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vanston.co.uk

Amazon.co.uk 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:

 

http://www.thebookbag.co.uk/reviews/index.php?title=A_Cat_Called_Dog_2_-_The_One_with_the_Kittens_by_Jem_Vanston

 

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: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cat-Called-Dog-One-Kittens/dp/1786293382/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1504178160&sr=8-7&keywords=Jem+Vanston

 

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!

15/7/17

 

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!

 

https://www.facebook.com/Baytvswansea/videos/732188210284430/https://www.facebook.com/Baytvswansea/videos/732188210284430/

 

RASMUS news

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.

 

https://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-d232-Satire-on-reality-TV-puts-the-gross-in-engrossing#.WHSJEuSmlPY

 

 

 

Great Reviews for RASMUS!

5/12/16

 

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:

 

http://www.thebookbag.co.uk/reviews/index.php?title=Rasmus:_A_Television_Tale_by_PJ_Vanston

 

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!

31.10.16

 

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

12.10.16

 

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!

26.8.16

 

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

16/7/16.

 

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!!!

5.7.16

 

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!

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_WclRwXRH5Y

 

 

 

Wales beat Slovakia - COME ON WALES

12.6.16

 

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:

 

http://www.southwales-eveningpost.co.uk/Soccer-fan-s-anthem-budget-aims-spur-Wales/story-29238514-detail/story.html

 

 

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 thedailymews.com. 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:

 

http://www.thedailymews.com/articles/jem-vanston/1549-santa-goes-on-strike

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!

23.9.15

 

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.

 

Miaow!

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.

 

News

See news of upcoming publications and events

 

31st August 2015: Children's illustrated version of A Cat Called Dog by Jem Vanston published (by Austin Macauley). Available online and at all good bookshops.

Contact

If you'd like to get in touch, please just email:

acatcalleddog@hotmail.co.uk

 

Twitter: @acatcalleddog

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