Guest Feature – Mary Schmidt

I’m delighted to feature Mary Schmidt on Patricia’s Pen. Mary has come along to chat about her co-authored children’s book Davy’s Dragon Castle. Without further ado, it’s over to Mary.

Davy’s Dragon Castle

Mary Schmidt

In my new book, Davy’s Dragon Castle, children learn to get along with others no matter the colour of their fur or skin. It’s important for children to learn the concept of, and how not to be racist, and toddlers are a great age to start the teaching. Anti-racism education in elementary school starts with students’ awareness of themselves, of others and of how those interactions play out. All social and emotional learning helps children to express feelings and be tuned in to the needs of others. This teaching contributes to the development of all children.

Additionally, children are introduced to a character that wears a prosthetic leg, giving children a chance to learn and understand how prosthetics work and if it does/does not limit abilities. Acceptance and inclusion are important in social learning from an early age.

The opportunity to interact with your child/children in a positive environment, such as the castle in this story, illustrates the importance of a positive environment in aiding children with learning social skills with other children and adults.  Davy’s Dragon Castle helps parents and teachers to reinforce positive behaviors in an imaginative setting of imaginary dragons, castle, and town. Learning and sharing are essential for social development in all children.

The illustrations were a joy to design, and I feel this book will be significant in the days and years to come.

About Mary Schmidt

Mary L. Schmidt writes under the name of S. Jackson along with her husband Michael, pen name A Raymond. Books were her thing, her escape to new worlds. After retiring from nursing, she began writing as a second career, and more than 30 books in various genres have been published.

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Guest Feature – Val Penny

It gives me great pleasure today to welcome author Val Penny as my first guest for 2022 on Patricia’s Pen. Val’s returned to Patricia’s Pen to chat about her new release Hunter’s Rules. Without further ado, it’s over to Val.

Hunter’s Rules

Val Penny

Thank you for hosting me on your blog today. It is always a pleasure to visit.

My family has been moving between the U.S.A. and the U.K. for generations. It is always a bit of a lottery as to where you end up! As for me, I have been moving East all my life. Born in Northern California, I attended high school in the Mile High City of Denver then worked in Virginia before crossing the pond and marrying a Scot.

I write crime thrillers and started writing in this genre because that is what I enjoy reading. I firmly believe that to be a good author, you must first be an avid reader and it is due to my love of reading and story-telling that I began to write novels.

Hunter’s Rules is the sixth book in my Edinburgh Crime Mysteries series and there are many more to come! Although the books form a series, each works as a standalone novel, so readers can join the stories at any point.

The books are set in the beautiful city of Edinburgh which is the capital of Scotland. I chose it because it is a relatively small city and people from different walks of life and backgrounds are known to each other. That allows me to have some fun with my characters and storylines.

I am particularly proud of this book because, although the story is complete within itself, the concept follows on from a short story that I contributed to a charity anthology, Dark Scotland. The story, which is again a standalone piece, is the prequel to the novel. I hope those who read both will enjoy the conceit and those who read either will be absorbed by them.

Blurb for Hunter’s Rules

A bloody scene brings Hunter and Meera’s romantic plans to an abrupt end.

A young woman was attacked in a hotel lift. She has life changing injuries, but she is alive. Hunter notes that her wounds are like those inflicted on two women who previously died.  

Can Meera keep the injured woman alive long enough for her to identify her assailant? Is the same person responsible for all three crimes? When Hunter is identified as a suspect in the crime, can he establish his innocence and lead his team to solve the crime and keep Edinburgh safe?

About Val Penny

Hunter’s Rules the sixth book in The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries series of novels. Val Penny’s other crime novels, Hunter’s Chase Hunter’s Revenge, Hunter’s Force Hunter’s Blood and Hunter’s Secret form the rest of this bestselling series set in Edinburgh, Scotland, published by darkstroke.

You can also start at the beginning of The Jane Renwick Thrillers with The First Cut.

Her first non-fiction book Let’s Get Published is also available now and she has most recently contributed her short story, Cats and Dogs to a charity anthology, Dark Scotland.

Val is an American author living in SW Scotland with her husband and their cat.





Find out more about Val Penny and her books on her Amazon Author page HERE


Round-up of 2021

As the end of 2021 approaches, I’d like to thank my readers and followers for their continued support. At this time I’d also like to acknowledge some very special people. My writer friend and mentor, Maureen Cullen, for her continued critique, support and friendship, to my online forum friends and Suzi Bamblett for feedback on my prose and poetry throughout the year, to my beta readers, and to my new found supporting poetry community, particularly Damien B Donnelly and Gaynor Kane.

This last year I discovered Blackbough Poetry and #TopTweetTuesday on Twitter which in turn has introduced me to poets from all over the world.

Over the last year, Patricia’s Pen featured close to forty guest authors and poets, some of who, returned for a second or even third visit. Guests wrote blogs about their books and writing in various genres to include crime fiction, historical fiction, poetry, children’s books, and memoir.

Patricia’s Pen 2021 Guests included:

Brian McManus: Julie Anne Rudd: Vic Pickup: Jane Risdon: Lynne Shelby: Valerie Poore: Dawne Archer: Matt Duggan: Natalie Normann: Tim Taylor: Darren J Beaney: Val Penny: Chris Cooper: David Bleiman: David John Griffin: Nina Romano: Tania Crosse: Andy Roberts: Paul Brookes: Rachel Deering: Elizabeth M Hurst: Julie Stevens: Lynette Creswell: Margaret Royall: Patricia Feinburg Stoner: Sue Wickstead: Colin Ward: Steven Smith: Joan C Harthan: Anna Shenton: Suzi Bamblett: Nigel Kent: Jeanette Taylor Ford: Helen Christmas: Simon Elson: Sally Trueman Dicken:

To find out more about my guests’ blogs – Enter a name into the search box.

My Publications in 2021

Heaven in a Spring Garden – Reach Magazine

Victorian Picnic – Reach Magazine

Bridge with a View – Reach Magazine

Sunrise Concertante – Ties that Bind (Edited by Alison and Malcolm Chisholm)

Grandad’s Garden – Ties that Bind (Edited by Alison and Malcolm Chisholm)

First Day at School – Impspired

Isolated – Impspired

The Talent Show – Impspired

Sacred Tree – Ink

Devil’s Darning Needle – accepted by Dawntreader – to be published in a future issue

Short Stories

Mam’s Pearls – Impspired

Uninvited – Glittery Literary Anthology – Volume 3

Two books released.

The Granville Legacy (The final instalment in House of Grace trilogy) March 2021 – White Wings Books.

Sherry & Sparkly – A Poetry Conversation co-authored with Maureen Cullen – December 2021 – The Hedgehog Poetry Press

Aims for 2022

My aim is to have at least two poetry collections published by The Hedgehog Poetry Press

Symbiosis – A poetry conversation co-authored with Brian McManus
Spirit Mother – Experience the Myth – a mythical poetry collection inspired by nature.

To complete my novel, The Oath, early on in the year but it may take a little longer to reach publication.

To become more proactive in submitting poems and short stories to small presses and magazines.

My blog diary is filling up with guests for 2022. So far my guests include:

Val Penny: Mary Schmidt: Liz Martinson: Carmen Radtke: Mick Arnold: Ankh Spice: Damien B Donnelly: Gaynor Kane: Angela Fish: Rosemary Gemmell: Joy Gerkin: Judith Barrow: Peter A.

And there will be lots more too.

2021 has been tough for us all but let’s hope that 2022 sees life a little easier where we can start to get back out and about again.

Without further ado, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you all a good festive period and look forward to bringing you our first author guest in 2022 – Val Penny – whose blog will go out on Tuesday 4th January 2022.

Why not follow for updates so you never miss out on news or guest features? Follow HERE

Publication Day – Sherry & Sparkly

It gives me great pleasure to announce the official release of Sherry & Sparkly published by The Hedgehog Poetry Press. I am truly honoured to share the pages with, my friend and mentor, Maureen Cullen.

Sherry & Sparkly – A Poetry Conversation by Maureen Cullen and Patricia M Osborne.

Maureen and Patricia grew up hundreds of miles from each other in different countries of the UK but share common experiences of childhood in the fifties and sixties when ice laced the inside of bedroom windows and corporal punishment was common in schools. They survived to become brides, mothers, career women and technophobes. Sometimes joyous, sometimes painful, these poems are a conversation about love, hope and identity. 

Check out Nigel Kent’s review of Sherry and Sparkly HERE

Cancer hits most of us in one form or another and it is for this reason that Maureen Cullen and I decided to donate proceeds, from limited edition copies brought from us direct, to Cancer Research UK.

Sherry & Sparkly makes a perfect gift and a wonderful keepsake.
Maureen and I have decided to continue the pre-publication price for a while longer so don’t delay – order your copy today.

Order your copy of Sherry & Sparkly HERE and help us raise some money for a worthy cause.

About Maureen Cullen

Maureen was born in West Dunbartonshire and now lives in Argyll and Bute. She is a retired social worker who specialised in fostering and adoption. In 2015, she gained an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University where she studied poetry and short fiction. She has been shortlisted in various competitions, including The Fish Short Story Prize and The Bristol Short Story Prize. In 2016, she was published by Nine Arches Press, along with three other poets, in Primers 1. She has poetry published in a range of magazines, including Shooterand The Interpreter’s House. Her current project is a collection of linked short stories based in a fictional town in the West of Scotland.

About Patricia M Osborne

Patricia M Osborne is married with grown-up children and grandchildren. She was born in Liverpool but now lives in West Sussex. In 2019 she graduated with an MA in Creative Writing (University of Brighton).

Patricia writes novels, poetry and short fiction, and has been published in various literary magazines and anthologies. She has published a family saga trilogy. Her poetry pamphlet Taxus Baccata and The Montefiore Bride were published by The Hedgehog Poetry Press 2020.

She has a successful blog at where she features other writers and poets. When Patricia isn’t working on her own writing she enjoys sharing her knowledge acting as a mentor to fellow writers.

Guest Feature – Margaret Royall

It gives me great pleasure to invite poet and memoir writer, Margaret Royall, back to Patricia’s Pen. This visit Margaret has come to share details about her combined memoir and poetry new release Immersed in Blue. Without further ado, it’s over to Margaret.

Immersed in Blue

Margaret Royall

First of all I want to say a big thank you to Patricia for inviting me to be a guest on her blog. I am very honoured.

My latest publication, out 5th December 2021, is entitled ‘Immersed in Blue’ and is published by Steve Cawte for Impspired Press. I’m very excited about this latest book, as it’s a fusion of poetry, prose, travelogue, journal and memoir, illustrated with some beautiful colour photographs (cover and postcard photos courtesy of my friend Moira Brimacombe.) This is how it came to be written.

In 2012 a small miracle occurred. While searching for a painting holiday online I chanced upon a creative writing retreat on the Inner Hebridean Isle of Iona. This mystical, magical place has since become what I like to describe as my ‘heart-home’, a place where I feel totally at ease, happy in my skin. I have returned there year on year, each time producing a course project written as a Haibun (a mix of poetry and  prose), which seeks to capture the myriad faces of the island and explore its numinous beauty. In this collection extracts from my journals 2012-2021 have been selected with the intention of sharing the many sights and sounds, riches of flora, fauna and landscape that I have been privileged to experience. You can read all about the book, including  honest reviews from three acclaimed writers, plus sample poems, by visiting my website.

There will be an official launch evening in the New Year on Sunday, 9th January 2022, free and online, hosted by Damien B Donnelly and starring guest readers, Paul Brookes, Steve Cawte, Simon Royall, Jo Weston, Patricia M Osborne with Brian MsManus and Kerry Darbishire with Kelly Davis. A link to register for a free ticket is below.

Get your FREE tickets HERE

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About Margaret Royall

Margaret’s work has featured in publications such as The Blue Nib, Impspired, Dreich, Black Bough Poetry and the acclaimed Gloucestershire Pandemic Poetry Anthology. She has five books of poetry to her name. She won Hedgehog Press’ full  fat collection competition in 2020 and ‘Where Flora Sings’ was subsequently nominated for the Laurel Prize. Her highly rated memoir of childhood, ‘The Road To Cleethorpes Pier’ was published by Crumps Barn Studio in May 2020. She has been s/listed in several competitions, featured on guest blogs and published widely online. Her new collection ‘Immersed in Blue’, from Impspired, is out on 5th December 2021 and will be officially launched on 9th January 2022 at a poetry evening with guest readers, hosted by Damien B Donnelly.

Margaret is a regular performer at open mic events and leads a Nottinghamshire women’s poetry group. She is currently writing her first novel.








Guest Feature – Nigel Kent

Today I’m delighted to invite Hedgehog Poetry Press poet, Nigel Kent, back to Patricia’s Pen. Nigel is here to share information about his brand new poetry collection, Unmuted. Check out that cover. Isn’t it just gorgeous? Without further ado, let’s go over to Nigel.


Nigel Kent

Thanks, Patricia, for allowing me the opportunity to tell your readers about my latest collection, Unmuted (Hedgehog Poetry Press, 2021).

Unmuted is a collection of thirty-two ekphrastic poems  which explore the selected art works as though each is a frame in a storyboard that I unfreeze and unmute to reveal the narrative that lies behind it. I should stress that these are the stories that I hear in my head when I look at the pieces and, as a result, may be very different from what the artist intended. I hope this is a strength of the collection, as it enables each poem to stand alone from the work that inspired it and means that readers not do not need to have any prior knowledge when they come to the poem. However, having first read the poem in isolation, I hope there is a second pleasure to be had in reading it alongside the art work.

That said, anyone with the slightest knowledge of art will recognise a number of the artists and the works which inspired the collection: such as Picasso’s Weeping Woman, L.S. Lowry’s Coming from the Mill and Edward Hopper’s Automat. I didn’t pick such works because they were well-known. My selection was based entirely on whether the piece spoke to me or not. As a result there are some lesser known works too, for the reader to discover, such as George Segal’s Bus Riders, Paula Rego’s Come to Me and Josef Herman’s Head of a Miner.

As I looked at Herman’s picture it seemed to me that he portrayed his subject as though the miner was hewn from rock himself, and in doing so captured the silent strength of the man, his courage and the solidarity of the community he represents. I try to bring this out in the poem. Why don’t you now have a look at the picture and see what you think? You can find it HERE

About Nigel Kent

Nigel Kent is a twice Pushcart Prize nominated poet (2019 and 2020) and reviewer who lives in rural Worcestershire. He is an active member of the Open University Poetry Society, managing its website and occasionally editing its workshop magazine.

He has been shortlisted for several national competitions and his poetry has appeared in a wide range of anthologies and magazines. Some of his work has been translated by Mariana Zavati Gardner for the literary journals, Banchetful and Pro Saeculum.

He is the author of two collections, and four pamphlets: Unmuted, a collection of 32 ekphrastic poems (Hedgehog Press, 2021); Saudade (Hedgehog Press, 2019) his first collection; Psychopathogen, a pamphlet exploring the effects of the pandemic, which was nominated for the 2020 Michael Marks Award for Poetry Pamphlets and made the Poetry Society’s Winter List, 2020; A Voice and A Vision, a book of photopoetry in collaboration with photographer, Nick Browne; and two poetry conversations with Sarah Thomson, ‘Thinking You Home’ and ‘A Hostile Environment’.

In 2021 he was shortlisted for the Saboteur Award for Reviewer of Literature.




If you want to know more about Unmuted visit HERE

Readers of this blog can buy a copy for £7 P&P free if you enter the word PATRICIA in the contact form.

Sherry & Sparkly

It was a pleasure this morning to wake up to a wonderful review for Sherry & Sparkly from Nigel Kent on his fabulous website.

Nigel was shortlisted earlier this year for the Saboteur Award for Reviewer of Literature.

Like what you read? To be honest if I hadn’t co-written this gorgeous pamphlet I’d be queueing up to purchase one myself.

Fancy a copy of this limited edition produced by The Hedgehog Poetry Press?

Pop over to my website SHOP HERE (once in SHOP scroll down for Sherry & Sparkly) and grab yourself a pre publication price offer of only £5.50 plus p&p. RRP £7.99 plus p&p.

Great for a keepsake, gift or stocking filler.

All proceeds of copies sold via the authors, minus PayPal charges and p&p, go to Cancer Research UK.

We do not keep a penny ourselves.

Publication Date 16th December 2021

Read Nigel Kent’s review of Sherry & Sparkly HERE

Buy your Limited Edition copy HERE – Once in the online shop, scroll down for Sherry & Sparkly.

Guest Feature – Lynette Creswell

It’s a pleasure to invite children’s author, Lynette Creswell, back to Patricia’s Pen to chat about the hoglets. Without further ado, it’s over to Lynette.

Hoglets’ Christmas Magic

Lynette Creswell

Hi, I’m Lynette and I’ve been writing for over thirty years. Having suffered a dysfunctional childhood, I was compelled from an early age to write stories which took me to another place. I created mythical realms and magical creatures influenced by stories such as the Faraway Tree and The Wishing Chair, written by Enid Blyton.

Since moving to Lincolnshire in 2000 I’ve written six novels and a compilation of short stories. I’ve published four fantasy books and two romance novels although Hoglets’ Christmas Magic is my first ever children’s story.

I’ve always enjoyed writing for children. I used to write for my own children when they were small. It gave me such a buzz to see their eyes light up when they realised they were one of my characters. My husband could see how much joy writing gave me and bought a laptop.

I didn’t write the story about the hoglets with the intention of turning them into a book. I wrote Hoglets’ Christmas Magic as a free read a couple of years ago for my blog. I uploaded the Christmas freebie and the response was phenomenal. I received a mountain of messages and emails from parents and grandparents asking when the hoglets were due to be published. Overwhelmed by the response, (and a hard push from a dear friend) I took the plunge. It’s been no easy feat to publish Hoglets’ Christmas Magic. It’s taken blood, sweat and a pandemic to turn the hoglets into a beautifully illustrated paperback.

What can readers enjoy from the book?

Hoglets’ Christmas Magic is a heart-warming tale about two adorable hedgehogs who save Christmas for a little girl. It’s a book to read on Christmas Eve or when you’d like ‘special quality time’ with your little ones.

The book’s already a huge hit with parents and teachers. One primary school teacher tweeted… ‘Gather your children, curl up by the fire, sip hot chocolate and enjoy a story that will make your heart glow.’

A headmistress of another school emailed and said… ‘I wish my children were little again so I could read them such a delightful and uplifting story.’

Hoglets’ Christmas Magic video

Book Blurb

It’s Christmas Eve with the hoglets.

Prickles and Primrose are excited. That is until… As they decorate the Christmas tree they discover the star for the top has shattered. Not to be defeated – the brave hoglets set out into the wood to seek a substitute star but stumble across Santa instead.

What adventure will they encounter?

AND… what about the star?

If you love Winnie the Pooh you’ll fall in love with the hoglets, Prickles and Primrose, from Briar Wood

What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?

Read books in the same genre you’re writing. This is key to success. Check out works by similar authors and note their style, motives, flow, and even their vocabulary. Look what’s current and what sells. Know your market and you’ll be one step ahead.

What do you enjoy most about writing and why?

Writing is escapism. The moment I put pen to paper I’m in another world, another time, another place. Writing is captivating and crafting something new is a wonderful feeling. I enjoy creating new characters and watching them grow. Writing is rewarding too.

What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?

  • Please tell your friends, family, schools, hairdresser, window cleaner … anyone who’s willing to listen. Word of mouth is still the best way to make a book successful.
  • Buy Hoglets’ Christmas Magic as a gift.
  • Leave a review on Amazon so others can see how much you enjoyed the hoglets. Hardly anyone buys a book without reading reviews. I know I don’t. Hoglets’ Christmas Magic

What is your next project?

If the hoglets are successful, I’ll write another story about them. Last summer I wrote three chapter books so if readers are keen to take the hedgehogs to their hearts, there’s more.

Order your copy of Hoglets’ Christmas Magic Here.

About Lynette Creswell

Lynette was born in London, but raised in Burnley, Lancashire. From the tender age of five she lived with her grandmother who gave her books to keep her quiet. Lynette found she had a passion for reading and started writing once she began school. Lynette’s inspiration came from childhood books written by Enid Blyton. The Enchanted Wood and The Faraway Tree were her first taste of fantasy. In adulthood, Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight Series captured her own vivid imagination. Her first novel Sinners of Magic won her acclaim and the story soon turned into a trilogy. With readers begging for more Lynette ended the series with a spin off story featuring a windigo.

Wishing to be a multi-genre author, Lynette turned her pen to romance. Her two novels: Cracks in the Glass and Two Kinds of Truth were a huge hit with readers.

Returning to her love of short story writing, Lynette entered the 2019 SWWJ (Society of Women Writers and Journalists) competition. A Slice of Cake – a light-hearted story about her five-year-old granddaughter came runner up.

Lynette lives in North East Lincolnshire with her husband. All her grandchildren are the apple of her eye.

Find out more about Lynette Creswell and all her books HERE