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!

Halloween: To Scare or Not To Scare

Halloween is not really celebrated in the UK as much.  I have noticed that it does seem to be getting bigger every year.  We have even noticed the craft shops are finally getting Halloween stuff in.  There are always fancy-dress outfits in the shops and obviously the horror films on the television.  I personally feel that the old black and white horror films have a lot more atmosphere about them than just the blood thirsty slasher horror films.  Still always good for a fright.

When I was a child, the first memory I have of a Halloween party, I think I was around 5ish and we were at my nans caravan in Leysdown on the Isle of Sheppy and the club house was having a fancy dress party.  Obviously, we didn’t have any costumes, so mum bought me and my brother a mask each and a black plastic witches’ hat with green and black hair attached to give us the effect of being a witch.  The rest of the outfit was a black bin bag with holes cut in for the arms and head to go through.  It was cheap and did the trick perfectly and I felt like I was the scariest witch around. 

How many of you dressed this way?  These were fun times.  There was also a school Halloween disco and we dressed up (I wore the same thing) and we bobbed for apples and danced to songs like, The Monster Mash and Thriller.  We didn’t really do the whole Trick or Treat thing.  After that the next time for me would be when I was much older.  Falling in love with the Gothic genre, Halloween was a natural time to be myself.  I had already dyed my natural blonde hair black when I was 25 and I certainly felt more comfortable in myself.

Halloween wasn’t just another day, it lasted for at least a week or so, well it did when I was working in the pubs and clubs in the evenings.  One particular club, Charlie Chans in Walthamstow became The Crypt or The Haunted Mansion. 

It took over a week for the transformation and for four nights we got to celebrate Halloween.  It didn’t matter if we were working but four nights to me meant four different outfits.  Didn’t cost me much, I just looked through my gothic clothing and I had the perfect outfits.  They just needed some accessories and I was all set. From a witch/Elvira, to a witch’s cat, to a female phantom of the opera or my take on it, to Medusa.

When you open the front door to trick or treater and you are dressed ready for work in one of your many costumes and your make up is perfect for that evening, they scream and run off, you know you have succeeded.  I did have a giggle or should I say a cackle all to myself.

So, in the words of Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, ‘Unpleasant Dreams’.


Halloween Greetings HappyMail

Halloween is not celebrated in the UK as much as it is in America.  A few years ago, I was in a group in Goodreads (not as active as I should be) and the talk of doing a Halloween Card Exchange came about.  What a great idea?  We would sign up and just before the ‘Witching Month’ all those that signed up would have to send a Halloween card or postcard to everyone on the list.  The cards could be homemade or bought and just before Halloween, greetings would be flying through the post.  I loved doing this, but I did struggle to find Halloween greeting cards in the UK.  I did order some online, but they had to be shipped from the USA.  I did have to wait for them to be delivered. 

The cards I received were amazing.  The first year I did the card exchange, I think there was about 20+ participants and I received cards from USA, Canada, France and the UK.  I displayed the cards until it was time to display Christmas Cards.

I couldn’t wait for the following year.  My mum makes cards so I asked her to make me some.  I asked for about 30 and I could not wait to write them out and post them to the numerous people.  I did this for a couple of years, but then it changed and I could not partake in the event. 

I still ask my mum to make me some cards, I now ask for 40 cards and over the years, I have been able to buy her certain Halloween crafts bits and bobs to help with the cards.  Why do I ask for 40 cards if I do not partake in the exchange? I hear you ask,  well instead I have quite a few penpals and friends thanks to the #BringBackPaper community, regardless of where they are in the world, I send them all a Halloween card. I don’ expect any back, but I know that those who receive do like the surprise as it is definitely not expected.

So I ask you this.  Would you like to receive a Halloween card from me or start up a Halloween card exchange?  If yes, send me your details and I will send you a little happymail or fill in the form to do an exchange.

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  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.

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.

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 (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.