Author Archives: darkenedangel1976

About darkenedangel1976

I am a romance fiction writer and poet. I am a member of the RSL (Royal Society of Literature). I have a passion for the written word, whether it's words I have written or other likewise people, so you can also assume I have a passion for reading. It goes without saying. One day I will own my little second hand bookshop, preferably by the sea!

10 Good Things About Having a Penpal

Yes, that’s right. I have a penpal, actually I have a few penpals from all over the globe and it never gets boring when the letters fall from my letterbox to the floor. I started writing to my best friend as we do not live near each other, regardless of whether we speak each day via WhatsApp or by phone, we still manage to surprise each other with letters and cards and the occasional gifts just because we were thinking of each other.

Here are my 10 good things about having a penpal.

    1. Meeting new people and making new friends
      This speaks for itself. It is always good to meet new people and through a trail of handwritten letters, those new people do become your friends. They are just as excited as you at the prospect of opening a letter addressed to them and reading the words that you have written down.
    2. Receiving handwritten mail through the post is exciting and fun
      We all get those brown envelopes that normally tell us that we owe money for some sort of bill, they are just boring and unfortunately part of life. Can you imagine the happiness and the smile that appears on your face when you see a pretty envelope with your name on it and you know that whatever is in that envelope, is going to continue to make you smile as you read with great interest what your penpal has to tell you.
    3. Learning about the different places your penpals come from
      I have penpals from different parts of the UK like Scotland, Wales, Yorkshire and all over the world like USA, Australia, Canada, Sweden to mention but a few. Some places I will probably never visit, but to learn about these places from what your penpals tell you about their home towns, the different festivals and traditions that take place, gives you a more in-depth view of these wonderful places than what you can read online. It makes you interested in places that you may not have been before.
    4. Exchanging goodies/gifts etc.
      When exchanging letters with penpals, more often than not, they are not just letters. Inside are goodies like stationery, washi tapes, stickers, tea or coffee sachets and I also return the gestures with little bits for them to enjoy. With the friendship that we have built up, we also often send small gifts for birthdays and Christmas and it is such a lovely feeling, that you know someone else is thinking of you on your special days and sharing with you the fun and celebrations.mail 2
    5. Gives you time to have some “me time” from a busy day, to enjoy your letter
      This is important. I know that when I get home from a very long day at work and there is mail waiting for me, the first thing I do is take my coat off, sit down and read the letter or letters. Just a little “me time” to enjoy the adventures of what I am being told of what my penpal has been up to since the last letter they sent me.mail 1
    6. You can get new stationery to fill with your adventures to share. Decorating the envelopes.
      Not that I need an excuse to buy more stationery, but it certainly is a good excuse. That feeling of writing on a new writing set, with all different colours to brighten your penpals days. Its also good if the envelope is decorated somehow, whether it be with stickers, magazine pictures of washi tape. You and your penpal both know that time and effort has gone into the letter for each to enjoy.mail 3
      Stationery subscription from La Papierre
    7. The keepsakes of the letters become memories
      I have storage boxes that I now getting quite full with the letters that I have received. It is nice to look back on the earlier letters that you have received and relive the memories. I know I will not be throwing any out and when I have a low day, I can look back over some of those letters and smile again.
    8. Keeps you motivated instead of sending electronic mail and forgetting how to write / encourages creativity
      We can all send emails, but I don’t think it has the same warm fuzzy feeling. I admit, I do get some typed letters, but they have still been sent via snailmail. By writing (or typing for some) the letters, it keeps you motivated. We seem to sometimes forget how to write as we are on electronic devices all the time. The handwritten letters, keeps your mind creating wonderful new ideas to send on.
    9. It makes you want to do interesting things, so you can tell your penpal about them
      You have to keep your penpal interested so you will physically do things, like long walks in parks and take pictures of the lovely views and the colourful flowers that are in bloom. Visit different places that you would not normally do, sometimes on the recommendation of your penpal. A few of my penpals have crafting or writing in common and we all share different ideas amongst each other. It never gets boring and it is great for your mental health.
    10. That feeling when they reply to your letter
      I know how I feel when I receive a reply to my letter or I receive a new letter from a new penpal. I feel warm and happy and I hope they feel the same when they receive my letter. I even have to phone my partner to find out if I have any mail.

BONUS: One day getting to possibly meet your penpal.

Wouldn’t it be lovely to one day meet your penpal who you have been writing to for many years? I would love to meet with mine if I ever get the chance. It wouldn’t be awkward because we already know them.

I hope this has opened your eyes a little bit about the joys of having a penpal and gets you in the mood to start writing those lovely letters for eyes to feast upon.  Tell me your experiences.

 

The Handwritten Christmas Card

How many of you still send physical hand written Christmas cards? What is the feeling you feel when you receive one in the post?

I know how I feel when I receive a hand written card in the post, all warm and excited and a huge grin appears on my face. Exactly the same as when I receive hand written letters from penpals (yes these still exist and there are many people out there writing to each other on a regular basis). To some, this is unfortunately a dying art. A lot of people would just rather use social media as a means to send a message, this is great but it loses that personal touch.

There are so many shops out there that sell Christmas cards and a lot of charitable ones too. Every penny helps!

Last year I sent out over 100 Christmas cards just to Post Pals, a great charity to help put a smile on a poorly child’s face. Check the charity out and maybe spread a little extra Christmas cheer this year.

I also sent out quite a few to friends, family and penpals. Some are home-made cards, some are for different charities and some are just cosy looking Christmas cards. With all the cards I received back, they were placed on display all around the living room (and I still have them stored away).

With the way the country/world is going at the moment, I think there needs to be a bit of cheer spread around. If you would like to receive some Christmas joy through the post in the form of a Christmas card, drop me a message. Send me a DM, leave a comment or you can leave me a comment on twitter @SharonSAtkinson, or even leave me an email at writingsharon@gmail.com.  I will send a card to all who would genuinely like to receive one.

It’s early I know, but Merry Christmas all.

Christmas is Just Around The Corner

I know a lot of people are talking about Hallowe’en, but for those of you that know me, know that I am basically Mrs Santa Claus in disguise. I start planning Christmas presents from as early as January. Well, what I think is, if I see something that I know a friend or relative would like, I get it. I will only be disappointed if I go back a few months down the line and that certain gift is no longer available.

In the last couple of years, myself and Sally have a Christmas word and each letter represents a different present or presents. This year’s word is TINSEL.

We broke down the word as below:

T              –              Theme
Choose a certain theme that you know that person will like. Gift(s) must be related to that theme. It is not as easy as it sounds.

I               –              Internet
Items must be brought off the internet. We have to spend £7.50, no more and no less on as many items as we can for that amount. All must be wrapped separately. I have spent exactly £7.50 and I have managed to buy 15 items that relate to things I know Sally likes (well I hope she will like them).

N             –              New
This is an easy one. We have access to each other’s Amazon wish list and we get a gift or a few from that list.

S              –              Stationery
There is no year that goes by when we do not buy each other stationery. We are both addicts so this comes easy. It’s just remembering when to stop!

E              –              Eateries and Drinkies
You can’t very well have Christmas without a little sweetness. Sweets and possibly drink treats like flavoured coffees or hot cholates, or even flavour syrups to add to your favourite drink.

L              –              Love yourself
This is just a little love to give back to ourselves. Something to pamper us and make us relaxed.

Thing is, I wont actually stop there as Sally brought a new life into the world this year, so I also get to spoil a little one on her first Christmas. She already has a Christmas eve box of goodies, not including her actual Christmas gifts.

What would you get for each of the letters above?

I also take part in a couple of Secret Santa’s, and they are so much fun. I love spreading the Christmas cheer and finding little treats that I hope will light up someone’s life.

Do any of you part-take in Secret Santa? Tell me about it.

Voices of the Rain

I’ve listened to the voices of the rain
And realised that heaven is not in pain

The joy I get from the rain on my face
Is just another tear put in its place

The voices are calling to one and all
We’re here to help, we heard your call

Try not to be so sad we’ll be gone soon
It’s the time of year for the roses to bloom

We can carry your messages to those you love
We are always watching you from above

Now I stand to hear the voices of the rain
I fear them not and feel no pain.

How has your life changed since last year?

This is not a completely easy question to answer, in my personal opinion.  Has my life changed?  Slightly, yes.  It’s changing, but has not completely changed.

After losing my dad so suddenly, it has made me more determined.  I have realised that life is too short, which is one of the main reasons I decided to go back to studying (as well as working a full time job).  I always wanted to be a teacher and people in the past seemed to have put that idea out of my mind.  Well I took a big step and signed up to The Open University and I have just completed my first module of a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing.  It’s a long way off but it might help towards me becoming a teacher ‘eventually’.

I have self published another one of my short stories and there is another one in the works.  This has made a path for new readers reading my words and they have told me how much they enjoyed what they had read.  Amanda over at Chocolate Pages wrote an absolutely lovely review and I can’t honestly thank her enough.  How has this changed my life, well it has made me more determined to finish some of my unfinished projects and even pick up my novel again, which is finished but does need a lot of work done to it.

I have a few things I will attempt along with continuing with the writing and studying and that is lose a few pounds in weight, tick a few things of my bucket list (hopefully).  Hopefully continuing to partake in these activities will help change my life for the better.

How has your life changed since last year?

My top moments for 2018

As you can tell it has been a while.  Honestly, I don’t think I was in the right frame of mind.  So better late than never, I thought I would share with you my highs of 2018.  There is no preference here, just things that made me happy.

Sally’s Birthday Treat Day
Well it was a special birthday for her, so what better than to spoil her.  A coffee to start with birthday presents followed by a manicure, then lunch at Cotes and something for our postal nerdiness, we visited The Postal Museum. What a great day.

Completing Walk All Over Cancer
This was tough for me, but I am happy to say I actually smashed it.  It felt great after completing it and obviously raising money for a great cause.  Thank you to all you who sponsored me, your help was very much appreciated.

Eroticon
This was my first time attending this conference.  I had a blast.  I was nervous at first, but I was made to feel part of the family.  It was extremely informative and who doesn’t like a huge goodie bag (free).  It wont be the last time that I attend.

Leigh – on – Sea
I had gone past this place on the train many times and finally instead of going to Southend, I got off the train and decided to explore the little fishing town.  It was the perfect place to do some writing and as an added bonus, the sun was out in all its glory.

Hades and Athena
Well after the sadness of loosing my little boy Thor, my heart was naturally broken.  A few months after loosing him, my dear other half bought me two black kittens.  A brother and a sister whom we named, as you can tell, Hades and Athena.  They are beautiful and have brought a smile back to our faces.

Started my Open University Degree
I should have done it when I was younger, but I think loosing dad made me realise that life is too short.  I have always wanted to do a degree and be a teacher.  At the not so young age of 42, I have started my BA in English Literature and Creative Writing.  Apparently you are never too old to learn something new.  I am currently coming to the end of my first module and apart from the time flying by, I have enjoyed it so far.

Edinburgh
Even though I come from England, I had never been to Edinburgh.  So for mine and Sally’s Christmas get together, we decided on Edinburgh this year.  We travelled first class on the train and it was perfect.  It was so beautiful.  Admittedly it didn’t stop raining, but that didn’t matter.  We had each other’s company, snacks and Christmas movies.  We were in heaven.  I will go back as I really wanted to visit Edinburgh Castle, so now I have an excuse to go back.

Thunder Christmas Party
For those of you that know me personally, will know of the obsession I have with a certain group called Thunder.  I have seen them numerous amounts of time.  I never get sick of seeing them and no one show is ever the same.  I had never managed to get to one of their Christmas shows before.  This time I was going.  It was my little Christmas present to myself and it was worth every penny.  Would I do it again?  Absolutely.

So there you go.  Its only five months late, but these were the highs of 2018 for me.

Dad

Dad (2)

It’s never easy when you lose someone you love. Especially when it is someone like you father.

Two years my dad was diagnosed with Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a form of blood cancer. He had to endure months and months of chemotherapy. When he ate, it made him feel sick, he didn’t want to do anything and then he got better. Great news he was told he was in remission. He had beaten the horrible disease. In February this year after been told at a check-up he was still in remission, a couple of weeks later, he was not feeling too well and was rushed into hospital. He was told the cancer was back and that it had attacked four different areas and was much more aggressive than before. No one wants to hear this.

He was started on a more aggressive form of chemotherapy, which unfortunately drained him of energy. He struggled to walk, to eat, everything unfortunately was a struggle for him. He was hospitalised again.

Mum and dad celebrated their 43rd wedding anniversary on 17th May.  They had been together for 46 years.

On the 19th May, we get the phone call. “Are you coming to see Mr Atkinson, today.” We know that is never a good call to receive.

What was weird on the 19th May, even though my mum lives 20 minutes from the hospital and I live 2 hours from there, my mum, my brother and myself all arrived at the hospital at the same time.

We were too late. 11 minutes after the hospital had called my mum, my dad closed his eyes and was out of pain.

On June 8th, it was dad’s funeral. Our final farewell. I told mum, I would like to do a reading at the service. Something that I had written myself. A piece that is personal to us.

For Dad

Firstly Dad, we all thank you
For the home you gave us
And for all the love and things we had

Do you remember when we were young
You’d call us, for a gift we thought
But instead to be your remote control

With your special love you showed us the way
To believe in ourselves
And the decisions that we make

We will always remember you being there
Making us laugh
And sometimes making us cry

We may have caused you trouble and strife
With the paths we chose to walk
But you were there and walked them with us

Through the good and the bad times
No matter what
You were there for Mum and all of us

Now you are with your mother and your father
Playing trains with your younger brother
Amongst your heroes, like you are to us

Dad you may have left us far too soon
But know this
We love you always and you will never leave us

You are to us and always will be
Our Dad, a Grandad
And Mum’s true love.

 

They were the hardest words I ever had to write and even harder to read aloud at the service.  I did it though and I know dad was standing there beside me as I did.

Sleep tight dad. We will love you always.

 

 

Writers Block – A Sonnet

Have you been asked what inspires you to write?
Does your answer change from day to day?
The people around me fills my delight
And listening to what they have to say

What should I write?
I ask myself A poem, a story, something descriptive
I look towards my inspirational shelf
Maybe it’s time for something less addictive

Will my words flow from the pen to my page
And let my inner feelings be set free
Or will they stay locked within my writer’s block cage
Where no one but me can see

No one should say that writer’s block has over taken
When inspiration is around us everywhere waiting to awaken.

For the Love of a Romance

He held her in his arms and told her that he was never going to let her go again. He had lost her once, due to a silly mistake on his part and he was going to make sure he made it work between them, so that it never happened again.

Marie sighed as she closed the cover of another book and placed it back on the shelf. She ran her fingers over the spines, reading the titles, trying to make up her mind which was to be her next romance novel to devour. If only the heroes of her books would emerge from between the pages and sweep Marie, cleanly off her feet. Imagination and dreams were a wonderful thing.

What I Took Away From Eroticon 2018

To say I have wanted to attend Eroticon for quite some time is an understatement.  I don’t know if I was scared, or what I was to expect, to be honest.

I wanted to improve myself on my erotica journey.  I had dabbled with my writing for a while, but I needed to know myself, if what I was doing was right.

When I was younger, I had been an Ann Summers party rep and I honestly loved it.  I never felt embarrassed and always felt confident about it.  I used to attend Erotica every year.  A type of sexibition.  I would walk in wearing a corset and stockings with the shortest skirt possible.  So why was my stomach turning somersaults right after I signed up for Eroticon?  I still had almost a year to go before the actual event.  I realise now, I was being silly.

What an amazing experience and with some truly amazing people.

So what did I take away from Eroticon 2018?  Plenty.  Lots of inspiration, new friendships and a sense of belonging.

Friday night meet and greet – I was debating whether to go to this.  The nerves were settling in.  No, I had to do this.  I walked into the Holiday Inn in Camden and I was greeted by Girl On The Net.  She started talking to me like she had known me for years.  I started to relax a little.  I still felt a bit like a wallflower, not knowing anyone, then I spotted another, who looked just as nervous as me.  We got rid of our coats and approached each other.  A new friendship was formed with the lovely and talented Pixie Heart.  We made a small pact to be with each other over the weekend, that way we would at least know each other.  Thank you, Pixie for signing your story in the Eroticon Anthology.

A huge thank you – without the amazing Girl On The Net, Molly and Michael Knight, there would be no Eroticon.  What they do for the Eroticon family is a wonderful thing.  You get a feeling of welcome and admiration and the buzz around the whole place, doesn’t die down for the one minute.

An inspiration – My first talk was with Madeline Morris on Taboo.  She was also my last talk of the whole event on Love you Longer: Writing longer erotic fiction.  A true inspiration and extremely passionate about what she was relaying to us.  She started the weekend on a high and ended it the same way.  I hope she will be talking again next year.

Shy Creatures – I think I fall into this category perfectly.  Thank you Victoria Blisse for bringing this shy creature out of her shell again.  Such an inspiration and thankfully, I did manage to get a few ideas written down, (now to actually write them up).

Goody bag – A girl does love a free goody bag and thank you to all those that added to this wonderful bag.  I am still looking at the products in awe.

The Erotica EffectAnnabelle Knight‘s talk was so enlightening.  It’s true people on the outside, looking in, will certainly frown upon sex in the written form (sometimes even the physical form).  People are slowly opening up towards the whole “erotica”, but that is due to a certain trilogy of books that actually made it into the mainstream.  Sex or erotica is a very taboo subject unfortunately, but let’s hope it’s starting to change now, for the better.

Self Editing – Thank you Anna Sky for a great talk (and for the slides).  I do tend to self-edit a lot, but with your help hopefully, I can do it better now.  I may even pluck up the courage to write something for next year’s anthology.

So my head was spinning with so much useful information and a ton of inspiration and that was only the first day.  Roll on the second day of this amazingly snow covered weekend.

Crafting Sunday – I had originally planned to go to two different talks on Sunday morning.  Sorry to those speakers that I didn’t manage to get there.  I wanted to know what KinkCraft was all about.  I walked in alone as Pixie had gone to a certain talk, but she would join me afterwards.  It was a nice small relaxed group.  We were sat around a table, chatting away and making kinky things with our hands.  I made a red and black flogger and a matching collar.  It was so therapeutic and so much fun.

Shocking the SystemKendra Holliday‘s talk was amazing.  She shared her story of the highs, quite a few lows and even a court case, but she came through it all and is still happy to tell the tales.  If there is something you like doing or writing about that is not the norm to others, don’t let those few others bring you down or stop you.

I believe you should be who you want to be, wear what you want and attending Eroticon, you can be yourself.  No one will judge you.

I do have a few regrets.

I regret that I couldn’t split myself into two as there were so many talks I would have loved to attend, but alas, I could not be in two places at once.

I regret not attending the Saturday night social.

Finally, I regret that it took me so long to make that step to actually attend Eroticon.

There will be no hesitation for Eroticon 2019.  I will be there!