This is a minor character from a book I’m writing and illustrating at the moment. I’m torn between Rosie and Toffee — or can you think of a better name for this cutie? Let me know in the comments. Thanks!
My illustrated middle grade novel Dear Earthling: Cosmic Correspondent is being published in fall 2018 by Common Deer Press.
As my illustrations feature heavily, I was asked if I wanted to create the cover art. After a few attempts at different styles and formats, and constructive critique from The Herd (as the CDP family are collectively known) I came up with this design.
I hope it gives a sense of the book’s format (letters from an alien), reflects the humour and showcases some of the characters held within.
Totally smooshed to announce that I’ve only gone and sold a book!
DEAR EARTHLING will be published by Common Deer Press this Autumn – – check out their Web page for the blurb!
He wears the coat,
it bends him over
as he shuffles along
the gritty road.
Aches and pains merge with
deep sorrow is the thread that
binds it all.
crowd his shoulder
in his ear.
Yet the thing weighing most
is wrong he’s done to others,
his conscience is bundled
on his back
like a tumour of wet rags it
Then one day he wakes and
his arms slip easily
from the coat of
He laughs like a boy
and dances wildly
free at last from
Pen Avey — June 2017
My poem ‘Refuge is a Taxi’ was recently included in a Patrician Press anthology entitled ‘Refugees and Peacekeepers’. Thanks to Amazon’s ‘Look inside’ facility, you can read my poem in its entirety here, immediately after Anna Johnson’s introduction.
It was inspired by a real person — someone who ran away from the horrors of war to start fresh in the UK. The media often casts refugees in a negative light, but I hope this poem will help in a small, positive way to redress the balance.
His back bowed by the world’s weight.
His neck sore from holding up a weary head.
His eyes, red-rimmed, rubbed raw,
through dust clouds kicked up by bustling crowds.
‘Spare some change?’ he mumbles past chapped lips
as people rush by, embarrassed to see
a fellow being reduced to this.
A dull gold coin thuds into
his thin plastic cup.
He plucks it out with gnarled fingers
and rubs it in rough palms.
Up and down.
Up and down.
A small boy stops, wide-eyed,
watching in the moment before his
mother pulls him away.
The beggar winks and grins
then opens his hands
to reveal a vermilion butterfly.
The insect opens and closes its wings
twice, before fluttering up into the
grey city sky.
Man and boy watch
its bittersweet gift to humanity,
with hope singing in their hearts.
Pen Avey 2017
The past 6 months haven’t been great for me. Towards the end of 2016 my mojo took a huge dive.
Writer’s block? More like writer’s removal-of-creativity-to-be-replaced-by-Spongebob-pasta-shapes.
Then, just as I began to get back into writing, my former literary agent and I parted ways.
So, on paper I’m back to square one — looking for an agent who’s a good fit.
I’ve learned a lot in the past few years though, mainly that it’s the journey not the destination that matters. It’s what you pick up on the way, as you ride the ups and downs of life’s rollercoaster which shapes you as a person. It’s how you behave when a gust of wind blows a crisp packet into your face, or your coaster-buddy throws up on your new jeans.
If you’re riding your own hairy rollercoaster right now, repeat after me —
‘It’s all fuel for the fire; it’s building your character in order to inform your characters.’
So, lift your arms high, and scream into the wind.
It’ll soon be over and you’ll be back in that queue wanting more of the same.