Special Launch Feature – Rik Lonsdale

I’m delighted to feature Swanwick writer, Rik Lonsdale on the launch of his debut novel Water and Blood. Rik has blogged about his inspiration.

Why I Wrote Water and Blood

Rik Lonsdale

To complete the marathon of writing a novel I knew it would need to have meaning for me on a personal level as well as being a good story. I believe climate change is very real, and we cannot know how it will impact on our societies, but it was something I wanted to write about. I didn’t want to write a far-future story set beyond a time that is recognisable but wanted to write about what might happen immediately after a disaster caused by climate change.


I’d read extensively about the glacier shrinkage. If all the ice in Greenland fell into the sea it would increase sea levels by six metres. But that could only occur in a slow way. The West Antarctic ice shelf is a more likely candidate for causing a sudden rise. Scientists are becoming increasingly concerned about this vast volume of ice and snow and the likelihood of it detaching from Antarctica. Should this happen the impact on sea levels would be immediate, flooding cities containing billions of people.

Questions began popping into my head. How would people survive this disaster? How would they live in the immediate aftermath. Nuclear power stations, oil refineries, and logistical infrastructure are all commonly sited on coastlines. People would have no power, no fuel, no transport.

On this small island of Britain, currently dependant on imports to feed its population, what might occur in the weeks and months after the flood?

Water and Blood is an attempt to answer some of these questions; not at the macro, governmental organisation level, but how individuals and families might experience this catastrophe.

The way people behave towards each other has long held my interest and I have worked as a family therapist in the past. I have witnessed what stress can do to family relationships.

Water and Blood is more than a record of potential disaster. It is a story of the breakdown of family relationships, a story of deviousness, deception, and betrayal; and the extremes people will resort to when compelled.



‘Not for the faint hearted but I couldn’t put it down.’ – Penny Mountain

When the flood came people drowned; or starved.

Few were prepared when water ravaged the world. Lucy Marchand and her family believed they were the lucky ones.

Isolated in their North Cornwall smallholding the family thought they had enough to survive the bleakest of winters.

Shortages, attacks, and sibling rivalries bring out the best, and the worst, in the family, forcing Lucy to make impossible choices.

A story too plausible to be ignored.

Compelling and fast paced, “Water and Blood” is both thrilling and horrific.

About Rik Lonsdale

Rik Lonsdale’s lifelong desire to write had to wait to find expression through three previous careers and the raising of children. In the quiet of the Dorset countryside, he was finally able to turn his energies to the art and craft of writing. Since then, he has had over forty short stories published. His first novel, Water and Blood, is published on 22nd March 2023 and is available through all the usual channels. When he isn’t writing you can probably find Rik at the bottom of his garden tending his vegetable plot.





Guest Feature – Anita Chapman

Patricia’s Pen is delighted to introduce debut author, Anita Chapman, with her new release The Venice Secret. Anita has come along to blog about what inspired her to write this brand new historical fiction novel. Without further ado, it’s over to Anita.

Inspiration behind The Venice Secret

Anita Chapman

When I write a book, it starts with one simple idea and then I think of more pieces that I want to include to make a story. Often, the story grows naturally as I spend time thinking about it during those quieter moments such as when driving or walking.

With The Venice Secret, I’d had the idea of someone discovering a hidden painting in a loft for a while. This kind of thing happens all of the time and finding something potentially valuable somewhere in your house is something many of us dream about.

When my children were small, we started to visit country houses and their gardens in my local area. Whenever we went away to a different part of the UK, I’d always enjoy discovering new country houses and the stories that went with them. And so, I had to include a country house in my book about the hidden painting.

And then, which painting and what would the story be about? My mother used to take me to see the Canalettos at The National Gallery in London as a child and so it had to be a potential Canaletto that was discovered in the loft. His paintings are often huge and I visited The National Gallery in order to find a painting that would fit through a loft hatch. And I found two companion paintings which were just right.

The Canaletto worked perfectly as I’d studied Italian and lived in Siena plus spent a lot of time travelling around Italy, a country I love in my twenties.

How to connect them all? I’d found the era of The Grand Tour interesting for some time and loved E.M. Forster’s books about travelling to Italy such as A Room with a View and Where Angels Fear to Tread, although they are set later than The Venice Secret.


The story became about Rachel, a twentysomething stuck in a rut who found a painting in her grandmother’s loft with a note, written in 1782, addressed to Philippa and from the mysterious ‘R’. And then the story of Philippa, on the verge of destitution after her father died who became a governess at the local country house, but when the earl proposed she become his mistress, escaped to Venice as companion to bluestocking, Lady Cordelia.

And that is how The Venice Secret came about. There were many drafts and a lot of thinking in relation to bringing the two timelines together. But with the help of a fantastic editor, I got there in the end.

About Anita Chapman

Anita likes to read journals and diaries from the past, and one of her favourite pastimes is visiting art galleries and country houses. Her first published novel, The Venice Secret is inspired by her mother taking her to see the Canalettos at The National Gallery in London as a child.

Since 2015, Anita has worked as a social media manager, training authors on social media, and helping to promote their books.







Website – Neetsmarketing


Happy Birthday House of Grace – 6 today

House of Grace – Six today

How appropriate that House of Grace my first book in the family saga trilogy is six today on International Women’s Day as protagonist, Grace Granville, is a strong woman.

To celebrate House of Grace is on a Kindle Countdown Deal at 99p/99c for one week only. Grab it while you can



She was born into nobility. But with times changing, will she be allowed to marry beneath her station?

Brighton, England, 1950. Grace Granville has grand ambitions. After finishing boarding school, the naive sixteen-year-old manages to convince her aristocratic father to allow her a short adventure to Lancashire. But her sweeping plans to become a fashion designer take an unplanned turn when she falls in love with a handsome coal miner.

Shattered when her domineering parent demands she return to meet the more proper suitors he has lined up for her hand in marriage, Grace desperately concocts a hasty way out. But the young noblewoman has no idea of the life-changing consequences her plan will set in motion…

Will Grace tempt fate and spoil her own future?

House of Grace is the enthralling first book in the House of Grace family saga trilogy. If you like strong-minded women, social conflict, and stories vividly told across fascinating eras, then you’ll adore Patricia M Osborne’s generational journey.Buy House of Grace to challenge convention today!

Tomorrow The Coal Miner’s Son reaches three while The Granville Legacy has to wait until Monday 17th March 2023 for its second birthday.

Special Launch Feature – Val Penny

Please join me in congratulating crime fiction novelist, Val Penny, on the launch of First Cut published by Spell Bound Books. Without further ado, it’s over to Val to tell you all about it.

My Writing and The First Cut

Val Penny

Thank you so much for inviting me onto your blog today.

I have been writing and telling stories all my life. When I was a child, I used to make up stories for my little sister after our Mum put the light out and told us to go to sleep. Later, I wrote documents, contracts, and courses as part of my job, but my time was well accounted for and so I did not create any fiction.

However, I took early retirement when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and there were times when I suffered severe side effects from my treatment. I could not go out, spend time with friends or indulge in many of my favourite hobbies, but watching daytime television gets very old very fast, so I turned to reading. It was the only thing I had the energy to do and could do safely.

I read voraciously, as I always have. I particularly enjoy reading crime fiction and thrillers. I indulged this interest with many novels including those by Peter Robinson, Ian Rankin, Linwood Barclay and Kathy Reichs.

After a while, I began to feel a little better and decided to start reviewing the books I read in my blog Bookreviewstoday which I enjoyed doing. However, as I began to feel better, I got restless, but was still did not well enough to do very much and I complained to my long-suffering husband about getting bored. It was then he challenged me: ‘If you know so much about what makes a good book, why don’t you write one?’ I laughed. However, the challenge set, I have been writing police procedural crime thrillers set in Scotland ever since.

In fact, my publishers, Spellbound Books have just launched the first book in a new series The Jane Renwick Thrillers where the main character is Detective Sergeant Jane Renwick, The First Cut.

Jane Renwick appears in my original series of crime novels, The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries but the main character is Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson. However, there was no competition about who my new main character should be. I had created an interesting back story for Jane Renwick. She grew up in care and struggled against the odds to achieve her ambition of joining the police force, but she did manage to do this and is a respected police detective in the Major Incident Team (MIT).

However, Jane has not been able to marry. She lives with her civil partner, Rachael Anderson, who is also a detective on the force. The First Cut is set in 2014 and marriage for the LGBTQ community did not become legal in Scotland until 2016. Maybe Jane and Rachael will marry in the future.

The Jane Renwick Thrillers will reflect the work of MIT, therefore Jane’s stories will take her all over Scotland, not just Edinburgh where she and Rachael live. I look forward to sharing the beautiful and varied parts of Scotland with my readers as they follow Jane’s adventures.


It’s hard to escape a brutal past.

A vicious killer is on the loose and victims include an academic and members of Edinburgh’s high society.

DS Jane Renwick is banished to the side-lines of the case and forced to look on impotently when the hunt for the killer ramps up, because the Murder Investigation Team finds out that the killer is her relative.

Has someone from Jane’s birth family returned to haunt her? Is one of her relatives be involved? Where will the killer strike next?

This gripping police procedural is set in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

The exciting novel is the first in Val Penny’s new series of Scottish thrillers.  


About Val Penny

Val Penny has an LLb degree from the University of Edinburgh and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer but has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store.

Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories, nonfiction books, and novels. Her novels are published by SpellBound Books Ltd.

Val is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and their cat.



Guest Feature – Alan Parry

I’m delighted today to introduce poet, Alan Parry to Patricia’s Pen. Alan is also the editor of poetry press, The Broken Spine. Today Alan blogs about his own writing.

My Writing

Alan Parry

Writing about my own writing is something I often find challenging. But when Patricia offered me an opportunity to discuss my work, I figured I ought to give it my best.

Anybody who has followed my writing career, such as it is, may have heard me discussing my need to write before today as being born out of an inability to create anything of any worth in any other medium. What I’d give to be a talented singer-songwriter or painter! I write because I cannot do these things. What is more, I write poems because I cannot write good comedy. I have fallen into writing poetry, because I wanted to, no I needed to create something that would live after me. I had hoped that my creative output would have a wider appeal, like music and visual art often does, or that I’d leave behind a classic sitcom – one for the ages. This wasn’t to be.

However, over the last four or five years, since I have taken up writing poetry with a view to getting my work published and getting my work read I have developed a style, of sorts. In penning my debut collection, Neon Ghosts, (The Broken Spine) written between 2018-2019, I found my voice. I was listening to a lot of jazz, reading the Beats and the New York poets.The musicality of this work seeped into mine, but I worked hard to spin it with a distinctive northern Britishness. I likened the short, vignette style poems from that collection to the paintings of Edward Hopper. My work from that period seemed to capture a highly stylized, faux-Americana.

I have since published my second solo collection, Echoes (Rare Swan Press). Echoes has some similar stylings to my earlier work, and is distinctly mine. However, my focus switched from imagining a lost America to reimagining my familial memories. It is an autobiography, of sorts. It reveals much more of me to my readers; is far more honest and personal. This gear shift was wholly intentional, as I do not think it is sustainable to write purely those noir style poems for which I was becoming known (although I do still find room for those every now and again). As my writing further develops, I find myself attempting to write longer form pieces of flash fiction, short stories and CNF. I feel as if my feet are barely touching the sea floor sometimes, but I believe that discomfort is a positive thing. I think I’m a better writer than I was when I started submitting work, I’m confident of that. Things do not happen in my writing by accident any more. I’m a more rounded writer, capable of much more nuance. But that early voice will never completely disappear.       

About Alan Parry

Alan Parry is Co-founder / Editor of The Broken Spine. In 2021 Alan formed the collective The Southport Poets, a collaboration with Paul Robert Mullen, Mary Earnshaw and David Walshe. Their debut work Belisama was published by Dreich in 2021. Alan’s debut collection Neon Ghosts was the first book to be published by The Broken Spine. In 2022 Parry released Echoes with Rare Swan Press. He is currently working on two new titles.



Twitter (Broken Spines)





Special Launch Feature – Paul Brookes

Please join me in congratulating poet, Paul Brookes, on the launch of his latest poetry collection, Otherness. Without further ado it’s over to Paul to tell you all about it.


Paul Brookes

Otherness is dedicated to David Morley and the late Les Murray. It all sprang from a comment David Morley made when I interviewed him for my blog Wombwell Rainbow Book Interviews HERE

For me, the poet Les Murray is a talismanic figure, and his Translations from the Natural World is my Wonderbook. Les Murray ingeniously imitates and translates the perceptions and voices of molluscs, sunflowers, spermaceti, cuttlefish, cell DNA, elephants, cats, cows on a killing day, ravens, echidnas, lyrebirds and – most memorably – a poem written in the syntax of bat’s ultrasound using ancient Welsh metre. The rich, inventive language of this slim volume still knocks me out. The voicing is precise, instinctive, and never anthropocentric: it is a total inhabiting of creaturely worlds. For my part, given by background in zoology and poetry, negative capability melds with its apparent opposite, precision. (David Morley, 2021)

Morley’s comments inspired me to look at animals through Les Murray’s eyes, his zoopoetics. I was already into writing from the first person, but to look through animals’ eyes, feel through their surfaces would need an extra leap of imagination. I enjoy challenges of new ways of looking. Les Murray showed me myriad ways of doing this. It is up to the reader to say whether I have arrived close to what Murray achieves.

Unlike Murray I chose to use the Shakespearean sonnet as a form to view these worlds. A familiar through which to see the unfamiliar.

Jane Cornwell’s stunning artwork accompanies these sonnets and are another door into these worlds. For me she brings the words into another life.

About Paul Brookes

Paul Brookes is a poet and lives in a cat house full of teddy bears. He has had several chapbooks published and his first play was performed at The Gulbenkian Theatre in Hull. Paul is a contributing writer of Literati Magazine and Editor of Wombwell Rainbow Interviews, book reviews and challenges. His work has been broadcasted on BBC Radio 3 and featured by Barnsley Museums and Hear My Voice Barnsley.

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Amazon Author Page

Guest Feature – Helen Laycock

I’m delighted to welcome back writer, Helen Laycock, to Patricia’s Pen. Helen is a poet, children’s author, and flash fiction writer, but today she’ll be chatting about her poetry. Without further ado, it’s over to Helen.

My Poetry

Helen Laycock

Thank you, Patricia, for inviting me on to Patricia’s Pen!

I always think writers are blessed with not one life, but many. What an absolute privilege to be able to visit so many places, and to meet so many characters, all of which, and whom, reside just up there… *points to head*

Creator, architect, conductor, it’s not just a matter of typing words. Words are merely bricks, but arranged just so, writers can build any structure, embellishing it with metaphor, compromising its integrity with emotion or danger, or twisting its corridors into labyrinthian cul-de-sacs. They can thrust a reader into unique and unforgettable experiences, and the joy is that we go there, too, and emerge safe and enlightened.

Words (plus the essential mortar of space and format) also build poetry. Poetry, however, seems to be much more anchored to truth than fiction and, as such, can be affecting and impactful in a deeply personal way.

When I compiled my poetry collection Frame, as much as the scenarios of people living on the periphery were in my head, the reality of their situations was undeniable. In this collection, I did allow them to fall, by visiting themes such as orphaning, abuse, bullying, and the psychological issues which continue into teenage and adult life after such difficult beginnings, touching on such areas as anorexia, unwanted pregnancy, depression and suicide. A lot of the feedback I have had has, understandably, been via private messaging. Being human is complex and taxing, and so many of the areas I explored were familiar to those reading the poetry.

Poetry can also be uplifting, and as an antidote to Frame is Breathe, poetry which encompasses the natural world. I like to balance my writing, perhaps to always have a light on in the corner of my mind.

13 is a collection of, quite simply, 13-word poetry which captures the fleeting nature of life, about which has been kindly written:

‘Highly imaginative and beautifully crafted, Helen’s 13 brilliantly spans an absorbing variety of thoughts, themes, and viewpoints in the compact space of just 13 words’.

Such a fun challenge, and proof that you don’t always need to say a lot to say a lot!

Buy Helen’s latest collection

Many of Helen’s poems can be purchased as postcards at Pillar Box Poetry and her website Conjuring Marble into Cloud showcases my work.

About Helen Laycock

Helen Laycock’s writing encompasses poetry, microfiction, flash fiction, short stories, plays, and children’s novels.

Former recipient of the David St. John Thomas Award, and nominee for the Dai Fry Award, Helen has been an occasional competition judge and a lead writer (Visual Verse). Her poetry has featured in an art exhibition, and her collection Frame has beenBook of the Month at the East Ridge Review.

Poetry, prose, and children’s stories have been published in various anthologies and magazines and in 2019 her piece of flash fiction was longlisted with Mslexia.





Amazon Author Page





Special Launch Feature – Anna Shenton

Congratulations to Anna Shenton on the publication of Maggie’s Secrets. I’m delighted to invite novelist Anna Shenton back to Patricia’s Pen. Anna joins me to share what inspired her to write this novel. Without further ado, it’s over to Anna.

Maggie’s Secrets

Anna Shenton

Hi, hello everyone, I’m delighted to be here on Patricia’s Pen once more. I know what a fab place she has created, welcoming her friends into this wonderful warm, comforting place. It’s a delight to be here. Huge thanks Patricia, for this fabulous opportunity.

Love the theme of inspiration for this blog slot, it leaves me with an array of things to talk about within Maggie’s Secrets, my new release for today, February14th, 2023, and more.

What inspired me to write a Family Romance Saga? I ask myself. Firstly, I wanted to go back in time to 1962 and what better place to do it, no other than where I grew up. Remembering the times we lived in, has aroused so many special childhood memories. The clothes we wore, the food we ate, music we loved, games we played, family life, where we had very little, but were short of nothing.  

Like Maggie Foster, I spent a few years in a council house in Dovecliff Crescent. “Yes, Maggie, this is the perfect setting for you to tell your story.” Nothing like mine, but descriptions, scenes and ambience for a beautiful, sometimes scary, small village all came flooding back, like yesterday.

Secondly, my protagonist, Maggie, has had so much to contend with. She deserved a great setting to unburden herself from the past. I don’t know how she coped with what life’s thrown at her, but believe me, she is a supper strong, compassionate, selfless woman, who does everything in her power to keep her eighteen-year-old, fatherless Son, Gavin, happy and safe, even if she hasn’t been totally honest.

Thirdly, a family saga, genre, can take you almost anywhere in the writing world. I wanted that freedom to let my characters act out their individual lives, be who they wanted to be and lead the way in some strange, controversial, yet wonderful places.

Inspiration is a kind of lifeline, waiting to be snatched – something we all experience yet sometimes lies dormant, we can’t force it, but we can sense it lingering, and need to bring it to the forefront of our lives. Okay I’m happy with that. Like many fellow author friends, my time, and your time, will come. Every day of our lives will piece in like a jigsaw puzzle. Live your life, whatever it is, and inspiration will find you.


Maggie’s Secrets have haunted her for years. She sets off on a reconstruction to try to unburden herself, from the day her Son, Gavin, was conceived in a church by a stranger, that disappeared.

To her surprise, Maggie is met with an elderly lady, Rosa, who claims to be Gavin’s Great Grandmother, who has been longing to meet him one day. 

Gavin, eighteen, knows nothing about his father. Maggie promises to tell him the truth one day, living in hope, it won’t destroy her relationship with the only family member she has contact with.

Moving into the last council house in Dovecliff Crescent, Maggie and Gavin face torment by gossiping neighbours when they hear Maggie is a single mum.

When the police arrive on Maggie’s doorstep she is horrified to hear Gavin has been accused of taking advantage of a young woman, Cheryl Patterson.

Is she telling lies? Can Maggie find out the truth and prevent history repeating itself.


(Paperback to follow shortly)

About Anna Shenton

Anna Maria Shenton from Staffordshire, World Poetry Day Prize Winner 2015 at Vind & Vag Publishing House.

Her boys flown the nest, Anna took a home study course which led to publications in various  magazines, including Writer’s Forum. Anna’s flair to write continued into fiction where she enjoys creating many wonderful characters and story plots.  Family life experiences are her book of inspiration, often creeping into her stories. She independently published her debut novel, short story collection, writing for beginners and novella series.

Anna loves to write from home and in her caravan when enjoying travels with her husband.



Amazon Author Page

Guest Feature – Mick Arnold

I’m delighted to invite Mick Arnold back to Patricia’s Pen. This time to celebrate his brand-new release The Lumberjills. Mick blogs about this new book which is first in a series. Without further ado, it’s over to Mick.

The Lumberjills

Mick Arnold

Outside of the Armed Forces, the Civilian Services were of undoubted necessity to Great Britain’s contribution to winning World War Two. Most everyone will have heard of our women’s participation as air raid wardens, ambulance drivers, doctors and nurses, firewomen and, most famously, as land girls, part of the Women’s Land Army. Can you hold your hand to your heart and say you’ve heard of the ‘Women’s Timber Corps’?

Only created in 1942, they were formed along the lines of women who performed the same duties during World War One. As with the land army, these girls sometimes had difficulty in obtaining a billet, as there was a great deal of prejudice towards them, believing them to be dirty, however, they swiftly earned the admiration of the farmers and those male foresters left, that they were as good as the men they replaced.

In this, the first in a new series, I hope to introduce the reader to a group of women whose work was so vital to our war effort, yet still, if not forgotten, relatively unknown. These women faced death, maiming and injury, every working day, and I shall not shirk from making this danger a part of their stories.

Having said this, and these are a big part of historical sagas, there are love stories to be told and having served in the Royal Air Force for sixteen years, I’ll also be taking the opportunity to show how members of this, as well as the other two services, integrated into civilian life. The RAF takes centre stage in this first book. However, love can never run smoothly in wartime, can it? More than most civilian workers, the Lumberjills moved around a lot, often having lived in dozens of billets during the war, so we’ll also be seeing how relationships were affected by this.

I shall leave you with something to ponder:

Once you joined the ‘Women’s Timber Corps’ (otherwise known as the Lumberjills), you were not allowed to resign; such was the importance of their work to Great Britain’s war effort.


Berry Chambers and her co-workers have joined the Women’s Timber Corps—known as the Lumberjills—to do their bit for Britain. On their first day felling trees, they rescue an RAF pilot and become entangled in the loveless marriage of their new landlords.

Danger is never far away, be it an ill-timed axe swing or the occasional activity of the Luftwaffe overhead. Add a psychotic farm cat, a couple of young runaway evacuees, a spate of malicious packages, and the jealousy of the Land Girls next door, and life for Berry and her friends is never boring.

Can the girls find the balance between their vital war work and the natural pull of love?

Author’s favourite passage

Everyone got to their feet, apart from Vicky, who slowly made her way to sit down beside the dead German’s head. As she stroked what the others hoped was the side of his face, she looked up at her friends, though her eyes didn’t appear to be focused upon them. “You go,” she said to no one in particular. “I’ll stay here with him.” She turned her attention back to the body before adding, “He’s about the same age as my brother.”

About Mick Arnold

Mick is a hopeless romantic who was born in England but spent fifteen years roaming around the world in the pay of the late HM Queen Elisabeth II in the Royal Air Force before putting down roots—and realizing how much he missed the travel. This he’s replaced somewhat with his writing, including reviewing books and supporting fellow saga and romance authors in promoting their novels. He’s the proud keeper of two Romanian Werecats bent on world domination, is mad on the music of the Beach Boys, and enjoys the theatre and humouring his Manchester United-supporting wife

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