In The Spotlight - The Skonk of Tawk Valley and the Firefly Meadow
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This second book in the Skonk Series was released in September. Again it was a pleasure breathing life into it and I valued the whole creative process.
I'm particularly proud of its Skonk Of Tawk Valley font. Despite a year of searching for the perfect font, I found nothing appropriate, meaningful or authentic enough - but most of all, they were not mine! So on a wet Sunday afternoon I hand drew it; it needed to appear ‘scratchy’, as if the Skonk's long talons had etched it in the sand.
The story behind The Skonk of Tawk Valley and the Firefly Meadow holds messages of struggle over adversity, mindfulness, care and compassion, and the fighting for something far more vulnerable than yourself - it does not need to be the stereotypical, muscle-bound hero or an overtly Alpha Male - just someone who is committed to doing the right thing!
That no matter what bitter circumstances may come your way, challenge over adversity and keeping a positive mindset is vital. You venture forth and you don't back down! These noble values run deep in Tawk Valley.
Scary times and hard experiences are an integral part of life. Each and every one of us will, at some point, trip and fall. Yet it’s HOW YOU RISE UP which matters!
To empower a child early on, to recognise that strength of character and power of will are useful tools and life skills, will carry someone far, and shield them well.
I believe that children benefit enormously from such integral values being instilled early on, helping to strengthen their backbone, engage with and nurture balance, combined with strength of spirit in the face of adversity or misfortune.
The Skonk of Tawk Valley is a beautiful mystical land, but it too has its challenges and ‘contretemps', with all realms of unearthly characters - wilful gnomes and goblins being the tip of the iceberg!
Others exist who are not just ’spicy’ but pretty merciless. However, the mantra for all of Tawk Valley’s inhabitants is: "IF YOU LOVE SOMETHING, THEN YOU FIGHT FOR IT"!
A strong belief system, tenacious focus and heartwarming courage takes them far!
Yesterday’s children now know that life is not all ‘Fairies and Sparkly Rainbows"! Who says you can’t interweave some of life’s realities into the realm of fantasy?!
In the ‘Firefly Meadow’ the fragility of the fleeing fireflies is equalled by their steeliness of character and innate will to survive! They are honour bound to their true life's calling, which is to hold beauty and captivation, to glow and give illumination in the darkness.
The illustrations have been created by the talented artist Keegan Blazey. I'm so fortunate that he loves the Skonk adventures, which can clearly be seen with his wonderful artwork.
The third book in the Skonk Series, The Skonk of Tawk Valley and the Icy Winter will launch Autumn/Winter 2022.
This is the most dramatic of the Skonk books to date.
More recently, I decided to diversify the Skonk’s stories by broadening their appeal beyond the 7-12 year old age group, and to include the 2-4 year old ‘tots market’ These are large, 32-page, full-colour illustrated books, with a rhyming sentence or two on each page.
This book is called: The Skonk of Tawk Valley and the Baby Years. It will be part of a series explaining how the Baby Skonk was happily found and his early years’ experiences.
These will also convey positive messages of resilience and self-respect to fight injustice, how you CAN turn around a dire situation into a good one, especially if you are the only person who can make a difference! And to understand that second chances can, and SHOULD be given - all of which is embraced and embodied by the Skonk.
Tawk Valley’s inhabitants all step up in one form or another. They are nature's ‘scrappers’!
Not only fiercely loyal to each other, but with an inbuilt awareness of right and wrong.
They don't shy away from problems, they roll up their sleeves and get on with it! These Codes of Behaviour course through their veins because the Elder of Tawk Valley has taught them so well!
Perhaps I got the idea from my own school motto:
‘Per Severa Per Severo - Through All Difficulties I Shall Persevere’
So be they button-nosed, long snouted or short-tailed, delicately whiskered or regally plumed, four-legged or elegantly winged, they NEVER EVER back down from a challenge and if perchance they get knocked down, they get straight back up again! Tawk Valley members have true ‘moxie’!
I would like to thank Emma so much for featuring my books here again. As an enthusiastic and hopeful, word author I would love the chance to perhaps reach success in the Commercial Market.
A tadpole in a huge lake may dream!
I feel that the Skonk would benefit enormously from even further exposure, and appreciate the help and support everyone has already given him.
THE SKONK OF TAWK VALLEY may have an Instagram account, plus a website and a healthy FaceBook page with 5,000 friends - he seems to be especially loved in South Korea!
I know that given the right conditions, small acorns can grow into great oaks! I'm hoping that I may gain an agent or literary management after this latest promotion of the Skonk’s latest story.!
I need the right kind of specialist children's books agent. Not one who will just fall in love with the Skonk, but will nurture him and propel him higher. Someone who will be equally ambitious and forward thinking for him, allow him to travel in uncharted territory, so he has the scope to place his paws into the world of creative animation.
That's the dream plan, because not only the Skonk, but the whole of TAWK VALLEY has a great deal of uniqueness to offer, so I'm hoping that there may be a niche in the marketplace for him. (Even a grain of sand can long for the top of the cliff face!) However, I need to keep him authentic and true to all that the Skonk brand is.
The Skonk has morals!
He knows what's what.
Naturally I write all of my books for a certain someone (my daughter, in case you didn’t see my feature in the magazine last year) and my goal is to ensure that all of the SKONK ADVENTURES are left for her as a Personal Heritage. A gift that nobody on earth can ever take from her. Everybody needs something in life that is uniquely theirs. So I write my books for my daughter. My "Topsiekins"! xx
Thank you for reading my story and supporting the continuing adventures of THE SKONK OF TAWK VALLEY.
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