Monthly Archives: December 2014

Over the years of my life

This is a fabulous post and I appreciate the battle and your honesty. Reblogging! Happy 2015! X:0)


The Writing Itch, Reading and Farewell 2014.


I hope that everyone had a great Christmas and that you can still move after being gluttons.

I still have about a ton (rough estimate ha ha) of chocolate to eat. I’ll struggle on – somehow!

Over the Christmassy days I didn’t write but by Saturday morning I needed to write, like an itch that needed to be scratched, and so I entered three competions and I wrote a poem about my 2014 which I’ve pasted in below.

I’ve been reading a lot in the last few days, a little of War and Peace, that equates to a 150+ pages so I’m progressing nicely through Part 2, some of a biography about Alice of Athlone, one of Queen Victoria’s granddaughters, and a book that I haven’t read since I was at school (20 odd years ago.)

I found “The Very Bloody History Of Britain (Without The Boring Bits) The First Bit.” by John Farman by accident while browsing on Amazon and it was as funny to me yesterday as it had been then.

I recommend it if you are new(ish) to British history and want to learn in a “fun and with comic illustrations” kind of a way.

The rediscovery of a book from the past was a surprise bonus gift this Christmastime.

Tolstoy is beckoning today, War and Peace needs stamina but it’s a fabulous book.

I think the Russian influence is taking over my book purchases too, I’ve also bought a biography on Catherine the Great but I love history so no complaining here!

I hope you have a very happy and healthy 2015 and thanks for following me. It’s really appreciated. X

Speak to you next year!!

2014: Miracle Upon Miracle

At the start of this year my mental health was not what it should be

The weight of OCD and PTSD were expertly overwhelming me

But these last twelve months have shown me that miracles are real

That the hand of cards from the deck is not always a rum deal

Team Jo, as I’ve christened us, Mum, the therapist, doctor and I

Have worked solidly to strengthen me and answer the whys


But it must be acknowledged with gratitude and unrelenting zeal

That without God’s love, precious faith and His ears open to appeals

I, a mere mortal, may have let my fighting spirit gasp, stutter, die

But there’s a wondrous light peeking from my reawakening eyes

Life is returning, the illnesses are fading and to them I shan’t yield

I have walked a stony path but blessedly supported I approach healed


As the New Year bell sounds delicate buds of bountiful joy I can foresee

I reflect that in 2014 the true Jo came back and she is alive within me.


Christmas wishes



This is my last blog of the week so I just want to wish you all a very merry Christmas and may all your dreams and wishes come true.


 Christmas Wishes: Senryu. 

Wrote to Santa Claus

Asked for wars and hate to cease

A gift of world peace.



Have a fabulous time.



In the depth of depression

Reblogging this very honest and inspiring poem. I found that the enemy within is far scarier than the enemy without. X

Reading: more eyes please!


My Kindle is stocked with great books to read over the festive season and probably well in to 2015.

Just one teeny tiny issue though…I am going to need more eyes to read them at the same time!!

penguinAs I write I am part way through

Tolstoy’s War and Peace…a must read and a test of stamina!

Two historical biographies – research for articles/books etc.

A Maeve Binchy novel, A Week In Winter – it flows beautifully.

A book on writing articles.

And Lillie Langtry’s autobiography, she was one of King Edward VII’s conquests, in case you’re wondering who she is/was.

So, the fact that I have just bought two royal history books and another book on writing means that I need about 9 pairs of eyes!

I have always been an avid reader and I’ve forever been starting books and setting them aside for a day or two to read something else. E.g fiction for three days and a couple of days non fiction to mix it up – unless I am 100% engrossed in a book then  the others can wait! The last book that I read which I couldn’t put down was Les Miserables and before that Jane Eyre.

I missed that book for weeks after I’d finished it!

The great thing about being a keen writer is that it goes hand in hand with being a dedicated reader. YAY!!

People who don’t read books are missing out on so much magic.

Anyhow, I have to go Christmas food shopping so there’s no reading time for a couple of hours yet today!

Have a great weekend and remember there’s only a few more sleeps to Santa!!



Bit excited!



As the title says I’m a bit excited!

I pitched an idea to a local publication and they are mulling that over for their website.

I was pleasantly surprised and grateful when the editor suggested that I write an article about myself and life with O.C.D./P.T.S.D. for inclusion in their print magazine in a couple of months time.

I realised as I was writing the short piece that:

1. It means a lot to be living my writing dream.

2. The mental disorders didn’t hijack my life or my goals forever and I’ve come a long way in the last year or so.

3. It’s an opportunity to write about my life as I do on my blog, reach and inform even more people which can only help to banish the misconceptions about mental issues.

I’d call it a fabulously welcome early Christmas present!

I  feel amazed when my work is accepted or gets published somewhere and I don’t ever want to lose that astonishment, it’s good for my soul!

A flash fiction piece made the grade the other day too!

I wrote this poem recently for my anthology It’s Christmas!  I hope that you enjoy it.


Tommy Turkey: Legend

Scared Thanksgiving Turkey

Farmer Jones had once had a kindly look

About his cheery self when they’d first met

But frankly, he’d blotted his copybook

When he’d mentioned their weights to the vet


This morning he’d told Tommy and his friends

That they were wonderfully plump, fat enough to go

As they had no pocket money for a day out to spend

They reasoned it was to Old Grisly Gobble & Co.


Tommy thought no chance! They’d taken a vote

Agreed to a mass exodus, they wouldn’t be Christmas dinners

Tommy had written Farmer Jones a firm farewell note

He was sure that hats would be doffed to the great turkey winners


In his turkey crown and cape Tommy had left the farm

He’d seen The Great Escape he well knew what to do

That night he started an “Eat Sprouts and do turkey’s no harm!”

Campaign with pigs in blankets on the evening news

Poor old newsreaders looked utterly bemused.



The note read:

Dear Farmer Jones,

Ho ho ho and off we go! With the ‘snips and sprouts we’ll not pout

With free flowing gravy fresh from the spout

Love (Yeah right) Tommy and  his turkey heroes! 



Happy “it’s nearly Christmas!”

Have a fab rest of the week.











I’ve done it!

snowman-160868_640Poppy field --- Image by © Royalty-Free/CorbisHi


I’ve taken the plunge, I’ve put my money where my mouth is, I’ve risen to the challenge and any other cliches that you want to add…I’ve entered one of my poems in to a pay to enter competition!

Until now I’ve entered only free competitions to see how my work performs under pressure and scrutiny and it’s not done too badly.

No wins but no sense of “why did I bother? Am I MAD?” either so I’ve decided today that I may as well take the next step and enter a pay to enter, larger prize competition.

Moreover, I won’t let that little voice in my head say that I’ve probably just wasted my money or that the poem possibly has no chance of achieving any sort of prize – No, I’ve just been brave and that is a big fat juicy something in life that doesn’t have a pricetag.

The results won’t be out for a couple of months but at least I’ve entered and the rest is up to the judges.


Happy writing peeps!






Grab the reader!


I’ve spent a lot of this week looking at markets, marketing and the business related aspects of being a writer.

Books won’t sell themselves (boo) and not everyone is a born sales guru.

Although in a previous life I was a travel agent selling “your dream two weeks in the sun” that requires a slightly different approach to book sales even though you can still work with a features and benefits base. e.g. This hotel is on the beach so you’ll only have a couple of minutes walk to get there or this book was written by a travel agent so you can be sure that you are receiving expert advice.

It’s interesting to learn about how certain phrases/writing devices/cover designs can affect how someone responds to your book.

I read something that is both obvious and yet often forgotten so it resonated with me: Don’t use passive language.


I posted a blog is an active sentence. 

A blog was posted by me is a passive sentence.

The writer won an award is active.

An award was won by a writer is passive.

It makes sense to grab people’s attention if you want/need them to say “Wow, this looks like a great book, I’d love to read it,” rather than “blah, blah, blah,…oh, this other book looks much more interesting.”

I was reminded that no one is obliged to read a word that you or I have written, no matter how much blood, sweat and tears we’ve poured in to producing the work our precious books need as much help as they can get.

I shall edit even more carefully from now on!

I’ve been planning projects for 2015, which led to an odd train of thought…OCD – you gotta love it! – I was thinking of ideas for fiction and non fiction books when this ran through my mind. What if I run out of ideas? What will I do? Nice bit of OCD scaremongering, don’t you think?!

My answer – when I’d stopped “oh no, that would be awful-ling”…the world is full of stories, people, subjects, news, memories, anniversaries, inspirational events and inventors.

The list of things to write about should therefore be endless, not that my OCD liked that answer, it’s a bit of a doom and gloom monster so it forecasts that the end of the world will have to occur the same day that I don’t have fresh inspiration!

Besides, if I place pressure on myself to come up with a ton of ideas on the spot I can still only write one at a time so why not go with the flow instead and allow my mind to be open to inspiration as I amble along?

It’s a tough lesson but I’m sure that my brain will agree with me one day.

I saw a fantastic observation on writers block the other day…nurses don’t get nurses block, surgeons don’t get surgeons block, pianists don’t get pianists block…so why do writers sometimes cling to the myth of writers block? A great point!

Have a fabulous weekend.

Jo Penguin

Write to Combat Depression

This is a fabulous post. Had to reblog it! 🙂