Well, there goes another month

And I’m still trying to figure out what happened to the 30 days that just seem to fly by.

It was, most likely, due to the A to Z Challenge that I participated in during April.  Having to write a blog post every day is taxing on the creative powers.  But, despite a few times when it was deep into the day and I still didn’t have a topic, I managed to pull through and will be doing it again next year.

There was also a NaNoWriMo writeathon on at the same time, and unfortunately, I couldn’t do both, not with the five stories I’m now concurrently writing.

Yes, you heard right, five.  Each appears in episodic form on my writing blog:


These five stories are (descriptive names are so that I can separate them in my mind)

A story based on Castello di Briolio, at a time during WW2, which is written to Part 7, published to Part 5

A story that started with a helicopter crash, and now dealing with the aftermath, written to Part 22, but published to Part 17.  It will end up as a novella in three parts (I hope)

Just another surveillance job, but it will turn out to be more than that, 5 parts written, 2 parts published

The treasure hunt, and my favourite at the moment, written to Part 15 and published to Part 10

And a new one that hasn’t had any published parts, and is being written out of order, without a plan, as you might guess, but is about rescue, a landing on a frozen lake and infiltration of the enemy in a mothballed ski resort, also a WW2 story.  This one was inspired by, where I started writing it,  Lake Louise in Canada where we stayed over New Years.

Besides these five stories, I am also in the throes of the second revision of my Private Detective story,  The Cases of Harry Walthenson, of which the latest part, Episode 71 was just published.  You can find it here:


And, if that’s not enough, I also write a story to photograph post every now and then, and the latest in that series is Being Inspired, maybe – 48, and can be found here:


And as for the novels I’m supposed to be writing, sorry, there are not enough hours in the day.


I always wanted to go on a treasure hunt – Part 11

Here’s the thing…

Every time I close my eyes, I see something different.

I’d like to think the cinema of my dreams is playing a double feature but it’s a bit like a comedy cartoon night on Fox.

But these dreams are nothing to laugh about.

Once again there’s a new instalment of an old feature, and back on the treasure hunt.

“Do you remember Nadia?”

Boggs was out the back on the veranda, sitting in an old lounge chair that had seen better days, eating tacos, or at least I think they were tacos.  He offered me one but I didn’t like the look of it.  Aside from the fact I wasn’t a fan of Mexican food.

“One of the Cossatino’s, Vince’s sister, tall, shorts skirts and big, well you know what I mean.”

Statuesque, Amazonian, yes I did.  We all coveted what we couldn’t have.

“The same.  She’s back in town.”

“And this means what to us if anything.  As I recall, the one time we tried talking to her, Vince had his friends rough us up.”

“I saw her with Alex today, in the warehouse.”

I had his attention.  I knew what he was thinking.

“Doing what, as if I couldn’t guess?”

“Alex wouldn’t be that stupid.”

“And we also said that when he fucked Annie in front of the class in the sports hall, not that we knew then what he was doing.”

Good point.  “No.  He told her to get the map from Rico.  Has Rico and her…”

“Dated?  Like Rico would be in her league.  He’d be little more than trash in her eyes.  But, no, not that I’m aware of.  But, if she was to throw herself at him, I’m sure he would react like any other dumb bastard who thinks with his dick and not his head.  But he hasn’t got the map.”


“I still think I should try to sell it to Alex.”

“And I think if you are looking for a reason for a long hospital stay, that would be it.  You need to be careful where Rico is concerned.  Maybe we should check him out tomorrow.”

“I thought you had a job, and couldn’t get away.”

“My shift has changed to the afternoon, so I’ll be available in the mornings.  Do you know where Rico lives?”

“On his boat.  He has a small cruiser at the docks.  Uses if for, he says, fishing trips for businessmen, but I think he does the drug run from the shipping lanes to a quiet cove.”

“For the Benderby’s?”

“No idea, and don’t care.  But you’re right.  We should check him out.  Tomorrow morning.  I’ll meet you at Al’s fishing shop at about 9:00.”

He’d finished the tacos, and clearly had something else to do, something that didn’t involve me.  I felt a little disappointed.

© Charles Heath 2019

#AtoZChallenge — Z is for Zip


Which, unfortunately, I do not have a lot of in my step.

At last, we have reached the end of the alphabet because I’m running out of zip to write these blogs.


Zip is the sing, the energy, the spring we have in our step, that usually gets us from a to b quickly.  Without this zest, we would need to take a bus, train, or cab.

Then comes the variations like …

Zip code, we all have one of these, though in some countries it is called a postcode.

Zip it up, meaning do not speak, especially if you’re about to spill a secret.

A zip, which is a part of some types of clothing, usually in trousers, jeans, and skirts to name a few.  Some dresses have long zips, some short, all seem to get tangled at one time or another, or, in the most embarrassing of situations, split.

Then there is a colloquial use of the word zip, meaning nothing, zilch, zero, in other words, a basis for of z words.

And that’s about as much zeal I’m going to show for writing this last blog, and I’m going to close the book on it.

Thank you, and goodnight.

I was just thinking about how it used to be, sitting in front of the typewriter…

I first started writing by longhand, still do, in fact, then graduated to my mother’s portable, then moved upwards into the electric world having a pair of IBM electric typewriters I bought form one of the places I worked as second-hand cast-offs.

Until that is, I could no longer buy ribbons for my IBM Selectric, so it had to go the way of the dinosaurs.

IT was a good thing, then, that computers and word processing software started at about the same time.


I didn’t get to sit down in front of the computer, well, to write that is.  I thought I would go searching for some inspiration.

Bad idea.

It’s just that in that short distance, from, say, the couch where you were reading the latest blog posts in the WordPress reader, and the writers chair, your preparation for writing ends up getting confused at some of the pro-Trump and anti Trump bloggers, because it’s hard to find anything relevant to the man and his politics.

People seem to be radically for or radically opposed and there’s no middle ground. How does Government work in such a political climate?

But, there you are, my attention has been distracted and unless I’m about to indulge in political satire, I’m off track, with an out of balance mindset, and therefore unable to write.

Perhaps I should not read blog posts, but the newspapers.

Or not, because they all have an editorial policy that leans either and one way or another, which means their views are not necessarily unbiased.

I was a journalist once and hated the idea of having to toe the editorial line.

I’m coming around to thinking that it’s probably best left to the dark hours of the night when you would think all the distractions are behind you.  After all, isn’t that what daytime is for?

Except that’s when the ghosts come out to play.

I think.

Was that the lounge room door opening?

“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

#AtoZChallenge — Y is for Yellow


It was an easy choice from the start, yellow is a colour, in any number of shades from very pale to very dark.

We have yellow egg yolks, yet another y word, and depending on whether the eggs are farmed in cages or free range can dictate the shade of yellow.  Free-range gives the brightest yellow, by the way.

We have yellow cabs, but oddly enough these cabs are orange, not yellow as in this country, though the same may not be the case overseas, particularly in New York.  Good thing they are bright yellow so you can see them coming if you are crossing the road, perhaps illegally.

We have yellow bananas and lemons, probably the most common answers when asked, what is yellow?  That, and perhaps the yellow rose of Texas.

Then there is a more sinister meaning of the word, and it is associated with cowardice, and cowards are said to have a yellow streak down their backs.

If you have yellow fever then you are in a whole world of pain.

You can sometimes have what appears to be yellow skin, a sign of jaundice.

There is a yellow sea, and then there are the yellow pages, sometimes a substitute name for a telephone directory of businesses.

And lastly, an expression that comes out of the past, and not used so much these days, but people from Asia were thought to have yellow skin.

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 779 – Angela decides to give some information



#AtoZChallenge — X marks the spot

In the wake of watching too much television, and in particular Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, a very quaint but completely ambiguous statement was dismissed as something that would never happen in archeology, x marks the spot.

Of course, as we all know only too well, x really does mark the spot on treasure maps, and I’m sure there’s been quite a few of those over the last few centuries, what with the numbers of pirates on the high seas, well one known such as Blackbeard, and some not so well known.

And those treasure maps always seem to find their way into children’s stories for some reason, maybe because as children we were likely to believe it possible, whereas an adult, the only place we’re likely to find an x is where someone who can’t write signs their name.

That might also include a lot of press-ganged sailors, who were virtually kidnapped into British naval service to chase down those pirates, all of whom seemed to have that same ubiquitous signature.

And, by the way, that x marks the spot was in that Indiana Jones movie, a rather large x making up a part of the marble flooring.

X doesn’t often find it’s way into mainstream English, even as a prefix, except in the case of x-rays which is electromagnetic radiation.

And in science fiction, the most interesting use of x-ray is for using x-ray vision, starting with Superman, and ending with more sinister connotations.

Other than that the only word that I can remember that starts with an x is xenophobia, which seems to be raising its head around the world, the fear of people or objects from another country or culture

Is it good luck or good management, or a one off miracle?

Of course with advertising on social media, if I had any success I might be saying that it was luck, or more to the point it would feel more like a miracle.


There’s no such thing as luck or miracles, there’s simply good management or being in the right place at the right time.

Or you’ve just put a lot of research and hard work into an idea that pays off.

But that’s not luck, that’s something else.

I say this because I have never been on the receiving end of good fortune very often, except, as you would expect, as the result of hard work. And yes, everything appears to conspire against me some days, but I would not call that bad luck.

Timing, quite often, is everything.


I’ve been researching the internet and the world of social media. So many people make claims about how good it is, how bad it is, how they made a fortune, and how, for others, it’s a dud.

Again, it’s about good management, hard work, or being in the right place, etc.

And viral stuff on YouTube, well, if it goes viral with a million hits in fifteen minutes, it means everybody, in that fifteen minutes, was looking for something interesting at that particular moment, and there it was.

It was not luck.


Using either of Facebook or Twitter as a means to advertise, without parting with your hard earned, or more likely, non-existent cash, is not all it’s cracked up to be.

You have 17,000 followers, that means you have at least 17,000 people who are going to see your post. Or someone else’s if you are thinking of getting people to market their product on the back of your followers, hang on, targeted followers. If, say, for instance, you’re followers are book orientated, doesn’t that mean…

You get my point.


You’re lucky if 5% of those followers see anything, and that doesn’t increase by putting a lot of different tags on the post. Twitter itself is restrictive in the number of people it will distribute the post to.

Five percent, that’s 850 of your followers who may see any one of your posts at the one time. other people have done vari0ous tests to check just who gets a post and who doesn’t, so it’s not just me who had noted what’s happening.

Then there’s the take-up rate, which Twitter does tell you, in my case, it’s about 2% at it’s lowest, which means the effective number of real peal people looking at my posts with any interest, is about 17.

It can be more, though I’m not sure how the Twitter algorithm for distributing posts works. I’ve seen other people get thousands of likes and re-tweets.

And, yes, I get it, their posts might be more interesting than mine, and I accept that, but the numbers I’ve been tracking don’t lie. If more people saw the tweet, the curiosity factor would be higher, and at the very least, the click-through rate would be higher.

That it isn’t can be verified from checking with the number of clicks on the bitly web site for the day, even over a number of days, in the basic statistics they provide their users.

I’m just saying…

All of those people who say they have thousands, sometimes tens of thousands, of followers just waiting for you to advertise with them, cannot deliver any sort of mass advertising you need, and even if they were to pay to advertise with Twitter, they would have to charge very exorbitant prices.

You can do it yourself, but there’s no guarantee your tweet will read by the people you need to buy your book.

It what I would call a shot in the dark.


What do we do?

Anyone else done this exercise and come up with different results? If you have I’d be interested to know what sort of responses you are getting from Twitter, or Facebook, or any other social media platform.

Preferably before I pull all my hair out in frustration!

A matter of life and … what’s worse than death? – Episode 5

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.

I knelt down to Jack’s level and whispered in his ear, “Time to go mate. Things are about to get a little sticky here, and one of us should get away.”

I’m not sure he understood what I was saying.

I pointed towards the trees that ran along the wall. “Go, now.”He walked slowing in the pointed direction, then turned to look at me.


Another hesitation, he headed towards, and then disappeared into the trees.

Behind me I could hear the sound of boots on the rock floor of the tunnel. The men had broken through and cut off my escape. I didn’t believe for a minute that Jackerby was there to help me.

Well, out of the frying pan, I thought.

I walked through the gap between the trees, getting a scrape on the side of my face from a prickly branch, then burst into the open. Jackerby had taken about twenty steps down from where he had called to me, and hearing the trees, turned and took a few steps back towards me.

Seconds later the two men from the tunnel came through the same gap, and took up positions so I couldn’t escape. Guns not drawn but ready in case they were needed.

“Where’s the dog?” Jackerby asked.

“Rats desert a sinking ship, why should dogs be any different. Guess he knew I was for the high jump.”

“Didn’t have to be that way.”

I don’t remember getting an offer to betray my country and decline. Significantly, he had made no more mention of his offer to help. But, I had to ask, “Which side are you on?”

“The right side, of course.”

It was hard to tell what version of the truth that was. He had one of those faces I associated with a professional poker player.

A nod of his head, and we headed back towards the castle. Jackerby walked beside me, the two guards about three yards behind. Running wasn’t an option, I’d get two bullets in the back before I got ten yards. There was little cover to hide in, so that was out as well.

I wondered what fate awaited me back at the castle.

© Charles Heath 2019