Category Archives: Other

It Could Have Been Me (Tsumani 2004)

Tsunami 2004 – Sri Lanka – To lost friends never forgotten

(It still haunts me.)

‘Something terrible has happened” it’s on the TV,

As I woke Boxing Day morn, with mum calling me;

I’d just left there, making my annual pilgrimage back to the UK,

When disaster struck on that winters day.


As I watched the carnage unfold on the TV screen,

People I knew, places I’d been

Three days ago I was there,

Then it became only a wasteland, the coastline stripped bare.


The telephones rang but with no reply,

As frantically I tried to see if friends were still alive

And soon my mum’s house became a centre for collecting

All manner of household objects, toys and clothing.


Within the month I’d returned back home,

Travelled the coastline to see homes all gone.

80% of the coast affected or damaged,

Broken buildings and bodies, results of the carnage.


And so it began, the influx of peoples

From all corners of the world, to help where it was needed.

We issued out clothing; towels; linen and toys,

To the expectant faces of young girls and boys.


Slowly over the next couple of years,

I’d listen to stories and wipe away tears.

‘The first wave came when my children were at school’

My wife ran down the beach, there was nothing I could do’


Again and again, I listened to the recall,

How the sea rose up into a terrible wall,

Then came crashing down with power and anger

Leaving in its wake debris and danger.

They all perished, in the bungalow, as the wave struck,

Friends I had known, they’d had no luck

It could have been me, there on the beach

As the tsunami hit, safety out of reach.


And so for the next two years the c, ast became home,

As I helped rebuild homes and a Montessori where all village kids would come,

I met many peoples from all corners of the earth,

All helping rebuild lives and give meaning and worth.


I remember morning showers, a bucket, rope and a well,

Then swimming lessons on the beach, just this side of the swell,

There were times too of laughter as the tears slowly dried,

As we danced in the moonlight, remembering friends and sighed.


Piece by piece, homes were rebuilt,

As piece by piece I relinquished my guilt

Of being alive, when so many had perished

At the edge of the jungle, on a beach, I had cherished.


Their faces are engraved in a corner of my mind,

Tucked away safe forever, a memory to find.

I still recall the elephant song the children sang

As I left the village, shaking each by the hand.


Now on the eve of that fateful day,

I want to take the time to say,

I remember all who lost someone to the Tsunami

For there but for the Grace of God went I


26th December 2004, Sri Lanka’s Tsunami. Just three days earlier I had been there, and it could have been me!

To lost friends and strangers – you are not forgotten


©JEW December 2011

Children’s Independent Authors do it for themselves.

Children’s Independent Authors do it for themselves.

Independent Authors or Indies as we like to be known, are authors who do not have the backing of a publisher, often because of the country they live in, like us in South Africa, and sometimes through choice.

I love being an Indie. I choose my own destiny. That means hard work, lots of hard work, I mean really lots of hard work, but amazingly rewarding.

A while back there was some chitter-chatter and an author I admire immensely remarked that Indies need to do it for themselves in their own genre. Well, that was it, the seed was sown and I banded together the most amazing group of Indies on this planet – Kim Hunter, Corne Groenewald, Christina Harman, Robbie Cheadle and Fatuma Abdullah to help me. This Saturday we will be hosting our own Children’s Book Fayre, so if you want something for the kids to do come and join us, plus meet some awesome Children’s Authors pop in we’d love to see you.

Look out for the Akiki, Sir Chocolate, Silly Willy, Liam and Polly’s Piralympic Series’ as well as many, many more books.

WIN, WIN, WIN with our raffle and let the kids have a great day out. WHAT BETTER WAY TO START THE HOLIDAYS.

Women’s Day Delight

Today was Women’s Day in South Africa, and what better way to kick it off than with amazing present.

When I checked my Facebook these wonderful drawings awaited me.


His dad and I had a bit of a conversation that went like this:



Check out the treasure map trousers – you will definitely be seeing those in a future book. Well done Logan, absolutely brilliant if you ask me. and here’s that artist himself – crewmate Logan from the UK. I think Stuie you have an awful lot to be proud of with your young man.



J.K.Rowling running scared…

So I hear that J.K.Rowling is publishing two more Harry Potter books in the Autumn. I laughed and told a friend jokingly that,

“She must have heard about my Polly’s Piralympics series and realized she has serious competition.”

I meant it as a joke, but my friend replied with a really serious look on her face,

“Jann, you say that flippantly, but you do realize that your books will seriously change lives, don’t you? You always make light of your books, but they really are good, and YES you could be the next J.K.Rowling, you just have to believe in yourself.”

Talk about a sobering moment.

Yes, I know my books are good

Yes, I know the kids who have read them love them.

Yes, I know the schools are starting to come on board with them because they are different, interactive. “Crossover books,” one head called them, between workbooks and chapter books, I call them, something, “Unique and different.” she had said.

Well, I checked out my sales on Amazon, and sure enough, that graph has started to point upwards, am I starting to believe in myself now? Hell YES. And with suggestions that I should look at Audio Books and a TV series, really YES!

So J.K.Rowling, you had better be writing your fingers off, coz I’m hot on your tail and climbing that ladder, and my books will be right there next to yours on the shelves, so be scared, be very scared, coz POLLY’S PIRATES ARE COMING!

#PollysPiralympicsSeries, #Pollysayitsnotcooltobecruel, #Pollyshatesbullies,




Can you help make a young man’s dreams come true?

As many of you may know I write kids books about Pirates that hold their own Image may contain: 1 person, standing and stripesParalympic Games. Well, a few months ago I met a young friend on Facebook Moegamat Nur Petersen. He is a 19-year-old blind Para-athlete. He told me his story, of how he was a prem baby but he was a fighter and survived. Then at the age of 13 within a few weeks, he went blind, but he didn’t give in he still fought on. He was at Stellenbosch training but because he is a Muslim, of course, stopped to respect Ramadan. I haven’t spoken to him much since then, but today I spoke with him – we voice chat on Whatsup.

It was the first time I have heard the sadness in his voice. His sponsor has pulled out – times are tough we all know that, but for him, it is life changing. He cannot get to training.

He said to me, “I’m not going to give up, we all have challenges and this is mine – to continue in athletics…” “When I think about Tokyo 2020 it puts a smile on my face, I cannot miss it.”

Well, I felt motivated enough to come straight to my laptop and write this blog to appeal for help for him. I do not have the financial means to support Nur, I wish I did. But I can write and I can speak, so if there is anyone out there who thinks they can help him please contact me or Nur directly his phone number is on his FB page. It is terrible to have 7 years of your life put on hold and your dreams dashed before you have a chance to really live them, especially when you are so young and have already overcome so much. But he is a fighter, he just needs some help getting to train under suitable conditions to give him a chance.

I checked out his FB page for a pic and saw that even though for now his dreams are dashed, he has posted proudly other Para-athletes who are currently in London, competing, take a look. So let’s see if we collectively can keep that 2020 smile on his face shall we. I don’t normally do something like this but I feel that his dreams are worth it – Please help him.

Audio Books – More than 2 Billion hours sold last year!

Oh my goodness, the stats were scary. How can One afford not to get into this market?


But I get ahead of myself. Firstly a huge call out and thank you to Gregg Davies for his interesting and informative talk on Friday evening – wow, mind blowing. Gregg is a voice over artist amongst other things and enlightened us about the audio book industry that he is involved with.

2014-2016 saw 20,000 books added to audio platforms around the world, with a 60% increase in readers or should I say, listeners? (as a comparison e-books had a 15% drop over the same period).

2014 = 1 billion audio book hours sold, 2016 = 2 billion.

So where do people listen to audio books and why? Well, they listen just about anywhere, in the car, walking the dog, whilst jogging, in the bath, as I said just about anywhere. And why? Well, time is of the essence these days and for many reading is a luxury they just can’t afford, in a world that expects service delivery to be instant, so readers have needed to find alternate methods to feed their book cravings and be able to perform another task at the same time. Parents don’t read to children as much as they used to so audio books are also a comforting way for children to hear a story still at night before bed, or in the car on the way to school.

Will I be looking at audio books? H*LL YES. So watch out for the Polly’s Piralympics Series on audio.




Beat the Bully

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