Magicians and Hermits

Hello,
Thank you for your support of my online journal this year and also to those who signed up to my newsletter. Hopefully in 2017, I’ll actually send out a ‘proper’ newsletter. I also aim to return to my Rhino interview series, and review more books online that I read, but I’m the mother of an eleven-year-old girl with limited time and I’ll always prefer to put my energy into creating my tales.
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It has been a beast of a year for so many, including my family, but I’ve continued writing throughout all the chaos. I finished The Secret Echoes, my mystery novel set in Tasmania.
This book is set between three time periods of 1800s, 1920s and 1950s and shows the impact on a Tasmanian riverside village in 1949, when the town’s most beautiful girl is murdered. I also am halfway through a psychological thriller which is an idea I’ve nursed for several years. This book has been coming out very quickly and I’m trying to let that process happen. Here’s a tarot reading I did one morning in a query to my current work. I loved its potent accuracy – the Magician and the Hermit.
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My daughter is starting high school next year and we have a couple of holidays planned. We will return to our much loved Heron Island and we’re also heading to London for a family short break, which I’m excited about.
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If 1916 was also a painful and tumultuous year for you, take heart from the J.K Rowling’s Twitter feed who posted a series of twelve tweets in response to followers who were experiencing really tough times: “At this time of year, we’re bombarded with images of perfect lives, which bear as little relation to reality as tinsel does to gold. If you’re lucky enough to be with the people you love, warm and safe with enough to eat, I’m sure you feel as blessed as I do. But if your life is currently full of difficulties; if you aren’t where you want to be, either literally or figuratively, remember that extraordinary transformations are possible. Everything changes. Nothing is forever. Thinking back to my worst Christmas, I found it hard to believe that my unhappiness would pass. I was truly afraid of the future. You never know what the future holds. Astonishing reversals of fortune happen every minute. So if you’re sad, or lonely, or bereaved, or ill, separated from  your loved ones or in any other way suffering this Christmas, I send you love and wish luck and better times. Millions of us have been where you are now.”
J.K Rowling
I’ve included several photos from the night I did a reading at the atmospheric pop-up venue in Sydney, Stoneleigh 50.
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I loved this night and the chance to read from my gothic novel in a setting that looked like Miss Havisham’s attic.
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Thank you to everyone who attended and listened so avidly to the readings. Also, to Better Read than Dead bookshop for the invitation and for all they do for Australian authors. It was great to connect with the audience and also fellow authors Sulari Gentill, Anna Westbrook and Alexandra Joel. I am seated next to the wonderful Stephanie Beck, Events and Marketing Manager from Better Read than Dead Bookshop.
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It was an enchanted night of mystery, intrigue, plants, wine and storytelling.
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There are only a few things I miss about life in Sydney – Better Read than Dead bookshop, my women’s circle at Dickson Street, and the smell of the sea in the air.
One thing that has been positive about 2016 was I’ve never regretted moving to the country. We love our life above the clouds with the silence, birdlife, mists over the valleys, dramatic storms and sparkling mountain air.
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My husband took this photo from Govett’s Leap and I posted it on the Solstice. Wishing you on this Capricorn New Moon, all peace, joy and positive vibes for 2017.  I think Liz Taylor, as always, provided the inspiration I really needed this year.
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Love, Light and Capricorn Moonshine,
Josephine

Roots

I love our new life in the Blue Mountains. Waking to a heavy veil of silence, the air so crispy-fresh that I can feel my lungs celebrate when I inhale, desperate after years of inner-city living to consume the sparkling prana. I love the school run where strangers smile hello and artistic-looking parents in paint-smeared jeans drop artistic-looking children.
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Birdsong permeates the village and in one day several seasons can pass and I love them all. I walk everywhere marvelling over big kookaburras and the sound of lawn mowers instead of aeroplanes overhead. The smell of freshly cut grass.
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After so many years of talking about moving to the country, we fled Sydney. Developers taking over our street and the towering apartment blocks were squashing us. I felt sadness watching a lot of the working artists’ studios closing as the apartments mushroomed. An ongoing bullying case at my daughter’s school – too many toxic environmental pollutants in the air and toxic situations. Life is too fragile to keep trying to make the intolerable work. We fled hurriedly, like characters in a fairytale, leaving behind my roses, writing shed, our good friends, but knowing it was time.
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I wanted my daughter to enjoy the childhood I had been privileged to have: a small village with chimney smoke fire and ethereal mist. A village where the trees stand guard and healthy-looking children  are surrounded by the changing seasons and a caring community. I wanted her to run free in the woods and not become part of the concrete dragon we had escaped. Without my Tasmanian midlands childhood, I could never have written Poet’s Cottage.
Poet's cottage
I wanted Daisy at ten to have that depth of life experience. I was weary of smog and bringing in washing streaked black from plane fuel. The air felt as if it was choking our family and our life.
On the Taurus Scorpio Full Moon, we settled the sale of our house. The date was my birthday, 27 October, which was a mystical synchronicity to my family and rounded our city time perfectly, for the day we settled the purchase, all those years ago, was also 27 October. I see our current home in the mountains as a gift from the universe.
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I know this velvet silence will bring my current book to life. I delight in sitting on my new deck, listening to the sound of birds and watching ladybirds and butterflies as I write.
Blackheath Rhododendron Festival Queen for 2015 Eleni Vergotis

Blackheath Rhododendron Festival Queen for 2015 Eleni Vergotis

Being among the trees and gazing upon the panoramic mountain views feels like returning home. We now live in a village I have been escaping to for years and which I used as inspiration for my mystery novel, Currawong Manor.
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On my last visit here, I literally felt roots from my feet grow deep into the soil and spread outwards. I knew the time must be approaching that we would find our mountain home . Shortly afterwards, we did find her. She is a grand old mountains lady, a 1920s character weatherboard and I feel a deep joy every day to have finally, after so many years of yearning, to have become a part of this village and country life.

Meet my Character

Thank you to Sandi Wallace for inviting me to play Meet my Character for a blog hop. MEET THE CHARACTER Answer these questions about your main character from a finished work or work in progress:   1.) What is the name of your character?   Ginger Lawson. In the 1940s thread of the book, she’s a sixteen-year-old feisty and naive redhead who goes to the Blue Mountains to pose for a notorious artist, Rupert Partridge. In the year Ginger is at his home, Currawong Manor, Rupert’s family suffers a triple tragedy: his wife, Doris is killed by a train, his daughter, Shalimar drowns and Rupert vanishes. Ginger knows the real truth of what happened to the family. In the present day thread when she’s in her seventies, she’s finally ready to reveal her secrets.

Inspiration shot from my Pinterest board I used for the young Ginger

Inspiration shot from my Pinterest board I used for the young Ginger

2.) Is he/she fictional or a historic person?   Fictional, but I was inspired by Pearl Goldman, who was one of painter Norman Lindsay’s favourite muses and models between 1938-1945. I was fortunate to hear Pearl  speak at the Norman Lindsay House in Springwood just after starting the book and was really impressed by Pearl’s vivacity, glamorous flamboyance and being so active in her 90s. She added a lot of spark to Ginger.

Josephine Pennicott with Pearl Goldman at Springwood Blue Mountains

Josephine Pennicott with Pearl Goldman at Springwood Blue Mountains

3.) When and where is the story set?  In the Blue Mountains in the fictional upper mountain village of Mt Bellwood between the 1940s and present day and the surrounding bushland of Owlbone Woods. The Blue Mountains is an area I’ve lived in and I’m constantly drawn back to. I love its mysterious valleys, misty landscapes, creative people, gothic atmosphere and changing seasons. 425   4.) What should we know about him/her?  Beneath the seeming confident and self-obsessed facade of Ginger is a young girl willing to do anything to escape her mother’s fate of being one of the ‘Surry Hills rats’ of the 1940s. And not to believe Ginger’s version of events too closely…

Rose and Norman Lindsay inspiration shot for Ginger

Rose and Norman Lindsay inspiration shot for Ginger

5.) What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?  By not revealing what really happened to the Partridge family in the Blue Mountains. Ginger’s had to live with a lot of guilt and anguish over the years. She made two choices back in 1945 that affected many people and she has the burden of the consequences of her silence. swingagain     6.) What is the personal goal of the character?  The goal of Ginger in the 1940s thread is to escape the drudgery of Molly (her mother’s life) and to become an independent earner. She represents women in Australia in the forties who entered the workforce with the male population away in World War II – and the impact of that transition upon the women of Ginger’s generation. In the present day thread, her goal is to reveal to Rupert’s surviving relatives the truth of what happened to Rupert and his family on the 9th November 1945.

Ginger inspiration from Pinterest board for Currawong Manor

Ginger inspiration from Pinterest board for Currawong Manor

7.) Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it? The working title and the title are one and the same – Currawong Manor.

Albert Tucker photo used as inspiration for Currawong Manor

Albert Tucker photo used as inspiration for Currawong Manor

8.) When can we expect the book to be published or when was it published? Currawong Manor was published by Pan Macmillan Australia in June 2014. efffe4bf441a146a40bc48da3f1a06e2 I hope you enjoyed this brief instruction to my character and now it is my turn to tag two writers. I have tagged: Kim Wilkins who also writes commercial women’s fiction novels under the pseudonym of Kimberley Freeman. Kim’s an award-winning writer in children’s, historical and speculative fiction. She has an Honours degree, a Masters degree and a PhD from The University of Queensland where she is also a senior lecturer. You can read more about Kim HERE KIMBERLEY FREEMAN And I’ve also tagged Karen Brooks who is the author of nine books, an academic of more than twenty-years experience, a newspaper columnist and social commentator, and has appeared regularly on national TV and radio. Before turning to academia, she was an army officer for five years and prior to that, dabbled in acting. You can read more about Karen on her website HERE KAREN BROOKS If these writers choose to accept their tags, you’ll be able to read about their chosen charcters on their websites the following Thursday 27th November. Love and Light, Josephine

Community

     One of the surreal moments of  writing is just as you submerge yourself into the world of your present project and you’re flipping between states of exhilaration and despair – you’re suddenly having to do publicity for your previous book.   I enjoyed two author events in Newtown in June, presented by my local bookstore Better Read than Dead.

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     First a glamorous High Tea which which I was gratified to have sell out very quickly.  Thank you to all who bought tickets.

High Tea scones

      I was  interviewed by Mischa from BRTD and it was a joyful moment to see so many faces from this local area that I’ve connected with over the years. When you don’t have family living near, these connections become so valued.  Parents and teachers from Daisy’s baby years – to friends I’ve remained steadfast through all of life’s changes: also many unfamiliar faces, who came to discuss books and creativity. It was a delight to have such an enthusiastic, interactive audience.

Josephine Pennicott in deep discussion at Better Read than Dead's High Tea

Josephine Pennicott in deep discussion at Better Read than Dead’s High Tea

     The following Tuesday night I spoke at Newtown Library with my favourite librarian and book club member, Gayle Donaldson, about the influences and stories behind Currawong Manor.

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Thank you to everyone who braved the winter chill to watch my slide show and have a peep at my working notebook. I’m planning a future post on my notebooks. And thank you to Better Read than Dead for the image via their Instagram feed above.

Josephine Pennicott with Gayle Donaldson at Newtown Library for Talking Heads

Josephine Pennicott with Gayle Donaldson at Newtown Library for Talking Heads

     Better Read than Dead provides a valuable link in the inner-city with its focus on building ties in the community between authors and books. I consider myself fortunate to live in an area where a bookstore is such a buzzy place. If you live in the inner west – check out what’s happening from their website; attend some events or join one of their book clubs. I was inspired by a friend who came to my High Tea solo; saying if she had brought a friend, she’d clutch onto her and not mingle. It’s a good practise to take yourself out of your comfortable zone and make new connections: it’s  stimulating and keeps you young.

With Mischa and Steph from Better Read than Dead

With Mischa and Steph from Better Read than Dead

      If you would like a signed copy of either of my mystery novels Poet’s Cottage or Currawong Manor, if you contact Better Read than Dead HERE, I’m happy to pop into the store and sign a copy for you which they could post out. If you already have bought books, if you contact me through my website or Facebook Author Page, I’m happy to send you signed bookplates.

     When you are writing, imaginary people become so close that sometimes you forget you do need to mingle in the ‘real’ world with 3D people. It’s been a pleasure to connect and be inspired by community.

     And I was totally exhilarated to see that as a result of my events, Currawong Manor shared the No 1 spot that week with the Legend Herself in Better Read than Dead – so many thanks to all who supported my book.

Donna!

     Don’t forget to check back to see the results of my Giveaway.

     Keep yourself creative.  In Love and Light,  Josephine

Modernists and Muses

Hello,

Currawong Manor has been receiving some very positive early reviews:

Academic, columnist and author, Karen Brooks’s review you can read in full HERE:

The settings are richly and beautifully drawn. You can smell the flowers, feel the cold press of the snow or the dewy warmth of a humid summer. Likewise, as the mystery unravels, you can feel the whispers of the past and the weight of guilt that hangs upon those who carry their secrets, determined to protect themselves and others. Like the birds that occasionally darken the eaves of the house, doom walks through the pages and reading Currawong Manor becomes a visceral experience – at once exciting and dramatic. A Gothic treat for lovers of mystery, family dramas, history and suspense.

Shelleyrae at Book’d Out says:

An impressively crafted literary story, Currawong Manor is an absorbing and dramatic tale. Full review HERE

Kathleen Easson at Aussie Mum Network:

There is more than one mystery to be solved within these pages. The book contains hints of Agatha Christie, the kitchen and garden of Sunday Reed and subtle references to various famous artists including Norman Lindsay. I could not put this book down, it was an enjoyable and easy read. I look forward to further works by this author. Full review HERE

A  reminder that on Tuesday 24th June, I’m talking at Newtown Library with Gayle Donaldson and so hope to see you there if you live locally. You can book tickets for this event. HERE.

And I made a video where I’m talking about some of the inspirations behind Currawong Manor including my brief meeting with Pearl Goldman, Norman Lindsay’s life model and muse. I hope you enjoy. Please feel free to share with any people you think might be interested in the book.

 

Keep yourself creative.

In Love and Light

Josephine xx

June Giveaway for Currawong Manor

Dear Friends,
To celebrate  Currawong Manor’s release and also my new website (thanks to Debra at Soulscape for creating a website at short notice for the book) I’m having a Giveaway.
Drum Roll…
In the Tale Peddler June Giveaway is:
a signed copy of Currawong Manor AND also Poet’s Cottage
Poet's cottage
Currawong Manor
The Doreen Virtue Angel Card deck that I use daily for guidance and which has never let me down
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AND
my personal favourite red lipstick, a full-size MAC Russian Red
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All you have to do to be the winner of this giveaway valued at $120. 93 is the following:
comment or like this post here or on my twitter feed or comment on my online journal.
Super-easy. Extra chances are given if you
SHARE this giveaway with your social media friends and let me know you shared the post
you LIKE my Author Page on Facebook OR you already are on my Author Facebook Page
or  you sign up to my news letter on my website.
I shall draw the winner at the end of June.
And this competition is also open to overseas folk, so good luck to all.

Pins

Hello,

Being a visual person, I love
Pinterest for collecting images to help me when I’m working on a book. The
Scorpionic side of me also relishes the fact you can have secret boards as well.

Used for Shalimar character inspiration

Used for Shalimar character inspiration


With Currawong Manor nearly due to hit the shelves, I thought I’d share a few of
my inspiration images for Currawong Manor. They’re not meant to be literal, but
they help me with the palette of the work.

 

The Memory Birds

The Memory Birds

 

Image used for Elizabeth inspiration

Image used for Elizabeth inspiration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ghost on a swing

Ghost on a swing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll unlock my Currawong
Manor board on Pinterest when the book has been out for awhile, but for now
here’s a bit of a sneak preview. I also use my own personal photographs a lot
from the location I’m working with and I’ll share some of those very
soon.

 

Albert Tucker with son Sweeney

Albert Tucker with son Sweeney

 

 

 

 

 

'Psycho' Albert Tucker illustration

‘Psycho’ Albert Tucker illustration

Bird Man

Bird Man

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Still from Don't Look Now

Still from Don’t Look Now

From Don't Look Now by Daphne Du Maurier

From Don’t Look Now by Daphne Du Maurier

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stay tuned for an updated website and a giveaway to celebrate Currawong Manor’s publication.  Love and Light,
Josephine

High Tea in Newtown

Hello,

bigcurrawong

Thanks to everyone who has booked for my High Tea at Better Read Than Dead in June.There’s only a few places left, so if you live locally please book promptly. If you can’t make the High Tea, I’ll be talking at the Newtown Library a couple of nights afterwards. Booking information can be found here.
http://www.betterread.com.au/discount-books/news-and-events.do

High Tea, Mystery and Murder

Hello,

Just a reminder that on the 21st of June at 3pm I’ll be the guest of a High Tea at Better Read than Dead bookstore in Newtown to discuss murder, mystery, creativity and other engrossing topics.

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And on the 24th of June, at 6.30 pm, I’m at Newtown Library to take you behind the scenes of my world of Currawong Manor. Would love to see your friendly face at either or both these events – so please ensure tickets by booking.Details of both and booking information can be found HERE.