Wednesday, 18 September 2013

"Desire Lines" - new poetry collection available NOW!

Back in May I asked my Twitter followers and friends to suggest subjects for poems on the theme of modern life. 

I had an excellent response, with hundreds of fantastic ideas. From them, I chose twenty one topics. 

From ASBOs to cats to long distance love...the poems within my collection are candid and hopefully not too critical of modern times. 

You can download a copy here:

Friday, 14 June 2013

Modern Life

Well I've been useless at updating my blog, but I have been writing LOTS. I've got a half finished manuscript that I have tucked away for a later date and a work in progress that I am steadily working towards completing. 

After a year of solid scribbling, I have decided to take a tiny break to do something different. 

I spend a lot of time writing in coffee shops and observing life and people. There's nothing as interesting, to me, than other people and how they behave. 

I decided that I would put together some of my poetry, and write some new poems too, on the theme of "Modern Life". I've asked my Twitter followers to suggest subjects within this theme for me to write about, and have had excellent responses. It's not too late to pass your suggestions on to me though! Just comment here or send a tweet to @jerowney. Just don't suggest Twitter as a subject. I've had that!

If I choose your suggestion, I will credit you in the book - by your @ name, so if you're making a suggestion in the comments here, please add that or you will be "anonymous".

Get involved! Jx 

Monday, 3 December 2012

Love and Loss and Chinese Politics.

You'll notice, if you have read any of my previous work, that I tend to write about human emotions. Love and loss are my favourite subjects. They fascinate me, because really, I am torn between not understanding them enough and feeling like I understand them too much.

However, sometimes I do write about other things. I was fascinated earlier in the year by a slice of Chinese history. I won't go into it in detail here, but I was reading a lot about the Great Leap Forward and the Four Pests Campaign initiated by Mao Zedong. The idea was that there were four key pests who ate the grain that the Chinese labourers worked hard to farm and harvest - flies, mosquitos, rats and sparrows - and that by eradicating these, the nation would be better off. Unfortunately the plan kinda backfired, as by killing the majority of the sparrow population, the insects that they fed upon, including locusts, went through a huge population explosion, leading to a terrible ecological imbalance. This in turn contributed to the Great Chinese Famine in which 30 million people died.

Everyone, Come and Fight Sparrows

They are the enemy, picking at the grain.
The grain so scarce,
Our population so great.
We are at war, everyone, come and fight.
The boys with their stones
And slingshots, popping and snapping
Knocking them spinning down,
And men with their guns,
Decimating, the feathers falling.

Out in the streets
We bang pots and pans,
We hammer on drums,
And the birds circle in the sky,
Too scared to land
Until they fall, exhausted, 
To the ground.
And we have won.

Tear down their nests.
Climb trees and take eggs.
Smash them, grab the nestlings
And crush them.
Be a good soldier 
In this war against pests.
There will be rewards for those
Who kill the most;
Awards and recognition.
And we have won.

The evil dirt brown birds
Driven close to extinction.
The grain safe from their
Greedy, snapping beaks.
They are gone.

Out in the streets
We celebrate.
We bang on our drums and
No more birds circle in the sky.
Now locusts swarm our land.
The food of the birds
Now uncontrolled.
Their population so great.

Our harvest has been exceptional,
Tell them that in the cities.
Our campaign was a success.
We have won.
We fought the sparrows,
We were the victors.
But the farmers were taken
To work in the cities
And the locusts have eaten our crops.

They are they enemy, devouring our grain.
The grain so plentiful.
Yet no one to harvest it.
Our ally, the sparrows,
Are gone. 

The cities take the grain
That we have managed to save
And ship it to Africa, to Cuba,
While we starve in our villages
Out in the hills.
Away from the public eye.
The propaganda sells our success
Because we have won.

More locusts, then more,
An explosion of population so great.
We poison and spread our pesticides
And hear the earth sigh
As thirty million die.
Our pots and pans empty
Have we won?

Monday, 26 November 2012

What you wish for.

Tonight's subject is "be careful what you wish for".

Growing up, I remember wishing that I was older, that I knew more, that I could do all of the things that I was "too young" for. Now, especially as Christmas draws closer, I think back to those days of innocence and wish that I could see the sparkles and magic through less jaded eyes.

I still believe in Father Christmas, of course...

Jayney x

Twinkle Twinkle

As a child I watched the stars
Wondering just what they are.
Up above the world they shine
Granting wishes from on high.
Twinkle Twinkle little star,
Grant my wish, tell me what you are.

Twinkle twinkle, then I saw
A light from ancient times, no more.
Not up above, but out in space.
Out of time, and out of place.
Supernova, dying star,
Now I know just what you are.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Novels and Poems

I've been busily writing my follow up novel, working title "Derelict". When people ask me how long it took me to write "Charcoal" the answer varies between "2 years", which is the timespan from actually starting writing to finishing the final draft, to "all my life". This is, in many ways, true. I am hopeful that Derelict will not take quite as long to complete!

This month sees the publication of one of my poems "Jubilee Memories" in an anthology from Forward Poetry. Amazingly, it has a jubilee theme - although the celebrations seem like a long time ago now.

I have a different poem for you today, based on one too many visits to soft play areas.

Sunday Dads

All the kids in the cage
Whilst the Sunday dads sit down
Drinking tea, reading the paper,
Looking everywhere but
At the two mewling boys
They brought with them.
Stood, finger-gripping 
The netted enclosure,
Everything padded and safe.
"Dad!" A shout. "Watch me!"
And reluctantly they look up
From their papers to see 
nothing special.
Once a week, this routine:
Kids in their scruffs, and 
Dads in their bests.
Letting the mums know 
They're doing ok. That
Everything's fine (now).
Down the wavy slide
And up the padded path.
"I've had an accident in the ball pool"
Is covered up by the statement
That it's time to go home. 

Monday, 5 November 2012

Fire Night and Fireflies

Life has been busy, and although I have been writing, I haven't been updating this blog nearly enough.

Work on the second novel is coming along well though, despite life trying to get in the way.

As it is November 5th - Bonfire Night - the subject for the writing group tonight was fire. Here's what I made of that.

Fireflies make it look easy

You and I and the fireflies,
Near exhausted, nearing the end.
Alone in warm summer darkness
We sat beneath a canopy of ghostly pine,
Unseen, but scenting the air green.
You built a fire
From logs too thick, too wet,
Too sticky-fresh with sap to burn
And I watched the sparks fly
And fade.
Each danced for a moment
In a dervish whirl of orange.
Too soon, their time over, extinguished,
Spinning back to blackness.
You were shadow; I was silent.
Though we tried to make flames,
To ignite whatever we could find,
Whatever was left,
We failed.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Free download of Charcoal!

If you haven't already downloaded my novel, Charcoal, you can get it for FREE from Amazon today and tomorrow (18th and 19th September).

The link to download is:

UK readers:

US readers:

Please share the links with your friends and enjoy!

You don't need a Kindle to download it - you can get a free app for the PC or for iPod/iPad/iPhone etc.