Beta readers are a godsend!

Just a quick note, ‘At Curlew Cry’ is off to beta readers. It would have gone out sooner, but at the last minute I added another chapter.

Now, I have to get stuck into Book 4. Working Title—Misty Mountain Murder. Set in the village of Paluma on the range behind Balgal, but slightly to the north, up a very steep and windy road. some people get motion-sickness on the journey. Honest. It is so beautiful there and covered in rain-forest; full of birdlife, including Cassowary, and nocturnal mammals. What a delicious palette to choose from!

I have written a short story set in Paluma…and because you’ve all been good I will put it up here for you to read, probs in one or two instalments. It’s not a murder mystery, but I hope you still enjoy it. It has been published as one of the short stories in my book, ‘Forgotten Memories and other Fiction’.

PHOTOGRAPHIC MEMORY

The woman stood close, but not too close to her husband. No part of her body touched his. She artfully designed her stance to give the impression of togetherness. Neither did she have contact with either child; after all they weren’t hers and though they were biddable enough she really was too busy with her own affairs to be bothered with them. The Nanny was doing a perfectly adequate job without the need of direction.

The man, for his part, sat erect in his carefully pressed suit, sporting a healthy moustache, as all great men should. He chose to balance his younger child, Suzanna, on his knee. Showing himself to the world in the best light — an up-standing citizen, a gentleman and a caring father. Unfortunately, the tilt of his head and uncompromisingly upright stance, to say nothing of his smug expression, belied outward appearances to anyone with a keen enough eye and perceptive enough heart.

Suzanna was terrified. She had never before been allowed so close to the great persona of Father. His hidden hand shoved at her spine forcing her to sit straight and still.  She let her hands rest in her lap. Her nose was itchy but Father had already growled at her for fidgeting. She dared a quick glance at Sebastian, but he was looking like thunder and busy with his own thoughts.

Her brother stood, independent and furious, to one side. His lips pressed together, almost invisible and his eyes glinted, hard as emeralds. He loathed having to dress in this horrid girly outfit. He determined that when he grew up he would destroy all photographs of himself in dresses. He stood well out of reach of the man he could never please.  How he longed for the freedom he found when Father was away on one of his many trips, the latest of which had brought into Seb’s life this strange and aloof creature who Father insisted he address as Mother, but who was nothing like his mother. Sebastian stared out at the camera, searching for some morsel, some vaguely happy moment in the family circle. There… there she was, drifting, ghost-like, through his mind; almost faceless now, a hint of sandalwood, a red-gold halo of hair surrounding a kindly face, warm, soft — lost! Gone the instant he caught sight of her. He felt the new woman’s presence behind him, prickly and arctic cold, trussed up in her ridiculous new outfit. She looked silly and out of place in Townsville’s turgid, tropical heat, as did he in the equally ridiculous dress he had been forced to don for the obligatory formal, family photograph

He could hardly wait to return to the primitive farmhouse in Paluma, where he was free to do as he willed; run wild with his native friends and never, never wear dresses! Surely this visit to Townsville would soon be over, all the talk of Boarding School would end, as it always did, and life could return to normal.

The photographer milled and dithered around instructing them, in his slightly effeminate voice, where to stand and what to do. They, of course, ignored him. ‘Merde!’ He shrugged eloquently and ducked under the cloth behind the camera. He had placed the Fitzsimmons Family in front of the building, which was not really a building. It was a façade, as he sensed their happy family was.

Pierre used the cardboard cutout to give some semblance of civilization to his photographs in this desperate, dusty backwater in which he found himself. His sharp eyes waited for the right moment. The young photographer slyly caught the woman when her face showed some of her inner turmoil – her head lifted proudly, her jaw squared and her eyes hidden in shadow. 

**********

The photograph meant nothing to Sebastian.  He stared uncomprehendingly at it, then looked vacantly at the man in front of him… Possum, yes old Possum, his new mate. He had shoved the picture into Seb’s hands. 

“Knew it was you, but had to search out this old thing to be sure. You look just like yer old man, even have his bloody moustache,” ground out the gnarly old bloke in his tobacco ravaged voice. He sat on the rough-hewn stool outside his dilapidated timber cabin, puffing one cigarette after the other.

Seb reached up and ran his slender finger over the brush on his top lip. A puzzled look flitted across his normally expressionless features as he ransacked his brain for an image of his father. Nothing. There was nothing.

Possum scratched at his crotch. “I’m actually Arthur Benham,” he stated, jerking his arthritic thumb at his chest. “Name mean anything to you?” he queried. Once, many years ago he had been this boy’s ‘Uncle’, his mentor and confidant.

Seb lifted his eyes to meet the other man’s, trying to maintain his wayward concentration, which the past months in the Pacific Theatre had dissipated. His focus blurred and his mind wandered off on a tangent, then his body wandered off as well, down the path toward Rehabilitation Unit Six’s designated area. He still clutched the photo. 

Poor bastard, Possum thought.  He ran a hand through the wild thatch of graying curls that had given him his name, shrugged and lit another ciggie. Poor bloody bastard. Bloody useless war. Fuck the King. Gone are the good old days. He sucked on his rollie and blew smoke through his nostrils in disgust. Guess they weren’t so good for the lad, poor young codger. His father was a right bastard. A jumped up, pompous mug. 

*

Michael Fitzsimmons Esquire, dragged his boy away from the wattle and daub cottage to the dray waiting in the dusty street. Fitzsimmons had his little girl under one arm. She lay limp and uncomplaining. The boy struggled and called in the native Nyawangi language to his Aboriginal nanny, Leila.

“Save us. Auntie, I don’t want to go. Save us.”

She, poor creature, stood in the doorway trembling, wailing and sobbing her heartbreak. 

Possum was tempted to intervene but he knew starting a blue in centre town was going to achieve nothing. Fitzsimmons was a big bastard. Anyway, they’d be all right. He was their Dad after all. Never-the-less, as Fitzsimmons lifted his hat in greeting, Possum emphatically turned his back.

*

With a rattle and thump a truck chugged to a stand-still just up the street.    Unit Six’s sole truck stood in the middle of the road, steam pouring from its radiator. Shaking himself from the cloying grasp of the past, Possum sighed and got up to offer his help to the driver.

 A young woman slid from the passenger side, and spoke up to the driver. “I’ll walk from here and send someone back to help you.”

Laughter greeted this offer, “That’ll be the day, Love. She’ll be jake! Here comes old Possum. He’ll give me a hand.” Seb came level with the vehicle. “Hey you!” The voice called Sebastion to attention. “Grab the lady’s kit and show her to the women’s quarters. ‘N be quick about it!”

The young man shoved the photo into his shirt pocket and ambled across to comply. He lifted the case onto one shoulder and reached out to take the Lieutenant’s other bag. 

“Thank you, I can manage,” her voice smiled into his inattentive ear. His hand stayed suspended awkwardly in the air between them.

“Blimey Mate! Just take the thing to the quarters, will you! You’ll have to excuse ‘im Ma’am,” the voice inside the truck smirked. “Capt’n’s mad as a bandicoot… Shell-shock, o’ course. This bloody war!” he growled as he searched around inside the cabin for the truck’s crank handle.

During the short walk to the building in question, Bess tried to engage Seb in conversation.

“So, uh, I’m Elisabeth, Bess, Williams. Registered Nurse. And you’re, Captain…?”

“Nah, just Seb.”

They passed under the winged arch over the gateway to the Unit’s compound. 

“Army?”

“RAAF.”

“Oh, Where were you based?”

“Singas. Cigarette?”

“No, thank you.”

“Here you go then, that’s Maiden’s Manor, er the female sleeping quarters.”

“Thanks… Oh, Captain,” she called as he turned and started to walk away. “Where is Commander Connelly’s Office?” He faced her again, the lost look lifted for an instant. Bess felt the colour in her cheeks. “I, I should report to him as soon as I d…drop this in, I suppose,” she stammered.

“That’s the sick-bay over there. His office is just to the right as you enter.” He gave a lop-sided half-smile that had her heart skipping a beat or two. “And it’s just Seb.” Then his face shut down and he was gone.

“Poor fellow,” she murmured to herself, “And so handsome too.”

Sebastian reached up to his pocket to get another cigarette and as he drew out the packet a photo fell to the ground. He bent to retrieve it and was startled by the blare of a horn from a speeding US army jeep. He jumped out of the way but the vehicle ran over the photograph. Seb snatched it up. “Bastards!” he shouted.

He studied the mired picture — a man, a woman, two children. Something stirred inside, then was gone. He wandered toward his favourite nook in the surrounding rainforest, staring down at the picture all the while. Heavy mist descended rapidly and unheeded around him.  The foggy blanket had given rise to Paluma’s previous title, Cloudy Clearing (so named by Arthur “Possum” Benham himself). 

Only when Seb could no longer see the photo in his hands did he stop and look around. He turned slowly on the spot. The cloud was now so dense that only the closest trees were visible. They did not look familiar. He cursed himself for a fool and stepped in the direction he thought the camp lay. 

The sun was sinking, and the temperature plunged as darkness fell. Sebastion shivered in his cotton shirt with the sleeves torn out. He had to find shelter or perish. His sharp eyes searched out the buttress roots of a giant rainforest tree. He broke off some large fern leaves and with those and some fallen palm fronds fashioned himself a not-so-cosy lair.

He woke cold, stiff and hungry the next morning, at least, though it was still dark, a cacophony of raucous birdcall proclaimed it to be morning. When he poked his head above his covering of leaves he saw that the mist still shimmered amongst the tall, forest trees, a ghost army of half visible memories. Bloody Munan Gumbaru. The Aboriginal name sprang effortlessly to mind. Munan Gumbaru. He rolled it over and over. Munan Gumbaru — Misty Mountain…How did he know that? He shook himself. Whatever it was called, the fog did not augur well for finding his way, back to camp. His eyes searched the immediate vicinity trying to discover some small sign that he was in familiar territory. As he stood undecided, a browsing bettong scrabbled noisily into the leafy undergrowth setting off another wave of catbird cries, which triggered the rifle-birds and a multitude of smaller birds.Well, I can’t stay here, he decided. If I don’t move I’ll bloody freeze. 

There you go…. more next time, Cheers,

Busy, Busy, Busy…

I would have written sooner, but Rosa has been busy with her art stuff, and has just wall-papered the two bedrooms. They aren’t perfect but look okay. She’s so vain and thinks that’s a good reason for ignoring me, thus you. Honestly!

She did design my business cards, though. What do you think?

But, I am here now! — And still have nothing much to tell you. Sales of my books are pretty good when I go to markets etc. but still no money for advertising. Can somebody tell me why as soon as I get a bit an unexpected bill arrives?

I am still writing book 3 of the Beaufort’s Landing series. It is coming easier now, in fact I wrote over 1000 words this morning. It felt good. Writing red herrings is the best. Sometimes I even fool myself…like, What? Where did that come from? She can’t be the murderer! … It’s a hoot.

If anyone reading this is also on my newsletter list. I apologise for not putting anything out there for absolutely ages. I have no excuse.

I have got some good feed-back from the Prequel ‘Becoming Xelma’, but no one has said much about Book 2 of the DNA trilogy, ‘Daughter of Anger’. Come on people help me out here, lol.

I will be starting book three of the Trilogy as soon as I finish book three of Beaufort’s. I sincerely hope it comes a bit easier.

Now, I have to get back to life chores. So, Later

Post Covid Writing

So…the launch of the Prequel to the Murder Mysteries and Daughter Of Anger is over. I sold a few books, but really it was a great big flop. I am no good at this marketing game. I did the best I could, but without money for advertising etc I am up against it. Nevermind, I love writing…

What on earth has happened to this blog page? It’s gone all weird. Why can’t I make the pics smaller? Too bad. I don’t have time to muck around so que sera, sera.

What I really want to talk about is how weird my post-covid time was. I knew I had fog-brain and was very fatigued, but man!

So, I’ve told you I’m writing Book 3 in the Beaufort’s Landing murder mysteries series. I had written a portion before the covid got me. I was pretty useless for about 2 weeks, then I felt a bit better, apart from the brain thing. I wrote some, slept a lot, wrote, slept etc for almost 2 months. That may seem pretty good…right? I thought so, but I decided to print out what I had, read and edit it before continuing. Guess what? —— The new writing is a complete jumble. I mean, really crazy with paragraphs and sentences in the wrong chapters, characters out of place, absolutely not continuity. The sentences made sense in themselves, but not in the storyline. Not only that! But, there were 20 -30 pages I didn’t even recognise. I wrote them??? Yep, but couldn’t remember writing them. Having re-read them a couple of times since, I think I kinda remember them, but not really. I mean, the pages weren’t in too bad shape so I a little ahead there.

However, I’m a bit weirded out about the whole thing. I was so demented and that’s scary.

The good news is, that I’ve been beavering away, now that I’m back to normal, and the MS makes some kind of sense. I’m feeling better about everything. Have you had any peculiar post covid effects? Let me know. I have to go now, so until next time,

At Last…writing again

So, I’ve had a bit of a time getting back into the writing flow since I lost my sister, my friend and my best critic and champion. She is up there on her cloud rousing at me. I can hear her now, ‘Come on, get on with it. Stop procrastinating. Stop using me as an excuse.’ She always was a bossy britches.

Anyhow, all that is to say, over the past 2 weeks or so I have gotten back to my writing. I have written about 10,000 words of my prequel, ‘Becoming Xelma’. And, changed my mind about a portion of book three, therefore necessitating the writing of a new (very sketchy) outline.

Part of my problem is that I spread myself too thin. I have always known that life is too short and so, without even thinking about it, I try to cram too much in. It seems to be part of my DNA to skip from one thing, to another, to another and back again. I just can’t seem to help it.

Right, I thought I might offer the prequel free to pre-orderers of Book 3 ‘At Curlew Cry’, but I don’t know how to go about effecting this on Amazon. Can anyone out there help me? I’ll need step by baby-step instructions.

Did I show you the cover I made for book three? I can’t remember so here it is, again, maybe.

What do you think? Too bad. It’ll have to do because I can’t afford to pay anyone to do it for me…and being very vein, I like using my paintings on the covers. Lol.

Oh, and remember to write a review on Amazon if you’ve read any of my books. It doesn’t have to be long or even positive (though I hope it is), Just as long as you give me a review so it can go up the rankings, so that it gets more exposure, so that more people buy it and more people review it, and so on. Thanks. P.

Hellloooo! Oh Dear!

I just found the post below in my drafts file! I was sure I had posted it… Oh well, Here it is anyway and I will do a new one next week What a month it has been! I have been kept pretty busy in my other aliases, plus I’m working on a Secret Santa Surprise. You’ll have to wait for Rosa Christian’s blog for more on that. I’m here working as Percy Rose ,just now. So, onward….

Good news Beaufort’s Landing Book 2 – ‘Tidal Secrets’ is now available as a print book as well as ebook from Amazon.

For those living in the Townsville area, you cn purchase my books at West End Tea House Gallery and Mary Who? Bookstore.

Book 3 and the prequel have stalled for the time being, but hope to have those out by Xmas.

Book 1 of the DNA Series, ‘Ruth In Pieces’ will soon be available in paperback, as well as ebook at Amazon.com.au

. More about that next time.

Ciao for now,

A New Look

As you see above I have changed my logo, which is more in-keeping with the genre I think. The reason for this is that I have recently opened a page on Instagram for Percy Rose and I needed something that really explained at first glance what I was all about — do you think it succeeds? I quite like it, but I am very biased and full of hubris. Check out my Insta site — I actually have no idea what I’m doing, and it is slow going. Things that are obvious to younger eyes aren’t so to me, though I eventually get there. I am improving…of course, I am.

This is the full logo…

I have been busy since my return from my sojourn in Rockhampton, which was a lot of fun btw.

I am presently awaiting print copies of Book 2 of Beaufort’s Landing — Tidal Secrets. It looked good in proof so should be fine….

Look what the tide washed in —

I am going to start going to local markets and see if I can garner some interest there. My community here in Rollingstone is very supportive but very small.A couple of places in Townsville have my books on their shelves — Mary Who? Book Shop in Flinders Street and West End Teahouse in Echlin Street. Both are great places to browse and the teahouse also has some of my artwork on their walls.

BTW do any of you know about Linktree, or is that TreeLink? Woud you recommend it or do you have other suggestions? I haven’t checked it out yet, its on my to-do list. It is supposed to make linking easier, I hope so. Looking up the links, copying and pasting is tedious and time consuming.

I am still trying to finish book 3 of the above and a Prologue, but other things keep getting in the way, or should I say I keep letting other things get in the way. Why am I procrastinating????

I have pencilled in the edits in Ruth In Pieces and now must transfer them to the fair copy ready for printing. It is very nteresting to read you book in actual book-form. I found some whopper mistakes. Why didn’t you catch them my beta-readers?

So I’d better get back

Book 2 Paperback Now Live!

Since then, I received my proof for Tidal Secrets, edited it – again and the print version is now live. You lucky things!

I can’t believe that it’s been a month. How on earth did that happen? The reason I’ve not got to blogging is that I’ve been busy editing and u loading new covers etc. I find it a bit discouraging when all this external business takes me away from writing which is what I love to do. Still, needs must. If I am honest a lot of it is that I’m so stubborn and that I rather enjoy the challenges inherent in these other efforts. How about you?

I am about half way into the prequel for the mystery series, Beaufort’s Landing, and have decided on the Title Coming Home since It starts with Xelma returning to Australia from Paris, having parted from her long-time lover there. She meets, Al. Remember him? Yes, that’s right — the crime boss ex-husband. Very gooood. It will only be a short novella, and available free, in the first instance, only to my newsletter subscribers. So, sign up below.

I still haven’t got to printing Ruth in Pieces but this week for sure.

So saying I must get on with it

P.S. My other me has been busy too and you can read all about it here….

P.P.S. I am going away for a couple of weeks on the 19th and since I no longer have a working laptop, I’ll probs not get back here until next month. Though, that is probably more than enough for you. See ya later alligata!

I’ve moved out…

I am going to re-publish this as an update and see if it appears on my FB page…here goes…..

Well hellloooo fans,   I have grown up, moved out and landed in my own new home. which is here, where you are, obviously.

It has been a learning curve all over again. Thank god WordPress is relatively easy to negotiate. By that I mean, I still made lots of mistakes and that’s why its taken me so long to write my first post…lol.

Still, I’m up and running now. There are presently three pages One with the collection of short stories and poems...Death, Danger and Dark Dreams. 

The second is simply titled Mysteries and presently has Book 1 of the Beaufort’s Landing series…Twin Powers (Psycho or Psychic) earlier known as… Death of a Twin.

The third page is titled Thrillers and though they are not yet published the page will lead you to to my very dark writing…killer diller, psychological thrillers. They are not for the faint-hearted. More about them soon…

Peruse the pages and let me know what you think.  Talk soon,  Percy Rose.

 

PS Well that didn’t work …this site is supposed to have gone Public, but nothing has happened. I will investigate and hopefully it will happen soon.