The A to Z blog challenge


I’m working hard to get ready for this when it starts tomorrow, Australian time, which means in some cases my posts will appear seemingly the day before, particularly for those who live in America or Europe, because of the very large time difference.

For those in America, we can be up to 17 hours ahead, which makes flying to, say, New York, appear like no time has passed.  As an example, some years back we left Australia about 3pm on New Year’s Eve and arrived in New York at 9 pm New Year’s Eve, which can be a little difficult to understand.


I’m frantically getting a few posts written before the event starts so that I’m not trying to get one written on the day.  I don’t work well under pressure, and more significantly, inspiration dries up when the deadline is imminent.

There is a theme, to do with my fascination word words in the English language, and each will start with, for example,

A is for …

and will continue each day except Sunday till the month ends.

So, tune in tomorrow for the first installment.

A matter of life and … what’s worse than death? – Episode 3

This is a story inspired by a visit to an old castle in Italy. It was, of course, written while traveling on a plane, though I’m not sure if it was from Calgary to Toronto, or New York to Vancouver.

But, there’s more to come. Those were long flights…
And sadly when I read what I’d written, off the plane and in the cold hard light of dawn, there were problems, which now in the second draft, should provide the proper start.


There were eleven stormtroopers and Wallace, eighteen in Johansson and Jackerby’s group. One of those would be in the communications center, leaving, at worst, twenty-nine men out looking for me.

I also assumed that Jackerby would approach the search in much the same manner as I would, the men in pairs, as singly, he knew that I would have an advantage.

Eight pairs would be inside, doing a room to room search, from the top down.

Five pairs would be outside, one group in the center, one group at each of the corners, all working the perimeter, all in constant communication with each other.

In normal circumstances, I would be caught.

These were not normal circumstances.


Jack padded his way just ahead of me, stopping every few yards and both sniffing and listening.  At a junction he would stop, waiting, then make a decision which way to go.

I had to trust his instincts.

Just ahead of me there was a cracking sound followed by falling rocks and a shaft of light.

An opening in the roof where it was too close to the surface.

Jack went quite still.  Voices.

“Be careful.”  German.

Followed immediately by “Speak in English you fool.  You were saying,”

The man switched to careful English, “Be careful, or you’ll fall down that hole.  They should have told us the ground around here is on top of an old mineshaft.”

“Better, Corporal.  Remember. English at all times.”

“Could be where they buried the bodies hastily before they left.”

The man was referring to the story the previous custodians of the castle had killed about a hundred of the nearby villagers and buried them in a mass grave near the castle.  No one had been able to verify the account, nor had anyone found any skeletal evidence.


“Let’s get out of here.  The last thing I want to see is a ghost.”


© Charles Heath 2019

In a word: Pad

Here is another of those three letter words that can have so many meanings that it is nigh on impossible to pin it down.

You have to use it in a sentence which all but explains it.

For instance,

A pad might be a writing pad, or a note pad, something on which you can write, notes, stories, anything really, even doodles.

Cats, dogs, a lot of animals have padded feet.  I’d say, for a cat, those pads would be like shock absorbers.

You can pad an expense account with false expenditure in an accounting sense, I’m sure a lot of people are tempted to do so.

I know places, where a single man might live, is called a bachelor pad.  So many men like to think they may have one, but it takes money to buy the accouterments of seduction.

Then there’s a medical dressing, a square of gauze called a pad, usually absorbent and soaked in disinfectant to help protect and repair a wound.

Shoulder pads, for broader shoulders

KInee pads, for when crashing off a bike

Shin pads for soccer, and ice hockey players

A helipad which is for helicopter landings and takeoffs, much the same as a launch pad for rockets.  Unfortunately, rockets do not generally have a tendency to land, not unless they are bombs, like the V1 and V2 rockets of WW2.

It could also be someone walking around a house in socks, the man stealthily approached the thief, padding silently in his socks so he wouldn’t be heard.

And lastly,

A place for frogs to hang out, ie, the flat leaves of a water Lilly.

Any more?

I’m sure there is, just let me know.


Conversations with my cat – 25


This is Chester.  He’s trying to keep a low profile.

He thinks that he had found a new hiding spot that I don’t know about.

He’s the scoop news, my friend, you leave a trail of cat hair.


That’s not the main reason we need to talk.

He seems to have forgotten what mice are and what his primary job is.  It’s a subject that we seem to discuss a lot these days.

I wonder if that is because he’s 16 years old and now a senior citizen, one who now thinks he can milk the selective memory, selective hearing thing.

That’s my excuse, mate, not yours.

I can see he’s trying to keep that look of contempt off his face, but it’s not working.

You’re the cat, there’s a mouse, get to work.

I leave, shaking my head.  It’s like talking to a brick wall.



In a word: Spark

So, as far as I’m concerned the word ‘spark’ is something that is created by a fire, and can create havoc.


Another meaning is that a ‘spark’ is created by a ‘spark plug’ in order to force the pistons of an engine to drive the crankshaft

This leads to…

There is no spark in this relationship, so perhaps it’s going nowhere.  No, we’re not looking for a fiery spark, but a small amount of very intense feeling


I was watching God Friended Me last night and I’m sure like many others we were waiting to see that spark that would change their relationship from the friend zone, to something else.


I think it was there.  Of course, we’ll have to wait till next week to find out.

As for the word spark, well there several different meanings, one of which I am familiar with when I was young.

Being called a ‘bright spark’

Depending on who used that remark, it could either mean you were clever or you were a smart ass, which I suspect was the reference to me.

Then, moving on

Saying something inflammatory ‘sparked’ the crowd into action.  A single remark can be equated to a literal ‘spark’ that can ignite a reaction.

A lynching perhaps?

And what about, once upon a time, a ship’s radio officer, he was called ‘sparks’ or ‘sparkie’, also a name that sometimes refers to an electrician.

I can see plenty of uses for this word in a story.

As another month ends

Where does time go?

I’m working on this theory that the older you are the faster time passes, and so far it seems like that’s the case.  I’m sure it was February just yesterday, or perhaps the day before.

Or, conversely, it could be the number of works in progress I have on the go that makes time pass quickly.

With the ep[isodic story that I post under the banner, what happens after the action-packed start, this had parts 15 and 16 just posted, and this ends the first of three sections of the story.

Of course, the decision to make it three sections only came before writing part 18.

Stay tuned for Episode 17 and beyond.

With the episodic story I post under the banner, I always wanted to go on a treasure hunt, this had about six more episodes written, and the latest part 7, posted recently.

Stay tuned for episode 8, coming soon.

With the episodic story under the banner, A story inspired by Castello di Briolio, this had undertaken a re-write because I was slowly writing this into an inescapable (pardon the pun) corner and needed some work.

This has recently seen two revised episodes written, 1 and 2 and there is more to come.

ON another front, there is the series Being Inspired where I take one of my photographs and write a story based on it, not something new but it amuses me, and there are now 45 of these, with numbers 44 and 45 soon to be published.

Busy, busy, busy.

“Sunday in New York”, it’s a bumpy road to love

“Sunday in New York” is ultimately a story about trust, and what happens when a marriage is stretched to its limits.

When Harry Steele attends a lunch with his manager, Barclay, to discuss a promotion that any junior executive would accept in a heartbeat, it is the fact his wife, Alison, who previously professed her reservations about Barclay, also agreed to attend, that casts a small element of doubt in his mind.

From that moment, his life, in the company, in deciding what to do, his marriage, his very life, spirals out of control.

There is no one big factor that can prove Harry’s worst fears, that his marriage is over, just a number of small, interconnecting events, when piled on top of each other, points to a cataclysmic end to everything he had believed in.

Trust is lost firstly in his best friend and mentor, Andy, who only hints of impending disaster, Sasha, a woman whom he saved, and who appears to have motives of her own, and then in his wife, Alison, as he discovered piece by piece damning evidence she is about to leave him for another man.

Can we trust what we see with our eyes or trust what we hear?

Haven’t we all jumped to conclusions at least once in our lives?

Can Alison, a woman whose self-belief and confidence is about to be put to the ultimate test, find a way of proving their relationship is as strong as it has ever been?

As they say in the classics, read on!


Sunday In New York

Writing is easy compared to the rest of the stuff

Like cover design.

And, of course, the description.

Probably one of the hardest things for a first-time author is not so much the writing but what is needed after the book is written.

You need a good description.  Short, sharp, incisive!

There’s a ream of advice out there, I’ve read it all, and, still, I got it wrong.

I wanted simplistic, a short description to give the reader a taste of what’s in store, and let the story speak for itself.


Apparently, a good cover will attract the reader to the book.

When I tendered my books on various sites to advertise them, sites such as Goodreads, and ThirdScribe, all was well with what I had done.

Then I submitted my books to a third site and they rejected the books because the covers were too simplistic and the descriptions mundane, and wouldn’t post them.


There’s a huge blow to the ego., and just the sort of reaction that would make a writer think twice about even bothering to continue.


Perhaps the person who wrote that critique was being cruel to be kind.

At any rate, I am changing the covers, and rewording the descriptions.

Will it be a case of ‘what a difference a cover makes’?

A case for Harry Walthenson PI, episode by episode

How thrilled Harry Walthenson, Private Detective, had been to see his name painted on the translucent glass window in the door to his office.

Located in Gramercy Park, in an old building full of atmosphere, he had a space renovated to resemble that of Spade and Archer in a scene right out of the Maltese Falcon.

His desk had an antique phone like those used in the 1930s, and a lamp that cast eerie shadows at night.  Along one wall was a couch, his bed for more nights than he wanted to remember, and on the other a filing cabinet, waiting for the big case files.

Up till now it had been missing cats and dogs.

Then, everything changed…

Starts at episode 1 – The Wrong Place, The Wrong Time

The latest episode:  Episode 58 – Sister, you have a sister?


This has been an interesting week

On top of the running battle I’ve been having with the internet provided by NBN, supposedly the next generation of the internet in Australia that was to make our internet faster than in Romania, but failed miserably, I’ve been having problems with social media and in particular Twitter.

Something is going on and I don’t know what it is.

One day I can have a consistent 125,000 impressions per 24 hours, for months on end, but several days ago this dropped to 5,000, with an hourly 213, yes, 213.  This from a monthly average of 2.6 million for the last three months.

Something wrong, I guess, doesn’t quite describe the problem.

However, life has begun to seep back in the dying Twitter bones, and the numbers are improving, but it begs the question of what sinister happenings go on under the hood.

Then there’s blogger where I have several blogs, and their own web domains bought from Google as recommended.

I can’t see any of them anymore.  I can post to them, and others can see them, but it seems Blogger has decided I’m persona non grata for my own blogs.

Of course, the help page within Blogger is probably the most useless help I’ve ever seen anywhere, and whilst it shows exactly the same problem happened to a lot of other bloggers, and the specific help was given, but there is no means to contact experts at blogger to get any help.

Or maybe there is, but their help page doesn’t make it easy to find it.

As for the internet, I once had a 300 baud phone modem that ran faster, and a call to the internet provider simply saw me cut off in the middle of a phone call, and left staring at the receiver.

Maybe if they cut me off a few times I’ll just give up, because they are between a rock and a hard place.  Their previous offering of broadband internet was lightning fast and very reliable, but they had to dismantle it in favor of the NBN.

Now because of a penny-pinching government, who would rather give huge tax concessions to big banks, who it has now been proven have been ripping us off for years with shonky practices, the internet in this country is little more than a joke.

Do I sound like a whinger?

I guess so, but I’ve certainly got a lot to work with.

But, as the saying goes, it can only get better, because it can’t get any worse.

No, don’t think so.  It’s just crashed again!