Vote DOGNAPPED! You know it makes sense

So – here’s something a little different from my usual scribbling.
Okay, who said, ‘About time too!
There’s no need.
And the rest of you can stop sniggering.
Honestly if I’ve got to come over there I swear that I’ll…
I should count to what?
Oh all right. 1,2…
…8, 9, 10. Thanks, I’m feeling a lot better now.
Now I may have mentioned this before, but Misty’s book, DOGNAPPED! is in the final of THE PEOPLE’S BOOK PRIZE and…
Eh?
Was that you – again?
It was, wasn’t it? ‘You never bloody shut up about it!‘ indeed.
I’ve got your card marked, matey.
Anyway, for the rest of you who are at least kind enough to show just a little bit of interest, then let me explain.
No not you, smarty pants.
You can go and stand over there – in the corner. No, go on, further, further and a bit more. That’ll do. I’m not speaking to you again.
Ever.

4
THE PEOPLE’S BOOK PRIZE.
It must be important, it’s in capitals.
And, ha ha, the final is in the capital too.
I know, I know – I don’t know how I think them up.

Well I thought it was funny! In fact I think a bit of wee came out. It must be an age thing!

So, London.
Down the smoke.
A week on Tuesday.
Me and Kate get to have a bit of posh nosh.
In Stationers Hall down by old St. Paul’s cathedral.
For the awards ceremony.
It might even be on a Sky News podcast thingy.
I’ve got to wear a dicky bow.
No, I haven’t bought it – I borrowed it off Posh Dave, he’s in a male voice choir, so he has all the gear.
I don’t even have to tie it, it’s on a bit of elastic. But don’t tell anyone, I’d hate to spoil the illusion.IMG_0216
So there we have it.
How about that then?

Of course you know what it’s about. The gang of dogs on the canal barge – got it now?

Well you said you’d read it, I told you to borrow it from Dudley library. Yes the one with Ashley in it, remember? I knew you’d bring that up – again! Here he is look, I know you like to see him, occasionally

I’m chuffed.
So’s Misty.
Pardon?
Will we win? Dunno – I’ll let you know.
Oh, hang on I nearly forgot.

You will vote for me & Misty won’t you?
Yes, that does include you in the corner.
Yes, I’m sorry – just a bit tense with all this going on. Hope you understand.

Anyway:-

Children’s section
DOGNAPPED!
http://www.peoplesbookprize.com

Thank you.

 

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No, I’m not a sexual deviant…

Well what a palaver that was!
“Can you do a talk about your books at our community library?” I was asked.
“Of course!”
Well I was hardly going to say no was I! My second book, In The Doghouse, has just been released on an unsuspecting public and I’m hardly going to pass up the opportunity to shout about it, am I?
“That’s great. Leave it with us and we’ll let you know when.”
“Thanks very much,” well I was chuffed to be asked.

3

I didn’t have long to wait for the call.
Unfortunately it wasn’t the one that I was expecting.
“Are you DBS checked?”
“What?”
“DBS checked, you know – it used to be CRB until they changed it.”
Ah yes, the ministry of Silly Acronyms and Initials strikes again.
SAI what!
To be honest I had come across it before. They ask for the same thing in schools too.
And I don’t blame them. After all they don’t know me from Adam. And there are, as we are sadly only too aware, some very dubious characters about. I mean, have you seen my author photo?
But – and here’s the rub, if you go onto the website for the Disclosure and Barring Service (formerly the Criminal Records Bureau in case you were wondering) you soon discover that it is nigh on impossible as an author to get yourself DBSed.
Pardon?
No – I know DBSed is not a proper word, I’m not totally barking, but I did a blog about making words up some time back, the one called  ‘ROPOPOV’, if you remember, so please pay attention.

rascal-soaked
And sit up straight at the back while we’re at it.
Apparently you are not allowed to apply for the aforementioned accreditation as an author although your alliterative acumen may authenticate any application.
Your employer has to do it.
And how many of us scribblers has one of them.
O.K., for the day job perhaps yes.
But for this secretive activity that many of us undertake under cover of the wee small hours of the morning?
Well that’s all a bit suspicious isn’t it!?
Surely only sexual deviants and house burglars work to such an unsociable timescale.

So I’m stuffed.
I ask around.
A few Facebook groups that I belong to.
And bless them, they come up with some suggestions.

Among them is the spiffing idea that us poor bloody English who wish to get ourselves checked out should perhaps apply to the Scottish government instead.
What!!!
Well I take back what I said about Nicola Sturgeon a few blogs back.
After all, what better way of getting money out of the auld enemy than relieving them of 25 pounds sterling for telling one of their number that they’re not actually a criminal.
And after all, what does it matter to them?
As long as we don’t travel past the wall that the Italians built to keep them out of our bit we could be Jack the bloody Ripper for all they care.
Incidentally am I the only one who thinks that Trumps wall is a bit of a storm in a teacup. The last time I looked there was a bloody big fence there already – perhaps it’s not the principle they’re arguing about, just the best method of construction.

So, dear Nicki (hope she doesn’t think me too informal) – I’m an honest to goodness upstanding citizen, o.k? Oh, and just in case it gives me some brownie points my surname is Robertson and the ‘J’ stands for Jimmy, sorry James.

Anyway it came today.
My DBS certificate.
I’m not a criminal after all (I did keep quiet about the speeding ticket issued by P.C. Sluts – honestly I swear that was his name – in 1999, but I doubt Nicola cares about that either, she’s in love with Angela, not Teresa and the Germans have unrestricted autobahns!)

So I’m not a criminal. I could have told them that.
But now I have piece of paper to prove it.
And I didn’t have to paint my face blue or cry, ‘freedom,‘ to do it.

Pssst! Want an author talk doing? Very cheap, because unfortunately I am a bit damaged.

No, thanks for asking but there’s no need for concern. It’s just that I’m limping a bit. I fell off the back of a lorry!

Misty’s Chrissymus Song Book…

Sorry folks, but you know what old Miss Cranky Pants is like.
‘Wouldn’t it be nice if you could sort out some nice carols,’ I said, ‘for the Christmas do’s that we’ve got coming up.’
But according to her there are none that suit.
No dogs represented apparently.
So she’s written her own, to rectify the situation.
Here they are!
Like I said, I’m so very, very sorry!

img_0041

I THINK I’M IN DANGER
(Traditional tune – Away in a Manger)

I think I’m in danger, I may come to harm
The farmer has left me in charge of the farm
There are creatures all over, it fills me with dread
How can one little collie, get this lot to bed

I run like a whirlwind, I ‘come bye’ like mad
I do all those tricks I was taught by my Dad
I round up some ducks, I herd up the hens
And if I was taller I’d open the pens.

The cattle are slowing, overtaken by sheep
At this rate of progress I may need a jeep
The horses are frisky and starting to stray
And some blooming piglets have stolen the hay.

The stars in the night sky are less than impressed
And I have begun now to run out of zest
I lay down my head with a feeling of sorrow
‘Oh sod it!’ I think, ‘I’ll sort it tomorrow.’

4a-300-copy

A SHEPHERD WATCHED
(Traditional tune – what do you think!?)

A shepherd watched his sheep one night
While seated on the ground
A silly ass came rushing past
And chased the flock around

He scratched his head in stunned surprise
Not knowing what to do
‘Fear not’, spake forth a little voice
‘I’ll round them up for you.’

Looking round, the shepherd spied
A dog come into view
‘Pray tell forsooth,’ the shepherd said
‘What’s in the deal for you?’

‘Believe me’, spake the little dog
‘This really is no scam,
I only wish a bed of straw,
Maybe a leg of lamb.’

The man agreed, for he true knew
He was in trouble deep
In less than thirty seconds flat
The dog herded up the sheep.

The shepherd, he was most impressed
‘Pray what do they call you?’
‘Colin,’ replied the little dog,
Head in a bowl of stew.

The shepherd, who was Mutton Jeff
He heard this not the same
And that my friend’s the story of
How collies got their name.

img_0034
ONCE A DASCHUND
(Traditional tune – Once in Royal David’s City)

Once a Daschund loyal and so pretty
Had a kennel, it was painted red
Not a fan of anything so grisly
The garish hue was doing in her head
The colour really made her cross
So she went out and bought a tin of gloss

Daschunds they are really such a small breed
Being quite deficient in the leg
But our friend she really paid it no heed
The problem never entering her head
But when half finished, she was madder
Our poor mutt, she couldn’t find a ladder.

People came for miles just to wonder
This marvel all mankind could now behold
No one there could quite believe the blunder
On Facebook, Twitter, everyone was told
What an awful colour scheme
The top still red – the bottom painted green.

IMG_0216

Quite how Ashley got his picture here I’m not too sure! Did you know that someone started a movement to get him back in favour for book 4 – honestly, what a nerve!
CHUCK THE BALLS
(Traditional tune – Deck the halls)

Chuck the balls for hounds and collies
Fah la la, la la, bark, bark
‘Tis the reason I’m so jolly
Fah la la la la, la la, bark, bark
Chuck them further, chuck them higher
Fah la la, fah la la, bark, bark, bark,
You’ll be shattered, I won’t tire
Fah la la la la, la la, bark, bark.
And so, our little homage to dogs at Christmas is nearly over. Only one left to sing and just to warn you, there is a slightly naughty word in it. So sorry yet again! I did tell her, but Misty muttered something about it being artistic license. I just said that it was awfully rude.
Anyway that’s just about it for now. As I said there’s one tune left. Hope you enjoy it – put your fingers in your ears for ‘that’ word.
Oh, take a look around the rest of the blog site- there’s all sorts of stuff on there to give you a bit of a giggle.

By the way, these great pictures are from my children’s books, DOGNAPPED! IN THE DOGHOUSE! and the soon to be released ON THE DOG WALK! drawn by the very talented Mr Ian R Ward. What do you mean you haven’t got them for your kids yet!? It’s Chrissymus – sorry, Christmas – that could be construed as child cruelty. Quick, here’s the link – http://amzn.to/2e0GyRe

HAPPY CHRISTMAS ONE AND ALL

Clear your throats – that’s right madam, cough it up – it may be a gold watch! Let’s all have one last lusty chorus…

AN ALSATIAN
(Traditional tune – Good King Wotsiface)

An Alsatian, he set out
Told no one he was leaving
The pizza cooked, without a doubt
Was deep and crisp and even
His friends, he knew they liked it hot
But he had let it coo-el
A vital thing he had forgot
Oh what a silly foo-o-el!

He set out to the local shop
The weather it was snowing
He hoped no one had seen him go
But little was he knowing
A row of circles marked his trail
Of which way he would go-o
Steaming circles – yellow rimmed
Shining in the snow-o-o!

His friends who were all quite astute
Noticed their host missing
They all set off in hot pursuit
Following his pissing
They caught him at the checkout till
And mocked him till he blu-ushed
So don’t forget the garlic bread
Or you may end up flu-u-ushed!

rascal-running
Oh – and if you were wondering why I couldn’t put an end to this little venture before it went too far – the boss was watching every move very, very closely!

How did you start writing?

How did you start writing?

It’s a pretty standard question when you’ve just written your magnum opus, patted it on the back and sent it out to make its way in the world.
You may be quite justified in replying, ‘At school.‘ but let’s face it that may come across as a bit trite and the request for the information into the reason why you have behaved in such an obviously crazy manner is usually genuinely asked.
And so, when the subject is raised, I normally bite my tongue and answer, ‘Oh I’ve always written,‘ as if that explains everything.

It doesn’t.

The truth, as it is so often, can be quite painful.
I have genuinely ‘always written.
But – and here’s the rub – not seriously.
Not with a goal of being a published ‘author.
Surely I could never aspire to be anyone so grand.
I’d written rhymes about work colleagues for a laugh. Indeed, so amusing were these ditties that I was once banned from the works canteen – for life. Something to do with slicing the gravy as I recall.
I scribbled a few short stories, entered them for competitions convinced that the arrival of the winners acknowledgement would be only a matter of time and, once that time had expired, railed against the judges for their obvious lack of taste.
So yes, I’d always written.
And I’d always wished that I could write without other things getting in the way, the mundane day to day chores, the job, the bare necessities of life – if I may nick the lyric of a song.
Until one day those bare necessities turned around and gave me a kick.
Not subtly, but a swift hard kick right where it hurts.

My wife of thirty four years died.
She collapsed on Christmas Day and by Boxing Day her brief visit to this mortal coil was over.
Two weeks later my father lost his battle with cancer and joined her.

Numb.

That’s a good way to put it.
Not entirely accurate, but as good as any to sum up something that cannot adequately be described.
And sometimes, once life has given you that kick it considers itself to be the gift that just likes to keep on giving.
Eight months later I had a heart attack.
And a quadruple bypass.
And a collapsed lung.
And an epiphany.
Here I am at fifty eight, what am I meant to do with my life?

I stopped work.
I wrote.
Eight months later my first book was published.
O.k. self published if you want to be precise, not traditionally so, but let’s not get precious about that trifling difference. I had just had a lesson that hanging around for an agent, a publisher, or any sort of opportunity was not a luxury I might allow myself to take. Time is after all linear, we are not allowed to get off for a coffee and a quick puff on a Camel, however politically incorrect that may be.

dognapped
‘DOGNAPPED!’ is a children’s book. It’s in the final of The People’s Book Prize 2017 here in the U.K. You will vote for it come May won’t you? Thanks.

It’s about my dog Misty and her mates, cast adrift on a canal boat with a reluctant puppy. Apparently adults love it as much as the kids, but I won’t tell on you when you start giggling, so don’t worry about that.

 

 

cover-mock-up-copy

‘IN THE DOGHOUSE!’ is due for release before Christmas – and a cracking little stocking filler it will be.

‘ON THE DOG WALK!’ is due next May – purposely in time to remind you to vote for ‘DOGNAPPED!’

There are plans for audio books for all three.
There’s a stage play to be performed next year – a political satire.
There’s a period radio drama if anyone would like to produce it.
There’s a comedy sci-fi novel to have the finishing touches applied.                               There’s also a blog to attend to – in case you hadn’t noticed.

Three months ago I married a wonderful lady.
There’s so much more to come now I’ve learnt to kick life back.

Pardon?
Oh! How did I start writing?
I guess I’ve always written.

How about you?

Something is happening…

Things are happening.

Apart from in the country which should and probably shall forevermore be known as Trumpton, that is.

I thought you might like to know.

Oh really? It makes a pleasant change to hear that you’re so keen to know what’s going on in my life, may I say?

Sick of elections and referendums eh! Can’t say I blame you. Anyway, this has nothing to do with politics.

No, honest! I mean it! Not much anyway.

‘Cos like I said, things are happening.

DOGNAPPED! as I told you a few weeks back is in the final of The People’s Book Prize next year.

Sorry, I know I keep ‘banging on about it,’ as you put it, but someone has to publicise it and if it ain’t me then…

Pardon?

Yes, thanks for sharing, reblogging and retweeting it. I do appreciate it honest.

Anyway. I just wanted to say that the next book, IN THE DOGHOU|SE! is shortly due for release.

Yay!

You will review it won’t you?rascal-soaked

Thanks.

Here’s a picture of Rascal just to whet your appetite.Yes, Ian’s done a fantastic job illustrating again hasn’t he?

And there’s more.

Yes there is.

In the great tradition of Ernie Wise I have wrote a play. Two in fact.

One for radio – just giving a heads up if anyone from the BBC is looking in. No, I can’t tell you what it’s about – I’d have to shoot you! But it is very good, I’ve read it as well as written it!

The other is a stage play for The Comedy Theatre Group, a local amateur band I joined up with recently. It’s meant to be a political satire, but judging by recent real life events you might not recognise it as such!

If I had released it a few months back you’d have said it was totally unrealistic. In the light of what’s been going on you might now think that it’s not mad enough!

Anyway, hopefully we can get it staged sometime around Easter.
See, I’m not just a pretty face.

Oh thanks, you never thought that I was! There’s no need! Why do you think I don’t post selfies on here!?

And then…

Yes, there is more.

You’re getting bored now? I’ll be quick then.

I’ve got a couple of speaking slots at the Wolverhampton Literature Festival at the end of January next year. I’ll tell you more a bit nearer the date, but if you can’t wait then take a look at http://wolvesliteraturefestival.co.uk

I’m on Black Country Radio on Friday at 2p.m. That’s Dave Homer’s show and I’m going to tell him all I’ve just written down here – plus a bit more that I holding back for now.

So you’ll have to listen now won’t you, I know you don’t like to miss anything.

It’s 102.5 FM – see you there!

Coming soon…

Well – here’s some news.
Ready?
Good.
In exactly one calendar month you will be able to get a copy of the next Misty book – In The Doghouse!
How about that then, eh?
Yay!
That’s the 28th of November then.
You can pre-order it now if you can’t wait.
On Amazon, see my author page (yes, I have one of those now), here’s the link http://amzn.to/2cQXKM7
Good or what?

And don’t forget that Dognapped! is in the final of The People’s Book Prize next year. Tell your friends so that they can read it and vote for it like you did.
You did vote, didn’t you.
Oh!
Well voting opens again in May next year, so put it in your diary.
It’ll be on Sky News.
Me and Kate, eating posh nosh down ‘the smoke.
We’ll bring you a doggie bag, o.k.

In fact, as a reminder, the third Misty book – On The Dog Walk! – will be released then just to give you a nudge.
I can’t say fairer than that, can I?
And the final is in July.

And here’s a preview of the cover of book 2.

cover-mock-up-copy

Yes, Ian’s done a great job again hasn’t he?
And I’ve seen the pictures for book 3!
No, you can’t see them yet!

I’ve got to have some secrets after all.
It adds to the suspense.

Misty 3 – Ashley 1

As you know I just got married.
Yes, thanks for the pressies and the good wishes.

And I’ve been campaigning against the quarry down the road. We have to keep The Black Country green after all, don’t we, and building a quarry on a flood plain is not really a smart idea, let’s face it.
Well thanks, yes, ‘environmental warrior‘ is quite a glowing testament. Kind of you to say so.

So I suppose I ought to start writing again.
Yes, I know that’s what this is, thanks for pointing that out, but I mean real writing.
What?
O.k. let’s start again seeing as how you’re being so pedantic.
This is real writing, I agree.
But I’m talking about writing books.image
Yes, that’s right – another Misty book.

Like DOGNAPPED! yes.

Pardon?

You see everyone asks me that. Can you put our Fido in it, or can our Spot have a starring role?

Quite frankly – no!

O.k., o.k., I’m sorry to put it so bluntly, but if I put in every pooch whose owners asked me to include them there would be no room for anything in the books but a list of names, would there?
Yes, I know there were 101 Dalmatians, but I bet you can’t recall all of their monickers now can you?
Thought not.

Oh go on then, you’re going to give it a bash. Somehow I thought you might. No, go on, go on. Let’s get it over with!

Pongo, Perdita. Well that’s the parents done.
Rolly, the cute little plump one.
Lucky, was that a guess?
Patch – yes he was the noisy one, wonder how you knew that!
No, I’m not implying anything, I was just wondering – out loud!
Freckles – well spotted! I know, a bad pun – sorry.
Penny.
Pepper.
Cruella de Ville, no I’m afraid not, she was the baddy if you remember.
Lady and Tramp, erm, wrong film I think you’ll find.
Rin Tin Tin!? Clutching at straws now aren’t we!

See it’s not as easy as you thought, is it?
Now I knew you were going to say that. Lassie indeed!

Where were we?
Isn’t that an interesting phrase, all those ‘w‘s and ‘e‘s.
Well I thought it was – I am an author now after all. These things float my boat.
I dare say you might think that, but I can assure you that I am not ‘a boring old fart,‘ as you so delicately put it!

Anyway, I’m going to start on the third Misty book.
Well of course Misty’s in it! Goes without saying really doesn’t it.
And One-Eyed Rose and Bertie.
Yes, Rascal’s in it too.

No, I’m afraid not.

No, I’m not kidding! Ashley’s not in it.
What do you mean, ‘Why not?
Well he’s not in the second book either is he!?
Oh, sorry forgot – it’s not out until November so you didn’t know that, did you?
Well sorry. It is a bit of a spoiler. I just forgot, is all.

What?
No, I’m not going to put Ashley in the third one ‘just to make up for it’!
Honestly! Some people!
Who’s writing these books, me or you?

Now, see, I doubt that you could make ‘a better job of it.
Yes, that may be ‘very patronising‘ of me as you put it, but the last time we discussed the first Misty book, DOGNAPPED! didn’t you say you only read it because you ‘liked the pictures’?
Thought so!

So I’ll write this one then if that’s o.k. with you.

Well don’t read it when it comes out then! See if I care.
It’s for kids anyway.

Oh, come on stop sulking!

Look, if I decide on a fourth I’ll see if I can put Ashley in it.IMG_0216
Better now?
What?
Hurry up and start writing then!
Why?
Oh, sod the next two, you want the one with Ashley in.
O.k.

Here’s a picture of him to keep you going.

Enjoy!