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A Maltese Expat

Saturday, 4 May 2019

First published on pg 60-61 of the March 2019 issue #75 of AirMalta's in-flight magazine, 'Il-Bizzilla'


Every month we catch up with a Maltese national who lives and works abroad. This month, we chatted to debut novelist James Vella-Bardon.

2018 was a breakthrough year for Maltese novelist James Vella-Bardon when his debut novel ‘The Sheriff…

Solid Gold

Wednesday, 10 April 2019


Hi all

Oh my God what an AWESOME year was 2018 – I’m still recovering from it, if I’m honest! In fact it’s been a fair while since I dropped everybody a line. And with all that’s gone on to date I’m not quite sure where to begin! So off the top of my head, here goes:


1. There & Back Again

We had a little book tour in Malta in September / October 2018. Magical time really. Always…

Three Speeches

Saturday, 24 November 2018


The following is a transcript of the speeches delivered during an unforgettable book signing event. It was held at Agenda Bookshop on the Valletta Waterfront on 29 September 2018 to promote my debut novel The Sheriff’s Catch.

Thanks again to everyone who attended a true watershed occasion in the history of Maltese fiction in English, in a year when Valletta was named European Capital of Culture…

Author Becomes An Open Book

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Feature by Stephanie Fsadni published in The Times Of Malta on Wednesday 17 October 2018.


Presenting a copy of The Sheriff’s Catch to the President of Malta H.E. Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca KUOM at San Anton Palace on 30 September 2018.




As a child James Vella-Bardon had always wanted to write a stand-alone novel. He tells Stephanie Fsadni he never dreamt he…

Rock Of Ages

Thursday, 6 September 2018



Hi all

Firstly, I’m thrilled to announce two exciting book signing dates which are coming up in Malta! Malta: the place I still call home and which my Maltese English-speaking friends refer to as ‘the rock’. A rock steeped in the aeons of history and I just can’t wait to get there as I need a holiday and it’s been too long since I last visited.

I should also add that Malta has…

Sydney Book Signing Event

Monday, 18 June 2018

A fair few peeps have been asking me about the Golden Trailer Awards in L.A. and I’ll definitely update you about all that in this post. But I’ll first kick off with some info about the upcoming Book Signing Event to be held in Sydney at the end of June (details about the European launch that should be held in Malta this year will also follow in coming weeks):


Sydney Launch


The Beast From The East And Other Stories

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Dear all,


1.     The Beast From The East (Apologies to all Patrons)

This post’s title of course refers to recent unseasonal blizzards across the UK and Ireland which caused (and might still be causing) delays to the delivery of the novel to patrons.

A thousand pardons for this, I am very sorry that your patience was tested. I owe Paul Farrugia and Scott Cross, among others, a fair…

Release Date

Sunday, 4 March 2018


Hi all, I've got a bit of breaking news to share with you:



Hard as it is to believe, THE SHERIFF’S CATCH now has a hard release date: 15 March 2018

Two days short of St Patrick’s day, as it happens!

As most of you know, THE SHERIFF’S CATCH is a literary thriller partly produced by discerning readers who are keen on something new. It is also a novel that took…

Eyeing Ithaca

Sunday, 11 February 2018


The ship bounded forward on her way as a four in hand chariot flies over the course when the horses feel the whip. Her prow curvetted as it were the neck of a stallion, and a great wave of dark blue water seethed in her wake.

When the bright star that heralds the approach of dawn began to show, the ship drew near to land. Now there is in Ithaca a haven of the old merman Phorcys…

Catch The Pigeon

Friday, 5 January 2018


As you can imagine, I'm pretty PUMPED about 2018!

Just a short message, in case you hadn't yet heard: The Sheriff's Catch was listed on UK literary platform The Pigeonhole on Xmas Eve, and is set to be serialised pre-publication - in digital format - from Monday 8 January: 



Circa 74 of the…

Merry Xmas & Happy NY!

Saturday, 23 December 2017


Dear all,

Crazy to think that it’s already Christmas Day tomorrow, and less than a week until NY day. Then again, I probably shouldn't be surprised at how quickly the year has flown. The last time I wrote a group-wide message was August, when I was still stressing over how I was going to meet the demands of the structural rewrite.

Incredible to think that it’s all water under the bridge…

Double Missive

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Dear Patrons

While once again thanking you all for your support I just thought I'd share a couple of messages in this space that I recently posted to my Facebook novelist page at the following address:


Message #1, posted Saturday 25 November at 00.27 AEST

Delighted to tell you that I had a Skype call with Unbound’s Art Director tonight at…

Typset Delight

Wednesday, 22 November 2017


Dear tercio del patrón

I’ve been absolutely over the moon all day today, and here’s why:

On 1 November copy-edit got back to me with the following message:


I really think you’ve nailed this. Thanks so much for your hard work on it – I really think it has paid off.


They also asked me to have a quick look at their changes, which I did overnight, getting back to them with…


Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Hi all

Just thought I’d drop you a line on the latest:

As you know I received the copy-editor’s edited manuscript on Sat 14 October. On my part it was nine days of full-on, late night line-by-line review and further editing before I could send it back on Monday afternoon (i.e. the day before yesterday) at what was roughly 2pm UK time.

Today I received the following message back:

The Sharp End

Saturday, 14 October 2017


Hi all

Just dropping you a quick line to let you know that I received an email from the copy-editor this morning.

It starts off like this:


The first thing to say is the most important: I really enjoyed this. I love a good historic adventure, and this delivers it. Your research is hugely impressive, but you have managed to wear it lightly and, as a by-product of the action…

Patron Profiles - Scott Cross

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

With the novel in its last stages of editorial development, I thought I’d introduce another patron who gave me a hand with this project through his extensive knowledge of 16th C Irish history.

I first came in contact with Scott Cross after joining the 16th Century Military History (1499-1604) Facebook group in December of 2013. It’s one of countless special interest groups that are sweeping…


Monday, 18 September 2017



Hi all

Caught up with my old mate today, that most shadowy and peripheral of figures who calls himself 'Slum Lord'. We were lunching away at our favourite wayside inn, when he asked me a question that I've also heard from a few others of late:

'So where's the novel at mate?'

Slum Lord is, after all, also a generous patron. He was happy to hear the latest, and I then wondered…


Wednesday, 6 September 2017


Pardiez! Look what I found! 

Been in a daze for a week and a half, and just reopened the laptop to send my brother-in-law a nightly birthday message. Only to find a reply from Unbound's Structural Editor!

In summary:

Dear James

Well done. This is just great. Bravo.

I'm so impressed with what you've done here. You've really put your back into it.

I can see you've taken on…


Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Dear tercio del patrón,

I've not forgotten your steadfast support and valour in the face of slim and terrifying odds, and I have long since been working late nights to ensure that this tercio's faith is repaid in full!

In case any of you missed it, I just thought I'd let you know that I sent the revised manuscript back to Unbound's structural editor for review last Sunday, at circa 11pm AEST…


Friday, 11 August 2017


Hi guys, thought I’d write you all a little update

I've been a bit under the pump during the last month, practically living under a rock like a hermit all over again. I can’t believe that as of 2am tomorrow AEST, there’s just one week left to the close of the three month crowdfunding / presales window!

As you may recall, the crowdfund target of £4000 was achieved in just 5.5 days, thanks…

Birthday Editorial Update

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Structural report finally received from Unbound Editorial Desk on my birthday (in AEST time)!

Starts off as follows:

The setting is brilliant. I am a real fan of historical action adventure as a genre, and I have written some myself for the screen. I think that the Armada and the shipwreck and Sevilla before are all brilliant - perfect for this kind of story. So, I absolutely applaud your…

Wolf Country

Monday, 19 June 2017



A certain Sunday in May found me plonked on the couch in my living room. I decided to check out my novel trailer again on my smartphone, smiling at the bit towards the end where the howling of wolves can be heard. I was still grinning foolishly at the YouTube screen when a familiar voice piped up.

‘Are there definitely wolves in Ireland?’

I turned to stare at my Dublin-born wife in…


Saturday, 10 June 2017

Breaking: the revised manuscript (MS) has just been sent to Unbound’s editorial team!

With the crowdfund achieved so swiftly, we now enter Phase 2, or what I have half-jokingly, half-fearfully referred to in recent days as: Literary Boot-Camp!

I had a chat about my aims and hopes with the assigned UK-based structural editor last week, in which he requested that I also forward him a brief synopsis…

BLINK & 109%

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Presales still coming through, slowly gathering for the next push of pike! Heartfelt thanks to all generous patrons now including the wonderful Steph Demarco, Daniel Bianchi, Nicky Bianchi, Jan Muscat, Kathrina Farrugia-Kriel, Chris Mifsud, Ricardo Vasquez, Peter Saliba, Lorraine Farrugia, Robert Day, Paul Croci and John Zappia!

Thanks so much guys, can't wait for you all to get your special edition…

Patron Profiles - Sabin Gnawali

Thursday, 25 May 2017


With the crowdfunding target achieved so quickly, I thought I'd introduce a few of the patrons backing ‘The Sheriff’s Catch’, who are personally known to me and who gave me a special hand with this project.

First cab off the rank is the Nepalese film director and producer Sabin Gnawali. An ambitious fellow currently living in Sydney, Sabin is the son of a Nepalese cop who grew up watching…


Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Another whirlwind day in a campaign that nearly gave me a heart attack! 

100% in 5.5 days. I can't believe it. Actually make that 103%! My head is still spinning, and that's not only from the champers I smashed after work with a few wonderful friends and patrons who also work in the Sydney CBD:

Truly the best thing about writing is the people you meet, as well as the interactions and adventures…


Tuesday, 23 May 2017


A single hour from the end of day 5 and the odds against us have been slashed! A crucial day in the campaign in which the jaw-droppingly generous patronage simply rocketed ahead - we're on the home straight now folks!

Can't really do more to communicate the incredible events of the day than to share the screenshots reflecting today's progress:





Monday, 22 May 2017

Hi all really don't mean to be pushy but erm...well...we are already at 80% of presales secured so don't say I didn't warn you! :o

Thanks so much Barbara Azzopardi & dear Aunty Doris - it just had to be you to issue the bugle blast through cousin Peter! :) xxx

Many thanks again to all patrons!!!



Sunday, 21 May 2017

Hi folks

We're almost at an hour from the end of Day 4, and are at 74%! Just can't believe it!

If someone told me last week that we'd have raised three quarters of the $ by the end of the fourth day of the crowdfunding campaign, I'd have laughed in their face! After all, it was only on Wednesday that I was joking with my dear friend Maty at work: 'I hope that at least my mom buys a copy'

Unbound & Flying!

Saturday, 20 May 2017


Well, what a last couple of days it's been!

In ten years of writing I’ve been nowhere near these highs. ‘The Sheriff’s Catch’ is still trending at number 1 on leading UK crowdfunding publisher Unbound’s platform, across all categories which include 375 (published and unpublished) projects.

White hot stuff.

The patronage to date has been quite simply unbelievable. We went live on Unbound…

The Sheriff's Catch - End of Day 2

Friday, 19 May 2017


Hi all

Just thought I'd take a break from all the non-stop social media jazz to drop you all a line.

We are now 20 mins away from the end of day 2 since launch and the last couple of days have been...well...a bit silly! I keep telling myself to keep my feet on the ground but trending hard at no. 1 on the leading UK crowdfund platform is quite nuts! Not to mention that we are now well beyond…


Friday, 19 May 2017


Hi all

We're 6 hours from the first 48 hours since launch and I've just got to share that not only are we well on our way past the halfway mark, but that we are now up to ONE HUNDRED PATRONS!

But wait, that's not all!

We are still trending at NUMBER ONE across ALL categories on UNBOUND! 






Thursday, 18 May 2017

Two minutes to midnight and I'm absolutely shattered after late nights spent preparing everything for the launch of the presales campaign of The Sheriff's Catch. We're just two hours short of the first full 24 hours of this campaign and I cannot believe that we are already up to 46% of the crowdfund target! 

I mean I knew that all of my Maltese, Australian, Kiwi, British etc mates were a quietly…


Thursday, 18 May 2017

Hello everybody, URGENTLY NEED A HAND!

Would appreciate you taking a second to promote my novel by simply clicking on the below link and then hitting your preferred social media button!

Only need 54 more clicks to be able to unleash a veritable LIGHTNING BOLT across our vast social media skylines!


PS and if you can share the…


Thursday, 18 May 2017

Posted on my social media 6 hours ago today:

Hello all it's a bit past 2pm here in Sydney, 12 hours / literally a half day since launch and already THE SHERIFF'S CATCH has flown out of the blocks sprinting to a THIRD (gulp!) of the required funding to make this dream a reality!

Here I am lunching with generous supporter David Spiteri, now also a patron whose name will be forever inscribed…

Publication date: March 2018
122% funded
239 backers