Wednesday 19 April 2023

#WEP #AprilChallenge - my #flashfiction - The Reunion (#fantasy)




If you're not the patient type, stop reading and keep on using pop-up. 

Many blogspot blogs have had problems with replying to comments due to some Google messing around months ago and the only fix was to return to the old pop-up type comment where you have to do a roll-call of replies in several sessions - ugh - hate that. 


- Go to Settings and change back to 'embedded' comments.

- To Reply individually to comments, hover over 'Reply'. It will be live, but not quite - wait for the cursor to show the 'hand'. 

- In a little while (this is where patience is required) you'll sing a song of joy when the little 'hand' shows up. (I go read blogs while I wait for this miraculous event).

- Click on Reply again and you can then reply individually. Woo hoo!

(You can't hurry the process but it works!) For me anyway. Check my comments! Just thought I'd share something I've discovered.

Time to publish my #flashfiction for the WEP Life is Beautiful challenge. 

POST April 19 - 21

 Here I offer one of my few forays into #fantasy. Written many moons ago, I think it encapsulates the theme. 

Enjoy my story. Click on names in my sidebar to read more.


The Reunion


Charlotte scarcely remembered the long bus ride from Sydney through the rugged countryside, so focused was she on seeing Jack again.

 ‘We’re here.’ The driver pulled his lumbering vehicle to the side of the road. ‘You’re being met?’

 ‘Yes.’ Charlotte slashed her lips with the bright red shade Jack loved.

 Slinging her black tote over her shoulder, she walked carefully down the aisle and thanked the driver who helped her alight.

 ‘Are you sure about this?’ he asked. ‘People who wander into the Australian bush, often never wander out again.’

 Charlotte was the happiest she’d been for years. Her heart thumped in her ears when she said, ‘I’ll be fine.’

 The driver’s eyes roved the empty road. ‘No luggage then, love?’

 ‘Not this trip.’

 ‘There’s no one here to meet you.’

 ‘He’ll come.’

 ‘But who? The houses were bulldozed years ago.’

 Charlotte smiled, turned away, slipped a pill under her tongue. ‘Thanks for bringing me so far out of your way, young man.’ She handed him a tiny red rose from the posy she carried.

 He twirled the flower. ‘I’ll come back. One? Two hours?’

 ‘Thanks, but no. Be on your way now.’

 ‘I really don’t mind.’

 ‘It’s fine.’ Charlotte walked away, tugging her bright red coat around her shoulders. She was relieved when the bus’s engine ticked over. 


 It was hard going on a track that was no longer maintained, but she made it to Gulliriviere, the tiny settlement where she once lived with Jack and their friends. It’d been named by Irish ex-convicts who were used to plentiful rains in their home country. How flummoxed they were by a river that bore nothing but gravel year after bitter year.

 Leaving the abandoned shacks behind, further into the bush she trudged. Her steps slowed as she put distance between her and the desolation of the little street where houses were sacrificed for a lumber mill that was never built.


 Controversial even then.

 The ‘greenies’ had chained themselves to the trees and no one could budge them.

 As she passed by, the eucalyptus trees rustled their arms in salute.


 But home had left. Only the scraggly beauty of nature remained. Where once their cabin stood smugly, framed by the white picket fence Jack built and the fragrant flowers she planted, there was … nothing.

 ‘Jack,’ she whispered, ‘there’s no clue we ever lived here … Oh … but I’m wrong. Look!’

Charlotte creaked to her knees in front of her tatty rose bush, surviving after all these years. She tugged out weedy grasses, revealed tiny closed buds, then inhaled the earthy smell. ‘Not everything’s gone, darling Jack.’ She lay the posy beside the rose bush, memories rushing through her head.

 She recalled her twenty-three-year old self following her love to his rough-hewn shack in the Outback, two hours’ drive to the nearest town and a light plane trip to Sydney. She loved the koalas who lived in the trees nearby, she loved the solitude and yes, she even loved the big red kangaroos who nibbled the green shoots in her garden, looking cheekily at her over their shoulders as they loped away.

 She’d set her easel amongst the trees and paint miniatue bush flora until the sun set on the faraway horizon. Her paintings would continue to hang in art galleries in Australia and the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris long after she was gone.

 Living in the bush had been good.

 Leaving it had not.

 After their cabin had been razed to the ground, they’d relocated to Byron Bay. Plenty of flora for her to paint, but Jack had to fly in/fly out to continue his work on the western Droughtmaster grazing property.

 ‘Hello, Madam Charlie,’ Jack would greet her at the airport. Tossing his duffle bag in the trunk, he’d hurry to the passenger door, wrench it open. ‘Come here,’ he’d growl, kissing her over and over much to the delight of the traffic inspector.

 Their only argument was over his retirement.

  ‘No, Charlotte, I won’t retire. I’m only sixty-five. Our experiment with the new Droughtmaster breed is ongoing. Perhaps when it’s done …’




 Phone call.

 Frank Mangin, Jack’s co-worker.

 ‘I’m sorry, Mrs Sandilands ... Jack’s gone ... heart attack.’

 The bed caught her as she fell.

 ‘We were working in the study.’

 Garbled noises from her mouth.

 Clunk! The phone hit the floor; Frank yabbered on. 

 ‘Mrs Sandilands? I’m calling someone.’

 ‘No!’ No one could put her back together. 

 ‘Mrs Sandilands! Jack had a message for you. He said, and I wrote it down—um—When it’s time, tell Charlie to come to the shack.’

 ‘Are you sure?’

 ‘Yes. I know your home at Gulliriviere is long gone. But that’s the message.’

 ‘Thanks, Frank.'

 If Jack wanted her at the shack, to the shack she would go …



 Still kneeling at the rose bush in front of the shack’s foundations, she took the gold fob watch from its pouch and let it drop into her palm. She’d bought it years ago to give to Jack when he retired. It was a work of great artistry, with minute patterns painstakingly etched into every chain link. She read the inscription: 

To Jack, my wild Colonial Boy! Yours ever, Charlie. XX

 She brought it to her lips, kissed it.

 The first pain hit.

It's time.




The rose bush bloomed with blood-red roses. The fragrance enveloped her as it mingled with sweet summer smells.


 With the sweet fragrance of roses whirling around her, she ran through the tall grasses, trailing her fingers over the white, silky flowers. He’d be waiting by the creek just ahead, beyond the grey houses.

 She hesitated at the stand of weeping willows, their lush tendrils like dishevelled hair as they caressed the surface of the water.

 Then she saw him—her Jack—running through the willows, pushing aside the graceful drapery. He hurried toward her—arms outstretched—welcoming her home.

 She beckoned her love.

They gazed into each other’s light-kissed eyes, marvelled at their sun-painted limbs, overjoyed at their reunion. He took the fob watch from her soft, smooth hand, then they strolled away hand in hand across the sparkling water, fading from sight in a gentle swirl of silvery mist.

 Life is beautiful, Charlotte mused.

TAGLINE – Life is beautiful, but death can be even better.



 WORDS: 1049


Be on the lookout for the June WEP challenge -

Wednesday 5 April 2023

#IWSG April 2023. My first foray into writing a book.

 So hi again. So soon. April is a feeding frenzy with the A - Z Challenge and the WEP April challenge and all sort of other writing challenges coming our way. 

The awesome co-hosts for the April 5 posting of the IWSG are Jemima Pett, Nancy Gideon, and Natalie Aguirre!

I'm participating in the A - Z Challenge as an interviewee. Operation Awesome is interviewing some authors who suit the letter of the day and I happened to be one of the lucky ones with my pen name, Silver Tree. Interviewed on April 24.

Winners of WEP contests win critiques on their WIP and may be optioned to be included in our WEP Anthology, out in 2024.

So, the April 5 question - Do you remember writing your first book? What were your thoughts about a career path on writing? Where are you now and how is it working out for you? If you're at the start of the journey, what are your goals?

The April 5 question takes me back.

Writing was always a hobby.  I always loved to write from an early age, but never saw it as a career. Teaching was my career and writing dovetails nicely with that, especially when you're an English teacher. But it wasn't until my kids were grown that I took writing seriously. That entailed learning my craft. Sadly, (and I've heard other writers bemoan this fact) you can't just write what you like how you like - you have to write to certain tropes in your genre/s, keep the action coming and throw stones at your protagonist. That took me ages to learn.

The question is a little confusing. First book? That was a spy-type of thing that went nowhere. Many others came and were binned. I've always loved short story writing, but my first real crack at a book was written while staying in Fiji with Nas Dean. Called Fijian Princess, it was okay, but not publishable. I might pick it up down the line. Trying my hand at these books was better than any craft book. As Ray Bradbury said and I paraphrase - you have to write thousands of bad words first ... Now that I'm on my way, there's no stopping me. After terrible trouble finding an ending, I'm currently about to hand my Paris cookery novel over to beta readers and the publishing process begins.

My first published book was Book 1 in my vampire series. I've written four books in the series now and have one to go, including a prequel (already written) for which I mocked up a cover in Canva yesterday.

Unfortunately with free Canva, there are not many fonts. However, this will be handed over to Kim Killion soon and she'll do an amazing job like she did on Paris Dreams.

Have an amazing April writing! We at Team WEP would love you to join us for our April challenge, Life is Beautiful. Go HERE for the POST and HERE for ideas!

Closely following Life is Beautiful is a sci-fi (or whatever) prompt from the movie -

Wooo ... come on sci-fi lovers! Give it your best shot!