I hope to build a series on it when I get an agent + publishing contract).


Also busy songwriting - after a quiet spell I knocked out 2 excellent songs in the last week. The first is a Marlene Dietrich style song that could be sung by a Shirley Bassey style singer (or drag queen!); the second is a very catchy song about a snowman called Stephen. VERY happy with both.


Off to the studio to continue working with Bobby on the 3 tracks I intend to send to music publishers this year - including my song on all the pop stars who have died over the past few years (I think that one - 'REMEMBER FREDDIE (LET'S HAVE A PARTY) - is the stand-out track and THE hit, though I'll also send a ballad and a dance/pop track to music publishers.


The goal is to get signed so music publishers can pitch my songs to established artists to record. A very tough and competitive industry, of course, but I always compare my songs with what I hear on the radio and, to be honest, I think mine are better than a lot of those - consequently have the confidence to go for it. It's taken long enough! I wrote my first song at age 15 or maybe even 14 - which was over a decade ago, I can tell you! ;)


The photographer from the local paper came round yesterday to take some snaps - I am in The South Wales Evening Post at some time promoting my book RASMUS whilst also critising the local Waterstones which is not stocking even one copy of my book. They never stocked A Cat Called Dog in 2013/14/15 either - and that has almost sold out of 1000 copies now so there IS a demand, Waterstones! I wrote to them twice then and even included the double page spread feature in the Evening Post, yet they still didn't stock it and didn't reply to my letters either. Not good. Really.


A shame we cannot have local bookshops that support local writers, in the same way local restaurants support local producers - instead of a faceless centralised approach. That symbiotic, mutual, friendly approach benefits both local shops and the local community. A shame some retail businesses don't agree...


I am also being interviewed about my very timely and scathing satirical TV novel RASMUS (and maybe my songs too) on local TV next week - BAY TV. The show DOWN THE BAY at 12 noon repeated at 4pm is live (yikes!) and I am in the 3rd quarter for 11 minutes, so on from around 12.30pm. Freeview channel 8 Virgin 159, but the clip will be on Facebook later too.


Another Rasmus review - this time from the Morning Star, comrade. Thanks to them for reviewing it and especially to Paul Simon for taking time out of his world tour to do it.




Great Reviews for RASMUS!



I'm delighted to say Rasmus has scored 4/5 in a superb review from TheBookBag which recommends buying it or borrowing it from the library:


It really is a book that will make people think - about TV, the internet, fame, celebrity, how mad it all is!


My marketing budget is tiny, but I am sure that RASMUS, like my first novel CRUMP, will gain momentum over the coming couple of years and make its mark. I rely mostly on word of mouth for sales. Fortunately, that always seems to happen with my books - which is why they sell out. Someone somewhere always picks up on them - why my first novel became a set book in schools/colleges in Scandinavia and why my cats books have a loyal international following.


Greatly looking forward to submitting my Middle Grade children's book to agents/publishers in the New Year - I have been told by a very well known children's writer who has read the manuscript and offered advice, that it will definitely interest a publisher/agent and that she looks forward to seeing it in the shops in 2017 or 2018. The first of a series too.


Also, excited about a couple of new songs I have written - VERY commercial, so will send them to music publishers in the New Year.


Got a radio interview by phone from Spain (Talk Radio Europe) a week today with the wonderful Hannah Murray, host of the best book show on radio - so greatly looking forward to that too.

"Rasmus - a Television Tale" now published and in the shops!



I was delighted to receive my copies of my new novel RASMUS - A TELEVISION TALE today.


It looks just gorgeous - which I am very pleased with as I didn't only write the book (took me 5 years!) but designed the cover.


This novel really is so timely and relevant - all about TV, the internet, reality TV, the BBC, the digital age, the curse of 'political correctness', the fetish worship of the great god called 'diversity' (and so-called 'positive action) which promotes racism/sexism, the generational divide and the divisions in British society. It's also VERY funny though very dark too - and anyone who wants to read an intelligent novel should give it a try.


Sending our review copies now as is my wonderful publisher - thanks to them for their full support.


I hope and expect RASMUS to ruffle a few feathers and to grow gradually (re media coverage and sales) over the coming months as more and more people become aware of the book. It'll be a grower and I am planning for that.


Busy too entering a Christmas song competition, and doing a final revision of my middle grade children's book (which has been tipped for success by a very well-known children's writer) - I shall be contacting agents/publishers when I have tweaked MY FAVOURITE COLOUR BLUE into the perfection it deserves! It'll probably be the first of a series too. Can't wait!

Eurovision time!

20/10/16 Well, it's Eurovision time again - at least for song writers. I have never entered a song before but am entering one this year, so it's all new and exciting (or would be if the BBC could make the submission process easier on their app!)


It's a sort of stadium rock anthem called ALL THE WORLD OVER and it was inspired by my Polish friend Eva (who helps me look after my 91 year old partially-sighted mum). It's really a song of reconciliation and healing after the Euro referendum and Brexit - no matter how anyone voted. All very timely and relevant - and hopefully a good song. Now it's up to the behind-the-scenes judges on the BBC Eurovision team - I hope they shortlist my song even though it was submitted without an artist performing it.


I've offered the song to what I think is Britain's best rock band - and I hope they like it and will try it out too. Imagine them in Kiev for the Eurovision final eh? But a long way to go before then. First thing is to get the video demo accepted and then to make the shortlist of 6 which will go to a UK Eurovision song final on TV - and viewers will vote for their favourite to go through as the UK's entry.


Fingers crossed then...

A Song in Your Heart



Delighted to say I went to see the great Christy Moore in concert on Monday 10th October at the Brangwyn Hall, Swansea. Ireland's greatest musician did not disappoint - at the age of 71. The highlight? Fairytale of New York as an encore (a bit early for Christmas songs, but...)


Just heard that RASMUS will be out in the week of 25th October. Looking forward to seeing it in the flesh, as it were, then marketing it around the place.


Very pleased too that a writing agency I use to assess manuscripts has told me a manuscript for a children's book of mine they read is superb and could be a series. A couple of tweaks, then that is off to agents and publishers.


Oh yes, and have now definitely decided to turn A CAT CALLED DOG into a musical with my script and my music and lyrics.


Off tomorrow to the studio to continue working on my possible Eurovision song contest effort (watch this space).


Oh and I just took my car in for a service and MOT.


I mean, how exciting can it all get?




Great News!



A lovely sunny day in Wales today...


Wonderful news! After a delay, my superb illustrator Greg is now working on the illustrations for A Cat Called Dog 2. I have all the rights myself so can sell them for film or write my musical at my leisure.


Meanwhile, RASMUS is in the final proofing stage. Then off to the printers. It's a timely novel and I think will make its mark (though I am sure the usual suspects will be offended).


In addition, since being massively trolled by racist nationalist bigot bullies on Twitter this week, I have been invited to contribute to a review of online trolling, and have also contributed to an article to be published in a famous US magazine - on trolling. (AND it's well paid too!)


MANY THANKS INDEED to my publisher Matador/Troubador for giving me FULL support. They NOW know the truth of the situation. I was the victim of vile bullies. Poor them, I say! Bullies never win in the end.





RASMUS to be published 28th October



I am delighted that my dark satirical TV novel RASMUS will be published on 28th October 2016 (and probably a bit before). Just corrected the 2nd proofs here, so not long to go. Like my first novel, CRUMP, I am sure RASMUS will ruffle a few feathers amongst the pompous and sensitive who dislike being satirised! But satire always has a target.


My targets this time include reality TV, as well as the whole fame/celebrity industry on TV, and the 'politically correct' BBC.


It's certaintly a very timely novel about TV, the BBC and celebrity culture - a real 'state of the nation' novel. But time will tell if people have an appetite for a dark satire that is merciless in identifying and mocking hypocrisy and cant in modern British society.


A Cat Called Dog 2 - The One with the Kittens will also be published, though there have been long delays with that publisher, unfortunately. All I can say about it is: it'll be out when it's out! Maybe 2016. Maybe 2017.

Come on Wales for Euro2016!!!



Well, tomorrow Wales play Portugal in the Euro2016 SEMI-FINAL! Utterly incredible! I have a bet on that match at 3-1; better still I have a £30 bet on Wales to win at 66-1 (made before the Euros started) - that'd net me £1680. I can hardly bear to watch ANY matchew now as a consequence! Watching through fingers!


I constantly remind people that many players - 9 of 23 - of the Welsh team are actually English-born and bred including the captain Ashley Williams and the brilliant Hal Robson-Kanu (who even PLAYED for England in a youth team). So England fans can also cheer on Wales - and nationalistic English-hating Scottish bigots have to realise that when they cheer on Wales they are cheering on a team on the pitch which is half made up on English players (who have one Welsh grandfather usuallY).


Here is the catchiest football song for Wales in Euro2016 by LITTLE RED DRAGONS (me, Bobby Cole and Keith Milward singing). ALL proceeds to MIND CYMRU (we are not like some football songs which claim to 'raise awareness' of charities then whose performers keep all money made for themselves in an amoral way). I also hope the Manics will make a big donation to charity - because sales of their other records is bound to go up after the huge hype and publicity for their Wales football song. Memories of Queen at LiveAid spring to mind...


Enjoy the singalong! Come on Wales!




Wales beat Slovakia - COME ON WALES



Lovely to see Wales beat Slovakia yesterday in their first international tournament since 1958. Both strong teams but Wales had the edge.


Of course, most players for Wales have English accents and were born and grew up in England, so English fans can also support Wales! England drew with the group's weakest side...


Little Red Dragons' charity football song Come on Wales is definitely being sung at Euro2016 in France by people I know who are there - well, it is the catchiest Wales football song! Also EVERY PENNY RAISED will go to MIND CYMRU for mental health and suicide prevention in young people.


But, on a positive note - my songs are with publishers now and I look to be heading for a contract there. I cannot wait to have established artists recording my songs - in the UK and USA.



Looking forward now to more Wales games (perhaps a draw with England would be best...). I do not expect Wales to win the thing, despite having a small bet on, but anything is possible!


Looking forward too to handing cash raised by the charity football song I worked hard to write, record and promote over to MIND CYMRU - probably not for 2 or 3 months though as sales and radio play royalties take yonks to filter through. BUT they will get ALL proceeds from COME ON WALES by LITTLE RED DRAGONS - every single penny (plus a donation in effect of £150 from me as that what it cost to record and promote the song).


COME ON WALES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Come on Wales doing well + featured in media (Evening Post; BBC Radio Wales)

21st May 2016.


COME ON WALES by Little Red Dragons is doing well - over 500 hits on YouTube, with mentions on BBC Radio Wales and a nice big splash in the South Wales Evening Post. I think it's the catchiest football song out this year, actually, even if I say so myself - though the music is not mine (an old folk tune) so I just did the arrangement and lyrics. Still, nice to be the best of trh best!


No idea how much money that will earn for MIND CYMRU, but it'll take months for income to show anyway - fingers crossed for 4 figures anyway. But hundreds will be fine too. 


It's great to be recording again after such a long break (I gave up music totally for 10 years - 2004-2014 - and didn't write a song between 1998 and late 2014, when I wrote my hit Christmas song).


I recently made a list of my songs: I have 47 completed songs to record, plus 35 others half-done. So far, I have recorded 14 with Bobby at the studio (and 2 or 3 of them will be sent off to music publishers next week - the most commercial ones). Even if I say so myself, some of my songs really do sound like hits! I hope a decent music publisher agrees and backs me - then my songs can get recorded by established artists in the UK and the USA. Bring it on!


Here's a link to that South Wales Evening Post feature:



And below is a YouTube link to the DANCE MIX of COME ON WALES - and if that doesn't get people dancing during Euro2016, I don't know what will! Enjoy!


Come on Wales by Little Red Dragons OUT NOW to download in online stores.

On Friday 22nd April, COME ON WALES by LITTLE RED DRAGONS was released via TuneCore to online music stores - we released an album with 6 tracks, the first three with TV commentary samples, the latter 3 without. It may take a while to filter through to Amazon and iTunes, hence the earlier-rather-than-later release date. But it's out there now at least! I presume it's 99p a track retail.


SO great to be at this stage at last - I wrote the song last summer and we recorded the music in September, I think - COME ON WALES was the second track I did with Bobby at his Dunvant studio (my Christmas song wasthe first).


I wonder what my great uncles James and Evan James who wrote the Welsh National Anthem (in 1856 in Pontypridd) would make of it all! They'd probably like it to be slower and played on a harp...


Just been in touch with the South Wales Evening Post who are sending a photographer round next week. So I have less than a week to lose 2 stone and gain my slimline summer figure (as if...)


Good luck to Bobby who is running in tomorrow's London Marathon (baffled as to why) and also to Keith who is on holiday in Italy at the moment (alright for some) - and well done me for working like a slave this weekend, doing various things including making publicity CDs of COME ON WALES and letters to send out to people on Monday. I shall roast some chicken drumsticks tonight in celebration (about as exciting as things get in this house).


Radio Wales music department have the CD now and will see about clearing the samples. As all proceeds are going to charity now and for evermore with this song, I hope those who own the copyright to the TV football commentary can be generous with their support and let us use the samples of Gareth Bale goals we got from YouTube. They really do make the track sound great and 'whole'. Fingers crossed.


Off to see Mike Peters and The Alarm in Aberdare on Thursday. Never been to Aberdare - so a new experience! Driving there (maybe an hour from Swansea?) so no beers that night! I first saw The Alarm aged 15 in 1983 at what I think was Thames Polytechnic - school day next day at Dartford Grammar! My ears were probably still ringing and whistling. They no longer do that, which probably signifies ear damage. C'est la vie... Pardon...

Come on Wales!

4th April 2016.


I am pleased to announce that we now have recorded a wonderful vocal track on my song COME ON WALES - courtesy of the wonderful and very experienced singer and performer Mr Keith Milward.


I'm now working on the admin regarding releasing the song and getting the charity stuff organised - my local MP has offered his support and I shall take him up on the offer.


I hope for the track to be released on TUNECORE by May 1st, so that it can build and build during May for the European Championships in France in June 2016.


I am minded to release this as an album so we can use various mixes (with and without crowd sounds etc) - then people can buy a track for 99p - and the first track will be the single, as it were.


LITTLE RED DRAGONS is my preferred choice for the name of the artist - which is basically me - for this charity project. Of course, Bobby (engineer, co-producer) will be credited as with Keith Milward, our wonderful frontman!


Really excited now because the song sounds GREAT with Keith's vocal. Thanks to Swansea Amateur Operatic Society for putting out the word and allowing us to make that connection!


The journey continues...


Sound and Vision...

15th March 2016.


I'm delighted to announce that my wonderfully talented illustrator Greg is now working on the illustrations for A Cat Called Dog 2 (The One With The Kittens). Fingers crossed, that'll be published around May/June. It's a funny, frightening, happy, sad, enjoyable romp of an adventure with some great new characters plus the old gang reunited.


Well, that's the vision. Now the sound:


My Wales football song Come on Wales is ready to go - we just need an opera singer! (If anyone knows a Wynne-Evans-ish opera singer, do let me know!) At the very least it'll be released on YouTube for Euro 2016 in May, and emailed to radio stations. Then, with a word or two changed, it'll be a Wales football World Cup campaign song for later this year when Wales play qualifiers against several countries (including Moldova, where my old classmate from Dartford Grammar School, Phil Batson, is the British Ambassador! 5 years in the same class, we were, but haven't met since I was 17).


Also very excited that a local singer called Abi will be laying down vocals on my already-recorded song The Way You Are this week. Can't wait to hear that! It's an epic song. One for Shirley Bassey maybe? We've already got in a fab sax player to lay down a solo at the end - which is just superb.


I'm off to a gig tomorrow: '80s Explosion' in Port Talbot. Really want to see Midge Ure (Ultravox, Visage, Band Aid etc) but also on the bill is Nick Heywood (Haircut 100), as well as Big Country (minus the late lead singer of course...) and someone else. Really going to see Midge Ure though. Back to the 80s! Wow! No doubt I'll eavesdrop on folk nattering about government cuts and property prices and the royal family. Plus ca change...

USA publication of A Cat Called Dog

On 1st February, the illustrated version of A Cat Called Dog was released in the USA. I know both this book (and the 2013 version) has lots of fans in North America, and many there have already bought and read both, on e-book often. But it's great it'll now been in shops (I mean, 'stores') in the US of A. Makes me want to skip down the sidewalk!


The sequel - A Cat Called Dog 2 - is now finished. Doing proofs now, and just waiting for our brilliant (so popular!) young illustrator Greg to become free to to the illustrations.


My dark satirical TV novel - Rasmus - is also finished. It should be out either late 2016 or early 2017 (depending on how soon A Cat Called Dog 2 is published in the Spring/Summer. People are always asking me what it's about. I tell them: "Oooo, about 250 pages or so..."


Songwriting and recording is going really well. I expect to send off maybe 10 songs to artists and publishers this year. Onwards and upwards!


RIP David Jones AKA Bowie

15/1/16 Just to say RIP David Bowie - a Bromley boy who grew up around 5 miles from where I did. I can always hear the London suburbs in his songs and outlook! (He was not, as Wikipedia says' born in raised in Brixton AT ALL; born there and left aged 6 to go to more suburban and middle class Bromley where he grew up in a semi, I believe).



I first got into Bowie in 1980 when I was 12 - I loved and still love the song Ashes to Ashes, and the Album Scary Monsters...(my favourite Bowie album together with Hunky Dory 1971/2). I never really got the Ziggy Stardust thing though and much prefer the late 70s albums - which I listened to in the late 80s (there was hardly ever any pop music played in our house when I was a child in the 70s - just Top of the Pops!). But anyway Bowie 1969-1983 was a great songwriter - and that is what made him a genius and so influential to me and many others. Not his wearing funny clothers and dancing (after all, a monkey can do that!) But many of those early

songs are sublime - musically and lyrically.


In other news: I am 80% of the way through the final edit of Rasmus and I hope that dark satire on the TV industry can be out in September. Fingers crossed the sequel to A Cat Called Dog can be out in June at the latest (we have to wait for the illustrator to become free).


Lots of song recording planned in 2016. Recorded the first Country and Western song I've ever written ('A Good Kind of Bad') on Wednesday; and going to Bobby's again to record a beautiful song I wrote years ago but have never professionally recorded ('The First Time'). Then have 15+ songs ready to record this year, maybe 20+. Great stuff!


Soon I shall be posting off CDs to various artists, agents and management. I do so hope the people I send my football song to can help me make it happen for May 2016 to coincide with Wales being in Euro2016 in France and that we can make loads of cash for charity (especially those concerned with mental health of men and boys and suicide prevention, but probably others too).


Happy New Year 2016 (Oh yes it is...)

8.1.16 Well, On the birthday of both Elvis and David Bowie, I thought I'd post a little list of what I hope to achieve this year - firstly regarding songs.


My Wales Euro 2016 football song is recorded - now we just need an opera singer to sing it, a football crowd, and to clear the rights of TV clips, and to set up process for donations for charity. I do so hope some people I shall soon write to can come on board and make this a really great football song moment (while raising cash for mental illness charities and suicide prevention ones, esp those affecting men and boys in Wales).


In addition to this, I shall soon submit my first worl war song to a well-known Welsh band and choir. It's all about the Mametz Wood events on the Somme, where hundreds of Welsh soldiers died in a bloodbath in 1916. Lest we forget.


Continuing to record with Bobby this year - I hope to get 15+ songs recorded onto demos this year and to submit them to 2 or 3 other artists and music publishers.


Regarding books: A Cat Called Dog 2 (the one with the kittens) will be out in 2016, I HOPE in April/May. So glad to have the same illustrator Greg. I'm very excited about this book - it's a really good fun and fast-paced adventure, with sad bits, and frightening bits, and happy bits - and lots of lots of cats and kittens! Very cinematic too so look forward to further discussions re film and TV rights (to sell the books as a pair).


In September my TV satire Rasmus - a television tale will be published. Halfway through the final edit now. Quite a shocking novel in parts, but utterly necessary - and also no doubt offensive to its targets (as all good satire should be!)


So with 2 looks to sort and market, and lots of songs too, and the football song needing sorting by May 2016 when Wales play in Euro2016 in France, it looks doubtful whether I can manage a foreign holiday this year - just too busy and successful! I'll probably have 5 days in London instead and also drive away for overnight stays in the UK (North Wales maybe - always wanted to see Portmeiron!)


Being creative and following it through is really hard work - with books and songs. But it is OH SO WORTH IT in the end. Can't wait till these mjy 2 books are published and my songs are played on the radio - especially the Wales football song. 2016's gonna be a helluva ride, no matter what!


My Xmas poem "Santa Goes on Strike"

17th December 2015


Well, Christmas is so close now, I can almost smell it. Oh no, that's the cat... But I'm sure if I could be bothered to venture out, I'd be able to smell it sparkling inside the perpetual Swansea rain, watch it illuminated in the reflections of the Christmas lights and witness it grinning inanely on the drunken faces of local undesirables...


Today my Christmas poem "Santa Goes on Strike" went live online - on that wonderful website This poem was the basis of a Christmas Eve radio show last year (2014) on Talk Radio Europe (English language radio station in the south of Spain avaialble online). I'd be happy to have this poem published in gift book format, but for the time being, here is the online version with selected illustrations. Enjoy - and feel free to share:

Songs songs songs...

Well, earlier this week I pinged off an email to my publishers with an attachment of the final edit of A Cat Called Dog 2 - the one with the kittens.


I'm really happy with this manuscript and story. It's a right rollicking rollercoaster of a ride of a story with wonderful characters (the old crew of George, Eric, Dog, Francois and Fifi, plus some new ones - 3 kittens, 2 film star cats and a baddie!). A perfect partner piece to the 'much-loved classic' A Cat Called Dog - and it follows on directly from the illustrated version (2015).


Busy at the moment writing songs (words and music) and also recording my songs once a week with my fine co-producer and engineer Bobby.


Just finished recording a World War One song too, all about Mametz Wood on the Somme where hundreds of Welsh soldiers died in a bloodbath in 1916.


Also, mostly done various versions of my Wales charity football song for Euro2016 in France - now we just need a football crowd to chant on it. Oh, and an opera singer or two to do great vocals (Bobby's vocals are fine fo a demo BUT we need that opera singer!) I'll start phoning around Swansea FC football supporters and fanzines to see where that'll lead.


Fingers crossed this song will be out next year and make lots of money for charities - especially those dealing with suicide prevention and depression in men and boys (a massively underfunded area that gets ignored by the media dn NHS when compared to many other conditions and healthcare areas).


Yesterday, I wrote my first ever Country and Western song too - now I just have to finish the lyrics (but I won't ask for a whisky/whiskey like the cowboys in the saloons in those Westerns my father used to love watching on TV - as I am off all booze for November!) Off to see a Paul Weller concert in Cardiff tomorrow, and won't buy a couple of beers as I usually do at such events!


Also on my pre-Xmas low-carb diet. Lost half a stone.


Almost a monk really... But I draw the line in getting my head shaved!

Successful book signing at WH Smith Llanelli - thanks to all!!!

I am happy to report an utterly successful and fun book signing at WH Smith, Llanelli, yesterday. Sighed and sold a shedload of books to parents and kids alike. Thanks to all who bought - enjoy reading A Cat Called Dog and feel free to leave feedback on Amazon or on Twitter or via emailing me.


Looking forward to more signings now, maybe more at WH Smith before Christmas. WH Smith is my new favourite bookshop. I cannot be bothered with ANY bookshops, large or small, who can't be bothered to support local authors (no need to such bookshops and I shan't mourn their passing, which is on its way, I am sure). Thank crikey for the internet - where authors like me can sell to our fans internationally without bothering with local bookshops.


Busy today doing a final edit of the sequel to A Cat Called Dog (which I'll email to the London publishers this week) and tidying up my notebook of book ideas. I have loads of ideas jotted down - for children's books, adult books, non-fiction books, screenplays, short stories etc  - but need to do some weeding. Usually, maybe 1 in 10 ideas makes it to the making written notes stage. And of those, maybe 1 in 10 or more gets written and finished. I have no problem coming up with ideas (my problem is finding the time to write!) - so no surprise really that so many get rejected by moi - or sometimes combined or stored away for later. I have plans for 2 or 3 children's books and 2 adult books already (which'll keep me busy till 2017 at least).


Busy this week in other ways: getting a new (expensive) bed delivered on Wednesday (sleep is important!), possibly a new car on Thursday, and I'm also recording with my producer Bobby on Tuesday - listening to the vocals on my Christmas song for the first time, then maybe making a start on my Wales football song. I shall put the MP3 of my Christmas song on the SONGS AND STORIES page of this website when it's done, and anything else we finish. Then 10 more songs to record... Busy busy busy... Should manage three by Christmas. Just heard yesterday that a local choir wants to try out my song in some Christmas concerts around Swansea. Great! I'll get to road test the song and judge audience reaction.

Book Signing @ WH Smith, Llanelli. 31st October 2015, 11am-1pm.

Off to Llanelli today with a friend to put up posters to let people know about the book signing at WH Snith at the Parc Trostre Retail Park on 31st October 11am to 1pm. I've only been to Llanelli twice, but thankfully the person driving me there today (Wednesday) and on Saturday used to live there (for three years!)


Not sure how I can tie the book into Halloween - (well, I suppose there is Eric the Stray who's a black cat in A Cat Called Dog) - but hey, I shall try to be a good salesman on the day. My book is, after all, funny - and people need a laugh on every day of the year! A perfect Christmas present too...


Many thanks to WH Smith for offering this. The Swansea branch also offered a date in early October but, unfortunately, I was ill. Trying to reschedule that now. I do have to say that the positive attitude of WH Smith to local writers like me is in stark contrast to the attitude of other bookstores large and small. Still, their loss - because WH Smith will make the profits from selling copies of my book, and other bookstores won't.


So busy at the moment with other things too - I envy those writers who are retired or who don't need to work, and so who can focus entirely on their book promotion. I'm doing all this while running a business, not to mention trying to edit the sequel and write my next book, plus writing and recording songs (with my wonderful produder Bobby). Still, being busy is better than not having enough to do. A shame, though, that I have had to let go of my learning Italian for the time being - as I just do not have the time (or energy!) But, on the other hand, I have just bought an acoustic guitar, so play around on that when I feel the urge...


As a footnote, I'd like to express my thanks to all my fans and followers on Twitter - and friends and supporters locally - who have given me enormous support recently after I was targeted by a hate campaign from some rather deranged and sad Swansea individuals. The police were involved so hopefully now it is over and these people will leave me alone. Some really childish saddos out there - and especially on Twitter, which, true to its name, is chock-full of twits (and tw*ts!). Sadly, I have had to lock my Twitter account now to all but followers - but so be it. I have over 5000 followers, so I am happy with that. Please feel free to follow @acatcalleddog

South Wales Evening Post feature Monday 12th October 2015

Today the South Wales Evening Post published a lovely feature (by Jenny White) based on the interview she did eith me 20 days ago. On pages 2 and 3 of the THE WEEK supplement inside the paper, plus on the cover of that too.

Lovely photo of me and Honey Cat (by Dimitri Legakis) used - Honey is always hard to hold, so not many pics of her being held (unlike Bumble who's much more relaxed about being held by human hands!). That's why my hands are holding Honey Cat firmly in the photo! 

Anyway, a great general article. A couple of very tiny errors (e.g. there is no dinosaur character in the sequel; the cats and kittens just get chased by dinosaurs) but hardly anything.

Bought 15 copies earlier to send to people I know overseas (not sure if this feature will be on the EP webpage as a link or not).

Now let's hope Waterstones and other local book shops will actually stock the book now, so those who want to buy it, can (or all that trade will all go online!!!) No point to bookshops if they do't support local writers - no point at all. Might as well all close if they can't stock and support local writers.

Can't wait for the sequel to A Cat Called Dog to be published - just have a final proof read/edit and read-through to go, then it's off to the publishers!

What a great day! AND the sun is shining in Swansea. AND Wales are through to Euro2016 in France which is just wonderful news!

Inter-me, Inter-you, Interview!



Had an interview with Jenny White from The South Wales Evening Post yesterday - a most enjoyable 45 minutes. Covered a wide range of topics and books - so now wait to see the feature in the Evening Post (on a Saturday or Monday in the next two weeks).


The only problem I'm having in interviews is I mix up the book that's published (the first A Cat Called Dog - illustrated children's version) with the sequel which I am editing at the moment (just done 3 hours on that today; only last 6 chapters to go out of 16).


Always an issue for writers who often have to talk about books they wrote 2 or 3 years earlier but which are only just published (my cousin Rhidian Brook sold his The Aftermath in 2011 but it wasn't published tll 2013 and he is still being interviewed about it - and it was suppposed to be a movie but no idea if that will happn; it's about his granfather in Germany at the end of WWII - so based on the life of my cousins too).


Any writer or artist will naturally be focused on what they are doing right now, so it takes a mental leap to go back to the future and talk about the last book you wrote... I think that is why some writers and musicians get ratty in interviews, especially if they have to do a lot in a row. 2 years is a long time for us creatives - we've moved on to something else by the time something gets published! So one has to get oneself into the zone and, in effect, act.


Got a book signing arranged for Llanelli WH Smith too. Looking forward to it. Oh Halloween! Maybe I should 'monster up' for it? Or I could just take along a copy of my latest tax bill - that's absolutely terrifying...

First feedback...

Friday 18th September. Captain's log...


Well, the first feedback for the new illustrated version of A Cat Called Dog has justed started to come in - and it's BRILLIANT! Seems many people think this version is great for both kids and adults, and everyone loves the illustrations!


Got letters from Sir David Attenborough and Ken Dodd thanking me for the book too (see my bio page for more info about my connection to Ken).


Last Saturday (12th September), A Cat Called Dog was featured as the READ IT book in the WEEKEND Section of the South Wales Evening Post (thanks Mark Rees for that!) It says:


"Swansea author Jem Vanston's A Cat Called Dog has had a visual makeover, and the new illustrated version of the children's favourite is available now."


Doing an interview with the Evening Post this coming Tuesday too, so a feature on me + the book will be in there soon too. Looking forward to it!


I've also said YES to some book signings at WH Smith. A bit nerve-wracking, to be honest, BUT I do appreciate the offer. What amazes me of that any bookshop would NOT want to promote and co-operate with a local author (mentioning no names...) Bad business sense too. Stock my book in Swansea and you'll sell copies. DOH!


Just booked adverts in Your Cat and Cat World magazines for the Christmas editions. I may be biased (HA!) but I think A Cat Called Dog would make a mighty fine Xmas present for any little boy or girl of any age out there! Better than pairs of socks anyway (I ALWAYS got pairs of socks as a present. Why? I mean, just, WHY? Maybe I should have given my mum a bottle of washing up liquid and a pair of marigold gloves in return eh? Oh we're such old romantics in our family...)


Christmas on my mind here as I am soon to record my self-penned Christmas song - and yes, it WILL have sleigh bells on it, and I've been practising since August! Fingers crossed some mega-international artist will record the song - probably for Xmas 2016. My bank manager (whoever he/she/it is) would be very grateful...


More later. Captain's log over and out...


A Cat Called Dog - day zero!!!

Friday 28th August 2015 - this morning, a courier arrived with my author copies of the illustrated children's version of A Cat Called Dog.


With trepidation, I opened the box - because one never knows what the printers have done with the cover (colours can vary wildly) or if there has been any error introduced into the process after my baby left my hands and went a-toddling off to the publishers and printers.


But I am delighted to report that the book - both hardback and paperback - looks absolutely and utterly BRILLIANT! FANTASTIC! WONDERFUL! Really. A wonderfully colourful cover and character illustrations which really let the personalities of the cats shine through. The writing isn't all that bad either.


I am so SO HAPPY (i.e. relieved) now. I am opening a bottle of cold Italian beer and listing to Queen Live Killers on my headphones to celebrate. Woo-hoo!!! Onwards and upwards!


Posted some copies off this morning at the post office (soon to close, sadly); my publisher is also posting copies off to reviewers next week. Marketing is tough, especially on the sort of tiny budget we have. But it's do-able. And I have faith in the wide appeal of this book and the characters/stories within it. Fingers crossed for national coverage.


Then I can press on and edit the manuscript of the sequel to be published next year. I think I shall called it: A Cat Called Dog 2 - the one with the kittens.



Almost There...

Well, it's Thursday 27th August, and, as Shirley Bassey sang (in a brilliant song by Tom Baxter) we are 'almost there.'


Bank holiday or no bank holiday, A Cat Called Dog will be out on Monday 31st August 2015.


Can't wait to get my copies - though I must confess to being a tad apprehensive (I always worry that the printers will have messed something up in the book, got the cover colours all wrong, left out pages, printed pages upside down etc).


Makes me smile to think that 31st August should actually have been the day I was born, back in 1967. As it happened, I wasn't born till 7th September, a week late (didn't want to come out into this cruel, wonderful world, no doubt!)


So the illustrated, children's version of A Cat Called Dog can have 31st August as a birthday instead!


It may seem nuts, but I actually feel like an expectant father. I do so hope the world treats my beautiful baby gently...



RIP David Nobbs

10 August 2015. Very sad to hear of the death of David Nobbs, great comic writer and creator of Reggie Perrin. I met him in 2009 and he very generously read my first novel Crump (2010) and emailed me feedback on it. I was well chuffed by his email which said "I think you write very well and there's some beautiful satirical stuff." Wow!


For a new published writer riddled with insecurities, that was quite a boost! He said I write "very good dialogue" and "create some really good and really funny characters" and "You write some great scenes" (my jaw was dropping at this point). He also pointed out the weakness of Crump - "too many long, wordy scenes where you express the feelings you have so strongly" - and he suggested expressing these opinions through character interaction.


And, of course, he was absolutely right - that is the main flaw in my first novel Crump. His final sentence said he was "saying it because I admire your writing so much." Wow. I mean, just, WOW! From David Nobbs - genius comic writer - saying he admired my writing...


I sent him the first edition of A Cat Called Dog (2013) too. He said he didn't like animal books but not to be discouraged - he didn't like Watership Down either (the only animal book he liked was Winnie the Pooh, he said). He went on in his email:


"I did appreciate the quality of the writing and there were some really funny jokes. Having mentioned the jokes I must quote one: 'Missing, presumed fed.' Brilliant."


To have someone of the stature of comic genius as David Nobbs call one of my gags brilliant was, well, BRILLIANT!


He encouraged me NOT to "abandon people books" for cat books! And I won't. My dark TV satire Rasmus will be out in 2016, one way or another, probably e-book only at first, not sure yet. I think I shall dedicate it to David.


But really, sometimes being a writer is like swimming through mud - and that's just the hard graft you do alone in your head and through your hands (though it sometimes feels like giving brith through your eyes). Then, after all that hard slog, mental torture, rewriting, revision and worrying, you put your work out into the big wide world and are criticised, slagged off, abused - or, worse, ignored! It ain't easy being a writer really, all in all...


So to have encouragement from David Nobbs, who I consider my mentor, is something I will never forget. And I know for a fact that he gave advice to many a new and young writer, maybe hundreds, maybe thousands of people over the years - all with a generous spirit one does not find often from successful, best-selling writers at the top of their professions.


Goodnight David. And thanks!



Sequel completed by end of July 2015

30 July 2015. Finished the 16th (final) chapter of the sequel to A Cat Called Dog today - which I'll probably just called Further Adventures of A Cat Called Dog. I shall leave it alone and sleep on it now for 2 or 3 weeks. Then reread it to check it all works and hangs together. But it won't change radically from the way it is now, so it's basically done. Loads of fun: cats, kittens, dinosaurs...


I am absolutely delighted with the illustrations and the cover for the soon-to-be published children's version of A Cat Called Dog and really hope the same illustrator can work on the sequel. The cover is wonderfully colourful, and the cat characters are very well-captured by Greg the illustrator.

Getting Started

5 July 2015. Well, half way through writing the sequel to the much-loved A Cat Called Dog and that's going REALLY well (I can smell a hit!) Finished chapter 8 today. Great fun! An action-packed story and some new funny characters too.


Also approved another illustration for the new children's edition of A Cat Called Dog due out 31st August. Working on the marketing for that now - and will aim it nationally and internationally. I suspect it will attract a whole new readership. SO glad I own FULL copyright of all stories, manuscripts, characters and images.


The only question is: what to put on the cover - illustrations of characters from the book OR a pretty picture of a kitten. Decisions decisions... But I am happy doing the cover myself - I did the last one and readers loved it.



See news of upcoming publications and events


I am proud to announce that my debut collection of poetry THE LOVED ONES - A COLLECTION OF PANDEMIC POEMS ABOUT LOVE AND LOSS was published 9 April 2022. 54 poems; including 10 lyrics with 9 online links to the demo 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. Available in the shops, 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 new 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

Print Print | Sitemap
© PJ Vanston