“The Things We Do For Love” – Coming soon

Is love the metaphorical equivalent to ‘walking the plank’; a dive into uncharted waters?

For Henry the only romance he was interested in was a life at sea, and when away from it, he strived to find sanctuary from his family and perhaps life itself.  It takes him to a small village by the sea, s place he never expected to find another just like him, Michelle, whom he soon discovers is as mysterious as she is beautiful.

Henry had long since given up the notion of finding romance, and Michelle couldn’t get involved for reasons she could never explain, but in the end both acknowledge that something happened the moment they first met.  

Plans were made, plans were revised, and hopes were shattered.

A chance encounter causes Michelle’s past to catch up with her, and whatever hope she had of having a normal life with Henry, or anyone else, is gone.  To keep him alive she has to destroy her blossoming relationship, an act that breaks her heart and shatters his.

But can love conquer all?

It takes a few words of encouragement from an unlikely source to send Henry and his friend Radly on an odyssey into the darkest corners of the red light district in a race against time to find and rescue the woman he finally realizes is the love of his life.

The cover, at the moment, looks like this:


“Echoes From The Past”, buried, but not deep enough

What happens when your past finally catches up with you?

Christmas is just around the corner, a time to be with family. For Will Mason, an orphan since he was fourteen, it is a time for reflection on what his life could have been, and what it could be.

Until a chance encounter brings back to life the reasons for his twenty years of self-imposed exile from a life only normal people could have. From that moment Will’s life slowly starts to unravel and it’s obvious to him it’s time to move on.

This time, however, there is more at stake.

Will has broken his number one rule, don’t get involved.

With his nemesis, Eddie Jamieson, suddenly within reach, and a blossoming relationship with an office colleague, Maria, about to change everything, Will has to make a choice. Quietly leave, or finally, make a stand.

But as Will soon discovers, when other people are involved there is going to be terrible consequences no matter what choice he makes.




A matter of life and … what’s worse than death – Episode 10

For a story that was conceived during those long boring hours flying in a steel cocoon, striving to keep away the thoughts that the plane and everyone in it could just simply disappear as planes have in the past, it has come a long way.

Whilst I have always had a fascination in what happened during the second world war, not the battles or fighting, but in the more obscure events that took place, I decided to pen my own little sidebar to what was a long and bitter war.

And, so, it continues…


We walked slowly towards the end of the passage, each time I passed a cell I had a look in, and noted if it had a prisoner or not.  By the end of the passage, I counted six prisoners, and one was a woman.’

She just looked at me sullenly, and I guess if it was light enough, that look would be with pleading eyes.  Sadly, I couldn’t save her, or the other five.

At the end of the corridor, we retraced our steps towards the hall, along the passage where I counted another three prisoners, then up the stairs to the ground level.  We came out into a better-lit alcove with arches leading in three directions.

Straight ahead was the hall.

We turned to the left.  Along another passage that seemed to run the length of the wall, what I thought was the stone battlement that made up one side of the castle, looking out over fields, with a village in the distance.

What I thought was the opposite side to the guard tower I’d been in earlier.

I tried to figure out if that’s where we were, and if my memory served me correctly, we were heading towards the wall that was built into the mountainside, in which case we’d go up another set of stairs, at the top of which would be an exit, or turning right, to a room that once served as the guards quarters, now used for kitchen supplies.

What else was here?  My mind was blank.

Up the steps, so far I was right, ahead of a thick wooden door, locked, so we turned right and passed a small room.  I’d forgotten it, but it was the radio room, wires leading out a small arrow slit window to the aerial.   The man in front stumbled, then regained his gait.

I could hear the man behind me shaking his head.

“Halt,” the man behind me barked. 

The man in front stopped dead, and I crashed into him.  I felt rather than saw the fist come towards me; it was not for me, but the other guard, who, preoccupied with not falling, never saw it coming.

He went down like the proverbial ask of potatoes, no idea what happened.

My turn?

A hand landed on my shoulder, thrusting me towards the door to the storeroom.  “Go, now.  The door on the other side is open, head down to the creek and follow it.  Someone will meet you.”

I half turned, “Who…”

“No time.  Go.  And shut the door behind you.”  I felt him thrust a gun in my hand.  “Hit me.”

I hesitated.

“Do it, or I’ll be shot.”

I shrugged and hit him.  He slowly slid to the floor.  A second glance, no, I didn’t know who he was, the headed for the back of the storeroom.  The door was open.  A cautious look before stepping out, I  saw no one but heard breathing.  Jack.  How did the dog know I’d be here?

I closed the door behind me and heard the lock engage, then after a pat on Jack’s head, he led the way.


© Charles Heath 2019

In a word: Air

Yep, another of those interesting little words that mean more than it appears.

Aside from the fact it is the air that we breathe, it can also be used to describe music.

It can be a breath of fresh air, though it’s hard to say where in this ever increasingly polluted atmosphere than we could literally draw one, except on a mountain top, where conversely it would be hard to breathe at all.

Have the air sucked out of us, well, that literally isn’t possible unless some madman comes up with a weird sort of vacuum cleaner, but that might be an episode for the X-Files.

He had an air about him, or her, as the case might be, which might refer to a sort of deference or manner.   There again that air might be one of boredom, which is what a lot of students seem to have in class.

Sorry, been a teacher, and know well the expressions on their faces.  Had one myself once, and finished up on the end of a chalkboard eraser.  Yep, in the good old day’s teachers used to chuck stuff at us recalcitrant students to get our attention, and not undergo a storm of protest from irate parents.

These days those same parents would most likely air their grievance, opinion, or view to the headmaster.

I’m guessing that same headmaster would be wishing those same parents to vanish into thin air, though I’m not sure how that would be possible.

And lastly, television stations air shows.

Weird, eh, how such a simple word can be used in so many contexts.

What happens after the action-packed start – Part 21

Our hero knows he’s in serious trouble.

The problem is, there are familiar faces and a question of who is a friend and who is foe made all the more difficult because of the enemy, if it was the enemy, simply because it didn’t look or sound or act like the enemy.

Now, it appears, his problems stem from another operation he participated in.


Lallo delivered that statement with deceptive calm, and I didn’t miss the inference.  That is if he was trying to say that anyone associated with that operation was likely to end up dead sooner rather than later.

Food for thought indeed, and suddenly it explained the reason for this interrogation.  And though I didn’t want to believe it, or even think it possible, Breeman might be in some way connected with that operation.  Or someone involved in it.

Suddenly I found my mid connecting dots, real or imaginary, that led back to Breeman requesting my transfer, knowing who I was, and then becoming closer in a way that was not expected, or could be explained, which had consequences if it came to light.

That was what Bamfield was alluding to in the desert camp.

But even Lallo had to admit it would be stretch at best to tie what was a random event being selected for what was basically an off-book training flight to being shot down, and link to a failed operation, and a suspicious suicide by Treen. 

Especially when it was Bamfield’s own men who shot the helicopter out of the sky because we had so-called encroached the no-fly zone.  Yet, by extension, if those people knew the proximity of the helicopter to the ground, and how thorough my survival training had been, that posed a whole new raft of questions, which, right then, I didn’t want to think about.

No, it was utterly ridiculous.  My thoughts were simply the manna which drove conspiracy theories.  Lallo was jumping to conclusions, and even I was guilty of the same offence.

Time to put it out of my mind, and answer the question, even if it sounded rhetorical.  “It was the Colonel who tried to kill me, not the person who sent me on that operation.  Are you trying to tell me Bamfield is involved in more than one conspiracy?”

Lallo simply shook his head, made a note in his notebook, and turned the page.

“Let’s go back to the day you were assigned to the ill-fated exercise.  How many of your number at that particular base, are available for helicopter duty?”


“Who assigns the missions?”


“Not the commanding officer?”


“And in this particular case, when you were sent on the fatal mission?”

“I had to countersign the order.  I didn’t see her name on the form.”

“But she would know, or be able to make suggestions.”

There was a group who made those decisions, not any one person, and it was possible anyone of that group could make a suggestion.  But, as for Breeman, I doubt she was interested in that level of micromanagement.

Yet there was a suggestion I’d been moved off the active roster, and that it was possibly on her orders.  Perhaps it would be best not to say anything about that.  It also begged the question of why.  Had she known something might happen to me?  Or did she have an idea what might happen for another reason?

“Anything is possible, but I’m not privy to the machinations of command.  I just do as I’m ordered.”

He smiled thinly.  “I’m sure you’d say that even if it wasn’t true.”

Lallo was becoming an annoying little gnat, so I decided to treat him like one.  “Is there an actual point to these questions, other than to dredge up past history, make erroneous accusations, and base all your conclusions on conjecture?”

“I simply deal with the facts before me.”  It was almost a childish response.

A face hovered outside the ward door, and he noticed it.

“Excuse me.”  He put down the notebook and headed out the door.  Monroe remained, looking menacing.

Was someone else listening, and didn’t like the turn of events?


© Charles Heath 2019

Conversations with my cat – 38


This is Chester.  We’re back to discussing topics of interest on the internet.

I’m not sure why, because yesterday, after a few minutes he yawned and went to sleep.

Today, it seems, he’s prepared to show more interest.

There seems, I said, a lot of discussion around writer’s block.

You mean, those lumps of wood you keep putting on the fire, he says.  And, while we’re at it, why haven’t you got one going today.  It’s cold.

I thought we were on the same page, injured elbow, can’t use the axe.

A slight shake of the head, as if to say, I can’t remember everything you say.

OK, moving on.  Writer’s block is not about wood.

Come to think of it, haven’t we got a shed full of wood, you cut it up last year.

Enough with the wood already.  Writer’s block.  The only block I can see that’s preventing me from writing is you.


Yep, conversation over.

Time to make some tea.  He doesn’t like that.  I wonder if the makers of the tea would want to know it makes an excellent cat repellant?

“The Devil You Don’t”, be careful what you wish for

John Pennington’s life is in the doldrums.  Looking for new opportunities, prevaricating about getting married, the only joy on the horizon was an upcoming visit to his grandmother in Sorrento, Italy.

Suddenly he is left at the check-in counter with a message on his phone telling him the marriage is off, and the relationship is over.

If only he hadn’t promised a friend he would do a favor for him in Rome.

At the first stop, Geneva, he has a chance encounter with Zoe, an intriguing woman who captures his imagination from the moment she boards the Savoire, and his life ventures into uncharted territory in more ways than one.

That ‘favor’ for his friend suddenly becomes a life-changing event, and when Zoe, the woman who he knows is too good to be true, reappears, danger and death follows.

Shot at, lied to, seduced, and drawn into a world where nothing is what it seems, John is dragged into an adrenaline-charged undertaking, where he may have been wiser to stay with the ‘devil you know’ rather than opt for the ‘devil you don’t’.





It’s dark, it’s late, it’s raining…

Yes, it’s dark and late at night on this side of the world, and I’m guessing where you are, it’s probably summer, the sun’s out, the day is warm, even slightly hot, and you’ve got better things to do.

Here, in the so-called land down under, which surprisingly a lot of people from the other side of the world do not know about…

Now, hang on, that can’t be true, because we all know the world is round and there had to be something or somewhere opposite.  I know that north we have China, and Europe, and further away, the United States.

Been to China, and Europe and the United States, so I know you’re all there, somewhere.

And, as you can see, the rain and the cold has amped up the boredom factor and pushing me to do anything other than writing.  I have three jobs I’m supposed to be doing,

  1. Editing the next five chapters of Walthenson, a Private Detective novel
  2. Writing two episodes of a serial story about surveillance going wrong, and
  3. Finishing off the travelogue about our China trip

None of them is appealing to me at the moment.

Instead, I find myself looking at what is showing on Summer TV in the US, one of which is called Reef Break with Poppy Montgomery.  Interesting show, it is filmed in Australia at the Gold Coast, about 30 minutes south of where I live, and it’s a treat to see all those places we are so familiar with, on your TV.  I wondered why it was shot in Australia, then I discovered Poppy Montgomery is Australian.


Then there’s one of my favourites, Elementary.  I’m a Sherlock Holmes nut, but what’s getting me is the fact Lucy Liu has blondish hair.  Sorry, it’s distracting.

There’s the InBetween, you know, that spooky place between life and death, much the same as saying I see dead people, hang on, didn’t Bruce Willis say that once upon a time?  It seems interesting, but time will tell.

But, my favourite at the moment, Blood and Treasure.  Indiana Jones without Indiana Jones, but I like the travelogue, an adversary that I last saw in Covert Affairs, and a good and bad guy, now a thoroughly bad guy.  I still think he works for Israeli Intelligence in some sort of cross-over.  Nazis though, why is it the Nazis keep raising their heads?

Maybe Grand Hotel will give me some light-hearted relief.  No, sorry, a suspicious death, a wicked stepmother trying to get rid of the hotel, a porter who’s investigating said susp[icious death, and the usual smattering of spoilt rich kids who don’t seem to learn anything, and mostly manners and humility, at those expensive finishing schools.

There’s more, but I better get back to work.



The attack of the dastardly distraction

If I get a headache I can take paracetamol

If I have a sore back I can take ipBrufen.

If I can’t put words on paper … what is there I can take?

Therein lies the writer’s dilemma.

I have been staring at the blank sheet on the computer screen for about an hour now.  I am in the middle of a re-write.  I know what direction I want the story to go.  Yet, for the life of me, I cannot find the words.

Is it writer’s block?

Here’s the thing.

Not four hours ago I had all the words in the world.  The new scene was all but writing itself, the words flowing, the characters were alive and almost bubbling over with enthusiasm.  I was almost as if I was in the same room with them and their mental sparring.

That scene is done.

And, usually the next is already forming in my mind as I’m getting to the end.  This time, an untimely interruption put a spoke in the works, diverted my attention to resolving a problem, and everything I’d been thinking about has gone.

Not a block then, but a dastardly distraction.

I guess I’m going on a long walk around the neighbourhood, looking but not seeing, thinking but trying not to think, stopping at the café and have a long hot coffee and a cake, perhaps this time a custard tart with whipped cream (OK, I know that can’t be good for me, but it is delicious) and by the time I get back …

Hopefully, the words will return.

Was it just another surveillance job – Episode 7

I’m back home and this story has been sitting on a back burner for a few months, waiting for some more to be written.

The trouble is, there are also other stories to write, and I’m not very good at prioritising.

But, here we are, a few minutes opened up and it didn’t take long to get back into the groove.

A body and a whole bunch of questions.


A full minute passed, with only one car passing, the rest of the time there was a strange sort of silence.

The man on the ground didn’t move.  Whoever shot him had shot to kill.  I took the few steps to stand beside him and could see the hole and the bloodstain of the wound.  Shot in the heart, instant death.

Usually, if it was a sniper, it was a head shot.  Less chance of missing a vital organ and leaving the target alive.

Odd too that it was just before he told me where some ‘evidence’ was located.  And who the hell was this Alfred Nobbin?

I heard a car turn into the alley and come towards me.  Halfway, it stopped, the engine switched off, and the doors opened.

Two men.  Maury, my handler, and Severin, the instructor.  Neither was carrying a gun, so neither had shot him.  That meant someone else was still in play.

I said, “I had him, but someone shot him.”

Stating the obvious, Maury’s expression told me.

“You’re not dead.”

“Perhaps I wasn’t a target.”

“Today.  Did he say who he was?”


No hesitation or they’ll think I’m lying, which I am.  I was not sure why, but was it because I detected a note of sincerity in the target’s tone?

“Checked for identification yet?”

“Just about to.”  I knelt down and went through his pockets.  Nothing.  I told Maury that.

“Pity.”  He hadn’t moved from where he stopped.  Severin had been looking back up the alley, no doubt looking for where the bullet came from.

Had he reached the same conclusion I had, a balcony on the third floor of the left-hand building?  The shooter would be long gone by now.

A white van pulled into the lane and pulled up behind Maury’s car.  The cleaners.

It raided questions.  How did Maury know we’d be here, and that the target would be shot dead?  Or had he assumed I’d all but kill him in revenge for what had happened to the others.

What had happened to the others?

“The rest of the team,” I asked.

“Two dead, one critical.  One safe.  Let’s go.  We need to have a debriefing.”

I took a last look at the body, the joined Maury and Severin in the car.  I had questions of my own.

“A bad day’s work,” Severin muttered, as he drove off.

“But conclusive proof we have a traitor, the last thing we need right now.”

I was surprised they were discussing high-level matters that I considered above my pay grade.  And, I had to say, it worried me.


© Charles Heath 2019