Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thanks to Wendy for her great review [below] of Crossroads from Isca, my Roman Britain book. You can check out Wendy at her blog
Review of Crossroads at Isca. 
Togas, Tribunes and Taboos.
Crossroads at Isca draws us into the lives of Romans and Britains in a conquered land. We become part of a local family, or tribe, who rebel against Roman authority, in their different ways. This is a story about betrayal, manipulation, love, honour, duty and fear. Set during the reign of Emperor Hadrian (117-138AD), Isca refers to a Roman legionary fortress and settlement, in South Wales on the plains below the ancient village of Ceobury. The two cultures clash and exploit each other. We watch both camps try to cooperate but also manipulate each other in order to survive and thrive, and our sympathies are constantly changing.
The story hooked me right from the start. I have grave concerns for the two cousins who are unaware of the potential betrayer in their midst. Marella, the dancer, is headed for trouble and she's determined to take Faine, the singer, with her. Faine is a sensible young woman but there is a Roman tribune, Titus, who intrigues her and who is infatuated with her.
I applaud the author, Laurel Lamperd, for her thorough research. This book is rich in history. It has everything from everyday life in the primitive village, where we become part of a family; eating, drinking, laughing, crying and journeying with them, even burying them, to kidnapping, murder and human sacrifice. We come to understand the significance of pagan sacrifice, on the one hand, and on the other, how necessary high priests are and how they become revered. We face the evil from within the clan, admire the strength of the women who carve out their own destiny against impossible odds, and respect the attributes of the Romans.
Lamperd creates believably flawed characters who drive the gripping plot, and she doesn’t shy away from the taboos of the times but handles them with the skill of a seasoned writer.
This historical adventure allows us to experience Roman Britain first hand. The story is entertaining and enlightening and encourages us to question our own values. Would we succumb in the circumstances?
I must admit, I enjoy everything from this author’s pen.
Highly recommended.
Wendy Laharnar
Author-The Unhewn Stone.

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Download a copy of Crossroads at Isca from
Two British girls meet with two young Roman tribunes and their lives are changed forever. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I wrote this poem because rising salt is proving to be a silent disaster in the farm lands of Western Australia.
The native WA vegetation evolved to be salt tolerant. Many woodland species have deep roots and a high water demand.
European farming arrived a hundred and fifty years ago, replacing the native vegetation with crops and pasture, plants with shorter roots and a need for less water.
It began the state's worst environmental crisis which has continued to the present.
Salt has been published in E2K and Landscape magazines. 


Since the Holocene
The sea has been trapped
behind dunes. 

It roars
Like a raging lion
ready to be let loose
on the land. 

It sounds louder at night
Menacing. Threatening. 

The sheep listen
From their hillock of sand
the sea once covered. 

Between the sea and the sheep
Are salt lakes.
So much water
so much salt. 

In the wet years
The water level rises
and brings the salt.
The dry years bring starvation
and the sheep die
but the salt remains. 

Now there is less grazing land. 

It is a race between us
And the salt. 

We plant trees. 

It is war between us
And the salt. 

We plant. 

The foe is merciless.

Still we plant.

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Download The Rainbow Children from
Stories suitable for children 3 - 11.
A lonely child, Jenny meets up with the rainbow children and has an adventure.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Oranges are the Bitter Fruit

Oranges are the Bitter Fruit was first published in SWW Decades Anthology. The brief was to write a fictional short story and link it with a person who had lived. CY O'Connor [1843 - 1902] was an Irish engineer who is best known for the construction of Fremantle Harbour and the Goldfields Water Supply pipeline which carries water 530 km from Mundaring Dam near Perth to Kalgoorlie Boulder in Western Australia.
I have since published it in The Japanese Grandmother, my short story and poetry magazine.
Below is a short excerpt from the story. You can read the rest on my website at


The boy had watched the house since daylight.
Last night, he planned to break in and steal food when the occupants were asleep. Then his hunger was bearable. Now it was like a raging tiger. Getting food was all he cared about but he was frightened. He hadn't broken into a house before.
He saw the man leave on horseback early in the morning. Then some children left in a horse-drawn carriage and a woman an hour later.
For a long time, there wasn't any movement at the house and the smoke had cleared from the chimney.
When he thought it safe, he stepped from behind a bush and glanced up and down the road. No one was in sight. He ran across to the house and climbed the fence before  fear got the better of him, and jumped down into the courtyard.
It shocked him to see a young girl whom he hadn't noticed, standing at an easel, painting, in the shade of the wide verandah.

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Download from
Miss Emma Napier helps her friend to escape a forced marriage. She meets Lord Desborough who is looking for a temporary wife. Emma seems the perfect choice.

Friday, June 15, 2012

 I wrote this poem many years ago.
It was published by Ars Poetica & online
by Poetry Quay. I wonder where those
publications are now.
However, I'm glad to air the poem again. 
I hope you enjoy it. 


She sent a card
In sympathy for Tom's death
with a note attached.
She had got religion
and wanted to atone
for the affair she and Tom
had in that mining town
forty years ago. 

Our children were in nursery school.
I thought she was my friend
But in preserving
her peace of mind
she has shattered mine.

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Down load from
Suitable for children 7 - 11 years. Shane, Mitch and Leanna discover an injured cormorant living at the creek. Then they have to protect the creek from the developers.  

Sunday, June 10, 2012


Footballers, my short story is available on my website
The short story was published in the West Australian Newspapers thirty years ago. It was one of my first stories published. I was thrilled to bits. Sadly, the West doesn't publish short stories and poetry anymore. It's what I like about the web. you can air old writings again.
Below is a short excerpt.
Kenny saw his father’s football trophies in the cupboard set high on the kitchen wall. Tarnished with black smudges, the silver cups gleamed dully in the afternoon sunlight shafting through the kitchen window.
"You'll be up there one day too, fella," his father would say as he gave one of the silver cups to Kenny to hold.
Kenny ran his fingers over the writing. "What does it say, Dad?” he’d ask though he knew it by heart.
“Best Player in Southerners Football Team,” his father would say. 

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The second book in the Walara series. Danny and Will Hennessy join up in WW2 leaving their father, Jack Hennessy to manage the huge Walara sheep station
The book can be purchased as a download from

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Gentle Wind's Caress released

My historical novel, The Gentle Wind's Caress, has been released in paperback and in digital formats. Yay!

The Blurb:Halifax, 1876. On the death of her mother and sister, Isabelle Gibson is left to fend for herself and her brother in a privately-run workhouse. After the matron's son attempts to rape her, Isabelle decides to escape him and a life of drudgery by agreeing to marry a moorland farmer she has never met. But this man, Farrell, is a drunkard and a bully in constant feud with his landlord, Ethan Harrington. When Farrell bungles a robbery and deserts her, Isabelle and Ethan are thrown together as she struggles to save the farm. Both are married and must hide their growing love. But despite the secrecy, Isabelle draws strength from Ethan as faces from the past return to haunt her and a tragedy is set to strike that will change all of their lives forever.

The except:‘He’ll be here soon.’ Hughie sat by the fire darning a sock. ‘The snow has likely held him up.’

‘What keeps him out night after night?’ She stamped her foot in frustration. ‘He drinks more than a sailor does on his first day back at port!’
 Hughie grinned.The sound of scratching made Isabelle frown. The snowstorm grew in intensity. She could no longer see the outbuildings. The scratching sounded again. ‘What is that?’
Hughie shrugged. ‘The trees on the window upstairs?’
Isabelle stepped away from the window, nibbling her fingertips. There would be no market day today. She went to walk into the scullery when a thump hit the back door. She opened it and cried out as Farrell landed at her feet.
Hughie dashed to her side and together they stared at her husband’s bloody form.‘Heaven’s above!’ Isabelle bent to touch him. He stirred and moaned. ‘Help me bring him inside, Hughie.’
They grabbed him under the arms and dragged him down the step and onto the kitchen floor. His coat was missing and his wet woollen vest cloaked him like another skin.
Farrell opened and closed his eyes. ‘Isabelle…’
‘What happened to you?’ She took a dishcloth from the table and knelt to wipe the blood oozing from a cut in his forehead. She gestured to Hughie. ‘Get me some blankets off the bed and a pillow too. He’s too heavy to lift, so I’ll have to make a bed in here for him.
As Hughie ran to do as she bid, Isabelle quickly made him a cup of sweet tea and held his head up to pour a little into his mouth. Next, she rubbed Farrell’s cold hands between her own. Hughie ran into the room with the items she asked for, and Isabelle placed the pillow under Farrell’s head. ‘Heat a warming pan, Hughie.’
Farrell’s eyes fluttered, he moaned between blue lips.
Isabelle ran into the scullery and found an old pair of gloves. She returned and tugged them onto his icy hands. ‘Lord, what have you done to yourself?’
He murmured and opened his eyes. She tucked the blanket around him more securely. ‘Lie still.’
‘No…’She put the cup to his lips again. ‘Drink this now. You need to get warm.’
He slowly eased himself up onto one elbow. ‘Got to hide.’ He wheezed and then coughed. His split lip began to bleed freely again.
‘Hide?’ She frowned. ‘Why?’
‘They’ll find me here!’ He tried to get up, but she pushed him back down. 
‘Had to run…’
Hughie knelt down beside them. ‘Has he lost his mind?’
‘Heaven knows, silly man. It’d be hardly surprising if he has, being out in this weather all night.’ She made Farrell drink again. ‘Take his boots off, Hughie.’
‘No!’ Farrell reared up. ‘I must hide.’ He gripped Isabelle’s arms until they hurt. His eyes were wide and frightened. ‘I can’t hide here. They’ll find me.’
In a panic, Isabelle glanced up at the door as though the riders from Hell would burst through it any moment. She flung away his hands, alarmed. ‘What have you done?’ Her voice sounded high to her ears.
‘They nearly caught me. Had to run.’ Farrell panted, throwing off the blanket, struggling to sit up. ‘They saw my face. I must go!’
Isabelle stood and hugged herself, fighting rising terror. ‘Tell me,’ she whispered.

To Purchase:

Amazon USA
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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Congratulations to Wendy for the excellent Calamity's Corner she produced this month. For Writers, Readers and Movie Buffs who enjoy a bright informative newsletter. Contact Calamity at for a free download.
Happy Birthday to Calamity's Corner for the newsletter celebrates its fourth birthday. And to Wendy for producing a top newsletter each month. I mustn't forget Spirzli, the birthday girl, who celebrates her third birthday.
Maggie Anderson, whose latest book is, The Reluctant Marquess, writes an interesting article about Those Fabulous Georgians. I've written a Regency romance and am in the midst of writing another so I lapped up Maggie's article.

Product Details
Rebecca Ryalls Russell writes an excellent review of the new hit movies, The Hunger Games. The short synopsis she gives reminds me of the Greek myth of Theseus who volunteers to join the seven young men and seven young women who are sent to Crete from Athens each year as tribute. The King Must Die, based on the Theseus myth, is one of my favourite books.
Peter Bernhardt, American espionage writer, visits beautiful Sedona and produces lovely photos and interesting description about the area.
Jacqui Rogers in her monthly spot, A Blast from the Past, writes about Hopalong Cassidy, brings back memories for some of us who are old enough to remember the Saturday afternoon pictures when the cowboy was king.
Plenty more interesting reading in June's Calamity's Corner.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Blue Vase was read on the ABC  about twenty years ago. I'm glad to air it again here.


She is more
My mother's daughter
than mine.
I hear their laughter
in the living room
while I make tea
in the kitchen. 

When my grandmother died
Her daughters
divided her valuables. 

From the waste heap
I rescued the blue vase. 

My grandmother told me
Her mother had brought it
from Scotland.
It had belonged
to her mother. 

The blue vase
Sits on the windowsill.
Beside it is the one
my daughter gave me
made by some modern potter. 

Beyond the living room
My granddaughter plays in the garden.
When she is grown
I shall give her
the blue vase. 

Laurel Lamperd

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Available as a download from

Joe Hennessy builds a sheep station in the Carnarvon district of Western Australia.