The serial continues – Episode 37 published

Episode 37 of the “Cases of PI Walthenson” is now available

To read it :

My Website :

My First short story – “The Price of Fame” :




PS Don’t forget to comment if you wish, make a suggestion, join in the conversation

Writing about writing a book

Day three had just been published.

It is a novel about writing a novel, the thought processes behind writing from a writer who is writing his first novel.

It is part fiction, part the author, and a lot of observation and experience, and hopefully a few laughs as well.

Day 1:

Day 2:

Current Day – 3:


Comments or suggestions welcome!


Charles Heath

Writing about writing a book – a novel twist

I have decided to write about the process for me to write a book, working on the book at the same time.

You will join me on the rollercoaster.

It can be found:


Day One starts tomorrow

Another Short Story

From the days of wandering the remote country towns of New South Wales in Australia.


Observations of a country town

The man who had said that we would never make the distance was right.

It had been my idea to go ‘troppo’, forsake everything, hop on a motor bike and go around Australia.  I was, at that stage fed up with everything and, catching Harry in one of his low spots, he decided there and then he would join me.

For the first few days we believed we were stark staring mad and talked about calling it quits, but perseverance made all the difference.  After two months we were glad we had the resolve to keep going, and in that time we had managed to see more of the Australian countryside than we’d seen all our lives.

That was until this particular morning when we arrived in Berrigum, what could have been called a one-horse town.  It consisted of one hotel, one general store (that sold everything from toothpicks to petrol) and an agricultural machinery depot.  It also had a station and some wheat silos, and this appeared to be the only reason for a town in this particular spot in the middle of nowhere.

And it was the railway station that interested Harry, who was, by this time, getting a little homesick and fed up with his motorbike.

After coughing and spluttering for the last week it had finally died, and the five mile walk to Berrigum had not helped either his temper, or his disposition, and had only served to firm his resolve to return home.

It was hot but not unbearably so, unlike a hot summer’s day in the city, and even worse still in public transport.  For miles around as we tramped those five miles all we could see was acres and acres of wheat, but no sign of life.  It was the same when we reached the town.  It appeared all the people were either hiding, or had left.  Harry suspected the latter given the state of the road, and the buildings, more or less the epitome of a ghost town.

Standing at the end of what could have been called the main street with only our own dust for company, one look took in the whole town.  In a car one wouldn’t have given it a second look, if one had time to give it a first.  I didn’t remember seeing neither any speed restriction signs nor signpost advertising a town ahead.

And since no amount of argument could sway him from his resolve, the first objective was to get a train timetable, if such a thing existed, and make arrangements for Harry’s return.

The station was as deserted as the town itself, and a quick glance in the stationmaster’s office showed no sign of life.

Leaving the bikes on the platform outside the office, we headed for the hotel for both a drink and make enquiries about rail services.  Being a hot day and the morning’s tramp somewhat hot and dusty, we were looking forward to a cold glass (or two) of beer.

The hotel looked as though it was a hundred years old though there was no doubting a few relentless summers would reduce it to the same state.  It was as bad inside as out, though the temperature was several degrees lower, and we could sit down in what appeared to be the main bar.  We were the only occupants and still to find any sign of life.  Overhead, two fans were struggling to move the hot air around.

More than once Harry reckoned it was a ghost town and I was beginning to believe him when, after five minutes, no one arrived.

After ten, we stood, ready to leave, only to stop half way out of our chairs when a voice behind us said, “Surely you’re not going back out there without refreshment?”

“I was beginning to think the town was deserted,” I said.

“It is during the day, but when the sun goes down…”

I didn’t ask.  We followed him to the bar where he had stationed himself behind the counter.  “The name is Jack.”  He stretched out his hand towards us.  “We don’t bother with last names here.”

“Bill,” I said, shaking it, and nodding to Harry, “Harry.”

Harry nodded, and shook his hand too.

“First one’s on the house.”  He poured three glasses and put ours in front of us.  “Cheers.”

In all cases, it went down without touching the sides (as they say) and he poured a second, at the same time asking, “What brings you to our little corner of the earth?”

“Just passing through,” I said, “Or at least for me.”

“And you?”  Jack looked at Harry.

“I can’t hack the pace.  I can truthfully say I have thoroughly enjoyed the trip so far, except for a few mishaps, but for me it’s time to get back to the big smoke.  My ‘do your own thing’ has run out of momentum.  Do you know if there is a train that goes anywhere important?”

The publican looked at him almost pityingly.  “Important, eh?”  He rubbed his chin feigning thought.  “You make it sound like you are in purgatory.”

“Aren’t we?”

I suppose one could hardly blame Harry for his attitude.  After all, at the beginning he had numerous accidents, caught a virus that stayed with him (and a couple of torrential downpours had done little to help it), and now his motorbike had finally died.  No wonder his humour was at an all time low.

For a moment I thought the publican was going to tell Harry what he thought of him, but then he smiled and the tension passed.  “Perhaps to a city fellow like you it might be,” he said.  “The mail train which has a passenger carriage comes through once a week, and, my good man, you’re in luck.  Today’s the day.”

“Good.  How do I get a ticket?”

“You’d have to see the Station Master.”

“And where might he be at the moment?  We were at the station a while back and there was no sign of life.”

“Nor will there be until the train comes.  Meanwhile there’s time enough for lunch.  I’m sure you will stay?”  He looked questioningly at us.

I looked at Harry, who nodded.

“Why not.”


Over lunch we talked.

I remember not so long ago when I had to attend a large number of lunches where talk was of business, or, if anything, mostly about subjects that I had no interest in.  It was always some posh restaurant, time seemed important, the atmosphere never really relaxed, and to get into a relaxed state it took a large amount of alcohol to deaden the despair and distaste of those one had to fete in order to secure their business.

How different it was here.

We talked about the country, and, after seeing as much of it, and worked on it as we had to fund our odyssey, we could talk about it authoritatively.  And, most of all, it was interesting.

The atmosphere too was entirely different than it had been in the city.  Out here the people were always friendly, people always willing to stop and talk, particularly farmers; share a drink or some food.

There was none of this carefree purposefulness in the city, and more than once I’d thought of the fact one could travel in the same train with the same people for year after year and still not know any of them.  It was the same at work.  Even after five years I still hadn’t known three quarters of the office staff, and most of them probably didn’t want to know me.  Harry was virtually the only real friend I’d had at work.

But here, in ‘the middle of nowhere’ as Harry had called it, I felt as though I’d known the publican all of my life instead of the few short hours.


Some hours later and after much argument, where Jack and I tried to talk Harry into staying (Jack said he knew someone who could fix anything including Harry’s bike), Harry remained unconvinced and resolute.  Jack, to round off the occasion (we were the first real guests from outside he had had in a week) provided another on-the-house ale and then saw us to the station.  “After all”, he had said, “I’ve nothing else to do at the moment.”

By that time the station was showing a little more life than it had before.  A station assistant, moving several parcels with a hand trolley, slowly ambled towards the end of the platform.

And whether it could be called a platform was a debatable point.  It was a gravel and grass affair that looked more like part of a cutting through a hill than a station.

At the station Jack portentously announced he was also the stationmaster and would be only too happy to take care of Harry’s requirements.  It would be, he added, “the first passenger ticket sold for several months.”  Certainly the ticket he handed Harry bore witness to that.  It had yellowed with age.

One would have thought with the imminent arrival of the train there would be more people, but no.  The only event had been the station assistant’s stroll to the end of the platform and back.  Now both he and Jack had disappeared into the office and we were left alone on the platform.  Very little in the whole town stirred, nor had it the whole time we’d been there.

“Well,” I said to break the silence.  “I’m sorry to see you going through with it.  I thought I might have been able to talk you out of it…”  I shrugged, leaving the sentence unfinished.

“I’m sorry to be going too, but a body can take only so much bad luck, and God knows that’s all I’ve had.”

“Yes.”  I couldn’t think of much else to say.  “But it’s been good to have your company these last few months.”

“And you.  When do you think you’ll get back?”

“When I get sick of it I suppose.”

“Look us up then when you get back.”

“I will.”

Thankfully the appearance of the train in the distance broke off the conversation.  I had begun to think of what it was going to be like out on the road with no one to talk to but myself.  The thought was a little depressing and I tried not to let it show.

We said little else until the train pulled in, three flat cars, seven enclosed wagons, a passenger carriage and the guards van.  The train stopped with only part of the passenger carriage and the guard’s van at the station.

The guard took aboard the parcels the station assistant had left for him earlier, and then put those that were for Berrigum on the trolley.

I shook Harry’s hand and said I’d see him around.  Then he, the motorbike, and the guard were aboard and the train was off, disappearing slowly into the afternoon haze.

The station assistant then repeated his amble to the end of the platform to collect the hand trolley.

“Staying or moving on.”  Jack had come up behind me and gave me a bit of a start.

“Staying I guess, until tomorrow or maybe later.”

“I had heard one of the farm hands is leaving tomorrow heading back to Sydney.  There could be a vacancy.”

“Sounds like a plan,” I said.

“I could put in a word for you.”


Jack just grinned and we headed for the hotel.


© Charles Heath 2016

The serial continues – Episode 36 published

Episode 36 of the “Cases of PI Walthenson” is now available

To read it :

My Website :

My First short story – “The Price of Fame” :




PS Don’t forget to comment if you wish, make a suggestion, join in the conversation

A fortnight in the life of …

It sounds like the title of a book and maybe I should write it.  Along with the twenty other story ideas that are currently running around in my head.

Is it any wonder I can’t sleep at night.

I’m working on the latest book and it is not going well.  I don’t have writer’s block, I think it is more a case of self-doubt.

This leads me to be over critical of what I have written and much pressing of the delete key.  Only to realize that an action taken in haste can be regrettable, and makes me feel even more depressed.

I think I’d be happier in a garret somewhere channeling van Gogh’s rage.

Lesson learned – don’t delete, save it to a text file so it can be retrieved when sanity returns.

I was not happy with the previous start.  Funny about that, because until a few weeks ago I thought the start was perfect.

What a difference a week makes or is that politics?

Perhaps I should consider adding some political satire.

But I digress…

It seems it’s been like that for a few weeks now, not being able to stick to the job in hand, doing anything but what I’m supposed to be doing.  I recognize the restlessness, I’m not happy with the story as it is, so rather than getting on with it, I find myself writing words just for the sake of writing words.

Any words are better than none, right?

So I rewrote the start, added about a hundred pages and now I have to do a mass of rewriting of what was basically the whole book.

But here’s the thing.

This morning I woke up and looked at the new start, and it has inspired me.

Perhaps all I needed was several weeks of teeth gnashing, and self-doubt to get myself back on track.

Who would want to be a writer?

Me!  First in line, every time!

The serial continues – Episode 35 published

Episode 35 of the “Cases of PI Walthenson” is now available

To read it :

My Website :

My First short story – “The Price of Fame” :




PS Don’t forget to comment if you wish, make a suggestion, join in the conversation

The serial continues – Episode 34 published

Episode 34 of the “Cases of PI Walthenson” is now available

To read it :

My Website :

My First short story – “The Price of Fame” :




PS Don’t forget to comment if you wish, make a suggestion, join in the conversation

One Last Look

A single event can have enormous consequences.

A single event driven by fate, after Ben told his wife Charlotte he would be late home one night, he left early, and by chance discovers his wife having dinner in their favourite restaurant with another man.

A single event where it could be said Ben was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Who was this man?  Why was she having dinner with him?

A simple truth to explain the single event was all Ben required.  Instead Charlotte told him a lie.

A single event that forces Ben to question everything he thought he knew about his wife, and the people who are around her.

After a near death experience and forced retirement into a world he is unfamiliar with, Ben finds himself once again drawn back into that life of lies, violence, and intrigue.

From London, to a small village in Tuscany, little by little Ben discovers who the woman he married is, and the real reason why fate had brought them together.




What Sets Us Apart

David is a man troubled by a past he is trying to forget.

Susan is rebelling against a life of privilege and an exasperated mother who holds a secret that will determine her daughter’s destiny.

They are two people brought together by chance.  Or was it?

When Susan discovers her mother’s secret, she goes in search of the truth that has been hidden from her since the day she was born.

When David realises her absence is more than the usual cooling off after another heated argument, he finds himself being slowly drawn back into his former world of deceit and lies.

Then, back with his former employers, David quickly discovers nothing is what it seems as he embarks on a dangerous mission to find Susan before he loses her forever.