“What Sets Us Apart”, a mystery with a twist

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 realizes 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.



A new start for my next Zoe the Assassin novel, ‘First Dig Two Graves’

Here’s the thing.

I’ve written the story, and editing after leaving the story for about a year, and it’s coming along.


Yes, there’s always a but in there somewhere.

But, I don’t like the start, or for that matter, I can’t get a feel for it.  I have about five different starting points, but none of them feel right.

I’ve been thinking of writing it from John’s perspective, but there are so many peripheral characters that need to be drawn in, people he doesn’t really know much about, or that some have a vested interest in his current girlfriend if she could be called that.

So I thought I’d throw a few words down and see how they sit.


You would not know by looking at MaryAnne that she was probably one of the best assassins in the world.  You would be more inclined to consider she was just another spoilt American brat on the loose on holiday.

She was certainly one of the most beautiful women I’d ever met.

And she was certainly one of the most deadly.  I could personally attest to that having seen her in action.

I could also attest to the fact that somewhere under that hard, conscienceless exterior, there was a heart, and sometimes it was visible.  After all, I was a target, her target, once, and I’m still alive thanks to her.

It was a small detail I omitted when I introduced her to my parents, but that was one little step on a long road that I thought was going somewhere.

Perhaps, after all this time, I’d misinterpreted the signs and I was wrong.

We were sitting on the balcony of our hotel room on the 45th floor of the hotel we were staying at in downtown Surfer’s Paradise, a mecca for holidaymakers from the rest of Australia, and overseas.

It was perfect for tourists.

The champagne was cold, and although it was a hot 35 degrees Celcius out in the sunlight, the mood on the balcony was a decidedly cool as the champagne.

Today was the six month anniversary of the first day we had spent together as, well, I was not sure, now, what we were.

She turned to look at me.  She was nothing like the Zoe of old, and I had finally got used to Mary Anne.  It was an amazing transformation, but with it, I had thought she had finally shrugged off the Zoe persona.

She hadn’t.  That hardened expression that I had hoped would be gone forever, had returned.

“It’s time to go back home, John.”

It was also that tone, the one when she spoke, that sent shivers down my spine, not the good shivers, but the one that told me trouble was ahead.  Deadly trouble.

“I need to do something.  Don’t get me wrong, this had been a delightful rest, and I could not ask for a better companion, but it’s time.  We both knew this was going to happen.”

I noticed her features had softened a little when she mentioned my name, but the message was the same.  We had talked about this moment at the outset.  There was always going to be a use by date on this adventure, for me at least.

It was also the time when she would, she said, decided where I would fit, if I fitted, in her future.  When we originally spoke about it, she was still unsure of her feelings towards me.  Over time, I had also hoped that they would be the same as mine for her.

Perhaps I had been expecting too much.

“When did you decide?”

“About thirty seconds ago.  That’s when I realized it doesn’t matter where we are in the world, I still want to be with you.  So, how do you like the idea of going into the assassination business?”


I’m not sure what John might think of this development, but I think you will agree with me, so long as he is with Zoe, he’s happy.


© Copyright, Charles Heath 2018




Ain’t no mountain high enough

If only it was as easy to write one line of a song as it is to write a sentence, a paragraph, or a page of a book.

At times it feels like it is like climbing a mountain.

Curiously we seem to categorize almost insurmountable problems in terms of climbing mountains, but to me, it seems that might only be applicable if we were to attempt the north face of Mount Everest.

However, mountains have always been part of the metaphor for overcoming obstacles.

We can choose to climb over it, blow it up, or tunnel through it.  The general answer is the same in all cases, obstacles are not insurmountable, they just need time to find a solution.

Two items to note when it comes to mountains, the first, I prefer to go through a tunnel, and the second, there’s not a mountain I’ve been up that hasn’t had a magnificent view.  Of course, getting to the top has been easy, I just hopped on the tram or the gondola.

After all, isn’t that what they’re there for?

Ok, flippancy aside, I have had to climb a few mountains of my own over the years, and, yes, it’s hard work, and, at times, I’ve wanted to give up.

But, not today.  Today is a good day.

And as the title says, ‘Ain’t no mountain high enough!’



Where are the words?

If I get a headache, I can take paracetamol

If I have a sore back, I can take ipBrufen.

If I can’t find the words … what is there I can take?

This has nothing to do with writer’s block.  Some might argue it’s just a part of the problem, like staring at a blank piece of paper, or the fact there are too many distractions, not the least of which is the fact your pen has run out of ink.

Yes, that happens.

And, yes, don’t take the pens out of hotel rooms because they do not have much ink in them, and on one occasion I managed to write seven pages of story before the ink ran out.

What are they?

Advertising for the hotel.

“Oh, that’s a cute pen, where did you get it?”

“China!”  Because that’s where they are invariably made.

But …

Not having the words, is not the same as having the words but not the right ones.

OK, anything on paper is better than nothing, but the point here, it is better, if possible, to write what is needed rather than just scrap it later and have to rewrite it all again.

Been there and done that.

So safely ensconced in my hotel room, staring out at the magnificent view,  it seems that opposites are not going to attract this time, and there’s going to be a chase scene down the grand staircase, knocking over a couple having their wedding photos taken.

Yes, now I’ve got it.

I can see it as it happens…


A Private Investigator’s tale lends itself to being a serial

The write a private detective serial has always been one of the items at the top of my to-do list, though trying to write novels and a serial, as well as a blog, and maintain a social media presence, well, you get the idea.

But I made it happen, from a bunch of episodes I wrote a long, long time ago, used these to start it, and then continue on, then as now, never having much of an idea where it was going to end up, or how long it would take to tell the story.

That, I think is the joy of ad hoc writing, even you, as the author, have as much idea of where it’s going as the reader does.

It’s basically been in the mill since 1990, but it’s coming to an end very soon.


My private detective, Harry Walthenson

I’d like to say he’s from that great literary mold of Sam Spade, or Mickey Spillane, or Phillip Marlow, but he’s not.

But, I’ve watched Humphrey Bogart play Sam Spade with much interest, and modeled Harry and his office on it.  Similarly, I’ve watched Robert Micham play Phillip Marlow with great panache, if not detachment, and added a bit of him to the mix.

Other characters come into play, and all of them, no matter what period they’re from, always seem larger than life.  I’m not above stealing a little of Mary Astor, Peter Lorre or Sidney Greenstreet, to breath life into beguiling women and dangerous men alike.


Then there’s the title, like

The Case of the Unintentional Mummy – this has so many meanings in so many contexts, though I image back in Hollywood in the 30’s and 40’s, this would be excellent fodder for Abbott and Costello

The Case of the Three Legged Dog – Yes, I suspect there may be a few real-life dogs with three legs, but this plot would involve something more sinister.  And if made out of plaster, yes, they’re always something else inside.

But for mine, to begin with, it was “The Case of the …”, because I had no idea what the case was going to be about, well, I did, but not specifically.

Then it became “The Case of the Bother’s Revenge” because I began to have a notion that there was a brother no one knew about, but that’s stuff for other stories, not mine, so it will change again.


Take a look yourself …


The first episode – (1) – The Wrong Place, The Wrong Time


The latest Episode – (91) – It is never who you think it is



The Web Page:  https://piwalthenson.wordpress.com/

My Website:  http://charles-heath.com

My blog:  https://aloysius5.com/


Trying to get off the merry-go-round

Self-published authors are fully aware that perhaps the easiest part of the writing journey is the actual writing.  Well, compared to the marketing aspect I believe it is.

I have read a lot of articles, suggestions and tips and tricks to market the book to the reading public.  It is, to say the least, a lot harder to market eBooks than perhaps their hard or paper covered relatives.

This is despite the millions of eReaders out there.

Then there is that other fickle part of the publishing cycle, the need for reviews.

Proper reviews of course.

As we are learning, reviews can be bought.  Currently, Amazon is out there seeking out these reviews and reviewers and it will be interesting to see the result of their actions.

All the advice I have seen and read tells me that reviews should not be paid for, that reviews will come with sales.  It might be a difficult cycle, more reviews means more sales, etc.  And getting those first sales …

Therein lies the conundrum.  It is a question of paying for advertising or working it out for ourselves.  I guess if I were to get more sales, I could afford the advertising … yes, back on the merry-go-round!

And yet, the harder the road, the more I enjoy what I do.  It is exhilarating while writing, it is a joy to finish the first draft, it is an accomplishment when it is published, but when you sell that first book, well, there is no other feeling like it.

I am inspired.

Now, where are those notes for the next story …

A rainy day that fuels the imagination

It’s one of those wet mornings where you can hear the gentle pattering of rain on the rooftop, and on the leaves of the trees outside the window.

The dark grey clouds inhibit the sun, keeping it unnaturally dark inside, enough to trick you into thinking you have more time to sleep, ignoring the fact the clock beside the bed is telling you the exact opposite.

That could be a problem if you have a day job.

But, today is Sunday, and it’s just what I need.

Time to mull over the latest storyline, marshal my thoughts, write the prose in my head.

OK, that not working for me.

The rain is getting heavier, and is splashing outside; the steady waterfall of overflow from the gutters is taking away my concentration.

Rain, rain, go away …

I have two different visions.

A cold, grey day in London (is there any other sort of day?) waiting for a train, and seeing the woman of your dreams go past, standing in the doorway, and in that fraction of a second your eyes meet and a connection is made, just before the doors close and the train departs.

I suspect it has fuelled many a song such as ‘The Look of Love’.

The second is on a desolate section of coastline as for north as you can go in Scotland (yes, I am a glutton for punishment), and she is standing on the cliff top gazing out to sea, hair blowing in the wind.  Silent, strong, resolute.

The rain falls harder, and going outside is not an option.

Notes hastily scribbled in a notebook for later reference.

Time to curl up on the couch with a mug of soup and watch an old movie!

A pleasant Sunday morning in the suburbs

All I wanted was a cup of coffee.

OK, I could have made one, I have a Nespresso machine, purchased after watching an inspiring George Clooney advertisement (well, my wife bought it) but I was after something with a little more oomph!

We have a small shopping center just up the road about a kilometer away and I thought, what is a five-minute short drive when I want a cup of hot, steaming, delicious to the last drop, coffee?

That’s where any semblance of sanity ends.

I walked out the back door and forgot the car keys, so I had to go back in.  The door opens and the cat gets out.  Not so bad you think, but no, after three road kills, the cat getting out is a major catastrophe (pardon the pun).

Ten minutes later, cornered like a rat in a trap, he is back inside, I have the keys, and out in the car.  It’s a hot day, and the air conditioning isn’t working.  Damn.  It’s like 45 degrees Celsius in the car.

This is the time to give up and go back inside.  The omens are telling!

I don’t.

Our driveway is up a slight hill and usually we back the cars up so it’s easier to drive out onto the street.  We live in a corner house, and whilst it is not a busy intersection, it has been known for cars to treat it like the third chicane of a Grand Prix.  Late at night cars have rolled trying to make that tight corner.

I’m reversing off the driveway, too lazy the previous day to back it up, and you guessed it, Enzo Ferrari’s brother is making heavy weather in the third chicane and takes the corner wide, sliding across to the other side of the street, a) because he’s going too fast, and b) because he just saw me backing out of my driveway.

I’m having a heart attack and waiting for the bang, and he’s rapidly accelerating, smoke pouring from streaming tires, and engine roaring in first or second as the revs pass 9000 and are redlining.

Disaster averted.  One speed junkie and daredevil happy, one old man shaken to the core.

So far I’ve traveled 10 meters.

On the radio, the station is playing the James Bond theme from ‘You Only Live Twice’.

Apt, very apt.

I am now very sedately driving to the shopping center, the road following a wide curve.  Nothing can go wrong here until I reach the T intersection.  I stop like I do every time, and look.  No cars from the left, and one opposite me turning into my street.

I start to turn.  The car opposite decides to do a U-Turn, and I slam the foot on the brakes.  The driver of the other car is oblivious to me, happily chatting on her mobile phone.  Didn’t stop, didn’t look, didn’t care.

My heart rate is now 190 over 122, and perhaps I should be clinically dead.

Coffee is the last thing I need.

But I persevere.  How much worse can it get?

The shopping center is not far, up to the roundabout and a right turn into the shopping center car park.  Usually, there are plenty of parking spots, today there a none.  I drive down one of the lanes and nearly get hit but a reversing driver.  Again, not looking, or perhaps distracted by four children in the back seat.

Or the very, very loud music coming from the car.

I thought at first it was the pounding of my headache, brought on by high blood pressure.

I back up the car up to give the driver more room to reverse out and so I could turn into the spot when he vacates it.

More fool me.  The car backs out, another driver swoops in and takes the spot.

I get out to remonstrate, but he’s three feet wide and seven feet tall with a scarred face and tattoos on both arms.  Time to move on.

Yes, there’s nothing like a tall hot steaming cup of coffee on a pleasant Sunday morning.

In hell!