Character name please?

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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!Rosie

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Dear Earthling Cover Reveal!

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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.DE Cosmic CorrespondenT final.jpg

 

 

 

The Coat

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He wears the coat,

it bends him over

as he shuffles along

the gritty road.

Aches and pains merge with

petty disappointments,

deep sorrow is the thread that

binds it all.

Niggling regrets

crowd his shoulder

whispering nay-say

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

weighs

him

down.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Then one day he wakes and

his arms slip easily

from the coat of

human condition.

He laughs like a boy

and dances wildly

free at last from

earthly troubles.

Pen Avey — June 2017

 

 

Refuge is a Taxi

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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.

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The Gift.

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The Gift

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
prayer-book style,
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 2017monarch-butterfly-27320476

 

Ride that rollercoaster, and whoop it up!

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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.

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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.

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