I am on deadline for Currawong Manor and so this October post written on All Hallows will be brief.

Life has been frenetic, frantic – days and weeks a blur of my daughter’s activities, her dramatic and colourful life entwined with the darker mysterious world of my characters in their Blue Mountains home in the 1940s. I juggle the two worlds, attempting to keep my attention equally on both, a task which seems impossible at times.


I have to mention this anthology, Award Winning Australian Writing 2012, which my short story, Shadows, which won last year’s Scarlet Stiletto Awards appears in. I’m proud to be included with so many skilled writers. You can read more about it HERE
And also this beautiful cover of Currawong Manor (called Daughters of the Storm) in Germany published by Ullstein. On Twitter I posted I saw a beautiful butterfly nearly as large as my hand fluttering outside my garden writing shed , enjoying the bougainvillea and yellow roses. I wondered what he was a sign of and a couple of days later, he turned up on my book.


A highlight of the month was:

We saw A Murder is Announced at Sydney Theatre at Walsh Bay. I really enjoyed all the cast and Judi Farr made a perfect Miss Marple.


A reminder that on Sunday the 10th of November, I’m appearing with Kate Forsyth in the Writers’ Tent at the Newtown Festival. Details here.

I am trying to focus, to turn inwards. The deadline like the witching hour draws nearer.

Thank you for visiting me. xx



I interrupt my deadline writing of Currawong Manor to share with you the parcel that arrived for me this week.

Josephine Pennicott opening box of Dornen Tochter

In this day of the machine mania, it’s such a special joy for an author to have their words so beautifully translated into a hardcover. Ullstein publishers in Germany have outdone themselves with their presentation of my Poet’s Cottage (Dornen Tochter in Germany).

I wish I could transit the smell to you over the internet for there is nothing more glorious than the smell of good paper and beautifully bound books with a ripping story inside the beautiful cover art. I also love the smell of new shoes in a box, newborn babies, Chanel perfume, rain after a storm in the garden but the book wins! And the glorious weight, heavy cover and good quality paper make this German girl beautiful to hold.

Josephne Pennicott with Dornen Tochter

Thank you so much to all at Ullstein involved in the production of Dornen Tochter. It brings me immense pleasure to know over the moon and on the other side of the world people are reading my Tasmanian sea-fishing village murder mystery. I loved the bag that was made of the book and the television advertisement which you can see HERE was also beyond anything I could have dreamt of. Nothing beats an author meeting their book for the first time. So much excitement in my garden of Spring roses.

And if you are interested in my garden writing shed, the beautiful Terri Windling whom I have admired as a visual artist, a writer, a blogger and a person for many years has featured my shed on her inspirational blog. Whenever I visit The Drawing Board I feel I have wandered into a magical tavern filled with kindred spirits who love the Bloomsbury set, fantastical worlds and words, who heed the call of Wild Man and Wild Woman of the woods – folk who listen and understand the truth of fairies, Pre Raphaelites, and represent so much that’s noble and decent about this planet. Including her very noble and charming dog, Tilly on his walks in the Devon woods.

Terri Windling and Tilly

I always drink deeply from the well of inspiration Terri offers and one of my writing highlights was that she selected Circle of Nine (my first published book in a fantasy trilogy) as one of the world’s best debut fantasy novels of the year in her esteemed 2001 Best Fantasy and Horror (Terri Windling and Ellen Datlow, editors). Terri’s wonderful book The Wood Wife was a major influence for me, showing what you can achieve with mythic/fantastical writing.

If you’re keen for a peep inside my writing shed where I’m closeted away doing long hours at the moment, you can find me at Terri’s Drawing Board HERE.

Thanks for visiting me. Keep creative and may the new moon bring blessings of inspired creativity and wishes. xx

image of Terri and Tilly via HERE

Dornen Tochter

There’s no more delightful sound in the early morning than kookaburras calling as I wake before dawn to wrestle with another draft of Currawong Manor.
I’ve been doing a lot of 3am-4am writing shifts, knowing school holidays are only a week away and I have an October deadline. I love sitting in bed with my laptop and coffee, the house is silent and dark and suddenly outside the night is broken by the kookaburras. Such a comforting sound. 
The big news this week is that Poet’s Cottage or Dornen Tochter as it’s called in Germany is officially released today. The publisher Ullstein has really created an outstanding presentation of my Tasmanian murder mystery. The marketing people even made bags – I would never have imagined in a thousand life-times a bag made out of my book.
Life really does give you even more than you dream some times. The design was originally inspired by my garden writing shed wallpaper which is a Laura Ashley design. It’s a lovely paper and I purchased it from HERE in case you want to buy the paper as well as my book! A perfect choice for my garden writing shed as it’s light and comprised of birds and butterflies to help my imagination fly.
Germany is really impressive when it comes to publishing. Book sales are flourishing there and when they produce such a quality product as Dornen Tochter which courtesy of the lovely lady on the YouTube video I have swiped you can get a really good look at below) – you can understand why the German book market is so healthy. To have my own story so beautifully presented means so much. I’ve been very lucky with my book. Pan Macmillan in Australia created a stunning cover and now Ullstein with their hardcover version. Both create different moods and both are true to my story.
I feel very excited to know that my Tasmanian sea-fishing village mystery is now being read by folk in Germany. I hope they enjoy it and it may even inspire some to visit my home-state of Tasmania when they travel to Australia.
And so a special week for us with Dorten Trochter and to all at Ullstein who put so much into my Poet’s Cottage…
Vielen Dank!
I have my agent, Selma Anthony’s literary awards night on Saturday but for the rest of the weekend, I will be working away inside my Currawong Manor. But on Sunday, my family will have a special dinner where we will toast the good health of all at Ullstein with some ginger beer.
Thank you for visiting me. Keep creative. xx

Life from Flag Number 5

Last Friday I volunteered to be a helper parent at my daughter’s cross-country run. My job was to stand on Flag Number 5 for the morning and ensure no children ran into the wetlands. I’m not sporty and if my daughter hadn’t told me I wouldn’t have known the Olympics was on, being half submerged in the 1940s for my current novel.

The view from Flag Number 5

I’ve a lot of memories of my own school days, always near the end or the middle of the pack at cross-country running, swimming or any sport really.

My Daisy came 16th which didn’t impress her but I was very proud as throughout her race she continued to jog determinedly, didn’t slow her pace or give up as many children behind her did. A few even walked the entire way and didn’t give it a shot at all, despite my screaming encouragement from Flag Number 5.

But I did empathise with my daughter’s disappointment. I know how it feels to be in the middle of the pack, rarely the victor with your arm pumping the air, the band playing Waltzing Matilda. I’m no stranger to the pain of giving the race your best shot, heart bursting and yet you’re still in the middle of the pack.

My roses bloom

At least my daughter’s class showed a bit more restraint than some of the Australian Olympic athletes in tears nearly every day on the cover of papers. Their coaches were blaming social media for the athletes losing focus as they twittered and Facebooked, believing their cyber-space fans that they would win. There’s a lesson there for all of us about the internet’s ability to suck energy and deceive.Oh, that sly, time-wasting, silver-tongued, crocodile-eyes, lying Internet.

Inspiring Dawn Fraser

Helping my daughter with her homework, we researched Dawn Fraser (Australian swimmer who won eight Olympic medals) and I was amazed to discover that just before the Tokyo Olympics in 1964, Dawn was involved in a car-accident at nearby Brighton-le-sands in which her mother was killed. In the same year, Dawn came out of hospital, competed at Tokyo and won gold. That’s the sort of sportsperson I take my hat off to.

Josephine Pennicott’s writing shed

When I wasn’t on Flag Number 5 contemplating stamina, determination and what makes a champion, I have been in my writing shed working on Currawong Manor. The light is returning to Sydney and we’ve seen some blue skies. It’s a joyful time of year seeing the roses bloom and feeling the promise of Spring.

Time to cull in Daisy’s room

We’ve been baking, watching loads of Nigella DVDs (Daisy’s new favourite as she wants to raid the fridge of a night Nigella style), reading Harry Potter and culling our house in preparation for Spring.

Josephine Pennicott bakes with Daisy and Gemma

For all of us who are jogging along in the middle of the pack these words are a great inspiration to me :

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” Winston Churchill

A Story in my head buzzing hard

I spent a day lost in the magical light of Norman Lindsay’s home at Springwood.

Can you beat a drystone wall? I grew up loving them and they still have the power to charm.

Wandering into the bush with notebook in hand, it’s easy to believe Norman’s statues are luring you into another world.

A smaller magic outside my writing shed where my David Austin Prince rose proudly displayed its first bloom.


The  magical perfume so divine to savour. Hopefully a good omen for my current mystery novel.


And I must let you know of an event I will be taking place in for Better Read than Dead bookshop and Newtown  Library Tuesday 31st July . It’s Talking Heads with Josephine Pennicott. I know this is very advance notice and will update nearer to the time. Places will be limited but you can book through the library online or on  8512 4250. Would love to see all who could make it come along so we can chat murder, mystery, families, bohemians, secrets, Tasmanian sea-fishing villages, writing tips and a host of other fascinating topics. Here is the beautiful Newtown library I  shall be chatting in.
I’m really looking forward to seeing The Mousetrap in Sydney with the Sydney Theatre company performing Agatha Christie’s classic.
 I first saw The Mousetrap in St Martin’s Theatre with David in London’s West End and it remains one of my favourite theatre experiences. (Followed closely by The Woman in Black).
This week I also went to my bookclub at Better Read than Dead to discuss Craig Silvey’s feisty and wonderful mystery novel, Jasper Jones.

My daughter has just told me she has a story in her head and it’s buzzing hard. I know the feeling.
This weekend I am going to try to find some time to sit in the autumn sunshine with these two pink magazines I picked up today. I love the beautiful Christy Turlington’s feature in the gentlewoman (one of my favourite magazines).

This photograph of Johnny Depp was doing the rounds on Facebook and of course I cant’ resist ending this post with his sage and beautiful words. Thank you for visiting me. Stay creative. xx
Remember, murder lurks around every corner…


It’s been a busy and exciting week for me with interviews for publicity for Poet’s Cottage and working on the FINAL stages of the first draft of Currawong Manor. Yes, it’s nearly there! The characters are doing their usual games with me at the moment but I think I’m following behind. Thankfully, this bunch is patient.


I’m so thrilled to post the first review of Poet’s Cottage HERE. It’s such a surreal feeling for me to see the book that has been part of my life since 2007 now out there in public. I know Booktopia have preorders available HERE and thank you to the lovely friends who have put in orders.

If you are interested in chasing down my original magical trilogy then Momentum have all three books (with brand new covers) as EBooks. YOu can find them HERE.

I am in my garden writing shed. It is pouring with rain and I’m so blissful I could melt. There’s no greater joy than writing in the garden in the pouring rain.

I have to also mention one of my favourite Blogs, The Local Rose, has just celebrated its first birthday. I don’t have a lot of time to visit Blogs but this is one I always love.

Shiva and her lovely daughter

My dream is to buy a writing retreat and head to the bush as often as possible to live a glam and bohemian a life as Shiva Rose. Her lovely, light-filled home was also featured on Apartment Therapy this week.

Shiva's home via Apartment Therapy


And in moments of great joy or sadness, I always turn to one of my favourite movies. The Unbearable Lightness of Being.



This move is so beautiful, so haunting, it hurts.

Life’s so Light.

Thank you for visiting me. I should also mention that Poet’ s Cottage will be featured in the March edition of Good Reading magazine. The article will tell the story of how a family holiday inspired my mystery novel. Have a beautiful weekend. I am hoping for a couple of dawn writing sessions to get the first draft out of me.

This morning my geranium at the front of the house which I sadly thought had died has a lovely red new flower for me to marvel over. xx

“She loved to walk down the street with a book under her arm. It had the same significance for her as an elegant cane for the dandy a century ago. It differentiated her from others.” ― Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being



A Scorpion in the Corner and Publicity for Poet’s Cottage

February has been a blur as publicity for Poet’s Cottage begins, ahead of its release in Australia.

My garden writing shed

I’m sitting in my courtyard garden now and the weather is so sunny for a change in Sydney.

I had plenty of chances to use my Mary Poppins umbrella this rainy summer. Of course, I’ve loved the rain.

This week I had the pleasure of being interviewed at home by Mr Steve Meacham for the Sun Herald newspaper. I say it was a pleasure because this gentleman wrote one of my favourite pieces recently,Writer’s Craft is now a Ghost in the Machine. You can find a link to this article here.

I find the whole interview process very daunting as I often get so tongue-tied and a shambling, rambling mess when talking about myself. I take heart from Arthur Boyd who was reputed to be woeful for the journalist to follow in interviews. I found that one of the most endearing traits of Arthur’s.

I was delighted to start off the publicity for Poet’s Cottage with a phone interview for the Tasmanian papers. I shall let you know when they are coming out.

I cannot wait for the Kerry Greenwood TV series, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, starring my favourite, Essie Davis. You may recall I have bragged often about Essie and I being at the same College of Creative Arts in Hobart. I think she’s perfect casting for Phryne and I love Kerry Greenwood. I’ve won The Malice Domestic Award twice (okay, that’s a little brag again, but forgive me, another thing that I could have said to Steve and forgot). And because Essie is a Tasmanian girl (go Tasmanian girls!) I had her in mind for my character of Pearl Tatlow when I was writing Pearl.

Except now she looks just like my Pearl from Poet’s Cottage (I love her with the dark bob) but she’s Phryne. This show looks wonderful and I can’t wait to see it.

A million times better than the ghastly Underbelly offering which I wrote about here. A small slice of Underbelly Razor.

Tonight I went to the movies with Art School Annie and saw The Artist which is as wonderful and lovely as the reviews said it was. How magnificent is the dog Uggie?

And the two leads, Berenice Bejo as Peppy and Jean Dujardin, are perfectly cast. Not to mention all those fabulous 20’s frocks and shoes…

And a favourite book I read in February: Alice Hoffman’s The Dovekeepers.

I‘m in awe of this book. I prostrate before it. So beautiful, powerful and inspiring. Alice Hoffman brings the bones to life so eloquently in her account of four women at Masada in 70AD. I take my hat off to Hoffman for her reminder of how powerful words and tales can be. This is a book that will give you strength. It’s raw and graphic and some of the passages will nearly destroy you with how inhumane people can be – but then the doves are always there as a symbol of goodness and hope. And Hoffman is writing at the top of her powers. She creates a spell just as powerful as Shirah does in the story. A wonderful novel about women, women’s mysteries and women’s stories.

This reads like a channelled book that contains the prayers and devotions of a real group of four women who would have been lost to time. But it really does contain messages and symbols for modern women as well.

Hats off again to Alice Hoffman for opening a portal where I could glimpse a world where fortunes were divined by scattering dove bones, Lilith was feared for snatching babies at night, girls were given in arranged marriages at thirteen and a Scorpion in the corner is a sure sign a witch is present.

As for my current book, Currawong Manor, I’ve finally reached the 100 000 mark of my first draft. There’s still a bit to go and for reaching that important mark I treated myself to this lovely black telephone.

I feel as if Hercule Poirot is exercising his little grey cells as he chats to me on the other end

And of course, I can’t leave this post without one little peep at Johnny.

Thank you for visiting me. xx


Grief like Babushka Dolls

October is my favourite month. The dreaded humidity hasn’t kicked in yet in Sydney. Although, alarmingly there are early bushfires in the Blue Mountains. I love the pause before Christmas, and all the excitement of my daughter as she prepares for Halloween. As a child I had always wished we celebrated the American custom of Halloween and my daughter loves dressing up in spooky clothes and this year has begged me to adorn the front of the house with skeletons and spiders. My daughter is dressing as a pink vampire for Halloween night.

Inspiration Board for the Currawong book. My new mystery novel

 I’ve made an inspiration board for my Currawong book. This helps me to try to focus back into my novel after submerging myself into the world of Poet’s Cottage. I did also join Pinterest but haven’t yet found time to do any online inspiration boards although it looks wonderfully amazing and fun there. I only have such little time for online activities and what with Blogging, Facebook. Twitter and Good Reads, it does get quite overwhelming.

 At times I need to step back, meditate, read poetry, observe nature and try to find inspiration in the natural world around me. I’m seeking balance at the moment.

Inside each doll a tear, a fear, a stone a bone

 On Sunday I will fly solo to Tasmania to visit my father. Some of you may know my dad has been battling a very aggressive cancer for the last five years. When I finished the copy edit for Poet’s Cottage, the cancer finally attached its tentacles into his liver.

We had already booked to go to Tasmania for a family Christmas but I feel most strongly to travel down now.

If you have had to witness a loved one battle cancer or any progressive illness you will understand when I say how the sadness is like inverted Babushka dolls. Just when you think the grief, shock, anger, depression is abating, you open the doll and there’s another bigger layer to deal with.

Love to pink witches everywhere

 It’s been so hot in Sydney. I’m relieved for the day today which is grey, cool and drizzling. And October is also my birthday month. I’m so pleased to celebrate another year of life and to honour the ancestors as I do so. In the dawn park where I run I watched with awe as a Bottlebrush tree was transformed into a shimmering jewel as a dozen rainbow parrots enjoyed their nectar breakfast. With every birthday, it is the simple things I treasure the most. Birds, sky, trees and breath.

Anything can happen

David walked out of the door today, on his way to Pan Macmillan, carrying my heart in a hessian bag. Where on earth did September go? To me, it was a blur of rising at 4 and 5am to try to get a few hours of my copy-edit in before Daisy woke.

Finally the copyedit is finished. Check out all those post-it notes!

I loved working on the book so intensely in the last month. Clara Finlay, the editor really pulled me upside down, inside out and shook that book as hard as she could shake – but she was wonderful. I may never meet Clara Finlay, but I feel as if I know her. I felt her over my shoulder the entire time as we went line-by-line, date by date, fact-by-fact, character tone by character tone. We pondered together house-ownership problems and why I’m so obsessed with dentists that I felt the need to include so many in Poet’s Cottage. David said I should have named the book Poet’s Teeth. I do seem to have rather a thing for them, it’s true. And another mystery to me is – why I felt the need for so many people with the surname of Brown in a 100, 0000 word manuscript.

But I’m convinced I am a better writer for this edit. I have vowed never again will I write without having a very detailed plan of my house in both time periods and also meticulous time charts for every character.

I have quite a few blog posts I want to share coming up, including my annual agent’s author event. But I’ve been up since past 1am doing last-minute checks to the manuscript so David could hand deliver it to Pan Macmillan in their city office.

David Levell and Josephine Pennicott take a holiday at The Captain's Cottage

And just as the copy-edit is over, the beautiful Captain’s Cottage in Stanley where my family and I stayed several times whilst I worked on Poet’s Cottage is up for sale. It was in the Australian paper on the weekend. Here are a couple of shots of us at the cottage, relaxing and happy. I wish I had the money to buy it. I have so many happy memories of that house and our trips to Stanley.

Daisy and Josephine Pennicott outside The Captain's Cottage Stanley

Here are also a couple of random shots of my garden which is starting to come alive. These were taken right outside my garden writing shed. My David Austins are taking off as well, so thrilled with my tiny garden.

I am enormously weary but filled with great joy and relief.

Daisy getting married in the Spring garden

And one of the most magic moments in September was seeing Mary Poppins swoop slowly towards me at the historical Capitol Theatre in Sydney. This is the most beautiful theatre to see any show in. Years ago, David and I saw Blondie play the Capitol. The image below is taken from their  website.

Around me were the cheers and screams of the excited crowd as she slowly glided through the air of the darkened auditorium. Mary Poppins and I looked at each other and she was as touched and as thrilled by the magic as we were. My daughter was screaming beside me, ‘That’s real magic!’

After Miss Marple, and Jane Eyre, Mary Poppins is one of my favourite characters in fiction.

Now I have to clean my very dusty, brick house and go back to the next book. 

Thanks for visiting me. xx