Newsletter FEBRUARY 2021
Firstly, I must thank all the readers who enjoyed the latest release, “Burdekin Heartbeats” – especially the reader who complained because she could not stop crying at the end of the story but loved, LOVED the book and the other reader who complained because she could not put it down until 3 am and the story ended.
Thanks also to the many Facebook viewers who offered advice on my question related to old cars – required for my next book.
Current Weather and Tides
For better or worse the fourth novel seems to have evolved from a ‘Mystery’ genre into a ‘Family Saga’ genre. Not to do so meant heaps of info-drops and back-story happenings – not a good thing. I decided to make better use of all the drama of the back-story.
BUT at least it is moving along again.
Keep reading. Keep writing. Keep smiling. Keep safe.
A Pearl for your Enjoyment
This short story was my response to a writing group homework over the holiday period. We were charged with writing something with a Christmas/New Year background.
Christmas is not a time to be grumpy. Sometimes we need to have faith.
Resentment tormented his mind like the heat tormented his body. Perspiration trickled down from under the red hat and into his white beard. His eyes stung with the salt of it. Rivulets of the sweat ran in waterfalls along his arms, his thighs, his back and his belly.
Did this children-filled hell-hole have no air conditioning? If one more of the snot-nosed, miniature, monsters rush up to pull his beard he’ll toss them up onto the top of the huge Christmas tree.
Santa’s baleful glare burned at the tree which shed tinsel and artificial leaves like snow in an Arctic winter.
I bet all that snot is drowning in Covid 19 bugs. I don’t think I’ll even mind if I do catch the disease – two weeks of isolation sounds pretty good about now.
Blue eyes searched the shopping centre hallway hoping to see his lay-about son. How had he been talked into filling in for the boy? Leila and he had been thrilled to learn their son had sorted himself out enough to take on this casual job. They would have been pleased to hear he had any job at that stage. Now, it’s only the first day, and the boy’s skived off after assuring his father it would be for only an hour. Santa grunted at the thought. At the next strike of the town clock, he’ll have suffered kiddie crap for three whole hours. It was too much. His son needed to learn to take a bit of responsibility in his life.
“Hey, Santa, are you listening to me?” The small child’s voice whined in his ear.
“Yes, boy, of course. Have you written a letter listing everything you spoke of? I don’t carry a pen and paper with me, you know. Can’t fit them on my sleigh with all the kids … er … children’s toys.” His errant scowl remained hidden behind the artificial wool of his whiskers but he was able to keep a reign on his tone of voice.
“Johnny, did you ask Santa about the train-set you wanted, son?”
Santa’s eyes rolled in his face. The threatening headache exploded at the sound of the mother’s screech from the sidelines. Santa stood abruptly. His fat belly sent the not-so-endearing boy hurtling backward into the arms of his not-so-endearing parent.
“Sorry, folk, but it’s rest-room time.” Between the unhappy glares of impatient mothers and the bawling of disappointed kids, Santa barrelled out of his enclosure in the direction of the ‘Toilets’ sign. He ran full pelt into his own wayward son.
“Hi, Dad. Sorry to have been so long – got held up by the bus service – they were all full and did not stop.”
Santa grabbed his boy by the scruff of his shirt and dragged him into the restroom.
“You get yourself into that costume and get out there and never ask me to do this again. Do you hear me? You can’t be trusted to do anything, can you? You said you’d only be an hour it’s been closer to six hours.”
“Don’t exaggerate, Dad – it’s hardly been three hours. The meeting …”
“I don’t want to hear your excuses – I’ve spent my life listening to your excuses. I’ve had enough. I don’t want to hear another word, Max.” Angry arms dragged the red costume and fat padded belly off and threw them at his son, Max Brown.
With a tight frown and narrowed lips, Max donned the costume and stormed out into the center towards the Santa Visit Corner.
His father stood with his arms pressed against the handbasin and his head bowed. At first, he did not hear the voice at his side.
“Hi, Mr. Brown, I’m David Gordon. Thanks for offering to cover for Max. I just couldn’t have faced my first drug counselling session alone. Because of you, he was able to come along to support me.”
Mr. Brown asked the boy, calling himself David, to repeat what he had said.
Guilt overwhelmed Mr. Brown. He wanted to curl up in the corner with shame and embarrassment at the memory of those words spoken to his son only a few minutes ago. With a deep breath, he raced outside and headed to the Santa corner. He jumped the queue and knelt before his son. A pair of blue eyes hidden in the red hat and white beard watched warily.
“Son, I’m sorry. I …” Strong arms reached over and hugged the Santa. Tears streamed down both their cheeks.
At first, the crowd remained hushed before a small voice piped up. “Look Ma, how come the big kid gets to kiss Santa.” Cheers and laughter filled the rafters.